“Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God”
– Samuel Chadwick
“Say NOT ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
The context of this scripture illustrates God’s call to the “present” truth of His life within us. Jesus, being weary and hungry, had sent the disciples into the city of Sychar for food and sat at the well waiting them to return. As He was waiting a woman came to the well to draw water. Within a few short sentences He had exposed the secrets of her heart, revealed Himself and shared the desire of His heavenly Father for true worshipers. The disciples returned with food and He responds, “I have meat you know not of”! The profound truth is, in the present doing of His will, we are fed, strengthened and empowered in the “today” of His Life. The hidden manna is reserved for those who see and participate with Him in the opportunities afforded us Today.
Let us take his admonishment, “say not” to heart. “Say not” sometime later God is going to bring in a harvest; “say not” sometime in the future God is going to use me; “say not” God will someday move through my life. It is the deception of our own procrastination which is unable to respond to present day opportunities! God’s answer to the impotency of such faith? “Lift up your eyes” for the fields are already white unto the harvest! Those who see in the Spirit know of the works, the opportunities and movings of God as present truth. Too many of God’s people walk in the impotency of an apathetic faith, not seeing the opportunities of NOW. Delegating everything to sometime in the future results in fruitless and barren living. It is in the NOW that we develop a greater faith for tomorrow’s works of faith.
Jesus confronted the faith of Martha regarding Lazarus her brother; a faith stuck in the past:
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
Her response to Jesus’ declaration “Thy brother shall rise again” also revealed a procrastination of faith to some future day: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. A true statement but one that missed the message that Christ wanted her to hear.
“I AM the resurrection, and the life…”
Too many of us live as if our faith is in a God whose name is “I will be” rather than His glorious name of “I AM”; the present God, the present truth and the present answer to the needs of fallen humanity around us. Of course, there are always more glorious things to come in God; such is the truth of His eternal plans. Yet, if I walk in His Spirit, I will see the glorious truth that there are fields, present tense, “white unto harvest”. The blindness of a “someday faith” deprives us of present truth thus robbing God of His present glory. It results in stagnation and spiritual death; ever waiting for some future thing while ignoring the bread and wonder of the present. The “hidden manna” falls every day to those whose eyes are open to see His fields of opportunity.
It is as we walk in faith today that we are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow’s faith.
“Sanctify yourselves (today): for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”
The sanctifying work of today is the precursor to the beholding of His works tomorrow. Sanctifying ourselves today means we are set apart for His works, His will and the doing of the “present truth”. David, before he met Goliath, had a spiritual history with his God. The faith which emboldened him to confront Goliath had been developed in the past victories of faith; overcoming the lion and the bear.
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them…”
1 Samuel 17:36
Those who walk in the “I AM” of today will be prepared of Him for the greater conflicts which await us. Present Truth is God’s provision for tomorrow.
“Today if ye will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts”
To those who whose walk in the present truth of our God the fields are “already” white unto harvest; there are (now) lives to be rescued, hearts to be encouraged, and lives to be transformed by the present wonder of our God.
“SAY NOT YE, there are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue”
What was the Holy Spirit’s judgment on this?
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”
When men and women lack the fortitude and courage to walk and seek God’s favour on their own, they will invariably seek their identity in “fitting in” with others. Many see the inconsistencies and compromise, yet remain complicit, ignoring the cry of their inner hearts. They succumb to conformity, to the protocols and doctrines of men at the expense of God’s glory. They become traitors to Christ; professing faith while choosing the acceptance of man over the call of God.
The penalty for such betrayal is beyond estimation, not only in this life but for eternity. Families are often destroyed by remaining in the throes of compromise for the sake of a horribly misplaced loyalty; parents (because of a loyalty to man) expose their children to lifeless concepts of God which often results in a life of wandering and futility.
The worth of a thing is determined by the price someone will pay for it. Those who esteem the praises of men more worthy than God’s pay a bitter price in the end. What people esteem becomes the compass by which they direct their life and they who value the approval of men must by necessity wander out of the Way of God.
“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead”
May the grace of God work in us an uncompromising walk of faith. It is better to walk alone with God than to abide in the congregation of the dead.
“Now, as I went towards Nottingham, on a Firstday, in the morning, going with Friends to a meeting there, when I came on the top of a hill in sight of the town, I espied the great steeple-house. And the Lord said unto me, ‘Thou must go cry against yonder great idol, and against the worshippers therein.’
“I said nothing of this to the Friends that were with me, but went on with them to the meeting, where the mighty power of the Lord was amongst us; in which I left Friends sitting in the meeting, and went away to the steeple-house. When I came there, all the people looked like fallow ground; and the priest (like a great lump of earth) stood in his pulpit above.
“He took for his text these words of Peter, ‘We have also a more sure Word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.’ And he told the people that this was the Scriptures, by which they were to try all doctrines, religions, and opinions.
