Remember Me

“For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16

Dear Ones:

Jesus Christ is the most amazing man ever to have existed, and this for many reasons.  But primary among them all is the fact of the love of God revealed through Him.  It was love for His Father which dominated everything.  And then, there was His love for His disciples, and for us all individually.

It was the eve of His crucifixion, and He had instructed His disciples where they were to prepare the Passover.  There would come a moment, when all the twelve apostles were assembled with Him, that He would say:  “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)  It is in saying this, knowing that shortly His body would be broken for them (and all men…), and His blood would be shed to establish an eternal covenant so that they (and all men…) could be saved, that, instead of recoiling before the horror of that event, He would embrace it because of the love He had for them.  Here is the highest expression of love, not only in that He would give His life, but that He would do so by taking upon Himself the sentence and judgement for that which His sinless nature was repulsed by…our sin.

“Death, and the curse were in our cup, O Christ, ’twas full for Thee…!  But Thou hast drained the last dark drop, ‘Tis empty now for me.  That bitter cup, LOVE drank it up;  Now blessings’ draught for me.”

At this Last Supper, Christ would take the bread and the cup of wine.  He would tell His disciples to take this and divide it among themselves.  Specifically, with regard to the bread, He will tell them:   “This is My body which is given for you…this do in remembrance of Me.”  In a very short time, though His disciples could not grasp the extent of what He was saying, He would be “…wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities…the chastisement (punishment) for our sins would fall upon Him…and by His stripes we would be healed.” (Is. 53:5)  The Lamb of God would soon be slain, and this to save us all.  His word to His disciples?  “Remember Me.”  This is what he would have them do!!!  He would then take the cup to declare to them that which, again, they would not understand fully:  “…This cup is the New Testament (New Covenant) in My blood, which is shed for you.”  The salvation of the entire world is being declared here as being dependent upon ONE thing, the shed blood of Christ.  What does Christ then say to them concerning this perfect, extensive, eternal work?  He says, “…which is shed FOR YOU.”  This perfect sacrifice to save us all is FOR US.  This is love…and there is NO greater expression of it.

Dear Father, open our eyes to see what love You have demonstrated in Your Son in sending Him to be born, and then to die for us…for me.  Work in our calloused hearts to know and feel the power of this love which calls us to remember, and to know that all was done for us.  Cause to melt away any resistance to You in our hearts, for there is no greater motive to live, or to die, than to know this love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

“Right-ness,” God’s Perspective

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

Dear Ones:

What is “RIGHT?”  There is that which man would say is right, and that which God says is right.  The difference is like the distance of the heavens above the earth.  On the one hand, “right-ness” from man’s perspective has its origin in the depths of human nature.  On the other hand, the eternal concept of “right-ness” has its beginning and realization IN GOD.  In our “modern” manner of speaking today, we hardly ever use the word, “righteousness.”  And yet, the meaning of this word has eternal ramifications.  What does “righteousness” truly mean?  It is first and foremost that which is declared RIGHT in the sight of God.  He sets the standard, for He IS the standard.

At one point in the life of Abraham, the Lord led him outside at night, and told him to look up into the sky.  When he looked at the innumerable stars in the sky, God said:  “So shall thy seed (descendants) be.” (Gen. 15:5)  Then the word of God declares:  “And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and He (God) counted it to him for righteousness.”  God gives to Abraham a promise, a declaration of His will.  Abraham simply responds by specifically, and whole-heartedly,  believing God.  This is the RIGHT thing to do in the sight of God.  I believe it was Henry Ironside who put it so simply:  “God said it; I believe it; That settles it.”  Why is this God’s way?  It is for two reasons.  First, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he wrote, “…Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4)  It is NOT the right thing in the sight of God to believe in the words of a liar.  Why?  Because the fallen nature of man has nothing to do with the holy nature of God.  This is why God declares, “We are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousness (“right-ness”) are as filthy rags.”  Our concept of a holy God is skewed if we believe that true “rightness” can come from any other source than the Lord Jesus Christ.  The second reason that FAITH alone is God’s way,  is simply, that it is a gift of God.   He deals with us out of His grace, and gives faith to those who seek Him for it.

In Isaiah 55, the Lord’s word to Israel is a most wonderful one:  “… EVERY ONE that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that has no money; come, and buy, and eat: yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price…listen diligently unto Me…Incline your ear, and come unto Me…hear and your soul shall live.” (v.1,2,3)  What is God saying here?  True “right-ness” in His eyes is that which He gives.  It is not earned…nor bought with the things of this world.   Rightness is responding to Him according to what He declares.

