"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)
O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You are the potter. We all are formed by Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NLT)
We are in the Lord’s hands, and being in His hands we are in the hands of a Potter Who knows what He is after... first of all, the vessel is in the potter, and then eventually the potter is in the vessel. What we mean is this, that before ever the potter starts, the vessel is in his mind, in his heart very clearly. The pattern is not something objective, the vessel is already a complete thing in him; and then he gets to work upon it and when he is finished, he is in the vessel he has wrought. What was in Him has come out in it. We say of people’s work: “I can see who made that, it is just like them.” “That is just like So-and-so to make a thing like that.” Yes, He is in His work, He is in the vessel that He makes, and that is just what He is doing. Sometimes that clay has to be pressed down to a shapeless mass, broken. It is not showing all that He intended it to show, there are defects and flaws, and so He crushes it down to shapelessness. A mass without shape. But it is to start again to get something more perfect than has been before, in which He Himself is.
May He give us grace to endure whatever the trial may be, along whatever line of metaphor, the wind, the blaze, supreme heat, or pressure of His hand, all of which is to get us into a place where we cannot be moved, where hell cannot shake us, where His power is made manifest as triumphant over all the power of the enemy.
Our Savior Jesus Christ … has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. § I am the resurrection and the life. § Because I live, you will live also. § We have become partakers of Christ. § Partakers of the Holy Spirit. § Partakers of the divine nature. § “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. § Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! …[He] lives forever and ever. § The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality. § Now to the King eternal, immortal… be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gideon said to them, “I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.” For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites. So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. . . . Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.
Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. § Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me. § Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. § Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:7).
As far as our Father is concerned, the early and middle years of the Christian life have to do primarily with our spiritual development. Maturity must underlie all abiding effectiveness. Most of our service during this time is learning how not to do it.
"Incalculable harm has been done to the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that when once we are saved the using of the gifts in His service follows as a matter of course. No; for this there is indeed needed very special grace. And the way in which the grace comes is again that of sacrifice and surrender. We must see how all our gifts and powers are, even though we be children of God, still defiled by sin, and under the power of the old nature. We must feel that we cannot at once proceed to use them for God's glory. We must first lay them at Christ's feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him.
"We must feel ourselves utterly powerless to use them aright. We must see that they are most dangerous to us, because through them the flesh, the old nature, will so easily exert its power. In this conviction we must part with them, giving them entirely to the Lord. When He has accepted them, and set His stamp upon them, we receive them back, to hold them as His property, to wait on Him for the grace to daily use them aright, and to have them act only under His influence." -A.M.
"Above all the difficulty which Paul had to meet in his care of the churches, that which arose from our disposition to return to the law, or to confidence in the flesh,' was the most frequent and the greatest."
"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord" (Phil. 3:8).
“Behold the fowls of the air.” Matthew 6:26,28
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars and the moon - all these are, and what a ministration they exert. So often we mar God's designed influence through us by our self-conscious effort to be consistent and useful. Jesus says that there is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by our concentration on God. "Do not bother about being of use to others; believe on Me" - pay attention to the Source, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. We cannot get at the springs of our natural life by common sense, and Jesus is teaching that growth in spiritual life does not depend on our watching it, but on concentration on our Father in heaven. Our heavenly Father knows the circumstances we are in, and if we keep concentrated on Him we will grow spiritually as the lilies.
The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mould us.
If you want to be of more use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live.
And when the fullness of the time was come… God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
The Lord Jesus came from glory and He returned to glory. He left His throne of glory to come to be with us – (to be with man). He laid aside His glory so that He would be like us – (to be like man). He was born of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mary was told: the Holy Spirit shall come upon you and overshadow you. Luke 1:25, for God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh – for us. Rom.8:3. He came from His heavenly home, into complete union with man. He renounced His magnificent heritage, to come and share our lot. His task was to redeem sinful man from their sin. And in the power of the Holy Spirit it was so.. and the new Man was born. And in the words of the famous hymn: “A second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came…” see 1Cor.15:45
Without the likeness there could be no rescue and no remission of sins, and yet the likeness was to be a sinless likeness, for the innocent must die for the guilty. He came to be made sin like us, so that we one day could be like Him. He came to be with us – and He came to be like us.. so that we could be with Him and we could be like Him.
Without the former the latter would be impossible. But, however much God loved the world He must also judge the world, for the wages of sin is death – death – death to sin and death to the sinner. Rom.6:23 but: theread more
Union with the Lord is the central matter of all that God has revealed to His Church. Union with Christ is God’s focus concerning man and man’s relationship with God. Union with the Lord Jesus radiates like spokes from a mighty central pivotal axis. He is all and He is all in all. He created all and He sustains all. He is the Alpha and He the Omega. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
He is the Light, the Resurrection, the Rock. He is the Living Water, the Good Shepherd. He is the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace. He is all and He is all in all. From Him radiates shafts of truth.. beams of light of all that was and is and is to come. From Him streams election; creation; redemption; sanctification; glorification. And from each magnificent cascade of glory, additional rays of grace spill out – repentance; justification; conversion; regeneration; faith; hope and love. Everything emanates from this crucial central core – this principal, pivotal point. And for those that believe and know and trust Him, we are one with Him.
How can our mean minds receive such awesome truths? How can our limited perspective perceive beyond our foolish, four walls? To give this truth its full and precious value, one must contemplate its truth. To come to a real appreciation of its gravity.. one must meditate on His Word. To see the significance of this truth – one must understand the meaning of Christ. The Son of God became the Son of Man by means of God becoming incarnate, and we are one with Him. Oh it is not a matter of our being taken in Deity’s Godhead – never… NEVER. “For I will not share my glory with another….” Isaiah 42:8 But it is His blood-bought saints being taken into God’s Son incarnate. He in us and we in Him… what a magnificent mystery that staggers the mind, until it is not I that live but Christ that lives in me and through me.