Prayer: How Much Faith?

Dear Ones:

Where does faith come from?  How does it grow?  How is it maintained?  We all agree that faith is essential in the life of the “believer.”  It is that lifeline to heaven, by which all is received, grasped, and lived by.  We also KNOW that faith is the gift of God.  But how is this faith to be fully implemented, kept vital, and real?  There are at least two answers.

When Jesus was visiting in the house of Mary and Martha, we find one instance where Mary was “seated at Jesus’ feet,” while Martha was preoccupied with serving everybody else.  We might think that Martha’s responsibilities outweighed Mary’s quiet devotion, but it was not so.  Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to HEAR HIS WORDS.  Jesus will say concerning the attitude of Mary:  “One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)  The one thing of which Jesus spoke is the quiet, singular, undivided attention given to the word of God, hearing His voice in the Scriptures.  This is food for faith, so essential for its growth, and use.

The second essential is dependence upon the Spirit of God.  Where does the strength come from in the face of difficulty, trial, and loss?  It will come from that vision of Christ, born out of worship, and the corresponding seeking of God, and His strength.  “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength…They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…the shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:29,31)  Spiritual strength comes from God, by His Spirit.  “And ye shall receive power…”  Is this not what Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, “…that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts BY FAITH?” (Eph. 3:17)  It is in worshipping the Lord Jesus that the greatness of the vision captures our hearts.  It is in praying for Him to strengthen our hearts, that “He pours the power into us when we need it.”

So, today, let us pray with our minds (according to the word of God), as we sit at Jesus’ feet.  And let us pray by the Spirit, that blessed Strengthener, believing and receiving that which God desires to give in the understanding of His purposes and will.  “But my God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 4:19)

Love, Dad


Prayer: A Spiritual Basis

Dear Ones:

The concept of the Eternal God desiring us to pray to Him, and Him being earnestly desirous to answer our feeble call, is an enigma.  There would be no logical way of believing this, much less understanding it, were it not revealed to us in the word of God the design and heart of God. With the backdrop of the darkness of sin, the depravity of man, and the wondrous work of God in Christ in the midst of the lost and perishing, we  begin to see something of the intent, and will of God, with regard to our drawing near to Him, and this by prayer.  And let it be said, and grasped, that the “nearness of our God,” is indeed our good…an eternal good, our greatest blessing.

In the book of Joel, it appears that a natural disaster of a locust invasion, and the invasion of an army from the north (Probably Assyria), reveals the desperateness and devastation of the times for Israel.  But in the darkness will shine a light of hope, a contrast so powerfully Divine and good, that again, we catch a glimpse of the heart and design of God.  Joel writes:  “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do GREAT THINGS.” (2:21)  As an aside, you will remember that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah while he was in prison, and Jerusalem was under siege: “Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you GREAT and MIGHTY THINGS which you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3)  What are these “great” and “mighty” things?  Joel continues:  “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain…the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil…AND I WILL RESTORE TO YOU THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN.” (23-25)  What we see here is the Sovereign, Almighty God, declaring what He will do out of His mercy, and it is incomprehensible.  Why?  How can this be?  The basis for it all is found in the goodness of God, His holy, unique nature of mercy.  Not only will He forgive when there is a return of the heart to Him, but there is the “abundantly above” all that we could ask or think.  What did the father of the prodigal son do when he saw his “lost” son afar off heading home, even though he had squandered all that had been given him by his father?  The father RAN…embraced him…made a feast, and put a robe on his back, and a ring on his finger.  Why?  Because of his heart…a heart of mercy, and compassion…a heart that desires the highest and best for the one he loves.

So, what does this have to do with prayer?  The heart of God is a seeking heart.  We know that Christ is the Shepherd who seeks the lost, but do we realize that the Father SEEKS those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth?  Do we grasp that the Lord Jesus declares to us that the Father waits for us to come to Him?  “When ye pray, …pray to thy Father (Our Father which art in heaven….) which is in secret…”  Note the promise:  “…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:6)  The Eternal God, even the God of Israel…the God of Joel…is the same today.  He is the same Father of which Christ spoke.  And the invitation by Him, and the obligation which is ours, remains the same…”Come…and worship…pray…live in the expectation of the reality of His presence, and promises.”  The result…God answers prayer.  The question remains:  Who will believe Him, His desire, His design…His determination to teach us to pray?  Always remember that Christ died to make a way so that we could pray…and draw nigh to God.

Love, Dad


Prayer: Stones Or Bread?

Dear Ones:

No one can pray quite like the Lord Jesus.  If we examine His prayers, we find there a Divine deliberateness, and specificity, which is so simple that a child could pray it.  And yet, the profound significance, and effect of such praying, brings us to our knees, realizing that indeed, no one prays like Him.  It was in hearing the Lord Jesus pray, that one of His disciples said unto Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)  Will He teach us to pray?  In two Psalms in particular we find the Lord’s reassuring words:  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with mine eye.” (Ps. 32:8)  And in Psalm 25:8-9,”…Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way.  The meek will He guide in judgement: and the meek will He teach his way.”  What do these verses reveal to us?  First of all, we have the need to be taught HOW and WHAT to pray.  Secondly, Christ is waiting to teach us, to instruct us.  There is NO unwillingness or hesitation on His part to respond to our request.  He only waits for the individual to be willing to be taught, and to ask for instruction.

Why is the teaching on prayer so very important?  Why was Jesus so very careful to give time to prayer, both alone and with His disciples?  The answer is simple…it is God’s way of bringing the blessings of heaven to the hearts and lives of men.  So, in Luke 11, not only does the Lord begin with what we call, “The Lord’s Prayer,” in order to give us a clear understanding of the priorities and direction of prayer, but then He goes to the very heart of faith in God for the prayer made.  He deals with the certainty of prayer, and this with the parable of the man who had a friend, who arrived at midnight from a journey.  The hospitable friend, not having any food to give him, went to the neighbor, and because of his persistence, the neighbor “…gave him as many (loaves) as he needed.” (v.8)  The application here is simple, and clear.   God answers the prayer of the earnest soul, who will believe God.  For, as Jesus said, “…everyone that asketh, receiveth.” (v.10)

But what of stones and bread?  The Lord Jesus takes us a step further in our understanding of prayer.   Not only are we to be “guided” by the truth of what He would have us ask, and, not only would He have us understand that God is faithful to answer the prayer of the “faith-filled,” persevering believer, but that the revelation of the heart of God is the greatest reason for believing God for the wonderful thing.  Our sinful nature, as compared to the pure, clear, loving nature of God, is simply “evil.”  Jesus said that, even with such a nature, we KNOW how to give good gifts to our children.  Even the natural heart would not give a stone to a child which asked for bread.  It is at this point that the Lord Jesus tells us that even though our actions are naturally “good,” (in the sense of seeking the well-being of the child), yet, the goodness of God falls into the category of the “much more.”  “How MUCH MORE shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (v.13) Matthew writes, “…how MUCH MORE shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”  Here we are faced with the heart of God when it comes to the matter of prayer.  And what we see is a readiness to do the wonderful thing in answer to believing, persevering prayer, especially when we realize that we have nothing, and no bread to give.

Lord Jesus, teach us to pray, and to pray aright,  not in a whimsical way, but with deliberate certitude, trusting not only for the knowledge of Thy will, but for the strength to ask, and believe, and wait upon Thee, until we see Thy provision, Thine intervention.  “For Thine is the power and the glory forever.” Amen.

Love, Dad

How White Is Snow? Forgiveness

Dear Ones:

Can you tell me how white snow is?  What about the meaning of, “whiter than snow?”  In Isaiah 1:18, we read:  “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white AS snow.”  In Psalm 51:7, David writes down his prayer:  “…wash me, and I shall be whiter THAN snow.”  So, let’s come back to our question:  How white is snow, and what does it mean to be whiter than snow?  How does this apply to us in our relation with God?

The Apostle tells us that we see, “…through a glass, darkly.”   In other words, we perceive the truth, and the glory of God, but do not grasp it fully.  Our vision is distorted, and enormously limited.  What about the concept and truth of God’s forgiveness of our sins, and the corresponding cleansing of our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits?  According to Scripture, our sins can be white like snow, even “whiter than snow.”  What does this mean?  It means that God only can forgive sin, and remove its dark and tainting existence, to the point that not only is there no trace remaining, but there is a brightness, beyond white, which will replace it…and it is His righteousness.  In the absence of sin, we are left with His righteousness. So, we need to understand that God not only is desirous and willing to remove the guilt, and every trace of sin, but to provide us with an understanding that His work is absolute and forever.  His righteousness is to be our occupation rather than the degradation of sin.  In one of Robert McChene’s hymns he writes (…and prays),  “…make forgiveness feel so sweet.”  How can this be?  Because of the understanding that the eternal God not only removes sin, blots it out, casts it away, but washes us, and our consciences, whiter than snow…there is no trace of that sin, nor will be forever.

