All on the Altar


As much as I have objected to it and disapproved of it in the past, I have been brought to the point of entire consecration. I find that the soul which wants to live the life hid with Christ in God must be entirely given up to Him—and definitely given up too. I must present my body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him, which is my reasonable service.
And I do! Lord Jesus, here and now I definitely yield myself up unreservedly to you. All that I have and all that I am, both now and in the whole future of my life, I lay upon your altar. Everything is yours, and I am yours to follow you wherever you may lead me.
Oh Lord Jesus, let this be a reality! Bring this consecration about in me and through me, and keep it. You know my utter weakness, and to you I commit myself in this. Oh I ask you, let me never, never, never, draw back from the transaction of this moment. Let me never for a moment take back the slightest thing of all I have now consecrated or surrendered to you. Make it a reality.
—Hannah Whitall Smith, Journal, March 30, 1868

After the Wilderness—Rest


It seems to me the “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead to sin” cannot be found in the Red Sea passage but rather in the passage of the Jordan. There they were commanded to “sanctify themselves” (Joshua 3:5). There, at Gilgal, they were called to a second circumcision and there we are told that the Lord “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” from off them. Does not all this signify far more than the scene of the Red Sea tells us? Have we not in Romans 6:11 Gilgal reckoning, in Romans 6:12 Gilgal separation, and in Colossians 3:1 Gilgal dwelling? We can easily see how an Israelite must have felt his separation from Egypt when he was circumcised like this in the land of promise; and we can only know the manifest rolling away of the reproach of Egypt, as we stand by faith in heavenly places, and walk even as Christ walked in newness of life. Then too the manna ceased after they had crossed the river and they ate the old corn of the land.
So when we realize ourselves as a heavenly people, it is Christ who belongs to heaven that we feed upon, a risen Christ seated at the right hand of God, ever living to make intercession for us. Certainly the land of rest was a better place than the wilderness, and it was only the failure of the Israelites, or rather their unbelief, that kept them out of it so long. So that they were practically walking in sin during all those forty years, delivered from Egypt it is true, but very far from being in the place or the position that God had called them to. Both passages were types of the death of Christ, but of that death viewed in two aspects.
And does not this way of viewing them run parallel with the experience of nearly every Christian? First we know redemption from the guilt of sin merely and deliverance from the bondage of Satan; then we wander in a wilderness truly having God with us, as He was with the Israelites and sustained by His bread sent down from heaven, pleasing Him sometimes, grieving him often, needing strict discipline, and growing footsore and tired. Then at last we see that our crucifixion with Christ has a fuller meaning and leads us into higher privileges and we cross the Jordan and enter into the rest of faith, into the life hid with Christ in God, and all our wanderings are over forever.
—To Anna, September 4, 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).

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).

Surprised by Love

How do you see religion? Burden or blessing! From this morning quiet time with the Lord. Written by Hannah Whitall Smith from her book “The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life”.

I  am surprised at the lowliness though happiness of religion. I can see now that my ideas of it were too gloomy as if the Redeemer were a hard taskmaster and His servants became unwilling slaves, working only for the sake of the reward or because of the fear of the punishment. And now when I find such love, such joy, such beauty it astonishes me. I trust I am grateful for it but the remains of the old fears still cause me to be expecting the crosses and the unhappiness. Perhaps it is the way with many young Friends (Quaker) to look upon Christ’s religion as one of austerity and gloom, but how different the truth is. His service is a service of love. His yoke is easy. His burden is indeed light—lightened and made easy, even if hard and heavy, by the help of love.
I have read that the Shepherd first carries His sheep in His arms while they are weak and trembling—but afterward, when their strength increases, He sets them down to walk amid the thorns and rocks of the way. Surely He is carrying me in His arms now, weak, unworthy to be called one of His lambs, yet trusting in Him. I am deeply and peacefully happy, believing that “he is my Shepherd, and I shall not want.”
—Journal, 1851
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).

Two Options For A Follower Of Christ

 

As a follower of Christ, I have two options as to how I will live my life:

1. By the “clock” — That is, manage my life by such external forces as my

Commitments

Appointments

Schedule

Goals

Activities

2. By the “compass” — That is, lead my life by such internal values as my

Calling

Vision

Values

Mission

Direction

Our struggles come when we sense a gap between the clock and the compass; when what we do doesn’t contribute to the values we hold most dear. To help determine whether you are a slave to the clock or are guided by the compass, take a few minutes to prayerfully evaluate and answer the following questions:

  • What is my calling in life?
  • What is my vision?
  • What are my core values?
  • What is my mission in life?
  • What is my direction?
  • Can I defend how I answered the above questions Biblically?

It is God’s intention that we are guided primarily by our inner “compass” when it is based on the leading of the Spirit in accordance with the truth and authority of God’s Word:

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposely and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 – Amplified)

QUESTION: If your life is managed primarily by the “clock,” rather than led by the “compass,” what changes do you need to make at this time?

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

Leadership Or Servanthood?

 

There are some “Leadership Conference” and the turnout is surprisingly high. The term “leadership” kind of titillates your ego, doesn’t it? Interesting, is it not, that Christ had little to say about leadership, but spoke profusely on servanthood. For example,

Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44b, 45) (John 12:26; 13:2-17)

Dr. R. Edmund understood the Biblical perspective on leadership and servanthood in stating that as Christian educators and disciplers “our job is to train servants. It is Gods responsibility to raise up leaders.

We often find the idea of “servanthood” similar to a chicken bone wedged in our throat because:

  • e don’t like to be treated like a servant. Yet, we like to be known as one: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18)
  • We don’t like to serve when the visible results are meager or nonexistent: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) (1 Thessalonians 3:5)
  • We don’t like to be taken for granted: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.‘” (Luke 17:10)
  • We don’t like to be maligned, misunderstood, or judged for our efforts: “As servants of God…: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 5) (1 Corinthians 4:13)
  • We don’t like what it costs us in terms of time, resources, comfort or safety: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtainsalvation… ” (2 Timothy 2:10a, c) (1 Corinthians 9:19-24; 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 11:23-29)

Christ’s true ungrudging toilers anticipate the day when He will utter to them,

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!‘” (Matthew 25:21b) (2 Corinthians 5:9)

How Lasting Are Your Investments?

 

I normally try to be original, to write my own blog, but honestly, I am so touched by the writing of John G Butler that it seems a good idea to let you benefit as well. Money is always a sensitive topic, we think we always need a bit more in case of bad days. And there is wisdom in that way of thinking; yet, we also have to look at life with an eternal view. Here is what Butler have to say about investment.

As an old man, Solomon agonized over the futility of his investments:

When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sunSo I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to meA chasing after the wind… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17)

Do your investments parallel Solomon’s? Or are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity? If you want:

A one year return on your investment, plant grain.

A ten year return on your investment, plant a tree.

An eternal return on your investment, plant people.

It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass awayand the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Can we, therefore, grasp the fact that only God, His Word, and people are eternal?

God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (2 Peter 3:8) (See Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:21)

His Word: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) (See Psalm 119:152, 160; Matthew 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)

People: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (See Matthew 25:46; Romans 2:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)

Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.

QUESTIONS: As you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them? Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your predetermined schedule?

I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.