"I have heard the taunting of Moab And the revilings of the sons of Ammon, With which they have taunted My people And become arrogant against their territory.Zephaniah 2:8(NASB)
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into a right relation. Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense falls. Faith must be tried before the reality of faith is actual. "We know that all things work together for good," then no matter what happens, the alchemy of God's providence transfigures the ideal faith into actual reality. Faith always works on the personal line, the whole purpose of God being to see that the ideal faith is made real in His children.
For every detail of the common-sense life, there is a revelation fact of God whereby we can prove in practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle which always puts Jesus Christ first - Lord, Thou hast said so and so (e.g., Matthew 6:33), Lord, it looks mad, but I am going to venture on Thy word. To turn head faith into always a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes. God brings us into circumstances in order to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make its object real. Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we can not have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say - "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," we have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him. (1 Kings 18:21 ESV)
That word was never addressed to the unsaved. It was never intended for them. It is only rarely that the unsaved are in the position of two opinions. More often than not they are of no opinion. This is what the prophet really said to the people: "How long limp ye from one side to another?" He viewed them as lame, and lamed by uncertainty, lamed by indecision, paralyzed by an unsettled issue. Oh, how an unsettled issue does paralyze the life. Have a controversy with the Lord, an unsettled issue with the Lord, and your whole life is lamed, is paralyzed; you are limping first one way and then the other; there is no sense of stability about your way.
So the prophet called for the issue to be settled. How long limp ye from one side to the other? Settle this issue one way or the other. If Jehovah be God, let Him have His place, His full rights; settle it once and for all. If Baal is god, well then let it be settled. But until that is done you are crippled, you are paralyzed, and the whole secret of your being in that weak, indefinite, unstable, uncertain place is that God is not having His full rights; there is a dividedness in your life, a dividedness in your own soul, because other interests and considerations are in view.
The dividedness may be in your home life, where you have power, authority and influence, and you are not standing one hundred percent for the Lord’s interests there. It may be working in other directions, but wherever it is present the result is that deep down in your being you are not satisfied, you are not at rest. You may be busy, you may be occupied, you may be rushing hither and thither in the Lord’s name, but you know that deep down there is a lack, an uncertainty, an unsettled state; your spiritual life is limited and paralyzed. It will always be so until the issue is settled and God has His place in fullness in every part and relationship of your life. It is a question of zeal for the Lord, jealousy for the Lord.
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?
God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. § Born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. § My Spirit remains among you; do not fear! § The battle is not yours, but God’s.
The Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s.
Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You … So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word … Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope … Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage … The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver … Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations.
God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.
Exceedingly great and precious promises.
He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).
When one begins to realize the complexity of simple spiritual growth, he learns to keep his hands off, and his faith on.
"Regeneration is a birth: the center and root of the personality, the spirit, has been re-created and taken possession of by the Holy Spirit. But time is required for that center to extend through all the circumference of our being. It is akin to a seed: the life of the Lord Jesus within must grow; and it would be against the laws of nature and grace alike if we expected from the babe in Christ the strength that can only be found in the young man, or the rich experience and stability of the fathers. Even where in the new convert there is great singleness of heart and faith, with true love and devotion to the Saviour, time is needed for a deeper knowledge of the old man and sin, for a spiritual insight into what the Father's will and grace are." -A.M.
"The process of conformity to the Lord Jesus' image is going on day by day in the growing believer's life. It is a progression from obedience to obedience, from dependence to dependence, from righteousness to righteousness, and from love to love. As the maturing one gets a larger vision of his perfect Pattern through the daily study of God's Word, he takes higher ground along the line of that blessed revelation, so that his life is a progressive growing up into the Lord Jesus in all things." -R.P.
"The more the believer abounds in the riches of the Father's grace, the more unsearchable and inexhaustible he finds them to be. The spiritual man never stops growing, because he is always reaching upward to that still higher height that is just beyond." -R.P.
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).
“Faith as a grain of mustard seed…” Matthew 17:20
We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, it may he so in the initial stages; but we do not earn anything by faith, faith brings us into right relationship with God and gives God His opportunity. God has frequently to knock the bottom board out of your experience if you are a saint in order to get you into contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings. Your earlier life of faith was narrow and intense, settled around a little sun-spot of experience that had as much of sense as of faith in it, full of light and sweetness; then God withdrew His conscious blessings in order to teach you to walk by faith. You are worth far more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight and thrilling testimony.
Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God's character has to be cleared in our own minds. Faith in its actual working out has to go through spells of unsyllabled isolation. Never confound the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, much that we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts Him - I will remain true to God's character whatever He may do. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" - this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law.
When my son was at Bible College a friend grabbed his Bible and tore out one page! It was a blank page.. the page separating the old testament from the new testament. His friend inserted the solitary page into the bible between John chapters 19 and 20.
The vital lesson my son learned, more than compensated for a torn page in his Bible.. the cross is the essential, pivotal point in the history of the universe. The cross is the central focal point within time and through eternity. The cross is the critical spot that separates the times of Israel from the Church.
It is vital to see the cross as the essential, pivotal point in the history of the universe. The cross was the juncture when Christ could say, Telestai – It is finished. The cross was the moment that the powers of Satan were defeated – forever. The cross was the occasion when Christ became head of God’s New Creation.
The gospels were written about a period of time in world history, that was pre-cross. The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus took place before today’s church age started. God sent His Son to the world at the right time – born of woman, born under the law.
John the Baptiser was the last and the greatest of the old testament prophets of God. John came announcing the arrival of the long-awaited, promised King of Israel. He came preaching in the wilderness of Judea: repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near Matthew 3:1-2
This final prophet of Israel witnessed to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God. The times of refreshing had arrived – all Israel needed to do to repent of their sins – to repent of the nations' apostasy – to turn back to God – to acceptread more
let us therefore …… look unto Jesus”
Christians are repeatedly reminded in Scripture to live by faith. Not faith in the power of faith – but faith in Jesus, the Son of Man. Not faith in the power of prophecy – but faith in Jesus, the Son of Man. Not faith in the power of positive thinking – but faith in Jesus, the Son of Man – not faith in the power of your Christian walk – but faith in Jesus, the Son of Man. If our focus is correct, then our vision and hearing will be unimpaired. If our focus is incorrect, then our vision and hearing will be distorted.
The book of Hebrews spends eleven chapters warning of the need of faith in Christ. For over ten chapters we are given a series of warnings and a succession of truths. The next chapter outlines a cloud of faithful witnesses that are examples for us to heed.. and then we arrive at chapter 12, which starts with the word: Therefore. – “Therefore,” ….because of all that has been written in Hebrews up to now, “Therefore,” ….because of what the author has been saying in the book ’til now.
“Therefore,” ….we are exhorted: therefore let us lay aside every weight, and let us lay aside the sin (of unbelief as demonstrated in earlier chapters) let us lay aside this sin which so easily ensnares us – lack of trust in God and let us run with patient endurance the race that is set before us…” But this trinity of demands has its focus on a person – the Lord Jesus, the Son of Man Let us look to JESUS…. If our focus is correct, then our vision and hearing will be unimpaired. If our focus is incorrect, then our vision and hearing will be distorted.
This first verse of ch. 12 is the catalyst for all who would be faithful servants of God. Here are the most important instructions for all maturing believers. A man must notread more