The Humility of Christ (pg. 4)

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.”
Philippians 2:8

“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.”

“Have full assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.” Humility Andrew Murray 

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39

Dear Father, by your grace, reveal your Son who humbled Himself for us. Make us to know the indwelling of your divine love so that we are no longer occupied with sin and self but with you. Make us to know the Spirit’s power of Christ’s humility and gentleness in and through us ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility

The Recovering of Humility (pg. 3)

Humility is not new. In innocence and humility, our first parents were created. They depended on God and lived under His care with all their needs supplied.

UNTIL ~

In their disobedience and independence, they forfeited the relationship God had planned for them with Him. Humility was replaced by pride and occupation with self. That wonderful place of dependence upon our Creator was given up.

But Jesus came to restore us and to provide the power of humility by His Spirit. It must be His work for only He knows the place and the way. Only He can lead us out of our sinfulness to our rightful relationship with HIm.

It is the soul led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator and Redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him.”

If humility is to be our joy it must be understood apart from all sin as a covering with the very beauty and blessedness of heaven and of Jesus.”

“It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.” 

 “Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His humility.  And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride, and realize our inability to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will give us this grace as part of His wondrous life within us.
Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness

We must understand the life of Christ that He died to give us and know that we cannot work it in ourselves. Let us desire His humility, pray fervently, and wait in praise and thanksgiving for the promise to be fulfilled in us. Let us learn from Andrew Murray these powerful truths, meditate on them and share them with others ~ for the glory of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ ~ and our joy in Him.

Dear Father, thank you that in Christ, we have the promise of receiving more than our first parents had. Send your Holy Spirit for conviction, bring us to repentance, faith, desire, and anticipation for what you want to do in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
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Humility by Grace (pg.2)

The mystery of grace teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.”

Let us memorize and meditate on this statement by which Murray begins his treatise on Humility. Each of these phrases should be examined separately, then added each one to the other for the understanding of the work of grace

“the mystery of grace”
“lose ourselves”
                        “the overwhelming greatness”
                                                    “redeeming love”
“humility becomes to us”
                          “the consummation”
                                            “everlasting blessedness
— the work of grace toward us and in us that effects a response.
                                             “adoration
— the work in and through us – the fruit of His overwhelming greatness of redeeming love.

There is no mention of sin or pride in this statement. Humility is the work of grace abounding over pride.

“But where sin abounded,
grace did much more abound:”

Romans 5:20

There seems to be the thinking that “we must keep sinning if we are indeed to remain humble.”

Others have thought that the strength of self-condemnation is the secret of humility. And the Christian life has suffered loss, because believers have not been distinctly guided to see that nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, so that God may be all.  It has not been made clear that it is not sin that humbles us most, but grace.

 We will continue these thoughts in our next post. Today, let these two bold statements be lodged in our memory and our heart, so that they convict, and work the desire for this humility that is ours in Christ. Then, let us begin to pray fervently for this gift of His grace — with faith in His timing and His means.

Gracious Father, you keep bringing me back to this lowly position before you, to refresh my heart and memory. Keep us at the foot of the cross until we know this grace that enables us to lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of your redeeming love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)

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The Pursuit of Humility

Humility — the Beauty of Holiness  (audio) by Andrew Murray became a gripping study for me over twenty years ago. In those first years, the conviction of my own need for this trait of the Christian life led me to study and memorize particular quotes. These were truths I had never heard and I began to long for this as part of my relationship and union with Christ.

In 2014, I shared for twelve months on this blog what was published in 2016 as A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility. Since then I have used my book which highlights the main points that I had memorized as a daily devotional. (A free PDF copy is available upon request.)

Why have I become so intrigued with this subject?

Because I have experienced the difference Christ’s humility has made in my life. I continue to witness of this so that others may come to this knowledge and blessing.

Humility is the least-claimed, the least-owned, and the least-known of the graces of Christ that are given to His people.

Why?

Because humility goes against the grain of all human nature. Pride is so ingrained that only a miracle — a work of the power of the Spirit of Christ — the Holy Spirit sent to transform the minds, hearts, and lives of His brethren — can we be delivered from pride and live a life of humility. This was the total of the life of our Lord and Savior and the abundant life He died to give.

It is the least-owned because it does not belong to us. It is the gift of His grace and the fruit of His Spirit — meekness –even next to the last of the fruit which is temperance (self-control).

And it does not happen overnight. As Murray teaches throughout the book, we must remember the process of all God’s work.

1. Conviction of our need.
2. Desire for the humility of Christ above all else
3. Pray diligently for His working in us.
4. Wait in expectation and live in   praise to Him for what He will do in His timing.

I want to share this week and in subsequent posts the simple statements Murray used in his book that still bring me to my knees, yearning for this “above everything, seeking the holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all.” It must be the continual indwelling of Christ within. When we fail, we are reminded to return to where we started — the heart in prayer for His working.

“It is the indwelling Christ who will live His life in us, meek and lowly. We must long for this, above everything, seeking this holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all. We must set aside our ordinary religion to secure this, the first and chief of the marks of Christ within us.”

“And begin to praise God that there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness (which you possibly have never yet tasted) can come into you.”

I share these blessed truths, praying for His Spirit’s conviction and blessing for us as we seek, claim, own, and know the power of His working in us — for His glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name,
Fran

An Open Letter to Our Granddaughter

Dear Ansley,

When you were a child, you asked me, “Gramama, what is beauty?”

I did not have an answer then and twenty years later, I am still learning.

I grew up hearing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“Beauty is only skin deep.”

“Beauty is where you find it.”

“Beauty is all around us, but the blind cannot see.”

There is no answer to describe what may be beautiful to every person.

The only true beauty is in holiness, beauty in God that He reveals to the clean heart; for the eyes reserved for Him to receive what He chooses to give.

Beauty is found in His Word ~ written and Living in Christ.

Beauty in the Heart

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1 Peter 3:4

God sees the beauty of His own work in the hearts and lives of His children.

True beauty is seen by the soul; reserved for the humble heart.

There is beauty in the thoughts of those who know that God loves them.

Beauty is seen by the light (the light of Grace) that shines into the heart. The light that reveals the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

True beauty is hidden from the world because it is heaven-oriented, God-inspired, Spirit-breathed, and Christ-centered in His children.

True beauty, as God reveals it, is seen in His Son, Jesus Christ. Through His eyes, we see what He wants us to see, beyond the boundaries of our own little world.

Beauty is in the cross of the One who died, in Him who with open arms rejoices in those who come to Him.

Beauty is in the Shepherd that carries one of His sheep until he is able to walk on his own.

Beauty is following Jesus and sitting at His feet.

Beauty is the moment a person knows that He is God’s child, born of His Spirit for eternity.

It is His kingdom within us, making us aware of the beauty around us that others cannot see.

Beauty is in the heart that loves what God loves.

Beauty is seen in patiently waiting for the Master.

Beauty is accepting all that the Lord wills for our lives, in disappointments, trials, and suffering.

Beauty is the Spirit of Christ within the human heart speaking wherever we are, in our times of need, or prompting us to minister to someone else’s need.

“And let the beauty of our Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands;
yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it. “
Psalm 90:17

Beauty is in the hands of those who serve Him, and beauty in the work that we do for Him.

Beauty is in the peace of mind that only He gives.

Beauty is in the quietness of a moment, when the world around us is in chaos.

Beauty in Relationships

Beauty is living in humility to serve God and others.

Beauty is God’s love in action.

Beauty is seen in a smile when you least expect it.

Beauty is in gentleness.

Beauty is in an act of compassion.

Beauty is in the generosity of one who cares for others,

Beauty is responding to a need on a spur of the moment.

Beauty is in the sincere words, “I love you.”

Beauty is in a spontaneous hug for someone you don’t know.

Beauty in Nature

Beauty is seeing a butterfly light on a delicate flower petal, or a bee receiving the nectar of God’s provision.

