THE PROMISES OF GOD
We begin a new series of studies today looking at the promises of God that have been well used over the centuries by Christians seeking to be the person that God wanted them to be.
The first one and one well researched by obedient Christian disciples is found in 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 and used in all manner of circumstances.
The Apostle Paul was used to dealing with situations that grew quickly into nasty incidents but he was also conscious of circumstances that came on him through age and infirmity.
The thought of his 'thorn in the flesh' has drawn many views as to what it was but we do not really know for certain what it was that bothered him on his journey.
What we glean from scripture is that he had a physical problem that would not go away and he came to a point after three periods of prayer he laid it down at the Masters feet v 8.
In that moment Paul grasp hold of the truth spoken by the Lord Himself in the verse in front of us and that was sufficient to see him though the rest of his days on earth.
It is interesting to put things into context here because the trial was of Satan's making v 7 and operation, in Galatians 4 v 13 Paul refers to the 'infirmity of the flesh' something that he carried round with him.
The physical body is not immune from attack from Satan even for those closest to their Lord and Saviour, it seems it is greater on them.
The spiritual battle involves every part of us and the enemy will do all within its power to overthrow the diligent Christian.
The facts speak for themselves that the earthly physical body is the vehicle that houses the eternal spirit of men and women, the shell is dying but the spirit is going into eternity.
Paul then is faced with problems that were slowing him down physically but spiritually he was on top of things not moaning under them.
The Lord is in control of things and that is important for us all to grasp hold of, Satan can scheme and attack but the Lord is incomplete control of events.
We are under attack but as with Job the Lord watches carefully as the heat is applied and stands with His suffering servants.
What a terrific word of comfort and consolation is brought to these folk physically suffering for the sake of what they believe.
In the midst of the conflict they hear the word from the Lord 'My grace is sufficient for thee' and in the same breath 'for My strength is made perfect in weakness'.
Two terrific statements that we can claim for ourselves today as we go through the many problems of life seeking to conquer through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first 'My grace is sufficient for thee' brings us to the feet of our Saviour and enables us top look up into His face gaining comfort as we do so.
What ever it is that pulls us down or is plaguing us it is brought under our Lords feet at the Throne of Grace, He looks down on our beleaguered soul and speaks gently but firmly to us 'My grace'.
He looks in compassion on us and seeks to lift up the fallen and to heal the broken hearted as only He can with His grace and favours.
The 'grace' meaning 'favour' points to the truth that when our Lord reaches out to us He is not looking or expecting favours in return.
He lavishly pours out His favours on His obedient people knowing the state they are in and the reason for their desperate prayers.
To be able to rest contented in the facts that He is in control and will give the necessary strength to the obedient servant to see them through the task ahead of them.
Now here is a thought for us to ponder today are we resting on the promises that our Father has given to us or are we sitting resting on the premises moaning?
It is easy for us look at inwardly at our self and see the weaknesses and then to meander around moaning about our lot and what we could do for God if only we were in a different situation.
The enemy of our soul is sitting back content in derailing you or putting you in a siding off the mainline so that you become ineffective.
That could be true for many of us but it is only partial truth because instead of falling for the lie and deception we have claimed the promise 'My grace id sufficient for you'.
In stead of sitting down we have got up and in the name of our Risen Saviour have claimed this promise and have become overcomer's instead of remaining over come.
There are grace and favours all along the battle scared way, the Road to Calvary was scarred all along the way before the hill top was reached by our Saviour.
He did not draw back from the onslaught of the enemy but steadfastly walked up to the summit to die to rescue us but the grave could not hold Him, Satan could not hold Him
death could not hold Him.
The truth is He conquered all for our sake and now wants us to live in the light of those historic events to conquer with Him.
The truth is 'for My strength is made perfect in weakness' our beloved Saviour delights to take folk in their weakness to make them strong, not by taking the infirmity away but causing them to triumph in them.
Here is the secret of mastery seeking to yield to the Lord in the situations that He leads us in and then drawing from the power of the Resurrection to overcome.
Note the word 'My' it is the Creator Lord speaking to us personally, the angel is no longer needed but he would come if necessary to speak to us.
The fact is our God delights when His people will take Him at His word, when we 'believe God' as Paul said to the captain on the boat before the shipwreck.
The promise is sure and we can confidently apply it when the situation arises that some infirmity over takes us we then look up and claim this promise.
Satan may try his hardest to stop the Christian but the Lord will cause us to rise over and above the circumstances to take hold of His word.
Here the enemy is thwarted, he is limited in what he can do and our Father turns his schemes into refining heat to keep us pliable in His hands.
We must look at the word 'sufficient' not just enough to meet the need of the hour but there is a super abundant supply to draw from.
There is no need to small or to big that our divine supply cannot meet, Gods grace is so vast that He will meet all the complaints brought to Him.
'Strength' points to human weakness being made strong enough to overcome the trial facing them, we can be born up by the Holy Spirit to master the situations that confront us.
The thought here is that we are able to bear the suffering in the realization that we are enduring for Christ's sake, made spiritually strong in our human weakness.
Such a note of joy rings through the life of a sufferer as v 9 'I will rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me', the difficulty is not taken away but the victory is that much greater as a result.
I have lost a good deal of my recent work on the computer through forces unseen by men and unaided by men but the Lord has given the grace to get up and getting going.
A simple thing but a real thing the enemy has thwarted the ministry but the Lord has given the sufficient grace to get up this morning and to get going again.
The promise in 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 can be claimed by the disciples of Christ and He will fulfill it in detail as we seek to press on along the path of righteousness.
'Wait on the Lord' is the theme for our study today and the promise that is repeated many times in scripture and one that we need to lay hold of.
To 'wait' has several ideas and so we will look at these to glean some of the truths of scripture that need to become effective in our lives.
The thought of 'waiting' on the Lord in Psalm 27 v 14 opens up a treasure chest of thought, it brings us to rest in the Lords company, to be revived in His presence and to be restored for the walk ahead.
First the 'wait' is valuable seeing that we are invited to come and rest in the Master's company, He knows full well the situation that we have come from.
He knows the pressures we are under in the battle of life and seeks to bring us into the close proximity of His Throne to rest awhile.
To switch of from the worldly scene with all its distractions so that we can concentrate on the eternal issues that lie in front of us.
Time to rest from our labour for a little while so that we can be refreshed for the next session of labour that drains our time and energy.
It is a fact that the Lord Jesus delights to welcome us to His Throne because it is there that He can minister to us on the issues of life. He enjoys our company but how much do we enjoy being in His presence?
The second thought of being restored by waiting on the Lord is one that David knew a great deal about and he writes about it in many of his Psalms.
He was distressed at time during his battling with Saul but in the precious time of waiting on the Lord he found that his strength was restored and the vision became clearer.
The soul that was lagging behind being wearied by the conflict he was in is restored the true values of the spiritual life are sought after by waiting on the Lord.
It is in the 'waiting' times that we hear 'be of good courage' and in the light of that we can move forward resting on the promises of God.
The second thought of 'wait on the Lord' brings out 'hope' in our daily living, the fact that we are being prepared for eternity.
Our 'hope in the Lord' is revealed in Isaiah 40 v 31 'they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles'.
Now here is a terrific thought for us to ponder and to bring into effect in our life, to wait expectantly on the Lord, many think it is vain to sit and ponder the word of God in the quietness today..
We do not like the silence that is generated in 'waiting' as we live in a noisy age, but it is in the quietness before the Throne of Grace that we can hear the still small voice of God.
The restless spirit needs these quiet times to reflect on the issues that really matter, to enjoy being in the presence of the King of kings and to learn of Him.
We will renew our strength, in a modern phrase recharge our batteries to be filled again and again with the Holy Spirit what a thought that He will enable us to run and not be weary to walk and not faint.
There are a great number of Christians sitting in their spiritual cul de sac feeling down and despondent who could turn their mind to the Lord and by waiting on Him will find their lives being transformed.
From meandering around on earth they can learn to wit on the Lord in the heavens and will find that they enjoy the spiritual life of soaring in the Spirit.
'Waiting on the Lord' is no idle time, it is no wasted time but it can be a very productive time that leads us closer to the Lord and a longing for His presence.
To 'wait' in hope is the desire of the diligent Christian because they do not know what treasure the Lord will reveal to them in that hour.
So much of our defeats come from not waiting on the Lord, when we do realise this we see what foolish people we have been struggling along when we could have been enjoying our Saviour's presence.
To wait with expectancy in the presence of the Living God should be our first and fore most thought at the commencement of the day.
The unknown and uncertainty of the hours in front of us can be enlightened during this precious waiting on the Lord.
The testimony of millions of those who have gone before us into the heavens speak loudly of the Lord ministering to them by His Spirit in the morning time waiting on Him.
It is another study in itself to look at the scriptures to see the reality of the men and women waiting on the Lord finding their instructions from Him.
Maybe the next study we will give over to some of the clear testimonies of scripture from people found alone with God and the mighty things that were unveiled to them.
The third thought for today though whilst 'waiting on the Lord' is brought out in patiently waiting on the Lord as Lamentations 3 v 26.
To 'wait on the Lord' brings patience and with it the much needed discipline that many shy away from, Jeremiah tells us in Lamentations that 'the mercies of the Lord are new every morning' v 23.
This 'waiting' is a training time where we learn to rejoice in the mercies of God as we go through difficult times, they are the necessary training periods of life to prove that our faith is genuine.
Jeremiah goes on v 25 the Lord is good to those who wait on Him, He is testing our faith by putting us into situations to hard for ourselves to master but by waiting on Him we become masters.
Jeremiah is facing the reality of Jerusalem being over run, ransacked and then destroyed
but through his disciplined waiting on the Lord the Living God reveals these wonderful truths to him.
This is not the end of Jerusalem just another phase in their long history of defeat because the people would not wait on the Lord but would rather rush head long into conflict after conflict.
If only the nation would have listened to Isaiah and Jeremiah, men who learned to wait on the Lord discerning right from wrong and gaining light to dispel darkness.
Patience is needed in waiting on the Lord, He makes His plans known well in advance to His faithful children and as He did so He will today.
The greatest need of the hour is for the Christian disciples to learn to wait on the Lord He is waiting to receive us, if only we were as diligent as He is.
The verses in Lamentation open up the three thoughts of waiting on the Lord beautifully
and we should spend time today just pondering over the verses in chapter 3.
'My strength' v 18 the human is sapped and I feel cut of but our spirit is revived as we wait on the Lord, we may feel discouraged by our defeats but when waiting on the Lord we find He turns them into discipline.
Through our discipline we find that we are restored with greater strength than previously known because we are now relying on the Lord and not on our own wisdom.
'It is good' points to the fact that waiting on the Lord is beneficial and benevolent for the disciple wanting to walk with the Lord in the light of His word.
There is training, testing in our earthly walk but remember v 27 that there is triumph through waiting on God.
'He sitter alone' v 28 quietly musing with the Lord seeking light, strength and courage to go out to live out a live on the higher standard of righteousness.
Are you enjoying 'waiting on the Lord' communing with Him in the Quiet Hour?
We thought in the last study about people who were found in scripture 'waiting on God' or 'alone' with the Living God and the consequences that follow.
ABRAHAM is one who enjoyed many hours of communion with the Living God as a result of Genesis 12, the call of God came to him in that first encounter as God began to separate him for a specific task.
Genesis 15 that task was brought into reality with God bringing him into Covenant relationship as the task is unveiled and the future nation is revealed in that waiting on the Lord.
It did not make Abraham perfect but it did bring him into a closer relationship with the Living God, he had much to learn but the closer he came the closer he wanted to come.
The hours spent alone with God were marked in scripture and Abraham patiently waited on the Lord until Genesis 18 and the promise of a son, Isaac.
What a culmination of of waiting in hope on the Lord that Isaac is born chapter 21 but the discipline needed was real in his walk with the Lord.
Abraham knew the trials and testings but the triumph of waiting on the Lord comes on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22 where in the quietness Abraham is told to offer his son on the altar to God.
What a statement 'God will provide a lamb' v 8 and He did v 13, waiting on God brings discipline and trust and over those years and chapters in Genesis Abraham proved his faith in the Living God.
MOSES is the next in line to prove his faith by waiting on the Lord and his waiting involved being 'alone with God' it was a personal encounter for Moses.
Exodus 3 we find Moses walking the flock of sheep for Jethro in the Midian desert a barren landscape but with a few areas of grass and water.
It was an ideal place for the Living God to draw the attention of Moses and draw him into a closer relationship with him.
The bushes in the desert were few and far between so that the one on 'fire' was soon noticed by Moses who drew near without realizing at first what was happening.
The fact that Moses was alone is important God had removed all the obstacles so that He could gain the full attention of Moses.
The Living God had been patiently waiting for this hour to come, He had heard the cry of His children in Egypt and He wanted Moses to return to the fold to lead them out of captivity.
Moses was to learn that waiting on the Lord was not just a one of event but it was to be a regular time where he would commune with the Lord.
That single event in Exodus 3 is followed later in Exodus 19 with the amazing event when the flock of people have replaced the flock of sheep in the desert.
The Midian desert was replaced by the Sinai wilderness the wandering sheep by the wandering people and Moses is separated from the nation to go up the mount 'alone' v 23.
He was learning to commune with the Living God without the distractions of other people and his failure with Aaron occurred because he took his eye of the Lord to look at the people.
'Alone and waiting on God' was his final act before his home call, Moses goes up Mount Nebo alone to view the inheritance Deuteronomy 32 v 49.
He had communed with the Lord many times in many various places but this one was special he was viewing not only the promised land on earth but he was preparing for the eternal promised land.
Alone with God on Nebo was the stepping stone into eternity and Gods literal presence and the next time we hear of Moses is in Matthew on the Mount Transfiguration communing with the Lord Jesus.
What dramatic scenes these bring before us but they encourage us to press on patiently seeking the Lord during our daily walk on earth, because we too are going to share eternity with Moses and the vast host who have gone before.
JOSHUA comes next in line both in scripture and historically, a man who is suddenly moved on to the centre stage of publicity.
'Moses my servant is dead' Joshua 1 v 2 and the Lord separates Joshua for that onerous task of leading the rebellious nation across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
A massive task that involved so much time and energy expended on a people who were not prepared to wait upon a God but who were regularly telling God what He should be doing.
Joshua had to learn the art of 'waiting on God' by personal separation from the crowd to be alone with the Living God.
How easy it is to be distracted from the major issues by getting bogged down with periphery topics, Joshua certainly had to face this situation.
Waiting on the Lord became the priority issue for this man of God and we find him moving quietly but very effectively into the Promised Land guided by the hand of the Lord.
He learned to rest on the facts that were revealed to him in those quiet times rather than be swayed by the many arguments presented by a rebellious people.
GIDEON is the next character that comes to mind and the way he deals with the nation living in rebellion towards the Living God Judges 6.
Seven years of rebellion had led the nation to its knees, the Midianites were rampant across the land causing the children of Israel into the mountains for survival.
Gods messenger is resting under the oak tree v 11 whilst Gideon is busy on the threshing floor v 12 Gideon was in touch with the Throne of God.
He is a faithful man in the sight of God and one who was actively involved in walking on the path of righteousness, having time to be alone with God.
The day arrives when in Gods timetable changes are to be made amongst His people and what changes they were to be.
Gideon is alone with God v 14 when he receives the marching orders, 'go in this thy might' then note 'I have sent thee', God equips before He sends us on an errand.
The attack begins on the altars of Baal Judges 6 v 23 these evil altars and practices have no place in a land inhabited by the Living Gods children.
The people under Joshua were supposed to have cut these of once and for all but sadly there were those amongst them who clung to idolatry.
God puts the knife in at the root of their problem and the altars of Baal were to be replaced by the Altar to the Living God
The quiet time alone with God proved to be the preparation time for battle, the orders are transmitted as Gideon waited upon the Lord.
The 'Spirit of the Lord' v 34 covered Gideon so that empowered he was able to lead his army forward, easy yes, but wait a minute, we are so impatient.
We have the Holy Spirit covering His servant but His servant is not quiet to ready, he puts out the fleece of security.
Gideon needed reassurance when he had all the assurance necessary, but before we throw stones about that 'fleece' let us examine ourselves and how observant are we?
We have the mighty Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us and yet how insecure we are as we face lives challenges, seeking reassurances when we should be marching forward.
The phrase given to the church was 'go into all the world' by the Saviour and yet we are content to sit at home in our holy huddles looking for reassurances.
The truth is Gideon learned from this experience and does not return this way again, he learned to wait on the Lord and then to be obedient to the word that is given.
