So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.Psalm 78:72(NASB)
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. (Philippians 3:8 NIV)
The saving of men from sin,death, and hell, and getting them to heaven, was as nothingcompared with what Paul saw as to the significance of a believernow. All that which he has seen concerning Christ in His eternalpurpose eternal, universal, vast, infinite now relates tobelievers: "Even as He chose us in Him before the foundationof the world, that we should be... unto the praise of His glory... in the ages to come" (Eph. 1:4,12,21). Believers also are liftedout of time, and are given a significance altogether beyondanything here.... What a Christ!
It is Christ Who will lift us out, Christ Who will set us free; but let me say this, that it will not be by His coming and putting His hands under us and lifting us out, but by being revealed in our hearts. How did Paul come out of his narrow Jewish conceptions about the Messiah? Simply by the revelation of Christ in him, and as that revelation grew his liberation increased. There were some things which he did not shake off for a long time. He clung to Jerusalem almost to the last. He still had a longing for his brethren after the flesh, and made further attempts for their deliverance on national grounds. But at last he saw the meaning of the heavenly Christ in such a way as to make it possible for him to write the letter to the Ephesians, and the letter to the Colossians, and then Judaism as such, Israel after the flesh, ceased to weigh with him. It was the revelation of Christ which was emancipating him, leading him out, freeing him all the time. In that way Christ is our Deliverer and Emancipator. It is just the Lord Jesus that we need to know. Everything small will go as we see Him. Everything of earth and time will go as we see Him, and in the background of our lives there will be something adequate to keep us through difficult and hard times. We shall see the greatness of Christ and the corresponding greatness of our salvation "...according to His eternal purpose."
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
But that which ye have already, HOLD FAST, ’till I come.
Life is full of busyness and chores and things to do and activities to be done. The daily round of daily life certainly keeps us occupied.. food to cook; grass to cut; people to call; beds to make; equipment to mend! There is no sin in such everyday tasks and necessary activities, but they can be weights, distractions, and stumbling blocks in our spiritual life. They can take our focus from what is truly important – to the ‘urgent‘ things of life.
There are other distractions that can affect our Christian walk – like despondency. A heavy, discouraged heart can all too often drag our spirits down into uselessness. Sometimes this can cause murmurings, dissatisfactions, and even worry within us.. just as the children of Israel, who murmured on the journey to their promised land. But murmurings and complaints can ofttimes ripen into rebellion and ruin, and such grievances can all too often lead to doubting God’s love and faithfulness.
We should fly to the Word of God to seek out and discover the goodness of God. We should look only to Jesus for He is the One, and only source of all supply – but all too often we try to dig our own cisterns of water – to satisfy our own thirst. All too often we stray into the camps of others who are simply searching for answers. All too often, we misapply His truths, in order to satisfy our own fleshly curiosities. We should never seek for answers outside the Word of God.. (or in addition to His Word). To look beyond Christ is to doubt His truth and demonstrates a rebellious heart. When we fly from one doctrine to other ideologies, we are demonstrating inconstancy. When we fluctuate in this wayread more
I delight to do Thy will, O my God.
Much of scripture is devoted to intercession and prayer – the throne ministry of God. Simple, dynamic power-packed instructions – to help us withstand in the evil day. This is so that God’s plans will be fulfilled in His way, in His time and for His glory – and God’s perfect plan always results in the best outcome for all of His children. We are part of God’s throne ministry of prayer and we are exhorted to:- be diligent; be watchful; be thankful; be faithful; be obedient, and trust the Lord.
Much of Christ’s life exemplified how the man of God should live and pray. Christ’s life demonstrated an unfailing, trusting obedience to the heavenly Father.. a simple, uncompromising trust in the Father – that did only what the Father did.. a life that remained in continuous and ongoing fellowship with the Father.. a life that is in love with the Father and a heart that prays, Thy will be done – a life that translated into unceasing; persevering; grateful; obedient; trusting prayer. Christ’s life reflected a life of continuous; gracious; thankful; trusting communion.
Thanksgiving is not always a sentiment accompanying a life of trial and difficulties. Praise and worship is not the first behaviour displayed in times of desperate need. Grateful thanks are hardly an emotion we adopt when we are in deep pain or trouble.
Yet mixed with diligence and obedience, thanks and praise is a highly potent weapon.. as exemplified in the lives of many saints of God – and even proved in my own!! – as evidenced in a number of passages in the pages of Scripture and beautifully demonstrated in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.
As the armies of Hezekiah began to praise – it was then that the enemy was routed. As Gideon army was reduced down to the impossible – it was then the Lord worked. Despite a hopeless and shocking situationread more
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Hard as it is for the believer to finally come to rest concerning his spiritual birth, it seems to be even more difficult for him to simply rest in the Lord Jesus for his life and service.
"There are two stages in the Christian life. The one in which, after conversion, a believer seeks to work what God would have him do. The second, in which, after many a painful failure, he ceases from his works, and enters the rest of God, there to find the power for work in allowing the Father to work in him.
"It is this rest from their own work which many Christians cannot understand. They think of it as a state of passive and selfish enjoyment, of still contemplation which leads to the neglect of the duties of life, and unfits us for that watchfulness and warfare to which Scripture calls. What an entire misunderstanding of God's call to rest!
"Truly to rest in God is to yield oneself up to the highest activity. We work, because He worketh in us both to will and to do (Phil. 2:13). As Paul says of himself, I labor, striving according to his working who worketh in me with might' (Col. 1:29). Entering the rest of God is the ceasing from self-effort, and the yielding of oneself in the full surrender of faith to God's working." -A.M.
"Not only does the Lord Jesus live in us, but He becomes the motivating Object of our life as Christians. The law is no longer our motive or rule of life. It is entirely displaced by a Person, and that Person the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.' Henceforth the soul has a new center and source - it is no longer self-centered, but Christ-centered." -C.A.C.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:29).
“Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.” John 11:41
When the Son of God prays, He has only one consciousness, and that consciousness is of His Father. God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God is formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers. I have to see that the Son of God is manifested in my mortal flesh. "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost," i.e., the Bethlehem of the Son of God. Is the Son of God getting His chance in me? Is the direct simplicity of the life of God's Son being worked out exactly as it was worked out in His historic life? When I come in contact with the occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God's Eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me? "In that day ye shall ask in My name. . . ." What day? The day when the Holy Ghost has come to me and made me effectually one with my Lord.
Is the Lord Jesus Christ being abundantly satisfied in your life or have you got a spiritual strut on? Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but common sense is not the gift of His Son. Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense. The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will. Our ordinary wits never worship God unless they are transfigured by the indwelling Son of God. We have to see that this mortal flesh is kept in perfect subjection to Him and that He works through it moment by moment. Are we living in such human dependence upon Jesus Christ that His life is being manifested moment by moment?
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. § We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. § I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.
You were washed … you were sanctified … you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. § The royal daughter is all glorious within. § “Your beauty … was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.
Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.
These are the ones who … washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. § A glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but … holy and without blemish. § You are complete in Him.
Eve … bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens.” … The Lord scattered them. § Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan … It was well watered everywhere … like the garden of the Lord … But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. § I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards … I also gathered for myself silver and gold … Then I looked on all … and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. § He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.