Archive for the ‘Holiness and Victory’ Category

So the Lord Preserved David

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

“So the Lord preserved David wherever he went.” (2 Sam. 8:6)

As a person reads through 2 Samuel there is a distinct progression that is almost always present in serious spiritual growth.

Faithfulness in daily life: David first learned to be faithful as he served his Heavenly Father in serving his human father as a shepherd. He also learned that God was faithful to him.

Call and anointing for greater work: Then He was called to an important future work and anointed for that work—though he didn’t realize what he would go through in being prepared for that future.

Enduring necessary “wilderness” learning experiences: Then the Spirit took David into his own wilderness experience as he endured the ongoing attacks of Saul. There he learned to trust God and do the right thing even though there were constant suggestions to get rid of Saul by his companions.

Early, more self-centered victories: Then Saul died and through a variety of experiences David was made King. He even won some important victories, but they were mainly self-centered defensive victories to survive and consolidate his power.

Obeying in the slightest details: In gratitude David zealously tried to bring the ark home, but his zeal was not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2), and Uzzah died, and the ark ended up at Obed-Edom’s house. David had forgotten that what was genuine respect from the Philistines, was rebellion when he knew better—or at least could and should have known better. The ark finally made it home, though his wife Michal was not living up to the light she should have had, and begrudged him and ended up bringing a curse upon herself (2 Sam. 6:23).

Submitting cherished plans: David was grateful to God, and wanted to show his gratitude by building a house for God. God had never asked for a house, and I think appreciated what David wanted to do, but in spite of Nathan the prophet giving a quick, non-prayed over “go for it” response, David soon learned that it wasn’t God’s plan for him to build that house, no matter how sincere his motives were. Though 2 Samuel doesn’t explain why David’s magnanimous desire was refused, 2 Chronicles (22:8-10) states the prohibition came due to David being a man of war. Men of war are not the people who build great houses for God—not then, not now! Rather, his son Solomon, a man of peace, a man who was a living demonstration of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and who at least for a time wanted God’s wisdom more than anything else, was given the task. Still today, great spiritual advances are achieved through godly peacemakers, who announce and encourage peace with God and encourage peace between humans.

Grateful submissive obedience: Instead of becoming angry and building the house for God in spite of instructions otherwise, David humbly submitted and happily obeyed the ongoing leading of God.

Zealous victories according to knowledge:
Notice the phrases taken from 2 Sam. 8:1-14:
“David attacked the Philistines and subdued them.”
“Then he defeated Moab.”
“The Moabites became David’s servants, and brought tribute.”
“He defeated Hadadezer… and recovered territory….”
“He put garrisons in Demascus….”
“So the Lord preserved David wherever he went.”
“David took the shields of gold….”
“…took a large amount of bronze.”
“Toi King of Hamath…sent Joram his son to David… brought with him articles of silver, articles of gold, ….”
“David dedicated these to the Lord.”
“David made himself a name….”
“All the Edomites became David’s servants…”
“And the Lord was with David wherever he went.”

David was doing an amazing and wonderful work for God. Why? Because God was with him wherever he went! And why could God be with him wherever he went? Because he was God’s man, doing God’s work, God’s way, on the throne God had placed him on!

If you want to know the same level of blessing in your life, be faithful, accept the wilderness experiences—apparently God sees they are necessary, be zealous according to knowledge, seek to know and do God’s will, submit, and obey. Then rejoice and prepare for God to use you in a great way!

So, are you reading? Are you zealous according to knowledge? Are you trusting God in spite of attacks during wilderness experiences? Are you submitting even if fond plans are being deferred—perhaps even being given to someone else? We are all on a journey. If we trust and obey (Matt. 4:4) we shall see the unmistakable evidences of God’s blessings in our lives.

Father, give my friend a heart to know and love you today. Carefully orchestrate all the circumstances and events in his or her life, such that he or she will be perfectly prepared for whatever work you have in mind. Might there be a willingness to ask, to submit, and to obey, so that you can be present, and bless, in all that is going on. And might every blessing accruing be seen as coming from you, such that all might be dedicated to you. I ask this for Jesus’ sake, and for those you are wanting to reach through my friend today. Thank you in advance, Amen.

