TRUTH - I am super tired and don't really feeeel like studying, so that means now is when I need it most. Faith isn't feeling. So let's go!
I'll begin with this solemn yet ENCOURAGING truth. Read 'til the end (of this quote, I mean), because it signals just how important we are to God: "God has given us His word that we may become acquainted with its teachings and know for ourselves what He requires of us. When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying: "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Ignorance will not excuse young or old, nor release them from the punishment due for the transgression of God's law; because there is in their hands a faithful presentation of that law and of its principles and claims. It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right or what the minister tells him is right. His soul's salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. HE HAS A CHART POINTING OUT EVERY WAYMARK ON THE HEAVENWARD JOURNEY, AND HE OUGHT NOT GUESS AT ANYTHING." While living as a human on earth, Christ did not exercise any special powers that we don't have access to. "The word of God was Christ's assurance of His divine mission." And He lived by that Word, thus being able to fulfill His mission in the exact manner that was prophesied. Likewise, we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." That's us! We are that people living in the end who have ancient Israel to look upon as an example of what we , in most cases, ought not do. And, in contrast, we have Christ to look at for an example of what we must do.
Even in His younger years, when looked upon by His own brothers as "narrow and strait-laced", He would respond to them with a firm but loving, "It is written, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word."" (Psalm 119:9) When asked why He was "bent on being so singular", He would respond with an "It is written... "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways."" (Psalm 119:1-3) But how is that possible? To have a "Thus saith the Lord" or "It is written" for every situation, every temptation? Here's the answer: It is written, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:11) We must, like Jesus, make it our first work to commune with God through prayer and His Word. Without this, we WILL fail. "In order to endure the trial before [us], [we] must understand the will of God as revealed in His Word; [we] can honor Him only as [we] have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. NONE BUT THOSE WHO HAVE FORTIFIED THE MIND WITH THE TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE WILL STAND THROUGH THE LAST GREAT CONFLICT."
So what's this to do with the love of God? "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10, 11) What God says WILL come to pass. We have seen it happen before and have no reason to doubt that it will continue to happen just as He says. It is no coincidence that Christ is the Way and the Word (John 14:6; John 1:1). To know the Word is to know the Way of salvation if we so choose to walk in it. May we all choose wisely.
*Feel free to ask me for my sources*
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by Him... In Him was life... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us... (John 1:1, 3, 4, 14) The world is mine, and the fulness thereof. (Psalm 50:12) The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:8) FOR HE [CHRIST] SHALL GROW UP BEFORE HIM AS A TENDER PLANT, AND AS A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND: HE HATH NO FORM NOR COMELINESS; AND WHEN WE SHALL SEE HIM, THERE IS NO BEAUTY THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE HIM. (Isaiah 53:2)
Hmmm... Something does not add up. THE God of all came to dwell among men, EVERYTHING belongs to Him, He is rich beyond measure, yet there was no beauty that we should desire Him. There was nothing about Him that would make Him stand out. Had Christ come in the beauty of His description in Revelation, He would have been welcomed into palaces, His people may not have rejected Him as the Messiah! Instead, He was born in a manger and grew up under peasant circumstances in Nazareth. He truly gave up all in order to save men. But what was the point? There is little said about Christ's childhood years, but one thing we do know: "the child grew, and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40) But Nazareth?? "The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael's question [regarding Christ], "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46). Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood." What hope this is for parents everywhere! In His humble circumstances in that wicked city, He was still able to develop a close relationship with His Father. And get this: "Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters elevated and refined. We SHALL become more like our Saviour." This is a promise! But the condition must be met! We must surrender daily and truly give our all in getting to know our Father. We must seek the Lord in prayer, for "communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strenghten as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things."
