Skip to comments.NONE BUT THE HUNGRY HEART
Posted on 11/01/2011 2:36:21 PM PDT by guitarplayer1953
None But the Hungry Heart #1
None But the Hungry Heart is a devotional study. There are twelve sections each containing thirty-one daily portions.
The following three factors have been considered in arriving at this form of presentation:
1. A spiritually hungry heart is the requisite for entering into the growth truths of identification with Christ.
2. Prayerful study on the part of the believer is the means by which the Holy Spirit ministers these truths.
3. The concentration of the Christ-life truths in brief daily studies facilitates their assimilation.
The authors quoted have been carefully selected; however, this does not necessarily mean that we advocate all that these writers teach. Only the initials of authors are given, where known. Much of the material has been gleaned through the years from tracts, magazines, and books long out of print.
As always, dear friend, it is our desire "that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:9,10).
Miles J. Stanford; April 1968 firstname.lastname@example.org
1-1 NOTHING DAUNTED
"Blessed are they that . . . seek Him with the whole heart" (Psalm 119:2)
Once the Holy Spirit instills within our hearts the hunger for God's very best, all must and will become secondary to this supreme goal: " . . .the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Our puny, worthless all exchanged for the One who is All in all! "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36) .
"A sage of India was asked by a young man how he could find God. For some time the sage gave no answer, but one evening he asked the youth to come and bathe with him in the river. While there he gripped him suddenly and held his head under the water until he was nearly drowned. When he released him the sage asked him: 'What did you want most when you were under the water?' 'A breath of air,' he replied. To which the sage answered, 'When you want God as you wanted the breath of air, you will find Him.'" -G.G.
"Every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are all the sum total of our hungers. The great saints have all had thirsting hearts. Their cry has been, 'My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God....' Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent believers look with and entertain no hope of reaching."
"For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness" (Psalm 107:9)
1-2 LIFE'S PURPOSE
"For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9)
Our Lord the Vine provides all that His branches will ever need for fruit-bearing. All provision is according to our Father's riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
"Christian growth is the becoming real in ourselves, of what is already true of us in the Lord Jesus. 'I am the vine, ye are the branches, He says. But the vine furnishes the branches, not only with the principle of life, but with the type of life. No pressure or molding from without is needed to shape them to the pattern of the parent stock. Every minutest peculiarity of form, and color, and taste, and fragrance is determined by the root, and developed from it. A true believer, therefore, will ask no better thing of the Lord than that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in his body (2 Corinthians 4:11). For such a manifestation will, by a necessary principle, be the unfolding within him of every needed element of joy and sorrow, of suffering and triumph." -A.J.G.
"Straining, driving effort does not accomplish the work God gives a man to do; we must partake of Christ so fully that He more than fills the life. It will then be not overwork but overflow."
"And ye are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10)
1-3 RELENTLESS PURPOSE
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2 Chronicles. 16:9).
All of God's thoughts concerning us are centered in His Son, where He has placed us. Hence they are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jeremiah 29:11). Others may do evil against us, but our Father turns it into our good, for Jesus' sake.
"The purpose of God is that through the conditions and sufferings of my life should develop in me the features of His Son. On the one hand, the features of the old creation may be seen to be more and more terrible and horrible, as I recognize them in myself; but over against that God is doing something which is other than my old self. He is bringing into being Another, altogether other, and that is His Son, my new life. Slowly, seemingly all too slowly; nevertheless something is developing. The sonship is not very much in evidence yet, but it is going to be manifested. What God has been doing will come out into the light eventually conformity to the image of His Son." -T. A-S.
"Afflictions are in the hands of the Holy Spirit to effect the softening of the heart in order to receive heavenly impression. Job said, 'God maketh my heart soft' (Job 23:16). As the wax in its natural hard state cannot take the impress of the signet, and needs to be melted to render it susceptible, so the believer is by trials prepared to receive, and made to bear, the divine likeness."
"Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving'' (Colossians 2:7)
1-4 DESERT RICHES
"And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart, into a desert place, and rest a while" (Mk 6:31)
In the early days of our lonely pilgrimage, the desert is nothing but burning heat and barren sand. As we "keep on keeping on," we see our desert become full of springs and blossom as the rose.
"Has the Father led you into the desert? Has He plucked from under your feet all that you depended upon? Then a glorious experience is yours. See if this be not a way whereby God will glorify you! Do not complain about what you have lost, and do not yearn to have it back again, for then you are like Israel who wished to turn back to Egypt. God leads on, and instead of the flesh-pots He gives you bread from heaven, and instead of water from the Nile, water from the Rock. But you must put your trust in Him also in the desert, and through the days of darkness and difficulty. This is possible, however, only for those who have lost their self-assurance in the desert whereto God beckons His children."
"Are there sorrows that sorely test our hearts? Be assured that our Father intends every one of them to be a road for us to Christ; so that we may reach Him and know Him in some character of His love and power, that otherwise our souls had not known." -C.A.C.
"And they thirsted not when He led them through the deserts: He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them. . . ." ". . .for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (Isaiah 48:21; 1 Corinthians 10:4)
1-5 LOVE DRAWS AND CONFORMS
"Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee" (Jeremiah 31:3)
God is the first and only Cause. He always makes the first move. "For God so loved. . . that He gave"; "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John 3:16; 15:16). Even the hunger of heart necessary for our response to His love comes from Him. "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus" (I Peter 5:10). He brought us to His Son; He will make us like His Son.
"If you feel the drawing of God within, cherish it as you would cherish a great treasure. If you are aware of a deep hunger, if you are entering into a closer walk with Him, do not look upon it carelessly, nor treat it lightly. But if you do not feel the divine drawing and hunger for God, cry to Him that He will give it you; and ever remember that the desire for hunger is the beginning of hunger, and that you cannot feed upon the Lord Jesus Christ until you are spiritually hungry." -H. McI.
"Our Lord is generous in His provision, but He is neither casual nor wasteful. There must be a real hunger and felt need. It is a fixed principle with the Lord that He does not move until something like desperation makes it evident that it is His move." -T. A-S.
"No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me" (John 6:44, Amp.)
1-6 FULNESS OF SELF "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" (Isaiah 2:22)
As Christians we are going to be controlled by one of two powers: the self-life, or the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The former will make life hell, the latter, heaven.
"He who knows that awful power of the self-life within; its enmity with God; its carnality; its grieving and quenching of the Spirit; its deadly blighting of all the blessed fruits of the Spirit; its fierce and desperate resistings of his hunger to enter into the full life of the Spirit, needs no other explanation of the lack of the fulness of the Spirit than the fulness of self." -J.H. McC.
"Do not seek to shatter the mirror which reflects your soul's lack of beauty; rather welcome the truth, and believe that next to knowledge of the Lord Jesus nothing is so important as the knowledge of self."-N.G.
"There is nothing in self worth holding on to; it ought to be handed to the Cross; we have submitted ourselves to such a life as that, and our Father is going to give us every opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to hold the old nature in the place of death, with the glorious end in view that our Lord Jesus will have the preeminence." -F.M.
"I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5,6)
1-7 LIFE'S MOTIVATION
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14)
It takes a good many years of sin and failure in order to see through our own motives. The growing believer finally learns to trust but one source of motivation: "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2).
"All of our motives will be tested by fire. Are we seeking personal influence, popularity, reputation, prestige, acceptableness, success? We may think our motives to be perfectly pure; but not until we pass into daily death, death to any or all of the above, and find ourselves 'despised and rejected of men,' our names cast out as evil, and a real hold-up (seemingly) of our work, do we really come to face the true purpose and motive of our having any place in the service of God. The Cross separating us from everything Adamic both within and without is a good test of motives.
"Men of God who have been truly used by Him have gone this way. Not upon our flesh whether it be the gross flesh or the refined, soulish, educated flesh will God allow His Spirit to come. Before there can be life for others there must be death for us (2 Corinthians 4-12). Before there can be the fire of God there must be an altar and a sacrifice; and it must be the burnt offering." -T. A-S.
"Present your bodies a living sacrifice. . . which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1)
1-8 UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!
"Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips... for mine eyes have seen the King the Lord of hosts'' (Isaiah 6.5)
Paul wrote, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This includes giving thanks for the disclosure of self! At first, we seek to hide our sinfulness and to save our life. Later, by His grace, we yearn to be freed from self, regardless of the cost. And the price is the Cross.
"Many a young Christian, who has not been forewarned of this necessary voyage of discovery upon which the Holy Spirit will certainly embark him (Romans Seven), has been plunged into almost incurable despair at the sight of the sinfulness which is his by nature. He has in the first place rejoiced greatly in the forgiveness of his sins, and his acceptance by God; but sooner or later he begins to realize that all is not well, and that he has failed and fallen from the high standard which he set himself to reach in the first flush of his conversion.
"Little does he know how healthy his condition is, and that this shattering discovery is but the prelude to a magnificent series of further discoveries of things which God has expressly designed for his eternal enrichment. All through life God has to show us our own utter sinfulness and need, in order to more fully lead us on into realms of grace." -J.C.M.
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
1-9 POWERLESS RECIPIENTS
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37)
The world, the flesh, and the devil say, Be powerful. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit say, Be powerless C "for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"There would be little harm in trying to imitate Christ if such an endeavor did not hide from us what our Lord really desires; and so keep us back from 'life more abundant.' Christ has come Himself into our hearts to dwell there, and what He wants is to live His life in us, as the Apostle Paul says, 'For to me to live is Christ.' Christ was the very source and mainspring of all he was and did. What a wonderful thing this is! We would be driven to despair if Christ had simply left us an example to follow or imitate, for we have no power within ourselves to do it. We must have a new source; a new spring of action, and Christ Himself wants to be just that for us." -E.C.H.
"The man in Romans Seven is occupied with himself, and his disappointment and anguish spring from his inability to find in self the good which he loves. The man of Romans Eight has learned there is no good to be found in self. It is only in Christ; and his song of triumph results from the joy of having found out that he is 'complete in Him.'" -H.A.I.
"I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me" (Philippians 4:13, Amplified)
1-10 REST IN HIM
"He has created us through our union with Christ Jesus for doing good deeds which He beforehand planned for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10, Wms.)
The turning point in our Christian life comes when we begin to "let God be God," the day we throw all caution (fear) to the winds and look to Him to carry out His purpose for us in His own time and way.
"Our Father never does a thing suddenly: He has always prepared long, long before. So there is nothing to murmur about, nothing to be proud of, in the calling of God. There is also no one of whom to be jealous, for other people's advantages have nothing to do with us. 'It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy' (Romans 9:16). Our heritage, our birth, our natural equipment: these are things already determined by God. We may pick up other things in the way, for we are always learning; but the way is His way. When we look back over our life, we bow and acknowledge that all was prepared of God. To have such an attitude of heart, that is true rest." -W.N.
"Let us take care lest we get out of soul-rest in seeking further blessing. God cannot work whilst we are anxious, even about our spiritual advance. Let us take Him at His Word, and leave the fulfillment of it to Him."
"For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire" (Philippians 2:13, Weymouth)
1-11 DESIGNER AND DESIGNED
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)
Since the sovereign God has every atom in the universe precisely timed and controlled for the carrying out of His perfect will, it should not be difficult for us to understand why He is so meticulous in His development of us as His instruments. "Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11).
"You are one of God's rough diamonds, and He is going to have to cut you so that you may really shine for Him. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond. You are to be ground and cut, and hurt by other diamonds, by other Christians, by spiritual Christians. But the more cutting and the more perfecting, the more you are going to shine for your Lord." -G.M.
"God in His wisdom has ordained our trials, and it is our folly that causes us not to welcome them. God sends us such trials as are exactly fitted for us. Our Heavenly Father knows what will best serve us. He serves us by trials and by comforts. Let us remember that our trials are few our evil ways are many; our worthiness nothing; our comforts great. When God tries us let us consider how we have been trying Him. By grace we will not murmur, but humble ourselves under His mighty hand, and He will exalt us in due time."
