Love’s View

At one time or another we picture God as far away in heaven viewing down upon the earth as though it is an insignificant speck in creation. God is high and lifted up ruler above all, but He demonstrated His true nature of love through Yeshua. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2: 6-8). Yeshua, was sent and came to save the lost, to redeem mankind, and to bear the burden of sin. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2: 24). Yeshua brought a message of forgiveness and He healed many telling them, “Your sins are forgiven.” God wanted relationship with man to be restored, He gave His one and only son in order to redeem a people for Himself. “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ ” (Revelation 5: 9). 

God is not distant looking down indifferent to the distress in this world. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so He still sees as did Yeshua, up close with mercy, forgiveness and love. He is the shepherd of His people. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40: 11). God is compassionate and rich in mercy, He does not turn away from those in need or despise the weak, lowly, or outcasts of society. He experienced every hardship, injustice, hatred, betrayal, rejection, violence, and evil that man inflicts upon one another.  “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 3-5). This is God Almighty, lover of our soul, and champion of our reclamation. He is Love and our response must be, “Yes and Amen, your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

Humility

This is the most powerful state of being for the Believer. It is the key to unlock the door of God’s will. Yeshua took on the form of a servant and humbled himself. He taught us, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23: 11-12).

Scripture admonishes the Believer to follow Yeshua’s example. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2: 5-11).

How is a humble posture maintained? What is meant by becoming a servant or exercising the obedience of humility. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6: 5-6). In faith we place all confidence in God and none in us or men. We do not consider only what is seen or let our natural reasoning guide us. The disciples often questioned Yeshua’s decisions and timing because they reasoned in the natural. (John 7: 4:6; 11: 6-10). The Holy Spirit leads the Believer into all truth.

Paul explained what the Lord said to him, ” ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”(2 Corinthians 12: 9-10). It is only possible to fully and completely follow the will of the Lord by exercising a selfless humility. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’ ” (Matthew 16: 24-25). This concept is central and essential to discipleship. Following the direction of the Lord will usually be counter to our rational analysis. It may cost your reputation in this world. It may require you to go and do what you never thought to do. You will be setting yourself against the majority, the educated and esteemed, the ruling class in this world, and you will be considered strange, odd, eccentric or weird, as to this world’s standards. Every Believer will be required to lay down in humility the most precious and dear aspect of their own self image. Just as Yeshua called the rich young ruler to give away his money, so he calls each of us to give our most cherished attribute. It could be beauty, intellect, esteem, fame, influence, skill, talent, athleticism, money, family reputation, even our rights. Have you ever heard the adage, “You have to stand up for yourself” – it’s a worldly lie. We tend to defend ourselves, particularly when we are falsely accused, when the credit due us is not acknowledged or worse, given to another. That is pride, which raises itself continually unless it is rejected through the submission of humility. When we place all on the altar to Yeshua, God’s attributes will take their place in our surrendered life and the hidden life of the Spirit will transform everything. It’s a daily activity, but a small thing to enable the power, peace, and presence of God to be released in and through us.

The Smartest One in the Room

The person who thinks this about themselves treads upon a slippery narrow ledge that is crumbling beneath their feet. I knew a man who was surrounded by his chosen advisors. One advisor was extremely loyal, but to a fault, so that when he might have prevented wrong, he was unable to contradict his leader. One was very knowledgeable about the law, it’s meaning, application, precident, and nuance, but he was not experienced in the real world of facts upon which his vast legal prowess hindged. One was a master of the political environment in which this group functioned. He was able to articulate the benefits, hazards, and impact of any decision upon the group’s political standing, but he had virtually no sense of purpose or commitment to the organizations mission. One had a military background which enabled him to lead men, and rise among others to the position of advisor to the leader. He understood duty and knew how to both give and carry out directions within any organization, but he had little vision of what lay ahead, nor how the future might bear on today’s necessity. One was an empire builder who exercised a self focus that had enabled his rapid rise through the ranks. Though his perception and predictive skills were sharper than most, his ego was a snare that limited his thinking whenever the greater good was the best for all concerned.

In this group the leader was master in charge, not because of any one proficiency or a conglomeration of all, but because fate had placed him in the right position at the right time. Everyone suspected this and therefore concluded this leader was not the smartest one in the room. The leader did not believe in fate, and attributed the arrangement of his advancement to his own efforts and subtleties. He knew the capabilities of each staff member, as well as their faults and limitations. He was savvy, expected their aspirations of his position, and that each one secretly believed they were the smartest one in the room.

Though each person has one or more weaknesses or flaws, the greatest weakness was something that all these smart people never expected. In fact, they were so blind to this circumstance that they never gave any thought as how to protect themselves or their leader from its disastrous impact. With all their skill, learning, awareness, training and experience all it took to overcome the smartest one in the room, was for them to believe a lie and with that they were soon brought to an unhappy end. One may question how a lie is any different from a lack of knowledge or simply being wrong, but we can know the limits of our knowledge and additional reason can shed light on a wrong choice. There is no safeguard to believing a lie, other than the mercy and grace that God gives through humbly knowing the truth.

