"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning;Joel 2:12(NASB)
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. (John 5:39 NIV)
Ministry is the expression of Life, and not the taking on of a uniform and a title. Once I thought that to be in the ministry was to go into a certain kind of work, to come out of business, and, well, be a minister! So one got into the thing. Many, many are laboring and toiling in it, breaking their hearts, afraid to leave that order of things, lest they should be violating what they conceived to be a Divine call. Many others cannot get out of it because it is a means of livelihood, and they too are breaking their hearts. It is all false. Ministry is not a system like that. Ministry is the expression of Life, and that is but saying in other words that it is the outworking of the indwelling of Christ. Disaster lies before the man or woman who ministers on any other ground than that. When the Lord gets a chance in us, and we really will trust Him on that ground and take our position there, He will show us that there is ministry enough for us; we shall not have to go round looking for it. The real labor so often is to get us down to that ground, the delivering of us from this present evil age even in its conception of the ministry, unto the heavenly ministry.
The Lord Jesus is our pattern. You see the spontaneous ministry, the restful ministry of that Heavenly Man. I covet that! It does not mean that we shall become careless, but it does deliver us from so much unnecessary strain. That is how it should be. May the Lord bring us to it; the heavenly Man with the heavenly Life as the full heavenly Resource.
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. § I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. § The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Able to aid those who are tempted.
Able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
Able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” . . . “According to your faith let it be to you.”
It is not you who chose Me, but it is I who chose you and appointed you that you might go and be fruitful" (John 15:16, Wey.).
We must be born into our ministry, our service; and it must be born in us. Thus it will be a sharing of life, through which others will be born and will "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).
"Our Father will never put work or service in the place of character; and, if we do that, eternity will reveal that, however much we may have done, we are very small amongst the inhabitants of the Land, whose stature will be measured by the measure of Christ.' It would be well if all who contemplate or are engaged in the work of God were governed by this one absolute final law: that, both as to themselves and as to those amongst whom they minister, the ultimate test is - not how much work is done, but how much of Christ is present, or results from the sharing." -T. A-S.
"The Gospel can never be fully preached by the eloquence of the evangelist; it finds its true authority only in the lives of those it has laid hold of. We live in a day when it is easy to evade the Cross worked out in our lives, and in which we are apt to place our confidence in modern methods, and techniques of evangelism. But lacking the solid evidence of godly living and devotion to the Lord Himself, these will become a fanfare of trumpets or the crashing of cymbals - nothing more' (1 Cor. 13:1, Phil.) ." -J.C.M.
"Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen" (Isa. 43:10).
The Lord of Hosts shall DEFEND them.
There are many vacillations in the convoluted pilgrimage of life. Sunshine and showers; peace and pandemonium; calm and storm; joy and pain. There are many complex vicissitudes for the sojourner through this mortal coil, victory and defeat; honour and humiliation; hope and despair; respect and scorn. But what a comforting attribute of our Lord that He is my Defence and my Defender. He both defends me from the externals of life that pervade my peace and hope – and His truth becomes my defence when the world’s finger points accusingly at me.
Have you ever sought to defend yourself when misunderstood or falsely accused? I have … Standing before an entire panel, who twisted the truth the justify the means. I learned a lesson then, that self-vindication invariably falls on deaf ears, but God will filter misunderstanding and twisted truth through His own lens of absolution – causing all things to work to together for good to those that love Him… to those that are the called according to His good pleasure. This should sink deep into our conscious and unconscious being.
The Psalmist sings often of his confidence in the Lord as his mighty Defence:- In Psalm 7 verse 10 we read, my Defence is of God, Who saveth the upright in heart.. while in Psalm 62 verse 1 we read, my soul waits upon God… Who is my Defence? Justifying my own right is not waiting on Him, but relying on self-defence. Supplying my own defence in a matter is a lack of trust in Him as my Defender. He has to be Defence and Defender – shall He not discharge His word?
When my heart is secure in God as Defence – I gain a deep and quiet assurance, When God takes up the role of my Defender – He will discharge His obligation. His defence is not in the physical alone – it spans the breadth ofread more
Those who loved the Lord and feared the Lord often spoke to each other.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
A man who has friends need to show himself friendly.. and there is a friend that cleaves closer than a brother.
Where two or three meet together in my name – I am in the midst of them.
A philosopher may commune with his own words. A recluse may live in solitude, but the wise man of God who fears the Lord finds comfort in fellowship.. and in so doing sets out on the path to wisdom. The Scripture knows nothing of the hermit or solitary loner. Daniel had three friends: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Jeremiah had his Baruch. Naomi had her Ruth. Jesus had His small, inner circle of special companions.
'Fellowship' and 'Communion' ought also to be the watchword of the believer.. like Abraham with Isaac on the way to Moriah. Can two walk together except they be in perfect agreement.. or like the two on the Emmaus Road, who communed with each other on the way. They loved the Lord and often spoke openly to each other. Malachi 3;16. Those who walked together down the pages of Scripture, experienced God’s mercy.
Those who communed together received tokens of His love, as they journeyed side by side. Those who travelled together talked and listened, and shared and comforted each other in their joys and their woes. And as they walked together, the Lord came alongside. And as they talked together, the Saviour overheard their conversation. And as they spoke together, the Lord drew nigh to them. And as they sat together, they experienced His very presence. As they communed at the table – the Lord was made known to them.
But what of our life of faith.. where the physical presence of the Lord is withheld, on our Emmaus trek? Are our conversations so open as to declare to the other the glorious matter? Is ourread more