Quote for Today
“He [Jesus] did not say, ‘You will never have a rough passage, you will never be over-strained, you will never feel uncomfortable,’ but he did say, ‘You will never be overcome”
– Julian of Norwich
“He [Jesus] did not say, ‘You will never have a rough passage, you will never be over-strained, you will never feel uncomfortable,’ but he did say, ‘You will never be overcome”
– Julian of Norwich
“Let no man pretend to fear sin that does not fear temptation also! These two are too closely united to be separated. He does not truly hate the fruit who delights in the root.”
– John Owen
“And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness”
2 Samuel 15:23
There are places referred to in the scriptures that represent to us experiences with which we can identify in our own walk. Ziklag, Peniel, Mount Moriah and many other locations speak to us of deep and heart felt experiences through which we must pass. Those places our fore fathers walked through by faith will be ours if we too walk in same path of faith. What was true then must also be true now.
It was a very dark night and one filled with great distress for King David and his loyal friends. Absalom, through treachery and political intrigue, had risen to power and was now seeking David’s life. David had been warned of the betrayal and had to run for his life into the wilderness. Friends, associates and family had betrayed him and were now conspiring to take his life. At this juncture David weeping crosses over the brook Kidron. Kidron* in the Hebrew means darkness, turbulence, great agitation and great evil. It was a brook that flowed into the Dead Sea. It is a brook which must be crossed over, where the deep lessons of God’s faithfulness, His steadfastness and His mercy become the very core of our hope. It is here we are weaned from dependence upon others and God Himself becomes our friend and salvation.
Kidron represents the shattering of our self-reliance and strength, our allegiance to other things. It is the doorway into a new wilderness experience which is quite different from the others in which we have walked. New testings and new sorrows must bring us into new places of faith and reliance upon God. The processing of our God is thorough and effectual. What others mean for evil God makes for our good. The trial known here is more painful and heart-rending as it is not one which comes to us from foes without but from friends within the family of God. Later on in the Psalms David speaks of these deep and agonizing experiences:
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company”
Over a thousand years later we see Jesus crossing this same dark brook as He also was being betrayed: by Judas.
“When Jesus had spoken these words,
he went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron (Kidron)…”
The final drama of Jesus life was unfolding. Judas had gone to the religious leaders of that day and obtained a “band of men” to come and take Jesus by force unto the Chief priests.
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons”
It is important to note that not only did Jesus cross over this dark and turbulent brook but so did His disciples. Think it not strange that the servant is to follow in the same path as the Master. It is in following Him that we become molded and shaped by the experiences of life to overcome as He overcame; to find the healing and sweetness of His life rising in our own. It is the bitter experiences that free us from our own bitterness.
The Brook Kidron is one of the most important crucibles we will face in our lives. The enemy of our soul has orchestrated it for our destruction; God allows it for our good.
The great danger with any bitter experience is that we allow it to linger and to fester. This incapacitates us from living and blossoming in the goodness of God. The three Hebrew men thrown into the fire emerged from it with no trace of smoke upon their garments. God’s design is for us to walk through this excruciating experience with no hint of the bitterness remaining.
God’s determination for the painful lessons of the Brook Kidron is for us to become sweet. Do not fear when these waters arise and would drive you into the wilderness, for God, even thy God shall prove thee and work in thee the wonder and the sweetness of Jesus Himself…
“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all powders of the merchant?”
Song of Songs 3:6
The good news is we will never cross this brook alone.
“…he (Jesus) went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron”
* Note: Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates Kidron: Very Black, Full of Darkness.
The brook Kidron is mentioned as the extent of Shimei’s confinement, the one who cursed David in this dark place of betrayal. How fitting was his judgement that when he crosses the Kidron, Solomon has him executed (1 Kings 2:36-46).
“Let your loins be girded about,
and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men
that wait for their lord”
This is the posture of those in whom the fire of God is burning. They are not inactive and their faith is not passive; the anticipation of His coming has caused them to walk circumspectly. Their light is burning with the intensity of those who live with the expectancy of His return for this is the faith of the Bride who is making herself ready for Him. The slumber of a faithless church has not invaded their hearts. They are watchful and wide awake even in the twilight hours of a world that is passing its time in willing ignorance.
“For this they willingly are ignorant of…”
2 Peter 3:5
It is not an ignorance in which they are born. This is an ignorance that is the product of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God. Men choose to darken their understanding by a determination to ignore the conscience within their own hearts.
