Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Vision Is Always Enlarged Upwards

Abraham had a vision of “the city which hath foundations” and he looked for it, but he never found it on earth.

He found it at last in heaven, but only as the climax of a walk which was ever upward.

Ezekiel was another man of vision. 

In his “visions of God” he saw the glory lifting from the earthly scene and moving up and on, finally culminating in a spiritual house and river which find their counterpart in the final revelation given to John.

It was heavenly, spiritual, universal.

What a significant phrase that is about the house seen by Ezekiel, “there was an enlargement upward” (Ezekiel 41:7). 

Eze 41:7  And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst.

God-given vision is always heavenly and always moves away from the merely temporal and earthly.

To understand this is to be found in ways of vital fruitfulness.
God never works for reduction or limitation, even though at times He may seem to be doing so.

When we are able to see as He sees we find that what looks like trimming and reduction is really His way of leading to more spiritual and heavenly enlargement.

It was “the God of glory” who appeared to Abraham (Acts 7:2). 

Act 7:2  And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

It was “the pattern in the heavenlies” that was shown to Moses (Hebrews 8:5).

Heb 8:5  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

It was "above the firmament a throne and upon the throne a man above upon it” that Ezekiel saw (Ezekiel 1:26).

Eze 1:26  And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

It was that “the heavens do rule” that Daniel apprehended (Daniel 4:26).

Dan 4:26  And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

These are not only sovereign factors in government, but heavenly conceptions in the nature of things.

What could have been voluntary with a minimum of loss has often had to be made compulsory with gains that are less than they could have been.

This is because we do not from time to time stand back and in detachment wait upon God so that He can adjust and enlarge our vision.

Many a work which has mightily served the Lord and been a great spiritual testimony has lost much of its glory and impact by becoming an organized routine which has made no provision for the further light from God which could have come from periods of retreat and waiting upon Him.

Without renewed vision there can so easily be a leakage of spiritual power.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Care Of Our Feet

The way is slippery and our feet are feeble, but the LORD will keep our feet.

If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be His holy ones, He will Himself be our guardian.

Not only will He charge His angels to keep us, but He Himself will preserve our goings.

He will keep our feet from falling so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.

He will keep our feet from wandering so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world's custom.

He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.

He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed or be poisoned.

He will also pluck our feet out of the net. 

We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.

With such a promise as this, let us run without weariness and walk without fear.

He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Whatever The Cost

Gen 22:16  And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

Gen 22:17  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Gen 22:18  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God's voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over.

Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God's call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy's life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name.

But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.

That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His.

We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth.

We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of.

We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy.

And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ.

For we can never know the fullness of the life that is in Christ until we have made Abraham's supreme sacrifice.

The earthly founder of the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his only son, just as the Heavenly Founder of that family did.

We cannot be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of membership upon any other basis.

~C. G. Trumbull~

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes He takes in fire; and that the only way to the resurrection life and the ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the grave.

Think not, O soul of man, that Abraham's was a unique and solitary experience. 

It is simply a specimen and pattern of God's dealings with all souls who are prepared to obey Him at whatever cost. 

After thou hast patiently endured, thou shalt receive the promise.

The moment of supreme sacrifice shall be the moment of supreme and rapturous blessing.

God's river, which is full of water, shall burst its banks, and pour upon thee a tide of wealth and grace.

There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him.

~F. B. Meyer~

Sunday, January 15, 2017

You Are Walking In The Midst Of Snares And Traps!

Eph 5:15  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Eph 5:16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

To honor Jesus in your thoughts, words, and every action should be your constant aim. 

You are in an enemy's land; surrounded by temptations; 

This present world is not your home! 

Satan's family are not to be your intimate friends. 

Riches, honors, or pleasure are not to be your objects of pursuit.

You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!

Be watchful, prayerful, depending upon Jesus, and cultivating fellowship with Him. 

O keep your eye on Jesus, as your example! 

Walk by His Word as your rule. 

Do not be venturesome or presumptuous, but avoid the very appearance of evil. 

Never leave the Lord's ways to join the world's vanities or to please a carnal lust. 

Keep close to Jesus and follow on to know the Lord. 

Walk as a beloved child, who is going home to his loving Father's house!

Be very careful, then, how you walk! 

~James Smith~

Thursday, January 12, 2017

If GOD Had Not Helped Us!

The psalmist had been reviewing his toils, his trials, and his dangers; he commemorates his deliverances, his conquests, and his triumphs; and he ascribes the whole, to the help of God! 

If God had not helped him his faith would have failed, his expectations would have been disappointed, and his foes would have prevailed.

Through the Lord, he did valiantly; and now, with joyful heart, he records the loving-kindness of the Lord.

How sweet to look back upon the rough road, the bloody battle-field, the scenes of peculiar trial.

Then, if ever, gratitude will work within us, and praises will flow from our tongues and hearts.

Delivered from the mouth of the lion, and the paw of the bear we thankfully acknowledge, "The Lord helped me!" 

In looking back we see that we have needed help and more help than any mere creature could afford us!

The daily cross, the inward conflict, the domestic troubles, the perplexities of business, the state of the church, the affairs of the world - have all combined to teach us that Divine help was necessary! 

If God had not helped us we would have fallen into sin, we would have disgraced our profession, we would have been crushed by our foes, we would have fainted under our trials, we would have apostatized from the faith!

God alone knows what would have been the result if we had been left to our own resources.

We needed help in infancy, in youth, in manhood.

