Tag Archive: faith

The Big Picture – Part 14

How Does Your Garden Grow?

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matt. 11:12.

Yes, seeds have been planted, watered and left to seek the sun. How does your garden grow? God has placed the precious seed of Life, the Word, into your heart. How is it doing? Is it being fruitful and multiplying or is it dormant and unseen, remaining in the earth? God did not plant a seed to take up space in the earth but to subdue the earth and have authority over it. To rise above its humble beginnings and produce a tree with shade and fruitful sustenance, protection and provision for all who are under it.

This is the very call for the sons of God, to become complete, mature like our Seedbearer — the Father. So that when others taste and see our fruit, they taste and see the Father. “… he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” John 14:9.

So, again, whether or not the seed that was planted grows into full maturity has nothing to do with the condition of the seed — the seed is perfect, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 2 Peter 1:3 — it is the fruit that will tell the story of the soil — your heart — whether it is good or bad.

So it is your responsibility to nurture and care for the seed, giving it water and sonlight and the atmosphere of faith. Keep adding the water of the Word, presenting yourself before God a living sacrifice, believing unto good works so that the seed will become fully mature and produce the righteousness of God in Christ. You must work out what God has worked in.

Now I know that what I am about to say will confuse and concern some of you that want to believe your salvation is entirely dependent on what you think about Christ. And it is, just as surely as the Word of His Redemption has entered your ear and settled in your mind and become Life to you through the knowledge of God by faith.

You see the key is the faith that activates the doing. Having a knowledge that does not produce fruit is like a placing a light under a bushel. It is of no effect and has no virtue to be seen. What good is it? We are told to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16.
God never needed a light that is not seen, never spoke a word that is was not to be heard, never created a son that is not to be known and seen and heard. We are here for the express and supreme purpose of making manifest — showing forth — the Goodness and Mercy and Love and Peace and Holiness, and, and … all that I AM to the world. That is the fruit of His Spirit in us that is striving to make Him known through us.

Now here is what I want to say that might set you back. We are to bear fruit. We are to work diligently at it, not us, not I but Christ in me, worketh through the seed of the Father, the water of the Word and putting to death of mySelf to remove the outer shell of me and reveal the inner truth of Him in me.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. 7:17-20.

The Father is the Vinedresser. He will prune every branch that is presented to Him. You must make the presentation by the will of your heart. Seek the Son while He may be found.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” John 15:1-8.

O yes, child of God, rise up to the full stature and measure of Christ so that the Father may be seen and known to the world. Bear fruit. Become the son you were made in Christ to be before the foundationS. of the world. There is much glory in sonship for the son shows forth the glory of the Father and the Father shares his glory with the son.

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” James 5:7.

“And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.” Matt. 21:34.

When God plants the seed of His Word in your heart He is looking for the Son-ripened fruit. How does your garden grow?

v4.26 The Big Picture – Part 9

The Big Picture – Part 9

Works, The Heart of Religion

I know I said I would go into Plan B – how God is reconciling the world to Himself through His disciples but He would not let me go there. I must needs go through the heart of Religion first.

God came to earth, a temporal and terrestrial realm, and entered our Time to make Himself manifest through His Son, the only begotten of the Father.

Jesus came as Light and Life and Love to show us the Father, to manifest Him by His life that we might see and hear and touch and know Him.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1-5.

The darkness comprehended it not, the darkness did not understand Him. The religious leaders and world system leaders did not understand Him. So much did they miss Love in Flesh that they saw Him as a threat to their system.”From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Matt. 16:21.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:9-14.

Lets do a little math here. The darkness comprehended it not. The elders, chief priests and scribes (the religious leaders) comprehended it not. The nautural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him. My math tells me that the religious leaders are darkness and natural men. They did not comprehend the things of the Spirit, they were foolishness to them.

Let this be a solemn warning. Religion can cause you to miss God in the Flesh! Man has made an industry of the things of God — we call it religion. It is an idolatrous and adulterous system of man-made traditions and trappings that claim to have command of the things of God but do not.

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor. 10:12.

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Gal. 6:12-13.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:5.

Religion is nothing more than mans attempt to be like God. The thinking is that if we dress up the outside to look like God then it is God. It is a system of belief that the outer man manifests the inner man. It is full of woking to look right, be right and act right so that there is no room for condemnation. It is a system of works.

