“There was a man sent from God,
whose name was John…” John 1:6
Sent. The call of God unto each of us is for the purpose of Him sending us into the lives of others. The one in the hospital, the neighbor, the friend whom we may have never got around to sharing Jesus with, the business associate, the lost, the crippled, and the rich person who has all they could wish for from life.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was (put your name in here)”
There are lives all around us on a daily basis who need His touch, His wisdom, and His power. Are we His enough to reach out into the ordinary situations of life with His love and care? Do we look for opportunities to bring His light into the world of others? That is why He came…
“…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
God meant for His Life in us to be an adventure, a life of stepping into His mystery which is locked up in the lives of others. In seeking answers for them we inevitably find answers for our own. The joy which floods into their hearts will flow over into ours. We were created to shine His radiance into His creation. We are not to cover our light, we are not to withhold His love nor His Word. The SAME love which sent the Son into this world is to be our own motivation to be sent into the lives of others. Too few feel the press of God to reach out beyond their own limited borders, their comfort zones, because of the limitations of a faith that has not known His power in their own experience. Experience is the means to confidence, a confidence that stands in thoughts and teachings will never be sufficient to step into the real world circumstance. David did not flinch by the size and the boasting of Goliath for he had experienced his God in the simple task of tending his father’s sheep. It is in the menial things, the everyday things where victories are won and faith grows within the experience of our life in God
“…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
Is this scripture relevant in our lives, does the power of it press us into the resources of God for the lives of others? His resources do not come to us until we step into the river and it is THERE in the river we feel the surging wonder of His life rising to meet the needs of those around us.
“…and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters (and the Jordan was full, over all its banks all the days of harvest), that the waters stood still…”
Faith is the means to releasing His power… True faith requires the step before the power is released… too many have been waiting 20-30-40 years for the waters to part first and it shall NOT be. Step into His life, step into the broken lives around us, and see if there shall not be an open door to discover His ways, His leading, and His life touching others.
Jesus told the lepers to go show themselves to the priests “and as they went they were cleansed…” Their obedience to His command without any initial evidence was the secret to their cleansing. Those who wait for the evidence first will never know the life of faith and the corresponding joy of seeing our Father work His work.
God told the army perishing of thirst to dig trenches… the next morning they were filled with water. The prophet told the woman to give him her last piece of bread the result being the meal did not fail to meet her needs. The scriptures are full of the works of faith preceding the work of God. Faith is the insignificant step on our part which releases His power into the situation.
May the Lord stir our hearts afresh to discover the depths of His provisions locked up in the lives around us. May we disregard our unbelief and no longer deny the talents given and His promises made that we may discover His experiential reality. Let us yield ourselves to the pulse of His Spirit within to break down the walls of fear and timidity.
Our God is an awesome God! Let this be not only a song we sing but a testimony we begin to walk in.
“…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
“Faith is simply the bringing of our minds into accord with the truth. It is adjusting our expectations to the promises of God in complete assurance that the God of the whole earth cannot lie.
As long as we question the wisdom of any of God’s ways our faith is still tentative and uncertain. While we are able to understand, we are not quite believing. Faith enters when there is no supporting evidence to corroborate God’s word of promise and we must put our confidence blindly in the character of the One who made the promise.” – A.W. Tozer
“For by grace are ye saved through faith”
The salvation of God is not based on His sentiment but upon His power. The power of sin can only be defeated by the power of His grace at work freeing the heart from its own inherent evil. Long lay the world lost in the contagion of its own construct. Faith is the conduit through which this power pours into the human heart. Every heart knows its own sorrow, its own helplessness, and its own misery. But Christ has come, and even more important IS come to deliver, heal and straighten that which is crooked. His works within the human heart are not based on anything less than the power of His eternal life-affecting Will in the divine act of redemption. This salvation is to result in something far more than forgiveness; it is a desire to set us free from the stain, the power, and the bondage of sin itself.
“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
The very words “indeed” in the Greek means “in reality” not in some doctrinal, esoteric concept but free in the Spirit of Him by whom we have access into “this grace”.
“Through Him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand…”
“This Grace” which is accessed in Him by faith produces a standing tall against the temptations and wiles of all which we encounter in this world. Faith is the victory for it is through its wonder that grace courses effortlessly into the broken hearts of humanity. How good and glorious is His plan of salvation for all who call upon His Name!
