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Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).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

What happened to meeting with God?

Am I a religious person or am I seeking a relationship with God?

The author A.W. Tozer wrote, “From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum (man’s spirit) by the Spirit of God.” When Adam and Eve disobey God in the Garden of Eden, something regrettable took place. Eloquently Tozer wrote, “At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith.”

The Good News is that it is still possible to restore our lost relationship with God. Jesus Himself said “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). When a person “open the door” to Christ, He is invited into someone inner sanctum, the far-in hidden center of man’s being; then a miracle takes place, it is called the <new birth>. How does the new birth take place? It is operative by the Holy Spirit; the “divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. The apostle Paul add, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “the Spirit itself witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:9, 16). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such.

What happened to meeting with God? Did you take the time this morning to meet with God? “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Breakfast will feed your body, but what about your far-in hidden center? Don’t be content by reading a little devotional, instead take time to meet with God!