HARD LIFE

“[W]e can be in the very center of God’s will, being used by the Lord in a powerful way—and still get into a lot of trouble” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p114). I think of Stephen who was chosen by the Apostles to wait tables but ended up martyred (Acts 6-7).

“Those whom the Lord has chosen and honored with his intercourse must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils; it being the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it toward all his children. (Heb 5:8)” John Calvin (ref#113, p458).

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

“Christ is exceedingly ready to pity us. His arms are open to receive us. He delights to receive distressed souls who come to Him and to protect them. He would gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings; it is a work that He exceedingly rejoices in because He delights in acts of love, and pity, and mercy” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p106).

“So Christ is an ever-flowing fountain. He is continually supplying His people, and the fountain is not spent. They who live upon Christ may have fresh supplies from Him to all eternity; they may have an increase of blessedness that is new, and new still, and which never will come to an end” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p107).

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 1st).

“It would seem as though we were summoned not so much to go out on the field of battle, as on the field of conquest; not so much to combat with the foe, as to gather up the spoils of victory What is each successful conflict with our spiritual adversaries, each mortified corruption, each resisted temptation, each overcome sin, but a display of the great victory already won by the Captain of our salvation” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 5th)?

WE ARE RECEIVERS NOT GIVERS

“[W]hat accounts for most of our failures in Christian living is our failure to realize what we are. It is our failure to realize what God has done to us. We must think less and less of doing and more and more of being. If we only are what we ought to be, then the doing will more or less look after itself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p87).

“Conformity, to live one with God, is a far higher and more divine life than to live simply in submission to God” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p51-52).

“It is a great matter to enjoy God’s ordinances, but to enjoy God’s presence in the ordinances is that which a gracious heart aspires after” Thomas Watson (ref#225, Jan 15th).

“You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love and your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10:11-12 ESV).

“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Ps 25:4-5 ESV).

“Salvation is something that has come to men and women as a free gift to them, and they have nothing to do but to receive this gift. It is something provided; it is the righteousness of God that is given” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 24th).

A free gift is hard to receive. Over and over free gifts are hard to receive as we go through sanctification. But, our entire life with CHRIST is receiving from Him with our inability to pay back. We are receivers not givers when it comes to our spiritual life. Pointing our finger at CHRIST in worship is the only gesture we can give.

“Guide me, O thou great Jehovah!

Pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but thou art mighty;

Hold me with thy powerful hand;

Bread of heaven,

Feed me now and evermore” W. Williams (ref#224, song #462).

WAITING ON GOD

“We call Abraham ‘father’ not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do” (Rom 4:17-18 MSG).

GOD didn’t allow CHRIST as the Son of Man to master His life. JESUS said this about Himself: “I can do nothing on My own initiative” (John 5:30 NASB).

To conform myself to CHRIST requires that I live like CHRIST. The Apostle John records JESUS Himself telling how He did it: “Jesus replied, ‘The Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing, and in the same way” (John 5:19 TLB).

CHRIST lived from day to day, from faith to faith. He had to make His own decisions. But He did not depend on His flesh. Isaiah rightly prophesied about JESUS: “He will not judge by the way things look or decide by what he hears” (Isa 11:3 NCV).

“Waiting on God is an active life based on confidence in his presence and promises. Waiting is your calling. Waiting is your blessing. Every one of God’s children has been chosen to wait, because every one of God’s children lives between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet.’ Already this world has been broken by sin, but not yet has it been made new again. Already Jesus has come, but not yet has he returned to take you home with him forever. Already your sin has been forgiven, but not yet have you been fully delivered from it. Already Jesus reigns, but not yet has his final kingdom come. Already sin has been defeated, but not yet has it been completely destroyed. Already the Holy Spirit has been given, but not yet have you been perfectly formed into the likeness of Jesus. Already God has given you his Word, but not yet has it totally transformed your life. Already you have been given grace, but not yet has that grace finished its work. You see, we’re all called to wait because we all live right smack dab in the middle of God’s grand redemptive story We all wait for the final end of the work that God has begun in and for us” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 2nd).

CHRIST made no decisions on His own. He simply went from moment to moment obeying His FATHER. Likewise, GOD did not create me to become independent of Him. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27 NKJV).

“So we wait and act. We wait and work. We wait and fight. We wait and conquer. We wait and worship. Waiting on God is an action based on confident assurance of grace to come” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 2nd).

INTRODUCTION TO OUR PART IN SANCTIFICATION

“God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thes 2:13 ESV).

“The Scriptures place great emphasis on our part in sanctification” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 27th).

“Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2 ESV).

“Growing in the Christlike virtues will give believers increasing confidence that God really did call them and really did elect them to salvation” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2419).

“[B]e filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:9-14 ESV).

“The Scriptures place great emphasis on our part in sanctification, on what you and I have to do” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 27th).

“[B]e diligent to confirm your calling and election” (2 Pet 1:10 ESV).

Definition of a ‘holy life:’ “[A] life sanctified through the influence of faith, the achievements of prayer, and the endowments of holiness. Such a life is a living demonstration of the divinity of the Bible, and does more to confirm its truth and spread it throughout the world than all that has ever been spoken or written on the evidences of Christianity” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 6th).

“[A]nswer the call of Him who asks for all because He is all” Gene Edwards (ref#226, Dedication Page).

THE LORD PLANS AND DOES

“The LORD [plans] and does what He [speaks]” (Jer 51:12 ESV).

“[U]nblemished goodness governs His absolute sovereignty. His decrees are as firm as though no man had the liberty of will: yet we all have a choice as truly as if there were no fore-determining decree. God suffers men to make a free choice, and gives to all men that which they finally choose. He gives not to His elect either grace or glory without their knowledge and against their consent: and He does not utterly desert or destroy others, till they harden their hearts, and choose darkness rather than life” Daniel Burgess (ref#225, Oct. 26th).

“I learn conversion to be both God’s work, and ours. It is God’s work; ‘I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people’ (Jer. 31:33). It is ours; and He commands it. ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.’ It is His; He gives to will and to do. It is ours; we do it, and move, by Him moved. Daniel Burgess (ref#225, Oct. 26th).

“What He desires that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:13-14 ESV).

“I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people and I will be their GOD. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes” (Ezek 37:23-24 ESV).

“God is a Shepherd as able as He is good, and as good as He is able. Not only He has green pastures to lead me into which shows His ability, but He leads me into them, which shows His goodness” Sir Richard Baker (ref#225, June 8th).

“God gives you His supernatural power in order to do supernatural work. He imparts to you His divine energy and His divine authority so that you may participate fully and successfully in His divine plan” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p30).

“Every one of us needs God’s power to infuse our will so that we truly have willpower” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p26).

“[L]et us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28 ESV).

GOD SENT JESUS

“I am the LORD your GOD. [Y]ou know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior” (Hosea 13:4 ESV).

“Thus says, the LORD who made the earth, who formed it to establish it—the LORD is his name: call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jer 33:2-3 ESV).

“God called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim 1:8-10).

“Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:28-29 ESV).

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 16:24-25 ESV).

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also” (John 12:26 EVS).

“Now may the God of peace equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb 13:20-21 ESV).

“We believe that due to their fallen condition people are born spiritually dead, eternally lost and totally unable to deliver themselves from their present state of condemnation” Denny Johnson (ref#385).

 “Men and women need to be delivered from the punishment of their sin. But they also need to be delivered out of this kingdom of the devil, out of the kingdom of Satan; and they need to be translated into the kingdom of God. Christ came into this world in order to conquer Satan and his kingdom and in order to introduce His own kingdom” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p62).

“Eternal life is the life of Jesus in us. He who has the son, has the life. And Jesus himself has promised, ‘I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.’ He imparts his life to us through the Holy Spirit as an act of his sovereign grace when he miraculously regenerates us, cleanses us from all sin, gives us a new heart and a new spirit and causes us to be born again” Denny Johnson (ref#386).

GOD’S LOVE

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) A.W. Pink (ref#253, p7).

“God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Rom 5:6-8 MSG).

“God who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them (I Tim 1:11)” John Piper (ref#220, p53).

“[T]he salvation of the sinner is not so much a manifestation of the justice, holiness, wisdom, or power of God, as it is a display of His love” Octavius Winslow (ref#252, p1).

“[I]f God has already granted you a place in eternity, then he has also granted you all the grace you need along the way, or you’d never get there. There is grace for our fickle and easily distracted hearts. There is rescue for our self-absorption and lack of focus. The God of eternity grants you his eternal grace so that you can live with eternity in view” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 3rd).

“[A]ll God’s trying, wounding, disappointing dispensations towards His people are the result of His everlasting love. He Who smiles today and Who frowns tomorrow, Who kisses now and smites us then, is the same tender, faithful Father, Whose love knows no change and Whose faithfulness never fails” Octavius Winslow (ref#256, p31).

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence” (Acts 2:28 ESV).

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17 ESV).

“Love never ends” (1 Cor 13:8 ESV).

WHAT GOD DOES TOWARD OUR SANCTIFICATION

“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple” (1 Cor 3:16-17 MSG).

“Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by was of Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:28-31 MSG).

“It is utterly impossible that God should deny his love to a soul wholly devoted to him; and which desires nothing so much as to serve and please him; he cannot disdain his own image, nor that heart in which it is engraven: love is all the tribute which we can pay him, and it is the sacrifice which he will not despise” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p76).

“Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 4th AM).

“God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you. He will first clean out your granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water, but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength that He Himself imparts” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 4th AM).

“Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 4th AM).  Note to me: Embark on something GOD blesses and is way too big for me.

“Our natural affections are not wholly to be extirpated and destroyed, but only to be moderated and over-ruled by a superior and more excellent principle” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p50).

“May God himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thes 5:23-24 ESV).

“[E]veryone who hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3 ESV).

GOD’S POWER FOR US

“[W]hat the kingdom of Christ bestows upon us raises us even to eternal life, so we can patiently live at present under toil, hunger, cold, contempt, disgrace, and other annoyances. [H]e arms and equips us by his power. [W]e here are clothed with his righteousness, we can bravely surmount al the insults of the world and as he replenishes us liberally with his gifts, so we can in our turn bring forth fruit unto his glory” John Calvin (ref#113, p320).

“His presence gives us the courage to take on evil and win! He enables us to withstand temptation” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p25).

“The fact that we have been saved frees us from guilt and from God’s judgment The fact that we are being saved frees us from bondage to our own self-centeredness. And the fact that we shall be saved frees us from all fear about the future” John Stott (ref#258, p83-84).

“How happy are they who can believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves” John Newton (ref#322, p137)!

“Only be strong and very courageous” (Jos 1:7 ESV).

“Keep listening to the thunder in his voice” (Job 37:2 ESV).

“[B]e strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1 ESV).

PURELY GOD

“It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised” (2 Cor 1:12-14 MSG).

“It is true, we shall still fall short; we shall find, that when we would do good, evil will be present with us. But the attempt is glorious, and shall not be wholly in vain. He that gives us thus to will, will enable us to perform with growing success, and teach us to profit even by our mistakes and imperfections” John Newton (ref#322, p138).

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:4-5 ESV).

“He comes to us at the moment of our salvation, and he comes to us again and again as we journey from the ‘already’ to the ‘not yet.’ He sits down with us, assuring us again of his love, drawing out from us love for him, and sending us on our way to do the work he has chosen us to do. He does not wait for us to come to him; he comes to us. It is the way of grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 24th).

“O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (Isa 26:12 ESV).

“God accepts those gifts which he himself has conferred upon his servants” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 7th).

“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength” (Isa 45:24 ESV).

“What then shall we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom 8:31-32 ESV)?

“We have a Keeper, and our safety is his commitment” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, July 4th).

“[H]e who is the blessed and only Sovereign,, the King of kings and LORD of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Tim 6:15-16 ESV).