“Surely in vain, the net is spread in the sight of any bird”
Nothing is hidden from Him – He sees everything. The secret councils of all are open to Him – whether it be the strategies of the enemy, the devious plans of men or treachery between brothers and sisters – God sees all. As pointless as it is to set a trap for a bird in plain sight, so is the folly of all who work unrighteousness.
“…for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him, actions are weighed”
1 Samuel 2:3
From the presumption of Ananias and Sapphira to the scheming of worldly governments, or the dark agendas of wicked principalities and powers, God sees all. Let no action or thought which crosses our minds go unattended, or be allowed to take root, without our consideration of Him who sees all things.
The crafty thoughts of Judas, or the bravado of Peter, unaware of his own human weakness, were all the same to Jesus. He was not carried away with the pomp and praises upon entering Jerusalem for He knew well the hearts of all men. When many were believing in Him after seeing the miracles, Jesus remained unmoved.
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men”
It is in our heart of hearts that the issues of life are determined. We must know that the hidden intentions and actions which we may hide from others are open and unveiled to Him. Authenticity is the result of those who know this powerful truth and order their steps aright. They are ever “bringing every thought captive”.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”
2 Chronicles 16:9
Those who walk rightly, think rightly, and whose actions are purposed to bless Him, will know of His favor for “thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:4)
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
Purity of heart is to be free from selfish agendas and hypocrisy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
“For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad” Mark 4:22
“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.
Strong meat belongs to YOU and the way you receive that strong meat is by having your senses exercised to discern between the teachings of men and the teachings of the Spirit. We must walk in the Spirit of truth in order to discern the difference between what men teach and what the Spirit teaches.
Truth is the greatest blessing, but it comes with great accountability. Any truth that is not walked in, any truth that doesn’t exert its power in my heart, I am accountable for that. It’s critical the things we hear, but it is more critical what we DO with what we hear! The more God communicates His truth to you the more He requires you to walk in it.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”
These are small group bible studies given with the great hope that a new generation will arise with the Fire of God burning within their hearts and that they may shine with the very light and life of Christ Himself.
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death”
The words of the wise bring God’s people to choices. They clearly present the way of life contrasted with the path which leads to spiritual decay. Life itself is a series of choices and each choice has consequences. Jesus speaks of the narrow way which leads us to life. This narrow way is fraught with decisions that determine the depth of our apprehension of His Life and vitality.
“For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it“
The presentation of truth as a fountain of life enables the hearer to turn from the “snares of death”. The Gospel is presented to equip God’s people to walk in truth, not just to hear the truth. The wise bring men and women to a place of reality with words that lead to righteousness. The words of fools make light of sin.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving”
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16-17)
“Ifwe love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12
God measures our life in Him by the Love we have for one another. 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 His people. 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
Authenticity is the fruit of a life lived in God. The Life of Christ is the sole bonding agent which fuses one member to another. Obedience is the means to this purity by which our relationship with our brothers and sisters becomes filled with the wonder of God Himself. An impure heart is filled with mixed motives, carnal and self-seeking desires which by their very nature prevent the true union of His Spirit and Life with Him and one another.
“Having purified your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unpretended brotherly love, love one another fervently out of a pure heart…”
1 Peter 1:22
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”.