Quote for Today
“The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally”
– William Booth
“The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally”
– William Booth
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt,
which knew not Joseph”
This was a simple statement but one of immense implications for the people of God. It was the beginning of a period of time in which His people endured great hardship and suffering. The Word does not go into detail concerning the political events of the time nor what ensued. It was the results that mattered. This change was one of great import and no doubt ordered of the Lord. Throughout the history of His people (natural or spiritual) their tendency is to become mingled with the ways and wisdom of this world. The call of God for them to be separate and holy is ignored and this mixture becomes unbearable to the One who rules and reigns over all. The suffering of His people at the hands of the evil of this world sets the stage for the judgments of God which inevitably follow. It is in this time that we are instructed to walk in the ways of Christ whereby we overcome as He overcame.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”
It is in these times that God sets things in place to once again “divide the light from the darkness”. God Himself watches over His own for in the mingling of the light with darkness His salvation ceases to shine forth and His face is hid from those who dwell upon the earth. When His people become political and invest themselves in the ways and wisdom of this world they cease to be the light of God to their generation. Upon entering into the political arena their warfare becomes carnal, worldly and powerless and the culmination of these things is spiritual decay and bitterness of soul. The true church of Jesus Christ is not of this world; she seeks a Kingdom which is above and she is an ambassador of that Kingdom. Paul exhorted the saints of his day to pray for the rulers and princes of that day; a government which was soon to fall because of its own wickedness. The Roman army had surrounded Jerusalem and placed it under siege for its rebellion. The fall of Jerusalem to the Roman army is still regarded as the single most horrific genocide in human history. This incident is never mentioned by the writers of the New Covenant; the Jerusalem they were seeking was not of this world.
We are to be a heavenly people free from the politics and policies of this world. A change is coming in our day as the principalities of this world are aligning themselves for a final assault upon the people of God. It is a day for us to seek with all of our hearts to be hid in Christ in the reality of a living, holy and intimate nature. He is our salvation. It is by being held in the graces and wonder of Christ that we can face this day with the enduring love of God. We must remain vigilant to keep our trust and hope in Him. Let us not render evil for evil but by the very life of Christ overcome evil with good, overcome hatred with love and, having our eyes fixed upon His return, in order to keep ourselves free from the bitterness of the day.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life”
“For man also knoweth not his time”
The great deception of life is the blindness of its own mortality. The foolish man declares tomorrow I will do this or that; in truth we have only today to walk uprightly and to treat others with the wisdom and kindness of God. We only have today to hear His voice and to live our lives to please Him. The Psalmist declares…
“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
The wise man who walks in the fear of the Lord knows the importance of each day. Those with an understanding of “the Holy” know that each day presents opportunities of faith and accountability unto Him who sees the very intent of a man’s heart. Our days are not to be spent foolishly or without regard to Him unto whom we must give an account. In reality the journey of man is brief and filled with foolishness but those who “number their days” make a concerted effort to apply wisdom.
Men who fear the Lord seek out fellowship with others who know of this wisdom. They gather for no other reason than to worship Him who alone is worthy; to speak and exhort one another to live each day to the doing of His Will.
“Then they that feared the Lord
spake often one to another:
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it,
and a book of remembrance was written
before him for them that feared the Lord,
and that thought upon his name”
This is the fruit of those who have tasted and touched the Holiness of God. Sadly many allow each day to pass without the application of His Truth and His Will. God speaks daily to one who has ears to hear and a heart to obey.
“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith,
Today if ye will hear his voice
Harden not your heart”
Hebrews 3:7, 3:15. 4:7
“And it came to pass…
at the time when kings go forth to battle,
that David sent Joab, and his servants with him,
and all Israel;
and they destroyed the children of Ammon,
and besieged Rabbah.
