“In Mary of Bethany, with her broken box of ointment, we see shadowed forth the life of surrender. . .The lesson of giving, like all other lessons, is best learnt in His presence. It is as we look into His face that we grow dissatisfied with offering as we thought to offer, and rejoice in a breaking of will and spirit that sets free all restraint in the surrender.
It may be in some outward act of obedience costing dear, that the breaking will begin; but it will be best perfected, at any rate, by accepting, instantly and wholly, the hourly disappointments, losses, jars, and burdens of common experience, till a practical readiness to be offered is developed.
Let our one aim in the matter be to find what still remains kept back; let our ideal of life be no longer a fair unbroken whole but a handful of shattered, empty fragments from which all that could be given has been lavished upon Christ. Is He not worthy?”
— Lilias Trotter

“Each of us needs to honestly face and seriously answer this question: How highly do I really value communion with Christ?…Christ has the first claims upon me. Do I realize this? Am I acting accordingly? Am I making it my chief concern to cultivate closer communion with Him? Am I—amidst all the problems, frictions, trials of this life— making Him my principal confident, counsellor, helper? Is it Him I am most seeking to please, honor, and glorify? If not, is it not high time that I did so?

…None but Christ can satisfy the heart, yet we are terribly slow in really believing it. We grasp at shadows, pursue phantoms, seek to feed on ashes, and then wonder why we are so miserable. God will not long allow His people to rest in things or find contentment in their circumstances. He it is Who both gives and takes away, Who gratifies or thwarts our wishes. We brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out of it (1Ti 6:7); therefore, there is nothing in the world which deserves a single anxious thought from us, for we shall soon be at the end of our journey through it.

…imagine that a certain thing would be very pleasant and profitable, and fancy that we cannot do without it; if we could but obtain it, we promise ourselves much satisfaction from it. If God grants it to us, do we not find that it is not what we expected?

We dream dreams, build air castles, live in many a fancied paradise, only to be bitterly disappointed. God’s purpose in those disappointments is to wean us from the world, to make us sick of it, to teach us that all down here is but “vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecc 1:14).

O my reader, it would make much for our peace and blessedness if we committed the management of the whole of our affairs into the hands of Christ. 

We need to continually pray Him to save us from having any will of our own, to work in us complete subjection to and satisfaction with His holy will. 

By nature we are full of restlessness, covetousness, discontent—never satisfied with what we do have, ever lusting after what we do not have. But by grace we may live more happily than a prince, even though we possess nothing more down here than bare food and raiment: yea, [we] shall do so if we seek and find all our satisfaction in Christ alone. 

Here is the key to the extraordinary history of Paul and Silas, Bunyan and Rutherford, Madame Guyon and many others. Why were they so contented and joyful while lying—some of them for many years—in prison? No doubt, God favored them with a double portion of His grace and comfort, yet the real explanation is that their hearts were completely absorbed with Christ.”

— A.W. Pink

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5–6).
The word “so” connecting those two sentences is stunning. The most loving thing Jesus could do at that moment was to let Lazarus die. But it didn’t look or feel like love to Martha…
We know how this story from John chapter eleven ends. But in the horrible days of Lazarus’s agonizing illness and in the dark misery of the days following his death, Martha did not know what God was doing. He seemed silent and unresponsive. Jesus didn’t come. It’s likely that she knew word had reached him. She was confused, disappointed, and overwhelmed with grief.
And yet, Jesus delayed precisely because he loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus. He knew that Lazarus’s death and resurrection would give maximum glory to God and his friends would all experience maximum joy in that glory. It would make all their suffering seem light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17).
…God only ordains his child’s deep disappointment and profound suffering in order to give him or her far greater joy in the glory he is preparing to reveal (Romans 8:18).
Before we know what Jesus is doing, circumstances can look all wrong. And we are tempted to interpret God’s apparent inaction as unloving, when in fact God is loving us in the most profound way he possibly can.
So in your anguish of soul, hear Jesus ask with strong affection, “Do you believe this?”
— John Bloom
Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” (John 13:7)

“‘God meant it unto good’–O blest assurance,
Falling like sunshine all across life’s way,
Touching with Heaven’s gold earth’s darkest storm clouds,
Bringing fresh peace and comfort day by day.

