Thought for Today
“A heart without hope
is like a sail without wind”
“A heart without hope
is like a sail without wind”
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”
1 Thessalonians 3:5
The love of God in the life of Paul initiated inquiries. Faith, seen in its proper light, is a living thing; an attitude with which one faces the battles of life. Faith is the gift of God. It is not an intellectual understanding but truly an impartation of Christ Himself. Paul was inquiring about the state of their living faith. Were they keeping it alive, pertinent and growing within their hearts?
“…lest by some means the tempter have tempted you,
and our labour be in vain”
1 Thessalonians 3:5
Paul goes on to say that his labour of love for them would be in vain if their faith was not a living dynamic. We have little comprehension of this love in our day. Do we reach out to others to inquire about the status of their faith? Do we feel the love of God pressing us to encourage one another to remain in the hold of faith’s power?
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”
The Love of God pressed Paul to check the temperature of their hearts to see if they were growing in Christ’s dominion in their lives. It is easy to see the lethargy of this hour; the heartbeat of God’s love is so low that there seems little concern over the status of the FAITH in the lives of others. God’s Love is revealed in its concern for others.
We live in a day of unprecedented communication yet there is an apathy and lack of God’s love concerning one another. Faith and Love are to be the hallmarks of our relationships with one another; these are the glue and the bonds of the Body of Christ. When we care so little for the state of each other’s hearts we clearly reveal the lethargy of the hour in which we live. It is no wonder that the world is not greatly impacted by us.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
Love does not ignore the life of another. Love inquires and seeks to know the faith of God’s own. It is nothing less than the Heart of the True Shepherd reaching out to all who are His.
“And they gathered it every morning,
every man according to his eating”
The manna fell without measure. God’s abundant provision always exceeds man’s need. Each man’s portion was not determined by God, but by every man’s need. So it is today.
Jesus is the true manna. He alone is that living bread freely given without measure to His Own. The measure of our portion is in accordance with our appetite and not His giving. The promise of God stands true to every generation:
“Blessed are they which do hunger…
for they shall be filled…”
The filling will always be proportional to the hunger and so will the blessing. The blessing of God rests upon those who hunger for His Word and His righteousness. Righteousness in a life is the result of partaking of Him, hungering for Him, and thirsting for Him. It is a life measured according to our need. Those who see little, who need little… gather little. Those who truly see Christ as the only hope of righteousness know the intensity of their own need to feed upon the wonder and the power of Christ Himself.
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth (continually in the Greek) my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
The eating spoken of here is an incessant feasting, an unbroken action of continually communing and feasting upon the wonder and sustenance of His very life. As necessary as our daily food is to the natural man so much more is our daily partaking of Him. The secret of dwelling in Christ is discovered through the medium of “eating His flesh and drinking His blood”!
“So the people of Israel did as they were told.
Some gathered a lot, some only a little.”
“But when the morning was now come,
Jesus stood on the shore.”
The long night seasons of life with its discouragement and shattered dreams lay heavy upon the souls of His disciples. Each in their own way had failed to stand in the great testing and trial of the crucifixion of Jesus. Each one fled in the face of the fury and hatred of the moment. No one had felt the bitter sting more than Peter whose grandiose confession seemed to be so genuine and bold just a few short days before.
In their discouragement they had returned to their former occupation with an inner desolation and a sense of hopelessness. It is here that Jesus appears and meets them in the morning hours. It is here, though at first hidden from their eyes, He first comes to bring the power and hope of His resurrection. It is in His resurrection we have hope to arise from the fresh failures of life. It is in His resurrection we can feel Him invigorating our hearts and our hopes, moving us forward unto a greater sense of His purpose in our lives.
Though the nights be long, our efforts seem futile, and the world about seems not to even notice the starless sky, Jesus will come in the morning; and in His coming the fires of our hearts are rekindled. Rest assured He keeps His own. He watches over the objects of His Love even though the night is dark and the way seems uncertain, He will come with the wonder of His presence and, though we may not recognize Him at first, the truth will dawn and joy will break over our hearts as the morning sun upon the mountains.
“…weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders,
he answered nothing”
It is in the face of false accusations that the power of Christ is most manifested. Our security in Him, who is our justification, is revealed in the crucible of false accusations, gossip and strife. It is here where His dominion and power in our life is revealed.
Humility is evidenced in a life free from the opinions of others. Its foundation lies in the power of a life rightly related to the will and purposes of God. A life lived in obedience to the truth will not have the need to justify itself to others.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth”
“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah,
who had understanding in the visions of God”
2 Chronicles 26:5
Uzziah was influenced by a man who had understanding in the visions of God. The effect of this man who walked with God helped him to prosper in his own life and walk. Influence arises from lives who are themselves influenced.
Those who are impacted by the living God must impact others.
Christ Himself is the core from which all life and power flows; in Him the sun rises and sets. God has purposed all things to bend and bow at the feet of Jesus. Whatever things have not yet succumbed to His Lordship will do so in the days to come. If these things be so, one cannot hold the life of Christ within and have no effect upon the world in which they live.
Zachariah’s influence upon Uzziah was revealed in a heart that sought God for himself; such is the true purpose of all ministry. What was the result of Uzziah’s personal pursuit of God?
“…and as long as he sought the Lord,
God made him to prosper”
2 Chronicles 26:5
The individual who truly bears the light of the living God is a beacon of hope for the weary, a lighthouse of truth to warn others of the reefs of destruction, and a point whereby they can set their compass to find their way safely into the harbor of God Himself.
Those who walk in the light of God
cannot keep it from others.
“And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The other day I was holding my newest grandchild and was simply basking in the wonder and the handiwork of God. Her freshness of life and the incredible spontaneity of being was not only a joyful experience but one of instruction. As she was looking at the largeness of the world around her and trying to absorb what she was seeing the thought came to me “Every thought has a face”. The spontaneous expressions on her face were the mirror of what she was thinking. Sometimes it was puzzlement and the next minute sheer joy when she caught a glimpse of a someone she knew. In the environment of surrounding love, she had no need to filter or mask her spur-of-the-moment responses. This freedom from concern or worry of what others think is a liberating lesson.
“And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:
but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
Authenticity of being is the only means by which we are truly free. The purpose of truth is to make me true. In my becoming true within I will know the wonder and joy of being right and free in God. The child-like being of whom Jesus spoke is the fruit of a true and full conversion by the ministration of His Spirit. Here we discover the quality of heart required to enter into the Kingdom of God. It is as we become as a little child that we have the rightness of being to enter into all that He has so graciously made available to us.
Spontaneity is the fruit of Authenticity
“Whoever claims to abide in Him
must walk as Jesus walked”
1 John 2:6
In this Epistle John kept truth very simple. His teaching, his life and his depth of knowing Christ produced an unpretentious presentation of Christ. There is little attempt to soften the blow of truth. Grace is not presented in an obscure, generic fashion. Truth is depicted as the verity of one’s walk. Eternal life is set forth as the “now” life, wherein the actions, thoughts and intents of an individual’s heart IS the revelation of their relationship and life in God.
With the simplicity of the Spirit of God the truth in these powerful statements declare that what one does reveals the spirit in which one walks. There is no escaping these blunt statements regarding our condition. In the reading of this Book we are forced to face the authenticity of our own character.
Religious obscurity offers a shelter with enough ambiguity to give the illusion that things are fine. There is a dimming of the light and the promise of a bright future with no correlation to the life now lived. There is a compartmentalization which disconnects our current walk from our future end. Such a concept is a lie.
Whenever and wherever truth is obscured, and teachings and precepts cloud the current state of one’s condition, grace becomes a sentiment which comforts an individual rather than a ministration which empowers them to arise and live godly in Christ Jesus.
The cry of the sincere heart is one of embracing truth, loving truth and desiring the piercing revelation of all Christ is in order to bring change into our current life, our “now” life. The true in heart seek no alternative. They pursue no hiding place from the Light of God in their own hearts. They find no comfort in anything other than His power producing within them the life of Christ. The true in heart love the simplicity of truth and seek the Living Word of God to reprove, correct and cut away all that is not of Him.
