And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.Revelation 8:4(NASB)
When you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted. (John 21:18 ESV)
The "eyes which are as a flame of fire" are looking for reality. They pierce through many things. In the first place, they pierce through traditional and formal religion or "Christianity." Their interrogation is – Is your religion a matter of attachment or adherence to a system, a historical tradition, a family inheritance; and so on? Or is it born – is it a birth in you; is it something that has happened to you; is it your very life, your very being? Secondly – and I concentrate more especially upon this for the moment – they pierce through temperament and disposition. They demand to know whether the reason why you are where you are, are concerned for what you are concerned for, are connected with what you are connected with, and are disposed as you are, is because your particular temperament leans that way. You are artistic and mystical in your tastes and constitution: therefore you choose or make your religion after your own image. Your temperament is melancholic, and so the more abstract, profound, serious, intense, introspective, and speculative, appeals to you and finds a natural response in you. You make God, Christianity, Christ, the Bible, after your own image.
Or again, you are of the practical temperament. To you everything is only of value as it is "practical." You have no patience with these contemplative people. You are irritated by the "Marys," for "many dishes" are your concern. To you, how the end is reached is of much less importance than the end itself. You are not bothered much with imagination, and you would put all the value on things done – how much there is actually to show for your day. Your God and your Christianity are entirely, or almost entirely, of the practical kind, after your own image. And so we could go on with all the other temperaments. But this will not do, for Christ is not any one of these; He is different. He may combine the good in all, but that does not wholly mean Divine nature. He is different. All this is the human soul, but the essential nature of Christ and true Christianity is of the Divine Spirit – it is heavenly! If new birth means anything, it means this, that another nature and disposition is born into the believer, so that he or she is "carried whither they (naturally) would not be carried."
The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” § It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. § But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. § The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.
Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple. § The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. § I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. § If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10).
A healthy spiritual birth results in the falling away of many of the more obvious works of the flesh, often causing the new believer to claim 2 Corinthians 5:17 or Galatians 2:20 as his testimony. However, for the Lord Jesus to be fully manifested, it is going to involve a lifetime of the Holy Spirit's deep dealing with the more subtle and deadly characteristics of the self-life "always delivered unto death" (2 Cor. 4:11).
"By the daily supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ' (Phil. 1:19), the believer united to his Risen Lord grows continually to a more perfect knowledge and likeness of his Creator,' and grows up after the image of Him that created him, in the sphere where Christ is all, and in all.' "The child naturally grows up in the likeness of his father, and the new life communicated to the redeemed grows up in the likeness of Him who is the Creator of the new creation if so be that the death with Christ is unflinchingly recognized, and old things' are truly allowed to pass away to make room for the growth of the new man, which is after God . . . created in righteousness, and holiness of truth' (Eph. 4:24)."
"How many earnest and religious people belong to the Old Adam Improvement Society.' It is the recognition of the Christ-life, it is union with the Risen Christ, that men need instead of the culture of the religious self-life." -E.H.
"Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God's purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God's standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.
Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul's? Are we prepared to say - "Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace"? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit's ministrations in us?
The book of Job was inspirited of the Holy Spirit, to be written in poetry. It’s poetic form, metric exactness and lyrical lilt intensify its depth of meaning. In this book, Job’s innermost being.. to the deepest recesses of his soul, is reached. It reveals his intimate, heart-throbbings – the deepest yearnings in Job’s breast. It is also a very precious picture of God’s deep love for His bond-servant.
Remember – when God begins his dealings with Job, he is not immature. Job is an experienced man; a businessman; a successful man; a responsible man. Job has ten grown-up children and has become a man of preeminence in his society. Job is well-respected with a wide circle of friends and he has a heart for others. Job is also a man of exemplary faith.. a long-time believer in God and an intercessor. Job is called ‘My servant’ – ‘My bond- slave’ – a man trusted and beloved of God. Job has freely chosen to serve the Lord and to disregard his own interests for God. Job is freely bound to the Lord.. with a deep love, trust and devotion towards Him.
But whatever his depth and level of understanding.. God has greater plans for Job, just as God has greater plans for all the faithful – in every age and every generation. For it is through these trusted, faithful ones, that God’s plans are being carried out.. fought out in the unseen heavenly battle, that has been raging since man’s fall. But like Job, each servant has to be brought to the very extremity of themselves, where hearts and lives are broken, and God slowly unfolds a deeper understanding.
God desires that like Job, the few that are steadfast in each generation become His vessels.. His precious, chosen vessels. Vessels of eternal intercession – purged vessels – purified vessels. Vessels of eternal praise – chastened vessels – cleaned vessels. Vessels through whom He pours His love – refined vessels – responsible vessels.
God desiresread more
I said, LORD, be merciful to me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort… Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Paul tells us in Colossians 3.12 therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies; kindness; humility; meekness; long-suffering.
What is man that You are mindful of him? What is man that You should You visit him? What is man that You should exalt him? What is man that You should set Your heart on him? What is man that he could be pure? He knows our frame; He understands how much we can bear; He remembers that we are but dust.
Yet He pities our infirmities, and His loving kindness and great mercies are new every morning. He knows our frailties and failures. He knows our disappointments and unfulfilled desires, and yet by His mercy He refreshes us. He upholds us with His righteous right hand…
He strengthens us through the burdens we carry. He trains us through the daily round, and He binds up our aching heart. By His mercies He holds back the temptation’s seductress, and the icy fingers of sickness and death. By His mercies He nourishes the hungry and binds up the broken-hearted, lest we be crushed and brought down in failure and swallowed up by grief.
Yet the cold wind of adversity is permitted to blow on the children of God. He ordains the biting wind of criticism to deeply wound us – the east wind of indifference to cut us to the quick, in order to quicken our sympathy toward others – in order to mature in us His tender mercy andread more