Latest 10:34 AM by PAULFROMNYS
Latest May-13 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest 10:29 AM by PAULFROMNYS
Latest 10:19 AM by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-15 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-15 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-13 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-12 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-11 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-10 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-9 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-9 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Aug-6 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Jul-25 by Len - Spiritest_25_77 (Spiritest_24)
Latest Jul-23 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Jul-22 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Jul-21 by PAULFROMNYS
Latest Jul-19 by PAULFROMNYS
It may hardly seem fair to make this comparison between the two men, but one only does it because one finds so many where John was; and who is to know but that Paul sometimes was tempted to feel that way. The facts are that there is often a larger service through a certain curtailment, a fuller life through a deeper death, a richer gain by a keener loss, and we have to look for the impact of the operation of God in us in a realm where the eye of man cannot trace. The Master said of John that he was the greatest of the prophets; and he no less than they was to lay down his life and suffer unto death for his testimony. There is evidently in the eyes of God a virtue in certain sufferings of His servants which is of greater importance to Him than the fleeting glory which might accrue to Him by His deliverance of them. There is that peculiar blessedness to which the Lord referred in His reply to John which belongs to them who under severe trial are "not offended in Him." In some strange way John was related to the Cross and to "the Lamb of God," and thus he was brought within the realm of "the offence of the Cross."
What do we expect in our relationship to "The testimony of Jesus"? Supposing the deepest purposes of God can only be realised by His hiding from our flesh all that that flesh craves for its life, and - more - supposing His work in us whereby triumphant faith and obedience reach their highest form necessitates His concealing Himself and accepting the risk of being considered to have been unfaithful? There is no doubt that most of those who have been called into some of the most vital expressions of "the Eternal purpose" have been trained in the school of apparent Divine contradiction, delay, withdrawal, and darkness. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian saints that "No man should be moved by these afflictions for... we are appointed thereunto."
Job, who cried "My purposes are broken off," learned that that did not matter very much seeing that God's greater purposes stood fast. It all depends upon whether we know that we are in "His purpose" and in His way of fulfillment whether in the day of the ordeal we shall triumph or be paralysed.
Job found strength in recognising that "He performeth the thing that is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him," in spite of those things being quite foreign to his own expectation.
A right and true relationship to the Lord is a basis upon which there is absolute confidence, assurance, and hope when our purposes or expectations are shattered. It was not so in the case of the "rich fool." "He said...." He had purposes of his own unrelated to God. "But God said..." and that was the end of all purpose.
If we have God's life in us we can survive anything. The Lord is not out to peevishly frustrate our hopes or disappoint our expectations, but to either change them for His own or fulfill them in a higher and larger realm.
May we just add a word in this general connection? Many unexpected things, and things quite contrary to expectation, will come to us in both the realm of spiritual experience and Christian service, but one of the bitterest and often most fatal forms of this paralysis comes through disappointed expectations with regard to people. David said in his haste "all men are a lie"! and many others have come perilously near to feeling that they dare not put any confidence in anyone. David's experience of the breakdown and worse of the "familiar friend who went to the house of God" with him has been that of many others. Trusted and highly esteemed leaders, conspicuous and greatly used men of God, such as we had come to trust and look up to and count upon and regard as authorities or counsellors, saints and deeply taught: these all in one or more of many ways causing us to reel under the shock of a disillusionment.
A manifestation of ill-temper, irritability, jealousy, personal interest, pride, respect of persons, suspicion, concern for place, prestige, approval; being influenced by hearsay, report, criticism; prejudice, partiality, compromise. All these or others, and some very much worse. Anyone who reads this will understand what is meant and would be well able to appreciate the acute suffering and resultant numbness and paralysis of such an experience as it strikes at the vitals of faith, fellowship and trust. There are so many embittered and sceptical, soured and suspicious because of such disappointed expectations, and too often they allow it to strike at their faith in God.
Now the first thing to say is that the Lord has prescribed very carefully for this form of paralysis, both for prevention and cure. He has pointed out the antidote both in word and deed. As to the word, at how much pains has God been to warn against "putting trust" in man. Again and again the danger and folly of making man a prop and a basis of confidence has been emphasised. As to the practical side, why - if not for this very purpose - has not the Lord prevented the disappointing and, sometimes, shameful breakdown of His best servants from being placed on record. If the Bible is inspired of God, then we have to place the record to the intention of God. It is strange that we so often extract the comfort for ourselves from this fact, but are shocked when we discover the "like passions" in certain others.