Jun 14, 2007
Dolly Singing “He´s alive” at the 1989 CMA awards.
Jun 14, 2007
Dolly Singing “He´s alive” at the 1989 CMA awards.
Just because I don’t understand what Jesus Christ says, I have no right to determine that He must be mistaken in what He says. That is a dangerous view, and it is never right to think that my obedience to God’s directive will bring dishonor to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonor is not obeying Him. To put my view of His honor ahead of what He is plainly guiding me to do is never right, even though it may come from a real desire to prevent Him from being put to an open shame. I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence.
But when I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter into my mind, I am bringing in an element that is not of God. This will only result in my concluding that His instructions to me were not right. Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can’t see anything (see Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can’t see the way ahead.
Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy. When He tells you something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a misunderstanding of what honors Him and what doesn’t. Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him? Are you faithful to what He says, or are you trying to compromise His words with thoughts that never came from Him? “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).
Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself. The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest. Disciples Indeed, 395 L
The heavenly Father wants His children to talk with Him. Jesus gave an invitation to speak with God about anything. He said that if you have a need, ask; if you seek answers, you will find them; if you want opportunities to open up in your life, knock and He will respond (Matt. 7:7-8). Even so, there are believers who do not bother communicating with the Lord, except in emergencies.
Forsaking prayer is costly to a person’s well-being. Those who will not make time every day for God are on a slippery slope. They slide through weariness, discouragement, and doubt, only to land in a testimony-damaging situation. Today we will focus on the first phase—weariness. Tomorrow we will examine the rest of the descent.
Certain situations take an emotional, physical, and spiritual toll—we call these burdens. Such low points can wear us out if we try to endure them alone. But God does not intend for that weight to fall on our shoulders. In fact, the Bible commands that those loads be cast upon Jesus Christ (Ps. 55:22). “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden,” cries David in Psalm 68:19. Remember, He is doing all the work to straighten out your circumstances anyway. So there’s no point in both Him and you carrying that weight.
Hauling all our worries and cares around is wearying because we are not built for such loads. In God’s design, His strength fills the believer to capacity. Picture Jesus’ shoulders just above your own—with Him bearing your problems. The burden does not disappear, but it feels blessedly lighter when you hand it over to the Lord.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11)
The unique phrase “fruits of righteousness” has many supporting teachings, the most famous of which is where the Lord Jesus compares Himself to a “vine” and we who are His adopted sons and daughters to “branches” (John 15:1-6).
Paul reminded the Philippian church that the fruits ultimately result from Jesus Christ, just as Jesus illustrated. We “cannot bear fruit” by ourselves (John 15:4). Not only does our very life come from God, but the ability to produce godly fruit can only come through and by God.
Isaiah noted that all of our self-produced righteous deeds are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The fruit for which we are “ordained” (John 15:16) has its source in the thrice-holy Godhead and its manifestation by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
Those Holy Spirit character traits are the innate property of the vine that becomes instilled in the branches, or us. This enables us to bring forth the fruit that represents the “DNA” of the vine in which we are abiding. Being connected to the vine makes it possible for us to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
The “husbandman” (God the Father) is superintending the vineyard (John 15:1). When branches wither and do not produce fruit (see also Matthew 13:18-23), they are taken away. The branches that do produce are purged (Greek kathairo, “cleaned up”). As Peter noted, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). With God, “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Without Him, “[we] can do nothing” (John 15:5). HMM III
Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. (Romans 8:15)
What can we do but pray for the throngs of defiant men and women who believe that their humanistic view of life is all-sufficient? They believe that they are responsible “captains” of their own souls.
The sad fact is that even while they are joining in the age-old rejection of Jesus Christ—”We will not have this Man to rule over us”—they still are beset with fears within.
The present competitive world and its selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can sympathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of
the world’s store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty and omnipotence and faithfulness of the living God.
Although the material world has never understood it, our faith is well-placed in the Scriptures! Those who take God’s Word seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as this world we inhabit!
Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? —Job 26:14
Now the holy man of God said, “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him?” (Job 26:14). All that we can think or say is rational. But God rises above rationality. He rises as high above the rational as He does above the physical. God is of an essence and substance the like of which nothing else exists in the universe. He is above it all—and yet we can know a little portion of God’s ways. When I preach on the being of God, the attributes of God, when I talk about what God is like, and what kind of God He is, I approach it respectfully, from afar. I point with a reverent finger to the tall mountain peak which is God, which rises infinitely above my power to comprehend. But that is only a little portion. The paths of His ways cannot be known; the rest is super-rational….
How terrible it is that, in the presence of this awesome, awful God, some people are untouched by it all! How frightful, how awesome, how awful it is! We don’t want to hear about God. We want to hear about something that can tickle our fancy, that can satisfy our morbid curiosity or our longing after romance.
I see such a little portion, Lord, of who You are, and yet how awesome are Your ways! May I never be untouched by what I see of You. Amen.
He that loveth much must weep much; much love and much sorrow must go together in this vale of tears. Oftimes tears are the index of strength. There are periods when they are the noblest thing in the world. The tears of penitents are precious; a cup of them were worth a king’s ransom. It is no sign of weakness when a man weeps for sin; it shows that he hath strength of mind; nay, more, that he hath strength imparted by God, which enables him to forswear his lusts and overcome his passions, and to turn unto God with full purpose of heart.