Saturday, February 27, 2010

"A New and Living Way"

Our approach to God does not and cannot begin with ourselves, our sensibilities, or our own doings (past, present, or future).

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way" (Hebrews 10:19-20).

The person, sensibilities, and works of the Lord Jesus Christ are our access to God. Who is He? What is His attitude and perspective, and what is the attitude and perspective of God the Father toward Him? What has He done, what is He doing, and what will He be doing forevermore for His trusting children? These are the components of the "new and living way" paved by our Savior, and the holy means whereby we come to the throne so perfectly entitled "the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16).

This does not mean that our own attitudes and doings are inconsequential, or that we can make our approach to God with frivilous disregard to genuine devotion. The Christian life is the most serious of all matters, and authentic relationship with our Heavenly Father requires great sincerity and solemnity. The question, however, is what creates this purity of motive and attitude in us? Remembrance and affirmation of who the Lord Jesus is, and His holy doings on our behalf is the blessed purifier of the heart that graces our access to God with the sincerity it deserves.

"I am the way" declared our Lord (John 14:6). There is no other, and in our best times and our worst times, we may come to God so long as we come through Christ. Pride, insincerity, and callous disregard to the glory of God will fall away as we may our approach along the Blood-stained path to the throne. Indeed, our Lord's grace and mercy is such that we are changed into His image by the very fact of our coming to God in His name, and by His person, merit, and work. Forevermore we will come by this grace and truth that affirms not ourselves, but the Christ who has justified us and who "ever liveth to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25).

"Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him."
(Ephesians 3:11-12)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Lusts and Lies"

The traditional literary and cinematic representation of Satan is highly misleading, and can cause us to be unguarded against his primary strategy.

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not" (John 8:44-45).

The devil kills with lusts and lies, with desires and deceptions. He misled a large portion of the angelic host down a path that will ultimately lead to an eternity in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41). Adam was also felled when Satan tempted the first man to embrace a sinful, doomed existence with Eve rather than eternal life with God.

Our enemy will always seek to foster desire in us for things that are not in accordance with the glory and will of God. Every category of human experience is included in the challenge, including seemingly good and spiritual things, as well as the obviously devilish and carnal. Satan will also seek to deceive us with thoughts, notions, ideas, and appearances that contradict the Word of God. We must be "vigilant" of our adversary because he is a subtle foe given much latitude by God to entice us with "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I Peter 5:8; I John 2:16).

The latter point is vital. The devil is on God's leash, and can only do that allowed by his Creator and Lord. By no means does this imply that Satan is doing God's will, but rather that the mystery of Divine providence and perfect foreknowledge factors every contingency into His eternal purpose in Christ. Accordingly, the devil's temptations to lusts and lies can become the fodder for God's trusting children to know our Lord in far greater measure than an unchallenged life would offer.

First, if we succumb to temptation (never excusable or to be desired), God's grace and mercy await us, and are proactively pressed upon us by the Holy Spirit. We do our Lord, ourselves, and others no favors by wallowing in our sins, especially when the high priestly ministry of the Savior is so effectual in providing forgiveness and cleansing. Believers who genuinely avail ourselves to the Father's pardon come away from the throne of grace amazed by His love, and thus more devoted to His glory and will. "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" (Luke 7:47).

More to be sought after and desired is the power of our Lord to enable overcoming of temptation. The devil's temptations to lusts and lies become opportunity for manifesting the victory of Christ when we trust and obey through the power of the Holy Spirit. Former rebellious enemies are revealed to be beloved children who bear the nature and character of the One who redeemed them. When this happens, Satan's allowed attacks upon us become the scene wherein the glory of God is revealed in ways that could not happen if we were not tempted. A lengthened leash thereby makes possible increased liberty to behold the wonder of our Lord.

We will feel desires today for things contrary to the will of God. We will also be confronted with notions that conflict with His Word. Most importantly, however, today is the day in which the Captain of our salvation is also the very Life of our lives. Through Him, we can overcome. Through Him, we must overcome because we want it to be revealed in that portion of God's vineyard where we labor...

"Jesus Christ is Lord."
(Philippians 2:11)

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
(Colossian 2:13-15)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Love For Us, Love In Us"

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:37-39).
"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
From precept to prayer to provision and presence, the progression of God's love revealed to us and within us by the Holy Spirit is the pervasive reality of our lives.

Fulfillment of the two great commands to love God and man required the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ in both prayer and the death of the cross. First, He prayed for all believers in His high priestly intercession in John 17 that we would become the temple of the love of God. Then He arose from prayer to purchase the answer by experiencing the Father's wrath against sin. After He died and then arose from the dead, He sent forth the Holy Spirit to indwell all who believe. Thereby the precept of love becomes the presence of love within our hearts.

We don't give enough consideration to this most amazing of miracles. Indeed, it is one thing to be loved by God. Eternity will not be long enough to fully plumb the depths of such glory. It is another thing altogether, however, to be literally inhabited by the love of God. Thereby we are enabled to "walk even as Christ walked," and to experience the wonder of His character, nature, and way formed in the very depths of our being (I John 2:6). This is peace. This is joy. And this is fulfillment because in a universe created by the God who "is love," we must swim with the current of His unselfish devotion to others if our hearts are to rest and rejoice (I John 4:8).

