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

 

The Point of Contact: The Cross

Dear Ones:

Michael Angelos’ portrayal of the creation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome is a remarkable piece of work.  What is so expressive by the portrayal of this event, when man received life, is the touch of man with the finger of God.  It is in that “point of contact” that man begins to live, and truly exist by the Life of God.  In this fallen world, we see something of this principle worked out in the lives of those who have gone before us.  One of the most expressive and demonstrative of these instances is found is in the life and ministry of Samson.  As long as the “point of contact” was maintained and used, the life of God revealed itself by an overcoming strength given to Samson.  It is when the “point of contact” was minimized, or esteemed of lesser importance, that in the negligence thereof, there is the catastrophic result of “no life,” “no Divine strength.”
What was the key to Samson’s life and strength?  What was that particular “point of contact?”

In Judges 13, we discover that an angel came to the future mother of Samson to declare that she would bear a son, and that he would be “…a Nazarite unto God from the womb.” (13:5)  Later on in his life, after judging Israel for twenty years, he finds himself in the company of a very treacherous woman, who tricks him to divulge the secret of his strength.  His declaration:  “…I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me…and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” (16:17)  Samson has been worn down by the allurements, the enticements of Delilah, a Philistine, an enemy of God, and one whose loyalty has been bought by the design of the Philistine lords.  Samson has trusted the wrong person, and in doing so, has compromised his “point of contact”  As long as he remains faithful to his calling, and not compromised his commitment to God, and this symbolized by his uncut hair, the strength of God is given, revealed in him.

What is the Christian’s Nazarite vow?  It is the embracing of his cross, to follow Christ.  When we begin our journey as a disciple of Christ, our knowledge of His ways is limited.  But as we delve deeper into the Gospel, we begin to learn that, because of our union with Christ, when He died, we died.  We died to sin, self, the world, and the devil.   It is a finished work.  It is a work that is TRUE of us in Christ.  What is therefore the “point of contact” for the Christian?  It is that embracing of the cross, this work of Christ, whereby we have died to ourselves and our resources, to live for Him by His resources.  The Apostle Paul puts it so simply in Colossians 3:1-3  “If ye be risen with Christ (…and the Christian IS…), seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God…Set your affection (the mind) on things above…FOR YE ARE DEAD, AND YOUR LIFE IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD.” (Col. 3:1-3)  The point is this:  God’s point of contact, that the Spirit of God will honor, and always respond to, is the point where by our choice and attitude, we believe and embrace the fact that, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ that liveth in me: and the life that I now in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Note the “point of contact,”….crucified with Christ.  And note the power, the “strength” of Christ given, “…Christ that liveth in me.”

May we live “in contact” with Christ in this day.  And though we will certainly not live this life perfectly, let us aim at deriving our lives from Him by faith.  May we trust Him to keep us “in contact” with Him.  Then we shall KNOW Him.

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

The Incalculable Wisdom

Dear Ones:

In Isaiah’s great chapter concerning the comfort and consolation of God as it applies to the return of Israel from the exile, there is one message that rings loud and clear:  “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” (Is. 40:5)  What does this mean?  It means that God will reveal Himself, that men will see and KNOW that He is God.  Nothing could be so impossible as the return of the people of Israel after seventy years of captivity.  But in several of the minor prophets, we discover the promise that the temple and the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. When we delve deeply into what the Lord promises with regard to this return, and what He will do, there is no doubt that His glory will be revealed…and it was.

Now, let us fast-forward to the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  The same message of this “voice of him that crieth in the wilderness” mentioned in Isaiah, is that which would immediately precede the appearing of Christ in His ministry.  Here again, the glory of God is revealed, and this in the most remarkable measure.  When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Jesus declared beforehand to his disciples that this would happen…), Israel would cease to be a nation, the people would be scattered over the face of the earth.  In 1948, a monumental historical “act” occurred again.  Israel, for the first time in almost two thousand years, became again a nation with a defined territory.  Again, the glory of God is revealed.  But what about our experience, personal experience of “seeing the glory of the Lord?”  Does He truly reveal Himself to our individual hearts, or are we limited only by the great historical facts of His intervention?

