“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after…to behold the beauty of the Lord”
David spoke in Psalm 27 of the “One Thing”; the One Thing like a ring of great beauty comprised of three gems each one glittering with the rare splendor of their own eternal worth.
1. To dwell in His house/Presence
2. To behold the beauty of the Lord
3. To enquire, (search and to contemplate), in His Temple.
One of the singular joys of prayer is being afforded new glimpses of His being and character. There is an unspeakable grandeur of His presence that settles the disquiet within the human heart. There is a peace that invades the noise and the clamor of external things and above all, there is a beauty that beckons us to come and learn of Him within the quietness of His Own being.
It is the beholding of His beauty that transforms prayer from duty into a journey of being renewed in the truth of what life is about. The demands and busyness of the world with all of its harsh and insensitive ways are washed away in the stillness of His presence.
It is His beauty that draws men and women to Himself. Prayer is the essential wonder of our growth into the pursuit of an abiding life. It is the invitation into Himself.
It is no wonder that David wrote this powerful Psalm for the generations to come of his “One Thing” of which the “beholding of His beauty” was an intricate part of the whole.
May we as David spend time in His presence that we may ever grow in the dwelling, the beholding and the seeking of His wonder.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
“Prayer is the participation of a heart in the Presence of God”
The highest call of life is one of relationship in Christ with God our Father. Effectual prayers ascend from hearts which have been subdued by His presence. It is from His glory whereby our hearts are made right to pray right.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”
Abiding in Christ is the Spring from which effectual prayers are borne. Asking aright comes from our being right in our relationship with Him.
Prayer is the natural outflow of a life which is in relationship with God. Jesus easily spent all night in prayer with the Father for it was the basis of His relationship to God as a man. Jesus in teaching His disciples to pray began with the powerful words… “Our Father” and in our corresponding depth of relationship to Him will be the flow of our hearts unto Him.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”
“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”
“…worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
1 Chronicles 16:29
Throughout the history of the church there have been those, whose pursuit of living holy lives, have resulted in something austere, rigid and without joy. True holiness, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is something beautiful, joyful and pure. It is free from the hypocrisy of external things for its source is a spring continually flowing within to keep us clean.
Holiness is only valid as we abide in Him who is Holy. The more we grow in the love of the Father the freer we become from the love of the world (1 John 2:15). God Himself is the author and sustainer of holy lives.
As we partake of Him the “beauty” of holiness becomes a living garment enfolding our hearts with the very breath of heaven. There is a power to be found within the wonder of true holiness. It guards us, leads us, and enables us to live above the temptations of this world. The verity of increasing holiness will always be expressed in humility. Humility is the fruit of any life abiding in the immensity of God. Pride cannot exist in His presence. Selfishness, unforgiveness, and all the vices and impurities of the flesh are consumed in the magnificence of His Holiness.
Beauty is the unmistakable result of Him who is Holy dwelling within.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time”
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God”
“And to know the love of Christ – The love of Christ toward us; the immensity of redeeming love. It is not merely the love which he showed for the Gentiles in calling them into his kingdom, which is here referred to; it is the love which is shown for the lost world in giving himself to die. This love is often referred to in the New Testament, and is declared to surpass all other which has ever been evinced; see the Rom 5:7-8. To know this; to feel this; to have a lively sense of it, is one of the highest privileges of the Christian. Nothing will so much excite gratitude in our hearts; nothing will prompt us so much to a life of self-denial; nothing will make us so benevolent and so dead to the world.”
– Albert Barnes
Love is the well from which the power and passion of Christ springs and through which His purposes and works flow from our lives into the world around us. Devoid of this love we feel no impulse to preach, teach and reach out into the lives of others. Where there is no impetus to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ there is something lacking. The remedy is simple and glorious.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”
We do God a great disservice when we try to do in our own strength that which only a “faith empowered by love” (Galatians 5:6) can accomplish. If the fire inside fades, spend time with Him “praying in the Holy Spirit”; only His fire can fulfill His desires. When the flames burn low and the internal inspiration fades turn again to the One in whom ALL glory and mercy resides.
“Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and He strengthened me…”
“Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
The great gift afforded us of the garments of salvation require our attention to keep them white and clean. We walk in a world filled with contamination, temptation and sin at every turn. Uncleanness in conversation, things which would corrupt our thought life and offenses from which bitterness and unforgiveness may arise all threaten to stain our garments. Our exposure to all of these things in their varied forms require His grace and power to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness”; otherwise the residue can poison our minds and spirits. There is an aggregate effect upon us. John encourages us to deal faithfully with the sins and offenses in our life.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
1 John 1:9
His dealings with sin in our life are not only to forgive but His power is released to also cleanse us from any residue. Many who deal lightly with sin never go deep enough in their transactions with God to the point of knowing and experiencing the cleansing which should accompany the regenerating work of grace. Bitterness, anger, sins of the flesh, anything which impairs our newness of Life in Him, needs to be fully worked out until we are clean and pure again in His sight.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Bitterness that is not dealt with will always spring up defiling not only ourselves but others. Its rancor and poison cannot be kept from the tongue unto the spreading of malicious gossip often accompanied with unwholesome deeds that bring damnation and judgment upon many. May we be instructed in the way of the Lord by the simplicity of His words:
” And in the day time He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives”
Jesus set such a simple pattern before us: teaching by day and communion with His Father at night. In other words, an active life balanced by time spent with Him in refreshment and inspiration. We are called to this balance just as the workers on the wall in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. They built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:18).
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…”
First, we are to be built up in our faith that
we may encourage and exhort
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”
“Fight the good fight of faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12
The need to be active and diligent in our sharing of His life with others necessitates His touch of renewal in the evening. I like the work used here: “at night He went out and abode in the mount”. The daily press of the crowds, the vehemence of religious rulers, and the constant treachery of those trying to trick Him into a response whereby they could accuse Him, is beyond comprehension. Time alone with His Father was crucial and is set forth as an example for us. He, the Only Begotten Son, has come to show us the way to live in this troubled and unraveling world. May we draw near to Him that we may be equipped to stand in the darkness of this day in which we find ourselves.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
“Abide in Me says Jesus. Cling to Me. Stick fast to Me. Live the life of close and intimate communion with Me. Get nearer to Me. Roll every burden on Me. Cast your whole weight on Me. Never let go your hold on Me for a moment. Be, as it were, rooted and planted in Me. Do this and I will never fail you. I will ever abide in you”
– J. C. Ryle