Monday, March 18, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 17 - Through the Holy Spirit (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 17
Through the Holy Spirit
...the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you...and just as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)
How beautiful is the thought of a life always abiding in Christ! The longer we think of it, the more attractive it becomes. And yet how often it is that the precious words, "Abide in me," are heard by the young disciple with a sigh! It is as if he understands so little what they really mean and can realize so little how this full enjoyment can be attained. He longs for someone who could make it perfectly clear, and continually remind him that the abiding is indeed within his reach. If such an one would only listen to the word we have from John this day, what hope and joy it would bring him! It gives us the Divine assurance that we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit to teach us all things - to teach us how to abide in Christ.
Alas! someone answers, this word does not give me only depresses me more! For it tells me that there is another privilege that I so little know how to enjoy. I do not understand how the teaching of the Spirit is given — where or how I can discern His voice. If the Teacher is so unknown, no wonder that the promise of His teaching about the abiding does not help me much.
Thoughts like these come from an error which is very common among believers. They imagine that the Spirit, in teaching them, must reveal the mysteries of the spiritual life first to their intellect, and afterwards in their experience. Yet God's way is just the contrary of this. What holds true of all spiritual truth is especially true of the abiding in Christ...we must live and experience truth in order to know it. Life-fellowship with Jesus is the only school for the science of heavenly things. "What I am doing thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7 KJV) is a law of the kingdom, which is especially true of the daily cleansing of which it first was spoken, as well as our daily keeping. Receive what you do not comprehend, submit to what you cannot understand, accept and expect what to reason appears a mystery, believe what looks impossible, walk in a way that you do not know — these are the first lessons in the school of God. "If you abide in my word, you will understand the truth" - in these and other words of God we are taught that there is a habit of mind and life which precedes the understanding of the truth. True discipleship consists in first following, and then knowing the Lord. The believing surrender to Christ, and the submission to His word to expect what appears most improbable, is the only way to the full blessedness of knowing Him.
These principles hold especially true in regard to the teaching of the Spirit. That teaching consists in His guiding of the spiritual life within us towards that which God has prepared for us, without our always knowing how. On the strength of God's promise, while trusting in His faithfulness, the believer yields himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit, without claiming to have it first made clear to his intellect what he is to do. Yet the believer must consent to let Him do His work in the soul, and only afterwards to know what He has done there. Faith trusts the working of the unseen Spirit in the deep recesses of the inner life. And so the word of Christ and the gift of the Spirit are to.the believer sufficient guarantee that He will be taught of the Spirit to abide in Christ. By faith he rejoices in what he does not see or feel. He knows, and is confident that the blessed Spirit within is doing His work silently but surely, guiding him into the life of full abiding and unbroken communion. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is His work, not only to breathe, but ever to promote and strengthen, and to perfect the new life within. And just in the proportion that the believer yields himself in simple trust to the unseen but most certain law of the Spirit of life working within him, his faith will pass into knowledge. It will be rewarded by the Spirit's light revealing in the Word what has already been created in him by the Spirit's power.
Apply this now to the promise of the Spirit which teaches us to abide in Christ. The Holy Spirit is indeed the mighty power of God. And He comes to us from the heart of Christ, the bearer of Christ's life, the revealer and communicator of Christ Himself within us. In the expression, "the fellowship of the Spirit," we are taught what His highest work is. He is the bond of fellowship between the Father and the Son. By Him they are one. He is the bond of fellowship between all believers. By Him they are one also. Above all, He is the bond of fellowship between Christ and believers. He is the life-sap through which Vine and branch grow into real and living oneness. By Him we are one as well. And we can be assured that, if we only believe in His presence and His working in us, if we are careful not to grieve Him, because we know that He is in us, if we wait and pray to be filled with Him, He will teach us how to abide. He will do this first by guiding our will to whole-heartedly cleaving to Christ, then quickening our faith into ever-increasing confidence and expectation, and then breathing into our hearts a peace and joy that pass understanding, He teaches us to abide, yet we hardly know how. After this, He then comes through the heart and the life into our understanding, making us know the truth — not as mere thought-truth, but as the truth which is in Christ Jesus. This truth is the reflection into the mind of the light that He has already made a reality in the life. "The life was the light of men."
In view of such teaching, it is clear how, if we would desire the Spirit to guide us into the abiding life, our first need is quiet, restful faith. Amid all the questions and difficulties that may come up in connection with our striving to abide in Christ — amid all the longing we may sometimes feel to have an experienced Christian to aid us —amid the frequent painful consciousness of failure, ignorance, and helplessness — let us hold fast the blessed confidence: We have the anointing of the Holy One to teach us to abide in Him. "The anointing which you have received of Him abides In you...and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). Make this teaching of His in connection with the abiding a matter of special exercise of faith.
Believe that as surely as you have part in Christ, you have His Spirit too. Believe that He will do His work with power, if only you do not hinder Him. Believe that He is working, even when you cannot discern it. Believe that He will work mightily if you ask this from the Father. It is impossible to live the life of full abiding without being full of the Holy Spirit. Believe that the fullness of the Spirit is indeed your daily portion. Be sure to take time in prayer to dwell at the footstool of the throne of God and the Lamb. From there flows the river of the water of life. It is there, and only there, that you can be filled with the Spirit. Cultivate carefully the habit of daily, yes, continually honoring Him by the quiet, restful confidence that He is doing His work within you. Let faith in His indwelling make you jealous of whatever could grieve Him — whether the spirit of the world or the actions of self and the flesh. Let that faith seek its nourishment in the Word and all it says about the Spirit, His power, His comfort, and His work. Above all, let that faith in the Spirit's indwelling lead you especially to look away to Jesus. As we have received His anointing, it will come in ever stronger flow from Him as we are occupied with Him alone. Christ is the Anointed One. As we look up to Him, the holy anointing comes, "the precious ointment upon the head (of Aaron)...that went down to the skirts of his garments” (Psalm 133:2 KJV). It is faith in Jesus that brings the anointing. The anointing leads to Jesus, and to the abiding in Him alone.