The command to love God and others becomes the very content of our hearts when we believe in the Lord Jesus. We may not fully realize it in our present existence, and our lives will not always reflect the blessed reality. Nevertheless we must know and believe that such truth is true. Our experience and expression of God's love depends on the confidence that reckons the Word of God as faithful despite any evidence to the contrary. Again, the Lord Jesus prayed for the love of God to take residence not only with us, but within us. He died for this. He arose from death, and sent forth the Holy Spirit to inhabit the hearts of those who believe. Thereby the love of God is lavishly dispensed into the very center of our being. We can love God and others, and it is the delight of our hearts to do so (Romans 7:22; Philippians 4:13). Much was prayed, much was sacrificed, and much was given to form this living truth in our hearts. May we believe, and then be amazed as the love of God for us is most realized as it is moves within us in devotion to Him and to others.

"He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(John 7:38)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Angel of Light"

"This is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ" (John 1:19-20).

The Lord Jesus Christ said of John the Baptist, "Among those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist" (Luke 7:28). John, nevertheless, was not the Christ, and he made sure that people knew to look beyond him to see the One of whom he bore witness.

When making decisions about those spiritual voices to whom we will listen (and we must make such decisions), the confession of "I am not the Christ" is a vital consideration. Does the witness, the teacher, or the writer give the impression that even though he may be called by God to give testimony of the Lord Jesus, he is also much aware of the deadly possibility that hearers or readers may misdirect their trust to the servant rather than the Savior? John was "the voice of One crying in the wilderness" (John 1:23). But he was not the One, and he well knew how prone people are to place their trust in dust rather than Deity.

Lucifer was a being of great responsibility in Heaven before he fell. "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth." He was "full of wisdom and perfect in beauty" (Ezekial 28:12-14). However, self importance filled his heart, and he deluded himself into believing that he was more than a created being can be. "I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14). Thus, Lucifer the "light bearer" became Satan the "adversary," and the father of lies (John 8:44). He seeks to cause others to direct their trust to "the creature rather than the Creator," and he is more than willing to cast himself as "an angel of light," portraying his ministers as "ministers of righteousness" in order to deceive and destroy (Romans 1:25; II Corinthians 11:14-15).

Where might we most expect to find the devil's ministers? The answer must be a splash of cold water in our faces, and it must rouse us to action. Supposed "ministers of righteousness" will be those who do the most damage to the hearts and minds of unsuspecting sheep. The Lord Jesus referred to them as "wolves in sheep's clothing," and thus we must accept the somber truth that amid the framework of Christian communication in its many expressions, the dark light of fallen Lucifer will be most disseminated. "Beloved, try (test) the spirits" commanded the Apostle John, and for good reason. "Many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1).

Every genuinely called Christian communicator is aware that he may draw people to himself rather than the Lord Jesus. It will not be his intention that such a horrible aberration take place. But he knows it can happen. Therefore, in word, in attitude, in demeanor, and in conduct, his testimony that Jesus is the Christ will be accompanied by the necessary companion testimony of John: "I am not the Christ." Listen to and read those who minister accordingly. And turn away, no, run away from all who do not.

"Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake."
(Psalm 115:1)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Divine Order Part 2

“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” (II Corinthians 10:12).

God’s standard for humanity is the Lord Jesus Christ. We exist to be like Him in character, nature, and way. Our Heavenly Father will be satisfied with no less than the forming of Christ in us, and no higher purpose exists to which we can aspire.

“Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord… When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (II Corinthians 3:18; I John 3:2).

This dynamic process of change by "beholding" and "seeing" the glory of the Lord Jesus is the reason He must occupy the forefront of our determination to further godliness and overcome sin. We must offer hope to the unbelieving sinner and the wayward saint before challenging their unbelief and waywardness. Necessary change must first be presented in terms of possibility, and the gospel of the Lord Jesus is the only hope for both sinner and saint. Who is He? What has He done? What is He doing? What does He promise to do forevermore? We either begin here with the Beginning in our presentation of Truth, or we do not legitimately begin at all.

Beginning with Christ also presents the standard to which we are called. Indeed, we are not proposing to our hearers that God wants to make them merely a better version of themselves, or of some other fallen human model. Paul writes that "we dare not" do such a thing. Our message is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the version and the model. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else. A Christ-originated and saturated gospel avoids the error of minimizing the challenge to which we are called, and thus avoids the further error of implying that the sinner or the saint can somehow meet the challenge by their own devices. Only God can change us into the image of the Lord Jesus. This is our hope. He calls us to fully devote ourselves to His determination, seeking conformity to Christ alone by the power of Christ alone. This is our challenge, and this is the divine order of grace whereby "we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."
(Galatians 4:19)
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
(Romans 8:29)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"The Dark Road"

When all earthly hope is gone, there is someone who knows what we are feeling more than do we ourselves.