Dear Father, we thank You that Your ways are not those of man…they are so very high and holy, and yet, so simple that we can understand.  You give faith when You speak, and you speak to us in Your word.  Give us abundant grace today to understand what You are saying to us, and grace to take our stand by faith upon the promises.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

A Mission Postponed

“…But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3

Dear Ones:

The knowledge of God is a great catalyst, and response, to “drifting” or “neglecting the calling of God.”  In the case of Jonah, we see a deliberate defiance to his ministry and mission because of blatant prejudice in his heart.  But Jonah is a little man in a little place, compared to the Creator and Savior.  Just as Jesus’ came to “seek and save that which was lost,” so in Jonah’s day, God was doing the same.  He knew that Ninevah was ripe for judgement, but also, still had something of a conscience with regard to her wickedness.  He knew that, if the word of repentance and faith was preached at the right time, there would be a repentant city, and judgement would be averted.  However, again, there stood a little man, in a little place, defying the mercy and compassion of a great and wonderful God.  Instead of salvation, he wanted judgment.  And like the disciples of old, he wanted, in essence to call down fire upon their heads…he wanted their destruction.  So, we have a man, a prophet, who will choose to believe a lie, and seek to run away from “the presence of the Lord.”  His deception will lead him to the depths of despair.  But out of that despair will rise the cry of his heart again unto this merciful and gracious God.  The remembrance of Him will be the beginning point of his deliverance, and the return in his heart of his commitment to the Master of his mission

God’s purposes will be accomplished.  The question is, “Can they be accomplished in and through us?”  When God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees, Abram (as he was called at that time) only went as far as Haran.  God was patient with him, working in his heart to strengthen his faith.  He then would leave Haran, and proceed to Canaan…or rather, the land where God’s promises of fruitfulness and blessing would be realized.  Abraham’s mission was delayed because he stopped in Haran.  Jonah’s mission was delayed by his flight from God.  God would stop him, and turn him around by a storm and a fish, and the remembrance of Him.  Why such a difference in the manner of dealing with these two individuals?  Most certainly it had to do with the matter of urgency.  The judgement upon Nineveh was pending…the preaching of God’s word to the people of necessity had to be done promptly.  Time was of  the essence.

What about God’s mission for us?  Are we “drifting,” or as the Lord Jesus addressed the church of Laodicea, “…lukewarm?”  Are we “neglecting so great a salvation,” as was the case of certain Hebrew Christians?  Or, are we committed to “study to show ourselves approved unto God,”  “…in the business of our Father,” being instant, “in season and out of season,” ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us.  We might be like Jonah, for one reason or another, running away from the calling of God.  We  might be like Abraham, for one reason or another, hesitating to proceed all the way to Canaan.  The issue is the same; the mission is not fully engaged.  There is a neglect of the purpose, the direction, the reason for which God has worked in our hearts that we should belong to Christ.

Dear Father, let us not be entangled in the issues of this life, and burdened down by its cares, that we slip, neglect, or run from our calling.  You came, Lord Jesus, to seek and to save that which was lost.  And most certainly, you have equipped us all, and every one, in such a way to serve Thee, according to the calling of each one of us.  Give us grace to cast off any “unfruitful works of darkness, ” to trust Thee to take us by the hand, and to lead us into fruitful service for you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Taking The Position Of Faith

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

Dear Ones:

There is “daily bread” and God’s mercies, which are new “every morning,” and there is also a DAILY cross.  What does this mean?  It means a taking of a position of faith, based upon the truth in Christ, as it applies to us personally.   The greatest and most formidable enemy to following Christ is “self.”  This is why the first thing the Lord Jesus addresses, as a condition to following Him, is the “denial” of self, that turning away from, and refusal to consider oneself.  It actually means “forgetting” oneself as the center, means, and objective of living.  Christ will have us occupied with Him, living for His glory according to His good and perfect will, and this, by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The second prerequisite to follow Christ is taking up of a cross.  The cross is an instrument of death, and if there was ever a picture of the seriousness, and solemnity of choosing to follow Christ, it is this picture of the cross…our cross.  It goes further than the denial of self, to the very crucifixion of self…and all that is not of Christ.  Paul would write:  “I AM crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ that lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)  The cross means that we belong to another, that we are NOT our own. We have chosen to live for God’s purpose and objectives, by the means which He has supplied, His living word, and the life-giving Spirit.