The great message of Isaiah which shows us the way is this:  “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.” (Is. 40:6)  “…surely this people is grass…the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” (vs. 6-8)  The point is this, there is NO comparison between that which is of man, and the expressed design and will of the Creator and Redeemer.  As G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “God rides best in His own chariot,” and that chariot is the word of God.  Until we come to grips with the “scales of time (and eternity),” weighing in the balance the “wisdom and philosophies of men,” as opposed to the eternal word of God, we shall not SEE His glory.  God reveals Himself only according to the truth of His word.  His word is NEVER  a contradiction to His person.  What does this practically mean?  It is written of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that “…she judged Him (God) faithful who had promised.”  In other words, she staked all on Him according to His word, His revealed will.  The result, she saw the glory of God.  Those who returned from the exiled were armed with the promises of God in the face of impossibilities.  Those who were waiting for the “Consolation of Israel,” saw it in Christ…all based on a promise, the promise of His coming.  We will see the glory of God as we trust Him wholly according to His word.

Dear Father, give us grace to defer fully to Thine incalculable wisdom in Christ, for Thou hast made and redeemed us.  Indeed, all wisdom dwells IN Thy Son.  Grant that we become active beneficiaries of the wisdom of Christ by taking Thee at Thy word, “standing on the promises,” and waiting with expectation to SEE the glory of God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

A Taste Of Heaven

Dear Ones:

The Apostle Paul writes that with regard to the true appearance of Christ, that “face to face” meeting which we will have, that we “…NOW see through a glass, darkly.” (1 Cor. 13:12)  Not only is His glory shielded from our eyes, but in essence, we barely see, or perceive Him.  The Lord told Moses with respect to the revelation of His glory, “…Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Ex. 33:20)  This is simply because for the unbeliever the sight of God in His holiness cannot be endured for fear of judgement.  For the believer, he has not the intellectual or emotional capacity to contain the revelation of the perfect beauty, and goodness of God.  It is simply too much.  So, what does God do for Moses…and in some respects, do for us…”I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” (v.22)  Our vision of God is darkness compared to the brightness of His revealed glory.  What did Moses see?  “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”(34:6)  In doing this He made “all His goodness” to pass before him.  Moses tasted of heaven that day, for he tasted of the goodness and mercy of God…howbeit, through a glass darkly.

What of us?  We are not Moses.  On this side of the Cross, and Pentecost, we have what Paul writes to give us direction:  “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.  But God hath revealed them UNTO US by His Spirit….we have received the Spirit which is of God, that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9,10,12)  We have within our hearts that “…Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ).” (Eph. 1:17)  Why is it that Christ is not a greater reality to our hearts, and the revelation of heaven’s glory an overwhelming delight of our souls?  Maybe it is because we do not seek, truly seek the Lord.  When God gave to Israel the Tabernacle, it was so that any individual could come and seek the Lord, the Lord’s way, for His glory.  In speaking of the continual burnt offering, the mercy-seat of the altar, and the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, He said, “…and there I will meet with the children of Israel…” (Ex. 29:43)  As for the individual, and the personal seeking of the Lord, Moses wrote:  “….And it came to pass, that EVERY ONE which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation…” (33:7)  God made provision for the revelation of Himself to the seeking and worshipful heart.  This reality has not changed since that day, only it has been magnified.’

The Spirit of God has been given to us in Pentecostal power, to reveal the things of Christ to us.  Paul instructs us to “…seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1)  If it were not possible to “ascend” by faith, to that throne of Grace, then why would we be instructed to SEEK?  The promise is that if we seek, we shall find.  Find what?  We shall find Christ, the highest blessing of heaven.  We shall taste and see that he is altogether good, and there is none like Him…Indeed, He far exceeds in His beauty, His holiness and goodness, all that we could ever imagine on earth.  It is by the Spirit that, as we worship in Spirit and truth, we discover afresh every day something of heaven, for we discover something of Christ.

Dear Father, grant us this Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Thy Son.  Enable us to taste and see that the Lord is good, by seeing His (Thy) glory.  And even though our sight is so small, and the eyes of our hearts so dim, reveal to us the things of Christ, and strengthen our hearts to receive them, that His Life and love will be known through us, as we worship and serve Thee on this earth.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

Chosen To Be A Soldier

Dear Ones:

It is one thing to enlist in the armed services.  It is another to be chosen by God to serve as His soldier in the spiritual conflict concerning the coming of His kingdom on this earth, “…as it is in heaven.”  Though there are certain principles that govern both “services,” they are decidedly different in their nature, and in particular, with regard to their Commander.  For the terrestrial conflict, there are employed the strategies of men’s minds and hearts.  The authority that reigns in this particular theater is a created one.  It is only as powerful as is the ingenuity and resources of those who control it.  Thus, the  authority that is exercised in the conflict is imperfect, incomplete, and limited.  History bears this out.  However, the authority of that which is spiritual emanates from the very throne of God, is endless, and all-powerful.  It has its foundation and essence in the eternal, perfect Nature of God, His power, and His declared sovereignty over all.  It is for this reason, that His soldier is called to trust Him implicitly, and with quiet, unabated resolve, to serve Him, please Him, by the doing of the will of God in the face of opposition, and conflict.  In light of these realities, what is the “soldier” of Christ to be?  And how is he to BE this?

