“And all things are of God… and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”
2 Corinthians 5:18
What is torn can be mended. What is separated can be blended. That which is broken can find repair, And joy can fill the life in despair.
To seek reconciliation with others is the revelation of a heart which has and is being reconciled to Christ.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”
“The dividing line hereafter will not be a Credal one—not “How much do you believe?” Nor even a Devotional one—”How much did you pray?” But a Practical one — “What did you do?” The Apostle James shows that our faith is evidenced by our works (Jas 2:14-20). It is not enough to say “Lord, Lord!” We must show the same spirit as our Master in love for our fellows, or we shall be rejected at the last.”
– F.B. Meyer
Prayer and Faith
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is the true prayer of all who believe. It is this prayer of faith which unites the heart of the one praying with heavenly realities. Prayers of the religious do not touch the heartbeat of heaven; their lives remain unaffected and unempowered unto the doing of His Will. Those who pray in faith, walk in faith. In the garden Jesus prayed to accomplish the full offering of Himself unto the will of the Father and He “was heard in that He feared” (Hebrews 5:7). It is through prayer that faith comes to us by the hearing of the Word. One cannot hear the Living Word without the corresponding works of faith.
“Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you”
The gift of sight to see the splendor of Him in His Word, to be able to sense the stirrings of His Love within, to be aware of the slumbering of the church in this hour, to grieve over the physical and spiritual malaise of others, to have the humility to receive His corrections, are all a result of His grace. Paul prayed for the Church at Ephesus:
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know…”
Spiritual Vision is the result of His Grace granting us the ability to see the unseeable, to touch the untouchable and to walk above and beyond the resources of self. Faith is the faculty to see and understand heavenly truths and purposes.
“Through faith we understand…”
Faith is the matrix from which He reveals and illuminates Himself to His children. It brings us into His World to see with our eyes, and to do with our hands, His works. Faith is the dynamic of Christ living within.
In God’s purposes the Faith to see is to bring us into the Faith to do.
“…it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith”
During these days of uncertainty and chaos it would be tempting to retreat into our own isolated worlds. The confines of “social distancing” and the fear of reaching out to those around us make it easy to excuse ourselves from life. Now more than ever it is imperative that we remain alive in Christ; to walk in the eternal truth of the Word of God. That Word is fulfilled by His Spirit moving through us by the Love of God. Love casts out all fear and in Him we find the resources to walk as He walked.
There has never been a time when sharing the love and mercies of God was convenient in this world.Every generation has had its battles. Every generation has had to contend for the faith of God in their time. May we be faithful in our day to minister unto Him in the faces of those around us.
“Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred,
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick,
or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?” Matthew 25:44.
“Forget yourself and live for others, for It is more blessed to give than to receive”
– A.B. Simpson
“We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly. It is easier to pray, “Lord, help me to carry my cross daily” than to pick up the cross and carry it. But since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of words”
There is a stillness required for the true knowledge of God to descend as the dew upon the soul. This knowledge of Him transcends words and religious definitions. It is simply the supremacy of His presence communicating to us the truth of His Holiness and His Power; a touching of the Divine. It is an active stillness as the voices and the clamoring of the demands of the world and the burdens of our own afflictions are silenced and we are overwhelmed by His greatness. The wonder of His Presence quiets the soul and we feel the mastery of His peace.
The call to the Stillness of God is a call to surrender, to new places of the offering of ourselves unto Him. It is from this Stillness that we get the impetus to be active in the work and purposes of the Lord. The faith imparted through our communion with Him, creates a new fervency to declare His glory to the world around us. Faith is the womb of His Works; living faith inspired by the hearing of Him within the confines of our own hearts.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
There can be no valid doing without true hearing. Where there is no doing it is because there is no hearing. It is in our coming to Him where we hear the Glory of God calling us and sending us to do the works of Him in the earth.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
The sending forth of an individual into the purposes of God will always be to the one who has first answered the call to come to Him. Many may busy themselves with outward things, many may claim to hear Him, but the verity of a life sent forth is revealed in those who are ever engaged in the heart and the spirit of He who fully pleased and satisfied His (our) heavenly Father.
“I must work the works of Him that sent me…”
Faith instilled in the quiet of relationship will never be idle in its impact upon the lives of others.
“Draw ME and WE will run after Thee”
Song of songs 1:4
“the king hath brought me into his chambers”
Song of songs 1:4
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
Omission is the fruit of apathy. It is the result of a false gospel which demotivates us to act. Our personal involvement is the shining forth of His Life through us. The non-involved life is a life centered on self, one that withdraws from an active life of faith, of reaching out into the world around. It leads a sequestered existence, safe and insulated from the personal ventures of faith.
