Barbed Wire And A Calm Sea (2)

Dear Ones:

In our last devotion, we spoke of the place of the cross in the life of the believer.  And the point was that, in understanding the significance and meaning of that cross, it is to be “taken up,” or rather, laid hold of, if we are to know the full benefit of it.  By Christ’s death on that cross, we died, so that we might be free to live unto God.

Today, let’s trust the Lord to open our eyes to see the immense “power of the resurrection” on the other side of the cross.  Paul writes, “…For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5)  On the one hand we died in Christ, and on the other we have been raised to walk in newness of life, and again, as Paul writes, (knowing) “…the power of the resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10)  Now, this power is not just a latent energy which will be available when the dead in Christ shall rise.  This is a “very present help” power which is ours in the resurrected, and victorious Christ.  This is why Paul prays for the Ephesian church, asking God to give to them the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ), that they eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may KNOW…what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.” (Eph. 1:17-19)  He prays first that the believers will have a vision of the power of Christ, and in chapter 3, he prays that they might be strengthened with might by His Spirit of power. (Eph. 3:16)  With this knowledge of the Lord and His ways, what sort of men and women should we be?

In speaking of the power of the resurrection, why would we conclude by mentioning the
“calm sea?”  It is because of the picture of power in beholding the sea.  There is in that vast body of water, a power and energy that is incalculable.  What would be the result of that power being harnessed, and directed?  And yet, is not the Spirit of God in perfect control of His power?  Will He not give it when the need arises?  What makes this picture, and scenario so extraordinary, is the quietness of the water of the sea, and yet, the latent power can break forth at any time.  Such is our God, the God of peace, but the God of the power of the resurrection.  And He has called us to know this power in our lives.

The Cross of Christ sets us free…the Spirit of Christ communicates to us the power to live, His power, His life.  Amen.  So be it.

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbed Wire and A Calm Sea

Dear Ones:

Years ago in college, we would use a small pamphlet when witnessing to students.  It was called The Four Spiritual Laws.  The first law was, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”   Years later I heard a brother say, “Yes, God has a wonderful plan for your life…a cross.”  What a thing to say!!  What did he mean by this?  The answer is very simple, and may be stated by using the title of a book written by William Penn:  “No Cross, No Crown.”

In our day and time, we do not hear much teaching or preaching on The Cross.  And yet, Jesus very plainly said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24)  Why does He say this?  It is because God’s ways are NOT our ways, and His thoughts are NOT our thoughts.  If we are to know the blessing of God, see the kingdom of God come and His will be done, then we must come by His way.  Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 5, we read that God justifies us, giving us the very righteousness of Christ, making us acceptable to Him, and this by faith.  But then, when we move to chapter 6, in this progressive unveiling of the saving work of Christ, we discover that God “planted” us IN CHRIST, making us one with Him, in his Work and also His life.  The moment He did this, He put us upon a road (Isaiah calls it a highway….), of learning His ways.  “All things have become new…,” so that, from that moment onward, God’s ways take precedence over all else.  And one of the first things that we discover is that “we” (ref. to the ‘old man, that man of old…all that represents our life outside of Christ and in Adam), DIED in Christ, and were buried with Him, and raised to walk in NEWNESS of life, even by the very life of Christ.  So then, a death has to occur…it was first the death of Christ, and now, it is ours in Him.  For though we still live physically, that life of old with its principles, desires, and “resources” are dead and buried in the eyes of God.  The cross has become in essence a signpost declaring obsolete, destructive, and worthless, the wide path that was travelled before.  But that cross is also a gateway to life, a means, a way to KNOW God.  And if I have understood it aright, it means that I embrace the fact that “…we have died, and our lives are hid with Christ in God.”  It means that I embrace the reality in Paul’s declaration, “I AM crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet, not I but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal. 2:20)

The Cross of Christ, and His experience on that cross, cannot be grasped by our little minds and hearts.  Nor could we ever endure what He did, in the measure that He endured.  It is for this reason that He suffered for us, and has in essence, made us partakers of a work that He has already finished.  His call to us is, “…take up thy cross and follow Me.”  We are called upon to embrace that cross, and die to our lives in this world, to live unto Him.  It is only the one who has died to sin, self, the world and the devil, who is free to follow the Savior.

