Quote for Today
“The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are at opposite sides of the same coin”
– A. W. Tozer
“The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are at opposite sides of the same coin”
– A. W. Tozer
“Now to him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us…”
Ephesians 3:20 (WEB)
Faith is not belief. Faith is not a commodity or the product of a self-generated religious philosophy. Faith is the “substance” of things hoped for. It is the actual “evidence” of spiritual realities. It is not empty, make believe or unsubstantial. Faith is rooted in God Himself. It is the divine enablement to reach into the very heavens where God dwells and appropriate divine realities. The ability to expect the greater things of God is proportional to the “power that is at work in us”. Within the life of every believer there is to be a power at work; a power received and held within the heart of His own. Obedience is the revelation of that power at work within our lives. It is God moving within us to fulfill His purposes for us.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God
of things not seen as yet, moved with fear”
Noah was moved by faith; the impetus to do was the offspring of that faith. Faith is the mover. There is a relentless press of faith to do God’s work in those in whom that power is at work. The degree of its expression in our lives is revealed by obedience and the works which faith alone can produce. Where there is no living faith, the works of faith will be missing. Faith is the power of God at work within the life of the believer. The life which one lives is their true statement of faith. It is not merely something we believe; it is revealed in the life we live and the things we do.
In our day the faith of many rests in the words and wisdom of men and not in the power of God.
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God”
1 Corinthians 2:5
Faith in the wisdom of men is powerless and lifeless; it leaves its adherents looking to someone or something outside of themselves. It is a faith which lacks the reality of present day living. The faith that stands in the power of God knows that the secret of its fulfillment lies in our obedience to His Will.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out
into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
“…Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss”
Our faith determines the nature of our requests. If we walk in the Spirit our requests, desires and needs will be consistent with the nature and sphere of our walk. If we walk in the flesh our request will be congruous with the lusts and appetites of the flesh. It is here we are given insight into the heart of our heavenly Father. In His love he may not answer or at the least delay prayers that are offered amiss.
Asking amiss can include anything from our own selfish desires to praying on behalf of others without understanding the purpose of God within the situation. It requires a seeking on our part as to what the will of God is in order to pray in faith. As we come before Him we discover the “secret of the Lord” in the need presented to us. There are many things hidden from our eyes; secret things known only to the Lord. Yet as we seek His face it is His joy to reveal the hidden things that our petitions may be accurate and aligned with His purposes. Such prayers readily find their way to the “Throne of Grace” where He is waiting to meet the need of the moment.
“And the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, now, the site of the city is good, as my lord sees, but the waters are bad; and the ground causes barrenness. And he said, “bring a new dish to me, and put salt there.” And they took it to him. And he went out to the source of the waters and threw salt there, and said, so says Jehovah, I have given healing to these waters; there shall not be death and sterility there anymore. And the waters were healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha that he spoke.”
2 Kings 2:19-22
One of Elisha’s first miracles was healing the waters of Jericho. Rather than praying for the waters at the city, Elisha understands in the Spirit that the waters needed to be traced to the spring from which they flowed. Many times we pray and offer counsel concerning a situation at hand but if we seek the Lord He will lead us to the “source” or cause; therein we discover a true and lasting solution. Left to ourselves we tend to deal with the symptom rather than the cause. Prayers asked amiss will hinder the power of God being released.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss”
Another cause of unanswered prayer is that often our prayers require obedience to be combined with insight. Elisha took the “new” dish of salt, cast it into the spring of the waters and then spoke the Word of the Lord over it. We must see that prayers without obedience can remain unanswered. Sometimes we ask amiss because we walk amiss!
Obedience and Prayer cannot be separated.
Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer
“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.
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
“Behold, thou art fair…behold, thou art fair”
Song of Songs 4:1
The Bride of Christ is beautiful. Her beauty is not one of a positional truth; she is beautiful because, like Esther, she has submitted herself to the dealings and processing of His Spirit*(see note below). She is not of the spirit of Vashti**(see note below) who refused the invitation to come at her Lord’s command (Esther 1:12; Matthew 22:2-14). She is humble and beautiful inside and out. In her submission to the Holy Spirit she has been adorned with the graces and the wonders of her Christ. She has found in Him the ability to become heavenly with no stain of earth upon her (Ephesians 5:27). She wears the garments of righteousness in Christ and through the operation of His Spirit, she has made herself ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:17) The trials and testings have brought her to a purity in Him. The Word has had its way within her heart and her nature has been exchanged from the first Adam for the second Adam. Nature is the determining factor of this relationship as Holy is joined to holy. Not only is union with Christ the basis of true fellowship with one another, but of necessity His Bride must be of the same nature as He. How little we understand the significance of nature being the holy ground upon which the Bridegroom and the Bride must meet. It is in the here and now of our life that these things take place. It is in the curious work of God in the “lowest parts of the earth”, substance yet unseen, that the members of this body are being wrought by God.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
David is speaking prophetically of the Body of Christ, each member being wonderfully and skillfully wrought by the Master Craftsman. Though incomplete they are written into the Book of Life and even now continue to be formed in secret. God calls the things which are not and brings them into the substance and reality of Life. How great is His love and the sum of His thoughts towards us!
