Quote for Today
“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience”
Benedict of Nursia
“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience”
Benedict of Nursia
“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”
“There are multitudes in our congregations who are just waiting while they ought to be acting. They must work, if they would have God work in them. There can be no religion without obedience”
– Ichabod Spencer
“And hereby we do know that we know him,
if we keep his commandments”
1 John 2:3
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in
obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,
see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently:”
1 Peter 1:22
Obedience is the means by which God brings His own unto His end: a pure heart. Love is the perfection of God within an individual’s life. Those who “love not, know not God”. It takes little effort for others to see Him when God’s Love is resident in a life. Understanding deep things, functioning in gifts and ministrations are all good but if we have not love “we are nothing”. To be devoid of love is to be empty of God. When people stop caring over the condition and state of another life they have essentially stopped living. Life consists of loving, caring, encouraging and exhorting for all of these expressions proceed from the same Source.
“For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights”
“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted
and charged every one of you,
as a father doth his children…”
1 Thessalonians 2:11
The well-spring of all true expressions of the Holy Spirit flow from the Father’s heart into the lives of those who through the medium of obedience have their hearts purified with a fervent love of God’s people.
The Staff and the Rod of the Shepherd are both wielded by the same heart
to bring us to the same end. David found comfort in both and so should we
The measure of an individual’s life is known by the love beating within one’s heart for the life of the Son in those around us.
Love is the fire which births the words of life, the fire of life and the works of life.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
“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 John Chapter 14 we are caught up in the drama of Jesus seeking to prepare His disciples for His impending departure at the hands of a wicked and perverse generation. In these moments we feel the intensity of the Son to convey to them the Father and the coming promise of the Comforter. During this time of great intimacy Jesus speaks of love being the criteria for determining the measure of a man’s obedience.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word”
“The one who does not love Me
does not keep My words”
The simplicity of the Christian Life, when all the words, doctrines and teachings of men are removed, is reduced to these two simple choices; life and relationship with The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; or Religion and death. Let us re-examine these scriptures in their entirety to understand their full ramifications.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word,
and My Father shall love him.
And We will come to him and
will make a dwelling place with him”
“The one who does not love Me
does not keep My words”
The immensity of the contrast between these two scriptures is solely determined by the love we hold in our hearts. Being Loved of the Father, and the enjoyment of the Father and the Son making their dwelling place within ours hearts, is not determined by what we know but by who we love.
Men are constantly reading books, listening to sermons, joining organizations, holding prayer and fellowship meetings and trying to follow men in order to reach these deeper places of relationship. As important as some of these things may be, we miss the fact that the simplicity of a life filled with loving Him, with all of our hearts, is the Way of access. The measure of our love for Him is found in the revelation of our keeping, obeying and loving His Word.
“But if any man love God,
the same is known of him.”
It is this love alone which determines
the measure of a man in God.
“No one serving as a soldier
entangles himself with the affairs of this life,
so that he might please the one enlisting* him”
2 TIMOTHY 2:4 (LITV)
Great is the need for soldiers of Christ in our land these days. The degree to which His people are free to serve Him is relative to their entanglement with the affairs of this world. The affairs of this world are many and far reaching; employment, social clubs, politics and connections and commitments of time to a myriad of other things. Men need to provide for their families but that does not include excesses or many of the things that our society considers “essentials”.
The CALL of God is calling us out of this world. We are not here to become entangled in the politics of this world. Paul and the Apostles lived in a day where literally thousands of Christians were being murdered savagely, systematically and mercilessly for entertainment! Yet not once did the Apostles mention these things in terms of political involvement for the Kingdom of God is NOT of this world. We are called by name* (see note below) OUT of this world to please and serve Him. We must order our steps rightly so we do not become encumbered by debt thereby forcing us to be servants to the financial institutions of this world.