Truth is come to make us free. This freedom brings not only an emancipation from sin but a life unfettered and spontaneous which unconsciously expresses the verity of Him. May we find the joy of His Word as it illuminates, reveals and burns away the dross and contagion of self. Let His Truth be simple, powerful and above all evident in the life we live.
Authenticity is simply the fruit
of being free in Christ.
“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12
Love is the bond, the ligaments as it were, of the Body of Christ. Love is never content with shallow religious affiliations. It seeks out, pursues and ever desires full knowledge of another. Within its own heart is the flame of relationship and union in Christ. Its reach into another heart is for the purpose of apprehending oneness; the same oneness for which Christ prayed unto the Father. This union of hearts is the very essence and heartbeat of His Spirit within His own. It is a cry which can only be fulfilled in the purity and wonder of His Holiness becoming in truth our holiness. Many fear such depths of fellowship for in the intimacy of holy bonds there is no room for the hypocrisy and pretense of an insincere heart. Holiness in Christ is the fearful abode in which only the authentic can live and be at home. The depth of our abiding in Him corresponds with the depth of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The measure of our own partaking of His resurrection life is revealed in the love we have for our brothers and sisters. Only the deceived can find rest in a life lived outside of the love of God.
“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.”
1 John 3:14
There are many in this day who find refuge in obscurity where the true inner condition remains hidden from the view of others. It is a refuge of darkness and in this hiding place men and women live a life of duplicity and bondage. The light of God does not penetrate the self-made cloak of iniquity to bring healing, freedom and life. This dark place becomes a habitation of judgment and unreality. Those who choose such a place will never know the freedom and glory that the ministration of truth brings to the soul of man.
The natural outflow of a healthy heart seeks depths of relationship with others. It is free from the need to hide and conceal the true, secret life within. Indifference to the true condition of the lives of those around us is the fruit of a life lived within the obscurity of its own making. The Love of God differs greatly from the love of self. The Love of God seeks purity within for only the “pure in heart” can see God. The blazing light of God shining within the human heart exposes the falseness and perversity of our very being; it pierces the deception of our own selfishness.
The relationship which God has called us to is one of union and oneness, not worldly and distant.
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ,
and every one members one of another.”
The relationship that Jesus has called us to is not a casual one. The depth of relationship we are called to is of the same nature and power as “He is with the Father”. There will be no real change in the paradigm of the Body of Christ until the desire for true relationship is the cry of our hearts. The unity of the faith will never be realized outside of our being ONE in Him. A shallow relationship with HIM will be evident in our relationship with our brothers and sisters. To be ONE with Him is to desire and pursue the same depth of relationship with the other members of His Body.
“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light,
and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”
1 John 2:10
“Holy Father, keep through thine own name
those whom thou hast given me,
that they may be one, as we are”
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I have become
a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”
1 Corinthians 13:1
Eloquence and refinement of speech without the fire and love of God are nothing more than clatter. Words and quoting the noteworthy thoughts of others (though true) will not carry the weight and wonder of the original. Love alone is the power of God. Love cares, it sees, it feels the very thoughts of God concerning the lives of those around us. Love does not speak just to be heard; it speaks to bring men and women into their own vital relationship with God. It cares little about the opinion of others for it is fully immersed in the Will and Desire of God Himself. The great need in the Church of Jesus Christ today is people motivated and energized by the Love of God. It is Love that brings the weight of God’s Glory and the inspiration of His Life to this dark and lost world.
Words, apart from the Agape (Love) of God, are powerless and superficial; though they may speak OF God, God is not IN them.
“These are wells without water”
2 Peter 2:17
The pursuit of God is simply the pure desire to know Him. True Fellowship with others is the mutual desire and thirst to apprehend and participate in the Mystery of God Himself.
“The goal of our instruction is the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Some having missed the mark and are turned aside to empty talk”
1 Timothy 1:5-6