Monthly Archives: December 2008

Vain Labor



As we prepare to start a new workweek I find that I need a new, fresh attitude. Cleaning up and packing away my Christmas stuff, as well as my office is quite an undertaking. I must take inventory of all the stuff I need to keep and throw out the accumulated junk. I dread this, but I know I need to do it. I want to start this week, and this new year with a renewed sense of who I am in Christ, and a joy in living that I have not yet experienced (or even dared to pursue). I think I may be on this topic for a few weeks, so be forewarned! Not new years resolutions, but honor and glory to our Lord for a new chance and a new year. Now getting back to going to work tomorrow. I used to look forward to it, and now I am trying to figure out if I need a new job or a new attitude? Anyone else understand this one? I am happy that I am employed and I need to be grateful and understand that all of my work done in honesty and with the right mindset honors God. Love you all and bless you in your workweek, and blessing and prayers to those of you looking for a job. God will bless you and honor your prayers, he loves you and hears you. Tomorrow is a new day and his mercies are new every morning! Love you all, Mrs Bucket.

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. Proverbs 13:11

A successful actress had made millions on her looks alone. Her face had graced the pages of a hundred ads, and she appeared on television and in movies regularly. She received as much as sixty thousand dollars for an episode of a regular series on television. Everything seemed to be going well until an accident scarred her, and she was no longer in demand. Though she had made millions, she spent millions just as fast. She left acting a poor and bitter woman.

We often envy the life of stars. We believe that they have everything a person could want and that their lives are somehow magical. There is magic in the lives of stars, but it is not all good. Some of the magic is “here today, gone tomorrow”. Nothing is permanent, and the big money they make is gone with nothing to show for it.

It is good to be satisfied with what we receive for the labors we pursue. What we receive as wages for the work we do is money well received and deserved. WE can be proud of the fact that we work hard for our money. It is right that we should receive gain for the effort we put forth. God rewards those who are steadfast in their labors. Those who receive wealth for their vanities have already received their reward.

Prayer: Make me steadfast in my endeavors, O LORD. Keep my eyes set on my labors, and bless all my efforts. Let me feel the joy and contentment that honest labor brings, almighty God. Amen.

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AND YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS


BY ANDREW MURRAY

The simplicity of trusting God is the key!

“Come unto me, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest to your souls -MATT.11:28-29

REST for the soul: Such was the first promise with which the Saviour sought to win the heavy-laden sinner. Simple though it appears, the promise is indeed as large and comprehensive as can be found. Rest for the soul–does it not imply deliverance from every fear, the supply of every want, the fulfilment of every desire? And now nothing less than this is the prize with which the Saviour woos back the wandering one–who is mourning that the rest has not been so abiding or so full as it had hoped–to come back and abide in Him. Nothing but this was the reason that the rest has either not been found, or, if found, has been disturbed or lost again: you did not abide with, you did not abide in Him.

Have you ever noticed how, in the original invitation of the Saviour to come to Him, the promise of rest was repeated twice, with such a variation in the conditions as might have suggested that abiding rest could only be found in abiding nearness. First the Saviour says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest”; the very moment you come, and believe, I will give you rest–the rest of pardon and acceptance–the rest in my love. But we know that all that God bestows needs time to become fully our own; it must be held fast, and appropriated, and assimilated into our inmost being; without this not even Christ’s giving can make it our very own,in full experience and enjoyment. And so the Saviour repeats His promise, in words which clearly speak not so much of the initial rest with which He welcomes the weary one who comes, but of the deeper and personally appropriated rest of the soul that abides with Him. He now not only says, “Come unto me,” but “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me”; become my scholars, yield ourselves to my training, submit in all things to my will, let your whole life be one with mine–in other words, Abide in me. And then He adds, not only, “I will give,” but “ye shall find rest to your souls.” The rest He gave at coming will become something you have really found and made your very own–the deeper the abiding rest which comes from longer acquaintance and closer fellowship, from entire surrender and deeper sympathy. “Take my yoke, and learn of me,” “Abide in me”–this is the path to abiding rest.

Do not these words of the Saviour discover what you have perhaps often sought in vain to know, how it is that the rest you at times enjoy is so often lost. It must have been this: you had not understood how entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest. Giving up one’s whole life to Him, for Him alone to rule and order it; taking up His yoke, and submitting to be led and taught, to learn of Him; abiding in Him, to be and do only what He wills–these are the conditions of discipleship without which there can be no thought of maintaining the rest that was bestowed on first coming to Christ. The rest is in Christ, and not something He gives apart from Himself, and so it is only in having Him that the rest can really be kept and enjoyed.