‘Twas not by chance the hands of faithless brethren
Sold Joseph captive to a foreign land;
Nor was it chance which, after years of suffering,
Brought him before the monarch’s throne to stand.

One Eye all-seeing saw the need of thousands,
And planned to meet it through that one lone soul;
And through the weary days of prison bondage
Was working towards the great and glorious goal.

As yet the end was hidden from the captive,
The iron entered even to his soul;
His eye could scan the present path of sorrow,
Not yet his gaze might rest upon the whole.

Faith failed not through those long, dark days of waiting,
His trust in God was recompensed at last,
The moment came when God led forth his servant
To succour many, all his sufferings past.

It was not you but God, that sent me hither,
Witnessed triumphant faith in after days;
‘God meant it unto good,’ no ‘second causes’
Mingled their discord with his song of praise.

‘God means it unto good’ for thee, beloved,
The God of Joseph is the same today;
His love permits afflictions strange and bitter,
His hand is guiding through the unknown way.

Thy Lord, who sees the end from the beginning,
Hath purposes for thee of love untold.
Then place thy hand in His and follow fearless,
Till thou the riches of His grace behold.

There, when thou standest in the Home of Glory,
And all life’s path ties open to thy gaze,
Thine eyes shall see the hand which now thou trustest,
And magnify His love through endless days.”

— Freda Hanbury Allen

“Revelation 3:20 – This is what Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with Me.’

I’ll tell you this, the picture in the Jewish mind of eating with somebody was intimacy. You know what Christ was saying? He’s not saying this to lost sinners. So many people want us to believe that. He’s speaking to a church. And He says this, ‘I stand at the door and knock’…And that text just rings of one from the Old Testament. Song of Solomon 5:2 ‘I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking.’ Is that not a picture of exactly what we find there?

Our Beloved is knocking. He tells us that. Christian, you can stand there and wonder, ‘Well, if I go hard after Jesus, am I going to find Him?’ He says to churches, ‘I stand at the door and knock. If you’ll open. I’ll come in and sup with you.’ You say ‘What’s that?’ I’ll guarantee you this: it’s worth having.

…The Lord, my love, He’s at the door. He’s beckoning to me…

‘Lord, not right now. I’ve got to check my email.’

‘Not right now. I’ll get there though.’

‘Oh, you know my favorite show’s on right now, Lord. Not just now.’…

If you have a heart, run when He beckons you. And He beckons you in the Word. Go there. You say, ‘Can I find Him?’ You can find Him. If He says He’s at that door and He’s knocking, you say, ‘What does it mean to let Him in?’

Oh folks, you’re very familiar with what it is to keep Him out. We don’t have to dig too deep to know what it is. There’s a thousand things in this life that pull our hearts away, that pull us away from Him….Obey. Pray. He beckons you to come. He beckons you to open. Open.

…Let’s pray. Father, teach us all what it is to open that door. I know not what else more to pray right now. Just teach us, Lord. Give us a generation of men and women that are quick to open that door. I pray in Christ’s name, Amen.”

— Tim Conway

One who does not know Him or truly love Him can take the promises of God out of context and utilize them as an imaginary escape clause in an attempt to justify what God does not condone. A natural man or woman born only of the flesh may take those beautiful, precious promises of His and cleverly twist them into a license to love what the Lord hates, or to do what should never be done—‘whose end will be according to their works.’
But every one truly born of God in Christ Jesus, having the Holy Spirit and yearning to do the will of the Father from the heart, is more than welcome to take those very same promises and plead them boldly before the throne as if they were spiritual promissory notes written in the very blood of the Messiah—and receive in exchange for their penitant confession: pardon, cleansing and peace with God through Christ Jesus.
If you are His and yet you feel like a complete failure in some area or are struggling with a besetting sin or walking through a wilderness season that seems like its never going to end, I want to encourage you: He is with you. He is for you. He does not love you any less now in the midst of your failings, than he did when He first called you out of darkness and made you a new creation.
Your are just as precious to Him right now reading this post as you were then, when you first came to Him.
Don’t run away in shame from the One who can save you and cleanse you from sin. Sprint to the throne of His grace. He is your life, your Hiding Place. Immerse yourself in His Word, seek His face, worship and adore Him in the midst of your helplessness and need for He is worthy and He will do for you what you could never do, if you will look to Him—and keep on looking.
“So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:9)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