But David tarried still at Jerusalem“
This is the prelude to a very dark time in David’s life. Sin does not suddenly overtake a man; it is usually a result of neglect of our own vigilance to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 1:21). These things occur when we take our eyes off Jesus. We turn aside from the daily warfare and we seek rest and comfort for ourselves. David was to have been out battling against the enemies of God. Instead he sent Joab and others out while he “tarried” at home. While he “tarried” he encountered temptation in the form of Bathsheba and he fell. The repercussions of this incident impacted him for the rest of his life. These things are written for our instruction whereby we are warned to be sober and alert that we may finish our days in the victory of His Life in us. We dare not relax from vigilance for our enemy is always seeking those whom he may entice and draw away from the life of faith.
”Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
We must keep our eyes upon Jesus and seek out true and living fellowship with others in order to exhort one another to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus. The life of a true child of God is one of being a soldier in His army, constantly on duty, never taking leave of our post in the course of daily life. The call is high, the prize is great and our enemy is ever seeking our downfall. How easy it is to “tarry” from the battle, to become lax in the call to diligence and discipline. We all know from experience that a little “leaven” in our lives will contaminate the very manna of God. Our lives become compromised in lukewarm living where we go through the motions of a religion but in reality are denying the power of God to bring His Light into the world in which we live. A compromised life is an impotent life. It is a life with right words but powerless to bring change into the lives around us.
It is to the vigilant that the promises of God come. It is in standing at our post fully engaged in the “fight of faith” that we reap the rewards from Him. We must stand faithful even in the night watches. The monotony of life tends to lull us to slumber and voices that speak of futility allow the sleep of death to overtake us. It is in the morning watch of each day, where we rise up to drink in of His life, to touch His heart and remain alive unto the things of the Spirit, that we find grace to remain faithful. Faithfulness is simply being full of faith for the task to which we have been called. Blessed are they who find themselves filled with the same heart that beat in the Son:
”…wist ye not that
I must be about my Father’s business?”
Even at the age of twelve Jesus was singular in the life that he lived. His Father’s business was the preoccupation of his heart. If He is alive and dwelling in us that same heart beats within us as well.
Let us trim the lamps of our hearts to keep the life we live simple and confined to the one great purpose, to do His Will. We must remain vigilant against the subtleties of this temporal life to be about our Father’s business.
“…drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”
Drowsiness is simply the final interval prior to the fullness of slumber. It is a place of great danger for the Christian. It is very easy to become so alive to this world, its needs, desires and demands that it robs from us from our real need: to stay vitally aware of our life before God. We are exhorted in the scriptures to be vigilant to keep our garments white in this day of great apathy.
“Blessed is he that watcheth,
and keepeth his garments”
In this day of drowsiness and slumber it is essential that we find ourselves in a living fellowship with others who seek out and desire to stir up in one another the fires and ministrations of the Holy Spirit. So few in this day want the ministrations of exhortation and admonition; men do not desire such. They want to hear only good things. Those who have received the “love of the Truth” want the truth. They recognize their own need for the searchlight of God to penetrate the blindness of their hearts. His Word is living and is sharper than any two edged sword. The fact is not all men desire or want accountability. When they are struggling with sin they would rather go to someone who is defeated than to one who has overcome. They want sympathy not victory. This type of “fellowship” will always lead to drowsiness and spiritual death. God has spoken to us of His provision…
“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
This is God’s answer to meet the drowsiness of this hour; exhortation and strong encouragement “unto love and good works”. We see so little in terms of exhortation, true love and the doing of good works which honor and glorify our God!
It is obvious the spirit of slumber has taken hold of the people of God in our day. They have become comfortable and sleepy due to the lack of exhortation and the strong admonition of the Word of God. The Word to us from Hebrews chapter ten is a command (so renders the parsing of the original Greek) not a suggestion. We read these things as if they did not apply to us. We read with a faithless sigh of apathy rather than as a promise from God and His way to keep our hearts on fire and awake, ready for His appearing. The fellowship of the Spirit is always full of these things and those who desire “truth in the inward parts” seek out this grace with others.
To yield to the drowsiness of this hour will end in our spiritual garments becoming rags rather than robes of righteousness. God speaking to His Own in the Book of Revelation says…
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels”
Let us turn from the slothful ways of this hour and seek out those who would “walk in white” in the reality of His Spirit. Men reveal their hearts by what they do, not by what they say. It is time for us to seek and search out those who hear the call of God to “strengthen the things that remain”.
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come…”
“Let us not grow weary in well doing…”
Spiritual weariness comes to all who love Him. The journey is always longer than expected. We start our journey with great excitement and fervor of heart. Somewhere along the way we begin to discover that the thing we are looking for is not only eternal but its unfolding is directly related to our own development of character and purity of heart. Jesus was tested to the extreme; the word declares that HE was tempted in ALL points common to man, yet without sin. HE never knew failure or compromise. HE was weary, tired and tested beyond any measure of comparison with us.
Weariness comes to us all. It is part of the training and testing that we must pass through. We are here to be conformed into HIS very image and that in itself must impress upon us the NEED to walk in the same path that HE walked. For if the Father did not spare His only Begotten who are we to seek another way. The Good News is HE is here (present tense) to guard us and keep us as a loving Shepherd who watches with great diligence over His own. We are exhorted in the above scripture to not grow weary in “well doing”. Many of God’s people in this day are in danger of succumbing to the weariness of the way. We hear of people who have simply stopped “doing well” and have relinquished their walk to a daily subsistence of trying to get through the demands of each passing day. God has an answer for us! It is HOPE; a hope that is living and powerful. This hope communicates to the very soul of man a vitality and a faith that rises up to quell the darkness of our thinking, the trial of the mundane things that greet us each day, and the quiet whispers within our soul that say “there is no help for you in God”. We are told in the scriptures that HOPE makes us not ashamed. It will not leave us barren. It will not fail us if we hold fast to the confession of our faith and make that living HOPE our anchor in time of need.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful”
Hope is the ability to see through the darkness and to know that beyond the thin veil of this present world (which is passing away) there is an eternal city shining with the Glory of our God. Its citizens have already passed through great trial and temptation and are watching our progress with great anticipation for us to complete that which God began with them* (Hebrews 11:39-12:1). We read of Abraham who lived in a strange country sustained by hope; “for he LOOKED for a City whose builder and maker is God”. We see Moses who endured great trials for 40 years because he saw Him who is invisible! We read of the lives of those who made a difference in their day not because they were strong but because their God was strong on their behalf. This present day of small things will and must give way to the dawning of His Life within His own who feel the pulse of His Hope and His purposes. It is in such a time as this that those who long for more of God, who thirst for more than just another Sunday sermon, will know within their hearts that God has something greater than what we see today.
Weariness and apathy are the great tests of our day to sift out the hearts of men and to reveal those who truly love and desire His presence above all other things. Let us not grow weary in well doing for WE SHALL REAP IF WE FAINT NOT. The promise of reaping, the promise of bearing fruit unto HIM, the promise of seeing the Body of Christ arise out of the ashes of religion into the glorious beauty that HE has purposed is enough to stir us afresh to not grow weary. May we see beyond the veil of the present state of things and be gripped with the promise of Him who says that WE SHALL REAP AND BEAR FRUIT UNTO HIM IF WE FAINT NOT.
“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not”
“The highest pinnacle of the spiritual life
is not happy joy in unbroken sunshine,
but absolute and undoubting trust in the love of God”
A. W. Thorold
“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word”
PSALM 119:9 (NASB)
Purity of heart is not only relative and progressive it is attainable! The simplicity of the above verse is powerful and within reach to every believer no matter the circumstances in which we may find ourselves. The provision for purity of heart, required by the scriptures, that enables us to see God is set before us to grow and delight in. The one requirement is simple and yet profound… obedience. By keeping His Word, reading it, cherishing it and DOING IT we receive the benefits of a heart that grows in purity and in that growing purity we see God more clearly and profoundly (Matthew 5:8). Obedience is the lamp by which we see His Face.
True obedience is by its very nature sacrificial. It is the way of the cross that leads us into the footsteps of the Son and the doorway into the growing dynamic of His life in us. In order to obey I must lay aside my will for His. I choose His Word and His Way over my own. In the doing of this I not only discover the hidden resources of His Life but I find His Word preserving my life in Him from the trappings and temptations of this world. For example:
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes”
By taking heed to this I am preserving my thought life and the purity of my heart. In embracing such a powerful truth I must disobey the lust and desire of the old man and keep the integrity of the new man that is being created in His Image! How simple and just are His ways. By the keeping of His Word we grow in righteousness and peace. In the keeping of His Word we are freed from the wages of sin and death! Obedience is the only way to know of this purity.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren…”
1 PETER 1:22
Though the keeping of His Word is simple in its application it does require the empowering and enabling work of the Holy Spirit to see us through. Within the confines of a growing relationship with our God there is the constant need for us to walk, live and move within His Holy Spirit. The more we obey His Word the easier it is to know of this divine enablement. With each new step into the transforming Life of the Son we find our great Shepherd leading us onward in the “paths of righteousness”. How precious and glorious are His Ways!
“The proximate result of obedience to God
is inward conformity to the Divine image”
“And in these hath Solomon been instructed to build the house of God:
The length in cubits by the former measure* is sixty cubits,
and the breadth twenty cubits”
II CHRONICLES 3:3 (YLT Bible)
We see here that Solomon is to lay the foundation using the measurements of the Ancient Cubit which was first given in the raising up of the Tabernacle. As in all things pertaining to God His divine purpose and idea of the thing HE is after remains unchanged; but in the process of time men lower the standards and the lofty purposes of God to something less, something more easily attained to so that we are made more “comfortable” in the presentation of HIS WORD. We move to a “seeker” friendly atmosphere and speak of easier things. Repentance becomes a rarely used word and the blood is seldom mentioned. Change, growth, sin and Holiness have become bywords in the new religion of the day.
Solomon was to use the cubit of the former measure, the “Sacred Cubit”, as some Hebrew scholars like to translate it. Even in Solomon’s day there had been introduced into Israel’s understanding different cubits which of course was a contrasting measure of the thing God intended. How subtle and innocuous is the slow but sure change from what God decrees and what men devise. A “new” measure is slowly introduced and by the abominable shift in what is taught in each succeeding generation the result is a steady decline until we arrive at the “Gospel” of today. God’s standard is set aside while the terms remain the same so as to avoid any alarm. The VALUE has been decreased and God is robbed of His Glory and His Majesty.
“Will a man rob God?
Yet ye have robbed me”
In our drifting away from the original desire of all that God has purposed in Christ we have come to such a low state of affairs in the thing we call “Christianity” that what a man does is now irrelevant; as long as a man believes correctly we are satisfied. God’s measurement and ours becomes two separate values yet we retain the correct nomenclature (words and terminology). The power of a lie is based on the amount of truth it contains. Thus we see a religion that soothes the conscience and yet leaves the soul untouched in the misery of sin with all of its consequences.
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set”
The ancient landmarks are the standards by which we are to govern our way. In the Book of Acts a living unified Church pulsated with the power and dynamic of the Living God. Let us measure the sad contrast of what we present to the world today and the fruits of the man made “church”. The scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day had Herod’s Temple* (not God’s) built by a heathen ruler to APPEASE the religion of the Jews. A pathetic and telling parallel of where we are today. May God raise up men who are willing to confront the issue of the removed landmarks and the lowering of the measurements of God. May there be a people who can no longer tolerate the Herod’s temple of our day and cry out unto the Lord for the Spirit of Repentance. May we turn from the ways of men, the wisdom of this world and the foolishness of a religion that is devoid of the power of Holiness and Godliness. May HE open our eyes to see what we have allowed to come upon us. It is in returning to the simplicity of Him that we will find the depth and the substance of a living faith that alone can produce Godly expressions. May we be freed from the wisdom and philosophy of a vain religion that has the appearance of good things but lacks the ability to produce men who have convictions and courage to stand in the darkness of this hour. Men and women are needed who are no longer satisfied with the “temperance” and acceptability of a stagnant religion but who are empowered and inflamed by the Holy God to challenge a lukewarm church. Where are those who feel the weight of HIS Glory, HIS Holy standards and their accountability to HIM and HIM alone? Where are those who know the “terror of the Lord” and are moved to persuade men of their ungodliness?
