Holes In The Armor

Dear Ones:

Charles Wesley wrote a tremendous hymn about soldiering entitled “Soldiers of Christ, Arise.”  In the first stanza he writes:  “…Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on.”  Now, what happens to a soldier who does not put his armor on, nor take his weapons in hand?  In all likelihood, in facing his enemy who HAS weapons, and effective ones, he will certainly be at a stark disadvantage, in all probability being wounded, neutralized, or even killed.  If the soldier is to be successful, he must not only have the right armor, but he MUST put it on.

In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he speaks of the very real spiritual conflict that the Christian soldier is engaged in.  The Christian’s armor must be that which God supplies in Christ…Satan respects nothing else.  Why is it so important that the armor of God be put on?  Simply put…because it does not have holes!!  It is perfect.  For example, Paul begins his treatment of the matter of “armor” by saying, “…Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having the breastplate of righteousness…” (Eph. 6:14)  The Spirit of God is the Spirit of TRUTH.  Jesus would say of Himself, “I AM the truth.”  That which is true of God, and that which God declares, is truth.  God will always honor the truth.  This is why true faith is based on truth.  The truth of God is also ABSOLUTE TRUTH, that which cannot be changed or or altered.  It is the Christian soldier’s bedrock for his faith, for God will always work according to His truth.

Paul then moves on to the part of the armor called “the breastplate of righteousness.”  Please note that this righteousness is that of Christ, His righteousness imparted to the believer.  It has no holes, no weak point, no place where the enemy can penetrate.  It is perfect.  It is so vital that the Christian understand that he cannot fight the enemy proclaiming his own “works, achievements, goodness, etc.”  The only basis for standing against the enemy is the perfect righteousness of Christ.  When we pray “In His name…,” we are in essence coming before the Father acknowledging, and clinging to the reality, that the righteousness of Christ, which has been given to us, is the ONLY, and SURE basis for our acceptance before the Father.

Our enemy is an “accuser of the brethren.”  Joshua the high priest, mentioned in Zechariah 3, is being accused by Satan….and rightly so!  He stands there with soiled garments, unconfessed sin.  His garments are in essence full of holes.  And so it is with “our” righteousness.  Zinzendorf wrote, “Jesus Thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress.  Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.”  It is true that we are to leave no “unguarded place” where the enemy can accuse us because of unconfessed sin, but it is only as we cling to the perfect righteousness of Christ that we shall stand against our enemy, and overcome.

“Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued; and take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;  that, having all things done, and all your conflicts past, ye may o’ercome through CHRIST ALONE, and stand complete at last.”  C. Wesley

Love, Dad

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Lesson From Lions

Dear Ones:

I am sure that you have heard the expression, “…(he) has won his spurs.”  In part, the phrase means that the individual has experienced, and accomplished, his personal victory.  We do not know the age of Samson when he met the lion.  What we do know is that a young lion roared against him, “…and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent (tore) him as he would have rent (torn) a kid…(a young goat).” (Judges 14:5-6)  Scripture tells us that “…the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times…,” and this was one of those times.  Samson proved individually, and alone, the faithfulness of God to meet him, and to give him the victory.  We might say, that in some respects, he “won his spurs” by his experience with the lion.

When David was anointed by Samuel, Scripture tells us, “…the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward (onward)…” David later left his father, to bring provisions to his brothers, who were in the army fighting the Philistines.  He volunteered to fight Goliath, the giant of a man who was challenging Israel, and thus, the God of Israel.  In David’s declaration to Saul the king, concerning his qualifications to fight this enemy alone, he said:  “….Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock.  I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth…I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.” (1 Sam. 17:34-35)  David like Samson, learned a lesson from his lion, that he killed by himself and alone…and it was this:  All things are possible in the will of God by the Spirit…the same Spirit that came upon Samson, and who gave David the courage and capacity to kill his lion.

There is another great lesson here, and it is that there is NO substitute for personal knowledge of this victory of ours that is IN Christ.  Samson and David both would be faced with far greater challenges later on in their lives after their meeting with the lion, Samson with a thousand Philistines, David with his giant Philistine.  Both would be victorious in part because of their experience in facing, and conquering their own, respective lions.