The Christian Soldier is first of all called “…to BECOME what he IS.”  What does this mean? The Christian soldier is IN Jesus Christ, for he has been placed in living union with the Son of God, to live by, for, and unto Him.  He is a new creation, primarily spiritual in nature.  We must always begin the consideration of this matter with the finished work of Christ.  The outworking of the Christian soldier in becoming what he IS, is only possible as one grasps that Christ IS his life.  If he will be what he has been called to be, then he must derive his life, and all his resources from Christ.

It logically follows that as the Christian soldier is primarily a spiritual creation in Christ, the conflict in which he has been called to live and serve is predominantly spiritual in nature. “…We do not war after (or according to…) the flesh.” Essential to the effectiveness of the soldier in this conflict is the need to grasp the truths, and principles, and objectives of God in this conflict.  Paul writes that our weapons “…are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”  What are these strongholds?  “…Casting down imaginations (reasonings) , and every high thing that exalteth itself against the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, bringing into captivity every THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3,4,5)  The Christian soldier’s task is to be God’s instrument, in the place and capacity of His calling, to be a witness to the truth, and the Life of Christ.  Strongholds in minds and hearts will never come down unless the truth is proclaimed, declared by the life and power of the Spirit.

The “good soldier” will patiently endure hardness, difficulty, and resistance.  And he is one that is “untangled” by the affairs of this life.  Wherever Christ has put him, in whatever capacity or career, the soldier is a “free” man, whose life is not encumbered, and entangled by the cares and things of this life.  He is first and foremost a lover of Christ, living for Him, by His power, seeking to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within him, “in season and out of season.”

Lord Jesus, grant that we may, by Thy immeasureable grace, become in experience what we ARE in Christ.  Enable us to be those who are overcomers, unentangled, ready share Thy truth and love to a lost and dying world.  Grant that the walls and fortresses of man’s false reasoning, imaginations, and speculations, will fall at the proclamation of Thy truth.  And many will come to a saving knowledge of Thee.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

Much More…In Christ

Dear Ones:

It has been said that in the contrast of things, there is great refreshment.  Perhaps no where in Scripture do we see in so few words the eternal perspective of God concerning sin and death, righteousness and life, than in the fifth chapter of Romans when Paul uses the two words, “…much more,” several times.  What a contrast, and what a refreshing revelation…and what a call to believe God for His highest and best.

The first mention of the words “much more,” is found in verse 9:  “Much more then, being NOW justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”  Look at the contrast, and consider that the magnitude of the blessing far exceeds the destructiveness of sin.  “Justified by His blood,” rises above every consideration and implication of the “wrath of God” as it applies to sin, and this exceedingly.  This is important for us to grasp, for if we would appropriate this “full salvation” to which we are called, then our vision of Christ’s work must rise above the consideration of the sin and death of this world, to the heights and magnitude of the goodness and glory of God.

The second mention of “much more” is found in verse 10:  “…much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Again, what a contrast!  The context is us being “enemies” of God, and yet becoming reconciled with God.  Enemies…reconciled…MUCH MORE…saved by His life.  How MUCH does God desire to reveal in us the greatness of His salvation?

The third mention of “much more” is found in verse 15:  “…For if through the offence of one many be dead, MUCH MORE the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath ABOUNDED unto many.” Again, the contrast is extraordinary.  On the one hand we are faced with death, the result of Adam’s sin, and then Life, this “gift of grace,” because of the obedience and sacrifice of Christ,  which hath abounded unto many.  Please note the word “abounded.”  According to Christ’s own words, He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)  Can we trust Him for His fulness?

In two other verses we find mention of the “much more.”  In verse 17, we read that the “much more” pertains to receiving “…abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness,” and then reigning in life as a result.  In verse 20, we read, “…where sin abounded, grace did MUCH MORE abound.”  Again, we come face to face with the immeasurable contrast between life and death, wrath and grace.  All that pertains to the work of Christ is characterized by “MUCH MORE,” not only in the incalculable and perfectly complete work of Christ on the cross, but the work by the Holy Spirit in us.