Believer, abide in Christ, in the power of the Spirit. What do you think...should the abiding continue to be a fear or a burden? Surely not. Oh, if we could only know the graciousness of our Holy Comforter, and the blessedness of wholly yielding ourselves to His leading, we would indeed experience the Divine comfort of having such a teacher to secure our abiding in Christ. The Holy Spirit was given for this one purpose — that the glorious redemption and life in Christ might with Divine power be conveyed and communicated to us. We have the Holy Spirit to make the living Christ, in all His saving power, and in the completeness of His victory over sin, ever present within us. It is this that constitutes Him as the Comforter. With Him we have no reason to mourn an absent Christ. Let us, therefore, as often as we read, meditate, or pray in connection with this abiding in Christ, reckon upon it as a settled thing that we have the Spirit of God Himself within us, teaching, guiding, and working. Let us rejoice in the confidence that we must succeed in our desires, because the Holy Spirit is working all the time with secret but Divine power in the soul which does not hinder Him by its unbelief.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 16 - Forsaking All For Him (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 16
Forsaking All For Him
I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found In Him… (Phil. 3:8,9 KJV)
Wherever there is life, there is a continual interchange of taking in and giving out, receiving and restoring. The nourishment I take in is given out again in the work I do. In the impressions I receive, I give out in the thoughts and feelings I express. One depends upon the other — giving out always increases the power of taking in. All the enjoyment of life is In the healthy exercise of giving and taking.
It is so in the spiritual life, too. There are Christians who look on the blessedness of the spiritual life as consisting only in the privilege of receiving. They do not know how the capacity for receiving is only kept up and enlarged by continual giving up and giving out — how it is only in the emptiness that comes from the parting with what we have, that the Divine fulness can flow in. It was a truth our Savior continually insisted upon. When He spoke of selling all to secure the treasure, of losing our life to find it, of the hundredfold to those who forsake all, He was expounding the need for self-sacrifice as the law of the kingdom for Himself as well as for His disciples. If we are really to abide in Christ, and to be found in Him — to have our life always and wholly in Him — we must each in our measure say with Paul, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, that I may win Christ, and be found In Him."
Let us try to see what there is to be forsaken and given up. First of all, there is sin. There can be no true conversion without the giving up of sin. And yet, owing to the ignorance of the young convert of what sin really is, of what the claims of God's holiness are, and the extent to which the power of Jesus can enable us to conquer sin, the giving up of sin is only partial and superficial. With the growth of the Christian life there comes a desire for a deeper and more entire purging out of everything that is unholy. And it is especially when the desire to abide in Christ uninterruptedly, to be always found in Him, becomes strong, that the soul is led to see the need of a new act of surrender, in which it accepts afresh and ratifies its death to sin in Christ, and parts indeed with everything that is sin. Availing himself, in the strength of God's Spirit, of that wonderful power of our nature by which the whole of one's future life can be gathered up and disposed of in one act of the will, the believer yields himself to sin no more — to be only and wholly a servant of righteousness. He does it in the joyful assurance that every sin surrendered is gain indeed — making room for the inflowing of the presence and the love of Christ.
Next to the parting with unrighteousness, is the giving up of self-righteousness. Though we contend most earnestly against our own works or merits, it is often long before we come to really understand what it is to refuse to give self the least place or right in the service of God. Unconsciously, we allow the actings of our own mind, heart, and will free scope in God's presence. In prayer and worship, in Bible reading and working for God, instead of absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit's leading, self is expected to do a work it never can do. We are slow to learn the lesson, "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). As we learn this lesson, and we see how corruption extends to everything that is of nature, we then see that there can be no entire abiding in Christ without the giving up of all that is of self in religion. There indeed can be no entire abiding without giving it up to the death, and waiting for the breathings of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit alone is able to work in us what is acceptable in God's sight.
Then, again, there is our whole natural life, with all the powers and endowments bestowed upon us by the Creator, with all the occupations and interests with which Providence has surrounded us. It is not enough that, when once you are truly converted, you have the earnest desire to have all these natural gifts devoted to the service of the Lord. The desire is good, but it can neither teach the way nor give the strength to do it acceptably. Incalculable harm has been done to the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that when once we are God's children the using of our gifts in His service follows as a matter of course. No...for this there is indeed needed very special grace. And the way in which the grace comes is again through that of sacrifice and surrender. I must see how all my gifts and powers are, even though I be a child of God, still defiled by sin, and under the power of the flesh. I must feel that I cannot at once proceed to use them for God's glory. I must first lay them at Christ's feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him. I must feel myself utterly powerless to use them correctly. I must see that they are most dangerous to me, because through them the flesh - the old nature - self - will so easily exert its power. In this conviction I must part with them, giving them entirely up to the Lord. When He has accepted them, and set His stamp upon them, I receive them back, to hold them as His property, to wait on Him for the grace to daily use them aright, and to have them act only under His influence.
And so experience proves it true here too, that the path of entire consecration is the path of full salvation. Not only is what is thus given up received back again to become doubly our own, but the forsaking of all is followed by the receiving of all. We abide in Christ more fully as we forsake all and follow Him. As I count all things loss for His sake, I am found In Him. The same principle holds good for all the lawful occupations and possessions with which God entrusts us. Such were the fishnets on the Sea of Galilee, and the household duties of Martha of Bethany — the home and the friends of many of Jesus' disciples. Jesus taught them indeed to forsake all for Him. It was no arbitrary command, but the simple application of a law in nature to the kingdom of His grace — that the more perfectly the old occupant is cast out, the more completely can be the possession of the new, and the more entirely the renewal of all within.
This principle has a still deeper application. The truly spiritual gifts which are the working of God's own Holy Spirit within us — these surely need not be also given up and surrendered? They do indeed. The interchange of giving up and taking in is a life process, and may not cease for a moment. No sooner does the believer begin to rejoice in the possession of what he has, than the inflow of new grace is hindered, and stagnation threatens. It is only into the thirst of an empty soul that the streams of living waters flow. Ever thirsting is the secret of never thirsting. Each blessed experience we receive as a gift of God must at once be returned back to Him from whom it came, in praise and love, in self-sacrifice and service. Only so can it be restored to us again, fresh and beautiful with the bloom of heaven. Is not this the wonderful lesson that Isaac on Mt. Moriah teaches us? Was he not the son of promise, the God-given life, the wonder-gift of the omnipotence of Him who quickens the dead? (Rom. 4:17.) And yet even he had to be given up and sacrificed, that he might be received back again a thousandfold more precious than before — a type of the Only-begotten of the Father, whose pure and holy life had to be given up before He could receive it again in resurrection power, and make His people partakers of it. A type, too, of what takes place in the life of each believer, as, instead of resting content with past experiences or present grace, he presses on, forgetting and giving up all that is behind, and reaching out to the fullest possible attaining of Christ his life.
