but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."Matthew 17:12(NASB)
My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19 ESV)
The profaning of the Lord's Name, and the taking away of His glory, is the inveterate habit and course of the old creation nature. Should you see any of the old creation getting into the realm of the things of God, what is the result sooner or later? That man takes the glory, and dishonors God. Is not that the tragic, dark side of "the Church"; man in his old creation powers and life pressing into the things of God, and making a name for himself? The Church has been the happy hunting ground of men for reputation, position, influence and all such things. The flesh always does that. It takes God's glory away, it profanes God's Name. In order that that might not be so there must be a new creation, where all things are of God.... I see the appalling state of things today amongst the Lord's people everywhere; death, weakness, limitation, defeat, failure, inability to stand up, to go on; and, without being critical, censorious or judging, you have to come to the conclusion as you speak with so many, that the measure of Christ is pathetically small. Sometimes when you speak about the Lord to people, who have borne the name of Christian for many years, they gape at you as though you were talking a strange language.
Let us ask the Lord that, so far as we are concerned, there may be an increase of Christ in every way. Let us seek grace for any fiery furnace in the light of the explanation, that it is neither what is of Christ that is being tested in us, nor any good within ourselves, but that what is not Christ should disappear, that it should be Christ, only Christ. In the end this universe will know nothing but Christ. He will fill all things, and that will be a great day! May He be fully formed in us.
The house [that is] to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous, and glorious throughout all countries. § The glory of the Lord … filled the Lord’s house.
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” … He was speaking of the temple of His body. § What was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. § The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. § God . . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! § Prince of Peace. § He Himself is our peace. § The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. § That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. § The righteousness of God [is] through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. § I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them … All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly.
Who (Jesus), being the brightness of His (God's) glory, and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1:3).
Basically, the Bible is the Biography of the Beloved. Its primary object is to provide the Object for our contemplation and conformity.
"Many a Christian has not got beyond this: Christ is a shelter for me, and takes care of me. Souls look for their barrel of meal not to waste, and their cruse of oil not to fail. But is that all? Is it that Christ comes and dwells with me and cares for me?
"I make bold to say it is not. Is it shelter only? No! You are mutilating Christianity if you confine it to that. God says: I have saved you by My own Son, and now another factor must come in; you are to live by the One who has saved you; My purpose is that you are to be conformed to His blessed image."
"There comes a moment when the soul knows union with Christ. Has your soul ever got a glimpse, by the Spirit, of Christ risen? Of the mark' of which Paul speaks? It is Christ in heaven; He is my Object!
"Practically it is what souls have lost sight of. They do not look for acquaintance with Christ Risen. The first thing is the education of the Word; the second, Christ Himself must be seen (2 Cor. 3:18). The Word delights the heart, but till the eye of your spirit has rested on the Person of Christ, you have not the model for the Word to take; there is no formation."
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2).
"For He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"
What line does my thought take? Does it turn to what God says or to what I fear? Am I learning to say not what God says, but to say something after I have heard what He says? "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
"I will in no wise fail thee" - not for all my sin and selfishness and stubbornness and waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never fail me? If I have listened to this say-so of God's, then let me listen again.
"Neither will I in any wise forsake thee." Sometimes it is not difficulty that makes me think God will forsake me, but drudgery. There is no Hill Difficulty to climb, no vision given, nothing wonderful or beautiful, just the commonplace day in and day out - can I hear God's say-so in these things?
We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and bye, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God's say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.
What happens when people prefer to curse God and die rather than to bless God and live? What happens when faith grows paper-thin and hope in God’s promises dissolve? What happens when your integrity is attacked and your virtue is denounced? What happens when words of encouragement are interpreted as barbs of accusation? Well, you either cave in and give up – or you hold fast and keep going. In Hebrews 10:35 we read: do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
Have you been accosted by strong believers, whose faith has all but crashed? People whose Christian lives stem back thirty or forty years – even longer.. who are all but accusing God of not caring – I have. Long-time friends and dear relatives, who seem to be giving up on their faith. Friends and family I have known most of my life, are failing to trust in God. Men and women, who’ve 'missionaried' and ministered in many foreign parts.
As I see the way many believers have been battered by the assaults of the enemy.. as I watch life and hope crumble beneath the feet of those who dearly love the Lord.. as I hear of God ‘hiding His face‘ and prayer being offered to a ‘closed heaven..’ prayers that have been pleaded for years, sometimes decades! As I hear of despair from ones who’ve been the spiritual mainstay of many others – I do wonder.
My ears have been lashed and my eyes wet with tears at many scathing accusations. Accusations I don’t understand. Accusations against the God Who bought us. Accusations – saying God does not understand and God doesn’t care. My precious cousin was one such dear one who all but crashed – one of many. She was one who lashed out at me for writing on faith – for hers was all but gone. She accused me of not understanding her particular situation and she accused God for theread more
Oh for a Closer Walk with God. In Revelation chapter 4:3-4 we read: Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
As I started this devotional my thoughts were on Christ: Christ is all in all and there is nothing more glorious than being in Christ. From the beginning, God purposed to sum up everything in Christ. There is nothing more vital in the Christian walk than to be Christo-centric. There is nothing more evident in Scripture than God’s Christo-spheric plan. But as I reflected on this devotional, I realised that He is not the focus of most hearts.. I realised that anything but Jesus appears to be the focus of most Christian hearts.
Some have their eyes on the circumstances of life and not on their position In Christ. Some have their focus on signs, wonders, and miracles.. that point TO Christ. Some have their ears tickled with every wind of doctrine. Some have allowed their faith to erode and look again to Self as their only saviour. Some have even chosen to: walk with Him no more. Even those that are expecting Him to come at the sound of the last trump are looking for the process and not the product. Many are looking for an event, in the form of the rapture, and not looking for the person of Christ.
Anything or anyone that takes the place of Christ is an idol. The biggest idol in the lives of believers is self – great big ugly self. But we must all beware, if we point an index finger of accusation at another, lest three much greater digits are directed at our own, festering, evil heart. As I started this devotional my thoughts were on Christ: but as I continued.. the penultimate stanza of a much-loved hymn came to mind:-
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.