Beauty is seen in the opening of a single flower that receives the rays of the sun after a gentle rain.

Beauty is seeing a flowing leaf find its resting place on the ground.

We have yet to see the beauty of His holiness. It is more than we can endure, now.

We will see His full beauty when He returns for His people, and the beauty of His world which He promises to us. 

I could not answer your question when you first asked. We have both been learning.   I can witness of the true meaning of beauty that is revealed by God to His children. You could add what you have learned since then.

If our eyes are opened to Him, we see His beauty around us and within us. We have the remainder of this life for Him to prepare our eyes to behold Him ~ and eternity to experience the beauty of His holiness and majesty.

As we wait, I am seeing His beauty in you.

In the love of our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, a love that transcends all time and space ~ for His glory and our joy ~
Gramama

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A Bloody Crown, a Bloody Cross, a Bloody Sacrifice

After posting Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice I  wanted to do this follow-up. In that article, images depicted everything clean as if the cross of Christ was never used. The crowns were those of earthly kings. The precious sweet lamb was untouched, alive in the green grass.

As the church plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ next Lord’s Day, I am reminded that we seldom think about the events that led to this celebration. Too often we skip the crucifixion and the tomb, forgetting the suffering and the sacrifice that made our salvation sure. Some people can look at blood and gore and are insensitive to it. I, like others, avoid it at all costs. Even the sounds of violence from a distance make me cringe.

Still others will not consider their need for a bloody Savior. The rich man of the South who said, “I don’t need anyone to die for me,” didn’t know his own heart.

Understanding how we are reconciled to God through the blood of His own Son is necessary ~ if we are to experience the power of His love and grace working in and through us.

Even as I continue to study the humility of Christ, I desire the Lord to give me a deeper understanding of His sacrificial atonement. I pray that you, the reader, will receive something of what He is showing me; to know the love that was in the blood that was shed for us; to let that love fill us so that we love Him even more.

And as Paul spoke to the Roman church, let us pray that we are so humbled by His mercy that we respond by offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) for our God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” Ephesians 2:4

A Bloody Crownimages

Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon The Bloody Crown:

Beloved, I always feel as if my tongue were tied when I come to talk of the sufferings of my Master. I can think of them. I can picture them to myself. I can sit down and weep over them, but I know not how to paint them to others! Did you ever know pen or pencil that could? A Michelangelo or a Raphael might well shrink back from attempting to paint this picture! And the tongue of an archangel might be consumed in the effort to sing the griefs of Him who was loaded with shame because of our shameful transgressions.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:2

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium;
and they call together the whole band.
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns,
and put it about his head,
And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him,
and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:16-19

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels record the scourging and mocking right before Jesus was led away to be crucified. But John’s gospel records (and he was an eye witness) Pilate bringing him before the chief priests, the elders, and the crowd before He was led away.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

What did Pilate mean by doing this? He may have thought that all the blood would discourage the Jewish leaders and the crowd, but no ~ they wanted more. What they saw from Jesus’ beating and the thorns on His head was not enough. They must have his life. They must see Him destroyed; no matter how much blood it took.

They could not know how powerful that blood would be to save His people ~ and to condemn them. The envy, the anger, the hatred, the malice from the enemy was the very reason that Jesus had to endure such suffering.   God knew what was needed to accomplish our redemption ~ an innocent Lamb, a holy man, Himself in human form. He knew that in the presence of sinful men He would be massacred.

At any point, amid the pain and the humiliation from Pilate, the soldiers, and the Jews, Jesus could have shown His power and position as God. Even in His physical weakness He could have spoken the word, or called down heaven and destroyed all or part of Jerusalem. (That would happen later.) But, all that happened was part of the plan for our redemption. Jesus could not turn back now. From the sweat drops of blood in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the forsaking of the disciples, the mocking of the soldiers, and the crown of shame, He was well into fulfilling the new covenant.

He was revealing the necessity for blood, the reality of atonement through His own blood. To endure all for our sake was the true manner of humility revealed to us.