So, let us remember that, first of all, none of us are Samson or David.  But let us not forget that at Pentecost, the Spirit of God was poured out, and from that point on, Christ by His Spirit LIVES IN the heart of the believer.  As Wesley put:  “All things are possible to Christ, to Christ the power of God in me…”

One last thought.   Samson’s greatest victory came at the end of his life, when he put his hands on the pillars of the Philistines house of worship to destroy it.  He would ask God for strength, “only this once.”  Samson would destroy more of the Philistines in his death than in his life.  The pinnacle of the victories of Samson’s life had their humble beginnings with a lion…a lesson from the lion.  It is in the simple and personal victories where God meets us that prepare us for the greater revelation of His manifest victory in the eyes of a lost and dying world.

Love, Dad

 

The Preacher

Dear Ones:

To each his calling…for such a time as this.  Such was the case of Noah.  We know the story of how the heart of man “evolved” to the point where “… every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5) What a testimony to the fallen nature of man!  Without the saving work of the Spirit, man will descend into the depths of godlessness, and this, because of his sinful nature.  But even though there be darkness, and in the case of Noah, the earth being “…filled with violence,” God had his man, in the place of His choosing, declaring His word and message to all men.  Scripture calls this man Noah, a “preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5)  This standard-bearer would hold forth the light of the TRUTH, and the KNOWLEDGE of God, defying the resistance of the unbelieving world.  He would be as the Lord who would follow him many years later, one who “despised the shame,” and certainly the railings and mockery of men, to finish the work he was given to do.

What then makes a preacher?  It begins with an attitude of heart and mind towards God.  Scripture tells us about Noah, that he “…was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9)  What does this mean?  How is he “just” before God, and consequently, just before his fellowmen?  It is because Noah was a man of FAITH.  We find him near the top of the list of those mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.  He is there because he was a man who understood, and laid hold of the fact, that a man is ONLY justified before God, by FAITH in the righteousness of God in Christ.  He was looking down that corridor of time to the ONE who would provide him with that perfection which is of God, a “righteousness” which alone comes from God, and only given BY God, to those who would believe.  Secondly, Noah was a “perfect” man, not because he was flawless, but because he was wholehearted, completely committed to God.  And lastly, he was a man whose highest privilege, and greatest responsibility, was to “walk with God,” in communion with him.  The calling to become, and to be a preacher of righteousness, can only spring forth from a life in which one walks with God.

So, why do we consider Noah?  Because he was a man who lived in difficult, “unbelieving” times…and yet, he was put there to be a light, a testimony to the greatness, righteousness, and goodness of God.  He was faithful, and in the context and trials of his time, God made a way of escape. In that way of escape, God reveals to us that He is ever willing to save, and save in an “almighty” way.  I believe it can be safely said, that God will bridge every difficulty and chasm of impossibility, to save the individual, great or small, who will draw nigh unto Him by faith.  It is as we grasp the significance of “salvation by faith,” that we too become “preachers (heralds) of righteousness,” for such a time as this.

Love, Dad

 

Stemming The Flood

Dear Ones:

What comes to mind when one thinks of a flood?  For me, it is the matter of being “overwhelmed.”  It speaks of the destructive power, and authority, of water, to break into, down, and reduce to nothing.  But what about “stemming the flood?”  What comes to mind?  Impossibility?  Powerless?  Helplessness?  If we were not Christians, we would be left with our own resources to face the flood…the flood of our enemy, the enemy of Christ.  But being Christian, let us remember the One who parted the Red Sea, the Jordan, who stilled the storm by a word.  He alone has the power and authority to stem the power and authority, and destructive capacity of the spiritual flood.  “…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the SPIRIT OF THE LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Is.59:19)  Here we have God, by the Spirit, stemming the spiritual darkness in the form of a flood…It seems to overwhelm all in its path, but then, there is the intervention of HIM who is more powerful, possessing more authority.  Indeed, it is He who possess ALL authority.  The question then becomes:  Who is the man or the woman who can trust Him to do such?  In the verses that lead up to this declaration, we find written:  “And He (The Lord) saw that there was NO man, and wondered that there was NO intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto him; and His righteous, it sustained Him.” (Is. 59:16)  The point is this.  God looks for a man or a woman who will stand in the gap, who will BE an intercessor for Him, one who will truly pray in faith.  But, if He cannot find such, in His mercy, He will intervene.  For nothing, and no one shall thwart His purposes.

