but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.1 Peter 4:13(NASB)
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. (Colossians 3:1 NLT)
Our prayer life has got to be on a heavenly basis. It is not enough just to be praying for our earthly affairs. It is so easy to get up in the morning and hurry through a few words asking the Lord to bless us and ours, and our earthly things for the day, as though these things of this life were all. Oh, no! The Lord would have prayer touching things heavenly, things spiritual, things related to that which is not of time, but of eternity; not of this world, but in relation to His eternal, heavenly intentions. He would have us separated from the merely temporal. There is a place for bringing those before the Lord, but they have got to be lifted in relation to the heavenly and not be dealt with as things in themselves. The blood makes everything heavenly, separating from the old creation. There is a very great deal of the old creation in our prayers; it is our convenience, our deliverance from inconvenience and discomfort, our salvation from what would bring us a great deal of trouble and sorrow. That is the motive behind a good deal of our praying. "Lord, don’t let anything bad happen today, because it would spoil our life today!"
But supposing the Lord would lift us into something altogether new through sorrow, are we then going to pray that prayer? No, our prayer must be: "Today, Lord, I want that which is of greatest account in relation to spiritual values and if that must be by way of trial and adversity, I do not pray to be delivered from it." I say, "Lord, there is power to carry me through, and by prayer I come into touch with that power to carry me through the trials of every day in relation to the meaning of the trial." That is heavenly praying. That is praying with your heart in heaven. “If ye be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your affections upon the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth, for ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3). “Our citizenship is in heaven.” Now the life of the believer is to be, therefore, one with heavenly interests always in view, and our prayer life is in relation to those interests.
Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; with the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself. § You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.
All things are yours: whether … the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. § All things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. § He will not speak on His own authority. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit … Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. § The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
That our God may make you worthy of His call, and by His power fully satisfy your every desire for goodness" (2 Thess. 1:11a, Wms.).
If we are born into the Lord Jesus by sheer grace, surely He can manifest Himself in us on the same principle.
"It is this quiet expectation and confidence, resting on the Word of the Lord Jesus that in Him there is an abiding place prepared, which is so sadly wanting among Christians. The idea many have of grace is that their conversion and pardon are God's work, but that now, in gratitude to Him, it is their work to live as Christians. There is always the thought of work (law) that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually, and become helpless; and the despondency only increases the helplessness.
"Abiding in the Lord Jesus is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us - the fruit and power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, to abide, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform. As it was the Lord Jesus who drew thee when He said Come,' so it is the Lord Jesus who keeps thee when He says Abide.'" -A.M.
"The heart is constantly looking to God to give a testimony about itself; but the Father is giving a testimony concerning His Son, and not about what we are; if He were to give a testimony about us, it must be about our sin and unbelief of heart. But no; and it is of great importance in this day of infidelity to see that if the Father gives a testimony, it is about His Son, and what He is to the sinner. If you believe that, you will have peace." -J.N.D.
"And complete every activity of your faith, so that the Name of our Lord Jesus might be glorified in you" (2 Thess. 1:11b, Wms.).
“And now, saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be His servant.” Isaiah 49:5
The first thing that happens after we have realized our election to God in Christ Jesus is the destruction of our prejudices and our parochial notions and our patriotisms; we are turned into servants of God's own purpose. The whole human race was created to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. Sin has switched the human race on to an other tack, but it has not altered God's purpose in the tiniest degree; and when we are born again we are brought into the realization of God's great purpose for the human race, viz., I am created for God, He made me. This realization of the election of God is the most joyful realization on earth, and we have to learn to rely on the tremendous creative purpose of God. The first thing God will do with us is to "force through the channels of a single heart" the interests of the whole world. The love of God, the very nature of God, is introduced into us, and the nature of Almighty God is focused in John 3:16 - "God so loved the world. . ."
We have to maintain our soul open to the fact of God's creative purpose, and not muddle it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to crush our intentions on one side however much it may hurt. The purpose for which the missionary is created is that he may be God's servant, one in whom God is glorified. When once we realize that through the salvation of Jesus Christ we are made perfectly fit for God, we shall understand why Jesus Christ is so ruthless in His demands. He demands absolute rectitude from His servants, because He has put into them the very nature of God.
Beware lest you forget God's purpose for your life.
Just as the sin of one man, (Adam) resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act of the one Man, (Christ Jesus) resulted in justification and life for all people.
God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
The whole world came under the condemnation of God because of one man’s sin. Adam’s disobedience resulted in the human race being born under condemnation. It was sin that was the cause of man’s condemnation and the wages of sin is death. It was necessary for God to cover man’s sin with the blood-soaked fleece of a lamb, for in His heart God purposed to send a Saviour – Who could pay the price of sin. What grace was being shown to man when God purposed to save His fallen race.
His perfect life would be a payment – for the sinful lives of the entire human race. All sin that was covered by the fleece of a lamb would be atoned for by His blood. Until the blood of the perfect Sacrifice was offered, man’s sin would remain covered – covered but never forgiven UNTIL the final Sacrifice for all sin was offered.
But grace was in God’s heart when He purposed to give His Son as a ransom for many, Christ was to come bringing with Him grace and truth for all condemned by the Law. His perfect life and sacrificial death was to break the power of sin, resting on man, His death on the cross was so that man could be released from ALL condemnation.
As time passed mankind rebelled against their Creator God and so the Law was sent. Paul says the Law was given so that the offence might abound.. so thatread more
The life-walk of Paul illustrates his relationship to his Lord, Jesus Christ. As he travelled from place to place, the pain and triumph of Calvary was evident. Initial prideful, bitter hatred of all who followed Jesus of Nazareth, was exchanged – replaced, with such a deep love of his Master, as reflected in his penmanship:- He expressed the true, magnificent depths to which God’s love, in Christ ascends. Love – suffers long and is kind; it isn’t arrogant. It is gentle; seemly; forgiving; gracious. What a testimony of a changed life – what a celebration of Calvary’s victory.
But Paul’s life-walk exemplified another aspect of the cross:– Christ living in him. He realized the insidious grip that Satan, the great adversary of Christ had on this world’s darkness. Paul recognised the shroud of darkness that curtained across the minds of men… preventing the light of the glorious gospel of truth shining down on a needy race.
Paul proclaimed the truth that the prince of this world was cast out and fully defeated – crushed at Calvary; stripped of power; an overcome enemy; vanquished forever. The price for sin:- paid in full. The power of sin:– broken forever. And yet this dreadful defeat for man’s deliverance was to be effected over time. Calvary’s victory was to be ratified through a small company who would stand firm.
Paul is one shining example of that small company, and the walk of Paul illustrates the spiritual battle that rages in the heavenlies:- a battle in which a small company is called out to stand firm. And Paul followed in the wake of a little band like – “these three men – Noah, Job, Daniel.” Ezekiel 14:14
Paul led the way of the cross to all who are prepared to accept this challenge. Paul exemplified a faithful life engaged in the spiritual battle of all ages. Paul throughout His life envisioned the triumphal train of His Lord and Saviour:- a victorious, divinely appointed procession, with the defeated enemy displayed – a celebration of Man’sread more