The pain which He had endured from the scourges caused Him to throb with exquisite anguish—but we read neither of tears nor groans—much less of angry complaints or revengeful threats. He does not seek pity, or make one appeal for leniency. He does not ask why they torture or why they mock. Brave Witness! Courageous Martyr! Suffering exquisitely, You also suffered calmly! Such a perfect frame as His—His body being conceived without sin—He must have been capable of tortures which our bodies, corrupted by sin, cannot feel. Charles Spurgeon

Bloody-Cross-600x450A Bloody Cross

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

The beatings and the blood on His head did not faze Jesus. He was the central figure in this greatest event in history. It is His story of redemption. The cross, saturated with His blood, is the main scene ~ the turning point for humanity and the gateway leading to eternal life with Him. In the last decade, I have given up watching mere men do this role in plays and movies. It is but an act. No man but Jesus Christ has done this part. It is better to read and meditate on His word for this reality in our own hearts than to see an imitation.

The cross was the means that God had chosen; that Jesus knew He must bear; it was a revelation of God’s love and grace. It is the symbol for us to remember. We wear crosses around our necks.   Most of them are gold and silver. None are bloody. But we must remember the blood of the cross of Christ; His life that was shed for us.

That blood was the blood of the new covenant. The beatings and the bloody crown were only the preludes to our own lifeline. Without the blood of His hands, His feet, and His side, there would have been no reconciliation and peace between God and us. I use the words ‘God and us,’ instead of ‘us and God,’ because He is the initiator and the fulfillment of the covenant. We must see the blood, even as He had to see the blood, and therefore passed over our sins.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

Mark his brow-they have put about it a crown of thorns, and the crimson drops of gore are rushing down his cheeks! . . . But turn aside that purple robe for a moment. His back is bleeding. ..They lift up the thongs, still dripping clots of gore; they scourge and tear his flesh, and make a river of blood to run down his shoulders! This is the shedding of blood without which there is no remission…They fling him to the ground; they nail his hands and feet to the transverse wood, they hoist it in the air…Blood from his head, blood from his hands, blood from his feet. . They pierce his side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water.   Charles Spurgeon

A Bloody Sacrificeimages

                “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

After that tremendous struggle, the strength of Love mastered the weakness of Manhood—He put that cup to His lips and never shrank—He drank right on till not a drop was left! And now the cup of wrath is empty—no trace of the terrible wine of the wrath of God can be found within it! At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord drank destruction dry, forever, for all His people. Charles Spurgeon

The blood on the crown of thorns and the stain on the cross was the blood of Jesus Christ. The pouring out of His blood on the ground was more than a sprinkling and spoke better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 13:24) There was life in that blood, the life of the Son of God who lived for one purpose ~ to lay down His life; to shed His blood for us.

“It is finished.” It was done according to His everlasting covenant. He was the bloody sacrifice for His people. We don’t have to look at a bloody cross anymore, but we must remember it. Nor do we need a crucifix with a figure of a man with no bloodstains.

He left us with two ordinances to remember His sacrifice; baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We need but to be baptized into His death once, but His sacrifice is to be remembered when we come together for worship. Blessed are we who celebrate the resurrection and remember His death with the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.

Peace Through His Blood
Jesus is no longer a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, or a man on a cross, or wrapped in a linen shroud lying in a tomb. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords living today and forever as our merciful and faithful High Priest; sitting at the right hand of God, having offered the oblation of His blood for His people; making reconciliation for us; and now, as our mediator, interceding for us.