How does the Lord portray Himself, and also, the one who is to be His intercessor, effective, enduring, and overcoming?  “For He will put on RIGHTEOUSNESS as a breastplate.” (Is. 59:17)  The first thing is putting on the perfect righteousness of Christ, relying ONLY on His righteousness.  The second thing, “the helmet of salvation upon his head.”  It is imperative that one grasps the victory…the work of Christ, victorious over all the power of the enemy.  “…Put on the garments of vengeance for clothing…”  Warfare is no easy endeavor, indeed, it is a struggle…a fight.  The true intercessor must be prepared, and committed, to fight.  Lastly, “…clad with zeal as with a cloke.”  The energy, and force of commitment, must be realized by the power and strength of the Giver of “all power and authority.”  “We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender; We go not forth alone against the foe; Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender, We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.” (E.G. Cherry)

May God give us grace today to “stand and withstand,” in prayer, in faith, believing God, the very God who commands waves and wind, to command the powers of darkness affecting our lives, and those whom the Lord has put upon our hearts, to be divided, to dissipate, and to disappear.   Let us remember that, “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Jn. 3:8)  And let us go forth in full assurance of faith, believing God for His grace so that we learn how to pray, to stand, to withstand…until we see His intervention, His glory revealed.  “God is faithful.”

Love, Dad

A Prayer of Job

Dear Ones:

Even friends can be the source of suffering and hurt.  Such was the case with Job’s friends.  They seem to be earnest in their apparent identification with Job in his suffering, but their portrayal of God to Job, at a time of great anguish, just put “salt in the wounds,” and did nothing to help or comfort him.  I imagine that Job was tempted to harbor resentment in his heart towards them, even though they were declared “friends.”  In the last chapter of the book of Job, we come to where the Lord addresses Job’s friends, and corrects them with regard to their misrepresentation of Him to Job.  He tells them:  “…my servant Job shall pray for you: for him I will accept.” (42:8)  The friends came to Job to offer up a sacrifice to God for themselves, as they did not want the wrath of God to be against them.  Although the Lord is seeking to “save” these friends from their own ways, assessments, and wrong ideas (idolatry),  He is also seeking to “save” Job.  What would He need to save Job from?  Job’s greatest enemy is his sinful “self.”  If Job harbors an unforgiving spirit towards his friends, then he is in peril of the Lord not hearing him, not answering his prayer.  (Ps. 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will NOT hear me.”)  And so, the Lord seeks to “save” Job from any resentment, bitterness, which is the result of a lack of forgiveness of his friends.  It must be noted at this point that Scripture says:  “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends…” (v.10)  Not only would the Lord forgive Job’s friends, but also, deliver Job from any sin of unforgiveness which might have naturally remained in his heart.  When the prayer for forgiveness and blessing was made, “…the Lord turned the captivity of Job.”  He turned the suffering of Job into blessing, and this, in every manner.  He forgave also the friends of Job.

We forget at times that believing God to be glorified in our lives is to show forth His nature, His person, His mercy and love.  Certainly, the validity of our faith is revealed by the selfless love that we have one towards another.  When the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray:  “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” He is telling us that this is the way we express His mercy.  To forgive and forget, especially that which is so keenly felt in suffering, is truly Divine.  We are apt to think of the great issues of Christianity, and yet forget, that we are not to hold on to any grudge or resentment, believing that someone owes us something in order for us to love them.  Remember what Christ said on the cross:  “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”  This is love…this is mercy.  And we are to be merciful as He is merciful.

