God First

Am I ready to love God above everything else? Above my passions, my possessions, even my own family? Here is an excellent devotion written by
Hannah Whitall Smith. It reminds me of the story when God ask Abraham to offer his own son Isaac (Genesis 22).

The Lord has shown me another step. Today the question has been presented to me whether I would be willing to lose my darling child, my little daughter Mary, for the sake of the revelation of the Lord Jesus Himself to me. It was a battle, but my Saviour has triumphed. It came simply to this point, Would I keep my daughter, and remain a cold and lukewarm Christian all my life, living at a distance from my Saviour, and unbaptized by His Spirit; or, would I give her up, that I might see Him in His beauty, and know Him to dwell in my heart in all His fullness.
Thanks be unto His Name, He has worked in me to choose the latter! I desire Him even more than I desire my precious, my darling daughter! And now surely the last link to earth is broken, for, without my daughter, life would be desolate indeed. I am wholly the Lord’s now.
Oh what hinders Him from blessing me! Still I wait and pray that He will reveal Himself that He will baptize me with the Holy Ghost!
—Journal, April 22, 1868

Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

You could also leave your comments at john@cafegospel.me

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).

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).

Prayerful Meditation on The Scriptures

I personally enjoy Prayerful meditation on the Scriptures. The rewards are very real. It’s a channel used by the Holy Spirit to teach us deep lesson. Dwight Hill in his book ‘Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals’. offer five suggestions.

  1. Meditation on the Scriptures should not be viewed as a method or system, but as an attitude: Faith, openness, reverence, expectation, and supplication.

This people draw near to me with their wordsbut they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for me consists of traditions learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13 nasb)

  1. Meditation can actually be quite difficult at times. Thus, we should not judge its value on how

Let me understand the teachings of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.” (Psalm 119:27)

  1. It is only if we have a heart fixed on obeying God without reservation that a little effort goes a long way. When we are resisting Him through disobedience or compromise, no amount of effort can produce the desired result.

I have more understandingfor I obey your precepts.” (Psalm 119:100)

  1. In our pride, we don’t want to be beginners. In truth, we will never be anything but beginners. Given the challenge in learning to effectively utilize meditation for spiritual growth, we would do well to recognize the need for a mature mentor.

Whatever you have learned or receivedfrom me, or seen in me – put into practice.” (Philippians 4:9)

  1. Often, what first seemed easy and rewarding suddenly becomes utterly impossible. We struggle with inner confusion, coldness, and lack of confidence. We find concentration difficult. Our imagination and emotions wander – or run wild. We often feel dry and desolate. Repugnant fantasies buried deep within us take over. We totally lose interest in spiritual matters.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I doFor what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15, 19)

So don’t give up, because God promises you that “the path of righteous people is like the light of dawn that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday...” (Proverbs 4:18) (GW)

 

 

DISCOURAGMENT vs SELF-ABSORPTION

DISCOURAGMENT vs SELF-ABSORPTION

Let say a person involve in her Christian ministry come to you and say that he thinks he should take a Sabbatical from her ministry because feeling tired or unmotivated any longer.

What would be your answer? The natural answer would be, ‘yes, I understand, you been involved for many years, a little break would not hurt. Unfortunately, rarely did I saw these people getting involved again.

What would be a more Biblical way to answer them?

Lately, I was greatly encouraged by John Piper counsel. He wrote, “We find ourselves not energized for any great cause, but always thinking about the way to maximize our leisure and escape pressure.” The problem is not exhaustion cause by the work, but a person can gradually become so SELF-ABSORPTION that he doesn’t have any resources for God’s work. Isaiah 58: 10-11 mention when people focus on helping others they will be “like a well-watered garden”. Jesus also mentions “rivers of living water that will flow out of the individual life.” God has made us to flourish by being spent for others, not on ourselves. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Pipers add, “My point is that one of the causes of some people’s darkness is a slowly creeping self-absorption and small-mindedness.” [1]

Before you feel like taking a sabbatical take time to examine what motivate you.

[1] John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 227.

Loving the Scriptures

An anonymous Christian said one day “When I was filled with the Spirit, I loved the Scriptures so much that if I could have gotten more of the Word of God inside of me by eating it, I would have eaten the Book. I literally would have taken and eaten it—leather and everything—if I could have gotten more of the Book inside my heart.”

Well, you don’t get it by eating it, but the Word of God is sweet to the Spirit-filled person because the Spirit wrote the Scriptures. The spirit of the world does not appreciate the Scriptures—it is the Spirit of God who gives appreciation of the Scriptures. One little flash of the Holy Spirit will give you more inward, divine illumination on the meaning of the text than all the commentators that ever commented.

It 1727 the Moravians who were quiet people, like you and me, but they waited and prepared their hearts, and one morning, suddenly, that which they called “a sense of the living nearness of the Savior, instantaneously bestowed,” came upon them.

Now, when the Holy Spirit is allowed to come with particular intimacy in a human soul, He never talks about Himself, but always about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Count Zinzendorf wrote that the small group of 75 German Christians arose and went out that building so happy and joyful that they did not know whether they were on earth or had gone on to heaven. The historian says that, as a result of that experience, within twenty short years those Spirit-filled Moravian Christians did more for world missions than the entire Church in all of its parts had done in 200 years. It made missionaries of them.

The New Testament speaks of the sense of “wonder” among the early Christians. The Church in our day seems to have lost this. I remember that Dr. R.R. Brown, of Omaha, once said to me, “God is so good to me that it frightens (amaze) me!”[1]

[1] A. W. Tozer, The Counselor: Straight Talk About the Holy Spirit from a 20th Century Prophet (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 1993), 149.

What is the Gospel of God?

In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God. In the fullness of time, men rejected and crucified Him. On the cross, He bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead. This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God. Forty days after the resurrection, the Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all. There, in the presence of God, He represents His people and makes requests to God on their behalf. All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves upon Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile unto Himself.This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son