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

The Beginning And The End

“In the beginning was God…” Genesis 1:1

Dear Ones:

How big is God?  How far back does He go?  What is the extent of His knowledge, and of His power?  In the first verse of the Bible, we have a most extraordinary statement, upon which our whole existence and purpose hangs:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”   What is implied by this statement?  It speaks of purpose, design, order, and the power and authority to accomplish it.  It we look at what follows in the passage, we find that the whole tenor, nature if you will, of the creation is explained by a single word:  “GOOD.”  The reflection of its Creator, its Maker, the creation is without flaw or error.  It is not only perfect, but totally, intrinsically good…even wonderfully beautiful.  We look into the mirror of creation and we see the heart of God.  But there is so much MORE to see of Him.

In John’s gospel, chapter 1, we discover another aspect of the revelation of God.  For here, we see that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (v.1)  When we go to verse 14, we read:  “And the Word was make flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  What do we discover here of so great importance?  It is that the One who IS the creator, has come in the flesh to dwell among us.  Paul writes:  “All things were created by Him, and for Him.” (Col. 1:16)  The Lord Jesus Christ laid aside His glory, to take upon Himself human flesh, to dwell among us…but with what eternal purpose?

In the first chapter of the book of Revelation, the glorified Lord Jesus declares:  “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending…the first and the last…I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I AM ALIVE for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” (v.8,11,17-18)  Here Christ speaks of His diety, and at the same time, of His death and resurrection.  Why?  The answer is found in Revelation 5:9: “…Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals, for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God BY THY BLOOD, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”  The Creator, who has not ceased to be the Beginning and the End, did come in the flesh to save us all…by the only way possible, for justice must be served.  He would die, and shed His precious blood to save us from the penalty and principle of sin.  There is only ONE thing that can wash away sin forever, and it is the precious blood of the slain Lamb of God.  He is the one who “…takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

Dear Father, open our eyes to see who the Lord Jesus is, and what He has done…first in taking on human flesh, in the form of a man, but also, in the shedding of His blood to save us all.  Give us grace to bow the knee, acknowledge Him as Lord, and submit our entire lives to His sovereign will and purpose…His GOOD purpose.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Lord Our Keeper

“…The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.” Ps. 121:6

Dear Ones:

When we say the word, “Christianity,” we are speaking of a relationship between God and man.  It is a relationship primarily based upon the declarative statements of God concerning HIS commitment(s) to us.  Our response to those statements must be one of faith, trust, believing…reciprocal commitment.  One aspect of that relationship is God’s commitment to KEEP us, and this in the most physically tangible, and correspondingly, spiritually invisible ways.  Again, our response to His declarations is to be that of faith…taking Him at His word, and believing in His faithfulness to DO what He has promised.

One of the greatest portions of Scripture with regard to our Keeper, is Psalm 121.  The Psalmist begins with great things which are not the source of our help and strength. The hills (…and mountains), though majestic and magnificent to behold, do not in and of themselves possess the power to help us.  They may inspire, but provide strength…they cannot.  The Psalmist then turns the spotlight immediately on the Source of strength:   “My help comes from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” (v.2)  This “help” will manifest itself in several different ways, but specifically with regard to the matter of “keeping.”  First of all, he deals with His everlasting, permanent capacity,  and will, to keep us.  “He that keeps you will not slumber nor sleep.” (v.3-4) Secondly, he speaks of His proximity to us.  So near is the Lord, that the Psalmist declares that He is “…thy shade upon thy right hand.”

Let us stop here and ask the question:  Why is it that we need a Keeper?  “The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.” (v.6)  If ever there was a verse that declares to us our fragility and frailty, in the face of danger, it is with regard to the sun’s heat, or the cold of the night, referencing the moon.  We need a “very present help” (Ps. 46:1), where we live, in all that we do. We need a Sovereign, and faithful Keeper.

His invisible keeping, which has its manifestation also in the physical, is declared:   “…The Lord shall preserve thee from ALL evil: He shall preserve thy soul.”  The Apostle Paul wrote that, “…your life is HID with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)  Though we may be assailed by our enemy, and circumstances be adverse, nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Lastly, the Lord is our keeper with regard to “…going out and coming in.”  Do we trust Him for it?  We are called upon to BELIEVE this Keeper to do this specifically for us, as this is an integral part of our relationship with Him.  An old hymn shows us how to make Him our Keeper:   “I take You as my Keeper NOW, and I commit to You, my soul, my way, my works, my cause, In Your sole charge to be; And my deposit, You, I know, will guard secure from every foe.”

Dear Keeper of our souls, and of our whole being, grant us the grace and strength to TAKE You as our Everlasting, Present Keeper, for time (today) and eternity.  In yielding all to You,  enable us to live in the shadow of Your wings, in the light of Your presence, worshiping and being about our Father’s business, for Your glory.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad