“And Asa cried unto the Lord his God…”
2 Chronicles 14:11
Within the life of true disciples, there are experiences and unveilings of our God which leave His indelible mark on them. There are mountain-top experiences, revelations undiscernible to the human eye, and visitations to His own. As precious as these experiences are, it is in the valleys, in the darkest times of the night, where the God of all gods becomes our God. It is in the valley of the shadows; in the lonely and desolate places we discover “thou art with me”. (Ps. 23:4) In the tapestry of our own personal life, it is the dark threads that accentuate the bright colors of His own weavings. His “curious work” (Ps. 139:15-16) wrought within the “secret” places of our being are full of wisdom and understanding far beyond our own ability to comprehend.
Asa was raised in a religious environment where idolatry and compromise infiltrated the land of Judah. But the word declares:
“And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God”
2 Chronicles 14:2
He stood up against the heathen ways which mingled with the worship of God. He stood for truth and became an instrument of Light in his day. The contemptible ways of human reasoning, the groves, and the false and defiling things which were of his own house, made Asa rise up in passion and love for his God.
“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.”
1 Kings 15:11-13
Truth, to be truth, must first find expression in our own personal lives, then in our families, before it can bear fruit in the world around us. Asa’s passion for God began in his own sphere of life. God’s ways change not and our love of truth must also bear testimony of its power within our own lives.
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”
1 Timothy 3:2-5
May we consider the testimony of those who have gone on before us; men and women who walked in the truth of their day, who stood for righteousness and by such OBTAINED a “good report” (Heb. 11:2) in the eyes of God! Let us arise out of the mediocrity of our day as we feel the coming storm. As Asa, let us walk in the Light of God, proclaiming His truth to all within the sphere of our lives – beginning with our own self. We must awake from the slumber and the obscurity of soothing words and a gospel void of the fire and intensity of spirit that leaves us barren and numb to His “voice”.
He is calling out to us TODAY, if we will HEAR what the Spirit is saying.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
“…every where and in all things I am instructed”
There was an intensity in Paul to garner the wisdom of God in all things. He was alive and active in his walk with God. He learned because he wanted to learn from every situation. God speaks to us within our own hearts, He speaks through others who care about our progress in the Lord and also in the situations we encounter if we apply our hearts unto wisdom. A wise heart hears the words of others; they consider all things before God because they know that there is so much more in God than they presently see.
The mark of a true disciple is the intensity of heart to learn of their master.
“And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
(2 Sam 5:19)
2 Samuel 5:17-25 is the Story of David and his second set of victories, illustrating how we are to stay current with God, gaining conquests in our own hearts. Our inheritance in God, our place of growing under His authority, is going to be to the measure in which we gain our own spiritual victories, both internally and also externally.
God has graciously provided us opportunities to grow into that authority that He is going to unveil in and through each of us, individually and corporately on this Day. The key to victory is to never go up to do battle in your own strength, but to remain in the Stronghold – Him Who IS your victory!
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present Truth.”
(2 Peter 1:12)
Whenever the Spirit of God is speaking to you He is speaking the whole truth concerning you. He is ever seeking to bring you into the place of a connection and a living truth that you might be in the “present” Truth. In the Greek, the “present truth” is, in essence, “the truth of THE presence”that you might be equipped and prepared to walk in a living and consistent walk, in sync with what He is doing on the earth.
Jesus said, “the words I speak they are spirit and they are LIFE!” and as you develop that personal relationship with Jesus there is an unfolding, and a familiarity, that grows within your life of Him speaking to you on a very personal level, where the word of the Lord isn’t the word of Elijah or the word of Ezekiel, but it’s the Word of the Lord to you and through you!
The whole purpose of ministry is to bring you into the place where you begin to speak the voice of The Lord in that particular wonder of His revelation to you. In the hearing of Him, we begin to walk in the present truth of His ministration to this generation and to the church in which we live.
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”
Becoming One is the result of following the One Shepherd
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd”
Unity is inevitable where God reigns. Within the secularized landscape of Christendom, there are many who hold to the teachings of men, the agendas of men, and the ways of men. This allows the self to remain intact while claiming to follow the Crucified One. The true child of God who follows the Voice of the Shepherd cannot remain in the shallows of separation and division. Those who hear His voice grow INTO the ONE FOLD because they follow the ONE SHEPHERD. Unity of heart is the incomprehensible work of the Spirit of Christ. There is a fusion in the fire of His love of those who follow Him alone.
“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
Only through obedience can we know this unifying power. Those who cling to mere teachings of the Shepherd without the corresponding obedience to Him will never feel the fervency of the power of the love of God. It is His Voice that draws and gathers His Own. In the act of abiding in Him, the unifying wonder of His Life joins member to member.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Unity is the result of a New Creation Life that transcends pride, variance, strife, and the divisive ways of men. Obedience to the truth is how the old leaven of the natural man is put to death (mortified Romans 8:13) by the Spirit of God in those who desire purity of heart. It is the “pure in heart” who see God; it is the pure in heart who are brought “unto the unfeigned love of the brethren”. This purity can only be known by each one “obeying the truth” in the sanctum of their own hearts. Unity is the offspring of obedience. Those who hold only to the tenets of Christ, though loved of Him, will never truly touch the power of this unifying love. Unity cannot be known apart from obedience, for unity, the true Unity of the Body of Christ is the result of His Lordship in our lives.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
His Lordship is revealed by our obedience. It is the un-crucified self with all its passions, its desire for pre-eminence, it’s holding of unforgiveness, its refusal to humble itself, its inability to feel the press of His Spirit to seek reconciliation, its lack of understanding the need to preserve the Unity of the Spirit, that can never fathom the depths of the Love of Christ.
