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Friday, February 9, 2018

What is Real?

We all seem to have our own vision of God ... and Reality seems to be the scarcest thing in the universe!

Years ago Amy Carmichael wrote a list of things which are spiritually suspect.
I don't remember her list, but I am sure that we can all come up with a list of our own.

Suspect things are things which are too easy, 
Suspect are the things which offer instantaneous fail-safe solutions.

It is so tempting to become infatuated with "solutions" which make the Christian life easy.
We are tempted by things which promise to lift us out from the toilsome path through the desert, and set us down safe and sound on the far side of the sands.

How attractive it is to think of an experience which can instantly remove obstacles and land us in a place of spiritual enjoyment without alloy.

Perhaps four hundred years ago William Law affirmed that the greater price we pay for a spiritual truth the greater bargain we obtain.
Alas! we like to read it backward ... and today the less we pay, the better it suites us.

The Bible warns to lay hands suddenly on no man for ministry (1Tim 5.22)
and yet we do it all the time "because we can."
The "latest and greatest" holds an irresistible charm and the slow process of the husbandman who has "long patience" awaiting the fruit is forsaken.

Moses had his forty years in the desert, and Paul had his own experience in Arabia.
Job learnt his lesson in pain, and David cried in his bed.
Down through the history of church biography men have found God when all other sources have proved to be mere mirages without substance.

Saints, there is a realm in God far beyond our present thinking, a realm so vast that it reaches into the reality of eternity.
It is a realm where God Himself opens before us the wonders of the working of His love in the world in which we live.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Vision... of Brightness

There is a spiritual truth: we possess what our spirits see.

Jesus asked Peter "Whom say ye that I am?" 
And upon Peter's confession of the revelation within, Jesus said "I will give unto you the keys...whatsoever ye bind..loose...shall be bound...loosed".
Jesus is saying "What you see in Me I give to you."

Paul declares to the Thessalonians (2Thess 2:8) that the Lord will destroy the wicked one...by the Brightness of His coming.

It may have been Campbell Morgan who said, that before preaching on a passage he would read it fifty times seeking to understand.
I wonder if we could contemplate the word Brightness in the same way until it dawn within us as a revelation from heaven.

There is a transcendant reality in God which we must perceive if we are to live in the realm of His kingdom.

It is the Brightness of the True Light ... a brightness beyond all earthly light.
The Brightness of the One Who fills all eternity, far beyond all that pertains to this realm of shadows.
The enemy-destroying Light, which causes all to be subservient to itself. 

In our world we are surrounded by gloom and we need a vision of God's Brightness if we are to know Him.
Moses asked "show me Thy glory"... not just the works, the deliverances and the manna, but "show me Thyself."

We cannot live beyond our vision, and if we are satisfied with the things around us, we will never see beyond them, or live above them.

We live in a world wracked by the forces of spiritual warfare and it is time to lift our eyes above the shadows around us.
It is time to see the Ever-and-Ever Light of the One Who will bring all to its final destination...
It is time to walk, not in the light of earth but in the light of God's Brightness.
It is time to look with wide open eyes, quickened by the God-given vision, until  darkness is done away and we walk our earthly pathway in the light of His Brightness.

Friday, January 19, 2018

And...2018?




Where are we ... and where do we go?




We are here, whether we like it or not, in the year 2018.
Ahead of us stretches uncharted territory - some things we can control and some we cannot.

One thing is certain, the journey leads to a destination, and we will not be where we are today at the year's end.
Either our journey will have ended, or it will find us in a different place than today.

Another thing certain is that the issues before us are of far, far more weight than is to be seen on the surface of things... and how many does God find who are willing to seek beyond the surface?

The world around us is on a downward path.
Men have dared to tamper with the fundamentals.  
Our values have been changed,  the meaning of words has redefined and we have entered a wasteland of chaos...  and now we are finding that the harvest of our sowing is upon us.

Some of the saddest words in Scripture are found in Revelation 3.17
"thou sayest, I am rich...have need of nothing; and knowest not..."

In this New Year it is a time to forget the past and to reach out, and out, and out, until we come to a place of understanding and of transformation - a place where we find our unassailable spiritual possessions in the Kingdom of God....
unless Heaven invades earth Hell surely will.

When we reach our final Destination there will be Light without any mixture of darkness.
Life will not be mixed with suffering there, and  nothing will be broken there, and all that destroys will be done away.

Going forward let us cry for freedom from this earth's constraints...to find our portion "on earth as it is in Heaven."

                "Look not now on earth's horizons,
                 Cramped, polluted, never free,
                 Lift thine eyes from things surrounding,
                 Gaze upon Eternity."



Friday, January 12, 2018

Only One Thing


Our world has entered the year 2018.

It has also entered a sad darkness of unknown dimensions.

The darkness which hangs over our civilization is not the darkness of a cloud which will soon pass away...it is the ever deepening darkness of night... a time of increasing despair, and decreasing hope.

Was there ever an age so blind, so trivial as ours?
We fret about trifles, and feed on low-rate emotions.
Time escapes us and vanishes like a rain drop spattering on the pavement.
The world around us has exalted the things which are perverted and grotesque.
Cisterns have been dug and the fountain of living waters forsaken. Jer. 2.13

Almost five hundred years ago Francis Xavier wrote from the lands of the east that he wished to return to the place of his studies and go through the halls of learning crying like a madman ... crying against the waste of learning which was not yoked to the purposes of the kingdom of God.
What would he say today?
More to the point, what does God say today?

