Quote for Today
“It is vain for us to pray while conscious that we have injured another. Let us first make amends to the injured one before we dare approach God at either the private or the public altar”
– Jonathan Goforth
“It is vain for us to pray while conscious that we have injured another. Let us first make amends to the injured one before we dare approach God at either the private or the public altar”
– Jonathan Goforth
This example is one which will require something beyond the discernment mentioned before. This is one of the highest forms of deception and one which will stretch the very limits of our walk in God. The church has been inundated with this high and unholy expression throughout her history.
It is with a certain amount of trembling that I share this for it must bring us to a place of total dependency upon our God. There is an element here by which our standing true is based in a most profound way upon the sheer mercy of God.
Balaam’s heart was totally perverse yet the prophesies which proceeded from him were in fact the infallible word of God. They are written in the scriptures verbatim for God overruled the false prophet with His own words. We are warned in the New Testament in the Book of Jude to understand the error and perversity of these expressions.
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear…”
Jude’s heart for the people of God is to warn that these false expressions are “with us in our gatherings… feeding themselves without fear” in our very midst. Let us take heed to arm ourselves with the living Spirit of Christ to walk circumspectly in this day.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even NOW are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time”
1 John 2:18
Excerpt from the Spiritual Discernment and False Prophets Part One Writing
“If any man among you seem to be religious,
and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart,
this man’s religion is vain”
The mystery of religion is that there exists, embedded within its own truths, an ease with which one can slip into a deep and dark deception. In this verse we are warned of a deception which is fatal in terms of our life in God; one of which I need a constant reminder. The tongue reveals our walk. It is by this member that the seemingly religious are ferreted out and fully exposed. Lately I have been struck with my own carelessness in this matter. It is easy to get caught up in the religious rhetoric of discussion rather than the expression of Christ. How blessed we are to have His word to cut through the vanity of words and bring us back to the real purpose of life.
Let us consider the power of this piercing word. If we do not bridle our tongue our religion, our profession and our hope of conveying His life to others is pointless. It matters little how much we know His Word, how often we pray or how well we can teach others; if we do not master the tongue we are walking in vain religion.
“I said, I will take heed to my ways,
that I sin not with my tongue:
I will keep my mouth with a bridle…”
The tongue is merely the spout through which the inner waters of our heart flow. It takes very little to discern what kind of waters flow from an individual for they proceed from the abundance of the heart.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh”
The tongue is like a mirror of the heart; it simply expresses what is there. The bridling of the tongue, though a good place to start, is not the cure. The real issue is the state of the heart. Salvation is all about the change and transformation of the heart. It is not about modifying our behavior; it is about the crucifixion of this unruly, unholy and untamed self. It cannot be fixed, managed or made right (Romans 8:7) other than through the inner working of the power of Christ.
The tongue then is simply the revelation of the depth and verity of our salvation. It is in the crucible of everyday life, in our most unguarded moments, that our true relationship with Christ is revealed.
Jesus is God’s spoken Word, He is the summation of God’s being and the matrix of all creation. His purpose is to bring us to the place of such abiding in Him that His words become ours by virtue of relationship. It is here where we become like Him in word and in deed.
Years ago the Lord told me that if I do not watch over my words
He will not entrust me with His.
The things of God are measured out to us according to the development of our life in Him. He may give spiritual gifts without measure and without condition; however, His authority will never be given apart from Himself. He is our salvation. It is not my belief in a teaching about Him whereby I am saved. It is His presence and His person keeping me from sin and iniquity wherein lies the power and substance of my salvation.
In order for us to speak the words of life we must in fact be governed by that ONE who is the Word of life. The Words He speaks are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). To the measure we walk with Him will be a corresponding expression of the very life and power of Christ Himself.
“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
“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.
“The touchstone of piety towards God is charity towards our brother”
When the Church of Jesus Christ misses the mark of the true expression of Christ ruling within the life of His own, the fire and wonder of Love is extinguished and relationships become shallow and carnal. The victory of the prince of this world is the lethargy of a faith which is in word only.
Love cannot exist without truth. Truth makes the inner man true and the verity and substance of His love flows from there. It is truth which frees the heart to love as God loves: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
Love is the fruit of Truth
“Another scheme of Satan is to eliminate from the church all the humble, self-denying ordinances that are offensive to unsanctified tastes and unregenerate hearts. He seeks to reduce the church to a mere human institution—popular, natural, fleshly, and pleasing.”
– E.M. Bounds
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God”
1 Corinthians 2:5
“For they have healed the hurt
of the daughter of my people slightly, saying,
Peace, peace; when there is no peace”
In every generation false ministers speak peace and comfort when God’s desire is righteousness. There can be no true peace apart from God’s righteousness. These false comforters speak peace “when there is no peace”. They have never confronted the sin within themselves and therefore cannot and will not speak to the sins of His people. Righteousness is simply a religious term with no meaning in those who proclaim such a message. These are false and impotent expressions within His house. Words like mercy, forgiveness and grace have little value without an expression of righteousness. If sin is not understood as the evil and horror it is, then the sacrifice and shedding of Christ’s blood holds little weight in the hearts of His people.
We live in a day of tremendous obscurity as the result of a false and man-centered preaching of the gospel. While these ministrations lure His people into slumber of spirit and a false sense of peace and safety, death and destruction lie at the door.
“Your prophets have seen false and foolish things for you;
and they have not revealed your iniquity,
to turn back your captivity”
It is in preaching the righteousness of God in Christ that His people discover the wretchedness of their ways and can avail themselves of the beauty of His grace, mercy and truth. It is in the ministration of His Holiness that we discover His power to save us and raise us up to be a flaming expression of Him. He came to save us from our sins not to leave us in them. He came to give us a peace which cannot be taken from us because it is founded in Him. It is a peace that the world cannot give. Those who speak peace when there is no peace are liars and traitors to the word of God. They seek to soothe and console when God desires conviction and repentance.
What is the end of such preaching? What does a church look like that endures such false and beguiling words? Read the next verse from the Book of Lamentations.
“All who pass by clap their hands at you.
They hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem,
saying, Is this the city which they called the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?”
Men mock and scorn the very thing that should reveal the power, the love and the glory of our God. When the church as a whole listens to the falseness of this gospel His face and heart are hidden from the world around us.
The Church at Laodicea
“Because you say, I am rich, and I am made rich,
and I have need of nothing,
and do not know that you are wretched and miserable
and poor and blind and naked”
This is God’s church! Why did she not know her true condition? Why did she not know of her wretchedness and poverty? Her condition was the result of a false gospel which spoke peace and comfort instead of preaching the truth. Deception is anything which hides God and prevents His people from truth. Truth is the revelation of Jesus the Christ; in His piercing light we see Him and we see ourselves. It is in this ministration that men and women find powerful comforts of mercy and grace whereby we are set free from our sins and our poverty becomes the storehouse of His riches; the blind eyes see, our nakedness is clothed in the garments of His salvation and His joy becomes our strength.
Woe to those who seek to comfort His people with anything less than the living truth of God. Woe to those who would speak comfort to people who are at home in this world. Woe to those who seek out and listen to those who would lie to them.
This is a day for crying out to God for truth that we may turn from our ways and back to His ways; that the hurt and the cause of our lukewarm hearts would be discovered and healed so we may rise up in the purity and fire of a love that cannot be quenched.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety;
then sudden destruction cometh upon them,
as travail upon a woman with child;
and they shall not escape”
1 Thessalonians 5:3
This is a word to God’s people not the politicians of the world.
“If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying “Peace, peace,”
where is no peace; if I forget the poignant word
“Let love be without dissimulation*“
and blunt the edge of truth,
speaking not right things but smooth things,
then I know nothing of Calvary love…”
*Note: The meaning indicated here is to speak the same to all people; we do not blunt the edge of truth because of friendships, associations and people with whom we seek advantage. Calvary’s Love destroys the seeking of the approval of men for it brings us to the same heart as the One who offered Himself at Calvary. He died for Jews, Gentiles, slaves and free men. His blood is without dissimulation and so must be our ministration of Him!
