"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.Matthew 7:14(NASB)
The Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (John 5:16-17 NLT)
A true knowledge of the Lord Jesus will reverse a good many of our ideas, and a good many of our procedures. A true knowledge of Christ and union with Christ, with all that that means, will make us go to work in entirely the opposite way from that in which we have been accustomed to go. We shall come to be governed by this one consideration, that it is not what we would do for the Lord, but what the Lord would do through us, that is alone to rule. It is a very testing way. You can hardly believe, unless you have been the same way, how often and intensely and bitterly the enemy fights and tempts you to come down on to a lower position, and to take up things again for God and launch big schemes, enter upon big undertakings, set up some thing on the earth that can be seen, because all those who are governed by that standard of things seen have said: "You see, you are doing nothing! Show us what you are doing! You cannot show us anything for it all!" Satan does work on that line. To the flesh it is not easy. To go on with God and have nothing to show for it, never to be able to have the work written up in the papers, to publish no reports, no statistics, and yet to know in your heart of hearts that, although it is hidden, something is going on, and that you cannot do otherwise than you are doing, is far from being a path of ease to the flesh.
It is a testing way, but, blessed be God, if we do endure the testing and go on patiently with Him, in His time, when the flesh has been finally laid low; when the voice of natural ambition is no longer sounding and having influence, and we are now utterly at the place where if things are not going to be of the Lord then there is not going to be anything at all, the Lord has a free way, and He is able to indicate that all the time something has been going on. He shows how He has been at work, and how that in time there will be manifested a work of God, a work that shall have such a large percentage of spiritual value and meaning in it that you are very glad, after all, that you walked with God and not with men in the work of God.
He was numbered with the transgressors. § Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. § [He] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. § By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priest- hood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. § While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. § The fruit of the Spirit is love.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. § Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. § This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. § God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. § God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
How difficult it is for the hungry heart to adjust to the Father's pace. He is so deliberate and thorough, while our need is so pressing and paramount. Apart from never being behind time, our Father is an eternity ahead of time! We have but to see in the Word what He has accomplished on our behalf in the Lord Jesus, and then quietly rely upon Him, "according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3).
"God will perfect that which concerneth His own; and even where there are mistakes and failures, as alas! there are in abundance with all of us, the Lord's rich grace abounds over all, and actually takes occasion from our very mistakes to shine out all the more brightly - though, assuredly, the mistakes and failures must produce their own painful and humiliating results.
"It is the remembrance of this which alone can give calm repose in the midst of the most discouraging circumstances. If we take the eye of faith off God, our souls must soon be overwhelmed. It is our privilege to be able, in our little measure, to thank God in view of everything, and take refuge in His eternal counsels, which must be made good despite all the unbelief of man, and all the malice of Satan."
"May God give us to increasingly know Him! If we had only to learn what we are, we should surely be cast down, and sink into despondency; but His object in giving us a knowledge of ourselves and of His grace, is to give us an expected end."
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" (Ps. 23:6).
“This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Many of us spend so much time in the place of death that we get sepulchral. There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. "If any man comes to Me and hate not . . his own life, he cannot be My disciple."
The Spirit of God in the process of sanctification will strip me until I am nothing but "myself," that is the place of death. Am I willing to be "myself," and nothing more - no friends, no father, no brother, no self-interest - simply ready for death? That is the condition of sanctification. No wonder Jesus said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword." This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us faint. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus on this point. "But it is so stern," we say; "He cannot wish me to do that." Our Lord is stern; and He does wish us to do that.
Am I willing to reduce myself simply to "me," determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with every thing but God.
When I pray - "Lord, show me what sanctification means for me," He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me. (1 Cor. 1:30.)
And Thomas said My Lord and My God
It is man’s innate tendency to form a mental image of God.. often building a perception of God based upon his culture and upbringing. But the heart of man has been deeply flawed by our sin-heritage, for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked Jer.17:9 We all unconsciously conceive God in our own imagery and thought. This is not only true of the natural man, who is dead in trespasses and sins – this is also true of each of us who are blood-bought sons of God. This is equally true of the spiritual believer as it is of the carnal Christian.
Denominations and individuals alike envisage the God in whom they trust, and all too often the image that emerges is a distortion of the truth. All too often His resemblance has its poisoned roots in our early life. Role models we should trust and ached to believe in, let us down. Teachings of the church we attended or avoided..distorted God’s character, and over time, plus the input of life, God emerges – masked by our own imaginings. There are probably as many perceptions of God as there is sand on the seashore. But there is only one true character and likeness of God – the man Christ Jesus.
Some lay particular weight upon His love, but ignore His justice. Some lay particular emphasis upon His justice, while disregarding His love. Some go overboard with grace, and are drawn into licentious living. Others focus upon the law, pointing an accusing finger at so many other people. Some believe that God requires certain rituals or He cannot not accept us. Others believe they are under God’s wrath because of pre-christian indiscretions.
Many have their belief skewed by a cruel, insensitive or disinterested parent, and they struggle with the fatherhood of God and disbelieve the Word of truth.. with God as a loving Father. The trauma and pain of life has caused manyread more
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.
A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.
Do you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother? Do you have someone that loves you no matter what? Do you have a dear one that would even hurt you in order to help you? Do you have one who cares enough to risk your anger by speaking the truth? Do you have anyone who loves you enough to jeopardize your friendship and trust.. by offering a justified rebuke, giving a timely warning or proffering wise advice? If you have just one you are truly blessed. If you have more that one you are rare indeed, for it takes courage to offer a warning word of advice or point out a justified failing.
In this sin-sick world sincerity, love and truth are becoming very sparse. It has infiltrated Christendom with a seeker-friendly gospel. It has spread between brothers in the faith as they try to appease each other. It has penetrated truth in relationships when one wont risk upsetting another.
A true friend will help to hone and improve your life. A friend that sticks closer than a brother will help to put an edge on your life. Such a friend will make you sharper as a person and help to prevent a fall.
writes: “It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that ourread more