Things Concerning Himself
Ah! it is blessed to be at the feet of Jesus in our
sorrows, for there divine light shines upon them, and though we may suffer, and
even be oppressed with our trials, we shall not, while there, doubt His love.
Waiting before the Lord is the sure means of qualification for obedience to His bidding.
The fear of God can lift the feeblest and humblest above the fear of man.
Sympathy is the rarest of all ministries, as it is also the sweetest; it makes no show in the world, but it leaves its mark.
There is no pillow like love, and we have the Lord's perfect love to rest upon.
Let me put you a simple question: How many of you have said today in your hearts, "The Lord Jesus Christ may be here before the day closes"?
The calm of a soul which reposes in the will of God is unspeakable.
We are never to seek to vindicate ourselves when it is a personal matter, but when the Lord's name is dishonoured for His glory we may speak.
We cannot have power with men if we have not power with God. The greatest mistake any of us can make is to seek to have power before men without having been in the presence of God.
It is so gracious of Him to give us any encouragement in our service, but I am convinced that, in the issue, the fruit of our labours which we have not seen will be far more abundant than that which we have been permitted to know of, and hence it is that we have to scatter the seed in faith.
I am certain that we must leave results until the judgment seat of Christ. In the meantime our one desire must be to gain His approbation and be content with that. Nothing else is worth seeking for.
I am coming to this conclusion, that the more one ministers Christ Himself the more you can count upon divine assistance. To exalt Christ is to be in communion with the mind of God. This will be our sole employment in heaven. Unconscious testimony is always the more powerful. I often think that at the judgment seat of Christ we shall find a word we have spoken casually, a little sentence dropped, has been more used than all our preaching and lectures.
The humblest believer walking in obedience to the Lord and dependence upon Him is displaying the greatest spiritual power. Power is displayed by the coming out of Christ in daily life.
To be full of the Holy Ghost is the normal state of the believer, and if this is not so with us we should humble ourselves before God.
To hold ourselves at the Lord's disposal secures for us opened doors when He has work for us to do.
The qualification for service is a deeper acquaintance with the heart of Christ.
The more you honour God by keeping man in the background, the more blessing you will have in the work.
The Holy Spirit is always ready to work when we exalt Christ, "He shall glorify me." What will become of those cut flowers tomorrow? They will fade. So truth that is separated from Christ will fade away.
The sign of a good state of soul is enjoyment of the presence of Christ. The one object of the Christian life is to learn more of Himself, and Satan cannot find entrance into a heart that is full of Christ.
The state of our souls may be discerned by the effect produced upon us by the name of Jesus. Christ Himself is to be our great example of faith, of a life of dependence upon God. If the holiest man that ever lived were to fill our vision it would only hinder and not help us.
Whenever we speak to one another of Christ He will always be one of the company. (See Mal 3:16). Do our hearts long for His presence? Then let us speak together of Him more. We feed on Christ by the appropriation of Him in every character that He is presented to us.
The whole life of our blessed Lord as man is compressed into the words, "He humbled himself." Christ is everything. He is everything to the heart of God, and He desires to be everything to the hearts of His people. That it may be so with you is the highest blessedness I can desire for you.
There is never any difficulty about guidance when the eye is on Christ, but if other considerations come in then you miss His leadings. Christ in some aspect is united to the need of every soul.
The larger our thoughts of Christ the larger our communion with the heart of God. The glory of. Christ is the one subject that fills the heart of God, and filling His heart it should also fill ours.
A real revival in our hearts is always the revival of the place of Christ in our hearts. It always appeals to me that the last sight the disciples had of our blessed Lord was His passing into heaven with His outstretched arms of blessing. That indeed is His perpetual attitude towards us. No less striking is their response to what they had seen. It was, in one word, perpetual worship. Ah, if we did but worship more we should have far higher conceptions of who He is, and what He has done for us.
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." If you meditate upon these words you will never reach their profound depths, nor shall we even in eternity. For who shall tell what friendship with Christ involves? No one can or ever will gauge the possible intimacy which it holds out to us.
We should diligently cultivate the enjoyment of the love of Christ that we may become moulded by it, so as to express it more in our very demeanour, and be surrounded by the holy atmosphere which it creates.
Whatever makes Christ more precious to us is of God. Whatever comes between us and Christ is of the devil.
"It is I; be not afraid." The realisation of Christ's presence is the antidote to every possible fear, and the way to comfort people is the ministry of Christ in the power of the Spirit, to so present Him that they shall apprehend His presence. The nearer we are to God the more we lose sight of ourselves and the better we are able to apprehend and to communicate His mind.
I do not know a happier employment than to sit down quietly before the Lord and let Him make impressions on your heart - to let Him impress you with His own presence, and to produce whatever influences He will upon you.
Are we satisfied with light instead of cultivating love for Christ? The more light the better if affection goes with it, but if light be held without the heart it will not benefit us. John 20 illustrates this. John had more light about the resurrection than Mary, yet when he came to the sepulchre and found it empty he went home. Mary had no light about the resurrection, yet as she waited there, weeping. Jesus revealed Himself to her.
It is to the heart and not to the head that Christ reveals Himself, so the more heart you have the more you will get manifestations of Him.
Consecration lies in Christ having full control over the bodies of His people so that they may be organs for the expression of nothing but Himself. "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." Being redeemed we should disown and reject every authority that conflicts with that of Christ.
"That in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Col 1:18. If I am not giving Christ the first place in my heart I am not in accord with the mind of God. The most miserable man on the face of the earth is the Christian who is trying to enjoy both worlds.
