VIDEO My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

Aug 19, 2010

One of my favorite hymns. This song is from the album, “Together for the Gospel Live” from Sovereign Grace Music.

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On the Edge – The Compelling Purpose of God

On the Edge
woman on edge

Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. —John 8:34

There’s an underground lava tube south of Kuna, Idaho, that has gained a certain amount of local notoriety. The only entrance, as far as I know, is a yawning shaft that plunges straight down into darkness.

Some years ago I stood at the edge of that shaft and looked down. I was drawn to venture closer and almost lost my balance. I felt a moment of heart-pounding terror and stepped away from the opening.

Sin is like that: Curiosity can draw us toward the darkness. How often have men and women gotten too close to the edge, lost their balance, and fallen into the darkness? They’ve destroyed their families, reputations, and careers through adulterous affairs that began with a “mere” flirtation but then progressed to thoughts and actions. Looking back they almost always say, “I never thought it would come to this.”

We think we can flirt with temptation, get very close to the edge, and walk away, but that’s a fool’s dream. We know an action is wrong and yet we toy with it. Then, inescapably, we are drawn into deeper and darker perversions. Jesus put it simply: “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).

And so, seeing our own need for God’s help, we pray as David did in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back Your servant also from [deliberate] sins; let them not have dominion over me.”

Heavenly Father, whether we are being tempted now, or have fallen, we thank You that You are always there, and You love us with relentless love. We have nowhere to turn but to You.

A big fall begins with a little stumble.

By David H. Roper

The Compelling Purpose of God

He…said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem…” —Luke 18:31

Jerusalem, in the life of our Lord, represents the place where He reached the culmination of His Father’s will. Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). Seeking to do “the will of the Father” was the one dominating concern throughout our Lord’s life. And whatever He encountered along the way, whether joy or sorrow, success or failure, He was never deterred from that purpose. “…He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

The greatest thing for us to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s purpose, not our own. In the natural life our ambitions are our own, but in the Christian life we have no goals of our own. We talk so much today about our decisions for Christ, our determination to be Christians, and our decisions for this and that, but in the New Testament the only aspect that is brought out is the compelling purpose of God. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16).

We are not taken into a conscious agreement with God’s purpose— we are taken into God’s purpose with no awareness of it at all. We have no idea what God’s goal may be; as we continue, His purpose becomes even more and more vague. God’s aim appears to have missed the mark, because we are too nearsighted to see the target at which He is aiming. At the beginning of the Christian life, we have our own ideas as to what God’s purpose is. We say, “God means for me to go over there,” and, “God has called me to do this special work.” We do what we think is right, and yet the compelling purpose of God remains upon us. The work we do is of no account when compared with the compelling purpose of God. It is simply the scaffolding surrounding His work and His plan. “He took the twelve aside…” (Luke 18:31). God takes us aside all the time. We have not yet understood all there is to know of the compelling purpose of God.

When a man’s heart is right with God the mysterious utterances of the Bible are spirit and life to him. Spiritual truth is discernible only to a pure heart, not to a keen intellect. It is not a question of profundity of intellect, but of purity of heart. Bringing Sons Unto Glory, 231 L

Oswald Chambers

Wait for the Lord

Psalms 130:5-8

Right timing is critical in a believer’s walk with the Lord. However, trusting His timing in important decisions, uncertain direction, or pressing needs is extremely difficult when everything within us cries, “Do something!” Because we want action, waiting for God seems so passive.

To wait for the Lord means to pause for instruction while remaining in the present circumstance. It is a purposeful, expectant focus on God—a choice to be actively still and quiet in our hearts, listening for His voice and watching for His intervention. The wait is not for events to work out as we want, but rather for God’s will to be done.

The Lord’s voice often comes to us through His Word which is the Creator’s instruction manual for our lives. There have been instances when a Bible passage jumped out at me while I was reading—the guidance I sought was right there, almost as if it had my name written on it. To hear from God in this way, quiet meditation is essential.

At times, God will change a situation to redirect us, or He will motivate another person to give advice and guidance. However, always remember that any voice offering us direction must align with the Lord’s will as revealed in His Word; otherwise, it is not from Him.

