Quote for Today
“It matters little where a man may be at this moment;
the point is whether he is growing”
“It matters little where a man may be at this moment;
the point is whether he is growing”
“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Paul on his way persecuting the church was confronted on the road by Jesus Christ. His way was interrupted with God’s way and his surrender was immediate and complete. He understood Jesus to be the Lord of His life; not a part time occupation or a Sunday morning exception to his schedule; not Someone to run to when everything else failed. “Lord” was his heart-felt response. Much of the gospel presented today is of a Saviour who is ever willing to help us cope with life, to assist us on our journey while we chose the way and manner in which we live. Such was not the case in the early church nor in the presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit His people presented Jesus as Lord; a living Saviour who is to be Lord of our hearts, our thoughts, purpose and conduct of our lives.
The church today considers the life of Paul as something out of the ordinary and an anomaly in the average Christian experience. Our expectations of Him determines our experience. Expectations are really the evidence of our faith. A faith that expects little, receives little. There must be a radical change in the perception of whom He is and who He is to be in us. The nominal Christian life is one of low expectations, contentment with the status quo and a vague concept of who Christ is. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declared…
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting”
1 Timothy 1:16
Paul’s life was the “norm” not the exception! How long will we be content with reading the sacred scriptures which speak of one thing while our lives experience something else? When will the contradiction spark a longing within our hearts to know Him as Lord and Master? We must acknowledge the issue is not with Him but with our own dismal expectations. Paul was no different than any of us. He was a man subject to the tendencies and frailties of us all with one distinguishing characteristic: “Lord, what would YOU have me to do…” The Lordship of Christ is the pivot which transforms ordinary lives into extraordinary expressions of His grace and power.
This is the evidence, the nature and the desire of those who are filled with His Spirit and Life.
The disciples who were being persecuted for their zeal to declare Christ to the world replied to the religious leaders of their day:
“For we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard”
A people who see little have little to declare. When the church is full of uninspired teachers presenting principles rather than His Life and when the people of God are content with hearing from the pulpit rather than hearing God within their own hearts; then we must acknowledge we are living in the Day of Apostasy!
The life of faith in the individual believer is revealed in their everyday experience. Their expectations, the company they keep and the fire which burns within their hearts is the public disclosure of their faith.
This is the testimony of the ministration of Christ in early Church:
“These that have turned the world upside down
are come hither also”
“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
– William Law
“For he whom God hath sent
speaketh the words of God”
The things which are true in Jesus are to become true in us. Jesus being the LIFE of the New Testament has come to live in us. His Words are to become ours via the rule and reign of His Spirit within our hearts. The power and the authority that resides in Him are to be ours, in a corresponding measure, to the degree of our submission unto Him. The verity of our submission is revealed in the words we speak.
Many years ago the Lord showed me that words are mere containers; the real value of a word is not in itself but in the power contained in the Word. The religious world is filled with many words that carry within them agendas, purposes, and voices to woo and call people to one thing or another. Those who hear words only and do not “feel” the weight, the power and the voice within the word will always be perplexed and mislead. Two individuals may share the same scripture; yet one is empty and void of life or power while the other is pulsating with the Life and Call of Jesus. Without a sanctified ear one will not know the difference. There is an inability to distinguish between that which is Holy and that which is lifeless and dead.
“For the ear trieth words,
as the mouth tasteth meat”
The sanctified ear hears and discerns the voice of God in the words which men speak. It is attuned to the Voice of the Almighty. This is a day of great confusion within the religious world as many voices are calling out to His people. While these voices may speak great things, they seek the heart, the affection and the very souls of men to join their cause or organization and to come under the “covering” of some apostle. We must seek Him and prove His voice within our hearts. It is a day to taste and see that the Lord is good whereby we can know whether something spoken is of Him or the voice of another.
Jesus said “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63) It is to this end we must develop within our own hearts a deep and experiential knowing of His Spirit and the character and manner of His Life. In so doing we are exercised in the ability of discerning Him in all things. It is to those who have been so exercised that God opens the “strong meat” of His Word.
“But strong meat belongeth to them
that are of full age,
even those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil”
God will not entrust His word to those who use it casually. He will not open understanding to one who will use the precious things of God for their own purposes. Many may quote and teach things that other people have seen and heard but the actual power and authority will be lacking. The words may have the form of something right but they are the empty, plagiarized words of others. Real truth must proceed from those who have first seen and heard within their own lives. These are truths begotten in God by relationship; personal relationship with the author Himself. The sanctified ear hears the voice of Him who is the sanctifier. It cannot waste time in the meaningless debates of the religious world, the speculations of the learned and the surmising of those who would rather know a thing intellectually than Him who is the Truth.