Relationship is God’s method to reveal Himself through His sons (spiritual offspring). He is bringing many sons to maturity, completion, so that He might make Himself known and glorified through His sons. It is an effortless (not of God’s working but man’s working), yet not painless, process whereby a man is brought to a fullness, an abundance of Life by a death to Self. Our work is to believe and submit, and yield and depend — like a branch in a vine — you must abide. How? By faith. Then the inner will be made manifest through the outer. It is a work of Grace through faith.

So there are these two dichotomous ways. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 16:25. You are either in the Way, in Christ, or you are in the way of what God is doing in the earth. Men are trying to make a god out of flesh. God is, by the working of His Word in man, longing to become Flesh…And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, so that He might be made known to the world.

This is what religion misses and does not comprehend. That God is the creator of man. Man is not the creator of God. God must do the work. We must be the clay, He is the potter. We work and work and work to be like Him and we do not trust Him nor come to Him. We do it our way.

So all along there are these two systems. The world system, the realm of darkness, of which religion is the representative counterfeit of Relationship, and the kingdom of God, which the darkness does not comprehend.

This world has always rejected God. It must. He is at war through His sons to bring it back under His dominion, to crush the head of the serpent and put their foot upon its (his) neck. Yet the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but spiritual.

For all time, men have loved darkness rather than light. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19.

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” John 1:7.

But the sons of God are diligently seeking Him, they are drawn by the Light of His Love and the Truth of His Word to a relationship with God in Christ. These are in the earth like seeds, producing fruit in keeping with righteousness, advancing violently the Kingdom, separated unto God. These are them “that love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

v4.22 The Big Picture – Part 5

The Big Picture – Part 5

The Master Builder is Collecting Stones

God has a Plan. He is building a house and we are all — His sons — living stones from which he is building us up “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5.

The house is a household of faith, a spiritual house and we are each one fitted together. “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith.” Col. 2:7.

Get the picture, the big picture. God is building a household of faith in which all the stones are living, jointly fit, sons that take their place in the Body of Christ of which He, Christ, is the Head.

Adam was the first son of God who walked with God on the earth “… Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Luke 3:38. Adam had many sons yet all were not members of the house of God. Only those which were of the household of faith. Abel was one of those sons. As far as we know Cain was not.

Adam was a son of God and walked with Him. It is this walk of faith that makes you a son and a member of His house. After the slaying of Abel, Adam had another son that was “like him” being Seth.

The distinction being that Seth also walked with God by faith like his father Adam and his brother Abel before him. “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Gen. 4:25.

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.” Gen. 5:1. So Adam was “like” God. Next look at Gen. 5:3: “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Now if Adam was “like” God and Seth was “like” Adam, then Seth was “like” God.

It is this walking by faith, walking with God that distinguishes his sons. Look a little further in Gen. 5 verses 22-24. “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:  And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

It’s my bet that God is excited about working on His long anticipated building project and took Enoch to place him in the Building where he fit.

In fact, it is my belief and understanding that God is always looking for such living stones. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9.

Abraham, the father of our faith, was the first among many who would follow after him “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” Rom. 4:12. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God [to walk by faith], they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Cor. 5:7 “But as many as received him [by faith], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12.

v4.21 The Big Picture – Part 4

The Big Picture – Part 4

Every man is Abel if he is Willing

Man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7. In the first family, Cain and Abel seem to be contrasted and respected based on their different offerings — as we look on the outside. “And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” Gen. 4:4-5.

Not so. God is not a respecter of persons, but He  looks on the heart. God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12. What is He looking for? He is looking for faith, for belief, for love, for pure god-like motives. He is looking for a heart like His.

We do not know the motives of the heart, but He does. He is not confused by what you do, He doesn’t look on that (but we do and should, for clues) but at the heart. The heart is the seat of desire and will. It would be scary if we could see that in every person. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9.

Better to leave the evaluations of motive to Him — the only One big enough to look on the heart and yet love that person unconditionally. We are not told that God did not love Cain, we are told that He “had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.”

So what is that about? Here in Hebrews 11:4 we are given an explanation: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

Wow, Abel still speaks to us! He is showing us what God is looking for! Righteousness which is by faith:

Romans 3:22: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Hebrews 11:7: By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

“… a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”. Here is another clue regarding what sacrifice God is looking for: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17. David said this in his prayer and song of repentance, and he should know. “The LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart…” 1 Sam. 13:14.

What is the difference in their offerings? The one is offered by faith, the other without faith. One is of works— mans effort and thinking and will and desire, the other is by faith — dependence on God, having sought His mind, with a will and desire to please Him, not obtain favor. One is given to give and to please and to worship God; the other is given to get, to obtain and to make self acceptable.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb. 11:6.

You see, faith expresses the heart of God, It never thinks of self, but always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It is generous because it is not thinking of self. Love operates from a deep abiding trust and love for God. It operates from faith. Abel knew God and trusted Him. He knew (by faith) that if he did well (e.g. trusted God and depended upon Him) he would be accepted.

Now you know as Cain was told:

“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Gen. 4:5-7.

This says exactly that if you trust God, have faith and depend on Him you will be accepted. If not, there is a lion (e.g. sin) who is waiting at your door seeking to devour you.

You need to offer sacrifices in keeping with repentance. I know it is hard, but God giveth more grace. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:14.

And you are Abel if you are willing.

Listen v4.12 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
A Gulf That Cannot Be Bridged To be a disciple of Christ, one must renounce all he has. He cannot hold on to the world with one hand and with the other hold on to the Lord. Watchman Nee – The Salvation of the Soul, © 1978 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
The Trouble With Peace If thou be despised loving Christ in His gospel, remember that when David was thought base for dancing before the ark, his way was to be more base. “The more thou troublest thyself, or art troubled by others for Christ, the more peace thou hast in Christ.” Quote by John Donne from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon, abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Take Eat I say that the ineffable speech which Paul heard spoken in Paradise (2 Cor. 12:2-4) was the eternal good things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived (1 Cor. 2:9). These things which God has prepared for those who love him, are not protected by heights, nor enclosed in some secret place, nor hidden in the depths, nor kept at the ends of the earth or sea. They are right in front of you, before your eyes. So, what are they? Together with the good things stored up in heaven, these are the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which we see every day, and eat, and drink. They, we avow, are those good things. Outside of these, you will not be able to find one of the things spoken of, even if you were to traverse the whole creation. If you do want to know the truth of my words, become holy by practicing God s commands and then partake of the holy things, and you will know precisely the force of what I am telling you. Symeon The New Theologian – The Ethical Discourses – circa 1000; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Failure to Launch I had a vision of a life of prayer yes, and limitless power, which I saw depended on two things only faith and prayer. For the moment I was thrilled. I fell on my knees, and as I bowed before my Lord what thoughts surged through my mind what hopes and aspirations flooded my soul. God was speaking to me in an extraordinary way. This was a great call to prayer. But to my shame be it said I did not heed that call. Unknown Christian – The Kneeling Christian, circa 1890, © 2007 Bidge-Logos.
Relationship, Not Knowledge, is the Ticket People believe that at conversion their sins are forgiven, that God accepts them so that they may go to heaven, and that they should try to do God s will. But the idea is strange to them that they may and must each day have this blessed fellowship with God, just as a father and his child on earth have pleasure in fellowship. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
Letting Go is the Hardest Part Pray for strength and faith enough to trust yourself completely to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfection. Your new life will begin to grow naturally. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Little Steps Lead to Bigger Leaps The things most readily to be done those that lie not at the doorstep but on the very table of a man’s mind are often the most neglected and overlooked. Can a man become strong in righteousness without learning to perform ordinary acts of kindness for his neighbor? Will a man climb the last flight of the stair when he has never set foot on the lowest step? Could it be that the Lord, who demands higher virtue of us, tests us first in little tasks before he entrusts to us bigger ones? George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Lacking Evidence of Life If our common life is not a common course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we do not live the lives of Christians. But yet though it is thus plain that this, and this alone, is Christianity, a uniform, open, and visible practice of all these virtues, yet it is as plain as there is little or nothing of this to be found even amongst the better sort of people. You see them often at church, and pleased with fine preachers; but look into their lives and you see them as just the same sort of people as others are that make no pretenses to devotion. The difference that you find betwixt them is only the difference of their natural tempers. They have the same taste of the world, the same worldly cares and fears and joys; they have the same turn of mind, equally vain in their desires. You see the same fondness for state and equipage, the same pride and vanity of dress, the same self-love and indulgence, the same foolish friendships ad groundless hatreds, the same levity of mind and trifling spirit, the same fondness for diversions, the same idle dispositions, and vain ways of spending their time in visiting and conversation as the rest of the world that make no pretenses to devotion. William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Unlimited Supply of Water Not personal benefit but community benefit. All who come to me to drink shall be benefited by the Water that is Living in Me and poured out through you. You are a source of the Source. The same water that satisfies, only a smaller, yet not limited, representation. The Water in you is unlimited for it is Living and Active. It has this effect of satisfying the soul of them who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You have become a Well of Me. Tom Van Hoogen
The Very Essence Of Sin We are staggered at immorality, but Jesus faced those things in the most amazingly calm way (see Matthew 21:31 ). When He was roused to a state of passionate indignation it was by people who were never guilty of such things. What Our Lord continually faced was the disposition behind either the morality or the immorality. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin . . . ( John 15:22 ). Any man would have known without His coming that it was wrong to take life, the law is written in him; any man would have known that immorality was wrong; but no man apart from Jesus Christ would believe that my right to myself is the very essence of sin. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers

A Bird in the Hand is Worth… ?

“If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.” – Tommy Lasorda, The Artful Dodger

We hold everything too tightly except Him. We must cling to Him and let go of everything else. Instead we cling to everything and anything else but God. We make our family, our job, our children, our money, our work, our happiness, our health, our pleasure, and anything but God our joy and desire.

There is nothing you need so desperately as to know Him personally. He knows that you hold all of these above Him and He looks at you with compassion. “How long My child, how long will you hold to that which can never save you, can never love you, can never satisfy you. Come to Me.”

What are you holding onto that is so important you cannot release it? What is the bird in your hand, the thing you have and will not let go in faith to trust your Heavenly Father? He knows you need these things, but He also knows that you need to trust Him more than that thing in your hand. Let it go.

Carefully careless. That is a phrase used often by Oswald Chambers. It is the essence of working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must release everything in our hand and trust that if we need it He will restore it, even better and more when once we offer it to Him.

If you cannot take everything you possess and bring it before Him with open hand and offer it to Him as a reasonable sacrifice, even to your very life, then you are holding too tightly to that thing. It will be the thing that will keep you from relationship.

Do not deceive yourself and believe that you can have an intimate relationship with God when you place a greater value on the things you hold to. He is not mocked. He may not ask you to sell everything immediately, but if He sees your eye on the thing, He will ask for it. Let go of that bird in the hand, if it is from God it will come back.

Oswald says in his treatment of “Spiritual Disenchantment and Delight”:

“It is necessary to be detached from things and then come back to them in a right relationship. A sense of property is a hindrance to spiritual growth, that is why so many of us know nothing about communion with Jesus Christ.
When we are detached from things on the inside the fury of desire burns itself out. The attitude is not one born of external detachment, that is atheistic, Paul told Timothy to beware of those who teach abstinence from meats and marriage. The detachment is not to be that of an æsthete but that which springs from being in perfect communion with God. Our Lord’s external life was so social that the men of His day, who were externally detached, said of Him, “Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber.”† They were detached externally, but not in spirit; Jesus Christ was detached in His disposition, but not externally. Those of us who are spiritual are hopelessly blind to God’s purpose; the Spirit of God is all the time trying to make us detached in mind in order to bring us into real communion with God. God is trying to educate us in inner martyrdom and we won’t have it, we get tired of being educated spiritually.”

In the end it is this willingness to let God have your life, your things and your desires that will tell on your heart, whether you love Him or not.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24.

Open your hands and let go that which you are holding that your Father may give you perfect gifts.

Here is a poem I have shared before but bears another telling:

Give it to God

Just as my child brings all his broken toys
with tears for me to mend,

I took all my broken dreams to God
because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him in peace
to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help
with ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow?”

“What could I do my child,” He said,
“You never did let go.”

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