As Thyself

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39

The phrase “as thyself” occurs exactly seven times in the KJV New Testament Bible. Interesting. The context is the same in all seven instances; embedded in the commandment to love God and our neighbor.

The phrase’s positioning at the end of the commandment appears almost as a footnote or afterthought. It is as if Jesus assumed we would have no difficulty in loving ourselves. Love God? Most assuredly. Love our neighbor? Well, we try. Most of the time at least we take a stab at it. Love self? A given.

But, do we? Do we “love thyself” as the commandment demands? Jesus sets the stage once again for a master production. How can one genuinely love themselves when the child of God is called to: deny themselves (Mat. 16:24), esteem other better than themselves (Phil 2:3), die daily (I Cor 15:31), walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8), crucify their flesh (Gal 5:24), present their bodies a “living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1), and to be non-retalitory when faced with reproach and offense? (Mat 5:39) It is paradoxical.

There has to be something else going on here. This business of loving self must be something different from what we are accustomed to. We can only reason that we must love ourselves in a manner pleasing to God and in a way that transcends human understanding:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. Hosea 11:9

We can only love ourselves to the extent and degree that the presence of Jesus Christ actively lives within us (Rom 8:11). It cannot work any other way. Why? Because flesh is at best weak (Mk 14:38), and at worst not good (Gal 5:19-21).

In You or Through You?

It has been said that Jesus is more interested in what he can do “in you” than what he can do “through you“. With that thought in mind, one of the hardest things the Lord faces in dealing with people is getting them on location, positioning them at the place where He wants to do a work.

Reflect a moment on Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Jonah, Ester, Naomi, and John Mark. All of these examples are people God wanted to use, but their GPS systems were not in synch with God’s. Abraham lingered in Haran. Jacob was stuck in a holding pattern outside of Egypt. Joseph spent years in and out of prison. And consider Moses. It took the Lord 40 years to get Moses out of Egypt and another 40 years for Egypt to get out of Moses.  Jonah took a cruise away from God’s call to Nineveh.

Ester balked in standing up for her heritage and the Jewish people. Naomi reluctantly heeded the call to return to Bethlehem. And lastly, John Mark got cold feet during a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas. What was the problem with all of them? Their problem was internal in nature. God could not work “through them” because of the internal conflict “in them”. Each of them had an imperfect love, the love “as thyself”.

In Conclusion

When we live for God God’s way we enter a zone unbeknownst to ourselves where we can fulfill the commandment to “love thyself” and be on a trajectory to fulfill all three conditions of the greatest commandment of all. Sometimes the bigger mountains are the Mt. Everest’s lying within in contrast to the one located in the Himalayan’s.

We simply cannot love God and our neighbor if we are out of sorts with our own self and our own life.

The Lord desires to do a work “in” His people:

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. John 14:20

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. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:4, 7

May our prayer be that we will yield to Jesus’ work upon our earthen vessels until we have the peace within that removes all internal conflict and be able to say the words: “I love you Lord with my all and I love my neighbor as I love myself”.

Be Blessed

The God With Dirty Hands – Part I

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and hands3breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8

For someone to have “dirty hands” is to infer that that person has done a less than honorable deed, guilty of a crime or immoral act.

However, someone having so-called “dirty hands” can mean the opposite – someone who is deeply involved and intimately connected to a good thing.

It is this later definition of the metaphor that we wish to explore about this great, holy God we know as our Creator.

The author A.W. Tozer wrote a remarkable statement about God when he penned the following words in his book, The Pursuit of God:

“The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe.”

God IS very much articulate in his universe. God is not detached, distant, aloof, disengaged, untouchable or any other adjective one can describe about God’s so-called remoteness towards His creative world.

In fact, the Bible paints a very different portrait of the author and artist of Creation. God has always desired to be involved with His most prized creation – Us.

It All Began With Dirty Hands

First, we observe how God uniquely created us – with His hands. When the rest of the creative world was formed into existence by His spoken word, God decided to get His hands dirty with us.

He reached into earthen dust and mixed, mingled and molded the first man with soiled and dirty hands.

God got involved. And He still does get involved. And His hands still get soiled every time he reaches into our dirty and oftentimes sin-stained lives to fashion us into something desirable and attractive.

The Potter & The Clay

Most readers of the Bible are familiar to the passages in Jeremiah chapter 18 concerning a particular potter and a vessel he wishes to form with clay. Let’s refresh our memory:

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
Jeremiah 18:3-6

A potter must get his or her hands dirty to form an object from clay. It takes  involvement. It requires one to get “dirty hands”.

And God is not afraid of getting His hands dirty to create a work of art and beauty out of our lives:

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:3-8, 10-11

No matter how dirty we are or how stained we become, God is willing to risk getting His hands dirty if it means forming something beautiful through His grace and mercy for His glory.

Part II – From Dirt to Diamonds

Dust Or Destiny

There is a book in the Bible written about a man. This was not your  ordinary man. But, this man had a problem. In fact, this man had a dust and dirt problem.

And his dust problem influenced his perspective. And perspective always suffers as long as we have dust problems; our minds are dusty because  all we think about is dust and dirt.

The man we are discussing is Job. And Job’s major problem was one of perspective.

The Book of Job has more references to dirt and dust than any other book in the Bible. The word “dust” occurs 101 times in the O.T. and of the 39 books in the O.T., the word “dust” occurs twenty times in the Book of Job. This one book contains just about twenty percent of the occurrences of the word “dust”.

Job had a problem with dust because that is all he could see during the onslaught of satanic afflictions coming his way:

Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Job 10:9

And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust. Job 17:15-16

And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them. Job 21:25-26

He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. Job 30:19

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6

A Different Perspective – Destiny

God needed to correct Job’s perspective problem by getting him to look at things from His perspective (Destiny) and not from Job’s perspective (Dust) – by getting him to look up and not down.

He did and it worked. Let’s see how He did it.

The Depths of Creation

God interrupts the scene of Job’s misery beginning in chapter thirty-eight with a series of questions. These questions are meant to realign Job’s perspective from looking down at dust and to start looking up to destiny.

In the first series of questions God asks Job to consider the depths of Creation:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;  Job 38:4-6 (38:17)

The Breadth Of Creation

The next series of questions God asks Job to consider the breadth of Creation:

Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? Job 38:18-21

The Mystery Of Creation

After Job is asked to consider the breadth of creation, God asks him to consider the mysteries of creation:

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?

Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Job 38:22-30

The Height Of Creation

The next series of questions God asks Job to consider the height of Creation

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?  Job 38:31-35

The Inside Of Creation (Job 38:36 – 39:1-30)

After asking him to consider the depth, the breadth, the mysteries and the height of Creation, God asked Job one last series of questions. To look into His creation:

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
Job 38:36-38

Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. Job 39:19-25

Why didn’t God ask Job to consider the length of His creation? Because there is no end, it is endless.

Dust or Destiny? The Choice Is Ours

God never told Job To Look DOWN at His Creation. Dust and dirt is the only thing to behold when looking down. We look down to see the Dust we are made from, but we have to look up to see the Destiny we are made for.

Job was delivered when he got his sight off of the dust of his dilemma and saw the destinies designed for him by God:

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

When our minds are regenerated our perspective is healed and we can now see life as God designed it. It is a supernatural work of the power of God’s Holy Spirit to get our focus off of the dust of this life and see the possibilities available through an Everlasting God.

But when the kindness and fondness of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by deeds of uprightness which we performed, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit whom He bestowed upon us abundantly through our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in order that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the expectation of life eternal. Titus 3:4-7 (Wuest)

Expectation of life eternal? That is Destiny talking.

When we see life from God’s perspective the impossibilities become possibilities and the mundane becomes the miraculous.

Dust or Destiny – it’s all a matter of perspective. What are you looking at today?

Cloaked Daggers

But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, Cloak 1
the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. Judges 3:15-16

************************************************

We learn about Ehud in the third chapter of the Book of Judges. Ehud was on a mission chosen by God to end eighteen years of oppression upon the Israelite’s by the Moab king, Eglon. God heard and responded to His people’s cry for mercy.

Eglon’s time of judgment had come and Ehud was the man to orchestrate the plan. And indeed what a plan it was. We are given some interesting details surrounding Ehud’s plot and his subsequent escape from harm.

Our Mysterious Heart

But, this post is not about mysterious, left-handed assassins. However, it is about cloaked daggers. Specifically, the daggers lurking beneath the cloaks of our heart. And yes, if we are really honest with ourselves we must admit that they either have been there in the past or they are most likely there now.

You might say: “Sir, you are delirious and have no idea what you are talking about”. This blogger may not, but God’s Word and Jesus himself has a lot to say on this subject.

Let’s begin with the heart. We do not even know our heart and we call the Lord a liar if we think otherwise:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

And the Word shows us it is the fool who even attempts to conquer this uninhabitable and inhospitable terrain:

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. Proverbs 18:2

Jesus zeroed in on this heart dilemma himself:

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 2:23-25

Jesus knows about the daggers lurking beneath the surface of our human cloaks. He demonstrated this several times in his earthly ministry. Another time is seen in his discernment of the cold daggers of ambition lying within his three closest disciples:

And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. Mark 9:33-34

The point is we have got to guard our hearts. We are living on enemy-occupied territory. The enemy is on a search-and-destroy mission to implant unholy things into the human heart. Does anyone listen to the news or read the headlines posted on any major news website?

Concealed Heart Weaponry

God does not want us to make catastrophic mistakes in our lives because of ugly things that may be harboring in our hearts. The following words are written by Peter.  In a sense, they are Peter’s version of Paul’s writings regarding spiritual fruit in Galatians 5:22-23:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. II Peter 1:5-9

But notice, these beautiful words were penned by a man who had previously harbored some of his very own cloaked daggers.

The Bible openly exposes Peter’s infamous denial of Jesus during his trial proceedings. To his surprise and shock Peter’s daggers of pride and feelings of shame towards the soon-to-be crucified Saviour are revealed. Was this not the man who said that he would never forsake the Lord?

But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. Mar 14:29-30

So much for Peter knowing his own heart!

We see more cloaked daggers in Peter even after his conversion at Pentecost. Here we have a scene recorded in the Book of Galatians where Peter is eating with a group of Gentile converts when James and a group of Jewish believers enter. Knowing the conflict about to ensue (the Jewish moral law forbidding eating with the unclean), Peter gets up and joins his Jewish compatriots.

His infectious action causes other Jewish believers in the room to do likewise. In this instance it is the Apostle Paul who confronts the cloaked dagger of hypocrisy lurking beneath Peter’s cloak:

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. Galatians 2:11 (read more Vs. 11-14).

The daggers are there lurking beneath our cloaks and when the opportunity arises we almost subconsciously and instinctively reach into those familiar coveted compartments to pull out our weapons of choice. What are those weapons? The following is a list from Jesus’ very own inventory of concealed heart weaponry:

And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mark 7:20-23

We Have Hope

This post is not intended to be negative. If the man who preached the salvation message on the Day of Pentecost had some cloaked daggers, where does that leave you and me?

But, there is hope for all of us just by considering the example of Jesus’ front-man, the Apostle Peter. Peter overcame his problematic heart condition and became the person God called him to be. And He can do the same for you and for me!

“O’ God, search my heart and reveal in me any hidden daggers of self-righteousness, jealousy, hypocrisy, ungodly ambition, unforgiveness, lust or unrepentant anger I may have concealed beneath my cloak. And O’ my God, create in me a clean heart!”.

