"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.John 15:19(NASB)
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 ought never 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 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).
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Man was created by God to rule and reign and govern the kingdom of God – on earth. When Adam sinned, God set in motion a glorious plan that would redeem mankind. ‘The Seed’ of the woman was to crush the head of the old serpent.. called the devil, and down through the centuries, the Seed was passed from one generation to another. The Seed travelled through Enoch to Noah – from Noah to Shem and on to Abraham. It continued through Isaac... and Jacob, whom God renamed as Israel, prince with God.
The sons of Jacob became the 12 tribes of the little nation of Israel – the people of God. They were to be a holy people unto God, for He had chosen them to be a people for His own possession – selected from all the people groups on the face of the earth. Israel was to be a witness to the world that Yahweh was the one true and living God. God made Himself known to Israel, and they were to make God known to the world.
God chose to reveal Himself more and more to Israel, so that they would know Him as the powerful Creator God and trust in Him, as their loving Lord and gentle Saviour. "Before Me, there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I am the Lord; and there is no Saviour beside Me". Isaiah 43:10-11. Israel was to tell of God’s saving grace and turn the gentile nations back to Him – for God desires that ALL people know and love Him as Creator, Saviour and Lord.
Israel was to tell the good news of salvation to all the gentile nations of the world. Israel was to be God’s tool – to turn the nations back to Himself and His truth.read more
Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us……”
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 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 throne of God. Hebrews 12:1