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

ABIDING THROUGH AFFLICTION

“Every sifting comes by divine command and permission” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 20th AM).

“God gets us alone by affliction, heartbreak, or temptation, by disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by broken friendship, or by a new friendship” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 13th).

“Delight yourself in the assurance that closer union with Him, and more abundant fruit through Him, are sure to be the results of trial” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p127).

“…prosperity and enjoyment all too easily satisfy us, dull our spiritual perception, and unfit us for full communion…It is an unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement…and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous.  He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we shall learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion; and when the affliction is removed, have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still shall be our only joy….Christian! pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father’s finger pointing to Jesus, and saying, Abide in Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p124).

“Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill.  Whether it is bitter sorrow or excessive pleasure, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will remove the pain from the one and the imbalance from the other” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 9th PM).

“It is your greatest happiness to be impotent” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p57).

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

SPEAK ONLY OF GOD

FATHER, if You give me an occasion to speak of spiritual things to my loved ones who are not yet part of Your kingdom, prompt me to speak only of You.  They do not need to know how they can be saved from hell or how to be moral and made pure; instead, they need to know who it is that owns them (ref#7, May 5th).  “The great sterling test in preaching is that it brings everyone to judgment” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

“Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God.  Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

Quicken me, FATHER, to convince my loved ones that they are unholy just as I am unholy.  And then I may pray that their realization of being unholy will awaken an intense craving.  You came to save them because You created all of us to be holy (ref#7, May 5th).  You alone can put them back into perfect union with Yourself “…not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” (1 Thes 1:5 ESV).

FATHER, be with my mouth and teach me what You wish to speak to my loved ones (Ex 4:12).  “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

PRAYER

DISCERNMENT

“For everyone whose sole diet is milk, is inexperienced in a message which is righteous in quality…solid food belongs to…mature, to those who on account of long usage have their powers of perception exercised to the point where they are able to discriminate between both that which is good in character and that which is evil” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p521, [Heb 5:13-14]).

FATHER, Your Son warns me not to judge (Matt 7:1).  But Your SPIRIT will reveal what is wrong in others for the purpose of intercession (ref#118, p77).

I first ask that You, LORD, keep me from thinking rashly of others; I do not want my intention in prayer to be simply passing judgment—to be the product of my own jealously or ill nature (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).

FATHER, in intercession I want to bear up the life of the one I pray for until You, put the person right.  May I so lay hold of You for them that You enable them to turn away from rebellion and come to You (ref#118, p77).

May I “…get to work and pray, and God will get His chance with other lives;…God has based the Christian life on Redemption, and as we pray on this basis God’s honour is at stake to answer prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Nov 19th).

Even though I cannot know the heart, I can be sensitive to Your SPIRIT.  It is possible for someone to imagine they are Christians when they are not—especially when they decide that being a Christian is desirable.

“Professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever unless there is something more added to it…it is a change that is known…known by works of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th AM).

Give me a spirit of gentleness; give me a spirit of humbleness lest I be tempted in like manner as they (Gal 6:1).  Make me candid and charitable (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).  And also give me discernment and the boldness to admonish them, (1 Thes 5:14) when they have a false notion that they are already Christians.

PRAYER

MY RESPONSIBILITY AND JOY 

FATHER, You were ready to let Your wrath burn hot and consume the Israelites when they built and worshipped the golden calf (Ex 32:1-14), but because You were pleased with Your mediator, Moses (Ex 32:11-13), You turned from Your burning anger and relented (Ex 32:14).

And, how pleased You are with Your ultimate Mediator, JESUS.  And, because of His obedience now I, LORD, have the ability to be a suitable mediator (Rev 1:6).

I am Your fellow worker, FATHER.  And, the yet-to-be regenerated people around me are Your field (1 Cor 3:9).  Just as You sent Paul to people who had not heard, You sent Apollos to build up Your church—both were Your servants, even though You gave each a different assignment (1 Cor 3:5).  Paul planted, Apollos watered—but both were Your servants (1 Cor 3:6).

FATHER, You and You only have the ability to grow to maturity each plant in Your field (1 Cor 3:6) but You commission me to tend to Your crop (1 Cor 3:8).  You have allowed me to be Your fellow worker (1 Cor 3:9).

You, LORD, surrender Your work into the hands of Your Church; so real is the power You give me, a member of CHRIST’s church, that the number of laborers and the amount of harvest actually depends upon what I do (ref#19, NINTH LESSON).

FATHER, You instruct me to persevere in prayer as You persevere with the Jews who have heard but are presently rejecting yet will someday accept Your CHRIST.

Make it my top priority to sow the Gospel seed, that I may find contentment and joy in watching You gather Your elect.

