“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Acts 27:31
Paul’s last voyage was not a pleasant one. From Caesarea he was being sent to Rome as a prisoner to be tried before Caesar. The storm encountered was causing the ship to break apart as it ran upon the rocks near the beach of Malta.
Before running aground, where the bow stuck and the stem was being broken by the surf, the prisoners could have escaped by throwing out the anchor and letting down the lifeboat. This could have been Paul’s chance to avoid being carried to Rome. But, he knew what was happening was within God’s plans for him.
The following night, after Paul was arrested, “the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11
Then, during the storm, Paul stood to encourage all who are in the ship, “Take heart for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, Do not be afraid Paul, your must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:22-26
Paul trusted God’s plan for him; he trusted His Word, and he was obedient to the will of God. His was the example of the obedience of faith he preached in the gospel to the Roman Christians.
God’s plans for us may be that we go through the storms and waves of this world. The relationship we are in may break up, and seemingly all hope is lost, but in faith, we must stay in the ship. Our relationship with God may encounter upheavals; our fellowship with other believers may run aground, but we are called to obedience to stay in the ship and endure through the entire course, even if that means that we are heading toward the end of this life.
Paul survived his last voyage with other prisoners and soldiers. Undoubtedly, they were non-believers, not knowing the promises or power of God to save His people. Paul is the example for us, even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to shine as lights in the darkness.
Cutting Away the Lifeboat
“Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” Acts 27:32
God is able: and He promises in His Word never to leave us nor forsake us. At times He may have to cut away the ropes of anything that might help us to abandon ship.
His church is that great ship that is often run aground, but He has not forsaken her. Many leave the ship, and often have a difficult time finding it again.
Marriage and family units are vessels that have to bear the storms. Many find these relationships on the rocks, but when we rely on God’s promises, His presence and power as Paul did, we experience His working through the upheavals. He can restore these ships, sometimes to better relationships than they were before.
We may be the only one with faith, courage, and perseverance to stay with the ship, knowing the God to whom we belong and worship. We may be the only light that God chooses to save a whole family from darkness and disaster.
We accept this reality with humility, not pride. It can be a heavy burden for us, but in time it will produce the joy that He intends for us. Wherever we are is where God places us; to testify ofHim.
A few days ago, a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another, as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught.
This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.
As we continue to see our need for humility; to desire this abounding grace; to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait.
We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.
It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.
Humility Chap. 8 Humility and Sin
Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride, whether of evil spirits or my own corrupt nature and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. Humility: the Beauty of Holiness
Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ. You do not leave us to grow by ourselves. You know what we need ~ grace and more grace. Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may be a witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you. In Jesus’ name, I pray and praise you. Amen (Excerpt from A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
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After our pastor’s recent sermon from Luke 7:38, my heart was led to think of what it means to be “at Jesus’ feet.”
“Behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat dining in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:38.”
“Gracious tears are wept at Jesus’ feet. Oh, if you would have your heart broken until the rock shall gush with rivers of repentance, stand at Jesus’ feet. Stand there now. If you would have a tender heart, think of the Beloved who died for you! Think of how those feet were pierced. This woman could not see that, for it was not then done; but you can see it, and note where the nail has bored each blessed foot.” At His Feet Charles Spurgeon
The first reference of Jesus’ feet is in Matthew 15:30
In recognition of Jesus’ power to heal, “great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”
There were those who fell at Jesus’ feet to worship Him, and those who sat at His feet.
We come to His feet to pray for loved ones, knowing by experience He is the only one who can save.
Jairus, a rule of the synagogue, whose daughter was ill, ”fell down at Jesus’feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:” Luke 8:41
In Mark 7:25 “a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
We find in Luke 8:35 the story of the man who had a legion of demons in him who used to cut himself, and who lived among the tombs.
“They went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the demons were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus.”
At Jesus’ feet” is the fitting place for a willing learner.
“She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word”; Luke 10:39
In the healing of the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Jesus and acknowledge His healing.
“And fell down on his face at hisfeet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:16
It is at Jesus’ feet that we recognize our place before Him and honor and acknowledge His power and authority over all things.
“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at hisfeet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:32
After His resurrection “when they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” Matthew 28:9
When we fall before Him, it is His feet we see and touch. We come to Him in gratitude for His condescension to us, for He walked this dusty earth to proclaim the kingdom of God, our Father; then climbed that hill to Golgatha to have those precious feet pierced for our sake.
His disciples tarried in obedience to the Master and were blessed to see those glorious feet as He ascended back to the Father to rule in power and as our High Priest to intercede for us.
“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
1 Corinthians 15:25
“And hath put all things under hisfeet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22
We live under His authority, no longer enemies but friends and family ~ His church. We will not come under His feet in the wrath of God, but we will rule with Him at His feet, forevermore. We bow before Him now or will be brought under His feet in condemnation forever.
When He Reigns
“I think I see the angels and the blood-bought ones beginning one of their celestial chorales. Hear them as they begin the rapturous strain! Their notes how sweet, how seraphic, as they praise the eternal Father and the glorious Lamb of God and worship!
“We hear the song. How it swells! Listen to the soft touches of the harpists playing on their harps! Do you see how the singers and the players of instruments seem caught up in the ecstasy? But notice! as the song rises they begin to bow. As it rises higher they bow lower, and lower, and lower.
“The enthusiastic fervour of their love has made them lift their loudest hallelujah; and lo ~ they cast their crowns at his sacred feet. The whole company are still lifting up the song to its utmost glory, but immediately they fall on their faces, prostrate before the throne. “At his feet” is their loftiest position. Let us imitate them, and making the worship more ecstatic than before, bow before him.
Lo, at his feet, with awful joy,
The adoring armies fall!
With joy they shrink to nothing there,
Before the eternal All.
“So let us praise him for all that he has done for us; and, as we praise him, let us sink lower, and lower, and lower, until in ourselves we are nothing and only Christ lives in us. Let no thought of self, nor wish for self, nor dream of self, intrude, but let Jesus be all in all.
“At his feet,” there our heaven shall be found. When our soul is deepest bathed in grateful praise we shall fall down on our faces and worship the Lamb. May the Lord bless you, and keep you at his feet for ever. Amen. At Jesus’ Feet Charles Spurgeon
“And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever andever.” Revelation 514; Revelation 19:4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
If our main purpose in seeking God is to receive a blessing, then our blessing will most likely be in vain. The blessings we seek for ourselves are usually selfish and without substance. True blessings will be returned to the sender from grateful hearts with the fruit of praise unto His name.
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Shorter Catechism
As God’s children, we live under His constant showers of blessings. We are continually blessed even ~ and sometimes more so ~ in our most dire circumstances. Let’s explore this word used extensively in the seasoned Christian’s vocabulary.
Here is the link to the 463 words BLESS, BLESSED, or BLESSING(S) recorded in the KJV.
Old Testament H1288 bârak, baw-rak’; a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit);
If blessing begins with God, it must mean that He kneels ~ or should we say, He condescends to us ~ in order to bless us. He must, from His height of glory, look down upon us in pity and love. This is itself our blessing ~ that He has any interest in us as mere creatures. This is where our hearts are warmed to receive what He has planned and is willing to pour down upon us.
When we experience His blessings, it becomes our second nature to return the blessing to Him.
The first use of the word BLESS is found in Genesis 1:22 refering to God’s blessing Adam and Eve and His creation, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
In Genesis 2:3, “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
In Genesis 9:1 “God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
Genesis 12:2 records God’s blessing for Abraham,“I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”
Genesis 14:20 is the first record of God being blessed
“And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 27:35 relates to Jacob’s deception in taking away Esau’s blessing.
Genesis 32:26 speaks of Jacob’s wrestling with God. “And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
The following is a well-known blessing we use for others.
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27
The blessing refers to life.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19
One of the most familiar verses shows us in a negative way how a man is blessed. Then the next verse in the positive showing the connection of blessings and delight.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” Psalm 1:1-2
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.Psalm 33:12
“The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.” Proverbs 3:33
“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.” Psalm 128:1
Blessings returned to the Lord
“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.” Psalm 72:18
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalm 103:1
“The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” Psalm 18:46
“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.” Psalm 145:1
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1
The promise of blessing in our obedience of bringing our tithes to Him.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
New Testament G3107 makários, mak-ar’-ee-os; supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off:—blessed, happy(X -ier).
The word in Greek carries with it a greater meaning. We should understand this as relating to the greater blessing we have in Jesus Christ.
The most familiar are the blessings Jesus promised in the Sermon on the Mount ~ commonly called the Beatitudes. He taught that happiness is not based on the physical things of this life but in the spiritual life He came to give.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, they that mourn, hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness’ sake and when men shall revile you. The blessings that come after are recorded after each of these.
With the promised blessings is the command for us to bless those that curse us (Matthew 5:44).
Because our Lord has stooped to bless us, we are able to bless others as well as kneel before Him and bless Him for His work in and through us.
Blessings are promised to those who hear the word of God, who keep it, do His commandments, and endure temptation.
“But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12
Jesus’ last blessing to them before His ascension.
“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:50-51
He is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” 1 Timothy 6:15
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3
As children of God ~ the blessed people of God living in His abundant mercy and hope ~ let us live daily in obedience to Him.
