Thought for Today
“But know that the Lord hath set apart
him that is godly for himself”
“But know that the Lord hath set apart
him that is godly for himself”
“Woman, why weepest thou?”
Weeping expresses some of the deepest emotions of our humanity. It reveals life, empathy and love. Weeping in the valleys of our own life is the precursor to a greater purpose; weeping with and for others. These experiences give us the grace to identify with others.
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
The comfort gained in our own trials brings a depth and capacity to share the comfort of the Lord with others. Compassion is a grace produced by sorrow. It is the press of this sorrow from which the wine of the joy of the Lord flows. His workings in us are not solely for our benefit; God always has a higher end in mind. He is ever looking for the seed of a thing to become a harvest. He sees the harvest and the multiplication of the Christ in each of us into the lives around us. He so desires us to see beyond the limited horizon of our own selves to the “fields which are ripe unto harvest”.
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
2 Corinthians 1:5-6
The cause of Mary’s weeping became the fountain of her greatest joy.
Weeping has purpose and as we grow in our walk with Him the why reveals the maturity and depth of our life in Him. At every stage within the disciple’s walk weeping has tremendous purpose and it is as the wine matures and deepens within us that our tears for ourselves are turned into the tears for others.
How good and wise are the ways of God and may we in the valleys see the distant prospects of a harvest unto our God and Father by the very life of the Son arising from the ashes of our own experience.
“Blessed are they who mourn
for they SHALL be comforted”
God’s Love by its very nature is an active and creative power within the soul of man. Creation is proof of God ever seeking, ever desiring to expend and lavish His love in new dimensions. The Word declares that we were “created for His pleasure” and it is His pleasure to pour out Himself in unmeasured and unmerited means. His Love in us seeks, desires and ever works to color everything within its reach; not to own, rule or control but to inspire others to live fully in God.
The infinite and all-encompassing God whom our forefathers sought with passion calls us to depths unknowable and heights unsearchable.
“Deep calleth unto deep”
The Love of God is the call and His Love in man is the response.
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
“He said “Love…as I have loved you.”
We cannot love too much.”
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in
obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,
see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently:”
1 Peter 1:22
Obedience is the means by which God brings His own unto His end: a pure heart. Love is the perfection of God within an individual’s life. Those who “love not, know not God”. It takes little effort for others to see Him when God’s Love is resident in a life. Understanding deep things, functioning in gifts and ministrations are all good but if we have not love “we are nothing”. To be devoid of love is to be empty of God. When people stop caring over the condition and state of another life they have essentially stopped living. Life consists of loving, caring, encouraging and exhorting for all of these expressions proceed from the same Source.
“For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights”
“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted
and charged every one of you,
as a father doth his children…”
1 Thessalonians 2:11
The well-spring of all true expressions of the Holy Spirit flow from the Father’s heart into the lives of those who through the medium of obedience have their hearts purified with a fervent love of God’s people.
The Staff and the Rod of the Shepherd are both wielded by the same heart
to bring us to the same end. David found comfort in both and so should we
The measure of an individual’s life is known by the love beating within one’s heart for the life of the Son in those around us.
Love is the fire which births the words of life, the fire of life and the works of life.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
“If you will not believe,
surely you will not be established”
Believing in God is not a one-time event. In a true and vital reality, it is to be more equated to breathing than some momentary experience. The Hebrew words used for “believe” and “established” are expressed here in the imperfect tenses. The imperfect tense would suggest (for the sake of clarity) these words culminating in an “ing”, indicating an ongoing and uncompleted work. It is in our believing that our lives will be in the ongoing work of being established. The work of the Holy Spirit is ever embellishing, ever rooting and establishing us in Christ. It is in the ongoing reliance upon Him where His work takes on the power and substance of true in-wrought character and stability in our lives.
“If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed”
Discipleship is not a fleeting momentary experience. It is a life-long necessary experience. As breathing is to our natural life so is believing, trusting and faithing in our relationship with Him. The life of the branch consists in its live and continuous connection to the vine. Jesus in this parable uses the word “abide”. It is here within the context of this one living principle that we discover the wonders and glory of the increasing of His Kingdom within our own hearts.
“If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you”
This life of abiding, believing, and trusting in Him is an active principle of life. Any true expression of faith is revealed in obedience and response to His Word. To abide in His word means to respond to its influence and lordship. It is not uncommon to see a dead branch connected to a living plant. The connection is there but the dead branch no longer has a live relationship with its source. The identity of the branch is known by the fruit it bears. We see a branch bearing grapes we know that it is a grape vine. The fruit is the signature of the life of the vine. They who do not abide in Him lose their identity and confidence in Him. When people lose their identity they have no ability to impact the lives around them. Faith becomes a thing rather than a life. It becomes an ideal or a teaching rather than a heartbeat. This is what death is in our spiritual lives. Faith without works, branches without fruit and cold dead hearts without His life being the continuous inspiration of our very breath are the symptoms of a decaying branch.
“Every branch not bearing fruit in Me,
He takes it away”
John 15:2 (BLB)
“But become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, this one is like a man studying his natural face in a mirror; for he studied himself, and has gone away, and immediately he forgot of what kind he was. But the one looking into the perfect law of liberty, and continuing in it, this one not having become a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his doing”
“You have magnified Your mercy
which You have shown to me in saving my life.
And I am not able to escape to the mountain
lest some evil overtake me and I die.
Behold, now, this city is near, to flee there,
and it is a little one. Please let me escape there!”
This is the first instance in which mercy is mentioned in the scriptures. God’s impending judgement upon Sodom could not be executed until Lot left the city (because of Abraham’s prayer). God told Lot to go to the mountain to be safe but Lot was fearful and called upon God’s mercy to circumvent God’s will! Rather than obeying God he used God’s mercy to walk in a partial obedience. Such is the half-hearted response to God throughout the history of man. God granted Lot’s request but it is a sad testimony.
This scripture came to mind the other day as I was praying. I found myself asking God for His mercy to do His will. Not only did the above scripture come to mind but also the following:
“For this reason I make request to you,
brothers, by the mercies of God,
that you will give your bodies as a living offering,
holy, pleasing to God, which is the worship
it is right for you to give him”
Romans 12:1 (BBE)
These two passages show the contrasting ways in which we avail ourselves of God’s mercy; one for partial obedience and the other as a complete offering of ourselves to God. Though God may allow the partial we must recognize our tremendous need of His mercy to walk in full submission to Him. True obedience is only possible by the outworking of His mercy in our lives.
The natural man cannot walk with God; the unregenerate heart will always insist on its own way. To whatever extent our lives are yielded to Him will be the measure of His ministrations of grace and mercy being received.
“Thou in thy mercy
hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed”
“fervent in spirit”
In this day of apathy and lukewarm expressions of faith we need this simple statement of the Holy Spirit to remind us of our calling. We are surrounded and bombarded by the world, the lust of the flesh, the ease of life and the deception of the status quo. We watch in horror how His people treat one another; divided by secular organizations (all in His Name) and fully capable of all manner of evil to one another with no sense of accountability to Him. This dreadful state is the result of a people who are not “beholding the Head” or walking in His Life. Fervency of spirit is the result of His Spirit burning within our lives.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire”
There are many who preach grace from the pulpit but it is a grace that ministers a human comfort, a consoling message to our sin, worldliness and cold hearts. This “grace” brings an apathy to people who are no longer aware of the Day which is upon us. It is a false grace, the Lie of the very Devil who would lure God’s people into a deadly slumber of spirit which will result in the judgment of a Holy God.
The true ministration of Grace brings forth lives who are enabled to serve God acceptably with “reverence and godly fear”. The Church of Jesus Christ is in need of burning expressions of His Light and His Glory to re-ignite the flame of God within the sanctuary of our hearts. If our God is a consuming fire what should be the temperature of the hearts of those who claim He is alive in them? We cannot sit Sunday after Sunday hearing sermons (which may be good) without the intensity of something rising up within us to be empowered and inspired as a flaming torch for Him! How can this slumber continue without a sense of life passing us by; without the tasting and seeing of His wonder being expressed from our own hearts?
Jesus commenting on John the Baptist declared:
“He was a burning and a shining light…”
Should not this be the normal testimony of Jesus concerning each of us?
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
Do we believe this? The revelation of our belief is in the outflow of lives held by the fervency of His Spirit. How can we be comfortable with a life which has no resemblance to this? The complacency of spirit, the dead thing men call life in our day, the standards of the life of a Christian are so low that even the world takes note of our impotency.