“No one serving as a soldier entangles themselves”. This is a statement not a teaching. If we are entangled, we are not free to be soldiers of Christ. Jesus said that we cannot “serve God and Mammon”. We are to be faithful to provide for our families and others in the Body of Christ but never to the point that we are unable to fully serve our King. The Body of Christ has been exposed to the horror of a “Gospel of Prosperity”; a lie from the pit of hell itself. Worldly men teach God’s people to embrace the things of this world, love the things of this world and strive for them because God wants us to be wealthy! He has called us OUT of this World not into it.
“Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him”
Multitudes of Christians are caught up in politics and current events while His house is anemic and scattered. So many expend their emotions, time and money into the “saving” of America or some other country’s way of life rather than being the Light that speaks of HIS KINGDOM.
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:
if my kingdom were of this world,
then would my servants fight,
that I should not be delivered to the Jews:
but now is my kingdom not from hence”
The Army that God has called us to is not a carnal one and does not seek by carnal means to change the spiritual condition of a nation; it will not resort to carnal weapons and anger! The weapons of His Army are Light, Goodness, Forgiveness, Mercy, Truth and Love. These are the weapons that no army on earth can contend with. Those who know of the coming Kingdom of God need not concern themselves with the strategies and politics of men. We are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be defeated for it is Eternal, Spiritual and Real. This army knows no particular race. It is free from the creeds and doctrines of men for it is founded in Him, sustained by Him and His Soldiers are obedient to His commands. They hear ONLY His Voice and they will not follow another.
The CALL is going forth in this hour. Who will answer Him from the depth of his heart “send me” (Isa. 6:8)? It is in the occupation of serving Him that men CHOOSE to be untangled from this world. Love brings men and women to choices; men love what they serve and they serve what they love.
“And that sown into the thorns is this:
the one hearing the Word,
and the anxiety of this age, and the deceit of riches,
choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful”
MATTHEW 13:22 (LITV)
Love is the only motive that will enable us to respond truthfully and rightly to the CALL.
In heaven we shall appear,
not in armour, but in robes of glory.
But here these are to be worn night and day;
we must walk, work, and sleep in them,
or else we are not true soldiers of Christ.
*NOTE: στρατολογέω (4758) (stratologeo from stratos = warfare/army + lego = in this instance lego means “to be chosen”) primarily means to gather or select as a warrior or choose to be a soldier and is used here in the active verb participle form to describe the soldier’s commander calling him by name into this Army.
“Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.”
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God. He taught His disciples to pray for it, seek it first in their daily lives and, most importantly, to ENTER it. The above scripture tells us that merely calling upon His Name is not the door through which God’s rule becomes the reality of our hearts. The Key to the Kingdom is obedience. Many are satisfied in talking about it and praying about it; we are ever exhorted throughout the New Testament that FAITH is synonymous with obedience. Obedience is the revelation of the Love of God in our hearts and the “works” of a living faith.
“For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments”
The revelation of the Love of God in our hearts is in the keeping and obeying of His commandments. Love is the root and the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God. It is the motive behind every good work that glorifies our Heavenly Father. It is the fountain from which every word is spoken and the very expression of the Son within the lives of His own. Those who obey not, love not.
This Kingdom for which every true child of God seeks first, must be sought through the reality of obedience to Him. Obedience is a learned thing. Men are not born obedient; they become obedient through the discipline of the life of the Son. The Love of God moves in such power and beauty, overwhelming the hearts of His own, that they forsake their own will to DO HIS.
Those who seek God’s Kingdom by any other means will be sorely disappointed at the outcome, for in truth obedience is the highest form of worship; it is the very essence and revelation of His Love in US. Just as Faith cannot be separated from obedience so also a true and sacrificial obedience is not possible without the very Love of God beating in our hearts.
Men who seek their own know not Love. Obedience is the only means of seeking His Kingdom, entering His Kingdom and abiding in His Kingdom. As the Son only did the things that pleased His Father, if He is alive in our hearts, His Life will be evident in our desire to please Him.
“…Thy Kingdom Come
Thy WILL be done
As it is
“Faith, as Paul saw it,
was a living, flaming thing
leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ”