Quote for Today
“The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an
ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the
fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate
His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his
kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his
absorptions in the love of Christ; and because with his circle of friends
there are few who share his inner experiences, he’s forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused
them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord himself suffered in
the same way.
The man (or woman) who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual
inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few
who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so
he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.
For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is
avoided, and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for the
friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes
and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary
of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find
human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere
The Blood Sanctifies our Walk
“…and Moses took of the blood of it,
and put it upon …
the great toe of his right foot”
Election, Godliness and Being Chosen by God
“But know that the Lord hath set apart
him that is godly for himself:
the Lord will hear when I call unto him”
It is the godly whom the Lord sets apart for Himself. It is the godly in character and heart whom God hears. It is in this context that men and women must consider God’s grace. God’s election by Grace must be coupled with man’s response. “Many are called, but few are chosen”. Teachings, miraculous deliverances, movings of His Spirit in signs and wonders and even His own goodness are no insurance of entering the Kingdom of God. Israel saw His manifest power as He laid Egypt waste and yet they failed in the wilderness and perished without entering into God’s purpose. It is essential for us to see and grasp the truth of God, His ways and His Holiness.
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness”
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
Paul goes on to say that these things were written for our learning and admonition. These were people who grieved God. Despite all the miraculous signs and provisions of God, this generation fell short of God’s desire for them. They did not consider Him in their walk. They lacked the desire to please and bless Him by how they conducted themselves in their daily affairs of life. They went through life choosing the things that would please themselves rather than God. They saw His acts without ever discovering His ways.
“He made known his ways unto Moses,
his acts unto the children of Israel”
We see this same truth in the New Covenant.
“But without a parable spake he not unto them:
and when they were alone,
he expounded all things to his disciples”
It is the disciples whom Jesus pulls aside to expound on the hidden truths of the parables. Disciples are those who follow Jesus. They live to learn of Him and because of this “…the Lord sets apart him that is godly for Himself…” They are sanctified by God for His purposes and it is these ones He consecrates (chooses and sets as living stones in the breastplate of His Holiness). These works of God are for those who choose Him, who desire to follow Him, discovering His ways and the wonder of His heart. Discipleship is the path into His Love. The verity of all true disciples will be revealed by the signature of His Love in them.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
God’s love is the defining feature of His true disciples. Many who are religious will (as the Pharisees) love their own little circle; the stamp of a true disciple is one who loves God’s people with the same Love that beats within the heart of our Heavenly Father. This Love is characterized by a passion and concern for the spiritual condition of His people. Denominational ties are irrelevant as they only see One church, One Flock and One Body. It is a Love that seeks out God’s sheep and God’s approval and cares little about the approval of man. True disciples do not seek positions or prominence; they seek to function within the confines of His calling upon their lives. The mark of God in the life of a true disciple is one of serving God not men. This Love “seeks not its own things…”
“Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; does not behave indecently, does not pursue its own things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. Love quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 LITV
Those who seek the pre-eminence in the midst of God’s people are not His disciples nor are they His true sheep. Those who encourage the affection of God’s people toward themselves, rather than ministering that His people fall in love with Jesus, have not seen God’s heart. The desire of the true ministers of God is not to draw men to their church, fellowship or their person; it is to Glorify God in all things. The cry of a true disciple is:
“He must increase, but I must decrease”
The Measure of a Man
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”
In this day of declining fervor and passion for God and His purposes, it is always good to be reminded of the measure to which we have been called to love Him. Many in this day take comfort in His Love for us which, while it is incomprehensible and unmerited, is given with purpose and accountability. This Love wherewith He has loved us, when received as a mere teaching, has no real influence upon the human heart. The Love of God when received into the very being of a man will always produce change, pursuit and a love for Him in return.
“We love him, because he first loved us”
Love received in truth will always bring forth a reciprocating expression of that love back unto Him who is Love. The validity and measure of the love we have received from Him is revealed in the depth and the corresponding love for Him. The call of God goes out in this day (as it has from the beginning of creation) to love Him with our whole heart. Without Love the New Covenant offers little to the people of God, for Love is the very fiber and matrix of all our actions unto Him. Religion is a dry and monotonous exercise in futility without Love. Faith lacks motive, power and purpose when it is held alone without the wonder of God’s Love. Faith needs to be mingled with Love to accomplish the great things of God.