For the child of God at this time there is one supreme need, and nothing else...it is a time to plead for Life.
It is a time to seek with all our hearts that Life which alone has the power to quicken and to overcome.
We don't need another "prayer."
We need, as the Psalmist says, to 'pour out our hearts before Him' lest we lose that Life which God would give us.





Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Our Time...Our Day


"Behold I make all things new." Rev. 21:5

Here we stand, at the end of Time and at the beginning of Time.


Christmas and the New Year speak of an ending and a beginning...one stage of time is dying and another is coming to birth.


We try not to gaze too intently at the past and its failures,

and we try to believe in a better future.

There is a past and a future...

but there are also two spheres - an exterior and an interior.

We must see beyond the realm of our experiences and our mental convictions.

My father was told by several people that he would live to see the day of God´s great outpouring of revival on the earth.
I think they were right but not in the way that they understood.

What my father lived to see was not a new dawn of revival but rather the beginning of the night which precedes the day.

God´s work of creation was accomplished in six days, but each day commenced with a night.
¨The evening and the morning were the...day¨ says Genesis.
Throughout the Bible it is always so...the day starts with darkness, and after the darkness comes the light.


We want the light without the darkness...the birth without the gestation process...the joy without the pain - but God has His own ways and they are immutable.


All our insistence...against all the evidence...that we are in a world-wide revival does not change the sad reality.

The night is upon us, the nations are descending into thicker darkness.
¨Gross darkness¨surrounds us and yet the promise is for the Light of God´s glory to His own. Is 60:1,2

Our need this year is interior, a deliverance from our past understanding...a vision and an understanding of what God sets before us.

It is not so much a leaving of the past as it is a finding of the newness.

Let us not seek ¨things¨ but God Himself...¨and live¨. Amos 5:4


Only God Himself can bring it to pass.

¨Oh...turn...Thyself ...to us...again.¨ Ps. 60:1

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas...Nobody Knows





Nobody knows the day of Jesus birth...some celebrate... some stumble.


However, as someone expressed, it was the day chosen by the church at large (when the church was limited to those northern realms)... in those days when man lived in “a world lit only by fire.”  
And it coincides with:
    the time of the shortest days of the year,
         with the season of least heat from the sun,
               with the time of dead flowers, fallen leaves and empty fields.

Thus He came to mankind,
   when all hope of renewal seemed fled,
       when it seemed there would be no more light or heat for man,
           when life was at its lowest ebb,
and brought the promise of a another and greater Life, another Creation.

Somehow, in our human world today we find ourselves mirroring this image...our so called civilization totters…
That dark night, and that cyclone of destruction, which men of God of a bygone generation feared would descend upon us has now come.

   The “gross darkness” is now present.
        The foundations are destroyed.
              The anchor line has parted and we are adrift.

There is no hope outside of God, and yet our generation is busy bolting the doors against His reign.

We recognise the immutability of the laws of gravity and yet refuse to accept the unchangeable laws of what is right and what is wrong before God.

We worry about the laws of nature and the state of nature, and yet we ignore the laws of God which determine our destiny.

My father used to ask, “When are we going to get serious about getting serious?”
The things which have to do with life in the Kingdom of God are not theory and are not optional.
They do not lie on the surface of life.
It is still our lack of passion that condemns us to spiritual poverty.

Today, as we celebrate Christmas, while the world hangs by a thread, God presents to us One Who came as the Dayspring...the dawning Light in the midst of darkness, Life in the midst of death.

“Choose Life.”  (Deu. 30:19)..they were Moses’ words to Israel...and they are the words God would speak to us today.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Thy Kingdom come...Deliver us"

“Thy Kingdom come…..Deliver us”


I find myself coming back to this prayer again, and again, and again.


The first petition of the Lord’s prayer is for a new world, God’s Kingdom... and the last petition is the cry for us to enter that new world.


Ever since the Fall,
   ever since Sin entered the world,
        ever since Destruction and Despair were unleashed,
This has been the cry of the world, the universe.
This is the cry of the ages and the groaning of creation...."Deliver us."


Rom. 8.19 creation waits...waits for the Sons of God to come into their own.


We all need God’s deliverance and without it we cannot advance.
Without God we can neither understand the measure of what has been lost, nor the measure of that which awaits.
It is a spiritual process, and we are too much of this world - too much affected by its thinking...its attractions...its fears.
And true freedom is unknown among us.

When we get free from outward entanglements we too often find ourselves entangled on the inside -
   unable to free ourselves from the cares, worries and frustrations of        mankind…
       unable to free ourselves  from our self-centered awareness of all that life entails.
Deliverance is an entering into a new realm, a place where one ceases to be conscious of limits.


As we see the impossibilities of self-deliverance, may God give us also to see the way of escape…
from the destruction of sin...
of sickness...
of darkness...
and of oneself.


May we see this great all-involving cry “deliver us,” as the only pathway to finding the freedom...
Here is the length, breadth and height of the Kingdom of  God.

May we cry that cry, and reach for that transforming deliverance.

May we see the limits of imprisonment taken away, and the dawning of a new day where the horizons of the Kingdom stretch far and far away.