A cross is not an easy thing to take up.  It can be like barbed wire, which if grasped gingerly, will result in cutting our hands.  But if the wire is taken firmly, then there is mastery of it, and it does very little damage.  To take the cross “daily” is to take our stand IN the work of Christ,  believing that we have indeed died to our old life, ourselves (present tense), and sin.  It is in that moment of freedom that we look beyond the ways and means of men to the living Christ, who IS our life.

“…Dead to the world and all of its toys…it’s idle pomp and fading joys; Jesus my glory be.”

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

A True Heart

Dear Ones:

When God told Samuel that “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart,” what did He mean by “the heart?”  What was He looking for in the heart?  From the testimony of David, we know that He first looks for “cleanness of heart,”  “…Create in me a CLEAN heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  (Ps. 51:10)  Only God can cleanse our hearts, by the blood of Christ…and He will do this for the one who has a right attitude towards sin, and towards God.  But, then David writes of a, “…right spirit within me.”  What is he talking about?  He is talking about a right ATTITUDE of heart with regard to belonging to God, being fully surrendered, and whole-hearted in faith.  David was a man who was characterized by an attitude of being willing to do all the will of God.  And though he was a man with failures, sins, and shortcomings, he knew where to go for cleansing (thorough cleansing), and for that intervention of God which would enable him to in essence get back to the cross, to a life of faith and surrender, to a right heart attitude.  A right heart is a clean heart.  It is also a whole heart, devoted, committed, and resolved to do the will of God, and resigned to accept the of God.

What are the benefits of such a heart?  David writes in Psalm 24, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who shall stand in His holy place?  He that clean hands, and a pure heart?” (v.3-4)  The greatest honor and privilege, and eternal benefit to the believer is being able to draw near to God, and to commune with God.  The “clean hands and a pure heart” are prerequisite for this.  Then David goes further:  “(To the one who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully…)…He shall receive the blessing of the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (v.5)  What is this “blessing of the Lord?”  We are talking about God being active, real, personally engaged in the life.  If we go to the New Testament, we are talking about this in a more amplified manner, where Christ is the Life, and the blessing of that Life, revealed to the heart of the believer.  And, miracle of miracles, the very Life of Christ by the Spirit is revealed THROUGH the life.  This is blessing indeed…this is victory.

Charles Wesley put it so well when he wrote, both as a hymn, and also, as a prayer:

“Oh for a heart to praise my God, a heart  from sin set free, a heart that’s sprinkled with the blood, so freely shed for me.

“A heart resigned, submissive, meek, my dear Redeemer’s throne;  Where only Christ is heart to speak, where Jesus reigns alone.”

“A humble, lowly, contrite heart, believing, true and clean; Where neither death nor life can part from Him that dwells within.”

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

Sovereignly Led

Dear Ones:

When Abraham sent his most trusted, faithful servant, to seek a wife for his son Isaac, he was sending him into “unchartered territory,” to pursue a most daunting task, indeed, an impossible task.  He was to “find” the young woman, who of necessity possessed a quality of character above those around her, one that would be well-pleasing to Isaac who would only see her when she arrived.  Secondly, not only would it be very difficult to locate such a woman, and know her heart, but would she be willing to leave all to follow him to a land she had not seen, travel with strangers, and ultimately become the bride of someone she had only heard about?  Such was the task of the servant of Abraham.

The more I read this story, the more I am struck first of all by the faith of Abraham.  He would declare to the servant, “The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me and that sware unto me saying, ‘Unto thy seed will  I give this land; HE SHALL SEND HIS ANGEL BEFORE THEE, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.” (Gen. 24:7)  It must be noted that Abraham began his declaration of faith by declaring the Object of his faith, “The Lord God of heaven.”  Great faith demands a vision of the greatness of God.  Secondly, he recounts God’s dealings with him, His faithfulness in leading and providing for him, in leaving his “father’s house.”  Thirdly, he takes his stand upon the promise of God:  “Unto thy seed will I give this land.”  For this, Isaac will need a wife.  And lastly, he grasps in essence the hand of God by declaring:  “He shall send his angel before thee.”  He does not say how this will play out, or work, only that God will be with the servant, and will guide and provide.