The attitude of those who have their loins girded with truth speaks of a self-discipline to remove themselves from the passions and lusts of this world. There is an active living faith which is pursuing the victory over self and the world. There is a constant discovery of the sufficiency of His grace to rise above the fallen Adamic nature in the reality of life. It is through faith we can enter into this grace (Romans 5:2) which will give an ability to escape the desires of this world in order to be prepared for the One to come.
“Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption
that is in the world through lust”
2 Peter 1:4
“Be ye therefore ready also:
for the Son of man cometh
at an hour when ye think not”
“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient”
Humility is the precursor to obedience. Only a humble heart can obey God’s Word. True humility is expressed in a life of obedience. It is the stiff necked, self-willed, and obstinate who cannot obey God’s Word. Men may preach, teach and perform many overt signs and wonders but it is God who searches the heart (Matthew 7:21-23). Only those who are truly humbled in heart before God can obey, please and honor Him.
As the Son humbled Himself as a man He became obedient to the Father while clothed in mortal flesh. The book of Hebrews declares:
“Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered”
It is not that Jesus was ever disobedient but in His incarnation, as a Man, He had to learn obedience! He came from Glory into a whole new realm and manner of life. In becoming a man, He had to overcome the testings, the temptations and the frailties of all that we are. Why and to what end?
“And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him”
In His overcoming here, as a true man, He became the author of a salvation which is available to all who obey Him. The authenticity of the salvation of an individual must culminate in obedience unto Him. Salvation is revealed by our obedience. The depth to which we are saved is revealed in the depth of our submission unto His will.
Those who claim to be “saved” will show forth His salvation by living a life of obedience.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
While many may say “Lord, Lord” it is in the crucible of obedience that His Lordship is revealed.
The humility of a life
is not known by a timid demeanor,
It is known by the submission
of itself to the Word of God.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife;
and she conceived…”
“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. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne”
As I was writing Part One of this article I felt a burden of the things which are about to break upon my heart. These things are occurring now in the earth and the fulfilment is at hand. I trust the clumsiness of my words will give way to God’s Spirit to give clarity to that which He is speaking.
“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”
The rising up of the “great dragon” (the coming together of all who are opposed to God) is happening in our day! The Bride is beginning to feel the birth pangs of the ages within her very being. Those who have received Him into the womb of their heart are beginning to touch the cry, the travail of the very Spirit of God to give birth to this one end: a Man Child who is to rule all nations. This mystery cannot be obstructed. Though all the evil and worldly forces shall become one with the intention to prevent this very thing it shall be!
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born…”
We see this “great dragon” not only in the heavens but also at work in the earth “with his tail” drawing spiritual forces (and their corresponding entities upon the earth) into ONE expression of evil to prevent the great wonder of God in the earth.
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb…and they who are with Him”
We are about to witness and experience the final assault of the combined forces of evil upon all who live Godly in Christ Jesus. There will be a unity of purpose as all earthly powers and governments will be united to this one end: to make war with the Lamb.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”
This gathering of forces is happening in our day and it will continue until the end. It will be on a scale never before witnessed and the severity will be to such an extent that if God does not intervene no life will be saved. While many place their hopes upon some politician, political party or “declaration of independence,” those who know their God are preparing themselves for the Day at hand. They can place their trust in none other than the very Life of Jesus within their hearts. Those who have the faith of the Bride do the works of the Bride, for the Word declares that the “Bride hath made herself ready.” Her heart knows the day; she is not walking in this day carelessly for she knows the time is short. The life within is moving her to obedience and the contractions of travail are beginning to take hold. The hour is upon her and she is sensing it. While the religious world carries on with little idea of what is about to befall them, the Bride is preparing herself for His Day.
In the Day of this birth the enemy is fully assembled to devour this child; nevertheless God’s purposes shall stand.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne”
God will complete that which He has begun in Christ. None can stay His hand or His purposes. This being true we have strong consolation for the sufferings coming our way. Glory must be revealed in a corresponding measure of suffering. Paul knew this as have all the saints who have gone on before us…
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”
To know Him in the power of His resurrection, one must know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings.
This drama is now playing out unto the fulness of all that is revealed to us in the scriptures. The Bride is making herself ready while the forces of darkness are preparing for war on a scale never seen to this day. We are called in this hour to overcome evil by His goodness within us, to overcome evil by His Love which surpasses knowledge; a love which will stagger even the enemies of Christ because of its purity and power to love beyond all human capability. It is by this alone that His people will overcome for “LOVE endures ALL things”.