“For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength,
but faith working through love”
Galatians 5:6 (LITV)
Paul exhorts us in Corinthians chapter 13…
“…though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains,
and have not love, I am nothing”
People who are held within the grasp of a true sense of their indebtedness unto Him can never be static, inactive or apathetic in their pursuit of God. Those whose love for God rarely, if ever, has any influence on their daily life must reconsider the eternal ramifications of such a meager existence. True and active disciples are always being moved and led by the love of God beating in their hearts. Jesus in seeing the multitude had compassion …
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude,
and was moved with compassion toward them,
and he healed their sick”
They who love little do little. A mere religious belief without the love and fire of God burning within the heart is the horror of religion. Woe to those who are comfortable to minister a Gospel without the fire of God in their hearts. Woe to those who are content with anything less than a pure desire to love God with all of their heart.
“…I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,
and repent, and do the first works;
or else I will come unto thee quickly,
and will remove thy candlestick out of his place,
except thou repent…”
Only “first love” can produce “first works”. People without love are barren and unfruitful in the things of God. The loss of first love in the Church at Ephesus (if not repented from) would result in the removal of God’s Presence from their midst. God’s love is the spring from which all His works flow and correspondingly so it is with His disciples.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.”
Discipleship is the expression of a life which has been captured with the beauty and glory of our God. Love is the only constraint which binds the disciple to the life of following of Jesus.
It is this love alone which determines
the measure of a man in God.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples”
Life for the Christian is one of living out each day with a single agenda: Glorifying our Father. Simplicity is the very thing that confounds the religious and brings Joy to the disciple of Christ. To glorify our Father is to simply live to bear fruit unto Him every day of our lives. It can be in the small kindness shown to others, speaking His Word of Truth to another, or living with the breath of a prayer in our hearts to Him. It is the unconscious flow of daily life and as we grow it becomes a life of doing. To fully learn something will result in the simplicity of doing it. He is more desirous to direct our steps and lead us into the very arena of HIS WILL than we are to learn. If there is a true desire to do His will there will always be the knowing of what that will is.
“…If any man will do his will, he shall know…”
Fruitfulness and Discipleship cannot be separated. We read in John 15:8 that bearing fruit unto the Father is the badge of life for one who is a Disciple. A Disciple is simply one who gives up his will to serve another. The Disciples became Apostles, the common people became Prophets and Teachers, and the servants of God became men and women who were called “friends” of the Most High. They grew from outward instruction to the inward knowing of His Will. A true Disciple cannot remain a disciple. Discipleship is the school of learning and as such the day must come for the disciple to cease from needing bread to becoming bread for others. Jesus SENT out His Disciples so that they could learn to live in the wisdom that can only come through the medium of doing.
There are those who say they would bear fruit if the opportunity arose, if the conditions were right, or if God would only give them more ability. Religion shapes a strange concept of God when men think that God has withheld from them the ability to Glorify Him! Jesus said that HE came in order for us to HAVE LIFE and to HAVE THIS LIFE ABUNDANTLY. This is either a true and valid saying or it is just another empty religious platitude. If being a Christian is simply adherence to a teaching or a tradition, then we are left with a form of righteousness but no power to be actual living expressions. Disciples are those who are actively walking, following and doing the things they hear and see in Him. This is no theoretical life; it is actual and real because Jesus is alive and working in their hearts. The very heart beat of His Life constrains them to a life of focus and seeking to do His will. The desire to glorify our Father is the chief duty and purpose of all life. The reward is too precious to miss any opportunity afforded us. What is this reward? It is “The Joy of the Lord”. Bearing fruit brings the realization that in glorifying Him we can know of HIS JOY in us which becomes our strength to grow in the wonder of His Ways.
“…but the people that do know their God
shall be strong, and do exploits*”
*NOTE: Literally in the Hebrew the word “exploits” is not there; the verse actually says “shall be strong and do”. They that know their God shall be strong and DO. It is a daily opportunity for us to be strong and to do of His good pleasure.
“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works”
COME UNTO ME
THE WAY OF SALVATION
“Come unto me,
all ye that labour
and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.”
Within this fast paced world in which we live there is an invitation that goes forth unto His creation, “come unto me”. This call of Christ is the response of God Himself to fallen humanity. It is the solution to the aching caused by unrighteousness, lust, envy and agony of every human heart sowing and reaping unto itself the curse of its own way. The call of God transcends the offerings of the medical and psychological professions of this world; for in reality the disease, suffering and weariness of this world are all issues of the human heart.
“Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
“Come unto ME” says the one who willingly laid down His life in order that a “new and living way” would be available to the downtrodden ones of every nation and tongue on earth. It is the call of God spoken in every language of the earth. What is the answer of God to all men? His yoke. While religious men look to teachings and strategies (even from the scriptures) the rest and the peace that men so crave is found in the “learning of HIM”! It is in the yoke, in the walking, abiding and learning of HIS HEART where we are saved from the torments of sin, self and rebellion. It is in HIM and learning of HIM our hearts and minds are transformed and the peace OF God is realized and obtained. While men want remedies and strategies God’s answer is a changed heart and mind. For it is in the very essence of who men are that the agony, the pain and the unfulfilled cries of the human heart originate. The need for recognition, the desire for supremacy, the lusting for things outside of the will of God are all causes of the heart’s own misery. God’s answer is HIMSELF. For in Christ we see the sacrificial life, the call to righteousness and the offering of HIS LIFE in the stead of our own. A judicial righteousness, though precious and needful, will not cure the needs. The real answer is to grow, live and learn of that new nature until we become righteous. A simple reading of Romans chapter seven should clear up any notions that simply being born again will rectify this; it is only the beginning of the process. The real work of salvation is in the learning and abiding in HIM whereby we are lifted from this world to live in HIS. In the “seeing” of HIM we are transformed by HIS GLORY and LIFE. This transformation is not a religious exercise by which we conform to a religious teaching. It is a metamorphosis (the caterpillar becoming the butterfly) by which we are made “partakers” of the divine nature. This work of the HOLY SPIRIT is proportional to our submission to HIM. Thus Paul writes:
“I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God…
And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind…”
It is in the transforming work of the renewal of our minds that we are freed from the angst of this world. We can quote scriptures and endeavor to do “good” while still seeking to serve God out of the life and power of self. To what end?
“We know that the law is spiritual;
but I am unspiritual,
sold as a slave to sin.
I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate I do”
ROMANS 7:14-15 (NIV)
This life of wonder that God has called us to in HIS SON is obtained by the abiding, living in and learning of Him. The reason men abide in the crisis of Romans 7 is because we want HIS life while clinging to our own. In order for the LIFE of the Son to be known the other must be forsaken willingly and determinedly. Jesus has come to SAVE US FROM our sins; if we cling to them we will fail to experience the depths of HIS salvation.
“And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people FROM their sins”
FREEDOM in Christ consists of our being made free by the operations of His Spirit within the human heart. That freedom is experienced in proportion to our knowing of Him by the glory of taking His Yoke upon us. Religious men argue that we will never be freed from sin, self and all of the pains of human nature. Why would men argue such things? Perhaps it is because it leaves no room for us to cling to some area of self. Those who hold to such a compromise rob themselves of the hope that purifies.
“Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope
in him purifieth himself,
even as he is pure”
Purified EVEN as HE is PURE! How wonderful, glorious and beyond all understanding are HIS promises to us.
Can we embrace this call to CHRIST HIMSELF? Can we find mercy to submit our lives unto HIM to pick up OUR CROSS (His Yoke) and follow and learn of HIM? It is to such that HE WILL APPEAR! The purpose of the YOKE is to bind within us the very LOVE of GOD; that is the fulfillment of the LAW and the revelation of the LIFE of Jesus the Christ in our hearts.
“Love thinks no evil”
GOD IS LOVE
DISCIPLESHIP THE PATH TO LOVE
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son…”
Love is sacrificial. It is its very nature to give and expend itself on behalf of others. The giving is not determined by the worthiness of the receiver; hence God so loved the world. Such sacrificial extravagance lavished on us staggers all reason. Love does not measure its giving based on merit; it measures its gift by the giver. Love motivates all who are held in its sway to show forth the mercy and truth of God. Love is truly the greatest gift for in the giving of it we participate in the sharing of God Himself.
Love is the birthplace of all of God’s expressions. Mercy, truth, exhortation, reproof, forgiveness and judgement all flow from this one source and all are remedial in intention. He seeks relationship with man. We read of the “voice of God” walking in the cool of the evening looking for that fallen Adam. We see Him clothe that fallen one’s nakedness and we hear Him speak of a coming redeemer who would crush the very work of Satan. HE would GIVE HIS only begotten SON to become our עֲזָאזֵל ʽazāʼzēl, sin bearer. That same love is now sent into our hearts that we would manifest it in the world in which we live. Love is not only extravagant but costly. The more we are held within its power the more we become aware of its worth and sacrificial nature.
The radical call to discipleship is the very means by which we are enabled to give and shine forth this costly pearl of great price. It can only find expression to the degree that one has known the breakings and work of the cross. Our Love FOR Him holds us to the cross. The Love OF Him is expressed through the outworking of the Cross in us.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
Discipleship and Love cannot be separated.
“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Discipleship is the path to becoming like our master. To learn of Him, to discover His heart and His ways one must be yoked (Matthew 11:29-30) with Him in the bonds of love.
“Not what the disciple says in public prayer,
not what he preaches from pulpit or platform,
not what he writes on paper or in letters,
but what he is in his heart which God alone knows,
determines God’s revelation of himself to him.
Character determines revelation”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)