Nothing Supernatural

Excerpted from The Bible and the Cross – G. Campbell Morgan (1909)

All the things of which we speak as supernatural are only supernatural to our finite knowledge and understanding. The things of which we speak as miraculous are only so because we know certain laws, but are not acquainted with the whole economy of God. In the ages to come, and in the light of the Father’s house, we shall not speak of these things as supernatural, we shall discover that they are all in harmony with the nature of God.

Words of Grace for Strength

Isn’t it good to know that we cannot grasp the infinite wisdom of the sovereign Lord and creator of the universe? I take great comfort from knowing our Lord is divinely infinite, that we are finite beings that cannot begin to grasp who He is on our own. I do not want a God I can completely comprehend and understand because I know how messed up I am. We think of God’s intervention into our world as supernatural because God can intervene in His creation in ways outside of the laws He ordered for that creation, and we can recognize them as outside of His naturally ordered plans for how the clock of creation would tick. The Bible is replete with such instances, and those of us who treasure Scripture as Truth cherish each and every instance He has chosen to have set down. There will come a day when we stand in God’s presence and it will be the most natural thing for us, because it is His will that we do so.

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.  – Revelation 21:23

Morgan speaks of what will happen in the light of Father’s house, as we cast aside thoughts of supernatural events and understand the true harmony of God’s creation. The verse from Revelation talks of the light we will see by. How glorious the light there, for the Lamb is the Light. We will know what we know of the nature of God because we will know it with the mind of Christ, as we see clearly all that is now illumed by the light of the Lamb. Not only is there an abundance of joy, of life in the presence of the Eternal God, it is all seen by us by the light of Christ, by the glory of God. Morgan goes on to speak about some things of God are so high above us as to need our imagination just to think of them. But one day they will be known to us as they are to God.

And all that we see will not be supernatural to us, it will be completely and utterly natural, for it is the character of God that we will know through Jesus. Just as the Father looks at us and sees the Son, we will look upon our Sovereign with the eyes of our Lord and Savior. Wonderful and new to us, but not the least bit unusual or strange. It will be a comforting sight, a natural expression of God in His holy character.

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18

The best is yet to come. We can scarcely comprehend it today, but one day we will grasp the full meaning in both hands, for in God’s revelation to us will come the perfect knowledge of what He has for us for all eternity. And there can be nothing more natural for us than to be in the presence of He who created us, to fulfill His purposes for our existence, and to do it for eternity. Nothing supernatural for us awaits, only the true nature of the Lord and seeing, for the first time, the true harmony of His character with His creation.


The Silence May Be Golden

Believers often struggle with not hearing God’s voice in their lives. In some recent reading, several reasons were put forth about why someone doesn’t hear the God speaking to them that I found myself thinking about:

Disobedience: I think this is the one most people turn to first as a reason for God’s silence. If someone isn’t hearing God, there must be disobedience in their life. Sin. Defiance. This could well be, why would God speak to someone who is not in obedience to His will? A good question, but remember two things -1) we all struggle with our sin nature and will until the day the Lord calls us home and 2) God is loving, compassionate, merciful and gracious. Given that we all sin, it might be a long time before someone is at a point that there is no disobedience to God. Couple that with God’s attributes as mentioned above, and I don’t think that some level of disobedience or sin is always the reason someone doesn’t hear God speaking to them. If God only spoke to the sinless, the only person who would have heard Him speak was Jesus. That doesn’t sound right. Some would have you go through a sort of sin checklist to see if your sin is keeping God silent in your life. We are all sinners, and there is sin in our lives just about all the time. If sin is sin, and a holy God will not have it in His presence, I am not sure what good a checklist will do. How do you decide if a sin is a silencing inducing sin? I would prefer that we seek out the Lord and try to confess the sins in our life, looking to struggle with our nature and try to cut the sin in our lives. I will hold the checklists for NASA to use on spaceflights. Don’t get me wrong, silence from God may be indicative of a sinful, disobedience life that God has chosen not to speak into as a means for drawing one of His children back to Him. But we need remember that every sin does not mean silence.