Thirty years Christ dwelt in wicked Nazareth, yet He never sinned. Yes, "He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him." And likewise it may be with us and our children, no matter what our situation. If poverty and difficult surroundings are your plight, take courage! "Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness." We should be glad when temptation comes, for by it our faith is tried and patience worked, but we are to "let patience have her perfect work, that [we] may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4) But HERE IS WHERE IS GETS AMAZING: "NO child of humanity will EVER be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour." What love! "Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled." But, PRAISE GOD, He came out victorious! THIS is why He forsook His riches and embraced poverty with humble beginnings in the evil city of Nazareth. Had He come as King, we would have claimed that He had an unfair advantage. But, no, He wanted to show us that by following His example, we, too, can have the victory over sin. We, too, can live a life in which NO trace of sin will mar the image of God within us. But the condition must be met. We must walk humbly with our God. Will you walk with Him, today?
ADMONITION TO PARENTS: "The more quiet and simple the life of the child, - the more free from artificial excitement, and the more in harmony with nature - the more favorable is it to the physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength."
*Feel free to ask me for my sources*
Continuing from yesterday, I am following through with looking very closely at the character of Christ. I'll start with His love. Everyone loves to know that people love them, and who loves us more than the One who gave His life for us and the One who actually sent His only Son to do that for us. It is actually more profound than most people probably believe. John 10:17 puts it like this: Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again." Do you know what that means?? I didn't always know, but here it is more plainly: "My Father has so loved YOU that He even loves Me MORE for giving My life to redeem YOU. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking YOUR liabilities, YOUR transgressions, I am endeared to My Father; for by My sacrifice, God can be just and yet the Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus." I had to read it over and over again to really grasp it, but it's quite a tear jerker when you really think about it. And it gets even better. Most people (me!) consider themselves just a number to God. "If I don't surrender fully....well...He'll be happy with the other person who is doing waaayyy more to spread the gospel than me. If I'm failing Him, He won't count it as that great a loss...." This couldn't be more wrong! This is His character according to Exodus 34:6, 7: "merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping MERCY for thousands, FORGIVING iniquity and transgression and sin [and ONLY AFTER all of these attributes of love have been rejected time and time again], and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children..." Still, He "is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) Such a character could not count any person as "just a number." In fact, "the relationship between God and each soul is as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son." What great love! And it still gets better! "We were brought into existence because we were NEEDED." What a shame if we don't, if I don't fulfill my God given purpose simply because I failed to recognize what great love He has for me.
I totally didn't even really scratch the surface lol, so in the next study I'll continue to delve into God's love by looking at the life of Christ while on earth. At least that's my plan. Will see where God leads! :D
I'll finish with this promise that I have to keep dwelling upon when I'm tempted to feel discouraged: "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
**Feel free to ask me for my sources**
I am a foolish virgin. The familiar parable in Matthew 25 points us to 2 classes of people who exist within God's church - some foolish, some wise but ALL virgins. That is, they had a pure faith or at least claimed to. Other commonalities include the lamps they carried and the capacity to carry oil within those lamps. The difference? Only 5 of them actually had oil in those vessels. So what are the foolish virgins destitute of? The lamps and burning wick, or light, represent the word of God (Psalm 119:105); the oil represents the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4) . So both classes of people read God's word, know God's word. Both are waiting expectantly for the appearing of Christ and feel confident that they will be on the right side when the door to the celebration closes. They all appear to be good Christian people, but they lack the Heaven-borne power that comes by having the Holy Spirit present in the heart. When a challenge arises and faith is tried, the fruit that one with the Spirit embodies (Galatians 5:22, 23), proves to be missing. "The Spirit works upon man's heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. "They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." (Eze. 33:31). And covetousness, according to Colossians 3:5, is idolatry. Something, even one little seemingly minute thing, stands between them and the Savior, and it is enough to bar them from His Kingdom.
Like I said, I am a foolish virgin, but I don't want to be. So I am going to take a journey in which I study Christ and His character feature by feature so that I may know Him and His Father, our Father. I mean really know them, for this is life eternal (John 17:3). And, as the foolish virgins unfortunately learned, only those who know Him as only His Spirit can help us know Him, will be permitted to spend eternity with Him. I'll try to post daily what I learn that urges me to grow to truly love Christ. You're welcome to join in the journey!