Quote for Today
“The best theology is rather a divine life
than a divine knowledge”
“The best theology is rather a divine life
than a divine knowledge”
“There is no ascertaining the quality of a tree but by its fruits. When the wheels of a clock move within, the hand on the dial will move without. When the heart of a man is sound in conversion, then the life will be fair in profession. When the conduit is walled in, how shall we judge of the spring but by the waters which run through the pipes?”
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”
“For it is not so much speaking true things that doth good, as speaking them from the pure, and conveying them to the pure: for the life runs along from the vessel of life in one, into the vessel of life in another; and the words (though ever so true) cannot convey life to another, but as the living vessel opens in the one, and is opened in the other.”
– Isaac Pennington
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…” John 1:7
Love is its own reward
For in its power all is restored
Envy is the rust of soul
Corrupting all within its hold
Love rejoices in another’s success
For it is full in its own blessedness
Envy increases in emptiness
Receiving from its wretchedness
Love’s joy is ever giving
Flowing from Him who is ever living
Envy covets what others own
Reaping the ruin that it has sown
Love is life’s true delight
Freeing the heart from all sin and strife
Envy’s wages are hell and blight
Binding the heart in sin and strife
It is in envying the things of others
our own garden is filled
with wicked weeds and evil deeds
“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones”
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine,
and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man…”
The scriptures are full of God’s thoughts and His determinations. Those who set their hearts to please and honor Him will have little difficulty discovering these things. It is a simple concept for us to consider; hear His Word and obey it. While many love to discuss revelations, dreams and visions the simplicity of doing His Word will make one wise and pleasing to God. As one man observed, the disobedient scholar has to muddy the water in order to make it appear deep. In reality the wonder of obeying Him brings us to clear waters, pure hearts and a faith built upon the very Rock of our Salvation.
There is no better teacher than obedience for it opens the heart to feel God within. It cleanses the eyes that we may see clearly and it causes our ears to become sensitive to the intonations of His voice. Obedience will always clarify our walk. In obeying we soon discover whether a thing is of God or of ourselves. Those who never obey His voice within are left with obscurity in the things of life. They have never acted on the still small voice within and therefore the ambiguity of His way is never solved. With the passing of time the voice becomes reticent and men and women are left to their own thoughts and ways.
Child-like faith will always reveal the Father. It is to such He comes to show them the wonders of His Son and of His Kingdom.
“But whoever does what is true comes to the light,
so that it may become evident
that his actions have God’s approval”
“To him that overcomes
will I give to eat of the hidden manna…”
It is not the process of overcoming that entitles us to eat of this “hidden mana” for there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. However, it is in overcoming that we grow in our capacity to eat and walk within the provisions of this manna. Doctrine and teaching require simply a certain intellect; but living truth is ministered to us according to our development not our intellect. Jesus said to His disciples…
“I have yet many things to say unto you,
but ye cannot bear (support) them now”
The disciples’ lack of character and spiritual maturity hindered Jesus from sharing the deeper things. With the promise of the coming Holy Spirit the very nature and outlook of these same men would be radically transformed into new vessels. It is grievous to see and hear men and women speak of deep and wondrous truths with the flippancy of just another teaching. They neither understand nor are able to carry truth in a spirit of humility and the fear of God. They speak of Judgements, Sonship and other precious truths without the depth of character which should humble rather than exalt them. Martin Luther, whom God used to restore the truth of justification by faith, declared that the most dangerous doctrine in the church was “any truth carnally received”. Knowledge attained by carnal means “puffs up” without the ability to love and edify others. The real and living truth of God is the revelation of Christ Himself to the individual with the express purpose ministering to others by the development of the love of God. Any time there is a true seeing of Him men and women are immediately humbled and broken; for no flesh shall glory in His presence. Those who speak of high and lofty things without the corresponding humility and fear of the Lord have seen nothing but carnal concepts.
The true knowledge of God is revealed to those who have been weaned from the milk of the word to eat the meat of the word. The difference between these two stages of the Christian life is easily discerned. The milk of the word is for those who taste of its wonder and provision as an infant in Christ. This is a stage of great growth and delight to the Father’s heart.