“Behold”! The Bridegroom beckons us to look upon His Bride and marvel at His work in her. “Behold” (Song of songs 4:1)! He speaks to the principalities and powers even to the ages to come of His manifold wisdom in the Church!
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”
The religious of this world understand little of the Call of God unto His Own. They do not comprehend “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” to which we have been called. The ability to see these things is through the operation of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, our lives being rooted and grounded in the very love of God!
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
The divine enablement to comprehend these things necessitates a “strengthening by His Spirit in our inner man”, a true “dwelling of Christ in our hearts by faith”, and being “rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ”. The verity of these things will result in His saints apprehending the clarion call of God unto His Own! These things are hidden from the wise, the prudent and the religious and revealed unto those with child-like faith.
For what purpose is the seeing and comprehending of these things?
“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God”
Paul in his ecstatic declaration of these things ends with the final Amen.
“Now unto him that is able to DO exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
The true Bride of Christ will not stagger at these promises. Like Mary of old she does not dispute or stumble at the seeming impossibility of these things but simply responds “be it unto me, according to thy word”. The religious and unbelieving will twist and dilute these truths but those who know Him know that He is able!
The intent of God is that we be filled with all the fullness of God! His Bride holds within her the heartbeat of a living faith which presses her unto the fulfillment. She responds through the medium of obedience. Faith and obedience are synonymous. The revelation of the one (faith) is revealed in the other (obedience).
It is the humble in heart in whom the promises are found for humility is the nature from which obedience springs. The proud, the lofty and the self-righteousness cannot and will not submit to walk in obedience to Christ. One must have His nature to obey His call. God’s great judgement at the end of days will be to separate the sheep from the goats, the true from the false and the obedient from the disobedient.
“…as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”
Moving in the gifts of the Spirit, knowing much about Christ, sitting in meetings where His Word is spoken will not be sufficient in the Day of His judgment. The nature of the individual will be the deciding factor.
“Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity”
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”
Being born again implies a new nature; the divine nature through which we are empowered to escape the filth and lust of this world (2 Peter 1:4). Though that nature is available to all who are born again, the partaking of it requires faith and obedience. It is through obedience that our souls are purified. It is the pure in heart who shall “see God”.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit…”
1 Peter 1:22
Obedience is the desire of the Bride’s heart. She knows that in obeying Him she not only pleases Him but her obedience is the means to becoming pure. The love of God becomes our motivation and our joy and in the seeing of Him everything else becomes dim.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready”
It is easy to talk about these things but we must come to the place of obedience to Him to make the call and the election of God a sure thing (2 Peter 1:10). The day of exalting in what we know must give way to trembling at the seeing of Him. All men are humbled upon seeing Him. Such was the testimony of John:
“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead”
There is no room for the exaltation of anyone but Him!
The Bride, His Fair One are those whom His eye is ever upon. She is carefully and meticulously being groomed for greatness and royalty. She has His eye because He has her heart! It is the humility of her heart that draws His attention and His gaze.
“…but to this one will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
The Bride of Christ is His; she will not take on the name of another. She will not join that which is a mixture of flesh and spirit. She follows the Lamb wherever He goes. She seeks no following for she is captivated with Him and intent on following Him. She does not seek the praises of men but lives for His approval. She does not fit into the systems of this world for she is not of this world. The temples, buildings and organizations of men cannot lure her away from the pursuit of Him. Rather than agendas she seeks the Life. Rather than methods and strategies she discovers the Way of God within. Her eyes are set upon a City whose builder and maker is God. She is a pilgrim in this world because she is only at home in His. Even so Lord “be it unto us according to Thy Word”.
