Archive for September, 2007

Beyond Humiliation 11: The Gains of the Cross

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12: 25.

Mantle quickly asserts in this chapter:

We cannot have, at one and the same time, what the world calls life and what Christ calls life.

Many of us have been trying to have both forms of life at the same time and have found Mantle’s assertion unfortunately true! This has of course been frustrating because we have discovered that dying to self is REALLY dying to self–we would love to retain at least a little control, but the Bible doesn’t give any warrant for this aside from choosing to surrender and choosing to die to self. But we are not happy about this and often end up losing the blessings–the gains–of the experience, as noted by Mantle:

To cry out, “Save me from this hour!” to shrink and murmur, is only to disappoint God, to aggravate the evil, and to frustrate His purposes of grace. It is through the valley of the shadow of death, through the fiery way of trial, that we are brought into the wealthy place. It is God who directs the movements of the Sabeans and Chaldeans; it is He who permits the whirlwind to devastate and death to destroy, and our deliverance is not in fleeing from the marauding bands, but in saying, as Jesus did, Father, glorify Thy name! Whatever this means of severance and suffering, Father, glorify Thy name! and like our Master we shall hear a voice which assures us, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

He goes on to show that even the dying process can only succeed as God brings it about:

We shall do well to be on our guard against attempting to conquer self by any active resistance we can make to it by the powers of nature, for nature can no more overcome or suppress itself, than wrath can heal wrath. Our very efforts to overcome it, seem to give it new strength; self-love finds something to admire, even in the very attempts we make to conquer it. It will even take pride in what we mean to be acts of self-humiliation. There is no deliverance for us from this dread tyrant but in God. We are not skillful, or brave, or disinterested enough to wage this war alone. We must set ourselves against this foe which is His as well as ours, and while we strive in all things to work together with Him, we must trust Him to work for us and in us, till self shall die slain by God’s own breath. As living, intelligent beings, we must yield to the inspiration of the power that kills and makes alive, for God does not work irresistibly as upon dead matter, but intellectually and spiritually as upon honest mind. Self being reckoned dead, its gross affections may be put to death; so that instead of the works of the flesh will appear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. v.19-24). Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier the myrtle tree (Isa. lv. 13). Instead of the repulsive I life, shall appear the beautiful Christ-life. No longer I, but Christ.

Mantle’s words, though perhaps unwelcomed, contain the truths so foundational to victory and successful service. There are gains in the way of the cross–ONLY in the way of the cross–and the sooner we realize and accept the way of the cross, the happier we will be, and the sooner God will be able to begin working in greater ways in and through us–instead of in spite of us!

Here is link Mantle’s chapter the Gains of the Cross.

Learn more about this life at path2prayer.com

Some Quotations on Witnessing…

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Here are some important thoughts on witnessing. I hope sharing them will spur you to doing some witnessing TODAY!

Preaching will not do the work that needs to be done. Angels of God attend you to the dwellings of those you visit. This work cannot be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish it. Sermons will not do it. By visiting the people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts. This is the highest missionary work that you can do. To do it, you will need resolute, persevering faith, unwearying patience, and a deep love for souls. E. White, Vol. 9 Testimonies, p. 41

Too many are waiting for a wealth of knowledge they will never realize until they go out and share the pittance they have. ‘He who begins with a little knowledge, in a humble way, and tells what he knows, while seeking diligently for further knowledge, will find the whole heavenly treasure awaiting his demand. The more he seeks to impart light, the more light he will receive. The more one tries to explain the Word of God to others, with a love for souls, the plainer it becomes to himself. E. White, Christ Object Lessons, p. 354

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ E. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 143

Find more quotations on witnessing at path2prayer.com

Beyond Humilition 10: Fruit of the Cross

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Is there a connection between fruit-bearing and dying to self? If so why? These two questions are addressed in the 10th chapter “The Fruit of the Cross” of Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross.

