Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.John 3:5(NASB)
None of you can be My disciples unless you give up everything. (Luke 14:33 GW)
Nothing is truly established until it has been yielded up and has received the brand of the Cross upon it. Have you got that? Even though that may have been given to you from God, there is still always the danger of something in ourselves impinging upon something that God has given us. We insinuate ourselves into it, and make it ours somehow. This Self! This flesh! Oh, yes, God gives us a ministry and then we get hold of it and become jealous about our ministry and afraid of other people getting in our way and taking our ministry away from us; interfering with our ministry, you see. The flesh comes up in that way and in so many other directions and connections. God does something, and then we come into it. We get into the picture.
Somehow or other this flesh cannot keep itself out of even the things that God does by a miracle. We turn them to the glorification or the gratification of this flesh of ours, and even a thing which God may give and you are thinking perhaps of different things which God may give will never be established and confirmed until it has been yielded up and knows the mark of death to ourselves and that is only alive for and unto God, and we are only alive for and unto God in that connection, whatever it may be. The Cross is the way of Life in everything and immediately the Cross is nullified by this thing upon which the Cross says, "No, No!" Immediately anything of that comes up again, we counter the life of that thing, we strangle its life, we limit its life. We not only arrest the progress, but we bring into smallness God intention of multiplication. Why cannot God increase? And the answer is clearly and definitely this: that somehow or other man has come into this business of God and turned it to himself. The Cross has not been kept in its place to give God a clear, full, free way.
Thus says the Lord: “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness.” § I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. § I will visit you and perform My good word toward you … For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. § I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause—who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. § Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. § God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. § He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.
The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
It takes a good many years of sin and failure in order to see through our own motives. The growing believer finally learns to trust but one source of motivation: "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2).
"All of our motives will be tested by fire. Are we seeking personal influence, popularity, reputation, prestige, acceptableness, success? We may think our motives to be perfectly pure; but not until we pass into daily death, death to any or all of the above, and find ourselves despised and rejected of men,' our names cast out as evil, and a real hold-up (seemingly) of our work, do we really come to face the true purpose and motive of our having any place in the service of God. The Cross separating us from everything Adamic both within and without is a good test of motives.
"Men of God who have been truly used by Him have gone this way. Not upon our flesh - whether it be the gross flesh or the refined, soulish, educated flesh - will God allow His Spirit to come. Before there can be life for others there must be death for us (2 Cor. 4:12). Before there can be the fire of God there must be an altar and a sacrifice; and it must be the burnt offering." -T. A-S.
"Present your bodies a living sacrifice. . . which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, saith, "I thirst". Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Here our divine Redeemer utters His fifth word from the Cross.. I thirst. Here we view Love’s redeeming work completed so that Scripture would be fulfilled. He, Whose redemptive work was foreordained from eternity past... ordained from before the foundation of the world, had finished His task. All things.. towards which His lowly birth and suffering life pointed. All things, towards which 'all things' were now accomplished.. All things….
He had suffered pain and punishment as well as this craving for a little drink of water for six hours. He had hung in deep, lonely anguish, restraining His torment, until His task was finally completed. Here, our representative Man waited and waited - waited for Love’s accomplishment, before calling for His own physical need. Here our eternal, almighty Substitute demonstrates His humanity – His glorious, immortal, perfect humanity.
Here our Lord Jesus Christ cried out, "I thirst". "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth". THEY filled a sponge. THEY put it upon hyssop and THEY put it to His mouth. I wonder who THEY were? Disciples; Women; Soldiers; Bystanders; The Jews? I wonder who THEY were. Here, He was offered a stem of hyssop, with a sponge – moistened by sour vinegar. Here, one little act of kind compassion is all we witness of human tenderness - the only act of kindness, shown to Him, through His ordeal. We cannot but be thankful for this little ministry in giving momentary relief to this holy Sufferer.
But... we haveread more
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Be thou faithful.
"The grass is always greener!" How often have we heard this cliché, or even uttered these words ourselves. But shall not the God Who scheduled every day of our life before birth do right? Shall not the One Who knows the number of our hairs do righteously? Shall not the God of all the earth do right by us? Does His hand not lead us into the dungeon’s-doom as well as the mountain-tops?
Too often we look at the lives of others and see the great work done in them and we fret that in our own little, limited environment we seem ineffective. Our own little contribution is of little worth with little impact and little recognition. And yet as a child of God, it is He Who places us where He wills. If only we would submit to His calling in our lives. If we would only but accept His placement of us, in the world. It is He Who plants us in the earth – "to live and to work to His good purpose". Would that we accept this simple truth, that here and now I am where He chose to place me.
For to be in the place of His choosing, makes for quiet contentment of heart. To be in the will of the Father. makes for inner peace in the soul. Paul - bondservant of Christ, denied every comfort and wrote these words in his dungeon. "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content". And yet the restrictions of his environment did not prevent him from being used mightily, by the God to Whom he submitted his life.
Let me not seek to emulate others. Let me be content in all circumstances. Let Him use me where He wills, to His praise and His glory.
"Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one