So, today…do I harbor in my heart any resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness against any person?  Our experience of the victory that is ours in Christ can be short-circuited by an unforgiving spirit.  And the Spirit of God KNOWS what our attitude is.  Let us trust the Lord to deal with any cloud which might be between us and Him today.  And then, let us go forth, in full assurance of faith, to love and serve Him, praying for those who might “despitefully use us.”  Remember…the Lord turned the captivity of Job WHEN he prayed for his friends.

Love, Dad

 

A Chosen Vessel

Dear Ones:

Among the most extraordinary statements that we have in the Apostle Paul’s writings is this one:  “…when it pleased God, who separated  me from my mother’s womb, who called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach him…”(Gal. 1:16)  From the very moment that Christ revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, God began a “shattering” work of breaking down false ideas and convictions that Saul of Tarsus had about Christ.  Part of that “breaking down” was the demolishing of the idea that Jesus Christ was Lord, and the very Sovereign of his life.  Nothing could have been so personal, nor so direct, than to hear the words:  “…Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4)  The work of God had begun in Saul’s heart, a work that would increasingly become crystal clear…especially concerning his calling, individual, specific, and personal.  This conviction, fashioned by the intervention of God in his heart and spirit, and through the circumstances in which he found himself, convinced the Apostle that indeed, “…God…separated me from my mother’s womb…that I might preach Him (Christ).”

There has only been one Apostle Paul, and there will not be another.  But there is the same God, who calls us, draws us, and through His word, and the circumstances of His choosing,  bringing to light increasingly that His work in us is an eternal one, and one on which we can hope.  When Paul penned the words, “…Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it,” (1 Thess. 5:24), he opens our eyes to see and believe indeed, that “He who began a good work in us, WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil.1:6)  We can be assured, and thus, actively count on, His constant presence and intervention in our lives.  This will be known increasingly as we learn His ways, and learn to abide in Him.

It is difficult to be faithful to God according to our calling, if we are not clearly convinced of it.  Sometimes, it takes a while to see clearly what this calling is.  But we can trust God to make it clear, “sure” to our own hearts and minds.  This He will do through the Word, by the Spirit, as we trust Him.  So, today, let us believe Him for clarity and conviction, and may the quiet resolve of faith, lay hold upon Christ for the full outworking of God’s in and through us, for His glory.  The calling dates back to our mother’s womb…so it must be an important one in God’s eyes.

Love, Dad

 

Between Ai and Bethel

Dear Ones:

One thing about the Bible that is so unique…it is timeless, and time-expansive.  Indeed, it reveals to us the eternal existence of God, His unchanging character, and his immutable objectives which are realized in HIS time and in HIS way.  The partial history of a tract of land between the towns of Ai and Bethel is a case in point…a very eloquent declaration that GOD is Sovereign, and He is Almighty.

In Genesis 12, we find Abraham having responded to the call of God, had finally come to the land of Canaan.  This is after a delay in Haran.  He passes through the land, resides a Sichem, where the Lord appears to him, and gives him the promise:  “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” (v.7)  The consistent response of Abraham to the revelation of God is almost always to build an altar, and to worship.  Abram them moves on to a valley where Bethel is to his west and Ai is to his east. (v.8)  Again, Abram builds an altar unto the Lord.  Bethel and Ai will play a large role in the life of Abram, because of one thing…it will be the place where he has the liberty to build an altar to God, and to worship Him.  It will be a place of communion with God, with the blessing of God upon him. This is illustrated in particular by Abram’s brief stay in Egypt, where he went to escape famine.  He, as well as Sarai, would be in great peril there for a time, were it not for the intervention of God.  Where does he return to?  Between Bethel and Ai…for there is no mention of an altar, and calling upon God in Egypt.

Over and over in Scripture the Lord promises that Abraham, and his descendants will inherit the land of Canaan.  At one point in time, God will tell Abraham that his “…seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” (15:13)  Israel remained in Egypt over four hundred years, but finally came into Canaan…to possess (inherit) it.  In Joshua 7:2, we read: “And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel…”  And so, after 400 years, that which the Lord declared to Abraham begins to be realized, and lived, experienced in the realm of the tangible.  It took over 400 years for the iniquity of the Amorites to reach its pinnacle, and at that point, Israel would gain access.