“The great inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor.  Do I feel that sense of indebtedness to Christ in regard to every unsaved soul” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, July 15th)?

Help me be full of inventions if I can’t get sinners to CHRIST by ordinary means (ref#34, Sept 7th AM).  When my child is sick I use all my ingenuity to bring him back to health, disregarding the hazards.  I ask for boldness to use extraordinary means to bring the ones I pray for to faith.

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER  I

“Surely God does not hear an empty cry…” (Job 35:13 ESV).

“Every one that asketh receiveth’…Yet…there are conditions and limitations….The unrestricted promises are hedged about with conditions….It is possible to ask and not receive (Ps 66:18; James 4:2-3)” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p126).

“There may be cases in which the answer is a refusal, because the request is not according to God’s Word, as when Moses asked to enter Canaan.  But still, there was an answer: God did not leave His servant in uncertainty as to His will” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 13th). “…prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to obtain an answer” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p397).

FATHER, this quote propels me to see that when I cry to You in my sympathies I cry to You in pride.  “I” want to be the one who moves You to answer my request.  All my prayer requests must be out of contriteness—praying because I can do nothing to answer the need.  Sin entangles me so that I forget that I am the needy creature and You are the providing Creator.  I thank You for Your longsuffering grace to teach me.  Praise befits You.

“God commands us to pray specifically for our desires, but our desires cannot command him” (Ps 37:4-5; Phil 4:6)” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p109).

“God does not delay to hear our prayers, because he has no mind to give; but that, by enlarging our desires, he may give us the more largely” Anselm of Canterbury (ref#65, p96).

PRAYER

PRAYING AMISS 

“If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov 28:9 ESV).

“…if the Word of Christ be not dwelling in us ‘richly’ (Col 3:16), how can we expect to have the right petition to present to God in the hour of our need” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p147)!

“As long as in prayer we just pour out our hearts in a multitude of petitions, without taking time to see whether every petition is sent with the purpose and expectation of getting an answer, not many will reach the mark” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TENTH LESSON).

“It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipater of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice.  Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin.  It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 3rd).

“Sin is seen not only in selfishness, but in what men call unselfishness.  It is possible to have such sympathy with our fellowmen as to be guilty of red-handed rebellion against God” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, May 22nd).

“It must be, because I pray amiss, that my experience of answered prayer is not clearer.  It must be, because I live too little in the Spirit, that my prayer is too little in the Spirit, and that the power for the prayer of faith is wanting” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

FATHER, how surprising to me is that my sympathies for others in prayer may not be Your will.  Guess that is why You say, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ (Isa 55:9).  You are insistent that I establish a relationship with You.  Without it I go on thinking my desires are Your desires.  No wonder so much praying sees no asked-for answer.  Remind me that before I open my mouth in petition I need to get an okay from You.

PRAYER

PRAYER IS NOT… 

“The chief thing is, not to know what God has said we must do, but that God Himself says it to us.  It is not the law, and not the book, not the knowledge of what is right, that works obedience, but the personal influence of God and His living fellowship.  And even so it is not the knowledge of what God has promised, but the presence of God Himself as the Promiser, that awakens faith and trust in prayer.  It is only in the full presence of God that disobedience and unbelief become impossible” Andrew Murray (ref#19).

“…don’t hunt for a feeling in prayer.  Deep in our psyches we want an experience with God or an experience in prayer.  Once we make that our quest, we lose God.  You don’t experience God; you get to know him” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p21).

“The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God….We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 6th).

“The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 22nd).

“It is not…by a sort of imputation that the Father looks upon us as if we were in Christ, though we are not in Him.  No; the Father wants to see us living in Him: thus shall our prayer really have power to prevail.  Abiding in Christ not only renews the will to pray aright, but secures the full power of His merits to us” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p139).

PRAYER

PLAYING AT PRAYING

“…beware of playing at praying…If I am called upon to pray in public, I must not dare to use words that are intended to please the ears of my fellow-worshippers, but I must realize that I am speaking to God Himself and that I have business to transact with the great Lord….my very soul speaks unto the Most High.  Do you think that the King of heaven is delighted to hear you pronounce words with a frivolous tongue and a thoughtless mind” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32)?

“…as only in so far as God permits….For not only do many without modesty, without reverence, presume to invoke God concerning their frivolities, but impudently bring forward their dreams, whatever they may be, before the tribunal of God” John Calvin (ref#20, section 5).

“…We hurl our own petitions at God’s throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do.  We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ….” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 30th).

“…if prayer is a coming before the throne of God, it ought always to be conducted with deepest sincerity…If anywhere you dare repeat holy words without heart let it not be in Jehovah’s palace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32).

“Prayer is…not…a means to some…end as a delightful and practical end in itself” Steve Brown (ref#228, p21).