Quote for Today
“To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father
is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer”
“To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father
is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer”
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him”
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God”
– William Temple
“And when they were come into the house,
they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down, and worshipped him”
Even though, in the past, I have not been a real enthusiast of the Christmas “season” (Please read: Grace for Others), I have become more aware of the spirit of the world endeavouring to discount its message and to denigrate its observance. I personally go out of my way now in my personal and business interactions with others to make mention of this season. I do this in spite of the fact that it is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, and in spite of the need to ignore the mixture with the fable of some jolly fellow who goes around giving gifts to all who have been “nice”. (In some convoluted way it portrays to a large extent the “gospel” of our day; if you are “nice”, God will give good gifts to you). The real truth of Christmas is the gift of Christ Himself; His person, His Life and His majestic wonder. This may be the one time of year that some may hear His name in a story or a carol.
The three Magi came from afar; their journey was not an easy one nor a convenient one. They followed the heavenly sign and when they found Him, they immediately “worshipped Him”! The true worship of God comes from our seeing of Him. May we be worshippers in our hearts and give freely as we have freely received. His unspeakable Gift to us is one that we can never repay; but that is the purpose and the nature of any true gift.
“Glory in the highest places to God,
and upon earth peace among men of good will”
(Wuest Translation and the literal Greek rendering)
“And when they were come into the house,
they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down, and worshipped him:
and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts;
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
The wise men knew whom they sought; earlier in Matthew they had come to Herod:
“Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews?”
They had travelled a long distance to worship the ONE who was worthy of their journey and gifts. They did not come empty-handed, nor did they come nonchalantly. They came with great purpose and were not disappointed in beholding this new-born ONE called Jesus.
It is the religious who approach him casually, who greet Him with tepid hearts and indifference. The Pharisee who had invited Jesus into his house greeted Him with a lukewarm reception while a woman of ill repute poured out her costliest possession upon Him. Jesus spoke to the Pharisee:
“He said to Simon, do you see this woman? I came into your house.
You did not give water for My feet, but she washed My feet with tears and wiped off with the hairs of her head.
You gave Me no kiss, but she from when I entered did not stop fervently kissing My feet.
You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with ointment.
For this reason, I say to you, her many sins are remitted, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, he loves little”
Those who hold His presence within are aware of His mercy and forgiveness toward us. They know themselves and carry within the brokenness of their own unworthiness. The love and worship of Him will always be in corresponding measure to the knowledge of His forgiveness to us.
“…but to whom little is forgiven,
the same loveth little”
Brokenness is the grace adorning the hearts of all who live in the richness of His Mercy.
Painting by:Philippe de Champaigne, c.1656 – Public Domain
“How is it ye sought me?
Knew ye not that I must be in
my, the Father”
(literal Greek rendering)
The majority of translators, in dealing with the above verse, felt the need to add the word business or house or things even though none of these words are present in the Greek text. It is difficult for the religious mind to leave it as it actually reads: “I must be in my, the Father”. There is a seeming hole in this thought; surely there needs to be an explanation concerning the Father. To leave this concept without some sort of thing attached to the Father is too ambiguous and mysterious. Joseph and Mary had no understanding of the depth and the wonder of what Jesus was conveying.
“And they understood not the saying
which he spake unto them”
Jesus lived His life in the Father. He was beyond seeking only to do the business of His Father. He was beyond things associated with the Father. He was in the Father and as such His doings were not for the Father; they were that which were accomplished in the Father. It is difficult for us to see beyond service to God, past the external, seemingly good things of God, and begin to experience the Life in Christ whereby we are moved upon by the great impetus which filled and occupied Him.
“My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
The showing forth of the Father through the Son is by means of virtue and nature. It is the proceeding forth of the Will of the Father through the magnificence of Christ as it has been through eternity.
“All things were made through him.
Without him was not anything
made that has been made”
The Son has forever been the agency through which the Father created and worked His wisdom and power. His Life on earth was simply the extension of His relationship with the Father from eternity.
“I and my Father are one”
To Be Continued…
This is Part One of a multi-part series. For the sake of brevity this writing has been broken into short segments and as with all things it is necessary to read all the parts to appreciate the wonder and glory of our God.
“I am the resurrection”
Wherever and whenever the heart of a wandering soul, a lost soul or a dying soul meets the wonder of Him, resurrection and life are the immediate result. He is not only the Resurrected One, He is the ever resurrecting one. Regardless of age, status in life or circumstances, He is our resurrection. Newness of life, joy, worship and praise are the on-going expressions of any life beholding Him. Death, sorrow, fear, discouragement and despair flee from His presence as shadows disappear from radiant light.