Our Plight on Earth

If you had only one set of clothes you might be better off than other men.  If you had a complete set of underwear, you certainly would be greatly advantaged to those who are barely able to cover their nakedness, but your clothes would become dirty, tattered, and worn by constant use, so that in a short time you would be in rags.  It’s just an illustration of the humility we should all embrace.  True humility is unseen and not demonstrated by any willful act.  It can not exist where pride rules.  So much of all we perceive is a figment of our imagination.  The physical elements are real, but our mind and senses fashion a fantasy to fit the suggestion this world gives us.  Just like fish in a bowl, we are captives in our own mind.

The really hard truth is that sin is real.  It does not simply evaporate like water; it does not biodegrade in the elements; it is not dissolved by water like smooth stones in a stream bed.  “The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.” (1 Timothy 5: 24).  Lest you doubt, remember back when you were young and the hurt you felt by an act of injustice, another’s sin against you.  Though you have buried these memories along with the countless acts of your own injustice toward others, they remain.  Sin is written in permanent ink, so indelible that Adam’s sin carried down to his son’s and daughters all the way to you and I.  It is our nature to sin and rebel and every human is a sinner.

The world fantasy deny’s it, even though every religion recognizes it and offers their remedy.  Most people offer no remedy at all, but rather, suggest a most rare chance of reward or peaceful nothingness. The relatively new Humanist religion makes man God, therefore, all sin is good.  For example, it is good to kill babies, even as they are birthed.  Also, as there is no truth, lies are good.  Humanism has already perpetuated more evil and death through its Communist, Nazi, and Fascists leaders than any other idea.

Religion is man’s effort to eliminate sin and satisfy God. Christianity falls outside that definition, because it is predicated on acts of the Messiah, Yeshua, God’s one and only son, who paid the penalty of sin for all who believe upon Him. Believers are made holy, given righteousness, and adopted into God’s family.  They know the way, the truth, and the life and may approach Father God through His indwelling Holy Spirit.  Sin’s captive hold has been broken, “We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.” (Psalm 124: 7).

First, read the Bible.  I suggest you start with the gospel of John.  Listen to Yeshua’s word to you, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3: 20).  The door is your heart, your innermost being, where are your secrets, longings, your true self, broken and needy.  Let Yeshua in, He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11: 28-29).

 

The Imitation of Messiah

Describing God and marveling at His nature is unlimited although words fail.  The things of this world are trinkets in that light.  But, how do those who acknowledge only the physical and secular consider such things?  They regard them as fables, the imaginations of men, foolishness.  “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.  I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.  My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me.  Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.  At that time each will receive their praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4: 1-5).  Wisdom puts its trust in God to judge all, exposing the motives of every heart.

Honestly, do we have hope in our own ability to be good, to do our best to serve God and others, to love?  Isaiah said all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. (Isa. 64: 6).  I believe this describes our best efforts to do good.  To be like Jesus is found in surrender, rather than, human energy and strength of will.  Just as lost people need supernatural salvation, so do we to live a righteous Spirit led life.

Some of us think we can be better or instruct others to be better.  It seems to me that these ideas are born out of a desire to be good, unlike encouragement that comes from God, calling out a Spirit message from Spirit to Spirit with power to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him.  When does righteousness cease to be a gift and something of which we are now capable.  Yes, every Believer has the indwelling Holy Spirit, but in my experience we are called to surrender to God’s ways and means.

There have been times that illustrated this principle very clearly to me, where good men prepare a program apart and devoid Yeshua’s leading.  Watchman Nee wrote about this, saying, “We should understand that Christianity is Christ, and the life of a Christian is also Christ.  Do not pile up a thousand good items and view that heap as Christian life.  Were you able to gather up all the humilities on earth as well as assemble tens of thousands of other good traits, you still could not create a Christian.”  He continued, “Now to serve God is basically an excellent and correct undertaking.  Very often it requires us to suffer, to sacrifice, to spend and be spent.”  Yeshua our example said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5: 19).  God can use a humble person, who trusts only in His leading and His assignments.  When Peter heard Yeshua speak about suffering, being put to death and rising again, he said, ” ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’  Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’ ” (Matt. 16: 21-23).  Even compassionate, merciful, charitable intentions can be opposed to God’s will.  Allow The Holy Spirit to direct you in all you do, then you will imitate Yeshua.

Things Hidden and Revealed

Matthew-6.1-4There are some things that are to be hidden and others that are to be shown to others. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5: 15-16).  Yeshua said this in the context of saying that believers are the salt and light of the world.  Salt is a preserving agent and light illuminates all upon which it shines.  Our good deeds are to bring glory to the Father in heaven.   Continue reading

Blessed Are the Meek

meeknessOne of the most important traits that a Christian can possess is meekness or humbleness.  Mathew 5:5 states that “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  Titus 3:2 – “to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”  Proverbs 16:19 – “It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”  James 4:6 -“God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

William MacDonald… Continue reading