“This people says, the time has not come, the time for the house of Jehovah to be built. And the word of Jehovah was by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to live in your finished houses, and this house to lie waste? And now, so says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but are not satisfied; you drink, but not to be filled; you dress, but there is no warmth to one. Yea, he who sells himself sells himself for a bag of holes. So says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways. Go up the mountain and bring wood and build this house. And I will be pleased with it, and I will be glorified, says Jehovah. You looked for much, and, behold, little! And when you brought it home, then I blew on it. Why, declares Jehovah of hosts? Because of My house that is ruined, and you, each man, run to his own house. On account of this, the heavens above you have held back the dew, and the earth is held back from her produce. And I called for a drought in the land, and on the mountains, and on the grain, and on the new wine, and on the oil, and on that which the ground produces, and on man, and on livestock, and on all the labor of your hands”
This word and its implication in the days in which we live are burning in my heart. The response of God’s people, many of whom once believed in the entering in (Hebrews 4:1-6; Philippians 3:8-14), is dismal as they have settled and grown weary with the way. I have heard it said that the reason for the poverty of this generation is because God is not opening the door. There will be no proper response to God from His people until we ourselves acknowledge that it is our doing which has brought about the spiritual malaise of this hour. It will require broken hearts, repentance and a coming together on the basis of His worthiness and His glory; people with an inherent cry to enter in to that which has been given to us.
It is we who have caused God’s presence to be dimmed as all the prophets of old have declared. We have become accustomed to the lack of His Presence in our midst. We have settled for ease and shrugged off our accountability unto Him. We have been forgiven, called, and gifted, in order to declare His Glory to this generation. Instead we have become comfortable with brothers and sisters who do not speak to one another, animosity and division which ruptures the very fabric of His Body. We are called to love one another, pray for one another and admonish one another unto love and good works. A great storm is about to break and we have not laid these things to heart. It is a day to repent, to turn from the love of the world, and to acknowledge that if I do not care about my brother I am walking in darkness. We must facilitate the rising up of HIS BODY in the earth. We cannot continue to walk outside of the fear of the Lord, for in His fear we are aware that our words and deeds are measured before our God.
It is with this attitude of heart that I plead with my brothers and sisters to reach out to find common ground in His heart; to relate to one another in His Love that we might receive the encouragement and admonition of the Lord and rise up out of our apathy in the Unity of His Spirit and His Faith. Unto Him be Glory in the Church now and forever! Amen.
There is a new generation arising with faith and determination to enter into that which God has set before them. Many of the older generation* have failed to enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:19, 4:6). They seek by prayer and religious works that which has already been provided for in Christ. The Word of God declares…
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”
“Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein,
and they to whom it was first preached
entered not in because of unbelief”
The thing that God has promised sits before us, open and ready for those who step into the River Jordan. While the former generation hold prayer meetings and discussions about how God needs to open the door, a new generation is hearing the call. Those who sit in faithless inactivity fail to understand the truths in the parables of the pounds and the talents. He has given us great ministrations of His Life; it is what we do with them that determine the outcome. To declare that God is the one holding us back is to intimate our spiritual condition is due to His providence rather than our own unbelief. The River parts AS His People step into it. It is unbelief to pray to God to give what has already been given (Exodus 14:15-16). Unbelief cloaked in religious activities has been the sin of many a generation, yet within these times of unbelief God has people who are rising up to take the promise of their day and their hour. Such is the crisis/opportunity of today. In the midst of this unbelief there is a new generation arising that will not be denied. Their hearts cannot linger in the “religion” of unbelief and a faith that does not produce the works of the Son. The veil has been torn (past tense) and to ask God to open the veil is an expression of unbelief.
To say that the reason God’s people live in such spiritual poverty is because of God’s unwillingness to open the way is to lay blame for their spiritual condition upon God rather than themselves. This is a fearful place to walk.
While the bones of one generation bleach white on the sands of unbelief * a new one rises with added grace to enter in and displace the enemies who have too long held the Land of our inheritance. May we be those who feel Him pressing us to walk with the “hind’s feet” (Psalm 18:33) of His provisions. We cannot linger in the valley of vain words, religious meetings and wordy discussions. We must shed our unbelief and stop consoling one another with words rather than the works and admonitions of faith.
