[i] At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.[/i]
The great paradoxes of this incredible changed life ... It is Christ who died, yea is risen! Strange that when I feel less like speaking, commenting, the compelling otherwise.
Reading from this great saintly lady, Rosalind Goforth;
[i] I confessed the sin of planning my own life ... [/i]
A mention elsewhere, sticking, clinging ... stinging. It brings the ring of, "known for their high criticism". Something quite low and debase at it's frequency. Equally unnoticed how little different than the commentary of the world, earthy, sensual ... common. [i]Ye do err greatly, not knowing ...[/i] A criticism of criticism? Or, something more, something [i]other[/i].
(*[i]Edit: Little did I recognize where this might go, let alone end up. In all honesty, the last segment here was something grabbed truly at random ... it caused a change to the title adding the word, 'criticism', original intent only to make mention and then move on...[/i])
[i]We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:[/i] Col 1:3-6
[b]MEN AND BRETHREN[/b],
UNHAPPY, very unhappy for us, we are a kingdom divided against itself;
and, without a miracle, fall we must! What a fall will there then be, when
such distress is upon the land, and wrath upon the people! And is this a
little thing, brethren? Is it what any of us either desire or promote God
forbid! A kingdom divided against itself is an evil, of all others, the most
dreadful; inasmuch as an innumerable train of evils necessarily follow; no
inconsiderable part of which are the sword, fire, plunder, and famine. This
our forefathers unhappily felt, and to our inexpressible sorrow we may
[i]For I would have you know how greatly I strive for you, and for them at Laodicea (SermonIndex), and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
That their hearts may be comforted,
They being knit together in love,
And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. This I say, that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech.
For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him, and stablished in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.[/i] Col 2:1-7 RV
[b]KEEP GOD'S END IN VIEW[/b]
One of our words recently to a friend in baptism was the word 'eternal'. I pondered it during the day before passing it on. It took hold of me in this very connection. "Our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17,18). The eternal is kept in view, and life is adjusted in every way to God's end. How busy the enemy is to circumvent the onward movement and the final attainment, by getting us entangled and compromised in this earth, somehow to slip in something that will be a check, an arrest, a hold-up. Oh, the spiritual tragedies all around by some foolish relationship, some entanglement, some consideration of convenience, some pandering to the satisfaction of the flesh, something somehow slipped in by the enemy; and there it is - you just cannot go right on to God's end. Something is holding you back, some relationship is keeping you tied up, something has come in.
[i]T. Austin Sparks[/i]
Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:
[i]For in him[/i]
Dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and
Ye are [u]made full[/u], who is the head of all principality and power: in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
And [i]you, being[/i]
Through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he quicken together [i]with him[/i], having forgiven us all our trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having put off from himself the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly ([i]publically[/i]), triumphing over them in it.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; [b]but the body is Christs.[/b] Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he hath seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increaseth with the increase of God. [i]If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world[/i],
Why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, Handle not, nor taste, nor touch (all which things are to perish with the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men?
Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in willworship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Col 2:8 -23
Some little time ago, a Chinese boy of twelve years old, named Ma-Na-Si, a boarder in the mission school at Chefoo, went home for the holidays. He is the son of a native pastor.
Whilst standing on the doorstep of his fathers house he espied a horseman galloping towards him. The man a heathen was in a great state of perturbation. He eagerly enquired for the Jesus-man the pastor. The boy told him that his father was away from home. The poor man was much distressed, and hurriedly explained the cause of his visit. He had been sent from a heathen village some miles away to fetch the holy man to cast a devil out of the daughter-in-law of a heathen friend. He poured out his sad story of this young woman, torn by devils, raving and reviling, pulling out her hair, clawing her face, tearing her clothes, smashing up furniture, and dashing away dishes of food. He told of her spirit of sacrilege, and outrageous impiety, and brazen blasphemy and how these outbursts were followed by foaming at the mouth, and great exhaustion, both physical and mental But my father is not at home, the boy kept reiterating. At length the frenzied man seemed to understand. Suddenly he fell on his knees, and, stretching out his hands in desperation, cried, You, too, are a Jesus-man; will you come ?