White Noise

WN2Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.
Psalm 22:12,16

White Noise

It is known that businesses and other workplaces broadcast what is known as “white noise”. The sound is a low-level, fuzzy noise projected through a sound system able to cancel ambient sound waves, thereby, casting an overall muffling effect within an area. The goal of white noise is to produce an environment where all noises and sounds are normalized. Immersed in this manicured space for any length of time and the white noise becomes unnoticeable and masks out all noise spikes or unique sound pitches.

There is a lot of white noise in our world. Hell rages. Voices of darkness come from every angle. It has been said the battle between heaven and hell is won or lost in one and only one place – the human mind. There is a spiritual onslaught today against the mind. It is a work originating from the depths and pit of hell.

God typically does not shout. And His voice is specific, unique and identifiable – a noise spike in a sea of voices. Is it possible that we can be desensitized by the white noise of the world, and as people of faith, loose our sensitivity to that “still small voice” of God? White noises consisting of lies, vulgarity, violence, foolishness, cursing and negativity? What was once considered a cacophonous roar is now simply considered white noise.

Let’s be real. We are affected greatly by what we allow into our hearing. The word tells us that there are many voices in the world. Voices all desperately vying to interject confusion and incite chaos into the hearts and minds of God’s creation:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1John 4:1

The Tongue & Voices of a Giant

It was not Goliath’s impressive stature that caused his ruin. Nor was it the designer labels strategically fixated on his fashionable battle attire that led to his fall. It was Goliath’s tongue that led to his downfall. His vulgarity and blasphemy of the one true God of Israel put him on the trajectory to destruction and eternal annihilation:

And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1Samuel 17:43

The curses emanating from the mouth of a fool is what stirred righteous indignation and raised the hackles of a young shepherd boy. Had Goliath shut his mouth he would have lived to see the light of another day. But his foul mouth and curses set in motion a no-name shepherd boy to battle. David refused to allow an uncircumcised freak who berated and blasphemed his God stand unpunished:

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 1Samuel 17:45

The Word explicitly tells us that the tongue is the hardest body part to control. If something resides in the heart it will eventually percolate to the surface through the tongue. This is why we desperately need our lives empowered by God’s Spirit. It is interesting to note that when Jesus poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost on the early church, it was evidenced by “speaking in tongues” (Acts 2:1-4) – a sign of complete control over the individual.

Let’s digress here a moment. Some say that speaking in tongues is “of the devil“. This blogger can attest to the fact that before he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost some of his most prized word choices were of the profane and vulgar four-letter variety. These words forever ceased to ebb out of this blogger’s mouth upon receiving the baptism of the God’s Holy Spirit. Now, let me ask the question: who is “of the devil” – pre or post Holy Ghost? Now, back to the subject at hand.

In His sovereignty, God shows us that only He can truly control the tongue.

The Holy Ghost is the only power that will deliver one from a profane and vulgar tongue. We cannot deceive ourselves into thinking we have everything when God has an experience much deeper and richer for us.

A Kept Heart

It is a full-time job to keep our heart right with God. It is not an undertaking for the faint-hearted. It is a task that separates (if you will) “the men from the boys”.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Proverbs 4:23-24

Is it not interesting that according to God’s word the key to keeping one’s heart in healthy resonance depends on what goes out of our mouth. Jesus stated it best:

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:18-20

We have authority to silence voices of the world by speaking the name of Jesus Christ over them. Jesus has empowered his church to subdue and bind evil spirits. God’s people should not be subjected to merciless, unrelenting attack by hell-bound spirits:

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:19-20

Living Above The Snake Line

Speaking of snakes and scorpions, it is reported that a minister once spoke a message entitled “Living Above The Snake Line“. The thought being that there is a place of elevation where snakes cannot and will not inhabit. There is insufficient food at the higher elevation to sustain snakes and the bedrock here makes it impossible to conceal themselves in holes or in dirt tunnels. For snakes do not like to go hungry and they will not live where they can be exposed (now you can let that one seep in a while!).