I am blessed and encouraged to see the faith of this new generation taking them beyond the impotence and staleness of former things. They are lights shining in the dark! Their words convey a faith not learned by reading books or hearing sermons but a faith that is the very gift of God. They know intuitively there is a Land filled with the Glory of God which is beyond the reach of the religious, but easily accessible by childlike faith. It is a great consolation to hear these voices arising which are speaking better things than the jealously of Saul, the gainsaying of Korah, and the greed of Balaam. The cry within their hearts is for the Unity for which the Son prayed and they will not allow jealousy, apathy and high-mindedness to deter them. They understand the truth of Isaiah 58; the true fast of the Lord is one of doing and becoming rather than the Pharisaical works of the flesh. It is of these that Jesus speaks “suffer the little children to come unto ME”. They are not schooled in the unbelief of our day. They do not know and care little about great men; they have been enamored by the ONE who matters. They know we are here to be the answer to HIS prayer and desire in the earth.
“…that all may be one, as You are in Me,
Father, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe
that You sent Me”
John 17:21 (LITV)
The final outpouring of His Spirit will not fall on a divided and sectarian people. The New Wine will only be poured out into a New Wineskin (Matthew 9:16-17). The old, inflexible wineskin, held together with the carnal energies of those who would seek their own glory and not His, will never be able to contain His Glory. Patching things up rather than seeking the New will never work. There is only ONE NAME by which this will happen; His Name is JESUS and it is above all others. This coming move of God will not be identified as Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance or the thousand other names by which men have sought to differentiate themselves from others. Those who will be part of this New Wineskin will find their whole identity in Him and seek His Glory alone. They will so minister the life of Jesus that they will rejoice when their brothers and sisters surpass them in their knowing of Him. It is from such a heart that Paul declared:
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”
This is the heart that draws the anointing from God; the heart to which God can entrust the power and the wonder of His ways; the heart that knows the ministration of the Holy Spirit is not about them but about His People and His Inheritance. It is into such a vessel that this New Wine will be poured out without measure. It will not be poured into those who separate themselves from God’s people and pray for God to move. Faith without works is not a living faith. Elijah prayed for the “child of promise” which had died and when the prayers were not answered he stretched himself out and identified with that dead body (three times) in order to see it arise (1 Kings 17:19-22). Any “truth” which does not cause an individual to identify with God and His People is not truth but simply a teaching.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God”
One cannot hold faith or truth within their hearts
and be without the deeds which are borne of them.
* Note: In the midst of a whole generation failing the purposes of God at Kadesh Barnea there were those of that generation who walked in the faith and fire of God. These are they of whom it is said they followed after a “different spirit” than the generation who declared the enemies were too large and strong…
“But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land wherein to he went; and his seed shall possess it”
The promise of entering in is not based upon teachings or doctrines; it is determined by the spirit in which one walks with God. Many linger in things which are dead and passing away, even things which had life for many years. They now must give way to the New and the New can only be known by having ears to hear and a heart to obey.
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth…”
Lost in the multitude of words and the intellectual dissertations of our day, where men work and sweat in order to build something for God, is the Call of God in the New Testament to bear His image. Jesus in speaking to His disciples said…
“A disciple is not above the teacher,
nor a slave above his lord.
It is enough for the disciple
to become as his teacher”
Is it not enough for us to be filled with the heart of this call? Jesus built nothing nor had any desire to. He did not come to bring a new teaching; He came to reveal the Father’s heart. Discipleship within a man is a life of following, learning and being transformed into His likeness (2Corinthians 3:18). It is the call to forsake the way of the worldly man, the religious man, who is ever in search of building a legacy, a monument and a work which will declare his worth. (Compare the desire of Saul as contrasted with David). It is the basic instinct of fallen man. We see this need to build something for God even in the lives of His own disciples as Peter exclaimed on the mount of transfiguration … “let us build”. The words had no sooner left Peter’s lips when God Almighty spoke from the cloud “this is my Son…” He alone is the temple. There is no temple in heaven beside Him and as it is there so is it to be here on earth! While men seek to show their measure (or worth) by what they build, the true disciple is content in becoming conformed to His Image and likeness. Life is no longer defined by what men think or do; it is centered on being as Him. It is in the forming of His life in us that we are enabled to see His heart and His purposes. Inevitably the religious builders of this world will sooner or later reject the chief cornerstone in order to accomplish their own purposes.