And is such surrender of all for Christ a single step, the act and experience of a moment, or is it a path of daily renewed and progressive attainment? It is both. There may be a moment in the life of a believer when he gets a first sight, or a deeper insight, into this most blessed truth. Then, being made willing in the day of God's power, he does indeed, in an act of the will, gather up all of life yet before him into the decision of a moment, and lay himself onto the altar as a living and an acceptable sacrifice. Such moments have often been the blessed transition from a life of wandering and failure to a life of abiding and power Divine. But even then his daily life becomes, what the life must be of each one who has no such experience, the unceasing prayer for more light on the meaning of entire surrender, the ever-renewed offering up of all he has to God.
Believer, if would you abide in Christ, see here then the blessed path. Nature shrinks back from such self-denial and crucifixion in its rigid application to our life to its whole extent. But what nature does not love and cannot perform, grace will accomplish, and make to you a life of joy and glory. Only yield up yourself to Christ your Lord. The conquering power of His incoming presence will make it joy to cast out all that was most precious before. "A hundredfold in this life” (Mark 10:30)...this word of the Master comes true to all who, with whole-hearted faithfulness, accept His commands to forsake all. The blessed receiving soon makes the giving up most blessed too. And the secret of a life of close abiding will be seen to be simply this: As I give myself wholly to Christ, I find the power to take Him wholly for myself; and as I lose myself and all I have for Him, He takes me wholly for Himself and gives Himself wholly to me.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 15 - At This Moment (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 15
At This Moment
Behold, Now is the accepted time; behold, Now is the day of salvation.”(2 Cor. 6:2)
The thought of living moment by moment is of such central importance—looking at the abiding in Christ from our side—that we want to speak of it once more. And to all who desire to learn the blessed art of living only a moment at a time, we want to say this...The way to learn it is to exercise yourself in living in the present moment. Each time your attention is free to occupy itself with the thought of Jesus,—whether it be with time to think and pray, or only for a few passing seconds—let your first thought be to say, “Now, at this moment, I do abide in Jesus.” Use this time, not in vain regrets that you have not been abiding fully, or still more hurtful fears that you will not be able to abide, but at once just to take the position that the Father has given you: "I am in Christ; this is the place God has given me. I accept it. Here I rest. I do now abide in Jesus." This is the way to learn to abide continually.
You may yet feel to be so feeble that you fear to say each day, "I am abiding in Jesus ;" but the feeblest can, each single moment, say, as he consents to occupy his place as a branch in the vine, "Yes, I do abide in Christ." It is not a matter of feeling — it is not a question of growth or strength in the Christian life — it is the simple question of whether your will at the present moment desires and consents to recognize the place you have in your Lord, and is willing to accept it. If you are a believer, you are in Christ. If you are in Christ, and wish to stay there, it is your duty to say, though it be only for a moment, "Blessed Savior, I abide in You now. You keep me now."
It has been well said that in that little word “now” lies one of the deepest secrets of the life of faith. At the close of a conference on the spiritual life, an experienced minister arose and spoke. He did not know that he had learned any truth that he did not know before, but he had learned how to use correctly what he had already known. He had learned that it was his privilege at each moment, whatever surrounding circumstances might be, to say, "Jesus saves me now." This is indeed the secret of rest and victory. I can say, "Jesus is to me at this moment all that God has given Him to be - life, and strength, and peace.” As I say it, I need to hold still, rest, and understand it. For in that moment I have what I need. As my faith sees how I am in Christ through God, and takes the place in Him my Father has provided, my soul can peacefully settle down. Now I abide in Christ.
Believer! When striving to find the way to abide in Christ from moment to moment, remember that the gateway is to abide in Him at this present moment. Instead of wasting effort by trying to get into a state that will last, just remember that it is Christ Himself, the living, loving Lord, who alone can keep you, and is waiting to do so. Begin at once and act by faith in Him for the present moment. This is the only way to be kept in the next moment. To attain the life of permanent and perfect abiding is not ordinarily given at once as a possession for the future. It comes mostly step by step. Avail yourself, therefore, of every opportunity of exercising the trust for the present moment.
Each time you bow in prayer, let there first be an act of simple devotion : "Father, I am in Christ. I now abide in Him." Each time that you have, in the midst of the bustle of duty, the opportunity to compose yourself, let your first involuntary act be: "I am still in Christ, abiding in Him now." Even when you are overtaken by sin, and your heart is all disturbed and excited, then let your first look upwards be with the words, "Father, I have sinned...and yet I come—though I blush to say it—as one who is in Christ. Father! here I am... I can take no other place. Through God I am in Christ. I now abide in Christ." Yes, Christian, in every possible circumstance, every moment of the day, the voice is calling, “Abide in me. Do it now.” And even now, as you are reading (or watching) this, O come at once, and enter upon the blessed life of always abiding, by doing it at once. Do it now.
In the life of David there is a beautiful passage which may help to make this thought clearer. David had been anointed king in Judah. The other tribes still followed Ish-bosheth, Saul's son. Abner, Saul's chief captain, resolved to lead the tribes of Israel to submit to David, the God-appointed king of the whole nation. He spoke to the elders of Israel:
Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you; now then do it, for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David will I save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.” (2 Sam. 3:17, 18 KJV)
And they did it, and anointed David a second time to be king, at this over all Israel, where at first he was king only over Judah (2 Sam. 5:3). This passage is a most instructive type of the way in which a soul is led to the life of entire surrender and undivided allegiance, to the full abiding.
First you have the divided kingdom: Judah, which is faithful to the king of God's choosing. Israel, which is still clinging to the king of its own choosing. As a consequence, the nation was divided against itself, and had no power to conquer its enemies. This is a picture of the divided heart. Jesus, accepted as King in Judah, the place of the holy mountain, which is like the inner chamber of the soul. However, the surrounding territory, which is like our every day life, is not yet brought into subjection. In this picture, more than half of the life is still ruled by self-will and its companions. And so there is no real peace within and no power over the enemies without.
