"God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever" (Psalm 73.26). Finally, when all else fails us, we find that God is enough. That which we most need in life; love, unfailing love; is abundantly and satisfyingly ours in the Lord Jesus. But we so often seek it elsewhere.
"Nothing can be sweeter than the repose in divine love when it is known and the heart is free to rest in it. The soul may have a long journey to reach it experientially; there may be many needs and exercises to be met and removed on the way; self and the world will have to be learned; but the great end of all our exercises; and, I may add, of all our deliverances; is that we rest in the thoughts of divine love, and that love becomes in a very real way the portion of our hearts. If our hearts are not in the circle of divine love they have really got nothing, for as Christians we have no portion on earth. Thank God! it is a blessed and satisfying portion." -C.A.C.
"There is no reserve in God's love; He has given the best in heaven for the worst on earth, and in this way has rebuked distrust and established confidence, so that 'the works of the devil' might be undone in our hearts. If we only want what God gives us we shall be perfectly happy. Nothing is of real value to us that we cannot take from our Father's hand and thank Him for."
"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God" (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).
How readily and eagerly we take His Word when He says, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2), yet how slow of heart we are to believe that He has prepared a walk for us, here and now! "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time) that we should walk in them living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live" (Ephesians 2:10, Amp.).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3, ASV). If you can run over in your mind and find one single blessing with which God might bless us today, with which He has not already blessed us, then what He told Paul is not true at all, because He said, 'God hath....' It is all done, 'It is finished.' God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies! The great pity of it all is that we are saying 'O God bless us, bless us in this, bless us in that! and it is all done; He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenlies. It is our place to believe and receive." -L.L.L.
"According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).
"Having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter"(Romans 7:6, ASV).
The law was applied to the natural man, that he might produce; grace is given to the spiritual man, that He might produce. "Almost every believer makes the same mistake as the Galatian Christians. Very few learn at conversion at once that it is only by faith that we stand, and walk, and live. They have no conception of the meaning of the Word about being dead to the law, freed from the law, about the freedom with which Christ makes us free (Romans 7:6). Regarding the law as a divine ordinance for our direction, they consider themselves prepared and fitted by conversion to take up the fulfillment of the law as a natural duty. They cannot understand that it is not to the law, but to a living Person, that we are now bound, and that our obedience and growth are only possible by the unceasing faith in His power and life ever working in us (Philippians 2:13)." -A.M.
"Good and holy and perfect as the law of God is, it is entirely powerless either to justify or sanctify. It cannot in any way make the old nature better; neither is it the rule of the new nature. The old man is not subject to it, and the new man does not need it. The new creation has another object before it, and another power that acts upon it, in order to produce what is lovely and acceptable to God Christ the object, realized by the power of the Holy Spirit." -W.K.
"Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16).
"Mary . . . sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His Word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving" (Luke 10:39,40).
A malingering student will make a poor servant; a diligent student will make a good servant. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15).
"Do not look for service, look for preparation for it. Everyone has to serve an apprenticeship. We do not know what we are to be fitted for, but if we keep at His feet He will prepare us for the very thing for which He has designed us. We hinder both ourselves and His work by attempting things to which we have not been called."
"If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone making his service prominent who knew what it was to sit at the Master's feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him must be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service" -J.B.S.
"Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters... so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God" (Psalm 123:2).
The responsibility of fruit production is the Lord's. Ours is, as the text discloses, to bear or display it, for it is the vine that produces the fruit and not the branch. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:8).
This means the fruit, i.e. righteousness, holiness, justification and sanctification always originates from Christ and cannot be replicated, but must be transferred by imputation. “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (not in ourselves--1 Cor 1:30, 31). -NC
1-24. ABIDE IN ABUNDANCE
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4).
The quality of the fruit of the branch depends upon the quality of the life of the vine. Neither quality nor quantity is the product of the branch, for the branch merely receives what is produced by the vine.
"To walk with God in hallowed fellowship is not only the secret of joy and growth, it is the condition of all acceptable service, of all real usefulness. The value of what we do depends very much upon what we are. And what we are depends upon where we abide. The mightiest power for usefulness is the quiet influence of a life that abides habitually in the secret place of the Most High. Such an one dwells in the source of all life, of all purity, of all fruitfulness." -E.H.H.