The Holy Spirit is our only power for a holy walk. Of ourselves we cannot take a single step in this path. The utmost human efforts, the most resolute determination, are of no avail either to keep ourselves from evil or to follow after Christ.
If you leave out the truth of the coming of the Lord Jesus, you miss a power for holiness that God has given to us. (See 1 John 3:3). What was the power that made Levi leave all and follow Christ? Not the command; the power did not lie in the word itself, but it was the presentation of Christ Himself to Levi. You cannot get separation from the world apart from the presenting of the Person. This is the reason of failure in separation - it must begin with the heart. If you want to help souls you must present Christ to them. How should I separate a quantity of steel filings from a heap of dust? By picking them out? No, I should only defile my hand. By holding a powerful magnet to them, and all would instantly be attracted and drawn out of the dust. It is Christ revealed to us that detaches us from this world. There is many a Christian who has not reached Christ, and there is the weakness. There is a larger blessing than forgiveness -- that is, HIMSELF. Nothing will satisfy Christ but revealing His heart to you, and you will never grow unless you are under the power of His love. If we would wash another's feet aright, our motive, like that of Jesus, must spring from love. (See John 13).
The measure of our love indicates the measure of our usefulness. As the apostle teaches us--we may spend the whole of our substance in philanthropic works, and yet without love it is of no avail.
Love to Christ is the mainspring of holiness.
Worldliness of some shape or form finds an easy entrance amongst the children of God. We have need, therefore, to be always on the watch, and to remember that the love of the world absolutely excludes from the heart the love of the Father.
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." He would have us, in the intimacy of His love, to be without reserve before Him--all told out, nothing kept back. Our danger never lies in telling Him too much, but just in the opposite direction . . . He loves to hear the cry of His children, for He well knows that it is the expression of their confidence in Him.
"Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." Fellowship with the Father is to be filled with His thoughts, His desires, His objects and His affections. So also with fellowship with the Son . . . It is our privilege to be taken out of ourselves altogether, to be lost in the affections and aims of the Father and the Son! . . . Self disappears before such a blessed possibility. Shall I cling to my own thoughts and purposes when I may be occupied with those of the Father and the Son? Shall I have my own affections when I may be possessed with those that fill the heart of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ? Far be the thought! Rather let me be lost in this illimitable sea of bliss opened out before me in the marvellous grace of God.
If the cross be applied to ourselves, and then to the world, you have two crucified things, and consequently there could not be the least attraction between the two. That, therefore, is the true way of overcoming the attractions of the world. (Galatians 6:14).
Whether for walk, conflict, testimony or worship, our only and all-sufficient power is in the Holy Ghost.
It must not be forgotten that power does not act independently of our spiritual condition. The Holy Spirit dwells within, so that our bodies are His temples. If we are careless, unwatchful, if we seek our pleasure in the world, rather than in Christ, let us not for one moment suppose that He will condescend to use us as vessels of His power . . . But, on the other hand, if the eye be single, and a single eye sees nothing but Christ, if He is the object of our lives, the Holy Spirit then ungrieved will sustain us in every position in which we are placed, and bring us victoriously out of the very conflict through which we may pass.
Let us not rest until we know practically something of being channels for the manifestation of divine power even in this world.
When knowledge enters the head it exalts me. When knowledge enters the heart it humbles me.
Nothing so injures the soul as controversy.
There are only two channels of testimony, the lip and the life, and the lip should be, but the expression of what has been first produced in the life. What we should all desire is intense reality, to be possessed and controlled by the truth we profess to hold, and thus to shun the use of phrases and sentences which we have never eaten, digested and found true in our souls.
Of necessity those who are closest to Christ will be themselves drawn closer together.
"The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul." The root of all discords in the church of God is the lack of the Spirit's power; where He works unhinderedly in any company of saints, because ungrieved, there must be unity. The lack of enjoyed unity in any company is due to the absence of the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is well for us all when we are grounded upon what has been termed the impregnable rock of scripture. Resting on this foundation opinions may come and opinions may go, but they will be never able to disturb the divine certainty of the soul that is able to say, "Thus it is written."
The Spirit brought home to me the other morning an old scripture with great power. It was this: "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." John 11. In this very chapter Martha does nothing save to blunder, and exhibit her blindness to the glory of the Person of her Lord, and yet the chapter is prefaced by the statement that Jesus loved her. It touched me deeply as I saw a little of the significance of the statement, and it taught me that the Lord's love to us rises above all our failures, and that, therefore, we may count upon it and rest in it at all times.
His way is ever perfect, and it only needs that, with the knowledge of His love, we should repose in Him with unshaken confidence in all circumstances.
It is ever a fatal mistake when we measure the difficulties of service by what we are. The question is what God is; and the difficulties that appear as mountains, looming through the mists of our unbelief, are nothing to Him but the occasion for the display of His omnipotent power.
An unsatisfied heart is a source of danger, and a divided heart is the continual cause of inconsistency of walk. On the other hand, when Christ possesses and engrosses the affections we are superior to every temptation of the enemy.
We never enter upon any service rightly unless we expect to encounter the opposition of Satan.
It is easier to keep the enemy out than it is to expel him after, he has effected an entrance.
"Pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:28. If a brother treats you coldly, if a sister speaks against you, do you make it your habit to pray for them? Oh, how different we would be, if we thus bear one another up before the Lord.
Resting on the word . . . we are on a sure rock, against which all the waves of error dash themselves only to be scattered as mist and foam.
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