“As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 Peter 2:2
The issue is there is a failure to go on into the maturity of Him. The stage of the “strong meat” is where His people began to obey, walk and live God’s word. Jesus said to His disciples at the well of Samaria:
“…he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of…
My meat is to DO the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
While many in God’s house linger in the infancy stage the strong meat of God’s Word is withheld from them. It is not a question of “earning” it but of having a life that is able to bear the revelation of His character and heart. Men and women may be Christians for 50 years with all kinds of “deep” teachings and doctrines yet never able to become like Him in heart and character. There is no growth through the intellectual apprehension of a truth in God. Change only comes by virtue of SEEING HIM; where the life and soul of the beholder is humbled and captivated by a Holiness beyond description. The “strong meat” of the word is withheld from the carnal, the unstable, the proud and self-seeking ones for it must be borne in broken and contrite hearts. Purity of heart is necessary to see God in a way that affects the entire being. Truth is not a teaching; it is a portion of the life of Jesus and its apprehension is proportional to the purity of our hearts.
“Blessed are the pure in heart
For they shall see God”
The milk of the Word, as good and precious as it is, must give way to the “strong meat”. The Epistle to the Hebrews was a strong admonishment to people who were failing to leave the milk:
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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 uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” Hebrews 5:11-13
The Apostle goes on to say…
“But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” Hebrews 5:14
The condition of our hearts determines the depth of our understanding in the things of God.
“Whom shall he teach knowledge?
and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
them that are weaned from the milk,
and drawn from the breasts”
The Way into the Holy things of God will be discovered by those whose hearts desire purity (freedom from agendas and recognition) and obedience. This is the very “meat” and sustenance of the true seeker of God.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11
Many hold to deep teachings and concepts which can only result in a life…
“having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such (we are to) turn away…”
2 Timothy 3:5
Paul continues by declaring these same people are those who are…
“Ever learning, and never able to come
to the knowledge of the truth…”
2 Timothy 3:7
It is a day to be sober and honest within the very core of our being for an intellectual relationship with God will not sustain us in this hour. It is time to turn to Him with honest, open and contrite hearts and seek Him for Himself alone. May we cast off the things we count as “gain” in our standing with Him and come with purity of purpose and faith unfeigned. It is here we will see Him in truth which will bring a full transformation from all that we are (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“Knowledge without repentance
will be but a torch to light men to hell.”
All life begins with God. Without Him nothing exists materially or spiritually. He is the beginning and in Him life is filled with endless beginnings. He is ever making all things new. The glory of creation is always giving way to new wonders and countless beauties. Every sunset has its own glow and signature. Every plant, every creature has a uniqueness which, though it belongs to a certain species, has something distinct about it. No two things are the same. The creator can never be exhausted in His creativity. From birth there is always the first step, the first word, the first moment of conscious thought. At each step of the journey into the expanse of His world we become more aware that we are eternal creatures moving toward a call; the apprehension of a mystery that can only be known in Christ. He is the Word by which we were begotten in the fullness of His time and will. In the mystery of this relationship His thoughts, words, ideas and omniscient care may seem intangible yet somehow there is an inner knowing that He is near.
Relationship is by its nature a mystery. While religious men consider God in abstract terms and religious concepts, something unfathomable transpires in those who touch the hem of His Holiness, Love and Power. It is at times unsettling, more than any mere human is able to comprehend, yet there is a fragrance within the wonder of it all that draws His own near. Isaiah in Chapter 6, caught up to the very presence of God, was immediately struck with God’s glory and the contrast of His own dreadful condition. Yet in the face of such contradiction and terror, He hears God speaking within the Holy Trinity: “Whom will WE send, who will go for US?” There must have been an unspoken love shrouded within that dreaded Holy Place that enabled Isaiah to whisper, “Here am I, send me…” It is in these intimate moments where we catch glimpses of the new beginnings in God. Though Isaiah had already prophesied mightily for five chapters, infallible words from God, we can rest assured he was not the same man after the seeing of Him. So it is with us; when we truly see Him we can never be the same and that ever increasing light leads to deeper places and growth in the knowledge of Him.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
The light of Him is the life of Him. While many consider light to be the ability to understand certain doctrines and teachings, or to hold scriptures in the intellect, true light is the revelation of His light to us with the intent that it shine through us.
“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
The only light we have is the life of Him ruling and reigning within us. It is in the holding of Him we have life. When one wanders from Him the life and the light fades into darkness and futility. The life never leaves the Son for He Himself is the light. People speak of getting saved as an event that occurred at one point in time failing to realize that eternal life is not something a person gets by complying with a statement of faith, it is the very life of Jesus living and abiding within us. He who has the Son has Life; He who has not the Son has not life; a very simple statement yet one that is far reaching in its eternal implications. Eternal Life is not something we hope to get when we die rather it is ours by having Him present tense in our life by relationship. It is here the true believer experiences the continual life of new beginnings. His word, His ways, our seeing of Him is ever increasing, calling us to higher and deeper places of knowing Him. This is not a static religious concept; it is the way of His life within us. To many the way becomes dreary and filled with uneventful meetings, prayers and discussions but to those who hold His life dear within their hearts, life here is but the womb of greater things. We see new songs being sung in the heavens; new creations do new things.
