Dry Times

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A part of our spiritual education at the hands of God has necessarily to be dry times, times when He appears to have withdrawn His presence, times when the Bible ceases to speak to us, prayer is dull, our heart seems cold, fruit seems to be nil; and such times are most healthy for us, as we thoroughly learn one lesson – to relax in the fact that He is believing in Himself for us. Once this lesson is learned, to a large extent, the variations disappear between dry and fresh, dull or bright, hot or cold, fruitful and fruitless, showing that they are largely illusory to a faith that is fixed.

Norman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
God Unlimited
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Containers … and More

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There is really only One Person in the Universe – God Himself. The creation is the means of manifesting Him. We humans are basically containers, created as persons in His image, to contain and manifest Him as The Person. God is the “All,” and we are merely the means of His Self-manifestation.

We are vessels, and activity is not the function of a vessel. Do we see what this means? Not that we have a life to live with God as our helper. Not that we must pray more, give more, love more, witness more. Not basically that we are God’s partners, or fellows, or co-workers, but that God Himself is the “All” in us. He is the One Who prays, gives, loves, witnesses. He lives our life, our common everyday life.

But, having absorbed and accepted that we are containers, we are more. We are united to Him Whom we contain in a way a vessel can never be united to what it contains. We are also Christ’s Body. A body is solely the agent of its head. In head and body, activity of the members comes to the forefront. A body is made for action. A head is useless without a body, so the Body in Ephesians is specifically spoken of as the fullness [plērōma] of the Head – “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (1:23). Head and Body are necessary to each other.

Norman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
God Unlimited
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The Full Christ

 

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His allotment among the saints (Ephesians 1:18 CV).

We have Christ – a full Christ – Image of the Invisible God, Splendor of His glory. We need, the church needs, the universe needs ALL that God has made Him to be. And all that Christ is, and has, is here [in Ephesians] for us in faith. We have Christ, and we have the Church – a completed Church, a Body without a missing member, not a single gap in its ranks – all completed in the plērōma of Christ their Savior and Head. A full Christ; a completed church; and an entire creation. Grace has first come down in and through Christ to the church; then through the church into creation; and now it returns in the form of glory through the church to Christ, and through Christ to God.

Theology views creation as God’s speculation which makes an eternal torture-house, or else an eternal tomb, out of a portion of His Universe. It would seem to be the inevitable cost of any gamble. But this verse would rather show that God’s investment in creation will yield Him large returns in destiny when the incense of glory beyond glory ascends from Christ, Creation and the Church in the eon of the eons.

Alan Burns (1884-1929)
Unsearchable Riches, Volume 11 (1920)
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At Different Places

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On our journey through this life, you and I may be at different places. Being at different places does not necessarily mean that either of us is “ahead” or “behind” of the other spiritually. It just means that the Lord needs to take us on different (and yet at the same time similar) paths due to the uniqueness of our personalities, upbringing and influences, as well as His own unique purpose in our lives – all as it pleases Him.

But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him (I Corinthians 12:18).

In our diversities, He works all in all!

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God Who works all in all (I Corinthians 12:6).

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

Prayer: An Awareness of God’s Sovereignty

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I see prayer not as asking God to provide things or change circumstances, but as a constant state of awareness of His sovereignty in ALL THINGS, which then results in an attitude of gratefulness and thanksgiving, which then leads to peace – i.e., gratefulness leads to great fullness.

André Sneidar
Executive Editor, Bible Student’s Notebook
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A Sharp and Wide Contrast

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In such sharp and wide contrast does this revelation in Ephesians, Philippians* and Colossians stand over against all the other Scriptures. It illumines all. The procession of His eonian purpose appears emblazoned with a glory commensurate with its goal — “that God may be All in all.”

The line of partition across the created universe marks the Scriptures between those of Paul, concerning the Heavens, and all the rest concerning the Earth. In all of these the Heavens are in continuous recognition, in those of Paul they are brought forward in sustained exposition.

Ike SidebottomE. Lynwood Crystal (1872-1946)
Unsearchable Riches, Volume 32 (1941)
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*Most who came to see the Secret Administration included the Philippians epistle along with Ephesians and Colossians. It is easy to understand why they did so. Yet, rather than being a part of the Secret Administration, Philippians stood on the threshold of the grand Ephesian-Colossian writings. It was the gateway epistle to the Celestial writings of Paul. For a look at the unique nature of Philippians, see:

“Philippians: Paul’s Pivotal Letter Pressing Toward the Mystery,” Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr., Bible Student’s Notebook #788.

The Conflicts of Worldly Systems

 

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When believers let themselves become affected by worldly systems, then they subject themselves to the influence of those spirits who operate them. All of these systems are currently under the headship of Satan.

It’s one thing to have an opinion about something, but when it affects our relationships, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate our own behavior and consider if we are allowing ourselves to be influenced by those spirits instead of God’s.

A lot of the problem is that believers falsely put their hope of security in the worldly systems, whether politics, or finances, or whatever else, and then when things take a turn for the worse (according to their thinking) their world seems to fall apart, or at least stands on “less secure” ground. We must remember that God is writing the script. This is all His show.

André Sneidar
Executive Editor, Bible Student’s Notebook
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