“What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts.”
Very interesting to see where this generation’s “freedom” truly leads…
“While promising them liberty , they themselves are the slaves of corruption, for by what a man is overcome, by that is he brought into bondage” 2 Peter 2
“Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles!” Karl Marx
“All the world over, so easy to see, that people everywhere just want to be free…”(The Young Rascals)
We live in an age of revolution. Everywhere on this planet people have been “breaking off the shackles” in one “liberation movement” after another in the quest for that elusive goal, which is freedom. The American revolution was followed by the French revolution, which in turn spawned successive waves of bloody reversals of the so called ‘existing order’, which ripple up unto this present day.
But almost invariably, whenever the “order” is successfully overthrown by the latest “Liberation” movement, the old order is replaced by something even more…
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Because He is worthy to be praised.
Oh Lord I lift up Your Name
Oh Lord I praise the Name of Jesus
Help me to remember
Help me to remember
Help me to remember
To lift my eyes UP-
From my circumstances-
Up to You (from whence my help comes)
You are worthy of all praise
My feelings and emotions have no place
Nor is it of any consequence whether
My life is good
Nor whether it is difficult
It is all about YOU
You are worthy
Self and its esteem (self-esteem) become irrelevant in the face of Jesus Christ
Christ and our esteem of Him (Christ-esteem) is that which determines the course of our lives.
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)
all we want,
Discuss and reason
Talk about how it should feel
Until it becomes so high and lofty
that it is almost un-real.
But Love, real Love, looks like something
It is practical
Love looks like:
Taking food to your neighbour
For their needs to be met,
Or welcoming an outcast
into your precious home
(Would you use your best tea-set?)
Love looks like:
Becoming a friend to someone unlikely
Or calling with encouragement
on the telephone
Love looks like:
Going to the streets
And searching out the lost
to find that one missing sheep
Whatever the cost
Love looks like:
Cold metal nails
Driven into pure hands,
One crying out
“Father, forgive them!”
While His blood pours
To the ground
Love doesn’t always look tidy
Love doesn’t always smell good
Love is not convenient
But Love we should
True Love propels to action,
It is faith in its outworking.
True love is not afraid
To get its hands a little dirty.
If we could just look past
the quasi-“love” that we’ve been sold
We would find that it is the most real thing
In this earth
It’s effects untold…
Done in God’s way
Will never lack God’s supply”
Thus begins a new series of “Quotations by Missionaries”; “Revival Quotations”; “Scary and Challenging Quotations” and whatever else God may put on my heart….
May you be blessed by what these men and women of God can share with us!
Amen and Amen!!
Today we drove through the Dadswell Bridge area which was on fire just two days ago. I got out of the car and walked around a little. Even though I was wearing thongs (flip flops) on my feet they are still stained black from the ash.
The trees were blackened, ash was in the air and the acrid smell was unbelievable. Another bushfire about 20 kilometers (12miles) away was still raging out of control, and it made the sky appear pink.
The most eerie thing was the trees and stumps that were still smouldering and smoking as I watched them.
Fire-trucks, police and emergency vehicles were everywhere (we definitely felt secure at our hotel!)
(This follows on from my last post Where’s the Fire?)
This week I have experienced my first 46 degree (Celsius) day. (I am in no hurry to experience another.)
On Thursday I was in Adelaide, and on Thursday Adelaide was officially the hottest city on earth. It was so hot that as soon as I stepped outside my skin felt like it was burning, even in the shade. The hotel we stayed in became uncomfortable as the air conditioning struggled to cope with four consecutive days of over 40 degrees.
Extreme heat and a thirsty land are, of course, a recipe for bush fire in Australia, and, as of this morning, 100 bush fires were burning across South Australia and Victoria. The smoke from the fires drifted over the beach where we were bathing, initiating many questions from our children. As my husband and I tried to downplay the severity of the fires to them, internally we were wondering whether we’d even be able to get home, as the main road into Victoria had been closed by the authorities.
With all this talk of fire it has got me to thinking about the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost. In the Bible the Holy Ghost is both symbolized by fire, and also directly referred to as fire. In the Old Testament the pillar of fire which the Israelites followed in the wilderness was the Holy Ghost. In the New Testament John the Baptist said of Jesus:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” Matthew 3:11
And then in Acts 2:2-4 :
“. . . suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one set upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”
The thing about fire is that it is HOT. It is intense. All it takes is one little spark and a wild bushfire is ignited in a dry and thirsty land.
Leonard Ravenhill said : “Again, the symbol of the church is fire…..The cross is no symbol of Christianity. The symbol of Christianity is the tongue of fire that sat on the head of each of them….Our God is a consuming fire.”
Oh and we are in a dry and thirsty land here in Australia. Not just physically, but more so spiritually. As I sat on the balcony of our accommodation each night this week, I wept for the people, for my country. Yes, I could hear them drinking and laughing and singing drunken songs and I wept for them, for their state of barren-ness. It is oh so dry.
We went into the city of Adelaide last night and there were two old men there, handing out tracts and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve been there for 30 years. One of them preached, standing there shaking, in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, and we helped them to hand out the tracts to passers-by, but hardly anyone took one. As he preached, warning that there is an eternal hell, I could tell his heart was broken for this people, these people walking past him laughing at him, smiling with the smile of those in the presence of a fool. Afterwards I commented on the hardness of people’s hearts and he answered sadly: “Oh aren’t they? They don’t understand that the consequences are eternal.”
How dry! How barren and hard is the landscape here in Australia!
But also how ripe and ready this land is for fire….. After all – the drier the land, the easier a fire is kindled. And a fire is powerful enough to change a landscape. Australia is a land of fire; but may we become a land of Holy Ghost fire!
All it takes is one spark. As followers of Jesus Christ, because He lives within us, we are to be that spark to a dry and barren world. But we cannot be that spark if we are not full of the fire of the Holy Ghost.
Paul says to: “…. be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” Ephesians 5:18,19. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. This verse in the original actually says: “Be being filled with the Spirit…” It is a continual process. Like in the Pilgrim’s Progress, there needs to be oil constantly poured onto the fire to keep it burning, because, just as surely, the devil is always seeking to put it out.
I love Leviticus 6:12: “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.” (Emphasis mine). This verse is such a wonderful picture of what the life of the believer, of Christ’s church, should be. No, it’s what we need to be. We have a responsibility to this generation as the church of Jesus to carry this fire wherever we go. If we don’t, who will?
As priests we are to keep the fire burning. God sends the divine fire, but it is our responsibility to keep it burning. Just like a bushfire, once it has started it requires ongoing fuel.
I don’t know about you but I know when the fire is burning bright within me and I also know when it is burning low. When I am full of the Spirit I walk in the supernatural – amazing things happen. When the fire is low I find I am walking more in the flesh than the Spirit and the things of God become a struggle.
Wesley wrote a hymn, which goes like this:
See how a great a flame aspires, kindled by a spark of grace. Jesus love the nations fires; sets the kingdoms all ablaze.
To bring fire on earth He came, kindled in some hearts it is. Oh that all might catch the flame; all partake the glorious bliss.
When He first the work began, small and feeble was its flame. Now the word doeth swiftly run; now it wins its widening way.
More and more it spreads and grows, ever mighty to prevail. Sin’s strongholds it now o’throws and shakes the trembling gates of hell.
Sons of God, your Savior praise; He the door hath opened wide. He hath given the word of grace; Jesus’ word is glorified.
Saw you not the cloud arise, little as a human hand? Now it spreads along the skies, hangs o’er all the thirsty land.
May you be inspired to be the spark of Holy Ghost fire in your land in this dry and thirsty generation!
As you know my Blog is called “Grace and Truth”. The reason I called the blog this name is because God sovereignly told me to. He told me to start it, confirmed it with His Word (in Acts 5:20), and then told me what to call it – grace and truth.
“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17
I find it an interesting observation though that even though grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, we, as His followers, tend to run with either one extreme or the other – that is:
- Extreme grace – leading to both “greasy grace”, (or lawlessness) and also a lack of discernment of truth; or
- Extreme truth – leading to hard-heartedness and legalism
Both of these extremes are wrong. To run with a zealousness for truth, without love is just as wrong as disregarding truth for the sake of grace, mercy or love. But how easily we fall into one or the other!
CH Spurgeon said: “…It is very easy, brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another. It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned….Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.”
I have seen both of these extremes in Christians (and yes, that includes myself). I will give you an example of how I have seen both of these Christian virtues in fact become a vice.
Truth with no Grace: I am a street-preacher and love other street-preachers, but I have seen something that is a grievance to God. It is when a preacher brings forth the hard truths of the Word of God from a heart that has not been broken for the sins of the people. Preaching the truth about hell, sin, judgment and the Law will only be graced by the Spirit of God when the Holy Spirit has utterly broken that preacher’s heart with compassion and mercy for the people before whom he/she stands. You see, it comes down to responsibility. As a preacher, once you enter into intercession for the people, you are taking responsibility for them, for their souls. And it is impossible to stand before them without compassion and mercy once you have taken responsibility for their souls. God will only bless those with His authority whom are willing to take responsibility for others. Authority and responsibility always go together (see Isaiah 53:10-12). We must “speak the truth in love.” It is amazing that when we speak the truth in love, the real love of intercession, people will listen and respond to it. So we see that the truth needs to be graced by His Spirit.
Grace at the expense of Truth: I had been praying for a friend of mine whom was not a believer for two years. I had interceded for her regularly and asked God for an opportunity to share the Gospel with her, which praise God, He did. As soon as we began our conversation another Christian joined us and listened in. My friend and I had a wonderful, Spirit-led conversation where I was able to share the gospel with her. I was able to share everything with her, the Law, God’s judgment on sin, hell, and then of course the wonderful Gospel of grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, forgiveness, heaven and redemption. I was so thrilled that the truth had been shared and that she had responded well. However as soon as she had left, the other Christian reprimanded me for talking about sin, hell and judgment saying that all that I needed to talk about was the love of God. And…I guess I could have, God is love, but really, it wouldn’t have been the whole truth…. Unfortunately there are hard truths in the Bible and, if we are wanting to be truly honest before God, they are unavoidable. But the good news is, the hard truths are there for a reason… Paul says in Galations 3:24 that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”. The Law is there to expose sin and so to bring us to the knowledge of our sin and of our need of a Saviour. It is by the truth of the Law and God’s judgment of sin that we are led to Grace and justification by faith.
Notice how John describes Jesus:
“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17
Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, through whom came grace and truth. The divine mystery of Jesus, the Word made flesh, God incarnate in human flesh, can be difficult for our human minds to comprehend. But, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t come down to some sort of a mathematical equation. A couple of points to note:
- Jesus is both fully God and fully man at the same time, not 50% God and 50% man
- By the same token, Jesus is also concurrently full of grace and full of truth.
- Jesus is not half Law and half grace (and neither are we)
He came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it. And it was because He fulfilled God’s law perfectly and never sinned, that He was full of grace and love. Yet it was also because He is full of grace that He could fulfill the Law perfectly. Why? because “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (emphasis mine).
And so we see that our Lord is the perfectly balanced One. Just as the anointing oil of Exodus 30 was perfectly blended, mixed and mingled, with this much of myrrh and so much of cinnamon and that much of cassia etc, so it is with Jesus Christ. So perfect in truth and grace. Not leaning too much towards one or the other, never ceasing to be holy in order to be loving, always merciful and kind to sinners. Nowhere do we see this better demonstrated than in His cross.
In the cross, God maintained the truth of His holiness and righteous anger towards sin, when His wrath was poured out on His Son, because of His grace, because He so loved the world. Both truth and grace in the cross of our Lord and in His very person.
So why do we get it so wrong? And what can we do about it?
There is only one way. We need to remember that it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27):
- Our only hope is to be so FULL of Him, of His Life, that He will simply live His life of grace and truth through us.
- We need to re-submit ourselves to God in a fresh consecration. To offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
- We need to confess any un-confessed sins to Him
- We need to ask Him to re-fill us with His Spirit.
- We need to be led in obedience by the Spirit of God in our day-to-day lives, small and big things.
“There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune. There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.
So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts.” (CH Spurgeon)
May God bless us all with an outpouring of His Life in this New Year!
I am re-blogging an old poem of mine now because the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do this now. Hope you enjoy!
There is something that’s arisen-
Emerging from the ground.
It breaks out
But its roots go further down.
At first it’s only little,
As it starts its progress
Just a small inner circle-
Rolling towards the cliff edge
For a moment
It tumbles .
And further down
It rolls, it goes, its spins,
Away from the cliff
Where the Truth
Has always been .
And so it rolls
And as it goes
It kicks up all the dust
And as the dust and dirt
The circle grows ever vast .
Voices herald the circle
As it picks up on its pace
And while it continues to hurtle
A new Christian way!” .
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