“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
“‘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
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.
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.
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.
“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