"It is just a matter of taking a position that is already yours. The enemy has filled the minds of many believers with the delusion that they are poor, and in their poverty they must work and grind and toil in order to buy the blessings which are already theirs in Christ. It is time to see that all you need you have in Christ. There is no need of yours which is not fully met in Him. And you are in Him. You only need to take the position which is already yours. Abide!" -D.T.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Our warfare is not a win or lose battle but a won war, for Christ, “having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15).
This means regardless of how decadent the Lord shows us of our still-indwelling old self and how good we think we're supposed to be, we’re to rest in God’s resolution to it all, in His Son’s atonement and not confide in our works to effect acceptance and assurance.
The ever-abiding sin, self, Satan and society teaches and causes us to depend only on God for us to be “kept in perfect peace” (Isa 26:3). -NC
1-25. AUTHOR OF PEACE
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33).
The day we were saved, total war was declared between sinful self and the Holy Spirit. Lasting peace will come when we rest in Calvary's conquest of sin and self, and allow that victory to be applied by the faithful Spirit of God.
"The Holy Spirit does not reason from what man is for God, but from what God is to man. Souls reason from what they are in themselves as to whether God can accept them. He does not accept you thus; you are looking for righteousness in yourself as a ground of acceptance with Him. You cannot get peace in this way. 'But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us'" (Romans 5:8).
"The Holy Spirit always reasons down from what God is, and this produces a total change in my soul. It is not that I abhor my sins; indeed I may have been walking very well; but it is 'I abhor myself.' The Holy Spirit shows us what we are, and that is one reason why He often seems to be very hard and does not give peace to the soul, as we are not relieved until we frankly, from our hearts, acknowledge what we are. Until the soul comes to that point He does not give it peace He could not; it would be healing the wound slightly. The soul has to go on until it finds there is nothing to rest on but the Cross-proved goodness of God; and then if God be for us, who can be against us?'' -J.N.D.
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus"(Philippians 4:7).
"If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God" (1 Peter 2:20). Affliction and suffering are the lot of all men, the privilege of all believers. Our sufferings bring forth need, and our need brings forth His comfort and consolation. Blessed need! "As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:7). Blessed promise!
"If you aspire to be a son of consolation; if you would partake of the priestly gift of sympathy; if you would pour something beyond commonplace consolation into a tempted heart; if you would pass through the intercourse of daily life with the delicate tact that never inflicts pain; you must be content to pay the price of a costly education; like Him, you must suffer."
"There are blessings which we cannot obtain if we cannot accept and endure suffering. There are joys that can come to us only through sorrow. There are revealings of divine truth which we can get only when earth's lights have gone out. There are harvests which can flow only after the plowshare has done its work."
"Comfort does not come to the light-hearted and merry. We must go down into 'depths' if we would experience this most precious of God's gifts comfort, and thus be prepared to be coworkers together with Him."
"I take... pleasure in weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecution, and difficulties, which I endure for Christ's sake, for it is when I am consciously weak that I am really strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10, Wms.).
Confiding in self voids Christ’s place of support in us and only self-condemnation can result because it puts the responsibility of atonement on our works instead of the Lord’s finished works of salvation. We can take pleasure in the good works Christ produces through us, for it is by them our Father is glorified (Mat 5:16). I believe our works can affect our fellowship with God and our eternal rewards (Mat 13:23; Mar 4:20; Luke 16:10-13; 1 Cor.3:13, 14), but they do not determine our union with Him, or His blessings to us in this life. Therefore, we can “rest in God” knowing, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).
It isn’t that we’re not to have confidence. The issue is where confidence is placed and when it is in Christ, there’s no place to be found for a self-condemning conscience. “Beloved, if our heart condemns us not, [then] have we confidence toward God” (1John 3:21).
It’s been well stated that “if we are disappointed it’s because we’ve trusted in the arm of flesh, for God does not disappoint.” -NC
"For we worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3).