“What is this then that is written,
The stone which the builders rejected,
the same is become the head of the corner?”
In order for any building endeavor (whether small fellowship or mega church) to succeed it must be accompanied by an agenda and the agenda always precedes the building. The agenda also requires a leader for men to rally around. (It is one thing to come together to have fellowship and a totally different thing to meet in order to build a fellowship or church organization).
“And they said, Go to,
let us build us a city and a tower,
whose top may reach unto heaven;
and let us make us a name,
lest we be scattered abroad
upon the face of the whole earth”
This is the heart and the cry of Babylon; “let us build…let us make us a name, lest we be scattered”. While men may eagerly rally to be a part of these building programs, in the end it produces an offspring of adherents to the cause while the Chief Cornerstone is rejected. The Cross of Christ is lost in the greatness of men’s achievements.
Cain must always bring his offering (it is the only thing he knows); the work of his hands gathered from the planting of his agendas. Abel can only offer the life of another. One offering is accepted and the other rejected. The seed of Cain will always come to hate the seed of Abel. Ishmael will always mock the child of promise and in God’s time the Ishmael spirit must be driven out.
We are living in a day where the two are mingled, as the wheat and the tares, but the hour is upon us when we will see with great clarity the separation and the antagonism of the one for the other.
“Cast out this bondwoman and her son:
for the son of this bondwoman
shall not be heir with my son,
even with Isaac”
We must have eyes to see and ears to hear that it is in THE SON that the full purposes of God lie. It is in us becoming bone of His bone that we are grafted into the tree of life and made heirs with Christ in God. It is WE who are built together as living stones…
“Ye also, as lively stones,
are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”
“For this ye know* (see note below),
that no whoremonger (sexually impure),
nor unclean person, nor covetous man,
who is an idolater,
hath ANY inheritance
in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words…”
How clear is the call of the New Testament to LIVE righteously! Men and woman who declare anything contrary to this are deceptively speaking empty and “vain words”. The Church in our day has been “deceived” with another Gospel; one in which people are comforted and excused for sin rather than delivered FROM sin by the power of God through faith. Faith is the means by which we are empowered to live a life of victory over sin, self and the world.
“For whatsoever is born of God
overcometh the world:
and this is the victory
that overcometh the world,
even our faith”
We live in a day where sin is sympathized with, excused and tolerated. We speak as if the LOVE of God overlooks our sin and rebellion. God’s estimation of SIN is revealed by the necessity of the sacrifice of HIS SON at Calvary. By faith we have access to the “law of life in Christ Jesus” whereby we are enabled to live righteously in God! The true LIFE which Jesus came to give to every believer is one of victory and power. This life is known in reality by the power of the Holy Spirit putting to death the DEEDS of our body…
“For if ye live after the flesh,
ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live”
The true life that God gives is one of righteousness. The Kingdom of God is not in having the necessities of this life rather it is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”! Somehow the “gospel” of today absolves men and women from living righteously by a teaching that relieves them of any accountability. Woe to those who preach such a word and woe to those who listen to such things that are clearly contrary to the WORD of GOD. All will be without excuse.
“Who will render to every
man according to his deeds”
Jesus presents the Kingdom as a narrow way in which few will find its glory and wonder. We read in the Book of Revelation concerning those who will ENTER the gates of the CITY of God…
“And there shall in no wise
enter into it (The City of God)
ANY THING that defileth,
neither whatsoever worketh abomination,
or maketh a lie:
but they which are written
in the Lamb’s book of life”
Righteousness lived here on earth by faith is the hope we have that is set before us. Faith is the divine enablement to LIVE righteously, HOPE is the power to energize our will to do so and LOVE is the fruit of this life! (Faith, Hope and Charity)
“And, behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me,
to give every man
according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end,
the first and the last.
Blessed are they THAT DO his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city”
*NOTE: Obviously this was common knowledge in the days of the early Church from which we have strayed greatly.