“And they sing as a new song before the throne”
Not just anyone can sing this new song. It is a song reserved for those who follow the lamb wherever He goes. It is for those who are free from the systems of men and walk in a way that pleases Him. The true things of God are not to be had by claiming promises; they are ours as we come to abide in Him.
“For all the promises of God in him are yea,
and in him Amen”
2 Corinthians 1:20
All of God’s promises are in the Son and as I grow in relationship with Him they become mine. Just as the life and the fruitfulness of the branch can only be known by abiding in the true vine there are attributes of God which can only be mine by being in Him. It is here that the revolutionary walk of identification and love is known. There is a fountain which ever flows in the Spirit. The psalmist says there is a river which makes glad the city of God. It is a river which has no beginning for it flows from the very throne of God Himself. It flows with the intent that men might walk into it, drink of it and wash themselves clean. Those who separate themselves from others find themselves outside of the flow and the wonder of His life. Jesus walked with the common people, He ate their simple food and He understood the plight of every man. Just as in the parables, the normal things of life become vehicles to convey God’s heart and truth. This is where we will find Him still teaching, still instructing us in heavenly things if we have eyes to see and ears to hear and comply with His whispers. Relationship implies the sharing of personal and intimate things, and we need to be close enough and still enough to have that privilege.
It is here we find those new beginnings with each step we take into the mystery of knowing Him. Abraham went out not knowing where he was going for he had caught a glimpse of the ONE who is the way, the truth and the life. For many it is much more comfortable to linger in things of the past than to take that first step. Fear holds men and women where faith falters. They die to spiritual things and new beginnings are a thing of the past. Life has become a series of days filled with rote and stagnant activities.
But to those who hold Him dear within the very recesses of their hearts He remains precious, living and true. It is in these ones that fellowship is a most desired and coveted thing. As each member beholds Him and shines that forth into the lives of their brothers and sisters we see the manifold work of new beginnings within each life; a Body that beats with His heart for one another!
“And Adam knew Eve his wife;
and she conceived…”
Travail is the fruit of conception. While many may know the teachings and scriptures of God’s Word the travail of the mystery is lacking. Conception is the fruit of relationship; deep, intimate relationship. It is a sharing that goes beyond the casual relationship, beyond the confines of religious prayer meetings and Sunday services. It is an affair of the heart where intimacy and love is known between the Bride and the Bridegroom. While a man may have many friends and acquaintances, there is something far deeper and more profound in the relationship with his wife. From that intimacy we see conception, travail and the birth of something new. There is the wonder of a new creation, a separate being which is the expression of the love shared. This natural expression is simply the revelation of something deeper, purer and holy in God’s wisdom (Ephesians 5:31-32) concerning His purposes in the earth.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,
and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS”
This purpose is for all who have received Him into their lives; the bringing forth of the Son in all of His Glory, humility, grace and wisdom. Just as a woman cannot conceive by her own will so it is in the Spirit. Conception is the fruit and wonder of relationship. It is not of the work of men but the result of intimacy with God in the Spirit. Those who do not know the stirring and moving of God deep within their hearts will never experience the conception and travail of His Spirit. While many are content with the forms and appearances of religion there is something deep at work within those who have conceived of the wonder of “another life” growing within the womb of their spirit.
Mary’s life was the means of the very incarnation of God. In the wisdom and glory of God, by means of the Holy Spirit, “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”. In like manner that same transaction between God and man has been occurring for centuries in those who yield to the purpose and Lordship of the Holy Spirit. The expression of every individual will be in proportion to the depth of relationship between them and their God. What each of us do with the sowers seed, the given talents and the “pounds” spoken of in the parables, determines the fruit of our lives. The interaction between every believer and God is not determined by what one knows but by how one loves and obeys Him.
It is on the basis and the very essence of His Life within us (conception) that we are being born again as His nature is imparted and augmented in the human heart. This is the interaction of God in man. It is not the result of someone uttering a prescribed prayer or statement; it is the result of receiving the very person of Christ Himself into the human heart.
“But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name”
The power to become sons is on the basis of receiving Him. The human egg within a woman must receive the life of the man in order for conception to occur. This is the Holy Truth of His Life within us. May God open our eyes to the miracle and wonder of His birth within us. It is “not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit” that these things are true.