Sheep and Goats
The Judgment of God upon His own is pronounced upon the nature of the individual, not upon the beliefs of the individual.
“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left”
The sheep are those who have received the Lamb of God and have allowed His Life to permeate their own heart by virtue of being partakers of the Divine Nature. The goats are those who may have experienced the “new birth” but failed to allow the nature of Christ to bring them into submission and obedience to Him. They may cry out “Lord, Lord…” and perform miracles and great “Christian” works yet have never been “known” of Christ Himself. They may have sat under His teachings, known His word, taught others, prayed, and a host of other things; everything except obey His Word and humble themselves to the WAY of Christ. These are the goats who by their very nature believe the things of Christ, but will not submit themselves to the doing of His Will. It takes the Life of Christ to obey the Will of the Father. It is that same Life that unites them into ONE BODY.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”
1 John 1:7
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…”
The Church of Jesus Christ began with the roar of a mighty wind and flaming tongues of fire and we can rest assured it will end in greater glory than when it began.
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning…”
While men contemplate a defeated, beleaguered, and divided church leaving this earth with a whimper, God’s Word declares something contrary.
“God always saves the Best wine for the last”
In a mere fifty days, the fearful disciples became blazing Apostles, the fear of man was eviscerated in the power of God and the salvation of God went forth in the life-changing dynamic of the living God. The same hope holds in our day while many are content with things as they are; God is preparing a deep and holy move of His Spirit. A fresh and vital pouring forth of Himself which is preceded by the spirit of burning and repentance; for “the depth of revival is determined by the depth of repentance”, so may God pour out upon us the “spirit of grace and supplications” that we may touch the Holy of God and thereby be worthy* to be filled with His Holy Fire. It requires the moving of the spirit of Grace to produce the spirit of supplication and repentance. Grace for grace, faith for faith, and glory for glory unto those who have been faithful in this hour of great testing.
It is a day to lift up our eyes unto the hills for the King of Glory is coming and His reward is with Him to render unto every man the fruit of their ways.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be…”
“…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”
“I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul’s safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power“
– Samuel Chadwick
* NOTE: Man in himself is never worthy of Him nor the power of the indwelling Spirit but by the power of the Blood of Christ, we are to be holy recipients of His Holy Spirit. We areexhortedto “walk worthy of God” who has called us to walk in heavenly places.
“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” 1 Thessalonians 2:12
“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!”
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…”
In God’s purposes, “the fulness of the time” happened to be during the tyrannical control of the one-world government of Rome. The Jewish faith had deteriorated into darkness, and the common man had little reason for hope. Just prior to the birth of Jesus, Herod, fearing a “coming Messiah”, decreed that hundreds of babies be murdered. Factious, religious elements were constantly rising to challenge the Roman rule of the time.
The Fulness of Time
God’s measure of time is different than ours. The things men fear, loss of liberty, loss of religious freedom, and oppression by worldly governments, do not hold the same estimation in His eyes. The fulness of time is about the person of Christ, not the common lot of men. He is the Light and Life of another realm. He is the salvation of God for all. He stepped out of eternity into the limitation of time to breathe into all creation the atmosphere and wonder of heaven. The Man of Sorrows has come to instill His Joy and Peace into fallen humanity, even unto those who call upon His Name.
The Fulness of Time
The fulness of time has once again come to mankind. God’s purpose is to bring an end to the sin and corruption of a dying world. We may seek to delay this hour, to cling to a form of government which cannot rectify our condition, to maintain a religious “freedom” that has failed to bring us into the liberty of His Spirit.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed”
Read about of the judgments of God in times past (which Christ declared would typify His return): the world laid waste in Noah’s Day; the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by the fire and brimstone of God’s indignation. These were precursors to the Day we are in.
The fulness of time has now come upon us. It is not a day for protesting and rebellion, nor is it a day to cower in fear. It is a day to submit our hearts afresh unto Him who rules and reigns over the affairs of men. This day of darkness*, blasphemy and destruction must come for the culmination of this creation must pass away in order that the new may arise. Christ crucified is God’s answer for the human race. Christ crucified is the end of this creation and His resurrection is the beginning of a new creation. It is incumbent upon those who walk in the Spirit of Christ to walk in the light of this truth:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!”
2 Peter 3:10-12
The Day of the Lord is the end of a realm, it is the long-anticipated execution of a sentence passed on Calvary. Christ was crucified and that we may be co-crucified with Him, to be prepared for HIS coming.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”
The fulness of time is upon us and the revelation of every person’s walk, our works, and the verity of our faith, will be fully revealed and tested by fire “for the Day of the Lord will declare it”.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the DAY shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward”
1 Corinthians 3:13-14
Peter’s faith was revealed in spite of his loud professions. The fulness of time is upon us and the untested faith of many will be revealed; religious confidence will fail and even the gold will be tested to the very limits of its endurance. It is time to cry unto Him for the substance of faith and purity of heart to face this Day in the strength of Him.
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved”
*“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light”
Those who know not the manner of His appearing or the true condition of their own hearts speak with the bravado of the foolish. Those with a glimpse of the Day respond with a deep sense of our need to be “hid in Christ”. God is calling out in this hour:
“Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come”
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire…”
God is raising up prophetic voices to call His people to repentance; to Spirit-inspired intercessions beyond the casual prayer meetings of the day. His voice is going forth to all who have an ear to hear and a heart that responds to His Call.
“Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision**! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision**”
**Hebrew חָרוּץ – From the Ancient Hebrew Root meaning “A sharp cutting instrument…” The transliteration of this verse would read “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of the sharp threshing instrument…” This verse speaks of the Word of the Lord in the Book of Revelation:
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: FOR THE TIME IS COME for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe”
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”.