What about taking a position of faith?  To purpose in our hearts to follow Christ means that there must be the daily exercise of taking our position of denial of self, and taking up of the cross.  This is truly great news, for with God’s commands comes the capacity to obey.  Look at what we are delivered FROM, in order to follow Christ, our Lord and Shepherd…the rule of sin, self, Satan, and the world.   And look at what we are delivered TO … fellowship with the One who is “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.”  But why DAILY?  It is simply because, we have a tendency to forget, or to let slip that attitude that we must have, and maintain.  Christ is known by His ways.  To forget those ways is to “wander” here and there, without truly following Him.  The one who daily takes his position, and this, trusting the Holy Spirit of God for grace to do so, will quietly look away from himself, set himself not to look back or around him at that which is not of Christ.  He shall then be able to set his eyes on the Lord Jesus, who has loved us and given Himself for us.

Dear Father, Thy mercies are new every morning, as is the opportunity to love and serve Thee.  Give us grace to quietly, and yet, whole-heartedly,  look unto Jesus, engaged and committed to run this race set before us.  Anoint, and quicken us by Thy Spirit, to live this life of faith every day, having set the Lord before us…for Thy pleasure, and His glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Primacy of Worship

“…And there he (Abram) built an altar to the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 12:8)

Dear Ones:

As far as we know, there was no altar in the Garden of Eden.  Why?  Because before Adam fell (sinned), there was no need for a sacrifice.  Instead of a specific place and practice of worship, based on a sacrifice, the whole of the Garden of Eden was a place of worship.  It is when we see Abel make an offering of the “firstlings of his flock, and the fat thereof,” (Gen. 4:4) that we see the imperative of worship, but worship in a certain manner.  The worship of God is only acceptable if it is based on a sacrifice, and that ultimate and perfect sacrifice is Christ.  But, why is worship the first thing?

If we fast-forward from the Garden of Eden to the life of Abram (Abraham), we discover that God revealed to him, not only the necessity to worship, but the means and blessing of worship.  It seems that almost everywhere that Abram went, he built an altar.  Again, why?  Because God can only be sought, and found, on the basis of a sacrifice.  The apostle John writes in Revelation 13:8, that Christ, the Lamb of God, was, “…slain from the foundation of the world.”  There is but ONE sacrifice for sin, ONE means that God has provided, so that we can approach a holy God.  Every act of true worship, as we see in the lives of Abel, Abraham, …in Israel with the tabernacle, and eventually in Solomon’s temple, was based on the sacrifice of Another.  Christ’s blood ALONE can take away, wash away, all sin, providing a basis for approaching God.  With regard to the  blessing of true worship,  is the revelation of God, by the Spirit, to the heart and soul of the one seeking God.

True worship of God is that first imperative that must be practiced, and maintained, if there is to be true service to God.  Jesus, in speaking to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, 23, said:  “…You worship you know not what.”  He then goes on to say, “…the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” True worship, that attributing to God the worth and honor that He is due to receive from us, is only possible if we first know the TRUTH of Him.  And that TRUTH is Christ, for He is that sacrificial Lamb.  But then, we must worship by the Spirit.  Worship is a heavenly business.  It’s essence is holy, and empowered by the Spirit of God.  God created worship, and has provided a “pattern” for us.  It is as we fall down before Him, and attribute to Him all the glory and honor due Him, that we begin to understand “the edges of His ways,” and thus, grasp in some small measure the knowledge of Him.

Dear Father,  enable us to see the primacy of worship, and practice it in Spirit and in truth.  We know that the great blessing of worship is first pleasing You, and in this You are well-pleased.  We know also that it is in that act and attitude of worship that You have chosen to reveal Yourself, and Your Son, to our hearts.  As we learn to worship You, open our eyes to see Your glory “in the sanctuary.”  Transform us into Your likeness Lord Jesus, as we gaze in truth upon You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Moses: Three Times Saved

“…God called him out of the burning bush, and said, ‘Moses, Moses.’  And he said, ‘Here am I.'” Exodus 3:4

Dear Ones:

The story of Moses is a most intriguing, and instructive one.  We find him born into a context of suffering and oppression, at a moment when survival for newly born boys was very questionable.  God would use a mother’s love to hide him, and then, by faith commit him to God, by placing him in a basket on the waters of the Nile River.  Here, Pharaoh’s daughter would find him, “…have compassion on him,” and this, knowing full well that this was “….one of the Hebrews children.” (Ex. 2:6)  This is the first time Moses is saved…saved from being put to death according to Pharaoh’s orders.