“Now the Lord’s power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold, but was made to cry out and say, ‘Oh, no; it is not the Scriptures!’ and I told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the Scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgments were to be tried; for it led into all truth, and so gave the knowledge of all truth. The Jews had the Scriptures, and yet resisted the Holy Ghost, and rejected Christ, the bright morning star. They persecuted Christ and His apostles, and took upon them to try their doctrines by the Scriptures; but they erred in judgment, and did not try them aright, because they tried without the Holy Ghost. . “As I spoke thus amongst them, the officers came and took me away, and put me into a nasty, stinking prison; the smell whereof got so into my nose and throat that it very much annoyed me.
“But that day the Lord’s power sounded so in their ears that they were amazed at the voice, and could not get it out of their ears for some time after, they were so reached by the Lord’s power in the steeple-house. At night they took me before the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of the town; and when I was brought before them, the mayor was in a peevish, fretful temper, but the Lord’s power allayed him. They examined me at large; and I told them how the Lord had moved me to come. After some discourse between them and me, they sent me back to prison again. Some time after, the head sheriff, whose name was John Reckless, sent for me to his house. When I came in, his wife met me in the hall, and said, ‘Salvation is come to our house.’ She took me by the hand, and was much wrought upon by the power of the Lord God; and her husband, and children, and servants were much changed, for the power of the Lord wrought upon them.
“I lodged at the sheriff’s, and great meetings we had in his house. Some persons of considerable condition in the world came to them, and the Lord’s power appeared eminently amongst them.”
– George Fox
(Reblogged from Tim Shey’s Website)
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”
1 John 4:1
“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil…”
1 Peter 3:10
The sacred scriptures speak much to us of the relationship between the words we speak and the quality of life we are afforded by the Grace of God. This exhortation from Peter is often overlooked. In the midst of the strife, contention and competition in religious circles, these words offer us a warning and a promise from God. Wisdom is the result of the fear of the Lord. In its sway we begin to weigh our words before we speak. We are saved from rash words filled with evil intent and the tendency to inflict upon others the poison of our own hearts. How often we need to be reminded of His omnipresence. He is present at every conversation weighing the words of our anger, foolishness and unsanctified thoughts.
“But I say to you, that every idle* word, whatever men may speak, they shall give an account of it in Judgment Day”
There are no words spoken which will not be accounted for in the Judgment Day. All our words will be required of us in that Day. Jesus continues on in His discourse;
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”
The fruit of one’s lips are the revelation of their heart. We see here God’s perspective on the words we speak and the deeds we do. How we need to touch the Holiness of God to see and understand the implications of foolish words and an unbridled tongue! The gossip, slander and the seemingly innocent words spoken to dishonour another brother, or to further inflame situations in the Body of Christ, carry heavy repercussions in this life and judgment in the next.
“Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself”
The value of a person’s walk and their relationship with God is readily seen in the words spoken. Regardless of our profession of faith, the religion of one who speaks with an undisciplined tongue is vain and worthless.
“One who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret”
In our daily lives we either justify our walk with God or we reveal the vanity of our religious ways.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
*Note: The Greek Word translated “idle” ἀργός is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “ἀ” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be“words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).
Humility is the precious fruit of the Spirit which becomes ours by the seeing of Him. It is in touching the Presence of God where we are delivered from our boastful words and the discrepancy of saying one thing while walking in another.
Our works are to give the words we speak the weight and verity of Christ living within us.
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
(Please read the context of this scripture James 2:12-26)
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you”
“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience”
1 Timothy 3:9
The conscience is a great gift of God to us. It is the vital link between the human soul and God’s Spirit. The deeper an individual goes in their relationship with God the greater will be the diligence required to keep one’s conscience pure and clean before God. Foolish is the one who thinks they can ignore the voice of God within and still grow in their understanding of the mystery and wonder of God in their own life. If we have wronged a brother or sister and do not seek to rectify the situation, let us not be deceived into thinking our life in God will prosper! The conscience is the sounding board in our walk with God. Those who truly seek to know Him must ever be sensitive to this inward light of God. An obedient heart keeps the conscience clean. When there is a disturbance in the conscience, true men and women of faith will do all in their power to keep this mirror of God clean.
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”
1 Timothy 1:5
They who defile their conscience and yet seek to portray faith and godliness walk in the hypocrisy of religion. Their faith is not genuine, and the defilement of the conscience contaminates their relationship with God. A pure heart is one which is ever cognizant of the status of the conscience.
“If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”
Supposing we can worship God in truth while allowing offences to remain unattended is the horror of religion. Such worship is carnal, hypocritical and unacceptable before God. The true heart will respond to the inner voice of the conscience. It requires an intensity of heart to walk in the truth of these things. It requires humility to seek out our brother and sister in order to obey God within the sanctum of our own hearts.
“First be reconciled to your brother” *
How little we comprehend the fact that our relationship with our brother is paramount to our relationship with God. We are the Body of Christ and if I set my brother at aught, in God’s eyes I am doing it unto Him. The growth of any individual in God will be measured by the sensitivity of our responses to this Holy gift of God in us. People may sear and desensitize their conscience by misusing the doctrines of grace. Make no mistake; those who do not obey the conscience will end up in an unfruitful and shipwrecked life, and a darkness from which there is no escape.