Then there is the longing desire for a better state: "You sought for David in times past to be king over you." There was a time, when David had conquered the Philistines, that Israel believed in him, but they had been led astray. Abner appealed to their own knowledge of God's will, that David must rule overall. So the believer, when first brought to Jesus, did indeed want Him to be Lord over all, and had hoped that He alone would be king. But, alas! unbelief and self-will came in, and Jesus could not assert His power over the believer’s whole life. And yet the Christian is not content. How he longs—sometimes without daring to hope that it can be—for a better time!
Then follows God's promise. Abner says: ‘For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, "The Lord hath spoken, By the hand of David I will save my people from the hand of all their enemies." He appealed to God's promise. As David had conquered the Philistines, the nearest enemy in time past, so he alone could conquer those farther off. He would save Israel from the hand of all their enemies. This is a beautiful type of the promise by which the soul is now invited to trust Jesus for the victory over every enemy, and a life of undisturbed fellowship. "The Lord has spoken..."—this is our only hope. On that word rests the sure expectation :
"As He spoke...that we should be saved from the hand of...all who hate us, to perform...the oath which He grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life” (Luke 1:70-75).
David reigning over every corner of the land, and leading a united and obedient people on from victory to victory: this is the promise of what Jesus can do for us, as soon as, by faith in God's promise, we surrender all to Him, and we give up our whole lives to be kept abiding in Him.
"Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you," spoke Abner, and added, "Then do it now." Do it now is the message that this story brings to each one of us who longs to give Jesus unreserved supremacy. Whatever the present moment is, however unprepared this message finds you, however sad the divided and hopeless state of your life may be, still I come and urge Christ's claim on you to make an immediate surrender...this very moment. I know well that it will take time for the blessed Lord to assert His power, and order all within you according to His will - to conquer the enemies and train all your powers for His service. This is not the work of a moment. But there are things which are the work of a moment - of this moment. This one is your surrender of all to Jesus...Your surrender of yourself to live entirely only in Him. As time goes on, and exercise has made your faith stronger and brighter, this surrender may become clearer and more intelligent. But no one may wait for THIS. The only way ever to attain to it is to begin at once. Do it now. Surrender yourself this very moment to abide wholly, only, always in Jesus. It is the work of a moment. And in the same way, Christ's renewed acceptance of you is the work of a moment also. Be assured that He has you and holds you as His own, and that each new "Jesus, I do abide in You," meets with an immediate and most hearty response from the Unseen One. No act of faith can be in vain. He does indeed take hold of us and draw us close to Himself. Therefore, as often as the message comes to you, or the thought of it comes to you, Jesus says, “Abide in me: do it at once.” Each moment, there is the whisper, “Do it now.”
Let any Christian begin, then, and he will speedily experience how the blessing of the present moment is passed on to the next. It is the unchanging Jesus to whom he links himself. It is the power of a Divine life, in its unbroken continuity, that takes possession of him. The “do it now” of the present moment—a little thing though it seems—is nothing less than the beginning of the “ever-present now,” which is the mystery and the glory of Eternity. Therefore, Christian, abide in Christ. Do it now.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 14 - Day By Day (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 14
Day By Day
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. (Ex.16:4 NASB)
'THE day's portion every day...This was the rule for God's giving and man's working in the ingathering of the manna. It is still the law in all the dealings of God's grace with His children. A clear insight into the beauty and application of this arrangement is a wonderful help in understanding how one, who feels himself utterly weak, can have the confidence and the perseverance to hold on brightly through all the years of his earthly course. A doctor was once asked by a patient who had met with a serious accident: "Doctor, how long will I have to lie here?" The answer, "Only a day at a time," taught the patient a precious lesson. It was the same lesson God had recorded for His people of all ages long before: The day's portion every day.
It was without doubt, in view of this, and to meet man's weakness, that God graciously appointed the change of day and night. If God had given time to man in the form of one long unbroken day, it would have exhausted and overwhelmed him. The change of day and night continually recruits and re-creates his powers. A child easily masters the lessons in a book when each day he is only given one lesson to learn.  Yet he would be utterly hopeless if the whole book were given to him all at once. So it would be with man, if there were no divisions in time. Broken small and divided into fragments, he can bear them. Only the care and the work of each day have to be undertaken—the day's portion every day. The rest that he receives in the the night fits him for making a fresh start each new morning. The mistakes of the past can be avoided and its lessons improved. He has only to be faithful each day for that one short day.  As a result, long years and a long life will take care of themselves, without the sense of their length or their weight ever becoming a burden to him.
Most sweet is the encouragement to be derived from this truth in the life of grace. Many a soul is disquieted with the thought as to how it will be able to gather and to keep the manna needed for all its years of travel through such a barren wilderness. That soul has never learned what unspeakable comfort there is in the phrase “The day's portion every day.” That phrase takes away all care for tomorrow most completely. Only today is yours. Tomorrow is the Father's. The question: ’What security do you have that during all the years in which you have to contend with the coldness, temptations, or trials of the world, that you will always be able to abide in Jesus?” is a question you do not need to fact that you should not ask. Manna, as your food and strength, is given only by the day. To fill the present faithfully is your only security for the future. Accept, enjoy, and fulfill with your whole heart the part you have to perform this day. His presence and grace which you enjoy today will remove all doubt as to whether you can entrust tomorrow to Him too.
How great is the value that this truth teaches us to attach to each single day! We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little today, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole. One day lost is a link broken in the chain. It often takes more than another day to replace the lost day. One day lost influences the next, and makes keeping it more difficult. In fact, one day lost may be the loss of what months or years of careful labor had secured. The experience of many a believer could confirm this.
Believer, if you would abide in Jesus, let it be day by day. You have already heard the message, moment by moment. The lesson of day by day has something more to teach us. There are many moments where there is no direct exercise of the mind on your part. The abiding is in the deeper recesses of the heart, kept by the Father, to whom you entrusted yourself. But here is the work that has to be renewed each day—the renewing of surrender and trust for the life of “moment by moment.’ God has gathered up the moments and bound them up into a bundle, for the very purpose that we might take stock of them. As we look forward in the morning, or look back in the evening, and weigh the moments, we learn how to value and how to use them rightly. And even as the Father, with each new morning, meets you with the promise of just sufficient manna for the day for yourself and those who have to partake with you, meet Him with the bright and loving renewal of your acceptance of the position He has given you in His beloved Son. Accustom yourself to look upon this as one of the reasons for the appointment of day and night. God thought of our weakness, and sought to provide for it.