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual…”
Paul’s prayer for Philemon was that his faith would be communicated to others with an effect. The communication of an effectual faith leaves an effect on the lives of others because it carries the life and power of the Author. Those active in the ministrations of His Life feel the immensity of the responsibility to walk in such a way that there be an actual communication or impartation of the living Christ through their words, their works and their very lives. The impotency and indifference of many people today regarding their “faith” reveals an appalling attitude that they are “increased with goods and have need of nothing”. This “comfort zone” is a gospel of grace with no sense of laying down their lives for the uplifting of Him. It is easier to give money and resources to someone else to do that. It is easy to labour for the unrighteous money of this world yet be careless with heavenly treasures. We are too prone to ignore the promptings of the Spirit of God to involve ourselves in the lives of others. It is easier to “pray” about things than to pour ourselves out for others. There is a cost to obedience. We have invented an insulation from this dilemma of accountability; a gospel woven with the falsity of a devilish reasoning: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
Religion often has the correct understanding yet is powerlessness in the realm of doing. Many know right things and understand the words of Life. Yet their faith is one of words without the power and motivation of Love. They believe the tenets of faith with no valid expression of the LIFE of faith.
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh* by love”
(a faith which produces the works of love)
John in his epistles constantly prods the people of God in his day unto love and good works. The Book of Revelation declares to each location of the One-Church that God is beholding “their works”. It is the works of a life that show evidence of faith in that life. “I know thy works” is the Word of God to every Church.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
One deed that springs forth from the Love of God is worth far more than the confessions and proclamations of a thousand sterile lives. Jesus saw the “two mites” of the one who gave of her living rather than the rich offerings of those who appeased their conscience by words and platitudes. A life uninvolved with the lost, the wayward and the stagnant, is a life uninvolved with God.
Omission is the revelation of a inert and lethargic life. It is the one sin which is easily ignored but which paves the road to spiritual bankruptcy.
“Thou wicked and slothful servant…”
The sin of the one to whom the one talent had been given was the great sin of omission; the sin of doing nothing with the great and unmerited gift placed in his trust. The resulting eternal judgment was one of loss and sorrow. Those faithful to the gifts given to them were rewarded with ruling and reigning in God’s coming Kingdom. The truths of His gifts given to each of us are eternal issues. Faithfulness now brings great reward in the unveiling of His Kingdom then.
“Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.”
Revelation 22:20 (ESV)
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”
The “elect of God” reveal their call and election through their expression of Christ-like character. They bear unfeigned aspects of His heart and passion. In spiritual things, we are revealed by what we are and what we are is expressed by what we do. In religious things, it is not necessary to have a connection between being and doing.
David breathed a prayer which was “after the heart of God”.
“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name”
A united heart is an authentic heart; a heart full of the fear and wonder of the Lord. The inconsistencies of our being become united by the singularity of His rule within. Growth in Christ is revealed in the spontaneous flow of His nature into the world around us. The desire for a united heart is the affirmation of His Spirit at work within us.
The purpose of truth is to make us true. True to Him, true to one another and true to the world around us.
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure…”
2 Peter 1:10
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes”
There is an angst in those who look to political leaders for answers to the upheavals of our day. Peace comes from God alone and not from the strategies and ideas of men. There are spiritual forces at work to stir up the chaos filling our streets. We are seeing but the precursor to a storm brewing on the horizon.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world…”
Why are these things happening?
“For the powers of the heavens will be shaken”
God is moving and powers are being shaken. Wicked spirits from on high are being cast down knowing they have but a short time. Wickedness will increase and lawlessness will reign for a season; these things must be. Yet in the end God will prevail in glory and majesty. Suffering precedes glory and seeming defeat is the path to sure victory. The crucible must give way to the crown. The winds are beginning to howl, the darkness is falling, and that Lawless One must be revealed for the Day of the Lord decrees it.
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God”
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Trouble on earth is the result of heavenly powers being shaken. It is truly a time for us to look up “for our redemption draweth nigh”! God’s Word comes to us to prepare us, strengthen us and gird us up in the preserving power of His Life. Let not the fear of all these things trouble our hearts. He is our strong tower in this Day of the growing storm.
“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope…”
It is a time to seek Him, pursue Him and allow Him to fully prepare us for the Day which is upon us. The graces of God are to be our shelter. Love, peace and the enduring hope of His appearing will guard our hearts from the bitterness and turmoil of this hour. Forgiveness is the costly preservative for our hearts. It is a balm which heals us from all injury and gives us the power to love beyond all human ability.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17