The Nature of Humility (pg. 5)

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself — our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature.   As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must –it will be — to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)

 A man’s pride shall bring him low:
but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
Proverbs 29:23

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.

“We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.” Humility Andrew Murray


There is as much difference in pride and humility as in night and day, light and darkness — good and evil. Jesus came to make the difference in His people. The Holy Spirit is doing His work in us now in preparation for eternity with Him. There will be no pride in heaven and without it we will never get there.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name as your kingdom has come and your will is being done in the hearts and lives of your children. Let the world see what Christ does in us. Continue to grow us in the new nature that is ours in Him — 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 (free copy upon request)

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Conclusion to a Mere Christianity

In this conclusion, I hope to put to rest the idea that there is such a thing as a mere Christianity. It is simple, but profound. Enough, but much more than we can know.

We will add the following synonym study to the introduction of the book.

Merebare, imply a scant sufficiency.They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Bare suggests scarcely as much as (enough). Thus a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on. Dictionary.com

Our God and Father, the Creator and Redeemer of His people, did not bring the world into existence by a mere pittance of His grace. He did not send His only begotten Son into the world to provide only a possibility for salvation nor was His death upon the cross a means to provide a pitiful life here on earth.

Our meaning is not that of physical poverty or wealth but, spiritual. God, before the foundation of the world, planned to bless His people in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3-4).

King Ahasuerus offered Queen Esther half his kingdom; so, did King Herod offer the daughter of Herodias (Esther 5:3; Mark 6:23) .

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3). He told His disciples, “It is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). He promises to share His kingdom and His glory with all His children.

We are not offered a bare existence as a follower of Christ, but the promise that we are new creatures with an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God until His appearing (1 Peter 1:7).

In this book Beyond a Mere Christianityposted chapter by chapter since June 15, 2018, I have referenced books by C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and Oswald Chambers as points of those who wrote in the past and one sermon by Jonathan Edwards. Their works were not meant to be used against them but to be a means of reference to what the Lord is still doing, that others may experience things that they may not have writtenn ~ to encourage further personal study and gleaning of God’s Word.

If we take seriously what is written in the previous chapters of this book, we see the makings of the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts and lives of men. We have written of the truth that there is no status quo to Christianity. While some may experience a low profile of faith, others have been called to live sacrificially.

Either of these requires the supernatural power and presence of God to change the hearts of men. In these following last references, we see the life Christ came to give. It is an abundant life (John 10:10) beginning here and now that transitions us from this life into the next. Those who have this life in Christ are willing to die for His name’s sake to keep this life forever.

Besides the following references that pertain to how we live as Christians, I am including the link to Biblegateway.com for references to the word life. Lord willing, this will be our next devotional study in the series What the Holy Bible Says.

Though this is the conclusion (except for testimonies by two other witnesses), this series will never end. God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory will continually be a platform for proclaiming the legacy of His kingdom.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:14

Live by His Written Word

Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” Psalm 119:17

The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” Psalm 119:144

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1 Peter 1:23

Live in Christ

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:25

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” 2 Corinthians 13:4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:10

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:” 2 Timothy 2:11

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

Live in the Spirit

 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Galatians 5:25

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9

Live in Peace

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort,
be of one mind, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11

Live Godly

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
Titus 2:12

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24“

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time
in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
1 Peter 4:2

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

  Live Sacrificially

Men hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:26).

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Revelation 12:11

Dear Father in heaven, how can we with mere words thank you for who and what you are to us. Enable us to give ourselves willingly, gratefully, prayerfully and humbly to live as you have planned for us. Let us not be satisfied with a mere taste of your grace but fill us with your fulness, the fulness of your Spirit and the fulness of Christ, who in us is no mere hope but the hope of glory ~ eternity, here, now, and forever with you. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
Related Article: Living Sacrifices

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The Lens of Contentment

Most people see contentment in good health, relationships, possessions, fashions, the cars we drive and the homes in which we live, many of these indicating the measure of our personal success.

God’s people are given a means of seeing what is different from the world. The new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3) given by God our Father, come with a lens that changes our focus from the world and our dependency on what we can achieve. Our view is upward, brought to see Him as the giver and supplier of all that we need. We see beyond the world’s offerings to the special blessings that are ours through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The writer of the book of Hebrews leaves an exhortation to God’s people in the last chapter:
“Keep your life free from the love of money.

The world trains our children to seek contentment through what our money can buy.
The followers of Christ are trained to “be content with what you have.”

Why can we be content with less than what the world offers?
~ “for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (13:5)

The giver of all things is more precious than all the money we could accrue in this world.
His presence is greater that any relationship, entertainment or possession offered in this generation.
His love and grace is of more value that anything money could buy.
His blessings are infinite and eternally ours, while the temporal things of this world will either be lost or fade away.
Nothing of this world can compare to what we experience in His supply of all things .

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

There are those who are suffering physically and financially from attempting to keep up with greater expectations than they are able. When they learn of life in Christ, they can let go of the world’s offerings and enjoy Him and what He gives.