Let each day have its value from your calling to abide in Christ. As its light opens on your waking eyes, accept it on these terms: A day, just one day only, but still a day, given to abide and grow up in Jesus Christ. Whether it be a day of health or sickness, joy or sorrow, rest or work, of struggle or victory, let the chief thought with which you receive it in the morning thanksgiving be this: "This is a day that the Father has given it I may...I must become more closely united to Jesus." As the Father asks, "Can you trust me just for this one day to keep you abiding in Jesus, and to trust Jesus to keep you fruitful?" you can only give the joyful response: "I will trust and not be afraid."
The day's portion every day was given to Israel in the morning very early. The portion was for use and nourishment during the whole day, but the giving and the getting of it was the morning's work. This suggests how greatly the power to spend a day rightly, to abide all day in Jesus, depends on the morning hour. If the firstfruits are holy, the lump is holy. During the day, hours of intense occupation in the rush of business or the throng of men may come, when only the Father's keeping can maintain an unbroken connection with Jesus. The morning manna fed the Israelites all day long. It is only when the believer in the morning secures his quiet time in secret to distinctly and effectively renew loving fellowship with his Savior, that the abiding can be kept up all the day. But what cause for thanksgiving that it can be done! In the morning, with its freshness and quiet, the believer can look out upon the day. He can consider its duties and its temptations, and pass through them beforehand, as it were, with his Savior, throwing all upon the One who has undertaken to be everything to him. Christ is his manna, his nourishment, his strength, his life. He can take the day's portion for the day.  He can take Christ as his for all the needs of the day, and go on in the assurance that the day will be one of blessing and of growth.
And then, as the student takes lesson of the value and the work of the single day to heart, he is unconsciously being led on to get the secret of "day by day continually" (Ex. 29:38). The blessed abiding grasped by faith for each day apart is an unceasing and ever-increasing growth. Each day of faithfulness brings a blessing for the next and makes both the trust and the surrender easier and more blessed. And so the Christian life grows. As we give our whole heart to the work of each day, it becomes all the day, and from that every day. And so each day separately, all the day continually, day by day successively, we abide in Jesus. And the days make up the life. What once appeared too high and too great to attain, is given to the soul which was content to take and use every day his portion “as the duty of every day required" (Ezra 3:4 KJV).  Even here on earth the voice is heard: "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make your ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matt. 25:23).
Our daily life becomes a wonderful interchange of God's daily grace and our daily praise: “He loads us with benefits” (Ps. 68:19);  "...that I may daily perform my vows” (Ps. 61:8). We learn to understand God's reason for daily giving, as He most certainly gives, just enough, but also fully enough, for each day. And we get into HIS way, the way of daily asking and expecting just enough, but most certainly fully enough, for the day. We begin to number our days not from the sun's rising over the world, nor by the work we do or the food we eat, but by the daily renewal of the miracle of the manna...the blessedness of daily fellowship with Him who is the Life and the Light of the world. The heavenly life is as unbroken and continuous as the earthly. The abiding in Christ each day has for that day brought its blessing. We abide in Him every day, and all the day. Lord, make this the portion of each one of us.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Andrew Murray - Day 13 - Every Moment (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 13
Every Moment
In that day sing to her, ‘A vineyard of red wine! I, the Lord, keep it. I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.(Isaiah 27:2,3)
THE vineyard was the symbol of the people of Israel, in whose midst the True Vine was to stand. The branch is the symbol of the individual believer, who stands in the Vine. The song of the vineyard is also the song of the Vine and its every branch. The command still goes forth to the watchers of the vineyard,—if only they had they obeyed it, and sang until every feeble-hearted believer had learned and joined the joyful strain—“...sing to her...I, the Lord, keep it. I water it every moment. Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.”
What an answer from the mouth of God Himself to the question which is so often asked: Is it possible for the believer always to abide in Jesus? Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Son of God indeed attainable here in this earthly life? Truly not, if the abiding is our work, to be done in our strength. But the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. If the Lord Himself will keep the soul night and day...yes, will watch and water it every moment, then surely the uninterrupted communion with Jesus becomes a blessed possibility to those who can trust God to mean and to do what He says. Then, surely the abiding of the branch of the vine day and night, summer and winter, in a never ceasing life-fellowship, is nothing less than the simple but certain promise of your abiding in your Lord.
In one sense, it is true, there is no believer who does not always abide in Jesus. Without this there could not be true life. "If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out…” (John 15:6). But when the Savior gives the command, "Abide in me," with the promise, "He who abides in me brings forth much fruit” (John 15:5), He speaks of that willing, intelligent, and whole-hearted surrender by which we accept His offer and consent to the abiding in Him as the only life we choose or seek.
There are chiefly two objections raised against our right to expect that we shall always be able to voluntarily and consciously abide in Jesus. The first one is derived from the nature of man. It is said that our limited powers prevent our being occupied with two things at the same moment. God's providence places many Christians in business, where for hours at a time the closest attention is required to the work they have to do. How can such a person, it is asked, with his whole mind in the work he has to do, be at the same time occupied with Christ, and keep up fellowship with Him? The consciousness of abiding in Jesus is regarded as requiring such a strain, and such a direct occupation of the mind with heavenly thoughts, that to enjoy the blessing would imply a withdrawal of oneself from all the ordinary business of life. This is the same error which drove the first monks into the wilderness.
Blessed be God, there is no necessity for such going out of the world. Abiding in Jesus is not a work that needs the mind to be engaged each moment, or the feelings to be directly and actively occupied with it. It is an entrusting of oneself to the keeping of the Eternal Love, in the faith that it will abide near us, and with its holy presence watch over us and ward off the evil, even when we have to be most intensely occupied with other things. And so the heart has rest and peace and joy in the consciousness of being kept when it cannot keep itself.
