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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 8

The Spirit of Grace (continued)

1. The Spirit of Power (continued)

Now you may even feel the darkness in a traditionally Christian world or realm. I will never forget my first visit to the city of Rome; and I wanted to see the various things. I went to the Colosseum to see the place where the Christians were flung to the lions. I went to this place and that place and then I went into one of the most well-known and prominent churches in the world, and, you know, I just could not stay. After a very short time, I had to go out. I felt physically ill, a sense of awful death had come upon me physically, and I was glad to get out of the place. It was an atmosphere of death and darkness to the spirit. But, if that is true there, you go to other parts of the world and you can cut the darkness. It is so strong. It is a terrible thing!

When the Spirit of God as the Spirit of Light entered into this darkness which was over the face of the earth, the Spirit met an awful power, it was dealing with an awful power, and it called for the exercise of the Infinite Power of God to break that reign of darkness. It called for the Divine Fiat, "Let there be light" - the Word of His Power. Oh, how our hearts cry and crave for more of the knowledge of That Power in His Word. If the smallest percentage of all our speaking had the real Power of God in it, something would happen. It would be a Fiat, an act of God to speak. That is why the Lord Jesus is called "the Word," because where He comes as the Word something happens, something happens! The devil is exposed, as when He was here and the evil spirit cried out, "I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:23-24). Hell felt the impact of the Word. Men, sinful men, cried out in His Presence like that. But the point is, darkness is a terrible power.

The disruption in our humanity is a terribly strong thing. We are every day, almost every moment of our lives, up against that breakup in the humanity which is ours, or the breakdown of it, the disorder of it, the disintegration of it, the disruption of it. We know that our humanity is a broken down thing. We are all the time striving to pick it up and build it up and hold it up. We know it is a power, it is a terrible power - the disorder and chaos in ourselves. The Spirit of God came of His Own accord as the Spirit of Power to deal with what no other power in this universe could deal with; He came to change it. And that is where we are in the new creation; it is what the Spirit of God has undertaken to do with us. And surely there are many in this place tonight who would echo the words of the apostle, "Kept by the power of God" (1 Peter 1:5). You know you would not be a Christian today, you would not be going on with the Lord, you would not be standing true to the Lord, but for the keeping Power of God. In a world like this, there is such a power against what is the Lord's.

Well, this is the Spirit of Grace, you see, that has come to take it over. The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Grace is the custodian of the Divine Perfection. The Spirit of Grace has taken responsibility for realizing God's End. Oh, thank God for that! Knowing ourselves and the awful forces that there are in our nature; knowing the world, or something of it, and the awful forces that there are in this world; and knowing the devil and something of his inimical hatred and opposition to what is of God, to anything that is of God, we certainly have to say, "Well, the only possibility is if God Almighty does it, if God sees to it." And that is the Spirit of Grace that has come to take up God's End and to do it. It is the free action of the Holy Spirit.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9)

The Need for Friendship

The Need for Friendship

Independence is a prized attribute in our culture, but biblically, it isn't a worthy aspiration. Nowhere in Scripture will you find the erroneous quote, "God helps those who help themselves." The very fact that the Lord formed the church--a community of believers--should tell us that He did not create people for self-sufficiency or isolation.

When we place faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us so we can have a fulfilling relationship with the Lord and satisfying friendships with one another. In God's design, a close, committed biblical friendship between two believers serves to build both toward Christlikeness. Look at any of the saints in Scripture, and you will find evidence of reliance upon a close friend or confidante for support. Paul, in particular, spoke freely and often of his dependence upon dear companions and encouraged others to form intimate partnerships as well (2 Tim. 2:22).

It's interesting to me that our modern culture seems to be headed in the opposite direction. The farther our nation drifts from God, the more pervasive our self-sufficient attitude becomes. Neighbors treat each other with suspicion instead of congeniality, and that mindset has invaded the church as well. We're hesitant to give to others, which in turn makes us reluctant to receive.

Scripture tells us to love one another, bear our brothers' burdens, and confess our sins to fellow believers (John 13:34 ; Gal. 6:2; James 5:16). In other words, we're to give ourselves away to others and receive from them in return. That's how church members can stimulate one another to Christlikeness. 

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 7

The Spirit of Grace (continued)

Now, dear friends, you and I were here in such a state, and we believe that there are multitudes in that position, but as we believed, we are saved, were born a new, became children of God who would say we are a new creation in Christ? And how did it happen? Did we go up into heaven to call Him down? Did we go into the deep to bring Him up? Did we go into the uttermost parts of the earth to find Him and persuade Him? We really did nothing about it at all. We are where we are and what we are by an action of grace altogether apart from anything that we did in the matter. He did it, He did it all. We did nothing toward it, indeed our condition was all against God's thought and God's mind and yet He took the initiative and He did it by His Spirit. That is the Spirit of Grace, you see, taking things in hand to have them changed, to make a beginning in order to have things not as they were, but as God intended and intends them to be.

That is all very simple, is it not? But there is much more in that for our heart-ravishing than we are aware of, because perhaps our salvation is taken too cheaply, or taken too much for granted. It is those people who know best, more than most, what a ruin they were, what a chaos they were, what darkness they were in, what disruption there was in their lives - it is those people who know that their salvation was nothing of their doing; it was the free action of the Spirit of Grace.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit has brought God to us. He is God, and as God He has brought God to us, but what does that mean? in other words, what are the riches of His grace? Now we are going to dwell upon that in part. We will begin with another three things with which we are so familiar: The Spirit of Power, The Spirit of Wisdom, and the Spirit of Life.

1. The Spirit of Power

First of all, let us begin with the Spirit of Grace coming as God to us; He comes as the Power of God into our lives to do all that God wants done. Now that is a simple statement, I know, but He has come to do it. It is no more of ourselves to do that than it was of the first natural, material creation that brought about the change. No, it is no more of ourselves, it is the Power of God that has taken this thing up to do it. Now, is this too common place as to  evoke no response in our hearts? Are we not more and ever more aware that whatever has been done or is being done or has got to be done in our lives is by the Power of God. And what power it took what Great Power of God!

Now is there another power at work? Is darkness a power? Is it a power? Well, perhaps you have some experience as to be able to make it possible for you to say, "yes." I know that when you have got to move into this world, where the Lord is neither known nor recognized nor acknowledged, and apparently not wanted, you realize that darkness is an awful power, "darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people" (Isaiah 60:2). You see, the people are in darkness, and what can you do about it? You can talk, you can do all that is in your power, but you cannot break this dark thing until the Spirit of Power as the Spirit of Light breaks in upon that soul, on that life in that realm of darkness: it needs the Power of God because darkness is an awful power.

It is true in this side of the world where there has been so much light given and so much truth given, and there is so much Christian tradition, you just go to the other side of the world - you go to those dark places of heathendom, and you have only got to move in a country where the gospel has not touched that side of the world, and you can feel the darkness. It is evil. It is positively evil. It is like that.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8)

Getting Back on Course


Getting Back on Course

No matter how far away from God you have drifted, you're always welcome back. That's the lesson from Jesus' parable about the prodigal son--the foolish boy who followed a pleasure-filled path to ruin before returning to his father and finding redemption (Luke 15:11-32). Perhaps ruin has not yet come to you, but you know that your heart has grown cool to the things of God. Whatever your drifting story, make this the day that you point yourself back to the Lord.

As with any sin, the first motion toward getting back on course is to acknowledge that you have slipped away from the Lord. Then you confess and repent, which is like turning your boat in the opposite direction and paddling toward God with all your strength. If you're wondering exactly how to do that, I suggest a strategy I use every morning. Before I step out of bed, I give myself to God by acknowledging, I surrender my entire life to You for this day. When something comes up that runs counter to His plan and I consider pursuing it, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am not my own. Only God's way will do for me.

Every day we choose whether to row or drift. As for me, I choose to vigorously pursue God.

Peter gives a warning to be on guard against attitudes and ideologies that would carry you away from truth (2 Peter 3:17). Instead, choose to paddle your lifeboat toward the Lord by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living obediently. Practicing the spiritual disciplines keeps a heart warm toward God.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 6

The Spirit of Grace

Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:8

We begin again, with the Lord's help, with "The unsearchable riches of Christ." Having noted that this word "riches" is linked with a number of things in the New Testament, we have commenced our meditation with the first of these connections, "the riches of His grace." We have said a little about the basic character of grace. Something about the works of grace and the works of law, and we have gone on to look at God's work of grace, of His finishing His work for man before ever man comes into the picture at all and is then called into the work which God has finished. This is the grace of God.

Now, for a few minutes, let us look at the free action of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of grace. You know, do you not, that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Grace? (Hebrews 10:29). What does it mean that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace? It simply means that the Holy Spirit is that Spirit of grace which came from God and is freely given to us through faith. Again, here is the Grace of God. We shall never earn nor merit the Holy Spirit. He is freely given to faith. Although it may sound like repetition and laboring the point, I do want that we should be impressed with this: that the Holy Spirit is given freely as the Spirit of Grace. He is the One Who brings to us from God all that Grace means. If we have the Holy Spirit in possession, indwelling, we have in Himself, in His very Person and Presence all that Divine Grace means. He is That Spirit of Grace.

Now, with Him, we have the free action of God. The Bible begins in a very simple way, so simple that you hardly notice it. It is something written, something set down, and you read it and you hardly know or notice what you have read. 'Now the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the deep,' on on you go. What was there in that condition of things to merit the Presence and action of the Holy Spirit? The initiative was all with the Spirit of God over against a set of conditions utterly contrary to Himself. Yet this brooding was a very active thing, a very energetic thing, a very purposeful thing;  in a word, the Spirit of God brooding, hovering over that state of things was the Presence of God to change the whole situation, because God wanted it changed. That was all. He just wanted it changed. So He took the matter in hand and there was not only the lack of merit, but plenty of demerit. We do not know, but there has been surmising, perhaps guessing, perhaps right guessing, that that state of things was due to some judgment which had come upon the creation, which we may not speculate about at all. But, nevertheless, there was a state which was altogether contrary to the mind of God and the state of things could no nothing about it for itself. It took the free action of the Holy Spirit, just the free, voluntary, unearned initiative and action of the Spirit of God to bring about a new beginning.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7)

[sorry this is short this morning. I have a hugely busy day ahead of me!]

Never Knowing the Difference

Never Knowing the Difference

BIBLE MEDITATION:

“Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”Psalm 51:11

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

When a person dies, his spirit departs. And I’m afraid that’s what has happened to many churches: the Holy Spirit has departed.

The organism has become an organization and the movement has become a monument.

Dr. Carl Bates said years ago something that shook me to my foundation: “If the Holy Spirit were to suddenly die [now, of course, you know that's impossible. He cannot die] but “if the Holy Spirit were to suddenly die, most of our churches would meet next Sunday and go right on and never know the difference.”

I wonder if that’s not true about many churches. The Holy Spirit has not died, but He has departed. I've been in some churches where you’d think that Hallelujahs and Amens cost $100 apiece. You just can't find them. There’s a sort of barren stillness. But I believe there's something contagious about the Holy Spirit of God.

ACTION POINT:

The Bible says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. I don't think we have to fry in fanaticism or freeze in formalism, but I believe we ought to have a burning, passionate, blazing, emotional love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

~Adrian Rogers~

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 5

The Riches of His Grace (continued)

God's Work of Grace (continued)

This was the verdict of an infinitely perfect God Who is so meticulous, Who is so exacting, Who will never pass anything that is imperfect. When He has finished it all, He puts man right into the middle of it, and says: "There you are, that is your inheritance, your inheritance is what I have already done. What you have come into, is not something that you have got to make, but what I have already made. Not what you have to do, but what I have already done. You begin your vocation in gratitude where I end My work on your behalf."