Linger not in the shadows of human reasoning or the stains of sin or unbelief. Come to the fountain which will never fail; whose waters are filled with the abundance of His Life, cleansing, refreshing and replenishing us with the vigor of His eternal life.
“Come ye saints, look here and wonder,
See the place where Jesus lay;
He has burst His bands asunder;
He has borne our sins away;
Yes, the Lord has risen to-day”
“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.
The Alabaster Box
There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.
The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.
The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.
“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
“For Jehovah’s portion is His people”
Deuteronomy 32:9 (LITV)
The true priests of the Lord know deep within the very core of their hearts that God’s people are His portion in the earth. They carry the burden of knowing that the condition of God’s people, their manner of life, their love for Jesus and one another is paramount to all other things. They cannot be content with the prevalent “business as usual” attitude. True priests are concerned with the fervor, the passion and the temper of God’s Church. True priests are concerned with the purity of heart by which the service and the offerings are brought unto the altar of the Lord. It is one thing to go through the motions of a Sunday meeting where the rote of a “service” is conducted; it is another thing all together when the praise and worship unto God proceeds from hearts filled with the wonder of His Love. Men and women who are content with tepid offerings unto God and the religious garb of a priesthood that delights in the pews being full rather than hearts being full, are hirelings. They are satiated with outward things but the fire within has long gone out.
Those who burn with the fire of God’s love know that nothing less than sacrifice offered with the Holy Fire of God is able to bring forth the sweet aroma unto our God. The Epistles of the New Testament burn with words of fire that flowed from hearts that were aflame for God’s glory, not their own. They were concerned about His inheritance; not their church, fellowship or ministry.
True priests minister truth. They are not interested in being popular or accepted. Their estimation of life is to glorify God and to see that the altar receives the sacrifices and offerings unto God which are offered in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24). Worship flows from hearts that know it is on the basis of God’s grace, His shed blood and His mercy that they are able to stand before Him. Those who know they have been forgiven much love much. Little do God’s people realize that as in the Old Testament so also in the New we are to bring forth sacrifices as a holy priesthood!
“…you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
1 Peter 2:5
We are to be a nation of priests. That ministry is not for a select few; every member is called into their own vital ministration in God’s economy. A human body does not have non-vital members (unless it is unhealthy), if it is healthy every member participates with their own function within the context of the whole.
“But you are “an elect race,” “a royal priesthood,”
“a holy nation,” “a people for possession,”
so that “you may openly speak of the virtues”
of the One who has called you
out of darkness into His marvelous light”
1 Peter 2:9 (LITV)
Lord, we pray over Your inheritance in our land. Move afresh upon our hearts to see the true call to which you have called us. Let us see our portion in the rising up of your Church to the glory, the beauty and the expression of all that you are. Remove the blindness, the shortsightedness and the apathy from our hearts. Cause us to see how we have been backslidden in our singleness of heart to serve you. Move with great power to turn us from our religious ways, from the ways of the world, from our kingdom building and the seeking of pre-eminence. Cause us to be broken over Your inheritance in our land and bring repentance from seeking the things of this world and the building up of our own houses while your house lays waste (Haggai 1:4-7).
It is a day for us to consider our ways and turn back to the good and right way wherein righteousness and glory dwells. Turn us Oh Lord and we shall be turned.
“And he repaired the altar of the LORD
that was broken down”
God’s purpose in raising up prophets is to restore the power and wonder of true worship. Worship is central to the purpose of God in every generation. How little we realize the power that is transmitted through true worship to the people of God. It is the fundamental desire of God to find such worshippers of Him…
“But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him must worship
him in spirit and in truth”
Through apathy and apostasy the altar of God becomes broken down as men neglect their spiritual responsibilities. The imposition of worldly ways, entertainment, programs, professional and orchestrated performances crowd out the true worship of God. The fire goes out and the glory of God fades from the hearts and minds of men. The true worship that comes from broken and contrite hearts is replaced with human confidence in talents and professionalism leaving a powerless and worldly church in its wake. It is at such a time as this that we see God raising up expressions of ministry that are gripped by the tepid and impotent condition of HIS Church. They confront the exaltation of men and their ways, the religion of convenience and the sheer horror of men claiming ownership over the things of God; they declare “my people, my church, and my ministry” while the true altar of God is broken down and neglected. It is a day of confrontation as the fire of God burns within the hearts of those who are concerned for HIS Glory and His Ways. The prophets of Baal are always more numerous and conspicuous. They love the attention and the adulation of the people of God. In due time God answers by fire and the trite and worldly ways of men are left to the JUDGEMENTS of God and once again the fickle hearts of men are drawn back to the TRUE ALTAR.
