Testimony – Mexico
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
“And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”
How powerful and penetrating is the story of Ruth and the right of redemption! Her need was great, her commitment to God pure and her hope of redemption was tied to the man Boaz. So is it with us. Boaz was the name of one of the pillars in Solomon’s Temple and its meaning to us is the foundation of all prayer: “In Him is strength”! Ruth went to the ONE who had the right and the ability to move on her behalf. It is a picture of the Lord as our hope for answered prayer; it is He who has all power and might to move on our behalf. What were her instructions concerning this ONE?
“And it shall be, when he lies down, you shall note the place where he lies down, and shall go in and uncover his feet, and lie down and he will tell you that which you are to do” (LITV)
May God show us afresh the beauty of this interaction between Ruth and Boaz. How many times do we rush feverishly into prayer with our requests and burdens with little regard for His person? Often in our haste we ignore His Lordship and Omnipotence and miss out on the peace and the repose of the moment with Him. Ruth did not clamour Boaz; she laid down at His feet expressing the need for him to move on her behalf. She then uncovered his feet speaking of the desire to KNOW His way in the matter! This is to impress upon us the wonder of our resting, asking and discovering His ways and His provision.
As with Ruth there are times in the situations of life where the need is great and the way seems shut. It is in these moments where as a child we come in surety and love and find rest at the feet of Him whose very name means “In Him is Strength”.
“And now, my daughter, fear not;
I will do to thee all that thou requires”
Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer
“God is goodness itself, in whom all goodness is involved. If therefore we love other things for the goodness which we see in them, why do we not love God, in whom is all goodness? All other things are but sparks of that fire, and drops of that sea. If you see any good in the creature, remember there is much more in the Creator. Leave therefore the streams, and go to the fountainhead of comfort.”
– Richard Sibbes
“If you turn at my reproof, behold,
I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you”
A tender heart is a teachable heart. The way into truth is one of much correction and repentance. In the progressive revelation of all that He is we are confronted with all that we are. His beauty, His purity, His grace, patience and Holiness is beyond comprehension. There are no words to convey His glory. How privileged we are to behold Him, to receive His corrections and to have access to a grace which empowers us to turn from our ways to walk in His.
As we turn at His reproof and correction He pours out fresh ministrations of His Spirit. These on-going ministrations are intended to bring us into deeper communion with Him. In this ever-deepening relationship there is the unfolding of His Word to us.
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning”
A wise man hears the reproof of the Lord. There is a passion to know Him experientially. This willingness to hear His correction will result in a continual change of our seeing, hearing and thinking. God is ever at work within the lives of those who are sensitive to the admonition of the Lord. Transformation and change are the evidence of those who know and love Him; the marks of one who loves and desires truth.
“…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God”
It is by the transformation of our thinking that we are equipped to know the will and purposes of God.
“Now in the morning as he returned into the city,
And when he saw a fig tree in the way,
he came to it, and found nothing thereon,
but leaves only, and said unto it,
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.
And presently the fig tree withered away”
Fruit. God’s purpose for every life is to bear fruit. His purpose in coming was to make the barren fruitful, the desert to blossom and the lame to walk.
Fig leaves represent the response of Adam and Eve to their fallen state. The religious response to man’s need for a covering. It is an inherent desire to be covered on the outside; to appear good, honest and spiritual. This leaves the life barren and unfruitful in the things of God. We may walk in an outward show of righteousness but the inward reality may be void of His Life and power.
Deception comes to those who seek to deceive. The lie of living to appear right will always result in a greater lie.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived”
2 Timothy 3:13
Honesty and integrity are the means to Life in Him. We come as we are, transparent with Him and with those about us. This see-through living will bring us to the blood, the mercy and the covering of His garments of Salvation. In being who we are, fully reliant on all that He is, we can rest confidently in His faithfulness to bring glory to the Father.
Authenticity of Life is the fruit of integrity within and without
Fruit is not religious works. It is the result of the power of His Life within producing the fruit without.
“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit”
His sheep are those who follow Him. They hear His voice and they will not follow the voice of another. He leads them through green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness, valleys of great shadows and even death; but the assurance to these will always be:
“Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”
“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel,
one of the sons of Elam,
answered and said unto Ezra,
We have trespassed against our God,
and have taken strange wives
of the people of the land:
yet now there is hope in Israel
concerning this thing.”
Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that the things that happened to Israel throughout their history are written for our admonition and learning. Human nature does not change but the good news is neither does our God! We read here that Israel was subjected to the judgments of God and taken captive in a strange land. The temple and the Holy things of the temple had been taken and as time went on they began to CONFORM and become integrated WITH the people among whom they lived. God in His mercy began to stir the hearts of some with strong prophetic words and powerful unction to a rebuilding and restoration of the people to His Glory. Whenever God begins to move in the face of His peoples’ failure the call to repentance is ALWAYS coupled with the power of HOPE. Hope is more than just a faint intellectual concept; hope is a power that enables men and women to respond to the call of God. In spite of tremendous failure hope gives the assurance of God’s forgiveness as a response to those whose hearts have responded to the call of God. It is inconsequential how deep and how complete the apostasy, how indoctrinated the people of God have become by a dead religion, how infiltrated by the world the church has become; the message of the hour is THERE IS HOPE. The “strange wives”* spoken of here speak spiritually of God’s people embracing worldly ways, of deep affections with the world and the things of the world around them, and covenants of compromise personally and corporately. In response to the prophetic word of God we see the sons of Elam responding BECAUSE there was a hope ministered into their hearts! These men RESPONDED…
let us make a covenant with our God
to put away all the wives,
and such as are born of them,
according to the counsel of my lord,
and of those that tremble
at the commandment of our God;
and let it be done…”
True repentance is fueled by a living hope in the God of mercy and truth. Shechaniah responds “yet NOW THERE IS HOPE”! There is hope in spite of what we see. There is hope that pulsates within the darkness and confines of a religious system that functions like any other worldly corporation. There is hope even as in Jesus’ day of the money changers being expelled from the very temple of God. There is hope against the religious pride of men who have taken the ministrations of God and made them positions of a hierarchy. There is hope for the people of God for whom words like “victory” and “overcoming” have been replaced by a gospel that tells them this is as good as it gets. There is hope for the church that has been divided by the strivings of men to propagate their own “church” and “ministry” over that of another. There is hope that the LOVE of God can invade our carnal hearts to such an overwhelming extent that even the world will have to declare this love is beyond all human origin.
Let us embrace the power of this HOPE calling us to respond to HIM regardless of the failures and hopelessness of our situations. Let those who have been defeated, backslidden, and faithless hear the call of HOPE arising in their hearts and join themselves to others who by faith are arising in this hour; for such is the response of Shechaniah…
for this matter belongeth unto thee:
we also will be with thee:
be of good courage, and do it.
Then arose Ezra,
and made the chief priests,
the Levites, and all Israel,
to swear that they should do
according to this word”
Hope is the anchor
That holds us in our plight
Hope is the womb
That births fresh life
Hope is the beacon
That shines in the darkest night!
*NOTE: Articles on this to follow
“GOD is Love” 1 JOHN 4:8, 16
Having felt impressed to write a single article on God’s love it is now apparent that this will be a series of short writings in an attempt to present a brief outline of this majestic subject. The enormity of such an undertaking, and the sense of total ineptness on my part, is coupled with a prayer that HE who chooses the weak things to confound the mighty, the base things to confound the wise, may be pleased to do so here.
I remember probably 30 years ago pondering the responsibilities that God has given to men and the great need we have to draw from HIM the resources to be found faithful in all of the different aspects of our lives. The man of God must be a good husband learning by Christ’s example to love his wife AS Christ loves the church. The man of God must be a good father who discovers through his experience with the Heavenly Father to raise his children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. Failure in these prevents us from having the experience and understanding to be expressions of wisdom in the Church. The man of God must be a good employee/employer as we recognize our accountability unto Him. The man of God must also be a witness and an example to the world without where we walk in wisdom and righteousness. As I contemplated these things the scripture in Ephesians 3:18 came alive and I was struck with the fact that there are four dimensions of knowing Him and His Love that we are to discover and experience.
“May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
The first dimension is the height of this LOVE. It is here that we must see that every aspect of God’s dealings with us is to enable us to discover that HE IS HOLY. Failure to understand this will dim and corrupt our ability to know His other dimensions; knowing HIS breadth, length and depth. Scripture is clear that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”. It is the responsibility of all those who minister to the people of God to set forth a clear presentation of the Living Christ. In so doing the hope would be that each life would see THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE and forsake everything in pursuit of the acquisition of it. Without the aspect of Holiness men will not see HIM as HE is.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
And the knowledge of the holy is understanding”
There is a much today in terms of instruction, and scriptural facts concerning the Christ, but it is not the “knowledge of the holy” which is the true understanding of God. Men who know not of “the HOLY” know not God as they ought for God IS HOLY.
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit…”
In our religious world today there are many forms of contriteness and humility but unless these qualities are the RESULT of seeing Him they will always fall short of being the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Watchman Nee remarked in the book “Release of the Spirit” that there are many types of brokenness but the only brokenness of any value is that which brings the release of the Spirit of God into the lives of others. So it is with every facet of the Fruit of the Spirit.
The absolute truth that God is Holy and that God is Love is the revelation of WHO and WHAT HE is in HIMSELF. These are not attributes. They are HIS intrinsic self (HIS NATURE) and as such all that HE does flows from the great substance of HIS BEING. We can no more remove the wonder of HIS Holiness from HIS Love than we can take the element of hydrogen from water and still expect to have water. The church of today has in fact removed that element from HIS expression and because of this it is left with a love that is soulish, tepid, shallow and devoid of the power and the pulse of the Holy Spirit. This will taint the expressions of love that are poured forth from the life of the individual believer. The most blatant result seen today is the lack of LOVE between the members of the Body of Christ. Those who have the fear of the Lord know that they are not free to pick and choose which brother they will interact with for the LOVE of GOD is without partiality. They have a holy sense of the connectedness of the Body of Christ and are able to extend that LOVE of GOD to other believers because they ARE His body. They know the flow of that LOVE for it is based upon HIS Nature not upon a brother’s worthiness or capacity. This is where the breadth and length of the expressions of God’s love is determined by the height of a man’s understanding. If there is no comprehension of the height the love becomes earthly and human in its expression. Without the height men become very comfortable with the status quo of the day, exhortation and reproof are seen as expressions that contradict this “love”, and we become apathetic and comfortable with our current condition.
In the letter to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation we see a God who pronounced judgment upon the Church at Ephesus for leaving their “pre-eminent love”. In the Church at Pergamos we see false teachings were being embraced because God’s Holiness was not presented in their lives. We could expound on the other issues found in each of these locations but the cure for all of them is a people who live in the fear of God. Men who fear God have no interest in the approval of men.
Concerning the breadth of God’s love we must come to see that HIS love in us will love not only every brother who is truly a part of the Body of Christ but also those who are contrary and opposed to all that God is. A love that truly loves its enemies prays for them even to the point of blessing them. The absolute breadth of such a love is truly beyond understanding. This love is beyond the manufacture of men, beyond human ability or desire, and it almost seems to contradict our very understanding of Justice and Truth. The breadth of such a love is revealed in the first martyr as we see Stephen being stoned and asking God to forgive them! It is one thing for us to forgive men for their deeds but it is another thing altogether to ask God to forgive them eternally! It is no wonder Paul prays for us to be “strengthened to lay hold” of such a love.
In our consideration of the length of this love we must grasp the enduring love of God who has gone to great lengths of patience and long-suffering with us in our walk with Him. This same love will produce in us a love that will continue to love in the face of indifference and rejection. This is the love that will enable us to suffer long with a brother who refuses to grow, develop, or overcome the obstacles of life. It is a love that, because of God’s Holiness, will not compromise with a brother’s walk but will ever seek to raise them up to the CALL of God to holiness and righteousness. In this dimension there is a suffering born of the knowledge of God’s provisions and HIS own priestly concern over the life of every one of HIS. This is a love that will go to every length within its sphere to see HIS people rise and walk with their Holy God!
When I began to contemplate the mystery of this fourfold knowing of HIM and HIS LOVE I was impacted by the realization that in earthly things my concepts were only three dimensional. Having enjoyed drafting and drawing buildings and such when I was younger it occurred to me that one of those words used in Ephesians 3:18 was beyond my capacity to know. In studying the Greek words used for all of these dimensions I came across the word that is translated depth. This Greek word is a mariner’s term used to describe the ocean and its depths. As sailors they understood they were merely moving upon its surface but that below that surface there was a whole other realm of life about which they knew nothing. Praise the LORD! It is the same Greek word that Jesus used when He invited the disciples …
“Launch out into the deep,
and let down your nets…”
Can we not hear HIM inviting us to leave the shallow waters of men’s concepts, traditions and teachings and launch ourselves into the depths of HIS BEING where light, glory and LIFE abound? Do we not instinctively sense depths within HIM that surpass knowledge and words, books and sermons, where the Apostle Paul himself declares that he saw and heard things which cannot be uttered? These are things which men cannot articulate for they are beyond the speech of men, beyond the reach of the human mind and are only shown to those who have made holiness of life and purity of heart their pursuit.
“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.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things,
yea, the deep things of God”
My prayer is that together we will explore the unfathomable dimensions of His Love, for to love Him is to know Him and to know Him is to love Him.