Deliverance in Jesus

What is the secret of peace and victory? Jesus said, “Without me,  ye can do nothing.” Hannah Whitall Smith wrote,

There is a deliverance! Paul knew it, and answered—“I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” George Fox knew it, and said—“I clearly saw that all was done and to be done in and by Christ; and that He conquers and destroys this tempter the devil, and all his works, and is atop of him. My living faith was raised that I saw all was done by Christ the life, and my belief was in Him.” Thousands of Christians in all ages have known it, and have rejoiced to testify of its wondrous blessedness. For this deliverance is in Jesus.
His death purchased for us not only the forgiveness of our sins but also victory over them, not only freedom from their guilt but freedom from their power as well. And faith in Him will bring us much besides salvation from eternal condemnation. It is because we try to live our lives apart from Him that we fail so in the living. We realize that He gives us life in the first place, but we do not see that He also must live it for us. We trust Him for the forgiveness of our sins, but we trust ourselves for the daily conquering of them. It is true we pray for divine aid, and for the influences of the Holy Spirit, but still our thought is that they are to be given to us, and we are to fight and to conquer.
This is the secret of our failures. For the truth is we are as completely helpless in the matter of sanctification as in the matter of justification. We are as thoroughly dependent upon Christ for the control of an irritable temper as for the pardon of all our sins. Christ must be all in all to us every moment. “Without me,” He says, “ye can do nothing.” This is the secret of peace and victory.
—Journal, from the first article she ever published, in the Friends Review.
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Sanctification, the Will of God

Three works God does for mankind: Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. Justification is a legual term that declare a person saved by the work of Jesus Christ done on the cross. Sanctification is the process of transforming a sinner into Chrkist image. Glorification will take place after death or at the Rapture. Today we are dealing with the second aspect, how the Holy Spirit work in the life of a saint to make  him become like Christ. I hope you will enjoy Hannah reading.

I realize that Christ dwells in my heart by faith and that He is able and willing to subdue all things to Himself. And with a deep feeling of my own utter weakness and powerlessness to help myself, I give myself into His hands to be dealt with according to His will. If I am to be sanctified, if I am to be preserved blameless and harmless, it must be by the power of God for my own efforts have utterly failed. I believe that it is God’s will that I should be sanctified in that way, and I know He never will cast out any who come to Him. Therefore I believe that He receives me, and that He is working in me now to will and to do of His good pleasure. I believe this simply because of His promises to do just what I am asking Him to do for me, and I know His promises never fail.
As for feeling, I don’t have any. I see no signs of any work of God being wrought in me, but oh, I pray that I will not seek after a sign, but will simply take God at His word and will believe that He is doing what He has promised. Here I will wait and rest.
—Journal, October 22, 1866
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 Holiness

The three stages in Christian life. Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. The day a person trusts Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, that person was declared just in God’s eyes. From then on until death, that person experience Sanctification, this is the work by the Holy Spirit to bring Christlikeness in that person life. The final stage is called Glorification, that will occur only after death. Today meditation concern the second stage called sanctification. The author of today devotion is called Hannah; she is saved, but she still struggles with sin in her life. How does God want us to deal with our temptations?

The Lord has been teaching me in many ways lately about my utter weakness in the presence of temptation. I have grown significantly in knowledge, but I have not grown in grace and feel that I actually don’t have any more power over sin than when I was first converted. This hasn’t made me doubt that I am a child of God, justified and forgiven and a possessor of eternal life and an heir of a heavenly inheritance, but even while I have this assurance and never lose it, I have found that when my heart condemns me I cannot be happy. And lately, I have been led to long for more holiness, for more power over sin, for more uninterrupted communion with God.
But how to get at it I could not tell. Resolutions have proved utterly useless. My own efforts have been worse than useless. My prayers have been in vain, and I have been ready to give up in despair and to conclude that it was not the will of God that I ever should have a complete victory over sin. And yet the Bible presents such a different picture of the Christian life—blameless—harmless—without rebuke—without reproof—with every temptation a way of escape—purified—conformed to the image of Christ—holy as He is holy!
There are some Christians who say that by receiving Christ by faith for our sanctification, just as we received Him by faith for our justification all this work is accomplished—that is, the way of accomplishing it is discovered. The soul sees that Jesus delivered from the power of sin as well as from its guilt, and learns to trust to Him this whole work of keeping from evil, and delivering from the power of temptation. We cease making resolutions or relying on our own efforts after holiness in the slightest degree and we give ourselves up unreservedly to Christ to be dealt with according to His will, believing that He is able and willing to keep us from falling.
And he will do it. Like a week and helpless child we fall back exhausted into His arms and leave all our work and all our cares in His hands. Those who experience this say further that He really does cleanse their hearts from inbred sin, or at least that a work of grace is accomplished in their souls to such a degree that their Christian life thereafter is a triumphant and exalted one.
—Journal, October 18, 1866
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).

