“I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Purpose is the inevitable result of seeing Him. The true Love of God does not leave a life void of passion or purpose. Paul’s presentation of the Gospel made no allowance for a partial pursuit of God. For him, it was unfathomable to love God with a divided heart; becoming more like Christ was the only purpose. He knew in his own experience that the Love of God was the pure power and wonder of Life. Love is the means by which God subdues all things unto Himself. The human heart was created for this: to glorify God and to reveal His wonder, His person and His wisdom to the rest of creation. Continue reading “Vision and Purpose”
God’s Love by its very nature is an active and creative power within the soul of man. Creation is proof of God ever seeking, ever desiring to expend and lavish His love in new dimensions. The Word declares that we were “created for His pleasure” and it is His pleasure to pour out Himself in unmeasured and unmerited means. His Love in us seeks, desires and ever works to color everything within its reach; not to own, rule or control but to inspire others to live fully in God.
The infinite and all-encompassing God whom our forefathers sought with passion calls us to depths unknowable and heights unsearchable.
“Deep calleth unto deep”
The Love of God is the call and His Love in man is the response.
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
“He said “Love…as I have loved you.” We cannot love too much.”
Truth is the precursor of Love. Love is not an emotion. It is not a sentiment nor is it a license to practice evil. God is Love. His love is expressed in His actions, His Words and His ways. Love is a quality of being and from that eternal substance flows the righteousness, holiness, forgiveness and redemption of God in all purity of thought and intent. There can exist no evil, duplicity of soul, variableness, and malice toward others where love reigns. Love can only grow where truth and verity of heart is fixed in the person and heart of Jesus Christ.
The only way in which love may be known in any measure will be to the degree to which the human heart is freed from its deception and self-love. This is essential for the ministration of God to our innermost being with all of His fire and penetrating light.
The love of God is His perfection in man.
“Love… thinketh no evil”
1 Corinthians 13:5
It takes the power and the light of all that God is to bring us to a heart that is incapable of thinking evil. Truth is not just something we know, it is something we do by virtue of Him who is ruling and reigning in our hearts. The day is upon us and the hour is late; His call goes forth to prepare the way of the Lord within the sanctum of our own hearts.
The cry of the Spirit to “prepare ye the way of the Lord” is calling us to repentance in order to receive Him in fullness into our hearts. The measure of truth residing within is revealed in the love we give.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”
1 John 4:8
“We know, in order to follow; we follow, in order to know. Light prepares the way for love. Love opens the mind for new love. The gifts of God are interwoven. They multiply and reproduce each other, until we come to the perfect state of eternity…”
“And Jesus answering, said to him, “It has been written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve Him only”
Serving God will always be proportional to the condition of our hearts. Divided loyalties result in a tainted service unto Him. Jesus said unequivocally “No man can serve two masters…”. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to bring an individual to the singular desire to serve God. Purity of heart (a heart void of mixture or agendas) is the criteria for wholly serving God. Within the core of human nature lies the unbridled and undisciplined chaos of the fall. This results in the lawlessness of the cravings and relentless pursuit for self-realization, self-gratification, and self-promotion. This inherent evil produces the conflicts, wars and grievous atrocities in the Body of Christ around us.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
It is the war within that produces the conflicts without. The horrific need for control and recognition and satisfaction is the curse of the religious world. The great deception here is the promotion of self under the guise of serving God. Those who crucified Jesus did so in the name of God through the innate evil of self-serving ambition. Lust, self-love, covetousness, envy and jealousy are mitigating factors that rob the heart of its singular desire to serve and honor God. A divided heart is an evil heart. A divided heart is an unstable heart. A heart driven by a passion for anything other than the love of God will, in the end, betray Him. Dying to self is the only means to a pure and single heart. God has no other answer for the human condition.
“…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin”
Freedom in Christ comes by our co-crucifixion with Him. It is in our daily walk of following Him that we are freed from the desires and lusts of self. Our ability to serve God with a whole heart will be proportional to the depth of our co-crucifixion with Him.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In the discipleship of picking up our cross and following Him His Love will be seen. Only disciples have the ability to show forth the wonder of the Love of Christ. True disciples of Christ are easily seen by the purity of love that flows to others.
“We must never settle for harmony at the expense of holiness, nor for peace at the expense of principle”
– John Bradford – Martyr and Preacher of Righteousness
– He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555
“Mr. Bradford, martyr, speaking of Queen Mary, at whose cruel mercy he then lay, said, “If the queen be pleased to release me, I will thank her; if she will imprison me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her, etc. So saith a believing soul: Let God do with me what he will, I will be thankful“
The rich heritage we have as an example left to us. May we seek to be free from the bitterness of soul and to live in the fullness of a heart of gratitude to Him who directs our steps and holds us by the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus. John Bradford’s voice still speaks and the life of Christ within him continues to minister unto us in this day.
He is accredited with the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I”.
There is a 19th-century tradition tracing to Bradford the idiomatic “There but for the grace of God go I” as an expression of humility and reliance on God’s grace rather than his own morality. The editor of The Writings of John Bradford, Aubrey Townsend, notes this in his preface
“Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,
and thy speech is lovely”
Song of Songs 4:3
The loveliness of the Bride of Christ is found not only in her appearance but also in her speech. The scarlet speaks of redemption and salvation. It speaks of a grace which proceeds from the redemptive work of Christ within the believer’s heart. From the redeemed heart flows the words which speak of Him, His grace and His salvation. The lips are the gateway which reveal the abundant wonder of Christ Himself. What the heart treasures the mouth speaks; such is the law of nature. This law is universal and undeniable. The wicked as well as the righteous will eventually reveal the true state of their heart by the words they speak. As James declared “so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh”.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh”
The heart of the Bride is consumed by HIM and her words are seasoned with her singular love and devotion unto Him. Issues in the daily common course of both her private and public life will convey the Lordship of Christ. Redemption speaks of something far more than just forgiveness; it speaks of ownership. It is the transaction of a lost soul which has been bought at great cost from the slavery to sin and Satan unto the possession of Christ.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”
The redemption of her life is revealed in the words of her speech. She has been overcome with His beauty, His magnificence, and His redeeming love for her. She cannot but speak of Him. She dares not sully His love with impure and unclean words. Her relationship with Him has brought great changes within and it is from here that the words of Christ proceed. The Law of the Spirit of His Life working to bring her into a greater dominion unto Himself. In her growing relationship with Him she discovers the divine enablement to have her speech seasoned with the grace and wisdom of God. Over time, Love’s influence causes heart-to-heart interactions with a growing surrender of her heart unto His. It is the Divine romance in which the dominion of the Redeemer woos the heart of His beloved by the cords of His Love, Mercy and Grace (a three-fold cord is not easily broken Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Laws of Religion cannot interfere with the power of His grip of a love so deep and mysterious in its workings it “surpasses all understanding.” Fear of judgement and retribution fade within the hold of such a Love. Fear of His judgement is replaced with a fear of missing Him within the conduct of her life. This fear is rooted in Love because He is the joy and sole desire of her heart. The Law of the Spirit at work within brings her to a sense and consciousness of His abiding presence. It is here that the breath of Him inspires the great prayer of her heart:
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
This cry for purity and authenticity arises unto Him because He is her redeemer. Only love can hold the human heart to the high and lofty call of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom…”
“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips”