PODCAST – A home Bible Study on the Church of the Laodiceans – Part Two. (Revelation 3:14-22)
Thought for Today
“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.”
The Manna and the Faith of Abraham
“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves”
The manna was to be eaten in the day in which it was given. The great provision of God was not to be held on to, it was to be eaten as the daily sustenance. So is God’s word. It is not given to be stored in the intellect. It is to be eaten and consumed through our obedience so that its substance becomes a part of our everyday life.
“And Moses said, let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them”
The religious ways of men store up the sayings and words of the One who is the true manna. Just as the manna bred worms and stank so will His provisions if not eaten through the medium of obedience. The hearing of His Word if not coupled with obedience to that Word will bring deception and dishonor.
The Faith of Abraham
God spoke to Abraham to offer up his most beloved son and we see his faith revealed in his response to the word of the Lord.
“And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of”
What was Abraham’s response? Immediate obedience. May we have just such a response in the obeying our Lord!
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him”
The depth of our faith is revealed in the verity of our life. Jesus in talking to the religious leaders of that day declared:
“If ye were Abraham’s children,
ye would do the works of Abraham”
The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus day had become deceived by knowing the scriptures and walking in the vain show of an outward religion; inwardly they had become “ravening wolves”. It was the pretense of an outward show of being spiritual rather than an inward reality. The great and penetrating question for us:
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Clarity of discernment comes to those by love obey and serve their God. It requires great grace to walk in obedience to His word and His way. Obedience is the path to knowing Him and the understanding of His Covenant.
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him;
and he will shew them his covenant.”
Excerpt from the Spiritual Discernment and False Prophets Part One Writing
The Third Day
“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.
It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Why could Paul say this?
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.
1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.
The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:
“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
The Destroyer of Nations
“How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground,
which didst weaken* the nations!”
Nations always fall from within before falling from without. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never about politics; its message is one of righteousness, integrity, honesty and above all love. These qualities are to be the foundation of a nation and are the unshakable virtues of a strong unified country. When the Church of Jesus Christ ceases to be the light of a nation its fall is inevitable. God’s people are not called to be political and the Church is not to involve herself in the carnal warfare of worldly politics. She is to be the inspiration to lead the nations to the Light of Christ. It is in Him alone that people find saving grace and the virtues which make a nation strong and true. Righteousness cannot be legislated; that is the error of religion and politics. The only way for people to be free and live with respect and love for one another is for His law to be written on their hearts; not by a law given from without.
We are exhorted to pray for those who are governing, not to criticize or condemn. Those who are Christ’s are not of this world. Paul and the other Apostles of that day, in exhorting the people of God to pray for those in authority, was speaking of Nero the Roman Emperor. The reason we see the decline in morality and an increasing anger, hatred and vehement attitudes is because the Light of God has grown dim within the lives of His people. The same selfishness, the same carnal agendas, the same politics which are in the world are found within His Church .(**see below)
Jesus said if I be lifted up,
I will draw all men to me.
In the void created by the absence of Light God allows Satan the destroyer of nations to arise. With all the vices and malice of his own being he is allowed to infiltrate a nation bringing lawlessness and darkness in the stead of light and love. Wherever the Gospel is dimmed, darkness will rule in the hearts of the people. God never ceases to be God but He hides Himself and allows men to destroy themselves. The condemnation upon the world is not because men are evil in their natural state; it is because they choose darkness over light, they love wickedness rather than goodness. They become more evil by the choices they make. The people of God in Jesus’ Day chose Barabbas over Jesus! So it is even today.
“And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.”
The judgement of God is upon our land. It has already begun and the ramification will be one of great suffering for His people. The insidious weaving of Satan himself into the very fabric of the religious world is a precursor to the weakening and fall of a nation. His stratagem has not changed over the course of history. One simply needs to read in the Book of Romans as Paul sets forth with great clarity the process of God’s judgment; it was already at work in the Roman empire of his day and is now at work in ours (Romans 1:18 – 2:29). Read this with fresh and anointed eyes to see the parallel in our day. Paul begins by speaking of the people who willingly reject God. God in great wisdom gives them over to the inevitable growth of wickedness in their hearts culminating in sexual perversion and reprobate minds. He then turns his attention to the Church at Rome who stand in judgment of others while they themselves are guilty of the same thing .
“Then the one teaching another, do you not teach yourself?
The one preaching not to steal, do you steal?
The one saying not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
…For the name of God is blasphemed
among the Gentiles through you…”
Romans 2:21-22, 24
We may speak against the evil without while we ourselves are guilty of the same things within. **We need look no further than the rampant evil of pornography and the infiltration of it into the very soul of many believers. We need look no further than the horror of the political culture of the organized church which sets one church in competition with another. We need to look no further than the gossip, evil speaking and the lack of willingness to invest ourselves in the development of Christ in the lives of those around us. We need to look no further than the rampant rise in divorce and unfaithfulness within the Body of Christ to know how far we have fallen. We need look no further than the indifference within His own concerning the condition of God’s house. It is in the face of all this we hear little from His watchmen, pastors and prophets. We clearly see the condition of the backslidden lives of God’s people addressed by the prophet Isaiah in former days (there is nothing new under the sun):
“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant,
they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,
and they are shepherds that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”
The shepherds in these days, to a large extent, are hired to fill the pews, to grow the “church” in numbers while neglecting the spiritual condition of the people. They who should be watchman in God’s house have become “blind”. They are as dogs who do not bark (to warn His people) at the coming judgment which is about to fall! We have become more interested in numbers rather than God’s Glory. Compromise with the world is the very darkness of the church. Words without fire and faith without works are the hallmarks of a compromised people. We cannot be of this world and be the light of God to it at the same time. It is the greatest contradiction of all.
GOD HAS AN ANSWER
“If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
We hear this verse quoted much in our day with the emphasis on prayer. It is rarely mentioned in the context of seeking His face and even more rarely in “turning from our wicked ways”. It is as we seek God’s face in truth that we will see the wickedness of our own ways. Our collusion with the world, our infatuation with things other than God, our treatment of our brothers and sisters, are all part of the “wicked ways” from which we need to turn. God’s word to us is always IF. When the IF is fulfilled, God is sure to be our THEN.
First and foremost, it is HIS people who need to turn, who need to repent and who need to humble ourselves. The Light of God must, by His design, shine into the lives of His own before it will shine into the world around us.
“Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.”
Discipleship is not a teaching
it is a life.
* NOTE: “weaken” Hebrew Word meaning to prostrate, by implication to overthrow, decay…
Strongs Hebrew Dictionary
Thought for Today
“But the midwives feared God,
and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them,
but saved the men children alive.”
Exodus 1: 17
God moving upon the hearts of the Egyptian Midwives many years prior to the deliverance of His people reveals His prevenient grace. God is always aware, always at work preparing for fresh moves and wonders of His Spirit. God’s hand was at work in Israel’s bondage to Egypt many years before raising up men to lead His people out. God always uses men to bring about His Salvation. The Moseses of God are the fruit of faith working in the lives of others. A later generation made up of the Joshuas and Calebs are a testimony of the continued defiance of those Midwives in their obedience to YHWH. God’s work is always mysterious and hidden from the eyes of men but then discovered by succeeding generations for their encouragement and admonition (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).
So too in our Day there is a generation being raised up in the shadows. In the peculiar places of His own choosing they are even now working through the dearth of life within the religious systems of men and discovering the life and wonder of the Risen Christ.
God has been and will continue to be a shelter to every generation. Not only is He a refuge in which they may hide, but this chosen generation will rise to the Call to be a bright and piercing light in this day of darkness. Many years before God has already begun such a work and is even now preparing them! In the failure of one generation to fulfill the promise it becomes sure to the next as God moves on with His purposes. The generation which came out of Egypt failed to enter into the promised land and became the ashes from which the new generation arose (Hebrews 3:7-19). Even in this there was Joshua and Caleb whose faith remained alive, vibrant and ready to enter into the Call of God. May we be one of those!
May there be a recognition and a confidence that God’s answer is being prepared through a “chosen generation” *. He has a prepared people for a prepared Day.
“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord:
His going forth is prepared as the morning”
* “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”
– 1 Peter 2:9
Thought for Today
In the morning…
“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”
Thought for Today
Silence and Security
“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”
Thought for Today
Vision and Ministry
“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.