The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

He will glorify Me… —John 16:14

The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.

The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!

Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.

by Oswald Chambers

Changing Our Focus

John 15:18-21

There is nothing that can touch a believer’s life unless it comes through the permissive will of God. That means He has complete control, even when it feels as if Satan has been allowed to run rampant through our personal life.

Trapped in Roman confinement, Paul knew that God could rescue him; after all, He had removed Peter’s chains (Acts 12:7). But Paul was not simply waiting around for liberation. Because he believed God did everything for a reason, he earnestly continued doing kingdom work—even while bound in chains.

Indeed, the Lord has a purpose for whatever He brings into a person’s life. Though we may desperately wish for our circumstances to change, God will allow us to go through a given situation when it will ultimately bring about the most favorable result. If we let Him complete the work instead of trying to extricate ourselves, we will see a positive outcome.

Paul’s time in prison proved a benefit for the gospel, though logically, the spread of the Word should have been severely hindered by the confinement of such a great preacher. In two years he had been guarded by many of the elite praetorian soldiers (Phil. 1:13), and we know what Paul would have talked to them about during their shifts—Christ!

There are no verses in the Bible that say believers are promised an easy life. In fact, the Word warns the opposite and says we will see trouble (John 16:33). But we, like Paul, can choose to live above our circumstances by realizing that God has a plan to use our experiences for our good and the benefit of others.

Our Listening God

“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2)

There come times in each life when loneliness overshadows like a cloud, and no one is there to listen and provide counsel. Or perhaps there is some problem so personal and intimate that it seems unfitting or too embarrassing to share with anyone else.

But God will listen! No need is so small, no place too remote, no burden too heavy that He who is the “God of all grace” and “the God of all comfort” (1 Peter 5:10; 2 Corinthians 1:3) will not listen and care. “The LORD will hear when I call unto him” (Psalm 4:3).

Young people sometimes complain that their parents won’t listen to them; wives may say their husbands don’t listen; sometimes it seems that no one will listen to our questions or ideas about anything. But “the LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Therefore, “pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8).

But how can He listen? After all, God is far away upon His throne. The risen Savior ascended far above all heavens to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. How can the Father hear when we whisper a prayer in our hearts that no human could hear?

God is indeed up there, but He is also right here! Jesus said: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). Our God is a triune God, and He can be both in heaven and in our room and even, as the Holy Spirit, within our very hearts. Of course, “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). But for those who confess and forsake their sins, “his ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12). HMM

Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 15:57.

KEEP close to Christ, if conflict sore betide,
Stand fast, remembering He is at your side
To give you strength
In battle, and the victor’s palm at length.
German, tr. by FRANCES E. COX.

IF we would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favorable assistance of God from heaven. For He who giveth us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory is ready to succor those that fight manfully, and do trust in His grace. THOMAS Á KEMPIS.

He will give the victory into thy hands, if only thou wilt fight manfully by His side, trusting not in thyself, but in His power and goodness. And if the Lord delay awhile to give thee the victory, be not disheartened, but believe assuredly (and this will also help thee to fight resolutely) that He will turn all things which may befall thee, those even which to thee may seem farthest removed from, yea, most adverse to thy success, all will He turn to thy good and profit, if thou wilt but bear thyself as a faithful and generous warrior. LORENZO SCUPOLI.

Do ye now believe?

Do ye now believe? John 16:31

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. — Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

By their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. —If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

James 2:14,17. Hebrews 11:17-19. James 2:21,24. James 1:25. Matthew 7:20,21. John 13:17.

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house. Psalm 65:4

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. — He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. — I amthe bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on meshall never thirst.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men puttheir trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with thefatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. Forwith thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Psalm 27:4. Matthew 5:6. Luke 1:53. Psalm 107:9. John 6:35. Psalm 36:7-9.

The Riches of the Destitute

…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24

The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).

By Oswald Chambers

Living Above Your Circumstances

Philippians 1:12-18

Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during a long and unjust imprisonment. However, this short epistle is full of rejoicing. Paul never complains or casts blame for his situation, because he has learned to live above his circumstances.

Most people have a different response to difficulty. First, in an attempt to make themselves feel better, they try blaming someone else for the problem, but this results only in broken relationships. Next, they complain, which gets pity from others but enhances the problem in their own minds. Finally, they search for a way out of the situation and usually make things worse in the process.

Paul knew that there was a strategy for living above one’s circumstances rather than merely muddling through them: He shifted his focus. Instead of examining his problem and whining about it, he looked to God. Praise came from his lips: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God wants to hear our honest concerns and even anger or confusion about our trials, but He also wants us to trust Him to see us through. Focusing on the Lord and praising Him does not mean we pretend to enjoy tough times—that would be insincere. But we can honestly acknowledge that He is in control of the situation and will guide our every step, just as He promised (Prov. 3:5-6).

Believers have a simple choice. We can wallow in self-pity, or we can look to Jesus Christ and learn to live above our circumstances. Which of the two will you choose?