ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDING BETTER THAN OBEYING

“Friendship is rare on earth.  It means identify in thought and heart and spirit.  The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ.  We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 7th)?

“In order to maintain this friendship…we have to be more careful of our…relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience.  Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that….the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 25th).

“Conformity to live 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).

“From eternity Christ and I were ordained for each other; inseparably we belong to each other; it is God’s will; I shall abide in Christ.  It is of God I am in Christ Jesus” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p47-48).

“Most essential to the abiding in Christ is the daily renewal of our faith’s assurance, ‘I am in Christ Jesus’” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p43).

FATHER, move my thinking toward abiding instead of obeying.  When I think of obeying I default to my natural abilities to carry out Your request.  But if I can keep my eyes on JESUS…  I will gladly obey because of my love for Him.  Obeying is a natural outcome of a loving relationship.

Abiding in CHRIST means to watch and wait—observe and be with Him, and then yield myself to the SPIRIT who will work mightily in me (ref#266, p119).

PRAYER

HOW PRAYER AFFECTS GOD

“The answering hand of God waits for the lifted hand of man…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p17).

“That which is true of the promises’ of God is equally true of the purposes of God.  We might say that God does nothing without prayer.  His most gracious purposes are conditioned on prayer.  His marvelous promises in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel are subject to this qualification and condition: “Thus says the Lord GOD: This…I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them…” (Ezek 36:37 ESV) E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p37-38).

“God’s ultimate will is unchanging, but the way in which he chooses to realize this will is dependent on the prayers of his children” Donald Bloesch (ref#31, p31).

“Prayer affects God more powerfully than His own purposes.  God’s will, words, and purposes are all subject to review when the mighty potencies of prayer come in.  How mighty prayer is with God may be seen as He readily sets aside His own fixed and declared purposes in answer to prayer” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p38).

“The God who determines the end determines the means; and if God in His infinite wisdom is determined that He is going to bring certain things to pass as a result of and in answer to the prayers of His people, I ask with reverence, why shouldn’t He Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 21st)?

“That it can alter His purpose, effect any change in His will, or afford Him information, no one supposes for a moment.  And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the divine will, and man’s shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God; that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply for a present need—these are marvels in which, like all others of divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot completely comprehend, unless I were God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135. June 3rd).

PRAYER

PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6 ESV).

“Prayer opens our eyes to God’s glory, our hearts to His will, and our needs to His perfect provision.  It reveals, solidifies, and confirms the unity of the Spirit that we share with other Christians.  And it keeps us alert to the wiles of the Enemy.  Prayer is essential to a walk worthy of our high calling in Christ” J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p5).

“…in asking we must always truly feel our wants, and seriously considering that we need all the things which we ask, accompany the prayer with a sincere, no, ardent desire of obtaining them” John Calvin (ref#113, p567).

“Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath….Poverty of spirit enters into true praying.  ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’  ‘The poor’ means paupers, beggars, those who live on the bounty of others, who live by begging.  Christ’s people live by asking” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p32).

“’Ask’ means beg….We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust.  A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg.—Blessed are the paupers in spirit” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, June 9th).

“The real beggar entreats in good earnest; he cries, he weeps, he heeds not the playing of the children, not the barking of the dogs; his wants pinch him, his stomach craves, nothing but food will please him….So it is the same with the upright and serious heart; he is really and deeply pressed down with sin, and needy of grace and comfort….and therefore let the devil or the world disturb what they can, or suggest what they will, he plies his business, he must have pardon and grace…” Richard Steele (ref#225, Sept 20th).

 “…’prayer is the falling of a tear’…Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven….Often a poor, brokenhearted one bends his knees, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears….that tear has been caught by God and is treasured in heaven.  ‘Put thou my tears into thy bottle’ (Ps 56:8) implies that they are caught as they flow.  The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).

PRAYER

WHAT IS PRAYER?

“…prayer…The word that conquers God” Clarence Edward Noble Macartney (ref#212, p10).

“The Christian’s trade is praying…” Martin Luther (ref#54, p167).

“…prayer…is an agony and entreaty, a pleading and striving, a wrestling and persistence” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p73).

“Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus.  It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 2nd, AM).

“Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 28th).

“True prayer uncovers the emptiness in the petitioner but the fullness in the Petitioned” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p52).

“…true prayer is the breathing of the life of God in the soul of man.  It is the Spirit dwelling and breathing in him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th).  “It is more than asking, it is communion, fellowship, co-operation, identification, with God the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit.  Prayer is more than words, for it is mightiest when wordless.  It is more than asking, for it reaches its highest glory when it adores and asks nothing” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p61).

“Prayer is the means of unleashing God’s power on earth and the means of laying hold of God’s promises” Kay Arthur (ref#12).

“Prayer is the condition by which all foes are to be overcome and all the inheritance is to be possessed” E.M Bounds (ref#54, p27).

