Thursday, November 26, 2009

LIMITING GOD article by CR Dickey

LIMITING GOD

Among the magnificent peaks of the Absaroka Mountains in Montana there are many beautiful lakes. Some of them are nestled in the very top of the peaks. Shimmering there in the shadows of clouds and trees, they create the illusion of having wafted out of the heavens through rainbow mist to crown the gleaming, snow-capped mountains with halos.

One of the most interesting of these pools in the sky is Mystic Lake. It is thousands of feet above sea level and men have not yet been able to plumb its depth. But men did become aware of the dormant energy hidden beneath the surface of its deep placid waters. In order to use that energy, hardy engineers hauled machinery up the mountain and built a power plant to harness and distribute the vast resources. Then they released water from the lake and sent it tumbling down the steep, rugged slope. Energy thus created now supplies electricity and irrigation for many square miles of fertile valleys below. The process continues year to year, but the lake itself remains calm, and its resources apparently undiminished, after meeting the requirements of numerous homes and fields.

One of the things about this great power plant which particularly fascinates an observer is the ease with which the unleashed forces of nature can be controlled by man’s mechanical skill. A foreman delights to show the visitor how quickly he can manipulate the mighty forces at his command; by touching an electric button, he sets levers in motion that shut off the power entirely, or release it in any quantity desired.

Mystic Lake is a miniature illustration of the unknown, limitless resources of God. Certainly man has not measured the power of God, nor has he ever used it except in a very limited way, although it is not God who does the limiting. Man will not apply himself to learning the secrets of tapping spiritual energy with the same determination and assurance of success that lead him to the mastery of dynamos and other methods of producing physical energy.

A few years ago Charles P. Steinmetz went to Wellesley Hills to visit Roger W. Babson. In the course of conversation, according to a report in Utica Observer-Dispatch, Babson asked his guest, “What line of research will see the greatest development during the next fifty years?”

The scientist was quiet for several minutes. “The great discoveries,” he answered finally, “will be made along spiritual lines. We scientific men have spent our lives studying physical forces. And now --- having made the most sensational discoveries in the history of the world --- we learn that our knowledge has not brought people happiness. Material things will never bring happiness. Scientists must now turn their laboratories over to the study of God, and prayer, and the spiritual forces. Here is the field where miracles are going to occur. Spiritual power is the greatest of the undeveloped powers, and has the greatest future.”

Coming from a man of science, that is a remarkable statement. Spiritual power is the greatest of the undeveloped powers, said Steinmetz. What an unconscious rebuke to all of us who confess to be followers of Christ! Why is spiritual power still undeveloped after nineteen hundred years of Christianity? The answer is couched in Psalm 78, verse 41:

”Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

They --- the people --- God’s covenant people --- limited Him. The entire Psalm reviews Israel’s mountain peak experiences for the very purpose of showing the many times and ways they limited the operation of God’s power and thwarted the consummation of His great plans for their future. The Psalmist reminds us:

”He [the Lord] established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” (Ps. 78:5-8.)

Furthermore, the writer declared that the children of Ephraim had been defeated in the day of battle because:

”They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law; and forgat His works, and His wonders that He had shewed them.” (Ps. 78:10-11.)

When the covenant was confirmed at Mount Sinai, the people vowed, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” The Psalmist testifies that even though God, being full of compassion, had marvelously kept His part of the contract, Israel was notoriously faithless except for brief periods of repentance after severe chastisement:

”When He slew them, then they sought Him and they returned and inquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant….Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (Ps. 78:34-41.)

It is obvious from a study of Psalm 78, and many other chapters, that obedience to God unlocks floodgates and releases His power through men; conversely, disobedience limits the power of God to energize, enlighten and bless mankind according to His expressed desire and purpose. We can find little to condone the failures of Israel in the distant past; and, if that be true, surely there is even less excuse for limiting God in these latter days when He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and manifested His power through the Holy Spirit.

Human limitation of Divine power began in the early morning hours of recorded history. Limiting God was a cardinal sin in the earth long before the Israelites provoked and grieved Yahoveh in the Wilderness. It began in Eden, when our first parents dared to oppose the Divine Will, thereby frustrating the advancement of the original perfect order which its Creator had pronounced good. In so doing they shut off the glory of God’s illimitable power and consigned their posterity to “shallows and miseries.” We suffer the consequences to this day. On the other hand, the bow in the cloud has illumined the sky with prismatic beauty since the time of Noah, as a reminder of one man’s complete obedience to the holy purpose of God.