Next we see Moses, with a consciousness and conviction that he is Hebrew (…he is about 40 years of age…).  He has grown up, and been instructed in “…all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” (Acts 7:22)  It is at this point that he will visit his people, defend a fellow Hebrew by killing his adversary.  He is forced to flee  from Egypt.  Again, God saves Moses from death, but also, from Egypt, its culture and ways.  He enters a life of forty years, in a “wilderness,” where he raises a family, becomes a shepherd of sheep, and most certainly, becomes a seeker of the God of the Hebrews.  The Spirit of God had stirred Moses in Egypt, had revealed to him his heritage, his God, and his calling.  But Moses was not ready to embark upon this calling.  He must be saved a third time.

The burning bush that Moses will see in the wilderness of Mount Sinai will be the sign of God’s timing and intervention in Moses’ life.  For eighty years, the Lord has known Moses, and this, in every way.  He saw Moses rise to the heights of cultural Egypt.  He saw Moses dive to the depths of rejection, and uselessness.  And now, when Moses is ready to be saved again, Christ comes.  This time it is a different kind of salvation, for he must be saved from HIMSELF.  The rumblings of the calling of God resounded in his heart forty years previously, but now, he is brought face to face with the calling, but he is empty.  “Come NOW therefore, and I will send thee to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people, the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (Ex. 3:10)  The difference between the knowledge of the will of God, as the savior of Israel from Egypt, forty years prior, and now, is this:  the first time Moses thought he could do it.  Now, forty years later, he is convinced that he cannot.  He is saved from himself when he understands and grasps the reality of God’s words:  “Certainly, I will be with you.” (v.12)

Dear Father, we thank You for this testimony of your grace in the life of Moses, who needed saving from his circumstances, but mostly, from himself.  You brought him to this place in order to reveal to him Your faithful sufficiency.  Give us to grasp something of Your dealings with us in this regard, and be to us our life, as we trust you fully.  Grant us grace to respond to Your calling, and this, to know You increasingly.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

No Flesh Shall Glory

“…God hath chosen the foolish…the weak…the base…the despised…the things which are not…that NO flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Dear Ones:

It is because our vision of God is so small, and so skewed with concepts that are not worthy of Him, that we do not see clearly.  We need for the Lord Jesus to indeed, anoint our eyes with eye salve, that we can truly see.  It is because God is holy, the thrice HOLY GOD, maker, redeemer, sustainer of all life…everlasting Keeper, that we need to understand that He does NOT share His glory with men.  It does not mean that we cannot see His glory, nor that He will not glorify His name in us…but it does mean, that He WILL receive all the recognition for it.  This is so because He is the God of Truth, and the truth is:  His glory, that manifestation and revelation of His nature and character, belong to Him…for He IS its essence and source…NOT sinful man.  It has been said that the most illogical of all sins is that of pride.  The word does NOT belong to God, but to sinful man, for it reflects the false idea that he is his own creator, his own provider, and his own sustainer in life…not to mention, his own “god.”  When God works, moves, and manifests His goodness, he will not give man the credit, nor will he accept in any shape or form that man “steals” His glory.  To be meek, as Jesus declares, is to have a right attitude of what we truly are with regard to who God is.  How does this apply to us?

The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians that …the Lord had sent him to preach the gospel, the cross,…Christ crucified,…Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  The purpose of this preaching was to declare the truth of God, with the accompanying demonstration of the Spirit and power.  It was to reveal to unsaveable man, that it is ONLY by the intervention of God that he can KNOW the reality of a clean, and good conscience towards God, and this because of the complete washing, cleansing, and forgiveness of all sins.  How can this be? It is because of the preaching of the cross, and of Christ crucified.  The writ of our condemnation because of sin, was NAILED to the cross. Christ’s sacrifice, by His blood,  became the terrible payment for all our sins.  We might think that this was sufficient to ransom mankind, and save us. But the holiness and greatness of God does not stop there, for He he has dealt with ALL our enemies, without and within.  Since He is perfect and holy, so must be the work done to save us. And so, we died IN Him!  Not only does God deal with all that is not of Christ, and this, by crucifying and burying it (the old man), but He deals with the old “self” nature, which relies, depends, and acts independently of God.  All this occured, and was nailed to that cross in Christ.  Paul writes:  “I AM crucified with Christ.” (Gal. 2:20)  Not only did He take ALL of our sins with him to that cross, and pay the price to purchase us, but He took US to that cross, that the power of “self” would be broken, and cease to rule.  “His kingdom would indeed come…His will to be done…” in us.  Lastly, there is the issue of the “new man” in Christ, who now lives by another principle, by the very power of God.  And this life is lived “…by the faith of the Son of God,” this gift by the Spirit.(Gal. 2:20)  From A to Z, in the consideration of being IN Christ, we see that it is ALL of God.   And it is as we respond to His call, by calling upon Him, that He answers from heaven to make this experience an ever-increasing reality.  THIS is why NO flesh shall glory in His presence, for it is all of Him, by Him and for Him.  THIS is the One, “…who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  It is inconceivable to think that the Almighty, Holy God, who has provided us a perfect salvation, out of perfect love for us, does not desire that all men everywhere become partakers of it.  To the one who calls, He will answer.

