Monday, March 30, 2009

When Forgiveness Is Not Enough

When one has wronged a friend, a precious friend, a cherished friend;

When he, himself, through his sightlessness and selfishness has wrought grief and sorrow;

When amidst a time that the one held dear was in need of care and consolation;

When the purest of love had ought be displayed, and the kindness of heart be made known;

Yet wisdom was lacking, discernment made void; fruitless and barren, hollow and empty.

Appears then the hour that he comes to himself; when in brokenness of spirit he mourns; With heart in hand, an attempt is employed to say, ‘I’m Sorry,’ yet words seem never enough.

‘I forgive you; it’s all right,’ is the reply. But it’s not all right, is it? Though one be forgiven, there awaits for him an even greater obstacle;

It is that of Self-Forgiveness.

When one is Truly sorry; though forgiven by another, yet the aching of heart remains. One busies himself with the cares of this life, yet suddenly the sorrow is there; it is as a fresh, open wound; “O God, will it never heal?” There is a time, then, when Forgiveness Is Not Enough! Is there no suture that can bond that open wound; Is there no balm that may heal?

Wisdom may be found in those words of the Holy Spirit, who employed the penmanship of David: Cried the Psalmist, “Have mercy. . . blot out my transgressions. . .wash me. . .cleanse me. . . purge me. . . create in me a new heart; renew a right spirit within me. . . . deliver me. Yet, though he “acknowledged his transgression,” these sobering tones echoed from his voice: “My Sin Is Ever Before Me!”

Oh, David! Have you found a Balm of Healing? If it be so then tell me, quickly!

“Cast me not away from thy presence; take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the Joy. . .”

Let us then understand; if Joy would be restored; though perchance there remain a scar; let there be the knitting together of hearts: Allow not the separation of Presence to continue; rather allow Love to apply itself as a Healing Balm.

Forgiveness Is Not Enough! Time Does Not Heal! There must needs follow the desire of heart for a careful and loving, mending of that which was broken. Peace is to be found on the doorstep of Reconciliation.

Without Sword

If you are brought face to face with a Brother that would engage you in battle;

If he will not let you rest ere you encounter him on the field of blood;

If you ascertain that he means you no little hurt;

If you would defeat him, yet without harm;

If you would subdue him, yet without sword:

Love is a weapon against which there is no defense;

Faith is a mighty battlement, a certain stronghold;

Prayer will bring forth the reserves of Heaven!

The Window

Why do you labor so, said she,

To keep the window clean?

Why do you take such pain and care,

Why must it spotless be?

Do you admire the window pane,

Its shine so crystal clear?

You clean it - oh, so carefully,

Why do you find it dear?

It’s not the window that I prize,

And count so very dear:

It’s what is seen beyond the glass,

That brings me joy and cheer!

Lord Jesus, would you labor so,

To keep the window clean:

The window of my heart and life,

So you, Lord, can be seen?

It’s not the window that I prize,

And count so very dear;

It’s what is seen beyond the glass,

That brings me joy and cheer!

So cleanse me, Lord, so carefully,

And make me crystal clear,

That folk may see not me but thee,

And also find you dear.

Transparent personality,

A glass through which to see,

To that which lies beyond myself,

None other, Lord, but thee!

The Lily of the Valley - The Rose of Sharon

Behold the kingdom of flowers and you will find the Royal Family to be the Rose; tall, stately, and of exquisite beauty.

Consider the number twelve. It is the number of Eternal Perfection. More than a little strange in this world of changing traditions is this: that the ultimate way to “say it with flowers” is still to present one with a dozen (12) long-stemmed roses! And this many continue to do, not knowing why; having no idea that their twelve long-stemmed roses show forth Royalty and Eternal Perfection.

Ancient history (cf. Unger’s Bible Dictionary) declares that of all the roses growing in the Middle East, none was so beautiful as those found in Sharon.

A brief study into the world of Horticulture (cf. World Book Encyclopedia) reveals something else that should be of notable interest: all flowers are not the same. (of course we all know that they look different,) But there is a very basic difference. Many flowers consist of three parts: the Sepal, the Petal, and either the Stamen OR the Pistil, but not both. These flowers the horticulturists call Imperfect. Another variation may lack Petals, such as the Marigold, which has yellow Sepals which look like Petals, but are not. Though such appear as if they are complete, they carry the title of Incomplete.