You can clearly see the corresponding truth in the New Creation where it is not working unto something, but it is working after everything has been done.  You and I come unto God's perfect work. Of course, the simple form of preaching the gospel is to speak about "the finished work of Christ," but do we understand these glib phrases? All that God has done in and through and by His Son Jesus Christ in the perfecting of salvation, of redemption, of His work is so that the reception of His Son back into heaven is complete. And that reception of His Son is simply because God has nothing more to do so far as providing the ground of His work is concerned. The Lord Jesus could never have gone back to heaven unless the work was full and final and perfect. If there had been one further touch or stroke, He would not have gone back. They would not have received Him in heaven. If we may so speak, they would have said, "Look here, You have left something undone." "I have not found Thy works perfect before My God." And He would have had to come back again, but He did not. God had in Him perfected and finished His New Creation.

And then He began with us, to bring us into it, and say, "Look here, you have not got to work unto this, you have got to inherit the New Creation, take possession of it, and live in the good of it and learn to understand what you have got and appreciate it." These are the works of God. They are finished so far as the Lord Jesus is concerned - The works of grace.

If that garden and that first material creation is something grand, beautiful and glorious from the hand of God, and wholly satisfies His heart, then His Son is more than that. More than a symbolic creation, an earthly thing, His Son is the final fullness of perfection. He gives us His Son! Perhaps you and I have not fully grasped that, and this is where we are in so much trouble, dear friends. There is no doubt about it. I would go so far as to say that nine-tenths of our spiritual troubles are here, because we are listening all the time to the accuser and the condemner.

When things go hard, get difficult, and go contrary and against us, then the devil is saying, 'It is because of something about you, your demerit, something is wrong with you.' And you go and plead with the Lord, and say, 'Lord, what is it that you have got against me?' You spend your hours pleading with God to show you what He has got against you, and why your circumstances are the way they are, and what the thing is that He has got against you that is resulting in His dealings with you in this way.

It is just here that the enemy is turning us aside from this work of grace. But why was a work of grace going to be done? And we will come to that presently, but it was done in order to conform us, to change us. We are not now under judgement and condemnation. We are under grace! And satan will never cease in this life to try and undercut grace and bring us back under law and to bondage. But you and I really do need to grasp and believe the unsearchable riches of His grace.

God's work is completed for us to inherit. There will be a battle, a tremendous battle, as there was with Israel in the land after they crossed the Jordan and got through the death of Calvary, the battle in the land is to get the possession of our inheritance. It is so familiar that before ever we get a foothold, the Lord has said, "I have given you the inheritance." "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it" (Joshua 1:3). It is secured in Christ for us.

Now, then, I must leave this for the present. Although these are truths with which we are so familiar, I think the great truth remains. You and I as the Lord's Own people, beloved by Him, you and I have got to learn more and more deeply the meaning of this first thing - the grace of God. We must learn what grace really is and what grace really means. Whital we must learn how deep, how vast, how unfathomable and unsearchable are what the Word calls, "the riches of His grace."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - (The Spirit of Grace)

My Mouth and Meditation

My Mouth and Meditation

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14 

It is interesting to note that the words of our mouths and meditation of our hearts are watched by the Lord. The Psalmist asks the Lord to let them be acceptable in His sight, not in His ears. So what is God looking for in our mouth and meditation?
Recently this verse kept coming to my mind to pray. But just because I prayed it didn’t mean that I noticed anything different or changed in any way. Then, all of a sudden, to my complete surprise I was confronted about something I said. Immediately, the conviction became so severe that my heart started burning within me. I knew that God heard my prayer and what He was seeing in my mouth and meditation were not acceptable. He took my prayer seriously and now was addressing deep-seated issues.

When God convicts us, it is amazing how naked we feel. We naturally want to conceal our motives, justify our words and cover up our actions. Those are all “sight” feelings, like God is seeing our sin. But our only hope at that time is to repent. The more we fight to maintain our sinful state, the more time we lose in receiving His good counsel and wisdom to change. God sees the fruit of our ways. Those ways are manifested through the words of our mouth and meditations of our heart. The fruit is what God sees more than what He hears. But the Psalmist completes His prayer by addressing two very important characteristics of God: my Strength and my Redeemer. God is able to strengthen you to change and redeem your old ways into a new person with ripe healthy abundant fruit. Today, will you ask the Lord with me to allow your words and meditations to be acceptable in His sight?

…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. - Matthew 12:34

~Daily Disciples Devotional~


~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 4

The Riches of His Grace (continued)

The Works - The Appreciation of Grace

So much for the present about the character of grace, but you know that grace is always set over against "works". Although we are so familiar with this truth, let us just dwell upon it for a moment - upon "works" and "grace". You see this represents a change, a complete change and reversal of position. Grace changes place with works, or changes the place of works. Grace does not obliterate works. Grace does not say there are never to be works. Grace will demand works; and if it is rightly appreciated, grace will get much more and much better works than any before. But grace does just change the place of works, the works of the Law. What were the works of the law? What are the works of the Law? They are the works  in order to get merit, are they not? To get merit, that is the idea. To get merit, to obtain merit, to pay God back with your merit.

Look at the scribes and the Pharisees. O, how abhorrent, how obnoxious, was their behavior, their activities and pretenses to the Lord Jesus Himself. They sought merit by works. Giving God something for His enrichment?! Yes, works of the Law  to obtain merit were works to give as currency to pay God, thus putting God into our debt and making Him our debtor?! And are we doing all these things to get ourselves out of discredit and give our credit to God? When grace comes in, you see, grace puts the works in another place altogether and takes them out of the first place and puts them into the last. And instead of Law being  first, it is just God's own grace without any works whatsoever to obtain any satisfaction and pleasure of God.