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you" (1 Peter 4:12)
1-12 DEPENDENT RECEPTION
"Walk in [dependence upon] the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16)
Those who have thoroughly learned full dependence on Him for justification will come to understand that sanctification is by the same faith principle. We are to rest in His finished work both for birth and for growth.
"We are not to overcome the lusts of the flesh in order that we may walk in the Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit in order that the lusts of the flesh may be overcome. The enemy can hold up young Christians on this point for a long time, so that they do not really get started on the Christian walk. They feel they cannot expect to begin to walk in the Spirit until they have, in some degree at least, dealt with the lusts of the flesh.
"They wait for some vague time when they hope they will have reached a more satisfactory position in regard to the lusts of the flesh, and will feel more confident about attempting a walk in the Spirit. But that is all the wrong way around. If we are to wait until we have, in some degree, mastered the lusts of the flesh before we venture to walk in the Spirit: if we are to wait until we feel that we can give some sort of security to ourselves and to God that we shall do a bit better in the future than we have done in the past, then we never will walk in the Spirit. For until we walk in dependence upon the Spirit we shall not, and cannot, overcome the lusts of the flesh." -D.T.
"Be filled with [controlled by] the indwelling of the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18, Cony.)
1-13 SOURCE OF SIN
"I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8)
When the believer first becomes aware of the sinful self-life, he often makes the mistake of attempting to deal with its symptoms. He struggles to curb his sins and tries to live righteously. The resultant failure leads him to reliance upon the work of the Cross, which is effectively applied to the root of the matter by the Holy Spirit. The old life is crucified; the new life is manifested.
"We are apt to think that what we have done is very bad, but that we ourselves are not so bad. God is taking pains to show us that we ourselves are wrong, fundamentally wrong. The root trouble is the sinner; he must be dealt with. Our sins are dealt with by the Blood, but we ourselves are dealt with by the Cross. The Blood procures our pardon for what we have done; the Cross procures our deliverance from what we are." -W.N.
"It is for want of a complete or adequate realization of the meaning of the Cross, that so many Christians are carnal, or try to live for God out of themselves. This goes to the root of the ever-present weakness and poverty of spiritual life. There is much prayer for 'revival,' and much effort for 'the deepening of the spiritual life.' The only answer to this is a new knowing of the Cross, not only as to sins and a life of victory over them, but as to Christ as supplanting the natural man." -T. A-S.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
1-14 THE ALL-PERVADING CROSS "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14)
It will save years of frustration and effort for one to understand that prayer can never be learned, or developed. Prayer is the outflow of the new life; as one grows, as the Cross frees the new from the old, there is the growth of effective prayer.
"Without the Cross, prayer becomes a mere religious formality without prayer, the Cross is arrested in its purpose. As the Cross works in us, keeping in the place of death every assertion of the old man, and everything in our natures that is against God, our spirit finds a clear way up to the communion at the throne and a clear way out into conflict with our enemy.
''Prayer is the spring of power in conflict, and conflict gives the proof of the value and need of prayer. It cannot be too frequently emphasized that for the believer, the ground or basis of prayer is the death of Jesus Christ the victory won by the Son of God on Calvary, just as the ground and basis of His intercession at this moment is His propitiation on the Cross. Away from the Cross prayer becomes nothing more than an ecclesiastical ordinance or a religious exercise expressed in devotional phrases; and I beg of you, when you read a book on prayer, to find out the place in it which the author gives to the Cross, and you will be able to estimate its value." -G.W.
"God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23)
1-15 "DISCIPLE ALL NATIONS"
"If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8:31)
The plague of personal work is the quick, the easy, the maneuvered decision. No matter how long it takes, our Lord allows the necessary time for a heart to be prepared of the Spirit in order that it might be truly born of the Spirit. Adequate preparation before bringing the soul to Him will eliminate much disappointment and frustration (for all concerned) after conversion. Once we see that the Lord Jesus saves individuals with the purpose of making them His disciples, we will aim to be more thorough in our witnessing and subsequent soul-winning.
"The commission given to the apostles was to make disciples, not just 'converts,' of all nations; and we can never set aside our Lord's commands without laying up for ourselves a whole store of unnecessary suffering and frustration. I wonder how many promising 'converts' have been swept into the ranks of the sects whose teachings are based in error, because of this omission?"
"In our day we promote elaborate 'follow-up' schemes to keep our 'converts' in the right way, but I sometimes wonder if a little more time spent right at the outset in ensuring that these converts are properly 'born,' so that they can be receptive of the Spirit's teaching, would not save much heartache and make certain that God's work in their lives is done in His way." -J.C.M.
"Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock" (Zechariah 11:17, ASV)
1-16 MUTUAL VIEWPOINT
"That ye may know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18)
In order to share effectively with needy believers it is essential to know what the Father has purposed for His own. And this understanding results from personal growth in the Lord Jesus. Those who are merely well-versed may be able to teach, but they cannot truly share; their understanding of the needs of the heart is deficient, and this becomes all too evident to the hearers. Head-knowledge (study) must be integrated with heart-knowledge (experience) in order for there to be Spirit-motivated sharing.
"The true hope makes all the difference to us in our ministry. Our expectations have been personally proven. It makes possible joy in the midst of sorrow, confidence in the midst of defeat. It changes our attitude toward those to whom we minister. We see them not as they are at the moment but as we know the Lord is going to make them. Then patience and forgiveness are easy, for we already see the Lord's finished work. It changes our prayer for them. We ask not for some little progress or partial blessing for them but for the Lord's complete victory. It changes our teaching ministry to them. Instead of fearfully giving a little more of God's truth, we confidently declare all the counsel of God. There is ever before us the joy of the finished work which we know the Lord is going to accomplish." -A.M.
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6)
1-17 RESTFUL ACTIVITY
"In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15)
There is a great difference between sloth, and rest; between deadness, and quietness. There is also a vast difference between constant nervous busyness, and Spirit-controlled activity; between working for God, and having Him do His work through us. It is the infinite difference between self, and Christ,
"In God and man working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work. Rather, the true plan is that of co-operation founded on subordination. As the Lord Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself. What he can do of himself is altogether sinful. He must therefore cease entirely from his own doing, and wait for the working of God in him. As he ceases from self-effort, faith assures him that God does what He has undertaken, and works in him.
"And what God does is to renew, to sanctify, and waken all his energies to their most useful power. So that just in proportion as he yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of the Father, will he be wielded of Him as the active instrument of His will and power. The soul in which the wondrous combination of quiet passivity with the highest activity is most completely realized, has the deepest experience of what the Christian life is." -A.M.
"So He fed them according to the integrity of His heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of His hands" (Psalm 78:72)
1-18 DEVELOPED GIFT
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Though we receive our faith from Him, it must be developed in us by Him. Undeveloped faith never progresses beyond the babe-in-Christ, milk-of-the-Word stage. "But solid food is for adults that is, for those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained to distinguish good from evil. Therefore leaving elementary instruction about the Christ, let us advance to mature manhood" (Hebrews 5:14-6:1, Weymouth).
"You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us promises in a quiet hour; He seals our covenants with great and gracious words. Then He steps back and waits while we believe; then He lets the tempter come, and the test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. It is then that faith wins its crown. Then is the time to look into His face and say, 'I believe, Lord, that it shall be done as it was told me.'"
"Without trials of faith we should all be ruined. These trials give us opportunities of linking on to the mighty promises of God and finding through the trials come blessing that wonderfully glorifies Him, or else, missing God, turns the blessing into a burden that fills the heart with weariness and pain." -G.W.
"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11)
1-19 NOT "HOW?" BUT "WHAT?"
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you" (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Once we come to rest in the fact of what He has accomplished for us in Christ, there need be no concern as to how and when He will carry it out in our daily life.
"How many a child of God remains weak and timid because, instead of being occupied with what God has promised, he is considering how it can be fulfilled. But we have nothing to do with the how; it is enough that our Father has given us His Word. Whatever, therefore, may be the nature of the suffering or trial through which we have to pass, let us ever account that God is able to fulfil all His promises.
"Let nothing ever lead us to doubt the certainty of His Word, though we may be utterly at a loss to understand the manner in which He may see fit to accomplish it. We shall then be able to testify, with Joshua of old:
'Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof' (Joshua 23:14)." -E.H.
