Christ Our Life

Should I trust my own abilities?

The work of the Holy Spirit is always to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us and not to reveal Himself. To me it is a real personal, living Jesus, who dwells within me and who is my life and not any vague idea of the Spirit. I am going to look up all the texts where the Spirit’s work is spoken of and see whether they do not teach this.
Another thought I would suggest to you, “Is our new nature anything more than Christ in us? Is He not our life, and our only life?” “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.” “God hath given to us eternal life.” And this life is where? “In His Son.” If this is true, how completely it settles all questions about our own abilities. If Jesus is our life, of course our only work must be to keep from living our own life and let His life work in us. It seems to me it is the triumph of faith to be able to reckon ourselves dead and alive only in Christ. But oh, when faith is enabled to take this leap, how glorious it is!
—To sister Mary, 1867
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Implicit Faith

Could we say that a successful Christian life consists of having victory over sin? It is easy to focus on ministry and activities a person does. We measure the success of a pastor by the size of the local church he leads. We read a missionary biography and are impressed by how many tribes that person reaches.  In the secular world success is measure by accomplissement.

More I read the Bible more I find that true success is more related to holiness. We are engaged in a spiritual battle against sin. Real success seems to have a moment by moment victory over sin. The good news is that God gave us the power to have such victory. It is a live a life similar to the life Jesus lived on earth. To live like Christ in a fallen world.

Let me share with you a note written by Hannah Whitall Smith to her cousin Carrie on February 26, 1867.

The whole matter lies in this—trusting Jesus to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is taking Him to be our daily, hourly, momentary Saviour from the power of sin, just exactly as we took Him to be our Saviour from its guilt. We have actually no more to do in the one case then in the other. He assumes all the responsibility and accomplishes all the work. Our only part is to commit ourselves to Him, and trust Him with implicit faith. All you can do is to commit yourself to Him this very moment to begin the work from now and carry it on in His own way. Just say to Him continually, “I trust you, I trust you.” And you will find that your faith will grow wonderfully.
Try the plan of handing over your temptations to Him to conquer, and you will be astonished at its success. In short, trust Him with your whole self, with all your life—every moment of it, with everything you are, or have, or do. Let Him, in short, be your life. It is a great trust, but He is worthy of it. He cannot possibly fail you in the least particular. He is infinitely trustworthy. No human words can set forth His worthiness to be trusted to the uttermost. It seems to me I never really trusted Him before, and it makes my heart ache to think of the long years in which I have dishonored Him so much when He was so worthy to be trusted!

Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

The Prayer of a Seventeen Year Old Quaker Girl

Oh my Father! stretch out your all powerful arm in mercy and free me from the bonds of sin and death which hold me fast! You see that I am tired of trying to be good, that I don’t really try to resist the temptations of the evil one with all my might. And you know that my whole nature rebels against following you and serving you. But, oh Father! strengthen my feeble knees, put a new and holy faith in my heart and bring down my haughty nature to the very dust. You are my only refuge; therefore, listen, I pray you, to my prayer.
I am haughty and full of pride. I shrink from the suffering which I know is waiting for me. I look almost with disgust on the narrow, narrow path which I see lying out before me. I feel that I can never consent to become nothing for your name’s sake. But you, Oh Lord! are able to drive away all pride from every heart. Oh won’t you purify and wholly sanctify my heart and make me willing to become the very least of your servants that you may have all the glory and honor and praise for ever and ever world without end!
—Journal, 1849
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Are you “BUSY”?

Satan called his team for a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches, let them have their conservative lifestyles.

“But steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day! How shall we do this shouted the angels? ‘Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,’ he answered. ‘Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 – 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.’

“Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.

Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause. It will work! It will work!”

This Christmas season let’s not forget the essential: enjoying family and friends, but let’s focus on the essential meditating on what God did 2000 years ago.

1 John 3:16 (NLT)
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.

Catch! Live! Impart!

 

Want to change your world for Christ? Then consider this:

CATCH the passion for God and the knowledge of the Holy from extended time alone with Him, or from people who are infected with Jesus Christ. Get around those who are impassioned with being used of God to make a difference in this tired world. Keep in mind that “it is easier to cool down a fanatic than to liven up a corpse.”