“Blessed is the man that hearth me”
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace,
whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear”
HEBREWS 12:28 (NKJV)
The ability to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, is by the power of His Grace given to us. Grace is given in order that we may serve our God and glorify Him in our daily lives. Grace received is revealed in the fruit of our lives. It produces a desire to serve Him, to lay aside my own will and submit to His. Without grace we are left to our own resources, our own thoughts and our own ways. Grace is to be in us a power to live beyond our own abilities. Failure to receive of this Grace causes us to wither and become ineffective in the world around us.
The scriptures declare that Noah “found” grace in the sight of the Lord and because of that he OBEYED God and built an ark to the saving of him and his family. Grace is the great enabler that produces within us a life that testifies of Him and desires to please Him. Grace received will never leave us barren nor unfruitful; it will always honor and glorify the giver!
“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
may be glorified in you, and ye in him,
according to the grace of our
God and the Lord Jesus Christ”
2 THESSALONIANS 1:12
The measure of Grace in which we walk today is good and precious. It is to be guarded and appreciated. It is given from our Lord Jesus Christ with the intent that we would grow in the apprehension of it and its influence in our lives.
“But grow in grace,
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever.
2 PETER 3:18
“Grace is an energy; not a mere sentiment;
not a mere thought of the Almighty;
not even a word of the Almighty.
It is as real an energy as the energy of electricity.
It is a divine energy; it is the energy of the divine affection
rolling in plenteousness toward the shores of human need.”
Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893)
“Prepare your provisions,
for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan
to go in to take possession of the land
that the Lord your God is giving you to possess”
Though the manna was still falling every day Israel was now preparing for war; the trials of the wilderness were giving way to the reality of battle. The manna was God’s provision but it was now time for God’s people to be weaned off the manna and begin to prepare their own provisions. They would soon have to live off the Land they were to enter. The manna was for a season only and it ceased WHEN they had eaten of fruit of the land!
“And the manna ceased on the morrow
after they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
neither had the children of Israel manna anymore;
but they did eat of the fruit
of the land of Canaan that year”
Sadly some of God’s people are still waiting to be fed when they should be preparing their own provisions so that they may be ready for warfare and be able to feed others. They sit passively in a pew, while someone else feeds and waters them, rather than reading God’s word and finding their own provisions to make them strong and vital in the army of the Lord.
Transition is normal and necessary for a healthy and active life in God. Too many of us settle into a life that has become stagnant and stunted in growth and development. To enter in into new places in God will require a change in our provisions. New resources will be required to enter into the things that we are called to.
We read in John of Jesus coming to Jacob’s well and the scriptures testify that Jesus was “wearied with the journey” and sent the disciples into the city to buy food. While Jesus sat at the well a woman came for water and Jesus began to minister unto her. When the disciples returned with food Jesus said he was no longer hungry; in the doing of His Father’s Will He Himself was fed.
“In the mean while his disciples prayed him,
saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another,
Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
The disciples had not yet learned of this provision but they would learn of it in the days ahead. In the Tabernacle there were three distinct offerings or provisions of bread as they traveled in the wilderness. In the Outer Court (which was their present experience) was the gathering of the manna that was wonderfully provided by God. In the Holy Place the priests had access to the table of showbread (Heb. Bread of the Presence or more literally Bread of the Face to be discussed in a later writing). In the Holy of Holies there was the “hidden Manna” that was found within the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the very Shekinah Glory of God. In Revelation the “hidden Manna” is given to those who have overcome. This “hidden manna” is the bread of those who have engaged in the life of battle and victory. It is a provision for those who have “overcome” the enemies of their own hearts and the compromise and issues of the condition of the church of their day.
“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna”
Each of these distinct phases of provision from our heavenly Father is to be an experiential reality in our lives. To remain content with being fed and watered by others is to miss out on the vitality and wonder of our own relationship with God. It is vital that we go on into the deeper things of God for there are always new provisions. May God stir us afresh to GROW into the “strong meat” that HE desires to give us (Hebrews 5:14). Let us leave the “milk of the Word” as it can no longer sustain us in the normal progression of a healthy life in God. A child must be weaned from breast milk in order to grow and so must we! Growth is the EVIDENCE of LIFE.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again
which be the first principles of the oracles of God;
and are become such as have need of milk,
and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe”
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on…”