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

It was the apostle Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). He rolled with the pushes, at the same time rejoicing and praising the Lord because He had experienced the presence and power of God. In His calling, devotion and service he was given “visions and revelations” of the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:1). As an evangelist/tentmaker he knew the God “who supplies all our needs” (Philippians 4:19). He lived with a “thorn in the flesh” ~ the buffeting of Satan through the religious and government leaders, living the last part of his life in prison because he was content with the Lord’s calling and promises of the gospel. Oh, that we might all say as he did, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Gracious heavenly Father, creator and supplier of all things, open our eyes, turn them upward to see heaven opened as you pour out all that you have prepared for us in and through Jesus our Lord. Let the world see our contentment with you and all that you desire for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Related Post: A Year for Contentment ~ Continued
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Hidden Treasure

“As a child I had a recurring dream of walking a dirt path, and seeing the reflection of the sun on something in the dirt. Reaching down I discovered a penny. (When I was a child we picked up lost pennies.) As I picked it up, I found other pennies. Picking up the pennies, I found nickels underneath, and then dimes, and quarters and half-dollars in the dirt. The more I picked up the more I found buried in the dirt.

I could not understand this dream until,  as an adult, the Lord brought me into His Word. Then, I began to understand the treasures that are hidden there. The more we take, the more we see and desire and receive. As we continue to look to the path and take what He gives, more of the riches of God’s covenant and kingdom are revealed.

Jesus said, “It is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). It is His pleasure to open these treasures through His Word, that we may know the heritage that is ours.

In 1993 a year after my new birth, I began writing what our heavenly Father was teaching me of our inheritance through Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1: 3-4) I began writing a little book called The Legacy. It speaks of a will written by an ancestor who wanted to bequeath His fortune to future descendants. The Legacy speaks of itself through me of how God was revealing His love and kingdom to His children who would be born of His Spirit.

God’s Word is such as a father would write in His own written will to pass on all the wealth that he has to his children. Those who read and study, meditate, and take to heart in faith what is written, will discover that this wealth is indeed meant for them individually and corporately with other members of the household of faith ~ those whom God births into His own family. He desires us and sires us according to His own will and His timing, in different generations. He brings us through His Word and Spirit to know Him, to be born of Him, to believe and repent, turning in faith to receive all the promises of His inheritance, and to live the abundant life that is ours through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no life that can compare to this life. It fulfills God’s purpose for our creation and redemption and becomes a delight for us as His children.“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). As we come to this garden that He has prepared for His children we find all our delight in Him. This is His ultimate purpose. God is our goal. His purpose is to satisfy us to the fullest in Himself. His desires become our desires.” The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY

Dear Father in heaven, how can we know you, your promises of the life that is ours in Christ, your Son, without your calling, and giving us a new heart and spirit to hear and respond? We praise you for your power to give us physical life and spiritual life through your Holy Word, making us your own children. Thank you for the delight we have in you. Nothing compares to the treasure of your Word and the power of your Holy Spirit to activate your Word in us. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

Fran

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After the Storm ~ Peace

Jerry and I are just coming through another one. Though still not where we hope to be (Jerry has not walked since January), as we wait for a reasonable recovery, we are resting in the will of the Lord where we are now.

We have been through many storms such as these, and expect that we may go through others before we get to the end of this life.

He has proven that storms are good for us (Romans 8;28-29).

They take us away from our home base.
They scatter our hopes for anything in this world.
They bring us in touch with people we have never known, some who have been hit worse than we have.
Through these times, He gives us hope and encouragement for others we meet, and find others whose hope is in Him.

We experience the Lord’s presence like no other time in our lives.

Just as Jesus’ disciples looked to Him and He spoke to the storm, He is with us through it and speaks peace to it in His exact timing.

Peace is never as real and powerful as when He brings us through.

Our love for Him is never stronger than when He endures with us.

Our joy is never greater; our faith never deeper planted in Him than through these times.

The sun is never brighter than when we come to a resting place in Him.

Our faith increases during these times.

Endurance, hope, strength, grace, and wisdom grow through these adversities.

The doors of heaven are opened for us, beyond our circumstances, to see the One who created us and redeemed us for Himself, so as to keep us by His power for eternity with Him.
The peace of our Lord is promised to all who endure the storms of this life for a life beyond this one.
He does not allow us to be overcome, but enables us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Gracious heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your grace, power and presence with us during the storms of life. You have always been faithful to keep us through all our circumstances, no matter how difficult they seem. There are many who are struggling. Please be with these; guide them and give them peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Related post: God is Greater Than

