I love the “ing” of God! He is ever in the present tense, creating, moving, influencing His nature upon our own. He has come and more importantly IS come, to work within the recesses of our hearts the wonder of our becoming new.
Resurrection life can only be known by those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He breathes into our being His “newness” through the creative power of His Son.
“All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made”
The “ing” speaks to us of an on-going process; our lives interacting with His through the agency of relationship. The living ONE imparts grace and glory into that which is lost and dying. Regardless of our situation in life, there remains a consistent offer to come, drink, rest, and fellowship with Him. In our “becoming” we reveal the truth and authenticity of our relationship in Him.
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”
The LIFE of Him within is the verity of our light; not a thing learned, studied, or discussed. Rather it is this Life that imparts His light and power of being into the lostness of our own. By the power of this relationship, He is “making all things new”.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent”
The author and sustainer of eternal life defines it in terms of a relationship. The Greek word used here is one of experiential knowledge, a knowledge afforded us by a living relationship with Him.
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life”
1 John 5:20
The truth of Him can only be imparted to us by the sheer wonder of our abiding in Him. The newness He offers (through a mercy we can never comprehend) is available to all who come to Him by the living faith as He moves within our hearts.
God’s Word to His Own is:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will enter to him, and I will dine with him, and he with Me.
He is ever knocking, ever calling, and ever seeking the wonder of a relationship by which He is making all things new. May we hear and respond to His call every morning to the renewing power of His presence by prayer and communion with Him.
“O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up”
“Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is”
– George Mueller
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” Ephesians 5:17
“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door”
To live with an awareness of His watchfulness is the secret to walking in the way of the Lord. Carelessness is simply the revelation of a heart that is out of touch with His Living Presence. Unforgiveness, grumbling, harbouring of resentments, and isolation from His people, are symptoms of a life who has lost touch with Him who is the Life.
Ignorance of His Presence will not excuse us of the truth “the judge is standing at the door”. The assumption that we are secure in Christ because we “believe” right while holding unresolved issues with our brothers and sisters, is the horror of hypocrisy.
“…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”
The conduct of one’s life reveals the heart and the spirit in which one walks.The pride of man seeks division and dissension for self-promotion, but one who knows that “the Judge is standing at the door” will conduct himself accordingly.
“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord”
1 Kings 15:11
Life is short; the opportunities afforded us of growing in His nature and grace are presented to us every day. May the consciousness of His Presence enable us to walk humbly in the knowledge that “the Judge is standing at the door”.
“And… Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day“
Becoming One is the result of following the One Shepherd
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd”
Unity is inevitable where God reigns. Within the secularized landscape of Christendom, there are many who hold to the teachings of men, the agendas of men, and the ways of men. This allows the self to remain intact while claiming to follow the Crucified One. The true child of God who follows the Voice of the Shepherd cannot remain in the shallows of separation and division. Those who hear His voice grow INTO the ONE FOLD because they follow the ONE SHEPHERD. Unity of heart is the incomprehensible work of the Spirit of Christ. There is a fusion in the fire of His love of those who follow Him alone.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
1 Peter 1:22
Only through obedience can we know this unifying power. Those who cling to mere teachings of the Shepherd without the corresponding obedience to Him will never feel the fervency of the power of the love of God. It is His Voice that draws and gathers His Own. In the act of abiding in Him, the unifying wonder of His Life joins member to member.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Unity is the result of a New Creation Life that transcends pride, variance, strife, and the divisive ways of men. Obedience to the truth is how the old leaven of the natural man is put to death (mortified Romans 8:13) by the Spirit of God in those who desire purity of heart. It is the “pure in heart” who see God; it is the pure in heart who are brought “unto the unfeigned love of the brethren”. This purity can only be known by each one “obeying the truth” in the sanctum of their own hearts. Unity is the offspring of obedience. Those who hold only to the tenets of Christ, though loved of Him, will never truly touch the power of this unifying love. Unity cannot be known apart from obedience, for unity, the true Unity of the Body of Christ is the result of His Lordship in our lives.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
His Lordship is revealed by our obedience. It is the un-crucified self with all its passions, its desire for pre-eminence, it’s holding of unforgiveness, its refusal to humble itself, its inability to feel the press of His Spirit to seek reconciliation, its lack of understanding the need to preserve the Unity of the Spirit, that can never fathom the depths of the Love of Christ.
Sheep and Goats
The Judgment of God upon His own is pronounced upon the nature of the individual, not upon the beliefs of the individual.