What do we learn from this historical account…of two cities?  It is that the arrow shot from the bow of God through history ALWAYS hits its target, and that His purposes and work will eventually be fulfilled, and seen.  If He is the God of all history, and time, can He not direct our singular lives, guide our steps, provide for us, so that He can accomplish through us all His purpose for our lives?  Are we too little to believe in His greatness and goodness?  May we be of MUCH faith this day, believing Him to bring about His perfect and will, and fulfill all his purposes, in and through us this day.  He has not changed…He is indeed the God of all history.

Love, Dad

 

 

Four “W”s

Dear Ones:

In our relationship with Christ, where does assurance, confidence, come from?  When the Bible speaks of “…full assurance of faith,” does this not seem to be an unattainable attitude?  Assurance is one thing, “full assurance” is another.  To answer this matter, as it is very important, especially when it comes to praying in faith, “without doubting,” let us begin by looking briefly at four “w”s.

The first one is WORSHIP.  If we do not take the time to look at God through His word, and meditate upon the finished work of Christ, until He becomes “real” to us, then we shall not know full assurance of faith.  The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote in chapter 12, that we are to “run…looking unto Jesus (some translations…”fixing our eyes on Jesus.”)  In Psalm 16, David writes that he has, “…set the Lord before him…”  Where does this begin but in the quiet place with God, beholding Christ and the Father, trusting the Spirit for that ability to worship Him in Spirit and truth.  He then begins to become an ever-increasing reality to us.  The assurance begins to grow.

Secondly, we begin to WALK.  Faith has feet.  But faith is directional, and purposeful.  It is not a “haphazard” walk, but one where one has committed his way unto the Lord, not leaning on his own understanding, but believing God to lead, to guide.  David, in several of his psalms, would pray that the Lord would teach him His way, and “…lead me in a plain path.” (Ps. 27:11)  He goes on the pray, “…Shew me Thy ways, O Lord, and teach me Thy paths.  Lead me in Thy truth.” (Ps. 25:4-5)  Paul, by the Spirit, instructs us to “…walk by the Spirit.”  He is the Spirit of TRUTH.  He will not lead us astray.  Assurance grows when we see His hand leading, providing, blessing, sustaining…meeting our needs and the needs of those to whom we minister.

Thirdly, we are to WAR.  To follow Christ requires that we be sober, and steadfast, taking up the armor of Christ, to do battle with our enemy.  It is a very real war, but one that has been won. We, by faith, participate in that victory.   But it is a war that is to be waged according to the principles of faith, by the Spirit, not by the flesh.  It is, as we learn to take the sword of truth, and stand, equipped and prayerful, that we begin to see the enemy put to flight, and the kingdom of God come in hearts and minds.  This is encouraging, and contributes to assurance.

Lastly, we are to WIN.  Paul tells us that we are in a race, and that we are to run to win.  Christ said on the cross, “It is finished.”  He had won His race.  We are called upon to believe God for the victory of Christ to be realized in us, and this increasingly.  It is with every victory, however small, that we are encouraged, and the assurance grows.

Someone has said, “Upon a Life I did not live; upon a death I did not die, I stake my whole eternity.”  It is as we grasp more firmly every day the reality of Christ, and the magnitude of His work, that we are able to:  “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…”(Heb. 10:22)  Why?  Simply because, “He is faithful that promised.” (Heb. 10:23)

Love, Dad

“IF”

Dear Ones:

To be such a small word, “IF” carries with it great significance.  It seems to be a substitute for that which is conditional, or the certification of a promise.  For example, “IF you believe this, then THIS will occur.”  This is the conditional use.  But if we say, as Elijah said, “IF I be a man of God…,” then we are talking about that which actually IS, and as a result, there is great promise and power.  Again, in the case of Elijah, when enemy soldiers came to apprehend them, he called down fire out of heaven on the basis of “IF,” the very declaration that he was a man of God, and that God had directed him to do so.  What about us?  Do we live in the conditional, or do we live in the certainty of promise.

When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he used the word “IF” at a very crucial juncture in his letter.  “IF ye then risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:1-3)  The Apostle began his letter by addressing those at Colosse as “….saints and faithful brethren in Christ.” (1:2)  So, as we look at the word “IF” when used in chapter 3, let us do so, not so much as a conditional matter, but the certification of a promise.  These brethren, when they believed, were placed IN CHRIST.  Positionally, they died with Him, were buried with Him, raised to newness of life in Him, and seated in heavenly places in Him.  This was (is) a certainty.  With that certainty comes great promise…access to the Father in the name of Christ…and this with boldness.  It means that the veil has been rent in two, and that the throne of grace can be approached by all those who are “risen with Christ.”  Christ is not only our great High Priest who intercedes for us always before the Father, but IN HIM at the right hand of God, is found every resource that we need for life and godliness, that we might KNOW Him, experience Him, and give Him to a lost and dying world.  Hence, “Seek those things which are above…set your affection on things above.”  In other words, be heaven (Christ) oriented, bringing down to earth, the very essence of heaven (IN Christ), that His kingdom comes and that His will is done.

The very small word “IF” has now become a “heavenly hyphen…” It is the connecting point between faith and the very life of Christ.  It is more than just the expression of that which is conditional…it is the certainty of promised blessing.  “When Christ, who IS our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”  May we trust the living Christ by the Spirit to “dwell in our hearts by faith” today, and so, reveal the blessedness of His life in and through us to others.

Love, Dad

The Immutable Calling

Dear Ones:

We are all apt to think that the calling of God is to a work, mission, or occupation.  These are outward aspects of the calling.  The unchanging, undiminished calling of God is for us to fellowship with the Father and the Son, by the Spirit.  John, in his first letter, writes:  “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have FELLOWSHIP with us: and truly our FELLOWSHIP is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”  (1:3)  If there is any question about this calling, its nature, and objective, we have only to go to Paul’s writings:  “God is faithful,  by whom ye were CALLED unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9)  What is so extraordinary about this calling is that it is not a calling to a thing, but a person…to KNOW that Person, and as Paul later writes, “…to know Him, and the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10)  We are called to know Him, to live BY Him, FOR Him.  But then, the question must be asked:  And how is this calling to be realized?  It is one thing to know about the calling, it is another to experience it, to live it.

Please look at the first phrase of this verse in Corinthians…and then look at the matter of the very basis and essence of the calling.  Paul begins by declaring:  “GOD IS FAITHFUL.”  Now what does this mean?  It means that what He says He will do, and what he declares is the basis for all faith and life.  It means that He is not only the originator of the calling, but the very essence and realization of it.  “Faithful is He who calls you who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24) With the calling comes all the resources in Christ, all the power of the Spirit, all the knowledge and wisdom necessary for the realization of it.  We might just say that the calling of God is the “Word of God” to each of us, and with that word, is the absolute promise of His presence, and the commitment of His provision…by the Spirit.

How frustrating it is when we, in some form or fashion, seek to answer this calling in by our own efforts, seeking to realize it by our own “self-based” righteousness.  We are called to rely wholly upon Christ, who IS our life.  We are to walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God, believing Him to guide and provide for all that is needful in the will of God.  When Jesus died on the cross, we died with Him, so that we should NOT trust in ourselves, but in Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let’s conclude by mentioning the motive for the calling…the love of God.  Isaiah wrote:  “For unto US a child is born, a Son is given, and the government shall BE upon His shoulders.” (Is. 9:6)  Luke writes concerning the angel’s appearance to the shepherds at the time of Christ’s birth:  “For unto YOU is born this day…a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” (2:11)  In both declarations we have the Father giving His precious Son … to be the Savior of us all.  If this is not enough to grasp the intent, and intensity of God concerning this issue of fellowship, we should remember this:  “…He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for US ALL, how shall He not WITH Him, give US all things?” (Rom. 8:32)  God is faithful in His immutable calling, to commit Himself fully in Christ, that we might know Him, fellowship with Him.  Shall we not believe Him for an increasing realization of such a fellowship with God?  He is waiting.  Are we seeking, in order to find?

Love, Dad