IN DEBT to the Believer and the Unbeliever
"Both to Greeks and to barbarians
(to the cultured and the uncultured), both to the wise and to the foolish,
I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay."
Romans 1:14 (Amp

23 July 2010

"Come Up Higher"

"Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing
of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father
doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the
Son also does in like manner."
John 5:19

Jesus said, "I only do those things I see the Father doing." May we all follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do only those things we see Him doing.

Let me share an experience with you that I had a couple of weeks ago in a glorious service where the Lord took us high into the Spirit through a time of worship with a song "I See the Lord". It was truly a glorious time into heights and experiences never seen before with my spirit eyes. As we worshiped corporately you could feel the unity of our spirits joining together as one as we rose higher and higher into the realm of the Spirit, into that realm of glory, into the place of His majestic presence. It was glorious! It was a corporate rising when we caught the wind and wave of the Spirit as it entered the sanctuary and lifted us higher and higher. And in the Spirit as we worshiped and exalted His holiness I could see the back of Jesus as He stepped up onto the throne, with the long train of His robe behind Him filling the sanctuary. Then I saw Him turn around and sit on the throne, in His seat of authority, and then I heard Him say, "It is finished."
It was powerful. It was a life changing moment and experience.

As I have continued to relive that experience I can feel and hear the Spirit of God calling us, His Bride-the Church, to do the same, to follow in His footsteps, to rise up and take our place of authority, to take our seat of authority next to Him. We are "raised up with Him and seated with Him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus", seated with Him at the right hand of the Father, far above all rule and authority and all power and dominion, and every name that is named, and everything has been put into subjection under our feet. (Eph 2:6, 1:20-22) The Spirit of God is calling us up into this higher realm, a realm of divine revelation, a realm of God's divine power and authority.

As we worship, seeing the Lord high and lifted up, the Spirit will draw us up into that realm that we were created for. We will follow Him into our place and position of authority and power. It will be high above the circucmstances and the realm of our carnal mind and reasoning. It will be in the realm of the spirit of divine wisdom, insight and understanding, the realm of divine power and authority, the realm of our victory from every battle and circumstance that we encounter.

We must go there. We must begin our ascent. We must consecrate ourselves to this assignment to discover and be empowered to operate in our own individual assignment and purpose, to fulfill the call and purpose we were each created for. It's a corporate ascent, but it takes an indiviual decision, choice and yielding from each of us to make that ascent. It takes a daily yearning and seeking and drawing upon the Spirit of God to take us up there. Each day, each drawing will take you up higher and further and freer from the things that have kept you bound and in the lower places of the valley and desert of your lack and frustration. You were created for the high places. We all were. Begin your ascent today. "Lift up your eyes to the mountains from whence your help comes from." (Ps 121:1) Lift up your eyes to the One seated on the throne Who is calling you and saying, "Come up higher.....come up higher. There is a place for you here beside Me. Come up higher."
Begin to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, for this is what the Father seeks. "For God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23,24)

17 July 2010

His House is for Him

The Word of the Lord came forth last night in the Friday night Glory Service.

"Then King David said to the entire assembly, "My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is still young and inexperienced and the work is great; for the temple is not for man but for the Lord God." (1 Chron 29:1)

The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said that the work of evangelism of this world is great, but the Lord is saying to us "Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?" (Is 66:1)
The Holy Spirit was saying if we, His people and His Bride, would align ourselves with His will and His heart and put Him first, and make His house a house of His presence first, a house where people can come and experience His power and His manifested presence, and if this would be our motivation and goal to create that atmosphere for Him, then He would come and fill the house as He did in the Old Testiment and the work of evangelism would become much easier and would be greater than the work of the early Church in the New Testiment. People would be coming to His house and He would be touching them and changing their hearts and lives through His manifested power. His power manifested in His house and through the hearts and hands of His people there would be released and would flow like a river into their lives and into our cities and homes. Oh if we would just align our hearts and visions with His heart and His will in this hour, the River of His life and power and presence would flow down from the throne and through His house and through His people and out the doors into the streets, changing lives and cities and this world.

O Lord, turn our hearts to Your will and Your vision for a house that is built for YOU, a house of Your presence and Your holiness. O Lord, forgive us for building houses for the people, houses that have taken on so much of the world and that are so full of programs and classes that the sacredness and Your holiness in them is nonexistent. O Lord, forgive us for this and turn our hearts to You and to Your will. 
Father, thank You for touching Pastor Jerry with Your heart and vision for Your house through Your Word in Isaiah 66. Thank You for anointing him and empowering for this work. Thank You for choosing me and bringing me here to Destiny to be a part of this end-time work of building Your house for Your presence alone. I consecrate myself to You and to this work. May all that I do and all that I am about be in relation to building this house for You. I make it my life's work. You are my inheritance, Lord. You are my portion. All that I have is Yours. All that I have been given is from You. You are my covenant-keeping God, my Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Healer, my Provider. You are my strength, my joy and my life. Thank You Jesus for saving me and for keeping me. Thank You for calling me and choosing me. Let my life, Lord, bring You glory. I surrender all to You. Amen

12 July 2010

"In Glorifying the Father" (Devotional)

The object and motivation for our walk should be that Jesus and the Father would be glorified in us. When we glorify Jesus, we glorify the Father. Jesus came and conquered sin and redeemed us back to the Father and our heavenly inheritance. Our lives should reflect that so that His glory is revealed through us. Walking in divine health and wealth reflects that glory. Walking in divine power to heal and cast out demons relects that glory.
This chapter of the "Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" by Andrew Murray shows how all of Jesus' life was motivated to glorify His Father. So must our be also.
O Lord, remove all hinderance and imperfection in us that Your glory may be see in us. Amen

"In Glorifying the Father"

"Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy
Son also may glorify thee. I have glorified thee on the earth."
John 17:1
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples."
John 15:8

     The glory of an object is when its intrinsic worth and excellence answers perfectly to all that is expected of it. That excellence or perfection may be so hidden or unknown that the object has no visible glory to those who behold it. To glorify is to remove every hindrance, and to so reveal the full worth and perfection of the object that its glory is seen and acknowledged by all.
     The highest perfection of God is His holiness. In it righteousness and love are united. As the holy One He hates and condemns sin. As the holy One He also frees the sinner from its power and raises Him to communion with himself. His name is "The holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer." The song of redemption is "Great is the holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." To the Blessed Spirit, whose special work it is to maintain the fellowship of God with man, the title of Holy in the New Testiment belongs more than to the Father or the Son. It is this holiness, judging sin and saving sinners, which is the glory of God. For this reason the two words are often found together. So in the song of Moses: "Who is like thee, glorious holiness?" So in the song of Seraphim: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." And so in the song of the Lamb: "Who shall not glorify thy Name? for thou only art holy." As has been well said: "God's glory is His manifested holiness; God's holiness is His hidden glory."
     When Jesus came to earth to glorify the Father, He demonstrated in its true light and beauty that glory which sin had so entirely hidden from man. Man had been created in the image of God that God might place His glory upon him--that God might be glorified in him. The Holy Spirit says, "Man is the image and glory of God." Jesus came to restore man to his high destiny: He laid aside the glory which He had with the Father, and came in our weakness and humiliation to teach us how to glorify the Father on earth. God's glory is perfect and infinite: man cannot contribute any new glory to God. He can only reflect the glory of God. God's holiness is His glory. As this holiness of God is seen in man, God is glorified; His glory as God is demonstrated.
     Jesus glorified God by obeying Him. In giving His commandments to Israel, God continually said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." In keeping them they would be transformed into a life of harmony with Him and enter into fellowship with Him as the holy One. In His conflict with sin and Satan, in His sacrifice of His own will, in His waiting for the Father's teaching, in His unquestioning obedience to the Word, Christ showed that He counted nothing worth living for except to let this holy God really be God. His will alone acknowledged and obeyed. Because He alone is holy, His will alone should be done, and so His glory be shown in  us.
     Jesus glorified God by confessing Him. He not only taught the message God had given Him, but there is something far more striking. He continually spoke of His own personal relationship to the Father. He did not silently trust the influence of His holy life. He wanted men to distincly understand what the root and aim of that life was. Time after time He told them that He came as a servant sent from the Father, that He totally depended upon Him, that He only sought the Father's honor, and that all His happiness was to please the Father.
     Jesus glorified God by giving himself for the work of His redeeming love, God's glory is His holiness, and God's holiness is His redeeming love--love that triumphs over sin by conquering sin and rescuing the sinner. Jesus not only told of the Father being the righteous One, whose condemnation must rest on sin, and the loving One, who saves everyone who turns from his sin, but He gave himself to be sacrifice to that righteousness, a servant to that love, even unto death. It was not only in acts of obedience or words of confession that He glorified God, but in giving himself to magnify the holiness of God, to vindicate at once His law and His love by His atonement. He gave himself, His whole life and being, to show how the Father loved, how the Father must condemn the sin, and yet would save the sinner. He counted nothing too great a sacrifice. He lived and died only that the glory of the Father, the glory of His holiness, of His redeeming love, might break through the dark veil of sin and flesh, and shine into the hearts of the children of men. As He himself expressed it in the last week of His life, when the approaching anguish began to press in upon Him: "Now is my soul troubled. And what shal lI say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour: Father, glorify thy name." And the assurance came that the sacrifice was well-pleasing and acceptable in the answer: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
     Jesus as man was prepared to have part in the glory of God. He sought it in the humiliation on earth; He found it on the throne of heaven. And so He became our forerunner, leading many children to glory. He shows us that the sure way to the glory of God in heaven is to live only for the glory of God on earth. Yes, this is the glory of a life on earth: glorifying God here, we are prepared to be glorified with Him forever.
     Is this not a wonderful calling, blessed beyond all conception--calling to live only to glorify God, to let God's glory shine out in every part of our life? Our daily life, down to its most ordinary acts, may be transparent with the glory of God. Oh! let us study this trait of the wonderous image of our Jesus: He glorified the Father. Let us listen to Him as He points us to the high aim, that your Father in heaven may be glorified, and as He shows us the way, "herein is my Father glorified." Let us remember how He told us that when He answers our prayer, this would still be His object: "That the Father may be glorified in the Son." Let our whole life, like Christ's be so animated by this as its ruling principle that our watchword becomes: "All to the glory of God". And let our faith hold fast the confidence that in the fullness of the Spirit there is ample provision for our desire being fulfilled: "know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?...Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit" (1 Cor 6:19,20)
     If we want to know the way, let us again study Jesus. He obeyed the Father: Let simple obedience mark your whole life. Let humble, childlike, waiting for direction, a Christlike dependence on the Father's showing us His way, be our daily attitude. Let everything be done to the Lord, according to His will, for His glory, in direct relationship to himself. Let God's glory shine out in the holiness of our life.
     He confessed the Father: He did not hesitate to speak of His personal relationship with the Father. It is not enough that we live right before men: how can they understand if there be no interpreter? They need as a personal testimony to hear that what we are and do is because we love the Father and are living for Him. The witness of the life and the words must go together.
     And He gave himself to the Father's work. So He glorified Him. He showed sinners that God has a right to have us wholly for himself, that God's glory alone is worth living and dying for, and that as we give ourselves to this, God will most wonderfully use and bless us. It was that men might glorify the Father in heaven that Jesus lived, and that we must live too. Oh let us give ourselves to God for men; let us plead, and work, and live, and die that men may see that God is glorious in holiiness, that the whole earth may be filled with His glory!
     Believer, "the Spirit of God and of glory, the Spirit of holiness, rests upon you." Jesus delights to do in you His beloved work of glorifying the Father. Fear not to say: Oh, my Father, in your Son, like your Son, I will only live to glorify you.