In ordinary life, we have abundant illustration of the influence of a supreme affection reigning in and guarding the soul, while the mind has to concentrate itself on work that requires its whole attention. Think of the father of a family, separated for a time from his home, so that he may secure for his loved ones what they need. He loves his wife and children, and longs greatly to return to them. There may be hours of intense occupation when he has not a moment to think of them, and yet his love is as deep and real as when he can call up their images. All the time, his love and the hope of making them happy urge him on, and fill him with a secret joy in his work. Think also of a king. In the midst of work, pleasure, and trial, he all the time acts under the secret influence of the consciousness of royalty, even while he is not thinking of it. A loving wife and mother never for one moment loses the sense of her relation to her husband and children. The consciousness and the love are there, amid all her busyness. And can it be thought impossible for the Everlasting Love to so take and keep possession of our spirits, that we too will never for a moment lose the secret consciousness: We are in Christ, kept in Him by His almighty power!
Oh, it is possible... we can be sure it is. Our abiding in Jesus is even more than a fellowship of love—it is a fellowship of life. In work or at rest, the consciousness of life never leaves us. And even so can the mighty power of the Eternal Life maintain within us the consciousness of its presence. Or rather, Christ, who is our life, Himself dwells within us, and by His presence maintains our consciousness that we are in Him.
The second objection has reference to our sinfulness. Christians are so accustomed to look upon sinning daily as something absolutely inevitable, that they regard it as a matter of course that no one can keep up abiding fellowship with the Savior. We must sometimes be unfaithful and fail. As if it were not just because we have a nature which is nothing but a very fountain of sin, that the abiding in Christ has been ordained for us as our only and our sufficient deliverance! As if it were not that the Heavenly Vine, the living, loving Christ, in whom we have to abide, and whose almighty power to hold us fast is to be the measure of our expectations! As if He would give us the command, "Abide in me," without providing the grace and the power to enable us to perform it! As if, above all, we did not have the Father as the Gardener to keep us from falling, and that not in a general sense only, but also according to His own precious promise: "Night and day, every moment!" Oh, if we will only look to our God as the Keeper of Israel, of whom it is said, "The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul” (Psalm 121:7), we will learn to believe that conscious abiding in Christ every moment, night and day, is indeed what God has prepared for those who love Him.
My beloved fellow Christians, let nothing less than this be your aim. I know well that you may not find it easy to attain, that there may come more than one hour of weary struggle and bitter failure. Were the Church of Christ what it should be—were older believers to younger converts what they should be, witnesses to God's faithfulness, like Caleb and Joshua, encouraging their brethren to go up and possess the land by saying, "We are well able to overcome it...if the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land…” (Numbers 13:30, 14:8); were the atmosphere which the young believer breathes as he enters the fellowship of the saints be that of a healthy, trustful, joyful consecration, then abiding in Christ would come as the natural outgrowth of being in Him. But in the sickly state in which such a great part of the body is, souls that are pressing after this blessing are greatly hindered by the depressing influence of the thoughts and the lives around them. It is not to discourage that I say this, but to warn, and to urge to cast ourselves more entirely upon the Word of God Himself. There may come more than one hour in which you are ready to yield to despair; but be of good courage. Only believe. He who has put the blessing within your reach will surely lead you to possess it.
The way in which souls enter into the possession may differ. To some it may come as the gift of a moment. In times of revival, in the fellowship with other believers in whom the Spirit is working effectively, under the leading of some servant of God who can guide, and sometimes in solitude too, it is as if a new revelation comes upon the soul all at once. It sees, as in the light of heaven, the strong Vine holding and bearing the feeble branches so securely, that doubt becomes impossible. It can only wonder how it ever could have understood the words to mean anything else than this: To abide unceasingly in Christ is the portion of every believer. The soul sees this; and to believe and rejoice and love come as a result.
To others it comes by a slower and more difficult path. Day by day, amid discouragement and difficulty, the soul has to press forward. Be of good cheer; this way too leads to the rest. Only seek to keep your heart set upon the promise: "I The Lord do keep It, night and day." Take from His own lips the watchword: "every moment." In this word you have the law of His love, and the law of your hope. Be content with nothing less. Do not think any longer that the duties and the cares, that the sorrows and the sins, of this life must succeed in hindering the abiding life of fellowship. Instead take the language of faith for the rule of your daily experience: I am persuaded that neither death with its fears, nor life with its cares, nor things present with their pressing claims, nor things to come with their dark shadows, nor height of joy, nor depth of sorrow, nor any other creature, will be able, for one single moment, to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, and in which He is teaching me to abide. (See Romans 8:38, 39). If things look dark and faith seems to fail, sing again the song of the vineyard: "I, the Lord, keep it. I water it every moment. Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.” And be assured that, if Jehovah keeps the branch night and day, and waters it every moment, a life of continuous and unbroken fellowship with Christ is indeed our privilege.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 12 - God Himself Will Establish You (Video Devotional plus text)

Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 12
God Himself Will Establish You
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed God,...” (2 Cor. 1:21)
These words of Paul teach us a much needed and most blessed truth—that just as our first being united with Christ was the work of Divine power, so we may look to the Father, too, for being kept and being fixed more firmly in Him. "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me" (Psalm 138:8a)—this expression of confidence should always accompany the prayer, "Do not forsake the works of Your hands" (Psalm 138:8b). In all his longings and prayers to attain to a deeper and more perfect abiding in Christ, the believer must hold fast his confidence: "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil: 1:6). There is nothing that will so help to root and ground him in Christ as this faith: "He who establishes God."
How many are there who can attest to the fact that this faith is just what they need! They continually mourn over the inconsistency of their spiritual life. Sometimes there are hours and days of deep earnestness, and even of blessed experience in the grace of God. But how little is needed to ruin their peace, to bring a cloud over the soul! And then, how their faith is shaken! All efforts to regain their standing appear utterly fruitless. Neither solemn vows nor watching and prayer help to restore to them the peace they had tasted for awhile. Could they only understand how just their own efforts are the cause of their failure, because it is God alone who can establish us in Christ Jesus. They would see that just as in justification they had to cease from their own working, and to accept in faith the promise that God would give them life in Christ, so now, in the matter of their sanctification, their first need is to cease from striving themselves to establish the connection with Christ more firmly, and to allow God to do it. "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). What they need is the simple faith that the act of establishing in Christ, day by day, is God's work—a work that He delights to do, in spite of all our weakness and unfaithfulness, if we will only trust Him for it.
Many can testify to the blessedness of such a faith and the experience it brings. What peace and rest, to know that there is a Gardener who cares for the branch, to see that it grows stronger, and that its union with the Vine becomes more perfect. This Gardener watches over every hindrance and danger, and supplies every needed aid! What peace and rest, fully and finally to give up our abiding into the care of God, and never to have a wish or thought, never to offer a prayer or engage in an exercise connected with it, without first having the glad remembrance that what we do is only the manifestation of what God is doing in us! Establishing us in Christ is His work. He accomplishes it by stirring us to watch and to wait and to work. But this He can do with power only as we cease interrupting Him by our self-working—as we accept in faith the dependent posture which honors Him and opens the heart to let Him work. How such a faith frees the soul from care and responsibility! In the midst of the rush and bustle of the world's stirring life, amid the subtle and ceaseless temptations of sin, amid all the daily cares and trials that so easily distract and lead to failure, how blessed it would be to be an established Christian— always abiding in Christ! How blessed even to have the faith that one can surely become it...that the attainment is within our reach!
Dear believer, the blessing is indeed within your reach. ‘He who establishes you with us in God.” What I want you to take in is this: that believing this promise will not only give you comfort, but will be the means of your obtaining your desire. You know how Scripture teaches us that in all God's leadings of His people, faith has everywhere been the one condition of the manifestation of His power. Faith is the ceasing from all nature's efforts, and all other dependence. Faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God's promise, and claiming its fulfillment. Faith is putting ourselves quietly into God's hands for Him to do His work. What you and I need now is to take time, until this truth stands out before us in all its spiritual brightness: It is God Almighty, God the Faithful and Gracious One, who has undertaken to establish us in Christ Jesus.
Listen to what the Word teaches you: "The Lord will establish you as a holy people unto Himself” (Deut. 28:9). "O Lord God, fix their heart toward You’ (1 Chron. 29:18). "Your God loved Israel, to establish them forever;" ""Now to Him who is able to establish you, be glory through Jesus Christ forever" (Rom. 16:25, 27) "That He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness” (1 Thess. 3:13). "But the Lord Is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one" (2 Thess. 3:3) "The God of all grace, who has called Christ Jesus...perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). Can you take these words to mean anything less than that you too—however unsettled your spiritual life has up to this time been, however unfavorable your natural character or your circumstances may appear—can be established in Christ Jesus...that you can become an established Christian? Let us only take time to listen, in simple childlike teachableness, to these words as the truth of God, and the confidence will come: As surely as I am in Christ, I will also, day by day, be established in Him.
The lesson appears so simple, and yet most of us take so long to learn it. The chief reason is this...that the grace the promise offers is so large, so God-like, so beyond all our thoughts, that we do not take it really to mean what it says. The believer who has once come to see and to accept what it brings can bear witness to the wonderful change that comes over the spiritual life. Up to this time, he had taken charge of his own he has a God to take charge of it. He now knows himself to be in the school of God. He has a Teacher who plans the whole course of study for each of His pupils with infinite wisdom, and delights to have them come daily for the lessons He has to give. All he asks is to feel himself constantly in God's hands, and to follow His guidance, neither lagging behind Him nor going ahead of Him. Remembering that it is God who works both to will and to do, he sees his only safety to be in yielding himself to God's working. He lays aside all anxiety about his inner life and its growth, because the Father is the Gardener under whose wise and watchful care each plant is well secured. He knows that there is the prospect of a most blessed life of strength and fruitfulness to every one who will take God alone and wholly as his hope.
Believer, you must admit that such a life of trust must be a most blessed one. You say, perhaps, that there are times when you do, with your whole heart, consent to this way of living, and that you do completely abandon the care of your inner life to your Father. But somehow it does not last. You forget again, and instead of beginning each morning with the joyous transfering of all the needs and cares of your spiritual life to the Father's charge, you again feel anxious, burdened, and helpless. Is it not, perhaps, my brother or sister, because you have not committed to the Father's care this matter of daily remembering to renew your entire surrender? Memory is one of the highest powers in our nature. By it day is linked to day, the unity of life through all our years is kept up, and we know that we are still ourselves. In the spiritual life, recollection is of infinite value. For the sanctifying of our memory, in the service of our spiritual life, God has provided most bountifully. The Holy Spirit is the Rememberer, the Spirit of recollection. Jesus said, "He will bring to your remembrance all things…(John 14:26). "He who establishes us with you in God, who has also sealed us, and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (1 Cor. 1:21-22). It is just for the establishing of us in Him that the Holy Rememberer has been given. Each day God will enable you to remember His blessed promises as well as your unceasing acts of faith and surrender in accepting them. The Holy Spirit is—blessed be God —the memory of the new man.
Apply this to the promise of the text: "He who establishes God." As you now, at this moment, abandon all anxiety about your growth and progress to the God who has undertaken to establish you in the Vine, and to feel what a joy it is to know that God alone has charge, ask and trust Him by the Holy Spirit always to remind you of this your blessed relationship to Him. He will do it. With each new morning your faith may grow stronger and brighter. I have a God who sees to it that each day I become more firmly united to Christ.
And now, beloved fellow believer, "may the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus...perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you" (1 Peter 5:10) What more can you desire? Expect it confidently. Ask it fervently. Count on God to do His work. And learn in faith to sing the song, the notes of which each new experience will make deeper and sweeter:” Now to Him who is able to establish you, be glory through Jesus Christ forever" (Rom.16:25, 27). Yes, glory to God, who has undertaken to establish us in Christ!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Abide In Christ - Day 11 - The Crucified One (Video Devotional)

Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
Day 11
The Crucified One
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.—(Gal. 2:20 KJV)
We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” —(Rom. 5:5 KJV)
"I am crucified with Christ:" Thus the apostle expresses his assurance of his fellowship with Christ in His sufferings and death, and his full participation in all the power and the blessing of that death. And, showing that he really did mean what he said and knew that he was indeed now dead, he added: "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me." How blessed must be the experience of such a union with the Lord Jesus! To be able to look upon His death as mine, just as truly it was His. To be able to look upon His perfect obedience to God, His victory over sin, and complete deliverance from its power as mine. And then to realize that the power of that death does, by faith, work daily with a Divine energy in putting to death the flesh, and renewing the whole life into the perfect conformity to the resurrection life of Jesus! Abiding in Jesus, the Crucified One, is the secret to the growth of that new life which is ever begotten of the death of nature.
Let us try to understand this. The suggestive expression, "Planted into the likeness of His death," will teach us what the abiding in the Crucified One means. When a graft is united with the stock on which it is to grow, we know that it must be kept fixed in place. It must abide in that place where the stock has been cut, and thereby wounded, to make an opening to receive the graft. There is no graft without wounding—the laying bare and opening up of the inner life of the tree to receive the foreign branch. It is only through such wounding that access can be obtained to the fellowship of the sap and the growth and the life of the stronger stem. Even so with Jesus and the sinner. Only when we are planted into the likeness of His death shall we also be in the likeness of His resurrection, partakers of the life and the power which are in Him. In the death of the cross, Christ was wounded, and in His opened wounds a place prepared where we might be grafted in. And just as one might say to a graft, and does practically say as it is fixed in its place, "Abide here in the wound of the stem, that is now to bear you," so to the believing soul the message comes, "Abide in the wounds of Jesus; there is the place of union, and life, and growth. There you will see how His heart was opened to receive you. How His flesh was rent that the way might be opened for your being made one with Him, and having access to all the blessings flowing from His Divine nature."
You have also noticed how the graft has to be torn away from the tree where it by nature grew, and to be cut into conformity to the place prepared for it in the wounded stem. Even so the believer has to be made conformable to Christ's death—to be crucified and to die with Him. The wounded stem and the wounded graft are cut to fit into each other, into each other's likeness. There is a fellowship between Christ's sufferings and your sufferings. His experiences must become yours. The disposition He manifested in choosing and bearing the cross must be yours. Like Him, you will have to give full assent to the righteous judgment and curse of a holy God against sin. Like Him, you have to consent to yield your life to death, as laden with sins and curses, and through it to pass to the new life. Like Him, you will experience that it is only through the self-sacrifice of Gethsemane and Calvary that the path is to be found to the joy and the fruit-bearing of the resurrection life. The more clearly the resemblance between the wounded stem and the wounded graft, the more exactly their wounds fit into each other, the surer and the easier, and the more complete will be the union and the growth.
It is in Jesus, the Crucified One, I must abide. I must learn to look upon the Cross as not only an atonement to God, but also a victory over the devil. I must look upon it not only as a deliverance from the guilt, but also from the power of sin. I must gaze on Him who is on the cross as wholly mine, offering Himself to receive me into the closest union and fellowship, and to make me partaker of the full power of His death to sin, and the new life of victory to which it is only the gateway. I must yield myself to Him in an undivided surrender, with much prayer and strong desire, imploring to be admitted into the ever closer fellowship and conformity of His death, and of the Spirit in which He died that death.
Let me try to understand why the cross is thus the place of union. On the cross the Son of God entered into the fullest union with man. There He entered into the fullest experience of what it says to have become a son of man, a member of a race under the curse. It is in death that the Prince of life conquered the power of death. It is in death alone that He can make me partaker of that victory. The life He imparts is a life from the dead. Each new experience of the power of that life depends upon the fellowship of the death. The death and the life are inseparable. All the grace which Jesus the Saving One gives is given only in the path of fellowship with Jesus the Crucified One. Christ came and took my place. I must put myself in His place, and abide there. And there is the only place which is both His and mine. That place is the cross. It is His by virtue of His free choice. It is mine, because of the curse of sin. He came there to seek me. There alone I can find Him. When He found me there, it was the place of cursing. This He experienced, for "cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree (Gal. 3:13). He made it a place of blessing. This blessing I experience, for Christ has delivered us from the curse, being made a curse for us. When Christ comes in my place, He remains what He was, the beloved of the Father. But in the fellowship with me, He shares my curse and dies my death. When I stand in His place, which is still always mine, I am still what I was by nature, the accursed one, who deserves to die. But as united to Him, I share His blessing, and receive His life. When He came to be one with me, He could not avoid the cross, for the curse always points to the cross as its end and fruit. And when I seek to be one with Him, I cannot avoid the cross either, for nowhere but on the cross are life and deliverance to be found. As inevitably as my curse pointed Him to the cross as the only place where He could be fully united to me, His blessing points me to the cross too as the only place where I can be united to Him. He took my cross for His own. I must take His cross as my own. I must be crucified with Him. It is as I abide daily, deeply in Jesus the Crucified One, that I will taste the sweetness of His love, the power of His life, the completeness of His salvation.
Beloved believer! It is a deep mystery, this mystery of the cross of Christ. I fear there are many Christians who are content to look upon the cross, with Christ on it dying for their sins, who have little heart for fellowship with the Crucified One. They hardly understand that He is inviting them to it. Or, they are content to consider the ordinary afflictions of life, which the children of the world often have as much as they, as their share of Christ's cross. They have no conception of what it is to be crucified with Christ, that bearing the cross means likeness to Christ in the principles which animated Him in His path of obedience. The entire surrender of all self-will, the complete denial to the flesh of its every desire and pleasure, the perfect separation from the world in all its ways of thinking and acting, the losing and hating of one's life, the giving up of self and its interests for the sake of others—this is the disposition which marks the one who has taken up Christ's cross, who seeks to say, ''I am crucified with Christ; I abide in Christ, the Crucified One."
Would you in very deed please your Lord, and live in as close fellowship with Him as His grace could keep you? O ask that His Spirit would lead you into this blessed truth...this secret of the Lord for them who fear Him. We know how Peter knew and confessed Christ as the Son of the living God while the cross was still an offence (Matt. 16;16, 17, 21-23). The faith that believes in the blood that pardons and the life that renews, can only reach its perfect growth as it abides beneath the cross, and in living fellowship with Him seeks for perfect conformity with Jesus the Crucified.
O Jesus, our crucified Redeemer, do not teach us only to believe on You, but to abide in You, to take Your cross not only as the basis of our pardon, but also as the law of our life. O teach us not only to love it because on it You bore our curse, but because on it we enter into the closest fellowship with you, and are crucified with You. And teach us, that as we yield ourselves wholly to be possessed of the Spirit with which You bore the cross, we will be made partakers of the power and the blessing to which the cross alone gives access.

Check Out My New Facebook Page - Flyover Country!