“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left”
The sheep are those who have received the Lamb of God and have allowed His Life to permeate their own heart by virtue of being partakers of the Divine Nature. The goats are those who may have experienced the “new birth” but failed to allow the nature of Christ to bring them into submission and obedience to Him. They may cry out “Lord, Lord…” and perform miracles and great “Christian” works yet have never been “known” of Christ Himself. They may have sat under His teachings, known His word, taught others, prayed, and a host of other things; everything except obey His Word and humble themselves to the WAY of Christ. These are the goats who by their very nature believe the things of Christ, but will not submit themselves to the doing of His Will. It takes the Life of Christ to obey the Will of the Father. It is that same Life that unites them into ONE BODY.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”
1 John 1:7
(I am not sure if this is a true story or just inspirational as I tried searching and couldn’t verify one way or another but liked the message so posting it…)
Some years ago on a hot summer day in South Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house.
In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and a shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.
His mother, in the house, was looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother.
It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two.
The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.
A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim, and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived.
His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go.”
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret.
But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.
In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. If you have Christ in your life, you have become a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.
But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-o-war begins, and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful.
He did not – and will not – let you go. Time is a very precious gift of God; so precious that it’s only given to us moment by moment.
— Author Unknown
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you”
– Isaiah 43:2
The Refiner’s Fire is the showing forth of His wisdom being brought to bear upon those whose hearts long to bear fruit unto Him.
“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them…”
If our heart’s desire is to be re-created into His likeness, we must seek to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). The purpose of God’s Spirit is to “quicken” us, to transform us “by the renewing of our minds” whereby we are “changed from one glory unto another”. No individual truly called of God has escaped the depths of loneliness, separation, misunderstanding, and rejection. It is the forging of the fire which draws out the impurities of our own selves – the very construct of our wrongness. In God’s wisdom, He uses our circumstances to complete His work in us. If He spared not His own sinless Son, who are we to escape His loving and determined means to “bring many sons to glory”?
For the Jacobs to become Israels, God must use the Labans to bring purity, purpose, and movement. Man left to himself will remain in desert places, and tarry in stagnant situations, even as the sands of time exhaust the brief moments of our life here. It is in the antagonism, the strife, and the pressings of God that men leave the former things only to discover later God was in the exodus from our Egypt.
“As an eagle stirreth up her nest…”
God’s stirrings will press His own to movement; journeys which bring separation from the former things so that the new is readily received. It is in the journey with God where the crucible is known and the renovations of our being are realized. We experience the wrestling with God at our Jabbok where our natural man is crippled and we begin to comprehend Him whose name is “wonderful”. We discover the two-fold meaning of Jabbok*: our “being emptied out” and Christ being “poured in”. The exchange and transactions of God are not without price nor are they without great reward. The sorrow becomes the matrix of a Joy of which only the broken may know.
For the pilgrim of faith, the call to heavenly places propels him on through valleys, deserts, and lonely paths where the pure air of His presence is worth it all. The promise of God stands:
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”
In the dark places, the days of mediocrity, the days where our heart’s fire burns low, we learn “The Lord is thy keeper” (Psalm 121:5) and the restorer of our souls!
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds…
“Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance”
The abundant life is a tested and purified life.
* Jabbok. Hebrew pouring out or emptying. (Bullinger)
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”
THE SECRET Place OF ABIDING
“And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him“
The Son found the strength to obey through the power of prayer The religious tend to substitute prayer for obedience, but those who pray fervently will find in Christ the power to obey.
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt”
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, Thy will be done”
If Jesus needed the power of prayer to face the enormity of the Cross, how much more do we need prayer for His grace to walk obediently! Obedience and prayer must be in parallel; when one is lacking the other will also be lacking.
“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work“.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…”
The Church of Jesus Christ began with the roar of a mighty wind and flaming tongues of fire and we can rest assured it will end in greater glory than when it began.
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning…”
While men contemplate a defeated, beleaguered, and divided church leaving this earth with a whimper, God’s Word declares something contrary.
“God always saves the Best wine for the last”
In a mere fifty days, the fearful disciples became blazing Apostles, the fear of man was eviscerated in the power of God and the salvation of God went forth in the life-changing dynamic of the living God. The same hope holds in our day while many are content with things as they are; God is preparing a deep and holy move of His Spirit. A fresh and vital pouring forth of Himself which is preceded by the spirit of burning and repentance; for “the depth of revival is determined by the depth of repentance”, so may God pour out upon us the “spirit of grace and supplications” that we may touch the Holy of God and thereby be worthy* to be filled with His Holy Fire. It requires the moving of the spirit of Grace to produce the spirit of supplication and repentance. Grace for grace, faith for faith, and glory for glory unto those who have been faithful in this hour of great testing.
It is a day to lift up our eyes unto the hills for the King of Glory is coming and His reward is with Him to render unto every man the fruit of their ways.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be…”
“…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”
“I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul’s safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power“
– Samuel Chadwick
* NOTE: Man in himself is never worthy of Him nor the power of the indwelling Spirit but by the power of the Blood of Christ, we are to be holy recipients of His Holy Spirit. We areexhortedto “walk worthy of God” who has called us to walk in heavenly places.
“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” 1 Thessalonians 2:12