Reading

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Reading on 1 Samuel 11

1 SAMUEL 11 WRT For those that were not with us last time, it might be worth recapping that Samuel anointed Saul king in secret, and then subsequently he brought the people together at Mizpah, and at the end of chapter 10, there were some lawless ones, the children of Belial, who resented and despised […]

Attributes of the Lord as seen by the assembly

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I have been thinking about the attributes of the Lord Jesus. And we often think of it in a personal way – what He is to me: Saviour, Friend; He is a King, too. All those are very blessed things. But I have been thinking lately of what He means to the Church, the assembly.

The sufferings of Christ

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I wondered if, this afternoon, we could be occupied with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. This is not an intellectual exercise. We have read quite a few Scriptures; we probably know these chapters, and others which refer to this subject, quite well; I would like us to see these from a very personal point of view. I believe that if we were to conclude this gathering with a real sense of knowledge about the Lord’s sufferings – what the Lord went through for each one of us – we would be drawn to Him in affection. He is the One Who suffered not only in obedience to God, but also on our behalf. If this causes us to draw close to the Lord Jesus afresh, then the exercise this afternoon will have been worthwhile.

The coming of the Holy Spirit

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I was just impressed with the awesome wonder of the coming of the Holy Spirit. My father came from a sect of Russian pacifists, the Doukhobors, and as one of their practices they would bow to one another in recognition of the Holy Spirit in one another. That may be a bit over the top, but I like the idea. It is amazing to think that the Holy Spirit has come and is dwelling in the saints. Maybe we could just look at John 14 in this connection.

Then, thinking of the many effects of the Holy Spirit, here are two: sin is reproved, and Christ is exalted. And we get that in Acts 2.

The Incarnation of Christ is an awesome and wondrous fact, and a reality that we can never get enough of. But the coming of the Spirit is so wonderful, powerful, and has such implications, that I just felt, myself, the need to be expanded in the awesome wonder of His coming. So we have Christ here physically – and you can see Him, but only those who have faith really discern Who He is. Then we have the Spirit, and He is not seen – as it comes out in this section in John 14, we cannot see Him.

Revival

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In reading these passages, I had in mind the thought of revival. We live in days that Paul describes to Timothy as difficult days (2 Tim 3:1), and as you look at that section in Timothy, you see how difficult the days are. There has been such a turning away from the things of Jesus Christ. Therefore, from that background, it should be an exercise with us that there may be revival – first of all, in our own hearts, our own lives; then in our local meetings; and finally, revival of interest in the things of Christ in our nation, which largely has turned its back on the Christian faith.

The wilderness journey

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suggested these passages because they all speak of the journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness. It is striking how many times the journey through the wilderness is spoken of in the Scriptures. It comes into several of the Psalms and several of the prophets, and Paul draws on it in his teaching to those in Corinth when he says all “these things happened as types of us” (1 Cor 10:6), which makes the subject important in our own day for what it can teach us.

Just so that we can be clear about what the wilderness is for us – I think it is what the world becomes to the believer when the light of Christ really lays hold of our hearts and souls, so that the world is shown up for what it truly is: “Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev 11:8). As a result, just as the children of Israel were enabled to move out of Egypt, so you and I are to be enabled to move out, in that sense, of this world. God has called us out of this world, to be a people for His possession (see Deut 7:6; 1 Pet 2:9).

Seeing more of the wonderful things of God

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When I was thinking about this afternoon, for some reason I had an overriding impression of Psalm 23. And then, following through from the thought of what we can enjoy currently, as believers in this wilderness scene that we are all treading through, we can touch what is eternal and what is of God.

It led me to think of Psalm 27, too. These are both psalms of David, a man of experience. What comes out here, linking with what we were saying yesterday, is that he had a desire and an earnest longing to see more of these wonderful things. He did not just want to look in from the outside; he wanted to enter in to what God would have for him, and to see something of “the beauty of Jehovah” (v4).

I read the other two Scriptures because, whilst many, many readings have taken place on Luke 15 and John 14, there is always something new you can gain, I think, from the truth of the Father’s house. Luke 15, I suppose, tells us what, again, we can enjoy currently. The younger son wanted an inheritance now. He actually came into something, now, that was far better than what he had actually hankered after in the first place.

And then what we read about in John 14 is a future day in many ways. It is something the believer can look forward to. We should not forget that. It is not all current, we have a future. It is the wonderful thing for a believer that he does have a bright future. The wonder and glory of that should affect us now as well. That is why the Lord spoke to His disciples, that the future prospect might also be a current enjoyment.

Psalm 23 is for where we are now.

The Gifts of Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit

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My thought today is quite simply that we should have a desire to appreciate what God has given us. As believers in the Lord Jesus we come into much blessing. Some of it is future, but much of it is now. But, also, I am challenged as to how much I am concerned with knowing more of it.

There are two things principally that I want to speak of this afternoon. One is the gift of eternal life, the other is the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are two things which are to be enjoyed currently. And they are two things which we should desire to know more of.
So I read the New Testament Scriptures so that we can think about the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Spirit. But then I read the Old Testament Scriptures because I think it is always good to get practical examples of truth that we are considering. What strikes me about Caleb and his daughter is that they both had desires. Also, in fact, the woman in John 4 said, “Give me this water” (v15). I know for myself that, as being brought up in a Christian household, amongst the brethren, we take a lot for granted. But these things are to be gone in for. Would that each of us desired a blessing!

The Lord Jesus our Teacher

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I have been concerned that we might get further gain from considering the Lord Jesus as our Teacher. At the beginning of the Acts this same servant, Luke, said that he put this Gospel together “concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach.” There was clearly a great emphasis in his mind, led of the Holy Spirit, to set out the teaching the Lord Jesus gave when He was here.