Dear Father, anoint and open our eyes to see You in your glory, power, wisdom, and might.  Give us to grasp that You are the Almighty God, and that the Lord Jesus possesses all power and authority in heaven and earth, and this, to operate in us this FULL SALVATION.  Give us the faith of the Lord Jesus, as we look to that cross, and then to Him reigning at Your right hand,  that we may live by the power of Your Spirit for Your glory, always giving glory to God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

A Highway For God

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Is. 40:3)

Dear Ones:

There are many ways that the Lord gets our attention, speaks to us, in order to bring us to faith in Him.  Scripture says that He “draws,” or attracts us.   But He also convicts us.  What does this mean?  It means specifically that His Spirit brings us to a realization, and conviction, that what He says is the truth, as opposed to opinions and speculations of men.  He convicts us, not only of what sin IS (independent acts and thoughts from God), but of the fact that we are sinners, and we DO sin.  It is important that we realize that SIN is an attitude and action against God, and has its detrimental out-working towards fellow human beings.  The purpose of being convicted of sin by the Spirit of God, is to bring us face to face with God, and His reaction to it…and His solution for it.  This is so very important, in order to bring us to be willing to see, and understand His way, His highway…a highway for God, so that He can, and will work in the heart of every individual who will truly seek Him.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:7, “…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  In Proverbs 14:27, he continues:  “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.”  It is a sad thing to say, but in our day and time, the “fear of the Lord,” that dominating, holy respect of God, has all but disappeared in the Christian’s mind.  We have lost our vision of God as holy, “a consuming fire,” and Christ as, not only the Savior, but the Judge, who will bring to light every thought, word, and deed.  The world will scoff and mock at this assertion, but what will it do when He comes again, or when facing  death? Why does world react like this?  It is because the majority of men have never honestly, truly set themselves to look at Him, and examine, not only His person, but His words.  They have been swept up by the thoughts and opinions of the crowd, where there is NO fear of God, only the fear of man.  And thus, they are, as Jesus said, “sheep without a Shepherd,” “…the blind leading the blind,” “…having no hope, and without God in the world.”  The good news is that there is a WAY established by God, a highway…by which He will come and meet the individual heart.  What is the beginning point in finding it?

The pursuit begins with the fear of God, the beginning of knowledge.  That attitude of the respect of God above all respect of man, will bring us to this fact:   “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ saith the Lord.” (Is. 55:8)  He then goes on to help us to grasp how much difference there is between God and man:   “…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways HIGHER than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (v.9)  So, the first thing is to ask ourselves, “Who do I fear (respect), and this, to the entrusting of my life on this earth and for eternity…men or God?  If the answer is God, then it will be Him that I seek,  His way, His HIGHWAY…for there is no other that leads to the Father…to knowing Him.

Dear Father, give us a clear vision of Yourself, Your holiness and wisdom.  Enable us to direct our attention to the cross to SEE what You think of sin, for it was your ONLY way in dealing with “man’s independent ways and thoughts,” as opposed to Yourself.  And grant us to grasp the overwhelming significance, and dominance, of Christ’s sacrifice in dealing with sin.  Then we shall understand something of this heaven-bound highway.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

An Overwhelming Flood

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19

Dear Ones:

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 61:2:  “…from the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed…”  A.I. Waring wrote:  “…The storm may roar without me, My heart may low be laid,  But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?”  Why is it that we can be overwhelmed, and be tempted to discouragement?  It is because there are forces, both physical and spiritual, which are stronger than we, wielding power to potentially damage or destroy.  This is NOT a reality that is uncommon, for since the Fall, mankind has been called upon, not only to survive, but to overcome his adversaries.  In Isaiah, we find that the enemy of our souls can come in like a flood.  A flood is a very powerful, and overwhelming thing.  This is one reason for which Paul mentions what is called, “…the evil day.” (Eph. 6:13)  There are times when the pressure of circumstances, and the opposition of the enemy, are such, that there is a battle…even a “flood” of battle.  There may be nothing wrong in our walk with the Lord, but our enemy chooses to oppose and to resist, in some instances to accuse and condemn.  And this he will do…it is part of this conflict in which we find ourselves.