“…the grace of God subdues
the selfishness inherent in the natural heart” EGW
“I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Heavenly things require a steadfast walk here on earth in order to touch their realities. Heavenly visions by their very nature dictate an overcoming in the earth. The promises given to the various locations of the Church in the seven letters of the Book of the Revelation each ended with this solemn and hopeful exhortation; “To him that overcometh”. The promises of God are given with the expectation that by the power of His faith* working and moving in our hearts we find grace to obey. Obedience is ever the key to victory.
“…this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith”
1 John 5:4
*His Faith – “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20) Everything we have received – grace, mercy, faith are all gifts of Christ as the power of His growing salvation becomes alive within. We have nothing intrinsically – faith is the dynamic of Christ moving, pressing, and responding to the will and desire of the Father within us.
“My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13
How often we have missed God’s power in the simple things, the daily things, the seemingly innocuous things because of our own wrong thinking. The revelation of Christ is often found in a lad giving up his five loaves and two fishes; the widow simply pouring out the “little” oil she had on hand; the man putting forth his withered arm despite the scorn of the religious crowd; the woman breaking her prized alabaster box to worship Him lavishly.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
It requires a humble heart to see the glory of God in humble things. It takes a pure heart, transformed by the power of Grace, to see His opportunities all around us. His wisdom is buried in the mysteries of our own children, in the circumstances which come our way at home, at work, and in the mundane things of life. The Parables of Jesus were drawn from everyday examples filled with the power of truth. Though many heard, few understood their import. Jesus spoke in parables for He saw His Father’s truth in them. To Him, this world was filled with the Face of His Father everywhere He looked. The proud and haughty hearts of men saw nothing, heard nothing, and therefore continued in their blindness of heart.
It is the heart that determines our seeing and hearing of God. It is the “renewing of our minds” whereby we are able to “know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God”! Without these changes, men may read the scriptures, pray, and do many religious things, but the power of transformation ever eludes them. Life itself becomes mediocre and pedantic.
Paul was one filled with the joy and anticipation of ever learning through the varied experiences of life. He declared that the heavens, creation, and the wonder of nature were resplendent with the evident hand of God. He found glory in His sufferings, weaknesses, and weariness through God’s power and strength. He declared with boundless joy:
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”
The humble heart sees God in the humble and simple things. The pure in heart behold His wisdom and hand in the things which beset them. Such things are learned by the Holy Spirit working within our hearts through the medium of obedience unto the purifying of our souls.
“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
“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.”
“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”
“I remember the testimony of a single mother who was very poor. One day she had no food to feed her children breakfast, and no food to send with them to school.
She borrowed a friend’s cart and went to the river bed to dig dirt to sell so she could feed her children. While she was there a strong wind came upon her, and when the dust settled she saw money caught in a bush, which she used to buy food”
– Nickie Pinson
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
Oh, the penetrating questions of Jesus. “Do you believe now?” Our Lord is ever bringing us to the truth. There is something about the heart of man that evades the “present” tense of God; it is far easier to put truth off to a future age or dispensation. There can be a soothing and narcotic effect in occupying ourselves with future concepts and ideas. It is an escape, a diversion from present reality. Jesus is the “I AM” and it is the purpose of truth to make us true in the present. The reality is we only have enough breath for the moment and our present condition is our condition. It is here and now that Jesus brings us to the fundamental truth of our state.
“Do you believe now?”. Do you love Him now, His Body (His people)? Are His purposes your purposes for now? Years ago, I sat with a dying friend who had spoken often of his “destiny”; that one of these days God was going to speak a living word and he would be quickened to step into it. But it never happened. If truth is always kept in the future, we run out of the precious commodity of time.
Past, Future, and Present Truth
Martha and Mary were loved deeply by our Lord. Lazarus was dying and they sent for Jesus in desperation and trust. Upon hearing their urgent request Jesus tarried two more days. He knew all that was transpiring and plainly told the disciples that Lazarus was “now” dead. When Jesus arrived, He was met with the faith of the past.
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
A very powerful statement. Jesus in His pre-resurrection state, as a man incarnate, was restricted to the “present truth” of His physical existence. Yet even in this situation, He tarried in the wisdom of God. He is ever-pressing us to “believe now” and to conduct ourselves accordingly.
As the narrative unfolds Jesus meets these statements with the living truth: “Your brother will rise again”. Immediately comes the heartfelt response, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day”. In this interaction with two souls that Jesus loved greatly, we see that He is pressing them into the “now”, into the situation at hand. He has a deep desire to bring us in all things to the present truth, the reality of the now. May we who have ears to hear recognize the pressing of His Spirit to free us from our past and our unsubstantiated future concepts. It is an intense and difficult thing to allow Him to penetrate our religious notions with the present reality. But it is necessary and vital to bring us to the acknowledgment of our true condition. Those who hold to future things, while denying the present reality of themselves, circumvent the development needed to become all that He has purposed.
Paul declared in Philippians that he had not yet fully apprehended the call of God. He did not rest in some future thing but cried out with great urgency of spirit, “I press toward the mark”. There was no room for concepts and beliefs to deter him from the apprehension of Christ. His life was abandoned to Christ. He did not isolate himself from the ministry of God to the Body of Christ; he did not segregate himself from interaction with others. He was in fact a vessel poured out because of the love of Christ in his heart. It is the synthetic who hide from others, who deceive themselves to be ones set apart (as the Scribes and the Pharisees* of old). His Love propels His Own to identify with the lost, the hurting, and the bound. It is in the touching of others that we discover the truth of ourselves. The truth of our nakedness is revealed in our touching the nakedness of others. It is in our discovery of our needs on their behalf that we find His provision! How good and how right are His ways with us!
Religion as a mere belief relieves people from having to face the current fitness and verity of themselves. The true in heart desire to know and to face the truth of the moment. Multiple times the disciples asked Jesus why their prayers did not meet the situation at hand. Deep within they desired truth, the truth, of their powerlessness. They did not mask their condition with a future hope. Jesus responded to them with the thing they needed to hear: “because of your unbelief”. These moments are necessary for our growth and development in Him. If we brush past these moments, we are none the better and we continue our way without facing the facts. The true in heart receive the truth as it is and the door opens for greater faith, a living faith that releases His wonder in the situation. The discovery of our poverty is the door into His riches!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
The disciple of Christ must discover in present situations their present condition. Therein lies the challenge and the adventure into the discovery of Him within our own experience. The seeker of truth does not seek to comfort themselves in past or future things for the Christ they pursue IS COME to lead them, and more importantly, bring them to the Truth in all character and wisdom. Jesus in His wisdom presented to Martha and Mary the crowning revelation of the mystery of Himself.
“I AM the resurrection…”
He is not the “I Was” or the “I Will Be”; He is always the I AM.
“And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?”
A few years ago, in my private time with Him, the words came to me, “To grow in truth one must be true with oneself”. Our journey into truth must begin and remain open to receive its piercings and exposure of our condition.
“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
To which the answer of God is:
“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart”
When the truth is reduced to a confession, its wonder fades, its sword no longer pierces the heart. The result is faith without works, teachings instead of substance, and a limited vision of His power and glory.
“ Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth UNTO unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently”
1 Peter 1:22
The true in heart measure their obedience and walk with God by the fervency of love for His people (not only the ones in their immediate circle). This love reveals itself in deeds produced by a faith made alive through love (Galatians 5:6).
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
Can we hear Him calling us to the depths of Himself? Can we hear Him drawing us out of the ethereal, the forms of truth, and the comfort of mere confessions, into the vast wonder of His substance? Truth is the womb of repentance. Repentance brings us out of the shadows of obscurity into the penetrating gaze of Him alone before whom we must all give an account. Let not another day pass without a true turning unto Him who can cause us to become true witnesses of His Testimony within!
In the seeing of Him, we are afforded a seeing of ourselves (Isaiah 6:1-5). This great work of His Spirit will unveil all that Grace means. It causes us to glory afresh in His redemption of “our mortal bodies” by that SAME Spirit that raised Christ from the Dead. His resurrection will become more than a scriptural fact; it will be the living truth of Him at work within us. Love can only flourish between those who have seen themselves in the light of Him through the lamp of obedience. It is only through obedience that our “souls are purified UNTO the pure and fervent love of our brothers”. Love is the signature of God in a life. Love is being the face of Jesus to one another, where all our actions are governed by a pure desire to see His people WALK in the present truth of Christ.
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth. Beloved, you do a faithful work in whatever you accomplish for those who are brothers and strangers…”
3 John 1:4-5
God is not interested in truth coming from our lips only. The words which proceed from our lips are to be verified by our walk and our deeds.
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
* Note: Pharisees (Original meaning) “separated ones”; “called out ones”.