“And he said, WHO art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, WHAT wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”
Different translations of this verse read both “he considered not” and “he considered” his own body in his estimation of God’s promise. According to the original, both are accurate. In Abraham’s estimation of his situation, he “considered not” his own vitality. He did not take into account his age or Sarah’s condition in light of the immensity of God’s promise. He did not ignore his situation, nor did he “pretend” to not see his helpless state. The original language indicates that he “considered” full well the impotency of both he and Sarah and YET continued to believe, to move, and to obey the God in whom he had placed his trust.
Faith is not blind; it is not a religious exercise in futility. Faith is the ability to fully consider our situation and, in the face of overwhelming odds, believe God! Faith launches men and women into the impossible, the unfathomable and the insurmountable because it does not take into account our own resources. We find a trust to cross rivers, to face lions, to travel on in desert places knowing that He who has called us is faithful.
Do not see the obstacles, the limitations, the flaws in your own being as impediments to God’s glorious power. Do not allow the history of the past to prevent the opportunities of the present from becoming your future victories.
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth…”
1 John 5:5
True believing produces an overcoming. It is not static; it is not in word only. The overcoming is as actual as the faith which produces it. Overcoming found in the lives of those who no longer consider themselves, but who by faith rise up and trust the One who cannot lie. Obedience is the highest expression of faith. To step into the waters of the raging sea one must believe that He is able. To refuse to pay tribute to the kings of this world while facing the fiery furnace one must have faith. The call of God is not to the wise, the strong or the noble; it is to those who in their weakness find Him strong.
The present situation in which we find ourselves is an opportunity to give Him glory. In Darkness falling, in evil arising, in health issues, in all of the peculiar challenges of our own life: “Let God Arise!
The smallest candle cannot be extinguished by the darkness which surrounds it.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“…the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way”
The purpose of the Way of God is to bring purity and freedom. By design it shatters our self-seeking and self-realization. It is not an easy way. Our concepts and aspirations will be crushed in the wilderness. It is there our presumptions must die in order to prepare us for the Land of Promise. The Land of Promise is where “we live, move and have our being” in Him. It is where resurrection Life arises out of the grave of self. That carnal self ever seeks to have the pre-eminence; it is the antithesis of all that God has purposed in Christ. Unity in Him is the result of a people who have laid aside their carnal selves for the joy of relationship in Him. They understand and feel the cords of Life binding them to one another. Humility is a necessity for those who seek the reality of being “hid with Christ in God”.
The Way will dry up the springs of self. Obedience is the Way into the provisions of Christ. The life of obedience is what gives us access to the “Tree of Life” and the abundance of all Christ is.
“Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city”
The Tree of Life gives its fruit in every season. It is rooted deeply in the River of Life and in fact the River runs through this living Tree.
“…on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month…”
Let us be not discouraged by the Way of Christ. Let us not fall victim to self-pity, murmuring, blaming others, and the bitterness that can so easily contaminate our being. The Way of Christ is sure. His end is glorious and His Wisdom beyond our own. Blessed are we if we continue to “do Truth” in spite of the hardness of the way. The Passover was eaten with “bitter herbs”; a reminder that the bitter way brings us to sweet waters and the “oil of Joy for mourning”.
Faithfulness is revealed in our obedience to Him regardless of our feelings and disillusionment. It is here the mettle of our faith is tried, the reigns of our hearts tested, and the power of His Life is increased within us.
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”
He is worthy of a faith life which continues to do of His good pleasure regardless of the situations in which we find ourselves.
“And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet”
May we be of such a disposition that when He comes to our tree He may find fruit even in the time when by “nature” the season has not yet arrived. Save us oh Lord from a life of fig leaves (the religious garments of Adam) and cause us Lord to bear fruit in every season!
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” (Psa 84:5-7)
Mat 5:44 “but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you,”
Mat 5:45 “so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.”
Mat 5:46 “For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?”
Mat 5:47 “And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so?”
Mat 5:48 “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
The higher life is a lowly life. This call to truth, to the actual living out of His life in us is impossible in our own self; the true godly life is self-less. His Life is required in order to live His Life! There are no substitutes, teachings or strategies which will avail us of this wondrous reality.
This phrase struck me this morning: “Love your enemies”. We all have those who marginalize, disrespect, and even plainly hate us. God is gracious to provide us with real-life opportunities to become sons of His by discovering His nature within; to love in word and in deed those who mistreat us. While many look for signs, wonders and overt acts of God, the greatest display of God’s power is found in loving those who mistreat us.
