Quote for Today
“Our response to temptation
is an accurate barometer of our love for God”
“Our response to temptation
is an accurate barometer of our love for God”
“…the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
– Charles Spurgeon
“If you think that you can sin, and then by cries avert the consequences of sin, you insult God’s character.”
– Frederick William Robertson
The Secret of Righteousness
“I was also upright before him,
and I kept myself from mine iniquity.”
Faith is the divine enablement to walk with God. Righteousness is much more than a gift; it is the result of His Life ruling and reigning within the human heart. The more our life is compatible with His the greater the corresponding relationship with Him. The righteousness of which David here speaks is one of reliance upon God not his own personal strength. True righteousness is not a product of the strength and will of man. It is born of God and sustained by God to the point that we incline our hearts to His will and way. In this wonder of abiding in Him we find the power and the will to keep ourselves free from pride, sin and the world.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”
The secret of righteousness is to live in submission to God.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood*,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Wrestling is the reality of a life in Christ. The life of a healthy Christian is one of standing and contending for the faith. We must continually and intentionally withstand the world, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life and the subtlety of compromise and collusion. Warfare is the natural response of those who are alive in Christ. Many who call themselves by His name have no sense of the nature and intensity of this warfare. Paul is speaking from his own experience. To be alive unto Christ is to be an antagonism to the world, principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. To claim to be alive and yet not engaged in this battle makes us dead to the reality of a life in the spirit.
“I know your works.
You have the reputation of being alive,
but you are dead”
This is the Word of the Lord to His Church located in Sardis. How few realize the enormity of this Word. This is a church where His name is used freely and there is much activity with people who are eager to build up “their” church organization or fellowship. Wherever the motive is to be popular and relevant in the eyes of the world the preaching of righteousness is forsaken. This is the environment of a dead and impotent church; it has a reputation of being alive and “current” but it has ceased to contend for the faith. The “knowledge of the holy” is so lacking that people see no reason to wrestle with the unholy alliances of flesh, spiritual powers, spiritual wickedness and the resulting compromise. They have become insensitive to the contagion of the world and are unaware of what the “normal Christian Life” is. It is a situation that brings the very judgements of God! Consider the judgement pronounced on the Church at Sardis (unless they repented) and the greatness of His promise to those who overcome the apostasy and lethargy of their condition (Revelation 3:3-5).
A modern day “gospel” which declares that God loves His church and would never bring judgement upon His people is the LIE of the Devil himself. “You shall not die” were his words to Eve to deceive her into disobedience and judgment. Those who are ignorant of the warfare are unaware of the reality of walking in the Spirit. Deception is anything that keeps us from walking in the truth.
“The reason why men do not look to the Church today
is that she has destroyed her own influence
G. Campbell Morgan
“No one serving as a soldier
entangles himself in the affairs of this life,
that he might please the One having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
God given wisdom is anchored in righteousness and the fear of the Lord. Those who are wise, have a fear of the Lord as they walk and seek to understand the true righteousness of God. The wisdom of God causes His people to shine in the brightness of His countenance. It is the truly wise who understand the consequences of sin and righteousness knowing that in Him all their actions are weighed. The foolish do not consider the wages of sin; they walk lightly and carelessly. They forget that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” and give an account for all the things we have done (1 Corinthians 5:10). Their lack of understanding produces wrong thinking, wrong living, and consequently, unholy lives.
The wise shine forth His counsel and righteousness for it is in the ministration of wisdom that others are made wise. It is in the speaking and the living with a true understanding of “the holy” (Proverbs 9:10) that others are turned to righteousness. There are many who preach forgiveness, acceptance and grace but do so at the expense of righteousness. It is in the preaching of righteousness that men and women seek God for mercy and forgiveness! There can be no true and earnest desire for mercy except there be a revelation of the righteousness of God. A penitent heart is one who has been impacted by the holiness of God.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” Acts 2:37-38
It is the preaching of righteousness in the power of the Holy Spirit that “turns” people to righteousness. The preaching of grace and forgiveness apart from the ministration of God’s righteousness is an absurdity.
“The depth of our repentance
will determine the depth of our revival”
The reason for the dearth of holy zeal, passion and fervency of spirit is because we have not seen the enormity of our sins! For they who are forgiven much love much. Lukewarm hearts, apathetic lives and lethargic living in His people is the fruit of those who have forgotten or have never known the extent of their transgressions.
They who are wise preach righteousness
for they love Him who is righteous.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. but he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” 2 Peter 1:5-9
The foolish lack diligence, virtue, knowledge, temperance and all the above qualities of the character of Christ because they have become blind through forgetfulness of how much they have been forgiven.
They who are alive in Christ walk in the wisdom of God and live for the sole purpose of preaching Christ and His righteousness.
“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men
who are settled* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”
In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled* (see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..
It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….
“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be
done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”
EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”
REVELATION 7:2 – 3
It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.
“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”
Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!
*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6). (S. Zodhiates)
“Is not my word like as a fire?
saith the Lord;
and like a hammer that breaketh
the rock in pieces?”