That group of flowers, however, that consist of all four parts; Sepal, Petal, Stamen, and Pistil are rightly called Perfect and Complete!

Two classes of flowers are singled out by the World Book as being those Perfect and Complete: Lilies and Roses!

More than coincidental is the fact that Christ is called the Lily of the Valleys and the Rose of Sharon!

“. . .by Him all things consist.” “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell. . .” Complete! “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are Complete in Him. . .” Col. 2:9,10.

The Harbor of My Heart

What am I harboring in my heart? Is it a haven of rest where ships may find shelter from the tempest? Or is it a haven for rotting relics; vessels anchored for decades with aged barnacles cleaving to their hulls? Can it be that some putrefying odor is emerging from the hold of the ships; evidence of something that has long since deteriorated and decomposed: the remains of those things once treasured?

Is the harbor of my heart so utterly crowded with worthless decaying ancients that no goodly vessel may find anchor there? Perchance do they wait just outside the harbor, loaded with precious cargo? Does indeed, the Ship of Grace await its docking, but I will not acknowledge or receive it

What am I harboring in my heart? Is it an open channel, free from obstruction; Does there rest upon the shoreline a Lighthouse; is there a bright flame shining forth; is it fueled by Precious Oil? May journeying Mariners approach with assurance of their safety?

Is there likewise Precious Treasure to be found within my being: Precious Cargo to be hoisted aboard ship: to be transported to distant ports, that an anchoring may be secured in the harbor of another heart?

What am I harboring in my heart? Oh God! May it be nothing less than the Lord Jesus! May the rotted relics of Self-life lose anchor; may they be carried far out to sea and sink to the bottom. May the stench of Pride succumb to the sweet fragrance of Humility. Oh Ship of Zion, anchor yourself in my heart; And from thence, sail forth to others with Your Love!

Shadow of His Wings

“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalm 63:1

How often, O child of God, have you basked in the Son Light, and partook of the benefits supplied by your Sovereign: yet amidst the blessings, your heart is made to yearn for something more. You are aware of a thirst that “things” are not able to satisfy. “Lord, I thirst!”

In response to your cry, an Omniscient Heavenly Father dispatches a cloud; it is a grievously dark cloud. It comes to where you are, looming overhead, hiding as it were, the face of the Son.

“O God! I thirst for your Presence! Why do you now forsake me in the midst of my need?” It is then, from that same cloud that (seemingly) brought forth darkness and separation, that Mercy begins to rain upon you. Your Heavenly Father showers you with His Sufficiency!

What reasoning is it that would cry, “Lord, send the rains to quench my thirst, but please withhold the clouds!” The Psalmist cried out, “Thou hast been my help!” In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice!”

Look up! Behold the cloud! It is rather the Shadow of His Wings that hovers above you!

On Suffering

I beheld a single rose, yet in its infancy;

Its clothing was as a robe of green.

I watched as it began to awaken;

To slowly stretch forth as from a fitful sleep.

I witnessed the emerging of life:

There was beauty within, would soon be revealed.

I saw tender petals begin to unfold.

From its heart came forth tiny showers of color,

And from the showers came splashes of light.

And finally it was open in a display of radiance and splendor!

My eyes were as opened gates to permit its beauty to enter.

Leaning closely, I breathed in the lingering fragrance.

I dared to touch the soft, velvety petals.

To my heart it spoke of warmth and of joy.

I reached forth my hand, taking hold of the stem.

I drew back in pain; sharp thorns having pricked my fingers.

Drops of blood appeared from those places pierced.

How, O how, I cried, can anything of such beauty

Likewise be the bearer of such pain?

And what shall be my response to such things:

Shall I now look upon the rose in a fit of anger;

Shall I renounce its beauty and splendor?

Are my eyes to look upon it in contempt;

Am I to regard it as horrid and ugly?

Is its fragrance now to become a stench in my nostrils;

Shall I withdraw from it forever?

O God, from Thy Presence would I seek wisdom:

When from within the roses that you have planted in

The garden of my heart, I am pricked by the thorns:

Help me, O Lord, amidst the pain and the suffering,

To remember the rose in its infancy; the opening of its petals;

To yet rejoice in its beauty, to lean near to smell its fragrance;

For Thou O God, hast made both rose and thorn,

That they, through my life, may glorify you.

Of Prince and King

The Prince ascended to His throne,

A crown adorned His brow:

But His subjects would not honor Him;

At His feet they would not bow.


His crown was fashioned not of gold,

No glittering jewels rare;

But piercing thorns released the Blood,

Great wealth beyond compare.


A septre in each hand He held,

Two rods of iron were they;

And from His hands was power revealed,

As blood flowed forth that day.


Though far removed from Calvary’s brow,

His hands are stretched out still:

Men yet may come, the call remains,

To whosoever will.


As King of Kings He’ll come again,

Ascending to His throne:

With rod of iron He’ll rule and reign,

And every knee shall bow.

In Your Afflictions

You are brought forth into the Heavenly Clinic.

Fret not about the cost - you are covered by His

“Eternal Life Assurance” policy.

You are the patient of the Great Physician.

He, in eternal wisdom has diagnosed your condition.

You have been placed in His “Intensive Care.”

Your heart He is constantly monitoring.

His finger is always on your pulse.

He carefully records every change, no matter how slight.

He need not ask, “Where is the hurt?” for He bares with you every pain.

If ‘surgery’ is required, know that His hand alone will hold the scalpel.

Understand that only that which does not bring glory to Him will be removed.

Take comfort; hands that once bore nails, now bear the Healing Balm.

He who neither slumbers nor sleeps is ever beside you, watching over you.

Therefore, trust Him, and rest in the power of His Presence.

In the Beginning God Created

Behold the workmanship of the Creator!

He holds no brush in hand,

He has no canvas on which to paint,

Yet who has displayed with such grandeur?

To whom can one compare His handiwork?

Those whose masterpieces we hold in highest esteem

Are but copies of the Creator’s

glorious displays of beauty!

Behold the workmanship of the Creator!

He holds no quill in hand,

He has no parchment on which to write,

Yet He is Author of all!

The poet in all his eloquence

Can but paint a picture in words;

But the Creator speaks and worlds are brought into existence!

In Christ All Things New

The Christian is one who has seen a New Light;

Who has experienced a New Birth; Who possesses;

nay, who is possessed by the Everlasting Life.

He is united in a New Relationship,

Rendered Present by a New Covenant.

He is a New Man, to whom there is imparted a New Heart.

He has a New Spirit by Resurrection.

There is implanted a New Nature, from which

there is yielded New Fruit.

He drinks from a New Fountain.

He has a New Outlook; he walks a New Way.

He has a New Name; has been given a New

Tongue, by which he proclaims a New Doctrine.

He is clothed with a New Garment;

He breaks forth with New Song.

He follows a New Commandment;

His allegiance, to a New King:

He’s the recipient of New Mercies;

Abounds in New Grace.

He looks for a New Day, when he

shall be robed in a New Body;

Shall enter the Gates of a New City;

And then shall witness All Things New,

The New Heaven and New Earth!

His Hand

When your life becomes a burden,

Many troubles ‘round you gather;

When you pray to God for guidance,

Midst a storm you cannot weather:

Now it seems His voice is silent,

Words of comfort lose their splendor;

And attempts to read your Bible,

Meet with thoughts and things that hinder.

Do you see the hand of testing,

Knowing not the course to follow;

Knowing not that God has placed you

In His hand, into its hollow?

Without knowing of His purpose,

Can you trust His hand to guide you?

Will you cast yourself upon Him,

Let His secret Presence hide you?

Look not at what His hand has wrought,

But rather seek His face;

For there you’ll find the heart of God,

And know His love and grace.

For there His mercies are made new,

For you He knows what’s best.

His heart and hand together work:

In Him you shall find rest.

Expression of Love

The pain and suffering of Christ: to this he fully gave Himself; it is the ultimate expression of His Love. When your loved one dies, attempt not to suppress your pain; it is likewise the ultimate expression of your love. Understand, if you attempt to suppress the pain, you are likewise suppressing and bottling up the flow of love. Their physical absence does not cause that love in your heart to cease its flow; only that it is changed in its expression.

Comfort may be found if you realize and recognize pain as love expressed. Emptiness of heart is supposed, as the object of its love is taken away. But how can a heart be empty if it yet remains a fountain of love? Withhold not your tears: if weeping over the death of a loved one is a sin, then Jesus was the chiefest of sinners. Allow yourself no guilt or intimidation because of your pain: rather might these be due if your heart was hardened and cold.