God has empowered His church with everything it needs to squelch and counteract the white noise of dark voices – voices whose mission is to stifle the will and the word of God and limit fruit production in our lives.

The higher we climb, the closer we get to heaven and position ourselves in an area where spiritual snakes find harsh living conditions. Yes, living above the snake line may be a somewhat “hard” place to inhabit. The pleasures and comforts to satiate the flesh are not plentiful here. And the lack of cushion under our feet, the thin air and the weight of gravity can make the upward journey painful and discomforting at times. But, the good news is that spiritual snakes are thinned out up here and those that are stupid or dazed enough to make the journey are put under our feet anyway:

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.
For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. Psalms 18:36-40

If we choose, we can feed the snakes and allow them to hang around long enough to eventually ferret out holes to creep into. But, Jesus has given us the power to live above the snake line and be victorious over the white noise – voices that attempt to derail our journey towards King Jesus awaiting us in heaven.

Secrets

“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Proverbs 11:13

We live in a world highly sensitized to personal confidentiality and the risks involved in its loss. Information data breaches, identity theft and information system compromise are news headlines we hear about almost daily and even experience ourselves.

The evidence is out that keeping anything “secret” is becoming more and more difficult as our personal lives are being increasingly intertwined with globalized information networks that we all inter-operate with.

However, there are some secrets that must be held in confidence, and if not, result in devastating consequences. National security, intellectual property and personal medical information (to name a few) all fall into the “secret” category. A breach in any of these areas could potentially result in massive loss of life, wealth or dignity.

Thinking on a more spiritual plane, I wonder if God Himself also has some secrets He wishes to keep confidential. Are there some “God secrets” He wishes to share, but cannot because of the presiding spiritual climate?

Could it be that the Lord does not reveal some things to His people because either they will not appreciate them or they cannot be trusted with the information (a Heavenly data breach)?

The Secret Place

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalms 91:1

There is a place in God where secrets are shared, intimate thoughts exchanged and deep revelations of truth and knowledge is transmitted; it is called “the secret place” and getting there will cost something. There will be resistances of flesh, the world and the powers of darkness that will try hinder one from arriving. But, it is worth the trip.

It is not a place for cowards, lairs, backbiters or the insincere; it is a place for the thankful, those with wholeness of heart, a hunger for truth, right intentions and pure motives. The secret place is where God shares His most private thoughts.

The biblical record tells us that many have visited the secret place and they were never the same afterwards; Moses (Exo 34:29), Jacob (Gen 32:24, 30-31), Hannah (I Sam 1:10-12), Ester (Est 4:16), Jonah (Jon 2:1-10), Cornelius (Act 10:1-4), Saul of Tarsus (Act 22:6-11), the Apostle John (Rev 1:10-17), and of course Jesus (Luk 22:41-45).

There are some things that cannot be disclosed to just anyone, things only discussed behind closed doors and in intimate places. Can we be trusted with the secrets of God? Can the Lord speak “things in the dark” to us and trust that they will be protected by heart and mind?

Touching the Holy

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” I John 1:1

As the disciples physically touched and “handled” Jesus (the Word of life), we today are touched and do touch God’s Holy spirit, the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Ghost fills the human soul with that infusion of new life (Acts 2:38), we are at that point literally “handling” the Word of life; Jesus Christ himself (Rom 8:11).

How do we act when our hands touch the Holy? Am I handling Jesus the way I should? Do I really appreciate the “secret” that God has revealed to me, the secret that was hidden in the O.T. (Gen 49:10, Psa 110:1), the secret the prophets could not yet perceive (Isa 28:11-12, Joel 2:28-29) and the angels themselves could only wonder about (I Peter 1:12) ?

The Good Part

We read in the N.T. a very personal narrative and discourse between Jesus and two of his favorite companions outside of his circle of disciples, Mary and Martha. There is hardly anything like it in the gospels. Here we see Jesus in conversation who delves down to the bare metal to unravel and defuse conflicting emotions between two sisters:

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.” Luke 10:38-40

As Mary clearly understood, some things can only be found close to Jesus, by sitting right at his feet. This is the place where his secrets are heard, felt and understood.

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

The “Good part” is a “God part“, it is a place where secrets are whispered, secrets that make the mind spin and the heart burn. It is a place where life takes on new meaning, one’s God-walk is energized and faith is rekindled. This is what the “good part” did for Mary, it will do the same for you and me.

As with Mary, we all need to strive to find the secret place in God, to desire the “good part”.

Could it be that the Lord wishes to give more people “the good part”, but because of a lack of interest his wishes often go unnoticed?

And can Mary be faulted for her desire for deeper truth, and to the chagrin of her sister Martha, neglect fleeting earthly concerns in the process? Apparently, Jesus did not think so. Am I spending more time on earthy pursuits, on mindless time drains and less time “at the feet” of Jesus?

The Lord has some secrets to tell us. Are we listening?

“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” Luke 24:45

Happy Thanksgiving!

Committed To Christ Means NOTHING …… if

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.  But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
John 2:23-25

“Committed to the cause of Christ” and “Committed to Christ” are phrases commonly heard in the spiritual airspace of today’s modern church dialogue when the subject of purpose or commitment is mentioned. Apparently, if you are a believer, saying you are “committing” your life to “Christ” or to his “cause”, distinguishes you as a true follower of Jesus Christ and is a confession of one’s faith in the gospel.

Making such statements are well and good, so long as they have heaven’s backing. We can say a lot of things and confess to have an intimate relationship with the Savior, but if our words are formulated from self-centered agendas and not in Holy Spirit inspiration, the byproduct may simply be vanity. Please, if this is provoking or causes you irritation, read on as the word of God has something to say in the area of commitment we can learn something from.

The Apostle Paul writes that the carnal mind is ‘enmity’ against God and not subject to the law of God. (Rom 8:7) A carnal mind is the one barrier that God Himself cannot even penetrate. It has been said that mankind is God’s only creation that can be stronger than its Creator. How? Because one can “resist” God with a carnal mind and its subsequent carnal thinking. And He cannot and will not violate the unyielding human will.

How much more should true believers keep a watchful eye out and be on guard against the negative crud that so easily creeps and seeps into our minds. We are all flesh and subject to drift at times from the pure word of truth and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The word says that the Spirit of truth will lead one into “all truth”. (Jn 16:13) What is truth? Jesus said that his word is truth (Jn 17:17). Truth will not lead one astray. Truth never changes. And truth will never leave one lacking at the end of the day.

So, how is it that being ‘committed to the cause of Christ’ is not enough? Let’s look at some ‘committed’ people in the N.T. and see how they fared.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  Matthew 7:22

Committed people, yes? Prophesy, spiritual exploits, miracles; sounds like commitment to me. However, the very next verse reveals a bewildering and shocking response to the commitment:

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Matthew 7:23

The problem was not the commitment, but Jesus’ lack of endorsement. Why? Because their reply exposes “what was in” them and their motivation in living for God; fleshly ambition. Their reply was entirely self-centered and inwardly focused as they only remark on the flashy outward demonstrations for the purpose of glorifying flesh. No mention is made about the less glamorous, inner workings of the spirit such as souls being led to heartfelt repentance, of sins being washed away, or the healing of broken lives.

The majority of believers do not fit into the class of people Jesus is addressing here. Most people who ‘confess’ the presence of Jesus in their lives sincerely want to know Him deeper in relationship, revelation and regeneration so they can take others along on this glorious journey.

But, we must acknowledge that the Lord is giving us a warning here that not only must we be committed to Him, but we need to be certain that He is also committed to us!

May the Lord help us all to strive to be all that He wants us to be.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:          II Peter 1:10