How then is this to be our experience, that of walking in the light and being “…cleansed from all sin?”  First, we need to understand that though we be redeemed, we will always have on this side of heaven, a propensity to sin.  But there is a way, God’s way, to know the cleansing by God from sin.  In Psalm 51, David first appeals to the mercy, lovingkindness, and tender mercies of God for cleansing.  He then acknowledges that his sins which have been revealed to him, are against God and God alone.  He realizes that he must be truthful, absolutely so.  For he knows that, “…If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord will NOT hear me.” (Ps. 66:18)  It is then that the cry of his heart is for cleansing, washing, …the plea for the blotting out of ALL his iniquities (…calling sin by its worst name).  And then, there is the all-encompassing plea of the heart for the intervention of God:  “CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART OF GOD; AND RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME.” (Ps. 51:10)  This is God’s way, the way by which God faithfully intervenes in the life to remove sin, washing us as white as snow, even whiter than snow,  a cleansing that is beyond our capacity to fully grasp.  But that which we do know is that He intervenes to restore in us a good, and right conscience towards Him, one void of offense, that we should be free to love and serve Him.

One of the best, and most fruitful missionaries I have ever known, once told a group of us that the main thing she always did to maintain her relationship with the Lord, was to keep herself  CLEAN.  How?  By the appeal to God, the confession of her sin, and the appropriation of the power of the blood of Christ…to cleanse from ALL sin, and forever.  When we are serious about this, it only takes twenty seconds.

Love, Dad

A Glimpse of God

Dear Ones:

How real is Jesus Christ to us?  When Philip one day asked the Lord Jesus to show him the Father, the Lord responded by saying:  “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not KNOWN me, Philip?  He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (Jn. 14:9)  How is it that Philip, who had spent so much time with the Lord Jesus did not KNOW him to the point where he realized that he was in the presence of God, the Father.  It seems that Philip saw the man Christ Jesus, but was blind to His glory, the glory of the Father.  Why?

In Psalm 63, a Psalm of David, he writes:  “…my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to SEE Thy power and Thy glory, SO AS I HAVE SEEN THEE IN THE SANCTUARY.” (v.1-2)  David, having the anointing of the Spirit of God, and then concentrating on worshipping God, was given the consciousness of God.  What he SAW in the sanctuary was what he would trust Him to be, and to do, on the outside of the sanctuary.  Worship was the first thing.  I dare say that Philip had not learned yet to worship in Spirit and truth, and so, he did not perceive the reality of Who it truly was before him.  He saw the man, but he did not see the Eternal God.

Why did God choose Joshua to be the successor of Moses?  Was it because he possessed the talents and intelligence to be so?  I believe that the primary reason was that he was first and foremost a worshipper of Jesus Christ.  In Exodus 33:11, we read that, “…the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.  And he turned again into the camp, BUT HIS SERVANT JOSHUA, THE SON ON NUN, A YOUNG MAN, DEPARTED NOT OUT OF THE TABERNACLE.”  Joshua learned as a young man that personal, individual worship of God is essential, if there is to be the clear “vision” of His glory and power.  How is God ever to be a reality to him in the position of a military commander, and eventual leader of Israel, if in the quiet place He is not a reality?   I think it safe to say that what Joshua saw in the place of worship was what God wanted to reveal of Himself in the midst of the responsibilities of life.  This is one reason for which Daniel refused to stop praying three times a day, even at the possible cost of his own life.  God reveals Himself to the heart and mind, the soul, when we worship Him by the Spirit, and in truth.

Later on in John 14, after Jesus had spoken to Philip, he spoke of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, and the fact that He would be IN the disciples.  In declaring this, He also added, “I will come to you, ”  and that day ye shall KNOW that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.” (v.16,17,18,20)  The Lord Jesus and the Father would become a reality to the disciples by virtue of the Spirit of truth that was to be given to them.  We HAVE the Spirit of truth in our hearts today, but do we trust Him in the quietness, and aloneness of our times with the Lord every day, to reveal to us the glory of God?  Dear Lord Jesus, “Let Thy work APPEAR unto Thy servants, and Thy glory (appear) unto their children.” (Ps. 90:16) Amen.

Love, Dad


Practicing the Promises: Cyrus, Christ

Dear Ones:

How does a prophecy given to Isaiah in the eighth century, and realized in the fifth century, have a direct bearing on our lives?  The answer lies in the principle of “practicing the promises…,” then and now…and seeing the glory of God.

