in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.Luke 2:5(NASB)
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:25 NLT)
Satan is a great master of strategy, and one of his favourite lines is that of pushing things to extreme. Among the Galatian believers, he had sought to push legalism to an extreme. But now he is thwarted along that line; Paul wins the battle – there is no doubt about that. What is the enemy's next line of attack? “Very well then,” he says, “if you won't have the law, then don't have any law; discard all law. You are no longer under law, you are under grace – you can do as you like! Just behave as you like; just carry on as you like; you must know no limitations, no restrictions. Any kind of restriction is law – repudiate it! Go to the other extreme – licence instead of law!” I believe that, if Paul were alive today, he would be just as vehemently against this as he was against the other: for here is a work of Satan indeed. If Satan cannot bind by the law, and change the whole nature of things in that way, he will seek to dismiss all law and make us wholly lawless.
But remember, if this Letter to the Galatians is the letter of liberty of the Spirit, it is also the letter of the government of the Spirit. We are only free when we are governed. In George Matheson's well-known words, that we sometimes sing: “Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free,” a paradox – but how true. We are not free when we are giving way to licence, when we take liberty that far. No: this Letter to the Galatians and the letter to the Romans and to the Hebrews, are not documents of lawlessness. Even if they do set aside the whole of the Jewish system, they do not introduce a regime of lawlessness. But they do most clearly bring in the life and government of the Holy Spirit. Remember – no child of God who is governed by the Holy Spirit, who is really living a life in the Spirit, will infringe any Divine principle. Indeed, a life governed by the Holy Spirit will be the more meticulously careful about spiritual principles.
Go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. § Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. § The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. § God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love … in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
“Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?” … And the King will answer and say to them, “… Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. § Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. § When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. § So He gives His beloved sleep.
Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin" (Rom. 6:11a).
All of the cults, from TM to ST to SDA, are simply self-improvement aberrations. The Cross alone provides death to self and life in the Lord Jesus Christ. "God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
"What becomes us now is to have the Lord Jesus before us, and not the correction of the old man. The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see, that however well-meaning it may be, it is really a denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival of that which has been judged in the death of the Cross.
"It is plain that if you are clear of the domination of the old man you can have no man before you but the Lord Jesus, and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude."
"God never means me to be able, with the Pharisee, to thank Him for the goodness that I find in myself. If I will be at it, He leaves me to find in this irreparable flesh, which cannot be mended, what I may break my heart over, but never alter.
"It is a quicksand which spoils all my building - a morass impracticable to cultivation; and God uses this, in His sovereignty over evil, to wean me from self-confidence and self-complacency, and to cast me upon Himself."
"Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be. . . alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord" (Rom. 6:11b).
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” Job 42:10
The plaintive, self-centred, morbid kind of prayer, a dead-set that I want to be right, is never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is a sign that I am rebelling against the Atonement. "Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer; I will walk rightly if You will help me." I cannot make myself right with God, I cannot make my life perfect; I can only be right with God if I accept the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to resign every kind of claim and cease from every effort, and leave myself entirely alone in His hands, and then begin to pour out in the priestly work of intercession. There is much prayer that arises from real disbelief in the Atonement. Jesus is not beginning to save us, He has saved us, the thing is done, and it is an insult to ask Him to do it.
If you are not getting the hundredfold more, not getting insight into God's word, then start praying for your friends, enter into the ministry of the interior. "The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends." The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now.
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, My Spirit has rejoiced in GOD…… MY SAVIOUR.
Oh, what a glorious terminus to Mary’s mysterious, ecstatic, opening proclamation. The Holy Spirit, revealed to this young girl, that her precious babe was indeed HER Lord - HER Saviour. It is a great and wonderful thing when one can profess, My Saviour. Thomas 'saw' and recognised his Saviour with the words My Lord and My God, but was reminded, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".
Many can talk about Christ in eloquent sermons and beautiful, expressive speeches. Many can fluently list historical facts of His life, or other documented chronology. Many adhere to the virtue and ethic – the principles and integrity of His teachings. Many see His life as a model to emulate, and His works as an ideal to imitate. Many regard the belief system that has built up around Jesus as one worth following. Many see His epistemology as truth worth seeking out – knowledge worth acquiring. Many adopt His philosophy, seeing Him as a good man – a great teacher to follow.
But Jesus is not a religion or a belief system. Jesus is not a problem solver. Jesus is not an ideology or someone to try to emulate in the flesh. Jesus is not epistemology, nor any other philosophy - nor is he a morality to apply. Jesus is God - God, MY Saviour. And Jesus is Man - My Lord and My God. And Jesus is personal. And Mary in great rejoicing of spirit, proclaimed Him, through the Holy Spirit, to be 'MY Saviour'.
All our knowledge ABOUT Jesus is of minor effect if we do not know Him personally. All our study about the Lord is of little significance if we cannot describe Him as... my Jesus, my Saviour, my God, my King. My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End. My dearly Beloved, myread more
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Nearly 20 years ago this verse hit me like a ton of bricks. I was setting MY affections on things below, instead of on things above. I was looking out for me, myself, my interests, my needs, my desires…. My-Self. We all know that what a man sets his heart on has a mighty influence on his life. The self-regarding man that seeks after his own interests – becomes selfish.
One that seeks after vainglory and vanity becomes vain and prideful. One that lusts after power and prominence becomes intoxicated with its fruit. One that seeks a 'god' of their fancy will be unsettled by every wind of doctrine. One who seeks the living God, will have Him take possession of his heart and will, and the book of Hebrews gives warning after warning of missing the point of this life.
This is not fictional fancy/ This is factual reality, and it needs to be a daily, sometimes hourly consideration to ask oneself – on what is MY heart set? What is the dear desire of MY heart today – NOW? For some, it is to drink from as many cisterns of the world, just to blunt the pain. For many, it’s just to get to the end of the day, in a life that has become unbearable. For others, it’s to preserve a high profile, lest anyone peep behind their mask. Believers often set their hearts on a myriad of issues that are close to their heart, but Hebrews gives warning after warning of missing the point of this life.
And this life is but a breath in the eternal corridors of the ages upon ages to come, and our decisions of this life is a foundation upon which we build an eternal future. "Set your affection on things above, not on things of the world, we are warned," in Colossians 3,read more