Express not only sadness to a friend in pain, but enter into the suffering with him. Understand this pain you bear to be a channel through which love is allowed to continue its flow. When they were present this channel was not needed. Now may it span the distance even into the presence of and providing a linkage between the temporal and the eternal.

Again, understand that the sufferings of Christ were for Him a channel through which He might express His love for you.

Easter Sonrise

Mary came very early to the tomb while it was yet dark. . . .

But the Son had already risen!

The sun came up, but it was yet dark,
The sun rose twice the same day.
The sunrise came forth, while it was yet night,
But the earth received not its ray.

The sun rose up, but men did not see,
The light as in darkness revealed.
The eye could not see, but only the heart,
That light in a body concealed.

The sun rose on high, to the heavens above,
But soon will appear once again.
The sun will descend, and the day will begin,
And darkness will vanish away.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” Mal. 4:2

Dealing with Pain

The Gift of Suffering

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” Phil. 1:29.

Do not fight your pain: it is not the enemy. Rather embrace it in faith. See it not as a problem, but as a provision. God does not give you pain in order to hurt you; It is a transforming grace, tailored for your life. It is not its purpose to engulf you, to swallow you, to pull you into yourself: such would incite a spirit of self-will. Deny self. Do not allow it to be the center, the object of your affections. Realize that the problem lies not with pain; it lies with Self. Mere kindness and benevolence seek to shield one from any pain; to desire only that which pleases.

But be assured: real love, true love, abiding love is no stranger to trials, to pain, to suffering. The Apostle prayed thrice, “Lord, remove my pain, my thorn in the flesh.” But it was not possible. For God had purposed to be his sufficiency through Grace: and the pain, the thorn that he bore, was itself an intricate part of God’s love, Of His Sufficiency, of His Grace.

It is in error if one thinks to limit the grace of God, “unmerited favor,” to that which is only pleasant, desirable, and comforting. If Christ is Savior, if He is Lord of your life, if He is Lord of all your circumstances, will you dare to trust Him as Lord, even of your sufferings? “Who can do that?” Well, Jesus did. It seems then of Holy Design that pain is interwoven with love and likewise with grace.

To those who love God. . .who are the called according to His purpose. . .all things work together. . . for our good... for His glory. Love, grace, and yes, even pain.


A few years ago a group of salesmen attended a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for their Friday night dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases in hand, one of the salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table that supported a display of baskets full of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they continued to the gateway managing to reach the plane in time for the call for boarding. That is, all but one. This fellow stopped, being overcome with a deep sense of compassion for the girl whose fruit stand that had just been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him; that he was going back to help, calling to one of them to phone his wife when they arrived at their destination and explain the situation, that he would take a later flight. Then he backtracked inside the terminal to the scene of the capsized fruit stand. And he was certainly glad he did: for upon his return he discovered that the proprietor of the apple stand was a 16 year old girl -- and she was completely blind! Tears ran down her cheeks: she was frustrated at her dilemma, helplessly groping to retrieve the spilled produce that lay scattered on the floor of the terminal. The crowd swirled about her, no one stopping to help; no one caring for her plight. The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathering the apples, putting them back into the baskets. He restored the display along with the apples to their former state. As he did so, he noticed that many of the apples had been bruised; these he separated and placed in a basket to themselves. When he had finished the task, he brought forth his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $20.00 for the damage we did. Are you okay?” She nodded, yes. He continued: “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.” As the salesman was walking away, the bewildered girl called out to him, “Mister. . .” He stopped and turned, looking back into her sightless eyes. “Mister. . .are you Jesus?” Speechless, he made his way to the ticket counter to arrange for the late flight home. . with that question burning inside him: “Are you Jesus?”

        Has anyone ever mistook you for Jesus? A foolish question you say? Really? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, His mercy and grace? If we claim to know Him, then we should live, walk, and conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with His. A tall order. But you and I may be the only glimpse of Jesus that someone may ever have. And knowing Him is more than simply quoting scripture and attending church. It’s actually living the Word as life is unfolded day by day.

