Archive for June, 2011

For the Joy Set Before Us

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Heb. 12:1-3.

The joy was set before our Lord. It is also set before us. For this reason we do not swing aimlessly and run zig-zag all over the path but we fix our eyes on Him and press forward.

Is should not be surprising that we too, who desire to be like Him will, in our race for the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus suffer setbacks and shame and many trials. In fact if you do not, I should wonder what track you are on. It is not an easy nor light thing that you should be called a son of God. It is through much endurance that we arrive in Him. Yet we must suffer.

It is the very continual dying to our self through the denial of the pleasures of this world and happinesses that is working in us to teach us the lessons that make a son of God. When we are serving self to gain what we want and what makes us feel good we are in opposition to this working of God. God is not a fiendish monster that he wants us to suffer, yet there is no other way for us to learn obedience. We, in the operation of our flesh and self, do not naturally seek nor desire Him. When we are full of fleshly lusts and feeding them continually we have strength to fight against the Spirit’s work. When, on the other hand, we are done with fighting and we have no more will to seek our own we lay down and submit to His Love and His discipline that develops in us the character of Christ. This laying down comes after we have suffered in the flesh.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.

Joy comes in the morning. Now we must endure the night of death to our Self that brings with it the sanctification of our soul.

Listen v4.40 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
We Must Work While It is Yet Day In this sense God made all creatures working like himself the heavens, the sun, the stars, and then far above all things, the angels and men, each according to its kind. Nowhere is there a flower so small, or a leaf, or a sprout of grass, the expanse of the heavens, the stars, the sun and moon in these things there is continuously work, and especially God working with himself. Should not man, then, noble and formed with dignity according to God s image, should he not work, formed in his faculties like God and in God and like him in his being? John Tauler – Sermon 39, circa 1340; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Strongholds Stand Against Truth The tendency is to deny that a fact has any existence because it cannot be fitted into any explanation as yet. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
What We re All Praying and Waiting For Thy kingdom come teaches us that we are to pray for the establishment of God s kingdom more than for our own temporal or even spiritual needs. This implies that the real remedy for all that needs prayer is the restoration of the kingdom of God. The true cause of all human trouble is that humanity is out of the divine order and the world is in rebellion against its sovereign God. Not until God s kingdom is reestablished in every heart and in all the world can the blessings that prayer desires be realized. A. B. Simpson – The Life of Prayer – circa 1890, © 2007 Bridge-Logos
The Subtlety of Slip Sliding Away Every one of us having been in bondage to sin, we readily believe that sinful things are satanic; but do we believe equally that the things of the world are satanic? Most of us, I think, are still of two minds about this. Yet how clearly Scripture affirms that “the whole world lieth in the evil one” ( 1 John 5:19). Satan well knows that, generally speaking, to try to ensnare real Christians through things that are positively sinful is vain and futile. They will usually sense the danger and elude him. So he has contrived instead an enticing network, the mesh of which is so skillfully woven as to attract the most innocent of men. We flee sinful lust, and with good reason, but when it comes to such seemingly innocuous things as science and art and education, how readily do we lose our sense of values and fall a prey to his enticements! Watchman Nee – Love Not The World, © 1968 CLC Publications
Conviction is Not Offensive He refused even to condemn the woman who was taken in the very act of sin, but said to the scribes and Pharisees who had brought her before Him, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”; and when, convicted by their own consciences, they all went out one by one without condemning her, He said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Always and everywhere He was on the side of sinners. That was what He was for. He came to save sinners. He had no other mission. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Thought Management I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question “If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, then why should the different devices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?” You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won’t come to his head. C. S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters, copyright 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.
Stable Those Thoughts so They Don t Run Away “Have your beliefs,” says an old writer, “and have your doubts. Believe your beliefs, and doubt your doubts. Never doubt your beliefs, and never believe your doubts.” F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
Your Not In the Place, You Are the Place Religion is such a beguiling evil. It comes to you as your friend, your best friend and gains your trust. It helps you see and understand what you must do to be a “good” Christian. It shows you what you must do and look like to fit in the church-world and this is a huge desire of yours because you know you do not fit there but want to. So you study other church-goers and learn the ropes of what to do. But, alas these are the ropes that will choke the life of Christ out of you. The higher you climb the ladder of religion the further you drop when the trap doors open. Whereas religion tells you about God and what you must do to fit in, true Christianity reveals by the Spirit who God is in Christ and invites you to meet Him there – in Christ. Christianity is not about Christ, it is Christ. Tom Van Hoogen
Growing Produces Weird Sensations in Us God now sees that they have grown a little, and are becoming strong enough to lay aside their swaddling clothes and be taken from the gentle breast; so He sets them down from His arms and teaches them to walk on their own feet; which they feel to be very strange, for everything seems to be going wrong with them. St. John of the Cross – Dark Night of the Soul, circa 1560
Realities Not Possibilities When we read of “the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit,” of “Christ dwelling in the heart,” of “a clean heart,” of “loving each other with a clean heart fervently,” of “God establishing our heart unblamable in holiness,” we must; with the eye of faith, regard these spiritual realities as actually and in very deed existing within us. Andrew Murray – The Two Convenants, 1898, copyright 2005

