I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t kept up my postings for several months now. There were times I was ready to come back, but what I needed to do first was seek the Lord for my own edification; to allow the Holy Spirit to point me in direction to seek God’s truth and not share publicly until I first understood what He wants of me. I confess that in seeking truth in God’s Word I have found myself to be centered more on me than I am my Lord.
Before I tried posting daily, but that became “a work”. The Lord doesn’t need my work, He wants me to abide in Him and He in me. I wrote this Sunday (October 23) and will post it this coming week when I’m urged by the Lord to do so. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
I’ve been taken to Scriptures which I’ve been taken to many times. Yes, Lord, I know I can be dense and without understanding! I’m so grateful that Your Spirit continues to call to me to see and understand what You want me to know. Although it’s difficult to see myself as I truly am, it’s what is required so that we truly understand our need for Jesus’ sacrificial work on our behalf. A question in Micah caused me to question what I have that the Lord wants: “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” (Mic 6:6).
I’m not a rancher or farmer, so I have no burnt offerings to offer, but it’s not a burnt offering, or my wit, my writing, my posting that the Lord desires from me or you. In the past few months I found the answer (of which I daily need to remind myself) in our ladies’ Bible study group while studying the Psalms: “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps 51:16-17)
In the period of time in which we are currently living, we’re encouraged by the world to have our own truth, as long as it isn’t Biblical truth. That’s the flesh talking, and too often that’s the voice we listen to because it is what our fleshly nature wants. Yesterday when I opened my journal I came to a page that I’ve read over and over again from A.W. Tozer “Spirit Illumination”.
“Self-conscious intellectualism is offensive to man and, I am convinced, to God also, but it is significant that every major revelation in the Scriptures was made to a man of superior intellect. It would be easy to marshal an imposing list of Biblical quotations exhorting us to think, but a more convincing argument is the whole drift of the Bible itself. The Scriptures simply take for granted that the saints of the Most High will be serious-minded, thoughtful persons. They never leave the impression that it is sinful to think.
But thinking apart from the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit is not only futile, it is likely to be dangerous as well. The human intellect is fallen and can no more find its way through the broad expanse of truth, half-truth and downright error than a ship can find its way over the ocean alone. God has given us the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds. He is eyes and understanding to us. We dare not try to get on without Him.”
Paul’s first letter to the wild church in Corinth repeats this warning: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14) So how do we receive spiritual truth?
First, we need to understand how spiritually destitute we are as natural mankind: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18)
The Lord sends out the Holy Spirit so that we understand our need for Him: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment;” (John 16:8). Then we must be open to hear the truth from the Holy Spirit: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).
My journey went off track for a while. I shared a lot of what others shared. That’s not the reason the Lord urged me to begin this blog. I am a child of God, but I do not now, nor have I ever deserved His mercy and grace. I tell you that because it’s important for you to know that I am still a sinner, but am saved out of His abundance of grace. I’m still prideful, first thinking of things from my perspective. But the Lord is highlighting those moments on my life film so that I can choose as He desires for me to turn away those thoughts, behaviors and manner of speaking to be refined because He loves me. It’s not easy being a child of God; it’s not having “my best life now” here on earth — it’s about the hope that awaits me for eternity.
I was taken back to a previous study on humility, especially from The Beatitudes — or as my sweet friend says “beauty-tudes”. I love that pronunciation because it truly describes what our Lord is able to do — to take the ugliness from the sin nature we’re born with and to transform us little by little into His image for His purpose and His glory! That’s what we must come to understand about ourselves — we are NOT good! We are not better than so and so. We are spiritually in abject poverty. The Greek word “ptochos” used here means “completely destitute and helpless to do anything about it”.
But God sent His Son, to walk among us, to die for us and to claim the victory over sin and death. When we understand our need for Him not only as our Savior, but as our Lord to show us that He can transform an ugly heart into His masterpiece for His glory and His good pleasure: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
So I went back to the first beaty-tude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3). If we don’t first understand that we were all born as slaves to sin and living in darkness…If we don’t understand that after this life we will spend eternity in the lake of fire because we choose to stay in our spiritual filth, then we aren’t “poor in spirit”, recognizing that there’s nothing within us that is good without the grace and mercy of Jesus’ blood sacrifice to blot out our sin.
The prophet Isaiah was a righteous man in God’s eye, yet he understood how sinful he was in the presence of the Holy God: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Is 6:5). That should be the response of all of us when we come into His presence, because we are not worthy. When we are convicted of our sin and make the choice to follow Jesus, then He can begin “a good work in you [that He] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
I’ve been a Christian for the majority of life — but I’ve lost my way many times. It ALWAYS happens when I take my eyes of Jesus, when I don’t daily abide in Him, when I don’t seek after His wisdom but count on my own. God’s Word tells us “The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline” (Prov 1:7).
I have been an arrogant fool too often to count. But the Lord promises us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The only way to see ourselves as we truly are, is to ask for the Holy Spirit to show us: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).
I’m continuing to learn that the gift I can share with others is what He shows me within myself. I am a child of the Most-High God, and I am not deserving of His love, forgiveness or His covering. I deserve His wrath, but am thankful for His mercy, which I am to extend to others, who also don’t deserve it. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
You may have noticed the image I chose for this post with filthy hands saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. It’s a reminder to me that I deserve nothing but God’s wrath, but am thankful for His mercy. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” (Is 64:6) BUT GOD! “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Is 64:8)