The first step in waiting for the Lord is submission to His choice of how and when He will act. What are you hoping God will do? Are you seeking Him, or are you seeking only the thing you want from Him? Because He alone knows what is best for you, let go and trust that His decision will be the best path.

Acceptable Sacrifices

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

In the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, it was the responsibility of the Levitical priesthood to be “daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices” in atonement for the sins of the people, and this continued until Jesus Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:11-12). The old priesthood has now been set aside. Only the sacrifice of Christ and our identification with Him through faith is acceptable for our salvation.

Nevertheless, there is a new priesthood—a spiritual priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices—and it is vital that we who are now His priests offer sacrifices that are acceptable and pleasing to God. The first and most basic sacrifice is set forth in one of the Bible’s key verses: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Three other acceptable sacrifices are outlined in the concluding chapter of Hebrews. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

The continual offering of praise to God, in all circumstances acknowledging His wisdom and goodness, is an acceptable sacrifice. Doing good works—not for our salvation but because of our salvation—is acceptable. So is “communicating” (Greek, koinonia)—sharing what we have with others. With these sacrifices, God is “well pleased.” It is our high privilege as His holy priesthood to offer up these spiritual sacrifices. HMM

Early Church Methods

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. —Acts 4:32-33

A friend of mine went to see a man who was the head of a local communist cell in a local communist headquarters where they send out literature. The communist said, “Come in, Reverend, and sit down.” He went in and sat. “Now, we’re communists,” he said, “you know that, and you’re a minister. Of course, we’re miles apart. But,” he said, “I want to tell you something. We learned our technique from your book of Acts.” And he said, “You who believe the Bible have thrown overboard the methods of the early church and we who don’t believe it have adopted them and they’re working.”

What was the method? It’s a very simple method of the early church. It was to go witness, give everything to the Lord and give up all to God and bear your cross, take the consequences. The result was in the first hundred years of the Christian church the whole known world was evangelized.

Lord, we’re too selfish, busy doing our own thing. Give us a spirit of love, of unselfishness, of willingness to pay any price for the sake of the gospel. Do it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Spiritual Radiance Comes from an Inner Witness

…And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 John 3:24

One distinguishing mark of the earliest Christians was their radiance, for the sun had come up in their hearts and its warmth and light made unnecessary any secondary sources of assurance.

They had the inner witness!

Great power and great grace marked their lives, enabling them to rejoice to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

It is obvious in our day that the average evangelical Christian is without this radiance. The efforts of some of our teachers to cheer our drooping spirits are futile because those same teachers reject the very phenomenon that would naturally produce joy, namely, the inner witness. Instead of the inner witness we now substitute logical conclusions drawn from texts. There is no witness, no immediacy of knowledge, no encounter with God, no awareness of inner change.

Where there is a divine act within the soul there will always be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is self-validating. It is its own evidence and addresses itself directly to the religious consciousness.

Charles Wesley in a triumphant hymn wrote:
“His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God!”

To the salvation-by-logical-conclusion devotees such language is plain heresy. If it is heresy, I run to join such a glorious heretic, and may God send us many more!

Thank God for Conviction

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! PROVERBS 15:23

Modern mankind can go anywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God.

We do not thank God enough for seeking us and finding us and making it possible for us to say to His invitation: “Jesus, I come!”

I have meditated often on the Holy Spirit’s quiet dealing with the heart of this untaught lad when I was only seventeen. We had a neighbor—I only knew him as”Mr. Holman”—and I had heard that he was a Christian.

One day we happened to be walking on the sidewalk together, and he said, “I am glad to have a chance to talk with you. I have been wondering if you are a Christian?”

I told him, “No, I am not a Christian. But I thank you for asking and I am going to give it some serious thought.”

After that, I heard a man preaching on a street corner. He quoted Jesus’ invitation, “Come unto Me,” and the sinner’s prayer, “Lord have mercy on me!”

Those were the two things that bumped me into the kingdom of God. Sometime sit takes a very little word to stir an unnoticed desire for God and His truth!

Lord, I pray that today I will take advantage of opportunities to ask someone about the status of his spiritual life.