“Love your enemies” is the resplendent Call of God. In the doing of such love, we fulfill the purpose of the Call of God in Christ: “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. Perfection in Christ can only be realized by our doing the love we have been called to. The love of which God speaks is revealed in the deeds it produces. It is beyond words.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
John follows this remarkable truth with another:
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:19
Love is the evidence of truth. Our standing in the truth of Christ must be assessed by the Word of God and not by our own carnal estimations. The divisions and secular composition of the Body of Christ, the lack of His Truth in our midst, belies our true condition.
“For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have?”
Our attitude toward others is the revelation of the depth our abiding in Him.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”
2 Peter 1:5
2 Peter 1:4-12
(Read these passages
prayerfully and truthfully!)
Peter knowing “his departure was at hand” was setting forth specific truths in his last Epistle to the church to ensure that their faith would continue to abound. He sets forth with utter clarity the growth required to enter the Kingdom of God.
In this fatherly display of love for God’s people, Peter speaks calmly and truthfully of his own approaching martyrdom. His concern is not for himself; his burden is for their continued growth and vitality in the diligence required to enter the Kingdom of God. He presents a “ladder” for them to continue to add the steps necessary to receive an “entrance” into the Kingdom of God. Without this divine diligence they would fall into “barren and unfruitful” living. Peter exhorts God’s people to give “ALL diligence” to add to their faith the virtues and graces necessary to fulfill the purposes of God.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity…”
2 Peter 1:5
Why does Peter so powerfully exhort God’s people to this diligence?
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:8
The cultivation of these graces in our lives is the source of our fruitfulness! Any knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ which leaves us “barren and unfruitful” is the result of a spiritual blindness and a forgetting of the marvelous love which accompanied our salvation.
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”
2 Peter 1:9
Fruitless living is a testimony of our blindness and forgetfulness, in the loss of the wonder of our salvation. The diligent in heart must bear fruit; anything less is a contradiction of the nature and the ways of God (John 15:2).
Peter goes on to declare:
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…”
2 Peter 1:10
Many speak of election and of being the called of God. Peter here exhorts us to give diligence to “make our calling and election sure”! It is foolish to glory in being called while failing to live diligently; it is a deception of those who hear but do not obey. Read these scriptures carefully, prayerfully, and honestly, for there is no greater delusion than the sin of presumption!
Peter, in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, lays before God’s people the secret of entering into the Kingdom of God: by giving all diligence to the things of God. It is important to read this in the full context for our learning…
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:10-11
Salvation is free and is the result of faith in the mercies and wonder of God in Christ. Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires something far more than a simple confession. Until we realize the difference between an initial salvation and the entering into Kingdom of God, we will continue to see the apathy and the blindness of the Laodicean Church ethos! A gospel which does not make the distinction between these two, where mere confession alone replaces the necessity of diligence, will leave us blind and indifferent to our own condition.
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
When confession becomes the standard of the church, when men are satisfied in what they know rather than in what they walk and many are content to live lives which do not impact those in the world around us we can be sure of our desperate condition before God.
Barren is the life which rests upon something other than the development of Christ within.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth”
Lukewarm living and lives devoid of the works of Faith are the revelation of the Laodicean “spirit”.
The two deadly sins of religion…
1. Faith without works
2. Works without faith.
In Hebrews the Holy spirit declares emphatically…
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful…”
“And this is the writing that was written,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.”
The “handwriting is on the wall”. This is no longer just a rhetorical quote. The Almighty God has made a declaration of judgment. It is a judgment upon North America. Just as Belshazzar in his prideful heart ridiculed the precious things of God, so this generation has mocked God and He has spoken “UPHARSIN” over our land. His Word in Daniel’s day was written in the Ancient Chaldean language and could only be read and interpreted by one who walked in the Spirit of God and understood that Judgment was about to fall. There are few in the church today who “see” the handwriting on the wall. There are few, as the Prophet Zephaniah declared, who can hear“the voice of the DAY of the Lord”. There is a voice in the Day calling us to repentance and preparation for His coming.
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near,
and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord” Zephaniah 1:14
The great Day of the Lord is upon us and it will be unveiled in successive judgments. God’s determination is fixed. He will harden men’s hearts, and, in their fury, they will gnash their teeth. This will increase the suffering of God’s people even as did Pharaoh in the beginning of the plagues, but the Holy Verdict will accomplish God’s own purposes. God judgments will bring affliction upon all; the same fire which consumes the wood will purify the Gold. How little we comprehend of the Holiness and Majesty of our God!