At one time John Wesley found himself on a ship with some Moravian believers in the midst of a terrifying storm at sea. His life was dramatically impacted by observing in them an inexplicable peace amidst otherwise intense panic. Not unlike Paul and Silas who (at midnight in a prison cell) were praying and singing hymns to God, these Spirit filled believers were singing the high praises of God in the midst of the storm.

Wesley wrote in his journal:

“In the midst of the Psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards; ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked: ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied mildly: ‘No, our women and children are not afraid to die.’” The storm was boisterous, but the Moravians kept praising God. Finally, the storm subsided.”

John Wesley was never the same, and he would eventually come to know this same peace that he had observed in those Moravian brethren.

A.W. Tozer once said, “’A scared world needs a fearless church.” By the power of the Holy Spirit in these last days, may the world behold in us the beauty of a peace which passes understanding, a calm that cannot be explained, a love that casts out all fear. May they see in us evidence of a citizenship that is in heaven—not of this world. And may this cause them to long not only for this peace, but for the Author of peace Himself, the God who has purchased us by the blood of His Son.

As the return of Jesus the Rightful Ruler of this world draws near, and as the birth pains increase, may our attention be not on the storms but on the One who the winds and the waves obey. As Oswald Chambers once said, “On the top of those very billows which look as if they would overwhelm us, walks the Son of God.”

May the Holy Spirit give us eyes for Jesus only.

May the Lamb receive the reward for His sufferings in our lives.

