Monday, October 31, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 24 - Obeying His Commandments

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.~John 15:10 ESV

Works are an interesting thing.  The human condition is that we take pride in our good works, and we love to be praised for the things we do well, and acknowledged as someone who DOES.   Yet the Bible tells us that all of our works are useless - our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.~ John 3:19

When the sinner contemplates his life, he often thinks..."Look at what I've done.  I'm a good person.  I don't lie or cheat.  I've never murdered anyone.  I'm a great parent, a loving child, a good boss, a great employee."  Yet the gospel states clearly, NOT BY WORKS.

yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. ~Galatians 2:16

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” ~
Galatians 3:10

. . . he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, ~
Titus 3:5

Sinners are without hope, because they cannot keep the commandments.  The Bible teaches us that we must obey God in all things, and it also teaches us that we cannot do so in our own strength.  But this is precisely what the sinner attempts to do.  "I'll live a clean life.  I'll do all sorts of good things."  Just a simple contemplation of one's thought life (never mind one's deeds) reveals that he cannot keep the commandments.

So, works are a great hindrance to the sinner.  He must come to Christ, who did live a perfect life and die the death he deserved, paying the price for sin and opening the way to the Father.  That is the gospel.

Conversely, to the Believer, works are a blessing and a strength.  By works, faith is made perfect.  By works, the union with Christ is cemented, and the soul is established and more deeply rooted in the love of God. (see James 2).   

When a believer learns what it is to abide in Christ, he begins to think, to feel, to will what Jesus thought, felt and willed.  His desire is to be holy like Jesus.  

"To live the life of Christ means to him to be delivered from the life of self; the will of Christ is to him the only path of liberty from the slavery of his own self-will." ~p.146, Abiding in Christ, Chapter 24. (Go here to read online.)

There is no true fellowship with God without delight in His will.  As a believer matures and grows in grace, he begins to see the commandments of God as just as precious as His promises.  Oh, how love I thy law... it is my meditation all the day!

Not Just a Fire Escape

If salvation is just a way of personal safety, an escape from future judgment and the everlasting fire of hell, a sinner can be nonchalant about obedience.  "I'm I can live the way I want to."  If he has that attitude, he ought to examine his "salvation" more closely, because he is in great danger.

True Salvation is Restoration

The true meaning of salvation is a restoration to communion with GOD.  The God who created the universe and walked with our first parents in the Garden desires to walk with His children, even today.  That communion is restored by saving faith in the Son.  True salvation also means the conformity of the sinner to Christ... we are made Christ-like as we abide in His love.

Christ was Obedient

Christ Himself, in order to abide in His Father's love, was obedient.  In the life He led on earth, obedience was a solemn reality.

"The dark and awful power that led humankind to revolt from God tempted Him too.  To Him, as with all men, its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray.  He suffered, being tempted.  He spoke very distinctly of not seeking to do His own will.  This was a surrender He had to make continually.  He made the keeping of the Father's commandments the distinct object of His life, and so did He abide in His love.  He plainly tells us, "I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things.  And He who sent Me is with Me.  The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." (John 8:28-29)." ~Abiding in Christ, p.147

Sign of a Spiritual Life

Keeping His commandments is a sure sign of the life He inspires.  If we love God and abide in Him, we'll be obedient.

Keep His Commandments

  • Study the Word to understand the Lord's will
  • Meditate on His precepts
  • Pray fervently to discover every sin
  • Mortify the flesh - yield yourself in complete surrender to obey all that the Lord has said
Be careful about disobedience, even in the little things.

  • dulls the conscience
  • darkens the soul
  • deadens our spiritual energies
You are a soldier of Christ.  Ask for nothing but the orders of your Commander.  Each new surrender and sacrifice will lead you to a deeper union with your Saviour.  If you keep His commandments, you will abide in Him, just as He kept the Father's commandments and lived abiding in His love.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessings of This Day of Rest

  1. Studying Genesis with the Family
  2. Praying together
  3. Lunch made by daughter
  4. Supper made by daughter
  5. Floor cleaned by son
  6. Sunshine
  7. Wood stove
  8. Fluffy White Dog
  9. Fancy new phone
  10. Shoulder and neck massage
It's the little things that make a house a home, and a bunch of related sinners a family.  We had a restful day today.  Such a blessing when the days seem to pile one on top of the other with unrelenting pressure.  


Instead of complaining at his lot, a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. Instead of greedily desiring something more than the supply of his present need, he rejoices that God still cares for him. Such an one is "content" with such as he has (Heb. 13:5). —Arthur W. Pink

Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition. —Jeremiah Burroughs

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Take a minute, and listen to this Grace Gem.

Someone I love very much has told me that to consider how much Jesus loves me seems to be a bit man-centered.  In my opinion, it highlights the grace of God.  How can a God of infinite majesty and perfection love a person like me without limit and without measure?  Only by His grace.

That's why it's been called "Amazing".  God's grace is astonishing, unfathomable, incomprehensible.  It's hard for us to love the people we most love in this world.  Someone disappoints us, and we lash out.  Someone cheats us, and we seek vengeance.  We like movies that show the victim getting back at the offender, because there's a sense of justice fulfilled when we see vengeance take place.

The reason we have a sense of justice is that we've been created in the image of God, and He is just.  He will exact vengeance on His enemies, don't doubt that for a minute.  Yet, out of His infinite wisdom, He has chosen to turn some of His enemies into His friends.  He has chosen to invite some into His family to be adopted as Sons and Daughters of the King.  Not because any were good enough, or deserved a place in the Family of God, but by His Amazing Grace.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. ~Titus 3:3; But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:4-7 ESV
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Good Questions to Ponder (From Vintage Jesus)

1. What am I most afraid of?
2. What do I long for most passionately?
3. Where do I run for comfort?
4. What do I complain about the most?
5. What angers me most?
6. What makes me happiest?
7. How do I explain myself to other people?
8. What has caused me to be angry with God?
9. What do I brag about?
10. What do I want to have more than anything else?
11. What do I sacrifice the most for in my life?
12. If I could change one thing in my life what would that be?
13. Whose approval am I seeking?
14. What do I want to control/master?
15. What comfort do I treasure the most?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Abide as Christ Abides in the Father - Day 23

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.(John 15:9-10 ESV)

Imagine how confused the disciples of Christ must have been as they thought about abiding in Him, then began  to take in His statement that He was going to die.  How would they be able to abide in Him if He were gone away?  He gave them His life as an example - the example of His abiding in the Father.

Jesus' life in the Father is the law of their life in Him!

As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.(John 6:57 ESV)
  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:21; John 17:22-26 ESV)
Jesus' abiding in the Father was possible because they were ONE - one in life, and one in love.

"Though dwelling here on earth, He knew that He was one with the Father, that the Father's life was in Him, and His love on Him.  Without this knowledge, abiding in the Father and His love would have been utterly impossible for Christ."~ Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray p.140

We, too, must keep this knowledge at the forefront of our minds.

"Know that you are one with Him-one in the unity of nature. By His birth He became man and took on your nature so that He might be one with you. By your new birth you become one with Him and are made partaker of His divine nature."~ Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray p.140


"In His life of humiliation on earth He tasted the blessing and strength of knowing Himself to be the object of an infinite love, and He dwelt in it all through His days."~  Andrew Murray p.140


Believer, you are One with Him. Yield yourself to be loved by Jesus. Abide in His love.

"I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." -John 15:10

Jesus lived a life of subjection and dependence, yet was most blessed!

Dependence, subjection, and self-sacrifice are the blessed path of life. Jesus was not afraid of losing anything by giving up all to the Father. He knows the Father loves Him and has His best interest at heart. As He completely depends on the Father and submits to His will, He knows the Father will share all He possesses with His beloved Son.

This is the pattern of a life in Christ.

Without Me you can do nothing.~ John 15:5 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:15
We learn to glory in weakness, to delight in hardships, for
"When I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

"The apostle Paul rises above the ordinary tone in which so many Christians speak of their weakness.  They are seemingly content to merely tolerate their state, while Paul sees much more; he has learned from Christ that in the life of divine love the emptying of self and the sacrifice of our will is the surest way to have all we could wish or want." ~Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray, p. 141




Jesus gave Himself wholly to the Father's will, and the Father crowned Him with glory and honour.

In the same way, as we trust ourselves and out interests to His love, caring only for His will and honour, exercising absolute dependence on Him in all things, He will do for us what His Father did for Him!

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 ESV)

By His grace, He  

  • acknowledges us as His representatives
  • entrusts us with His power 
  • admits us to His counsels
  • allows our intercession to influence His church and world
  • makes us the vehicles of His authority
How can you really understand and appropriate into your life the fact that you will abide in the love of Christ in the same way Christ lived in His Father?

Be quiet before God. Gaze upon Christ's life in the Father.  Be still and listen.

Christ was the revelation of the Father on earth.
Believers are the revelation of Christ on earth. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


We visited our sons' church today.  It's amazing that we can walk into a church we've only attended once before, and feel completely at home and welcomed.

The praise and worship time was truly uplifting.  One of the gentleman played the violin beautifully.  It's rare to hear the violin being played so masterfully in a church setting, and I found my heart singing praises to God as I worshiped in song.

This is the thing that impressed me the most: I was among family members.  I was with fellow Christians on the journey towards the celestial city.  There was a familiarity that is only experienced in interacting with other believers.  It's a recognition that this is my brother; this is my sister.

In the book of John, Jesus describes Himself in many ways - the Bread of Life, Living Water, the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth, the Gate, and the Good Shepherd.  In the beginning of John 10, He rebukes the Pharisees who have been challenging His leadership, saying He must have a demon.  The listeners must have been confused, wondering who to believe.  The Pharisees, who had the appearance of being spiritual leaders, well respected in the community, or this obscure man who taught so differently, speaking in allegory and common words in order to explain the deep truths of God.

Truly, truly.  Jesus often began His teaching with these words after interactions with the Pharisees.  He was saying in effect, "the religious authorities have told you something, but here's the truth.  Listen to Me."

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
(John 10:1-6 ESV)
Someone who does not enter the sheepfold by the door is a thief and a robber.  A thief is someone who sneaks in, climbing over the wall with stealth, intending to steal and harm.  A robber is a step more violent than a thief - he does it all by force.  The Shepherd goes through the door legitimately, because he has a right to be there.

Shepherds in the middle east would call their sheep by name.  The sheep would respond only to their own Shepherd.  Even though there were multiple flocks inside the sheepfold, the sheep would only follow their own Shepherd, listening for His voice and following Him wherever He led.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for His sheep.  He speaks to us though His word, leading and protecting us at all times.  Yet we must be on guard, especially in this postmodern age where we are taught that there are no absolute truths, that morals vary according to cultural norms, and that those who think they actually know the truth are arrogant human beings. Even some churches would hold to the opinion that believers must mold themselves to the culture in order to reach the people.  It's the same lie that Satan tried with Eve in the Garden of Eden... "Hath God said?"

  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV)

We are dumb, defenseless sheep who require constant oversight, leading and rescuing.

That's why we need a Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd leads His sheep with His voice - the Bible, God's Word, the Truth.

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.  

There is no safer place for a Christian to be than to be listening to the Voice of His Shepherd, His Saviour, Jesus.

Firm in Him.

Friday, October 21, 2011

You Are Loved!

You are loved!
As one of His redeemed ones     
you are His delight,
                        all His desire is to you,
with the longing of a love that is stronger than death,
                            which many waters cannot quench.
His heart yearns for you,
                 seeking your fellowship and your love.
If it were needed, 
He would die again to possess you.

As the Father loved the Son,
and could not live without Him -
                                this is how Jesus loves you.     
His life is bound up in yours;
                        You are to Him
inexpressibly more indispensable 
              and precious
                                        than you can ever know.
You are one with Him.
"As the Father loved Me, I have also loved you."
What love! ~ Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray, p.134

Abiding in Christ - Day 22 - Continue in His Love

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;continue in My love. ~ John 15:9

Think about this for a moment.  Read Chapter 22 for yourself.

Jesus loves the redeemed sinner in the same way the Father loves Him.

Love needs an OBJECT

  • to give itself away to
  • in whom it can lose itself
  • with whom it can make itself one
Because God is love, there must be a Father and a Son.  The Father's love to the Son is that divine passion that finds delight in the Son, and declares

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. ~Matthew 3:17

Divine Love is a burning fire, with one object and one joy:  the only begotten Son!  The astounding thing for me as a believer is that the Father's love for His Son mirrors the love of Christ for me.

As one of His redeemed ones you are His delight,
and all His desire is to you,
with the longing of a love that is stronger than death,
and which many waters cannot quench.
His heart yearns for you,
seeking your fellowship and your love.
If it were needed, He would die again to possess you.
As the Father loved the Son,
and could not live without Him -
this is how Jesus loves you.
His life is bound up in yours;
you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious
than you can ever know.
You are one with Him.
"As the Father loved Me, I have also loved you."
What love! ~ Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray, p.134

This love of Jesus is
  • an eternal love
  • a perfect love
  • a gentle and most tender love
  • an unchangeable love
With tender compassion, He bows to our weakness.
With inconceivable patience, He bears with our slowness;
With the gentlest loving-kindness, He meets our fears and failures.