In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul writes concerning this warfare, that it is primarily spiritual in nature.  We discover also that it manifests itself in particular when a position of faith is taken.  Paul will write:  “…Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might…put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to STAND against the wiles of the devil.” (v.10-11)  The opposition that our spiritual enemy mounts is very real.   It reveals itself when we are “standing,” believing God, walking by faith.   Paul makes this very clear when he writes:  “…For we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (v.12)  When we take a stand of faith in Christ, founded on the word of God, it will always be opposed one way or another.  Why?  Because the principle by which God works in our lives, and in the lives of others, is  faith.  If faith can be displaced by fear or dismay, leading to discouragement, then the manifestation of the power of God, will be limited.  The objective in the fight is to keep believing, standing and withstanding, not abandoning the position of faith.  It is one thing to take a position of faith; it is quite another to refuse to relinquish it.  This is the good fight…which can be won by the Spirit of God.  “The Spirit shall lift up a standard against him.”

Dear Father, ever fill us with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  Give us the grace and strength to take our stand, and then to withstand the assaults on mind, heart, and body, by our enemy.  In this very real struggle,  enable us to overcome the opposition, by Your Spirit, every day…for Jesus’ sake.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Undeterred Christ

“My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me…” John 4:34

Dear Ones:

Jesus died twice!!  How can this be?  The first time he died was when He went down into the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  The second time was on Calvary.  We know that Jesus’ conception and birth were uniquely by the Holy Spirit.  We know also that He was filled with the Holy Spirit during  his entire youth, up until the age of thirty…thus, without sin.  But when He went down into the waters of the Jordan, and was baptized, we find that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.  John would relate that God told him:  “…Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, the same is He which baptises with the Holy Spirit.” (Jn. 1:33)  Thus, Jesus is thus declared to be the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Christ and Messiah, the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” (v.29)  The day of His baptism was the day of the embracing of His mission, His ministry.  And He knew what that meant…a CROSS.  Was the Lord Jesus ever deterred, or turned aside from fulfilling this mission? No.

Immediately after His baptism, the Spirit of God leads Him into the wilderness…and there He will face His enemy and ours, the devil.  The first attack came when there was real physical need, hunger.  It was aimed at seeking to get Jesus to act independently of His Father, not trusting Him to provide for His needs. (Luke 4:4)  The second attack came in the form of a “short cut,” a more “convenient way” to accomplish His mission, but one which involved exchanging the rule of His Father for that of the enemy.  Thirdly,  the enemy sought to get Christ to “project Himself” in the eyes of the world, by some miraculous act, independently of the Father.  This He would refuse to do, declaring:  “…You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (v.12)  Satan would always be seeking to deter the Lord Jesus from remaining submitted to His Father, living utterly dependent upon Him.  But Christ would NOT yield, even if it meant “apparently” to advance His cause and mission.  His ultimate objective, and means by which He would reach that objective,  would be His most cherished fellowship with His Father.  This He would not sacrifice for anything , or any one.

Shortly after the Lord Jesus returned from his confrontation with the devil in the wilderness, He stands up in the Synagogue in Nazareth, and reads from the book of Isaiah:  “The Spirit of the Lord IS upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel…” (Luke 4:18) Here is the undeterred Christ, anointed, fulfilling His mission, according to His Father’s ways, in His time, for His glory.

Dear Father, the Lord Jesus is our example and our enablement by the Spirit.  He was never deterred, or turned aside, from His loyalty and devotion to You.  He lived a life of perfect faith, relying wholly upon the Holy Spirit for everything.  And He is in our hearts…by this same Spirit.  Enable us to see clearly that we are called to follow in Christ’s steps, and to know the victory that is ours in Him by the Spirit.  Grant us that quiet, determined resolve, to follow Him with singular devotion, trusting Him fully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad