“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” (Psa 84:5-7)
Mat 5:44 “but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you,”
Mat 5:45 “so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.”
Mat 5:46 “For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?”
Mat 5:47 “And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so?”
Mat 5:48 “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
The higher life is a lowly life. This call to truth, to the actual living out of His life in us is impossible in our own self; the true godly life is self-less. His Life is required in order to live His Life! There are no substitutes, teachings or strategies which will avail us of this wondrous reality.
This phrase struck me this morning: “Love your enemies”. We all have those who marginalize, disrespect, and even plainly hate us. God is gracious to provide us with real-life opportunities to become sons of His by discovering His nature within; to love in word and in deed those who mistreat us. While many look for signs, wonders and overt acts of God, the greatest display of God’s power is found in loving those who mistreat us.
“Love your enemies” is the resplendent Call of God. In the doing of such love, we fulfill the purpose of the Call of God in Christ: “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. Perfection in Christ can only be realized by our doing the love we have been called to. The love of which God speaks is revealed in the deeds it produces. It is beyond words.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
John follows this remarkable truth with another:
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:19
Love is the evidence of truth. Our standing in the truth of Christ must be assessed by the Word of God and not by our own carnal estimations. The divisions and secular composition of the Body of Christ, the lack of His Truth in our midst, belies our true condition.
“For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have?”
Our attitude toward others is the revelation of the depth our abiding in Him.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”
2 Peter 1:5
2 Peter 1:4-12
(Read these passages
prayerfully and truthfully!)
Peter knowing “his departure was at hand” was setting forth specific truths in his last Epistle to the church to ensure that their faith would continue to abound. He sets forth with utter clarity the growth required to enter the Kingdom of God.
In this fatherly display of love for God’s people, Peter speaks calmly and truthfully of his own approaching martyrdom. His concern is not for himself; his burden is for their continued growth and vitality in the diligence required to enter the Kingdom of God. He presents a “ladder” for them to continue to add the steps necessary to receive an “entrance” into the Kingdom of God. Without this divine diligence they would fall into “barren and unfruitful” living. Peter exhorts God’s people to give “ALL diligence” to add to their faith the virtues and graces necessary to fulfill the purposes of God.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity…”
2 Peter 1:5
Why does Peter so powerfully exhort God’s people to this diligence?
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:8
The cultivation of these graces in our lives is the source of our fruitfulness! Any knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ which leaves us “barren and unfruitful” is the result of a spiritual blindness and a forgetting of the marvelous love which accompanied our salvation.
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”
2 Peter 1:9
Fruitless living is a testimony of our blindness and forgetfulness, in the loss of the wonder of our salvation. The diligent in heart must bear fruit; anything less is a contradiction of the nature and the ways of God (John 15:2).
Peter goes on to declare:
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…”
2 Peter 1:10
Many speak of election and of being the called of God. Peter here exhorts us to give diligence to “make our calling and election sure”! It is foolish to glory in being called while failing to live diligently; it is a deception of those who hear but do not obey. Read these scriptures carefully, prayerfully, and honestly, for there is no greater delusion than the sin of presumption!
Peter, in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, lays before God’s people the secret of entering into the Kingdom of God: by giving all diligence to the things of God. It is important to read this in the full context for our learning…
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:10-11
Salvation is free and is the result of faith in the mercies and wonder of God in Christ. Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires something far more than a simple confession. Until we realize the difference between an initial salvation and the entering into Kingdom of God, we will continue to see the apathy and the blindness of the Laodicean Church ethos! A gospel which does not make the distinction between these two, where mere confession alone replaces the necessity of diligence, will leave us blind and indifferent to our own condition.
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
When confession becomes the standard of the church, when men are satisfied in what they know rather than in what they walk and many are content to live lives which do not impact those in the world around us we can be sure of our desperate condition before God.
Barren is the life which rests upon something other than the development of Christ within.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth”
Lukewarm living and lives devoid of the works of Faith are the revelation of the Laodicean “spirit”.
The two deadly sins of religion…
1. Faith without works
2. Works without faith.
In Hebrews the Holy spirit declares emphatically…
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful…”
“And this is the writing that was written,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.”
The “handwriting is on the wall”. This is no longer just a rhetorical quote. The Almighty God has made a declaration of judgment. It is a judgment upon North America. Just as Belshazzar in his prideful heart ridiculed the precious things of God, so this generation has mocked God and He has spoken “UPHARSIN” over our land. His Word in Daniel’s day was written in the Ancient Chaldean language and could only be read and interpreted by one who walked in the Spirit of God and understood that Judgment was about to fall. There are few in the church today who “see” the handwriting on the wall. There are few, as the Prophet Zephaniah declared, who can hear“the voice of the DAY of the Lord”. There is a voice in the Day calling us to repentance and preparation for His coming.
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near,
and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord” Zephaniah 1:14
The great Day of the Lord is upon us and it will be unveiled in successive judgments. God’s determination is fixed. He will harden men’s hearts, and, in their fury, they will gnash their teeth. This will increase the suffering of God’s people even as did Pharaoh in the beginning of the plagues, but the Holy Verdict will accomplish God’s own purposes. God judgments will bring affliction upon all; the same fire which consumes the wood will purify the Gold. How little we comprehend of the Holiness and Majesty of our God!
God is speaking the final word of the sentence passed upon Belshazzar to North America. He speaks of division, lawlessness and anarchy. The rider of the Red Horse is coming, and his mandate is to take peace from the earth. The chaos and rending of division have begun and there is no stopping it.
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” Revelation 6:3-4
UPHARSIN* means DIVIDED. “A nation divided against itself cannot stand”. The once proud and mighty nation will be swallowed up in its own destructive ways. We must prepare for the dark hour which is upon us.
*Note: UPHARSIN - defined “…thy kingdom is divided, or broken into pieces, and given to the Medes and Persians. The meaning is not that the kingdom was to be divided into two equal parts, and the one part given to the Medes and the other to the Persians; but פְרַס is to divide into pieces, to destroy, to dissolve the kingdom”Keil & Delitzsch
“PERES*; Thy kingdom is divided”
*NOTE: “Peres - In Dan 5:25 this is “Upharsin.” These are but different forms of the same word - the word in Dan 5:25 being in the plural, and here in the singular. The verb (פרס peras) means, to “divide;” and in this form, as in the previous cases, it is, according to Gesenius, participle meaning “divided.” Albert Barnes
Upharsin– Speaks of plural “dividers” and factions at work in a nation while the Peres speaks of the resulting division as the singular outcome. God is bringing this division and chaos to the nations in order to work His unity in His divided and carnal Church. All these things are working together for His purposes in the earth. The siftings of His Spirit are upon us and there will be divisions in the “professing” church for He will fully reveal them who serve the Lord from those who serve Him not (Malachi 3:18). He will fully answer the Prayer of Jesus in John 17… “That they may be one”. The pride and desire for pre-eminence will be broken in His House with the intent that they who are His will be fused in a love so deep, so pure and so divine that the world will marvel at His Work within the True Body of Christ. He is determined and will leave nothing of the residue of the fallen Adam nature to linger in His holy bride. (Brian Troxel)
“MENE*; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it”
MENE, MENE* means we have been measured. The literal Hebrew: Numbered as if falling short in stature and its length of days are finished*(see below). God is thorough. His judgments are meted out from beginning to end. In the Book of Revelation, He reveals Himself as “the beginning and the ending”; (not end but ending). His endings are a process; they tear down, they divide, they bring famine, pestilence and woe. When He judges a nation its ending is complete as it was in Egypt. It was an unrelenting series of Judgments to bring the land to desolation and great sorrow. In the midst of His judgments on Egypt He hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to bring His full justice upon their pride and arrogance. The ending of our land has entered its final stages. God has brought us to the precipice of a new day and with it comes the four-horseman. The great seals are even now being removed and their decrees are bringing the ramifications of judgment which will culminate in God’s glory.