Because of this love, we yield ourselves wholly to abide in Him.

God's love supplies the motive.  Just look at Jesus, the Crucified Love who proved the reality of His affection by giving His life for you.

God's love supplies the measure.  Just look at the unspeakable privilege of being loved with such love that passes knowledge.  (Ephesians 3:18-19)

God's love supplies the means.  Just look at the intense and burning passion of divine love. We love Him because He first loved us.  We abide in Him because of this amazing love. 

"Surely all my unworthiness and frailty can be no hindrance to such love."

  • It is stronger than my weakness.
  • It will hold me in its arms.
  • It will allow me to wander no more.

Divine love has given me faith - that faith by which

  • UTTER SINFULNESS casts itself into the Arms of Love to be saved
  • UTTER WEAKNESS entrusts itself to be kept and made strong.

What Infinite Love!

Love with which the Father loved the Son.
Love with which the Son loves me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 21 - So you Will Have Power in Prayer

If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. ~John 15:7

Prayer - a means of union with Christ.
Prayer - a fruit of union with Christ.

A believer who takes the time in secret prayer to wait on God, to pour out his heart to the Lord, will grow strong in Christ.  This is a means, a way that God causes His children to grow in grace.

It is as impossible to live and prosper spiritually without prayer — as it is to live and prosper physically without food. Those who enjoy a close walk with God and have power with him — are those who pray. Natural abilities and intellect can never supply any lack in spirituality. Unless you are spiritual — you are of but little use to God; and to be spiritual — you must live much in prayer.

It is not those who are on their knees the oftenest or the longest — who do the most praying. Some may pray more real prayer in one hour — than others in two or three hours. Too many people leave the door open. Prayer that feeds the soul, must be offered with the door shut. "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret." Matthew 6:6. God is in secret. He is hidden from the world. The world does not see him, neither knows him. You can never reach God in your prayers — unless you shut out the world. Shutting the door means something more than closing the door of your literal closet. People may enter the literal closet and close the door — and yet have the world in their hearts and thoughts. Such have not closed the door in the true sense.

In the public assembly you must enter your closet when you pray, and shut the door — or your prayers avail not with God. You must talk from your heart — to the heart of God. Those assembled may hear your words — but they do not know the secret. The secret is between your heart and the heart of God. You scarcely hear your words. You know and hear more of the speaking of your heart. There is a blessing in such praying; there is a joy that cannot be told. Such prayer feeds the soul upon the divine life, and lifts us in realms of holiness and happiness. Thank God for the sweet privilege of secret fellowship with him. O beloved, when you pray, enter into your closet — and be sure to close the door!

Prayer is one of the primary channels of influence by which, through us as workers together with God, the blessings of Christ's redemption are dispensed to the world.  It is a fruit of the Spirit.

He who truly abides in Christ knows what it is to pray fervently.  He also knows his prayer is effectual.  He knows his prayers are accepted and heard, because of his life's union with his Saviour.  Our prayers ascend as the prayers of Jesus; the Spirit groans within.

As we abide in Christ, we pray according to His will.

  • our self-will is kept down.
  • our thoughts are brought into captivity.
  • we become like-minded with Christ
  • we search our hearts deeply, making sure our surrender is complete
As we abide in Christ, we pray only to seek the glory of God.

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:13 ESV)

Christ's one thought, one desire and plea, one intercession - that He would glorify the Father!

Father, glorify Your name! ~John 12:28
As we abide in Christ, we pray in Jesus' name.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Colossians 3:17

As we abide in Christ, our faith in answered prayer grows stronger.

  • fast and pray
  • be humble; have a spiritual mind
  • obey whole-heartedly
  • wait on God

The secret of the prayer of faith
is the life of faith -
the life that abides in Christ alone.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 20 - That You Bear Much Fruit

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
                                  ~John 15:5, 8

"As surely as the branch abiding in a fruitful vine bears fruit, so surely, much more surely, will a soul abiding in Christ with His fullness of blessing be made a blessing."                                                                  ~p. 122, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray

Christ, the Heavenly Vine, has taken me as His branch, and He supplies everything I need to bear fruit.  As I abide in Him, I will grow in Love and Compassion toward sinners.