We would be blessed today and tomorrow to read and meditate on the crucifixion of our Lord, so as to come to worship and celebrate this Lord’s Day with a deeper sense of His mercy and grace.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

The blood is one of the strangest, the deepest, the mightiest, and the most heavenly of the thoughts of God. It lies at the very root of both Covenants, but specially of the New Covenant. The difference between the two Covenants is the difference between the blood of beasts, and the blood of the Lamb of God! The power of the New Covenant has no lesser measure than the worth of the blood of the Son of God! Your Christian experience ought to know of no standard of peace with God, and purity from sin, and power over the world, than the blood of Christ can give! If we would enter truly and fully into all the New Covenant is meant to be to us, let us beseech God to reveal to us the worth and the power of the blood of the Covenant, the precious blood of Christ!  The Two Covenants Andrew Murray

Dear heavenly Father, just as we cannot paint the picture of Christ, your Son, for others, neither can we put into words our praise and gratitude for so great a salvation, performed as planned and executed in your timing and place.  Let the blood of Christ, that is efficacious, doing all that you planned it to do, work in us the power over sin.  Cleanse us and keep us always looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

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Focus, Love, and Rejoice

The words focus, love, and rejoice came clearly from time in prayer, meditation in God’s Word, and in my circumstances. The first word, focus, is included in the title of a book I started a few years ago. Focus, Balance, and Order came during a time when things were difficult to sort through. Still working on this book, my hope is to finish it soon as the Lord continues to show me these three facets of the Christian life. In the meantime, the Lord placed Focus, Love and Rejoice in my heart to experience the outcome of our focus on God our Father, the balance of life through our Lord, Jesus Christ and the order of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

It is the work of a triune God that produces the focus, love, and joy in us as His children. Briefly, let us look at this fruit that shows His work in and through us.

Concentration has never been my nature. The Lord knows my weakness and blesses me to know my need for Him — to seek His presence to accomplish in me what He desires. I would venture to say that we all are distracted by the physical world, with difficulties in training our minds to look to and keep our eyes upward, looking to Him for all things. Focus is not within from birth. Some may say that we are all focused on something.

We, as earthlings, are prone to switch from image to image looking for something new, something different every day. We are easily entertained by whatever comes in view of our senses.

The focus we speak of here is a steady, non-altering gaze that is immovable from its one object.

In the book Focus, Balance, and Order, we survey that on which we focus, the object of our focus. Of course, we will ascertain that it is the Lord God, our heavenly Father who is our focus and why it is must be Him alone on which we set our sight, our desires, our hopes, and our faith. There, the word focus is a noun as is balance and order. Here, focus is a verb, just as love and rejoice. I hope this post will encourage and excite you to pray for me and to look forward to how He will develop this project through me
In the meantime, let’s think of what He wants to work in us as a result of His focus, balance, and order in our lives.

If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1

Focus
He wants us to focus — to continually keep our eyes — upon Him. We can love and rejoice as we receive His Words by a direct concentration and meditation on Him and His Word. We receive from Him with open hearts and minds. Imagine a thirsty man holding a cup to receive water without focusing on the source. The stream of water is the life of Christ given to us from our heavenly Father by His Holy Spirit. In prayer and through His Word, we direct our hearts and minds to receive the life He gives. But our eyes are on the Father, the giver of all life. Jesus directs us to the Father in His prayer on the mount.

Love and Rejoice
When He says, focus, love, and rejoice, He teaches us that love is the fruit, the life of Christ poured in and through us as we receive it from Him. Both love and joy are His character traits shared with His children. He gives us His love and His joy— the fruit of His Spirit within us. We, therefore, love as He loves, unselfishly. His joy causes us to rejoice.

Most will say they cannot keep such a focus. None of us can. Like humility and all that He requires of His children, He teaches what He wants to do in us. He gives us the desire of His heart until it becomes our heart’s desire. We pray and wait for Him to do His work in us. As Andrew Murray says in Waiting on God — we can afford to wait. These are parts of our inheritance given to enjoy here on this earth and preparation for eternity with Him.

When we learn to focus upon Him, it will not matter what may be our circumstances. Focus enables us to keep steadfast in the life of Christ, not changing our actions based on what is happening around us. The world cannot change our character when we know who we are in Christ. We continue to love the unlovable and rejoice through the most difficult times of this life when we set our affections on Him and the things above.

Dear Father in heaven, we are most blessed when we keep our eyes heavenward, knowing you lead us through the most difficult places by your Spirit of love and joy. Bring us to desire with all our hearts to focus upon you. Make us a channel of your love and joy, we pray, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

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