"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.John 15:19(NASB)
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NLT)
I have not been the least of those who have striven, and agonized, and strained, and pressed and reached out for all that the Lord would have, all that is possible. It is possible to wear yourself right out, and kill yourself in a spiritual quest, and the Lord at last says to our hearts: "If you only know Me, things will happen; it will all come to pass without any of your strain, struggle and agony. I am going to bear this fruit. I will bear it through you by way of union and fellowship. Remember that the holy, blessed secret of fellowship is just resting in Me, abiding in Me."
If you saw all the branches of the vine every day groaning and agonizing, and writhing in order to bear their fruit, you would see something which is altogether unnatural. As a matter of fact you will see nothing of the kind. You will see them abiding there and bearing fruit. It is what we often speak of as the rest of faith. What is behind the rest of faith? It is not bringing yourself to a passive state, when you inwardly sink down and say, "I am just going to rest." It is knowing the Lord, God in Christ; for the way in which God has joined Himself to us is in Christ, not apart, and the way in which we have been joined to God is in Christ, not apart. The answer to every need is knowing Him in this way.
Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. § Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.
Jesus of Nazareth … went about doing good. § Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
The meekness and gentleness of Christ. § In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. § Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. § [Look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies?’’ … So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned. For they have even taken some of the accursed things … and they have also put it among their own stuff.”
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction" (Gen. 41:52).
To share what we have may minister temporarily to the physical; but to minister to the spiritual in an eternal way we must share what we are, and that calls for growth in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"We can only comfort others with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God. Others can only really be helped by what has been the power of life in the would-be helper.
"Information, by itself, however correct and orthodox, however strongly held in conviction and passed on in passion, will lack an essential and indispensable quality or value for spiritual constitution.
"Hence it has ever been God's way to raise up a vessel, personal or corporate, in which His message has been wrought by fiery ordeal. The messenger must not only have the message in him, but he must be in the message: not only in mind and feeling, but in experience and being." -T. A-S.
"We really can only come into the reality of things by being pressed out of measure' (2 Cor. 1:8). So the Lord has to take much time to make our spiritual history. When at length our eyes are open, we cry, O, why did I not see it before!' But everything else had to prove insufficient before we could really be shown, and that takes time."
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Pet 5:6).
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
What a beautiful name by which to be referred:- "Handmaiden" What an exquisite name by which to refer to oneself! A handmaiden is one that devotes herself to the service and attention on an-other. It’s one whose loving devotion and wrapped attention is focused on serving another. "Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a handmaiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God – until that he have mercy upon us." Psalm 123:2
The eyes of the Lord had been upon the young Mary for many a year, for she was called and chosen to be His special vessel for His Unique Son. The righteousness of this woman had not gone unnoticed before the Lord, for the eyes of Mary had been upon the Lord for many a year during her short life. Her devotion to God dictated an equal devotion to the Son of His love. Her poverty and lowly state were no barrier to the Lord, for her delight was in the Lord. Indeed, her humility of heart and modest estate was what attracted His attention: "for who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies….. ..for a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised". Proverbs 31:10,30
There were many beautiful women in Israel at the time Mary was called and chosen, but she was one of a diminishing remnant – waiting for the coming of the Lord. Only the one whose heart was perfect toward the Lord can be used by the Lord. Only the one who is watching and waiting for the Lord is called and chose, "for the LORD's eyes behold and his eyelids try, the children of men – for many are called but few are chosen". "The eyes of the LORD run toread more
Some years ago I received an excited phone call from my son. "Mum, have you noticed what an incredible book Leviticus is? Everything, just everything points to the Lord Jesus Christ." Admittedly Leviticus was not what I had expected to enthral my son, but I do ask you the same question. Have you noticed how everything.. just everything points to Christ? Just as the two despairing disciples on the road to Emmaus were instructed, "oh slow of heart to believe all that the prophets wrote…" Just as the arrogant Pharisees were rebuked.. "search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me." Yes, old and new testaments –prophet, priest, and kings all speak of Christ.
Both Father and Holy Ghost in Word and Spirit direct attention to Jesus. "This is my Beloved Son…" was the sound of God’s voice on the Holy Mount. The Comforter... "even the Spirit of truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me" …in spirit and in truth was Christ’s proclamation. All in glorious union, without exception, directs attention to the Anointed One. Everything in glorious union and without exception points to Jesus Christ. And before a sequence of serious warnings permeate the book of Hebrews, an astonishing succession of superlatives about God’s Son are spread before us… (and we have been chosen in Him – to be joint-heirs with Christ….)
Christ is shown as One that must suffer - One Who has a glorious future. Christ, the suffering servant, is destined to become God’s great king. Christ, the appointed heir, has been promised the greatest inheritance. "Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." Psalm 2:8 (and we have been chosen in Him – to be joint-heirs with Christ….) Though angels currently rule this dying world, Christ will one dayread more