Contrary to general opinion, there is no place for self-confidence in the Christian life. Confidence is essential, but not from the source of self. The awakened believer is so keenly aware of the sinful self-life that, for him, self-confidence is out of the question. In time, his "O wretched man" complex is replaced by "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24, 25). Christ-confidence is the basis for the healthy Christian's walk. Sinful self-confidence is the basis for the sickly Christian's defeat.
"Our Father takes all things from under our feet until we have nothing left but Him. God has always the highest goal in view, namely, to lead us into the denial of self. Everything is directed toward teaching us to entrust ourselves to Him. Therefore we must often suffer defeat. You fight with all your might against sin and find yourself surrounded by failure. You pray fervently and sincerely: 'O God, help me and stay by me.' But it seems that He does not hear. You cry yet more earnestly for help, but He seems to have no concern for you. Is He then really merciless? No! Just because He is merciful, He cannot help you. If He did, you would not be free from your self-confidence; you would not learn to fight the good fight of faith and thus obtain the victory which the Master has won; you would not learn to say 'the Lord Jesus only,' but you would still continue to say 'Jesus and I.'"
"For the Lord shall be thy confidence" (Proverb 3.26).
"My grace suffices for you, for power matures in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Weymouth).
There can be no true and intelligent rejection of the self-life without thorough heart preparation by the Holy Spirit. We read in the Word that self is to be hated and rejected, but the development of this attitude may be long removed from the initial revelation. Years of processing separate Romans Three from Colossians Three, in our experience.
"Why are we so deficient in divine power? Simply because we do not like the way it begins. Its beginning is to hate one's own life, and this is an awful start; but there is no 'tower' built without it. You must refuse human material, or you cannot build to true structure. Power enabled Elisha to take hold of his own clothes and tear them into two pieces. It begins with self-abnegation. This explains the reason why there is so little power. Very often one lingers over his losses like an exile, but he must rise out of it; he must bury his dead out of his sight; it is a great day when that comes to pass, and then he can be useful to others." -J.B.S.
"To be willing to accept crucifixion with Christ, to leave all yourself, your plans and your longings, your abilities and your possessions, all of them at the Cross, so that you only trust and love and live for the Lord Jesus, hurts a great deal. It requires an absolute venture of faith; but beyond it, God says, 'much fruit.' And the way to it is 'into the ground and die it is the only way; His way."
"Most gladly therefore will I boast of my infirmities rather than complain of them; in order that Christ's power may overshadow me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Weymouth.).
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
It is essential for the believer to see that his old nature has been completely rejected by God at Calvary, and that as a "new creation" he is fully and eternally accepted in the Lord Jesus. Otherwise, self will continually seek to be something for God, to please Him, to merit His approbation.
"It is very possible that our sacrifices and self denials may be altogether selfish. Self can pray, and say, What a lovely prayer! It can preach a fine message, and pat itself on the back and say, That was splendid, what a useful man you are! How, then, can it become 'not I, but Christ'? Well, we must above all else see the reality and danger of the thing, we must look at it frankly, and choose to be free of its domination. The worst and the saddest part of it is its deception. It says, How that fits So-and-so, not me. But you must pass sentence upon it, or it will pass sentence upon you."
"Through the victory won on Calvary we enter into newness of life; and as the old nature seeks to assert its supremacy, each uprising of it must be handed over to the Lord Jesus Christ, that He may deal with it. That He has dealt with it, through His death on the Cross, in a way which satisfies God and makes deliverance possible for us, is the foundational fact for Christian life and work." -G.W.
"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life"(Galatians 6:8).
Sorry Major if these posts seem excessive but that's why it's a" daily devotional"! How are you and the family?
I also post this and more on many other Christian blog sites. I had to retire at 58, so time is no issue.
Oh I agree completly with that .............I just meant that you have put in a lot of work on this.
I retired at 50 myself. I spent 30 years in the business world with Eckerd Drugs and they were good to me.
Isn't God great in that old men like us (me) through the power of the internet can help share the gospel of the Lord Jesus and the truth of God's Word around the world????
Except for my bad knees I am in good shape I guess for an old man. Thanks for asking! How about you and yours????
My mama told me to stay with baseball but no........I just had to play football in school. Well, now many years later and after several operations I can know say that she was absolutely correct!!!
There’s nothing that can be done against our sinful nature—the “old man”, except continually yield it to the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:13) and He applies the Cross of Christ to it. We take it up, “daily” (Luk 9:23), but He applies it, “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:17).
Neither feel guilty because of the sinful self (1Jo 3:20), nor glory in the divine-partaker of the new self, but glory in the Lord (1Cr 1:31; 2Cr 10:17) because of His continual victory over sin in our lives.
1-30. SPIRITUAL BALANCE
"Not I, but Christ" (Galatians 2:20).
Any abiding spiritual progress must be based upon our taking sides with God against the old life. Why? "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). "Enmity" knows no reconciliation; crucifixion is the only alternative!
"The life of Christ is the holiness of Christ. The reason we so often fail in the pursuit of holiness is that the old life, the flesh, in its own strength seeks for holiness as a beautiful garment to wear and enter heaven with. It is the daily death to self out of which the life of Christ rises up." -A.W.T.
"In receiving Christ we receive the divine-human life, a life that is death to the life of fallen nature, which finds its fruit in sin and self. The tragic mistake of thousands of believers is in trying to live in two worlds at the same time in nature and in God, in self and in Christ, in the flesh and in the Spirit, by faith and in independence, by abiding and by effort. To have life is not enough: the life of the Lord Jesus demands the death of the flesh, if that life is to be fully developed and become fruitful in us. Here is the crux of the whole matter."
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death" (Philippians 3:10
"But ye are sanctified but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).
The fact of our position, which we can see in the Word, may take years to realize in life. Many believers feel that their appropriation of a truth must result in same-day experience of that doctrine. It is true that we are often given a foretaste, a brief experience of its reality, but we must then settle down to the daily processing of the Spirit, whereby He slowly and thoroughly translates the apprehended truth into character and walk. Paul testified, "I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12). He pressed toward the mark.
"As a gift of grace, sanctification is conferred on each believer as soon as he believes. But it is a gift yet held on deposit, 'hid with Christ in God,' to be appropriated through daily communion and gradual apprehension. So, while the believer's realized sanctification appears painfully meager, at most a thin line of light, like the crescent of the new moon, yet he sees it ever complemented by the clear outlines of that rounded wholeness which is his in the Lord Jesus, and into which he is to be daily waxing till he grows to 'the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:13)" -A.J.G.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Immaturity is selfish; maturity is selfless. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). "The question for the tried and tempted, the harassed and oppressed, is this: 'Which would you rather have, the power of Christ's hand in deliverance from trial, or the sympathy of His heart in the midst of trial?' The carnal mind, the unsubdued heart, the restless spirit, will, no doubt, at once exclaim, 'Oh! let Him only put forth His power and deliver me from this insupportable trial, this intolerable burden, this crushing difficulty. I sigh for deliverance. I only want deliverance.'
"But the spiritual mind, the subdued heart, the lowly spirit, will say, and that without a single particle of reserve, 'Let me only enjoy the sweet company of the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ in my trial, and I ask no more. I do not want even the power of His hand to deprive me of one drop of consolation supplied by the tender love and profound sympathy of His heart. I know He can deliver me, but if He does not see fit to do so, if it does not fall in with His unsearchable counsels, and harmonize with His wise and faithful purpose concerning me so to do, I know it is only to lead me into a deeper and richer realization of His most precious sympathy.'" -C.H.M.
"The same faith that sees glory for us at the end of the path sees God for us all through the path. This is the secret of real strength. What unbelief does is to compare ourselves and our own strength with circumstances. What faith does is to compare God with circumstances."
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ" (2 Corinthians 1
“The life of a mature Christian is the life of the vicariously-lived life of Christ. The Lord Himself—through the Spirit, lives His life in us and is evident by the works of righteousness which He does using us.
“I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (physical body) I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal 2:20). “By”, not on the faith of Christ. We live on and in Christ, by or through faith. We do not live on faith but by faith, because it’s Christ we live on.” -NC
“By the faith of the Son of God”: “not that faith which Christ, as man, had, but that of which He is the author and object, by which the just man lives; not upon it, for the believer does not live upon any of his graces, no, not upon faith, but by faith on Christ, the object; looking to Him for pardon, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation: which object is described as "the Son of God"; who is truly God, equal with His Father; so that he did not live upon a creature, or forsake the fountain of living waters, but upon the only begotten Son of God, who is full of grace and truth.” –J Gill
2-2. FACT FINDING
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2).