Moment by Moment Guidance

We enjoy to be used by God, but sometimes it feels like nothing is happening.  This little devotion was useful enough for me to share with you. I hope that it will also be a blessing for you as it has been for me.

I have been thinking a lot about the subject of guidance, and I am convinced more and more that it requires great simplicity of spirit to be able easily and clearly to discern the Voice that speaks so gently in our hearts. We must be in the hands of God, as Madame Guyon says, something “like a toy in the hands of a child” used or laid aside just as He pleases, brought out to be admired, or hidden away on the shelf, made to serve pleasant uses, or applied to disagreeable ends and, like a toy, careless of our own hopes of judgments, must desire nothing but to fulfill all the good pleasures of His will!
No doubt, if the toy were able to reason, it would often feel that it was used for very useless purposes and would feel that it could arrange far better for itself but the end of a toy is to give pleasure to its possessor and it is of no consequence how this end is attained. So our end, dear Abby, is to please our Lord and Master and to bring glory to His Name, and we have no need to trouble ourselves as to how He brings this about. The realization of this will save us a lot of anxious questioning. Moment by moment we will hang upon His leading, never stopping to reason as to why we should do this or that, never troubled if it seems to produce results, not even anxious if it seems to have been a mistake concerned still only for one thing, and that is to please our Lord now, in the present moment. And having pleased Him, we have nothing more to do with that act.
I do not believe that light is ever promised for a past step, nor for a future one; for God emphatically wants us to live in the present, moment by moment. And so, darling friend, let me beg you to rest quietly in your Saviour feeling your utter helplessness but His infinite strength!
—To Abby, Millville N.J., September 6, 1865
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 Simplicity of Prayer

Hannah Whitall Smith penned these words July 6, 1859. Her subject was on prayer.

I want to realize the simplicity of prayer. I don’t dare look at it as a religious exercise, but rather as a child’s going to a father to get what is needed in answer to prayer.

When we love earthly friends we are not satisfied with only a few minutes together at a time, nor can we learn to know their real character, or appreciate the depths of their nature, if we only have a few passing words with them as we go about our daily routine, even if those passing words should occur every few minutes. Neither can we know God in this way.
How often we say about our earthly friends “I really would like to have a good quiet settled talk with them so that I can really get to know them.” And shouldn’t we feel the same about our Heavenly Friend, that we may really get to know Him?

These thoughts have taught me the importance of the children of God taking time to commune daily with their Father, so that they may get to know His mind, and to understand better what His will is.

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).

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)

 

How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Being a senior this devotion grasps my heart. Will the rest of my life be live in ‘fear’ or ‘faith’? Does God still have significant works for me to do? Let’s see what Dwight Hill had to say on that matters.

Recently I asked a group of businessmen their greatest concern in life. Their answer? Fear:

Of the future, failure, the past, peers, financial ruin, superiors, bad health, the competition, death, personal inadequacies, parents, the rejection of their children, and the unknown.

Aristotle observed the paralyzing effect of fear upon our lives:

“Elderly men… have often been taken in, and often made mistakes. The result is they are sure about nothing and under-do everything. They ‘think’, but they never ‘know’; and because of their hesitation, they always add a ‘possibility’ or a ‘perhaps’, putting everything this way and nothing positively… They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worst construction on everything.”

They are small-minded, because they have been humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or unusual than what will help them to keep aliveTHEY GUIDE THEIR LIVES TOO MUCH BY CONSIDERATIONS OF WHAT IS USEFUL AND TOO LITTLE BY WHAT IS NOBLE[They] lack confidence in the futurepartly because of their cowardice. They live by memory rather than by hope… ”

Obviously, “fear has to do with torment… ” (1 John 4:18b). But the good news is that God offers us deliverance from its bondage,

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

If you are struggling with fear, refuse to allow Satan to gain the upper hand. Claim God’s promises. Memorize, meditate, and appropriate His promises for your life. By so doing, you will put yourself in a position where God can, and will, set you free from the bondage of fear:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32) (See John 8:36; Psalm 119:45; Romans 6:14-18,22; 8:2)

“‘… Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraidfor I myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:10, 11, 14) (See Psalm 27:1, 2; 46:2; 56:3; Isaiah 12:2; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:18)

QUESTION:

How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Paralyzed and diminished by fear?

Or liberated by the promises in God’s Word?

As always, the choice is ours.