”The deeper the cut the more the tears flow.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV

It has been my experience that the more I peel away the layers of an onion, the more I cry. The deeper the cut the more the tears flow. While we are always in such a hurry, I can’t help but wonder who could keep from going insane if suddenly we saw the whole of our hearts as God knows them? Have you ever thought that maybe one of the greatest expression of the true nature of God is that He loves me too much to reveal in a single moment, the totality of the depravity of our hearts? Time, mercy, and grace may be much more the expressions of the immeasurability of God’s love than we have perhaps ever considered. How critical it is to keep in mind that our Heavenly Father, is, in the context, and within the confines of time, preparing us for eternity. No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

To A Twin I Know

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Maybe it is because I have been studying and preaching on “Looking” (Hebrews 12:2), then “Letting” (Phil 2:5), and next, God-willing, “Shining” (Isaiah 60:1-2), that when I came this morning to Psalm 71, and the word “put”, that yet another single word, “putting”, began to bounce around in my brain. “There is a difference”, I thought, “between being a pudding-head, and having a putting-mind.” Yes, a poor attempt at, all by yourself, 4AM hotel room humor).

Now advanced in years, the Psalmist wrote these words about putting his trust in the Lord, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he had in mind the idea of not wanting his faith to dry up. “Could he now,” I wondered, “as an grey-breaded man, a harp in hands that ache when it’s cold, and fingers no where near as nimble as they once were, be saying and singing, ‘Lord, don’t let me dry up. Don’t let my faith become dry, brittle and whither away. I am still, though not as young as I once was, purposefully putting my trust in You. Let me never, never-ever; out beyond the vanishing point in this life; far beyond where these aging eyes can see, into the never-ever unending of eternity, let me be confounded and confused.”

Are you noticing how easy it is to become confused, now that we are not as young as we once were? When things do not go as we had hoped, and life is clearly not headed where we were trying to steer it, confusion comes rushing in, a scorching blast from the desert of our fears, a withering wind coming out of nowhere. But, listen to what the psalmist sang in another season,

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalms‬ ‭1:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Wow, what words! What truth!, “… like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” You will not dry up, your faith will not whither under the heat of this adversity. Why? Heaven knows it’s not because of you, but Him. Because He has planted you, and in Whom He has. Because of this eternal, never-ever truth, “And he (you), shall be planted…”. You purposefully put your trust in Him, and He has planted you. Rest as best as you can. Relax your grip and let the roots do the work. He Who planted you will hold you fast.

Revival – willingness

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…” Psalms‬ ‭110:3‬a KJV

Tonight I came across this scripture quoted by the author of a book I’m reading. Interestingly I have been focused on this verse in my devotional times since the 12th of this month.

The Hebrew noun King James translators used the word “willing” for means, “voluntariness”, “free will”, and has to do with spontaneity.

Almost immediately the words in Isaiah 6:8 came to my mind, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” I thought to myself, “See how willing the prophet was? Look at the spontaneity with which he responded.” But then I stepped back and thought, “Hmmm, I wonder just how much grace, how much mercy, how much unseen sovereignty was at work behind the “seen scenes”, that enabled Isaiah to respond so willingly, so quickly.” Surely we don’t think that though Isaiah was a powerful prophet, that on his own, of his own free will, he could have ever been; 1) willing, and, 2) able. Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God who works within you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

People will undoubtedly ask us to do things we can’t do, God however will not. If God is genuinely asking us to do something, we can rest assured that He knows we can (Phil 4:13), and that prior to the asking He was long before at work, sovereignly getting us ready to willingly, “spontaneously”, volunteer.

Revival – cont’d_1

O GOD, send us the Holy Ghost. Give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal. O thou who art our God, answer us by fire, we pray thee. Answer us both by wind and fire, and then we shall see thee to be God indeed. The kingdom comes not, and the work is flagging. O, that thou wouldest send the wind and the fire! Thou wilt do this when we are all of one accord, all believing, all expecting, all prepared by prayer. Lord, bring us to this waiting state. God send us a season of glorious disorder. Oh, for a sweep of the wind that will set the seas in motion, and make our ironclad brethren now lying so quietly at anchor to roll from stem to stern. Oh, for fire to fall again, fire which shall affect the most stolid! Oh, that such fire might first sit upon the disciples, and then fall on all around! O Spirit of God, thou art ready to work with us today even as thou didst then. Stay not, we beseech thee, but work at once. Break down every barrier that hinders the incoming of thy might! Give us now both hearts of flame and tongues of fire to preach thy reconciling word, for Jesus’ sake. Amen. C.H. SPURGEON