The Lord had revealed to Isaiah something of the coming of judgement upon Israel because of her abstinent refusal to follow God, deliberately turning away from Him, and this, in a determined and persistent manner.  This would of course result in what Jeremiah addressed as the deportation, or exile.  However, even in the eighth century, before the judgement and deportation, there was mentioned in Isaiah’s writings, the specific name of a king, who would be responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the laying of the foundation of the temple of God. (Is. 44:28)  Jeremiah, who wrote his account of the deportation, did so in the 7th century, specifically mentioning that after a period of seventy years in exile, the Lord would visit Israel. (Jer. 29:10)  We then come to the end of the book of 2 Chronicles, written in the 5th century, where we find mentioned the name of a certain king, Cyrus.  This is the name that Isaiah had mentioned several hundred years before.  And it will be this king of Persia who will declare:  “Thus saith the king of Persia, ‘All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build Him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all His people?  The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.” (2 Chron. 36:23)  Now, why is this series of events so very important, with regard to our lives?  The answer again lies in the principle of “Practicing the Promises.”

When Isaiah wrote his account of the appearance of  Cyrus, and what was said by the Lord concerning him, he specifically wrote the words of God TO Cyrus, words which would be the basis for the realization of God’s purposes in the building of Jerusalem and the temple.   The first thing we need to see is that God called him his “anointed.”  Not only was Cyrus chosen BY God, but he was perfectly equipped BY God.  Secondly, God said that he had taken him by his right hand.  This is significant because the right hand was the hand of authority.  God’s authority would be exercised by, through Cyrus.  The result would be that nations would be affected, and play a role in the unveiling of God’s purposes.  Then came specific promises, which are consistently revealed elsewhere in Scripture.  It is as these promises of God are believed, and acted upon, that His  purposes are realized through Cyrus, and will be realized through us.

Promise #1:  “I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut.”  We are in a spiritual battle, where a “strong man” seeks to hinder and resist the purposes of God.  God is declaring that His authority is on the side of Cyrus, and ours is in Christ.  This authority has the capacity, and certainty, of opening closed gates (doors), and keeping them open.  Jesus even declared that the “gates of hell” would not prevail against the church.  Promise #2:  “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.”  The Lord promises not only go and precede us (…the Good Shepherd goeth before His sheep…), but to make the crooked places straight, to make clear the way, providing a certain path.  Promise #3  “I  will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.”  Why does the Lord mention this apparently for the second time?  It is because Cyrus must be VERY clear and sure of God’s victory in the face of “gates of brass” and “bars of iron,” very real points of resistance, if he is to overcome by faith.  The strongholds of Satan defy the advancement of the kingdom of God.  Lastly, Promise #4:  “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places.”  Not only is there the promise of provision for all that God demands, but there is the promise of reward.  “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”  The “reward” may take several forms, for there are many ways God blesses.   But one thing is certain. We will, like Cyrus, come to know, as a result of believing His promises and acting upon them, that as God called Cyrus by his name, we too shall KNOW that God has called us by our name.

Love, Dad

The Resolute Committal

Dear Ones:

Towards the end of the life of Joshua, he gave an ultimatum to Israel.  His words were:  “…Choose you THIS DAY whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15)   He went on to say:  “As for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord.”  Commitment is a position taken.  It is also an attitude to be maintained.  It is one thing to begin well, quite another to finish well.  How is it that, even among those whose testimonies have not been sterling, we find that they finished well?  There are at least two reasons.  The first is that they came to realize that FAILURE IS NOT FINAL…unless we choose to make it so by giving up, and giving in.  In Proverbs 24:16 we read, “…For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.”  Note the word “just.”  This man has faith, a faith that will be assailed by the winds of doubt, perhaps of fear…even temptation.  But there is a seed in him, a “Righteous Seed,” which will never leave or forsake him.  That living “Seed,” the Spirit of God, will seek him to bring him back to faith.  He will rise.  And when he has regained his  feet, he will come to see also that, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation, make a way of escape.” (1 Cor. 10:13)  Thus, the second reason for which one can finish well, though one may fall many times, is the fact of the constant, unceasing presence of God, His Spirit, working in him both the willing and doing of His good pleasure.  He is NEVER forsaken.

It is a sad commentary upon us as sinners that we often respond to the corrective overtures of God, not out of love for Him, but out of self-preservation, and the desire to avoid all suffering.  The great news in the face of this reality is that God IS God, and He never gives up on us, and as Matheson wrote, “…will never let us go.”   The Spirit of God is not just seeking to bring us back to God to a right attitude of mind and heart (hence…a revived commitment), He is also working to bring us to a heart attitude whereby the taking our stand once more, regaining our feet, is not done for any other reason than for love and thanks to Christ.  This is why the daily worship of Christ is such an essential element to the Christian’s faith, for how shall we have a right attitude of love towards him if we are not overwhelmed by the Person and work of Christ?

One begins this Christian life by revelation…Christ reveals Himself to the heart and conscience, bringing us to the realization of who we truly are with regard to who He truly is.  Brokenness ensues, and we cast ourselves on Him to save us, and become our Lord and Savior.  Then begins the race, the warfare, the fellowship.   Faith is tested, and sometimes falters.  But it is the renewed, and expanded by a renewed vision of Christ, the result of “seeing Him in the sanctuary.” He inspires us, and strengthens us to believe.  The renewed vision strengthens faith and hope, and the feet are regained.  The commitment continues…with more understanding, knowledge, and strength of heart.

Dear Lord Jesus, give us the new and fresh vision of Thyself, as we worship Thee every day.  Renew our faith, strengthen our hearts, and fill us with Thy wisdom and knowledge in this race.  Grant us THIS DAY, and in THIS HOUR, Thy zeal, Thy focus, Thy balance, so that we may run well, and finish honorably.  In Thy name. Amen.

Love, Dad

Tangible Faith

Dear Ones:

No one truly knew what Jesus was going to do when faced with the crowd of five thousand which had come out into the “wilderness” to hear Him speak, and to be healed of various diseases.  This lack of understanding did not matter.  What did matter was that there was to be a whole-hearted trust in Him, and this, proved by an unobjectionable response to His instructions.  This was to be the lesson that His disciples must understand, and live by.

In John’s gospel, chapter 6, we read the narrative of the feeding of the five thousand.  Jesus would use this circumstance, this NEED, to put his disciples to the test, so that they would see the folly of leaning to their own understanding, but wholly trusting Jesus according to His word.  Let’s look at Jesus’ method in dealing with the disciples.  First, he brings them face to face with a “mountain” of need, five thousand men who need to eat.  Then he brings them face to face to the meagreness of the resources at hand, “…five loaves and two fishes.”  It is at this point that the disciples honestly do not know what to do, for they see the absolute impossibility, from a human standpoint, of this meager resource meeting the all-encompassing need at hand.  Christ brings them to the impossibility, in order to show them the way to that which is possible, BY the intervention of God.

Again, what is His method at this point?  It is to give thanks to God the Father who has provided it.  Though Jesus’ prayer seems to be short, it most certainly is not revealed to us in its entirety, for out of that prayer is born an intervention from Heaven, one where the impossible becomes possible, even actual, tangible.  Five thousand men are fed.  And though there must have been great rejoicing, and amazement by the crowd, yet Heaven’s intervention, and provision, was utterly quiet…but sure.

So, let us not “despise the day of small things.”  And let us not look at ourselves in the mirror and say as Jeremiah told the Lord, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” (Jer. 1:7)  The call of God for things great and small is always addressed to the possibility of what Christ can do BY HIS SPIRIT in us, and through us.  The question is:  Can the Lord Jesus find in us a willing and believing heart, one that will trustingly go forward, even in the face of difficulty and “impossibility?” This is why He simply declares: “FOLLOW ME.”

Love, Dad

The Christian’s Hidden Strength

Dear Ones:

The Word of God is filled with pictures and illustrations to help us grasp spiritual realities.  An example of this is the use of the “river.”  What does Christ mean when He speaks of “rivers of living water?”  (Jn. 7:38)  What does the Psalmist mean when he declares:  “…There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God” (Ps. 46:4)  And lastly, Isaiah writes:  “I will extend peace to her like a river.” (66:12)  What does the Lord mean to communicate to us by the use of the picture of a river?  Most certainly, the idea of overwhelming strength is to be seen.  We might go so far as to say that it speaks of an endless resource, the endless source of all that is good, found in Christ.  The picture of this river is not given to us just to amaze and intrigue us, but to be  guidepost for the appropriation of the strength, endless strength, in Christ.

Beyond the subject of “fear,” perhaps the next most often mentioned, and distinguished subject in the Bible,  is that of “strength.”  Why?  Because, though fear is so common to us all, being an expression of our concern for “self-preservation,” and escaping suffering, “Strength” to overcome it is the antidote.  There is always the downward pull of the attitudes and atmosphere of this unbelieving world.  Power is needed to overcome.  In the face of these two matters, we find the gospel message declaring to us that “…we are MORE than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37) We are called upon to “reign in life.” (Romans 5:17)  We find mentioned several times in the book of the Revelation, that we are to be “overcomers.”  How is it that God calls us, in an atmosphere of unbelief and often opposition to Christ, to live a victorious life?  We have but one answer, and only one place to look…to Christ.  He IS our victory, our strength, our every resource.

How do we pray so that this LIFE will be our own?  We always begin with the TRUTH as God declares it.  We are IN Christ, and He is IN us…and all fulness is in Him.  What does this mean?  Since we are new creatures in Christ, we are to live ONLY and WHOLLY by His resources.  Should we not therefore ask Him for HIS strength, HIS joy, HIS zeal and patience?  We are often fooled into believing that we can live this life by relying on our own “resources,” and “capacities.”  The Apostle Peter tried this and denied Christ three times.  The Apostle Paul tried this and ended up declaring, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  And yet, Christ encourages, even commands, us to:  “ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU” (Jn. 15:4)  Christ, the great I AM, is our life, and all that is in Him is ours.

The “river” of God…IS GOD, by His Spirit…the very Spirit of Christ.  Ours is to believe that we are in Him, and He in us…ask, and receive by faith all that is needful.  “O Lord, grant us grace to receive Thy courage, Thy strength, …refusing all fear, which does not belong to Thee, and thus, does NOT belong to us.  Fill us with Thy joy, and Thy peace, which is indeed, ‘…like a river.'” Amen.

Love, Dad

Job Had Six Daughters

Dear Ones:

The ways of God are certainly not the ways of men, and in particular, our own.  Nor can His infinite, and perfectly complete knowledge, be grasped by our little minds.  It is here that we must defer to the written word to understand something of His dealings with us, and His purposes in doing so.  The story of Job is certainly an prime example.

Beyond the evident spiritual conflict between God and Satan, with Job at the epicenter, there is an overarching theme, or subject, which needs to be grasped if we would understand God’s dealings with us in the difficulties, trials, and losses of life.  Paul declared to the Philippians that he had suffered the loss of all things.  What did he gain?  It was the same thing that Job gained when he declared:  “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee.” (Job 42:5)  When Jesus prayed:  “And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent…,” He made it very clear that our highest purpose is to receive, obtain, grasp “the knowledge of the holy,” that knowledge of God which shall be fully realized in eternity.  The great purpose of our union with Christ, and abiding in Him, is to KNOW Him.  For it is as the fruit of His life is manifest in our own that this knowledge of His person increases, and the witness of His life, is known in this very dark world.

Why then do we speak of Job’s daughters, his six daughters?  It has to do with the degrees of love, not with respect to sincerity, earnestness, nor realness.  But it does have to do with the depths and magnitude of knowledge as it pertains to this love.  Job’s first three daughters were lost to him by the catastrophe of a house falling upon them.  There is no doubt that he loved them greatly, and his loss and that of his wife, was unbounded.   At this point in the narrative that we enter the interlude between Job’s original blessing of God, and that of the latter.  What will transpire in this interval will be God’s work to bring to the surface false ideas of Himself that Job entertained.  Even the knowledge of God of Job’s friends, which was faulty and “not right”, was revealed.  All of the difficulty,  suffering, and loss, was preparatory to the revealing by God of the truth of his nature to Job.  In essence, He calls Job to come up higher, and to grasp something of the eternal that he had never seen before.

Scripture tells us that God blessed Job after this, and gave him more than he had ever had before.  What is interesting is that He gave to him three more daughters.  Unlike the first three, their names are mentioned:  Jemima, Kezia, and Keren-happuch.  Also, “…in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job.” (42:15)  Here is a picture of love…love for the first three daughters, whose loss was immeasurable.  And then there is a picture of three other daughters, the object of the blessing of God in a particular way.  The same love of Job was for all his daughters, but the last three were benefactors of the effects of “the increased knowledge of God,” a knowledge that amplified the love of a father’s heart.  Why did God allow Job to lose so much, and to suffer so greatly?  It was to bring him to a greater knowledge of Himself, that he would be able to love with a knowledge that he had never known before, and thus, be more conformed to the image of Christ.  The result was the blessing of hundreds, thousands, and after all of these years since that time, millions.  The personal, increasing knowledge of God results in the blessing of men, women, and children…This is God’s work, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Love, Dad