A few years ago, I came to understand a simple truth:
“Those who refuse to deal with their past, will have no future growth in God”
Spiritual Stagnancy is the fruit of disobedience.
We cannot ignore the voice of God in our conscience and expect His mercies to lead us on into a greater knowing of Him. The life of a true disciple in Christ is one of continual transactions with Him who is true. My sensitivity today is the door through which I enter into the New Things He has for me.
“forgive us our debts AS we also forgive our debtors”
May God make known to us the simplicity of this truth. We may hold on to the doctrines of our forgiveness in God; in reality we are forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others! Forgiveness, like all the precious gifts of God, requires our participation. As with forgiveness, so is mercy… “Blessed are the merciful for they shall OBTAIN mercy”. The religion of men requires no real cost; we can defile our conscience with the very truths of God and somehow think we are in right standing with Him! (Please read the full context of Matthew 5:23-24).
There is a cost but also a great blessing associated with the keeping of a clear conscience. True disciples know the benefits of walking in the Way of Truth. Such things are not optional for those who desire to know Him in Spirit and in Truth.
“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence
toward God,and toward men” Acts 24:16
* Note: There will be instances where there will be unresolved issues, but the true disciple will do all they can to facilitate reconciliation. The conscience will be clear when God is at rest in the heart. Christ died for the reconciliation of the world, but men and women must respond to His gracious offer. Others must respond to that same offer from us. A clear conscience gives us the ability of “having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13) in matters relating to spiritual warfare. A clean Conscience is vital for victory. Christ did all and gave all; it is incumbent upon His disciples to do the same.
“What the Church now wants is prophetic light—light, that is, to know God’s present will, His will as to existing things—whether this is ‘a time to build’ or ‘a time to throw down.’ No study of the letter of the dispensation will give this. No study of the old law would have shown that in Hezekiah’s day the right thing was to ‘defend Jerusalem;’ in Zedekiah’s, to forsake it and ‘fall to the Chaldeans;’ and in a still later day to ‘flee to the mountains.’ No mere letter of the Gospel will show the Church’s real need to-day. Direct prophetic light is needed—men to whom the Word of the Lord yet comes expressly. And yet these are the men whom the Church always rejects”
– Andrew Jukes (1880)
“I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish others”
Admonition is the natural expression of those who are full of goodness and knowledge. It is rooted in a genuine love for the people of God; a caring for one another that transcends the fear of man and the desire to be popular. A sensitivity to the Spirit is required to walk circumspectly in order to know the effective ministration of this necessary gift of God. The ability to admonish others (and to receive admonition as well) will be dependent upon the measure of the goodness of God within a life.
“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
Admonition is the proclamation of Christ; it is the ministration of a heart that seeks to present every life perfect, (mature and full-grown) in Christ. Wherever this grace is lacking it is because motives are wrong. It is by having God’s end in view for His Church, and for each individual, that we discover the ability to naturally express this grace.
The lack of this vital ministration is the cause of our condition. Where there is no love, there is no correction. Where there is no correction, there is no growth, development, discipline or harmony within the Body of Christ. A child without discipline becomes wayward and lost. On the other hand, a child who knows only harsh discipline grows up without confidence, discouraged, or filled with anger. Admonition is the fruit of love and goodness; it flows from hearts who walk and live in the “fear of the Lord” and the love of the Father. For this reason, true eldership is revealed in the state and condition of their own home. If a man lacks the quality of true admonition in his own home, he is not qualified to minister these things to God’s House (1 Timothy 3:5).
“And fathers, do not provoke your children, but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord”
Admonition is the natural expression of the love of the Father. For children to grow up strong, confident, and upright in God, this grace is a necessary and fundamental expression both in the home and in the Church of Jesus Christ.
“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth”
“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:)
How we need to contemplate our heritage and the bravery and purity of those who have gone on before us. By faith they forsook the ways of this present world because they were in pursuit of a City whose “builder and maker is God”. It is the nature of faith to produce within the lives of His Own a pilgrim walk; a life of separation and detachment from the toxic offerings of a world opposed to all that is godly and righteous.
We need only study the lives of those who through faith obtained a “good report” from God to consider our ways and find grace to walk in the “paths of righteousness”. These precious saints paid a price for their faith. Their lives were such a light and revelation of their faithfulness to God that it caused those around them to take note of the dynamic faith, which was living, vital and real in their lives.
“…who through faith overcame kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the mouths of the sword, acquired power from weakness, became strong in war; made armies of foreigners to yield. Women received their dead by resurrection; but others were beaten to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
They had their eyes upon a “better resurrection”. By faith they were convinced that the life lived here on earth was a determining factor in the eternal realities of God. It is a false gospel which declares that regardless of how we live our lives here, our resurrection is unaffected. It is a degrading concept of a Holy and Righteous God!
Surely it is a day for us to consider our ways; to contemplate the beauty and quality of the lives of those who have gone before us. May we see and feel their testimony passed on to us that by the same power of a living faith we would walk worthy of Him who has “called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
“Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses…”
2 Corinthians 6:4