Learn more about how to grow spiritually at path2prayer.com. Read how God raised up godly men and women on the famous Christians page.

Union With Christ; Source of Fruitfulness

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I added a sermon to path2prayer.com from Theodore Monod this morning that is wonderful. You may want to read it for yourself.

Here is a paragraph from his sermon:

“A friend was telling me that he has had more gladness in his ministry in three months than during the twelve previous years. How is that? Did not he know of “the rest of faith?” Yes, years ago. What then? Ah! now he knows the joy of bringing souls to the Lord, and his strength and youth are renewed. It is a great thing to have the rest of faith; but then there is the rest of obedience, the rest of service, the rest that the Saviour promises when He says: “If any man will do My will; I will manifest Myself unto him? “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” That is true rest, that is lasting rest, in unity of purpose, in unity of work with the Lord. We have first to be converted; then we have to be consecrated to God; further, we have to be consumed on the altar of sacrifice; thus shall we be conquerors, and more than conquerors, bringing others with us to Him that loved us first.”

You can find his sermon at this link: Union with Christ; Source of Fruitfulness

Should you be curious, Monod was a popular speak of the Keswick Holiness Meetings.

I also love the following poem:

On Thee My Heart Is Waiting…

On thee my heart is resting!
Ah, this is rest indeed!
What else, Almighty Saviour,
Can a poor sinner need?
Thy light is all my wisdom,
Thy love is all my stay;
Our Father’s home in glory,
Draws nearer every day.

My guilt is great, but greater
The mercy Thou dost give;
Thyself, a spotless Offering,
Hast died that I should live.
With Thee, my soul unfettered
Has risen from the dust;
They blood is all my treasure,
Thy word is all my trust.

Through me, Thou gentle Master,
Thy purposes fulfill!
I yield myself for ever
To Thy most holy will.
What though I be but weakness,
My strength is not in me;
The poorest of Thy people
Has all things, having Thee.

When clouds are darkest round me,
Thou, Lord art then most dear,
My drooping faith to quicken,
My weary soul to cheer.
Safe nestling in Thy bosom,
I gaze upon Thy face;
In vain my foes would drive me
From Thee, my hiding-place.

‘Tis Thou hast made me happy,
‘Tis Thou hast set me free;
To whom shall I give glory
For ever, but to Thee?
Of earthly love and blessing
Should every stream run dry,
Thy grace shall still be with me,
Thy grace, to live and die!

There is much on Monod at the Monod Page at Path2prayer.com.

Discovering Victory

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Php 4:13

I just completed reading the little known autobiography of Hannah Whithall Smith. Raised a Quaker, she eventually came to know Jesus and was used of God to bring the knowledge of salvation to the people of her day, and countless people since. Perhaps you know of her as a result of reading The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. I don’t agree with everything she says in autobiography–there are some Quaker leanings that come through–but there are some gems that are so clear they are worth sharing. I have posted a few chapters of the book on path2prayer.com, including one on discovering victory.

Here is a paragraph from “Discovering Victory”:

“The present attitude of my soul is that of trusting in the Lord. And I have found it is a practical reality that He does deliver. When temptation comes, if I turn at once to Him, breathing this prayer: ‘Lord, save me. I cannot save myself from this sin, but Thou canst and wilt,’ He never fails me. Either He completely changes my feelings in the case, or He causes me to forget all about it, and my victory, or rather His victory is entire. This is a secret of the Christian life that I never knew before…. But why have I not know it? Why has my course been such a halting, miserable one, when I might have lived in victory? What a striking proof I have been of the inherent legality and unbelief of the human heart, for, while trusting the Lord entirely and only for my justification, I have always been trusting myself for my sanctification…. I have depended upon my own efforts, my own resolutions, my own watchfulness, my own fervency, my own strivings, to accomplish the work of holy living. This was legality. It was as truly legality as if I had trusted to these things to save my soul in the first place. I was ‘frustrating’ the grace of God as really in regard to my sanctification as those whom I have been used to condemn so utterly as legalists, were doing it in regard to their justification. I could easily see how they made the death of Christ of none effect by their legal striving, but I was blind to the fact that I also was doing the same thing. Our strivings to be sure were with a different end in view, but it was still in both cases our own striving—in both it was self, and not Christ. ‘For, if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’ But now how different it is! Now I commit my daily life to Him, as well as my future destiny, and I trust Him just as nakedly for the one as for the other. I am equally powerless in both cases. I can do nothing—not even I, the new man,—and if the Lord does not do it all, it will not be done. But oh! glorious truth, He does do it! When I trust Him He gives me deliverance from the power of sin as well as from its guilt. I can leave all in His care-my cares, my temptations, my growth, my service, my daily life, moment by moment. Oh the rest and calm of a life like this!”

You can find the rest of her Discovering Victory at the new resources page on path2prayer.com where you will also find more on the same subject.

The Terminal “Self-Life” Disease

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Gal. 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

1 Cor. 9:27 “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

The following sobering words are worth pondering!

“Satan has no great controversy, no real quarrel with those who are content to go along professing to be Christ’s, while ‘self’ in one form another sits, so to speak, upon the throne. So long as the ‘old life’ is not displaced, so long as the cross is simply looked upon as a distant symbol, so long as no inner crucifixion takes place releasing the spiritual faculties and entailing a vital union with Christ in the power of His ascension-life, the Enemy is not greatly alarmed.”

“The ‘self-life’ and the Satanic spirit are in unconscious affinity. However polished the former—it may shine with the culture of the ages and bear the religious glow of the best in natural religions—-it is still ‘self,’ it is still ‘flesh-life.’ It has the curse of God upon it. It has the smell of infernal associations about it. It stinks. ‘The carnal mind is enmity with God’ (Rom.8). It hates Him while it pretends to love Him. Where ‘self-life’ dominates, be the religous professions what they may, Satan finds plenty of ground on which to work.”

“If the ‘self-life’ is supreme, Satan does not have to be invited in. The lines are already set for the ‘electric’ current to flow. Satan is master of ceremonies, though he be apparently non-existent.” F. J. Huegel, Bone of His Bone, pp. 76,77,80.

Learn more about dethroning self at this link: Overcoming Self

Learn more about about the overcoming life at path2prayer.com

Weak Faith

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I was blessed recently in coming across this quotation of Henry Venn. I suspect many of us need to be reminded that a weak faith is still an effectual faith, for it is based on Jesus. Read, rejoice, and share!

“Weak faith seeks salvation only in Christ, and yields subjection to him, and brings the soul to His feet, though without assurance, of being as yet saved by him. There is not one duty a weak believer slights. Weak faith is attended with sorrow and humiliation; as in his case he said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.’ It produces new desires and affections, new principles and purposes, and a new practice, though not in such strength and vigor as is found in old established believers. Ask the weakest and most disconsolate believer, whether he would forsake and give up his hope in Christ; and he will eagerly reply, ‘Not for the whole world!’ There is, therefore, no reason why weak believers should conclude against themselves; for weak faith unites as really with Christ as strong faith, just as the least bud in the vine draws sap and life from the root no less than the strongest branch. Weak believers, therefore, have abundant cause to be thankful; and while they reach after growth in grace, ought not to overlook what they have already received.” Henry Venn, Letter, 1784.

To learn more about having a strong faith, search out the many resources on living more abundantly in Jesus at path2prayer.com. You will be encouraged reading about Christian assurance in Ryle’s chapter on the same subject from his book Holiness.

How To Live On Christ

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

How To Live on Christ is the title of the booklet by Harriet Beecher Stowe which Hudson Taylor sent in 1869 to the missionaries affiliated with the China Inland Mission.

Ever since reading the booklet in Broomhall’s book Hudson Taylor: The Man Who Believed God, I have wanted to locate and read it for myself.

As a result I began searching the internet, used bookstore stores, and other sources to find information on the book. I found nothing. I then contacted other ministry leaders. Once again no success! I even visited an archive of Hudson Taylor’s letters and effects in England to see if a copy might be there, particularly focusing on 1869. But the book remained a mystery.

This evening I began using bits and pieces of the famous lines to see if I could find then using Google Books. I succeeded. Harriet Beecher Stowe words in How To Live On Christ are taken from her introduction to Charles Dean’s book on Anne Peck.

Here is the introduction. Read and be blessed!

You can find more resources on this subject at path2prayer.com.

How To Live On Christ

THE following sketch of one, rendered interesting not only by natural amiableness, but by a singularly early devotion and a premature death, we hope will not be found without its uses, especially among those like her in the morning of life.

To some things in it we would especially direct our readers, as uncommon.

1st. It is the example of one who made it a serious and practical endeavor to do all the good she could.

Many Christians are satisfied if they are doing something –others wish to feel sure that they are doing much; but few admit the obligation, or make serious efforts, to do all they can. Very few seem to have made any practical estimates of what they have to give to Christ, or to be inquiring, with deep solicitude, how it may all be employed in his service.

2d. The motive in her case, seems not to have been conscience, nor a sense of obligation working with a powerful and wearying force, but love.

It is this that gives the impulsive, free, and beautiful character to all her efforts. Why, at the age of fourteen, did she go from dwelling to dwelling, urging with childlike simplicity the tender love of Christ; comforting the sick, and praying with the dying? Not because she felt it to be her duty and dared not to do otherwise, but because, full of love to our unseen Saviour, and of pity for those who neglected him, she, like his apostles, ‘could not but speak the things she had seen and heard;’ and so far from regarding it as a wearisome effort to perform these offices, it would have been a more difficult task for her to refrain from them. This explains the reason, why, though she was diffident and retiring, it seemed to her not an obligation, but a privilege, to pour forth her soul in prayer at the social altar. So full of gratitude, devotion, and love was she always, that prayer was to her sweet necessity, a rest, a relief. Hence the frequency of her seasons of prayer, and her artless declaration, that she ‘could not help praying oftener.’

These remarks may assist those, who, conscientiously attempting the duties of religion, find them so often a hard and painful endeavor, and who progress by a constant and desperate struggle. How is all to be made easy?–to flow forth spontaneously and delightfully? Christ certainly had some meaning when he said, ‘Learn of me and ye shall find rest;’–he meant just what he declared, when he said, ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light;’ and they who do not find them easy and light, may be persuaded that they are not following the practice of religion in Christ’s way, but in some colder and more difficult mode of their own. They may be Christians, and their sad and disheartened endeavors may be very precious in the eyes of Him who will not break even a bruised reed; but while their whole life is a constant conflict of a sense of obligation and duty with an ever rebellious heart, they may be persuaded that they do not yet understand the terms on which their Saviour would have them live with him; nor the perfect ‘freedom of the sons of God.’ There is such a way of living with, or in Christ, that watchfulness, prayer, devotion, patience, gentleness, meekness, become so many sweet and spontaneous impulses, instead of labored acquisitions, alternately the subjects of hope and of despair; and this is true freedom .

The very figure which Christ uses illustrates this idea; ‘as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ Now how does a branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; not by vain struggles for those vivifying influences which give beauty to the blossom, and verdure to the leaf;–it simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union; and the fruit and blossoms appear as of spontaneous growth.

How, then, shall a Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles to obtain that which is freely given; by meditations on watchfulness, on prayer, on action, on temptation, and on dangers? No, there must be a full concentration of the thoughts and affections on Christ; a complete surrender of the whole being to him; a constant looking to him for grace. Christians in whom these dispositions are once firmly fixed, go on calmly as the sleeping infant borne in the arms of its mother. Christ reminds them of every duty in its time and place–reproves them for every error–counsels them in every difficulty, excites them to every needful activity. In spiritual, as in temporal matters, they take no thought for the morrow–for they know that Christ will be as accessible tomorrow as to-day, and that time imposes no barrier on his love. Their hope and trust rest solely on what he is willing and able to do for them; on nothing that they suppose themselves able and willing to do for him. Their talisman for every temptation and sorrow, is their oft repeated, childlike surrender of their whole being to him; as the infant in every trouble, finds a safe asylum in the bosom of its mother. That such was the course of the subject of this narrative is shown by her great and uncommon activity in every good thing; for, we read, ‘He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit ; for without me ye can do nothing.’

Some may say, ‘Truly this is a very delightful state of feeling, but how shall we obtain it? How shall we begin?’

We answer, just in the same way that a sinner begins the Christian life, by coming to the Saviour, and making a full, free and hearty surrender of his body, soul and spirit; fully resolved in future to resign the whole to the Redeemer’s direction. And having made this general surrender, make it also in particular, in reference to every circumstance of every day.

Let us imagine a day spent on this principle. You awake in the morning and commend yourself to Christ’s care for the day. The first temptation that besets you may lead you to a waste of time. Say immediately, ‘Lord, assist me in this particular.’ The next may be a temptation to irritation. Cast yourself again on Christ for this. A few hours after you may be tempted to censorious remarks on some neighbor. Cast yourself upon Jesus. A while after, you may perhaps forget yourself and give utterance to some hasty or ill-judged expression. Turn instantly to Christ, confess your fault, and ask for further help. If you find yourself beset with uncommon difficulties and temptations, and in danger of forgetting what manner of spirit you are of,–steal from your avocations though but for a few moments, and ask help of Jesus. The example of the subject of this memoir, in having a full and stated season of prayer at noon, cannot be too highly commended. The middle is usually the most unspiritual part of the whole day. The cool of the morning is generally to every one a time of good purpose and resolution, and the quiet of the evening is often devoted to penitence and retrospection; but the noon is too often a season of hurry and bustle–there is therefore so much the greater need that we then consecrate a portion of the time as a stated season of prayer. But the Christian, who would live as Christ directs, must beware of making seasons of prayer the substitute for that constant recurrence to him which we have endeavored to inculcate. Morning and evening the little child is with its mother in a long and fond embrace; it listens with rapture to the expressions of her affection, and willingly renders the tribute of promised obedience. But in times of difficulty or danger, it instinctively runs to the same arms for protection, without reflecting whether the danger be great or small.

A direction of great importance to one who would live this life, is this:–In your sins, troubles, and temptations, make no distinction between great and little things. Remember that nothing that has the slightest bearing on your improvement and spiritual progress is insignificant in the estimation of Christ. Now it is a fact, that Christians are more impeded in their progress by little things, than by great ones;–because, for great things, they seek the strength of Christ, and for little ones, they act in their own. But if the little accidents of every day’s occurrence, the petty annoyances to which every one is subjected, be sufficient to ruffle the temper and excite an unchristian spirit, they are to you matters of very serious moment; and as such, you must regard them–nor can you fully abide in Christ by attaching to such things that just importance, which shall lead you to refer them to Him with the same freedom that you feel in reference to what you commonly call serious affairs. If you are conscious of peculiar and besetting faults, familiarize your mind to those incidents of the life of Jesus, which show a particular bearing on them.

If you are irritable, examine all those incidents which show his untiring patience; if you are proud, those which exhibit his humility; if you are worldly, those that show his spirituality; if you are negligent and careless in duty, those which show his incessant zeal and activity. Study them, understand them, keep them in memory, and pray to him to infuse into you the same spirit. The memory too may well be stored with those sacred songs descriptive of the character of the Saviour, or imploring his divine aid; for their sweet words will sometimes come to you in hours of temptation like gentle messages from your Lord.

The remarks now made are intended as general hints; but the only teacher of the true life of faith, is Christ. Go to him and ask him to direct you. Remember the remarkable dying words of the subject of this memoir, in relation to the Saviour, ‘He came and looked upon me and said, “I am willing to make you just as meek as I am, just as patient, just as lovely. Indeed it seemed as if he had been by me long before, only I had not perceived him.”‘ Christ in the Bible says this to every Christian, when he says, ‘I will put my law into their hearts and write it in their thoughts.’ Christ is willing to make you just as meek, just as patient, just as lovely as he is; and if you desire it earnestly, if you desire it more than everything else, if you are willing to give up all beside for it, he will explain to you practically what is meant by ‘abiding in him,’ and by his coming to make his abode with you. Then your Christian race will be full of love and joy; more like the free flight of a bird, than the struggles of a captive. You will naturally lay aside every weight, and the sin that easily besets you, and run with patience the race that is set before you, because your whole soul will be so filled with the view of Jesus at its termination; you will be so inspired with admiration, hope and joy, that you will run because you cannot hold back;–the spectators, the race-course, all about you, will be forgotten in the view of Jesus, at once your helper, your judge, and your eternal reward.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

An Important Reminder

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

“Ye are the light of the world. A city tht is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

I came across the following in my reading this morning. We all know this, but it is a good thing to remember.