        You are the “apple of His eye.” Once, as fruit put on display, man toppled to his ruin; he was bruised unto death. But Jesus came to where we were, drew us to Himself, picked us up - even as we were damaged fruit that should by all that is reasonable, be cast out. And he paid full price for that which was spoiled, bruised and broken at a place called Calvary. Let’s start living like we are worth the price he paid.

An Emmaus Disciple

Taken from Luke 24

Do you spend your day with Jesus,

Do you walk along with Him?

Do you share with Him your burdens,

Do you have His Peace within?

Does your heart not burn within you,

As you walk along the way?

Have you heard the voice of Jesus,

Have you talked with Him today?

Do you fellowship with Jesus,

Do you tarry long with Him?

Do you linger in His presence,

As the day draws to an end?

Though the day is almost over,

And the hour is growing late,

We must rise and tell another,

We cannot afford to wait.

Many others need the Savior,

And the Word of Truth must hear,

He was dead but now is risen,

Even now He’s drawing near.

Let us make Him known to others,

Trusting Him to do the rest;

Blinded eyes the Lord will open,

And the hearts of men He’ll bless.


Worry occurs when one's eye remains focused upon a seemingly difficult problem, some situation or troubling circumstance. And it grows. It feeds upon worry. The more we stare upon it, the bigger it becomes. Worry is the means in which we are able to make a "mountain out of a molehill." What do we think anyway? "If I worry constantly and hard enough, and long enough - may be it will just disappear!" "If I stay awake all night and continue to nurse my worry with the milk of human despair - surely it will pass by morning." But no. It is greater than I am; I am eaten up, consumed by it. It shall surely devour me.

A Seed Thought

"For verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" Matt 17:20. Young David faced a mountain of a man. "David! You're no match for that giant!" "No, the giant is no match for Him that sitteth upon the circle of the earth! Why, the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers - and that includes Goliath!" David's faith may have been as a grain of mustard seed, but it's object was the Lord of glory! David's trust was not in the stone he carried but in the Rock of Ages! The slaying of the giant was a greater miracle than we thought! David could not even see Goliath - the Son was in his eyes!

O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There's light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Why Revival Has Not Come

I know before I begin this article that the majority of Christendom will have little or no regard for it. Even in the realm of fundamentalism the word “revival” has become archaic; it is become outdated. “Old fashioned” has given way to a more “acceptable” way. And then I fear that we have becomecomplacent. The dictionary renders such definitions as self-satisfaction, contentment, self-righteousness! “. . and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” Rom. 10:3. This scripture was directed at the Jew. God forbid that it should now describe those who name the name of Jesus! We have little by little substituted another way, not being conformed to “the Way.”

Revival has not come because our attitude toward people has changed.

Years ago, men were said to be sinners, lost, without God. This eventually gave way to men being “unsaved,” needing to “accept Christ.” This generation has given way to yet another phraseology: those who once were “lost without God” have now taken on the title of “the unchurched.” What!?!

Revival has not come because our basic attitude toward sin has changed.

They were sinners, now they are the “unchurched.” Our terminology shows a change in our basic attitude toward sin. There are doubtless millions who might qualify as being “Churched,” who know nothing of saving grace. What sort of message is being broadcast to this world any way? Is there some “power” in our churches whereby the needs of the people can be met? Oh sure, God is given honorable mention in the “services” --?but who is the real authority? Who really runs the “church?” And how long, before the 10 Commandments are deemed too harsh and unnecessary to display in our “churches?” Remove them from public and governmental institutions now--?what’s next? It won’t happen, you say? If not before, it will surely happen when antichrist comes on the scene.

Revival has not come because our attitude toward revival itself has changed.

Revival has not come because we have decided that we can get along without it. . .our advances in the number of Bible colleges, expertise in planning and conducting meetings, our knowledge of “how to”. . . Our ever increasing technological advances have an effect on our services, and even our good old American spirit of “we can do it ourselves” have had negative affects on any thinking regarding genuine revival. Remember James, “ye have not, because ye ask not.”

Evangelist Glenn Mathews

Revival has not come because we have looked to our selves instead of looking to God.

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful. . .they did not like to retain God in their knowledge. . .” Rom. 1:21a.28a. Though these scriptures are directed at the ungodly, they fearfully depict the attitude of the “church.”