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The Price of Contentment

For the world, contentment cost nothing more than what money can afford.
A divine contentment was purchased by the blood of Christ; for those who are His followers, born of His Spirit. The love of God was revealed for His children by the death of His Son; purchasing and redeeming us from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We are born to a living hope by His abundant mercy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance in Him that no one can take away (1 Peter 1:3-4).
It is a legacy that we do not deserve, could not pay for, nor earn by any good work.
Not to be content with the finished work of Christ that assures and provides a pardon from sin, and an abundant life in Him, is to doubt this free gift of His own righteousness for us and to live without Him.
“You Are Not Your Own”
“You have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God so loved us, desired us, sired us and made us His own, to lavish His grace, His provisions, His protection, His goodness, His own life for us, in us, and through us. To His own glory He has shined His light into our hearts to shine through us His grace, mercy and power. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) through Christ His Son (Romans 8:32).
He has given all for us to reflect His presence, His goodness and His wealth in and upon us. He has spread abroad His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He has given us (Romans 5:5).
Our Response to His Sacrifice and Mercy
In response to His sacrifice and mercy in taking our sin and punishment upon Himself, Paul urges, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Here is the reality of a life of contentment according to His will. His sacrificial death works through us for a sacrificial life devoted to serving Him and others while He is preparing us to share His glory. True contentment cost Jesus His life, and it costs us ours. He denied Himself for us to give us eternal life in Him. To experience this life of contentment we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 
Understanding the Terms of Sacrifice
Eternal life in Christ begins when we are born of His Spirit; a new heart and spirit are joined to Christ from that moment. Eternal life is not experienced just when we die, but here, now, and forever. The new birth, faith and repentance separate us from the world’s way of life. We are no longer our own, being conformed to this world, but sanctified, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ until He calls us home to be with Him.
Jesus paid the price for our contentment. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice  means that we have received, understand, accept, and enter into the covenant of life that is ours in His death and resurrection.
Gracious Father, We thank you for your covenant of redemption and grace made with Christ, your Son, before the foundation of the world. We praise you for the work of your Holy Spirit in revealing and fulfilling your covenant with us. Enable us to know the power of Christ’s resurrection through the continued work of the gospel, bringing us to submission and surrender of all that we are, so as to live in covenant with you, in Christ, now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank you. Amen.

The Voice of Contentment

Whose voice leads you?
Infants begin life under the influence of parents, and then grow up hearing family and friends. Intermingled with familiar voices, the world speaks volumes of ideas that are embedded in our minds, hearts and souls. Except we are trained in our thinking, we become the voice of the world. Our voices echo what is processed through our minds. Processing includes the foundational ideas from our childhood by which we compare all new information.

What we see, read, hear, and repeat through the years become our basis and voice of truth.

The Voice of the Majority
The voice of the majority is one of discontent.

The voice of contentment is rarely heard and known except from those who hear this voice within them. This voice, however, is not a self-produced voice, but the still, small voice of our heavenly Father and Creator. Contentment is not found in the voices and the noises of everyday life, as we know it. It is the voice of the new heart, new spirit, and new life that is ours in Christ, spoken by the Holy Spirit, kept alive through the reading, and hearing of God’s Word.

The Voice of the Oppressor
The voice of the world is the voice of Satan, the oppressor. If you have been with us from the beginning of A Year for Contentment, you may remember that we started with the two extremes in Born for Contentment. Oppression and contentment are the voices that God’s children hear every day. Either one has the power to drown the other. The voice of contentment must be practiced if it is to overcome the voice of oppression.

God said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” Genesis 1:3

Eve listened to the voice of Satan, the voice of the oppressor, so as to put out the light and to silence His voice.

After the promise of restoration in Genesis 3:15, God sent His prophets to voice His Words. Moses spoke God’s Words to His people.

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19: 5-6

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:2

These and other passages speak of the blessings and contentment that come to those who hear and obey God’s voice. There are also those that speak of the curses that come to those who do not obey His voice. This is what we see and hear in the world, from generation to generation.

The writer begins the book of Hebrews with these words, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:1-3

God’s people would not listen to the voice of the prophets. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day would not listen to Him and their voices influenced the people. They were accustomed to the voice of the enemy and did not recognize God’s voice through those whom He sent.


Jesus’ voice still speaks today by His Spirit and His Word, and His is the voice of contentment. The voice of contentment is the voice of LIFE, life in Christ. In John 6:63, He said to the people, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

The voice of oppression says, “More, more. Give me more.”

The voice of contentment says, “Christ is enough. He is all I need.”

Repetition
Ministers today must speak warnings against the voice of the world. They are called to be the voice of the gospel, of truth that brings contentment in a world of oppression. Repetition is what keeps either voice alive.

Do we continually listen and share what the world is saying and doing? Does the world need our voice to speak of its oppression? Or do we, as those of God’s kingdom and family, voice His words, words that inform and encourage others by our contentment; a voice that draws others in obedience to Him?

“Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored,
and they shall not be small.
Jeremiah 30:19

God, our Father has given us voices to speak for Him, to praise and honor Him, and to witness of His grace and glory. Are we using our voices to share what He has given us?

“Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

“My mouth is filled with your praise,
    and with your glory all the day.” Psalm 71:8

“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
    of your deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge.”
Psalm 71:15

Gracious Father, forgive us for voicing the words and actions of the oppressor. Work in us your voice of thanksgiving and praise, from a heart of peace and joy in Christ our Lord. Enable us to share your kingdom of grace with our family and others around us. While others speak the voice of the world, let us respond with the voice of your kingdom. Fill us with your Spirit of contentment that draws others to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen


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