“For the name of God
is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you…”
Read the context of this scripture and feel the passion and heart of God beating in Paul’s heart. Let us hear the admonition of His voice in our Day. Let us turn from our wicked, self-deceiving, and worldly ways and offer ourselves afresh unto Him who can turn our cold and dead hearts into flaming expressions of living sacrifices.
It is the empty altar which receives no fire.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God”
The evidence of His mercy received is a free-will offering unto Him. The greater the reception of mercy the greater is the depth of our offering.
“Our God is a Consuming Fire”
“A bruised reed shall He not break…”
God’s heart is ever seeking and desiring to fill the low places within all of humanity. His grace, like water, naturally flows to the lowest place filling the void of the human heart. It is to the bruised ones the Good News of the Gospel is proclaimed in power clothed in the garments of His mercies.
The self-righteous wanted to stone to death the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus saw the more grievous evil; self-righteousness clothed in the conceit of the religious.
“A bruised reed shall He not break…”
It was the religious priest and the Levite who passed by the wounded in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the disciples who could not see the heart of the woman who broke the alabaster box and poured the precious ointment upon Jesus. They could not see the brokenness of heart from which the act was inspired. God sees the heart while men behold the vessel. To know the flow of this grace through our own lives we must know His heart.
“A bruised reed shall He not break…”
He comes to speak encouragement to all who struggle within the isolated and seemingly hopeless grip of sin, depression, loneliness, cruelty and oppression of the world. He is never far from those who call upon His name in sincerity and in truth.
“I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you”
“My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Song of songs 2:16
The call of God to His own is always one to new places of intimacy in relationship. Not only does He call but He speaks words of endearment to those who follow after Him. His own know Him as “Beloved” and He calls us “my fair one” There is no plurality here; He is not speaking to a congregation or a crowd. He is calling out to one who is the object of His great love.
In religious circles the call is broad; it is a generic call and the references are impersonal. Those who are His know this intense and personal relationship. There is a singular flow of His life and love unto those who are following Him. The focus of the individual’s heart is all about Him. In the seeing of Him the world becomes dim and distant and its temptations start to lose their power and attraction. It is out of this wonder of Him drawing near that we feel the power of His love rising in our hearts to respond to the call of a deeper knowing of Him. This call is characterized by words of incomprehensible beauty: “my fair one”. Who can resist such undeserved love? Who is able to fathom such redemptive love? How can we ever measure or understand its cause or the depths from which its flows?
Lost within the broad landscape of religion, and a world gone mad with the voices and the rantings of men who think they have the answers, there is the “still small voice”. It draws the heart with whispers of grace and affection; “come away my fair one… come to Me”.
Within this growing relationship the need to fortify our place in Him with the teachings and doctrines of men disappears for His love itself becomes our surety and solace. His love constrains us to willingly arise from where we are to follow on to deeper places of affection and wonder. We touch the holy atmosphere of His cords of love that embrace us setting our own hearts ablaze with their fervency. The words flowing between the “beloved” and the “my fair one” are the language of this holy union:
“I am my beloved’s,
and my beloved is mine”
Song of songs 6:3
He is hers because she is His!
In Moses’ day there was a moving of God’s Spirit among the people and Joshua was moved by jealousy for Moses’ position because others were prophesying.
“And Moses said unto him,
Enviest thou for my sake?
would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,
and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
The envy, jealously and all of the other works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) must be dealt with in God’s house. It is the horror of our ways which keep His glory from falling upon us. The works of the flesh prevent the fruit of the Spirit. God’s house is a spiritual house and He will not mingle the ways of men with the Holiness of the Lord. The lordship of man must be cast down and the ways of men must cease so that there may be true mercy, goodness, kindness and love between His people. The Lord alone will be exalted in this day. True leaders desire the glory of God in HIS people, they are willing to decrease to see the increase of God. The purpose and the heart of the New Covenant is that we would so selflessly minister to one another to see the end of ministry. For the purpose of ministry is to bring God’s people to know HIM fully for themselves. They who love the preeminence and places of control will have no place within the New Wine Skin.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,
and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord”
Let the prophets speak, let the intercessors pour out their hearts unto Him, let those who aspire to preeminence humble themselves and turn from the job descriptions of “positions” and seek the callings and purposes of God. It is a day to prepare the Way of the Lord. Every high place will be brought low and those of humble hearts will be exalted. Receive His words from those who seek His honor in this day.
Let the people of God humble themselves with one another that we may behold, taste and see God’s provisions for us in one another.
“Submitting yourselves one to another
in the fear of God”