Think of it a boy of twelve! Yes, but even a lad, when fully yielded to his Savior, is not fearful of being used by that Savior. There was but one moment of surprise, and a moment of hesitation, and then the laddie put himself wholly at his Masters disposal. Like little Samuel of old he was willing to obey God in all things. He accepted the earnest entreaty as a call from God. The heathen stranger sprang into the saddle, and, swinging the Christian boy up behind him, he galloped away.
Ma-Na-Si began to think over things. He had accepted an invitation to cast out a devil in the name of Christ Jesus. But was he worthy to be used of God in this way? Was his heart pure and his faith strong? As they galloped along he carefully searched his own heart for sin to be confessed and repented of. Then he prayed for guidance what to say and how to act, and tried to recall Bible instances of demoniacal possession and how they were dealt with. Then he simply and humbly cast himself upon the God of power and of mercy, asking His help for the glory of the Lord Jesus. On arrival at the house they found that some of the members of the family were by main force holding down the tortured woman upon the bed. Although she had not been told that a messenger had gone for the native pastor, yet as soon as she heard footsteps in the court outside she cried, All of you get out of my way quickly, so that I can escape. I must flee! A Jesus-man is coming. I cannot endure him. His name is Ma-Na-Si.
Ma-Na-Si entered the room, and after a ceremonial bow knelt down and began to pray. Then he sang a Christian hymn to the praise of the Lord Jesus. Then, in the name of the Risen Lord, glorified and omnipotent, he commanded the demon to come out of the woman. At once she was calm, though prostrate with weakness. From that day she was perfectly whole. She was amazed when they told her that she had uttered the name of the Christian boy, for she had never heard of it or read of it before, for the whole of that village was heathen. But that day was veritably a beginning of days to those people, for from it the Word of the Lord had free course and was glorified.
Beloved reader, I do not know how this little narrative affects you. It is one that moves me to the very depths of my being. It seems to me that most of us know so little of the power of God - so little of His overwhelming, irresistible love. Oh, what love is His! Now, every time we pray, that wonderful love envelops us in a special way.
If we really loved our blessed Savior, should we not oftener seek communion with Him in prayer?Fellow Christian, is it because we pray so little that we criticise so much? Oh, let us remember that we, like our dear Savior, are not sent into the world to condemn, to judge, the world, but that the world should be saved through Him (John iii. 17).
Will any thoughtless word of [u]criticism[/u] of anyone move anyone nearer to Christ? Will it even help the utterer of that [i]fault-finding[/i] to be more like the Master? Oh, let us lay aside the spirit of criticism, of blaming, of fault finding, of disparaging others or their work. Would not St. Paul say to us all,
And such were some of you, but ye are washed? (II Cor. vi. 11.)
Do you see what we are aiming at? All the evil dispositions and failings we detect in others are due to the devil. It is the evil one in the heart who causes those words and deeds which we are so ready to condemn and to exaggerate. Demon-possession is not unknown in England, but it takes a different form, perhaps. Our very friends and acquaintances, so kindly and lovable, are often tied and bound by some besetting sin whom Satan hath bound, lo, these many years.
We may plead with them in vain. We may warn them in vain. Courtesy and charity and our own failings and shortcomings forbid us standing over them like Ma-Na-Si and exercising the evil spirit! But have we tried prayer - prayer always backed up by love which cannot be provoked?
(I Cor. xiii. 5.)
God answers prayer from old and young, when there is a clean heart, a holy life, and a simple faith. God answers prayer. We are but frail and faulty servants at the best. Sincere as we may be, we shall sometimes ask amiss. But God is faithful that promised, and He will guard us from all harm and supply every need.
Can I have the things I pray for?
God knows best;
He is wiser than His children.
I can rest.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight (I John iii. 21.)
[i]The Kneeling Christian[/i] ~ Unknown Christian