“The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!”
Integrity as parents does not mean that everything we do is right; it means that we walk in an authenticity that is communicated to our children. Parenting is a very demanding and often heart-wrenching experience as we discover our own lack of wisdom, our own selfishness, and above all our need to learn from our heavenly Father. Parenthood offers an opportunity to grow and develop in wisdom. The grace of integrity is what communicates our relationship with Christ in a way that is most understood by our children. Despite our mistakes, shortcomings, and our own ignorance, it is most critical to display a walk of integrity. Duplicity, hypocrisy, and deceit are most damaging to our children. The greatest sermon to our children is the one we live. Mistakes and personal faults are inevitable in our dealings within our families and without. It is what we DO with them that determines the blessings we pass on to our children.
“So speak ye and so do”
The above scripture may be the clearest definition of integrity. It is a description of one whose inward life is correlated with the outward one. In our earnest pursuit of an authentic walk, the words of our mouth are validated by the life we live. This lifelong quest is one filled with moments of inconsistencies and failure yet having the integrity to embrace our deficiencies as a means of our growth in God is a vital lesson for our children to see the grace of God still at work in our own lives.
“Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself”
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to usin His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2)
In times past God spoke through men, but now in these last days, He is speaking by His Son, in and through YOU! The five-fold ministry is to bring YOU into your unique ministry, to develop and add YOUR voice to THE VOICE of many waters that YOU should become HIS VOICE to others.
God has already apportioned to each of us a mighty deposit of His Spirit, but we don’t enter into it by prayer, but by obedience. God has already given you the land, but now says, “My land is not to be talked about, My land is to be walked about!”
“And Abram went up out of Egypt… Unto the place of the altar…”
The faith of Abraham will produce a forsaking of Egypt (the world) and a journey “unto the place of the altar”. At this altar, by the mercies of God (Romans 12:1), we offer ourselves unto Him as a living sacrifice. True faith communicates the nature, works, and heart of Christ. It is the divine enablement to live beyond our own resources and to draw from the wells of the living Christ. What is impossible for man becomes a natural outflow of life from those in whom resides the living faith of Christ.
In Hebrews 11, we read of the lives of regular people, just like us, who “by faith” lived to see the extra-ordinary works of God – despite the fragility of their earthen vessels. “By faith” we can partake of the same resources. We have the same surety of God, the same assurance of faith, by which they made a difference in their generation.
The leading of God is ever out of Egypt and unto the altar. The altar is the way of life to those who are in Christ Jesus for it is in the losing of our own selves that we discover Him. It is in looking past the faltering resources of self that we discover His vastness. The “I can’t” of Romans 7 is swallowed up by the “Law of life in Christ Jesus” of Romans 8.
The Altar is the place of our transactions with God. It is here where we exchange our strength for His; here that the doctrines of salvation become flesh and substance in our lives. In the offering of all that we are, we become partakers of all that He IS. Our partaking of Him will be in proportion to our offering.
“Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?”
1 Corinthians 9:13
“And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh, and the blood, upon the altar of the Lord thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the Lord thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.”
The priests would eat of the Burnt Offerings they offered and herein lies the secret of His provision for each one of us. “Give and it shall be given unto you” is the measure of our receiving. It is in this freewill offering that we discover the glory and wonder of our God.
We are bidden by the “mercies” of God to offer ourselves as living sacrifices unto our God (Romans 12:1). While many speak of God’s mercies as a sentiment, the power of mercy upon the human heart enables us to offer ourselves without reserve.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
“Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him…”
To the wise and faithful the promise of His coming is one of joy and expectation. Those laboring ones, faithfully sowing, praying, weeping, and burdened with a heavenly care and concern for others, can look expectantly unto Him who is their reward and salvation.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his Lord has set over His household, to give to them the food in season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord shall find so doing when He comes. Truly I say to you, He will set him over all His substance”
The faithful and wise servants pour out themselves on the behalf of others that the Lord may receive the Glory due His Name. Blessed are those whom He finds “so doing”. The pure in heart have an intensity of spirit to proclaim His Name to all and to exhort all to obedience and submission. There is a fire that burns within for the truth, substance, and reality of His Call. Those with faithless works and dead confessions, with hearts unmoved and unchanged, talk all too freely about God but lack the burning love of God Himself. God has a word for such: Ichabod*! The Glory which once burned within is now a dead and lifeless thing; it has lost its first and foremost love and is content with the words of Him rather than the Life of Him.
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead”!
Works are the criteria that God uses to assess the faith of His people in each and every Church in the Book of Revelation**! Works are the expression of a living vibrant faith, free from dead prayers, empty words, ingrown cliques, and stagnant lives. Faith which costs nothing is worth nothing. Those who make a difference in the lives of others, who feel within their hearts the ONE Spirit of God and the ONE-NESS to which we have been called; speak out against the lethargy of our day.
Let us lift our voices and cry out to those whose hearts have grown cold and withered, and are lost within the futility of mere religion. Do we not hear the words of Christ unto us? This is the Day of sowing and of harvest, it is not a Day to slumber nor a time for faithless inactivity! It is a Day to “Lift up our eyes” to see with the eyes of faith the opportunities before us.
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I TELL YOU, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together”
So many Christians in these times are debating with one another about masks, vaccinations, and government restrictions. Let us keep our eyes in the right place. Jesus’ words to us are, “I TELL YOU, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, for the fields are white unto harvest”. How far have we fallen from the simplicity of the Call of Christ? The unfruitful discussions of procedures and politics, and the scepter of fear which has fallen upon the Church, are appalling and are an exposure of our true condition.
Let us consider our ways that we may bring the message of Christ to a world consumed with the same fear which seeks to rob us of the power of His faith and love in us. Let HIS CHURCH ARISE from fear and begin to believe afresh that all these things are for the furtherance of the Gospel.
How sovereign is our God! The truth of His Sovereign power in you is revealed by your faith in Him and the works it produces. Let His Faith be the measure by which you walk.
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during the harvest is a son who causes shame.”
“And I looked, and behold, a windstorm came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire flashing itself, and a brightness to it all around. And out of its midst, like the color of polished bronze, it came, out of the midst of the fire. Also from its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was how they looked: they had the likeness of a man, and four faces were to each, and four wings to each of them,and their feet were straight feet and the sole of their feet like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.And the hands of a man extended from under their wings on their four sides. And their faces and their wings were to the four of them,joining each one to the other by their wings. They did not turn in their going, each one went toward the front of their face.And the likeness of their faces: the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side to the four of them; and the face of an ox on the left to the four of them, and the face of an eagle to the four of them.So their faces were. And their wings were spread upward, to each, the two wings were joined, and two wings of each covering their bodies.And each went toward the front of their faces. To where the spirit was to go, there they went; they did not turn in their going.And the likeness of the living creatures: they appeared like coals of burning fire, like the appearance of torches; it was continually circling among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.And the living creatures kept running and returning, like the appearance of a flash of lightning Ezekiel 1:4-14
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…”
The nature of faith is that it holds the evidential expression of its Author. It is that divine substance that is expressed in Hebrews 11. Men and women were not validated by belief alone. Rather,what they did validated what they believed.
Hebrews 11:2 “By faith the Elders obtained Witness…”
Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered a greater sacrifice to God than Cain”
Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”
Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham… obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed…”
Hebrews 11:17 “By faith, being tested, Abraham offered up Isaac…”
Faith is authenticated by the expression of Christ in you. The doing corroborates the belief.
“…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God”
The touchstone of Discipleship is revealed in our abandonment to His Glory. It is in our touching of Him where we are brought to the place of facing our own inherent desire for recognition and pre-eminence. This is something so vital to our walk and our sharing of Him with others. Freedom from ourselves is the path to our freedom in His Spirit.
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him”
John the Baptist
“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus”
Do we really want this? Do the ministers of God and the multitudes of church organizations across the land really desire this one thing; for men to rise up and follow Jesus? Our part is to declare “Behold the Lamb of God” and to do it in such a way that men actually rise up to follow Him. We are here to make Him known. Those to whom we minister should hear us speak and then rise up and follow Jesus! How simple and pure ministry is to be! The sad part is that men, their organizations, and their own desire for recognition corrupt this simple truth and lead men to follow them and to “support” their ministry rather than the development of others in their own ministrations.
The purpose of the New Covenant…
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” Jeremiah 31:33-34
It is to this end that we labour and preach the wonder of His Name! Purify us Lord for your glory.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16-17)
“Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him. that glory may dwell in our land”
In the purposes of God, salvation and glory are inextricably linked. His Glory is the reason for His gracious dealings with us. When we separate these two, we make salvation something very different; we make salvation about ourselves rather than about Him.
“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake”
The end of His saving grace unto us that His Name is glorified in the earth. We receive His mercy that we may then shine forth His divine attributes into a dark and dying world. His salvation is the world’s hope of glory. Those who honour His salvation shine as lights and ambassadors in the foreign landscape in which we live. A nation loses its way when the church has lost her way.
God’s answer is us! In His wisdom, He uses His people to communicate His likeness and heart as we are faithful witnesses of His salvation.
“Ye are the Light of the World”
May these words strike us with the full force of His Spirit. His intent is for us to breathe in the Spirit of those words and let them be the ignition of His quickening grace. “You are the light of the World”; not your pastor, not your teacher, not someone on television. The word carries little power until it is YOUR Word. Until our hearts reverberate with His word, until we see that His salvation is to result in the manifestation of His Glory, we have missed the wonder of it.
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory”
2 Timothy 2:10
A salvation concerned only with itself is stunted. Salvation ought to produce in us a desire to live right that others may “obtain” His grace, that they also may shine forth His “eternal glory”.