Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.1 Corinthians 9:25(NASB)
For God loved the world so much.... (John 3:16 NLT)
There is a great weight made to rest upon that little word "for" – "For God so loved the world." We say that John 3:16 is the heart of the gospel: but it is much more than that, it is the heart of the universe. There is back of all things in this created universe a heart; not just a mind or a will, a design, a reason, a power, a fiat, but a heart. We are familiar with the attempts to prove there is a design in creation, that there is a mind behind the universe, and that a will brought it into being. That is all quite good and right; but we are not so often asked to consider that behind all there is a heart – and more heart than anything else. The reason, the will, the design, come from the heart. Everything takes its rise in the heart of God.
We have said much about the thoughts of God, the counsels of God. The nearer we get to the very center of things, the more we shall become affected by this fact, that right at the center is a heart. It is a heart that we shall come to eventually; not an explanation to satisfy our reason, nor a demonstration of power, but just a heart – but a mighty heart: and when we use that word rightly, we simply mean love. We speak of people being heartless. That means that they are without all that love means. Love is not the governing of things in their thoughts, actions, and motives; they are strangers to love. Heart then, for us, means love, and when we say that back of all things and at the center of all things there is a heart, we mean there is love.
We walk by faith, not by sight. § We love Him because He first loved us. § And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. § In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. § To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” § Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.
I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. § I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Bring out the best robe and put it on. § Be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord . . . that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.
That I may know Him" (Phil. 3:10).
Immaturity is selfish; maturity is selfless. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). "The question for the tried and tempted, the harassed and oppressed, is this: Which would you rather have, the power of Christ's hand in deliverance from trial, or the sympathy of His heart in the midst of trial?' The carnal mind, the unsubdued heart, the restless spirit, will, no doubt, at once exclaim, Oh! let Him only put forth His power and deliver me from this insupportable trial, this intolerable burden, this crushing difficulty. I sigh for deliverance. I only want deliverance.'
"But the spiritual mind, the subdued heart, the lowly spirit, will say, and that without a single particle of reserve, Let me only enjoy the sweet company of the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ in my trial, and I ask no more. I do not want even the power of His hand to deprive me of one drop of consolation supplied by the tender love and profound sympathy of His heart. I know He can deliver me, but if He does not see fit to do so, if it does not fall in with His unsearchable counsels, and harmonize with His wise and faithful purpose concerning me so to do, I know it is only to lead me into a deeper and richer realization of His most precious sympathy.'" -C.H.M.
"The same faith that sees glory for us at the end of the path sees God for us all through the path. This is the secret of real strength. What unbelief does is to compare ourselves and our own strength with circumstances. What faith does is to compare God with circumstances."
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ" (2 Cor. 1:5).
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 1:17
Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel; but remember what Paul means by "the gospel," i.e. the reality of Redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are apt to make sanctification the end-all of our preaching. Paul alludes to personal experience by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God. The fact that Redemption can be experienced by us is an illustration of the power of the reality of Redemption, but that is not the end of Redemption. If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things for ourselves - some thing for me to be delivered from! When we touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never bother God any further with little personal plaints.
The one passion of Paul's life was to proclaim the Gospel of God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulations, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities; in reproaches; in needs; in persecutions; in distresses – for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul had his own ‘Job Experience‘, cataloging innumerable devastating happenings. Circumstances, that like Job’s, were designed to cause Paul to “curse God and die…” Life situations, like your own, where Satan seeks to shipwreck your trust in God. God permitted His “messenger” Satan, to buffet both his servants.. Job and Paul, and the Lord permits Satan to deliver a thorn in the flesh of all His bond-slaves.. and Paul lists the five things that made up his own ‘thorn in the flesh’ – and yours. And they are.. infirmities… reproaches… needs… persecutions… distresses… Five things that Satan utilised to destroy the faith of Job – and Satan failed. Five things that Satan used to shipwreck the faith of Paul – and Satan failed.
And Paul’s cry of joy proclaims, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ – for Paul knew, just as Job knew that “my Redeemer Lives…” Yes- there are 5 things that Satan is using to demolish and utterly shatter Your own faith, and they are: infirmities.. reproaches.. needs.. persecutions.. distresses.. It looked as if these five things would terminate Paul’s ministering service.. just as Satan expected that these same five things to end Job’s intercessions – just as Satan aspires to curtail His work in you and in me.
But Paul and Job both discovered: My grace is sufficient.. My grace is sufficient. My grace is sufficient for thee… for my strength is perfected in your weakness” 2Corinthians 12:10. It looked to Paul that these five things would terminate his apostolic ministry. This was Satan’s intent in the lives of Paul and of Job – just as it is in your life, and mine. But instead these five conditions were used by God to fulfil Hisread more
He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved.
Song of Solomon 5:16
We all……. are changed…….by the Spirit of the Lord
2 Corinthians 3:18
Conformed into the image of His Son
A Christian is not only one who believes differently from others. A Christian is one who IS different from others. Deep changes take place in the heart by the work of the Spirit of God. The Spirit is working in us – first to will the good – and then to do the good. First right decisions…. Then right desires. The Christian is marked by an uprightness of moral qualities. Then comes a transparency of inner motives, and then a displayed of beauty of character.
Qualities of character that reflect a true Christian testimony – not only in word alone.. but in disposition and in deed; in mind and in motive; in action and in attitude; in conscious thought and unconscious thinking – in gentleness of spirit and long-suffering of heart. Lord change me thus.. that the beauty of the Lord may be seen in me. That the loveliness of the Beloved is shown forth in me. That I may be a reflection of His comeliness. That I may be a channel of blessing through whom He flows to others.
This is only possible as I submit to the working of the Spirit of God, deep in the recesses of my soul.. searching the depths of my heart – trying the inner secrets of my very being. It is His life which must be in evidence; His Spirit, imparting and renewing His own life within – the beauty of the Lord shining forth….
Personal traits of character must be replaced.. sanctified by His features.. consecrated by the one Who is altogether lovely. Until His comeliness is seen in me.. as His life is growing up within. Oh Lord.. change me into the image of Jesus. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked wayread more