Then we come to the faith of the servant.  He is a loyal, faithful man, who is committed to Abraham.  We see him praying: “O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray Thee, send me good speed THIS DAY and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.”  Now, this servant is not only expecting God to work, but to do so in a most specific way which God alone can do.  His petition for guidance is directed at the very character of the woman…is she also a “servant” in heart, with like faith?  If she is, there will be a selfless response when he asks for a drink of water, and she volunteers to water his ten camels, even though he has servants with him.  He believes wholeheartedly that God “has appointed (a certain woman) for Thy (His) servant, Isaac.” (v.14)  The final evidence of such expectant faith comes when he is asked to delay his return to Abraham with Rebekah.  True faith is responsive faith.  And here there is no delay:  “And he said to them, ‘Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way.”

Finally, we find Rebekah to be a woman of faith, as one must ask the question:  Why is she willing to so quickly give a drink to a stranger, and then offer to water his camels?  That is a lot of work for a young woman.  It is because she is the servant of God, and her faith is in Him.  She has learned that faith means relinquishing one’s life to God, to live for Him, to serve Him, this revealed in serving others.  All else is secondary.  She is free to serve, and joyful in it.  She is also free to leave her family, to go with Abraham’s servant, returning with him to become the wife of Isaac.  How can this be?  It is because she believes this matter is of God, and she is His.

Abraham believed it to be the will of God that Isaac should have a wife, and that she should come from his far away family.  The servant believed it to be the will of God to provide what he was trusting the Lord for, knowing that the “God of Abraham” would provide.  And lastly, Rebekah believed it to be the will of God, and this by the outward circumstances (the story of Abraham’s servant, also with the gold earrings and bracelets), and the inward witness of God to her heart.  They all KNEW it was the will of God.

So, today, this same Sovereign God, this God of Abraham, the servant of Abraham, and Rebekah, is our God, and we are His servants.  Can we not trust Him to lead us, and this in a manner that is truly worthy of Him, and for which He will receive all the glory?  We can, for it is the way of expectant faith.

Love, Dad

Heavenly Minded

Dear Ones:

When we read a passage in Scripture like 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, we are persuaded that the battle field for the Christian is the mind.  “…Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ.”  (v.5)  So, it is reasonable to see that the mind, what is in that mind (truth), and the attitude in conjunction with the truth is so very important.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “…we HAVE the mind of Christ.”  What a most extraordinary statement.  First we see that the battleground in our conflict with the enemy is IN the mind, and then we see that we HAVE the very mind of Christ, the truth and the power of that attitude.  In our approach as Christians to every subject, and issue of life, it is imperative that we always begin with the finished work of Christ, and His very Person, who is the beginning and the end…the very essence of Christianity…Christ our life.  The work of the Father, by the Spirit, has placed us IN Christ, made us complete in Him, indeed one with Him.  We begin our consideration of the “heavenly mind,” by seeing that we are in living union with One whose mind is perfect and heavenly.  This union makes all things possible in our communion with Him.

In Philippians 2, Paul writes, “…Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”  We are called to not only to HAVE (positionally in our union with Christ) the mind of Christ, but practically to believe, and receive what this mind is and means.  It is first one of exclusiveness.  By this I mean that, our taking it and living by it does not depend upon the understanding by those around us.  We are individually called to “…mind the things of the Spirit.”  Secondly, there is no seeking of a “reputation” with respect to such a status of belonging to the Lord.  On the contrary, Christ came to minister not to be ministered to.  We are to follow in His steps and take upon ourselves the form of a servant.  Out of a life of communion with God, we are to serve others for His sake.  Thirdly, heavenly thinking is characterized by meekness and lowliness, so that, with all of our limitations and failings, we humbly follow the One who has called us out of darkness into His most marvelous light.  The heavenly mind is one which minds heavenly things, “…set your affection (mind) on things above, and not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2) To summarize,  it is first a mind looking heavenward, and receiving from heaven Christ’s thoughts and enablement.  It is secondly, following Him, and ministering to those around us, seeking no reputation, nor glory.  On the contrary, we are to “…let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Phil. 2:3)  It is as we are truly heavenly minded, that we shall be of much earthly good.