Notice the following paragraphs taken from the chapter:

These are days of marvelous religious activity but think of the disproportion between activity and achievement! Are there not multitudes of Christian workers who have grown so accustomed to failure that they have almost ceased to expect success? Surely, with so much preaching and teaching, with so much Bible circulation and tract distribution, we ought not only to be holding our ground, but to be making inroads upon the kingdom of darkness. Yet we are not nearly keeping pace with the increasing population of the world, and today there are more millions sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death than ever there were.

One explanation of the fact that results are so often scanty and meager, or not real and abiding, lies here, the initial step to fruitful service has not been taken. Either through ignorance or unwillingness, the vast majority of those who profess to be fellow-workers with God in the regeneration of the world have never definitely hated and renounced the self-life, and it is because they are so much alive to self that they are so little alive to God.

Many, in their eagerness to succeed, are continually crying to God for the gift of spiritual power. But God cannot fulfill their desire, for He is a jealous God, and will not give His glory to another; and to trust men and women with spiritual power who are full of self-assertion would only be to feed their vanity and promote their self-idolization and love of self-display.

Perhaps Mantle has disclosed a secret that too many of us have overlooked. I believe so, and there is certainly strong warrent in Scripture and in other writings to support his thesis.

Jesus said,

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat fals into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who LOVES his life wil lose it, and he who HATES his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24

Also note the following:

A refining, purifying process is going on among the people of God, and the Lord of hosts has set his hand to this work. This process is most trying to the soul, but it is necessary in order that defilement may be removed. Trials are essential in order that we may be brought close to our heavenly Father, in submission to his will, that we may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. God’s work of refining and purifying the soul must go on until his servants are so humbled, so dead to self, that when called into active service, they may have an eye single to the glory of God. Then they will not move rashly from impulse, and imperil the Lord’s cause because they are slaves to temptation and passion, because they follow their carnal desires; but they will move from principle and in view of the glory of God. The Lord brings his children over the same ground again and again, increasing the pressure until perfect humility fills the mind, and the character is transformed; then they are victorious over self, and in harmony with Christ and the Spirit of heaven. Review and Herald, April 10, 1894

Here is the link for the rest of Mantle’s chapter “The Fruit of the Cross.”

Beyond Humiliation 9: The Gate of the Cross

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

“Sin never dies of old age,” is a key statement of Gregory Mantle in the next chapter, “The Gate of the Cross” in Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross.

He speaks to a fact that we are all too acquainted with, that the struggle with sin continues to the end of our lives.

I’ve been reading another book by James McConkey recently on victory, and he makes the same point: “Therefore ‘dead to to sin’ does not mean that sin is dead in you. Neither does it mean that there is never any response to sin in you.” The Way of Victory, p. 15

What is interesting is that God brings victory by dealing with US, and it all comes, using Mantle’s terminology, at the “gate of the cross.” Here are two key paragraphs from this chapter:

“To attempt to conquer our sinful nature by doing battle against it is weary work, as many of us know. And while men age and even die in the strife with evil, sin never dies of old age. True, it changes its character, a new viceroy takes the place of the old one, but the government remains the same. At the transition-point from one age of human life to another, a certain form of sin has to declare itself vanquished, but it is a victory over one of the outposts of sin, rather than over the tyrant in the citadel. Men have greatly rejoiced, for example, that the habit of intemperance has been conquered in their life, but that peculiarly abhorrent form of vice has often been succeeded by another, less abhorrent, perhaps, but none the less deadly. The capture of an advanced guard of sin has only challenged a new movement on the part of the enemy, and the slave of intemperance has become, all unconsciously, the slave of covetousness.”

“Well is it for us, if, like the knight in the picture [cited in the chapter by way of a poem], baffled, wounded, and weary after years of unsuccessful conflict, our pride conquered, and our own strength renounced, we are found kneeling at the door of that world which can only be entered through death-union ‘with Jesus Christ. For when we come to a condition of utter bankruptcy, and deeply conscious of our poverty and powerlessness, cry out in abject despair, “O wretched man that I am, who. shall deliver me?” we are at the threshold of deliverance. It will not be long before we begin to sing the victorious song: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. viii. 1, 2).”

Most of us can identify with the utter bankruptcy and deep consciousness of soul poverty and powerlessness that cries out with Paul “Who shall deliver me?”Have we also come to the next words: “Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and seen that in Jesus our soul poverty is addressed…at the gate of the cross?

Read all the “The Gate of the Cross” chapter at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 8: The World and the Cross

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

In chapter 8 of Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, we find discussed the world and the various ways we succumb to the attraction of the world. Note the following:

“The world has its own prince, its own court, its own council, its own laws, its own principles, its own maxims, its own literature. It is the counterfeit of the Church of God, and the devil’s principal weapon for lowering and poisoning the heavenly life in the individual and in the Church, and for antagonizing and destroying the work of the Holy Spirit. It is in our pulpits, choirs, and pews. It is all the more seductive because it makes an exterior profession of Christianity, and with infinite cleverness seeks to reconcile its own evil maxims with the doctrines of Christianity. It is far more to be dreaded than the undisguised attacks of the devil, for he urges his victims to glaring positive breaches of the Divine commands. The passions of the flesh in a similar manner impel to such sins as bulk prominently in the eyes of men, and startle them by their iniquity; but the spirit of the world fastens itself in diabolical subtlety upon those who pride themselves upon their spirituality and devotion, and who consider themselves so free from its hateful presence that they are offended if for a moment it is suggested that they are under its power. This is its great triumph, and when we laugh to scorn the suggestion that Madame Bubble will ever ensnare us in her toils, we are already among her dupes.”

Mantle goes on to show how the lust of the flesh, the eyes, and the vainglory of this world, all work against our walk with Jesus. Of the latter he says,

““The vainglory of life” is the pomp and pride that exults in itself and does not give the glory to God. It is the heart fastening upon tangible objects, wealth, respect, and homage from without. There are scores of plans devised solely to foster these sinful propensities, some coarse and some so refined that there is about them the outline of beauty, the harmony of color and sound, the gracefulness of movement, the charm of sympathy: but in them all God would be such an intrusion, His presence would be so unwelcome, that they are immediately branded, beautiful though they be, as “not of the Father but of the world.” This is the true touchstone in our choice of food, dress, reading, and recreation; in all our buying and selling; in all our planning even for God’s work. Is this the will of God?”

He concludes with the following:

“By appropriating first the victory of the Cross and then Christ’s mighty resurrection-life, we shall be able to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The religion of Jesus Christ knows nothing of bringing down her standards to suit the spirit of the age. It does not say to the business man whose surroundings are peculiarly trying: “Your case is one of unusual difficulty, and I will waive part of my demands.” It says to every man, though the atmosphere in which he lives is impregnated with this enervating poison, though he is surrounded with men whose ways are as crooked and tricky as the adversary can make them, “Be separate!” “Touch not the unclean thing!” ‘Keep yourself unspotted from the world!'”

Read all of this searching chapter of Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 7: The Victims of the Cross

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Chapter 7 of Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross includes the following thoughts on the victims of the cross:

“All man’s powers, reasonings, emotions, and will are naturally under the power of the flesh. Whatever the fleshly mind may devise or plan — however fair its show may be, and however much men may glory in it — has no value in the sight of God. The flesh, with its thinking and willing and effort, is therefore a victim for the Cross. We see the necessity of deliverance from what are commonly called the sins of the flesh, but how seldom do we include our powers to reason and think and plan. Alas! we often have confidence in these, and we are woefully discouraged because the Spirit does not prosper what the flesh has planned. Is not our worship of God often in the flesh? Are not plans and devices resorted to for obtaining money for the empty treasury of the Church, which bear upon their very surface the marks of the flesh, and which are so displeasing to God, that the workings of His Spirit are well-nigh quenched? It is little short of mockery, in many instances, to ask God’s blessing on what our own heart tells us is the planning and working of the flesh, and which under the most beautiful and attractive guise can never be anything but offensive to Him.”

