“The wisdom of the wise is to understand his way…”
The wise walk circumspectly before the Lord. They do not drift carelessly through life. The wise measure their words and consider their ways for they have an awareness of being always before Him.
“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”
2 Corinthians 5:9
The wise have an overriding desire to carry themselves uprightly before their King. They do not rest in professions or beliefs but hold themselves to a deeper call: to honor Him in all they do. There is joy in this journey for life is filled with purpose and wonder. Every day has lessons to be learned, glories to be seen, and lives to touch. God is the author of our way and as such, we welcome His leadings to bring us into a deeper knowledge of Him and His grace.
The wisdom of the wise is to consider the path we take and make it a priority to understand His way. It takes a lifetime to cultivate this sensitivity to His presence. The light of His witness teaches us to order our steps rightly in a world full of temptation and sorrow
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
“And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief”
Faith is the atmosphere in which His Holy Spirit moves. God has made a covenant with humanity. It is a covenant based on faith, no longer dependent upon the arm of flesh, the energies of self, or the wiles and methods of men.
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end, the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all…”
Today many speak of faith and many teach about the grace of God. But the crux is that true faith and grace reveal the power, the righteousness, and the character of Christ in our lives that we might BE a “sign and a wonder” in this world.
“Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”
Much of Christian thinking equates “signs and wonders” with the miraculous. Of course, that is part of our inheritance but Jesus also declared “An evil and perverse generation seeketh after signs”. Jesus testified of John the Baptist:
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist”
This John performed no miracles nor produced any signs but the Word declares the power of his life was the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness”. God looks for those who allow their lives to be so transformed by His power that we may be witnesses by the Life we live and the Word we declare.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”
The true authentic love of God can only be revealed in those who are His disciples. A love that overlooks sin, that does not reach out to the world, and is unmoved by the unction and power of the Holy Spirit, falls short of revealing the true nature of God. Religious love spares the outworkings of the cross. It refuses to step into the arena of faith to contend for the righteousness of God. The result is that the Church has dimmed the revelation of Jesus Christ. A faith that expects little, desires little, and costs nothing is a faith without value. The boisterous faith of those who walk in the light of their own counsels and energy will reveal little but themselves.
True faith, regardless of its “size”, will reveal the One who is its Author. Faith the size of a mustard seed will remove the mountain that stands in its way.
May we hear the call to discipleship afresh. Let us pick up our own cross, acknowledge our responsibility to Him, that this world will once again behold His True Nature! The signs and wonders of His power will follow those who are pure in their devotion to Him.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues…”
There are those who follow signs and wonders to their own sorrow but God is raising up a people where the signs and wonders will follow them. Jesus called one an adultress generation (Matthew 12:9; 16:34) and the other a blessed generation.
“…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”
The one constant in God is that He is always with His Own. In our wanderings we may feel He is far from away; the truth is, He is here. In God “here” is a relative term; relative to where I am. For though He is omnipresent His word declares that He abides with those who walk with Him. His presence fills our hearts with unspeakable wonder. The scriptures declare that this wonder is our quickened spirit bearing witness to His Spirit whereby we know the truth of the “spirit of adoption”. It is in this same Spirit we find true fellowship with one another.
“…ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”
This constant witness assures our hearts of that living connection with Him. Words fail to describe His faithfulness and the constant care of our heavenly Father. There is nothing more humbling to me than the fact that He is here; here within, and here without. It is this nearness of His presence that assures us He is but a prayer away, or a whisper of a scripture within, a calming breath of peace, or a pang of conviction to correct my way. This constant of Him is despite my inconsistencies.
As I age, time becomes much more of a valuable commodity than something to be taken for granted. Still, at times my own mismanagement of His time allotted to me is convicting. Jesus declared; “…he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”(John 8:29)
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”
Years ago, I studied this scripture and was comforted with this amazing thought: the Greek word for “redeeming” used in this scripture means to “buy back time lost through misuse”. God’s salvation is eternal and though some days seem wasted, by turning to Him and repositioning our life afresh we can “redeem” what time is left for each of us. The God who holds time in His hands can accomplish much with a broken heart!
This journey of life should be filled with His purposes and our growth and discovery of Him. The constant here desires to prepare us for eternity there. The one who is faithful with the two talents herewill know of the rewards of His grace in a four-fold measure there. The trust we have in Him is revealed by our faithfulness here. Life here is about bringing joy to the One who brought us out of sure destruction. The years I have lived since His appearing are the gifts of His grace and may they be spent wisely.
Friendship and Fellowship
One of the treasures in this life here is having friends on the same path walking in the Light as HE is in the Light. Unguarded conversations where I have the freedom to be me, and they have the freedom to be themselves, is the joy of brotherhood. Within the confines of such relationships, He is magnified, and we are exhorted to keep our hearts single and our paths straight. Often these friends are many miles away and phone calls and online meetings are good and blessed but, being together is better. (1 John 1:7)
“He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God”
How comforting these days to know that He is always here.