Revival…

“There was once an ancient reservoir in the hills that supplied a village community with water. It was fed by a mountain stream, and the overflow from the reservoir continued down the streambed to the valley below. There was nothing at all remarkable about this stream. It flowed on its quiet way without even disturbing the boulders that lay in its path or the footbridges that crossed it at various points. It seldom overflowed its steep banks or gave the villagers any trouble. One day, however, some large cracks appeared in one of the walls of the old reservoir, and soon afterward the wall collapsed and the waters burst forth down the hillside. They rooted up great trees; they carried along boulders like playthings; they destroyed houses and bridges and all that lay in their path. The streambed could not now contain the volume of water, which therefore flowed over the countryside, even inundating distant dwellings. What had before been ignored or taken for granted now became an object of awe and wonder and fear. From far and near people who in the usual way never went near the stream hastened to see this great sight. In picture language this is revival; in fact, it is the sort of picture language that Scripture uses to convey the irresistible power of God. Often in the period just preceding the movement, the stream of power and blessing has been unusually low. The people of God and the work of God have been “in great affliction and reproach,” despised or ignored by those around them. In response, however, to the prayers of a burdened remnant, God has been quietly heaping the flood. The watchful eye has seen “a cloud as small as a man’s hand.” The listening ear has caught “the sound of abundance of rain.” Then suddenly, when the majority had no expectation of it, God opened the windows of heaven and poured out the blessing so that in the channels of organized Christianity there was not room enough to receive it.”

Revival…

“There was once an ancient reservoir in the hills that supplied a village community with water. It was fed by a mountain stream, and the overflow from the reservoir continued down the streambed to the valley below. There was nothing at all remarkable about this stream. It flowed on its quiet way without even disturbing the boulders that lay in its path or the footbridges that crossed it at various points. It seldom overflowed its steep banks or gave the villagers any trouble. One day, however, some large cracks appeared in one of the walls of the old reservoir, and soon afterward the wall collapsed and the waters burst forth down the hillside. They rooted up great trees; they carried along boulders like playthings; they destroyed houses and bridges and all that lay in their path. The streambed could not now contain the volume of water, which therefore flowed over the countryside, even inundating distant dwellings. What had before been ignored or taken for granted now became an object of awe and wonder and fear. From far and near people who in the usual way never went near the stream hastened to see this great sight. In picture language this is revival; in fact, it is the sort of picture language that Scripture uses to convey the irresistible power of God. Often in the period just preceding the movement, the stream of power and blessing has been unusually low. The people of God and the work of God have been “in great affliction and reproach,” despised or ignored by those around them. In response, however, to the prayers of a burdened remnant, God has been quietly heaping the flood. The watchful eye has seen “a cloud as small as a man’s hand.” The listening ear has caught “the sound of abundance of rain.” Then suddenly, when the majority had no expectation of it, God opened the windows of heaven and poured out the blessing so that in the channels of organized Christianity there was not room enough to receive it.”

Mountains Made Low

How are mountains brought down, made into level plains? “The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit.”
‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭GNB‬‬

It was to a small, discourage remnant that God said, “Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you. You will rebuild the Temple, and as you put the last stone in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful, beautiful!’ ” Zechariah‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭GNB‬‬

Through the prophet Zechariah God says that a certain mountain, an unseen obstacle that was exalting itself against the knowledge of God, was about to be brought down. And how did God do it? Again the word of the Lord, “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my Spirit.”

God has spoken, and because He has, and because He has revealed what He has said, we discover what is going to happen. “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of the Temple, and he will finish the building. When this happens, my people will know that it is I who sent you to them.” Zechariah‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭GNB‬‬

To a ragtag, worn out remnant, maybe to the most unlikely, unqualified group you could imagine, God said, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this temple, and his hands will complete it.” Then you will know that the LORD who rules over all has sent me to you. For who dares make light of small beginnings? Zechariah‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NET‬‬

With the God of heaven and earth, saying is doing. When He speaks He sets the unstoppable into motion, and what He does He does not by the strength or programs of man; not by those powers that we look to and expect. He does what does by His Spirit. God help us not to despise the day of small beginnings. The tiniest embers sets off a forest fire. When we hear the word of the LORD let us say, “Grace, grace. Beautiful, beautiful. Not by might, not by power, but by Thy Spirit, O Lord.”

“Willing In The Day of Thy Power”

Today I have been thinking about beginning a prolonged fast. As I thought about it, as I walked through the kitchen, Ps 110:3 suddenly came to mind.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast (or you will have) the dew of thy youth.” Psalms‬ ‭110:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

About this verse Matthew Henry wrote, “There is a general power which goes out to all with the gospel, proper to make them willing to be Christ’s…. And there is also a particular power, the power of the Spirit, going along with the power of the word, to the people of Christ, which is effectual to make them willing. The former leaves sinners without matter of excuse; this leaves saints without matter of boasting.“

Blessed

Here, from Christ himself, is what the blessed life, the “blessable” life, looks like. Is my life blessable?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

“Blessed are those who mourn…”

“Blessed are the meek…”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…”

“Blessed are the merciful…”

“Blessed are the pure in heart…”

“Blessed are the peacemakers…”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness…”

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me.”
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