“It is more blessed to give than to receive”
God, Himself is such. The great supplier of all things is most Blessed and Joyful. Our poverty is His joy. Our needs only bring Him greater Joy. If we knew His heart we would ask largely, we would stretch our faith to draw from Him the “riches of His Glory”.
Our imperfections are the means of His redemption. His grace desires to fill every empty vessel. His wisdom knocks on the door of the foolish heart. His Love sent His Son to this sin-ravaged world. To the broken, He offers healing, and to the lost, He sends the Great Shepherd. It is to those who open the doors of their hearts who find His unlimited giving.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst
after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
God loves a cheerful giver for such is He Himself.
“There could be no riches but for need. God Himself is made rich by man’s necessity. By that He is rich to give; through that, we are rich by receiving”
– George MacDonald
“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”
– Charles Spurgeon
“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
One cannot be of this world and know the unity of His Spirit. To “be of the world” is to be at variance with His people, His nature, and His Life. To prefer our brother or sister over ourselves, to feel the call to union with Him is to seek that in His people. The unity of Him is simply the resplendent nature of Him drawing us to one another, this drawing is the joy and fruit of those who live in His Spirit.
“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.”
Love of the Truth is the Nature Of God in Man The Love Of the Truth Causes us to Love IN Truth
“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.
“Let not the earth of me eclipse the power of You”.
This phrase ran through my heart the other morning. The fact that the moon can eclipse the sun, flimsy clouds can impede its warmth, and the rotations of the earth completely hide it, are all pictures to me of the importance of keeping my heart fixed upon Him.
God in His infinite wisdom has placed within us, a will; the ability to choose, to make decisions, and to set our affections on things to which we are inclined. It is in this crucible that salvation’s power is most evident. Outward storms of life can affect us, they can bring affliction and distress, but it is ultimately our attitude and will that determine the outcome of life. A religion that does not move the will, does not capture, and harness its choices, does not affect it with a Love that overrules our base desires, would be a dismal experience.
It is within the mystery of His Will subduing our own, causing us to make heavenly choices, that Grace is most revealed. To stay the course, to fix our affections upon Him who walked purposefully to Calvary’s despicable death by His own unshakeable Will, is the true hope of our salvation. That indomitable Love that shaped His decision is the same Love that will fulfill His redemptive work in fallen man.
“Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive…”
May our love of Him fully captivate our hearts, may His grace bind our hearts to the altar, may His strength fill our weakness, that we stay true to the course set before us.
“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.”
“I will bring you into the bond of the covenant”
The true freedom of the Lord is bound in our relationship with Him. There is a freedom found in our ability to express Him in the situations of life. Spiritual freedom is in our inability to harbor unforgiveness, to be liberated from envy and jealously, and to love others regardless of their treatment of us.
“Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”
The elect of God show forth their election by the life lived and the character revealed. There is a dynamic of Christ to show forth HIS qualities through the yoke of relationship. Submission to Christ is freedom. In our obedience we show forth His Lordship, in our giving up our rights we discover His. To rule and reign in the life to come He is to rule and reign in this life. Faith and hope see beyond the reaches of today, love is the reins of the free.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye…”
Forgiveness is the path to freedom. The injuries of others if not forgiven bind us in the grievous chains of our own making. To live free in Christ is to forgive as He forgives, to bear long with one another is the mark of the true disciple. Paul continues in this flow of life with the crescendo…
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
Love is the binding agent living, working, and bringing the heart to the freedom of the Cross. There was no power on earth which could hold the Son of God to the cross other than the Love of the Father. The freest soul on earth is the one most bound to the supremacy of love.
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…”
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Love is the foundation from which we are able to comprehend the vastness of God. Without this foundation, we are left with words, concepts, and a small view of all that God is. As we open ourselves up to the word of God, He will highlight things to us, and we see something we can build our life upon. Here Paul is writing to the Thessalonians. (Recognize that whereas James, John, Jude, and Peter are writing to the whole church, Paul’s is a more specific apostolic ministry). He writes to the church in different locations and even personal letters to address and strengthen and encourage them in those areas where they have a particular need. He is laying foundations whereas the others are calling God’s people to build on those foundations. Allow these words in the Epistle to the Thessalonians to enter your heart:
“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
Love is the most stabilizing grace in God. As we grow in the love of God we grow in His stability because love is the character and foundation of His relationship with you and me. All His working and doing in us is because He loves us. Whom the Lord loves He chastens. Whom the Lord loves He blesses. Whom the Lord loves He fashions and strengthens and encourages that we might strengthen and establish others. The Greek word used here, “that He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness” is the same one that Jesus used when He spoke to Peter, “When you are converted, strengthen your brothers.” As you grow in your establishment and as we allow Him to convert us from our selfish ways, God allows you to strengthen others through the same love that has established you. Even in the biggest mistakes you make, you keep discovering this unfathomable love of God and you wonder… why does He stay with me? Because He is your foundation.
As you grow in God, He develops patience in you for others, because the love wherewith He has loved you is now being formed in you to love others to the end that they may be established. He is telling Peter, when you are converted, strengthen others; the depth of your conversion is revealed in the divine enablement for you to strengthen others. Knowing Him who is love enables us to love others with the same love wherewith He has loved us.
In Thessalonians, Paul addresses the day of God’s return. The man of sin is going to arise, there will be shakings and desolation, false prophets, etc. As you read this book there is a “flavor” all the way through of the Love of God. There were false epistles being written to them saying that the resurrection had already happened, and they had missed it. Paul is calming them down in the Spirit, asking them to remember the former things that had been ministered to them. “Don’t you remember when we were with you, and we told you the things that were going to characterize the day of the Lord?” (1 Thessalonians 3:4) He is settling them. God wants to produce in us that ability to settle, to strengthen, to confirm, to correct, and to reprove each other; that we may be established in the power and the wisdom and the glory of God.
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”
Faith is the conduit through which His Life in us becomes Light to the world. Life bereft of this shining forth of Him into the lives of others is a life lived outside the sphere of a living faith. It is impossible to have and to hold the majestic Life of Christ within and not feel the Love that precipitated His coming. “For God so loved the world”- not just our little circle of Christian friends. Love is the initiator of faith. Faith cannot be barren when love is its power.
“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.