The promise to those who walk in the faith, obedience and life of the Bride is glorious: for as soon as she (Zion) travails she will bring forth!
“…for as soon as Zion travailed,
she brought forth her children”
Oh saints of God, let us not grow weary in this hour. Though we may know isolation from our brethren, though we may walk a lonely and solitary way, let this be the confidence of our joy…
“Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem*, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her”
“My little children,
these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not”
John’s writing here could be viewed as a stark contrast to what we call the gospel today. He presents here the reason why he wrote this magnificent epistle; the same reason we are to minister grace and truth to one another. All of our interactions with God’s people are to impart life and faith that we may grow up INTO HIM in all righteousness and truth. It is not by our own power that these victories are obtained. These things are only known by living in His Spirit.
“Not by might, nor by power,
but by my spirit,
saith the LORD of hosts”
Do you have mountains standing in your way which mock you and prevent you from this life of freedom? Seek the Lord, follow Him, commune and spend time in His presence. He died for us to walk in Him and be free. He paid the penalty for the shame and the defeat of our weaknesses. He ever lives to intercede on YOUR behalf that this life might be so. Faith is the undefeatable ministration of HIM to YOU. It will not fail, it will not allow for compromise and defeat. With every failure it rises up again for it is an eternal substance (Hebrews 11:1) with its author’s heartbeat. Men can be defeated, strong men will fail, but the man of Faith cannot succumb to any circumstance; they who are held in its power are kept by the very power of God unto a full and complete salvation (1Peter 1:5). It is time to throw off the sad and powerless teaching of today that tells you anything different. It is time to “Hearken unto the Lord” who speaks of much better things. It is time to let the faith of God arise in your heart as HE did in Zerubbabel’s day…
“Who art thou, O great mountain?
before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain:
and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof
with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it”
It is time to speak to the mountains that would hinder you from becoming strong in your God. It is time to realize that the obedience of the SON is of GREATER POWER than the disobedience of Adam! It is time to stop listening to the voices of defeat and compromise and begin to walk in the power of the SON! This ministration is not based upon man’s strength or power but it is within reach of us all because GOD has founded it upon faith that it may be sure!
“Therefore it is of faith,
that it might be by grace;
to the end the promise
MIGHT BE SURE to all the seed…”
We have an Advocate. We are not left to our own resources. HIS Word declares that “greater is HE that is in you than he that is in the world”. These words are true and it is unto those who believe, who rise up after defeats, who refuse to settle for anything other than victory, who will know of the POWER of HIS SALVATION. Let the weak say I am strong, the weary be filled with the JOY of His salvation, and let us rise up together in the goodness and mercy of our God. Jesus came to heal the lame, the halt and the crippled of this world and HE is still doing that today!
It is because of this that John writes these words of power…
“My little children,
these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not”
“Now unto him
that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless
before the presence of his glory
with exceeding joy”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life”
SURELY! The word used for “SURELY” is a particle of affirmation in the Hebrew Language; it indicates a certainty! It is the declaration of FAITH arising from a heart that is following after the Great Shepherd! It is a declaration from a life that knows there will be “valleys of shadows” and separation, of difficulties that seem insurmountable and too deep to cross in our own strength. It is the assurance felt within the heart of one that knows the character and the grace of our God. It is the very thing that carries us through the great trials and troubles that we encounter in this life. This confidence is not borne out of a confidence in ourselves but is founded upon His Goodness and Mercy that is ours as we pursue and follow after Him! We see this same declaration echoed in the life of Paul and others in the New Testament…
“Yet in all these things
We are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
Nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
Nor things present nor things to come,
Nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing
Shall be able to separate us
From the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
ROMANS 8:37 – 39
This surety must come from a life of knowing and doing. True confidence is the fruit of doing. While men may say and declare great things it is through those who do His Will that the quiet fruit of confidence and stability is revealed.
“And wisdom and knowledge
shall be the stability of thy times,
and strength of salvation:
the fear of the LORD is his treasure”
“Surely” is the positive declaration of those who have followed their Shepherd throughout the journey of life; for in the following of Him we can be assured that His Goodness and Mercy WILL follow us. Like a boat crossing a lake it leaves a wake that goes out to distant shores. The Psalmist here declares that the wake of God’s Goodness and Mercy will “surely” touch others, bless others and make known to others the Goodness of our God. We are not here to become obsessed with watching our wake for in so doing we take our eyes off Him and we quickly become lost in the wilderness of self! It is in keeping our eyes upon Him and following Him that we can be confident of this very thing; that “His Goodness and Mercy will follow us”.
“But if by the Spirit you put to death
the deeds of the body,
you will live.”
Life; it is the purpose for which the SON has come.
“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
Jesus did not come to introduce to the world a new teaching, a new religion or a philosophy. He came to destroy the works of the devil and to bring LIFE to His fallen creation. Life does not consist of knowing something or knowing about a thing. LIFE, true life, consists of abiding in HIM.
We read here in Romans 8 that LIFE is known by those who “by the Spirit” are enabled to put the deeds of the body to death. Life is realized by overcoming the deeds of our body by the operation of HIS SPIRIT within our lives. The call to “discipleship” IS the call to life. The CROSS, being the very instrument of death, in our walk with God becomes the very PRINCIPLE by which HIS LIFE is discovered. While the “church” today is overloaded with teachings, sermons, “resources” and programs she is in fact worldly; compromised and powerless in the realms of victory over sin and carnality. More sermons, teachings and conferences will not avail us one iota of the wonders of HIS LIFE. Getting the latest revelation from the multitude of “prophets”* and “apostles”* will not bring this precious resource to the human heart. For the LIFE that JESUS gives is the very life of resurrection. It is a life that arises from the principle of death. It is a life that pulsates with the ability to overcome and reign in Christ Jesus our Lord. On the cross Jesus himself was reigning in a life that conquered death and the grave. It is a life that is undefeatable and eternal in the scope and power of all it holds in its sway. It speaks of something that is beyond the comprehension of men, beyond what we can imagine, consider or even has “entered into the heart of man”.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him”
1 CORINTHIANS 2:9
This LIFE is not to be discovered by simply knowing the scriptures; being able to quote them, expound upon them and claim them as our own. That precious written word bears witness of JESUS. It is the ONE central thought of the whole New Covenant…JESUS THE CHRIST, THE ONLY BEGOTTON SON.
“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me.
And ye will not come to me,
that ye might have life”
It is in the coming to HIM we have life. When the HOLY SPIRIT has such sway within our lives that we can by the very power of God put to death the deeds of our own body we HAVE LIFE. It is in the participation and partaking of the “Divine Nature” that we are made free from the horror of self and that old Adamic Nature. How long will the people of God be content with hearing about this life, sermons on what it looked like in someone else, without the very CRY for it to become the pulse of our own?
We read of that “exceeding abundant” dynamic of God’s power at work toward us BEING “according” (in proportion) to the power that is at work in us! The only limitation to HIS LIFE working in us is our cooperation in HIS WILL. The Cross is simply the Will of God walked out in my life. Teaching, as important as it is, will never be a substitute for OBEDIENCE.
“Now unto him that is able to do
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us”
The validity that we are truly HIS is revealed by those who know the deep and painful inworking and outworking of the CROSS.
“And they that are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts”
This is the stamp of the ownership of Christ within the LIFE of HIS OWN. This call to the experiential co-crucifixion with Christ is the one thing that destroys within us the propagation of self and the desire for self-realization. The same CROSS, that leaves the debris of self and the associated bondage of all that goes with it strewn along the path of the ardent disciple, is also the matrix from which His Life is manifested through our fragile earthen vessels.
While men chase after the latest “miracle worker”, and thousands of sermons and teaching go forth every day, there remains the eternal call of the Spirit of God to DISCIPLESHIP. “If any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself and pick up his cross and follow me.”
To those who are weary and heavy laden with the words, and the never ending flow of information and resources, the promise of Jesus stands as an open door beckoning us to “come to Him” and we will have rest for our souls.
Can we hear the fresh call to the simplicity of discipleship? Can we see beyond the horror and pain of the death that the cross would work in us? Can we see past the agony, humiliation and suffering of all that it would bring and to see HIS LOVELY FACE SHINING IN THE GLORY OF THE UNDIMMED LIGHT OF HIS LIFE?
“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down
at the right hand of the throne of God”
*NOTE This is not to diminish any true ministry in the Body of Christ however hearing without doing is but vain religion.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.
“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57
The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.
These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.
“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4