Our Father often encourages the weak in faith by giving speedy answers to prayer; but the strong in faith will be further developed by God's delays. Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith, but opportunities of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him."
"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen" (2 Corinthians 1:20)
1-20 SATISFYING PORTION
"God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever" (Psalm 73.26)
Finally, when all else fails us, we find that God is enough. That which we most need in life; love, unfailing love; is abundantly and satisfyingly ours in the Lord Jesus. But we so often seek it elsewhere.
"Nothing can be sweeter than the repose in divine love when it is known and the heart is free to rest in it. The soul may have a long journey to reach it experientially; there may be many needs and exercises to be met and removed on the way; self and the world will have to be learned; but the great end of all our exercises; and, I may add, of all our deliverances; is that we rest in the thoughts of divine love, and that love becomes in a very real way the portion of our hearts. If our hearts are not in the circle of divine love they have really got nothing, for as Christians we have no portion on earth. Thank God! it is a blessed and satisfying portion." -C.A.C.
"There is no reserve in God's love; He has given the best in heaven for the worst on earth, and in this way has rebuked distrust and established confidence, so that 'the works of the devil' might be undone in our hearts. If we only want what God gives us we shall be perfectly happy. Nothing is of real value to us that we cannot take from our Father's hand and thank Him for."
"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God" (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6)
How readily and eagerly we take His Word when He says, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2), yet how slow of heart we are to believe that He has prepared a walk for us, here and now!
"For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time) that we should walk in them living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live" (Ephesians 2:10, Amp.).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3, ASV).
If you can run over in your mind and find one single blessing with which God might bless us today, with which He has not already blessed us, then what He told Paul is not true at all, because He said, 'God hath....' It is all done, 'It is finished.' God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies! The great pity of it all is that we are saying 'O God bless us, bless us in this, bless us in that! and it is all done; He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenlies. It is our place to believe and receive." -L.L.L.
"According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3)
1-22 FREEDOM TO "BE"
"Having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:6, ASV)
The law was applied to the natural man, that he might produce; grace is given to the spiritual man, that He might produce.
"Almost every believer makes the same mistake as the Galatian Christians. Very few learn at conversion at once that it is only by faith that we stand, and walk, and live. They have no conception of the meaning of the Word about being dead to the law, freed from the law, about the freedom with which Christ makes us free (Romans 7:6). Regarding the law as a divine ordinance for our direction, they consider themselves prepared and fitted by conversion to take up the fulfillment of the law as a natural duty. They cannot understand that it is not to the law, but to a living Person, that we are now bound, and that our obedience and growth are only possible by the unceasing faith in His power and life ever working in us (Philippians 2:13)." -A.M.
"Good and holy and perfect as the law of God is, it is entirely powerless either to justify or sanctify. It cannot in any way make the old nature better; neither is it the rule of the new nature. The old man is not subject to it, and the new man does not need it. The new creation has another object before it, and another power that acts upon it, in order to produce what is lovely and acceptable to God Christ the object, realized by the power of the Holy Spirit." -W.K.
"Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16)
1-23 FEET FIRST
"Mary . . . sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His Word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving" (Luke 10:39,40)
A malingering student will make a poor servant; a diligent student will make a good servant. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15).
"Do not look for service, look for preparation for it. Everyone has to serve an apprenticeship. We do not know what we are to be fitted for, but if we keep at His feet He will prepare us for the very thing for which He has designed us. We hinder both ourselves and His work by attempting things to which we have not been called."
"If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone making his service prominent who knew what it was to sit at the Master's feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him must be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service" -J.B.S.
"Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters... so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God" (Psalm 123:2)
1-24 ABIDE IN ABUNDANCE
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4)
The quality of the fruit of the branch depends upon the quality of the life of the vine. Neither quality nor quantity is the product of the branch, for the branch merely receives what is produced by the vine.
"To walk with God in hallowed fellowship is not only the secret of joy and growth, it is the condition of all acceptable service, of all real usefulness. The value of what we do depends very much upon what we are. And what we are depends upon where we abide. The mightiest power for usefulness is the quiet influence of a life that abides habitually in the secret place of the Most High. Such an one dwells in the source of all life, of all purity, of all fruitfulness." -E.H.H.
"It is just a matter of taking a position that is already yours. The enemy has filled the minds of many believers with the delusion that they are poor, and in their poverty they must work and grind and toil in order to buy the blessings which are already theirs in Christ. It is time to see that all you need you have in Christ. There is no need of yours which is not fully met in Him. And you are in Him. You only need to take the position which is already yours. Abide!" -D.T.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8)
1-25 AUTHOR OF PEACE
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33)
The day we were saved, total war was declared between sinful self and the Holy Spirit. Lasting peace will come when we rest in Calvary's conquest of sin and self, and allow that victory to be applied by the faithful Spirit of God.
"The Holy Spirit does not reason from what man is for God, but from what God is to man. Souls reason from what they are in themselves as to whether God can accept them. He does not accept you thus; you are looking for righteousness in yourself as a ground of acceptance with Him. You cannot get peace in this way.
'But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us'" (Romans 5:8).
"The Holy Spirit always reasons down from what God is, and this produces a total change in my soul. It is not that I abhor my sins; indeed I may have been walking very well; but it is 'I abhor myself.' The Holy Spirit shows us what we are, and that is one reason why He often seems to be very hard and does not give peace to the soul, as we are not relieved until we frankly, from our hearts, acknowledge what we are. Until the soul comes to that point He does not give it peace He could not; it would be healing the wound slightly. The soul has to go on until it finds there is nothing to rest on but the Cross-proved goodness of God; and then if God be for us, who can be against us?'' -J.N.D.
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7)
"If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God" (1 Peter 2:20)
Affliction and suffering are the lot of all men, the privilege of all believers. Our sufferings bring forth need, and our need brings forth His comfort and consolation. Blessed need! "As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:7). Blessed promise!
"If you aspire to be a son of consolation; if you would partake of the priestly gift of sympathy; if you would pour something beyond commonplace consolation into a tempted heart; if you would pass through the intercourse of daily life with the delicate tact that never inflicts pain; you must be content to pay the price of a costly education; like Him, you must suffer."
"There are blessings which we cannot obtain if we cannot accept and endure suffering. There are joys that can come to us only through sorrow. There are revealings of divine truth which we can get only when earth's lights have gone out. There are harvests which can flow only after the plowshare has done its work."
"Comfort does not come to the light-hearted and merry. We must go down into 'depths' if we would experience this most precious of God's gifts comfort, and thus be prepared to be coworkers together with Him."
"I take... pleasure in weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecution, and difficulties, which I endure for Christ's sake, for it is when I am consciously weak that I am really strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10, Wms.)
"For we worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3)
Contrary to general opinion, there is no place for self-confidence in the Christian life. Confidence is essential, but not from the source of self. The awakened believer is so keenly aware of the sinful self-life that, for him, self-confidence is out of the question. In time, his "O wretched man" complex is replaced by "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24, 25). Christ-confidence is the basis for the healthy Christian's walk. Sinful self-confidence is the basis for the sickly Christian's defeat.
"Our Father takes all things from under our feet until we have nothing left but Him. God has always the highest goal in view, namely, to lead us into the denial of self. Everything is directed toward teaching us to entrust ourselves to Him. Therefore we must often suffer defeat. You fight with all your might against sin and find yourself surrounded by failure. You pray fervently and sincerely: 'O God, help me and stay by me.' But it seems that He does not hear. You cry yet more earnestly for help, but He seems to have no concern for you. Is He then really merciless? No! Just because He is merciful, He cannot help you. If He did, you would not be free from your self-confidence; you would not learn to fight the good fight of faith and thus obtain the victory which the Master has won; you would not learn to say 'the Lord Jesus only,' but you would still continue to say 'Jesus and I.'"
"For the Lord shall be thy confidence" (Proverb 3.26)
"My grace suffices for you, for power matures in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Weymouth)
There can be no true and intelligent rejection of the self-life without thorough heart preparation by the Holy Spirit. We read in the Word that self is to be hated and rejected, but the development of this attitude may be long removed from the initial revelation. Years of processing separate Romans Three from Colossians Three, in our experience.