God’s Word is not only an expression of Himself it is also an extension of Himself. He is His Word and His Word is Himself (John 1:1). We read in both the Old and New Testaments that our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). They who bear His Living Word within their hearts know in a corresponding measure to their walk the truth of this. For His Word is the very expression of His Nature, His Thoughts and His Ways. Words without fire are words without unction. Men cannot touch His Presence and remain unaffected, apathetic and unconcerned about His inheritance in the earth. His presence is fire and glory. His zeal for His House (Psalm 119:139, John 2:17) in the earth is a consuming fire within the hearts of those who have His Word.
His Word is a fire which consumes, purifies and impels those who bear it to speak with intensity to all who would hear. This fire cannot be quenched, compromised or contaminated by the tepid atmosphere of religious men who would desire something less than God Himself. This Word is antagonistic to the comfortable, to those who would seek a complacent and more popular approach to God; yet to those who desire to walk and live within the fiery presence of a Holy God it is the necessity of life itself.
It is the work of God to bring His people to such expressions…
“But his word was in mine heart
as a burning fire
shut up in my bones”
Men without fire have not yet touched His Presence. It is ever the work of the Holy Spirit to bring men to such places (Exodus 3:2) where the Fire of God burns like the Holy Lamp did in the days of the Tabernacle/Temple of God in the Old Testament. The Word of God declares “ye are the temple of the living God” and as such there ought to be the fire of His Presence burning within our hearts.
The Priesthood of Eli
Eli was a priest who through neglect became blind in His service to God and as a result the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle! This lamp of fire had been preserved and watched over by the priests of God for over 450 years! His sons had become immoral and loose in their walk before God. This was a day of no accountability. Men did as they pleased and the ministry was silent concerning God’s Righteousness. The outward observance of God’s law continued but the fire went out and men did not lay these things to heart.
There is also in our day a ministry in the earth which has neither fire nor unction; a ministry which has resulted in the fire of God going out in His house. There is a religious environment in which men hold the Word in the form of teachings and doctrines rather than in their hearts by the living fire of His presence. These are they who hold His Word in unrighteousness, who seek to fill their churches and fellowships with kind and comfortable words but have no actual concern for the condition of His people or their walk in righteousness. The Word speaks of the fruit of such a ministry:
“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
The reason the fire goes out is because of iniquity and sin. The Love of God beating within a man’s heart will cause him to forsake sin. A Gospel which does not have the very fire of God within it is not God’s Living Word. In contrast to this unholy ministry we read of another.
The Stranger and the Words of Fire
Two disciples walking down the road to Emmaus in deep despair and perplexity were joined by a “stranger”* who spoke sternly to them concerning their plight and their lack of faith. Their eyes where blinded to the One who spoke with them as they journeyed. Would our hearts receive such words from a stranger?
“O fools, and slow of heart to believe
all that the prophets have spoken…”
After realizing the stranger was in fact the risen Lord who had spoken to them these hard words the disciples remarked to one another:
“And they said one to another,
Did not our heart burn within us,
while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Empty words proceed from hearts lacking fire. The words of the religious are different than the Words of Jesus and they who serve at His Altar will speak His Words and seek His Glory and not their own.
“And it came to pass,
when Jesus had ended these sayings,
the people were astonished at his doctrine:
For he taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes”
Burning Words flow from burning hearts!
Even so Lord draw us to the fire of your presence and cause that fire to burn, purify and consume all that is unholy and carnal in us. Make us to be “ministers of flaming fire”. Men who will not abide in such words now will perish in the fire of His return.
“If a man abide not in me,
he is cast forth as a branch,
and is withered; and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned”
* Men reveal by their response the true condition of their hearts. Here a stranger came and spoke hard words, yet these two downtrodden disciples resisted not the admonition for they were men who desired truth and loved it. Men who refuse the fire and the hammer of God’s Word are not abiding in His Spirit. They have not the love of truth burning within their heart. They appear religious and will seek to build and do religious things but in their inner heart truth is not desired nor pursued. It is the day of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and in the revealing of Him men’s works will be made manifest even as by fire.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man’s work
of what sort it is”
1 Corinthians 3:13
AN ACROSTIC PSALM
(*See Psalm 25 Introduction Part Two)
Another aspect of the inspired Acrostic writings of the scriptures is one where we see the very rudiments of the language of the people of God being sanctified and set apart to describe God’s Glory and His ways.
It is estimated that there are 75,000 – 80,000 meaningful words and word compositions in the Hebrew Language* (see reference). All of these are formulated out of just 22 Hebrew characters (and a few added “jots and tittles” of which Jesus upholds the sanctity of His Word; Matthew 5:18)! The Spirit of God in these Acrostic writings takes each letter to Glorify God and to make known to us the wonders of His ways. It is in such attention to detail of the very language of men that God would make Himself known to us. He ever seeks to reveal to us the importance of common things. Things, which by themselves are thought to be incomplete and insignificant, can, and do, become vehicles for revealing His thoughts and purposes.
