There can be no true holiness within a life that has not been broken by mercy’s touch, for true holiness is garmented in humility. The Mercy of God destroys pride and selfishness; it ruins a man’s trust in himself. The sheer weight of mercy leaves us without remedy in anything other than Christ.
Humility is the fruit of the mercy of God.
Those who know mercy
are in debt to the person of Christ for eternity.
“Then many of His disciples having heard,
said, This Word is hard; who is able to hear it?”
If it were easy; if it were something we could do on our own… there would be no need for Grace. The hard sayings of Jesus are not only offensive to the natural man, it is beyond the strength of man to walk in their wonder. We can either attempt to bring down His Word by diluting it or we can allow Him to raise us up on eagle wings.
“…they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles…”
Grace and Truth
“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Grace has come. It comes to all who will seek out the ONE who can lift us up into heavenly places and make us walk in the dynamic of His Spirit. Grace is the power to walk in truth. It is what turns the broken, the addicted, and the lost into lives filled with purpose and freedom.
The Grace of God is offered in Christ Jesus the resurrected ONE. Come to Him and allow His grace to fill your heart with the divine enablement to walk free and to live free.
“If it were only the exercise of the body, the moving of the lips, the bending of the knee, men would as commonly step to heaven as they go to visit a friend: but to separate our thoughts and affections from the world, to draw forth all our graces, and engage each in its proper object, and to hold them to it till the work prospers in our hands, this, this is the difficulty.”
– Richard Baxter
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ”
1 Corinthians 1:4
“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” Jeremiah 7:8-10
There is a striking similarity to the “gospel” of Jeremiah’s day as to ours. The common lot of man has not changed. The truths of God invariably fall into corruption by the infusion of men’s ideas, their concepts, and their innate desire to explain away the Word of His Truth. Throughout the ages, as Solomon noted, “there is nothing new under the sun”. The names, the phrases, the nomenclature may sound new and may be followed with great enthusiasm but the haunting emptiness of these things can never bring the wonder of His Presence in the human heart.
The darkest times in Israel’s history came when “every man did what was right in their own eyes”. The disconnection and the lack of community and oneness is the revelation of a people who live outside of God. The Holy Spirit within a heart produces the growing sense of our being “members one of another”. A living faith that fuses hearts by the very fire of God within each is God’s answer to a fallen and divided world. When carnal things, issues of the world, whether it be politics, medical protocols, or the latest headline, divide His people, we must begin to comprehend how far we have fallen from His Life within.
God hates mixture and any “gospel” which proclaims an amnesty from God’s Judgments as Israel was saying in Jeremiahs’s day… “we are delivered so that we can do these things” is heresy. The truth will always convict of sin, it will never compromise nor become comfortable with sins defiling scourge. Truth is given to set us free and only actual truth, powerful truth can actually set an individual free in the freedom of Christ.
The litmus test for us to know our current growth in His Truth will be evident in the freedom we have from sin and the corresponding freedom to make Him who is the truth known. Our lives are to be a statement of faith. How we live, how we conduct ourselves, and how deeply we feel the desire to fellowship in the light of Christ with all who walk in the light of Christ.
To rely on confessions without a corresponding walk is the definition of hypocrisy.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged”
1 Corinthians 11:31
If we would but let His Word bring conviction and judgment we will avail ourselves of His Grace. Our journey into truth must begin with our being truthful to our own condition. God never turned away from a penitent heart. He does and ever will turn from those who lean upon something other than the power of His life within to live righteously.
It is a day to let His word have its way in our hearts. To open ourselves to the Sword of the Spirit to cut away our entanglements, our numbness in order to bring us to pure and holy repentance. I have seen many turn themselves away from His truth by their religious confessions. Using His Word to justify themselves from the truth of His Word. There is no remedy for such.
“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy”
Mercy is not a doctrine, it is a power that enables us to offer our very lives to Him as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). To live within its sphere of power and to feel the beauty of a broken heart is a joy to those who have tasted of its wonder. Mercy, true and pure will break a heart more completely than any harsh judgment can.
Seek mercy, choose mercy, and let mercy’s power infiltrate our hearts afresh. For purity is bound within her garments, meekness shines with the gentle strength of Christ and His peace reigns where mercy has wrought her good work.