     O my God, show me Your glory! I know how utterly impossible it is by my own effort to lift myself up or bind myself to live for Your glory alone. But if You will reveal Your glory, if You will make Your goodness pass before me, if You will let Your glory shine into my heart, I will never be able to do anything but glorify You. I will live to make known what a glorious holy God You are.
     Lord Jesus, give me by Your Holy Spirit a sight of how You lived. Teach me the meaning of Your obedience to the Father, Your acknowledgement that, at any cost, His will must be done. Teach me by Your confessions of the Father and by Your personal testimony to tell men what He was to You. Let my lips too tell out what I taste of the love of the Father that men may glorify Him. And above all, teach me that it is in saving sinners that redeeming love has its triumph and its joy, that it is in holiness casting out sin that God has His highest glory. And so take possession of my whole heart that I may love and labor, live and die, for this one thing, "That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
      O my Father, let the whole earth, let my heart, be filled with Your glory! Amen

10 July 2010

"In His Life Through the Father" (Devotional)

When the Father desired to manifest himself on earth in His love, He used Jesus, the only One that was qualified and capable of carrying and delivering that depth and magnitude of agape love to us. Now as a believer, as one that is surrendered and grafted into the life of Christ, our lives are to be like His and to be carriers of that manifested love in the many varied ways and giftings throughout our life. Our lives are to be a manifestation of our union with Christ, a life of dependence and a life of divine power. When we are in union with Jesus and the Father, He will even give us the prayers to pray so He can show us that He hears and answers us. He gives us everything, even His thoughts and prayers from the throne.
In this chapter of "The Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" by Andrew Murray, we see how our life in Christ is to be like His was through the Father. We are to follow this example and to be this example to others by the grace and power that He has given us through Christ.

"In His Life Through the Father"

"As.....I live by the Father: so he that eateth me,
even he shall live by me."
John 6:57

     Every contemplation of a walk in the footsteps of Christ reveals the need of fixing our attention on the deep living union between the forerunner and His followers. Like Christ: the longer we meditate on it, the more we realize how impossible it is without the other: In Christ. The outward likeness can only be the manifestation of a living inward union. To do the same works as Christ, I must have the same life. The more I take Him for my example, the more I am driven to Him as my head. Only an inner life essentially like His can lead to a visible walk like His.
     What an assuring word we have here: "As I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." If you desire to understand your life in Christ, what He will be for you and how He will work in you, you have only to contemplate what the Father was for Him and how He worked in Him. Christ's life in and through the Father is the image of what your life in and through the Son may be.
     As Christ's life was a life hidden in God in heaven, so must ours be. When He emptied himself of His divine glory, He laid aside the free use of His divine attributes. He came as a man to live by faith; He needed to wait on the Father for wisdom and power as it pleased the Father to impart to Him. He was entirely dependent on the Father; His life was hid in God. Not in virtue of His own independent Godhead, but through the operations of the Holy Spirit, He spoke and acted as the Father.
     In the same manner, your life must be hid with Christ in God. Let this encourage you. Christ calls you to a life of faith and dependence, because it is the life He himself led. He has proven its blessedness; He is willing to live His life in you, to teach you also to live in no other way. He knew that the Father was His life, that He lived through the Father, and that the Father supplied His need moment by moment. He assures you that as He lived through the Father, even so you shall live through Him. Take this assurance in faith., Let your heart be filled with the thought of the fullness of life prepared for you in Christ and the abundant supply for all you need. Do not worry over your spiritual life as something you must maintain. Rejoice that you live in the strength of the Lord Jesus, even as He lived through His Father.
     As Christ's life was a life of divine power, although a life of dependence, so ours will also be. He never repented having laid aside His glory to live before God as a man upon earth. The Father never disappointed His confidence; He gave Him all He needed to accomplish His work. Christ experienced the full blessing of living as a  man in entire dependence upon His Father, receiving everything day by day from His hands.
     Believer, your life can be the same. The divine power of the Lord Jesus will work in and through us. Do not think that your earthly circumstances make a holy life impossible. Jesus manifested the divine life in the midst of earthly surroundings, which were supremely difficult. As He lived through the Father, so may you live through Him. Only cultivate greater expectations of what the Lord will do for you. Let it be your sole desire to attain to an entire union with Him. It is impossible to say what the Lord Jesus would do for a soul who is truly willing to live as entirely through Him as He through the Father. As the Father worked so gloriously in Christ, so has He undertaken to work all in you.
     As the life of Christ was the manifestation of His union with the Father, so ours also. Christ says, "Even as the Father has sent me, and I live by the Father." When the Father desires manifest himself on earth in His love, He could entrust that work to only His beloved Son, who was one with Him: it was because the Father had sent Him that He must care for the Son's life. In this union rested the certainty that Jesus would live on earth through the Father.
     "Even so," Christ said, "he that eateth me, liveth by me." He had said before, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him." In death He had given His flesh and blood for the life of the world; through faith the soul partakes of the power of His death and resurrection, and receives its right to His life. In the words "whosoever eateth me" is expressed the intimate union and unbroken communion with the Lord Jesus, which is the power of a life in Him. The one great work for the soul, who desires to live entirely by Christ, is to eat Him, daily to feed on Him, to make Him his own.
     To attain this, seek continually to have your heart filled with a believing assurance that all Christ's fullness of life is truly yours. Rejoice in the contemplation of His humanity in heaven, and the wonderful provision God has made through the Holy Spirit for the communication of this life to flow unbroken and unhindered down upon you. Thank God unceasingly for the redemption in which He opened the way to the life of God, and for the wonderful life now provided for you in the Son. Offer yourself unreservedly to Him with an open heart and consecrated life that seeks His service alone. In such trust and consecration of faith, with His words abiding in you, let Jesus be your daily food. He who eateth me shall live by me: even as the Father has sent me, and I live by the Father.
     Does likeness to Christ begin to seem possible in the light of this promise? He who lives through Christ can also live like Him. Therefore let the wonderful life of Christ on earth be the object of your adoring contemplation until your whole heart understands and accepts the word, "Even so, he who eateth me shall live through me." The same Christ who set us the example works in us from heaven that life which can live out the example. Our life will become a continual song: To Him who lives in us, in order that we may live like Him, be the love and praise of our hearts. Amen

     O my God, how shall I thank You for this wonderful grace! Your Son became man to teach us the blessedness of a life of dependence on the Father; He lived through the Father. We see in Him how the divine life can live and work and conquer on earth. And now He is ascended into heaven and has all power to let that life work in us. We are called to live even as He did on earth: we live through Him. O God, praise to Your name for this unspeakable grace!
     Lord, hear the prayer that I now offer to You. Show me more of Christ's life through the Father. I need to understand if I am to live as He did! Then I shall know what I may expect from Him, what I can do through Him. It will no longer be a struggle and an effort to live according to Your will. I shall know that His blessed life on earth is mine, according to the word, "Even as I through the Father, so ye through me." Then I will daily feed upon Christ in the joyful experience that I live through Him. O Father, grant this in full measure for His name's sake! Amen

09 July 2010

"Led by the Spirit" (Devotional)

When our desire is to be like Jesus we must learn to lean and depend and to be led by the Holy Spirit. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need a full emersion and an infilling daily and then a full surrender and yielding to be led and guided by the Spirit. This chapter in "The Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" by Andrew Murray takes us into a deeper understanding of this.

"Led by the Spirit"

"And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from
Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness."
(Luke 4:11)
"Be filled with the Spirit." (Eph 5:18)
"For as many asd are led by the Spirit of God, they are
the sons of God." (Rom 8:14)

     From His birth the Lord Jesus had the Spirit dwelling in Him. But there were times when He needed special communications of the Spirit from the Father. Thus it was with His baptism. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Him, the baptism of the Spirit, given in the baptism with water, was a real transaction: He was filled with the Spirit. He returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, and experienced more manifestly than ever the leading of the Spirit. In the wilderness He wrestled and conquered, not in His own divine power, but as a man who was strengthened and led by the Holy Spirit. In this also "he was in all things made like unto his brethern."
     The other side of the truth also holds true: the brethern are in all things made like unto Him. They are called to live like Him. This is not demanded from them without their having the same power. This power is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. As Jesus was filled with the Spirit, and then led by the Spirit, so must we also be filled with the Spirit and be led by the Spirit.
     More than once it has seemed almost impossible to be like Him. We have lived so little for it; we feel completely unable to live like this. Let us take courage in the thought: Jesus himself lived in dependence upon the Spirit. It was after He was filled with the Spirit that He was led by that Spirit to the place of conflict and of victory. And this blessing is ours: we may be filled with the Spirit; we may be led by the Spirit. Jesus, who was himself baptized with the Spirit, has ascended into heaven to baptize us into the likeness with himself. He who would live like Jesus must be baptized with the Spirit. What God demands from His children He first gives. He demands entire likeness to Christ because He will give us, as He did Jesus, the fullness of the Spirit. We must be filled with the Spirit.
     This is the reason why the teaching of the likeness of Christ has so little prominence in the Church. Men sought it in their own strength, perhaps with the help of some workings of the Holy Spirit. They did not understand that nothing less was needed than being filled with the Spirit. They thought that real conformity to Christ could not be expected because they had mistaken thoughts about being filled with the Spirit. It was thought to be the privilege of a few, and not the calling of every believer. "Be ye filled with the Spirit" is a command to every believer. Only when the Church restores the places for the baptism of the Spirit, and Jesus, as the baptizer with the Spirit, only then will likeness to Christ be sought after and attained. People will then understand and acknowledge: to be like Christ we must be led by the same Spirit;; to be led by the Spirit as He was we must be filled with the Spirit. Nothing less than the fullness of the Spirit is absolutely necessary to live a Christlike life.
     The way to arrive at it is simple. It is Jesus who baptizes with the Spirit: he who comes to him desiring it will receive it. All that He requires of us is the surrender of faith to receive what He gives.
     The surrender of faith. He asks whether we are committed to following His footsteps, and for this to be baptized of the Spirit. Do not let there be any hesitation, as to your answer. First, look on all the promises of His love and of His Spirit, in which the blessed privelege is set forth: even as I, ye also. Remember it was of the likeness of himself that He said to the Father: "The glory which thou gavest me have I given them." Think how the love of Christ and the desire to please Him, how the glory of God and the needs of the world, plead with us not to despise this heavenly birthright of being Christlike. Acknowledge the sacred right of ownership Christ has in you, His blood-bought ones; and let nothing prevent your answering: "Yes, dear Lord, as far as is humanly possible, I will be like you. I am completely yours: I must, I will, in all things bear your imate. It is for this I ask to be filled with the Spirit."
     The surrender of faith: only this, but nothing less than this He demands. Let us give what He asks. If we yield ourselves, let it be in the quiet trust that He accepts. At once He begins in secret to cause the Spirit to work more mightily in us. Let us believe it although we do not at once experience it. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must wait on the Lord in faith. We can depend upon it that His love desire to give us more than we know. Let our surrender be made in this assurance.
     And let this surrender of faith be entire. The fundamental law of following Christ is this: "He who loses his life shall find it." The Holy Spirit comes to take away the old life, and to give in its place the life of Christ in you. Renounce the old life of self-working and self-watching, and believe that the Holy Spirit will renew your life. In the work of the Holy Spirit in you there are no breaks or interruptions: you are in the Spirit as your vital air: the Spirit is in you as your life breath: through the Spirit God works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Have a deep reverence for the work of the Spirit who dwells within you. Believe in God's power, which works in you through the Spirit to conform you to Christ's life and image moment by moment. Be occupied with Jesus and His life, in the full assurance that the Holy Spirit knows in deep quiet to fulfill His office of communicating Jesus to you. Remember that the fullness of the Spirit is yours in Jesus, a real gift which you accept and hold in faith, even when there is little feeling of it. The feelings may be of weakness and fear and much trembling, and yet the speaking, and working, and living may be in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Cor 2:3,4). Live in the faith that the fullness of the Spirit is yours. Entrust the care of your spiritual life to the hands of the Holy Spirit. With the loving presence of Jesus in  you, the living likeness to Jesus will be seen on you; the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus dwelling within, the likeness of the life of Christ Jesus will shine around.
     And if it does not appear that in believing and obeying your desires are fulfilled, remember that it is in the fellowship with the members of Christ's body, and in the full surrender to Christ's service in the world, that the full power of the Spirit is made manifest. It was when Jesus gave himself to enter into full fellowship with men around Him, and like them to be baptized with water, that He was baptized with the Holy Spirit. And it was when He had given himself in His second baptism of suffering, a sacrifice for us, that He received the Holy Spirit to give to us. Seek fellowship with believers who will with you believe for the baptism of the Spirit: the disciples recieved the Spirit together with one accord in one place. Band yourself with God's children around you to work for souls; the Spirit is the power from on high to equip for that work.; the promise will be fulfilled ot the believing, willing servants, who want Him not for their enjoyment but for that work. Christ was filled with the Spirit that He might be enabled to work and live and die for us. Give yourself to such a Christlike living and dying for men, and  you may depend that a Christlike baptism of the Spirit, a Christlike fullness of the Spirit, will be your portion.