I believe that far more is done for Christ’s kingdom by the holy living of believers than we are at all aware of. There is a reality about such living which makes men feel, and obliges them to think. It carries a weight and influence with it which nothing else can give. It makes religion beautiful, and draws men to consider it, like a lighthouse seen afar off. The day of judgment will prove that many besides husbands have been won “without the word” by a holy life, (1 Pet. iii. 1.) You may talk to persons about the doctrines of the Gospels, and few will listen, and still fewer understand. But your life is an argument that none can escape. There is a meaning about holiness which not even the most unlearned can help taking in. They may not understand justification, but they can understand charity.

I believe there is far more harm done by unholy and inconsistent Christians than we are aware of. Such men are among Satan’s best allies. They pull down by their lives what ministers build with their lips. They cause the chariot wheels of the Gospel to drive heavily. They supply the children of this world with a never ending excuse for remaining as they are.—”I cannot see the use of so much religion,” said an irreligious tradesman not long ago; “I observe that some of my customers are always talking about the Gospel, and faith, and election, and the blessed promises, and so forth; and yet these very people think nothing of cheating me of pence and half-pence, when they have an opportunity. Now, if religious persons can do such things, I do not see what good there is in religion.”—I grieve to be obliged to write such things, but I fear that Christ’s name is too often blasphemed because of the lives of Christians. Let us take heed lest the blood of souls should be required at our hands.” J. C. Ryle, Holiness, p. 42,43

I hope you will join me in desiring and asking God to bring about complete transformation so that there will be a constant witnessing of the most positive and community-impacting way.

Learn more about how God brings about transformation at path2prayer.com

Claiming God’s Abundant Promises

Friday, November 30th, 2007

“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.”-John vii. 37. 38.

This morning after being blessed reading Ephesians 4 and discovering how Jesus wants to be seen through me, I completed reading the chapter “Thirst Relieved” from J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness. If you haven’t read the book yet, you should. It is considered, and for good reason, the BEST book ever written on the subject. I assigned the book to the class studying spirituality at the Seminary this summer, and many came to the same BEST conclusion that so many others have come to!

This chapter speaks of the amazing gift that Jesus offered us in inviting us to come and drink of the living water that He wants to make available in abundant streams to us and through us to others.

A portion of the chapter has to do with the abundant promises that are found in the Bible. I was blessed and believe you will be blessed as well. After reading this excerpt, find the rest of the chapter at path2prayer.com

J. C. Ryle writes:

The subject of Scripture promises is a vast and most interesting one. I doubt whether it receives the attention which it deserves in the present day. “Clarke’s Scripture Promises” is an old book which is far less studied now, I suspect, than it was in the days of our fathers. Few Christians realize the number, and length, and breadth, and depth, and height, and variety of the precious “shalls” and “wills” laid up in the Bible for the special benefit and encouragement of all who will use them.

Yet promise lies at the bottom of nearly all the transactions of man with man in the affairs of this life. The vast majority of Adam’s children in every civilized country are acting every day on the faith of promises. The labourer on the land works hard from Monday morning to Saturday night, because he believes that at the end of the week he shall receive his promised wages. The soldier enlists in the army, and the sailor enters his name on the ship’s books in the navy, in the full confidence that those under whom they serve will at some future time give them their promised pay. The humblest maid-servant in a family works on from day to day at her appointed duties, in the belief that her mistress will give her the promised wages. In the business of great cities, among merchants, and bankers, and tradesmen, nothing could be done without incessant faith in promises. Every man of sense knows that cheques and bills, and promissory notes, are the only means by which the immense majority of mercantile affairs can possibly be carried on. Men of business are compelled to act by faith and not by sight. They believe promises, and expect to be believed themselves. In fact, promises, and faith in promises, and actions springing from faith in promises, are the back-bone of nine-tenths of all the dealings of man with his fellow-men throughout Christendom.