CREATION

MAN IS IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

“The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God…”Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p442).  “The expression refers to every way in which man is like God” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…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” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“…we are still in God’s image—we are still like God…but the image of God in us is distorted;…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…with the entrance of sin into man’s soul, these three faculties began to work at cross-purposes to one another and to God.  The will has become stubborn and rebellious and will not consent to that which reason knows to be the will of God.  Or, more commonly, the emotions get the upper hand and draw away both reason and will from obedience to God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“These faculties were all implanted in man’s soul by God, but were all corrupted through man’s fall in the Garden of Eden.  Our reason (or understanding) was darkened (Ephesians 4:18), our desires were entangled (Ephesians 2:3), and our wills perverted” (John 5:40) Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124).

“…the goal for which God has redeemed us is that we might be ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (Rom 8:29)” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).  “…redemption in Christ means that we can…progressively grow into more and more likeness to God…(Col 3:10)…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).

“With new birth our reason is again enlightened, our affections and desires redirected, and our wills subdued.  But though this is true, it is not true all at once.  In actual experience it is a growing process.  We are told to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to set our affections on things above (Colossians 3:1), and to submit our wills to God (James 4:7)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124-225).

FATHER, thank You for the opportunity to work out all Your redemption has put in me. You give all I need, through CHRIST’s work, to gain back more and more of Your image.

“God’s highest aim in dealing with His people is in developing Christian character” E.M. Bounds (ref#64, p64).

PRELUDE TO PRAYER

Prayer Facts:

“Satan dreads nothing but prayer—The church that lost its Christ was full of good works….Souls may be lost in good works, as surely as in evil ways. The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from prayer….He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray” E. M. Bounds (ref#54, p186).

Reasons for Waiting for GOD:

Because Your mercy and lovingkindness endure forever (Ps 118:29), I will wait for You.

Because You will be gracious to the sound of my cry (Isa 30:19), I will wait for You.

Because You pardon my guilt (Ps 25:11), I will wait for You.

Because You are my hiding place (Ps 32:7), I will wait for You.

Read Through the Bible in a Year: July 29th – Aug 4th

July 29      Micah 1-4; Rom 14

July 30      Micah 5-7; Ps 46

July 31       Isa 8-10; Rom 15

Aug 1          Isa 11-14; Rom 16

Aug 2          Isa 15-18; Eph 1

Aug 3          Isa 19-21; Eph 2

Aug 4          Isa 22-24; Eph 3

SUPPLICATION

GENERAL SICKNESS

[The majority of our prayers concern physical health. We all know someone who is dealing with the pain of sickness. Here is an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

DISCIPLINE NOT PUNISHMENT

“Punishment for sin will take place in the next world. God’s dealings with people in this world are of the nature of discipline….Trouble is no evidence whatever of the Diving displeasure” E. M. Bounds (ref#64, p50).

FATHER, whom in heaven does ____ have but You? (His/her) flesh and heart may be failing but You are the strength of (his/her) heart and (his/her) portion forever (Ps 73:25-26). Let nothing terrify (him/her); keep (him/her), please, from giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve (him/her) (1 Pet 3:6).

You warrant us to take our troubles to You in prayer, so assist ____ in doing that. Favor (him/her) so that she can calmly pray over (his/her) troubles and seek “to get the greatest spiritual benefits out of them” E.M. Bounds (ref#64, p58). By sickness and suffering, by silence and solitude You are giving ____ other than normal work to perform which shall not the less secure (his/her) usefulness and promote Your glory (ref#61, Aug 16th).

FATHER, how manifold are the ways ____ needs You. And in manifold ways You can be found (ref#27, p16).

PRELUDE TO PRAYER

 

Prayer Facts:

“Prayer is asking and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p182).

Reasons for Waiting for GOD:

Because Your breath gives life (Job 33:4), I will wait for You.

Because You form the spirit of man within him (Zech 12:1), I will wait for You.

Because You teach me more than the beasts of the earth and make me wiser than the birds of the heaven (Job 35:11), I will wait for You.

Because You do great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number (Job 5:9), I will wait for You.

Read Through the Bible in a Year: May 20th – 26th

May 20      1 Kings 7; 2 Chron 4; 2 Cor 8

May 21      1 Kings 8; 2 Chron 5; 2 Cor 9

May 22      2 Chron 6-7; Ps 135

May 23      1 Kings 9; 2 Chron 8; 2 Cor 10

May 24      1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chron 9; Ps 29

May 25      Prov 1; 2 Cor 11

May 26      Prov 2; 2 Cor 12

SUPPLICATION

GENERAL SICKNESS

[The majority of our prayers concern physical health. We all know someone who is dealing with the pain of sickness. Here is an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

GOD’S WATCHFUL EYE

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-2-43-41-pmFATHER, You do not forget the cry of ____ who is presently afflicted (Ps 9:12). Not only do You not forget but You set the boundaries of (his/her) tribulation. (He/She) will not “suffer too much or be relieved too late” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Aug 17th PM).

“The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. ‘He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men’” Charles Spurgeon (Lam 3:33) (ref#34, Aug 17th PM).

FATHER, deliver strength to ____ as (he/she) is tried and give (him/her) more power since (he/she) is weak (Isa 40:29).   Wise is (he/she) in the day of trouble who knows (his/her) “true source of strength and who fails not to pray” E.M. Bounds (ref#64, p47). “…God will supply every need…according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19 ESV).