“For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”
* The beautiful narrative of Esther is prophetic of the rise of the Bride of Christ where her story is an exposé on the journey of the Bride in our day. We see her being selected as one of many fair ones of which only one was to be chosen as the new Queen due to Vashti’s disobedience. The Eunuch Hegai’s purpose was to submit each of these to the process of purifying, teaching and preparing them to be fit to be queen. The bitter experiences are represented by the myrrh; the pleasant odors of the other spices plus “other things” were for their purifying. It was the grace and beauty with which Esther carried herself that caught the attention of Hegai. She was shown special favor by him so that she would be most prepared in her presentation unto the King. “Many are called but few are chosen” is a sobering truth in this day when the lives of those who seek to be faithful are scorned and mocked as legalistic and old fashioned. Nevertheless, the Bride will stand at the last day arrayed in the fine linen of Christ’s righteousness and the heavens will rejoice!
**The Story of Vashti is a portrayal of deep truths which have been fulfilled multiple times throughout the history of God and man. We see it in the refusal of one generation to enter the land of promise and God raises up the next one to go in with greater grace; we see it in the continual refusal of Israel to walk with God and He turned to the Gentiles; we see it in the parable of the Wedding Feast where the called of God did not respond to His call and they were left to themselves while the servants of the Lord were sent to the highways and the byways to bring a new people in. The pride and arrogance of one generation is the doorway for another. God will always fulfill His purposes but “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief”. (Hebrews 4:6) God will raise up another. It is with this in mind that we are instructed to seek humility and walk obediently before Him.
“And he spake of trees,
from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon
even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall”
1 Kings 4:33
Several times the Cedar and Hyssop are connected in things pertaining to God. Solomon in his God-given wisdom spoke of these two contrasting extremes in God’s creation. The stately Cedars of Lebanon refer to Godly stature and character as does the lowly Hyssop that “springeth out of the wall” speaks of a living faith. In God’s wisdom they are related for the one is the means to the other.
The hyssop speaks of the living faith of the believer; it is the means by which the truths of God are apprehended and applied to our own hearts.
“And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop,
and dip it in the blood that is in the basin,
and strike the lintel and the two side posts
with the blood that is in the basin…”
During the night of the judgment of God upon Egypt the Israelites were to take the hyssop and apply the blood of the lamb to the door posts of their dwelling. In the transactions of the Law of the Leper we see that the hyssop was also dipped in the blood of the slain bird and then sprinkled seven times upon the leper. (This speaks of a continuous and ongoing operation of the Spirit). We see this same application of the hyssop in the book of Numbers…
“And a clean person shall take hyssop,
and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent,
and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there,
and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain,
or one dead, or a grave”
It is essential for the people of God to see and understand that truth, in itself, does not impact a heart apart from faith. If the hyssop were not used to apply the blood to their door the firstborn of the Israelites would have perished along with the Egyptians; the efficacy of the blood was released by the faith/obedience in the application of it by the hyssop. The things of God are only real to us in proportion to the faith by which they are applied into our lives.
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)…”
While many in our day may claim to be Christians, without faith there can be no effective experiencing of the power and life of the blood of the Lamb. To the world the hyssop plant is of little consideration; it typically grows to be just over a half meter high. It tastes bitter but its fragrance is pleasant and readily available to any who would lay hold of it. It grows plentifully in Egypt and in the rocky places of the wilderness. This also speaks to us of the faith of God in our lives. It grows in harsh places and is not out of reach to the world (Egypt). It is available to you and me in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
This is the truth of the hyssop; it is the means by which the truth of God is applied to my own heart. It is incumbent upon us to know of this vital truth for faith without expression is dead (James 2:20). The fundamental truth concerning the hyssop as revealed in the Passover is this: the blood in the basin will not save the Israelite. Truth held in the intellect, truth professed by the lips without the application of faith, will not save a man from himself or the judgements of God. It is in the beauty, the lowliness and the simplicity of the truth of the hyssop that the efficacy of the blood is released in our lives.
One of the most broken and beautiful Psalms that King David wrote is Psalm 51 concerning his affair with Bathsheba and the death of Uriah. It has ministered to the people of God throughout the ages of faith and hope in the face of our own failures in our walk with God. The Psalmist cries out to God to “purge” him with hyssop; he knows this is where his hope lies. It is in the application of the blood of the Lamb, by a true and living faith, that men are enabled to rise from the ashes of their own failures and walk in newness of life. The truth of the hyssop is ever within our grasp, always available to those who are in Christ Jesus. It is by the blood of the risen Christ wherein we are made overcomers…
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb…”
The wisdom of Solomon concerning the connection of the stately Cedars of Lebanon and the lowly hyssop is easily seen. The character and stature of Christ within our lives can only become a reality by stooping low and discovering the wonder and simplicity of the Hyssop!