“May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day, by His love and pow’r controlling all I do and say.”

“May the love of Jesus fill me, As the waters fill the sea; Him exalting, self abasing, This is victory.

Love, Dad

Fighting From Victory

Dear Ones:

In one of Charles Wesley’s great hymns we find that he had learned the secret of living, and fighting, from the point of a victory accomplished, rather than simply striving to obtain the victory.  Does this make sense?  How is it in this world that can we ever obtain victory if we do not strive to do so?  And is the Christian life not a matter of “running to win?”

Wesley wrote:  “…Thy mighty working let me feel, SINCE I AM BORN OF GOD…”  He continues: “…Let nothing now my heart divide, SINCE WITH THEE I AM CRUCIFIED.”  There is not doubt that Wesley’s prayer is based on a work, a victory already accomplished.  His appeal to God is for the manifestation, the experiential realization of that victory in his life, the very tangible “overcoming” life.

Perhaps the first thing to consider here is the definition of “victory.”  We know that the greatest victory of all time and eternity is that of Christ, when He declared:  “It is finished.”  It is a victory that is all-inclusive, over every enemy of that which is right, good, and godly.  He conquered sin, death, the flesh, the devil, and the world….He overcame them all…and is seated at the right hand of God.  When one comes to Christ, and is born of the Spirit, just as he is PUT INTO Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), he is put INTO His victory.  His victory becomes that of the believer.  So, the victory that we are talking about here is Christ’s victory.

The second thing we must grasp is that this life to which we are called is one of faith.  And though this victory is ours because of the gift of God, it will not be mine in experience unless I make it mine by faith.  It has been said that, “Truth is not mine unless it becomes me.”  The same applies to victory.  It is not mine in experience unless I make it mine by faith.  And faith lays hold of Christ’s victory as our own.

Basically the only difference between “trying” to be victorious, and “living” in the victory of Another, is FAITH.  In our pursuit of the experience of victory, the Christian begins with Christ, and ends with Him.  There is always great effort required in running a race, fighting a good fight, and overcoming.  But through it all, we are called to live, abide in Christ’s victory.  “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)  “Now, thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph IN CHRIST, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.” (2 Cor. 2:14)  This is present, real time victory, triumph.  May it be our experience this day because we have chosen to live FROM/BY the victory of Another…by faith.

Love, Dad

Possibilities

Dear Ones:

There came a day in the life of D.L. Moody, one of the most renowned and fruitful evangelists in American history, that two elderly women confronted him, and said, “Mr. Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do through a man who is wholly His.”  Moody’s response was very simple and emphatic, “I will be that man.”

When you read the biography of David Livingstone, one cannot but be impressed by his prayers.  They are simple, clear, on point, and emphatic.  Here is one of his prayers:  “My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All; I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.  Accept me, and grant, O gracious Father, that ere this year is gone I may finish my task.  In Jesus’ name I  ask it. Amen.  SO LET IT BE.”

Both men a fully committed, engaged, …as someone once wrote:  “…without regret, reserve, or retreat.”  Livingstone will go on to write:  “…He said, ‘Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out…,’ and, ‘…whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, I will give it.’ He will keep His word: then I can come and humbly present my petition, and it will be all right.  DOUBT IS HERE INADMISSIBLE.”  Again, we are confronted with the simplicity, and yet the completeness, of a heart that is wholly Christ’s.  And THEREIN lies the key to great possibilities, for all things are possible to God.

In one of the great calls to faith, the Lord reveals to Jeremiah what He is going to do, and this when Jerusalem is under seige by the Chaldeans, who WILL take the city.  From a human standpoint, what the Lord is calling Jeremiah to believe and act upon is pure folly, as there is no “future” for Jerusalem.  She will be destroyed, and Israel will be taken captive, and into exile.  The Lord tells Jeremiah to buy a piece of land, and this as a token of what He will do to bring back Israel to the land after the exile.  His promises with regard to this event are absolutely extraordinary, and so “impossible.”  But He has a man in Jeremiah who is wholly committed to BELIEVE Him.  Hence, there arises from his heart this prayer of praise:  “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THEE.” (Jer. 32:17)  If this is not enough to convince us of what God can do, throughout history, and ultimately bring His perfect purpose to pass, the Lord Himself declares:  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is there any thing too hard for me?”