There are many lessons to be learned and if we are observant we can make steady progress along Gods holy highway but we may be slower to latch on to Gods word and in His grace and mercy He moves us along at the pace we choose to go.
DAVID is the next clear witness to the power and strength that is found in 'waiting on God'
and the testimony in Psalm 46 has been the song of multitudes of saints during their experiences of life.
The battle rages all around the soul is hedged in and there is no where to hide from them
except for the secret place of the Most High'.
They found the quiet place v 1, where sin nor sinners cannot disturb the soul that rests in Gods holy presence.
The enemy can surround and make all the protestations they want too v 6 but they cannot move the child of God who is quietly resting in their Fathers presence.
The regular visitation to the Throne of Grace will bring us to the place of rest v 4 where there is rest, refreshment and recovery strength unknown by our enemy.
The climax of seeking to find that rest whilst waiting upon God comes in v 10 'be still and know that I am God', the secret is in the 'being still'
The truth shines through as we seek to be still that we are such busy active people ans yet accomplishing very little in our own strength.
When in the quietness at Gods footstool we contemplate the mighty works that our Father has and is accomplishing we fall at His feet in adoration and worship v 8.
When we give time to commune with the our heavenly Father we begin to get things into perspective, how big we think we are as against how small our estimations of God really are.
Waiting on the Lord produces spiritual strength to take into the day, it produces peace that over rides our restlessness and power to stand firm when we would otherwise run away.
ISAIAH is the next character who learned in his youth like David had done to 'wait on the Lord' David following the sheep whilst Isaiah in the service of the Lords house.
Isaiah served the Lord and his prophetic ministry gained by waiting on the Lord is unparalleled in writing or preaching, he presents us with more prophetic knowledge about Messiah than any other.
He encourages Gods people to spend time waiting on the Lord and the word in 40 v 31 brings this out clearly but we put this into context of the chapter.
In v 1 we find the Lord seeking to bring comfort to a weary people, much coming and going to the Temple but a weary people are wandering around disturbed by the way the nation is going.
Waiting on the Lord will bring comfort to the weary traveller on the path way of holiness,
the situation is bleak as they contemplate the spiritual state of the people around them.
Waiting in the presence of the Lord pouring out their complaint they receive that comfort that restores the strength look up your Saviour is drawing near v 2.
Then the consolation v 5 the glory of the Lord will soon be revealed and all flesh will see Him acknowledge Him and be judged by Him.
Then the Lord brings out that glorious promise in v 11 'He will feed and lead His flock' what a beautiful picture to get hold of, He will bear the lambs in His arms with tenderness.
Waiting on the Lord brings us into intimate fellowship with our God, Great and Chief Shepherd what greater incentive do we need that this to wait on Him.
Isaiah saw a nation in turmoil and spiritual degeneration, he saw the ultimate captivity taking place but he also saw the terrific value of waiting on the Lord.
In v 31 he brings this out, the soul that takes time now to wait on the Lord will be borne up by the Holy Spirit, no longer looking up at the problem from an earthly point of view but looking down on it from our Father's perspective.
JEREMIAH is another great prophet who languished under the strain of rejection by the people even though they knew him to be a right, just and honourable man.
Jeremiah was a godly man who sat and watched the approaching captivity become a reality and writes it all down for us in the Lamentations.
Waiting upon the Lord enabled him to show the reasons for the captivity and then the result of it, the reason was spiritual declension the latter the return from captivity under the hand of the Living God.
At the heart of the book chapter 3 we find the tremendous verses regarding 'waiting upon the Lord' vs.25 and 26 and we should take these to heart.
In v 25 he reveals the truth that is is a 'good thing to wait upon the Lord' it quickens our 'hope' in the Lord bringing rest and peace.
The word 'hope' points to the truth that we learn some beautiful lessons whilst waiting on the Lord that will build us up as we face the trials of life.
It also reveals the fruitful experience it produces because it refreshes and revives the soul that is beaten down by the events that they have been through.
We then note that it is good for us to quietly wait on the Lord, we come and go in haste usually unless we have been disciplined into waiting upon God in the quietness.
To be 'quiet' that is to be still for a space of time, not pondering the things going on around us but quietly resting meditating on the Living God.
Try sitting still without thinking about yourself and your problems and see if you can sit still for more than a minute or two.
To our shame we find it very difficult to sit and think about our Lord Jesus without bringing our self on to the centre stage.
We are such selfish and self centred people, we should be able to enjoy an hour or two with our Lord and Saviour enjoying His conscious presence with sheer delight.
Those who are learning to wait on the Lord take courage the persevering soul will become the prosperous soul recognizing that they are not sitting alone but the Lord is there.
DANIEL was another soul that learned to 'wait on the Lord' taking every opportunity to commune with the Lord during a busy day.
As a young man he was taken into the captivity of Babylon and because of his walk with the Lord he enjoyed the protection of the Lord there.
He enjoyed privileges in the Palace in Babylon as a trusted servant not only of the King Nebuchadnezzar but under the hand of the Living God.
When the going gets tough the tough get going and as in the world so in the spirit, Daniel 2 reveals the truth of this, during the kings anger.
He had the dream that no one knew the answer to but the young man entrusted by God to convey the truth to the nation rises early to receive the word to give to the king.
Daniel learned to worship the Lord by waiting on Him in prayer and praise this led to a deeper understanding of the nature and character of the Living God.
He is in control of events both present and future and He alone can reveal the secrets of His plans and program of the ages, the truth is He does to people who learn to wait on Him.
Here is a wonderful treat to those waiting upon the Lord He will reveal things to them that others even leaders do not hear because they do not wait upon Him as they should.
Daniel learned to wait on the Lord a long time before the captivity and he also learned the spiritual secret that the Lord is as close to him in the palace as He is when in prison.
Our God has no boundary or limits that we have, He meets with His obedient children where ever they are, Daniel is one who waited on the Lord to know the answers of life's problems.
Now these men are found in the scriptures along with a good many others as being godly men they gave themselves time to wait upon the Lord, these men were not born godly but they became godly through their waiting upon the Lord.
The challenge to us today is do we want to become godly people or are we content to move along with the crowd who are drifting rather than drinking in the water of life offered to those willing to wait on the Lord?
We make the choice by submitting to the prompting of the Holy Spirit or rejecting Him.
Today I am turning my attention to several precious ladies in scripture who learned to 'wait on the Lord' and what blessings they received and give to us today.
Three ladies fill our study and each has a contribution for us to ponder on regarding our 'waiting on the Lord'.
HANNAH is the first and we find her wrestling with a massive problem her wanting a child but the womb is closed and she is going childless through life.
Hannah is found in 1 Samuel 1 'fretting before the Lord' v 6 she had prayed for a child continually but she is found childless.
We really come to grips with her plight in v 7 as year after year when she went to the House of the Lord she pleaded to the Living God for a child.
'Waiting on God' involved patience on a level that most of us know little about until we begin to obey the word of God ourselves.
Waiting on the Lord involves time pouring out our prayer yes but it involves waiting for the Lord's timing to give the answer.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word we find very quickly that our timetable is very earthly wanting things immediately but God is working to His timetable that is eternal.
The truth is when He moves according in His time we are usually found shouting out for Him to slow down, the Creation is a classical example of this.
We find Hannah at the Tabernacle seeking to bring her problem to the Lord as often as she could, she was a persevering saint if ever there was one.
She is being derided by folk around her as the years go by, Satan is on the move with her and the folk around her are the tools he uses.
Here is woman in touch with God she does not give up but consistently prays for the child that is going to change the nation Israel in its walk with God.
What a sight to see this dear woman praying in tears and with a pliable heart, longing to hear the answer to her prayers.
We should note this because far to many Christians give up because God does not hear their prayer when the truth is the answer we desire is 'not yet'.
Our heavenly Father was watching carefully the situation that was arising and even though Eli the Priest did not understand God did.
There is another thought to ponder here and that is in v 11 the motive for her prayers, she longed for a son and she was to get one but he was to be given to the Lord for holy service.
There is no selfishness in Hannah's praying she is open to the Lords prompting, Samuel was to be used by the Lord in the nations spiritual revival.
The beautiful song that she sang as a prayer in chapter 2, is a testimony to the great faithfulness of the Living God in meeting with the patient and persistent waiting on Him by His children.
DEBORAH is the second lady that we need to ponder over who learned to wait upon the Lord, she is given the title 'prophetess' because of her walk with the Lord.
Judges 4 opens up the thoughts where Israel is found in a desperate plight due to their wandering away from the Living God to serve dead idols.
The people cry out to God v 3 with a wrong motive they only wanted relief from the Canaanites they did not really want to return to the Lord in repentance.
There was a lady sitting under a Palm Tree where she was no doubt praying to the Lord for a complete change in the nation.
Deborah was a godly lady fulfilling the role of Prophet and Judge because the nation had by and large rejected the Gods way of living.
Deborah was a woman in touch with the Throne of Grace and she met the Lord there regularly, it would seem that she had a tent under that tree in which she prayed.
Deborah was used to waiting upon the Lord interceding for the nation and transmitting the word given to her to those who would listen.
The song of triumph in chapter 5 is a beautiful song that brings out her waiting upon the Lord and the lessons gleaned in doing so.
The first thought to ponder is her seeing herself not as a prophetess or Judge but as a 'mother of Israel' she had sought to bring the nation up seeking the Lord first and fore most.
She prayed as an example to the men folk in how they should have been praying, that is the legacy that she left to Israel to inherit.
She is a lady who followed the ways of the Lord waiting on Him to lead and direct her so that in turn she would lead the people back to God.
ELISABETH is the third sister that we need to ponder, a lady who waited on the Lord for years another wanting a son but the womb is shut that is until the Living God touches her.
Doctor Luke records the story of this sister longing for a child and continually waiting on the Lord in the Temple praying for one.
Luke 1 vs.5 – 25 are the base of our study because we are to take note of the standard that both Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias lived.
They were both 'devout' people 'righteous' they were very careful in presenting their claims in prayer before the Living God.
They came reverently before the Throne of Grace seeking to present their petitions to the Lord, this is not a vain repetition of prayer but a heart searching experience to make sure they are right in their request.
They had walked before the Lord for years and their life matched their knowledge of the Almighty God, He was able even in late years to meet their desires.
In their old age they longed for the child that would bring great joy to them and their family.
Zacharias was in the Temple serving the Lord and Elisabeth was in the Temple seeking the Lord by waiting on Him v 8.
Nothing strange about this the honour of service was being out worked when the 'angel of the Lord' v 11 came at the late hour.
Zacharias was honoured at being chosen to serve in the at the Altar little did he realise that night that he was honoured by the Lord for his service of intercession.
Elisabeth was receiving the word from the Lord her request had been heard and now answered, the waiting on the Lord had been well worth while.
John the Baptist is on his way v 24 and all the waiting was rewarded when in Gods time their son is born with a special mission to perform.
The waiting over the years drew them closer together and closer to the Lord, their faith in God was established so that they were not surprised when He answered their prayer.
Surprised no excited yes, the Lord had honoured their waiting in prayer, Gods time is the right time no matter what age we are.
We are never to old to serve the Lord in intercession praying, in fact the older we are the greater our devotion to the Lord should be.
We are never to old to learn that waiting on the Lord can have tremendous results that not only see answer of prayer but to see transformation of nations.
We are never to old to see miracles take place, when the Lord is in the middle of our lives we can expect the miraculous to take place.
Our problem is not only a lack of faith but a lack of dedicated commitment that believes God to do what He has promised, 'is there anything to hard for the Lord'?
Well these three ladies have a good deal to share with us and the truth that there are no short cuts in Gods education of His children.
'Wait on the Lord and He will give the desires of thine heart' Psalm 37 v 4 provides us with the promise and these three sisters produced answers to prove that our God will in His time answer our prayer.
We continue with the people who were found alone with the Lord in the Acts of Apostles to see how the disciples had graduated from sleeping to waiting upon the Lord.
We begin with the group meeting in Acts 1 where they were meeting in obedience to the word of God, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come in them.
Until this moment in time the Holy Spirit had come upon people but now in the new era He would come to dwell in people.
In 1 v 4 we find them 'waiting' for the fulfilling of the promise made by the Father to Joel 3 v 18 and by the Lord Jesus Luke 24 v 49.
This time we find the disciples awake and not sleeping as they had been in the gospels, now they were launching out in faith and waiting was to be an important part of it.
The 'wait' was to last several days, days that included waiting on the Lord for wisdom, courage and boldness in the light of the fury after the Resurrection.
These disciples were in for an awakening the like of which they had not known the like of before, it is such awakening that we in the Church need today.
The apathy and lethargy that grips the church is unbelievable and we seem to be spiritually fast asleep when we should be wide awake in these closing days of worlds history.
The Lord Jesus is coming soon to take His Bride home and we rejoice at the prospect and yet lie around in slumber when we should be going out to proclaim the Lord Jesus gospel.
The place was shaken, leaving them amazed they waited upon the Lord to give His Holy Spirit to transform cowards into conquerors, simple folk became staunch followers of the Living God.
We do not need to wait for the Holy Spirit today seeing that He came at Pentecost in His fulness but it is a reality that we need to wait upon Him to come in His fulness in us.
We are satisfied and contented with what we have without looking for the fullness of the Holy Spirit flowing in and through us.
PETER and JOHN are the first characters who realized the change in themselves and from a cowering place they stand firm in the faith to proclaim the gospel message in power.
Acts 2 finds Peter proclaiming the truth to the world and not just the church, he is now a living reality of what he had only been pondering over before.
What had been words before was now a vibrant message that was to transform millions of people the world over, they had no time to sleep now.
The waiting on the Lord was not over though, they were now going to walk on the path of righteousness and that would bring untold problems only solved in the quiet waiting on God.
It was in the act of going to wait upon the Lord Acts 3 that Peter and John demonstrate their Calvary love to the Lame man at the Beautiful Gate in Jerusalem.
They saw his need in a way they had never seen it before, the blinkers are off and the spiritual sight restored saw the need and stopped to meet it.
What a difference it makes when we have our blinkers removed, blinkers of doctrine, of racial bias and of human indifference.
CORNELIUS in Acts 10 is the next character we can learn a good deal from as he too learns to wait upon the Lord.
Cornelius was a Roman centurion stationed in Caesarea a man of power but a man who seeks after the fullness of God in his life.
He was a devout man v 2 who feared the Lord, a man who reverently worshiped the Living God spending much time with the Lord in prayer.
He had learned quickly the secret of waiting upon the Lord and spent valuable hours alone in prayer, we can glean from this that he grew to seek the Lord after his conversion and set aside time each day to be with the Lord v 4.
He was making progress in his spiritual life but he needed help to go on in the Christian path of righteousness and Peter was the man God chose to help him.
We stop for a second to look at Peter v 9 on the roof top praying, away from the crowd now he takes time to be alone with the Lord who has a special message for him.
It is a delightful experience to be given the task of helping others when we are in the quiet place at the beginning of the day.
Peter was now on fire for God and the blaze was to effect many lives, none more so than Cornelius who has come to find him.
It is in the quiet place when alone with the Lord that the 'not so Lord' v 14 is transformed into the 'yes Lord' v 21:are you still saying 'not so Lord'?
PAUL is the next character that we can look on who spent much time in prayer waiting on the Lord for wisdom, direction and strength.
His conversion we know well but we seem to stop there instead of looking at the way he moved forward under the hand of God.
Acts 9 is his conversion and very quickly he is out sharing his testimony with all the people around him, activity was the order of the day but soon he is to be found alone for three years in Arabia Galatians 1 v 17.
It was in the desert place that Paul learned the secret of waiting on God and the word 'revelation' Galatians 1 v 12 and 2 v 2 reveal the teaching that he received.
This was no human understanding of things but the revealed will of God for his life and his ministry to others all received by being alone with God.
The missionary journeys were motivated after spending time in prayer and fasting Acts 13 v 3 it was the practice of the early church to wait upon the Lord so as to move in unity of Spirit.
We need to recognize here that that the church leadership was not telling the folk what they thought they should to do but they shared what they had received in the prayer time alone with God.
There is a massive difference between saying what we think people should hear and what the Lord reveals to us to tell them.
Paul was a man of God who spent hours alone with God, walking the highway and by ways he communed with the Lord as his constant companion.
Whether walking the dusty roads, climbing the mountain tracks, wrestling with the sea or sitting in prison Paul communed with the Lord on a deep level.
The depth of which frightens people today so they stand back from the battle content to let others doing the hand to hand spiritual fighting.
TIMOTHY is the other person that comes to mind in the 'waiting on the Lord' promise, as a youth he had been brought up to listen to the Lord.