By His grace He endeavors to bring us to the realization that in Him everything is to be Holy and filled with His wonder. His desire is to bring us to a pure language wherein every word we utter, think and sing is filled with the worship and praise of Him. A pure word can only flow from a pure heart. The grace of God is to have such access to our hearts that even the very bits and pieces of our language will be sanctified and set apart for the Master’s use. His Spirit desires to touch, purify and sanctify the very core of our being so that we can fully express and honor Him. All creation is groaning and travailing for such a people to come forth (Romans 8:19).
The Prophet Isaiah stands in the heavens surrounded by the unspeakable Glory of the Triune God, and is instantly aware of the “uncleanness of his lips” to such an extent that he is only able to utter “Woe is me”. However, in God’s economy even the very lips of man are to be purged by the burning coals from the Altar of Heaven. He has an answer for every need of the redeemed to walk in the Holy, Holy, Holy Presence of our God. A sanctified heart will result in sanctified words “for out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak”.
We see glimpses in the Old Testament of men in whom this truth found partial fulfillment; men who walked so close with God, that God Himself watched over the very words they spoke…
“And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him,
and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan even to Beer–sheba knew
that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord”
1 Samuel 3:19-20
The people of God desire to see the power of God revealed in our day, but men want the power without the purity, they want the signs and wonders without the Holy walk. There are many today who have no desire for righteousness, purity of heart or the cost of entering into these truths. They grow weary of men who speak of righteousness. They prefer to hear pleasant things that enable them to live in sin and be accepted by God at the same time. However, in the midst of such a generation there are those whose hearts are longing for that purity, that righteousness which is real and authentic. It is these who will walk in a salvation that has been kept for this day. God has kept the “best wine for the last” and “the glory of the latter house shall exceed the glory of the former”! Let us be encouraged to seek, pursue and admonish one another in the bonds of love and fellowship to see this come to pass!
“Who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time”
1 Peter 1:5
This salvation can only be revealed in people who have been fully sanctified, fit and prepared for the Master’s use, whose very lips have been purged by the fires of the heavenly Altar. They are His in every sense of the word; the words they speak are His words and they live and walk in the Holiness of God. “Be ye Holy” is no longer a nice religious quote but rather a description of what God has accomplished within His people by the “spirit of burning”.
“When the Lord shall
have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion,
and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem
from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment,
and by the spirit of burning”
While many today declare that we are to judge not and are not interested in the prophetic voice of those who call His people to righteousness, there are those who intuitively know the necessity of such a ministration. There is a cry within the hearts of those who understand the need for His Fire in our midst. Purity of heart is the vehicle or the means by which we can see God. It is in the seeing of Him that this great work of Sanctification is made real. God uses men. He uses the redeemed to minister to one another the fire and glory of His presence. Had Peter not confronted Ananias and Sapphira with God’s Glory the move of the Spirit in their day would have soon become polluted with religion and hypocrisy. Such words of power are reserved for those who walk in the fear of the Lord; those whose hearts have been purified and set apart for God’s use, not their own.
May God do such a deep and eternal work in our lives that the very words of our mouths and the meditations within the secret places of our hearts are pleasing unto God!
“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
Only a sanctified heart can speak the Holy Words of our God and King
“Where the word of a king is,
there is power”
“But who may abide the day of his coming?
and who shall stand when he appeareth?
for he is like a refiner’s fire…”
* Reference: “The academy of the Hebrew language estimates 45,000 words, in addition to 30,000-35,000 word compositions (school in Hebrew is book-house בית-ספר, for example), which totals the estimate in 75,000-80,000 meaningful expressions of either words or word compositions. Note that this estimate includes many biblical words still used today.”
“And spared not the old world,
but saved Noah the eighth person,
a preacher of righteousness”
Peter, writing of Noah by the Holy Spirit, bore God’s Testimony of his life as “a preacher of righteousness”. It is a term that is seldom, if ever, used in our day. We hear many messages regarding salvation with the focus being on saving an individual from hell and judgement; but rarely is there an emphasis on righteousness. Salvation is much more than being saved from hell. It is the impartation of the Faith of God unto righteousness and life. This imputed righteousness changes an individual from a fallen son of Adam into a child of God. It is not a doctrinal concept but the transforming power of God unto a salvation which is verified by the revelation of a life bearing the fruit of its own repentance (change).
“Therefore, bring forth fruits
worthy*(see note #2) of repentance”
They who preach Christ unto Righteousness bring forth glory to God and honour the sacrifice, death and resurrection of the Son. The New Testament begins with Jesus teaching “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”. True disciples inherently know that this pursuit of God is a life of seeking, desiring and laying hold of His righteousness through the medium of faith and obedience.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ,
unto the glory and praise of God”
Preaching righteousness is the common privilege of every child of God and great is the reward of those who turn many to righteousness.
“And they that be wise
shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
and they that turn many to righteousness
as the stars for ever and ever”
This is the eternal promise to those who through love seek to turn others to the righteousness of God.
“The nature of Christ’s salvation
is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist.
He announces a Saviour from Hell
rather than a Saviour from sin.
And that is why so many are fatally deceived,
for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire
who have no desire to be delivered
from their carnality and worldliness”
1. weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value,
worth as much
2. befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing