Saturday, March 29, 2014

Perfecting Power in the Matured Revelation of our Weakness

“The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience]” (Proverbs 20:29 Amp.).

“Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city” (Proverbs 16:32 HCSB).

Indeed, wisdom is greater than strength, more powerful than mere vigor.  The young think as they move, learning by trial and error; the mature think before they move, having learned to read the instructions first.  The mature know (for instance) that “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God” (Psalm 62:11).  They KNOW God is Almighty.  They understand that He alone holds their soul in life.  They understand that “It is finished!”  They understand that “the kingdom is the Lord's, [that] he is the governor among the nations.” They understand that every knee will bow and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that everyone who goes “down to dust shall bow before him: and [that] none can keep alive his own soul” (Proverbs 22:28-29).

Saul, in the strength of impetuous youth and the vigor of religious zealousness persecuted the church in a profound educated ignorance.  The madness of a prophet is sober reality and the settled center of morality, but zeal without knowledge is the madness of all madness.  And in varying degrees along this line of misalignment of thinking and being are all those who think themselves powerful.  Many Christians cannot distinguish between the power of the flesh and the empowerment of the Holy Ghost.  ALWAYS, the foundation of power with God for service is premised on the revelation of our weakness.  Indeed, as Paul (converted Saul) said:

“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, FOR THIS REASON, TO KEEP ME FROM EXALTING MYSELF, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

How many ministers have you heard “boast” about their weaknesses?  I dare say I’ve heard none that I can recall throughout my entire thirty-five years as a Christian.  And the irony is that therein lies the secret of mature power.  The word “perfect” means “complete,” or “consummated character,” i. e., matured strength of disposition, an established empowerment along the lines of righteous conduct.  It is a solid state of being that is unmoved by winds of doctrine, unswayed by temptations, and inconsiderate to suggestions of sin.  It is to truly experience overcoming the world as defined by not succumbing to the lust of eye, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.     

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Light Shining Out of Darkness

A poem by the same name as this article was penned by William Cowper many years ago, and it began with these words: “God moves in a mysterious way.”  So famous has these words become, and so associated with scripture, that most blithely quote it as fact and Bible.  But it’s not a fact, nor is it Bible.  Not exactly anyhow.

Sure, the Scriptures say that He is a God who hides Himself, and because of that many suppose He is mysterious.  But the Scriptures also say that we shall surely find Him IF we search for Him with all our heart.  Also, it is an issue of heart purity; blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE God.  What?  I thought no one could see God and live.  You can’t!

“For we DO NOT PREACH OURSELVES (Which God calls “darkness”) but Christ Jesus (THE Light of life) as Lord...For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  BUT we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7).
In other words, God is only a mystery to darkness, to selves who are delusionally enthroned, but He is open and plain to those who come off the throne and get on the altar instead.  And, yes, it WILL kill us in our first Adam construction of self.  He meant it when He said only those who lose their lives (selves) gain them back again.  But oh how glorious it is to get “self” back again after having lost it into His caring hands!  Life from the dead, or resurrection, is the masterpiece of our Master.

If the things of God are unclear to us, either God is not speaking to us, or we are leaning on our own understanding; at best, a leaning-on-our-own understanding inclination leads to morbid introspection and the revelation of a debased heart.  In the knowledge of God, e. g., in spiritual things, heart purity causes mental acuity, not diligent study per se (though that still needs be done of course).  The Scriptures teach that the unfolding of His word brings light, AND that “all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for EVERYTHING THAT BECOMES VISIBLE IS LIGHT” (Ephesians 5:13 NASB).  And only the Lamb can break the seal and unroll (unfold) the script (Scripture), and that has already been done, so if enlightenment is slow coming, start BELIEVING what he said rather than yourself, others, and the devil.

Since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, resurrection life was made fully manifest to the world (let alone his disciples), and consequently, ignorance and unbelief is particularly unacceptable now.  Let us look at how He spoke to two of His disciples on “The Road to Emmaus”:
“That very day (the day He rose from the dead) two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem.

And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred.

And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them.


And He said to them, ‘what is this discussion that you are exchanging (throwing back and forth) between yourselves as you walk along?’ And they stood still, looking sad and downcast.

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, ‘Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?’

And He said to them, ‘what [kind of] things?’ And they said to Him, ‘About Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people—and how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him.  But WE WERE HOPING THAT IT WAS HE WHO WOULD REDEEM AND SET ISRAEL FREE. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things occurred.  And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early [in the morning] but did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had [even] seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive!  So some of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and they found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.’

And [Jesus] said to them, ‘O FOOLISH ONES [SLUGGISH IN MIND, DULL OF PERCEPTION] AND SLOW OF HEART TO BELIEVE (ADHERE TO AND TRUST IN AND RELY ON) EVERYTHING THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN!  Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer all these things before entering into His glory (His majesty and splendor)?’

Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself.

Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further.  But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them.  And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, HE TOOK [A LOAF OF] BREAD and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then BROKE IT AND WAS GIVING IT TO THEM WHEN THEIR EYES WERE [INSTANTLY] OPENED AND THEY [CLEARLY] RECOGNIZED HIM” (Luke 24:13-31 Amp.).


Indeed, “O FOOLISH ONES [!].”  How long will we breathe in the deeps and exhale (or expound) a surface view?  Many have heard MUCH word, but it has not been mixed with faith, therefore the ax is laid at the root.  “Out of Zion, the PERFECTION OF BEAUTY (Christ in our New Jerusalem spirits), God has shone judge His people (the soul that sins itself to death after conversion)” (Psalm 50:2-4 NASB).  Yes, He judges His people, some to victory and others to condemnation; and if you think that was only an Old Testament thing then perhaps you have forgotten about how God killed Ananias and Sapphira for allowing Satan to fill their hearts with lies and deceit (see Acts 5:1-11).