Mantle is so correct in what he says, and, as I attended a retreat this weekend, I realized anew how desperately needed is clear teaching on how to obtain victory in the Christian life.

I hope you are reading these chapters for they are wonderfully instructive!

Find the rest of the Gregory Mantle’s chapter at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 6: The Inward Cross

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Mantle starts the 6th “Inward Cross” chapter with the following words from Professor Upham:

““What is it to be inwardly crucified? It is to have no desire, no purpose, no aim but such as comes by Divine inspiration, or is attended with the Divine approbation. To be inwardly crucified, is to cease to love Mammon in order that we may love God, to have no eye for the world’s possessions, no ear for the world’s applause, no tongues for the world’s envious or useless conversation, no terror for the world’s opposition. To be inwardly crucified is to be, among the things of this world, ‘a pilgrim and a stranger,’ separate from what is evil, sympathizing with what is good, but never with idolatrous attachment; seeing God in all things and all things in God. To be inwardly crucified is, in the language of Tauler, ‘to cease entirely from the life of self, to abandon equally what we see and what we possess, our power, our knowledge, and our affections; that so the soul in regard to any action originating in itself is without life, without action, and without power, and receives its life, its action, and its power from God alone.’ “ — Professor Upham

Needless to say, there are few Christians who subscribe to the inward cross described even if they do subscribe to the need of dying to self. I believe this lack of inward dying which prevents God from manifesting Himself in a greater way. If one considers the people who did great things for God–in the Bible people like Daniel, in Christian history people like George Muller–one finds that they experienced the inward cross–a dying to everything but God’s will and God’s power in operation–that God did things that still marvel us today.

Here is more from Mantle:

“The Cross of Christ not only enforces holiness, but makes holiness possible. Conybeare gives a striking translation of Galatians ii. 20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no more I that live, but Christ is living in me; and my outward life which still remains, I live in the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Here we have both the exterior and the interior Cross, or the Cross and its moral effect. There is a great difference between realizing, “On that Cross He was crucified for me,” and “On that Cross I am crucified with Him.” The one aspect brings us deliverance from sin’s condemnation, the other from sin’s power. We first discover the Cross as coming between God and ourselves. That is its substitutionary or judicial aspect. In it Christ must ever be alone; into that circle none can enter; when He trod that winepress there was none with Him.

But there is an aspect of the Cross in the passage quoted which brings us into moral subjection as crucified with Christ. “I am crucified with Christ; it is no more I that live, but Christ is living in me. Here we see the Cross coming between us and our sinful I nature, and these words bring us face to face with a crucifixion which is experimental in its effects. It is an instantaneous crucifixion, inwrought by the power of the Holy Ghost, solely on our compliance with these clearly defined conditions, absolute surrender to God, absolute dependence on God. It is continuous crucifixion, as the literal translation of St. Paul’s words shows: ‘I have been and am crucified with Christ.’”

I hope you are reading the chapters being posted, for I believe they will be life-changing!

Read it here: “The Inward Cross.”

There is more on more abundant living at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 5: Self and Sin

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12,13

Paul’s words remind us of the two-fold nature of what goes on in our lives when God brings about transformation. We must do our part–a working out, and God must do His part–willing and doing, of course with the “of His good pleasure” clause pointing to our surrender to His will.

What does this mean in every day life?

Mantle’s 5th chapter in Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross speaks to self and sin, and shares more insights on how God deals with the “self” problem that is so often encountered. Note the following:

“Nothing has done so much to discredit the teaching of holiness as the unlovely, censorious, self-assertive spirit that has, alas been so often displayed by those who have professed to know the experience. God’s cloth-of-gold has sometimes become cloth-of-tinsel. The explanation lies very largely in the failure, on the one hand, to appropriate complete deliverance from every taint of the plague of self, and on the other to “put on the Lord Jesus” as the unfading robing of the new life.”