As individuals we continue to limit God. Notwithstanding all the compassionate efforts of Father, Son and Holy Spirit to show us the way, we have not recaptured the knowledge of utilizing the Father’s boundless resources. We accept the idea that “with God all things are possible,” forgetting that He permits us to limit Him by the exercise of our free wills. Each of us can shut out the Spirit of power from his own life, much as the engineer can control the volume of energy which flows from the mountain lake.

Doubtless, unbelief and disobedience are the most common obstacles to the development of spiritual power today, as in the time when the poet wrote Psalm 78 --- so little has the heart of man changed during the intervening centuries. Disobedience is usually the result of unbelief, since one rarely disobeys with willful intent until he first comes to doubt God’s Word. “All things are possible,” said Jesus, “to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). What man has sounded the depth of that statement? Who is strong enough in faith and courage to test it fully? Jesus Himself is the only one who never limited God, yet He said to His disciples:

”He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” (John 14:12.)

There is one truth in the New Testament which is emphasized by all its inspired writers, and that is no man can appropriate spiritual life and power save through his acceptance of Jesus Christ as the resurrected Son of God. Again Jesus declared:

”Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8.)

Now upon whom does the Holy Spirit come? We know that He comes only upon disciples who have first confessed their faith in Christ as the Son of God. When Christ becomes the author and finisher of a man’s faith, he is then ready to receive power from on High --- power to become --- and power to overcome:

”As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (John 1:12.)

“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:4-5.)

What amazing forces any humble man, woman or child can release from the throne of God by simply believing and doing all that the Bible teaches!

We are prone to reject spiritual forces because we cannot see and understand them. How inconsistent! One does not refuse to turn on his radio, although he can neither see nor explain the power which makes it work; one does not turn a deaf ear to the music of a great organ, even though he cannot see the wind and understand the electric energy which drives it so harmoniously through the pipes.

Someone has related a little story that illustrates the point. A tourist in Arizona accidentally backed his car off a bank into a deep hole. As there was nothing else to be done, he walked to the nearest garage for help. The place was close to a railroad track and, while the traveler was away, a work train came along with a big lifting crane. The train stopped and the crew let down the crane, picked up the automobile, lifted it out of the hole and set it in the road. Then the train went on its way. What was utterly impossible for one man was just a little amusement for the trainmen with their mighty steel lifter and giant locomotive. Soon the tourist returned and to his astonishment found his car in the road, ready to be driven off. He looked all around but could not imagine how it got there. He could see no signs of human hands, nor tracks of human feet anywhere; it looked miraculous, very mysterious to say the least. However, he accepted the miracle, got in his car and drove away rejoicing.

If we could fathom the tremendous forces which the Almighty commands, we would see that what we call miracles are but the operation of natural laws unrevealed to the mind of man. When we refuse to appropriate spiritual power because we cannot comprehend its laws, we are as foolish as the tourist would have been had he refused to ride in his car until he understood just how it got out of the ditch.

A God of love desires to bear the burdens of His people. He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. But we can’t turn them loose. We trudge through life weighted with all the imaginary woes of the past, present and future. We trust God to about the same extent as a well-meaning woman in the Texas Panhandle who, when asked if all varieties of crops had ever failed in the same year replied: “No --- but we are always expecting them to.”

As individuals we limit the desire of God to answer our prayers and bless us according to His gracious promises. Jesus taught:

I am the door: by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9.)

That is, he shall have access to the Lord’s abundant store house:

”Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened….What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them….Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.” (Matt. 7:7-8; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14.)

Who can measure the scope of those munificent words? Who really dares to try them?

Blind Bartimaeus sat begging on the highway between Jericho and Jerusalem. Jesus passed that way and said to him:

”What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (Mark 10:51a.)

