Good morning my dear brothers and sisters – grace and peace to you, and love in the Lord Jesus and our Beloved Father in Heaven. You are all in my heart and in my prayers unceasingly these days, as all the world plunges speedily into greater darkness despair and lawlessness.
May each of us offer ourselves up this new day unto He who holds all things in His mighty power and provision. May we release ourselves unto Him completely, and rest in His faithfulness and love. He is the Word made flesh who has come into the world, yet it is into us that He must come now dear saints, supplanting all that we are, and uprooting us from this world and its ways. He must become our all, the very root and branch and vitality flowing in and through us! There must be no place remaining for the old man, for the self-life, for our labor and high thoughts and best intentions – these are after all nothing, and they lead only to emptiness.
Brother Sparks below speaks of “fresh releases” in our spiritual life, and this is what we need each new morning most certainly. There must be release from all that we are in and of ourselves. All that we are in Adam, all that genetics and personality and environment and human history and failure has made us. All our self-flowing thoughts and wisdom. All instinct and opinion. All must be stripped away until all that remains is the Lord Jesus Christ. And all that is not of Him, not of love, not of His Spirit in us – it must be let go, purged, burned away like dross. Oh but indeed, the price of attaining to His fullness in us is so very dear isn’t it?
My brethren, how I love you all and pray that you will cling to Him with all He gives you! With faith and steadfastness, with longing for His soon return and kingdom! One day soon, we will each of us stand before Him, throw ourselves at His feet and weep showers of joy! Everything will be melt away; all pain, all bitterness, all confusion.
Our hope and glory, is the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15) unto life and glory. We must not be tempted or seduced into fixating on death and burial, but on that which lies ahead. We must not weep for Lazarus lying in his grave clothes, but we must hold fast to our faith that the Lord is on His way. He will come soon, speak the word, and even death will give way to His mighty power! Hallelujah! Praise God who has the victory over even death! My brothers and sisters, rejoice, for very soon we will all be RAISED IN GLORY, RAISED IN POWER, AND RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY! Death and suffering does have its place for a season, but it too will give way to the overflowing and heavenly life!
What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”e; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”g“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
And so it must be dealt with finally in each of us. It must go the way of death, burial and life unto enlargement and glory. This is not just for prophets, apostles or super-saints – but for all of His redeemed ones, for all the elect, those called from the foundation of the world to fulfill His eternal purposes in Christ.
“Let nothing move you” – Not loss, not despair, no loneliness, not rejection, not the treachery of those who once loved you, not estrangement from blood family ties, not persecution, not the day to day weariness of being strangers in this sick and godless world.
Oh Lord, let this be so – let absolutely nothing move us from your heart, from faithfulness, from clinging to Thee with all that grace and faith provide. Let not what the enemy intends for our harm and death prosper. Turn it into good Oh Lord, into greater dependence and abandonment to the Comforter and Advocate within us. Enlarge us unto life Oh Lord! Release us unto Christ Jesus, that we may say with Paul, that He alone is our life! To live is Christ and to die to ourselves and this world is only gain!
Oh Lord we pray for rest and release! We enter into the One who is the fulfillment and embodiment of the Sabbath day; that day that pictures the end of all fleshly and soulish labor and occupation. No more of our own toil and effort! All is Christ! All is the Vine! All is spiritual life and vitality! All lives and breathes and moves in Him and out of Him!
Oh Lord, let it be so for all reading these words this day! All my dear brothers and sisters who have blessed your servant so richly during these days of loss and confusion.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. (Hebrews 12:2)
The passion of the Cross is the way of our release, and if you consider your own spiritual experience, those of you who have any experience of a walk with God, you know quite well that it has been through times of deep and acute suffering that you have found fresh releases; fresh releases in your spiritual life. Is it not true? Yes, we pass into a time of excruciating spiritual and soul suffering. We do not know what the Lord is doing, what He means by this, what He is after, but we know the features of our experience and know what it is that we are suffering, and it goes on. We, of course, ask the Lord to stop it, to bring it to a quick end, to deliver us from it. He takes no notice of us, and it is only those people who get out the other end who say, ‘Thank God, He did not take any notice.’ In the meantime, we think He is anything but kind and good and doing the right thing, but as we get on under His hand, we begin to see and to sense that He is dealing with something. Maybe He is dealing with our pride, our independence, or our irresponsibility, for example. That is the issue that comes up, and we are faced all the time with something about ourselves that is almost devastating. We would not have believed that that was so strong in us.
Oh, of course we were always ready to believe that that is in mankind and in us as a part of mankind in a general way. Yes, we would never have resented being told that there was pride or something like that about us, but we would never have believed how deeply rooted and terribly strong that thing is until it was put to a fiery test and everything was held up, and we saw that everything in our life and work for God was held up on that point…. And we know quite well that what the Lord was after was not the pulverising of us, as we thought, the winding up of us, but to bring about enlargement, to bring about release, and release always lies along the line of the Cross, the passion. Enlargement always lies in that direction.
By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Cross and the Way of Life – Chapter 1