     Blessed Lord, how wondrously You have provided for our growing likeness to Yourelf in giving us Your Holy Spirit. You have told us that it is His work to reveal You, to give Your indwelling presence. All the life and holiness and strength we see in You is brought over and imparted and made our very own. He takes of Yours, and shows it to us, and makes it ours. Blessed Jesus, we do thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
     And now, fill us, oh fill us full, with Your Holy Spirit! Lord, nothing less is sufficient. We cannot be led like You, we cannot fight and conquer like You, we cannot love and serve like You, we cannot live and die like You, unless we are full of the Holy Spirit. Blessed be Your name! You have commanded, You have promised it; it may, it can, it shall be.
     Holy Savior, draw believers together to wait and plead for this. Let their eyes be opened to see the wonderous unfulfilled promises of floods of the Holy Spirit. Let their hearts be drawn to give themselves to live and die for men. And we know it will be Your delight to fulfill Your office, as He that baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Glory bo to Your name. Amen

06 July 2010

"Abiding in the Love of God" (Devotional)

God's love and our obedience are the lock and key fitting together. It's God's grace that fits them together, and it's us that use that key to open the treasures of His love. In this chapter of "Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" by Andrew Murray, we see that we are the beloved of Jesus just as He was the beloved of the Father. And it's this love and His heart that we should seek above all else. It's from this love that we will find our greatest fulfillment, our joy and peace that passes all understanding. It's from this love, abiding in His love, that we truly come to know Him and live in and through Him.

"Abiding in the Love of God"

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you;
continue in my love. If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my
Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
John 15:9,10

     Our Lord not only said, "Abide in me," but also, "Abide in my love." Of the abiding in Him, the principal part is the dwelling and being rooted in that wonderful love with which He loves us. "Love seeketh not its own"; it always goes out of itself to live and be at one with the beloved; it ever opens itself and stretches its arms wide to receive and hold fast the object of its desire: Christ's love longs to possess us. Abiding in Christ is an intensely personal relationship, the losing of ourselves in the fellowship of an intimate love, finding our life in the experience of being loved by Him.
     Jesus tells us that this love in which we are to abide is the same as the Father's love in which He abides. Surely, if anything were needed to make the abiding in His love more wonderful and attractive, this ought to do so. "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue in my love." Our life may be Christlike, unspeakabley blessed in the consciousness of an infinite love embracing and delighting in us.
     We know this was the secret of Christ's wonderful life, and His strength in prospect of death. At His baptism the voice was heard, the divine message which the Spirit brought and unceasingly maintained in living power, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." More than once we read: "The Father loveth the Son" (John 3:35; 5:20). Christ speaks of it as His highest blessedness: "That the world may know that thou hast....loved them, as thou has loved me....thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."; "That the love wherewith thou has loved me may be in them" (John 17:23, 24,26). Just as we live in the light of the sun shining around us, so Jesus lived in the light of the glory of the Father's love shining on Him all the day. It was as the beloved of God that He was able to do God's will and finish His work. He dwelt in the love of the Father.
     And we too are the beloved of Jesus. Even as the Father loved Him, He loves us. What we need to do is to take time to worship and to wait until we see the infinite love of God in all its power and glory streaming forth upon us. Seeing the heart of Jesus we know that His love desires complete possession of us and is offering itself to us as our home and resting place. Oh, if we would but take time to let the wonderous though fill us, "I am the beloved of the Lord. Jesus loves me as the Father loved Him," how the faith would grow!
     But there is a second point in the comparison. Not only is the love we are to abide in like that in which He abode, but the way of our abiding is the same as His. As the son, Christ was in the Father's love when He came into the world; but it was only through obedience that He could abide in it. Nor was this an obedience that cost Him nothing; no, it was through obedience that He suffered, in becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He kept the Father's commandments and abode in His love. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life. This commandment have I received of my Father." "The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." And having given us His example and proved that the path of obedience takes us into the presence and love and glory of God, He invites us to follow Him. "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
     Christlike obedience is the way to a Christlike enjoyment of love divine. How it secures our boldness of access into God's presence! "Let us love in deed and in truth; hereby shall we assure our hearts before him." Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God; and whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." How it gives us boldness before men and lifts us above their approval or contempt. We move at God's bidding and know that we have but to obey orders! And what boldness He gives us in the face of difficulty or danger--because we are doing God's will and dare leave to Him all responsibility as to failures or success. The heart filled with the thought of entire obedience to God alone rises above the world into the will of God, into the place where God's love rests on him; like Christ, he abides in the love of God.
     Let us seek to learn from Christ what it means to have this spirit of obedience ruling in our life. It implies the spirit of dependence; the confession that we have neither the right nor the desire to do anything in our own will. It involves teachableness of spirit. Conscious of the blinding influence of tradition, and prejudice, and habit, it takes its law not from men but from God himself. Concious of how little the most careful study of the Word can reveal God's will in its spiritual power, it seeks to be entirely under the rule of the Holy Spirit. It knows that its view of truth and duty are very parital and deficient, and counts on being led by God himself to deeper insight and higher attainment.
     It has marked God's word, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight," and understood that it is only when the commands come from the living voice of the Lord heard speaking through the Spirit that the obedience will be possible and acceptable. It sees that following the Father's personal directions, and as a service rendered to Him, that obedience has its full value and brings its full blessing. Its great care is to keep eye and ear open to God for every indication of His blessed will. It is not content with doing right for its own sake; it brings everything into personal relation to God himself, doing it as unto the Lord. It wants every hour and every step in life to be a fellowship with God. It desires in the little things to be consciously obeying the Father, because this is the only way to be prepared for higher work. Its one means is with all its heart and strength to be working out that will each moment of the day. And its one reward is this, it knows that through the will of God lies the road deeper into the love of God; "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love."
     Oh, this blessed Christlike obedience, leading to a Christlike abiding in the divine love! To attain it we must study Christ. He emptied himself and humbled himself and became obedient. May He empty us and humble us too! He learned obedience in the school of God, and being made perfect became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him! We must yield ourselves to be taught obedience by Him. We need to listen how He did nothing of himself, but only what He saw and heard from the Father; how entire dependence and continual waiting on the Father was the root of implicit obedience, and this secret of every-growing knowledge of the Father's deeper secrets (John 5:19,20). God's love and man's obedience are the lock and key fitting together into each other. It is God's grace that fitted the key into the lock; it is man who uses the key to unlock the treasures of love.
     In the light of Christ's example and words, what new meaning comes to God's words spoken to His people from old! "In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because thou hast obeyed my voice." "If ye will indeed obey my voice, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me." "The Lord shall greatly bless thee, if thou only carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments." Love and obedience indeed become the two great factors in the wonderful relationship between God and man. The love of God, giving himself and all He has to man; the obedience of the believer in that love, giving himself and all he has to God.
     We have heard a good deal about full surrender and entire consecration, and thousands praise God for all the blessing He has given them through these words. Let us beware lest we seek for a blessed experience to be enjoyed, or a state to be maintained, while the simple doing of God's will is overlooked. Let us take hold and use this word which God loves: obedience. "To obey is better than to sacrifice." Self-sacrifice is nothing without , it is nothing but, obedience. It was the meek and lowly sacrifice such a sweet-smelling savor: it is humble, childlike obedience, first hearkening gently to the Father's voice, and then doing that which is right in His sight, that will bring us the witness that we please Him.
     Dear reader, shall this not be our life? so simple, and sublime: obeying Jesus and abiding in His love.

     O my God! what shall I say to the wonderful possibilities you have set before me? Your Son has proven to us how it is possible for a man to live with the love of God always surrounding him. This came by obedience to Your voice and will. And because He is ours, our head and our life, we know that we can in our measure live and walk as we see Him do: our souls abiding and rejoicing in Your divine love, because You receive our obedience for His sake. My God, it is too wonderful that we are called to this Christlike dwelling in love through the Christlike obedience Your Spirit works!
     Blessed Jesus, how can I praise You for coming and bringing such a life on earth and making me a sharer in it! O my Lord, I can only yield myself afresh to keep Your commandments as You kept the Father's. Lord, impart to me the secret of Your own obedience: the open ear, the watchful eye, the meek and lowly heart; the childlike giving of all as the beloved Son to the beloved Father. Savior, fill my heart with Your love; in the faith and experience of that love I will do it too. Yes, Lord, this shall be my life: keeping Your commandments and abiding in Your love. Amen

01 July 2010

"Giving His Life for Men" (Devotional)

"Unless a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit." This is what we are to be, a corn of wheat, a life that is laid down and given for others that we may bring forth much fruit in the salvation and life of others, losing our life to gain it multiplied. Prayer and intercession is laying down your life for others. It's a giving of your time, energy, emotions, and the sacrificing of many pleasures to bring forth the fruit of the kingdom of God and in the lives of those that are lost. It's joining with Jesus to be His partner to identify with the needs and sufferings of others and appropriate the life and victory that is theirs through Christ Jesus.
This chapter of "The Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" shares how we like Jesus are to lay our lives down for men, "to be a servant of the lost". That takes first the full identification with His death through the cross to receive the resurrected life that will empower you to do that. Now may we all receive the grace that is given to do both, to die and to live for the salvation of others, to die and to live for Jesus our Lord.

"Giving His Life for Men"

"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your
servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered
unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matt. 20:26-28

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his
life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
1 John 3:16