Listen v4.39 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
Self-thoughts are the Modern Idol of Choice You will never be fully resigned to the will of God if you are troubled by human opinion of you, or if you make for yourself a little idol of what people say. Michael Molinos – The Spiritual Guide – circa 1675, copyright 1982 by Seed Sowers
God’s “Good” Housekeeping Seal of Approval Nor can the benevolence of God be justly called into question because there is suffering and sorrow in the world. If man sins against the goodness of God,… who is to blame but himself? Would God be “good” if he punished not those who ill use his blessings, abuse his benevolence, and trample his mercies beneath their feet? It will be no reflection upon God’s goodness, but rather the brightest exemplification of it, when he shall rid the earth of those who have broken his laws, defied his authority, mocked his messengers, scorned his Son, and persecuted those for whom he died. Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
Work It Out Sinner saved by grace means a soul who is set on the disposition of self (sinner) is set apart by the process of sanctification and made holy by the destruction of that disposition (saved) which is by the performance of God involving the will of man and working together through the whole lump. Tom Van Hoogen
Joyful Yes, Happy No The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere speaks about a happy Christian. Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Serving Self Makes You Numb to the Spirit For instance, a thief who is stealing and hoarding things as a means of happiness is not only missing his happiness, but by his acts of theft is destroying the very capacity for it. That capacity is deadend by his sinful conduct. And if he loses the sense of the sinfulness of theft and his conscience does not feel remorse, he has already committed spiritual suicide. He has not only killed the capacity but has killed the soul which had the capacity. Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Weeping is Seeping from a Stony Place Does weeping speak? In what language doth it utter its meaning? Weeping is the eloquence of sorrow. Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of Mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way. Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Medicine Hurts Too Sometimes As for you, when the Lord has firmly established this relationship, you will have the sense that He has so completely found you out that each time His light focuses on the sin in your life, you have only one course. All you can do is turn very simply to Him and there bare all the pain and correction which He inflicts. Jeanne Guyon – Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, circa 1680
What We Seek is Beyond Us Now it is clear as clear can be that the hunger of our hearts for the hills is only part of the hunger of our hearts for the infinite. The instinct of the far horizon is indelibly engraved in our very nature. Go where you will, visit what city you like, and you will straightway be taken to some noble and commanding eminence to see the view. F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
The Bible Put God s Love on the Map for Us A little boy, who had been studying at school about the discovery of America, said to his father one day, “Father, if I had been Columbus I would not have taken all that trouble to discover America.” “Why, what would you have done?” asked the father. “Oh,” replied the little boy, “I would have just gone to the map and found it.” This little boy did not understand that maps are only pictures of already known places, and that America did not exist because it was on the map, but it could not be on the map until it was already known to exist. And similarly with the Bible. It is, like the map, a simple statement of facts; so that when it tells us that God loves us, it is only telling us something that is a fact, and that would not be in the Bible if it had not been already known to be a fact. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
The Proof is in the Practice If we love God we ought to pray, because He wants us to pray, and commands us to pray. If we believe God we shall pray because we cannot help doing so: we cannot get on without it. Fellow-Christian, you believe in God, and you believe on Him (John 3:16), but have you advanced far enough in the Christian life to believe Him; that is, to believe what He says and all He says? Does it not sound blasphemous to ask such a thing of a Christian man? Yet how few believers really believe God! God forgive us! Unknown Christian – The Kneeling Christian, circa 1890, © 2007 Bidge-Logos.
The Kingdom is Advancing, Keep Moving I feel that we could gain much from a little acquaintance with men of his spiritual flavor and the school of Christian thought which they represent. Christian literature, to be accepted and approved by the evangelical leaders of our times, must follow very closely the same train of thought, a kind of “party line” from which it is scarcely safe to depart. A half-century of this in America has made us smug and content. We imitate each other with slavish devotion and our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try to say the same thing that everyone around us is saying – and yet to find an excuse for saying it, some little safe variation on the approved theme or, if no more, at least a new illustration. A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God

The Big Picture – Part 21

I have recapped the first 10 Parts in Part 11. Now lets recap Parts 11 through 20 so the Big Picture is not too big.

Part 11 – Repent. That is message that John the Baptist came preaching. He was saying your going the wrong way. Turn around and go back to God. Quit trusting in your Self, serving Self, and doing your own will. Trust God, serve Him and do His will. This takes faith, true belief. Not belief that just agrees but belief that takes action and exhibits faith in what you say.

Part 12 – I will make you fishers of men. We waver at the point of faith. Can we trust God? The proof is in the walk, not the talk. The commitment to follow Him requires, demands, no less than your whole life, past, present and future. If you are there mending your nets and He comes and says, “Follow Me”, you must drop your net (e.g. your entire hope for future security) and follow Him. Any man having put His hand to the plough and looking back is not worthy. Why? Why would anyone drop their net and follow? It is the look into the face of God in Christ that captures us. We know His love instantly and we love Him because He first loved us. It is the deepest, most intense, need of man, every man. And He is the only source that satisfies.

Part 13 – We looked at the heart and thus the motivation for following God and doing His will. What is the desire of the heart? A servant serves most commonly out of fear of what might happen if he does not do the will of his master. The disciple is enticed along by the rewards of following his master and learning his way. But the son, the son has only one motive — love. We are each given the power (not the promise) to become sons of God. It is a matter of the heart. The only thing that will get you there is your love for the Father through Christ. Many serve God, some follow Him, few become sons although it is God greatest desire that He would have many sons with Him in glory. It’s a matter of the heart.

Part 14 – If your heart is the soil and the Word the seed, then the growth and fruit are products of the care and nurture of the soil. The seed of Christ planted in you must be given nourishment and it is God’s will that you produce fruit in keeping with righteousness. Read the parable of the four soils. It is the heart again that tells the story. Of course God waters and gives the increase but we must stretch our ear to hear the Word. We must bend our body toward the Light. We must seek the Son while He may be found. A good heart is full of faith and desire to know and love God. A bad heart, like a bad tree does not produce good fruit.

Part 15 – It is all about the fruit. Gods first mandate was to be fruitful and multiply. God is looking for a return on His investment — Christ Jesus — in the earth. He planted Him before the foundations of the earth and He is returning for a harvest. Yet there are tares, religious counterfeits, that appear to be the real thing, intermixed with the real fruit — the wheat. It is hard to tell from looking. Religion is always selling a form of righteousness to the ready buyer of lies that tickle the ears. We cannot tell which will yield the fruit of godly righteousness till the final harvest. We need to let them alone. He knows how to separate, He looks on the heart while men look on the outside.

Part 16 – There is a joy that is laid up for those who are faithful sons of God. The work of sanctification, of becoming the sons of God, must do its work in us. There is a submission to the will of God out of love for God that keeps you in the fires of sanctification. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim. 3:12. To be sure there is a testing of the heart and the mind and the will to see who will endure to the end. But there is also a great and tremendous joy awaiting. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:8. It is for the joy set before us that we endure and suffer many things.

Part 17 – It is our faith that will demonstrate that we are in fact the sons of God. When Satan comes to accuse God of unrighteousness in the redemption of man, God will only have to point at His sons to end the argument (as if God needed to be justified). It is faith working out and through men and women that will prove God and silence the accusation of the enemy and his entourage. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Rev. 1:17.

Part 18 – The sons of God are fathers-in-training. Just as when and as Christ continually followed His Father, trusted Him, obeyed Him, loved Him and did His will, He continually revealed the Father and His heart to us, so the sons of God will become conformed to the image of Christ and hence God as they submit themselves to the loving, righteous authority and will of both their heavenly and their spiritual father on earth. God wants all of us in spiritual relationship with others. There are those who watch over our souls and travail for us before the throne of God. These are fathers. If you want to know who your spiritual father is you will need to listen very closely with spiritual ears to hear the voice of your heavenly Father. You will find God speaking to you through your spiritual father. You will hear His voice.

Part 19 – God is busy working through His Holy Spirit in cooperation with your submitted will to produce the sons of God. The sons of God are those who have the character and likeness of their heavenly Father. They are not brought there kicking and screaming, but are drawn along through many treacherous and harmful paths by the power of the love of God working in them. The sons of God will overcome many difficult beatings, persecutions, afflictions, trials and temptations to prove that God in fact is in them working to will and do of His good pleasure. In the end it is love for God, unselfish, agape love, the love of God Himself that keeps you in the fires, conforming you to His perfect image. The end product of the obedience you learn by the things you suffer is Christlikeness.

Part 20 – It is the character of Christ that God is after. He is the firstborn among many brethren. He is the first fruit of more to come. Jesus is THE Son of God. God wants many more like Him. The Holy Spirit and the Word (both written and revelatory) are working together to encourage and press us on to maturity in Christ. Christ suffered, we will also suffer. We must allow God to use these outward things to work in us to remove all that is not Christ-like, all that is not the fruit of the Spirit (e.g. Christ Himself) in us. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2 NLT. Satan, the world and the many enemies and trials they line up before us are Gods agents that He allows to help in the matter of conforming us to His image. So rejoice, you know you are loved.

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