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”
How do these scriptures fit into our present day Theology? Not very well. For we have changed the measurement of our God and have presented a Gospel that tells us we are no longer accountable for what we do. The Church is void of men like Paul, James and John and the world is presented with a religion that has neither power nor reality.
LET US RETURN TO THE STANDARD
THAT WE MAY MEASURE OUR LIVES BY THE LIGHT OF HIS WORD
AND HIS PURPOSE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.
“And there was given to me a reed like to a rod,
and the messenger stood, saying,
‘Rise, and measure the sanctuary of God,
and the altar,
and those worshiping in it”
This was the cubit mentioned by Ezek 40:5 and that of Solomon’s temple, “cubits after the first measure” (2 Ch 3:3), i.e. the ancient cubit. The ordinary cubit of commerce was shorter, and has been variously estimated at between 16 and 18 or more inches, but the evidence of the Siloam inscription and of the tombs in Palestine seems to indicate 17.6 inches as the average length. This was the cubit of six palms, while the longer one was of seven (Ezek 40:5). The cubit mentioned in Jdg 3:16 is from a different word in Hebrew (גֹּמֶד, gōmedh) and was probably shorter, for Ehud girded it on his thigh under his clothing. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
King Herod’s Temple was designed by Architects from Greece, Rome and Egypt and built by the Jewish Priests of that day, an astonishing parallel to today.
“…in his temple doth every one
speak of his glory”
The common law of life is that whatever a man loves he speaks of and pursues. Where a man dwells determines what he sees. Every life form in God’s creation has a habitat and an environment with which it is compatible. Whether it is a palm tree or a fir tree it lives and grows in the climate that is conducive to its growth and development. The Polar Bear and the Panther live in the land for which they are most suited. As it is in the natural so also is it in the things of the spirit. The demon possessed man of the Gadarenes lived amongst the tombs for there was the dwelling place consistent with the nature of the spirits that inhabited him. We also read …
“…there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel,
of the tribe of Aser…
which departed not from the temple,
but served God with fastings and prayers night and day”
LUKE 2:35 – 37
Anna’s life was one of focus and a continual desire to serve and worship the ONE that she loved. She “departed not” from the life of prayer and worship which are the means by which we abide and grow in Him. She did not miss HIS appearing. While the multitudes were taken up with their “religious” duties she and Simeon beheld the Promised One and ministered unto HIM! Such are the privileges of those who find their lives “hid with Christ in God”! While many people are looking for a temple to be built in Jerusalem God HAS set HIS TEMPLE, the TRUE ETERNAL TEMPLE made without hands in the very PERSON OF HIS SON…
“I saw no temple therein:
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple”
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building,
and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But he spoke of the temple of his body”
They who desire to live and dwell in HIM are only able to speak of HIS GLORY! They no longer give nor seek the praises of men. They are not impressed by the extravagant buildings and organizations of men for they have seen glimpses of a GLORY that will not fade away; a GLORY that blinds the eyes, that humbles the heart and becomes the perspective by which all things are weighed. They are not mislead by the teachings and doctrines of men for they have seen the ONE in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells and are freed from the paltry offerings of this world. They are pilgrims in this world of temporal things as they seek that which “fadeth not away” with the passing of time. They have been gripped by the unseen HAND of God and HEARD the ETERNAL CALL; ruined for anything religious or manmade.
“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
MATTHEW 6:19 – 21
Our lives reveal the place where we dwell, by the things we speak and treasure.