From the vantage point of an unshadowed eternity and earthly lifetime, the Lord Jesus Christ was smitten on the cross of Calvary by the Father who had forever declared Him to be His beloved (Isaiah 53:4; John 17:24). He was smitten primarily with the very worst thing that could have happened to Him. The Father abandoned the Lord Jesus to die alone for our sakes, and to experience the keenest pain any conscious being will ever know.

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).

As terrible as they were, the physical sufferings of the Lamb of God on the cross pale in comparison to the abject loneliness our Lord knew when the love of the Father and the Holy Spirit was torn from His heart. The Lord Jesus was made "to be sin" for us, and all the fury of God against the blackness of unrighteousness was unleashed in full measure against Him (II Corinthians 5:21). Again, such forsakenness was experienced by a heart that heretofore known only perfect love and its holy fulfillment. Of no other can this be said. Our pains and losses, while often grievously keen, are known in the context of imperfect happiness and possessions, and our limited capacity to experience them. Our Lord therefore suffered far more than any other because He had far more to lose. He is a "man of sorrows" because He is the man of sorrows, being "acquainted with grief" in a way that we will cannot fathom (Isaiah 53:3).

When all hope is gone, and every good thing seems to be fading into oblivion, the Lord Jesus Christ stands before us and dwells within us if we have believed. His hands, feet, and heart are marred with the prints of nails, and perhaps His soul bears an even deeper scar carved out when God and man left Him to die utterly alone. That scar is there for you and for me, and it calls to us with the promise and assurance of hope. The Savior has been many miles further down that dark road than we will be called to travel, and nothing we will experience is unfamiliar to Him. Thus, He can be whatever we will need Him to be. Even more, it is the deepest yearning of His heart to administer the comfort He alone can provide. There is hope if we will commit our souls unto the wounded One who is Himself our hope. On the dark road, no one has ever trusted the Lord Jesus and been disappointed for doing so. And no one ever will.

"They looked unto Him, and were lightened."
(Psalm 34:5)
"We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
(Hebrews 4:15)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"The Darkness and the Light"

"The deceived and the deceiver are His" (Job 12:16).
"There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be manifest among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

We are living in days wherein error and apostasy abound. Professing Christians are believing and disseminating notions that would have been summarily rejected less than a generation ago. The darkness is disturbing, and as God gives opportunity we should "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

We should also earnestly believe that nothing is happening apart from the allowance of the God who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). He is also proactively utilizing "the deceived and the deceiver" as the means for revealing "they which are approved."

This has always been the case, going back to the very fall of Lucifer. God's nature and character required that if He created conscious beings, they would necessarily be free to determine devotion or rebellion. Lucifer and a portion of angelic beings chose the latter, and Adam would later chart the same course for humanity. The Creator was not caught unawares, however, and had determined in His perfect wisdom and foreknowledge to use the darkness as backdrop for an even more glorious display of His light.

There is much mystery in this Divine way, but the illumination that shines forth is sublime. The grace and mercy so abundantly offered to sinful humanity from the Lord Jesus Christ would never have been known had Adam not fallen. In no way did God determine the fall of man into sin. "God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13). However, our Heavenly Father anticipated our demise, and prepared the Lord Jesus to be our Redeemer before we even existed. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," and all grace and mercy ever shown to humanity has flowed from a salvation that preceded our need. "Before they call, I will answer" (Isaiah 65:24). Thus, the darkness of man's sin provided for a more vivid display of the light of God's loving righteousness.

Our hearts will rightly break as we see multitudes drowned in the floodtide of darkness that presently overwhelms the culture of both the world and the church. Concurrent with such concern, however, must be the faith that joyfully affirms that God's determination and allowance supersede devilish and human deception. Our Lord would not have us to be enshrouded with gloom, but rather energized by hope and assurance. We will be far more faithful expressions of His truth as we emphasize that long ago every contingency was anticipated and prepared for...

"The darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."
(Psalm 139:12)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Great and Good"

"God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food." The child's prayer expresses profound truth concerning the hand and heart of our Lord.

"Oh Lord, my God, Thou art very great... The Lord is good" (Psalm 104:1; 100:5).

God is both great and good. The former speaks of His infinite being and power. The latter proclaims the wonder of His nature and character.

The greatness of God drives us to our faces in the fear that Solomon declared is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). He is a being who merely speaks and a universe vast beyond comprehension springs into existence. He sustains His handiwork "by the word of His power," and glimpse of Him caused the prophet Isaiah to be "undone," and the Apostle John to "fall at His feet as dead" (Hebrews 1:3; Isaiah 6:5; Revelation 1:17). The eternal destiny of the universe rests solely upon the power of His greatness, as does our personal existence. This moment also depends on the hand of God upholding all things, and keeping "the power of darkness" from overwhelming us in utter destruction (Luke 22:53). Our Lord's greatness is both "mighty" and "terrible," and we require both for continued existence and hope (Deuteronomy 7:21).