Revival? What is it that we assume we must do to have it? Well, we must decide when we want to schedule it; get involved; put forth every effort: advertise, talk it up; preach it up; sing it up; get an evangelist or pastor to hold the meeting; enlist special singers; invite others; attend the meeting yourself; have it in the church building; have it under a tent. Let it run from Sunday through Wednesday, or extend it for a couple of weeks. Let’s not forget to pray – Lord, send the power; send a great revival. And for several days we’re in the glory! But many of these “revivals” seem to be little more than Spiritual Side Shows where we think to put God on display and watch him perform miracles before our eyes! Comes the end of the meeting. It was good, but - a silent sigh of relief - it’s over and now we can get back to the normal every day life.

This method of promoting revival: is it in agreement with the scriptures -- or is it something that has evolved with men over the years? Is it in reality a man-oriented substitute; something closelyresembling the real thing. . .?

But we have approached this matter with negative thinking and in much satire. God forbid that we should sit on the sidelines and do nothing! Continue to hoist the tent! Plan revival meetings. How do we know whether God will choose one day to pour out His Mercies and Grace toward us in revival? Cease not to sing, to preach the gospel, to pray!

Revival has not come because of a lack of conviction in the pulpit.

Years ago I was attending a “revival” meeting at a large church. The people were asked to gather around the altar for prayer. While kneeling at a front pew I heard a lady crying out to God; and she repeated over and over: Oh God! My husband’s heart is so cold; his heart is so cold! My heart went out to her. I wondered who she was, but dared not look up to see. After the prayer, as we arose to return to our seats, I was shocked. The lady who prayed to God about her husband’s cold heart - was the pastor’s wife!

And I would say, if there is a lack of conviction in the pulpit, then how can we expect conviction in the pew? Spiritual leaders, pastors, should feel the weight of their responsibility toward God and their congregation. If the people can not discern a holy reverence in the man of God; if they can not sense that he has toiled and labored and poured himself out over precious Truths; if they do not know that his own heart has been moved; then how is it that they should be expected to respond to the same? If the believer is to humble himself, to seek to be drawn to and know the Person of Christ, then let the pastors and teachers lead the way. Shepherds, don’t drive your sheep, lead them! And feed them! I understand that these are difficult days, that people are suffering. But they need more than a kindly pastor to comfort them. True, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter; but know this: com fort - “com” is “with,” “fort” is “strength.” The Comforter is He who comes with strength. When storms or trials come, the people need more than a comforting word: they need the strength of the Living God to sustain them. They need a firm foundation on which to stand; to be grounded in the Truth; to have a faith and trust that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. Brethren, don’t just point the way to Christ: lead the way.

Why revival has not come?

“And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father. . .And when they were come in, they went into an upper room. . .these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. . .” Acts 1:4,13a,14a.

We marvel as we recount the events following Pentecost. And what did those 120 believers do to promote a meeting of such magnitude? Schedule when they wanted it; put forth every effort; advertise, talk it up; preach it up; sing it up; invite others; have it in the church building or under a tent; pray, Lord send the Power, give us a great revival? No. They came apart from the world into an upper room. . .they waited for God. . .they continued in one accord in prayer and supplication. They got alone with God; they sought his face, his Person; they sought to know his will; they were willingly submissive to his Divine Purpose, his Sovereign Will. In so doing, they were in a position to worship their Lord. I fail to see any possibility of true worship in this day of “worship and praise” apart from a yielding and submissive spirit: let us bow before Him; may we be found sitting at His feet.

“But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” Acts 1:8. The Divine order: the Holy Ghost would come upon them; that is, they would first receive his Person: power would be received from that Person; but only as that Person has become permanent resident within their being. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” Phil. 2:13. Pray for power,” we are told. “Pray for the presence of His power.” If we should follow the order given us in the scripture we might better declare, “Pray for the power of His Presence.”

Revival has not come because even many of those who say they want genuine revival are seeking “revival” instead of fulfilling Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first [preeminently] the kingdom of God and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.”

I fear that there may be some who would rather lust after the “power” and avoid the “Presence.” In Acts chapter 8 we are given the account of one Simon the sorcerer, of whom the people declared, “This man is the great power of God.” Philip went down to the city of Samaria, preaching Christ. Simon believed and was baptized. Peter and John came to Samaria, praying and laying hands on believers that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Brother Simon “offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter rebuked him in that he thought the gift of God could be purchased with money; told him his heart was not right in the sight of God; that he should repent of his wickedness; further, that he perceived the man was “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Simon himself had not received the Spirit, yet would have continued his sorcery, seeking “power” that he might have the gift of laying on of hands as did the apostles. May we carefully examine our own motives, for fear that they be found less than pure in the sight of a Holy God.

