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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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

Images: Google

 

The Potter

   

(The following was written by a dear friend who
knows the Potter and the work of His hands.)

The Potter took a lump of clay;
He made of it a vessel one day.
He chose the fashion it would be;
It was to look like Him, not me.

It would be of use a future day.
He took of that same piece of clay;
And shaped it in another way,
Then joined them as one piece of clay.

In a special place He put them to use,
There were many things from which to choose.
“One thing you should not choose to do”
He said, “This would not be good for you.”

They were tempted to sample, to see
Why that one choice should not be.
Something happened on that day
That changed the looks and use of the clay.

The thing that marred it He called sin;
The Potter knew what it could have been.
The Potter used it anyway
And refashioned it for a future day.

He designed it to bear His own reflection
Then gave the clay a new direction.
The Potter reshaped it to look like Him
Which was His original purpose for them

Mary Clay  © 2018 Used by permission

Image: Google

Deliverance from Oppression

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“Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,” Ecclesiastes 7:7

Oppression is not an ordinary subject of conversation, nor one that we spend much time thinking about; but it has become a primary thought for me, which has grown to greater proportions of my thinking in the last three years. It came to a point just a few months ago ~ at the point of deliverance; and I have just begun to know what to write about this subject of which most are not aware.  I am not speaking here of the new birth that is ours in Christ at conversion, but beyond this, to a realization of where we live, even as Christians, in the world today; in the deliverance from the spirit of oppression that pervades and rules this world.

The thought of oppression usually comes when we hear of the holocaust. Christians associate the word with the Israelites’ bondage in Egypt. In other countries beyond the United States we hear of oppression, but we don’t consider the idea of oppression as pertaining to our own lives.   We live in a free country where we have the liberty to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, and say what we want to say. We can choose our own circle of friends and the sounds we want to hear, or we can choose isolation and silence. Either of our own choosing makes it seem as if we are free. But my purpose in writing on this subject is to make aware the truth that, in this world we are all under oppression. Until we are delivered from oppression we will not understand this truth. It is when we are free that we can look back and see where we were.

An example that comes to mind is that of the Pharisees, when Jesus opened the eyes of the man who had been blind from birth. Jesus had come to heal the sick of heart and to open the eyes of the blind. The Pharisees did not know that they were blind and so, could not be healed. They were unaware that they were oppressed and that they were oppressors.

My meditations in Galatians have helped to bring some thoughts together on this matter of oppression. Paul’s salutation to the churches in Galatia is “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age….” (Galatians 1:3) Who considers that we all live in this same evil age? This is the bad news of oppression; but the good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ is still delivering His people. He came once and for all time to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”Psalm 9:9

Sin and Oppression
So, how are we associating sin with oppression? We shall attempt to show the twin effect of the two. Oppression can bring about sin; and sin can bring about oppression. It is a vicious cycle, but one that we need to understand. When we are delivered from the power of one we are delivered from the power of both. They both stem from the fallen nature of man. No one is exempt, no matter how free we think we are.

The extent of this matter, like many others that come to mind, cannot be covered in a single article. So far we have the biblical references that speak of oppression and deliverance from it. These alone are eye opening. Deliverance from oppression begins by definition, seeing where it began, where we are individually in the state of oppression, how it is perpetuated, how we are delivered, the reality of deliverance, and the deliverance of others.

We will end this introduction with the definition. (Mirriam-Webster)

Oppression: noun

  1. a. Unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power
    b. Something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power
  2. A sense of being weighed down in body or mind

I welcome your comments. If there is interest I may share with other posts on this subject.

 “In righteousness shalt thou be established:
thou shalt be far from oppression;
for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”
Isaiah 54:14


Dear Father, thank you for another blessed day of your grace and peace. We praise you for delivering us from the power of darkness and translating us into the kingdom of your dear Son. Let us with true freedom in Christ share this good news with those who are still in bondage. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

GOD and Sin ~ A Sheep’s View

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There is no greater impact on the world than these two three-letter words; names that have rung out over the universe since the creation. Yet, most of God’s creatures have no true understanding of who He is. Each of us conjures up in our own minds what we imagine GOD to be; and when we have a false image of Him we, then by own nature, Sin against Him.

