Psalm 4:6 -- (Darby translation) "Many say, Who shall cause us to see good? Lift up upon us the light of thy countenance, O Jehovah."
Clarke -- There are multitudes who say, Who will show us good? Man wants good; he hates evil as evil, because he has pain, suffering, and death through it; and he wishes to find that supreme good which will content his heart, and save him from evil. But men mistake this good. They look for a good that is to gratify their passions; they have no notion of any happiness that does not come to them through the medium of their senses. Therefore they reject spiritual good, and they reject the Supreme God, by whom alone all the powers of the soul of man can be gratified.
Lift thou up the light of thy countenance - This alone, the light of thy countenance - thy peace and approbation, constitute the supreme good. This is what we want, wish, and pray for. The first is the wish of the worldling, the latter the wish of the godly.
God's resolution, His fixed purpose or determination of mind, which we can be sure He will carry out, is to fill this earth with His glory, and to bring all things under one Head -- Christ Jesus. Man has many resolutions. Until we see the light of His countenance, we have no good. We don't even know what good is. Our resolutions are for what purpose? Do they matter? What really matters is to find God's resolutions and to give ourselves up to them in faith. By doing that we will see the light of His countenance in us and revealed through His people to the world. When we see the light of His countenance, we find His salvation in every sense and others find it also.
Man fails in every resolution he makes to man or to God. God will never fail in His resolution to Himself or to man. He sent us His Son as a resolution to save all that would come to Him by faith.
The world is in turmoil and it's hard to see any good in it at times. Man is always striving to make the world a better place -- that is according to their own thinking, which, unfortunately, nations cannot agree on, and so there is war instead of peace. Many try to find good in their own ways, but not looking for the true good that is in God alone. We can lose hope if our eyes are on all that is taking place. Our hearts can fail us for fear of what is in the future. We can faint in despair.
If we seek good the way the world does, our hearts will surely fail us for fear! God's resolution, alone, is good.
Eph 1:9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 for the administration of the fullness of the times to head up all things in Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on earth, in Him,
Eph 1:11 in whom we also have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of His own will,
Eph 1:12 for us to be to the praise of His glory, the ones who had previously trusted in Christ;
And He will do it! We cannot change the world, and I don't think we are called to. But we can allow God to give us a new heart and dwell in us, and in do so be His light to bring others around our small corner of the world to see His glory and come to find Him also.
Among all the resolutions in the world, whether they be to take over the world, or to make it a happier place, or more peaceful place, or if it's just to make ourselves a better person, only God's resolution will be brought to pass. Where do you, as an individual, fall into that plan? Has your life been given up to God's resolution for you, or your own?
Think of it! God has an inheritance for us, which cannot be compared to anything we can find in this world. He gives us His Spirit to indwell in us as a guarantee of that inheritance, that it will never be taken from us. He set His plan in motion from before the foundations of the earth. Nothing can stop it! And that plan involves you as an individual. He resolved to give you life, and to reveal His glory to you and in you and share it with you for all eternity if you will receive Him by faith.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Eph 1:5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Eph 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
Eph 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
Eph 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Eph 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Go back and read again, slowly, through these verses and see all that God has resolved for us, His children. What an incredible inheritance! What a treasure awaits us!! What wonderful treasure we have even now, in our walk in Christ! What grace! What love! What life!
Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Rev 21:5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Yet He has resolved another thing for the world that rejects His wonderful gift of grace, which was purchased by His own blood. His resolve is to put an end to all evil, all that is opposed to His glory, and all that has risen itself up in rebellion against His love and those He loves, once and for all. Now is the time of grace. Now is the time to come to Him and be a part of His fullness and love, and salvation. The time of wrath will soon come upon the world also, and He will not change His mind. It is resolved by God and will happen. One thing God cannot do is compromise with evil. He would not be God if He did. There will be no evil or sin in His eternal kingdom. It will be full of the light of His countenance for all eternity! No sin could dwell in His presence. Man cannot free the world of evil. We cannot even free ourselves of the evil in our own hearts. Only God can. He made a way to do that, by becoming a sacrifice to pay the penalty of that sin for us. We know that if a crime is committed, a penalty has to be paid. The penalty of our sin is eternal death. Only Jesus Christ could pay it for us. If we refuse that sacrifice, then we will pay it.
Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Rom 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom 2:6 He will render to each one according to his works:
Rom 2:7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
Rom 2:8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Oh how wonderful a salvation He has made for all who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ!! What resolution will you make this year? Let us resolve to yield ourselves in faith to God's purpose -- that for our individual walk, and also for the world around us. Lord, shine the light of Your countenance on us, we pray! Come quickly Lord Jesus! Bring Your light and Your truth! Let them lead us!
Isa 30:15 For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling,
Isa 30:18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
God waits for us. When we realize just how long and how much He waits for us, in His longsuffering patience and grace, we can appreciate just how great that longsuffering is and how great His love for us is. We can allow ourselves to be longsuffering and patient with those around us who are still learning the things we have learned. Remember those hard lessons, that took years of God's patient grace, waiting for you to come to the end of your resources, your striving, and your pursuits, and finally see that it was all in Christ. You could give it all up, turn from it, and wait, then, on God, and come to truly know Him.
Look back at all the ways you thought you knew Him at one time. The immature methods of seeking Him and trying to serve Him. At the time they seemed so spiritual, and so right. But God waited for you. He patiently waited for you to get through it and find them insufficient. All the while the trials and testings that, if you had understood, would have led you to see these things were not of His hand at all, but your own making. "In returning and rest" -- returning to Christ Himself, His finished work, and learning what that really entails -- returning to Christ Himself, is where we finally find rest.
God waits for us. First He waits for us patiently to repent of our sins and come to see He is our only Savior. But we may find His salvation and still He waits for us. He waits for us to realize we cannot serve Him in our own understanding or works. We come to the end of ourselves and wonder where God is. Why did He let this happen? Why is He not blessing this ministry? Why is He not answering my prayer? Why has He taken the thing or person I love from me? Why why why? But God is waiting to be gracious to you.
When finally you are through striving with Him and yourself, He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. "Blessed are all those who wait for Him." When we come to that place -- that place where we think we have been waiting on God, yet, really we have been striving in ourselves, and finally return to His rest, (His finished work), then we can truly wait on Him. When we truly wait on God there is no anxiousness, or striving. There is rest. There is rest, because we are assured of His promise. We are assured of Him, who He is, His work, our position in Him, seated in the heavenlies with Him, He being all our righteousness and salvation, and life. We are assured of His perfect love. We are assured that He can only act toward us out of that perfect love. He can never fail that love that He is, and He can never do anything against it. We are assured He is perfect holiness. There is no flaw in Him anywhere. We are assured of His perfect goodness. He cannot be anything but.
When we are assured of God Himself, we are able to finally wait for Him to be gracious to us. We can finally recognize that graciousness and mercy for what it is. The very thing many become confused, hurt, disillusioned and discouraged by from God in their lives, thinking He had abandoned them, is the very thing that is truly His graciousness, love, and goodness toward us, while He is working in us to make us see Who He is for them, to them, in them, and wants to be through them. He is waiting for you to come to Him to see this.
Oh how long God waits for us. Most of my Christian life, I believe -- especially the years I thought I was the most on fire and spiritual -- God was waiting for me.
God waits for us to fail. Yes... we fear failure so much. Yet, it is necessary for us to fail. As our failure shows us our own ways and understanding for what it is. We are determined to do it our way, even thinking it is God's, thinking we have confirmation from Him at times that we have His approval and even His leading. At times it even seems God Himself has failed us. "I thought I did everything God led me to do! I sought His guidance!" But truly some of the times I thought I had confirmation from God, it was only the "confirmation" of others encouraging me to go with my own thoughts or feelings. Or I relied on a "good feeling" about something, taking that as God's inner guidance. Or circumstances all fell into place for me, yet I was immature in how to discern by God's will in His Word and by His Spirit and not mystical feelings or experience, and truly understanding His way and a true knowledge of He Himself that would have shown me that the thing I was doing or the people I put myself under, were not in accordance with that true discernment. Sometimes we even see success in this place for awhile.
But God waits. He waits for us to come to the end of our knowledge, our understanding, our resources, and our strength. Until we do we cannot see His. Sometimes we even come to the end of our faith, we think. But all that is of true faith will be tested, put through the fire, and purified. What was not true faith will be purged. It will be thrown out so that the faith in our hearts that is of Him will come forth as pure Gold and we will truly know Him. There is nothing more precious than that, and yes, the road to that knowledge is greater than all the hardship and struggle it took to get there.
God is perhaps waiting for you at this time. He may be allowing you to pursue all that you think you must. He may be allowing you to go through the worst. It is not because He has not heard you, or abandoned you. It is because he is waiting for you, patiently, while He faithfully allows the scourging of those He loves. When you realize that He is waiting for you, remember -- "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But don't be unwilling! Be willing. Be willing no matter how long it takes, to wait for Him.
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
2Tim. 2:12 if we endure, we shall also reign with Him;
Heb. 12:2 looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, "and sat down at the right" of the throne of God.
Heb. 12:3 For consider Him who had endured such gainsaying of sinners against Himself, that you do not grow weary, fainting in your souls.
Heb. 12:7 If you endure discipline, God is dealing with you as with sons; for who is the son whom a father does not discipline?
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, because having been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to the ones loving Him.
James 5:11 Behold, we call those blessed who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you saw the end of the Lord, "that the Lord is full of tender mercy and pity.”
1Cor. 13:7 Love quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
What incredible promises are given to us! Recently, these promises have had an impact on how I view life in this world. This life is such a small part in the scheme of things. What is it compared with eternal life with Jesus? What is the end of those who endure? What is the end of those who don’t? We endure, because He endures in us. That same endurance of Christ Who endured the cross and despised the shame, for the joy set before Him, endures in our hearts continually through every trial we face. In fact there is nothing we face that He hasn’t already been there ahead of us, preparing the way through. He is working it all together for our good, to conform us to the image of Christ.
Where are our priorities as Christians? So many have become temporal minded and have forgotten our blessed hope. So many have become self-centered, focusing on fulfillment today. We’re in a day that the Bible predicted would come, where people are lovers of self… lovers of pleasure… not anymore seeking those things above. Unless we have that eternal perspective, we will not endure, or overcome evil with good, but evil will overcome us, and we will grow bitter at life because of the evil.
We are joint-heirs with Christ!! We are heirs of God! We are seated in the heavenlies in Christ! We have an inheritance incorruptible! Does it matter? Does it affect how you look at your circumstances now? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If His love and the joy of our salvation fills our hearts, it also guides us through every obstacle here in this earth with faith. It gives us true sight of the road ahead. It wipes away all fear from our heart when we see terror in the world around us. It takes away the fear of man. It takes away the helplessness we feel when we seem to lose control of our lives. It cries out “Abba! Father!”
Love endures all things – that is – His love. If His Spirit dwells in you, it is He that is continually working in you through all things and giving you endurance in all things. Our endurance will not be enough. It will fail. Our will will not be strong enough. Our love will give out when the going gets tough. Our love of self is stronger. But His love will never fail. It will not fail us, and it will not fail in us as we put our faith in Him.
What approves us before God? Is it our determination to endure? Is it our strong will to keep going? Those who endure and are approved will receive the crown of life? But who is the one who endures, but those who have faith in God’s work. It is faith that pleases God. Faith in His finished work. We only endure if we have faith in His work, and not our own. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6)
Heb 4:1 Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.
Heb 4:2 For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard.
Heb 4:3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Who is it that entered His rest? Those who believe. When we put all confidence in His doing and look away from ours, this is faith. This is entering into His rest. These are the ones approved before God. Not those who strove to get in the land by their own strength. The Word did not profit them, because the hearing of it was not mixed with faith. (Numbers 14:38-45)
I leave you with the words of William Newell, in his commentary, Romans, Verse by Verse. I could not say it any better. Whatever you are facing in this world, if you are a born again believer, I pray these words will encourage you with a new faith and joy in your inner being to endurance…
“Romans 8:18: ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory.’ The word I reckon (logidzomai), is a favorite with Paul. It expresses faith in action. Paul had known abundant sufferings: read II Corinthians Eleven, and all his epistles. But like our Lord, “the File-Leader” (archegos—Heb. 12.2) of the column of believers, who endured the cross in view of the joy set before Him, despising the shame, Paul “reckoned” in view of the coming glory: which should be the constant attitude of all of us.
The sufferings of this present time—”This present time”; it is necessary to have God’s estimate of these days in which we live or we will be deluded into man’s false thoughts. Note: “this present evil age” (Gal. 1.4) ; “the days are evil”; “this darkness” (Eph. 5.16; 6.12) ; “the distress that is upon us”; “the fashion of this world is passing away” (I Cor. 7.26,31).
Are not to be compared with the glory—These words need to be pondered in view of passages like Hebrews 11.35-38; “tortured.. . mockings and scourgings . . . bonds and imprisonment, stoned . . . sawn asunder . . . tempted . . . slain with the sword . . . went about in sheepskins, in goatskins - destitute, afflicted, evil-treated . . . wandering [through] the earth.” In spite of the horrors of the days of Nero, Diocletian and the rest; and the nameless terrors of the Spanish Inquisition: the “glory which shall be revealed” so swallows up these brief earthly troubles, that they shall not be named nor remembered in that day when Christ shall come.
It is difficult, impossible, to depict in language all of, or any real measure of, what is meant by the glory which shall be revealed toward us. In fact, as we know, we are to be glorified with Christ, to share His glory, and appear with Him in glory.* In Colossians 3.4 we read, “When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory”; and in II Thessalonians 1.10: “When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed.” Such passages show that not only will the saints behold Christ’s glory, but, beholding, they will share that glory, and be glorified with Him. This is the great object before God’s mind now, to “bring many sons unto glory” (Heb. 2.10), that they may be conformed to Christ’s image (Rom. 8.29). In constant view of that glory to be revealed in and through the Church, the sufferings which God called the saints to go through, no matter what they were, seemed as nothing. _
*The expression “the glory which shall be revealed toward us,” is translated “in us” in the King James. This preposition (eis) is used twice, for example, in II Thess. 2.14 “Unto which also He called you through our gospel unto the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This “glory” is to be revealed “to usward”: not only to us, but in us, and therefore through us, to an astonished universe; and that forever!
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. 14th verse: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”-ISA_58:9
Nothing is more important to God than prayer in dealing with mankind. But it is likewise all-important to man to pray. Failure to pray is failure along the whole line of life. It is failure of duty, service, and spiritual progress. God must help man by prayer. He who does not pray, therefore, robs himself of God’s help and places God where He cannot help man. Man must pray to God if love for God is to exist. Faith and hope, and patience and all the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayerless life. The life of the individual believer, his personal salvation, and personal Christian graces have their being, bloom and fruitage in prayer. – E.M. Bounds, The Weapon of Prayer
Jam 4:3 You ask, and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order that you may spend on your lusts. (LITV)
Joh 16:24 Until now you asked nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be full. (LITV)
Why is it we hesitate to spend time in prayer? We are almost afraid to ask God for anything, or if we do, we do so in doubt that He will truly hear us or answer. Such wonderful tremendous promises we have about prayer! Such an incredible privilege it is for us to come before His throne of grace and mercy in our time of need! And not only in our time of need, but also in a relationship of daily communion with our Father! But how little we do it.