Dear Father, fill us with the Spirit of Christ today. In humility and reverence to you, let us experience your blessings flowing through us to others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Words and names have always fascinated me. They make a sound, ring a bell, and become a current that carries me wherever they want me to go.
Names are words that indicate relationship ~ whether personal or just in passing ~ both are functional as to their influence to excite or suppress. Names stir in other souls who and what they represent.
A name in my thoughts is a visitation of that person, their personality, their beliefs, their life. If only in passing ~ whenever or wherever I have known them ~ they leave a mark on my life.
Names are the identification of the contents. We can never willingly show the entirety of our being ~ considering the depravity of our nature and the years we have lived. But we can be known for one particular thing and that one thing is memorable.
Where would we be as Jesus’ followers if He not lived up to His name ~ Jesus, meaning Salvation ~ and established as the only means of salvation (Acts 4:12).
And only He has the Words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Our own thoughts form a pattern, a plan, a possibility of spoken words and actions. They are part of the design of a spiritual landscape. Words spoken leave impressions on the hearts that hear. And our names are the label for what we leave behind.
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Dust or Fragrance Words that are spoken are either dust and mud for people’s feet, or they are fragrance that lifts them to the heights of God’s glory. And so, when others hear our names, they respond in their spirit to what they have heard and seen.
We, as human creatures, represent either God or Satan. We are light or we are darkness. We are good or we are evil. God makes known to His people who He is and who we are as His children. Light and goodness are not our own. They are the nature and fruit of a new heart and spirit given by God to His people (Ezekiel 36:26). We experience a new birth (John 1:12-13; 3:3).
He brings us to His Word and by His Spirit births us into His family and kingdom (1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23). Even as we live through Jesus Christ, His Spirit works in and through us. Our thoughts and desires are changed. We are given a new design for living and a language that is different from the rest of the world. Our vocabulary is inspired by the Word of God and by His Word we are changed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
We are known by our fruit. Our words and lives are the inward working of the Life of Christ within us. The birds of the air take our words and scatter the seeds where the Lord wills so as to make His name known and to produce more fruit for His kingdom.
How do others know us? How do they remember us? Are we a sweet fragrance unto life for others?
Gracious Father, Hallowed be your name ~ for we remember that you are holy, We remember you in your majesty and your glory. We are humbled by your mercy to us as lost sinners in need of grace and new life. Make us holy ~ humble us and make us the representatives of Christ that we are meant to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.”
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5
“There is a call to all earnest Christians to prove thatmeekness and lowliness of heart are the chief marks by which they follow the meek and humble Lamb of God.”
Humility and Death to Self What if, in a life-threatening position, you have the opportunity to live, but you cannot let go of something you are holding.
Think of life that is promised if we not only let go of things that we hold dear, but to give up our own life. True humility leads us to die to self. The result is the humble life that is ours in Christ; now and for eternity.
“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25
Revelation, Desire, Prayer, Reality In Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians, he teaches us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other. Hope (another gift) keeps us in prayer and more watchful against the wiles of the devil. He wants us dead, but not to self.
These truths are revealed to us by the Spirit, regenerating us with a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) so that we, seeing our ignorance and pride, come to repentance and faith — our first step toward growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. One step leads to another as we desire this humility, pray for it, and by His working, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.
God Uses All Things to Humble Us Every time I read Murray’s Humility, I come away with his impressive statement concerning God’s means for our humility. It is similar to Romans 8:28-29. It has made a difference in my life to see God’s sovereignty working through everything to conform me to the image of Christ..
“Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you.”
“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Romans 8:25
Murray ended his book with a suggestion for a personal daily prayer.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.”
Dear Father, all you expect from us is supernatural and beyond our doing, but you put the desire in our hearts and promise us that you are exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask or imagine, by the power of your Spirit working in us. Thank you for coming down to us that you might bring us to yourself — that by your divine power, we may live a life of humility before you and men. In Jesus’ name I thank you and praise you. Amen.
“When we reach the depths of humility then are we lifted to the heights of Christ’s glory.” Andrew Murray Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness
“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”
“When we see that humility is something infinitely deeper than contrition, and accept it as our participation in the life of Jesus, we will begin to learn that it is our true nobility. We will begin to understand that (even as Jesus was a servant) being servants of all is the highest fulfillment of our destiny, as men created in the image of God.”
“Humility should be sought after as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus.”
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”
“Humility should be esteemed as the cardinal virtue; the only root from which the graces grow; and the one indispensable condition of fellowship with Jesus.” Humility Andrew Murray
Dear Father, our greatest need is to have the nature and disposition of Christ, the power of His love and humility poured out from heaven into vessels that you have chosen for your honor and service. We desire this sweet and lowly gentleness that is the mark of the Lamb. Enable us to relinquish all to you for the work and power of your Holy Spirit in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.