“For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is achieving for us a weight of glory”
(2 Cor. 4:17). (Weymouth)
“The question is repeatedly asked–Why is the life of man drenched with so much blood, and blistered with so many tears? The answer is to be found in the word “achieving”; these things are achieving for us something precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation. It is the cry of the dear old hymn:
“Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee, E’en tho’ it be a cross that raiseth me.”
Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, “I shall see Him face to face,” were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother’s eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment.
It is comforting to know that sorrow tarries only for the night; it takes its leave in the morning. A thunderstorm is very brief when put alongside the long summer day. “Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning.” –Songs in the Night
There is a peace that cometh after sorrow, Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled; A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow, But calmly on a tempest that it stilled. A peace that lives not now in joy’s excesses, Nor in the happy life of love secure; But in the unerring strength, the heart possesses, Of conflicts won while learning to endure. A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded, A life subdued, from will and passion free; ‘Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded, But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.”
From Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman.
“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”
Abandonment to God is the result of knowing we belong to Him wholly. It is in the secret place that the tendrils of His Spirit enfold our hearts. It is often a quiet and hidden work deep within recesses of our own being.
Few in our land comprehend how near is the day of the Lord. The enemy is arising and many of God’s people are unaware of his wiles. In this darkness God is preparing a people for Himself with lights shining, hearts ablaze, and a growing passion for the King of kings. There is the pulse of a new faith within those in whom His fire burns.
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness…”
The light that is arising is upon those who are walking in the obedience of faith. There is a dynamic of Christ beating within their hearts. God will not leave this darkened earth void of a vibrant witness.
The full abandonment to Him is coming. Even now it is growing in those who are upright of heart. The purposes of God to every generation have ever been fulfilled by the faithful.
“So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple. “
“Go forth today, by the help of God’s Spirit, vowing and declaring that in life – come poverty, come wealth, in death – come pain or come what may, you are and ever must be the Lord’s. For this is written on your heart, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.”
– Charles Spurgeon
“For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake…”
2 Corinthians 4:10
There are scriptures that are particularly impregnated with power and the sharpness of the “sword of the Spirit”. They are cutting, filled with the wonder of God’s thoughts concerning the life we live and the choices we make. The early church had a different set of values than we do now. Paul’s definition of those who are alive in Christ is drastically different than the general message we hear today in the church in our land.
“For we who are living” – those who are alive in Christ are “always” delivered unto death. His Will is being worked out in their lives through the choices made and the obedience expressed. Paul concludes this scripture with the promise of LIFE to those who walk in true discipleship:
“…that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our dying flesh”
2 Corinthians 4:10 (LSV)
In other words, those who are the “living” demonstrate by their walk a corresponding revelation of the LIFE of JESUS! Much of what we define today as being “alive” in Jesus would fall short in God’s estimation.
God’s Word to the Church at Sardis:
“These things says He who is having the Seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I have known your works, and that you have the name that you live, and you are dead…”
The early church considered those who were “alive” to be those whose faith was pressing them into a life of identification, causing them to know the truth and cost of discipleship. The Cross of Christ can never be carried doctrinally. We will never touch the pulse of His Life in our daily lives by glibly quoting scriptures. By its very nature, His Life in us must render an effect upon the lives of others.
“..that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh”
2 Corinthians 4:11 (KJV)
Our life is not to be evaluated by our confession; it is to be measured by the impact of Him on others through our frail and fragile earthen vessel. If He does not have His Way IN us, He will not have the means to impact the world THROUGH us.
Are we alive? Is the life of Jesus touching our families, our workplace, our brothers, and sisters in Christ? Do others see and feel Him radiating from our unpretentious life?
Paul prayed earnestly for Philemon:
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual* by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
Philemon 1:7 (* cause an effect)
Let this stir our hearts; “…that the communication of THY faith may become effectual”. In other words, may our faith influence others. A faith that is in word only, though true, will not impact the lives of those around us. An ineffectual life is a disobedient life. Faith, to be faith, must communicate JESUS. To whatever measure He is residing, to whatever degree His death is being worked in us through obedience, is the depth to which the power of His Life will be known. It is impossible to know the power of the Cross except through the medium of OBEDIENCE.
The Call in Christ to Discipleship
“For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
2 Corinthians 4:10 (KJV)
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11 (ESV)
To “be fervent in spirit” is the result of a heart that has touched Him, the touchstone of all creation.
Fervency in spirit is the Divine imprint upon a heart made alive by the fire of His being filling our own. Intensity is the fruit of love and abandonment. His fire within cannot coexist with apathy and lethargy. The true apprehension of us by Christ is described in the pure language of the scriptures.
“When He ascended up on high, he led captivity captive…”
His resurrection is the basis of this captivation by Him. He took my addictions, my lost and captive heart and by the revelation of His wonder, those things lost their grip. Resurrection Life is the source of true freedom! There are no self-help strategies, no answers for the human condition other than Christ Himself. It is not the Christ of religion, words, and doctrines. It is only as the resurrected ONE reaches down from heaven’s Throne of Grace that men and women are set free.
Paul’s whole premise of faith was the Resurrected One; not words about Him but the very Life of Him. Who can behold Him and remain pragmatic, dispassionate, and satisfied with anything less than the fire of God burning within?
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain”
1 Corinthians 15:14
To all who struggle with sin, with failure within and without, come to Him, seek Him, for He will not turn away from a broken and contrite heart. He came and more importantly IS come, to set the captives free and to make them new creations filled with the vibrancy of His Life.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”
Addictions are simply our attempt to fill the emptiness, the hurt, the abandonment, and the sorrow of heart that comes to all in this broken world. Freedom is found in His love, His forgiveness, and His life filling us unto the true freedom for which He has redeemed us. When Christ fills the heart there is no room for other things! His fulness is our freedom.
Fervency of spirit is the resounding wonder of a life captivated by His beauty.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11 (ESV)
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat. All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do.”
Matthew 23:1-3 (WEB)
There is much contained in the Words of Jesus. His words are full of truth and that truth pierces to the core of a man’s heart. In this discourse, it is striking to note the audience to whom He spoke.
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples”
The word that follows is important to all who call themselves by His Name. His warnings are given to everyone in general “and to His disciples”. It is a word to us, to all generations who desire to walk rightly before Him. There will always be those who ascend to prominent religious positions, speaking good things. Jesus declares what things people should hearken to and DO.
“All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do”
True disciples are to recognize God’s word even if it is spoken by some who may live hypocritically or carelessly. God’s Word is true regardless of its source. The emphasis in this warning from the Lord is found in a very short word… DO. A disciple is one in whom the word of the Lord influences their living. It is not the mental aspect; it is not merely the enlightenment of the mind while leaving one’s conduct unaffected. Doing is the revelation of true discipleship. Many hear, many teach. It is the focus of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the realm of becoming through obedience.
“…but don’t do their works; for they say and don’t do.”
Jesus considered their lack of works as their works. Their works were to talk of the things of the Lord without doing. Their non-doing became their works; much like not deciding inadvertently becomes a decision. True faith is the agency through which the works of God are born. The essential nature of faith is to reveal the Life and the Works of its Author. James declares:
“But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
The subtlety of Pharisee-ism is a fearful and easy thing into which any disciple can fall. We can become comfortable in our beliefs rather than in our relationship with Him. Disciples follow Him. They participate in the doing of His Will on the earth. They are involved in the works of Christ for He is their Head, and they are His hands, feet, and heart in this world. Because they are of His Body, they move with Him.
May we be warned in our own walk. Let us heed the exhortations of Him to flee the Pharisaical ways of speaking without doing, of teaching without being a demonstration in our own lives. The truth of our words is to be evidenced in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our fellowship with those who are His.
“…but don’t do their works; for they say and don’t do”
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
“And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
(2 Sam 5:19)
2 Samuel 5:17-25 is the Story of David and his second set of victories, illustrating how we are to stay current with God, gaining conquests in our own hearts. Our inheritance in God, our place of growing under His authority, is going to be to the measure in which we gain our own spiritual victories, both internally and also externally.
God has graciously provided us opportunities to grow into that authority that He is going to unveil in and through each of us, individually and corporately on this Day. The key to victory is to never go up to do battle in your own strength, but to remain in the Stronghold – Him Who IS your victory!
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present Truth.”
(2 Peter 1:12)
Whenever the Spirit of God is speaking to you He is speaking the whole truth concerning you. He is ever seeking to bring you into the place of a connection and a living truth that you might be in the “present” Truth. In the Greek, the “present truth” is, in essence, “the truth of THE presence”that you might be equipped and prepared to walk in a living and consistent walk, in sync with what He is doing on the earth.
Jesus said, “the words I speak they are spirit and they are LIFE!” and as you develop that personal relationship with Jesus there is an unfolding, and a familiarity, that grows within your life of Him speaking to you on a very personal level, where the word of the Lord isn’t the word of Elijah or the word of Ezekiel, but it’s the Word of the Lord to you and through you!
The whole purpose of ministry is to bring you into the place where you begin to speak the voice of The Lord in that particular wonder of His revelation to you. In the hearing of Him, we begin to walk in the present truth of His ministration to this generation and to the church in which we live.