And then what? All works have not been ruled out of the universe. When grace has come in, if we have really grasped the meaning of grace, we will work more than anyone else has ever worked. But now they are the works of appreciation of grace, not to obtain it, not to merit it, but the works of thanks to God for His unspeakable gift of grace. It changes the place of things, puts things right around the other way. Someone has put this into a rather cryptic phrase: Works do not justify, but the justified person works. Well, that is quite true. "I labored," said the Apostle, "more abundantly than them all" (1 Corinthians 15:10). And that was true, but was he talking merit? - then he had no right to talk about grace. But he is the man who does talk about grace, and he "labored more abundantly than them all" because of the overwhelming grace of God to him. The position was entirely reversed, not law and works to obtain favor, but works of love and devotion because of favor obtained. It is a complete reversal.

God's Work of Grace

Now then, what about God's work of grace? What was true in the first material, natural creation is true spiritually in the new creation. You know that so well. It only needs to be mentioned, and at once you will see it. There was chaos, there was darkness, there was the absence of God. But God moved in and dispelled the darkness and turned the chaos into cosmos order and got to work: He got to work, step by step and stage by stage, upward, upward all the time, creating, ordering, providing a beautiful earth, a wonderful place. So is the description of it. Now He could look upon all His work and pass His verdict, it was "very good."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5)

Dear Soul, Be Still!

Then there was a voice from above the platform over their heads when they stood still. (Ezek 1:25)

That is the letting down of the wings? People so often say, “How do you get the voice of the Lord?” Here is the secret. They heard the voice when they stood and let down their wings.

We have seen a bird with fluttering wings; though standing still, its wings are fluttering. But here we are told they heard the voice when they stood and had let down their wings.

Do we not sometimes kneel or sit before the Lord and yet feel conscious of a fluttering of our spirits? Not a real stillness in His presence.

A dear one told me several days ago of a certain thing she prayed about, “But,” said she, “I did not wait until the answer came.”

She did not get still enough to hear Him speak, but went away and followed her own thought in the matter. And the result proved disastrous and she had to retrace her steps.

Oh, how much energy is wasted! How much time is lost by not letting down the wings of our spirit and getting very quiet before Him! Oh, the calm, the rest, the peace which come as we wait In His presence until we hear from Him!
Then, ah then, we can go like lightning, and turn not as we go but go straight forward whithersoever the Spirit goes. (Ezek. 1:1, 20)

“Be still! Just now be still!
Something thy soul hath never heard,
Something unknown to any song of bird,
Something unknown to any wind, or wave, or star,
A message from the Fatherland afar,
That with sweet joy the homesick soul shall thrill,
Cometh to thee if thou canst but be still.
“Be still! Just now be still!
There comes a presence very mild and sweet;
White are the sandals of His noiseless feet.
It is the Comforter whom Jesus sent
To teach thee what the words He uttered meant.
The willing, waiting spirit, He doth fill.
If thou would’st hear His message,
Dear soul, be still!”

~L. B. Cowman~

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 3

The Riches of His Grace (continued)

If you will turn again to this man Paul who is speaking this way about himself, not only does he say, "To me, who am less than the least of all saints" (Ephesians 3:8), he also says: "I am the chief of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). Now that is positive: "not only less than the least," but positively, "the chief of sinners." "I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it" (Galatians 1:13), "I gave my consent to the murder of His beloved servant Stephen (Acts 8:1). And he will tell you not only of his lack of merit but a great deal more about his demerit. Everything that was there in that man was an offence to God; and if anything could stand in the way of grace, it was there in that man. But, you see, grace just means that demerit, not only no merit, whatever the condition, however great the demerit, that is grace.

As Christians, you and I have got to learn a great deal more about grace as we go on. Perhaps all this is something that the Christian has to reckon with even more so than the unsaved. If you and I are really moving with God, you and I are coming more and more to the place where we do say from the depth of our being, "But for the grace of God." For me, even as a Christian, after all these years, I will not get through except for the grace of God. As I see and understand it, it takes a great deal more of grace for me now as a Christian than it did to save me at the beginning.

Now to some, that may seem a strange thing to say, but again I am referring to grace. For are we not discovering all the time what we did not know even at the beginning, which is, the presence of the demerit in ourselves?! Oh yes, but don't you see that is just the character of grace, and that is what grace really means. Grace has no meaning unless that is true.

So, then, let us note this second thing about grace. Grace never recognizes any debt. Grace is not a payment of any debt; grace is not in our debt at all. God is not dealing with us in grace because He owes us something. This is only another way of speaking about the absence of merit and the presence of demerit. You see, no one has a claim upon the grace of God. God is not our debtor; grace does not recognize any such thing as being in debt and having to pay its way with us. Grace is free, grace is not something for which God is trying to pay us back. It is all the other way around. We are the debtors, God is the creditor, and grace is just grace; and there is perhaps nothing else that we can say about it, because grace is just His free, spontaneous movement without any obligation. That is the basic nature, the character of grace.

When we realize this true nature of grace and the positive demerit about ourselves, and that God is under no obligation to us, then we realize God just makes "grace abound" - "where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly" (Romans 5:20).Now is that not true? - "where sin abounded," grace does so much more abound?! Then we begin to understand what the depth of the riches may be. We are introduced into a realm that is beyond us. Beyond us, is it not? And any soul that has not come to the time and state of just wondering in amazement at God's voluntary, spontaneous, free, unmerited favor, the soul that has not come there, has not begun to know the meaning of such words as "the riches of His grace"; and that one can never truly be a wealthy soul.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - (The Works - The Appreciation of Grace)

The Same Thing Returned a Thousand Times


Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son... I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven; …because thou hast obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:16-18).

And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God's voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God's call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy's life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.

That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy.

And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ. For we can never know the fullness of the life that is in Christ until we have made Abraham's supreme sacrifice. The earthly founder of the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his only son, just as the Heavenly Founder of that family did. We cannot be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of membership upon any other basis.
--C. G. Trumbull

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes He takes in fire; and that the only way to the resurrection life and the ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the grave.

Think not, O soul of man, that Abraham's was a unique and solitary experience. It is simply a specimen and pattern of God's dealings with all souls who are prepared to obey Him at whatever cost. After thou hast patiently endured, thou shalt receive the promise. The moment of supreme sacrifice shall be the moment of supreme and rapturous blessing. God's river, which is full of water, shall burst its banks, and pour upon thee a tide of wealth and grace.

There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 2

The Riches of His Grace (continued)

So, if you at any time would care to look onto your New Testament with that word "riches" in hand, you will see how it is connected with different things, because the riches are many-sided, as seen in ...

"The riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7)

"The riches of His glory" (Ephesians 3:16)

"The riches of His Inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18)

"The riches of the full assurance of understanding" (Colossians 2:2)

I do not know how far the Lord will lead us in this, but we can begin where the riches begin. Therefore we have to begin with "the riches of His grace."

There is another word linked with that phrase, "the riches of His grace." It is "the riches of His goodness." The apostle asks, "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness...?" (Romans 2:4). That word of scripture will always be beyond us. We may as well settle it now and throw up our hands in utter despair right at the beginning. You and I are never going to fathom that depth nor comprehend that fullness nor understand that grace. I do not hope for a moment to be able to plumb the depth of that word; that is why we can only just dip into these depths - "the riches of his grace" and "the riches of His goodness."

We have a very hackneyed way of defining grace. It has been put into a phrase, and we do not get very much further than that phrase. If we ask, "What is the meaning of grace?" the traditional answer is: "Grace is unmerited favor." Yes, it is that, it is unmerited favor. That very definition does introduce us to the basic character of grace, but that is a weak definition. Yes, it is "unmerited favor," and, yes, thank God for that. But what do you mean by that? Just this - you have no merit, and God just comes to you because you have no merit. Nothing can merit grace.

Now, dear friends, I want to say to you, that grace is more than unmerited favor. First, on our side, it is worse than that because grace does not only come to where there is no merit, but grace also comes where there is a great deal of demerit, demerit. You can see that demerit is stronger than no merit. No merit may be negative, but demerit is positive. It is everything that is not only without merit but of the nature and character of that which is perfect demerit. You and I are not only without worthiness, but also you and I are worse than that. We are positively everything that we should NOT be!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

How To Cry Out to God

How to Cry Out to God

The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy. Your heart is so heavy that you feel as though you could die. What do you do?

Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to look for help. As believers, we dwell with the almighty God, who is able to aid us. At those moments when we are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.

In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to communicate that we desperately need His mercy.

It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s ability and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, wealso lay down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.

The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is strength in just speaking His name.

When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be allowed to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ # 2

The Riches of His Grace (continued)

"O the Depth of the Riches (continued)

And if ever a man had a reason to ask, "Why?" it was that man. "Why, Lord, are you letting me spend a night and a day in the deep? Being again and again and yet again thrashed with rods, imprisoned, dealt with treacherously by mine own brethren," and so on and so ion. "Why, Lord? I am devoted to You. I have a heart for You. I am not seeking mine own ends, but Yours. I am utterly committed to Your interests. There are many who are not so committed to Your interests. There are many who are not so committed, and they do not have to go the way that I am going." Why? For such a man with such a devotion, with such an abandon to the interests of his Lord, why is this man suffering more than any other man, perhaps even more than the whole apostolic company?! Not one of us will ever measure up to this man's sufferings, although we may sometimes think that ours are just about the limit. I imagine that very few in this little company this afternoon have not had times when they have asked the big "Why?" as to the strangeness of the Lord's dealings and the Lord's ways with them.

Now does it not strike you very forcibly, and very significantly that such a man cries for language to express what he has seen in the Lord Jesus and says: "O for the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33). He says, "To me, not the greatest of the apostles, to me, not the greatest saint, to me, not as one more than any other, but less than all, to me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach ... the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). Yes, we know the riches came through this man, because for two thousand years, the Church has been drawing upon the riches which he reached and received through trials and sufferings. Riches are still coming to us today from that man, perhaps even now. May it be so Lord, today, for that reason. It may sound discouraging, but, dear ones, there is no other way to receive the riches than through suffering.

Some time ago, on one of my visits to India, we came on the Persian Gulf; and as I looked on the Gulf of Persia, I saw the pearl fishers way out there in the depths, spending their long, patient hours seeking goodly pearls. This is a very lonely and perilous business. For there in  the water, I saw sharks lurking about and looking for prey. And then later that night, after dark, I went into the Persian market, the bazaar, and through the narrow isles between the stalls, I saw displayed in those stalls glorious pearls and other priceless gems. There they were, having been brought in from the depths, now polished and displayed.

And then, as I boarded the boat to go on to India, a pearl merchant came on with his cabinets of gems and pearls. These were bound in iron, with strong padlocks on them; and as that sheik sat in his seat, he kept his eye on those cabinets and would not take his eye off of them until we landed and he had delivered them to the merchants in India. These were valuable things, precious things, from the depths. They were valuable, because there was painful and lonely vigil behind their obtaining. You see,perils had been associated with securing them.

This is a parable, but this is what Paul is really talking about - the perils, the loneliness, the long drawn out vigils, the sufferings and the afflictions to obtain the riches, and that not for himself, but for the Church. He said, "I now rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the Church" (Colossians 1:24). I say, there is no other way for us to do more than to talk about and read about and use the language of the riches. There is no other way for us to possess them than to go into the depth and find them. The unsearchable riches - does that sound like a contradiction?  -
you have them and they are unsearchable - you have them and yet they are too deep to lay hold of - I know this sounds like a contradiction, but Paul simply means: all the meaning, all the value, all the wealth that is here, only a little of which we may know in this life, all that wealth is really beyond us, it is too big; it is past finding out; "it is past tracing out." Well, that is where we begin with the riches, but we do not end there, for we are going to look, as the Lord will help us, at some of these riches, these unsearchable riches.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

Your Sin Finds You Out

Be sure your sin will find you out. - Numbers 32:23

Sin is like the boomerang of the savage, it comes back on the hand that has launched it forth. The brethren accused Joseph of being a spy, and cast him into the pit; and on the same charge they were cast into prison. King David committed adultery and murder; so Absalom requited him. The Jews crucified the blessed Lord; and they were impaled around Jerusalem till room and wood for their crosses failed.

There is a Divine order in society. God has so constituted the world, that as man deals with his neighbor, so he is dealt with. The consequence does not always follow immediately. There is often a long interval between the lightning flash and the thunder-peal. The sentence against an evil work is not executed suddenly. But though God's mills grind slowly, they do grind, and to powder. It is impossible to deceive God; for it is His immutable law, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal 6:7-8).

When sin comes to find you out, like a sleuth-hound on the track of the criminal, be sure that it finds you in Jesus. "That I may be found in Him." Nothing will avail to intercept the awful execution of sin's vengeance, except the blood and righteousness of Jesus. Put Him between you and your sins, between you and your past, between you and the penalty of a broken law. Be sure that only when the blood of Jesus speaks for you through earth and heaven, there can be a cutting off of sin's terrible entail.

~F. B. Meyer~


Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

The Riches of His Grace

Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:8

So, with the enablement of the Lord, we are going
to move in these deep waters and seek to discover a little of the unsearchable riches of Christ, the depth of the riches of the wisdom, and the knowledge of Christ. The Apostle Paul, who used these words was striving against the limitations of language to give expression to something of what he had come to realize as to the Christ, as to the salvation in Christ, into which he had been brought. He does use these many superlatives, straining to find words to speak of the unsearchable, inexhaustible, unfathomable, infinite wealth of the riches of Christ.

"O The Depth of the Riches"

This man Paul was able to speak in this way about the riches of Christ just for one reason: his sufferings in Christ; and you and I will never be able rightly to use such language unless we go the way that he went, the way of the Cross. You see, in order to find things which are deep, you have to go into the depth. You will never find deep things in the shallows. You have to go down and down, and get very low. And that in itself explains the Lord's dealings with His people - it is the answer to the crisis of the heart in deep and dark and difficult places and times. Why? If we could but realize it, we should hear the answer coming back to us: that you may discover and appropriate spiritual wealth. These riches do not lie on the surface at all: they are the hidden treasures of dark and secret places. And wealthy souls are ever and always those who have touched something of the depth in their walk with God.

Now here is a man whom you know from the many things that he has placed on record, a man who had many - otherwise - inexplicable experiences. His catalogue of sufferings and adversities of every kind is written for us largely in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. We know that half of chapter six is taken up with the things which befell him. -

"Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet will known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2 Corinthians 6:3-10)

And in other places too, he makes reference to his sufferings in Christ: -

"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches" (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)



Peace, Joy and Contentment



Discouragement can rob peace, joy, and contentment. But I have great news if you feel disheartened: You’re not stuck!

I’ve known people who appeared to be in an impossible situation. A few years later, however, they were in a terrific place, either in terms of their circumstances or their emotions. The reason? They never gave up. Instead of sulking in self-pity, they chose to believe God, step out in faith, and climb out of the emotional pit.
Nehemiah is a good example. He had every reason to feel defeated, because his people were in trouble. After receiving news that the city wall had been destroyed, this man of God acknowledged profound disappointment and grieved. Though pain flooded his soul, he didn’t allow himself to stay in that low place. Instead, Nehemiah cried out to God, seeking direction.

Sadness in the presence of royalty was punishable by death. But the Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer with amazing power, prompting the king to notice his servant’s sad countenance and then to ask what he could do to help. This miracle led to the rebuilding of the wall and the redemption of God’s people.
The Lord can take an impossible situation—no matter what it is—and move in ways mightier than you can imagine.

Do you live in eager expectation of what the Lord will do? Or have you chosen to linger in the depths of despair? Like Nehemiah, turn your disappointment into a petition for God’s help. He can restore your hope and prevent negative emotions from gaining a stranglehold on your life.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Work of God At The End-Time # 24

The Fruit of the Fellowship of His Sufferings (continued)

The disclosure comes out in the other way, thank God. Many hearts are revealed as to what they have of love for the Lord when His children are going through bad times in fellowship with Him. But whichever way it may issue, the principle operates. If we are, like Mary, brought into the sharing of His travail, it has a tremendous effect upon other people. The fact is that it has always been by way of the fellowship of His sufferings that other hearts have been touched. If the Lord takes you into a deep way of suffering with Himself, in sharing something of the cost of the coming of the Kingdom, that in itself is a testimony which touches hearts; whereas we may stand and preach and nothing happens. When something happens to us, when we go into the depths, something begins to happen in other people.

So, servant of the Lord, realize that the Holy Spirit works upon other lives through your suffering with the Lord, and takes you into suffering for this very purpose. Hearts are disclosed. The worldly heart will be uncovered by the Cross of the Lord Jesus. Paul said, "Far be it from me to glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, though which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14). The Cross finds out how much worldliness there is in our hearts and brings it to light. By worldliness we mean, of course, the standards of this world, its ways, its opinions, and so on.

The Cross finds out what is in our hearts as to ourselves - how much selfishness there is in us. You cannot know the Cross in any real way and be a really selfish person. The Cross will expose all selfishness and demand the setting aside of all that is self; self-interest, self-consideration, self-pity and every form of self comes to light by the Cross.

Well,  this is the particular ministry of any end-time, which is also always a time of transition.

We have seen that Simeon represented a remnant clinging to a heavenly vision in a time when what was of God had become earth-bound and largely traditional and formal; that he gathered up in himself all the fragmentary, diverse and partial revelations of God's speaking; that he embodied the idea of spiritual maturity, while at the same time he signified that which had waxed old and was nigh unto passing away. But, with all, he linked on with God's new and full manifestation as he held the infant Christ in his arms. Thus he showed by declaration and prophecy the immense issues bound up the Christ, and the course and cost of a ministry of "the fullness of Christ." Here we leave the matter for the contemplation of all such as look for "that blessed hope," and, in looking, ask what the Lord would have as the ministry of this present transitional phase which will issue in His appearing.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Christ In Heaven Is Our Spiritual Rest


Let us then be eager to know this rest for ourselves, and let us beware that no one misses it through falling into the same kind of unbelief as those we have mentioned. (Hebrews 4:11 Phillips)

Those who failed to go in failed, it says, to enter into His rest. Those to whom the Gospel was afore preached failed to enter in. That is remarkable! The Gospel was preached to them. These are they to whom the Gospel was afore preached. What is the Gospel? To answer the inquiry in that connection, it is Christ as our Rest. That is the Gospel: and the Gospel of Christ as our Rest was preached to them in type, and they to whom the Gospel was afore preached failed to enter in. Then, says the Apostle, "Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience." They failed! God set forth another day, saying, "Today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts...." The Gospel is preached to believers to enter into His Rest. The Lord Jesus put this in the germ form of truth when He said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Christ in heaven is our spiritual Rest, heart rest.

What is the essence of rest? It is satisfaction and assurance. If you are satisfied, you are at rest, no matter how much work you have to do. And if you are quite sure that your work is going to be successful, you have assurance, and you are in rest. Everything for us is based upon Christ having entered as the Forerunner, and having become our Rest. We shall labor: we shall pour ourselves out; we shall spend; we shall be spent; but in it all there can be real heart rest. We shall be assailed: we shall be pressed on every side; we shall be cast down; we shall be tried; but Christ can still remain our Rest: for in the first place, we know that these things are not going to be to our destruction, since He has destroyed the power of destruction; and, in the second place, that our labors are not in vain, because He has swallowed up death victoriously. He is our Rest.

By T. Austin-Sparks

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Work of God At the End-Time # 23

The Fruit of the Fellowship of His Sufferings

And Simeon said to Mary, His mother, "yea and a sword shall pierce through thine own soul; that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." The significance of Christ - "a sword shall pierce through thine own soul!" The sword there is not a little thing. The word used to describe it is the same as that used by the translators of the Old Testament into Greek, the word which was used for Goliath's sword. Here the Greek word signifies the great Thracian sword, an immense thing. 'A great sword shall pierce through thine own soul,' speaking of course of her suffering, her anguish, when she would stand and see this child, then grown to full manhood, stretched upon the Cross. Simeon said, "That will have the effect or be the means of disclosing the thoughts of many hearts." What it really amounts to is that the fellowship of Christ's sufferings is the means by which hearts are revealed. It is when we are brought into the fellowship of His sufferings and are suffering together with Him that the thoughts of many hearts come to light, either sympathetically or the reverse. Some hearts, will show bitterness, resentment, and be all against the Lord because they do not understand. Oh, how often do parents rise in rebellion and resentment when a young man or woman in full consecration to the Lord Jesus, accepts the fellowship of His sufferings, and goes out into life of self-sacrifice - a life in which eternal and heavenly interests take precedence over earthly advancements and privileges, and the things of the Lord are very costly in terms of worldly things. How friends turn against such and call them fools, and all the rest of it! The hearts of others are beginning to be exposed by their fellowship with their Lord in His sufferings. It is coming out all around; hearts are being laid bare. It is necessary that that sort of thing should happen. You will so often find that the effect of such a thing is to precipitate a crisis in those very hearts sooner or later. Oh, what a story is bound up with this! How often has a man been called upon, because of his devotion to the Lord, to suffer terribly at the hands of his own family - persecuted, subjected to every kind of ignominy, shown no favors. That may have gone on for a long time, increasing all the while, but the one has stood faithfully, yielded no ground, gone on with the Lord quietly, humbly, meekly, lovingly, showing no resentment; and that very exposure of what was in those other hearts has at a later time become the means used by Go to break those lives, and to bring them to Himself. That is only one aspect of this matter - the thoughts of many hearts being revealed by the fellowship of His sufferings.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 24)

Watch Out!

Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My Name, claiming I am the Christ, and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:4,5 NIV)

A word about the religious, for the same thing holds good here adapted by the Deceiver to the realm in which he is working, the type of people with whom he is dealing, the religious. Yes, religiously deceived, to put it in another way, deceived by their very religiousness, and that is a strong and a mighty delusion. There is power in that delusion that seems so often to defy every kind of attempt to deal with it. Deceived by religiousness. What more can be expected than the recognition of the fact of God and the giving to God of reverence, acknowledgment, and recognition: of taking active interest in things which relate to God, attending religious services, and being very busy in religious activities and interests, and finding your chief interest in religious things and the religious realm? What more can be expected? What is the matter with that?

Be patient, bear with me if I say with very great emphasis: that may be one colossal delusion. So often that very thing obscures one fundamental thing, a true and living relationship with God. “Ye must be born again,” and religion very often obscures that issue. Oh, religion is no argument for salvation. Religion can be found in the darkest places of the earth. Universally there is religion; depraved and very low in many places, but universally there is the consciousness of standing in relationship to some supreme object of worship, demanding worship; and then men's minds or imaginations get to work to give some kind of expression to that consciousness, of that supreme object of worship, and the imagination produces that sometimes out of a tree, a stone, or in the heavenly bodies; somehow it is expressed, but it is the thing that is there, behind all the forms of expression which is universal. All the highly civilized forms of that brought into the realm of Christendom are only the same thing developed. It does not say that Christendom’s more intelligent, civilized, educated interpretation of God, even though it gets its ideas from the Bible, is salvation. It may be a mighty delusion and very often is.