"Why are we so deficient in divine power? Simply because we do not like the way it begins. Its beginning is to hate one's own life, and this is an awful start; but there is no 'tower' built without it. You must refuse human material, or you cannot build to true structure. Power enabled Elisha to take hold of his own clothes and tear them into two pieces. It begins with self-abnegation. This explains the reason why there is so little power. Very often one lingers over his losses like an exile, but he must rise out of it; he must bury his dead out of his sight; it is a great day when that comes to pass, and then he can be useful to others." -J.B.S.
"To be willing to accept crucifixion with Christ, to leave all yourself, your plans and your longings, your abilities and your possessions, all of them at the Cross, so that you only trust and love and live for the Lord Jesus, hurts a great deal. It requires an absolute venture of faith; but beyond it, God says, 'much fruit.' And the way to it is 'into the ground and die it is the only way; His way."
"Most gladly therefore will I boast of my infirmities rather than complain of them; in order that Christ's power may overshadow me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Weymouth.)
1-29 SACRIFICIAL SELF
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7)
It is essential for the believer to see that his old nature has been completely rejected by God at Calvary, and that as a "new creation" he is fully and eternally accepted in the Lord Jesus. Otherwise, self will continually seek to be something for God, to please Him, to merit His approbation.
"It is very possible that our sacrifices and self denials may be altogether selfish. Self can pray, and say, What a lovely prayer! It can preach a fine message, and pat itself on the back and say, That was splendid, what a useful man you are! How, then, can it become 'not I, but Christ'? Well, we must above all else see the reality and danger of the thing, we must look at it frankly, and choose to be free of its domination. The worst and the saddest part of it is its deception. It says, How that fits So-and-so, not me. But you must pass sentence upon it, or it will pass sentence upon you."
"Through the victory won on Calvary we enter into newness of life; and as the old nature seeks to assert its supremacy, each uprising of it must be handed over to the Lord Jesus Christ, that He may deal with it. That He has dealt with it, through His death on the Cross, in a way which satisfies God and makes deliverance possible for us, is the foundational fact for Christian life and work." -G.W.
"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" (Galatians 6:8)
1-30 SPIRITUAL BALANCE
"Not I, but Christ" (Galatians 2:20)
Any abiding spiritual progress must be based upon our taking sides with God against the old life. Why? "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). "Enmity" knows no reconciliation; crucifixion is the only alternative!
"The life of Christ is the holiness of Christ. The reason we so often fail in the pursuit of holiness is that the old life, the flesh, in its own strength seeks for holiness as a beautiful garment to wear and enter heaven with. It is the daily death to self out of which the life of Christ rises up." -A.W.T.
"In receiving Christ we receive the divine-human life, a life that is death to the life of fallen nature, which finds its fruit in sin and self. The tragic mistake of thousands of believers is in trying to live in two worlds at the same time in nature and in God, in self and in Christ, in the flesh and in the Spirit, by faith and in independence, by abiding and by effort. To have life is not enough: the life of the Lord Jesus demands the death of the flesh, if that life is to be fully developed and become fruitful in us. Here is the crux of the whole matter."
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death" (Philippians 3:10)
1-31 WORTH WAITING FOR
"But ye are sanctified but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11)
The fact of our position, which we can see in the Word, may take years to realize in life. Many believers feel that their appropriation of a truth must result in same-day experience of that doctrine. It is true that we are often given a foretaste, a brief experience of its reality, but we must then settle down to the daily processing of the Spirit, whereby He slowly and thoroughly translates the apprehended truth into character and walk. Paul testified, "I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12). He pressed toward the mark.
"As a gift of grace, sanctification is conferred on each believer as soon as he believes. But it is a gift yet held on deposit, 'hid with Christ in God,' to be appropriated through daily communion and gradual apprehension. So, while the believer's realized sanctification appears painfully meager, at most a thin line of light, like the crescent of the new moon, yet he sees it ever complemented by the clear outlines of that rounded wholeness which is his in the Lord Jesus, and into which he is to be daily waxing till he grows to 'the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:13)" -A.J.G.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23)