By Grace Through Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9


For 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.

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Ephesians 2

Public Domain

REJECTION COULD BE YOUR PROTECTION/WAIT PATIENTLY UPON THE LORD!

God’s timing is perfect

JOHN 3:16 GOD'S PRECIOUS GIFT TO ALL!

 

Delay Is Not Rejection

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

John 11:5-7

God often delays His response out of love, as He works all things together for good.

Jeanne Zornes

Waiting with hope

Mary and Martha had sent their friend Jesus a message about the critical condition of their brother, Lazarus, and their urgent need for his help: “Lord, the one you love is very sick” (John 11:3). But instead of rushing off to Bethany, Jesus stayed where he was for two days before responding to Mary and Martha’s plea. When he did arrive, he raised Lazarus from the dead in a magnificent display of his power.

Just as Mary and Martha struggled when Jesus answered their prayers for Lazarus in a time and way different from what they had expected, we get frustrated when the Lord delays in coming to us and answering our prayers.

As it did for the grieving sisters, two days (or two months or two years) of waiting can seem like an eternity to us. But in the midst of the “delay,” God is not inactive. He is teaching us patience, perseverance, and faith and is planning to glorify himself in our circumstances. While we are waiting, he wants to cleanse our hearts and refocus us on Jesus. The Spirit always knows what will glorify God, and we can trust him when we’re in the waiting room.

LORD, help me to wait for you in hope and perseverance, knowing that you will come. Grant me patience and faith in the waiting room of life yet to be.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for May 20.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Holy Spirit Gives Us Grace and Works In Us

The Spirit of Grace

    RED ROCKS MORRISON CO 10 2013

James Smith, 1864

    “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem  the Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one     they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only     child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”     Zechariah 12:10

Grace is one of the most beautiful words in God‘s Book. The very sound of it is musical to the believer who understands     it. It just meets our case, for it tells us that God is inclined to be favorable unto us; more, that he is prepared to shower down the richest blessings upon us; and that what he gives — he gives freely, from the love of his own heart.

Grace is favor shown to the unworthy, without any  cause or reason — but what is found in God’s own bosom. Grace never looks outside of itself for a motive — but is its own motive. It dwells in all its     fullness in Jesus, and is the glory of the gospel scheme. But we are not  going to dwell upon grace itself — but to fix the eye upon the Holy  Spirit, as called, “the Spirit of grace.”

The Spirit is the gift of God’s grace — one of  it’s greatest gifts. Indeed, it has no greater. Grace gave Jesus, and it     gives the Holy Spirit; these gifts are equal in value and importance, as     they are equal in nature, power, and glory. Without Jesus, we could have no deliverance from wrath, or title to Heaven; and without the Holy Spirit, we     would never realize deliverance, or be made fit for glory. The Father     promised the Spirit to his Son, and the Son bestows the Spirit upon his     church, and makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Father laid up our  fortune in Jesus; Jesus has preserved for us all that the Father entrusted to him; but it is the Holy Spirit who makes known to us — the wealth which our heavenly Father has laid up for us, and conveys the foretastes and     pledges of it into our souls. Holy and blessed Spirit, daily bring down into our souls fresh and fuller supplies of grace from the Father and the Son!

The Holy Spirit produces all our graces within us.  He is the root — and our graces are his fruits; hence we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness,     faith, meekness, temperance.” If we believe, it is through grace. If     we love, it is because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts     by the Holy Spirit. If we rejoice, it is in consequence of his revealing and applying the truth to our souls. When his influence is put forth within us — then we . . .     believe God’s word,  hope in his mercy, rejoice in his goodness, cleave to his cause,  walk in his ways, love his truth, his people, and himself, holiness is then happiness, duties are then pleasant, and even the cross lays light upon our shoulders.

But if the Spirit hides Himself, withdraws His  influences, and leaves us to ourselves — then we . . .     doubt and fear, fret and pine,  kick and rebel, rove from thing to thing, and  nothing will either please or satisfy us.

We often . . .     question the past,     are wretched at present,     and dread the future.

But when he puts forth his power in us again . . .     our graces shoot forth like bulbous roots in the spring,     our sighs are exchanged for songs, our fears are exchanged for fortitude, our doubts are exchanged for confidence, and our murmurings are exchanged for gratitude and love.

We then . . . sink into the dust of self-abasement, admire the forbearance and longsuffering of God,     condemn our own conduct, and wonder that we are out of Hell.

Then we take down our harps from the willows, and with a melting heart, a weeping eye, and a tremulous voice we sing, “The winter is     past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season     of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree  forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.” Our     wilderness is now turned into an Eden, and our desert into the garden of the Lord. Come, Holy Spirit, come, and produce a spring season in     our souls, for, with the church of old, we cry, “Turn us again, O Lord God  Almighty; cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved.”

The Holy Spirit is, emphatically, the gracious Spirit.     All that he does for us, and all that he works within us — is of grace. His grace is his glory, and he glories in his grace. We may obtain his presence,     and receive his blessing in answer to prayer — but we can never deserve either, nor can we by any works we perform merit them. He graciously . . .     quickens the dead, instructs the ignorant,     liberates the captives,     restores the wanderers,   comforts the dejected,     strengthens the weak and sanctifies the impure.     His work is his delight, and to see us holy and happy his pleasure!

