HAND HEWN "Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord; look unto the rock from which ye are hewn" (Isaiah 51:1). If we care for His glory, we will want to serve. If we care for others, we will want to be well prepared for that service. And that care will enable us to hold still and trust Him through all that is entailed in the preparation. "When a certain breaking down of self takes place in a believer's life, it produces a marked change in him; but afterwards he has to learn it all in detail." -J.N.D. "This is a fact borne out in the case of every servant of God in history who has really come under the hand of God--that the real values of their lives for all time have been those which correspond to the wine of the grape, the thing trodden out in the winepress, the agony of heart; and you know that it is true in your case that if ever you have had anything at all which you knew to be worthwhile and which has helped someone else, it has been born out of some travail in your own experience." "If we knew the heart of our Father we would never question any of His dealings with us, nor should we ever desire His hand lifted off us till we had learnt all He would teach us." -E.D. "Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:19, 20). TRIUMPH IN TRIAL "Always guarded by the power of God through faith.... In such a hope keep on rejoicing, although for a little while you must be sorrow-stricken with various trials" (1 Peter 1:5, 6, Wms.). There are testimonies, and there are testimonies. Some can testify as to how God cleared up adverse circumstances for the victory; but others can testify to the triumph God gave in the midst of difficult circumstances. The essential consideration is that our Father be glorified in all His dealings with and for us. How He brings it all about should be secondary to us. "If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious triumph will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places our Father brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His Name." "God has put you in exactly the right crucible to burn up what He sees needs to be burnt up. Many think 'victory' means getting your circumstances put right. No! true triumph is within--when in the midst of your circumstances the Spirit of God can so energize you and strengthen you in spirit, that you can stand quiet in the thick of it all, and say, 'God is God,' and know that you are held by Him--which is infinitely better than all your trying to hold things steady." "Therefore, my brethren . . . stand fast in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1). LlTTLE-KNOWN REQUISITE "My beloved children, I am again bearing the pangs of travail for you, till Christ be fully formed within you" (Galatians 4:19, Cony.). I t is essential that we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," for three reasons: (1) that our Father may be glorified; (2) that the Lord Jesus might be manifested in us; (3) that the Holy Spirit might have a suitable instrument through which to win and establish others. "Paul had one great consuming purpose to be brought to birth by his sufferings for the Galatians, and that was the living expression of the Lord Jesus Christ in them. Nothing less could satisfy God, and nothing less than this should ever satisfy a servant of God. Numbers were still good in Galatia, activities well maintained and zeal unabated, but the Lord Jesus was being crowded out--and that is the greatest tragedy possible." -H.F. "It is a marvellous grace that we should be conformed to the image of God's Son. I think it is very sad that the highest thought which God has about us, and that which His heart is set on, is that which is least known by Christians; for I know no truth that is so little realized as union with Christ." -J.B.S. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9).