“O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer...”
Prayer especially in the morning is to be the inspiration and the very place wherein we touch His presence and receive the breath of life to face the day before us. Unlike the material creation, the spiritual life requires the breath of life continuously. We are exhorted in John 15 to abide in the vine in order to live and bear fruit.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Our inherent weakness requires something far more than fleeting moments of inspiration. There is within God’s wisdom a need (on our part) and a provision (on His part) for our life to become grafted in by the continuous operation of Faith. It is from this live connection where the flow of Grace sustains us, transforms us, and brings us into the resources to live beyond the limitations of this earthly existence.
The One great aspect of prayer is not so much in our asking for things but in simplicity communing with Him who is our breath of life.
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
“A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God.“
– A.C. Dixon
“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
“And the foundation of the wall of the city having been adorned with every precious stone: The first foundation, jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald…”
In Revelation 21:19 we see that John lays out the twelve precious stones of the foundations of the wall. Every one of those stones speaks of an aspect of the glory and the graces of God in us. The first foundation is the jasper. John said when he saw the throne of God, he saw One that sat upon the throne who was like jasper.
“And at once I became in spirit. And, behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And the One sitting was in appearance like a jasper stone, and a sardius; and a rainbow was around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.” Revelation 4:2-3
The first foundation in our life is the character of God Himself. That jasper stone speaks of the immovable character of God and the immutability of His promises to us. We can trust His promises because we have come to know the One who made the promise. Many of God’s people try to embrace the promises of God without knowing the character of God. They are always trying to convince themselves of something. But as you come to know your God, spending time with Him in prayer and communion, you begin to step out of the boat of your own understanding into the storms that God brings. Think about Peter. He stepped out of the boat. Why? Because Jesus was out there and there was a faith that rose and said, “I can trust my God.” As you begin to feel the movements of God in your heart, He is going to call you out of all kinds of boats. The boat may be comfortable, but He is going to call you out into the turbulent waters, and you are going to find that His character sustains you. His grace enables you to walk beyond your own capability. Allow God to establish you by walking in His word, trusting His character and His promises, and He will make you one who is able to stand in the days ahead.
In the book of Isaiah 32:2, God is prophesying of the last days and says, “My people will be a covert…” for others. My people will be a hiding place. My people will be a source of strength and stability to others. You cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. That is why God has invited you into the school of His Spirit, to strengthen and establish you in Himself.
“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 beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.”
Song of songs 1:14
THE SECRET PLACE OF COMMUNION
Our time of communion with Him brings intimacy; a knowing, touching, and seeing fresh revelations of Him. Our understanding of Him grows more personal as He draws near.
“My beloved is to me…”
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, one pervading beat resonates within the hearts of His Own: “My Beloved, My Shepherd, My God”. While many may know Him on a basic level, there are always some who know Him in a deeper way. This knowing transcends teachings and concepts. It is knowledge born of personal relationship. Those who speak of this ONE no longer speak within the confines of information and intellect. They speak of wonder, burdens, waves of affection, and gentle repose. The clouds of reason cannot dissuade, arguments and debates of the religious cannot disturb; it is the knowledge of His presence. Those who have touched this wonder can no longer tarry in the realm of man’s surmising and wisdom, of carnal thoughts and esoteric reasonings. The wonder and beauty of Christ eclipses all other things and makes them dull and withering by comparison.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”
1 John 1:7
In the sharing of who He is we experience that deep and personal fellowship with one another. There is an exhilaration in life that increases the depths of love and devotion for Him. This brings change, conviction, and awe to all involved.
“…in his temple doth every one speak of his glory”
Those who live and abide in Him can speak of nothing else. There is a communication of love, a release of His grace, within the atmosphere of those who meet in His Name (His Nature, His Spirit). They cannot find rest in the mundane and trivial words of men.
“To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary”
True ministry arises effortlessly from those who behold Him in the sanctuary of their own hearts.
“Give, and good measure will be given to you, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, they will give into your bosom. For the same measure which you measure, it will be measured back to you”
The secret of living is found in our giving. The economy of God is an expression of His Own heart. While we were yet sinners, estranged, lost, and wandering, He gave Himself on our behalf. His generosity is to invade our own. His Love is to create within us the same selfless giving. He has purposed this life to be one of receiving based on our degree of giving. While many use this truth regarding the “unrighteousness mammon”, first and foremost it is spiritual, which is the true riches. God’s giving is of Himself, not just things. As we give of ourselves to others we, in turn, experience the wonder of that overflowing measure.
It is interesting in this scripture that the receiving is into your “bosom” not necessarily your bank account. The true riches of God in Christ are His graces and His character. Those who live and walk in Him are able to give those same riches into the lives of others.
“What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything”.
– Dwight L. Moody
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”
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)