God is speaking the final word of the sentence passed upon Belshazzar to North America. He speaks of division, lawlessness and anarchy. The rider of the Red Horse is coming, and his mandate is to take peace from the earth. The chaos and rending of division have begun and there is no stopping it.
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” Revelation 6:3-4
UPHARSIN* means DIVIDED. “A nation divided against itself cannot stand”. The once proud and mighty nation will be swallowed up in its own destructive ways. We must prepare for the dark hour which is upon us.
*Note: UPHARSIN - defined “…thy kingdom is divided, or broken into pieces, and given to the Medes and Persians. The meaning is not that the kingdom was to be divided into two equal parts, and the one part given to the Medes and the other to the Persians; but פְרַס is to divide into pieces, to destroy, to dissolve the kingdom”Keil & Delitzsch
“PERES*; Thy kingdom is divided”
*NOTE: “Peres - In Dan 5:25 this is “Upharsin.” These are but different forms of the same word - the word in Dan 5:25 being in the plural, and here in the singular. The verb (פרס peras) means, to “divide;” and in this form, as in the previous cases, it is, according to Gesenius, participle meaning “divided.” Albert Barnes
Upharsin– Speaks of plural “dividers” and factions at work in a nation while the Peres speaks of the resulting division as the singular outcome. God is bringing this division and chaos to the nations in order to work His unity in His divided and carnal Church. All these things are working together for His purposes in the earth. The siftings of His Spirit are upon us and there will be divisions in the “professing” church for He will fully reveal them who serve the Lord from those who serve Him not (Malachi 3:18). He will fully answer the Prayer of Jesus in John 17… “That they may be one”. The pride and desire for pre-eminence will be broken in His House with the intent that they who are His will be fused in a love so deep, so pure and so divine that the world will marvel at His Work within the True Body of Christ. He is determined and will leave nothing of the residue of the fallen Adam nature to linger in His holy bride. (Brian Troxel)
“MENE*; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it”
MENE, MENE* means we have been measured. The literal Hebrew: Numbered as if falling short in stature and its length of days are finished*(see below). God is thorough. His judgments are meted out from beginning to end. In the Book of Revelation, He reveals Himself as “the beginning and the ending”; (not end but ending). His endings are a process; they tear down, they divide, they bring famine, pestilence and woe. When He judges a nation its ending is complete as it was in Egypt. It was an unrelenting series of Judgments to bring the land to desolation and great sorrow. In the midst of His judgments on Egypt He hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to bring His full justice upon their pride and arrogance. The ending of our land has entered its final stages. God has brought us to the precipice of a new day and with it comes the four-horseman. The great seals are even now being removed and their decrees are bringing the ramifications of judgment which will culminate in God’s glory.
*Note: MENE defined “Daniel accordingly interprets מְנֵא thus: God has numbered (מְנָה for מְנָא, perf. act.) thy kingdom, i.e., its duration or its days, וְהַשְׁלְמָהּ, and has finished it, i.e., its duration is so counted out that it is full, that it now comes to an end”Keil & Delitzsch
When God pronounced judgment upon the faithless and wicked priesthood of Eli, the prophet declared: “For when I begin, I also make an end”. The beginning of God’s work in our land is the end of a manner of life as we now know it. The insolence and pride of the Laodicean Church was one of frivolity and ignorance of her true condition; a deceptive, lethargic ethos to which God spoke “be zealous therefore, and repent”. May we have ears to hear and, more importantly, may we have hearts to respond to His assessment of our condition.
“TEKEL*; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”
TEKEL* – We have been weighed. God’s judgments begin in secret and we see in His Word the process by which His judgments infiltrate the fabric of a nation upon which His Hand will fall. In the Book of Romans Paul sets forth the subtlety of His ways:
“Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves; who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error”
We must see that the rise of sexual perversion is God’s judgment upon a nation. Because they refused to acknowledge God, HE GAVE THEM OVER to be slaves to their lust and its consequences. May God open our eyes to the truth that His judgments have already began and there is no turning back. Paul goes on to describe the culmination of His Verdict whereby they are given over to a reprobate mind, incapable of repentance. Paul in his day was speaking to the Roman Empire; that same end is now upon us.
