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).

JOYOUS CONFESSION

“Trusting in God to meet our needs breaks the power of sin’s promise to make us happier” John Piper (ref#220, p247).

“Every time you desire to do and choose to do what is right in God’s eyes, you celebrate the grace that is yours in Christ Jesus” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 17th).

“’Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ (Ps 73:25-26). These are the words of a man who learned the secret to contentment. When you are satisfied with the Giver, because you have found in him the life you were looking for, you are freed from the ravenous quest for satisfaction that is the discouraging existence of so many people. Yes, it is true that Your heart will rest only ever when it has found its rest in him” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 6th).

“Sin will rob you of happiness and joy and will give you a sense of condemnation because sin always ultimately breaks fellowship with God and therefore immediately casts us off from the source of all our blessedness. It is no use saying you want to walk with God and then deliberately sinning. The one thing that matters is fellowship with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 1st).

“The conscience only retains its tenderness and purity by a constant and immediate confession; the heart can only maintain its felt peace with God as it is perpetually sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. The soul, kept thus beneath the cross, preserves its high tone of spirituality unimpaired, amid all the harmful influences by which it is surrounded” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 2nd).

“Sin separates. But sin immediately confessed, mourned over, and forsaken brings God and the soul together in sweet, close, and holy fellowship. Praise Him for any evidence that sin does not have entire dominion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 6th).

“God’s love is ‘an ocean without shores or bottom’” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p192).

PEW SITTERS

When brought up in a Christian family and taught morality, sin doesn’t make such an impact. It gets watered down to: “churchgoers don’t have sin problems and non-churchgoers do.” They are bad and need to be saved, thus the emphasis is on evangelism—getting people into the church. Sin is so much in the background and not considered that scripture addressing sin is looked over in favor of the “Great Commission.”

This is probably one of the main reasons that the generation that is big on evangelism sees the next generation not interested in evangelizing even themselves. To them, their parent’s religion seems just another way of being bigoted.

“It is not opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the heart of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p549).

“[A] believer may lead a fairly normal Christian life on the outside while wrestling with a steady barrage of sinful thoughts on the inside: lust, envy, greed, hatred, apathy, etc. I see about 65 percent of all Christians living at this level of spiritual conflict” Neil T. Anderson (ref#90, p107).

“[H]ow many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud—just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend—woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life” John Piper (ref#2, p119).

“[W]e do not just have to submit and resign ourselves in order to be made perfect. [I]f I am a child of God, God has started to work in me. He will go on, and He will bring it to perfection. But He does so by opening my mind and understanding; He reveals sin to me; He tells me to put these things into practice, to press on and to strive; and He gives the final assurance that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness . . .” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p80-81).

FEAR OF GOD

“Do you hope in the one you fear and fear the one you hope in” John Piper (ref #220, p197)?

“[T]he LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isa 8:13 ESV).

“When the fear of God overwhelms and controls your heart, it protects you from the paralyzing and debilitating fear of other things” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 26th).

“[F]ear reflects the greatness of his power and our hope reflects the bounty of his grace. God delights in those responses which mirror his magnificence. This is just what we would have expected from a God who is all-sufficient in himself and has no need of us—a God who will never give up the glory of being the fountain of all joy, who will never surrender the honor of being the source of all safety, who will never abdicate the throne of sovereign grace. God has pleasure in those who hope in his love because that hope highlights the freedom of his grace. When I cry out, ‘God is my only hope, my rock, my refuge!’ I am turning from myself and calling all attention to the boundless resources of God” John Piper (ref# 220, p199).

“’The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him,’ and to fear Him is not to dread Him as a slave, but, as a child, to walk blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 30).

“What kind of response can God demand from us so that the demand gives good news to us and glory to him? This is the answer: the demand to hope in his love with an earnest, profound sense of his awesome power: John Piper (ref#220, p199).

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18 ESV).

“[W]hen you hope in God you show that he is strong and you are weak; that he is rich and you are poor; that he is full and you are empty. When you hope in God you show that you are the one who has needs, not God” John Piper (ref#220, p200).

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome” (Eph 3:12 NLT).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SPIRIT CHECK_4

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness” (Luke 11:35 NLT).

Am I content with the service I decide to do for GOD?

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform…many miracles?”  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt 7:22-23 NIV).

Is my belief more important than my service?

“By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain.  It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference…” (Heb 11:4 MSG).

Do I attempt to appease God with my good conduct?

“…a righteousness of my own that comes from the law…” (Phil 3:9 ESV).

Do I work for GOD the best way I know how?

“Our doing and working are but the fruit of Christ’s work in us.  It is when the soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do, that its energies are stirred to their highest activity, that we work most effectually because we know that He works in us” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p25).

Do I act differently in church than the rest of the week?

“…There is great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!…” (Matt 10:21-23 MSG).

Do I totally submit my entire life to GOD as JESUS did?

“…not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42 KJV).

“God is sovereign, self-sufficient, and free.  If we do not have this foundational vision of God in place when we ask how we can please him, it is almost certain that our efforts to please him will become subtle means of self-exaltation…” John Piper (ref#220, p209).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

NO SHORTCUTS

“False teaching is easily identified by the fact that it is willingly received by all, and is to everyone’s liking.” John Calvin

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God.  The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.  Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.  The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matt 7:13-14 MSG).

“We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God Himself” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p149).

“When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me” John Piper (ref#220, p124).  “If we love Christ, it is because he loved us first (1 John 4:19).  If we are Christians at all, it is not because we have decided for Christ, but because Christ has decided for us” John Stott (ref#258, p18).

FATHER, it is so easy for us to choose our own work we are going to do for you.  Caution us when we find our choice doable and satisfying—even if it is “difficult and meticulous at times” it still can be our own choosing.  John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The standards we tend to set for ourselves in work choices are just “difficult enough to weed out the undesirables but not so difficult as to become overly burdensome” John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The sin of pursuing Christianity by human methods disguised itself so easily as spiritual activity.  FATHER, prompt us to recognize the subtlety of working for ourselves instead of following GOD’s choice.

 “…self is the cause for every sin, every shortcoming, all failure, and all that has been dishonoring to God…let us allow Jesus Christ to take entire control of our life, in the faith that His life can be ours” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p38).

ADIBING IN CHRIST

CHRIST – MY STRENGTH

“It was thus with the disciples….when they were prepared, the baptism of power came.  It was power within and power around.  The power came to qualify for the work to which they had yielded themselves…The power came to set up the Kingdom within them….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p180).

As it was with the disciples, so it is with us.  “…all our strength is in Christ, laid up and waiting for use….ready to flow in according to the measure in which it finds the channels open….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p183).

“The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him….The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.  We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 18th).

It is prudent to check often whether we are working or allowing JESUS to work.  Andrew Murray warns: “You are so occupied and filled with other things, religious things, preaching and praying, studying and working, so occupied with your religion that you do not give God the time to make himself known” (ref#272, p47).

“What Christ died for is not that we might help him, but that we might see and savor him as infinitely valuable” John Piper (ref#92, p83).

“…when God and man are spoken of as working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work.  The relation is a very different one.  The true idea is that of cooperation founded on subordination.  As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p117).

FATHER, how easy it is for me to skip the step of allowing CHRIST to make Himself known.  It is so much easier to do what I think the boss wants and hope that he likes it, as it is to take the time to directly ask. Keep me fearing You.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

THE SAME DISPOSITION AS CHRIST

“The disposition He manifested in choosing and bearing the cross must be yours.  Like Him, you will have to give full assent to the righteous judgment and curse of a holy God against sin….Like Him, you shall experience that it is only through the self-sacrifice of Gethsemane and Calvary that the path is to be found to the joy…of the resurrection life” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77).  “…let us…bear the reproach he endured” (Heb 13:13 ESV).

“Like Him, you have to consent to yield your life, as laden with sin and curse, to death, and through it to pass to the new life” (ref#266, p77).  “What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives.  Not—I am willing to go to death with Thee, but—I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 8th).  Let us present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

FATHER, grant me a disposition to die.  You have put the desire in me; now aid me to bring it to fruition.  I run to Your SON who has died—I run to Him to show me how it is done.  “I must gaze on Him on the Cross…to make me partaker of the full power of His death to sin, and the new life of victory…I must yield myself to Him in an undivided surrender, with much prayer and strong desire, imploring to be admitted into the ever closer fellowship and conformity of His death…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77).

“…we know that He is in us, if we wait and pray to be filled with Him, He will teach us how to abide.  First, guiding our will to a whole-hearted cleaving to Christ, then quickening our faith into ever larger confidence and expectation, then breathing into our hearts a peace and joy that pass understanding…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p114).

“So the Lamb of God shed his blood that we might defeat the devil by trusting his blood and shedding ours.  Jesus calls us onto the Calvary road.  It is a hard and good life.  Come” John Piper (ref#92, p95).

“’I want the everlasting God to come in and take such hold of me that I may be kept in the hollow of His hand all my life…that every moment He may work all in all in me’” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p45).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

UNITED AT THE CROSS

“Abide in Christ: and your cross becomes the means of fellowship with His cross” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p125).

“…the Calvary road is where everyone meets Jesus…” John Piper (ref#92, p94).

FATHER, the Cross is where I meet CHRIST; it is the place where I can reach out my hand and touch His for it is there He was obedient in His suffering (Heb 5:8) and, being tempted as I, able to sympathize with my weakness (Heb 4:15).  Truly He proved He is the SON of Man and is still the SON of Man abiding in me.  FATHER, You have showered upon me grace upon grace by giving Your Son.  “He can be nearer to me than anything in the world…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p41).

On the Cross the Son of God enters into the fullest union with man—enters into the fullest experience of what it says to have become a son of man, a member of a race under the curse” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77).

“…my curse pointed Him to the Cross as the only place where He could be fully united to me, His blessing points me to the Cross too as the only place where I can be united to Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p78).

“…there is but one place which is both His and mine—that place is the Cross.  His in virtue of His free choice; mine by reason of the curse of sin.  He came there to seek me; there alone I can find Him.  When He found me there, it was the place of cursing; this He experienced, for ‘cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’  He made it a place of blessing; this I experienced, for Christ has delivered us from the curse, being made a curse for us.  When Christ comes in my place, He remains what He was, the beloved of the Father; but in the fellowship with me He shares my curse and dies my death.  When I stand in His place, which is still always mine, I am still what I was by nature, the accused one, who deserves to die; but as united to Him, I share His blessing, and receive His life” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p78).

“He took my cross for His own; I must take His Cross as my own…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p78).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

BEARING THE CROSS

“…when Christ meets a person today it is always on the Calvary road—on the way to the cross” John Piper (ref#92, p94-95).

The question I should always ask is how do I view my afflictions?  Do I consider ordinary afflictions of life, like everyone else in the world has, as my share of Christ’s Cross? Andrew Murray (ref#266, p79).

JESUS experienced afflictions walking the earth; do I have similar ones?  What does “bearing the cross” really mean?

“…bearing the cross means likeness to Christ in the principles which animated Him in His path of obedience.

The entire surrender of all self-will,

the complete denial to the flesh of its every desire and pleasure,

the perfect separation from the world in all its ways of thinking and acting,

the losing and hating of one’s life,

the giving up of self and its interests for the sake of others—

this is the disposition which marks him who has taken up Christ’s Cross, who seeks to say, ‘I am crucified with Christ; I abide in Christ, the Crucified One.’” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p79).

“…when each is prepared to be known as the repentant sinner he is at the Cross of Jesus” Roy Hession (ref#97, p41-42).  “…there is a great deal that has to be given up: the world, its pleasures, its favor, its good opinion.  Your relationship to the world is to be the same as Jesus’ was.  The world rejected Him and cast Him out, and you are to take up the position of your Lord, to whom you belong, and to follow with the rejected Christ.  You have to give up everything.  You have to give up all that is good in yourself and be humbled in the dust of death” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p59).

“…the only life that pleases God…is His [JESUS’] life—never our life…our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His…” Roy Hession (ref#97, p25).

“…we are not likely to be broken except at the Cross of Jesus.  The willingness of Jesus to be broken for us is the all-compelling motive in our being broken too” Roy Hession (ref#97, p23).

“I must yield myself to Him [CHRIST] in an undivided surrender” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77, brackets mine).