Preparation: Silence from God might be because you are in a period of preparation for some revelation from God that the person has never known before. In reading Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King, this is stated as a reason for God’s silence, if the answer isn’t sin in a life. According to the authors if there is not unconfessed sin then there is a period of preparation of deeper understanding of God. The advice is to keep doing the last thing God told you to do until a fresh encounter with God comes along. That is certainly a possibility, God moving in a life often requires preparation for what He has for that person to do. Think of Moses in the desert for 40 years. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know He is God. Great advice from the Divine. A period of silence requires faith, and that can be used by God to mold one for His plans. Again, I get a little caught up with unconfessed sin and ruling it out and then saying it must be God is getting ready to reveal some new, deep understanding. I am not sure I agree with the Blackaby approach of rule out sin first and then ready oneself for deeper revelation from God.

Approval: In some respects this third reason builds on the second: it requires faith, showing a life molded, shaped and grown by God. But it offers an interesting counterpoint to the reason of disobedience. In the book entitled A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians: Address based upon the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (Yes that is the title), G. Campbell Morgan speaks to the seven letters included in Revelation 2 and 3. In the letter to the church in Smyrna, he offers up this nugget:

Some child of God, whelmed with great and crushing sorrows is longing for the sound of His voice, and there is nothing but silence. It may be that that silence is a sign, not of disapproval but of approval. Do not be cast down. If in the midst of tribulation and suffering there is no voice, it may be that the silence of the Lord is His highest commendation.

Morgan goes on to explain that the silence may be an indication that one is living at the highest level of faith and love of the Lord, requiring no word of encouragement from God. Think of that, a faith so strong that God shows His approval by silence, knowing the faith residing in the person is enough for the trial and tribulation the person finds themselves in. God knows the person enough and is confident in the faith inherent in that person so as not to need to speak to them.

I think that is a message today’s culture has caused the church to lay aside. We are conditioned by the world to expect feedback, to seek and receive praise, or encouragement or correction. But God’s ways are not ours. I know God is ever present in the lives of believers, but I haven’t found a Bible verse that states that He will be talking to us all the time. What is the will of God is to allow a believer to keep living and doing what he or she is doing because He approves, and He feels nothing else need be said. Imagine the faith of one who can find silence from God in their life and be joyous in the Lord because of it!

You are seeking His will and His way, searching out the purposes He has for your life. You are deep into study of and meditation on the Word of God. You are ministering to others around you, or are facing trial and tribulation but are turning to and leaning on Him alone. But there is nothing but silence from God. Keep doing what you know in your heart is in alignment with what the Lord has revealed in the pages of Scripture. I noted earlier that not every sin means silence; not every obedient act need be commented on by the Lord either.

Silence from God. Maybe you are not doing anything wrong. Maybe at this time in your life you are doing everything right.

Crisis in the Nations

Excerpted from “The Nations in Prophecy” by John F. Walvoord (1967):

The world today faces an international crisis unparalleled in all the history of man. A tremendous revolution is under way in the international scene, in economics, in morals, in theology, and in the religious structure of the church. The world is aflame with the raw passions of men ambitious for power and desperate to be freed from poverty and frustration. An ominous cloud hangs over the hearts of men and nations. The nations are indeed at the crossroads, and impending events cast their shadow on every aspect of human life. The world is moving faster and faster like a colossal machine out of control whose very power and momentum inevitably will plunge it into ultimate disaster.

Apart from the Bible, the world does not have a ray of hope. Our most brilliant leaders have not found an answer. World leaders, whether in Moscow or Washington, are troubled by the great issues which face the worlds today. President John F. Kennedy before his untimely assassination expressed the viewpoint of western civilization when he said, “I speak today of an hour of national peril, and of national opportunity. Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain. The tide of events has been running out, and time has not been our friend.”

The present world crisis is not a result of any one factor, but a concurrence of causes and effects which combine to set the world stage for a conflict which may quickly bring an end to hundreds of years of progress in western civilization and establish new centers of international power. Whatever the future holds, it is going to be dramatically different than the past. In this dark picture only the Scriptures chart a sure course and give us an intelligent explanation of world-wide confusion as it exists today. Three present world crisis in the light of the Scriptures reveals the existence of remarkable components in almost every area which may lead to a dramatic climax of world history. The present crises in every area of human life all point to the same conclusion, that disaster awaits the nations of the world.

Words of Grace for Strength

If Dr. Walvoord was with us today it is possible he could easily say one of two things: Either “See, I told you so” or “Even so, come Lord Jesus”. The plain fact is that nearly 50 years after he wrote the above excerpt, the world seems to be spiraling even more out of control. Such a fact speaks to both the bottomless depravity and hopelessness of humanity and the inexhaustible patience and mercy of a loving God. Jesus has not yet returned, although many, including John Walvoord, might reasonably have expected Him to do so in the intervening years between when the above was written and the present day. Why hasn’t He returned? It is a question we cannot answer. But we know the Lord’s timing is His own, and we know He is long suffering in wanting all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Many might have been eternally lost if the Lord had returned ten, twenty, thirty or more years ago. The Lord will have none of those who will come to a saving faith perish, and so He patiently and lovingly endures a defiant and disobedient world as He awaits all those who will come to Him in His timing.

The world is hopelessly lost as it seeks to find solutions to its problems, but we who have Christ know the answer, have the truth and need share it with others. There is a crisis among the nations of the world, but we can help solve a small piece of it by sharing Christ with those around us who do not know Him as we do. Yes, the Lord is patiently waiting for those who would come to Him, and is also wanting to bless us for our obedience in sharing the good news of Jesus and the riches of being in Christ with others. The crises in the world can only be solved by Christ. The crisis within the body of Christ, where it seems fewer are following Him obediently as we watch the very foundations of the church continue to crumble, can only be solved by turning back to Christ.

We can study the Word of God, searching the Scriptures like Bereans (Acts 17:11) to seek out and understand the Truth. And so we should. But we can never know the timing that is the Lord’s alone to measure and pour out as He will to fulfill His purposes in the perfection of His plans. We cannot fall into the prideful trap of thinking that we so understand the Lord that we know not only the message He has for us but also the timing of when He would have His prophetical Scripture fulfilled. The more I study His Word, the less certain I am that I fully comprehend all that is in it, let alone knowing when all things He deems will come to pass. I am better off seeking Him and sharing Him with others in the hope that they come to have a relationship with the Lord. I am better off looking to encourage and edify others as I look to be encouraged and edified, and leave the timing of the Lord to the Lord.

We do not know what tomorrow holds for any of us, but those of us in Christ have the surety of God’s Word in knowing where and with Whom we will spend eternity. Those of the world needs to know what we do as well, otherwise they will all stay in crisis after crisis until the Lord returns.

The Cross, Always the Cross

Excerpted from: The Work of Christ: Past, Present and Future – A.C. Gaebelein (1913)

And now let us consider His work on the cross and what has been accomplished by it. But who is able to speak worthily of this theme of all themes? Who can fathom the solemn yet blessed fact, the death of the Son of God on the cross? What tongue or pen can describe the sad, yet glorious truth, that the Just One died for the unjust, that Christ died for the ungodly! He who knew no sin was made sin for us! And what human mind can estimate the wonderful results of His work on the cross!

Some Christians speak as if the death on the cross, the work accomplished there, is so fully known to them, that they do not need any more instruction on it. They tell us that they search for deeper things. There can be nothing deeper than the death of God’s Son on the cross. Depths are here which are unfathomable. We must ever turn back to the cross. Always we shall learn something new. With unspeakable Glory upon us and greater glory before us in eternal ages to come, the cross of Christ and the Lamb of God which has taken away the sin of the world can never be forgotten. But we shall never know what that death on the cross meant for Him and what it meant to God.

Words of Grace for Strength

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  – Hebrews 11:1

Our faith, our hope must be in the person of Jesus Christ and centered on the Cross. And as such, it truly is faith that carries us, faith and trust in Christ alone by the grace of God. Why do I call it faith? Because the Cross is something we cannot ever fully understand. Gaebelein notes that we can never know what the Cross meant to the Father and the Son. Thus, how can we ever fully understand it? We cannot know the depths of the thoughts of God, never fully understand His plans and purposes. We can embrace the will of God, but we cannot grasp it completely with our mind and understand it as He does.  Gaebelein speaks 100 years ago of Christians that do not think the Cross deep enough for the primary consideration. Not deep enough to meditate upon, to reflect upon, and to show gratitude for by living a life He would have lived by all who follow after Him. How many more think this way today?

