The Riches of the Destitute

…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24

The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).

By Oswald Chambers

Living Above Your Circumstances

Philippians 1:12-18

Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during a long and unjust imprisonment. However, this short epistle is full of rejoicing. Paul never complains or casts blame for his situation, because he has learned to live above his circumstances.

Most people have a different response to difficulty. First, in an attempt to make themselves feel better, they try blaming someone else for the problem, but this results only in broken relationships. Next, they complain, which gets pity from others but enhances the problem in their own minds. Finally, they search for a way out of the situation and usually make things worse in the process.

Paul knew that there was a strategy for living above one’s circumstances rather than merely muddling through them: He shifted his focus. Instead of examining his problem and whining about it, he looked to God. Praise came from his lips: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God wants to hear our honest concerns and even anger or confusion about our trials, but He also wants us to trust Him to see us through. Focusing on the Lord and praising Him does not mean we pretend to enjoy tough times—that would be insincere. But we can honestly acknowledge that He is in control of the situation and will guide our every step, just as He promised (Prov. 3:5-6).

Believers have a simple choice. We can wallow in self-pity, or we can look to Jesus Christ and learn to live above our circumstances. Which of the two will you choose?

Wonderful Words of Life

“Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.” (Psalm 119:129)

Modern liberals may ridicule Bible-believing Christians as bibliolaters, but the fact is that it is not possible to place the Bible on too high a pedestal. “Thy testimonies are wonderful,” the psalmist says, for “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor” (Isaiah 9:6), whose testimonies they are.

Consider just how wonderful are the Scriptures. They were written in the heart of God even before the creation. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Then, “at sundry times and in divers manners,” this eternal Word of God was conveyed to men, as God “spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). Finally, it was complete, and the last of the prophets concluded it with an all-embracing warning: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18-19). Critics who tamper with the words of the Bible are on dangerous ground, the psalmist said: “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Eternal in the past; inviolable in the present; forever in the future! All we shall ever need for our guidance is to be found in God’s wonderful testimonies: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable. . . . That the man of God may be perfect” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It is not possible to have too high a view of Scripture, “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). HMM

Yes, I have called you friends

Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected, hereby know we that we are in Him.—1 John 2:5.
I have called you friends.—John 15:15.

THE hands that tend the sick tend Christ j the willing feet that go on errands of love, work for Christ j the words of comfort to the sorrowful, and of sympathy to the mourner, are spoken in the name of Christ—Christ comforts the world
through His friends. How much have you done for Him? What sort of a friend have you been to Him? God is working through His people; Christ is succoring through His friends—it is the vacancies in the ranks of His friends wherein the mischief lies: come and fill one gap. ARTHUR F. WINNINGTON INGRAM.

It is true that love cannot be forced, that it cannot be made, to order, that we cannot love because we ought, or even because we want. But we can bring ourselves into the presence of the lovable. We can enter into Friendship through the door of Discipleship; we can learn love through service; and the day will come to us also, when the Master’s word will be true, “I call you no longer servant, but friend.” HUGH BLACK.

Through His will, loved and done, lies the path to His love.
ANDREW MURRAY

As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same

As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that he might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14,15

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. — For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

1 Corinthians 15:55,57. 2 Corinthians 4:16. 2 Corinthians 5:1,6-8. John 14:13.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26

Not every one that saith, … Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. — Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. —Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Matthew 7:21. Hebrews 12:14. 2 Peter 1:5-10. Ephesians 2:8,9.