We cannot too highly value and appreciate heart-hunger for the Word. It is of the Spirit of Truth. We may have been born again without knowing much of the Bible, but we certainly are not going to grow to any extent apart from a careful and persistent study of the Word of God. Yes, the maturing believer is a Spirit-dependent student of the Scriptures, "whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1.4).
"Christian progress is not a question of attaining to some abstract standard, or of pressing through to some far-off goal. It is wholly a question of seeing God's standard in God's Word. You advance spiritually by finding out what you really are (in Christ), not by trying to become what you hope to be. That goal you will never reach, however earnestly you may strive.
"It is when you see you are dead unto sin that you die to it (daily); it is when you see you are risen that you arise; it is when you see you are a 'new creation' in Him that you (progressively) grow. Seeing the accomplished fact in the Word determines the pathway to the realizing of that fact. The end is reached by seeing, not by desiring or working. The only possibility of spiritual progress lies in our discovering the truth as God sees it; the truth concerning Christ, the truth concerning ourselves in Christ." -W.N.
"Not as though I had already attained. . . but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also l am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12).
The heavenly Husbandman develops a believer on the same principle that He does a tree: planting, growth, consolidation, rest, and then more growth. There are stages. We are shown our sin and need--self. Then we hunger for freedom and life--Christ. This is a progression. At first, we consider the shocking revelation of self the greatest of calamities; later, we realize that it is the pathway to the blessed revelation of our life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Before we can take on the likeness of the Lord Jesus, we must see ourselves and know how we look; we must be brought into the place where we are not dismayed nor cast down when we discover how little we are conformed to His image. It is only as we see our need, that we can be supplied." -C.McI.
"It does us no good, but only discourages us if we see our failures and shortages and do not behold the beauty of Christ, and apprehend and experience our sufficiency in Him. On the other hand, if we see only what we are in Him and do not discern our defects; if we do not apprehend that which must be appropriated and worked out in us; if we do not see all that must be put off, and that Christ must be put on in actual control and manifestation, we become self-satisfied and puffed up--we lose our invaluable 'need.'" -C.McI.
"I certainly do count everything as loss compared with the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8, Wms.).
"We should not be looking for confirmation but conformation. Though certain experiences can reveal truth, scripture and not experience is the final source to use as the base of our support because the Word of God shows what everything should be.
Now that we’ve been delivered from sin’s guilt---by His blood, we need continued deliverance from sin’s rule---by His Cross:
Christ’s blood only once applied But His cross continually To our old man we die (Rom 6:2)
Our works are not to be the medium for salvation but the evidence of it and wherever we base our assurance for acceptance and security, there our trust for salvation will be." –NC
2-4. FREEDOM'S FOUNDATION
"I have been crucified with Christ, and I myself no longer live" (Galatians 2:20, Wms.).
Upon conversion, the new believer feels that every opposition to a joyous, fruitful Christian life has been overcome once for all. Later, when the world and self begin to insinuate themselves once again, he thinks that determination and self-effort will keep him free. Finally, after a seemingly endless struggle, the defeated believer is brought back to the Cross. Here is the source of liberation from the power of self and the world.
"Sinners are not saved until they trust the Savior, and saints are not delivered until they trust the Deliverer. God has made both possible through the Cross of His Son." -L.S.C.
"The believer can never overcome the 'old man' even by the power of the 'new' apart from the work of the Cross, and therefore the death of Christ is indispensable, and unless the Cross is made the basis upon which he overcomes the 'old nature,' he only drops into another form of morality; in other words, he is seeking by self-effort to overcome sin and self, and the struggle is a hopeless one." -C.U.
"Just as the Lord Jesus came into this world where this old humanity was and came into it not to ally Himself with it but to take it into death by the Cross, even so He now by the Holy Spirit, in regeneration, comes into us where there is this old fallen life and not to ally Himself with it, but to hold it in the place of death by the same means--His Cross." -N.D.
"But may it never be mine to boast of anything but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world!" (Galatians 6:14, Wms.).