The validity of conception is revealed by the changes wrought within the life of a believer because of another life living within. Religious conformity will never accomplish the revolutionary power of change that only comes by the transforming life of the Son.
“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”
Religion is about conforming to a teaching or a prescribed mode of behavior. Living truth is about transformation whereby we are changed from the fallen Adam into the “express image” of God Himself.
The power and truth of this is portrayed in the heavens concerning this day. The Bride of Christ is with child, crying out and travailing in birth, in pain, to bring forth this Holy expression in the earth (Romans 8:19-23). Those of His Bride know this travail. The religious cannot understand such things for it can only be known through the impelling force of being with child.
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered”
(To be continued in Part Two)
“Freely you have received, freely give…”
The true art of life is generosity. To give freely of ourselves is the revelation of our Saviour. How freely, how undeservedly we have received of His great mercy. Shall not that heart transform us from the stinginess of giving things rather than ourselves? To give of our time, effort, and most importantly our heart to those around us is life. To live in the freedom of each moment is to give with no thought to our own resources or concerns. That is freedom. To seek out the true welfare of another soul at our expense is true life. Life does not consist in what one has, but in the ability to give to others what has been so freely given to us. The Body of Christ today is one of ours, mine, us and they. All of these things denote a wrong thinking, which of course produces wrong living. I hear the term “our church”, “our pastor”, and “we believe”… how it crushes the real heart of all that we have been called to. Paul called himself a “steward” of the grace of God. A steward is one who owns nothing, but simply manages the wealth of another. Truth, Life and Power are only such in the giving of them away, freely and without expectation of any return. The only Law which governs true generosity is the Law of His Love. Love is never impoverished, for of and in itself is the very treasure of God! Men who are always talking of their poverty have not touched the reality of His Love. Love is not aware of itself. It has no vested interest in its state or “feelings”. It gives because that is its very nature. It lives because that is its very nature. It defends not itself, holds on to nothing, and takes no account of its own resources. It is a life that lives in the sheer wonder of God’s Glory and resources. It is no wonder that the Eternal Son with great Joy beckons us to live and walk in the halls of His Father’s house.
In this house (not houses), the way in is freely given, the way to abide in its richness is to freely give. May we in this hour discover that we receive by giving, live by dying, overcome by loving. This is the doing, this is the living and this is the chief joy of life. As the prophet said to the impoverished woman, “what do you have…?” She replied, “I have a little oil…” To which the word of the Lord comes, “Go find empty vessels…” and the little oil flowed until all were filled! So is it with us; a little oil is sufficient for the empty vessels around us. But the oil does not multiply where it sits in faithless inactivity. It is in the giving, that we receive, it is in the pouring that its flow is known. This is the way of true enlargement in the things of our Father. The conduit is only rich because of the flow; it was never designed to hold anything. Its real purpose is to channel the wealth and life of another. No wonder that except we become as little children we cannot (will not) enter the Kingdom, for the simplicity of its expression requires a life of freedom and spontaneity.
May we in this day, in this moment grow in the wonder of this Heart and Life. As Children may we grow into His very likeness, into His very Heart, unto the Life and core of all that He is.
The tissue of the Life to be
We weave with colors all our own,
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth,
and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
As we see from the many parables in the Gospels concerning the Kingdom of God, it is not a place that we go to when we die, nor is it a “deep” teaching to be known on an intellectual plane, it is a treasure beyond compare. When a person actually discovers it’s true worth it produces a LIFE that sells itself out for the acquisition of it. Men who have a teaching are content to talk about it, learn more about it and simply wait for it, but “when” a man finds its true meaning, there is a rising up and a “selling” of all that we have in order to purchase it. Consider….
The truth of the Kingdom is powerful. It grips the hearts of those who see its worth and produces a quest for reality and truth that cannot leave the beholder with a passive interest in its acquisition and a faithless waiting for it to come. It must be pursued, purchased and acquired at any cost. Obedience is the means by which “we sell our all”. True discipleship is characterized by “if” for it is the freewill offering of the New Covenant.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it…
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works”
Matthew 16:24 – 27
The costs associated with the “buying” of this great treasure are very real because the faith that produces it is very real. This is the day to arise and see the value of this great treasure! Let us no longer be satisfied with the teachings of the Kingdom, waiting for the Kingdom, but let us, by the wonder of Faith and Trust, enter the Kingdom through the LIFE and POWER of the Son at work in our lives.
“Everyone wants the kingdom of God, but few want it first. Everyone wants high achievement, but few want to pay the price. Everyone wants God, but few want to put him first.”
Charles L. Venable