He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."Acts 19:2(NASB)
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for His Body. (Colossians 1:24 NLT)
Paul knew something of that "suffering for His Body's sake"; "filling up that which was lacking of the sufferings of Christ." We must face that! The thing that is going to count for God is the sharing in His travail.
There is all the romance of Christian work but, that is mere glamor; all the enthusiasm and interest of organized Christian activity; but it is not what we are before men in this matter that counts, but what we are before God in the secret place, having heart concern for the Lord's testimony. Have you a burden, a passion? Is the breakdown in the Lord's testimony in the earth among those upon whom His Name is called a heartbreak to you? We shall never get anywhere till, in measure, His travail is entered into by us. Ministry, in its real, abiding, eternal value, will depend upon the measure in which the travail is entered into by us. This is a day for travail: whether it be a travail for the unsaved or for the Lord's people; every true spiritual activity is born out of travail, and those who have been most used of the Lord in every time have been men and women who have had this travail in their soul, in their secret life with God. Have you got it? Perhaps you say no. Then ask the Lord to bring you into His concern; stretch yourself out before God to be brought into His burden for the time in which you live.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. § The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable. § Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. § Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. § O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!”
Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water… Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake" (2 Cor. 4:11).
The indwelling Lord Jesus is the source of our life of liberation; the Cross is the means to it. As we abide in Him and He in us, we are to reckon upon the finished work of Calvary to deal progressively with self. It is on this basis alone that the life of Jesus will be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 4:11).
"God has taken the old creation and has condemned it in Christ, and is now working on the new creation. There is no place in the plan of God for the betterment of the old creation. He does not bring about some kind of transformation of the old man so as to produce some kind of resemblance to Christ in Christian character and conduct. There is only one place for the old creation, and that is the Cross.
"But it is not enough for us to say it is there crucified with Christ. Crucifixion was a lingering death, and while we stand once for all upon the fact of God, which is eternal and unchangeable, when our Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross He took more than our sins with Him; He took our old man and dealt with the source of all our sin, and dealt with it satisfactorily. While we stand on that fact, there has to be the daily working out of the victory which Christ has won for us; there has to be the daily dying to this old self. The Holy Spirit has to work into us the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in all its wonderful power and purpose." -G.W.
"Being made conformable unto his death" (Phil 3:10)
“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye on the housetops.” Matthew 10:27
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God's hand until we learn to hear Him. "What I tell you in darkness" - watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don't talk to other people about it; don't read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation - What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.
Christ made some very bold statements throughout His ministry. Do not fear life and do not fear death, were both staggering statements – but perhaps the boldest statement of all was, fear not that which is after death! All three statements are addressed to the believer – the one that is in Christ. Both life and death are difficult without the revelation from God. Both living and dying are dark.. without a knowledge of the Lord. Oh, yes.. life and living.. death and dying are terrifying, if we don’t know Jesus, but what hopeless pitch-blackness lies beyond the icicled fingers of death.
If the Scriptures are not the Word of Truth, then we too are in deep blackness – but His Word is living; powerful; sharper than any two-edged sword. His Word IS to be trusted. The Bible is our guide regarding what is to happen in this life and the life to come, but the Word contains truths that must chill the heart of the unsaved, sinner.. for it tells of a world of tribulation, judgement, and retribution. It tells of a day when all men must stand before the judgement seat of Christ.. a day when God will judge the secrets of mans’ heart: the works of mans’ hands. A day that every man shall receive according to that which is done in the body.. whether good or evil. The world is full of dread and terror and yet the Lord knowing this can say: fear not that which is after death. How can He say this and what is in store for them that love and trust Him?
It is because He can say with authority and grace:- I am He that lives and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore and I have the keys of death and hell. The knowledge of the living Lord alters everything for the one that is in Christ. The believer does not go through life alone – however disappointing and difficult. The believer doesread more
When ye pray, say, Our Father…
Jesus said “I and my Father are ONE.
He is “…My Father, and your Father…..My God, and your God.
..as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do I. Love one another, as I have loved you…
John 14:31 / John 15:12
I have glorified Thee on the earth and I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.
The haughty, touchy, offended, deities of religion, that require sacrificial appeasement are unapproachable – inflicting pain and penance and leaving a cold, empty void. The all too frequent faults and failures of an earthly father, are falsely linked to representing the character of an angry God, where mental or physical abuse; anger; accusation; criticism or sarcasm.. lack of encouragement or disinterest, indifference; intimidation; over-protectiveness; over-bearance, and so much more all combine, to inflict deep-rooted wounds in the heart, and a deep-seated suspicion in the soul.
Too often such hurt warps our perception and expectations of God. Too often it adversely affects and sours our relationship with others, and too often it forces us to raise a protective shield, that screams in pain, never again! But Scripture declares of a righteous God, a God worthy of our love and worthy of our trust.. a God.. slow to anger and of great goodness; a God of grace and truth and abounding in great goodness; a God Whose mercy is everlasting – a God Whose love is eternal.
The Bible reveals this God to be a gracious and loving Father.. a Father Who binds up those aching wounds; a Father Who heals the brokenness of life; a Father Who creates afresh a life of meaning.. a life of purpose. A life, where empty hearts are filled to overflowing with His love; a life where aching souls are restored to fullness of purpose. A life, where a soul steps out as did Christian on his “Pilgrims Progress” – to ford the Slough of Despond; to defeat the fierce Giantread more