“One day I was at a conference with Dr. V. Raymond Edman. . . He told us of an experience he had while he was in Ecuador as a missionary. He hadn’t been there long before he was sick and dying. He was so near death that they had already dug his grave. He had great beads of sweat on his brow and there was a death rattle in his throat. But suddenly he sat straight up in bed and said to his wife, “Bring me my clothes!” Nobody knew what had happened.
Many years later he was retelling the story in Boston. Afterward, a little old lady with a small, dog-eared, beaten-up book, approached him and asked, “What day did you say you were dying? What time was it in Ecuador? What time would it be in Boston?” When he answered her, her wrinkled face lit up. Pointing to her book, she said. “There it is, you see? At 2 a.m. God said to get up and pray – the devil’s trying to kill Raymond Edman in Ecuador.” And she’d gotten up and prayed.
Duncan Campbell told the story of hearing a farmer in his field who was praying. He was praying about Greece. Afterward, he asked him why he was praying. The man said, “I don’t know. I had a burden in the spirit and God said, ‘You pray; there’s someone in Greece that is in a bad situation.’ I prayed until I got a release.” Two or three years later the farmer was in a meeting listening to a missionary. The man described a time when he was working in Greece. He had been in serious trouble. The time? Two or three years ago. The men compared notes and discovered that it was the very same day that God had burdened a farmer, on a little island off the coast of Scotland, to pray for a man in Greece whose name he didn’t even know.
It may seem the Lord gives you strange things. I don’t care. If the Lord tells you something, carry on with what the Lord tells you.”
— Leonard Ravenhill
“When the Lord Jesus Christ is at liberty to fill me and fill you and live in us His own life, His primary purpose is not to make us successful, not to make us notable, not to even bring us into outward peace or calm, for He promised frankly that it would send a sword and distress, and many difficulties and problems would confront us, and you have no reason to think you will have any more general acceptance in your day than He had in His day.
The idea that if you are filled with the Spirit you are immediately going to be an outstanding success is totally contradicted by our Lord.
The idea that if you are filled with the Spirit you are immediately going to be an outstanding success is totally contradicted by our Lord, and that you are immediately going to do this or that or some other preset prototype of thinking dictates. Oh, no. Not at all. Not necessarily. You may have… You see, it was not only Peter. It was also Stephen. Stephen was stoned. It was not only Peter delivered from the prison. It was James beheaded inside of the prison. And James was just as full of the Spirit as Peter was. Stephen was just as full of the Spirit as Peter was.
And so, being filled with the fullness of Christ simply insures that God’s longing from eternity past is going to be fulfilled in you. So, I would speak a word this morning for God, saying, He has interest in us. Let us not view Him as a means to anything, but the sublime, glorious, supreme end, and desire Him for His own sake, for what He will get out of us, and leave the matter of what we get out of Him entirely to His hands and to approach it entirely from the standpoint of almost indifference.
Really, what difference does it make whether He gives you this token or that token. If you have Him, you have all He is. And thus it behooves us to recognize that when David saw Him exalted and enthroned, he then could say In Thy presence is fullness of joy. And the fullness of joy that is going to come to you as a Christian is not from your achievement, from your success, from your prominence, from your being known, or used or accepted; the fullness of joy that will come to your heart will only be there when your realize that He has in you what He wants. And then you will rejoice, not because He has made you happy, but that somehow you, stained by sin, and ruined by the fall, have been instrumental in making Him happy.
Now there is a great price for this. He said, “My name is holy. I dwell in the high and holy place. With him that is of a broken and a contrite a spirit, to revive the hearts of the broken and to revive the spirits of the contrite ones.” (Isa. 57:15 )
And so it behooves us to recognize that the means whereby He is going to fill us with Himself is on the level of our brokenness. When we come to that place with the Apostle that we are broken by the Cross, I am crucified with Christ, then we have made it possible for Him. You see, He won’t force us to the Cross. He will present it to us, but it is our choice as to whether or not we will walk that extra step which is going to mean that we are pierced by the circumstances God has put in our way. We can avoid the circumstances, but if we avoid them, we avoid the Cross, and if we avoid the Cross we deprive the Lord Jesus of what He is after.
So when it comes to that point, we are prepared to say, Well at any expense, at any price, or cost, I want Him to be glorified in my life. Then it will be as John said, “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) And it will be, with Paul, “The things I counted gain to me, I count loss to Christ.” (Phil. 3:7) And so we find that there is a tremendous price, but oh my there is such blessed fruit. For when He fills you with His own fullness He Himself becomes the supreme satisfaction of your heart. A human being is made for God, and the fulfillment of humanity is to be filled with the fullness of God. No one knows the dignity, the honor, the glory of being a human being until he has been filled with the fullness of God, and walks in that fullness.
Now this is not that we make God an instrument for anything, but that this is simply the purpose for our being, the reason for our being. And the great desire of my heart for us as a people today is this, that there is going to rise up within us a passionate longing that Jesus Christ will in us see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, that He will get out of us that which He wants.
Do you know He died out of longing for you, and He longs to be longed for. He wants to be wanted, not for anything He will bring or give, but just for Himself. He made us for Himself.
Now I believe that when this becomes our unified and common desire that there is no limit to what He will do, for if we look at what we want Him to do for us, we have gotten our eyes off of the source. But when we say, O Lord, the only interest of our hearts is what you get out of us, then it is amazing what He can do. And so for the sake of those about us, around us, and on every side, let us desire above all else that we might enter into His presence and the fullness of what His presence means, for there and there only is the fullness of joy. This is a wonderful life, to be filled with the fullness of Christ, worth everything.
…Do you know He died out of longing for you, and He longs to be longed for. He wants to be wanted, not for anything He will bring or give, but just for Himself. He made us for Himself. Now He wants us to want Him just for Himself. Do you know Him at all? Have you had any beginning contact with Him? Oh, does not your heart hunger to know Him better? And with the apostle Paul, you can say, ‘All the things I counted gain to me, I count as refuse that I may know Him..’
— Paris Reidhead

“His thoughts said, The way is rough.

His Father said, But every step bringeth thee nearer to thy home.

His thoughts said, The fight is fierce.

His Father said, He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.

His thoughts said, The night is long.

His Father said, But joy cometh in the morning.”

— Amy Carmichael