You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)

LIVE — Prayerfully delve into the Scriptures with the anticipation and trust of a child at Christmas time. Dare to unconditionally live out the truth God reveals to you from His Word. Respond sensitively to the conviction and leading of the Spirit. Claim and appropriate God’s promises to release you from life’s bondages: The fear of man, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, the desire to impress others; a wounded or embittered spirit; the ruts, the familiar, the safe… perhaps even the traditional. (James 1:22; Romans 8:14; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 8:2; Psalm 34:4; Proverbs 29:25; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 15:8, 9)

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you freeIf the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31b, 32, 36b)

Allow the Spirit to lead you into areas that demand trust and stretching. Be prepared to be surprised by the goodness of God upon your life. That is because God loves to bless those who dare to take Him seriously! (Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Samuel 3:9; Psalm 30:5)

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… ” (2 Chronicles 16:9b)

IMPART — As Biblical truth becomes living reality, pass it on to others. That is fish for men. Engage and infect people’s lives with yours. Take it a step further by making a sustained investment of your life into theirs. Embrace missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s impassioned heart-cry, “Lord, make my life a crossroad in the life of everyone I encounter.” (Matthew 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 16:14)

QUESTION: Today, is your life “business as usual,” or is there a fire burning in your soul? If the fire is flickering close to extinction, ask yourself what root issues need to be reexamined? What changes need to be made? Jesus’ word of encouragement may be timely:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matthew 12:20a)

 

The Next Time You Are Down In The Dumps

The last few days were rather gray days in my mind, I felt like I was down in the valley. On the outside, everything seemed fine to others, but I knew another reality. Then this delightful meditation came along. Hope it will benefit some else and brighten your day.


Struggling with your worth as a person…

Or despairing of life…

Or nursing your wounds over being hurt, shunned, or put down,

Do a reality check as to just who you are in the eyes of God:

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS LOVED YOU – FROM ALL ETERNITY:

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3b) (See Psalm 103:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:18)

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS PLANNED TO CHOSE YOU FOR HIMSELF:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) (See 1 Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 7:6, 7; 14:2)

  • GOD THOUGHT ENOUGH OF YOU TO SPILL HIS SON’S BLOOD TO RESCUE YOU:

You were redeemed from the empty way of lifewith the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18b, 19) (See Psalm 74:2; Hebrews 9:12-14)

  • GOD CONSIDERS YOU HIS SOLE POSSESSION:

(He) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14) (See Acts 15:14; Deuteronomy 4:20; 14:2)

  • GOD HAS INVITED YOU INTO HIS FAMILY TO BE A JOINT-HEIR WITH HIS SON, JESUS:

We areheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17b) (See Luke 12:32; Galatians 3:29; 4:7)

So take heart, my fellow struggler – and heir. True, “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) But take comfort in knowing that Jesus is returning to take you with Him:

They will see the Son of Man comingwith power and great glory. When these things begin to take placelift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27b, 28)

By Dwight Hill, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

Intimacy And Immediacy

INTIMACY – Cultivating the practice of moment-by-moment communion with Christ.  Sensitivity to His prompting, sensitivity to sin, dependency upon Him in the littlest of things, humility, gentleness, perhaps even brokenness.

I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – Phillips)

IMMEDIACY – The antennas are up, aware, utilizing every opportunity to lovingly and graciously share the love of Christ with others. Reflective indeed of Paul’s mind-set:

So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, (evangelism) and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, (discipleship) so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Colossians 1:28, 29 – Phillips)

Perhaps their motto is: “if not you – who? If not now – When?”

Notice the guidelines Paul gives, derived from Colossians 4:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26:

  • Wise. Clever and skilled.
  • Utilizing every opportunity. Immediacy.
  • Gracious: Gentle, meek, humble, mild. Patient, enduring evil or ill-will.
  • Salty: Pointed; not insipid; “an edge of liveliness” (Knox Translation)
  • Correcting: Chastening, educating, teaching and training.
  • Not quarrelsome: Not disputing or striving.

SUGGESTION: Can you take a moment and ask God, “Lord, if I am not walking intimately with you, why? And if I lack a sense of immediacy in getting the Gospel to others, why?