VIDEO We Have Come into His House

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

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We Have Come into this House

Watching With Not With Jesus

Stay here and watch with Me. —Matthew 26:38

“Watch with Me.” Jesus was saying, in effect, “Watch with no private point of view at all, but watch solely and entirely with Me.” In the early stages of our Christian life, we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revealed truth of the Bible even in the circumstances of our own lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself through a particular “Gethsemane” experience of our own. But we refuse to go, saying, “No, Lord, I can’t see the meaning of this, and besides, it’s very painful.” And how can we possibly watch with Someone who is so incomprehensible? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we don’t even know why He is suffering? We don’t know how to watch with Him— we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.

The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not fully understand His purpose. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept as a result of their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest and most intimate relationship of their lives they “all…forsook Him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:4). “They” refers to the same people, but something wonderful has happened between these two events— our Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension— and the disciples have now been invaded and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Our Lord had said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8). This meant that they learned to watch with Him the rest of their lives.

The message of the prophets is that although they have forsaken God, it has not altered God. The Apostle Paul emphasizes the same truth, that God remains God even when we are unfaithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). Never interpret God as changing with our changes. He never does; there is no variableness in Him. Notes on Ezekiel, 1477 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Powerful Practice of Fasting

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Nehemiah’s brother arrived from Judah with some bad news: The Israelites living in Jerusalem were in great trouble. After hearing about their plight, Nehemiah fasted and prayed to the Lord for several days. During this time, he discovered God wanted him to ask the king of Persia for help.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps us center our attention on the Lord and discover His will so we may act according to it. People fast in different ways: Some abstain from food while others refrain from various activities. The period of time can vary as well. But the focus in each case is to be the same—to seek God and know His will.

When we deny ourselves in this way, several things happen. First, the Holy Spirit will enable us to set aside earthly matters. Relationships, work, and pleasure will take a lesser place in our mind as we concentrate on God and His purposes. Second, our attention will shift from ourselves to the Lord. Thinking will become clearer, and our ability to understand His plans will sharpen because we are not distracted by other things. Third, the Lord is probably going to do some spiritual housecleaning in our life. His Spirit will convict us of sinful attitudes or behaviors. Then, upon confession of our sin, we’ll be forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9).

When unexpected news greets us, we—like Nehemiah—may find our emotions in turmoil. He wisely sought God through fasting and prayer. This powerful practice can also help us to hear clearly from our heavenly Father, who knows the best way through every situation.

Yokefellows

“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:3)

Although the word “yokefellow” is out of use today, the meaning is easily understood. Most of us know a yoke is a device that connects two animals together to increase the power for the work that needs to be done.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). From a spiritual perspective, we labor together with the Lord Jesus. Among ourselves, we labor in the gospel. It is worth noting that God sees the marriage bond as “joined together” (same term) with a yoke (Matthew 19:6).

Interestingly, as Paul speaks highly of the women who labored with him, he uses two very different concepts to recognize their contribution. First, he describes them as sunathleo, or those who are “engaged in the contest” with him, like “a man also [strives] for masteries” (2 Timothy 2:5). Then, Paul uses sunergos to describe those who have accomplished meaningful work alongside him. Titus is described as Paul’s “partner and fellowhelper” (2 Corinthians 8:23). These women had evidentially earned Paul’s respect for their commitment to the Kingdom work.

Although the picture drawn by these synonyms rests on the work aspect, surely there is the assumption that those who are yoked together are anticipating a common goal. Jesus, with “the joy that was set before him endured the [work of the] cross” (Hebrews 12:2). And we labor in the Kingdom since our “names are in the book of life.” HMM III

The Manger, the Cross and the Throne

Wherefore he is able also to save them to thee uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. —Hebrews 7:25

Of course we must include in our total creed the manger, the cross and the throne. All that is symbolized by these three objects must be present to the gaze of faith; all is necessary to a proper understanding of the Christian evangel. No single tenet of our creed must be abandoned or even relaxed, for each is joined to the other by a living bond. But while all truth is to be at all times held inviolate, not every truth is to be at all times emphasized equally with every other….

Christ was born that He might become a man and became a man that He might give His life a ransom for many. Neither the birth nor the dying were ends in themselves. As He was born to die, so did He die that He might atone, and rise that He might justify freely all who take refuge in Him. His birth and His death are history. His appearance at the mercy seat is not history past, but a present, continuing fact, to the instructed Christian the most glorious fact his trusting heart can entertain….

Let us remember that weakness lies at the manger, death at the cross and power at the throne.

Lord, it’s an astounding thought that Jesus, having completed His work through the manger and the cross, is now at the mercy seat pleading on my behalf. I rejoice in the power of the throne. Amen.

Meekness, Rest, Blessed

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness in His method!

But, we may be assured, the meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority.

Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson, but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life.

He knows that he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be. Paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing! In God, everything!

The truly meek man rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its proper price tag and real worth will come into its own—when the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father!

Having attained a place of soul rest, he is willing to wait for the coming of that day!

Be courageous concerning this, O Christian!

Be courageous concerning this, O Christian! be not dispirited, as though your spiritual enemies could never be destroyed; thou art Christ’s, and sin has no right to thee.

You are able to overcome them—not in your own strength—the weakest of them would be too much for you in that; but you can and shall overcome them through the blood of the Lamb. Do not ask,

“How shall I dispossess them, for they are greater and mightier than I?” But go to the strong for strength, wait humbly upon God, and the mighty God of Jacob will surely come to the rescue, and you shall sing of victory through His grace.