As, by His goodness, mercy and grace He has been teaching me who He is, this is an acrostic to help me remember in my old age. This is not to simplify who He is, but in these three words I can see an expansion of all His attributes. We have but to sink into His word, discover, and be raised to a new awareness of what He wants us to know about Him.   As we study and meditate on His Glory, Order, and Dominion we will see Sin in its true light also. While this may become one of the series of Little Books about the Magnitude of God, I use here only a fraction of references for this short treatise.

As horrendous is the sin of man, greater is GOD in His glory, order, and dominion over man and sin.

 GOD
Glory   Order   Dominion

 Glory

            “And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Exodus 24:17

         “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” Exodus 29:43

         “And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.” Numbers 20:6

         “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Numbers 14:21

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13

          “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”   Revelation 4:11

(In this first page in my search ~ from Exodus 16:7 to Joshua 7:19 ~ we find twenty-two references to His glory.)

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=glory&qs_version=KJV

Order

            “God hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” 2 Samuel 23;5

            “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23

 “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133

           “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” Psalm 50:21

           “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.” Isaiah 44:7

           “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.” 1 Chronicles 15:13

            “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

Dominion

            “In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. Psalm 72:7-9

            “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.”  Psam 103:22

          “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13

           “How great are his signs! And how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:3

           “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:” Daniel 4:34

           “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” Daniel 6:26

           “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

            “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: Ephesians 1:21

            For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Colossians 1:16

             To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1Peter 5:11

             “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:25

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6

Sin
Self  in  Neutral

“And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” Numbers 25:3

“Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him”. 1 Kings 1:5

        “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” 1 Kings 21:25

        “And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.” 2 Chronicles 12:1

        “And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.” 2 Chronicles 17:1

         “And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:” 2 Chronicles 20:35

         “Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 21:4

         “Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.” 2 Chronicles 25:14

          And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 36:12

          “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.” Psalm 36:2

         “He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” Psalm 36:4

         “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” Proverbs 5:22

         “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Psalm 37:35

“Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”   Psalm 52:7

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” Jude 1:8

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

                                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Romans 6:4,6,9,11

 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Dear Father, let us remember your glory, order, and dominion today as we pilgrim through this land that the apostle John said, “lieth in wickedness.” Make us to remember that we are dead to sin and alive to you through Christ, your Son. Let us look up today in the hope of our salvation from sin and its dominion. Thank you that we are under your care, even as you have drawn us to Christ, as our Lord and Savior.   In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

PHOTO BY TIM SLOAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

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“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. 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.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
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, 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 the 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.”


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 witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“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.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

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Do You Know Where You Are?

Awareness is a rare gift. Some are born with it. Others receive it at a special time in life. To see beyond our own peripheral vision can be a blessing or a curse. Being aware of others’ faults, mistakes, and weaknesses; judging and condemning them is a curse to others and ourselves. It is the gift that the enemy of our souls uses to work an oppressive spirit within us and toward others. This curse keeps us in a state of oppression and sin. We see in others a reflection of ourselves and continue in this state of oppression until we, like the prodigal son “came to himself.”

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He realized where he was. The gift of awareness enabled him to see his condition, and his surroundings. He saw himself in reality of his sin and rebellion.

But, beyond himself he saw the blessing of forgiveness and reconciliation; he saw the means of returning to the father that loved him.

Awareness is a blessing when we are able to see and confess that we live in a fallen world. John said in John 5:19 “the world lies in the power of the evil one.” We were born into it, with a death certificate in our hands. We grow up in it. We are an integral part of it. And we will die in this state of oppression; of sin and misery, except as we are brought to ourselves; to see where we are and our own condition.

Every Good and Perfect Gift
The awareness that is a blessing enables us to see beyond our own, and others’ failures, to see the giver of this gift from heaven, which comes down from the “Father of lights.” (James 1:17)   Not only are our eyes opened to see where we are in this wilderness, but we see Almighty God, our heavenly Father, ruling and reigning over all things; our shepherd, our keeper, our shield; our God “who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory.”

desert-streamWe are aware of His presence and power in and through, and over all things. In His covenant with us through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are assured that He will always be with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. These truths lived within us will be a blessing to others.

 “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure:
for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.
2 Samuel 23:5

Dear Father, please open our eyes today, to see where we are; to accept the conditions in which you have placed us.  Let us see Christ as you continue to reveal Him to us, in us, and through us.  Make us aware of your presence and power as we live, love, and rejoice in you.  Be a light, life, and blessings to us all.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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