Paul tells him to keep going with that in mind no matter what others particularly older folk would tell him there is nothing like first hand knowledge gained from the Throne of Grace.
Timothy may have been timid but he triumphed by waiting on the Lord, he like us delighted in sharing with others on spiritual issues but he held back through inferiority from giving himself.
Paul encourages him to speak out as from the Lord and not be slow in coming forward to do so, it is often the simple word that speaks the loudest and longest.
Paul the teacher and Timothy the pupil is a byword in the Church but how we need the two today, teacher through experience and pupil by example.
Waiting on the Lord is not a gift to be expressed by individuals but it is the standard set for all of Gods children to follow as it leads to godliness of living.
The promises of God are proven by such folk who are willing to get involved in the intercession ministry, people who will give time to the Lord for themselves and for others.
The ministry has only a few takers as it is worked out in the secret place of the most high and not done so that others can congratulate us on doing a great work.
The promises of God are scattered liberally and literally across Gods word and we come across some of them only by accident.
There are others that we know well by memory but are not really familiar with them experimentally in our life.
One such promise is in Isaiah 41 and we will look at the three occurrences in the chapter of 'fear not' in particular because it gives us the solid base to build our life upon.
Isaiah reveals more promises of God than any other writer the book abounds with the promises of God many given to the nations of the world, others to particular nations and the majority to individuals.
It worth reading carefully through to pick up those promises and to see how many of them we knew were there in the first place.
The promise we receive today in 41 vs.10 – 14 'fear not' comes during a period of terrific unrest in Israel as the nation by and large are preparing for captivity.
Even the godly souls in Israel had to go into Babylonian captivity through the errant ways of the vast majority of folk who knew better in their own thinking than the Living God did.
He had pleaded with them to give up their idolatrous ways and to serve and worship Him
as they should have been doing.
Isaiah had leaned the secret of waiting on the Lord and was able to speak from personal experience of enjoying the peace and rest from God.
The chapter before us is a great assurance of Gods presence in the midst of trouble and to the truth that He will see His children safely through them.
'Fear not' v 10 is preceded by 'come and draw near' the Living God is seeking to stir up the nest of His people v 1 stop the talking and start listening to Me' is what He is saying.
The enemy is all around us, they may seem mighty but they are minnows when placed before the Lord, we are called to wait on the Lord and watch what He is doing on the wider scene.
So often we are caught looking at our little cameo of life instead of taking time to commune with the Lord to see the much wider picture of His plans and purpose.
We are parochial people who need to have our vision dealt with by the Lord so that we can get things into perspective and then 'fear not' will become a reality to us.
In v 10 'fear not I am with thee' reveals to us a glorious truth that our Father never lets us out of sight and that He is ever looking to draw us closer to His presence.
'Fear not' here points us to the endurance test that we are going through in preparation for our eternal home call. To be forever with the Lord.
We fret so much about our earthly situation and lose sight of the wider picture that we are being prepared for the heavenly eternal place.
There are two types of 'fear' in these verses the first is the awe and wonder of Gods presence and the other is the awesome presence of the Living God that brings terrifying fear to the unconverted.
The Christian rejoices in the former and delights to draw near to God in humble trust and godly fear, we can come as close to the Living God and heavenly Father as we want to.
He bids us to 'come' and enjoy His company as the enemy is gathering to throw us down and to do their hardest to defeat us, come and look at things from My point of view.
Then we hear Him say 'fear not I am with you' and then 'I have taken you from the ends of the earth' v 9 look at the wide picture the Almighty Creator has literally taken us from the ends of the earth to be His particular and eternal children.
He is in control of the events that hit us whatever they may be, He is loosening up the earthly ties so that we will walk quicker on the path of righteousness for His glory.
There then comes the promise that 'I will strengthen thee' look who it is who is talking to us, the 'Great I am' the self sufficient, self existing One, independent, omnipotent and omniscient One, 'I am the Lord' v 8.
The second 'fear not' in v 13 comes with the divine stamp of approval with it, 'I will hold thy right hand' we are never left alone and even when we sleep we do so in His hand.
The 'fear not' here is linked with I will 'hold thee' and then 'help thee' two features that relieve the fear that could torment us.
'I will hold thee' there are many English words derived from the Hebrew word 'hold' here it means to bind fast or seize hold off in protection, snatching it out of the lions mouth.
'I will help thee' points to our Father coming alongside the destitute who cannot help themselves and giving them the aid they need.
We are given Gods aid and attention all the time when we are seeking to live according to His word, our problem is that we far to often think that we can cope on our own and we cannot.
Our heavenly Father looks down in pity on us and demonstrates His great love and compassion on us with this promise.
What encouragement there is here for the Christian to know experimentally the love of God assisting us over the issues of life bring victory in the believer.
Then to the third promise 'fear not' v 14 brings us to our knees before the Throne of Grace 'thou worm' yes that is the right perspective of the Creator looking down on His children.
We are nothing really and yet we are special in the Creator Gods sight, they have drawn us to themselves to become a special people for their glory.
They see our need and swiftly come to meet it, we get into all manners of situations some of our own making many of others making but there is never a moment when the Lord does not come to help and hold His children up.
We maybe tiresome to others but we are never tiresome to God, we maybe wearisome to folk but never wearisome to God, we can be slow moving towards our Father but He is never slow responding to the cry of His children.
Look at the reasons for the promise of His aid lavishly given to us, 'the Lord' the covenant name of the Living God, it brings out the special relationship that we have been brought into through the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is thy 'Redeemer' here we look at the ransom that He paid for us that we could not pay ourselves, a ransom that has delivered us and released us.
'Delivered' points to the terrifying judgement that the unrepentant sinner faces that has now been removed from the repentant sinner.
'Released' brings out the thought of being set free from sin and Satan's bondage and hold over us, we have been released from fleshly living so as to walk in harmony with God.
We have been released from pursuing a life of strife and disobedience so as to walk in the godly life that the Lord Jesus has given to us.
The Lord Jesus has paid the price of our liberty and we should never forget that He holds sway over our life now so that we should live according to His word.
Then the truth goes on in v 14 look who He is 'the 'Holy One' our heavenly Father and His beloved Son are unique being completely holy, separated and pure from sins defilement.
The reason why we cannot see Him is because He is to pure for our unclean eyes to see Him, He covers Him self so that He can commune with us.
Now we have been dedicated to the Lord through the Lord Jesus and we should be living holy lives, living as those in touch with the Almighty God.
Here is the challenge of the hour, are we walking holy lives or are we playing games that we keep losing and becoming failures spiritually.
We are holy people through our conversion, therefore we should live as separate from the world, 'we are in the world but not of it' John 17 vs.11 – 17.
'We are in the world' but can encourage ourselves that we have One who is standing alongside us saying 'fear not little flock' I am with you.
I am here to support you and to lead you through the trials of life and to bring you to glory into the Father's presence to abide for eternity, what a promise to dwell on.
'Seeking the Lord' should be the desire and delight of His children, we should be looking for every opportunity to commune with our Father and precious Saviour.
That so few seemingly want to do so is of great concern in these days of spiritual declension or deterioration of moral standards.
The church has lost its way spending more time on trying to keep numbers up rather than proclaiming holiness and righteousness of living.
There is a promise hidden in Gods word that we need to unearth and take hold of so as to bring us closer to our heavenly Father seeing it is He who has given us this promise.
Proverbs 8 v 17 'I love those that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me' what a spur for us to rise early in the day to commune with the Lord.
We remind ourselves that we do not welcome Him on sight but He is waiting already to welcome us to His Throne of Grace.
James in 1 v 5 gives us an insight into the revelation that we can expect as we approach the Throne for our spiritual education, 'wisdom' is the gem that we receive.
'Wisdom' points to the knowledge how to regulate our lives in the light of our salvation and the relationship that we are brought into.
It shows us how to live according to Gods standard of righteousness bringing us into the light from the low standard that we were once living in.
To gain real knowledge on the new higher standard of living expected of all of Christ's disciples we need to retrace our footsteps from Proverbs chapter 8 to chapter 1 vs.1 – 9.
There we are introduced to several issues that will affect our restored relationship with the Living God and to 'hear' and 'fear' the Lord.
'A wise man will hear' what the Lord has to say not only with their head but in the heart, changes are going to be made.
'Fear' points us to the One who is seeking to commune with us even though we are still fighting to have our own way.
We note that 'fear of God is the beginning of wisdom' v 7 reverence towards God not as an object of worship but as the Living God that He is.
He is the all powerful Creator as we saw in the last study, the Unchanging Sovereign Lord over all of His creation and in particular over His righteous children.
'Wisdom' introduces us to a string of pearls in 1 vs.2 – 6 that we should be looking out for because they come as promises to the obedient believer.
Wisdom introduces us to 'instruction' is the reforming knowledge given to the person that has been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, it brings correction and discipline.
The once unruly spirit has to be brought into clear light and that involves teaching on how to live in the light of the relationship that we have been brought into by Jesus Christ.
We think we know everything but really that is the old flesh life seeking to usurp authority over the new spiritual nature and it has to be treated as dead.
'Instruction' is the spiritual education that Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 3 v 13 and brings out the thought of rectifying the mistakes we make with practical solutions.
The second word in Proverbs is 'Understanding' and brings us into the light of insight into spiritual issues that cannot be found anywhere else than in Gods word.
Paul writing to the rebellious church at Corinth opens up this thought for us in 1 Corinthians 2 v 14 stating 'the natural man does not receive spiritual things of God' because they sound foolish to him.
The spiritual man can discern and judge on issues because he seeks to know the mind of the Lord on them before speaking about them.
To gain this spiritual knowledge we need to spend time alone with the Lord so that the Holy Spirit can give light on the issues.
We see the word 'perceive' preceding understanding, the word means to observe by close examination, to be made aware and come to realise the importance of obeying God.
Paul writing to the Roman fellowship wants them to come into the fullness of this truth in 8 v 6 'to be carnally minded is enmity against God' what an important 'BUT', 'but to be spiritually minded is life and peace'.
Far to many Christians are living 'carnal lives' that is fleshly living according to their natural desires when they should be disciplined into the higher standard of Gods righteousness.
The conclusion drawn is that 'they cannot please God' by doing so, there must be changes made to this old nature and Paul reflects on the truth by telling us that he was 'dead to the old life.
We can know that the 'old man is crucified with Christ' Romans 6 v 6 knowing this we are resurrected with Christ not to serve sin any longer but to reign with Christ over it.
This s not a super Christian life but as Romans 6 points out to us it is the normal Christian life for every believer to walk in.
It is time to stop listening to like minded folk who want to dwell in the valley and to start taking instruction and understanding that will lead us up Gods righteous hill.
The next pearl for us to claim is 'Justice' and that brings us to living in the right things that bring us closer to the Lord, morally, ethically and spiritually.
'Morally' points us in the direction of what is right differencing from what is wrong, we come to the knowledge of Gods principles on right and wrong and we are in for a rude awakening.
A great deal of laxity in the church has led many Christians into the trap of believing wrong when they should have been walking in the right.
Only by seeking the Lord early are we going to get these issues sorted out, our behaviour portrays our belief and sadly there is a lot revealed that should not be contemplated let alone practiced amongst Gods children.
'Ethically' relates to the principles that our morals are based on, the scriptures are given to affirm the God given standard of living on the earth as His children.
Our conduct should manifest our relationship with God and Paul can point to this in 2 Timothy 3 v 10 as being the standard that he lived by himself.
'Spiritually' in v 17 he brings out the thought to us that the 'man or woman of God' should aim to be as close to this blue print as is possible because it brings honour, praise and glory to our Father.
'Judgment' is the fifth pearl that the early seekers can claim, this brings us to the correct verdict on issues, not only the right verdict but the right sentence with it.
Here is a pearl the Church needs to reclaim because so many decisions are being made with fleshly judgment based on part or limited knowledge.
Human nature loves to condemn even a child of God who has made a mistake in their eyes but the spiritual person will wait on the Lord before giving their verdict.
Few Christians are walking close enough to the Lord today to gain such knowledge and we should be ashamed of our spiritual state.
The Lord Jesus will gladly give us the insight that enables us to come to the right verdict and sentence when we learn to wait on Him, that is His promise Proverbs 8 v 17.
'Equity brings up the rear of our pearls and it brings us to the right conclusion, the word means 'straightness' or 'uprightness' to the normal Christian life standard.
Straight in thought, word and action, now here is something to ponder today, it brings us to our character as our Father sees it and not to what we like to believe about ourselves.
Our 'conversation' should be honest and straight forward with no double meanings,1 Peter
2 v 12 gives us a clear interpretation of 'equity' we should be clear cut in our dealings with the world and each other as in the sight of God.
We need training into such a behaviour pattern, it is contrary to the old nature and those that seek the Lord early find the truth of this very quickly.
Now let us 'seek the Lord early' the word early means day break, at dawn or first light so that we can enter the day enjoying the promises of God and His presence going with us.
The promise of 'peace' is a wonderful subject and with it comes many promises from or heavenly Father so that we can enjoy real peace in the journey of life.
We often hear people talking about the peace of God and the peace with God even of the peace from God so I think it good for us to look at the three of them from the promise point of view.
The 'peace with God' is the foundation of the Christian faith, the fact that through Jesus Christ our rebellion against God is over.
We talk glibly about 'sin' and usually point to the fruits of sin, murder, lust, jealousy and the like when that is not the root of the word.
Sin literally means rebellion and that brings us to the state of people from birth until their conversion, living in opposition to God and rejecting His word.
The fruits of sin are many and scripture out lines many of these pointing out at the same time that these should now not even be talked about in the Christian community.
So let us look at the 'peace with God' and to Colossians 1 v 20 where we take note that the Father and the Son are intimately involved in this peace process.
The fact that human nature is born into rebellion as a result of Adam and Eve rejecting Gods way of living and following the deception of the evil one is there for all to see.
Equally it is clear for all to receive that the Lord Jesus came from the heavenly place into this world with the clear mandate to bring the two warring parties together again.
He was willing to sacrifice His life to rescue repentant sinners like us, so that where once we were enemies we are now made friends.
We have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Acts 10 v 36 alongside the Colossians reading bring home to us the vital role of the Lord Jesus in bringing peace to us.
Romans 5 v 1 gives us the assurance that we all need that through faith in Christ Jesus sacrifice on Calvary we have 'peace with God' what a promise to claim.
It is the Living God and our Risen Saviour who are offering us that peace, it is a peace that passes intellectual understanding as it sweeps away the strife that dominated our life.
This peace introduces us to three welcome facts, first that we can now commune with them, second that we have access continually to their presence and third we can enjoy their company all the time.
In a short space of time our life has been transformed from being aliens and strangers to become an intimate friend of the Living God and we can share everything with Him.
Is it little wonder that Paul goes on to tell us to rejoice in the facts that are placed before us and to dwell on the fruits of repentance, tribulation, patience, experience, hope.
Now that is a remarkable change around and we need to learn to appreciate the 'peace with God' as an on going daily experience.
The second thought for the day is that we have the 'peace of God' dwelling in us as repentant sinners, the Lord Jesus introduces us to this truth in John 14 v 27.
He was talking in terms of His death, resurrection and going home into eternity His disciples were mystified by it all they could not take it in.
Then the Master opens up to them the truths that would ultimately transform their thinking and living 'I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again to receive you to myself'.
It was the unveiling of Gods eternal plans and it is based on His peace so that in v 20 the Lord Jesus says clearly 'My peace I give unto you' it is a present possession.
In the midst of all the trials and tribulations we can know experimentally the 'peace of God' there is an inward peace when the relationship is right that is beyond words for description.
The struggle and strife outwardly is borne up because inwardly there is the peace of God that sustain us in the storms of life.
Paul brings this home to us in Philippians 4 v 7 the well known verse 'And the peace of God that passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus'.
The promise is given by our heavenly Father for all who seek to walk according to His word will enjoy that wonderful peace.
To enjoy that peace in the middle of the storm of life is beyond explanation by mouth and mind but it is experienced in the heart and spirit effecting the physical, Godly contentment.
Now we can rejoice in our Lord Jesus that He always keeps His promises and therefore we can know the 'peace of God' experimentally in our journey homewards.
Romans 15 v 33 reveals the truth that we are pondering 'Now the God of peace be with you all' the prayer of the apostle is still being offered and answered today.
The benediction becomes reality for the Christian disciple, they enjoy this peace and are refreshed in it day by day as they commune with their heavenly Father.
We now need to see that this peace is attacked by Satan and our spiritual life is thwarted by the enemy at every turn and we need to keep our relationship open and vibrant with the Lord.
