"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)
You are the light of the world —like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 NLT)
In speaking of the light of the Lord's heavenly people we are touching again a very solemn, and serious, and important feature, something which has a tremendous history associated with it. The entire history of the Lord's people, and of the spiritual life, is one of light and darkness, of truth and falsehood, of purity and adulteration or mixture, of clearness and cloudiness, of openness and secretiveness.... Truth may be in word, in doctrine, but there has to be a corresponding truth in heart, truth in life. Light may be a matter of doctrine, but there has to be a corresponding state of light in the heart. The enemy will not object to us having plenty of the former kind of light and truth, but, if he can, he will seek to destroy its real value by introducing a lie over against it, a contradiction....
Remember that God never builds in the dark; that is, there can be no constructiveness where there is not light. Before ever God would bring this world back into order and fruitfulness He said: "Let there be light." God is out for the manifestation of the truth. God's works are never darkness, and we can never know constructiveness and progress unless there is absolute light. You know quite well that you cannot go on with people who are not straight, people who are crooked, people who are all the time furtive, not open, not frank, who have somewhere in the background a secretiveness. You have to say, "I cannot go on with that one." God is like that too. He would say to any one of us who might be there, "I cannot go on with you until you are absolutely out in the open, until you have come to a place where you are going to be perfectly honest." Reality is God's demand for any kind of work that He will do. There may be many weaknesses, many imperfections, but if there is genuineness, reality, and openness before God, where the spirit is clear and pure, God can go on with His work. But immediately we begin to lock something up inside, hold something back, cease to be perfectly open before God, the work stops. Light in the sense of clearness is an essential for the building of the city of God, because the ultimate purpose for that city is to shine forth with that glory of God in character. With Him there is no variableness, neither shadow cast by turning. That means that God can be relied upon. May the Lord make us like that.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. § Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. § God … alone is wise. § Do not be wise in your own eyes.
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. § And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest …. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”
In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven … For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. § Having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
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. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever" (Isa. 32:17).
The triune God is in His element within a quiet, resting assured spirit.
"Just as a sinner is taught to rest in the Lord Jesus' shed Blood for his forgiveness, so must the saint rest in the Lord Jesus for his deliverance from the power of sin and the grip of the law - yes, and from himself, also. Therefore we should not be in bondage to sin, for he that hath died (and that is everyone who is in the Lord Jesus) is justified (or released) from (the power of) sin' (Rom. 6:7); and we are now under grace, which does not demand righteousness of us, for the Lord Jesus was made unto us righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).
"The believer truly walking in the liberty wherewith Christ hath set him free (Gal. 5:1), has Him ever before his eye of faith; delighting that because of Him he is in the Father's favor. He evermore learns to abhor himself as he sees the sinfulness of the old man within, only to delight himself the more in the Lord Jesus who is his life." -W.R.N.
"It is only too possible for us to harbor feelings of resentment even against the Father Himself; and what inner turmoil results from such an attitude. Until we deliberately enter the stillness of the acceptance of His will, we live in chaos. Once we lay aside our rebellion in the tomb, and place our confidence in our Father, and in His love for us in the Son, we are obeying the command, Be still,' and we gain an understanding of the God of deliverance we could gain in no other way. Then we shall be in position to help others."
"Their strength is to sit still" (Isa. 30:7).
“To him that overcometh… .” Revelation 2:7
Life without war is impossible either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual life is antagonism. This is the open fact of life.
Health is the balance between physical life and external nature, and it is maintained only by sufficient vitality on the inside against things on the outside. Everything outside my physical life is designed to put me to death. Things which keep me going when I am alive, disintegrate me when I am dead. If I have enough fighting power, I produce the balance of health. The same is true of the mental life. If I want to maintain a vigorous mental life, I have to fight, and in that way the mental balance called thought is produced.
Morally it is the same. Everything that does not partake of the nature of virtue is the enemy of virtue in me, and it depends on what moral calibre I have whether I overcome and produce virtue. Immediately I fight, I am moral in that particular. No man is virtuous because he cannot help it; virtue is acquired.
And spiritually it is the same. Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," i.e., every thing that is not spiritual makes for my undoing, but - "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." I have to learn to score off the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness; then it becomes a delight to meet opposition.
Holiness is the balance between my disposition and the law of God as expressed in Jesus Christ.
Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the Power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
God revealed to all His children the above-all abundance and riches of His grace. Paul prayed that we’d realise God’s above-all abundance and His gracious riches, and we are to appropriate the riches of His grace and His above-all abundance. And how we love to read these words and try to imagine His above-all abundance, but do we honestly accept these words as fact – or view them as a lovely fantasy?
Do we assume that this may be true for godly saints – but cannot be meant for me? Do we look at our lives and say this is an impossible dream that can only be a joke? When we view God’s truth as fanciful – it is exhibiting distrust in His holy word. When we dismiss scripture as a pipe-dream, we’re not trusting His precious promise.
More often than not – this is because we are looking within for power in our lives. Time and again we turn to other people to be our strength; our support and our supply. But God promises to provide all our needs according to the His riches of His grace – and He will wait for us to realise that He alone is our above-all abundant God.
Never forget that God is able – He’s able to do abundantly above all we imagine. God’s mighty power raised Christ from the dead and put new life into His children. His great strength placed us into Christ and incorporated us into His own body – is He not able to address the difficulties and distresses in life that you are facing? Of course He is! He’s the over-abundant, all-powerful, Creator of the whole universe.
He’s the One Who raised us up and seated us togetherread more
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We can neither earn God’s blessings nor forfeit them based on our performance. Our performance, whether great or deplorable has no influence on His blessings. Irrespective of our performance we are all dependent on God’s undeserved favour – but how often we fall into the trap of trying to say and do things to make us deserving of God’s favour!
We think more bible-reading, prayer, financial giving or good works will gain us blessings, but somehow it seems to conflict with all that we understand about God’s grace. We know that scripture exhorts us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and it is the work of the Spirit to carry out this sanctifying transformation in us – we are to cooperate with Spirit’s work in our lives – not to do it in our own flesh.
To try to sanctify ourselves ends up as ‘works of the flesh’ produced by our sin nature. It is by grace that we are sanctified, as we submit to the work of the Spirit within. Yet we are told to make every effort to be holy and strive to live peaceably with all. We are exhorted to pursue holiness – to press towards godliness as life’s priority.
But how can striving towards godliness harmonise with the Spirit’s work in us? How can the diligent pursuit of sanctification be compatible with resting in Christ? How can striving towards holiness be rooted and grounded in the passivity of grace? The earnest pursuit of holiness seems to be at odds with 'letting go and letting God'.. but unless our striving and pursuit of holiness is anchored in His grace, we will fail. The pursuit of holiness is only achievable if secured by God’s transforming grace.
It seems to be connected with right thinking – with aligning our thoughts withread more