Why revival has not come?

“. . .because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” I Peter 2:21.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” John 5:19,30. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” John 6:38.

“And it came to pass in those days, that he [Jesus] went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” Luke 6:12. cf. Matt. 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 9:28. Neither should we think these to be isolated incidents. Consider the account given us in Mark chapter 4: “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” What a question to ask the Incarnate One whose purpose in coming was to “rescue the perishing; care for the dying!” And why was he asleep while the others were awake? Could it be one of those occasions where he stayed up all night in prayer with the Father while they slept? That he prayed in their behalf; that the calming of the winds and storm was not a flippant thing that he might do without spending much time before the Father? Remember, as he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing. . .I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.“ May we recall Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed until his “sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground,” yet while he prayed, his disciples slept.

Ephesians chapter one reveals to us what Jesus knew and embraced to himself: “Having made know unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed within himself. . .according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the council of his own will.”

But what did Jesus pray as he communed with the Father in the midnight hours? What did we read earlier: “I can do nothing of myself . . . I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” When he prayed in the Garden, “ not my will, but thine, be done,” it was a prayer that remained consistent throughout all his earthly pilgrimage.

Why revival has not come?

What are we to do? Shall we continue down the path of “Revivalism,” excusing ourselves and God because he does not see fit to bless our efforts in promoting what we have labeled “revival. . .?” What if we were to set our plans aside. What if some of us were to set ourselves aside . . . unto God. What if we were to find ourselves an upper room as the early church. . .or a mountain as our Lord. What if we were to set aside our thoughts, our plans, our schemes, and focus on our Father; to seek his face, to long to discover His good pleasure, His purpose, the council of His will? What if we were to come clean before the Lord; to admit, confess our selfishness; that our prayers are basically centered in self desire; that we would have the good pleasures of our self-will to be answered? We may seek to cloak our behavior behind the “good works” of our hands; to busy ourselves with much clutter – but to fail to seek out the heart of God and His Holy Desires for those who are His -- well, it’s sin. I am ashamed as I read again the words penned by the apostle: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering. . .I follow after. . .reaching forth. . .I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. . .Brethren, be followers together of me. . .” Phil. 3. Who among us will dare say to other men, Brethren, be followers of me, follow my example as I follow Christ? As I continue to read Philippians chapter four I receive little comfort, for my heart condemns me as I begin to see how far short of the glory of God I come in carrying out the admonitions given me.

But “revival” may never come. At least, not until we find the quietness of an upper room or a high mountain; until we come to that “place” where we’re willing to get alone with God, seeking His face and his fellowship, submitting to His will. . .

What's on Your Menu?

Flesh and Spirit were always together. Where one went, so did the other. One big problem, though. They could not seem to get along. And their appetites! How very different they were! Flesh was constantly attempting to entice Spirit to go to the restaurants he liked; to eat the things that he found appealing. Christian was well aware of the contention between the two, and he decided that Home was the best place for them to go for their meals: for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner. But Flesh was in for a rude awakening. . .

Give me a big slab of roast mammon, said Flesh; along with side orders of pride, envy, and strife. For dessert I’ll have the fruit of unrighteousness - and top it with a large scoop of hypocrisy. And to drink, I’ll have the cup of extortion and excess. (“Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess”) Matt. 23:25

What do you mean, sit down at the Lord’s table? Eat His flesh and drink His blood? How gross! I want to be able to enjoy my meals! How can you possibly find any joy - eating what you’re eating? And you tell me that it’s nourishing? I’m a junk food junky! What I’m interested in is finding stuff that leaves me feeling satisfied. . .

Oh Flesh! “Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. For there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” Psalm 34:8-10. But Flesh is in no mood to listen. . .

What sort of salad is this? queries Flesh. A Fruit salad? What’s in it? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance? I can’t eat that! What about a Flesh salad. You know: with idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, and heresies!