*Note: MENE defined “Daniel accordingly interprets מְנֵא thus: God has numbered (מְנָה for מְנָא, perf. act.) thy kingdom, i.e., its duration or its days, וְהַשְׁלְמָהּ, and has finished it, i.e., its duration is so counted out that it is full, that it now comes to an end”Keil & Delitzsch
When God pronounced judgment upon the faithless and wicked priesthood of Eli, the prophet declared: “For when I begin, I also make an end”. The beginning of God’s work in our land is the end of a manner of life as we now know it. The insolence and pride of the Laodicean Church was one of frivolity and ignorance of her true condition; a deceptive, lethargic ethos to which God spoke “be zealous therefore, and repent”. May we have ears to hear and, more importantly, may we have hearts to respond to His assessment of our condition.
“TEKEL*; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”
TEKEL* – We have been weighed. God’s judgments begin in secret and we see in His Word the process by which His judgments infiltrate the fabric of a nation upon which His Hand will fall. In the Book of Romans Paul sets forth the subtlety of His ways:
“Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves; who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error”
We must see that the rise of sexual perversion is God’s judgment upon a nation. Because they refused to acknowledge God, HE GAVE THEM OVER to be slaves to their lust and its consequences. May God open our eyes to the truth that His judgments have already began and there is no turning back. Paul goes on to describe the culmination of His Verdict whereby they are given over to a reprobate mind, incapable of repentance. Paul in his day was speaking to the Roman Empire; that same end is now upon us.
The Church has been weighed; her witness has been tarnished, her light is dim, and her words carry little weight or power for she has forsaken truth in the pursuit of worldly success. In her lust for worldly wealth, power and recognition she has denied the Call of Christ who, in His devotion to the Father, “made Himself of no reputation” and “humbled Himself” in perfect obedience. Instead, she has built extravagant buildings, and elevated various “ministries”, each one vying for the attention, allegiance and money of God’s people. In our own worldly lusts for gain and recognition we have fabricated a gospel to appeal to the masses; to fill our pews in order to justify our own ends. God is coming and He is going to humble and strip His people from the Babylonian garments, the shekels of silver and the wedge of gold (Joshua 7:19-26). When HE has finished His endings in our land, He will have a pure, humble and holy people and great will be the Kingdom of His Peace.
“I am come for thy words”
God is coming for our words. He came to His beloved Daniel for he was a man of integrity. His words carried the weight of one who feared and honoured God; for that he found protection under the wings of the Almighty. God came for Peter’s words who spoke right things but did not know the true condition of his heart; he failed in the day when he should have stood. God is coming for our words; our words which come from untested hearts, words uttered that are not backed by the life we live. Words spoken by the disobedient are idle words (in the Greek: words without works). God dealt with Joseph’s brothers who assured him (not knowing he was Joseph) “we be true men”; words without weight or substance. God weighs our words, our actions and the true intents of our hearts. We may hide them in garments of religion, but God searches hearts and will render to every man a just recompense in the Day we stand before Him.
“Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed”
1 Samuel 2:3
TEKEL – Our actions and our words are being weighed in the balances of God.
*Note: TEKEL defined “In תְּקֵל there lies the double sense that the word תְּקַל, to weigh, accords with the Niphal of קָלַל, to be light, to be found light (cf. תֵּקַל, Gen 16:4). The interpretation presents this double meaning: Thou art weighed in the balances (תְּקִלְתָּא) and art found too light (like the תֵּקַל). חַסִּיר, wanting in necessary weight, i.e., deficient in moral worth. תְּקִלְתָּ”Keil & Delitzsch
Are we living lives of moral worth? Is the weight of His righteousness brought to bear in our lives by how we live, in how we cherish and speak truth to our brothers and sisters? Are our business dealings ethical and free from deceit and covetousness? Are we good and faithful stewards in our service to our employers? Do our words carry the weight and life of Christ to effect change in the lives around us? Are our children raised in the fear and the admonition of the Lord? How will we be weighed in His balances when this life is over?
“TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances,
and art found wanting”
I do not like to share these things as I feel the weight of them and must consider myself in the light of them. The division has begun in North America and the rent will become violent to the point of an incomprehensible un-civil war. We must not get embroiled in the quagmire of politics. The Church is to be a light concerning the Kingdom of God not the politics of men. May we overcome evil with good.
Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of children and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.
If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question. It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than information with no spirit of awe or wonder.
Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth. Over time an image appears and each brush of color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.
“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report”
“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom
Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.
One of the great benefits of prayer is His redeeming presence. In touching Him we are reminded afresh of Him being our reference point concerning the temper and attitude of our hearts. It is in His presence where the impartation of His greatness, His gentleness, His Fire and peace strike the core of our hearts to restore a “right spirit” within us. It is easy to get carried away in the commotions without, the antagonism of the world and the stress of everyday life. Without the communion with Him in prayer it is easy to fall into the morass of self-wherein we fail to “take heed” to our ways and our words.
There is a quiet filled with the power of His dynamic life, ever moving, ever flowing and yet garmented in a stillness and peace which ever settles and stills our hearts. It is in this great presence we are afforded the divine enablement to become subdued and “right” before Him.
It is in our communion with Him where we touch the immensity and grandeur of His being. Humility is simply the fruit of touching His Presence. In our seeing of Him we see ourselves. Pride, anxiety, sorrow and our human-ness are engulfed in His Divinity. Our seeing of the situations around us, the broken relationships, the animosity of others and the perplexities of our own hearts become clarified and our path to walk through them become clear and filled with the dominion of His peace.
Prayer is God’s answer to the human condition. Time with Him is the only place where we can truly “take heed” to ourselves. Truth is more than words and teachings. Truth is revealed in the essence of the character in which we walk. The majesty of Christ was not only in the words He spoke but the life He lived. It was His life which gave weight to His words and so will it be with us. Prayer becomes the essential element to a life of change within the nucleus of our being. He is and ever will be our hope and source of life.
Effectual prayers arise from hearts who offer them in the same disposition as Christ Himself.
Liberty to pray effectually comes from our being in the Spirit of Christ.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.
I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.
I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.
I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.
And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good.
Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hardship will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.
So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you, and be a help to you. I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”
– Kimberley Henderson (Published on Being Created in His Image)
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” Psalm 66:10-12
For the true child of God there is no darkness where He does not intend to bring us to the greater light. There is no trial too great that the Great Shepherd will not watch over the soul of His Own. There is no sorrow His comfort cannot fill and no separation too great that He will not compensate with Himself. Let us face this coming year with the true knowledge of His sovereign Wisdom at work on our eternal benefit.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”
“Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted to God. He therefore is the devout (godly) man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety (godliness), by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His Glory” John Murray
Devotion to Christ is revealed in the life lived not only in the words spoken. If the life is lived well the words spoken will carry the weight of the life of Christ within them.
“No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please Him who enrolled him as a soldier”
2 Timothy 2:4
Active duty is the posture of those who are alive in Christ. It is a Call which holds us to our posts ever watchful and ever engaged in the affairs of our hearts and in His Church. Their lives are governed by the full knowledge of the deceitful nature of their own hearts and the propensity of the church to slip into the darkness of slumber and lethargy.
It is ever the slumbering church which becomes the fearful church, for in her slumber she eventually awakes to discover that the enemies are at the gate and that she is ill prepared.
The Day is now dawning upon us, division and lawlessness is arising. Stay in the Spirit and we will not fall into fleshly carnal warfare. It is those who are not standing their posts, who are not on duty in Christ who get subverted to carnal issues.
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”
Jesus said IF His Kingdom was of this world then His servants would fight… but it is not of this world. If His people get caught up in the affairs of this dark world they cannot be active in His. It is a day to prepare ourselves to be at His disposal and to come to the place of grace and sacrifice. Suffering and glory cannot be separated.
May we encourage one another to stay in His Spirit and find grace to walk above the issue of this life. The rise of evil is upon us and blessed are they who find in Christ the grace to overcome evil with good.
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters; may we begin to feel the drawings of His Spirit into the union of His Life within us that we may be active in preparing one another to “stand in the evil Day”.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”