The third thought for today is the 'peace from God' that we receive as we walk in harmony and unity together through life.
Turning back to Philippians 4 vs.7 and 9 we see the two aspects of true peace, it keeps our heart from fretting v 7 and it keeps us safely through the day.
We are still prone to worry, fear and fretting because of the earthly house or frame that we are but there is a peace that we can enjoy that sweeps away those physical ailments.
'Peace' here points to rest and contentment, it points to an undisturbed and untroubled spirit that is resting in the complete work of the Lord Jesus.
The connecting v 8 reveals to us the virtues of the Christian life that we should be learning, receiving and practicing so that the peace of God will abound in us.
The strife comes when we wrestle in the Spirit over the actions and activities that hinder our walk with the Lord, the battle between the flesh and the Spirit cause us untold damage.
We want to remain in control of our life when the Holy Spirit is showing us the danger of us doing so and wants us to enter into His rest.
Colossians 3 v 15 take this on, in v 10 we are reminded that we have put on the new man, we are a new creation living for the Lord and not for ourselves any more.
We have become a holy person that is being renewed into the image of Christ and we should stop the struggle and strife so as to enjoy the peace of God v 15.
We should be a thankful person seeing all that has been done for us and is still being done for us so that we can become a satisfied person knowing the real peace of God.
This is not just a happy feeling felt in the mind when things are going well for us but it is the deep contentment that produces gladness of heart permanently.
Writing to the church at Thessalonica Paul wants this experience to be with them all in the church all the time 2 Thessalonians 3 v 16.
He longs for the Living God to give them His peace continually so that they can live in harmony with each other rather than fight amongst themselves for supremacy.
The word 'give' points to the promise that He has given to us, 'give' means to bring forth, to commit and deliver His peace to the believer.
What is being sought after is the peace of God 'that brought the Lord Jesus back from the dead' Hebrews 13 v 20 now what peace that revealed is truly beyond words and yet is the experience of the trusting soul in the Lord Jesus.
The word 'now' here means in this present scene, in life today, to be known right now by those resting in the Lord.
What a mighty God we are communing with, the Creator of all has now condescended to reach out to folk like us and to give us His peace that will bring us into a life of contentment as the Lord Jesus outlined in Matthew 5 – 7.
The peace of God is a priceless gift that we shall truly appreciate in eternity, the peace of God is something we are beginning to enjoy today in increasing measure.
The peace from God leads us into a beautiful harmony not only with the Living God but also in the fellowship of believers that we call the Church.
Today we turn to Psalm 143 for our meditation and to look at the prayer of David as he pours out his complaint to the Lord and there are many people over the centuries prayed like this.
He pleads for six issues and we do well to look sat the response of God in the promises of His word to find the answers to each of them.
The list include Lord 'hear me' v 7, 'cause me' v 8, 'deliver me' v 9, 'teach me' v 10, 'lead me' v 10 and 'quicken me' v 11 so here goes.
'Lord hear me' v 7 is a cry of a desperate soul in urgent need of assistance from the Lord
and the word 'speedily' come quickly to my aid.
'Hear me' is a serious request from one in danger as the turmoil of life is pressing on them and they long for relief and the Lord alone can give it.
Well we listen to the word of God and find that He does hear our prayer and several promises are given to us to claim to fulfill it.
Psalm 4 v 3 provides a key to open this promise 'But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto Him'.
The Throne of Grace is approached with confidence by those walking uprightly in the Lord Jesus because they come in answer to His invitation.
He is willing to hear our prayer and will answer according to His will plan and purposes, so often we come with repetitive prayers that seemingly find no answer because He does not answer according to our desires.
We are so selfish even as Christians looking at the me, my and mine in our prayer times of course we add on a few prayers for others.
In our Psalm the Lord has set aside His people to walk humbly with Him and it for them to present their requests to Him in the knowledge that He will answer us.
Psalm 17 v 1 carries on this theme the urgent request accompanied by the thought that we are praying according to Gods will and purposes.
We present ourselves first of all in repentance and humble submission then we can expect the Lord to answer us speedily.
There is a second promise that we need to claim in these circumstances, the Lord says 'call upon Me' Job 14 v 15 'and I will answer thee' an emphatic promise that we can claim.
We do not pray blindly or without reason but rather we can come to the Throne of Grace in the knowledge that our heavenly Father has invited us there to bring our prayers.
We can go a step further with the promise of God because He reminds us that whilst we are calling He has answered us Isaiah 65 v 24.
The second issue in Psalm 143 v 8 is 'Lord cause me' the word 'cause' means to freely or without contention help us to know Gods lovingkindness at the break of day.
The thought is knowing the way ahead in the midst of the pressures of life so that we walk according to the path of righteousness and not be deviated from it by circumstances.
We all need the presence of the Lord with us, not just on Sunday when we go to church but to know and experience His lovingkindness all the days long.
The theme of Psalm 5 v 8 is reiterated here with the strong desire to know and to do what is right and v 11 reminds us of the confidence we have in trusting the Lord 'He will defend us'.
The Lord is constantly bringing us into situations that are to great for us on our own to conquer but in doing so wants us to draw from the divine supply that He has made available to us to enable us to overcome.
It is not the supply that is the problem but it is our submission for His will to be done in and through us that causes us most problem.
The third issue in Psalm 143 is in v 9 'deliver me from my enemies' two features of the prayer, 'deliver' and 'enemies' need out attention because all of us know the truth of them.
'Deliver' is a word that runs through the Psalms as a golden thread as it is the cry of the saints continually as they seek to walk on the path of righteousness.
It is a fact that we are more aware of the perilous situation that we find ourselves in the closer we draw to the Lord.
'Deliver' means to pluck out of the hand of the oppressor or enemy, to preserve and rescue by the power and strength of our Superior Lord.
In Isaiah 35 v 4 we have a beautiful promise that we can claim 'He will come to save or deliver you', the moment we call we find He is there to help us.
He could have stopped us getting into the mess in the first instance but we are such
arrogant people and like to do things our own way though we fall so often when we do so.
Isaiah 35 is a chapter on the path of holiness, it is not read or preached on very often today but never the less it stands out to the observant soul giving them hope when things go wrong.
We still can do our own thing even when walking on the right pathway, thoughts, words and deeds that are self perpetuated can come unstuck and wee cry out for the Lord to deliver us.
Jeremiah facing crisis after crisis in the nation is encouraged by the Lord to enjoy His promise in 1 v 8 'I am with the to deliver thee'.
Jeremiah knew the pathway of holiness was a rock strewn one with many difficulties but he knew the promise and clung to it.
We need to draw close to the Lord to hear His voice revealing such promises to us but the truth is the promise is open for all God fearers to claim.
'Lord teach me' v 10 is the consequence of deliverance because we soon realise that we usually get into the difficulty through our own bad judgement.
We need to be taught how to live on the pathway of holiness, we do not walk into it but we do walk upon it, it is the Holy Spirit who induces the spirit of holiness and righteousness in us.
'Lord teach me to do Thy will' comes from the heart of the obedient soul seeking to become the person that out heavenly Father wants us to become.
A Christ like character is made and not born, the teaching goes on throughout life because there are many hidden to the word but not to God thoughts and words flowing from us that should not be there.
The Lord instructs us through His word and the Holy Spirit enlightens to the teachable soul in the ways of truth practically.
We should note that word 'practical' because the ways of the Lord are very practical effecting every part of our being.
'Lord lead me' v 10 to 'lead' means guide, steer and to conduct us in our daily living we are asking the Lord to keep us on the right path.
The promise of His word that 'He will guide us by the eye' Psalm 32 v 8 and we must live close to someone to be guided by their eye.
The intimacy of relationship is drawn out here and the closer we draw to the Lord the greater this stands out, He directs in all things those who live close to Him.
So to the last issue 'Lord quicken me' v 11 there is a great art in spiritual recovery, first yield to the hand that comes to save you, second dust yourself down through repentance and third learn to lean harder on the Lord.
Three simple points that come to you from personal experience, from one who has learned the lessons the hard way.
'Quicken' comes eleven times in Psalm 119 and two meanings are used, twice it means to hasten quickly the other nine point to returning to the former state of righteousness.
We need to look up the references the first two vs.50 and 93 bring out the word of God when applied quickens us and leads us back to the right track.
The other nine strung through the long Psalm refer to the reviving and restoring of the soul that is languishing or struggling behind.
The promises of God given to Abraham are the subject of Hebrews 6 vs.13 – 20 and bring us to the truth that all the promises of God are opened up to the child of God.
It is up to us to take hold of them and to present them before the Lord at the Throne of Grace to prove them ourselves.
These promises of God are given to the child of God to enlighten their walk, to enrich their walk and to encourage us on our walk.
Abraham became aware of the promises of God in Genesis 12 and he delights to walk in the light of them leaving Ur behind and wandering across Canaan and Egypt.
He was enlightened regarding his walk in Ur of Chaldees and in Genesis 12 it is revealed to him that the Living God would make a mighty nation out of his obedient trust, 'I will make thee a mighty nation'.
Little did he realise that that nation would be growing daily right through to this day, so that they are so great in number we cannot actually number them accurately.
The promise continues 'I will bless thee' or be kindly benevolently to you, a promise that has been wonderfully kept during amazing periods of their hostility towards God.
The enlightening goes on 'I will make thee great' pointing to material greatness, physical strength and mental courage to go on against all the opposition.
What a trilogy of enlightening facts as we look back we look at Hebrews 6 v 13 all the promises were kept fully and fulfilled abundantly displayed history.
We can plot the course of history in scripture and look at the promises being fulfilled in the people
Now in enlightenment the Lord reveals these truths in super abundant form on the Church, His chosen people, He calls us 'His holy people' 1 Peter 2 v 9.
We have put aside the old nature to take up the new nature and the Lord makes these enlightening promises available to us that we should grow there by v 2.
Spiritual growth will lead us into the deeper things of God, we will not want to live a superficial life but will desire to plunge into the deep things of God.
Our heavenly Father still leads His obedient children in ways that seem strange to the onlooker mainly because they do not understand the spiritual calling that we have in Christ Jesus.
We are called to leave behind the works of the flesh to walk towards our goal, towards the heavenly home and then we shall see the wonderful promises were amply fulfilled by our heavenly Father as we join the innumerable host in His family.
The tragedy today is that we are not walking in the light of the promises made to us as Abraham did, we have been chosen just as the patriarch was to walk on the path of righteousness.
Our Father delights to reveal His promises through us His word and derives great pleasure when the child of God presents the promise to Him for enacting.
We take note in Hebrews 6 that the blessings were given so that Abraham would give them away, there are always more blessings to receive than we can appropriate our self.
The second thought we glean here is that the promises of God are given to enable the recipient to endure the hardships that they are called to go through.
'Endurance' points to enduring during the long march homeward, Abraham was looking for the eternal home when he left Ur of Chaldees Hebrews 11 v 10.
We remind ourselves that we too are looking for the same city 13 v 14 we are treading the path of righteousness that will bring us ultimately to the home and throne of the Living God.
The promises of God are given to build up our faith during this earthly pilgrimage so that we will endure to the end and James 5 v 11 tells us about the endurance required.
We are going through many trials and struggles but the promises of God will uphold us along the way, those miseries are met with the promise of Matthew 10 v 22 and 24 v 13.
The persecution and persistent trials are to be expected as the Lord works onus to bring us into Christ likeness Romans 12 is a mighty chapter of victory over adversity.
Submission leads to service and even that becomes a delightful experience for those walking on the right pathway, strewn with blessings and promises..
'Patient endurance' both words are a challenge to us, 'patient' points to long suffering for Christ sake whilst 'endurance' to bearing up under server and long provocations.
The Christian life is a tough life and many fall by the way side when the going gets tough the tragedy is they fail to take hold of the promises given to us so that we can testify as Paul did in 2 Corinthians 6 vs.1 – 10.
There he not only tells of his plight and progress but points out the we are workers together, there is no promise especially geared to Paul the major difference between he and us that he was obedient to the Lord.
The third issue coming out of Hebrews 6 is the encouragement gained through the promises of God, He never lets us down like we seem to so each other.
The truth gained in v 18 is so important because God has sealed His promises by promise and by oath, the 'promise' means declaring an undertaking that He is bound to keep.
He sealed the 'promise' with an 'oath' is the confirmation guaranteeing the discharge of liabilities, God will keep His word.
What encouragement this is and we have His word before us revealing these promises that He longs for us to use according to His will and purposes.
No promise is given for self indulgence or self gratification they are given to obedient Christians who are walking in the light of His word.
Abraham received the promises because he did that, he walked with the Lord with real diligence v 11 and 'patiently endured' v 15 to secure the promises given to him.
Now a little while let us review these three words to see what changes they bring to our way of thinking and living.
We should be learning to listen to the Lord speaking through His word to us bringing light on the scriptures and enlightenment to the believer.
The Devil is robbing so many Christians of their spiritual inheritance because they do not desire to study Gods word, they are resting on the milk when they should be enjoying a full meal.
It is a mighty privilege for us to be able to commune with the Creator God and we should be constantly looking for times to spend alone with Him and then enjoy His promises.
Spiritual endurance is something we need to come to terms with in the soft liberal society that we live in, we buckle at the knees at the slightest provocation when we should be standing firm on the promises.
The truth is we are not spiritually adjusted as we could and should be because we are being brought up on meetings in a building when we should be meeting with our Risen Lord.
'Endurance' was a specific prayer that Paul has for young Timothy out on the road with the Apostle but afraid of some of the situations they find them selves in.
So in the Second Letter he writes 'endure hardness as a good soldier' 2 Timothy 2 v 3 we like Timothy are called to live out the word of God in a hostile world.
That is where our spiritual growth will be tested and tried to prove that we are genuine in what we say and believe.
Then the encouragement that all of Gods children get from listening too and obeying the Holy Spirit promptings, we are being built up in the Holy Temple.
Now we can and should encourage each other in the Lord but the greater encouragement comes as we apply the word to our life.
In 1 Samuel 30 v 6 David is under real threat and discouraged by what he heard and saw but that threw Him on the Lord, 'David encouraged him self in the Lord God'.
That is an example given to us to follow as is v 8 'David inquired of the Lord' for victory.
Psalm 103 fills my attention today and the mighty promises contained in the word as being accomplished already in us as the redeemed of the Lord.
To begin with we look at the five statements made that are operative in every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
In v 2 we are called to 'forget not all His benefits' the word 'benefits' brings out the treatment given to the diligent believer for their welfare.
The promises of God come inside the meaning of this word and the five mentioned in vs.3 – 5 are priceless ones.
The first in v 3 'who forgiveth all thine iniquities' we note the word 'all' the only iniquity or sin that He does not forgive is our unconfessed ones.
Our heavenly Father has blotted out our iniquity through the sacrifice of His Son, we carry the awful load no longer when we confess our sin He is willing and just to forgive us.
That promise of 'forgiveness' pointing to the pardon that is sealed through Jesus blood transforms our life from hell deserving sinners to the ransomed people going on a journey to heaven for eternity.
'Forgiven' points us homeward along the path of righteousness, the Living God will no, longer hold our confessed sin against us, we have been cleared of every trace of it.
Then the second issue 'who healeth all thy diseases' what a promise we can claim here, our Father binds up the wounds of the broken hearted as Psalm 34 v 18 and 147 v 3.
I love to read the scriptures regarding the coming of the Lord Jesus as revealed to Isaiah 61 v 1, He came 'to bind up the broken hearted' one of several references to the Lord Jesus working His gracious miracles of healing amongst the people.
The 'broken hearted' brings out the compassion of the Living God on His people reaching down to lift up and bind up the people suffering from all manners of ailments.
He binds up the wound giving not just relief but restoration with the actions that He takes in dealing with us, the Good Samaritan was not just a story parable but the result of Christ's ministry.
The third promise statement here in the Psalm is 'who redeemeth thy life from destruction'
v 4 we thought of 'redeem' earlier but here we look at the act and the consequences of redemption.
The act of redeeming brings out the thought of a helpless slave being purchased so that they can be released to live in freedom.
The consequences of their freedom is to serve their Redeemer without restrictions, the idea of relationship is behind the word, we have come into Gods eternal family.
In the light of this we should be living lives worthy of our Redeemer, no longer selfish and self centred but self giving to the Lord.
We look at the hopeless condition we were in a sinners condemned to eternal separation from the Living God to the position we now enjoy as His redeemed children.
'Destruction' comes fourteen times in the Psalms pointing us to the truth of the life after death, the end of life on earth is not the end of life altogether.
There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun or avoid, the Christian believer is one whose eternal destiny has been changed from what they deserved into what has been granted to them as a result of their confession of their sin.
