Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?Isaiah 64:12(NASB)
The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 2:2,3 NIV)
We may have our different aspects of work. There are those Levites whose ministry is, shall I say, more essentially spiritual; it may belong to the vessels of the sanctuary. There are others whose work is in another direction. Mine it may be to mainly minister in the Word of the Lord, what a lot of people would call "the spiritual ministry," (I repudiate that suggestion that spiritual ministry is bound up with people who preach that is not spiritual ministry only). There may be others who minister in other spheres such as business life or household work. The Levites were divided into sections of different kinds of work. Some had the rougher work, the heavy bars and boards of the tabernacle, more physically strenuous than the carrying of the pots and the pans and the golden vessels and implements; but it was all Levitical work, they were all one people, one tribe. Responsibility rested upon all equally, for all these parts made one ministry. And so your sphere, your work and mine may differ, but it is one ministry, one calling, one responsibility, one testimony. This emphasis is upon taking it, assuming it, regarding ourselves as being responsible people in the testimony of the Lord.
I am sure the Lord heart must long for that. I am sure that often He has had, in looking at me, to say, "Oh, I wish I could trust him more! I wish he were more reliable, more responsible!" And I know that as I have looked at many of the Lord people I have said, "I wish that they did not need so much looking after; if only they would begin to stand on their own feet, and take responsibility, so that we need not worry about them any more, because we know that they can be trusted!" They need urging and encouraging; and all the time following up and putting right, because they have taken offence, and so on. If only they would take the responsibility and go right on in these things and not need to be looked after. How much more progress the testimony would make! Now may the Lord give us the grace to take our share in the sufferings as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, to be strengthened with the grace that is in Christ Jesus, to bear the testimony of the Lord.
It pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself. § Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.
I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil. § “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” § Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity? § Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace. § Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. § Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.
In the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. § A stone … cut out without hands. § “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. § The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.
To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God …The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how … But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”
I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly unto her" (Hosea 2:14).
As we begin to grow, we are governed; as we begin to mature, we are allured.
"By trial our Father reveals whether we can suffer His will as well as do it. By trial He weans us from the world, draws us to His Son, drives us to the Word and to prayer, and shows us our hearts, and makes us humble. We are to learn to be patient in the days of darkness. Our trials are not meant to do us harm, but good. Our Father chastens us for our profit, that we may become partakers of His holiness' (Heb. 12:10)." -J.C.R.
"The great teaching of the wilderness is dependence upon the Father. The really heavenly man must be in a scene like this the most dependent man; and whenever anyone learns his heavenly calling truly, and walks according to it conscientiously, he ever finds that new circumstances or trials occur, to keep him dependent; so that the truly heavenly man is the best wilderness man."
"If our affections are true to the glorified Lord Jesus, they will make this world a wilderness to us but if our affections do not make it a wilderness His government will. The Father loves us too well to allow our hearts to nestle here; and He makes us conscious that it is a wilderness that He may have opportunity in our loneliness and our sorrow to speak to our hearts. The Voice that could not be heard in the din and bustle, and amid the laughter of the city, can be heard in the silence and solitude of the wilderness." -C.A.C.
"Why has the Father brought you to despair? In order to stop you looking for any ground of hope in yourself; that you should not trust in yourself, but in God Who raiseth the dead."
"For the Father Himself loveth you" (John 16:27).
“Enoch walked with God.” Genesis 5:24
The test of a man's religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting on. The worth of a man is revealed in his attitude to ordinary things when he is not before the footlights (cf. John 1:36). It is a painful business to get through into the stride of God, it means getting your second wind spiritually. In learning to walk with God there is always the difficulty of getting into His stride; but when we have got into it, the only characteristic that manifests itself is the life of God. The individual man is lost sight of in his personal union with God, and the stride and the power of God alone are manifested.
It is difficult to get into stride with God, because when we start walking with Him we find He has outstripped us before we have taken three steps. He has different ways of doing things, and we have to be trained and disciplined into His ways. It was said of Jesus - "He shall not fail nor be discouraged," because He never worked from His own individual standpoint but always from the standpoint of His Father, and we have to learn to do the same. Spiritual truth is learned by atmosphere, not by intellectual reasoning. God's Spirit alters the atmosphere of our way of looking at things, and things begin to be possible which never were possible before. Getting into the stride of God means nothing less than union with Himself. It takes a long time to get there, but keep at it. Don't give in because the pain is bad just now, get on with it, and before long you will find you have a new vision and a new purpose.
The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.
From Bethlehem’s crude stable to His temporary sojourn in Egypt, little is known of Jesus, other than that the death of Christ was Satan’s evil plan from the start of His life. And following the visit of the eastern sages and His early years in the little town of Nazareth, all we are told was that the child Jesus, grew both spiritually and physically. He increased in wisdom, He grew in stature and He gained favour with God and man.
Oh, there are many false and spurious legends that have grown up surrounding the early life of the Lord, with untrue and foolish stories of childhood miracles He did – but all are erroneous and blasphemous and are the product of a vivid imagination. But what we do know is that the Boy Jesus lived a sinless life, which is equally true of the many silent years of His childhood as it is of His three intense years of ministry, for He was God and He was Man – not just for 3 years but throughout His whole life.
What we also know, however, is that the Lord Jesus learned obedience in His early years. He did not suddenly burst on the centre stage of history as a full-grown mature man.. rather He submitted to limitations of human maturation, as a member of mankind.
He was not permitted to forego the painful growth from childhood into adulthood, nor was He exempt from the hardships that accompanied His simple life in Nazareth. Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? was the initial response of Nathaniel when he first heard of Jesus, for this little, insignificant, Galilean town was despised – but how different Nathaniel’s post-resurrection realisation.. that Jesus was Lord and God.
His could not have been an easy life,read more
What a lot of practical commands there are in the Bible concerning preparation. How often are we warned of the foolish consequences of ignoring them.. yet how many of us really heed such cautions? How many of us truly obey His Word? “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… we are warned where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:20
This is not an airy-fairy tales of princesses and peas – or dungeons and dragons. This is no cute little bed-time fantasy to escape from the drudge of a hard life. This is the reality of God’s plans and purposes for each blood-bought child of His. Heaven and its wonders will still be rich and glorious in the future ages to come. Heaven will still be a fact when this world has slipped into a distant bygone age. And we are charged to store up treasure in the world to come – our heavenly home, and if we comply with this directive, we will be blessed both here and there.
But what does it mean to store up treasure? Should we give everything away, like the rich young ruler was instructed? Should we eat husks; sleep under cardboard; retire to a cave? – I doubt it.. but God does desire an undivided heart.. and He does know the evil intent of man’s mind.
God knows that your possessions; your home; your bank balance can become your god. He knows that in a divided heart, mammon and God cannot reign together, and mammon is so much more than money – much more than dollars or pounds. Mammon is the whole realm of riches, possessions, property, and commerce.. and God knows if our eye is not single – for God knows the inner heart.
But if our eyes are on Him, our vision is unimpaired andread more