So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.Psalm 78:72(NASB)
Shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God). (1 Corinthians 10:14 AMP)
There are many things which are not only harmless but good in themselves, which have, nevertheless, been allowed to take the place of the Lord Himself, and good things can therefore embody the principle of idolatry in the one in whom the devotion is found. Touch some Christians, or Christian institutions, and let the touch be even in relation to something more of the Lord Himself, and you will find an uprising of jealous regard for the institution which utterly blinds to that possibility of an extra measure of the Lord Himself. You can be so devoted to a denomination, a missionary society, a piece of Christian work, that there is no room for any extra measure of the Lord. The thing itself has become the end, the object for which you live, and when the Lord wants to get you moved on into something more of Himself, the obstacle is that good Christian work, association, institution, tradition, connection. Yes, and that is idolatry in principle, and we see from history how the Lord again and again has had to smite with smashing blows things which in themselves were good, in order to save His people unto Himself personally....
What is He after? It is Himself which He is seeking to establish as the object of man's life, and not the things that have relation to Himself: and I say again, you meet something intensely fierce if you touch a thing, even though you are touching it maybe with a view to getting people to move on with the Lord Himself. To put that in the other way, if your appeal for moving on with the Lord seems to people to involve their having to move away from this or that or some other thing, then there is warfare; which shows that Satan in his eternal campaign of idolatry, has got a footing amongst Christians in relation to things which take the place of the Lord Himself, good things though they be in themselves; and you find, if you are spiritually sensitive, that you are not just encountering the established institutions, but you are encountering a terrific spiritual force. Is that true? It is true. Had I never come up against it, never would I have believed the terrific force there is lying behind Christian institutions if your ministry touches them. You meet something which turns upon you, and it is not just the thing or the people. It is something that threatens your very life, to slay, and this in principle and essence, beloved, is idolatry; because its ultimate effect is that even the Lord cannot have what His heart is set upon and get His people spiritually where He wants them, because they are so bound up with His things. They are not able to discriminate between His things and Himself.
It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him. § For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him; I would beg mercy of my Judge. § The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. § Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?
Jesus wept. § A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. § Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives … Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. § Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. § In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Have faith in God … Whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. § Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
He who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. § [Abraham was] fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Is anything too hard for the Lord? § With God all things are possible. § “Increase our faith.”
Ye have put off the old man with his deeds" (Col. 3:9).
Sometimes our Christian life and love are divided between the two Adams. It may be 60-40 in favor of the Last Adam, still it is shared. But the Lord Jesus paid it all, gave His all, deserves our all, requires all, because He is our ALL. Ours is to be total separation - death to the old, life in the New.
"Our Father has removed everything to His own satisfaction, and you learn in the first eleven verses of Romans 5 the terms He is on with you. It means much to the heart of the believer to know that he is received on the ground of another Man who perfectly glorified God.
"We are accepted in Him, the Beloved. God has changed His man, and you are never happy until you believe that and are able to say, I have, too. If you do not see that God has changed His man you will never change your man."
"The only way to freedom is to leave Adam for Christ - to change your man; then it is not I, but Christ liveth in me' (Gal. 2:20). There are two sides; one, that you are cleared from the old in the eye of God in the Cross; the other, that you are now new in Christ risen. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death' (Rom. 8:2). The old is held in the place of death as you walk in newness of life in the Spirit."
"And have put on the new man, that is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:10)
“Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20
The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in motive because he has been made good by the super-natural grace of God. The one thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being. Jesus Christ came to put into any man who would let Him a new heredity which would exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus says - If you are My disciple you must be right not only in your living, but in your motives, in your dreams, in the recesses of your mind. You must be so pure in your motives that God Almighty can see nothing to censure. Who can stand in the Eternal Light of God and have nothing for God to censure? Only the Son of God, and Jesus Christ claims that by His Redemption He can put into any man His own disposition, and make him as unsullied and as simple as a child. The purity which God demands is impossible unless I can be remade within, and that is what Jesus has undertaken to do by His Redemption.
No man can make himself pure by obeying laws. Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations; His teachings are truths that can only be interpreted by the disposition He puts in. The great marvel of Jesus Christ's salvation is that He alters heredity. He does not alter human nature; He alters its mainspring.
God’s actions are always determined by His will. And God’s actions are always determined by His whole nature. If we have an understanding of God’s nature, we will understand His actions. If we don’t have an understanding God’s nature, we will oscillate with instability.
But God is often blamed for things that go wrong in our lives.. or in the world.. If God is all-powerful – then why…..? If God is a God of love – then why…..? If God is a caring Father – then why…..? If God really loves His children – then why…..? There is no point in praying.. God has it in for me … ! My prayers are never answered.. God’s ears are closed to me…. ! God obviously has favourites.. and I am certainly not one of them… ! If this is the way that God treats His children.. then he can keep His heaven… ! I just don’t understand WHY…….”
And faith in God fluctuates between good and bad circumstances. And trust in God ping-pongs as emotions rise and then tumble. And life has no stability because we have not fixed God’s Word in our heart.
Understanding God’s Nature provides an understanding of His actions, for God’s actions are always determined by His perfect nature.. and God’s actions are always determined by His perfect will.. and God will never violate His holy character.. and God will never violate His will.
If we really knew the nature of God, such yo-yo instability would cease. If we really knew the character of God, we would not be tossed about by our senses. And so the question rages in the heart of men, can I know God….? Well the answer is emphatically — NO, and yet the answer is emphatically — YES.
God is ‘incomprehensible’, and yet God is wonderfully ‘knowable’. God is ‘unfathomable’, and yet God chose to ‘reveal’ Himself to man. For some reason, God wants to get across to man both sides of Hisread more
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer precious Lord
To the Cross where Thou has died,
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer precious Lord
To Thy pierced and wounded side.
Surrender and dying-to-self speak of similar, but not identical things. Surrender is a choice to live a life dedicated to the Lord – a decision to die to the self-life. Surrender speaks of a committed choice to make the central focus of life the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender talks of the resolve that Christ becomes all in all, so that He increases and I decrease.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
Surrender is a one-time decision, which becomes the ongoing act of dying to self. It is the ongoing, progressive action of dying-to-self in a life that has surrendered to Christ. Surrender becomes more complete as a person increasingly dies to the self-life.
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!
Dying to self is a choice and speaks of a particular kind of self-effacing surrender, Scripture suggests that dying-to-self is fundamental in achieving victory in the Christian life. In choosing to die-to-self we renounce the fleshly craving to be in control of our lives, In choosing to die-to-self we willingly abandon our disposition to assert our self-will. Dying-to-self is choosing to take the humble way of the cross. As we die-to-self there is a concurrent dying-of-self, as self is replaced with Christ.
Willingness to die-to-self is part of the process a life fully surrendered to Him. Dying to self can be referred to as the emptying phase of sanctification – and this can only be achieved by God and never by self-effort. And God providentially orchestrates events in a submitted life to bring about death to self.
There are depths of love that I yet may know