Nothing grieves him like neglect, indifference, and going back to the beggarly elements of this present world. Such conduct  wounds his loving heart, grieves his kind and tender nature; hence it was     said of Israel: “They vexed and grieved his Holy Spirit.” And the apostle exhorts us: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”

Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace–to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without     the Spirit of grace . . .    we cannot live up to our profession;  we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master;  we cannot keep His commandments; we cannot love one another as He has loved us;       we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should;  we cannot keep God’s glory in view in all that we do;  we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;  we cannot meet death with peace and joy!

Let us look up, therefore, to our heavenly Father, let us  plead his precious promises, let us go in the name of the Lord Jesus, and let us entreat him to give us more of “the Spirit of grace.” He is not backward to bestow — if we are willing to receive. He will not refuse to listen to us — if we are earnest, hearty, and importunate. He will grant us the blessing — if we seek it as that which is essential to our holiness and happiness, and to his honor and praise. His word warrants us to expect that  he will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Luke 11:13). His nature and his name, encourage us to persevere in our application to his throne, until we receive. Oh, For Jacob’s spirit — that we may wrestle until we prevail! Oh, for David’s power with God — that a messenger may be caused to fly very swiftly, to assure us that our prayer is heard! Oh, for the     faith and fervor of the first Christians — that we may be all filled with the Holy Spirit and with power! Oh, for the fullness of “the Spirit of     grace,” to be poured out upon every member of the one church of Jesus, that we may all love each other, and endeavor, by all possible means, to glorify his glorious name!

green_rain

The work of the Holy Spirit (James Smith, “Rills from the Rock of Ages”, 1860)

I love to meditate on the work of the Holy Spirit, to whom we are so much indebted, and from whom we receive such great and invaluable blessings. To Him, I feel that I am indebted, for every good thought, and for every good work.  How wonderful His patience — that He should bear with me so long; and how wonderful His loving-kindness — that He  should confer on me so much! O that I was more  deeply sensible of my obligations!

It was the Holy Spirit who quickened me when I was dead in trespasses and sins — imparting a new life,            infusing new thoughts, and producing new desires in my soul.

Having quickened me, He conquered me — subduing the enmity of my heart, the obstinacy of my will, the worldliness of my affections — and bringing every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

Having quickened and conquered me, He comforted me, assuring me of a saving interest in — the love of God, the perfect work of Jesus, the precious promises of the Word, and the eternal rest which remains for the people of God.

Having quickened, conquered, and comforted me, He sanctified me — separating me from the world, and setting me apart for my  Redeemer’s glory and praise.

As my Sanctifier, He became my Guide — leading me into the truth, conducting me out of the paths of danger, and directing me   into the everlasting way.

Not only my guide, but He became my Guard — preserving me from danger, protecting me from  foes, and becoming a wall of fire round about me.

Whenever I wander — He reproves me; when I willfully go astray — He corrects me, and makes me smart for my folly.

The work He began so long ago — He carries on, nor will He withdraw His hand from it, until it is perfected, and I am fully fitted for glory.

Reader, what do you experimentally know of the work of the Holy Spirit? Has He quickened you? Has He conquered          you? Does He comfort you? Are you sanctified by His presence, power, and operation in your heart? Does He . . .   guide you by His counsel,  guard you by His power, and   correct you for your follies?

The work of the Spirit within  us — is as necessary as the work of Jesus for us!  For if the atonement of Christ entitles us to glory — it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prepares us to  possess and enjoy it. We must be washed, justified, and sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit  of God — or we cannot be saved!

GRACE ABOUNDS

1378730103000-reader-koonce-nevada-rainbow

=>

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)

WHAT ARE WE AT?

HEARD A STORY; I think it came from the North Country: A minister called upon a poor woman, intending to give her help; for he knew that she was very poor. With his money in his hand, he knocked at the door; but she did not answer. He concluded she was not at home, and went his way. A little after he met her at the church, and told her that he had remembered her need: “I called at your house, and knocked several times, and I suppose you were not at home, for I had no answer.” “At what hour did you call, sir?” “It was about noon.” “Oh, dear,” she said, “I heard you, sir, and I am so sorry I did not answer; but I thought it was the man calling for the rent.” Many a poor woman knows what this meant. Now, it is my desire to be heard, and therefore I want to say that I am not calling for the rent; indeed, it is not the object of this book to ask anything of you, but to tell you that salvation is all of grace, which means, free, gratis, for nothing.     Oftentimes, when we are anxious to win attention, our hearer thinks, ” Ah! now I am going to be told my duty. It is the man calling for that which is due to God, and I am sure I have nothing wherewith to pay. I will not be at home.” No, this book does not come to make a demand upon you, but to bring you something. We are not going to talk about law, and duty, and punishment, but about love, and goodness, and forgiveness, and mercy, and eternal life. Do not, therefore, act as if you were not at home: do not turn a deaf ear, or a careless heart. I am asking nothing of you in the name of God or man. It is not my intent to make any requirement at your hands; but I come in God’s name, to bring you a free gift, which it shall be to your present and eternal joy to receive. Open the door, and let my pleadings enter. “Come now, and let us reason together.” The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. It may be that the hour is come in which you shall enter upon that new life which is the beginning of heaven. Faith cometh by hearing, and reading is a sort of hearing: faith may come to you while you are reading this book. Why not? O blessed Spirit of all grace, make it so!

