God Is a Self-Revealing God

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I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me (Isaiah 65:1).

My relationship with God is one-sided. Though He initiates everything, he does not wait for my response, or to assess the quality of my response. Any good that I can say or do is just dung. He does it all. That’s what frees me to love Him all the more … or not. He is, has always been, and will always continue to be LOVE.

He is 100%, and I am 0% of this relationship. So, therefore, I am free … and He is all in all. Maybe, in a relative sense, there is some affect from my devotion. “For he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). But if the absolute truth is that I came to Him and diligently sought Him because it was His will, and that I couldn’t have done anything other than that, then the absolute truth is that He still accomplished 100% of the feat.

Fred SchneiderFred Schneider
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… the firstfruits of Achaia … (Romans 16:5).

… firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18).

… the firstfruits unto God … (Revelation 14:4).

In every harvest there is that small portion of the crop that matures early, before the vast majority of the rest. The firstfruits are a token of that which is to come – the full harvest.

Under the Old Testament economy the firstfruits belonged to God, and were holy unto Him.

In every generation, and in every place, God has had His firstfruits; those who come to harvest earlier than the rest. What a blessed privilege to be the firstfruits of the Lord; and just as God has brought us to faith, so He, too, will bring the rest of His creation.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

He IS Lord of All

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Christ both died, and rose again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living (Romans 14:9).

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all) (Acts 10:36).

Lord means owner; Jesus, then, is the owner of all mankind – the dead and the living. Will one soul that belongs to Jesus Christ be forever lost? Reader, reflect upon that question.

Erasmus ManfordErasmus Manford (1815-1884)
150 Reasons for Believing in the Final Salvation of All Mankind (1849) (Available at StudyShelf.com)

Knowing and Understanding God and His Plans

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Thus says the Lord, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these I delight” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

So much of life is uncertain, and many concentrate on acquiring “intel” (wisdom), guns and ammo (strength), and provisions (riches) in order to meet approaching challenges. However, I believe the most important thing is that we know and understand God, and His plans, all the while resting in the fact that He is large and in charge.

Fred SchneiderFred Schneider

Mere Circumstances, and More

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While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are age-lasting (II Corinthians 4:18).

The trials, severe as they may be at times, are just circumstances. Our English word “circumstance” is a compound word derived from “circum” (around; surrounding) and “stance” (to stand). Our circumstances are those things standing around us, those things which surround our walk.

We must remember that the events in our lives do not constitute who we are – they are merely the things that surround us in our walk. However, they are more than mere circumstances. Because Father has ordained them in our lives, they are thus divine circumstances. They are divine tests designed to be the pressing of Father’s hand to mold us into His grand purpose.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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All Are Instruments of God

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All of us alike are God’s instruments. By no setting of our hearts on wickedness or doing evil with both our hands can we prevent God from using us. Our folly will serve Him, when our wisdom fails; our wrath will praise Him, though our wills rebel. Yet, as God’s instruments without intention and in our own despite, we generally serve God’s ends only as we defeat our own. To be God’s agent is quite another matter. This we are only as we learn God’s will, respond to His call, work faithfully together with Him, and find our highest ends in fulfilling His.

John Oman (1860-1939)
God’s Love Changes Lives

Some Things I Have Learned

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Over the years the study of Scripture has led to great changes in my understanding. I will sum up some basic things that I have learned.

(1) Our Father is active in His universe and is “operating all in accord with the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

(2) We are clay in the hand of the divine Potter – “Has not the Potter power over the clay” (Romans 9:21).

(3) We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

We are His achievement (CLT).

We are God’s own handiwork (WNT).

(4) We are therefore “confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

(5) We know that, “for us, who love God, who are the called according to His purpose, there is an awareness that He is working all together for good” (Romans 8:28).

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

Nevertheless

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Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42).

Often, we don’t know what’s really best. What seems to us like a great heartache and devastating loss, God has in His love and wisdom determined to be to our advantage.

As our Lord Jesus Christ faced the agonizing prospects of Calvary, it caused Him tremendous trepidation. His entire being recoiled at the thoughts of what He was about to face and experience. It produced deep agony in His heart and soul.

And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44).

His prayer to Father was for deliverance, that the cup of Calvary would pass from Him; but this would not be Father’s will. Father had a grander plan that included a journey up Golgotha’s shameful hill – and Father always knows best.

All of us who know the result of the story are thankful that God did not allow this cup to pass from our Lord. Indeed, this cup was at the center of Father’s purpose for the ages. We are thankful that our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t resist Father’s will, but rather learned obedience to His all-knowing, all-wise and all-loving destiny.

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the stake (Philippians 2:8).

We, too, as sons of God, are being fashioned into the image of Christ, for this is our divine destiny (Romans 8:29; I Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; I John 3:2); and we, like Christ, must learn obedience through suffering. This is Father’s path to glory, for us as well as it was for Christ.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

Shallow Concerns

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Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound. It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow, which is a sure sign that you are a spiritual prig. Be careful of the production of contempt in yourself: it always comes along this line, and causes you to go about as a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than you are. Beware of posing as a profound person.

To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps: the ocean has a shore. The shallow amenities of life – eating and drinking, walking and talking – are all ordained by God. These are the things in which our Lord lived. He lived in them as the Son of God, and He said that “the disciple is not above his Master.”

Our safeguard is in the shallow things. We have to live the surface common-sense life in a common-sense way; when the deeper things come, God gives them to us apart from the shallow concerns. Never show the deeps to anyone but God. We are so abominably serious, so desperately interested in our own characters, that we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.

Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.

Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers (1874-1917)
My Utmost for His Highest (abridged)