God's goodness proclaims the character and nature of His heart. Of this holy subject, the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ recognizes that he contemplates an ocean with shore, a mount without summit, and a Heart for which even eternity will not allow full revelation and discovery. "God is love" declared John, and the Apostle Paul amplifies the consideration by writing to the Corinthians that love "seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5). The Lord Jesus tangibly revealed this sublime goodness as He "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

Such truth presents to us the blessed understanding that the great and mighty and terrible God is also the God of pure and perfect unselfishness. We have no personal frame of reference for such a notion, but to the degree we can assimilate truth, this is cause for "peace which passeth all understanding" and "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (Philippians 4:7; I Peter 1:8). The Being of infinite power whose greatness drives us to our faces in fear is also the One whose heart of infinite goodness brightens our faces with the light of His kindness, humility, and devotion to our well being.

For those who will know Him as He is through the Christ who reveals Him as He is, God's goodness will forever be the quality of His being that most amazes and thrills us. Character precedes and guides power in His eternal economy, even as Paul taught that the capacity to "remove mountains" is nothing without love (I Corinthians 13:2). Thus, we reverence our Creator in proper awe and yes, even fear as we rightly fall to our faces in worship of His greatness. But we love Him because of His goodness, as a nail-scarred Hand lifts us to our feet and beckons us to "behold the beauty of the Lord" (Psalm 27:4). Yes, "God is great, God is good..."

"One of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain."
(Revelation 5:6)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"I Will Look"

We "live and move and have our being" in God. He gives to us "life and breath and all things." If we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, God has entered the very depths of our being by His indwelling Spirit.

Still, even the godliest among us would say that in comparison to the fact of our Lord's reality, their experience of it is a mere pittance of the possibility. The Apostle Paul said that "we see through a glass darkly," and also that we presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (I Corinthians 13:12; II Corinthians 5:7). We are as fish that swim in the ocean that is God, but who are often oblivious to the holy environment that provides and sustains our existence.

The reasons for this are several, and one is basic and obvious. We simply fail to avail ourselves of the ever-present glory of the great fact. Neglect is too often the shroud that hinders our view of God's dynamic reality in our lives, and we must be honest with Him and ourselves. How intently we have gazed upon the Light of our lives is as nothing compared to how we could have opened our eyes and beheld. Honest acknowledgement of our neglect must begin our consideration of why we see so relatively little of that which is is so universally pervasive. "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not!" (Genesis 28:16).

It is also true that we are presently unable to see God in His fullness. Time and space bind us to the realm of clouds and shadows wherein our Lord's brightest light is nevertheless filtered. Born again believers can see enough of God to fill our hearts and minds to abundant overflow, but in relative terms, we are merely viewing the hem of His garment. The frame of flesh in which our spirits live is a hindrance that does not completely block out the light of the Lord Jesus. But it does mean that we what we have seen so far is as nothing compared to the illumination that awaits us when "we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).

Finally, it is a good and necessary thing that we are presently seeing through a glass darkly. How prone we are to worshipping experiences of God rather than God Himself. Too bright a vision for even the godliest among us would lead to the misguided building of altars unto the sight, the moment, the feeling, and the manifestation of our Lord's reality. This would deceive us beyond hope of restoration, and we would live our lives on the outskirts of the camp while all the while believing we are residing in the very Holy of holies itself. "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23).

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the great fact of our existence. He can be known in vivid and living display as we open our hearts by faith, and submit ourselves in holy devotion. How much more could we have already known. How much there is to be known in this present hour. And how much awaits us when the clouds dissolve and the shadows flee from the Light that will one day chase them away. Forever will not be long enough to fully gaze upon the glory of the Lord Jesus. But this day offers glimmers that are bright enough to fill us and thrill us with the wonder of the great fact. May we join the prophet in his determination to open his eyes and behold...

"I will look for Him."
(Isaiah 8:17)

Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Theme"

"From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God... God is love... charity (love) seeketh not her own" (Psalm 90:2; I John 4:8; I Corinthians 13:5).

God has always been who He is in His essence. He has always been love. He has always sought not His own benefit, but rather lived in the sublime selflessness so beautifully expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly lifetime.

"I do always those things that please the Father... The son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give His life a ransom for many" (John 8:29; Matthew 20:28).

This truth first presents to us the necessity of a plurality, as it were, within the unity of the one God. Love must have a recipient in order to be love. Before creation, when there was only God, there must have been a giving and receiving within His being. The Bible solves this enigma by revealing that three persons comprise the Godhead. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have forever existed in the perfection of unity, while nevertheless being distinct personalities within the oneness. Thus, love has always been possible, and infinitely actual, in our Creator. "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).

If such a one makes a race of beings in His own image, love must be the dominant reality of their existence also. A great spiritual and moral cataclysm occurred early in the history of humanity, however, and love was cast aside for a supposed wisdom of knowing good and evil. Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and true love for God and each other became an impossibility. It is inherent in humanity not to love (as God defines love), but to know. Our brains supersede our hearts, and the reversal of emphasis is the cause of every human misery.

Through Christ, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). A work begins in the believer upon his new birth that will culminate in our being "like Him" (I John 3:2). More than anything else, this means that we shall love as God loves by the power of His presence and enabling. During our earthly lifetimes, the work is ongoing as the Holy Spirit moves upon us and within us to form the character of Christ in growing expression. He seeks to correct the heart/brain distortion, ensuring that character precedes knowledge as our guiding light. The latter is not minimized in the reversal, but greatly enhanced as our cognitive abilities become the servants of the love of God.