Dear Father, open our eyes to see and grasp the enormity of Christ’s work on the cross, and how the magnitude of it just swallows up all that is not of Thee.  And grant to us to grasp Thy hand of grace, and the gift of Grace in Christ by the Spirit, that we might live in the abundance of Thy life, reigning in life, and giving Christ’s life by the Spirit to others.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

Two Effective Visions

Dear Ones:

What is a vision but a perception of things that are, or will be.  In our consideration of them, we put them into two categories, those that are from heaven, and those which come from the hearts and minds of men.  We shall deal with the heavenly type, as those are the ones which have eternal consequences and blessings.

The Apostle Paul had several visions that were given to him by Christ.  We shall mention but two.   The first, and so very important, is that vision of which he speaks in Galatians 1:15-16:  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, TO REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach Him among the heathen…”  God, by the Holy Spirit…by that “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ),” unveiled to Paul the remarkable truth of his calling, but more so, of his union with Christ, that Christ by the Spirit did indeed dwell in His heart.  The more Paul reflected, meditated upon, and prayed over this truth, the more he discovered the life-changing effects of it.  Having ALL in Christ, there is NO difficulty without or within that Christ cannot meet, and respond to.  Paul, in a way, became invincible in the will of God by the provision of God, until that moment when he would be called home to be with Christ forever.  This was the great truth that was associated to his calling, a calling that stretched back into time, to the moment of his birth.  The effectiveness of the calling becomes possible by the knowledge of this vision of this truth.

The second vision is found in Acts 26:16, where Paul is sharing his experience of meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, with Agrippa the King.  He recounts that Jesus told him:  “…Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee FOR THIS PURPOSE, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.”  We know the story, how that Paul is plunged into darkness, as he loses his eyesight in the brightness of the Lord’s glory.  He eats, nor drinks for three days, until a disciple named Ananias comes and puts his hands upon him.  He then receives his sight, and eats.  The vision has left an indelible impression on Paul’s heart, mind, his entire soul.  He will never be the same. This vision will put Paul on the course of his life’s work, and the realization of his purpose.   It was a divine purpose from heaven, with eternal ramifications…and though Paul grasped a little of the significance, he had no idea of the effects through the ages and in eternity, that his writings and ministry, by the Holy Spirit would have upon humanity.

The application to our own lives with regard to “visions” is this…, God has given to us the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”  It is the same Spirit that filled the Apostle Paul.  The Lord desires to bring us ALL into conformity with His perfect will, His eternal purposes for His glory, and the blessing of others.  And this He will do, if we trust Him for it.  He is a God of clarity, and peace, who confirms to our hearts that which is of Him…if we will but trust him.  There are no two callings which are alike, for God does not use a mold to shape us.  There are no photocopies in the kingdom of God, only masterpieces.   So, let us trust Him to lead us all individually, in His way, for His purposes, for His glory.

“Speak, Thy servant heareth, Be not silent, Lord; Waits my soul upon Thee for the quickening word.  Fill me (us) with the knowledge of Thy glorious will;  All Thine own good pleasure in Thy child fulfill.”

Love, Dad

 

With Wings As Eagles

Dear Ones:

Mighty and very real are the wings of the eagle.  They have been given for flight, but not only for low-level cruising, but for the heights…for soaring.  And here the Christian is called to live…in the heights…by the power of God, believing that He who gave the eagle his wings for the heights, also gives wings to the heart to rise…to reign.

It was when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, that the promise was fulfilled:   “…and shalt be turned into another man.” (1 Sam. 10:6)  When David was called to become the king of Israel, Samuel anointed him with oil, and “…the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 17:13)  He would become the slayer of Goliath, and the eventual King of Israel.  Jesus told His disciples to “…wait for the promise of the Father.” (Acts. 1:5)  It would be on the day of Pentecost that the same Holy Spirit would not only come on one or two people, but upon ALL the disciples (men and women…) in the upper room.  That day they would all be changed.  Why?  Because when the Holy Spirit moves, when He works mightily in the heart, there is change…there is altitude gained.  There is the rising up and going forth in the Lord’s victory.  But then comes the question, “How is this to be?”  “Is it possible in our lives?”  Or, as Nicodemus put it:  “How can these things be?” (Jn. 3:9)  Jesus’ answer brings Nicodemus face to face with his unbelief:  “Art thou a master (teacher) of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (v.10)  Here is a very learned man, face to face with Christ.  He believes that Jesus is a “teacher come from God.” (v.2)  But, like the Samaritan woman, he does not believe as yet that Jesus IS the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  His vision, like hers, is too low, too small.  The smallness of their vision has limited them to “little faith,” when the Lord would have them to rise, soar, and reign.  To the Samaritan woman, the Lord Jesus would declare, “I am He (the Messiah).”  To Nicodemus, He would say, “…If I told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (v.12)  Here is the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, in the flesh, and Nicodemus cannot believe in the working of the Holy Spirit to give spiritual birth because he cannot believe that the Christ in front of him is the Messiah, the only one able, yet willing, to give the Holy Spirit.  The smallness of the vision does indeed limit the miracle…the moving of the Spirit.