Prompted by faith, newly born but undaunted, the blind man replied:

”Lord, that I might receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51b.)]/b]

If the average Christian of today stood before Jesus with the same affliction and opportunity as Bartimaeus, it is highly probable that the nearest he could come to the blind beggar’s faith would be to ask the Lord for a Seeing Eye dog. However, we honor God most by asking for the seemingly impossible things, especially if the motive is to exalt Him rather than to gratify our own selfish ends. James explains in his letter why we do not have the things we desire:

”Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume upon your lusts [spend it in your pleasures].” (James 4:2-3.)

Jesus could well say to us, as He said to the people of ancient Judea:

”O faithless and perverse generation.” (Matt. 17:17.)

As a nation we are limiting God. Even now we are shutting off the only power that can bring us the national blessings for which we sigh. After all, the nation is merely the individual multiplied, or “writ large,” as someone has said. What we are individually determines what our nation is to be. Just as God has promised to bear the burdens of the individual, so He has pledged to strengthen and uphold the nation that trusts in Him. Through the prophet God is speaking now to the nations of modern Israel:

”Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear….Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” (Isa. 48:12-18.)

In these perilous days of war, countless hearts are in anguish because peace has fled from the earth. Is there no balm in Gilead? no remedy for our besetting sin? no way to enlist the power of God in behalf of Christian people? Yes, there is a remedy --- a way out. It was given to one of Israel’s great kings.

”The Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chron. 7:12-14.)

Are the people of America ready and willing to meet these conditions? or will some future poet lament our departed glory in the words of the Psalmist --- “They limited the Holy One of Israel” (Ps. 78:41).

When the French went to the Isthmus of Panama to dig a canal, they took doctors, nurses and medicines, but fever took the doctors and nurses along with the workmen, so the French soon gave up the task. When Americans went to Panama, under the leadership of General Goethals, they too took doctors, nurses, and medicines; but they took also dredges for draining the swamps. By stopping the breeding of germ-carrying insects, the enemies of man were overcome and the canal was dug. In appreciation of his great achievement, someone has paid this tribute to General Goethals:

“A man went down to Panama
Where many a man had died,
To slit the sliding mountains
And lift the eternal tide;
A man stood up in Panama
And the mountains stood aside.”

When the redeemed of the Lord stand up in Israel and tap the secret springs of power from on High, then the fullness of God will flow into the nations with more happiness, beauty and progress than this old earth has ever known. Here, indeed is the field where miracles are going to occur, as the scientist predicted.
Articles from Biblical Treasures (Volume I) – C. R. Dickey

INTRODUCTION

The Staff at Destiny Publishers, having read all the articles written by the late C. R. Dickey (Christina R. Dickey) found in DESTINY Magazines from July 1938 to October 1967, received such a blessing from her writings that we wanted to share the information with all who are seeking God’s wonderful truths. We are hereby publishing all her articles in two volumes, which we believe you will find most inspiring and of genuine interest and value.

Her knowledge of the Scriptures was unbelievable so she must have had a very close association with her Lord, as she certainly became a champion for His cause.

Our late beloved editor, Howard B. Rand, realized her talent as he published many of articles in booklet form.

The reader should take into account the time element when each article was written, which was from the late thirties to the middle sixties. We found her articles to be up to the minute as though she had written them yesterday. Her writings on various subjects are backed up with Scripture verses, as well as with quotes from reliable sources, when making a point. From her writings, the Lord surely made use of her God-given talents.

Although we do not have any knowledge of her background, we do know that she was a Congregational minister. Her sermons given must have been of interest and value to her congregation. We are sure her articles contained in this book will do the same.

2 comments:

Graceful Moments said...

He (Jesus) is the only hope that we have that this nation will turn and seek Him and realize His mighty power.

Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring article. I will be looking for some of the other works by CR Dickey!

Hope you are well and happy and had a good Thanksgiving.
Blessings,
Vicki

Gina - RoseThistleArtworks said...

Thank you, Vicki. :) I hope you and yours had a very blessed much to be thankful for Thanksgiving, too.

Christina R Dickey wrote these articles between the mid 1930's-1968 and they are still so timely! It's amazing. A very good book about the Bible and America that she wrote is called "One Man's Destiny". It is wonderful explaining how the whole Bible is about one man's family and everyone they come in contact with. That family line that Jesus came through. Her work is blessed.

I agree with you in prayers for this God blessed and FREE nation that is a beacon for so many. Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

God bless you,
Gina