Now the question must be asked?  If nothing is too hard for Him, and He lives in my  heart by the Spirit, is there anything too hard for me?  I believe the answer is simple, and we find it in the writings and prayers of Livingstone (and most certainly in those of Moody).  If we know the will of God, and are committed to Christ in prayer and faith wholeheartedly (emphatically so…), then there is nothing too hard for Him working in and through us.  “Faithful is He who calls you who also WILL do it….My strength is made perfect in weakness…I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Have a wonderful day trusting Him fully.

Love, Dad

 

The Gifts And The Calling

Dear Ones:

If ever there was a clear message concerning the individual’s gifts and calling of God, it is found in John 10:3 where Christ declares: “…He calleth His own sheep by their name, and leadeth them out.” With that individual call comes all that is associated with it, capacities and enablement. (1 Cor. 12:11)  There is another example of the individual’s call which needs to be seen.  For some reason, after the resurrection of Christ, Peter seems to more concerned about the “gifts and calling” of his John, than he is about his own.  He needs to grasp that his calling is specific, individual, and personal.   Peter asked the Lord concerning John, “…and what shall this man do?”  And it is to this question that the Lord Jesus asks another question: “What is that to thee…YOU FOLLOW ME.” (Jn. 21:22)  Each of us has a mandate, a mission, and a means of seeing that purpose realized.  And though it may be in conjunction with another brother/brethren, it remains personal and individual.

What is the key to grasping, and understanding this matter of “the calling” and “the gifts?”  It is communion with Christ.  It is developing the practice of personal, individual worship of the Son of God, by the Spirit and in truth.  The “gifts” are ineffective without the Spirit of Christ…and the calling cannot be realized, “…for without Me ye can do nothing.”  Our highest, and most fundamental calling, is to fellowship with the Son of God. (1 Cor. 1:9)  Out of that quiet, faithful, and “expectant” worship of Christ, will be born a faith, even the faith of Christ, which will enable us to understand the spiritual capacities that the Lord has given us.  It is also, as we, in fellowship with Him, walk in the light, and are kept clean by the blood of Christ, that we can trust Him to anoint us with His Spirit, filling us, and keeping us filled, with His Spirit.  It is then that we KNOW His joy, peace, and love, and out of that communion is born a service that is BY the Spirit, and FOR the glory of God.

So, today, let us realize afresh that He calls us by our names.  He died for all and every person, and lives to reveal the greatness of His glory in the individual life.  And let us concentrate on our worship of Him, trusting Him to reveal Himself to heart and mind through His word…going out into the day  in faith, trusting, resting, and yet aggressively believing Him for the full out -working of His purposes and will in our lives, for His glory.

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear’s Antidote

Dear Ones:

Fear is an enemy…except when running from a bear, and even then, its dominance might lead to a wrong decision!!  It is amazing that the Bible speaks so much on the matter of fear, and especially in the form of a commandment of God:  “Be not afraid….,” or “Fear not.”  Why is it such an enemy, and why is it so often dealt with in Scripture?  I believe that the primary reason is that it is the antithesis of faith.  The faith-filled man or woman is not the fearful man or woman.  When one begins to analyze the essence and cause of fear, it has its roots in our frailty, limitations, and concern to live.  But what happens when we grasp the ability of God to keep and to provide, not only for this life, but for eternity?

I knew a missionary once who spoke at the Bible Institute where I attended.  Her name was Virginia Fridal.  She was a missionary to Africa, and was a nurse in a leprosy hospital.  She came to the institute and shared that during her stay at the institute, she did not learn any new truths, but that she did understand, and was grasping better those which she already knew.  When we come to Psalm 46, which we have dealt with before, we are confronted with well-known truths.  But, I wonder if we have learned well to live by them.  One of the proofs is to ask the question:  Do I live in fear?  In Psalm 46 we find the antidote to that fear.

“God IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear…though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” (v.2)  God,  through the psalmist here reveals a discovery that has set the psalmist free from fear.  He has TAKEN the Lord his God to BE his refuge (…and thus, Keeper), and his strength, that very Divine enablement in the midst of “trouble,”  in all of its forms.  These are not just nice words that the psalmist has penned.  These are life and breath to him, bread and wine.  He has chosen to LIVE by the words of God, the truths of Christ…and thus, KNOW the reality of the “…very present help…” of God.

Most of us do not know God very well simply because we have not believed Him wholly.  “They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”  Peter did not know the power of walking on water until he descended from the boat, and began walking on the water in the storm….looking unto Jesus.  As long as his eyes were FIXED on Jesus, his faith did not waver in the power of God.  But when the circumstances diverted his attention, faith failed, and he began to sink.  It is one thing to read truth in the Word of God.  It is another to wholly rely on the God of the Word, deliberately and decisively believing Him.

One last point, and that is, “How can I have this faith, faith in the face of fear?”  Later in Psalm 46, after mentioning the presence of God with us, and his promise to meet us, “…right early,” the psalmist tells us:  “Be still (cease striving) and  KNOW that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (v. 10)  If we would have faith, then we need to stop, and look upward.  We need to learn to worship the One to whom we belong, and who belongs to us for all of our hourly need.  If faith would replace fear, we need to see Him (Christ) as He is, and trust Him in a corresponding manner.  This begins in the quiet place, being alone with Him,  trusting the Holy Spirit to give us an ever-increasing vision of Christ.  Fear’s grip is broken when we see Him, and understand who He IS, and what He will do.  He is indeed, “…a VERY present help in time of need.”

Love, Dad

 

Coming To The King

Dear Ones:

If we are like sheep, the sheep of His pasture, how much do we really grasp of Who the Shepherd truly is?  Every fresh and new glimpse of Christ, should bring us into a deeper, more thankful, and delightful response to His gracious appeals.  Let’s look briefly at Psalmist’s and Paul’s knowledge of the Shepherd, the King, then seek to grasp something of what this means, and what our experience should be as we come to increasingly SEE and KNOW Him..

First, in Psalm 100, we find that we are to come “unto the Lord,” making a JOYFUL noise.  What kind of King would delight that we should come in this manner?  Only one who is absolutely good, merciful, and desiring the highest blessing of those coming.  This “Lord,” though He possess all power and authority, has paid the ultimate price, that we should respond to His overtures to come into His presence, with free hearts, hearts that are full of His joy, praise, thanksgiving, and blessing.  We then go on to serving Him…”serve the Lord with gladness.” (v.2)  What a testimony to Him desiring our highest good in coming, as it is a fact that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”  But behind the coming into His presence, and the serving Him with gladness, is the greatest reality, that He is altogether perfect, beautiful in His holiness, wonderful.  There is no fault, flaw, or failure in Him.  He is altogether lovely, One who is the wonderful object of all delight.  There is no higher blessing than to gaze upon Him and in gazing, to be changed.

We get to the New Testament, and we see Paul writing to the Philippians and the Colossians the same message, “Rejoice in the Lord, ALWAYS.”  Our great calling is to delight in God, in Christ, find our joy and satisfaction in Him.  He is constantly the object and essence of all of our joy, peace, love, and a thousand things more.  Nothing on this earth compares with Him, and the consequent delight that we are to have in Him.  Paul then goes on to call us to constant prayer, that walking with God, by the Spirit, giving Him access to all things, having cast every burden upon Him, to be free to run the race, looking unto Him.  Or as some translations put it, “…Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Faith.” (Heb. 12:2)  The great issues of life, the great possibilities of a life pleasing to God, resides in our vision of Christ, our delighting ourselves in Him, the source of our rejoicing.

If we would know “the peace of God,” of which Paul writes, and the joy of Christ….if we would know the love of God, then our delight must be in Him.  If we would know the reality of not being anxious for anything, but living in an attitude of submission and faith, through all of the circumstances of life, then we must rejoice in Him.  Those who want to truly KNOW and EXPERIENCE God will need to meditate upon these words, and obey them:

“Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thy heart.” (Ps. 37:4)  Oh to have the desires of His heart, realized and expressed in our own.  This is where heaven and earth meet, in the heart that delights itself in Christ.  That is a place where the peace of God is truly known.

Love, Dad