It is because so many a young believer fails to lay hold of this truth that the rest so speedily passes away. With some it is that they really did not know; they were never taught how Jesus claims the undivided allegiance of the whole heart and life; how there is not a spot in the whole of life over which He does not wish to reign; how in the very least things His disciples must only seek to please Him. They did not know how entire the consecration was that Jesus claimed. With others, who had some idea of what a very holy life a Christian ought to lead, the mistake was a different one: they could not believe such a life to be a possible attainment. Taking, and bearing, and never for a moment laying aside the yoke of Jesus, appeared to them to require such a strain of effort, and such an amount of goodness, as to be altogether beyond their reach. The very idea of always, all the day, abiding in Jesus, was too high–something they might attain to after a life of holiness and growth, but certainly not what a feeble beginner was to start with. They did not know how, when Jesus said, “My yoke is easy,” He spoke the truth; how just the yoke gives the rest, because the moment the soul yields itself to obey, the Lord Himself gives the strength and joy to do it. They did not notice how, when He said, “Learn of me,” He added, “I am meek and lowly in heart,” to assure them that His gentleness would meet their every need, and bear them as a mother bears her feeble child. Oh, they did not know that when He said, “Abide in me,” He only asked the surrender to Himself, His almighty love would hold them fast, and keep and bless them. And so, as some had erred from the want of full consecration, so these failed because they did not fully trust. These two, consecration and faith, are the essential elements of the Christian life–the giving up all to Jesus, the receiving all from Jesus. They are implied in each other; they are united in the one word–surrender. A full surrender is to obey as well as to trust, to trust as well as to obey.

With such misunderstanding at the outset, it is no wonder that the disciple life was not one of such joy or strength as had been hoped. In some things you were led into sin without knowing it, because you had not learned how wholly Jesus wanted to rule you, and how you could not keep right for a moment unless you had Him very near you. In other things you knew what sin was, but had not the power to conquer, because you did not know or believe how entirely Jesus would take charge of you to keep and to help you. Either way, it was not long before the bright joy of your first love was lost, and your path, instead of being like the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day, became like Israel’s wandering in the desert–ever on the way, never very far, and yet always coming short of the promised rest. Weary soul, since so many years driven to and fro like the panting hart, O come and learn this day the lesson that there is a spot where safety and victory, where peace and rest, are always sure, and that that spot is always open to thee–the heart of Jesus.

But, alas! I hear someone say, it is just this abiding in Jesus, always bearing His yoke, to learn of Him, that is so difficult, and the very effort to attain to this often disturbs the rest even more than sin or the world. What a mistake to speak thus, and yet how often the words are heard! Does it weary the traveller to rest in the house or on the bed where he seeks repose from his fatigue? Or is it a labour to a little child to rest in its mother’s arms? Is it not the house that keeps the traveller within its shelter? do not the arms of the mother sustain and keep the little one? And so it is with Jesus. The soul has but to yield itself to Him, to be still and rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken, and that His faithfulness will perform, the work of keeping it safe in the shelter of His bosom. Oh, it is because the blessing is so great that our little hearts cannot rise to apprehend it; it is as if we cannot believe that Christ, the Almighty One, will in very deed teach and keep us all the day. And yet this is just what He has promised, for without this He cannot really give us rest. It is as our heart takes in this truth that, when He says, “Abide in me,” “Learn of me,” He really means it, and that it is His own work to keep us abiding when we yield ourselves to Him, that we shall venture to cast ourselves into the arms of His love, and abandon ourselves to His blessed keeping. It is not the yoke, but resistance to the yoke, that makes the difficulty; the whole-hearted surrender to Jesus, as at once our Master and our Keeper, finds and secures the rest.

Come, my brother, and let us this very day commence to accept the word of

Jesus in all simplicity. It is a distinct command this: “Take my yoke, and learn of me, ” “Abide in me. ” A command has to be obeyed. The obedient scholar asks no questions about possibilities or results; he accepts every order in the confidence that his teacher has provided for all that is needed. The power and the perseverance to abide in the rest, and the blessing in abiding–it belongs to the Saviour to see to this; ’tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide. Let us this day in immediate obedience accept the command, and answer boldly, “Saviour, I abide in Thee. At Thy bidding I take Thy yoke; I undertake the duty without delay; I abide in Thee.” Let each consciousness of failure only give new urgency to the command, and teach us to listen more earnestly than ever till the Spirit again give us to hear the voice of Jesus saying, with a love and authority that inspire both hope and obedience, “Child, abide in me.” That word, listened to as coming from Himself, will be an end of all doubting–a divine promise of what shall surely be granted. And with ever-increasing simplicity its meaning will be interpreted. Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled and taught and led, and so resting in the arms of Everlasting Love.

Blessed rest! the fruit and the foretaste and the fellowship of God’s own rest! found of them who thus come to Jesus to abide in Him. It is the peace of God, the great calm of the eternal world, that passeth all understanding, and that keeps the heart and mind. With this grace secured, we have strength for every duty, courage for every struggle, a blessing in every cross, and the joy of life eternal in death itself.

O my Saviour! if ever my heart should doubt or fear again, as if the blessing were too great to expect, or too high to attain, let me hear Thy voice to quicken my faith and obedience: “Abide in me”; “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; ye shall find rest to your souls.”

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The Revelation of Gods Love


Imagine, as I was going on below about how much God loves us all so much, I find this right under my nose on our links to other blogs.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
THE REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE

I was stirred recently by the Holy Spirit and he led me to this passage: “Ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20–21). As I read these verses, I heard the Spirit whisper to me: “David, you’ve never yet come into the fullness and joy of my love. You have the theology right—but you haven’t yet experienced the ecstasy and rest of keeping yourself in my love. Up to now, you’ve only been in it up to your ankles. But there’s a whole ocean of my love for you to swim in.”

The Bible is filled with the truth of God’s love. But at times I allow myself to wonder how the Lord could ever love me. It’s not that I doubt his love; it’s more a failure on my part to keep myself in the knowledge and assurance of his love to me.

The revelation of God’s love comes in part when we are born again. If you were to ask most Christians what they know of God’s love for them, they’d answer, “I know God loves me because he gave his Son to die for me.” They would quote John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

It’s a wonderful moment when you grasp this truth. You suddenly realize, “God loved me when I was lost, undone, a stranger. And he proved his love for me by sacrificing his own Son on my behalf.”

Few Christians, however, learn how to be kept in God’s love. We know something of our love toward the Lord—but we seldom seek the revelation of God’s love for us. In fact, if you were to ask most Christians to find biblical passages on God’s love for us, they could point to only a few. Yet, understanding the love of God is the secret to an overcoming life. Multitudes grow spiritually cold and lazy because they’re ignorant of the Lord’s love for them. They don’t know that their greatest weapon against Satan’s attacks is to be fully convinced of God’s love for them, through the revelation of the Holy Ghost.

In his final prayer on earth, Jesus said, “Father…thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). What an incredible thought; Christ was greatly loved by the Father before creation.

Then Jesus prayed this remarkable prayer. “Thou, Father…hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (vv. 21, 23). He also prayed, “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (v. 26). Christ was saying, “Father, I know you’re going to love those I bring into my body, just the way you’ve loved me.”

The implication here is that when the Father loved Jesus before eternity, he loved us too. Indeed, when man was still only a thought in God’s eternal mind, the Lord was already numbering our parts and planning our redemption: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

How long has God loved you? He’s loved you since he has existed—because God is love. It is his very nature. He loved you as a sinner. He loved you in the womb. He loved you before the world began. There was no beginning to his love for you—and there is no end to it.

When will God stop loving you? He’ll stop loving you when he stops loving his own Son—which is impossible. Christ says, “The Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
Posted by David Wilkerson on 12/23/2008 0 comments

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The Shelter of the Most High


Isaiah 4:2-6
The Branch of the Lord

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Main point
Refuge in God
Slums and shanty towns sometimes have to be cleared completely to get rid of the rotten, rat- and lice-infested buildings and materials, and to prevent recurrence of disease. In the same way, God would use fire as a means of cleansing and purifying (v 4).

In these verses, Isaiah interrupts his terrifying message of judgement from God to bring words of hope. Those who survive the fiery judgement will live peaceful and prosperous lives. God’s protection will be over them at all times.

We too have a refuge in God through his Son, Jesus. His hand of protection is over us, whether we are in difficult situations at work, college, home or in relationships.

However, his protection does not mean our lives will be devoid of all hardship. Work still has to be done (v 2), and our pleasures and recreation are likely to be simple and homespun, avoiding the traps of wealth, ostentation and conceit.

We found out that the Lord is fearsome, marvellous and glorious in Isaiah 2:19, but we see today that he is merciful, loving and protective. Our praise and worship should reflect our heartfelt thanks.

Question
Here Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of restoration. What does he tell us about the role of God in this? Refiner’s fire
Tranquil haven
Here in chapter 4 is a vision of promised tranquillity, suspended between the threatening predictions about the judgement that is to come in chapters 3 and 5. Here is a promise that there is still hope for those who escape the ‘hot breath of fiery judgement’ (v 4, NLT).

Those who are left

Isaiah shows us a picture of the heavenly Jerusalem , future home to those whose names are written in the book of life (v 3b; see also Philippians 4:3). They are the ‘righteous’ who were not condemned along with those who ‘have brought disaster upon the mselves’ (Isaiah 3:11).

Isaiah speaks of the ‘survivors’ (v 2b), of ‘those who are left in Zion ’ (v 3a). These are God’s servants who have come through many trials and who allow the mselves to be cleansed by God’s ‘consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:29).

Protection

God’s fire cleanses and protects us. The protective canopy of fire and smoke he provides for his holy city (vs 5,6) recalls how he led his people in the wilderness (see Exodus 13:21).

Despite his people’s rebellion, despite the fact that the y have broken his holy law, God loves his people – this ‘glorious land’ (v 5b, NLT) – passionately.

Who does he think he is?Who do you think you are?
For a long while we didn’t pay much attention to genealogy. Now, the re is a surge of interest. Single mo the rs must now name the fa the r of the ir baby on the birth certificate. That will certainly help with filling in family trees!

Jesus’ family tree

One would imagine that Jesus had a perfect human family. But it’s not so. Among ancestors listed in Matthew 1:1–16 are Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, and, by implication, David’s wife Bathsheba. Jesus’ lineage includes stories of incest, prostitution, a foreign alliance, adultery and an unexpected teenage pregnancy.

Yet this is also the story of the Messiah – the ‘Branch of Jesse’ we hear about in Christmas readings (see Isaiah 11:1,2). Jesus’ family tree – the Tree of Jesse – is shown in stained glass windows sprouting from the recumbent figure of his ancestor Jesse, father of King David.

Jesus the Messiah
The birth of the Messiah had been foretold for generations: ‘“The days are coming”, declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch”’ (Jeremiah 23:5, see also 33:14 and 2 Samuel 7:12,13). Micah’s prophecy is quoted to Herod in answer to his query as to where the Messiah would be born: ‘… for out of you [ Bethlehem ] will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel ’ (Mat the w 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2).

Our Messiah

Jesus, the perfect one, both man and God, understands family baggage. It was the much-married Samaritan woman who said: ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming.’ Jesus said to her: ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he’ (John 4:25,26).

In the shadow.‘… over everything the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain’ (Isaiah 4:5,6).

Imagine a canopy above you right now. Maybe you are picturing a kind of parasol. Or perhaps it’s more like a sheet suspended over you. You can design the canopy however you wish. The more vivid, the better.

God has given us this picture to teach us about his love and care for us:

It is God sheltering you, when situations get too hot to handle, when tempers get heated, when the pressure is on, when problems rain down on you, when relationships get stormy…

So let’s use it.

Go on a journey in your imagination to some of the different places you expect to be in the next few days. Notice who and what is around you. Then in each situation see that the canopy of God is over you. Think what difference this makes.

After a while, just hold these words in God’s presence:

protection shelter shade hiding place

End your prayer by repeating these words a few times:

‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty’ (Psalm 91:1).

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A Quiet Heart C.H.Spurgeon


December 12

A Quiet Heart
“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mis-trusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming? Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith. Oh, for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart. Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God! Oh, for grace to be confident in God! The holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. He cannot run back from His solemn declarations. We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne. Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the LORD Jesus.

From Oneplace.com Faiths check book a Treasury of Daily Devotionals by C.H.Spurgeon

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God loves adverbs


For three things I thank God every day of my life: thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works: deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith; deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to-a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.
Helen Keller

I have been reading a book by Andrew Murray about abiding in the vine. This is something I have had a hard time completely understanding. I know what this means on paper, but how do I apply this in my day to day living? I wonder am I missing something, is there some great, divine revelation that that will unlock this mystery? Or am I just too simple to get it. The more I have pondered, the more lost I have become in all this. Finally in frustration I decided to just well, abide. Just keep doing what I have been doing. While reading today I came across this little tidbit of information: The Puritans had a saying. “God loveth adverbs”. Implying that God cares more about the spirit in which we live than in the concrete results. They sought to connect all of life to its source in God. In other words the Holy stuff that we separate for special occasions like Church, devotions, bible study should be part of a much bigger picture, your life if you will. If you are raising kids, taking out the garbage, grocery shopping, working, whatever, any human activity can constitute an offering to God. BINGO! I think I get it now. It’s much harder to walk this thing out day by day, in every activity in an honoring offering to God, but that is where the beauty lies. Joy, abundance, peace, love, all those things hide in there. I keep looking for the big joy button to push, but it’s in these simple, small acts. People see Christ in us during all of this, this is where what we do beats out what we say….the truth of what is in our hearts beats right now. And I think the key is gratitude. When I really think about the little things I am grateful for this begins to make sense. A full tank of gas, a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen, heat in the house. So many things come to mind. If I am aware that God is watching when all of my life takes place, I will honor him in all things. I think the hardest thing for me to realize is this simple adjustment in my thinking, and my awareness will reap great fruit. Not just for the people who will see Christ in me, but in my enjoyment of my life. So I pray that we all no matter what we are going through, no matter what boring, simple, ordinary things take place tonight we are grateful for each other, our needs being met, and that no matter the task we think of it as serving God. I love you guys!

“B” aka Susan

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The Bridge from the short film "Most"


I found this yesterday on Godtube it’s from the short film Most, it blew me away! This is what our heavenly Father did for us! Oh give him praise today! Get your tissues ready.
Lucy

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The High Calling


If God has called you to really be like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility…and put such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others will be allowed to succeed, or having a legacy left to them or in having luxuries, but God will choose to supply you daily because He wants you to have something far better than gold…and that is a helpless dependence on Him.

The Lord may let others be honored and yet keep you hid away in obscurity…because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit which can only be produced in the shade.

God will let others be great but keep you small. He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes. The Holy Spirit will put strict watch on you and rebuke you for little words and feelings which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is infinitely sovereign and has the right to do as He pleases with His own. And He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle you. God will take you at your word, and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are , in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

Anonymous

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THAT WHICH IS SPIRITUAL CANNOT BE DUPLICATED


Here on the streets of New York City, you can buy a Rolex watch for fifteen dollars. As every New Yorker knows, these watches aren’t truly Rolexes. They are simply “knock-offs”—cheap copies of the original.There seems to be a duplicate for just about everything today. But there is one thing that cannot be duplicated and that is true spirituality. Nothing that is truly spiritual can be copied. The Lord recognizes the work of his own hands—and he won’t accept a man-made duplication of any of his divine workings. Why? Because it’s impossible for man to duplicate what is truly spiritual. That is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. He’s constantly at work doing something new in his people. And there is no possible way for us to reproduce that work.This is the big mistake of modern religion. We think if we merely impart knowledge of the Scriptures and biblical principles to people, they’ll become spiritual. But the fact remains—no person or institution has the power to produce spirituality in someone. Only the Holy Ghost does that.Very little of the work God’s Spirit does in us can be seen. This is why truly spiritual people rarely look for outward evidence of his work. Paul says, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).In the context of this passage, Paul is speaking of sufferings and afflictions. He saying, “No one knows all the things we face, except the Holy Spirit. And this is where true spirituality is manifested—in the crucible of suffering.”Those who submit to the leading of God’s Spirit—who face their afflictions confident that the Lord is producing something in them—emerge from their crucible with strong faith. And they testify that the Spirit taught them more during their suffering than when all was well in their lives.In all my years of walking with the Lord, I’ve rarely seen an increase in my spirituality during good times. Rather, any such increase usually took place as I endured hard places, agonies, testings—all of which the Holy Ghost allowed.At one point in his walk of faith, Paul said, “The Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me that bonds and afflictions await me” (see Acts 20:21–22). Indeed, throughout Paul’s entire life, his afflictions never let up. They just kept coming.“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). According to Paul, our afflictions and difficulties produce eternal values in us. He’s saying, “The suffering we go through on this earth will probably last our whole lifetime. But that’s only momentary compared to eternity. And right now, as we endure afflictions, God is producing in us a revelation of his glory that will last forever.”

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