ABIDE IN CHRIST

THE JOY OF ABIDING IN CHRIST

I eat my breakfast in front of a large picture of JESUS feeding the 5000.  His face displays peace and joy.  It reminds me how much He enjoys the children His FATHER gives Him.  There is joy, not only for me in abiding, but for Him, too.  I am mindful again that He needs me to share His joy with more than needing me to do His work.

“These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may abide in you and that your joy might be fulfilled” (John 15:11 Jubilee Bible 2000). “Abiding fully in Christ is a life of exquisite and overflowing happiness.  As Christ gets more complete possession of the soul, it enters into the joy of its Lord” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

 “…your experience of joy must be emanating from God’s experience of joy….if the God who dwells in you is pleased and full of joy, you will be too….’The joy of the LORD is your strength’ (Neh 8:10).  It does not say, ‘Your joy about the LORD is your strength.’  It’s God’s joy in you that makes you strong” Doug Newton (ref#327, p94-95).

“Whether we look backward and see the work He has done, or upward and see the reward He has in the Father’s love…or forward in the continual accessions of joy as sinners are brought home, His joy is ours” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).

“We all know the value of joy.  It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart.  As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, men cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see my delight in it, they know that to me at least it is a treasure.  Hence there is nothing so attractive as joy…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

For me, this joy is one “…that is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).  Of course, I have worldly good and bad times but spiritually I have a constant joy because nothing can keep me from GOD.

“…the joy of God overcomes all the trials of life….With a heart full of joy no work can weary, and no burden can depress; God Himself is strength and song” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p160).

The summation of “Abiding in CHRIST” blogs is “joyfully sing” (Zeph 3:17).

PRAYER

HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRAYER

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he…heard my cry” (Ps 40:1 ESV).

“…go to the Lord in your worst frames; do not stay away from Him until you get a good one.  Satan’s grand argument to keep a soul from prayer is, ‘Don’t go with that old and insensible frame, and with that hard and sinful heart; wait until you are more fit to approach God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 5th).

“…how we get into an abiding position with the Lord…being fully clothed in the armor of God” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p63).  “A Christian gets dressed for battle, not to go out into the world, but to go into the prayer closet” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89).  [“…pray…on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” (Eph 6:18 NIV).  This verse comes right after the description of the armor of GOD.]  “Because Jesus Christ has conquered the enemy of our souls, Satan has to drop his weapons when we resist him with prayer, using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89).

“Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of Christ and of His glory….Place no limit on your knowledge of Christ.  Always consider that you have only read the preface to the volume, you have only touched the margin of the sea; stretching far away beyond you are undiscovered beauties, precious views, and sparkling glories, each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking for the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 30th).

Of prayer, Andrew Murray suggests—“1.  Be slow…weigh all in the light of the…Scriptures and in the fear of God.  2.  Seek to have no will of your own…3.  But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, expectantly; and you will surely in His own time and way obtain it” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

“…Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matt 6:6 MSG).

REDEMPTION

NOW UNDER GRACE

“…a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6 ESV).

“…the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator and surety; called “new”, not because newly made, for it was made with Christ from everlasting; nor newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam after his fall, and to all the Old Testament patriarchs, and was exhibited under the legal dispensation, though but darkly, in types, shadows, sacrifices, &c. which therefore waxing old is vanished away; and the covenant of grace is now more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, free from all the obscurity it before laboured under; and therefore is called “new”, as well as because it will always continue so, and never give way to another covenant: now the Gospel, and the ministry of it, is nothing else but an exhibition of the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises…” John Gill (ref#283).

“You are ‘not under the law,’ Paul says, ‘but under grace’ (Rom 6:14)….you are in an entirely new position.  You are under grace, and grace is unmerited favor.  It is kindness shown to people who deserve nothing but punishment. Grace means that God, because He is God, looks upon us with favor when we do not deserve anything at all.  That is what ‘under grace’ means” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

“God is no longer just a lawgiver to you—He is your Father….It is the difference between being in a relationship of law and a relationship of love.  You are in an entirely new position….You know that He is determined to bring you back to the perfection in which He originally made you, and that all the forces of His love and grace and compassion are working in your favor” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

FATHER, through Your grace of unmerited favor I have become new.  You have removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh—“…the recovery of a fully sensitive, fully functioning moral conscience…” Doug Newton (ref#166, p108).  Hallelujah!

SCRIPTURE

SCRIPTURE STUDY

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Col 3:16 ESV).

“…when God originally created man, the reason, the emotions, and the will all worked in perfect harmony.  Reason led the way in understanding the will of God, the will consented to God’s will, and the emotions delighted in doing it.  But…” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

FATHER, now that I sit in sin-nature my reason is the first to dodge obedience to You.  I easily read Scripture wrongly.

“We somehow feel that consent to the teaching of Scripture is equivalent to obedience” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p72).  “The question is, do we really believe we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding, or do we actually depend on our own intellectual ability in our study of Scripture?….What we are talking about here is not just acquiring more knowledge of biblical truth, but rather the development of Bible-based convictions by which we are to live”  Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p177).

“…our relation to the word of God must be based on simple obedience—on being hearers and doers—not on an analysis of the content of the word” Doug Newton (ref#166, p110).

“…we are more apt to…become proud over our ‘superior’ knowledge of biblical truth rather than humbled over our lack of obedience to what Scripture teaches” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p177). “Our tendency seems to be to equate knowledge of the truth, and even agreement with it, with obedience to it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p182).

“…we should pray for knowledge of truth that will change our lives rather than simply inform our minds” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p178).

JESUS

OUR GIFT—THE PRIESTHOOD

FATHER, Your Son is my High Priest: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Heb 9:24 ESV).

“When our coldness, our old nature, our neglect, our ingratitude, and our backslidings might have prevailed, He [CHRIST] has never entirely and forever withdrawn.  His post is to watch…with a sleepless eye of love…’He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous’ (Job 36:7)…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st, brackets mine).

“It is a personal, an anticipative, and a present intercession.  It embraces all the personal needs of each believer…it bears the saint and his sorrow before the throne.  At a crisis of his history, at a juncture, or perhaps even at the most critical moment in his life when a believer’s heart is oppressed with emotion and cannot breathe a prayer—Jesus is remembering him, sympathizing with him, and interceding for him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 27th).

JESUS is our High Priest who goes before making us priests also.  “…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever…”(Rev 1:5-6 ESV).

As JESUS is our High Priest, we then, can be priests to others.  “In the kingdom of Christ each individual is a priest.  The priest’s work is not limited to any order of the ministry. All may offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: all have direct access to the holiest through the blood of Jesus: all Christians, as priests, are to minister to one another and to plead for one another” Marvin Vincent (ref#271).

“…the three fundamental functions of the priesthood. Worship—insuring that people exalt God’s greatness. Intercession—insuring that people experience God’s grace.  Blessing—insuring that people enjoy God’s favor”Doug Newton (ref#166, p140).

“If you have believed in God’s decontaminating work in your own life…you are now qualified to function as a priest.  You are now called to use your words to intercede on behalf of people and pronounce over them the blessings of God’s mercy and grace as God directs you” Doug Newton (ref#166, p141).  “God…is saying…If you will make your whole life about bringing the benefits of my presence and grace to others, you will have Me in a way the others never will.  I will be your portion” Doug Newton (ref#166, p141).

JESUS

THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

FATHER, in the Old Covenant for a sin to be forgiven the Israelite had to place his hand on the head of a spotless young lamb that he provided and kill it.  An innocent lamb appeased Your wrath; the lamb’s blood covered the sin.

“What…the blood of the lamb was to the children of Israel, is what the atoning blood of Christ is to the believing soul” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 24th).  “In the Old Testament the Israelites transferred their guilt to a lamb, and then the lamb was killed….God took your sins and mine, and He put them on the head of His own Son, and then…He killed Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 3rd).  “…the believing though trembling penitent sees all his sins cancelled and all his transgressions pardoned through the precious blood of Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 19th).

“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life”(Lev 17:11 NIV). “…the Bible reiterates in numerous scriptures that cleansing occurs through, and only through, the shedding of blood” Doug Newton (ref#166, p133).

“The atoning blood of Christ possesses the power to pardon.  Through this blood, God, the holy God against whom you have sinned…can pardon all your sins, blot out all your transgressions, and take from you the terror of a guilty conscience” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“’One lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even.’  The devout Israelite was thus taught to close the day as he began it: with a sacrifice for sin….How much in the transactions of a single day may there be that needs the evening’s confession with faith’s hand upon the evening Lamb” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, page vii)!

FATHER, since I don’t have the advantage of the Israelite of old and physically required to slaughter an innocent lamb, I am prone to forget my sins require blood to be blotted out.  CHRIST’s blood flows for me everyday—every minute canceling and pardoning my sin.  GOD, I need to thank You more!

JESUS

THE CLEANSING AGENT

FATHER, the actual cleansing agent for my sin is the blood of JESUS.  “The blood and suffering of Christ, applied and relied on by faith, justify the sinner, silence Satan the accuser, purge the conscience from dead works, and open a way into the holiest of all….The death of Christ puts the sin to death, but delivers the sinner from it” Nathanael Vincent (ref#225, March 21st).

“The shed blood proves that a death has occurred, an appropriate sacrifice has indeed been made and confirms that the terms of God’s covenant have been met”(ref#166, p134). “Where He sees the pure heart’s blood of His own Son—so precious to Him—sprinkled on the broken, penitent heart of a poor sinner, He will pass him over in the great outpouring of His wrath” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 19th).

You know, O LORD, there has been much preaching and songs written about the “blood”.  But now I understand “blood” is not the actual cleansing agent.  The term “blood” is a metonymy—it includes many elements yet we use the word “blood” to include a host of elements.

“Here are the elements of the cleansing process represented by the metonymy “blood”: faith is required—faith in what God has promised and pronounced. God has promised to credit righteousness (cleansing) to anyone who believes.  But God cannot keep that promise without making provision for the removal of sin.  He can’t remove sin by simply waving His hand as if it never occurred.  The Laws of justice which emanate from God Himself cannot be set aside and disregarded.  Justicerequires that every sin receive its due consequence.  The penaltyfor sin is death…the tiniest amount of contamination ruins everything.  But God, whose unchangeable nature is also love, cannot contradict Himself and must find a way to penalize sin without destroying His beloved creation. Somehow love and justice must work together undiminished to find a way for salvation.  And so God gave birth to the sacrificial system by which sin is transferred to a substitute whodies in the place of the guilty party. And that death must be demonstrated through the shedding of blood….the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) is precious, but the power is not in the blood as if blood is a miracle cleansing agent.  The power is ultimately in the word of God and all the things God did to make His word conform to His nature of justice and love” Doug Newton (ref#166, p135).

“The actual cleansing agent has been and always will be, just as the only agent of performing God’s will has been and always will be, the word of God—the word of God proclaimed and the Word of God incarnate” Doug Newton (ref#166, p136).

GOD

GOD IS LOVE

“…search and rescue impulse is in the very center of God’s heart” Doug Newton (ref#166, p35).

GOD is love (1 John 4:8). He is not just loving.  Love is not one of His attributes, it is what influences His attributes.  Yet, GOD does not love to glorify Himself, His focus is on His people.  “…love does not look at itself—it is absorbed in the object of its love” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“In enriching us with his gifts, God gains nothing for himself, yet he would have the splendor and beauty of his character manifested in bountifully dealing with us….” John Calvin (ref#164, March 7th).

“I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God”(Ex 29:45-46 ESV).

“…God searches passionately for people who are lost, finds them and does whatever He must to make them His possession” Doug Newton (ref#166, p36).

FATHER, You are absorbed in the objects You love.  And not only in loving me but all Your human creation that I, privileged as Your helper, search also to bring to You.

RECOMMENDED READING

Here is a site I highly recommend for especially seasoned Christians who have heard and read Scripture so many times the brain automatically goes to, “been there, done that.”

READ THE BIBLE AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME

Discovering New Insights In Familiar Passages: What if the way you have always heard or understood a portion of scripture keeps you from seeing something new that could change your life?

Every chapter in the Fresh Eyes Series will leave you thinking, I never saw this passage that way before! Even better, each chapter will show you how to gain transformative new insights on your own that you can share with others.

            https://dougnewton.com

 

 

 

 

 

CONFESSION

CONSECRATION

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.53.19 PM“And the chief priests and the men learned in the sacred scriptures heard. And they went to seeking how they might destroy Him, for they were fearing Him; for the entire multitude was struck with astonishment at His teaching” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p108-109, [Mark 11:18]).

FATHER, You have put a very great desire in my heart to speak words similar to JESUS that strike fear in people or birth astonishment—one or the other. I am sick of being lukewarm (Rev 3:16).

So, LORD, why am I colorless? Guide me to back peddle from what comes out of my mouth (Matt 15:18) to why it comes out of my mouth.

Speech is only the result of what is controlling me. Help me make consecration strides—cleansing, so You can use me for Your divine service (ref#166, p126).

FATHER, I desire to be set apart to entirely devote and dedicate myself to You—to be “purified from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Lev 11:44]).

  1. “We can be contaminated every time we immediately turn to medicine for solutions to our physical problems without first taking our needs to the Lord in prayer” Doug Newton (ref#166, p128). How many times have I popped a pill before consulting You, FATHER?
  2. Tithing—“Oh, no, I can’t afford to give that much!” can easily be my thinking without consulting You.
  3. I come in “direct contact with defiled and unclean objects” Doug Newton (ref#166, p129). What do I watch that is worldly on TV? Do I laugh at off color jokes from my friends? Do I tolerate sinful behaviors in my heroes?

I need to pay attention to my personal purity before I ever open my mouth to witness. How can a thorn tree produce fruit (Luke 6:44)? FATHER, You were constantly commanding the leaders of Your Israelite nation to consecrate themselves (Lev 11:44). What makes me think You do not demand that of Your people today?