Now promises, in like manner, in the religion of the Bible, are one grand means by which God is pleased to approach the soul of man. The careful student of Scripture cannot fail to observe that God is continually holding out inducements to man to listen to Him, obey Him, and serve Him, and undertaking to do great things, if man will only attend and believe. In short, as St. Peter says, “There are given to us exceeding great and precious promises.” (2 Pet. i. 4.) He who has mercifully caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning has shown His perfect knowledge of human nature, by spreading over the Book a perfect wealth of promises, suitable to every kind of experience and every condition of life. He seems to say, “Would you know what I undertake to do for you? Do you want to hear my terms? “-”Take up the Bible and read.”

But there is one grand difference between the promises of Adam’s children and the promises of God, which ought never to be forgotten. The promises of man are not sure to be fulfilled. With the best wishes and intentions, he cannot always keep his word. Disease and death may step in like an armed man, and take away from this world him that promises. War, or pestilence, or famine, or failure of crops, or hurricanes, may strip him of his property, and make it impossible for him to fulfil his engagements. The promises of God, on the contrary, are certain to be kept. He is Almighty: nothing can prevent His doing what He has said. He never changes: He is always “of one mind”: and with Him there is “no variableness or shadow of turning.” (Job xxiii. 13; James 1. 17.) He will always keep His word. There is one thing which, as a little girl once told her teacher, to her surprise, God cannot do: “It is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb. vi. 18.) The most unlikely and improbable things, when God has once said He will do them, have always come to pass. The destruction of the old world by a flood, and the preservation of Noah in the ark, the birth of Isaac, the deliverance ofIsrael from Egypt, the raising of David to the throne of Saul, the miraculous birth of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the scattering of the Jews all over the earth, and their continued preservation as a distinct people-who could imagine events more unlikely and improbable than these? Yet God said they should be, and in due time they all came to pass. In truth, with God it is just as easy to do a thing as to say it. Whatever He promises, He is certain to perform.

Concerning the variety and riches of Scripture promises, far more might be said than it is possible to say in a short paper like this. Their name is legion. The subject is almost inexhaustible. There is hardly a step in man’s life, from childhood to old age, hardly any position in which man can be placed, for which the Bible has not held out encouragement to everyone who desires to do right in the sight of God. There are “shalls” and “wills” in God’s treasury for every condition. About God’s infinite mercy and compassion-about His readiness to receive all who repent and believe-about His willingness to forgive, pardon, and absolve the chief of sinners-about His power to change hearts and alter our corrupt nature-about the encouragements to pray, and hear the Gospel, and draw near to the throne of grace-about strength for duty, comfort in trouble, guidance in perplexity, help in sickness, consolation in death, support under bereavement, happiness beyond the grave, reward in glory-about all these things there is an abundant supply of promises in the Word. No one can form an idea of its abundance unless he carefully searches the Scriptures, keeping the subject steadily in view. If anyone doubts it, I can only say, “Come and see.” Like the Queen of Sheba at Solomon’s Court, you will soon say, “The half was not told me.” (1 Kings x. 7.)”–Taken from Ryle’s Holiness

I hope you were blessed. Here is where you will find the rest of Thirst Relieved from Holiness by J. C. Ryle.

Find more on the more abundant life at path2prayer.com

Beyond Humiliation 21: “The Cross Day by Day”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” Luke 9:23

These words, usually associated with Jesus’ searching question to the rich young ruler, continue to call through the intervening centuries to a life of constant dying to self and following after Jesus.

To the one first quieried, the happy “only one thing thou lackest” anticipated response, became the sorrow-provoking, “sell all that thou hast, give to the poor, and follow me” disappointing and eventually rejected mandate. And so, though rich in the goods of this world and supposedly rich in spiritual things, the young ruler turned sorrowing away, much to the amazement of the disciples who thought riches were a reliable indicator of one’s relationship with God.

They asked, “Who then, can be saved,” and heard Jesus beckon them to a life of ongoing crucifying and dying to self in order to follow Him. They didn’t want that kind of life any more than the rich young ruler and quietly resisted, but it was apparently the only way, for they later came to embrace such a life, and with the exception of one, paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuing it.

