THE TEACHER TOOK me around the back of the common hall where there was a blank canvas on a wooden easel and, to its right, a second wooden easel on which rested a beautiful and intricate painting of a landscape.
“Your assignment,” he said, “is to copy this painting.”
“But I don’t know how to paint.”
“That’s the challenge,” he replied. “I’ll be back in a few hours.”
For the rest of the afternoon I tried my best to reproduce what I saw on the canvas. But for all my efforts, the result looked like something a preschooler would have done. When the teacher returned, there was a long silence as we both stared at my work.
“You won’t forget this lesson,” he said. “You were trying to reproduce the work of a master. Most of those in the kingdom do the same thing.”
“Try to reproduce the righteousness of God. They know what’s right and good and holy. They know what a godly life looks like. And they try to live it. The goal is worthy. But the way they go about achieving that goal is wrong.
They’re doing what you just did, trying by their own abilities to reproduce the work of the Master. And to do that is to compete with God. And if you could do that, you wouldn’t need God. Only God can do the works of God. And a holy life is the work of God.”
“Then how can we do it,” I asked, “if God is the only one who can?”
“Then that’s the key. God must do it. And you must let Him.
Key Point: Imagine if, instead of trying to copy this painting, you were given the artist’s heart and mind, his skills, and his spirit. Then it wouldn’t be a struggle, nor would it be a copy. It would be as if the master was painting through you. Therein lies the key.
Don’t compete with God by trying to copy His works. But learn the secret of letting God work His works in everything you do. If you live with the heart of God, you’ll do the works of God. If you live by the Spirit of God, you fulfill the will of God. Move in His moving. Love in His loving. Live in His living, and be in His being. As for that painting you did . . .”
“It’s a mess,” I said. “And I think I’ll keep it . . . as a reminder.”
“Live by the Spirit of the Master,” said the teacher, “and that which you do will be a masterpiece.”
The Mission: Today, instead of focusing on the works of God, seek to live in the heart and Spirit of God—and you will accomplish the works of God.
Ezekiel 36:27; Galatians 5:16, 22–25; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:21
The Poem of God….
WE RETURNED TO the garden where we first saw the man who was trimming the branches.
“Do you remember what you saw here?” asked the teacher.
“The man trimming the branches,” I answered. “The pruning.”
“And what is the purpose of pruning?”
“Pruning removes the branches from a tree that hinder its fruitfulness or its well-being, to allow it to become as fruitful as possible.”
“Pruning, therefore, is critical to living a fruitful life in God, so God prunes the lives of His children. But in order to live a fruitful life, you must also be part of the process. You must learn also how to prune yourself.”
At that, he led me over to a tree in need of trimming. He handed me two of the gardener’s tools, a pruning hook and a pair of pruning shears.
“Do you see this?” he said. “It’s a diseased branch. If it’s not cut off, it will harm the tree. Any action, course, or habit of sin in your life is a diseased branch and will hinder you from living a fruitful life in God. Prune it off.”
So I did.
“And this here is a dead branch, once fruitful but now detrimental to the tree’s health. Any action or expenditure of energy in your life that produces no fruit, even if it once did, is a dead branch. You must prune it off.”
So I did.
“And these branches here are hindering the tree by blocking sunlight from the tree’s most fruitful branches. So in your life, anything you do that keeps you from receiving from God, from dwelling in His presence and His Word, is a hindering branch.” He pointed downward. “And these branches here are too low. They stand for all the low pursuits, indulgences, and actions that drain away your time and energy from the higher things to which God has called you. Cut them off. Cut them all off,” he said.
“From my life?”
“Absolutely. But from the tree as well, as an object lesson. Cut them all off. It will not harm the tree, but help it. So it is with your life. By giving up, you will gain. Make it a continual practice, and you will become spiritually healthy, strong, great, and fruitful. Prune thyself . . . and you will bear much fruit.”
The Mission: Today, identify in your life the dead branches, the diseased, the hindering, the wasteful, and the low—and cut them off. Prune thyself.
Mark 1:35; 10:29–30; John 15:1–5
The Secrets of Pruning I–III…
THE TISHRI REVELATION
THE TEACHER LED me into one of the smaller rooms within the Chamber of Scrolls.
“Tishri,” he said, “is the most intense of Hebrew months . . . the month that closes the sacred Hebrew year. And if the sacred Hebrew year holds the mystery of the age, then the closing month of the sacred year, Tishri, will hold the mystery to the closing of the age. And could it be that Tishri also holds the mystery to the closing of God’s Word itself?”
“The closing of the Bible? The Book of Revelation?”
“Yes, could the month of Tishri hold the mystery of Revelation?”
At that he retrieved one of the scrolls and unrolled it on the wooden stand.
“The Book of Revelation,” he said, pointing to the scroll. “Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred year, seven, the number of completion. And what do we find in the Book of Revelation? It’s saturated with the number seven. And how does Tishri, the seventh month, open up?”
“With the Feast of Trumpets?”
“‘And I saw the seven angels,’ said the teacher as he read from the scroll, ‘who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. ‘
“What do we see in the Book of Revelation? The Feast of Trumpets. And what else is Tishri? Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment. And what do we see in Revelation? ‘The hour of His judgment has come.’ And as man and God stand face-to-face on Yom Kippur, so too in the Book of Revelation. In the month of Tishri, God is proclaimed King. So too in Revelation. And in Tishri comes the Feast of Tabernacles, the greatest of celebrations, the kingdom feast, and the time of tabernacling with God in the Holy City. So Revelation closes with God’s kingdom on earth, celebration, and God tabernacling with His people in the Holy City, as it is written, ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men.’”
“You forgot one,” I said. “Tishri closes with Shemini Atzeret, the mystery day.”
“Yes,” said the teacher, “the day that speaks of eternity. And so Revelation closes with the same day, the day of eternity . . . ‘and they shall reign forever and ever.’ You see, the purposes of God have only perfect endings. And so for those who let Him write their story, the ending is the same . . . perfect. Their ending . . . is heaven.”
The Mission: In the end, we will appear in the light of God with nothing hidden. Prepare for that day. Remove all darkness. Live now in total light.
Leviticus 23:23–44; Revelation 8:2; 14:7; 19:16; 20:4; 21:3; 22:5
The Lion of Tishri….
THE PURPLE MYSTERY
THE TEACHER WAS holding a purple cloth and running it through his fingers as if inspecting it. He then placed it in my hands.
“The color purple,” he said. “It was woven throughout the Tabernacle, on the veils and curtains, even in the garments of the priests. Now look at the cloth I gave you. It’s purple. It should be made up of purple threads, but it’s not. If you look closely, you won’t find any.”
So I examined it. And as he had said, I was unable to find in the cloth a single purple thread. Instead, it was made up of tiny blue and red threads finely woven together.
“Purple is the joining of blue and red. And if you looked at the veils of the Tabernacle, you would find the colors blue, purple, and red. The colors appear in the instructions for building the Tabernacle over and over, the same three colors and in the same order ‘blue, purple, and scarlet.’”
“The Tent of Meeting was the place of the joining, the reconciliation, the meeting of two realities, God and man.”
“And so the colors represented God and man?”
“Blue is the color of the sky, the heavens . . . representing the heavenly, God. So the blue is first.”
“And the color red . . . scarlet?”
“In Hebrew, the word for man is adam. Adam comes from the Hebrew word for red. Red is the color of the Middle Eastern earth from which man came. And scarlet red is the symbol of sin and guilt. Red is the color of man . . . So then what is purple? Purple is the joining of blue and red. And so it speaks of the joining of God to man, heaven joined to earth. But for there to be purple, it must be a total joining . . . the joining of all that is holy to all that is not, all of God to all that is us . . . to all that is you. . . so totally joined that God will appear as sin. And as that total joining drew near, the Heavenly One was beaten and mocked and made to wear a crown of thorns . . . And then He was covered with a with a robe. And do you know what kind of robe it was? It was a purple robe . . . a purple robe to cover the One in whom heaven and earth, God and man, blue and red . . . become completely one . . . purple.”
The Mission: Today, join all that is red to all that is blue. Join all that is ungodly to God and God to the ungodly—so much so, it becomes purple.
Exodus 26:31; John 19:1–6; Philippians 4:5–7; 1 Timothy 1:15
The Purple Mystery I–IV…
Excerpt From: Jonathan Cahn. “The Book of Mysteries.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/v7hZdb.l