The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.2 Timothy 4:18(NASB)
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
What is spiritual growth? What is spiritual maturity? What is it to go on in the Lord? I fear we have got mixed ideas about this. Many think that spiritual maturity is a more comprehensive knowledge of Christian doctrine, a larger grasp of scriptural truth, a wider expanse of the knowledge of the things of God; and many such features are recorded as marks of growth, development, and spiritual maturity. Beloved, it is nothing of the kind.
The hallmark of true spiritual development and maturity is this: that we have grown so much less and the Lord Jesus has grown so much more. The mature soul is one who is small in his or her own eyes, but in whose eyes the Lord Jesus is great. That is growth. We may know a very great deal, have a wonderful grasp of doctrine, of teaching, of truth, even of the Scriptures, and yet be spiritually very small, very immature, very childish. (There is all the difference between being childish and child-like.) Real spiritual growth is just this: I decrease, He increases. It is the Lord Jesus becoming more. You can test spiritual growth by that.
The-Lord-Is-My-Banner. § When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! § The Lord has revealed our righteousness. Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. § We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. § Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. § The captain of their salvation.
My brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. § [Be] valiant for the truth. § Fight the Lord’s battles. § “Be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord, “and work … Do not fear!” § Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! § For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. § O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. § Lord, give us this bread always. § Mary … sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. § One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Rom. 8:37)
The world, the flesh, and the devil say, Be powerful. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit say, Be powerless - "for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9)
"There would be little harm in trying to imitate Christ if such an endeavor did not hide from us what our Lord really desires; and so keep us back from life more abundant.' Christ has come Himself into our hearts to dwell there, and what He wants is to live His life in us, as the Apostle Paul says, For to me to live is Christ.' Christ was the very source and mainspring of all he was and did. What a wonderful thing this is! We would be driven to despair if Christ had simply left us an example to follow or imitate, for we have no power within ourselves to do it. We must have a new source - a new spring of action, and Christ Himself wants to be just that for us." -E.C.H.
"The man in Romans Seven is occupied with himself, and his disappointment and anguish spring from his inability to find in self the good which he loves. The man of Romans Eight has learned there is no good to be found in self. It is only in Christ; and his song of triumph results from the joy of having found out that he is complete in Him.'" -H.A.I.
"I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me - I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me" (Phil. 4:13, Amp.).
There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.. for us. And the full price of sin, required by God had to be paid – paid in full that Friday. Christ was the final fulfilment of every Passover sacrifice slaughtered by Israel. No one but Israel could slaughter the Passover lamb.. for it was given to the Jews. And for nearly 2000 years each slaughtered Passover lamb pointed to the Lamb of God. Christ was also the final fulfilment of every sin sacrifice slaughtered by Israel.. a bloody sacrifice that had its source in the garden, when sin entered the world. A blood-soaked offering that Israel slaughtered each Day of Atonement, and for 4000 years, by faith, sins were covered, as they were in the garden, until that Final Sacrifice would be slain.
Christ was also the antitype of every burnt offering slaughtered since Abel. He was also the final fulfilment of every burnt offering killed by Israel. The burnt offering; an offering that was a sweet savor to the Lord. The Law called for one goat as a sin offering but multiple burnt offerings.
Every morning a sacrifice; each day for a burnt offering; a sweet savor to the Lord. Every evening – a sacrifice; a burnt offering; a sweet savor to the Lord. And throughout the year every feast day; every occasion for thanksgiving; a burnt offering; a sacrifice that was a sweet savor to the Lord. And Jew and Gentile alike offered burnt offerings for 4000 years of human history.. exemplified by the acceptable, burnt offering made by faithful Abel – in sharp contrast with the rejected, loathsome offering of rebellions Cain. And every burnt offering for four thousand years pointed to the final Burnt Offering – a sweet sacrifice to the Lord.
What is the difference between the sin offering and the burnt offering? The Sin Offering, is a COMPULSORY act of repentance; forgiveness for the sinner. The Burnt Offering is a VOLUNTARY actread more
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
He will be SILENT in His love.
God will do wondrous things if we learn the mystery of His silences.. and praise Him every time He withdraws His gifts, that we may better know the Giver. There are many times when God reveals nothing; when God commands nothing; when God gives no guidance; when God just does not seem to be there.
And yet there is no clearer path and no more important task than to grow – to grow day by day and moment by moment; to grow into a deeper knowledge of the Lord; to gain a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Beloved. "that I may know Christ…"
Sometimes, God may ask us to sit silently before Him, just to learn of Him. To ask no questions; to seek no answers; to learn of Him. Not just to learn about Him or His plans – to learn of Him.
Sometimes. He may speak no word that could be written down or examined. His Heart.. touching your heart. Zephaniah tells us: "He will be silent in His love". Spirit to spirit communion; "yet He answered her not a word…" But as we rest in His love; as we sit silently before Him and worship at His feet, He will bring that comfort and peace that only springs from resting in Him.
Oh, what a joy it is when earthly friends whose sensitivity towards each other, and love for each other can just sit in silence and wait in perfect understanding – just resting in the presence of the other. How much more should it be when the Lord Himself should so desire that we prove our love and friendship to Him, by asking us to wait. To wait for Him in secret silence. And in so doing, assuring Him that our love for Him is constant, and our faith in Him can stand the test of His silence,