To be fair, the young ruler probably didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, having so long bought into the prevailing opinions of his day. I hope he eventually recognized the error of his ways, returned to Jesus, and took up the cross-bearing life–though there is no mention of him later in the New Testament.

In our day, knowledge of, and appreciation for, the need to die to self and take up the cross is little known, most people having bought into the prevailing opinion of our day. But it doesn’t change the need to die, and I believe this lack, more than anything else, explains why there is so little power in God’s church today.

So what is the “take up your cross” life and how does one embrace it? Is it something you do or is it something God does in you?

In this final chapter from Gregory Mantle’s wonderful book Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, we learn some final secrets.

Here are a few successive paragraphs to give you a taste of the chapter.

The life to which He calls us, and the path along which He leads, is characterized by cross-bearing from beginning to end. In outward appearance the cross varies, but it is always something which crosses self, and frees us from our own self-will. It is therefore the way to rest, for the only place in the wide world in which the soul can find true rest is in taking up the yoke or cross of Christ. In doing our own will there is never rest, but in yielding to the will of another there is. “The soul abiding under this cross comes into the true, pure, and perfect liberty, where it hath scope unto holiness, freedom unto righteousness, and is in strait bonds and holy chains from all liberty to the flesh, and from all unholiness and unrighteousness of every kind.” [Isaac Pennington]

Someone has described this cross-bearing life as a spread-out surrender, a surrender which covers our whole sphere of action, and lasts all our days. It is often in little things that Christ asks us to deny ourselves, and it would be far easier for some to take up a great cross and die once upon it than to take up these little crosses day by day and die a deeper death upon them. So the word “daily” becomes to some, what Christ’s Cross was to the Jews, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Yet, as we have already suggested, it is only in this cross-bearing life, in ever yielding our will to our Lord, that we find rest and peace. The way of the Cross is the Royal way, and they who tread it are kings and priests unto God. It is always to those who tread it the way of glory as it was to Christ, “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame.” It was because of this that Paul gloried in tribulation, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us” (Rom. v.3-5). “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”

I am pleased that I have finally been able to add all of Mantle’s chapters to path2prayer.com. It is a long-held dream and I pray you will be blessed in reading his book as I have been blessed.

Here is where you find all of “The Cross Day by Day.”

Of course there is more on this subject at path2prayer.com.

“Graveyard Religion” from His Robe Or Mine is very helpful by Frank Philips.

I have also been blessed by this chapter on the “Believer The Temple of the Holy Ghost” from Gerhard Tersteegen is also helpful.

You will also be blessed by Gordon’s chapter “The Price of Power” in his Quiet Talks on Power.

Happy reading!

Beyond Humiliation 19: “The Tests of Obedience”

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

In the lastest chapter posted from Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross, Gregory Mantle discusses the fact that all of us are given testing experiences. Note the following paragraphs from his chapter:

God always has a number of His children under examination. Some of them pass with honors, but a few are turned back to learn their lessons over again. Many fail in this critical time in their spiritual history because they do not understand the Divine purpose. They cry out with Job: “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, He hath set darkness in my paths.” They do not perceive that the position they have taken over and over again is being put to the test.

Madame Guyon puts it thus: “God will give us opportunities to try our consecration, whether it be a true one or not. No man can be wholly the Lord’s unless he is wholly consecrated to the Lord; and no man can know whether he is thus wholly consecrated except by tribulation. That is the test. To rejoice in God’s will, when that will imparts nothing but happiness, is easy even for the natural man. But none but the renovated man, none but the religious man, can rejoice in the Divine will when it crosses his path, disappoints his expectations, and overwhelms him with sorrow. Trial therefore, instead of being shunned, should be welcomed as the test — and the only true test — of a true state. Beloved souls, there are consolations which pass away, but true and abiding consolation ye will not find except in entire abandonment, and in that love which loves the Cross. He who does not welcome the Cross does not welcome God.”

Needless to say this is a very important and practical matter to consider. I hope you will take the time to read and spiritually grow as a result of reading “The Tests of Obedience.”

Learn more about the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.