The Church has been weighed; her witness has been tarnished, her light is dim, and her words carry little weight or power for she has forsaken truth in the pursuit of worldly success. In her lust for worldly wealth, power and recognition she has denied the Call of Christ who, in His devotion to the Father, “made Himself of no reputation” and “humbled Himself” in perfect obedience. Instead, she has built extravagant buildings, and elevated various “ministries”, each one vying for the attention, allegiance and money of God’s people. In our own worldly lusts for gain and recognition we have fabricated a gospel to appeal to the masses; to fill our pews in order to justify our own ends. God is coming and He is going to humble and strip His people from the Babylonian garments, the shekels of silver and the wedge of gold (Joshua 7:19-26). When HE has finished His endings in our land, He will have a pure, humble and holy people and great will be the Kingdom of His Peace.
“I am come for thy words”
God is coming for our words. He came to His beloved Daniel for he was a man of integrity. His words carried the weight of one who feared and honoured God; for that he found protection under the wings of the Almighty. God came for Peter’s words who spoke right things but did not know the true condition of his heart; he failed in the day when he should have stood. God is coming for our words; our words which come from untested hearts, words uttered that are not backed by the life we live. Words spoken by the disobedient are idle words (in the Greek: words without works). God dealt with Joseph’s brothers who assured him (not knowing he was Joseph) “we be true men”; words without weight or substance. God weighs our words, our actions and the true intents of our hearts. We may hide them in garments of religion, but God searches hearts and will render to every man a just recompense in the Day we stand before Him.
“Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed”
1 Samuel 2:3
TEKEL – Our actions and our words are being weighed in the balances of God.
*Note: TEKEL defined “In תְּקֵל there lies the double sense that the word תְּקַל, to weigh, accords with the Niphal of קָלַל, to be light, to be found light (cf. תֵּקַל, Gen 16:4). The interpretation presents this double meaning: Thou art weighed in the balances (תְּקִלְתָּא) and art found too light (like the תֵּקַל). חַסִּיר, wanting in necessary weight, i.e., deficient in moral worth. תְּקִלְתָּ”Keil & Delitzsch
Are we living lives of moral worth? Is the weight of His righteousness brought to bear in our lives by how we live, in how we cherish and speak truth to our brothers and sisters? Are our business dealings ethical and free from deceit and covetousness? Are we good and faithful stewards in our service to our employers? Do our words carry the weight and life of Christ to effect change in the lives around us? Are our children raised in the fear and the admonition of the Lord? How will we be weighed in His balances when this life is over?
“TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances,
and art found wanting”
I do not like to share these things as I feel the weight of them and must consider myself in the light of them. The division has begun in North America and the rent will become violent to the point of an incomprehensible un-civil war. We must not get embroiled in the quagmire of politics. The Church is to be a light concerning the Kingdom of God not the politics of men. May we overcome evil with good.
“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.
I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.
I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.
I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.
And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good.
Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hardship will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.
So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you, and be a help to you. I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”
– Kimberley Henderson (Published on Being Created in His Image)
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” Psalm 66:10-12
For the true child of God there is no darkness where He does not intend to bring us to the greater light. There is no trial too great that the Great Shepherd will not watch over the soul of His Own. There is no sorrow His comfort cannot fill and no separation too great that He will not compensate with Himself. Let us face this coming year with the true knowledge of His sovereign Wisdom at work on our eternal benefit.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”
“No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please Him who enrolled him as a soldier”
2 Timothy 2:4
Active duty is the posture of those who are alive in Christ. It is a Call which holds us to our posts ever watchful and ever engaged in the affairs of our hearts and in His Church. Their lives are governed by the full knowledge of the deceitful nature of their own hearts and the propensity of the church to slip into the darkness of slumber and lethargy.
It is ever the slumbering church which becomes the fearful church, for in her slumber she eventually awakes to discover that the enemies are at the gate and that she is ill prepared.
The Day is now dawning upon us, division and lawlessness is arising. Stay in the Spirit and we will not fall into fleshly carnal warfare. It is those who are not standing their posts, who are not on duty in Christ who get subverted to carnal issues.
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”
Jesus said IF His Kingdom was of this world then His servants would fight… but it is not of this world. If His people get caught up in the affairs of this dark world they cannot be active in His. It is a day to prepare ourselves to be at His disposal and to come to the place of grace and sacrifice. Suffering and glory cannot be separated.
May we encourage one another to stay in His Spirit and find grace to walk above the issue of this life. The rise of evil is upon us and blessed are they who find in Christ the grace to overcome evil with good.
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters; may we begin to feel the drawings of His Spirit into the union of His Life within us that we may be active in preparing one another to “stand in the evil Day”.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”