"Love is the the theme." The words of the old hymn express the truth that must inform and motivate the great pursuit of our lives. We exist to be loved by our Heavenly Father, and to love Him and others in joyful response. Nothing else will satisfy God's heart concerning us, and nothing else will satisfy our hearts. This day is the one opportunity we have in this lifetime to devote ourselves to the theme. May it be when we lay our head upon our pillow tonight that we will known our Father's love for us, the Son's love in us, and the Spirit's love leading us to experience the wonder God's of selfless nature of otherness. Indeed, we will find ourselves in holy fulfillment as we lose ourselves in holy self sacrifice (Matthew 10:39).

"Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied."
(Jude 1:2)

Friday, February 12, 2010

"With the Snow"

Forecasters are predicting snow for our area today, a very unusual occurrence in the subtropical region where we live. I am reminded of Job, and of wisdom formed in his heart and mind by suffering.

"If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt Thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman (umpire; arbiter) betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both" (Job 9:30).

Job did not know that "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5). He did live unbeknownst in the foreshadowing of the Savior, and was "a perfect and upright man" because he trusted God according to the light he had (Job 1:8). His trial, however, revealed to Job the inadequacy of his own works and sacrifices, and of his great need for an arbiter that could "lay his hand upon us both."

"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).

There should be no possibility of reconciliation between the perfect God and imperfect man, at least according to human reasoning. Job expressed this man-centered logic perfectly - "there is no daysman between us." Divine reasoning, however, declares to humanity that there is a daysman, a "mediator between God and men." He is "the man Christ Jesus," who is also the I AM, the living God (John 8:58). An even more impossible reconciliation presents itself to us in this most elemental truth of the Bible. How can the Infinite and the finite meet in one Person? How can Heaven and earth unite? How can the Word become flesh? How can the Word ultimately become sin in order to be our mediator? And how can He effect a salvation so profoundly redemptive that "your sins, though they be as scarlet, shall be white as snow?" (Isaiah 1:18).

There are many things to ponder in this life, many subjects worthy of our attention and consideration. There is nothing, however, so fascinating as the Lord Jesus Christ. Our minds were made first and foremost to "consider Him," and to be enthralled in both time and eternity with this glorious One in whom seemingly impossible contradictions unite to form the great enigma from which the light of God shines in both blinding and illuminating glory. Who is He? What has He done? What is He doing? And what will our Savior be doing forevermore on behalf of God and man? He has laid His nail-scarred hands on both, and God has remained perfectly just even as believing man has become perfectly justified. Contemplation of this, as guided by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, is the most heart and mind-filling consideration to which we can attend ourselves.

In Heaven and earth, there is no one like the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Beloved of the Father, and He is the Beloved of all who have been cleansed, redeemed, and changed by His sacrifice. His garment of pristine righteousness is "white as snow" and His precious blood has made us "whiter than snow" (Daniel 7:9; Psalm 51:7). A long eternity will not suffice in our knowing Him in the fullness of His glorious being, but this day offers to us the possibility of fresh insight in who and what our Savior is. With the snow comes such consideration, and new opportunity to know and love the Christ for whom our hearts were made.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater."
(Isaiah 55:8-10)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard of South Africa in December of 1967. I was ten years old at the time, and I recall being fascinated that such a thing could be done. I read everything I could find about this marvel of medical skill and technology.

Over the years, the procedure has been improved greatly, and many transplant patients are now surviving with their new heart for many years. The future will likely hold even greater success, and current research is focused on the improvement of mechanical hearts, and even the use of organs from other species.

Regardless of how far the science and technology advances in days to come, however, there is one thing of which we can be quite sure. There will never be a "do it yourself" heart transplant procedure. We will never be able to exchange our own diseased heart for a healthy one. Someone other than ourselves will have to perform the operation, someone of far greater knowledge and skill, and someone who has the ability to reach within us and effect the exchange.

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekial 36:26).

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ promises that God will do for us that which we can never do for ourselves. Even more than with a physical heart transplant, we can never replace a sin-dominated heart with a new spiritual organ, "created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). The Lord Jesus can, and He performs such a miracle of mercy for every person who believes in Him. He furthermore promises to finish the work He begins in the new birth, and Scripture declares that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). Our first response to such grace must be to ensure that we maintain focus on the transplanter and keeper of our new hearts, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

The survival rate for God's transplantees is 100%. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). To the degree we know such assurance, affixing our gaze on our Savior of grace, we will live in the purity and power of the new heart He has implanted in the depths of our innermost being. We must know and believe that our hearts have been changed, accounting with the Apostle Paul, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man," and "with the mind I myself serve the law of God" (Romans 7:22; 25). Indeed, our Heavenly Father has implanted the Spirit of His Son into our new hearts, and confidence in the work of our great Physician is the basis upon which we thrive in the abundant life provided in "a new heart" and "a new Spirit."

"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:11)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"I Forgot"

"I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth" (II Peter 1:12).

