Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people,Acts 4:8(NASB)
Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God. (2 Timothy 1:8 ESV)
That which represents the testimony in its fullest and closest approximation to the ultimate purpose of God, then has to be shorn of much that has been good, necessary, and of God in a preparatory way, and must be shut up to what is ultimate. The captivity is not to a conceived truth or a superimposed doctrinal acceptance. It is wrought into the very fiber of the being by experience following revelation, and revelation interpreting experience. It is not the championing of some espoused interpretation: it is that it is the very Life of instruments and the instrument is that in its very being. It is not a matter of wanting to be or not wanting to be, but cannot be other, a prisoner, the sovereignty of God has done it.
This applied both to Paul and to those who were brought into touch with him. For the Apostle the settling in to the sovereign ordering of God in his imprisonment issued in increasing illumination leading to spiritual emancipation. No one can fail to recognize the tremendous enrichment of ministry as contained in what are called "the Prison Epistles." If he had been restive, piqued, rebellious, or bitter, there would have been no open heaven, and a spirit of controversy with the Lord would have closed and bolted the door to the fuller Divine unveilings and clarifyings. When all was accepted according to the mind of the Lord, then "the heavenly places" became the eternal expanses of his walking about, and earthly bondage gave place to heavenly freedom. So it must be with every instrument set apart in relation to the higher interests of the Lord's testimony.
Arise and depart, for this is not your rest. § Here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. § There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. § Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. § One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind … I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.
Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. § All things are yours. § My beloved is mine. § The Son of God … loved me and gave Himself for me. The Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”
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.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. § I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
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.
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:39).
John 3:16: The Saviour laid down His life for His enemies. 1 John 3:16: We are to "lay down our lives for the brethren." The death of the Cross spells love for both friend and enemy.
"If we get a wrong idea about the inward working of the Cross we shall lose our own enjoyment of God's love and fail to manifest that love to others. We have no doubt that, for the sinner, the Cross is the outstanding expression of God's love, but when we realize that it brings us, as believers, into a very personal experience of being crucified together with Christ, we are apt to lose sight of the love of God.
"We set our teeth, as though making up our minds that from now on everything is going to be grim and harsh. It almost seems that the carnal Christian may be cheerful and happy, but the crucified ones must expect to pass into a gloomier experience. Nothing is farther from the truth. The Cross will always bring us back to the love of God in ever-increasing fulness."
"The challenge of the Cross, the insistence that we have been crucified with Christ, may sometimes appear to be a dark and forbidding message. The Cross is not the end: It is the way through to His end. God is working for something beyond the immediate; He is working towards the glory." -H.F.
"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jer. 29:11).
“The world is going crazy,” are words that I have heard from many quarters. Such groans are getting louder and more insistent from every corner of the world. The world is indeed spiraling out of control as evident with each new news article – and men’s hearts are failing for fear of what is coming into the world. And we are instructed not to allow the evidence of the world to destroy our faith – yet the words of Scripture appear to be diametrically contrary to our observations. And we wonder where it will all lead to and cry out to God Who seems to be not there. God seems to be hiding His power. God seems to be withdrawing His presence. God seems to be oblivious to all His hurting children.
And believers cry out why? They demand answers.. and yet, the answer is an open secret, deep in the annals of Scripture… a hiding of His power. In Habakkuk 3:4-5 we read: His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light. He had horns coming out of his hand, and there was the hiding of his power.. and Habakkuk means “Embracer of Burdens”. Now is a time of faith’s testing for the saints, and of unprecedented Satanic fierceness. God’s kingdom and Christ’s authority are being challenged with increasing intensity. Either the Lord is preparing something new, or He is bringing all to consummation. Such times demand outstanding strength and endurance for victory to be assured. In Revelation 2 we read: be enduringly faithful to the very point of death.
Habakkuk’s writings demonstrate him to be a deeply burdened man, and he was also a great prayer warrior – and for three chapters his colloquy displays mutual and intimate intercourse with God. Habakkuk and God carried on a reciprocal Spirit to spirit, Soul to soul communion. Together they had deep communion – Depth to depth fellowship, yet throughout it all there was aread more
Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you
Come unto Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
God cannot lie. What God decreed in the past, He is carrying out here in the present. What God is completing here in the present, He will continue on into eternity. What wonderful security! What glorious assurance! What a promise of God to you!
– what amazing thing is this ?” you ask. Well read further.. God marked you out before the ages began, to be made just like Jesus: to be conformed into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom.8:29. What wonderful security! What glorious assurance! What a promise of God to you!
“But why?” you ask. “Why did He do such an amazing thing?” Well, read further.. So that those called beforehand, would become part of God’s family – His children. For God also justified, and those whom He justified, He also glorified! Rom.8:30. What a promise of God to you! What wonderful security! What glorious assurance!
“But how?” you ask… “How did He do such an amazing thing?” Well, read further.. God did not spare His only Son, but delivered Him up to the cross for us all. Rom.8:32 What wonderful security! What glorious assurance! What a promise from God to you! And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are "the called" according to His purpose.” Rom.8:28.
Scripture is the inspired Word of God. Here we are told by the Author of inspired Scripture, what God purposed in eternity past. Here we are told the specific steps that He planned.. to bring His plan to glorious fruition. By means of His established actions and His immutable Word, He will realise all He purposed. And God does not need help from you or from me. He just wants faith. He just wantsread more