“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD” Zephaniah 2:3
“The hearts of the disciples were troubled because they feared the consequences of His leaving them. It is evident that they knew what it was to have the Saviour, and that is, I suppose, more than can be said of most now present. It was more than could be said of the disciples at one period of their lives; and more than can be said of those who are still in their natural state, for Scripture tells us that such are “without Christ”. Now, do you know what it is to be without Him? If not, you cannot know what it is to have Him. He will not be found with any that do not value Him. He is infinitely precious in Himself and infinitely precious in the eyes of the Father. Herein is love in its richest expression that the Father gave His Son, who was the love of His love and the heart of His kindness. The Son is the heart of the Fathers love if you get that, you have everything. He remains among a people as long as they think Him to be precious”
– Jonathan Ranken Anderson
“Unto you, therefore, which believe He is precious…”
1 Peter 2:7
The true testimony that our “belief” is born of a living faith is revealed in how precious HE is to us in our day-to-day life. Our estimation of His worth will be measured by our need and dependency upon Him in the outflow of everyday living. While many profess a “belief” in Him, His worth is known in the proportion of our need to live in a manner that pleases our Heavenly Father.
To those who live out of the resources of self have little need of Him. They may speak of Him, use His name for their endeavors, and yet be unaware of their desperate need of Him. It is the need that determines His value.
“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven” This is one of the richest places into which Jesus brings us. The poor have a right to everything in heaven. “Their’s is.” Dare you believe it? Yes, I dare. I believe, I know, that I was very poor. When God’s Spirit comes in as the ruling, controlling power of the life, He gives us God’s revelation of our inward poverty, and shows us that God has come with one purpose, to bring heaven’s best to earth, and that with Jesus He will indeed “freely give us all things.”
An old man and an old woman had lived together for seventy years. Someone said to them, “You must have seen many clouds during those days.” They replied, “Where do the showers come from? You never get showers without clouds.” It is only the Holy Ghost who can bring us to the place of realization of our poverty; but, every time He does it, He opens the windows of heaven, and the showers of blessing fall.
But I must recognize the difference between my own spirit and the Holy Spirit. My own spirit can do certain things on natural lines, can even weep and pray and worship, but it is all on a human plane, and we must not depend on our own personality. If the Baptism means anything to you, it should bring you to the death of the ordinary, where you are no longer putting faith in your own understanding; but, conscious of your own poverty, you are ever yielded to the Spirit. Then it is that your body becomes filled with heaven on earth.”
– Smith Wigglesworth
True spiritual Poverty is filled with the True Riches of Christ
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”
Being filled is a spiritual state. It is the result of Grace and Love being the nature of God Himself. Grace is given on the basis of faith. Faith is the conduit through which God transacts His Being to us.
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…”
Faith is the open door by which the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is poured without measure into the hearts of those who know deeply of their need for it. Hungering and thirsting after God is the result of the eyes of faith gazing into the riches of Christ and laying hold of its reality. Such lives cannot be contented with promissory notes, faith’s need is to acquire, to have, and to hold the real “substance” of God in our lives. Its very heartbeat is to “apprehend” to “lay hold” of the power of Him to live godly, purely, and freely unto Him in this darkened world.
Many in our day are content with words while the very language of faith as written in the New Covenant can be summed up in its exhortations to be held in the power and wonder of Christ. Where His grace is beckoning us to fullness, the richness of heart, and reality of His life gripping us and bringing us to full obedience to His Lordship.
A few examples… (please read the context of each that we might receive the full import of God’s heart)
“That I may apprehend…” Phil. 3:12
“So run, that ye may obtain…” 1 Cor. 9:24
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.”
1 Cor. 9:25
“…that they may lay hold on eternal life” 1 Tim. 6:19
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. “
“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead…”
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain”
2 Corinthians 6:1
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
1 Cor. 15:10
Grace received by faith produces a life filled with the dynamics of the Life of Christ to reach out, to press in, to labor abundantly for the glory of His Name.
May the Lord ever fill us with the fire to hunger and thirst after HIS righteousness. May we know the seeking of the true Kingdom where He is King over the unruly heart of man.
“Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
We can only imagine how the disciples felt at the growing realization that their Master was becoming unpopular with the leadership of the religious order of that day. Here we see them seeking to “inform” Him of the rising animosity. Healings and miracles had drawn the common people to Him, for He walked among them, ate with them, and related to their everyday life in His parables.
But His words pierced the religious with the light of truth. They revealed the hypocrisy and the vanity of men drunk with pomp and self-proclaimed importance. As centuries passed they slowly twisted His Word to support their own darkened ways, resulting in a blindness that bolstered their own pride and filled them with contempt for the common man.
Jesus responded to His disciples’ concerns with:
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
The religious teachers of that day were not teachable. Their hard hearts and pride prevented the beauty of Truth from invading their consciousness. Their knowledge and pre-conceived ideas prevented them from seeing the Glory of the Father standing before them; moving, healing, forgiving, and pouring out the mercies of God to all who would come. Jesus made no attempt to reach such, for spiritual blindness is the result of obstinacy and self-will.
Religion is simply men seeking to make God in their own image. Religion defines God for themselves rather than seeking to discover who He is. The true in heart do not allow others to define them or their God. As they grow in Truth they see themselves as they are and become free in the light of Him.
God is true. He is who He is. Those who fashion their religious ideals to suit their own forms of brokenness and blindness will never find Him. To those who come in childlike faith and humility, He will show Himself in the wonder of His own way in the human heart.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Truth alone restores the broken heart. Truth alone fills the unmet needs, cravings, and deep distress of the human race. Ideas, suppositions, and the banter of words will never alleviate the human condition.
Christ alone can set the captives free. In Him is Life and that Life is the healing balm for all who would come with their wounds, their lusts, and their sorrows. No one but Jesus can touch a life in the intimate places of the spirit.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
He did not come to bring another teaching or to add to our knowledge. He came so that all who will receive Him have the right, the privilege, and the power to become the offspring of God!
“But as many, as received Him, to them He gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul clearly saw his weaknesses as necessary for the power of Christ to be revealed. Those who rely on their own inherent strength to serve the Lord will never know the joy of this hidden secret. Our human weakness is the platform from which His glory is revealed! Faith glories in our inabilities and in our willingness to be lead. The carnal man uses weakness as an excuse to not obey God’s leading. But those who live in Him find their weaknesses advantageous to stepping into God’s strength and resources.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong…”
2 Corinthians 12:10
There are graces and resources of God hidden in our weakness. The sling of a young child slew the Goliath of the enemies of God. The source of this victory was God’s grace and the willingness of a young man to obey despite the circumstances.
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”
Those who rely on their own strength observe the outward conditions with their own eyes; they see the obstacles rather than the divine strength of God. The eleven disciples beheld the storm yet Peter alone ventured into the storm because of the faith of God moving within. It was only when the priests stepped into the Jordan that the power of God parted its flooding banks. It was not until Paul and Barnabas worshipped God that the prison was shaken. Let us not consider our own meager resources in serving our God. Let us not be ones who behold the winds and the clouds – our God is able!
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow…”
As we feel the winds of adversity arising in our land may we still be faithful sowers.
“…he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”
Let us not fear, let us not restrain our outreach into the world around us – He is able!
Once we recognize our weaknesses in the Spirit of faith we no longer ask God for deliverance from them but recognize that these are the very things through which HE has chosen to make Himself known. Many say “when God strengthens me – THEN I will go forth”. But years pass, weaknesses remain, and this short life ends in the poverty of unbelief. Faith moves. It trusts and knows that God uses the “weak things to confound the wise”!
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…”
2 Corinthians 12:10
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”
His response in finding the one…
“And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.”
There is something deep and precious here. He rejoices more over finding the lost one than He does over the others who have stayed true! May all those who have wandered from His care and His ways take note of His heart. Let not the shame, and the self-castigation keep you from returning. Run to Him and let Him hold out the “everlasting arms” of love and consolation to wrap you in the security of a love that is as endless as the universe itself.
“O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.”
Let not the voice of the enemy taint your vision of the Love He holds for His own. His searching, His Spirit whispering the words of love and comfort to return to the One from whom the fountains of grace flow readily and unreservedly into the broken, the lost, and the wayward ones. His beacon ever shines to guide the lost home into the harbor of quiet waters.
“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.”