We needed help in prosperity and in adversity!

We needed help in temporals and spirituals.

We found our own strength to be weakness, and our own wisdom to be folly.

The feeblest of our foes would have been more than a match for us!

The least corruption in our hearts would have overcome us!

And we need help now as much as we ever did;

For, unless the Lord helps us our foes will yet triumph over us, our crosses will yet prove to be too much for us, and we shall yet faint in the day of adversity!

The Lord has promised help. He has said, "Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God!

I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness!

And because His people feel themselves to be vile, weak, and incompetent;

He stoops to speak to them according to their own views of themselves and says, "Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel for I Myself will help you!

Declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel!

Oh, precious promise, of a good and gracious God!

It extends to all times, it embraces all circumstances, it belongs to all believers, and it ensures us triumph over all our foes! 

Yes, the strength of Jesus has been perfected in our weakness!

We have found His grace to be sufficient for us; and to the praise of His glorious grace, in reference to all our trials, troubles, and conflicts we can truly say, "The Lord helped me!" 

Oh, beloved, it is an unspeakable mercy to have God for our helper! 

~James Smith~

Friday, January 6, 2017

Step Out Boldly

Pro 4:12  When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

The Lord never builds a bridge of faith except under the feet of the faith-filled traveler.

If He builds the bridge a rod ahead, it would not be a bridge of faith.

That which is of sight is not of faith.

There is a self-opening gate which is sometimes used in country roads. It stands fast and firm across the road as a traveler approaches it.

If he stops before he gets to it, it will not open.

But if he will drive right at it, his wagon wheels press the springs below the roadway, and the gate swings back to let him through.

He must push right on at the closed gate, or it will continue to be closed.

This illustrates the way to pass every barrier on the road of duty.

Whether it is a river, a gate, or a mountain, all the child of Jesus has to do is to go for it. 

If it is a river, it will dry up when you put your feet in its waters.

If it is a gate, it will fly open when you are near enough to it, and are still pushing on.

If it is a mountain, it will be lifted up and cast into a sea when you come squarely up, without flinching, to where you thought it was.

Is there a great barrier across your path of duty just now?

Just go for it, in the name of the Lord, and it won't be there.

~Henry Clay Trumbull~

We sit and weep in vain.

The voice of the Almighty said, "Up and onward forevermore."

Let us move on and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way.

The path will open, as we progress, like the trail through the forest, or the Alpine pass, which discloses but a few rods of its length from any single point of view.

Press on! 

If necessary, we will find even the pillar of cloud and fire to mark our journey through the wilderness. 

There are guides and wayside inns along the road.

We will find food, clothes and friends at every stage of the journey, and as Rutherford so quaintly says: "However matters go, the worst will be a tired traveler and a joyful and sweet welcome home."

I'm going by the upper road, for that still holds the sun, I'm climbing through night's pastures where the starry rivers run:

If you should think to seek me in my old dark abode, You'll find this writing on the door, "He's on the Upper Road."


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

We Must Either Leap Over Them, Or Tread Upon Them!

A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 

Mat 10:36  And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Mat 10:37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Mat 10:38  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Take heed of the snare in your family!

It is one of the Devil's great hinder us from piety by our nearest relations...and to shoot us with our own rib!

He tempted Adam by his wife.

Who would have suspected the Devil there?

He tempted Job by his wife, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"

Job 2:9  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

Thus would the Devil have cooled Job's love for God; but the shield of his faith quenched this fiery dart! 

Take heed of such tempters!

It is better to go to Heaven with their hatred-than to Hell with their love!

If our dearest friends and family lie in our way to Heaven...we must either leap over them, or tread upon them!

~Thomas Watson~

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Land We Are To Possess

Deu 11:11  But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:

Deu 11:12  A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

Today we stand at the threshold of the unknown.

Before us lies a new year, and we are going forward to take possession of it.

Who knows what we will find? What new experiences or changes will come our way? What new needs will arise?

In spite of the uncertainty before us, we have a cheerful and comforting message from our heavenly Father:

The Lord your God cares for [it]; the eyes of the Lord are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

The Lord is to be our Source of supply. In Him are springs, fountains, and streams that will never be cut off or run dry.

To those who are anxious comes the gracious promise of our heavenly Father: 

If He is the Source of our mercies, mercy will never fail us. 

No heat or drought can dry the “river whose streams make glad the city of God."

Psa 46:4  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

Yet the land we are to possess is a land of valleys and hills. It is not all flat or downhill.

If life were always smooth and level, the boring sameness would weigh us down.

We need the valleys and the hills.

The hills collect the rain for hundreds of fruitful valleys. And so it is with us!

It is the difficulty encountered on the hills that drives us to the throne of grace and brings the showers
of blessing.

Yes, it is the hills, the cold and seemingly barren hills of life that we question and complain about, that bring down the showers.

How many people have perished in the wilderness valley, buried under its golden sand, who would have thrived in the hills?

And how many would have been killed by the cold, destroyed or swept desolate of their fruitfulness by the wind, if not for the hills-stern, hard, rugged, and so steep to climb?

God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!

We cannot see what loss, sorrow, and trials are accomplishing.

We need only to trust.

The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today.

It will be a good and blessed New Year!

He leads us on by paths we did not know;

Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow, Though oft we faint and falter on the way,

Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day; Yet when the clouds are gone, We know He leads us on.

He leads us on through all the unquiet years; Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears, 

He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days; We know His will is done;

And still He leads us on.

~Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf~