How sweet are your words to my taste; they are sweeter than honey.Psalm 119:103(NLT)
We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
You look back on your life. You may be disappointed in many ways with your part in the business. You may be able to see many falterings and blunderings and mistakes that you on your side made. You may have sometimes felt that you were not the person for that job; God had made a mistake. Some of us have felt like that. And yet, as we look more deeply into God's ways with us and know God's principles, we see a wonderful logic in it all. You and I are called for something, laid hold of by God for something, put by God into something, and we feel God has made a mistake: "I am not the person for this, I never ought to have come into this, I have no qualifications for this, I am altogether the wrong peg here!" And yet, somehow or other, God does it. He enables you, He carries you through, He accomplishes the work to your own surprise and wonder. As you lay hold of the Holy Spirit, it is done - that is, if you do not sink down into yourself and give up and draw out because of what you are - but you lay hold of the Holy Spirit and you get through and marvel that you have got through, that the Lord has done this thing through you, through me.
That is very consistent with God's principles, that is no contradiction. It is most consistent with the deepest principles of God. No flesh shall glory in His presence. It is all coming back to Him. God - mark you - elected "the foolish things of the world... the weak things... the things that are not" (1 Cor. 1:27,28). It is the same word; He has elected. It is quite consistent. Yes, His ways are past finding out. "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform," but He is consistent with His principles. A life in the Spirit is one succession of confirmations that God is working out a plan. Only rebellion, stubbornness, self-assertiveness and all forms of self-life will hinder or arrest; but a life in the Spirit will be a constant succession of proofs, of evidences, that you were chosen for something. God is not dealing with you just from hand to mouth, piecemeal. It is all worked out. Good works are foreordained, "afore prepared, that we should walk in them." If we walk in the Spirit, we walk in afore prepared works; whether we see it or not, it is a fact. But it comes out, wonderfully so, and we have to go down and say, "Well, Lord, forgive us for arguing, forgive us for discussing the matter, forgive us for putting over our minds and what we think about it against You: You are wonderful, Lord." And we worship, and that is the proof of election, and you do not want better proof than that. It is all inside of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.
Behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” § And Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. § Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15.4).
The old life is a dead branch, and cannot abide in the Lord Jesus. Our new life is one spirit with Him: a living branch abiding in the True Vine. As we learn to rest upon this fact of our position in Him, abiding becomes our restful attitude.
"The path through the desert must be rough, and it is well that it is so; for there is no right-minded person who would not rather be set in a rough than a slippery' way. The Lord sees our need of being exercised by roughness and hardness, not only that we may find the rest at the end sweeter, but also that we may be the more effectually trained and fitted for the place we are yet to occupy."
"We are constantly ensnared by looking at secondary causes; we do not realize God in everything. Were we more alive to the fact that there is not an event which happened to us, from morning to night, in which the voice of our Father may not be heard, His hand seen, with what a blessed atmosphere would it surround us! Man and circumstances would then be received as so many agents and instruments in our Father's hand; so many ingredients in His cup for us. Thus would our minds be solemnized, our spirits calmed, our hearts subdued." -C.A.C.
"As a branch each believer is directly united to the True Vine, which receives all things needful through the care of the great Husbandman Himself. He will train and sustain every individual branch, the needs of each are upon His heart. The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek sunshine, and there to find rain. No, it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord." -J.H.T.
"I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
“Go ye therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations.”
Jesus Christ did not say - Go and save souls (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but - "Go and teach," i.e., disciple, "all nations," and you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples came back from their first mission they were filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus said - Don't rejoice in successful service; the great secret of joy is that you are rightly related to Me. The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts to our point of view.
The challenge to the missionary does not come on the line that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, that there is a wadge of callous indifference; but along the line of his own personal relationship to Jesus Christ. "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" Our Lord puts that question steadily, it faces us in every individual case we meet. The one great challenge is - Do I know my Risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God's sight, and foolish enough according to the world, to bank on what Jesus Christ has said, or am I abandoning the great supernatural position, which is the only call for a missionary, viz., bound less confidence in Christ Jesus? If I take up any other method I depart altogether from the methods laid down by Our Lord - "All power is given unto Me . . , therefore go ye."
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
Israel’s promised kingdom was put on hold, for their King had returned to heaven. Jesus had told his Jewish brethren that He would return at a very special time… Jesus would only return to set up His kingdom when Israel repented of their sins, acknowledged their offence and called on His name: for I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Matthew 23:39
What joy filled the hearts of the apostles and other believers after the resurrection. The reality of Christ’s resurrection gathered pace as more and more saw their Lord. He first appeared to Mary and the women, then Peter – then to James and His disciples in the upper room, His meeting with His absent apostle caused Thomas to cry out, my Lord and my God.
What joy must have rippled through the crowd of 500 who saw Him at the one time. He appeared over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God, and He gave them many convincing proofs that He was alive. Acts 1:3
How their hearts must have stirred as they heard Christ speak of His coming kingdom. For centuries the little nation of Israel had been expecting their promised Messiah, and for three days and three nights their hopes must have been dashed to the ground – for the One they thought was to redeem the nation – lay cold in a borrowed tomb.
But the shock-horror of the crucifixion melted on that glorious resurrection morn. Their deep despair changed to awe and wonder as He talked of the coming kingdom. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God, and curiosity prompted the question – When will You restore the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:3-4read more
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us……”
Hebrews 12: 1
In any courtroom the testimony of witnesses that can verify the truth is crucial. The number of available witnesses and the quality of their evidence is often critical, and from the start of creation there are many who witness to God’s faithfulness.. men and women who trusted God and proved Him to be faithful and true – men and women who grew into that great cloud of witnesses, of Hebrews 11.
For thousands of years such testimonials have affirmed the truth of God’s Word, and the Spirit of God has compiled this substantial witness into a worthy record – so that the Word of their testimony may bolster your faith and mine.
The witness of men and women of faith can be a great stimulus to our own trust, and these women and men who trusted God demonstrate what faith is all about. We live by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 – for without faith it is impossible to please Him. Hebrews 11:6
As believers we have been given a substantial testimonial through a cloud of witnesses. We have the first hand evidence of God’s gracious faithfulness towards His children. We have the clearest possible verification of what God requires from His children. God wants us to trust Him : to believe in His Word : to have faith in Him alone, and so He gives an extended list of named saints and unsung heroes who exemplify faith.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throneread more