     In speaking of being like Christ there is one danger to which even the sincere believer is exposed--seeking it for his own sake, or, as he thinks, for the glory of God in his own personal perfection. The error is common and destructive. It leaves out that which is the essential element in the death of Jesus and in the self-sacrifice it produces; absolute unselfishness in its reference to others. To be made conformable to Christ's death implies a dying to self, a giving up and laying down our life for others. We are to go for others as far as Jesus went, even to laying down our life. We are to consider this the one reason for which we are redeemed and left in the world. Like Christ, the only thing that keeps us in this world is to be the glory of God in the salvation of sinners. Scripture does not hesitate to say that it is in His path of suffering, as he goes to work out atonement and redemption, that we are to follow Him (Matt.20:28; Eph 5:2,25,26; Phil 2:5-8; 1 Pet 2:21-23)
     How clearly this comes out in the words of the Master; "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The highest in glory will be he who was lowest in service, and joined to the Master in His giving His life a ransom. And, after having spoken of His own death in the words, "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit," He at once applied this to His disciples: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:23-25). The corn of wheat dying to rise again, losing its life to regain it multiplied, is clearly set forth as the emblem not only of the Master but of each one of His followers. Loving life, refusing to die, means remaining alone in selfishness: losing life to bring forth much fruit in others is the only way to keep it for ourselves. The only way to find our life is as Jesus did, in giving it up for the salvation of others. Herein is the Father glorified. The deepest underlying thought of conformity to Christ's death is giving our life to God for saving others. Without this, the longing for conformity to that death is in danger of being a refined selfishness.
     How remarkably the Apostle Paul exhibited this spirit. He says: " Always bearing about....the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." "Though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you" (2 Cor. 4:10-12, 13:3). "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church" (Col 1:24). The passages teach us how the vicarious element of the suffering that Christ bore in His body on the tree, to a certain extent still characterizes the suffering of His body, the Church. Believers who give themselves up to bear the burden of the sins of men before the Lord, who suffer reproach and shame, weariness and pain, in the effort to win souls, are filling up in their flesh that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ. The power and the fellowship of His suffering and death work in them; the power of Christ's life through them works in those for whom they labor in love. There is no doubt that in the fellowship of His sufferings and the conformity to His death (Phil 3), Paul had in view not only the inner spiritual, but also the external bodily participations in the suffering of Christ.
     And so it must be with each of us in some measure. Self-sacrifice not merely of our own sanctification, but for the salvation of our fellowmen; this brings us into true fellowship with Christ who gave himself for us.
     The practical application is very simple. Let us first of all see the truth the Holy Spirit seeks to teach us. As the most essential thing in likeness to Christ is likeness to His death, so the most essential thing in likeness to His death is the giving of our life to win others to God. It is a death in which all thought of saving self is lost in that of saving others. Let us pray for the light of the Holy Spirit until we know that we are in the world just as Christ was to love and serve, to live and die, "even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Oh that His people would know their calling to God and to their fellowmen; that, even as Christ, they are only to live to be a blessing to the world!
     Then let us believe in the grace that is waiting to make our experience of this truth a reality. Let us believe that God receives our yielding our whole life for His glory in the saving of others. Let us believe that conformity to the death of Jesus in this is what the Holy Spirit will work out in us. Let us above all believe in Jesus: it is He himself who will take every surrendered soul into the full fellowship of His death, of His dying in love to bring forth much fruit. Yet, let us believe, and believing seek from above, as the work and the gift of Jesus, likeness to Jesus in this too.
     And let us begin to act this faith. Let us put it into practice. Looking upon ourselves as given to live and die for God in our fellowmen, let us with new zeal exercise the ministry of love in winning souls. As we wait for Christ to work out His likeness, as we trust the Holy Spirit to give His mind in us more perfectly, let us in faith begin to be as followers of Him who only lived and died to be a blessing to others. Let our love open the way to the kindness, and gentleness, and helpfulness with which it shines out on all whom we meet in daily life. Let us give ourselves to the work of intercession and expect God to use us as one of His instruments in the answering of those prayers. Let us speak and work for Jesus as those who have a mission and a power from on high. Let us make soul-winning our object. Let us band ourselves with the great army of reapers the Lord is sending out into His harvest. And we shall soon find that giving our life to win others for God is the most blessed way of dying to self, of being even as the Son of man was--a servant of the lost.
     Christ gave Himself to men, but could not really reach them until He gave himself as a sacrifice to God for them. The seed corn died, the life was poured out; then the blessing flowed forth in mighty power. I may seek to love and serve men; but I can only really influence and bless them as I yield myself to God and give my life into His hands for them. As I leave myself as an offering on the altar, I become in His spirit and power a blessing. My spirit given into His hands, He can use and bless me.

     O most blessed God! do You truly ask me to give myself, my very life, even unto death for my fellowmen? If I have heard the words of the Master correctly, you seek nothing less.
      O God! will you indeed have me? Will you permit me, like Christ, to live and die for those around me? to lay myself, I say in the deep reverence, beside Him on the altar of death, crucified with Him, and be a living sacrifice to You for men? Lord, I praise You for this wonderful grace. And now I come, Lord God, to give myself. Oh, for the grace of the Holy Spirit to make the transaction definite and real! Lord, here I am, given to You to live only for those whom You are seeking to save.
     Blessed Jesus, come and breathe Your own mind and love within me. Take possession of me, my thoughts to think, my heart to feel, my powers to work, my life to live, as given to God for men. Write in my heart; it is done, I am given to God, He has taken me. Keep me in His hands expecting and assured that He will use me. Your giving Yourself was followed by the life in power, the outbreaking of the blessing in fullness and power. It will be so in Your people too. Glory to Your name. Amen.