There is but ONE ALTAR and it is only there that men conduct business with God. It is there that men offer themselves unto God and His purposes. It is there that men begin to see and understand the depth of the Sacrifice of the Son on their behalf and touch the awesome HOLINESS of God in spirit and in truth. In the light of such things men and women are transformed, hearts are ignited and God’s Glory is seen. From this arises a new generation of living sacrifices that have cast away the pursuits of self realization and self love to become flaming torches filled with a passion to see HIS NAME Glorified! This day is about to dawn and the PURE and HOLY Bride will arise out of the ashes of men’s ways, men’s religious systems and teachings. The day is upon us!
The Prophetic Purpose is to restore to HIS CHURCH the true Worship of God, to see the people of God once again declare “THE LORD HE IS GOD” and to restore THE CHURCH to the place where God has preeminence in our midst.
The call of God goes forth in this hour to empower those who will hear and arise with the very fire of God burning in their hearts.
“…therefore gird up thy loins, and arise,
and speak unto them all that I command thee:
be not dismayed at their faces,
lest I confound thee before them.
For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city,
and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land,
against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof,
against the priests thereof,
and against the people of the land”
“…he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD,
and he pitched his tent there;
and there Isaac’s servants dug a well”
This verse immediately follows Isaac receiving a promise and a visitation from the LORD. The PROMISE was no longer just Abraham’s it was now Isaac’s. The promise was given because of Abraham’s life of faith and obedience but there must come a time where the promise of God becomes our own. HIS promise not only becomes Isaac’s own but it produces a life of response within him. In the reception of the promise Isaac builds an Altar, calls on his God, pitches his tent (dwelling/abiding) and digs a well.
In the New Testament the altar speaks of many things but for the sake of brevity we will sum up the altar in the life of the individual believer as the place of true worship. This worship is to become a way of life for the true child of God. The Altar speaks of much more than a short time of singing one day a week; it is the place where we live and grow in our relationship in HIM, where we begin to realize that we are to offer ourselves unto HIM (Rom. 12:1) as a living sacrifice, where we offer the praises of our hearts, where we bow down under the weight of a Glory that softens our hearts and allows us to touch the very Holiness of HIS PRESENCE and the wonder of HIS BEING. It is here that we commune with HIM in the private sphere of our lives hidden away from the seeing of men. Here we offer prayers and the secrets of our heart in the most intimate of transactions with a Holy God. It is here that we learn of Him, we touch HIM, and HE speaks to us of things that words fail to convey. In this seeing of HIM we discover the truth of whom we are and the staggering contrast between who HE is and what we are. We begin to understand that even angelic perfection, though sinless and pure, cannot look upon HIM in HIS undimmed Glory in the heavens.
The Altar is the only place where we can touch such places of Glory. Here we are CHANGED into the Glory that we see from Glory to Glory; “EVEN AS BY the SPIRIT OF THE LORD”. As the Son walked this earth HE would spend hours alone with HIS FATHER in that perfect HOLY UNION that HE had from all eternity. The New Covenant provides ACCESS for us into the Holiest of ALL because of our lives being “HID with Christ in God”. It is by virtue of such a living reality that we can grow into the place of living and abiding at the very ALTAR of God. It becomes our spiritual habitat as we learn to abide in HIM.
The Altar is not only a place of sacrifice, communion and worship it is also the place of PROVISION; a PLACE where we eat and partake of HIM. It is the place of the “hidden manna” that comes to us by the seeing of HIM and the eating of HIM in the secret place. We read in Hebrews…
“We have an altar,
whereof they have no right to eat
which serve the tabernacle”
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things
live of the things of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar
are partakers with the altar?”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13
Suffice it to say that the way of the ALTAR is the way of life. In the life of Isaac the first act of his response to GOD was the building of the altar. In the New Testament all spiritual realities are “made without hands” and as such we build our altar by simply spending time with HIM in the secret places of our hearts until it becomes our spiritual habitat. The Altar preceded the pitching of Isaac’s tent for it is in the “building” of the one that the life of “abiding” is cultivated.