This is not my natural state.  By nature, the heart is selfish.  Look at a baby that has just come into the world.  "Feed me!  Change me!  Look at me!  Aren't I adorable?'  The natural state of man is self-centered.

In the spiritual realm, we're much the same as a baby.  At the beginning we're little children, and we are naturally concerned about our walk with Christ, our growth in grace, our holiness.  We mature to become young men, who are who are more aware of the needs of others and the demands of a Holy God.  But as we grow and mature in Christ, we become more focused on God, and less concerned about self.

The two great commandments are to Love God and to Love our Neighbour.

When we abide in Christ, it makes us feel the wretched condition of sinners still in darkness , and what dishonour is done to God by their alienation from Him. It is our joy to be used to reach others for Christ!

Souls are not saved because of man's efforts.  It is the work of the Spirit.  Abiding in Christ gives new courage and strength for the work.  He uses weak instruments like me; He works through me with His hidden, glorious power.

"The great secret of abiding in Christ is the deep conviction that we are nothing, and He is everything. ~p.124

He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. ~John 14:12


Two lessons:

Lesson One:  If we are abiding in Jesus, let us begin to work.

  • First influence those around us in our daily life.  Where has God placed you?
  • accept joyfully our holy calling to serve.  How can you serve Him?
  • purpose to make the holiness and gentleness of Jesus shine.  How can you reflect His image?
  • offer ourselves to Him for practical expressions of mercy. How can you demonstrate His love?
TO BE LED BY HIM. ~p. 125.

An elderly gentleman spoke on Sunday, describing the Christian as a lamp that shines forth the light of Jesus. We say, "turn on the light", because it is the light we want.  The lamp is just the instrument that delivers the light.  In the same way, we are simply to be available for Jesus to shine through us.  

Lesson Two:  If you work, abide in Christ.
  • depend on His strength - You can do nothing apart from Him.
  • pray more; pray constantly - It is the Lifeline.
  • be watchful that you do not work in your own strength
  • offer every part of your nature unreservedly to Him to sanctify it for Himself

The same elderly gentleman was sharing that as he grows in grace, he understands more of what it means to be crucified with Christ.  (Galatians 2:20) Christ lives in me.  That means He does what He wills through me, and all I have to do is submit.  The gentleman was telling about an encounter he recently had in a motel pool. He was getting a bit of exercise, and got chatting to two young women, one of whom was to be married.  He chatted with the women for a bit, telling them that marriage is a good thing, designed by God.  He told them more of God, and shared the gospel, then asked them if he could pray for them.  He stood there, in the pool, praying for these women.  

But get this:  He didn't really want to do it!  He didn't want to embarrass himself.   He didn't know what they'd think or what they'd say.  Yet he was compelled to speak, and he offered himself to be used as an instrument of grace in the lives of two young women in a motel pool.  God alone knows what fruit will come of it.  All the gentleman had to do was to depend on His strength, and offer himself unreservedly to Him.

To be a branch bearing much fruit-nothing less, nothing more-
may this be our only joy!

St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of redeemed souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;              
write them on the tablet of your heart. 
So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man.
(Proverbs 3:1-2; Proverbs 3:3-4 ESV)
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; 
keep my commandments and live; 
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 
bind them on your fingers; 
write them on the tablet of your heart. 

(Proverbs 7:1-2; Proverbs 7:3 ESV)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 19 - In Affliction & Trial

Every branch that bears fruit He prunes,that it may bear more fruit. ~ John 15:2

Now we come to the chapter that is perhaps the hardest to understand for a new Christian.  I do remember that when the Lord opened my eyes and brought me out of darkness, I was delighted with the fact that I was a child of God.  My heavenly Father was in control.  He made the world, and everything in it.  He would let nothing bad happen to me, or so I thought.

Very soon, bad things started to happen.  Our car broke down.  My husband was injured at work.  He lost his job.  We had to move to a new town, where we knew nobody.  If God were so good, why were all of these things happening?  These trials shook me to the core.

God did not leave me wallowing in self-pity, however.  He gently and patiently taught me this truth:  I was a branch in the Vine, and every branch that would bear fruit MUST BE pruned, in order to bear more fruit.