The more I realize what His salvation for me entails, what is the incredible power of that work for me and in me by the presence of His indwelling Spirit, and what kind of relationship that brings me with my Abba, the more faith has been built up in me for prayer. I know that I can come before my Abba, in complete confidence, not because of anything at all in myself – not because of my merit, or spirituality, or knowledge, or level of attainment, or goodness, or works or anything else! If we come to Him looking to any of those things as our right or hope of an answer we come on a false hope. But if we know that we can come to Him freely, boldly, and in complete confidence because of the work of Christ Himself, because of His shed blood, because of faith in Him alone and His cleansing power and His righteousness and His standing before God the Father, knowing that God hears the Son always, so He hears those who are IN THE SON always! Whew! That boggles my mind. But when I realized that, my faith grew in leaps and bounds that my Father would hear and answer my prayers. That truth also made me come to Him more often in prayer. Too often we feel we can only come to God when we’ve felt as though we’ve done well in our walk, and that this somehow gives us a right to do so. Then we come to Him in self-righteousness and in faith in ourselves rather than in the fact that we are in Him by faith alone, and may only come to the Father in Him, and by Him, and by His righteousness alone.
To fail to bring all our needs and requests to God in prayer is to say that we are in control and will work them out ourselves without God’s help. It is lack of faith and a dependency on ourselves. We are made to be praying creatures. This is our communion and dependency on God. He gave us a spirit where His Spirit dwells when we put our faith in Him to be our Savior, which gives us the ability to commune with Him. Jesus clearly told His disciples to ask, to pray, to wait on God, in many instances. Each time it was given with a promise that we would be answered. To fail to do that is to reject God’s provision, and walk in confidence in ourselves. We rob ourselves of His power in our lives and His provision for us when we fail to pray. We rob others of God’s intervention and help when we fail to intercede and bring them before the Lord. We rob God of the opportunity to manifest Himself and be glorified in all these circumstances. Paul said Phi 1:19 For I know that this will result in deliverance to me through your petition and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He knew that through their prayers grace was given Him in his circumstances. He continually asked others to pray for him. This is the way God has chosen to work.
Is it important to pray? Yes! What can be more important in our Christian walk? Prayer is not manipulation of God to make Him do our bidding. Prayer is our communion with our Father, Who loves us, in order to know Him, and His very heart and mind about others and us. It is for Him to work in our hearts and reveal Himself to us, that we might know Him. It is our verbal response to His living Word as we read and receive it. And we pray so that we may bring all our needs and desires and circumstances and loved ones before Him that His power may work and His glory be manifested. It is the way God chose to do so. Should we question it? In this one act, His love and communion is filling our hearts and shared with others also. Should we not pray because we don’t understand how prayer works? Or should we pray so that we learn and grow in our understanding!
Recently in my own life I’ve seen so many wonderful answers to prayer. God is good! And I would have failed to see His power, love, in goodness in all the ways I have if these prayers had never been uttered. I’ve seen seemingly impossible circumstances turned around and changed.
Sometimes rather than pray we stew. We can needlessly be weighed down, crushed, and defeated, because we do not pray. We worry, and fret and feel crushed under the weight of things beyond our own control. We feel somehow we must come up with a solution ourselves.
Paul tells us in Phi 4:6 “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and by petition with thanksgivings, let your requests be made known to God; Phi 4:7 and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Worry is the opposite of prayer. When we are in communion with God, in prayer and bringing all our cares before Him, we are able to rest in His answer and His care. We have His peace in all things, knowing that He is at work and that He is answering. This is why we are able to cast all our cares on Him – it’s because we know He cares for us! Intimately cares for us!
Is there any greater privilege given to God’s children that is more neglected and misunderstood? Not only is it a great privilege, but also it is our duty. My prayer is that those reading this will be somehow challenged to give themselves to a greater discovery of God through this wonderful privilege that He has given to us. I don’t claim to have all the answers of why God wants us to pray, and how He works through that, and whether or not God’s will is going to get done whether we pray or not, and so what difference does it make – why not just pray as we are told, and let God worry about those things? I think I would rather not wait to think I have it all figured out. I am just thankful that I can come to my Abba, my Father, and cry out to Him, and bring all my requests before Him, and know that He hears me – and this I will do gratefully! It is the very Spirit He has given to us - in us - that cries out, Abba! Father! And what a joy it is to see how He works through it all.
I love the wonderful Hymn, What a Friend We Have In Jesus.
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh what peace we often forfeit
Oh what needles pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
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