What does it take to have “eagle wings,” to be able to believe God for the wonderful thing?  In the context of the prophetic declaration of the return from exile, and the impossibility of it all, Isaiah writes: “He (God) giveth power to the faint; and to them that have NO might, He increaseth strength.” (Is. 40:29)  Is God willing to give strength to the faint, the weary, the helpless?  Yes.  Unequivocally, yes.  What is the key to have this strength to believe the impossible?  “But they that wait (utterly depend upon, and hope in…) upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES…” (v.29,31)  The Apostle Paul prays the same thing for the church at Ephesus:  “… the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…that He would GRANT you…to be strengthened with MIGHT BY HIS SPIRIT…in the inner man.” (Eph. 3:14,16)  Why does he pray this?  Because if we the believers at Ephesus are to believe God for the “impossible,” God’s highest and best, then HE must strengthen them to do so.  Will He?  Yes, unequivocally yes.  But He will not do so, until their vision is trained upon Him, and Him alone.

Dear Lord, strengthen our “wings” of faith, that we should believe Thee wholly.  Cause not only strength to pour into our wings, but lift us up by the current of Thy Wind.  Strengthen our faith to rise, to soar, the realities of the Eternal, that which Thou doest desire to do, and declare,  for Thy glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad

Singular Devotion

Dear Ones:

One of the great characteristics of this Life to which we are called to live is that it is eternal.  What does this mean to us?  Certainly, we come face to face with that which will endure, last, never grow old, or fade in its essence or purpose.  Now, contrast that with the temporal…that which is passing away, growing old, turning to dust, and will not continue to exist.  The soul of us all is eternal, for it will forever live on.  But we must ask ourselves the question, “What about the soul’s purpose, the reason for its existence?’  And here, we have no other answer than to look at the living Christ, and pray, “What is Thy mind, Thy will…May Thy will be done in earth (in us) as it is in heaven.” The will of God stands paramount in the design, and purpose of God.  John wrote:  “….and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn. 2:17)  So that, we are all confronted with this consideration:  “What is the will of God for my life, this life which He has given me, and this LIFE to which I (we) have been called to know?”

Jesus spoke concerning a “wide gate,” and a “broad way,” which most people are engaged upon. (Matt. 7:13)  He later used the illustration of different types of soils (conditions of heart…) upon which the “seed” of the Word of God is sown.  One of the soils is shallow.  Another has a lot of obstructive stones.  Another is overgrown with thorns.  But there is one that He declares “good.”  The good soil is not dominated by what the dictates of the “world” (the world system where man is at the center of all…).  The cares of the world have been cast aside, along with the deceitfulness of things, possessions, and riches. The good soil receives the word, and understands it because it is willing to believe and obey it.  The result is fruitfulness…eternal fruit.  The more we believe and obey the Christ of the Word, the more fruit is born…and it will last.

If we attend a large sporting event like a football game, the number of ideas in each one’s mind will be as numerous as the individuals present at the game.  But there is one IDEA that will certainly last, and it is the knowledge of the will of our Maker and Redeemer. After the resurrection, Jesus, for a third time revealed Himself to the disciples on the shore of Galilee.  In this encounter, He addresses Himself to Peter, and asks him one question three times: “Do you love Me?”  Why does Christ do this?  Some say it was because Peter denied him three times.  Others say that it was because the Lord wanted to make the point to Peter that in and of himself, he could not love Him.  But let’s look at His question on the merit of the fact that He asked it THREE times.  Why?  If we take the whole testimony of Scripture, we find that love is paramount to all else.  Indeed, it is the key to “following Christ,” even if it means doing so alone.  It is also the key with regard to singular devotion in a world of distraction and obstruction…a world where most folk are not following Him, and where the humanistic world system is not favorable to the things of God.  So, what does all this boil down to?

It means that, we too have to answer the question that was posed to Peter, “Do you love Me?”  There is a simple answer, and a simple commitment.  But it is a singular one, one that touches our whole existence.  It is an eternal one.

Again, David Livingstone’s words are so applicable to this subject:  “…I want my life to count for Christ, what’s done BY Him will last.”

Love, Dad