This will never do! Let me see what’s in your pantry and in the refrigerator. There’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ; there’s Truth; there’s the Word of God; there’s Righteousness; there’s the Peace of God; there’s prayer and thanksgiving; there’s things honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtue - Is this all you have? Where’s the good stuff? I can’t eat any of this! What are you trying to do - starve me to death? Give me my favorite dishes; I can’t live without them. They give me energy, strength, to overcome Spirit. I love to fight against him when he’s weak, you know!

Spirit saw Righteousness on the table. “Spirit, said Christian, if you’re hungry and thirsty after Righteousness, then by all means, eat until you are filled!” And you may have extra helpings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Don’t forget to share with others! There’s plenty!

Wait a minute! You’re not being fair, said Flesh. You shouldn’t show partiality! Why don’t youcompromise your menu - let Spirit eat what he wants - and let me indulge in those things that suit my fancy! Can’t we just try to get along? But Flesh is not interested in “getting along.” He would defeat Spirit, that he might enthrone himself in the heart of Christian.

“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” Gal. 5:16-17.

Weighed and Wanting

In this study you will see the similarity of an Old Testament scripture with that of a New, and also that of two Old and New Testament characters, Belshazzar, (Daniel 5,) and the rich fool. (Luke 12.)

Notice carefully the two scriptures which we seek to compare:

“Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting” Dan.5:27.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23.

Riches Without Profit.

“Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them” Psalm 39:5,6.

The following quotations are from The Treasury of David, C. H. Spurgeon.

Every carnal man walks in a vain shew, and yet how vain he is of his shew of vanity! He is“disquieted in vain,” and it is only vanity which disquiets him. He labours all of his life for the profits of riches, and yet in death his riches will not profit him. He that views an ox grazing in a fat pasture, concludes that he is but preparing for the day of slaughter. - William Secker.

“He heapeth up riches.” The Hebrew word rendered, “He heapeth up,” signifies to rake together;in which there is an illusion to the husbandman’s collecting his corn together before he carries it to the barn. The metaphor is elegant, intimating the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of human acquisitions; which though heaped up together like corn, by one person, may soon become the possession of another. - Samuel Burder.

Well do these quotations describe the rich fool. “I will pull down my barns and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” Luke 12:18,20.

Likewise of Belshazzar the Chaldean king we observe; “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it” Dan. 5:26. “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians” vs. 28.

For a brief background - Belshazzar was the descendant of the notable Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was great, but he erred in that “his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne.” He became for a time, as a beast of the field, eating grass like the oxen. In spite of knowing this, Belshazzar lifted up himself against the Lord of heaven; brought the gold and silver vessels which his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and preceded to drink wine from them, praising the images of the gods. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace” Dan.5:5. None of his wise men could interpret the writing. Daniel was brought in; he read the writing on the wall for the king. . .

“This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it, TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Dan. 5:26-28.

Let us look at some comparisons of Belshazzar and the rich man:

The rich man

“Then was the part of the hand sent from him. . .”

“And God said unto him. . .”

“Belshazzar the king made a great feast. . .his lords. . .his princes. . .his wives, concubines. . .drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver. . .”

“Soul . . .take thine ease, eat drink, and be merry.”

“But thou hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven”

“And he thought within himself. . .This will I do: I will pull down; [I will] build; I will bestow; I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast. . .”

“And thou. . .hast not humbled thine heart.”

“But God said unto him, Thou fool.” (The fool hath said in his heart, no God) Psalm 14:1, 53:1

“Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.”

“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.”

“Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.”

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Weighed in the Balances and Found Wanting.

What entities might be placed on the scales to be weighed? Perhaps sin and righteousness? Is there anyone so foolish as to think of himself having equal amounts of sin and righteousness attributed to his account? And the balance being tipped ever so slightly either way can determine his destiny?

Weighing In.

What does sin weigh? I cannot tell. There is but one who can: “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. . .the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” Isa. 53:4a,6b. What does righteousness weigh? I cannot tell. It is imputed to my account. Through it (the righteousness of Christ) I am declared legally and judicially justified. There is but one who can tell. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” I Cor. 1:30.

Coming Short.

“Found wanting” and “come short” are as identical twins. Found wanting, chacciyr, be in want, have need, to lack, be abated, void, destitute. Come short, husterio, be in want, to lack, fall short, be destitute. (Strong’s)

Whether he be king or rich man, Jew or Greek, the handwriting is on the wall: all are weighed in the balances, and found wanting; all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.