Can we fully understand the death of a sinless man? Death came into the world as a result of sin, and a sinless man had to die in propitiation for our sins. The most necessary death (in terms of our salvation) was the most unnatural (in terms of cause and effect) the world has ever experienced. We cannot fully comprehend all the nuances of that in God’s eternal plans and sovereign purposes. So we must turn on faith and center on the Cross.

We must rely on, we must constantly turn back to something that we can never know what it meant to Him that gave it to us. Our faith is a gift which has a cost we cannot fully understand. Our faith is by grace, that is something we can spend a life learning about, a lifetime plumbing the depths of, and never reach the bottom of its’ life giving waters. In our faith we accept all He has given us, in our faith we accept that we cannot repay nor merit what is freely given.

In faith we accept what the Cross has made possible. And in all things we should turn to our Savior, and center on the Cross. Always the Cross. For without it, nothing else would be possible for us in the presence of God. For with it, all is possible before Him. And the Cross, always the Cross, is freely given to all who trust in Christ. Freely given, yet it cost more than we can imagine to Him who died upon it on our behalf.

The world will always hate it, because it will always need it. And we will always love Him who did so much for us upon it.

Let us focus on the Cross, always the Cross.

Loving the Mockers

But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:  how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. – Jude 17-18

Scriptures tell us that that in the last days those of us of the Christian faith will face mocking and worse. And we will face it in increasing amounts as the time grows even shorter toward His Soon Return. We should not be surprised when it happens, for Scripture is Truth and the Scriptures tell us it will be so. So, we need turn to the Bible for our strength and comfort when it does occur.

For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. – Romans 16:19

We may be subject to mocking, but to God it shows our obedience to Him, to the call He has placed on our lives. What better than to be seen by all as being obedient to the Will of God even if most choose to mock us openly? While the world’s response will not be ideal, what more could we want to give but total obedience to our Lord and Savior? Frankly and simply facing evil for what it is and being obedient to the Lord because of who He is.      

The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. – Proverbs 8:22

A sovereign deity controls all which He created. He has called us from before the foundations of the world and we have answered, and are answering today in how we go about our Father’s business. Hopefully we are answering every day until He comes for us each as individuals or for the church as a whole. We are His while we are on this earth until He brings us home, and then we are His for eternity. An eternity in the physical presence of our Savior. He has always possessed us and He waited for each of us to respond to His call and trust in Him as Savior.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord knows our hearts and how we will respond to His call. Those He has chosen for His work have the heart to do it, and being Spirit filled, have the strength and stamina to see it through in faith and obedience. God looked into our hearts and knew we were wanting. But He sent His Son and now the Father sees not us but Christ in us. And being filled with the Spirit we have the strength within to resist the evil around us.

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. – John 15:3

We were ready to do His work even before we knew it. We have a new heart for Christ, we are Spirit filled and clean in God’s eyes because of Jesus even if our old flesh still struggles with our old sin nature. Because of Jesus are perfectly acceptable in God’s view to do the work appointed to us to do. We are ready to do His will because we are already clean in His eyes.

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18

David recognized the extraordinary lengths God would go through to preserve David’s line to fulfill the promises made to Abraham and to David. We will endure to the end because of what Jesus endured on our behalf and in spite of ourselves. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We have been carried this far along, and so will be carried into the eternal state in the same way, on the wings of the Lord. No burden too great for Him to bear, His yoke is light and easy to bear, and with it we shed the heavy weight of sin in our hearts by the freedom we have in Christ.

Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. – Acts 17:25

We cannot provide anything He needs by our own hands, we cannot be delivered out of the evil we soaked in before Him other than by His hands. Our worship by the new hearts of flesh He has placed in us, not by our hands as if we could fashion anything to give to Him which He does not already possess, like the cattle on a thousand hills.

I entitled this article loving the mockers and I have not talked about them at all to this point. Because the love we should show to those inevitable mockers is that they hear of and come to have what we have, a personal relationship with Jesus, with a saving faith in Him alone.  The only way we get to that love is through the work He did in the Cross and the Spirit that enabled us to be filled with. It ain’t about us, but all about Him. So we need to understand who we are in Him before we can love the unlovable as He did. The unlovable club of whom we were once charter members of.

We can only love the mockers if we make a mockery of any attempt to keep us from being obedient to our Lord and Savior.