By T. Austin-Sparks

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Work of God At the End-Time # 22

Christ A Sign Spoken Against (continued)

c. The Challenge of His Cross

There was further the significance of His death and of His resurrection as a sign that was spoken against. Yes, His Cross indeed was the signal for much speaking against. Has it not been so all the way though, and is it not so today? How hated is that Cross, when given its true interpretation! It is all right as heroics: yes, men will have the Cross on that basis. But bring in the true meaning of the Cross of Christ - that it is God's "No" to man and all his and all his heroics, His final and utter "No" to every man, good and bad, and that when Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34), He was bearing our curse in God's utter "No" to the fallen race: bring that in, and it is an offence. Say that to anyone who has any feeling of his own importance and dignity and goodness, and who considers there is something of account in himself and he will be very offended. We never accept the Cross of the Lord Jesus until we see how utterly worthless we are, and then the Cross becomes our glory; we side with God and say, "Thou art right, Lord, in saying "No" to me." Have you got there, are you being brought there? You see what God is doing if you are being brought where you recognize you have no claims upon God, no rights before Him, and where you realize your utter wretchedness and unworthiness and unfitness for His presence. You are in agreement with the Cross as heaven's "No" when you get there. They all had to come there - Peter and John and all the rest. But to be there is to be very near the great "Yes" of God in the resurrection. The resurrection proclaims that another Man, other than ourselves, passes through into heaven. The door is wide open to this other Man, Who has taken that first man down into judgment and death and has left him there. Heaven is opened to this new Man, this risen Man, and "if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Romans 6:5). It is God's great "Yes" to the risen Christ, and we who have been united with Him come into that "Yes"; we have the open door of heaven. Now, you see, that  doctrine is an offence to any self-important, self-sufficient flesh in this world, and it is spoken against. Christ crucified is a sign spoken against; to the Greeks foolishness, to the Jews a stumblingblock; but to us who believe, Christ (yes, crucified) the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 23 - (The Fruit of the Fellowship of His Sufferings

Teach Them Diligently (and other devotionals)

Teach Them Diligently

"And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”  Deuteronomy 6:6-7

My children got into the car after a day at their Christian school and told me that a friend of theirs was going to hell. They said, “He lies, mom, and liars go to hell.” I asked, “Why do you think that?” Then the two kids broke out in a song that has a line that says, “Liars go to hell…liars go to hell…Revelation 21:8, 21:8…burn burn burn.” I thought to myself, “How can my kids believe this when we know we each fall short everyday?” Well, the subject changed and I never addressed it.

Around 4:30 the next morning, I woke up with this thought racing in my mind: “You need to teach your children about grace. They are not being taught how to live in God’s grace at their Christian school. The gospel is about God’s grace to sinners. Your kids don’t understand how to extend grace to others or themselves.”
After much prayer, I approached the subject of grace and what Revelation 21:8 says. My son said to me, “Are you telling me that I sin everyday (lying included) and God doesn’t hold that against me? Are you telling me that I can do whatever I want, and because of the blood of Christ, it is covered and God sees me as righteous anyway?” Immediately I prayed, “Oh Lord, I really want my 13 year old son to completely get this but this Truth can lead to poor choices…help.” And the wisdom of the Lord came upon me as I opened my mouth and said to him, “Yes. That is exactly right. However, if you really love the Lord and know Him, you won’t want to sin and hurt Him. Your heart should respond back to His love and as a result, you will live a life that is pleasing to Him.” Both of my kids nodded in agreement and said, “Cool.”

I thanked the Lord when my daughter then said to me, “Mom, school teaches us about God but you teach us how to know Him better and love Him more.” God gets the glory because I ignored it initially.

Today, we need to realize the responsibility we have to give our children a strong biblical foundation. We have to role model to them the love of Christ from our hearts and we have to teach them how to know Him better. Be sensitive to the conversations you have with your children. God will lead you in what to say…just be diligent!

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

______________________________


Waiting on God

To get out of a pit, it's really not complicated.  Psalm 40:1-2 tells us the first step,

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.

The first step in getting out of the pit of despair is to cry out to God. He will hear your cry, and He will bring you up and out.
But His answer is not always instant. Notice David said, I waited patiently for the Lord. The answer to his cry wasn't apparent for a while. If you've spent a long time getting yourself into a mess, it may take some time for your deliverance. 
A number of years back I went hunting with a friend. I was to fly on a little plane into a meadow about 20 miles into the wilderness where he was going to meet me.

For a variety of reasons, I ended up being six hours late to the drop-off point. My friend wasn't there, so for 20 minutes the pilot of that little plane tried to convince me not to stay. He said there were mountain lions, grizzly bears, packs of wolves… I would get eaten alive!

He finally left, and at about two in the morning I heard a noise. It wasn't a grizzly bear; it was my friend with the horses! 
I think the devil is like that airplane pilot. He is always trying to talk us into quitting and giving up. But we can miss the greatest blessings in our lives when we are not patient. 

~Bayless Conley~

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Judges 16:6
Tell me I pray thee wherein thy great strength lieth.
Where lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is-an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, "My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled." Then faith thinketh, "Who gave this promise?" It considereth not so much its greatness, as, "Who is the author of it?" She remembers that it is God who cannot lie-God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise must be fulfilled; and forward she advances in this firm conviction. She remembereth, why the promise was given,-namely, for God's glory, and she feels perfectly sure that God's glory is safe, that He will never stain His own escutcheon, nor mar the lustre of His own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand. Then faith also considereth the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father's intention to fulfil His word. "He that spa red not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Moreover faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God never has failed her; nay, that He never did once fail any of His children. She recollecteth times of great peril, when deliverance came; hours of awful need, when as her day her strength was found, and she cries, "No, I never will be led to think that He can change and leave His servant now. Hitherto the Lord hath helped me, and He will help me still." Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does so, can with assurance say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!"

~Charles Spurgeon~