In my travels I sometimes hear of people who seem to know Jesus, but who have the censorious, self-assertive, critical spirit, that Mantle refers to. This is a REAL problem, and many don’t buy into the more conservative way of walking with Jesus because of this reason. I believe Mantle is correct when he recognizes that they have failed to take on the Lord Jesus Christ as the ‘unfading robing of new life.’

I am glad Mantle speaks to this issue and I hope you will take the time to read and learn what he has to say on the subject. Find the chapter at path2prayer.com

Beyond Humiliation 4: The Idol Self

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

The following statement from Samuel Rutherford begins Mantle’s fourth, “The Idol Self” chapter in Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross:

““Oh, what pains, and what a death it is to nature, to turn me, myself, my lust, my ease, my credit, over into “my Lord, my Saviour, my King, and my God, my Lord’s will, my Lord’s grace!” But alas! that idol, that whorish creature myself is the master-idol we all bow to…. “Every man blameth the devil for his sins; but the great devil, the house-devil of every man, the house-devil that eateth and lieth in every man’s bosom, is that idol that killeth all, himself. Oh! blessed are they who can deny themselves, and put Christ in the room of themselves! O sweet word: ‘I live no more, but Christ liveth in me!’ “ — Samuel Rutherford

I have to be honest I get angry with Satan for tempting me, but if Rutherford is right, “I” may have more to do with it than I would like to admit–particularly if I have been busily protecting self and refusing to die.

The topic is important and worth considering.

Here are a few more thoughts from Mantle:

“This idolatry of the human I is, then, to be fought against, and pursued through all the intricacies of our being, with hitter, unrelenting hate. Self is the very citadel of Satan in the heart; it is the great stronghold of the enemy; it is the most subtle, the most stubborn, the most tenacious foe with which the Holy Spirit has to contend in our nature. “Self,” says William Law, “is not only the seat and habitation, but the very life of sin the works of the devil are all wrought in self; it is his peculiar workshop; and therefore Christ is not come as a Saviour from sin, as a destroyer of the works of the devil in any of us, but so far as self is beaten down and overcome in us. Christ’s life is not, cannot be, within us, but so far as the spirit of the world, self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking are renounced and driven out of us.” Gregory Mantle

I hope you will take the time to read and ponder. Find the fourth “The Idol Self” chapter at this link at path2prayer.com.

Beyond Humiliation 3: Was It Really MY Sins?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

“Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.” Rev. 1:7

The third chapter, “The Light of the Cross,” from Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, begins with the following searching poem:

“My God! my God! and can it be
That I should sin so lightly now,
And think no more of evil thoughts
Than of the wind that waves the bough?

I sin, and heaven and earth go round
As if no dreadful deed were done;
As if Thy blood had never flowed
To hinder sin or to atone.

Shall it be always thus, O Lord?
Wilt Thou not work this hour in me
The grace Thy passion merited,
Hatred of self and love of Thee?

O, by the pains of Thy pure love,
Grant me the gift of holy fear;
And by Thy woes and bloody sweat,
O wash my guilty conscience clear.

Ever when tempted make me see,
Beneath the olives’ moon-pierced shade,
My God, alone, outstretched, and bruised,
And bleeding on the earth He made.

And make me feel it was my sin,
As though no other sins there were,
That was to Him who bears the world
A load that He could scarcely bear.”

Mantle goes on to remind us through the words of Dean:

“All sinning now is a re-crucifixion — it is a disregard, it is a despite, it is more — it is a re-binding and re-nailing and re-torturing and re-agonizing and re-killing of Him whose one death was the sufficient sin-bearing, and therefore the intended sin-eradication and sin-extermination for ever.”

At path2prayer.com you can find the rest of the Mantle’s chapter, “The Light of the Cross.”

Find practical resources for daily Christian living in the “Struggling Christian” section at path2prayer.com.