Eternity in the heavenly place will ring with the praises to our Redeemer, we are only there
because of the mercy, love and grace of our God.
He has redeemed us, a promise fulfilled through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will never leave or forsake us that is in the promise.
The fourth issue is in v 4 'who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies' and how the promises of God are poured out in these words.
They come in abundance to us and they should fill hours of joyful thought and praises to God as we contemplate the many blessings poured out on us individually.
The word 'crowneth' means to encompass or surround, the promises of God are in abundance in His word and are there for us to partake of.
It is not a pleading for them or indeed for struggling to arrive at them wringing them out of our God because He has bountifully poured them out on us daily.
When our life is in harmony with our Father we can come to Him as a child to their Father and ask what we will in Jesus name and He will give it to us John 14 v 13.
The thought is simple 'ask' and 'I will do it', the provision is not the problem but the issue of us asking in His name is.
We are such self centred people looking for the me, my and mine, we need to step back and look at our Redeemer and then at our self and then ask Him to change this heart of ours.
The magnitude of the problem is swept away by the gracious hand of the Living God, He surrounds us with His compassion and loving gracious acts.
He reaches down to meet the need of the weary giving them strength, He reaches out to give courage to the faint hearted and He delights to meet the needs of His children.
There is no friend like the Lord Jesus, His tenderness is beyond words as He ministers to the weary soul at the end of day, His loving concern for our welfare is fresh every day.
The fifth issue here in Psalm 103 is found in v 5 'who satisfieth thy mouth with good things'
He fully satisfies the soul, mind and heart of the obedient believer so that they are renewed with life, energy and strength that baffles the onlookers.
Old men are renewed with life that enables them to rise like an eagle, soaring in the Spirit to enjoy the final days of life on earth before soaring into the presence of their Father for eternity.
That word 'renewed' is a beautiful word as it brings out several issues like being brought from death into life, such as being restored from the scrap heap to be useful again.
It points to being revived from a poor state into a living vital one, from being down cast on the earth into being upward borne into the heavenlies to commune with the Lord.
All of this and much more, the Lord has been so gracious with us we are found guilty of misappropriation of His grace and favours.
We need to take time to ponder these terrific words and then to praise our Lord as we see the reality of them being worked out in our life.
We look at v 8 and what joy this stimulates in the spirit, the wonder of the Creator God taking such interest in us note the 'Lord is' not maybe or going to be but He is now in the present tense.
He is merciful to forgive the laxity, levity and luxury that we have fallen into since He forgave us of the sin that broke the relationship in the first place, His mercy endures forever.
He is gracious to us, His lovingkindness is showered on us daily, He comes with tender compassion to us to deal graciously with us.
It is with sadness that we treat all of these issues so lightly and take so much for granted
These great promises being worked out in us should motivate us into deeper commitment to Him to enjoy a closer walk with Him.
We will see the anger of God displayed in judgement on that Great Judgment Day when unrepentant sinners along with Satan receive their just rewards meted out by the Lord Jesus.
The truth is He has removed His wrath from us in His 'plenteous mercy' the word 'plenteous' literally means great, incalculable and numerous.
The promises of God are given to us to draw us closer to Him and what better thought to go into the day with than the one in v 12 'He has removed our sin and transgression from us'.
He will never hold our confessed and repented sin against us again, He pities us so that we can call Him Father, what a privilege that is for us to know and enjoy.
In Luke 9 vs.21 – 27 we learn that the Lord Jesus knew that His death and resurrection was fast approaching and that the disciples were to understand the whole purpose of His death and resurrection.
They had to understand that repentance is more than being sorry for the sin that they had committed, repentance is the way of death, death to the old self life.
In v 22 the Lord Jesus reveals that to rescue mankind He was going to suffer and die, the offer of salvation was falling on deaf ears of the religious folk in Israel.
He knew the heart as well as the mind of the religious leaders and that even though they had the scriptures and read them daily they still rejected Messiahs claims.
All the promises referring to Messiah in the Old Testament were still hidden to them they were spiritually blind and dull of hearing as multitudes are today.
So He turns to His disciples to bring to them the challenge of dying to self and becoming alive in resurrection power.
The message that we have in front of us today has a wonderful promise in it that we can and should claim and it is enjoy those who are obedient to Gods word.
'If any man' or woman v 23 'will come after Me let Him deny himself daily and follow Me'
several words need bring out here so that we can appropriate the promise revealed.
To 'deny' points to us putting away or denouncing the hindrances after recollecting or reflecting on the issues of eternal life.
There daily issues that stop us becoming committed to Christ and these issues are brought into the open so that our commitment should be complete.
Family and friends come into this category as do the cares and pleasures of this life in fact anything that comes between us and the Lord Jesus does.
The cross brings out the thought of making a stand that could ultimately lead to death, as it did for the Lord Jesus, baptism points us to such a commitment.
There it is dying to self and the world so that we receive the resurrection life of Christ we are crucified with Him and He brings us into eternal life.
Paul exemplifies the latter part of the verse when he wrote 'I die daily' 1 Corinthians 15 v 31 it is a daily walk following Christ and not just a one of commitment.
The early Church knew the reality of 1 Corinthians 4 v 9 'we were appointed unto death' the daily battle in presenting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was walking towards death.
They did not know what the next day held for them, troubles and problems abound when we deny ourselves to inherit eternal life.
The closer we draw to the Lord Jesus the greater the denial will become but the greater blessings abound at that level of commitment.
We should be asking ourselves whether we have a faith worth dying for rather than asking God to remove the path of troubles and trials from us.
The promise is given to those who commit their life unto Christ in total submission that they will inherit eternal life.
The inner circle of disciples were those willing to take this step of faith and action, they would know experimentally the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus in increasing measure.
Taking up the cross is literally walking in the light of Gods word applying it continually and experiencing His presence in the stand that we make.
The cross is not a sacrifice to cover our sin as it was to the Master but it is the daily life committed to Christ that will bring forth a similar reaction from the folk around us as it did our precious Saviour, 'rejection'.
When we become a disciple of Christ we are dying to self so that the Christ life can be manifested through us more and more.
The closer we draw to the Lord then the greater the hostility we can expect from the world who is rejecting Christ as much today as they did when He was hereon earth.
The old flesh life is to die so that the shoot of the new life can be expressed in our daily walk today, the shoots of Christ likeness, the fruit of righteousness and godliness.
Holiness will always clash with sin and iniquity, we cannot expect anything less than real hostility when we stand firm on the issues of life from our Saviours point of view.
The outcome of standing firm in the faith is to enjoy a deeper relationship with Christ that brings us into the fulness of the Christian life.
The promises of God are for those who will deny themselves and follow His Son, painful though it be the blessings of inheritance far outweigh the trials.
We glimpse ate the picture of gaining worldly prosperity and popularity that is quick to surface and quick to lose, life is very fragile for all of us.
The fact that the obedient Christian is living in the certain hope that death is the entrance to life encourages us to live for Christ to the maximum down here seeing that eternity awaits us.
We have nothing to lose but a great deal to gain by dying to self down here on earth as we receive the promises of God to see us through into His eternal presence.
We only 'lose' in the earthly life that is the things that are perishing anyway, to 'gain' the eternal blessings from our heavenly Fathers hand.
We now urn to another facet of a committed life the standing firm in the faith as against those who have faith but are ashamed to admit it.
'Ashamed' in v 26 reveals to issues first to be ashamed of Christ Jesus our Saviour and then ashamed of standing up for Him in the daily tasks of life.
To be ashamed of our Saviour after all that He has done for us is astounding and yet there are many people who have never stood o testify of their faith in Him at work or play.
To be ashamed of 'Gods word' is a feature that many Christians express as they regularly let opportunities pass by to stand firm on the bible truths.
That is not only in conversation but in actual practical applications of the word when we can demonstrate the scriptures in our actions as well as words.
We fail to render assistance or comfort when we could easily do so not only to the world but to the suffering saints that we find in it.
There is a promise revealed here for us to ponder today 'whoso ever is ashamed of me and my word him shall the Son of Man be ashamed on the judgement day'.
The verses in Corinthians 3 come to mind again what a terrible indictment that our precious Lord Jesus will only find a pile of ashes the result of a selfish self centred life down here.
The very possibility should shake of the apathy of or life so that we can live and take the opportunities that are presented to us daily to testify of our faith in Christ.
Now we come to v 27 and a gem of a verse with a promise that was and is still being received today by obedient saints.
'There are some of you standing here which shall not see death until they see the Kingdom of heaven'.
Literally Peter, James and John were to be given this unique privilege vs.28 – 36 on the Mount shortly after these words were given.
To these three the Master took them up the mount to hear and see a glimpse into eternity and what a staggering event this was to be to them.
There are obedient Christians who have received promises of God as staggering as this today, glimpses into eternity to see the Lord in His glory.
We classify them as being special and so they are but they are ordinary saints who seek to apply the word to their lives and enjoy a close relationship to the Lord Jesus.
They have taken Him as His word and learned to wait upon the Lord and to soar on eagle wings into the heavenlies enjoying the promises of their inheritance.
The truth is most of us far away from living a life that is dead to self but alive to Christ.
I read a beautiful promise today in John 8 v 36 'if the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed' what a start to the day to be free in the Lord Jesus.
So for a little while let us look at the freedom that the Lord Jesus has brought us into and to begin with to look at the things that our freedom is not.
First it is not license to do as we please when we have been ransomed and forgiven, our liberty does not mean that we can return to live in the old nature of things.
We have been liberated from sins hold on us to walk in a living and close relationship with the Creator God, 'old things have passed away all things have become new' 2 Corinthians 5 v 17.
The problem with the old Jewish way of life was that thought they sacrificed annually to cover their sin they only went back to do the same again in the new year.
The new covenant that was sealed by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus sets us free to walk in holiness before the Lord.
It not only covers our sin so that it is never to be held against us again but it gives us the power to over come temptation in the present life.
The liberty we enjoy includes becoming masters over sin and not being mastered by it, we can walk in the glorious liberty whereby 'Christ has set us free' Galatians 5 v 1.
We do not have to return to the trough of sin because there is a freedom now for us to walk in the new life empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Secondly we are not free to do as we please in relation as to how we live, we are free from sins domination to walk in the path of righteousness.
Our life should speak volumes of how we are now under Christ's control, we should be seeking to bring pleasure to our precious Saviour, our conduct should speak loudly of the relationship we have with the Lord.
We will never convince others of their need of Christ and salvation by doing all the things that they do the pleasures of this world are at enmity with God.
Thirdly our liberty is not an insurance policy to get us into heaven but it is a completely new way of seeing things so that it alters the way that we live.
In our old way of living we took little or know thought about the way that we lived, living basically to please ourselves.
In Christ Jesus we are living to bring pleasure to our heavenly Fathers heart by the way we live, we seek to become Christ like in thought, word and deed.
Now let us look at the promise made to us by the Lord Jesus here in John 5 v 36 because it opens up a terrific blessing to us.
The freedom is part of our inheritance and we should be living in the light of it instead of struggling along as if we carried a huge weight on our back.
'Truth' is the key to our freedom, the Lord Jesus holds the key and wants to turn it in the lock that keeps us from enjoying His liberty.
'Truth' in v 32 is the unveiled reality where the appearance matches up to the statement made, it is absolutely genuine and can be trusted implicitly.
The 'word of God is truth' v 31 so that we can enjoy living and building our life on the word of God because it not only brings us freedom but it draws us into a closer relationship with the Living God.
We can come into a close intimacy with the Lord through dwelling and communing on the word of God, learning to wait on Him in prayer and study.
The truth has set us free 'if we confess our sin God is willing and just to forgive us our sin' when we confess our sin He pardons us completely.
The only sin that He does not forgive us the unconfessed sin, the sin that we cling on to instead of letting it go to enjoy complete freedom in Christ.
Now there are many Christians suffering under the weight of unconfessed sin because they are ashamed of the things they get up to in secret but God knows all about it.
Now why labour under such a strain when we can live in freedom from its power and in liberty of its guilt, 'the truth shall set you free'.
'Free' v 32 here is a word only linked to redemption, it points to the liberating of a soul trapped in sin and Satan's bondage so that we can live in righteousness.
All the references to our being free bring home to us the point that we are now liberated from sins dominion over us, look up Romans 6 vs.18 and 22, 8 vs.2 and 21 alongside Galatians 5 v 1.
What terrific words these are they point to us enjoying liberation now, we are not under Satan and sins domain but we are free in Christ Jesus to serve the Living God.
Now a little later in John 8 in v 45 we find the Master telling the people that they do not believe Him even though He is speaking the truth in love.
These folk were still bound in the religious belief that they labour against the evil enemy and sin, they are still trying to do something for God when God has done the necessary things for them.
What they needed was freeing from the chains of sin, from the darkness of their thinking and from the mastery of human natures thinking that it knows best.
The Lord Jesus has come to bring us freedom and this includes the freedom to enjoy communing with the Living God and to listen and learn from His word.
We can draw near to God in true faith to enjoy holy fellowship with Him that pales the worldly pleasures into insignificance.
We can be taken up with the Lord so that we delight to spend time with Him so that we do not want to leave His conscious presence to return to earthly things.
There are few Christians today who are living like Enoch did, enjoying divine communion until the Lord took him home Genesis 5 v 22.
Enjoying fellowship with the Creator looking at things from His point of view, listening to His words of truth and learning to live in the Spirit in our daily life.
There is freedom to approach the Throne of God at anytime seeing our Great High Priest the Lord Jesus is standing interceding for us continually.
We have access to our inheritance and can draw from the bank of knowledge, wisdom, truth, understanding all the time we should be continually learning new thins from our Fathers hand.
The is liberty in our redemption to gain mastery over the world, flesh and devil, we do not serve them nor do they have any claim over our life in Christ.
So why do we spend so much time dwelling on transient things, seeking pleasures that have no value in them when we can dwell on eternal issues that will effect our eternal reward.
We spend time listening to other mortals proclaiming their knowledge and experiences when we could be better involving ourselves on the spiritual issues that affect us.
The Lord Jesus was not only rejected but killed v 37 to bring us the liberty and freedom that we profess, He alone can dispense the freedom to our heart.
He was calling out to the crowd to accept this liberty but all He got was rejection and condemnation, the world is still guilty of this rejection but the Christian should be walking in the liberty that He brought.
They examined the truth with blinkered vision and blinded minds, they still think that He was just a man with high ideals.
In Christ Jesus we have found the truth that has set us free from such thinking and we now walk at liberty to serve and worship Him.
We should be seeking to walk in the truth and to stop looking to move the boundary lines so that we can carry on living enjoying worldly pleasures.
We are called to walk in the liberty and light that the Lord Jesus revealed in His word, we are no longer slaves to this world but we are servants of the Living God so may we today commit ourselves to be liberated servants to our Lord.
Today we turn to Hebrews 8 vs.7 – 13 to the 'better covenant' the one that brings us closer to God v 10 that lasts for eternity v 13.
The old covenant was flawed as we saw in the previous study in that the people of Israel acknowledged the Covenant given through Moses but they could not keep it.
They did their sacrificing religiously annually but it did not stop them from returning to their sin afterwards, the five sacrifices of Leviticus were in constant use.
The Burnt offering Leviticus 1 had to be without blemish v 3 and was consumed by fire v 17 this was a sweet savour offered in gratitude for the mercy shown by the Living God to the one offering it.
The Meal or meat offering Leviticus 2 was full of thanks to God for the pardon that He gave to the one offering it, signifying forgiveness and restoration of relationship.
Then the Peace offering Leviticus 3 was offered because of the sense of distance between the one offering it and God, it was a sweet savour to the Lord
The significance of v 2 is very telling, the identity of the one offering it with the sacrifice, 'he shall lay his hands on the head of the offering'.
The Sin offering Leviticus 4 the 'sin through ignorance' v 2 against God including the priests v 3 the troubled conscience is only cleansed through sacrifice v 4.
The Trespass offering Leviticus 5 v 6 – 6 v 13 there is no such thing as little sins and big sins in the sight of God, all rebellion against His word necessitates repentance.
The sacrifice whether a lamb v 6 or a bird v 7 or for the poor a handful of flour v 12 sacrifice to cover sin must be made.
Each of these five offerings were brought with repentance of sin to God the sinner needing forgiveness brought the offerings themselves.
These five offerings were meant to bring sinners back to God but the flaw was they only pointed to past sin they could not stop the offerers sinning again and again.
So the annual sacrificing continued not in a turning back to God but in a religious way that was flawed but they pointed to the greater sacrifice that was to be made that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He has obtained a far greater ministry Hebrews 8 v 6 He is the mediator between God and mankind, not just the Israelite.
We note the 'better promises' v 6 they are basic to the Christian life, when confession of sin is made through the Lord Jesus Christ forgiveness is applied by God.
Then we begin to live a life that is completely different because God writes His word that we must keep on our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The word is to drop from our head into our heart, the Old Covenant was recited regularly in Jewish homes as it is in many today but that was from memory not from the heart.
It did not stop them sinning the moment that they finished their recitation.
The New Covenant is based on the word of God becoming part of our life affecting every part of us and not just our head knowledge.
In v 9 God leads the people out of Egypt but within a very short period of time they are rebelling against Him, they wanted freedom but they wanted to please themselves as well.
We must not run away from the truth that many a soul has seen the need to confess their sin but then returns to the old way of things afterwards.
Gods New Covenant is not an insurance policy to be signed by the Lord Jesus but it is a Covenant that God makes with repentant sinners who turn from the old to take on the new way of life.
The 'better promises' are a declaration of intent, they are a public announcement given by the Creator God to the whole world that His is both able and willing to pardon repentant sinners.
People who not only acknowledge their sin but actually repent and turn from it, their rebellion ceases when the Lord Jesus blots out their sin through His sacrifice.
The moment our sin is confessed and repented of it is blotted out of existence as if it never happened therefore we should not want to return to rebellion again.
We should take notice that the promises are not negotiable as a secured pledge but they are graciously received as a gift from the Living God who we had sinned against.
The gift of forgiveness is followed by the gift of Gods word and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit who has now come to dwell in our heart.
We should notice the 'I will' here in v 10 the Living God enlightens us and also envelopes us so that Satan, the world and the flesh cannot separate us from our heavenly Father.
The Lord stands between us and our enemy, He stands the conqueror over all seeing that He is our supreme Mediator and Defender.
What a mighty promise we have here to ponder over, the Living God intimately involved in our life so that we can conquer the flesh life and all its claims.
We do not have to give in any more, we can walk in harmony and unity with the Living God so that life is not a struggle but a spring board into eternal life.
The truth of v 11 is startling as it points to a truth that as yet we only know in part even in the church where many only operate on lip service to God.
The day is approaching when all flesh will acknowledge the Living God, 'they shall know' that is experimental knowledge, God being exalted over all people.
The Old Covenant is finished as the New Covenant is revealed, signed and sealed by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
His offering was once and for all there is no need for yearly offerings because the once and for all time sacrifice on Calvary of the Son of God is sufficient for eternity.
The covering of the blood of Christ's sacrifice covers our unrighteousness, sins and iniquities 8 v 12 not giving us license to do that but to liberate us not to do them.
The old flesh life dies hard putting up a great fight against the holy life that we are called into as we put on the new man or way of living.
In place of the three facets of the old life 'unrighteousness' points to what is not conformable to what is right in Gods sight.
'Sins' brings us to face the many occasions that we miss the mark of Gods standard of living, the flesh gaining victory over the spirit.
'Iniquity' is the practical living contrary to Gods will and purposes outlined in His word that we should be living by, hence the need to read mark and obey the word of God.
We now turn in Hebrews 9 to view the consequences of the New Covenant promises, there is mastery for the observant and obedient soul in the Lord Jesus Christ who has entered the heavenly place to stand before the Throne of the Living God on our behalf.
He has opened the way for us to go boldly but humbly to the Throne of Grace where our heavenly Father dispenses grace, mercy and love in superabundance.
Here is something the Old Jewish Covenant could never do, they saw the Lord only at a distance the New Covenant brings us right into His presence.
What a mighty privilege we Christians have, to be able to commune with our heavenly Father on a personal basis.
Drawing near with a true heart and faith we enter the courts of the Living God with praise and thanksgiving to bow at His footstool in the heavenly place.
As we enter that Holy of Holies we stand in awe dropping on our face before the Lamb of God who standing there allows us access to the Throne of God.
We quickly see the wounds of the Lamb of God, the marks pointing to Calvary and the supreme sacrifice that He made to ransom us and to bring us back to the Creator God.
In the light of the promise made to us we should be seeking such occasions to ascend to the Throne, to soar in the Spirit to worship the Triune God.
We have the privilege of walking on earth as His ambassadors and disciples, we should be walking in the path of righteousness continually, seeking to display all the characteristics of our beloved Saviour and Lord as we do so.
When the truth dawns on our heart and mind of the last study then we move out into a completely new realm of living that is unknown by those who have never known the forgiveness of sin.
Solomon in the Proverbs brings us to the next stage of the new dawn that never ceases to amaze me, Proverbs 2 v 6 with promises unheard of until our faith in Christ becomes operative.
The promise of wisdom, knowledge and understanding is given to those who seek to apply the word of God to their lives..
We start our study by looking at the word 'if' three times it comes and points us to the truth that we are easily prone to stop studying because it seems difficult and hard to understand.
Well we must face up to the fact that the enemy of our soul is seeking to deter us from becoming Christ like in our living and he will bring all manner of problems to our mind.
If we want to become good soldiers of Jesus Christ then we are in a battle for the rest of our lives and we can expect the enemy to attack us on this issue of seeking the Lord for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
'If we are serious in our faith then I can assure you that our Father is far more serious in opening up these three words to us to turn the 'if' into 'when'.
There is a hard decision to be made and it is a choice that only we can make personally and the wise person knows which way to go in seeking the Lord with all of our heart and mind.
The second word worth noting here is in v 2 'apply' the word of God needs practically applying to our life so that we begin to grow Christ like.
The beauty of scripture is that it is never dull and boring when our heart and mind is in tune with God, He delights to reveal the truths of His word to us.
We need to open ourselves up to the Lord so that we can receive the word without bias or prejudice a problem we face continually.
We keep referring to the parts we like instead of facing the whole truth including the parts hard to understand or to apply to our life because wee do not like change.
The promises of God come with conditions and the condition here is valuable for the understanding of all scripture 'if thou will receive My word' this is not Solomon speaking but the Lord is using him as His servant to relay the truth to us.
Do not run away from the things that are here, 'hide' literally is the opposite of 'keep' as in Proverbs 4 v 21 we need to bring things into the open and see how we can appropriate them to our life.
'Wisdom' is seeing things from Gods point of view, we usually only see things from an earthly view point but the Christian disciple must see things from an eternal view point.
The earthly view is limited to the knowledge gained on earth where as the eternal view brings into activity things that are beyond our control.
Wisdom includes knowledge gained by experience, only a person that knows experimentally the cleansing power of Christ can explain the massive difference that occurs to us when we have our sin forgiven.
Godly 'wisdom' reveals the mighty fact that when we confess our sin the Living God forgives our sin and erases the record forever: we have eternal life now and death becomes the open door into eternity.
Godly wisdom is experimental and He delights to see His children operating by faith, trusting Him to do what He has promised them in His word.
Faith is operative all the time in every situation that we find our self, we can reach out to our Father and seek to find the solutions to our problems or needs from Him.
Wisdom is not a word that we discuss or argue over, wisdom is the intelligent insight into things so that we can see beyond the immediate situation to see the truth behind it.
So many times we make judgements that are false because we think that we know the whole situation when in fact we only know a part of it.
When we look at the wider picture of scripture there are few folk who spend time with the Lord seeking to know experimentally the truths behind books such as Ezekiel and Revelation glorious truths but much is hidden for us to search out.
True wisdom leads us to reverence the Living God v 2 and those skeptics can never know the reality of Godly wisdom or indeed the true meaning of life 14 vs.6 – 7.
From wisdom to 'understanding' the word meaning intelligent insight, it is the object of wisdom brings us to the true insight of things.
Our heavenly Father knows the motive behind our actions as well as seeing the activity itself, it is this added dimension that we are thinking of now.
Gaining the ability to see things beyond the actual action or word, the Holy Spirit will give us such insight as we apply the word to our life and seek godly understanding.
So often we only look at the superficial life of a person or situation where as we could bring the issues to the Lord and find a deeper cause for the matter at hand.
We can gain great advantage in counseling by seeking the Lord in prayer before we start the session, folk like to gloss over their life keeping the bad hidden just as we once did.
When we seek the knowledge and understanding from the Lord it brings us first and foremost closer to the Lord, as we seek His help and advice on matters.
There is another thought behind the word 'understanding' and that involves 'discretion'
causing us to speak without giving offense to the hearer even though we are unveiling the truth to them.
The person will wonder where we got the information from and then we can share the truth with them about our relationship with the Living God who gives us understanding on such matters.
It is not prying into issues or indeed being nosy into a persons life but rather it is the added dimension of understanding the truth about the person so as to give measured judgement.
From wisdom and understanding we turn to 'knowledge' and our Father delights to find His children seeking knowledge that will enable them to grow to full spiritual maturity.
In v 5 we find such knowledge brings us first and foremost to God our Father revealing the deeper things of God to us.
Most Christians think that they have much knowledge about the Creator God and make boasts about His creative power but never come to realise that He is actively involved in their daily living.
The word 'knowledge' here points us to the truth that Godly knowledge is the opposite of the word 'folly' meaning stupidity or the lack of good sense.
In the book of Ecclesiastes the writer argues that human nature delights to stop in the ways of folly instead of reaching out to find real knowledge.
To reach out for spiritual knowledge will bring us to the heart of God and to the truth of every issue, many times our Father with holds such knowledge from us so as to draw us closer to Himself.
Many a time we learn more about our self in seeking the Lord for such knowledge and certainly we learn as good deal more about our heavenly Father.
If you desire to gain godly knowledge then begin with seeking Him regarding earthly issues as against eternal ones, start by seeking the difference between earthly time and eternity.
Solomon set out to find the differences and in Ecclesiastes became over whelmed by his findings, he knew very little before hand but grew to seek the Lord with all of his heart and mind as a result.
Now the promise is given 'if' we seek the Lord with all of our heart and mind 'we shall find Him' not only find Him but come to reverence Him more and more as we seek His company and fellowship.
Now there is a challenge for us to pursue today.
The seven 'I ams' of John will fill our thoughts for the next few days and the promises that abound in these verses is terrific
The first one is very apt on this Good Friday morning out in Albania, the Lord Jesus as the 'bread of life' John 6 v 48 what a word we find here.
The Lord Jesus had spoken to His hearers about the facts of the Exodus from Egypt and how the Father had wonderfully supplied the manna from heaven to feed them v 32.
How each morning each tent sent out a member to collect enough for the day and twice as much on the Friday because Sabbath was a day of rest to them.
He provided for their journey with abundant supply none lacked even though they complained and then He sent the quails for them to eat.
In the background of this message was the tremendous fact that the Lord Jesus had wonderfully turned the five loaves and two small fish the dinner of a little boy who was following events diligently.
Little did he know that he was going to go down in history and be remembered world wide for his generous actions.
The Lord Jesus had taken the loaves and fishes and having prayed over them broke them open so that a multitude of folk received their lunch from them 6 v 11.
The disciples were staggered at the event and were in full discussion amongst themselves about it when the Lord Jesus broke in their conversation.
They were trapped by the reaction of the Lord Jesus 'you seek Me' v 20 not for the miracle but because you were all filled'.
How easy it is for human nature to get its eyes of the Lord to talk about His miracles, we discuss and debate the miracles even today two thousand years later, we have such a blinkered view of our Lord Jesus.
The truth is He knows what we are thinking about as much as what we are talking about there is nothing hid from Him.
He immediately brings home the truth that we should be looking for the things that are eternal more than earthly things because the earthly things are passing away.
There is nothing permanent in earthly stores, like the manna they rot if not eaten in a short space of time but the eternal life that He talking about goes through the grave into eternity.
They were baffled at such knowledge, they were still learners in the school of faith just like us, there is so much more for us to grasp hold of.
There is a third experience that these early disciples were to pass through as they pass through their schooling and that is found at the last Passover and the first Communion service.
The time was fast drawing near for the Lord Jesus to complete the work that He had come to earth to do, to 'die on the Cross at Calvary to open up the way for eternal life to offered to the whole world.
Passover had been eaten when the Lord Jesus 'took bread' 1 Corinthians 11 v 23 and when He had given thanks He broke it He and gave them to eat.
The words that follow are so important 'take eat this is My body broken for you' here the impact of Calvary's sacrifice is being brought out just as it should be every time we take communion.
The wonder of Calvary's sacrifice should never be lost, that the Holy Son of God should give His life to redeem us from sin and hell is so wonderful.
We look at the broken bread and it reminds us of His suffering and yielding of Himself to do the Fathers will, wounded for me.
The bread reminds us of sacrifice but it also reminds us of salvation because through that sacrifice we can be transformed from being mere earthly creatures into eternal beings.
The broken body on Calvary has become the food for millions to feed on in the Communion Service, a number no one can number as Revelation 7 reveals.
He has met the needs of all the ransomed host and eternity will reveal how great a host that is when united they sing the heavenly anthem 'worthy is the Lamb who was slain'.
'I am the bread of life' John 6 v 46 that us eternal life, earthly bread like the manna satisfied for a short period but the 'bread of life' the Lord Jesus is feeding us now and through eternity.
In v 51 we find the gem of a promise made by the Master Himself 'if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever', here is the guarantee of eternal life in the heavenly place.
The moment we repent of our sin we receive eternal life, from then on as we walk through life we can take the bread and wine in communion identifying our self with the Lord Jesus sacrifice.
We are partakers of His life as we are partakers of His sacrifice, He has done for us what nobody else could do and certainly what we could not do our self.
He through His sacrifice has brought salvation, redemption and glory to us, what a mouth watering statement this is.
The truth is that sacrifice on Calvary was not to cover the sin of Jews only, it was to cover the sins of the whole world v 51 so that whosoever will may come and partake of it.
The broken body revealed the shed blood v 53 and these are the two ingredients that give eternal life to us, what a sacrifice this was.
The Creator of the universe dying in our place so that we could have eternal life here and
on this fragile earth that we live on.
The Lord Jesus looked beyond the suffering and agony He was to endure to release guilty sinners to the eternal family that He was preparing for eternity.
He looked up to His Father and we note in v 57 that He is the Living Father, the Living God watching over these events leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection morning.
Our Father was intimately involved in the 'Bread of Life' that was to be broken open so that we could have an eternity spent in His holy presence.
We today can enjoy feasting on our precious Lord Jesus know Him personally and involving Him in our every day life.
The promise in the verse before us is operative daily 'I am the bread of Life' we know Him so that we cannot live without Him.
We look back in time and find the manna supplying the need of the hungry travellers in the desert and look back to the hungry folk satisfied to the full on the mountain side.
We look back to Calvary and fall down in awe and wonder at the sacrifice of the Beloved Son of God before feeding our heart and minds on Him.
We can look back to the moment that we were brought out of sins darkness into eternal light and life and we praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for their faithfulness towards us.
In gratitude we can look forward to the future events when the Lord Jesus is to return to earth to collect His Church and take us to be with Him in eternity.
The question is posed are we partakers of the 'bread of life' in our daily walk homewards, are we resting in our Lord Jesus to meet all of our need on the journey?
We should be found daily at His feet feeding on the 'bread of life' so that strengthened and satisfied we can go out to share the 'bread of life' with those hungry souls around us.
We turn to John 8 today to look at the next 'I am' coming directly from the Lord Jesus after the incident with the woman taken in adultery.
Jesus said 'I am the light of the world' a statement that opens up a train of thought that should enlighten us today sending us on our way rejoicing.
We begin by looking at the 'light' because two features about the light need developing the first is the light is inextinguishable and it never needs kindling seeing that it is eternal.
The first thought is an amazing truth nothing can extinguish the light of God, banning the bible, burning it, banishing it and blasting it have all been tried but failed.
The Light of the world over the centuries has been the Lord Jesus bring light into very dark places transforming lives in doing so.
What a glorious beam of light was brought to bear on the woman taken in adultery dwelling in darkness in a short period of time was turned to walk in the eternal light by the Light of the world.
That incident was one of many that the Lord Jesus demonstrated to reveal that He is the light of the world.
The light is all searching as the woman at the well found out in John 4, the Master knew all about her past life but He as light brought her into a new realm of living.
Her darkness was blasted away as light flooded her soul and mind, in a moment she is turned from darkness into a light bearer.
The light of the world was to lighten many a dark place as people began to listen to His word they too became light bearers, the lives being transformed.
Then the light of the world began to bring light on to the sacred page of scripture as He does today, opening up the pages with inextinguishable light.
To the Jews He continually opened up their heart and minds with explanations that baffled the scholars, this very truth saw them crucify the Saviour of the world.
If we need to understand some truths of scripture then set yourself a period of time to be alone with the Light of the world and He has promised to give us light.
Look up to the eternal light instead of looking at human wisdom through books and sermons, seek the Lord to give you light and He will.
The promise of v 12 is that as we 'walk in the light we shall not walk in darkness' the two are complete opposites, darkness is getting greater as we walk from the light of the world.
The light on the other hand is getting brighter as we seek to walk closer to the Lord in our daily living as we are closing in on the source of eternal light.
Each day that we live we are walking one day nearer home, the beam of light is lighting up the pathway and the road is clearer now than when we began to walk on it.
The Light of the world shines forth as a glorious beacon across the world, He lit up the recesses of a millions of hearts on the resurrection morning bring light on to the darkness of death.
Death could not hold the Lord Jesus He just tore the bars away bringing light on to the scene, 'I am He that liveth and was dead and He is alive forever more'.
A wonderful truth tho keep in mind as the darkness surrounding our planet gets darker as time goes by and eternity beckons.
Mankind is facing the terrific dilemma of choosing the Light of the world or going into the terrifying darkness of eternal hell.
People are frantically looking for answers to the age old problem 'is there life after death' they search here and there for help but are resisting the claims of the Light of the world.
The religious group the Pharisees sought to turn the question facing them into a challenge to the Light o the world instead of seeking the light themselves.
How many millions of folk today are doing the same thing resisting the light by turning the challenge into an irrelevant question or worst still asking another imponderable question.
We are such foolish people dwelling in the darkness following folk in the dark themselves on the great issues that effect mankind.
The second thought about the Light of the world is that it did not need kindling, the light was ablaze in eternity before time began and will continue when time has ceased to be.
The Light of the world was with His Father in eternity operating without our aid in bringing time into being, something we do not like to think of.
The truth that will set us free is revealed in the Light of the world who stretches our understanding beyond measure as He says 'I am the light of the world' not as a suggestion to discuss or debate but as a fact that we can build our life on.
The Light of the world beams out as He always has done out of eternity on to this little planet earth, scientists are looking for explanations to the existence of the small insignificant earth but turning away from the source of light that will answer their queries.
We are all seeking answers to the baffling questions that life throws up but usually the last place we turn to is the Light of the world.
He does not answer our questions without bringing us to the light of why we are here on earth and to the mess that we are making of our life on it.
The Light of the world beams forth from the heavenly place bursting through the darkness and dullness of the human heart revealing solutions to our personal problems.
Multi millions of people will stand up to testify to the transforming Light bring truth, joy and hope into their lives as a result of repentance of sin before the Living God.
They will stand out to tell the truth that in Him is no darkness at all if we turn to John 1 we find the light beaming from the page vs.4, 5, 9.
The light extinguishes the darkness but men resisted it in their ignorance and folly but the darkness did not extinguish the light, it still beams on today.
In John 3 v 19 we find this truth magnified as we look at the reason why darkness tries to extinguish the light 'because their deeds are evil'.
Sin has not only warped our mind and judgment it has turned our reasoning into unsubstantiated results because sin is at the base of our arguments.
Light will blast away the darkness the moment we begin to deal with the root of our problem, when sin is brought out and acknowledged the light swiftly uncovers the truth to us.
We are rotten throughout we do not deserve the grace, mercy and love of God seeing how we have dealt with His Son but how beautifully He turns our mind and heart to see that His death on Calvary was in our place.
The light beams forth from Calvary 'in my place condemned He stood but He sealed my pardon with His blood Hallelujah what a Saviour.
The ray of light that lit up Calvary turns to a terrific beam of light at His Resurrection, when we confess our sin He is both able and willing to forgive us.
That light dawns on our heart and the new day lights up the way as we now move along the path of radiant light on the path of righteousness.
Now to close our thoughts on the Light of the world today I moved to dwell on the truth that the light is still burning in our hearts as Gods children.
The light of the world is still working on or lives as the Holy Spirit brings us closer to the light we find hidden recesses of the heart where sin lingers.
We are not as yet perfect but we should be seeking to become a closer likeness to the Lord Jesus and the hidden thoughts are to be dealt with so the whole of our being is full of light Matthew 6 v 22.
There the Light of the world is bringing this truth out into the open we should be seeking His help and aid all the while in every situation so that His light will flood us.
There are hidden works of darkness such as jealousy, envy, pride, lust and the like that must be brought out into the light as Christians so that we can be freed from them.
Light is increasing for the diligent and vigilant soul and the obedient saint will walk in light so that their pathways grows brighter as the days go by.
Resurrection Day and what a day to look at the word in John 10 'I am the door' v 7 and v 9 the empty tomb the rolled away door pointing us to the 'Door way to heaven', the Lord Jesus is alive forever more
What a day of triumph, what a day of rejoicing and what a day of privilege is opened up to us to know that our precious Lord Jesus is alive today in the heavenly place.
In John 10 the Lord Jesus is looking forward as the 'Door' the entrance point into eternity, He had come from heaven to earth and has accomplished His mission to earth but here He is projecting the truth that He alone can bring us into heaven and into the Living Gods presence.
We are enabled to look forward with great confidence tom the moment when faith gives way to sight and we see our precious Saviour descending through the clouds to collect His Bride the Church.
We are going to go through the doorway together, He will lead us through the gateway into glory, to rest in our eternal home.
So let us look at the picture of John 10 where the Lord Jesus is revealing the promise that if we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour we are entering the door that leads to eternal life.
The fact is we have an enemy that is fighting to draw us away from going through the door and even when through it is trying to draw us back into the old ways.
The 'thieves and robbers' are seeking to rob us of our inheritance, they want to destroy our peace, rest and hope and how they are fighting to do so today.
The fact that so many saints are wandering around aimlessly is a truth to the statement made by the Lord in v 8.
They have lost their way because they were not following close enough to the Risen Lord
pandering to the flesh and not walking in the Spirit.
If the enemy can rob you of your prayer time and bible study time alone with God then he is content because we have lost precious time alone with our Father that could lead us to victory over the enemy.
Robbers of fellowship with the family of God is another tactic used by the enemy, getting us out of fellowship by a variety of ways so as to break the close tie that we should be enjoying with our Father and His family.
Robbers of fellowship with our Father so that we do not have the cutting edge of faith that causes us to conquerors rather than be conquered.
Now our Risen Lord has brought us through the door so that we can enjoy fellowship and intimate relationships with our heavenly Father.
The door is opened so that we can ascend to the heavenly Throne continually to commune with our Father so why let the enemy rob you of your inheritance?
'I am the Door' and the sheep can come and go resting in the shepherds tender care and enjoying His protection as they feed upon His word v 9.
What a glorious picture fore Mary and minutes later Peter to look at the empty tomb and then to commune with the Lord Himself.
For Mary she was given the privilege of being the first to speak to the Risen Lord Jesus and she is amazed at the news given to her, one word change world history forever 'Mary'.
The door is opened by the Lord Jesus for her to go through and heaven was opened for repentant sinners to go through to worship at the Throne of Grace.
'I am the door' that is open for you to go through to receive light, knowledge, wisdom and understanding, 'if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God' go through the door and receive the knowledge that you need.
'I am the door' go through to worship and adore the Lamb and the Father in all their glory we can boldly enter, the curtain was ripped in two so that we can enter His presence with rejoicing.
Oh the wonder of the statement 'I am the door' made by our precious Saviour and Lord
not for not for debate but for security and safety.
We can know the joy of sins forgiven because the door is opened for us to go through in repentance and we can now go in and out and find green pastures v 9.
We should not be content with just going to church services but we should be enjoying daily communion with our 'Door' He brings us into the Fathers presence.
'I am the door' leads us to ponder the inheritance that He ha snow made available to us
not just 'life ' but 'abundant life'.
He has given to those who stoop to go through the door eternal life and no one can rob us of that life it is secure for eternity.
Then no one should rob us of the 'abundance' that has been made available to us in Christ there is a massive supply of love, strength and power given to us to share with those around us.
We should not be content with the meagre supplies offered to us at church services because there is an abundant supply of blessings awaiting those who walk through the door.
The truth is we must go through the 'door', 'enter' literally means that a positive going through the door so as to receive the blessings from the storehouse.
What a storehouse it is inside are all the requirements that we need to live a normal Christian life to the glory of our Father.
The 'door' of access to the Throne of Grace brings us right into the presence of our Father to praise, pray and commune with Him.
The privilege is mind blowing that little you and me can soar into the heavenlies in spiritual worship to commune with the Living God but that is what the Lord Jesus is inviting us to do here.
To go through the 'door' and to enjoy the company of the Creator God to exalt and magnify His name by taking of the inheritance of the saints from His gracious hand.
We are no longer paupers but are His children as we walk through the door we are welcomed as His children and He longs to meet with us that is the thought behind going through the door.
We go in not as guests but as family, we are not taking a holy holiday when we go there but we enter with thanksgiving in our hearts, going by faith to the Throne of the Living God.
We should approach His Throne with reverence and awe but we can commune as a child with Father in simplicity and trust.
What a privilege for us to rise in the rise Lord and go through the 'door' today to meet with Him and the Living Father God, we rise with joy and adoration even though we stand amazed in His presence.
The empty tomb is the doorway to Heaven because that is where our beloved Saviour is right now we bow as we go through the door and prostrate ourselves in worship before the Throne.
This should become part and parcel of our life a daily coming through the door to commune with our Saviour and to learn directly from Him the wonderful truths that He has promised to us.
The are beautiful green pastures to feed upon and wells of water for us to drink from, the provisions are there when we walk through the door.
Then going through the 'door' gives us authority whilst dwelling on earth, we have the authority of heaven behind us, the enemy is no longer in control.
The old nature is left behind when we go through the door, we have a mighty new life in front of us and we have the covering of the divine armoury to put on to over come the enemy.
The 'door' leads to life and victory, the path leads us to the Throne and we need to apply the conditions so that the promise is used to the full in our earthly journey towards home.
From the door of the sheep fold we turn to the Shepherd and look up to the One who reveals Him self as the Good Shepherd John 10 vs.11 and 14.
The first thought about the Good Shepherd is that He can be trusted, one who can be relied upon to guide His flock along the path of righteousness.
The word 'guide' has a number of meanings and they are important to us as members of His flock the will be with Him in eternity.
To 'guide' implies rule over as the Head and mutual confidence by those being ruled over
there is a lovely relationship formed between the Head and the followers.
Then to 'guide' means to go in a straight line rather than deviating along short cuts that cause the flock to be scattered or splintered.
This also points to another meaning of 'guide' meaning to give counsel to the sheep, there are always those wanting to be on the fringe of things rather than to be totally committed.
In the language of the shepherd 'fence crawlers', those that need close watch over as they can hold up movement and cause danger as well.
The Good Shepherd knows how to deal with these sheep and it is not an exaggeration to say they have been known to break a leg to bring them into the flock.
I have heard it said that the sheep that are found continually at the shepherds feet are the ones that have been disciplined in such manner.
Much of the discipline in the Christian family is due to 'fence crawling' and the disciples of Jesus Christ re not immuned to such treatment so as to draw them closer to the Good Shepherds feet.
One thing for certain the discipline given is only for the benefit of the sheep involved the Good Shepherd knows the right cause of action and will administer it.
A little word here coming to mind for such a sheep under discipline is that our Good Shepherd will go to great lengths to keep us in the centre of the flock and not let us stay on the fringes of things.
The Good Shepherd knows what is best for us and He gave His life, literally 'lays down His life' to redeem us and to release us into His family.
The second thought today for us to ponder over is the Good Shepherd knows all the flock by name, not some of them or even most of them but all of them v 3.
The 'porter' is the door keeper, he not only looks after the fold but is vitally involved with the safety of the flock at night by putting his life in danger being the door.
There is a personal relationship and bond between the Good Shepherd and the flock, it begins with the cleansing of the sheep initially but also in keeping them clean during the journey.
We need the instant cleansing to bring us inside His flock but we need daily cleansing because of the thoughts, words and actions that make a mess of us during the day.
We can make mistakes daily but that is not a reason to carry on making them, we should be striving to be as clean as we can instead of giving in continually to the lower standard of living.
The thought comes out here that we should be found cleaving to the Good Shepherd seeing that He has graciously brought us into the flock or family of God.
We ought to be first to be found at His feet each day when He calls us to come and dine on the green grass and cool refreshing water that He has provided for us His flock.
He knows our need and has provided for all of our need and there is always more than sufficient it is only our pathetic view of things that keeps us on the border line.
We can rise early and enjoy the provisions that our Good Shepherd has prepared for us and there we can enjoy the security of His presence with us.
He waits for us and will speak to us by name as we seek to obey His voice, He is gently speaking to us through His word if we become aware and alert to His tender voice.
The Good Shepherd does not raise His voice to the sheep unless they are in danger and so He is with us gentle and tender but very firm.
There is a third point about the Good Shepherd that we need to ponder today and that is He clears the way ahead of the flock.
There are many obstacles that come across the way that we are travelling and He is waiting for us to cleave to His feet so as to clear them.
He goes 'before' v 4 that is just in front of them, close enough to save His sheep from danger but far enough in front to deal with dangers.
The Good Shepherd watches the ground under foot looking for the tell tale signs of the snake lurking in the sand beneath their feet.
The snake coils up barely seen by the eye but to an observant shepherd he sees the mark and deals with it before the flock tread on that ground to be bitten on the heal by it.
He is watching the rocks for man and beast waiting to pounce of the unsuspecting sheep to kill for a meal for the beast or to sell for the money by the human.
The Good Shepherd is ever alert and diligent, He is watching all the time as they pass through the ravines on the journey and what comfort that is to the flock, they cleave to the Good Shepherds feet.
The Good Shepherd is aware of the vultures flying over head and as they gather so He gathers the flock closer around Him, there is one in trouble, maybe limping with feet problems.
Those birds are looking for a meal and will fly over the flock looking which one to get, it is usually at the back bringing up the rear.
Instantly a couple gather flying at a height circling around the Good Shepherd stops to count His flock, it reminds me of scripture 'Satan is lurking around seeking whom he may devour' 1 Peter 5 v 8.
Here is good reason for us to keep close to the Lord, the moment we start limping spiritually speaking He will deal with our personal problem.
We are living in times of spiritual declension when a great deal of things are being allowed in the church that should not be according to scripture.
We have opted for a lower standard of living in the church and the mess we have gotten ourselves into is appalling.
Today is a day to 'humble ourselves in the sight of God' so that we can be forgiven and helped to walk on the path of righteousness at the highest level.
We need to get our eyes on the Good Shepherd and to keep them there, we have let them stray on to the fringes of the world so that we have let the world standard dictate to us.
The Good Shepherd is dealing with the flock in mercy, love and grace, seeking to lift us up so as to walk on the path that brings us closer to our heavenly Father.
These are days of cleaving to the Good Shepherd and not leaving Him because we think we know best or even better than He does.
The Good Shepherd is longing to bring godly wisdom to our heart and mind, so that we see things from His point of view and not lurking on human wisdom.
'Never spoke a man like this man' that is the epitaph given to the Lord Jesus and truly that is the testimony of millions of sheep who accepted His word and ways.
He knows what is best for us today and every day, we need to become a little more diligent and vigilant in our walk with Him so that we remain close to His feet.
It said with some justification that 'the fastest sheep are the ones closest to the shepherd and the thinnest those feeding furthest away from him.
In spiritual terms that is an accurate description because the best of the flock rise early to listen to the Shepherd and to obey His voice.
Those on the periphery are those meandering around unsure of where they are going or how to get there either.
The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep v 11 we are privileged to b e found in His flock purchased by His death on Calvary, then may we walk a much closer to Him today.
The promises of God continue in real force today with the great promise found in John 11 with the promise given to Martha in v 25 that is relevant to us all.
The Lord Jesus said 'I am the resurrection and the life: He that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live'.
He goes on 'and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die' what a mighty promise and statement this is for us to believe.
The back ground scene was of a beloved brother passing from this life and all the grief that surrounded it being poured out in front of the Lord Jesus.
He started His ministry at a wedding and now nears the end of it at a funeral not only so but He is attending the one of a very close friend.
Lazarus was to play a very important part in the final days of Christ;'s ministry on earth and one that was to transform death into sleep.
'Death' is the separation of the soul from the body of clay that will return to the dust from whence it came, the former returning to God its maker.
'Asleep' on the other hand brings us to natural sleep and waiting to be awakened at a given moment of time, Jairus daughter like Lazarus was in such a state.
Here the soul is quickened by the Lord bringing a lifeless body back to full health and strength to carry on living even though they both had been dead.
They had both been through the appearance of being dead being rest full and peaceful in the time preceding the moment when the Saviour demonstrated His Sovereign power bringing them both to life again.
Their loved ones looked only on the shell that was asleep but the soul had departed the body and so they mourn the loss of their loved one.
The Lord Jesus was going to show His mighty power over the greatest enemy that mankind faces and has barely come to terms with even today.
Death is a devastating enemy to the person outside of Christ, it is final and irreversible
causing great pain and heartache to those left behind.
Death is the most sobering thought to most people on the planet hoping that it would go away but sadly it is coming to us all.
Now the Lord Jesus turns 'death' into 'sleep' John 11 v 11 at Lazarus departure from life on earth He is to reveal that He will conquer death once and for all Himself.
Mary and Martha were dear friends of the Lord Jesus they meant a great deal to Him during His earthly ministry and here the relationship is brought to the fore.
He assures them the Lazarus will live again v 23 and they understand this as being on the Great Judgement Day when all human beings will be judged.
The Master is looking beyond that momentous moment for all of us, He is looking at the immediate life but they could not take it in.
So He begins to bring out His earthly ministry that is going to have a very abrupt end is not the end of life at all, it is the opening of the next phase of His ministry.
The fact that He was going to suffer death Himself was unthinkable to these folk because they only had knowledge of the immediate life and little on eternal life.
We approach the shortest verse in the bible v 35 'Jesus wept' and demonstrated His Son of Man title as He weeps over Lazarus but over the whole assembly of people.
In a few moments of time the weeping for sorrow turned to weeping for joy as the Saviour
calls Lazarus to come out of the tomb, there was no power known to mankind that could have stopped him coming out.
Lazarus was truly dead humanly speaking lying in a sealed tomb but instantly at Jesus command he is seen walking from the grave to be released from his grave cloths.
This was a mighty miracle observed by disciples of Christ and his harsh critics alike, they stand in amazement as Lazarus who was dead is now walking and living again on the earth.
The Lord Jesus is now speaking to the whole earth and not just to the gathered assembly in Bethany near to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
In v 25 He is opening up a topic that human nature the world over are terrified of talking about 'death, He is very shortly going to pass through the valley of death Himself.
It is how He is going to die that causes the pain and suffering the reason why is set before Him as a goal, 'for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despised the shame' Hebrews 12 v 2.
He is now 'set down at the right hand of the Throne of God' a mighty victor over our greatest enemy death itself.
At the moment of time that Lazarus comes out of the tomb brought alive by the Lord Jesus He Himself is beginning to see the horror of death and the devastation it has on the family.
So He brings out a glorious promise to the believer 'though he die yet shall he live' the believer in Christ has the sting of death taken from them as they pas through the valley themselves.
'Death cannot keep its prey' is a statement of fact not a crutch to lean on, here is a definite promise that every believer can live in the light of, there maybe pain in the parting but there will be unimaginable joy at the reunion.
The unconcealed joy that erupted on that day in Bethany is hardly recorded by John look how the story tails of with a few words but the joy was ecstatic that day.
We need then to look at the Lord Jesus reaction to this event, He turns to His Father in prayer v 41, here we stop to gaze at the source of 'life' as well as the 'fountain of life'.
It is 'in Him that we have our being' Acts 17 v 28, all life proceeds from the Creator God, we are absolutely dependent upon Him for our life.
Equally so we are indebted to the Living God for our eternal life, that step through death of into eternity will be a tremendous one for us all.
In a moment of time the old earthly life will be superseded by the life beyond the grave, there is no break or stop as death is the doormat of eternity.
The Apostle takes up the theme in Acts 17 before a hostile disbelieving crowd who had only death to look forward too but the faithful preacher talks about death as the entrance into eternity.
The Unknown God to the Athenians and Greeks alike is the source and giver of life He reigns over death as He does life itself.
The beloved Son of God is centre of time as He is of eternity, what more could have been done for a human race living in rebellion to its Creator God, than the coming of the Son of Man to rescue us?
In John 11 the rescue act is brought into light so that the human race might believe on the Son of God and have their eternity transformed from darkness into light.
There is a beautiful promise in the final word spoken by the Saviour 'loose him' v 44, the fact was Lazarus came out of the tomb but with the old grave cloths around him.
Here is a truth worth pondering today 'loose him' or set him free, are we in a situation where the old earthly life is clinging to us and we need to be freed to walk in newness of life?
There are many areas of thought that we can look at including death that hold us back from pressing on in the Christian life.
Friends can influence us a great deal in our walk with the Lord and usually they are holding us back and not stimulating our spiritual walk.
There are hidden blemishes in our heart and mind that need releasing so that we can walk in newness of life unafraid of the future home call.
We should be liberated from all manners of earthly habits and longings as we contemplate eternity and the fact of our eternal home.
We should be living in the grand anticipation of that home call each day as we look forward with joy to the final parting from earth as we go into eternity and our heavenly home.
The next promise is found in John 14 v 6 and comes to answer the questions posed by Peter in 13 v 36, Thomas in 14 v 5, Philip v 8 and Judas v 22.
Peter begins our study with the question 'where are you going too' and the response of the Master is swift, 'you cannot come with me now but you will soon after'.
The Lord Jesus has been musing on the immediate future whilst operating in the long term future as far as the human race is concerned.
He is exhorting the disciples to love one another as He has loved them, the truth is they were a gang of men from many backgrounds who are showing signs of in fighting.
They are looking for prominence when they should have been looking at the promises that the Saviour was giving to them.
Here Peter is showing human strength instead of relying on the Saviours strength that was to be revealed through service to each other and not in being served them self.
Peter was looking at the immediate situation with little knowledge of the impending dangers that were in front of them.
This is magnified by the closing words of the Saviour to Peter, 'the cock shall not crow until thou hast denied me three times'.
There is something of Peter in all of us, we make statements about our Lord Jesus and what we will do for Him when in truth we are denying Him in the office, factory, school and work place.
The disciples were stunned by this answer of the Master and His response to them was opening up the Kingdom to them 14 vs.1 – 4 with precious promises.
The Kingdom of heaven has been a mystic place through out the ages with many a person revealing their knowledge about it.
The Lord Jesus is talking here about the Kingdom that He had left behind to come into the world to save sinners like us.
That Kingdom or realm is a reality not a fantasy, it is a real place where the Creator God rules supreme in glorious holiness and light.
Now through Calvary we are introduced to our eternal home that the same Lord Jesus is preparing for us and one day will return to take us to our eternal home.
This a fact based on the words of the Living Christ and not fiction based on a men's or woman's imagination or thinking.
So enters Thomas into the discussion with a question that many ask 'how can we know the way' v 5 to which he receives a speedy reply vs.6 – 7.
'I am the way, the truth and the life' a simple truth and promise with very deep meaning that every Christian should be enjoying.
'I am the way' in Hebrews 9 v 8 we find the Holy Spirit signifies or indicates that the way into the holiest of all was through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus blood.
In the days of the Old Testament the blood of sacrifices were offered in the Holy of Holies by the High Priest, he alone was allowed into the Holy of Holies.
Now in the New Testament the Lord Jesus has ascended into the most Holy of Holies the very presence of Almighty God opening up the way for repentant sinners to commune with the Living God.
Thomas only understood the Old Covenant because the New one was yet to be offered to him, the Lord Jesus is only hours away from meeting the demands on our behalf of the New eternal covenant.
The truth is the disciples are still looking for Messiah to come to fulfill all that the Living God demanded of human beings, yet He is there along side them.
The 'way' points to the road that leads to God, the 'truth' points us to the reality of the issue and the 'life' brings us to the highest life possible being allowed into the Creator Gods presence.
Thomas was looking at the physical world and not the heavenly place, he was looking at human things instead of looking at spiritual things, as yet their eyes were not opened to the full truth.
We then turn to Philip and to his problem or view on these issues v 8 and his short question has been echoed by millions over the years 'show us the Father'?
This a constant question that reveals the true heart of the matter, seeing is not believing as far as faith is concerned, we see many evidences of the Living God all around us but still we are not convinced.
If we saw the garments of the Creator God we would wither and die let alone see Him in His glory, this human shell is a mighty barrier we are so fragile and yet so arrogant.
We can do no better than turn to Hebrews 1 vs.1 – 4 for a while to gaze upon the truth that the Lord Jesus brings out in John 14.
The Living God has spoken through the Patriarchs, prophets and princes and now finally through His own Son, the One standing talking to the disciples as recorded by John.
In the past God selected people to commune with Him so that they could communicate His word to the people and that had been effective.
Now in a final and decisive way He has come to dwell amongst human beings so as to communicate the truth to them in visible form to them.
The Lord Jesus radiated the perfect reflection of God whilst He lived on earth, He never lost His glory or position in the heavenly place as King of kings and Lord of lords.
His whole life radiated the presence of the Living God, His speech was grace personified, His acts were gracious beyond any other person dead or alive.
He reveals His thoughts in gracious ways reaching out to help the helpless and hopeless souls that came to Him and ministered to all in mercy, love and grace.
He exalts the Father God who was behind every act, thought and word He utters and yet these disciples still cannot see the Father in the Son or the Son being in the Father.
The scene begins to change here from the outward view to the inward view, from the physical to the spiritual, 'ask what you will and I will do it' v 14.
In an instant prayer is transformed from a litany or repetitive prayers into a dynamic seeking after God to supply the needs and requests of is people.
The disciples were fast moving towards a transformation of their whole beings, the old language is to be replaced by a new way of living.
Judas the brother of James and not Iscariot, now intervenes v 22 with a personal question 'why us and not to the world' well in twenty four hours He did when He died on the Cross at Calvary.
John 3 v 16 is clear indication that the Lord Jesus was showing compassion through His suffering and death to the whole world so that whoever believes will be accepted into the Kingdom of heaven.
That sacrifice was intended for the whole world and inside it every repentant soul believing in the Lord Jesus will know their sin is forgiven by the Living God.
What a mighty promise there is then in John 3 but let us now look at three more promises here in John 14 given by the Lord Jesus to the believer.
There in v 3 the promise that 'where I am you will may also' right there in the centre of eternity before the Throne of God at His footstool in the presence of the Creator God.
Then in v 12 the promise that the 'works that I do you will do also' now the early disciples were when endued by the Holy Spirit able to perform miracles and mighty acts that human nature could hardly believe.
The truth is we are not living as close to the Lord as we should be and we are not seeing the fulfilling of this promise as we should, the promise still stands good.
Thirdly in v 19 the beautiful promise given to every believer in the Lord Jesus sacrifice 'because I live you shall live also' eternity is waiting for all us but heaven is for the believers only.
Three promises open for every believer to partake off, why are we holding back?
The seventh 'I am' John 15 v 1 introduces us to a beautiful promise that we need to look carefully at and then live in the light of it.
'I am the true vine' an image that was well known in the land of Israel as everyone had a vine of some size on their property.
The first promise we have in the verse is the word 'true' the Lord Jesus was no counterfeit or great personality that drew attention to his self.
He is the 'true' vine, the word means genuine or real article, He is the Jewish Messiah, He is the Saviour of the world, He alone can save sinners from a godless eternity.
There is another feature about the word and that is He like His Father cannot lie John 17 v 3 He can be completely trusted in every word He speaks as 1 Thessalonians 1 v 9.
The truth is millions have turned in repentance from idolatry to find the Living Christ equal to His word and never once deceiving them.
The Lord Jesus is the true vine, the fruit bearing one against the old wild vine that does not bear any fruit at all.
Now we repentant Gentile sinners have been transplanted into the cultivated vine so that we can bear fruit and the promise is given in v 2 that pruning will take place so that we can bear much fruit.
Paul brings this out in Romans 6 v 5 'for if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection'.
We are no longer a wild vine but a spiritually cultivated vine that bears fruit to the honour, praise and glory of our Heavenly Father.
Our Father has the pruning knife in His hand and will prune the bits of that need cutting off so that our life will yield a greater harvest for His glory.
He looks at our life to see areas that need pruning so as to bring us closer to Him self and into a closer likeness of His beloved Son.
The closer we draw to the Lord then the greater will be the pruning as He gets rid of the old flesh life and carnal living to produce fruit of righteousness.
Now then the John 15 chapter is all about this pruning we note in passing the three phrases that punctuate the chapter, fruit in v 2 then more fruit v 2 and then much fruit v 5.
Three simple statements that reveal the tremendous truth that the Christian life is not a static or monastic life but a growing pruning growing life.
So we look at the reason for the pruning to bring forth much fruit not just more fruit, a young vine will produce many little twigs called 'runners' that are of no value to the vine.
The shears are brought out and these are cut of annually because they are taking up sap that the vine desperately needs.
The vine dresser will ruthlessly cut these of so that the sap can feed the vine so that it produces a greater harvest of grapes.
Now in v 3 we find the value of the word of God it is the food that we need to produce a spiritual harvest for eternity, 'we are made clean' through applying it to our life.
Here is a clear word from the Lord Jesus to each of us that we need not just to read the word and even study it but to apply it in our daily living.
The great need of the hour in the Church is for the Christian to start being obedient to the word of God, there are no grey areas of living in Gods word.
If we are to produce spiritual fruit for eternity then expect to go under the pruning knife and for those 'runners' that cause us so much trouble to be cut off.
We then turn to a beautiful promise 'abide in Me' v 4 the word abide' is important as it means more than remain as it points to endurance, the life when under the knife.
We are a soft bunch of people in the church today enduring our situation with moaning and groaning like the saints at Corinth did.
There is little room in our diary to get alone with God and much church activity gives little room for pruning by the Lord Jesus.
We hear little teaching on 'pruning' and the vital need of it and as we look at the church today it is over grown will 'runners' that should have been cut of years ago.
These runners such as jealousy, envy, pride, selfishness, anger, lust and many other areas of life that stop us producing fruit for Christ.
The truth is we are still ruled by fleshly desires and habits when our Lord Jesus is wanting to cut these of so that we can bear much more fruit and of better quality.
He wants to 'purge' v 2 that is to make us without stain, spotless or to be pure that is His standard and any thing less is a wild vine.
In v 3 'clean' in every occasion the word is used it points to godly living free from worldly pollution and that will mean dealing with worldly pursuits that take so much of or time up.
The Lord Jesus is looking for people to change their ways willingly so as to become conformed to His image and they will produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.
We should note the word 'willing' because there is no force or constraint used by the Lord, He delights to find obedient souls who bear much fruit for His glory.
We should take time out today to look again at Calvary and the mighty sacrifice our Lord Jesus made to ransom us from the grave.
Look again at His suffering and agony to redeem us from a godless eternity and ponder the fact what have we given to Him in return?
Are we being half hearted in our commitment, are we growing cold in the day that we live, are we moaning and groaning under the load when we could be enjoying a closer walk with our precious Lord?
As we go through the chapter the word 'abide' recurs time and time again in vs.4 – 7 in each verse such is the importance of 'abiding in Christ'.
The Christian life is one of 'abiding in Christ' because without Him we are nothing or can do nothing, we are meant to be thriving branches bearing fruit as we abide in Christ.
'Abiding' here points to perseverance and patience at all times, fruit may appear in the late spring but it is not fit for picking, eating or crushing until autumn when it is ripe.
The need for perseverance is vital in the instant age in which we live, Christians are looking for the immediate things if not they grow weary quickly.
The truth is the Master of the vineyard is moving each day to look at our vine and longs to cut of areas that have no value but we are telling Him what to do and so He passes by.
Looking at the wasted life, at the runners that are taking hold when they could be cut of for our benefit as ell as for His glory.
We think we are 'abiding' when in truth we are only clinging on because the trappings of the world have greater hold on us than the word of God does.
'Abide in Me' is a beautiful expression used by our Saviour, it means to rest assured on His word and to be satisfied with what He is doing in us and for us because the fruit will come in the end.
Harvest time for us may be much closer than we realise, the final pruning of our vine branch may have taken place and the vine owner is now looking to collect the harvest.
We cannot close without looking at v 6 'if' points to the possibility of this happening, the Master pointing to the wasted life on earth that will bear no fruit for eternity.
In 1 Corinthians 3 we find a stern rebuke with a dire warning to Christians whose life is not bearing spiritual fruit, they will have nothing to present to their Lord except a pile of ashes.
What an indictment for us to give ashes to the One who bore our sin in His body on the
Cross at Calvary, going through death so that we should gain eternal life.
All we have to offer Him are ashes of a wasted life, that has no value except to be burned in the fire all because we would not die for Christ and allow the pruning knife to effective on our earthly life.
We should be ashamed of ourselves today for the pathetic way that we are living in the light of these verses, let us make time regularly to come under the pruning knife so that our life can produce much fruit for our Lord.