Andrew Murray explains that of all the plants that grow on the earth, the grape vine is the perfect picture of the image of man in his relationship to God.

No other plant

  • has such fruit and juice (full of spirit, alive, stimulating, sweet)
  • has such a natural tendency to evil (growth that gets woody and worthless)
  • needs pruning unsparingly and unceasingly
  • is dependent on cultivation and training
  • yields a richer reward

"In this dark world, often so full  of suffering and sorrow for believers, we can take comfort in His words about pruning, knowing that He means it for our good."~p.116, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray

When pain comes, what do we do?  Run away.  Flee.  Avoid the pain.  Escape the trial.  Yet the Father's purpose is to teach us through the trial to Abide In Christ.

"Through suffering, the Father leads us to enter more deeply into the love of Christ."

Our hearts are prone to wander.  Prosperity and enjoyment too easily satisfy.  They dull our spiritual perception.  They make us unfit for communion with God.

So what does God do?  In His mercy, He afflicts us. He makes the world seem dark and unattractive.  He leads us to see more deeply the depth of our depravity.

What should we do in response to affliction?  Pray.  Pray for grace to see the Father pointing us to His beloved Son.  In every trial, great or small, pray for grace to see.

Pray for grace  to see
He means the best for me.
The trials He doth send,
Will bless me in the end.
He points me to His Son,
The Only, Holy One,
And makes me to Him flee -
My Hope is found in Thee! ~ J.Billson

God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. ~Hebrews 12:10


Instead of responding well, the carnal Christian may become

  • impatient
  • angry
  • self-centered
  • frustrated
  • exasperated
  • hopeless
  • whiny, disappointed, discouraged
  • faithless 
John Piper wrote an article called, "Don't Waste Your Cancer".  He wisely outlines ways to use this terrible affliction as a means to become more Christlike.  That's God's purpose in any trial - to produce in us more Christlikeness.  This doesn't mean He leaves us comfortless.  On the contrary, there is no Comforter like our Beautiful God, Who comforts us in all of our afflictions.

  • He shows us His heart.
  • He reveals His love.
  • He comforts us with tenderness and compassion, like an attentive mother with a distraught child.

What I have discovered in my own life is that it isn't the huge trials that wear me down.  The car accidents, the cancer diagnosis, the child-out-of-wedlock, the $7,000 repair bills, coming close to death in labour.  Those big things are obviously out of my control, and what can I do but throw myself on the mercy of God?  The Big Trials have been times when I have had a deepening of my relationship with Christ.  I've learned confidence in Him, and I've experienced close fellowship with the God Who satisfies.  

What is harder by for for me are the little trials, the everyday troubles that wear me down bit by bit.  Difficulties with relationships, misunderstandings.  Physical pain that never leaves.  Worry about finances that seems to never end.  Living in the same old house with the same old mice (or their grandchildren) gnawing in the same old walls.  The little things - the little foxes - spoil the vines.

It's in the day to day little afflictions that I must learn to abide.  That's where I can become impatient, angry, self-centered and whiny.  That's where I need to renew my mind.

Rest in Christ in times of affliction, whether the trial is great or small.  God will produce good things in your life, if you trust Him in this.

  • You'll bear more fruit.
  • You'll desire to live more for His glory.
  • You'll sympathize more with the misery of others.
  • You'll yield yourself more to His will.
  • You'll desire ONE THING: to make Him known to others.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Abiding in Christ - In Stillness of Soul - Day 18

In repentance and rest in your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. ~Isaiah 30:15


Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. ~Psalm 37:7

Truly my soul silently waits for God. ~Psalm 62:1

There is a false sort of thinking that many fall prey to:
        Man must do his utmost;
              Only then can he expect God to do His part.

But the Scriptures say,

  • Be still.
  • Do nothing.
  • Rest.
  • Wait.
The only true co-operation between a believer and the Lord Jesus Christ is based on SUBORDINATION.

We must cultivate stillness of soul.  We must learn to have a teachable spirit.

Like three quiet women of the Word, named Mary:

In her whose only answer to the most wonderful revelation ever made to human being was, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word"; and of whom, as mysteries multiplied around her, it is written: "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."

And in her who "sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word," and who showed, in the anointing Him for His burial, how she had entered more deeply into the mystery of His death than even the beloved disciple.

And in her, too, who sought her Lord in the house of the Pharisee, with tears that spake more than words. Abiding in Christ, by Andrew Murray. Chapter 18.

It is a soul that is silent before God that is best prepared for knowing Jesus.

How do you learn to be silent before God?

  • acknowledge your ignorance - you have no idea what God is doing.
  • agree that you are impotent - you are powerless to effect change.
  • open your ears, and listen - sit at the feet of the Saviour, reading, waiting.
  • bring your thoughts into subjection - take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
  • prepare your heart to wait on God - Be still.  Know.  He is God.

Hindrances to Having the Stillness of Soul

  • entering too deeply into the interests of this world.  Be heavenly minded.  Lay up your treasure there!  Live your life like you are passing through.  This world is NOT your home!
  • not being self-controlled in regard to things not absolutely imposed on us by God.  What does it matter to you if the founder of Apple died?  What is it to you that there are disasters abounding, injustices aplenty, sicknesses and sorrows in abundance?  Take care of the little things that God has given you to care for.  They are enough.
  • needless entertainment.  Computer games; the internet; television; videos.  Don't waste your life!
  • being too busy to stop, to rest, to wait.  Slow down.  
  • worrying about earthly things - what you will wear, etc. Your Father knows.
  • having a spirit of fear.  Be still and know that I am God.
The heart occupied with its own plans and efforts for doing God's will and securing the blessing of abiding in Jesus will fail continually. ~p.114, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray.

You can't make yourself do God's will.  You can't "buck up and do better".  You cannot pull yourself up by your bootstraps and live the Christian life on your own steam.  The only way to grow in grace, to learn to abide in Christ, to be filled with the Holy Spirit... the only way is to wait.



Hush your soul in the Presence of the Eternal Majesty.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keith & Kristyn Getty - Holy Spirit Living Breath of God

Abiding in Christ - Day 17 - Through the Holy Spirit

The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you... and just as it h as taught you, you will abide in Him.~1 John 2:27

We must LIVE and EXPERIENCE truth in order to KNOW it.  We do not first understand spiritual things in the intellect, then gradually experience these truths.  Just the opposite: We live them, we experience them, then we know them.

You do not realize now what I am doing,but LATER you will understand. ~John 13:7

There is a habit of mind and life that precedes the understanding of the truth.

First follow, then know.

Faith trusts the working of the Spirit unseen in the deep recesses of the inner life.                       ~Andrew Murray, Chapter 17, Abiding in Christ.

By the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are ONE.
By the Holy Spirit, there is a bond of fellowship between believers.  They are ONE.
And by the Holy Spirit, there is a bond of fellowship between Christ and individual believers.

By the Holy Spirit, we are one with Christ.

Do you believe this?

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit's indwelling?  He lives IN you.
Do you believe in His constant presence?  He guides you.
Do you believe that He is always at work?

Wait and pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • He guides our will
  • He energizes our faith
  • He gives us peace and joy and understanding.

It is impossible to live a life of full abiding in Christ without being filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • Take time for daily prayer.
  • Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by lack of faith.
  • Honour Him by confidently trusting that He is working within.
  • Seek your nourishment in the Word of God. 
The Spirit of God is within the Believer,
with secret but divine POWER.

Trust Him!  Rejoice!
Never hinder Him by unbelief. 

The Holy Spirit was given for this one purpose--that the glorious redemption and life in Christ might with divine power be conveyed and communicated to us.~Andrew Murray

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 16 - Forsaking All for Him

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.~Philippians 3:8-9

Life is a taking in and giving out.
Life is a receiving and restoring.

We take in nourishment and give to others in the form of work.
We take in knowledge and give out thoughts and feelings, prose and poetry.

"In the healthy exercise of giving and taking is all the enjoyment of life."                                ~p.98, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray.

The Bible is full of paradox.

  • Sell all to secure the treasure.
  • Lose your life to find it!
  • Forsake all; receive a hundred-fold.
In order to have a new life in Christ, we must forsake sin.  In order to become wholly a servant of righteousness, we need to be purged.  In order to gain the presence and feel the love of Christ, we must surrender sin.  We must give up unrighteousness, but more than that, give up self-righteousness.  

Instead of absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit's leading, 
                          SELF is expected to do a work it can never do.

In me (that is, in my flesh) NOTHING GOOD DWELLS.  ~Romans 7:18

In order to use our natural gifts in the service of the Lord, we must sacrifice and surrender.

All of our gifts and powers are still defiled by sin and they are still under the power of the flesh.  I can't use them for God's glory until I lay them at Christ's feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him.

I must feel myself utterly powerless to use my natural gifts correctly.

My gifts - the gift of gab, the ability to write, the tendency to teach - are all under the power of the flesh, and are still defiled by sin, unless they are given up and given to Christ.

Lord, I give You my gifts, my talents, the things that come easily to me.  I give them up entirely.  I do not want to use them under my sin nature - so I give them up to You.  You decide.  You use me as You wish.  Put me on the shelf, if that is where You want me to be.  I am Yours, to use as You see fit.  Only let my life bring You glory.

Isaac, the Son of Promise, was given up.
Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life.

Wholehearted surrender.  As I give myself up wholly to Christ, He gives me power to take Him wholly for myself.  As I lose myself and all I have for Him, He takes me wholly for Himself and gives Himself wholly to me.

This surrender is moment by moment, a single step.  It's equally a daily renewal, and a progressive attainment.  Forget what is behind, your past spiritual highs, the graces given to you by your Master.  Press on, reaching out to Christ, praying unceasingly for more light, more trust, more surrender.  

What does this all mean in practical terms?  Keep the truth of the gospel at the forefront of your mind:  Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  God is in charge of my life and my circumstances, and is actively working to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord.  Nothing is ever a surprise to Him.  He orders my steps.  He prays for me.  I have an enemy that I must be on guard against, but my God is faithful and helps me continually.  I am a slave; He is the Master.  He loves me enough to call me His friend.  I deserve hell; He gives me heaven.  

So when things happen that are hard, or scary, or terrifying, or painful, I must simply surrender.  I must go to my Lord and sit at His feet, saying "I am the handmaiden of You, Lord.  Do with me as You will."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What can be more difficult than this?

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible!" Luke 1:37
Difficulties often crowd the believer's path, and trials line his way.Obstacles and opposition meet him at almost every turn. What to do at times--he scarcely knows, for he has been disappointed so often, and is now so completely baffled--that his way is hedged up with thorns! Look whichever way he will, or to whatever quarter he may--there is something to discourage him, and cast him down!
It is of no use looking any way, or to any one--but to the Lord; and while looking to Him, it will be well to remember what the angel said to the blessed virgin, to excite and strengthen her faith, "For with God, nothing shall be impossible."

Look at the Fact. There are no impossibilities with God! Hecan do--as He will. He will do--all that He has promised. He has promised to do all that you can need or even wisely desire. In Mary's case, much faith was required--it was exercised and honored.
virgin did bear a son.
That son was free from all taint of sin.
That son was divine.
That divine Son was the Savior of men.

What can be more difficult than this?

What should stagger us, after this?
Look at what God IS:
look at His power and grace,
look at His wisdom and wealth,
look at His pity and compassion,
look at His greatness and glory.
Look at what God has DONE:
in nature--by His power,
in providence--by His wisdom,
in redemption--by His grace.
And looking at what God is, and at what He has done--you must come to the conclusion, "With God, nothing is impossible!"

Let us use this fact for our own benefit. 

Nothing shall be impossible with God!
Not the conversion of that obstinate child.
Not that hardened husband.
Not that trying and degraded wife.
Not the restoration of that backslider--as low as he may have sunk, and far as he may have gone.
Not the pardon of those sins--as great, glaring, and numerous as they may be.
Not the sanctification of that trouble--as deep, trying, and dreadful as it is.
Not the bringing of the greatest good out of that worst evil--though it may have alarmed and terrified you.
Not the perfecting of the soul in holiness--as sinful and polluted as it is at present.

No, nothing is too hard for the Lord! Therefore cheer up, press on, take up your cross or burden afresh--and bear it after Jesus.

Let this precious truth, feed and strengthen your faith--that you may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Let it excite and animate your hope--that you may expect great things from God.

Let it stimulate you in prayer--that you may ask largely of God, and ask with confidence too.

Let it crush your fears--that you may press boldly on, until you reach the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let it stir you up to exertion--for as nothing shall be impossible to God, so nothing shall be impossible to you, which you undertake with His sanction, and with a view to His glory.

Let it encourage and call forth praise--for how grateful and thankful we should be, that our God can do all things, and therefore will do for us, all that is necessary both in life and death.

Let us keep this sweet truth always in mind, and when cast down--chide our fears and excite our hopes, saying, "With God, nothing shall be impossible!"