We can "know" God's truth. We can even be "established" in it. But we will still need to be reminded of it throughout our earthly lifetimes.

The Apostle Peter knew his calling to awaken believers to the realities of who our Lord is, and who we are in relationship to Him. He knew that the best and brightest among us are nevertheless needful of remembering the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ in the many blessed aspects of His person and office. Life in a fallen world can distract and deceive us, and at times we all seem to aimlessly wander down paths of unbelief that we have encountered before, to our own detriment. We should know better, and there is no excuse. However, our Lord does not refer to His trusting children as sheep for no reason. These animals are not considered to be the smartest of God's creatures, and thus require the shepherd's constant attention in protecting them from peril. So do we, and thankfully, our Great Shepherd is merciful and patient with us in our times of forgetting "those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1).

Realizing this about ourselves will go far in leading us to do something about it. We will more consistently expose ourselves to the light of God's Word that helps to keep our path brightly illuminated. We will pray, and ask God to keep His truth fresh and increasingly enhanced in our minds. We will fellowship with other sheep who recognize their own need to be put in remembrance of our Shepherd's presence and provision. Perhaps most importantly, we will realize how utterly dependent we are on His constant devotion to our benefit. "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant" (Psalm 119:176).

"Lord, I forgot." We will have to confess this at times in our earthly lives, and bitter tears may accompany our admission. Again, forgetting is not an excuse because our Heavenly Father has "given unto us all things that pertaineth to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). However, we will find Him patient, understanding, and forgiving even as He does not condone our waywardness. Our Great Shepherd is a "great shepherd," and He is also a "good shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20; John 10:14). He does not forget us, and He knows His sheep. Even more, He loves His sheep, including me and you who are far too prone to forgetfulness of His perfect faithfulness. He is willing to remind us, and to send Apostle Peters our way who "will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things."

"He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion."
(Psalm 111:4)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"The Double Edged Sword"

The Bible is Christ in print, and the Lord Jesus is the Bible personified. Thus, the Word of God is both living and doctrinal, and we must relate to it accordingly.

"They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

God is a present and living person who must be known personally. He will not be satisfied until such relationship is established and consistently enhanced in us, nor will we. Such union and communion, however, must always be experienced in the context of His written "Thus saith the Lord." We must not emphasize one branch of this blessed tree to the minimization or exclusion of the other, and one of the great challenges of the Christian life involves the maintaining of spirit and truth as the guiding determination of our hearts and minds.

If we seek to know the Lord Jesus apart from the Bible, we will quickly be led astray to "another Jesus," "another spirit," and "another gospel" (II Corinthians 11:4). Conversely, if our perception of the Christian life descends to a mere learning of principles and attempts to follow them, our relationship with God will have been drained of its very life. Spirit and truth. Life and light. Person and principle. There are many ways to express the fact of true worship, and our walk with God must be continually viewed in both aspects of the gift of His Word.

Our spiritual enemies will fight hard to hinder our determination in this most vital matter. We must expect the conflict, and our own flesh will lust against worshipping God in both spirit and truth. Girding ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, that is, with the double-edged Word of God known in both personal and doctrinal reality will maintain our genuine walk with Him. As the Psalmist declared, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11). This Word is both the living Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and the written Word of God. May both be hidden deeply within us, and may both come forth from us for the glory of God and the blessing of others.

"I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened"
(Ephesians 1:15-18).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Conditional Love

It is often said in our generation that God's love is "unconditional." The Bible never uses such terminology because the Biblical truth of the matter is that God's love is actually the most conditional aspect of our lives. Thankfully, however, we are not the ones who must fulfill His primary terms of love.

"I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).

The "condition," or terms on which God loves us, is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. His love for us is "in Christ Jesus our Lord." He was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," and He is "the propitiation not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world" (Revelation 13: 8; I John 2:2). Apart from this blessed fact of who the Lord Jesus is in relationship to the human race, our Creator could never view us in any terms other than wrath and rejection. The Lord Jesus is therefore the condition of the love of God to us. Without Him, humanity would long ago have been rejected and cast aside in God's eternal purposes.

There is no way to overemphasize the centrality of Christ in reference to the human race. He created us. He sustains our being by the word of His power. He is our sole hope for escape from eternal wrath. He is the Savior of believers, the Lord of believers, the life of believers, and He is the judge of all. Most importantly, He is the reason that God can so love a race of beings that distrusted, disobeyed, and utterly rejected Him in the infancy of its existence. Again, our blessed Lord is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." In the heart of God, therefore, there has always been a basis, a reason, a condition whereby His love for the human race can be so abundantly expressed. Christ is the condition.

The Lord Jesus made possible the love of God for every human being. In those who don't believe, the blessedness is limited and temporary, but God nevertheless causes His sun to shine and His rain to fall on all during their earthly lifetimes (among countless other bestowals of grace - Matthew 5:45; Acts 17:25). For the sons and daughters of God in Christ, this blessed truth amplifies the love of God for us to a degree "that passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19. "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). We are as loved as the Beloved, "that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7). Such blessedness is beyond measure, and the person and merits of the Savior will forever be known as the gracious condition of our belovedness.

"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
(Ephesians 1:6)

"The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."
(Psalm 145:9)

Friday, February 5, 2010

"He Lives, We Live"

(A repeat from 2004)

Walking with God involves the beautiful union of His involvement in our lives and our continuing response to that involvement.

"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

Note Paul's exit and reentrance in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. First, he is crucified and seems to be out of the picture. Then he returns - "I live". He leaves again - "yet not I but Christ liveth in me" - but returns again - "the life I now live in the flesh". Finally, Paul culminates the mystery with the blessed union of two persons living. One is the source and power of the relationship, while the other trusts and submits to his Lord's granting of a gift beyond compare - Himself.

A lifetime can and should be spent seeking to better know the meaning of these wondrous words. Paul proclaims the sublime mystery that walking in the Spirit involves both the fact that Christ lives in us - and we live by Him. The truth is not simply that Christ lives, nor that we ourselves live. Biblical godliness rather involves the beautiful marriage of Spirit with spirit wherein Christ lives in us - and we live by Him.

We risk becoming passive if we limit our understanding to the correct but incomplete truth that Christ lives in us. Conversely, we risk becoming frustrated if our quest for godliness does not begin and continue with the recognition of how near the Lord has drawn to us. Christ lives in us - we live by Him. The New Testament calls us to embrace both aspects of life in the Spirit, as Paul declared in terms of our faithfulness being the fruit of God's faithfulness...

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:12-13)

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
(I John 4:9)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"The Gift of Delight"

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God" (Psalm 42:1).

David's cry of desire for living relationship with God was the product of the Holy Spirit's working within him to direct his heart toward Heaven. The Psalmist did not, however, possess the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit, as do born again believers in the present age of the church. The Spirit worked upon and within David, but He could not abide with human spirits until atonement for sin had been made by the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16-17).

After the cross, the resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church on the day of Pentecost, a new epoch began in God's dealing with those who trust Him. A literal new birth became possible in the innermost being of believers, a spiritual renewal so profound that we become "new creatures" (II Corinthians 5:17). A "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" is birthed by grace, and the ardor for God expressed by David is formed within us to such degree that the Apostle Paul exulted, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Ephesians 4:24; Romans 7:22).

We must affirm the same about ourselves. We must believe that as a gift of the most wondrous grace, our Heavenly Father has infused us with the Spirit of His Son (Galatians 4:6). He has changed the essence of who and what we most deeply are, and more than desire for God now burns upon the candle of our spirit. Literal delight for God is the holy flame ignited by the presence of Christ in us, and by His righteousness and true holiness granted to the believing heart as a free gift (I Corinthians 1:30).

We must believe this most blessed truth about God, and about ourselves. We must "reckon ye also yourselves to be... alive unto God" (Romans 6:11). And we must affirm that the delight of Christ for His Father has become our delight as the Holy Spirit "worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Of course, we may not always feel the flame, and every honest believer will confess that too often we have wandered after vanity because of the lust of our flesh. Despite the delight for God that inhabits our spirits through Christ, we can still, as it were, long for the leeks and onions of Egypt (Galatians 5:17).

Notwithstanding such forays into futility, the truth remains true that God Himself has ignited the fires of delight for Himself in us. We must believe the Word of God, and reckon with Paul, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man... so then I myself serve the law of God" (Romans 7:22-25). Such change of our innermost being was provided for us at the highest cost possible on the cross of Calvary, and we unintentionally do despite to the Spirit of grace when we fail to believe in the gift of delight granted to our enlivened spirits. Realizing and consistently affirming this blessed truth will go far in practical expression and outworking of it, and we shall joyfully cry with David, and even more than David, "As the hart panteth..."

"And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves."
(John 17:13)

"I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart."
(Psalm 40:8)

"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord."
(Proverbs 20:27)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"As Well As We Want"

The relationship between God and the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is never coerced or manipulated.

Certainly we cannot twist the arm, or in any way deceive our Heavenly Father into actions toward us unworthy of the union into which He has drawn us through Christ. He is God, and we are "His people, the sheep of His pasture" (Psalm 100:3). God knows us through and through, making our manipulation of Him impossible. He is also guided by His character and nature as He lovingly works in our lives, meaning that personal sentiment will never cause Him to act toward us in manner contrary to the eternal purpose in Christ that is the ultimate good of all His trusting children (Ephesians 3:9-11). We therefore cannot pressure or manipulate Him to do for us that which His perfect knowledge deems unwise.

It is also true that God does not coerce or manipulate us as we relate to Him in faith, devotion, and submission. He has made relationship possible through the Lord Jesus, of course, and He works in us "both to will and do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). He has also given the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the fellowship of other believers to encourage, enable, and challenge us to vital communion with Him. However, at the end of the day, whether we respond to and avail ourselves of such possibility is our own privileged responsibility to determine. A.W. Tozer once wrote, "We shall know God about as well as we want to know Him." This is true, and every book, page, chapter, verse, word, and letter of Scripture cries to us that our Creator desires true and personal relationship with us, as opposed to mere programming of automatons.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).

The door to living relationship with the almighty but immanent God has been flung open and ripped off its hinges for believers through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, and heavenly ministry of intercession made possible by His resurrection and ascension. The Holy Spirit is calling and drawing us to access the gift. The Bible is blessedly available in our generation more than it has ever been. And devoted saints of the ages and of the present reveal to us that God can be known, and must be known, better than anyone else in our lives. Yes, the door is open, the veil is rent and gone, and a loving Father and wondrous Savior beckon us to come and to commune. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, and a particular way of knowing God that eternity will not allow. We shall not pass this way again. Let us not miss this most blessed gift as we travel the winding paths of our earthly sojourn. Our Lord has given Himself to us. The wonder of such grace can be known in true and living and free relationship, and nothing else can satisfy our hearts...

"When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek."
(Psalm 27:8)

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God."
(Psalm 42:1)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Gaze Toward Life"

"Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken (enliven) thou me in thy way" (Psalm 119:37).

God's enlivening way is the Lord Jesus Christ, who declared, "I am the way" (John 14:6). His enlivening process is redirecting our focus from emptiness to the person and work of our Savior. Who is He? What has He done? What is He doing? And what will He be doing forevermore for us, and in us? The Psalmist's prayer is therefore perfectly suited to the born again Christian as we seek to walk in the spiritual abundance provided to us in the Lord Jesus.

Our flesh is prone to behold vanity, that is, to believe that things or persons other than Christ can be our life. As Abraham once said to Sarah, "My soul shall live because of thee," so are we tempted to look for life in people who cannot provide it, or in inanimate objects, or in experiences that may please for a moment, but which too soon pass into little more than fond memory, or even forgottenness (Genesis 12:13). There is only one true life, as God defines life - "This life is in His Son" (I John 5:11). All believers know this to one degree or another, but all are nevertheless tempted to lay hold on dead and dying things in the hope that we can squeeze just a bit of life from them. But there is no life in them because there is no life in anyone or anything other than the One of whom Scripture declares... "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).

The Psalmist was wise. He knew that he could not overcome the lust of the flesh by his own devices and determinations. So he prayed, asking God to redirect his focus from death to life. We must join him by consistently asking our Heavenly Father to turn our attention more and more to the person and work of the Lord Jesus. He is already working in us to do so, but our request is a vital part of the process whereby we are actively engaged in true and living relationship with God. Being aware of both our fleshly tendency to distraction and God's faithful working to focus our gaze toward life will foster such prayer in us. The result will be a life that is more truly lived because we are looking away from the Sarahs of our lives unto the Savior of our life. "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5).

"Heavenly Father, we grow more and more aware that our flesh seeks life in vanity. Too often we have wandered down its hopeless paths, and met the imposters who await us there. But deep in our hearts, we know, we know that You are our life. And so we join the Psalmist in his wisdom. Turn our eyes from gazing upon emptiness. Turn them toward the Lord Jesus so that we may truly live. Thank You, Father, in the name of our Lord we pray, Amen."

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

Monday, February 1, 2010


"It came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused... she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her... She caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in a Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice" (Genesis 39:7-8; 12-14).

False accusation is a keenly painful thing, and in Joseph's case led to the immediate loss of great power and position, as well as imprisonment.

Years ago, I attended a traffic school because of a minor violation. The officer who conducted the class opened his comments by acknowledging that he was aware that some people in the class might be innocent of the infractions that led to their receiving a ticket. "For those of you who are not guilty of the violation for which you were cited, I am sorry." He paused for a moment, and then said, "However, remember those times you didn't stop at a red-light, or you sped, or you broke the traffic laws in some manner without being caught and cited. The officer smiled and concluded, "This one's for all those times!"

Only one person has lived an entire lifetime with no infractions against the law of God. Only one has therefore been falsely accused in the absolute sense.

"Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (I Peter 2:22-23).

No one has ever known the pain of slander as did the Lord Jesus Christ. He experienced accusation in the context of sinless perfection. We experience it in light of the truth that while we may be innocent in the specifics of whatever wrong is leveled against us, we have often been worthy of condemnation that was not received. This does not justify slander, of course, but it does mean that false accusation must be handled in the same manner as did our Lord. We must commit ourselves to Him that judges righteously, and who will plead our cause perfectly as we trust and submit to Him.

Our Heavenly Father may allow us to feel the actual dark fruits of slander, as did Joseph, and as did the Lord Jesus. This will not be easy, and again, will be keenly painful. However, let us remember the exaltation of both Joseph and our Savior. One became ruler, under Pharaoh, of all Egypt. The other became the Lord, under God the Father, of the entire universe. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). In His perfect time and way, God will raise us up from the dark places to which false accusation brings us, and we shall rejoice that He allowed us to know at least a small portion of "the fellowship of Christ's suffering" (Philippians 3:10). It is an honored thing to walk in such holy footsteps, and bitter tears of shame and bewilderment will be replaced by joyful tears of exultation when some day we fully realize that the blessing of God is presently known in both affirmation and accusation...

"It is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake."
(Philippians 1:28-29)

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
(Matthew 5:11-12)