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

IN MY WEAKNESS IS MY STRENGTH IN GOD

Morning

2 Cor 12 9 10

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory,” defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve him in his own way, and in his strength, or he will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth he casteth away; he will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before he will put his own into thee; he will first clean out thy granaries before he will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which he himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

“When I am weak then am I strong,

Grace is my shield and Christ my song.”

 

Evening

1376312039000-reader-peck-gulf-sunset

“In thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 36:9

No lips can tell the love of Christ to the heart till Jesus himself shall speak within. Descriptions all fall flat and tame unless the Holy Ghost fills them with life and power; till our Immanuel reveals himself within, the soul sees him not. If you would see the sun, would you gather together the common means of illumination, and seek in that way to behold the orb of day? No, the wise man knoweth that the sun must reveal itself, and only by its own blaze can that mighty lamp be seen. It is so with Christ. “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:” said he to Peter, “for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee.” Purify flesh and blood by any educational process you may select, elevate mental faculties to the highest degree of intellectual power, yet none of these can reveal Christ. The Spirit of God must come with power, and overshadow the man with his wings, and then in that mystic holy of holies the Lord Jesus must display himself to the sanctified eye, as he doth not unto the purblind sons of men. Christ must be his own mirror. The great mass of this blear-eyed world can see nothing of the ineffable glories of Immanuel. He stands before them without form or comeliness, a root out of a dry ground, rejected by the vain and despised by the proud. Only where the Spirit has touched the eye with eye-salve, quickened the heart with divine life, and educated the soul to a heavenly taste, only there is he understood. “To you that believe he is precious;” to you he is the chief corner-stone, the Rock of your salvation, your all in all; but to others he is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.” Happy are those to whom our Lord manifests himself, for his promise to such is that he will make his abode with them. O Jesus, our Lord, our heart is open, come in, and go out no more forever. Show thyself to us now! Favour us with a glimpse of thine all-conquering charms.

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

FEELING OF FLEEING AND THE GRACE OF CHRIST

 

 

God cares for the persecuted

 

Have You Ever Wished You Could Flee?

 

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape — far away from this wild storm of hatred.

Psalm 55:6-8 NLT

Nothing great was ever done without much enduring.

Catherine of Siena

 

Resist flight

 

David was a man after God’s own heart and a great, anointed king. But in many ways, he was just like us. Psalm 55 is an example. When the pressure was on, David just wanted to run away.

All of us have had similar urges. When life gets intense and troubles seem to offer no way out, we just want to get out of the situation. Every Christian who has been prepared by God and stretched to his or her limits can relate: There are times when we would do anything if God would just remove us from our trial. We’ll pray for ways of escape, but God often leaves us surrounded until His time is right.

God has no scorn for such feelings. He made us and He knows our frailties. He understands our impulse to flee from whatever difficulties we face. But He also insists on our endurance, because it has spiritual results that nothing else can accomplish. And there is no way to learn endurance other than simply to endure. We can’t learn it in principle or in theory; only pain can teach it to us.

The good news for those who go through intense trials and suffering is that once the impulse to flee is broken, God delivers. When endurance is complete, God removes the tribulation we endured. Every fear is followed by blessing (Psalm 55:4-8, 16-18). Our God does not leave us in our troubles. He has put us there to discover His provision; He will not withhold it indefinitely. There  will be a day of deliverance.

Adapted from The One Year® Walk with God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for May 16.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Morning

“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:1

Christ has grace without measure in himself, but he hath not retained it for himself. As the reservoir empties itself into the pipes, so hath Christ emptied out his grace for his people. “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” He seems only to have in order to dispense to us. He stands like the fountain, always flowing, but only running in order to supply the empty pitchers and the thirsty lips which draw nigh unto it. Like a tree, he bears sweet fruit, not to hang on boughs, but to be gathered by those who need. Grace, whether its work be to pardon, to cleanse, to preserve, to strengthen, to enlighten, to quicken, or to restore, is ever to be had from him freely and without price; nor is there one form of the work of grace which he has not bestowed upon his people. As the blood of the body, though flowing from the heart, belongs equally to every member, so the influences of grace are the inheritance of every saint united to the Lamb; and herein there is a sweet communion between Christ and his Church, inasmuch as they both receive the same grace. Christ is the head upon which the oil is first poured; but the same oil runs to the very skirts of the garments, so that the meanest saint has an unction of the same costly moisture as that which fell upon the head. This is true communion when the sap of grace flows from the stem to the branch, and when it is perceived that the stem itself is sustained by the very nourishment which feeds the branch. As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from him, we shall behold him in communion with us, and enjoy the felicity of communion with him. Let us make daily use of our riches, and ever repair to him as to our own Lord in covenant, taking from him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own purse.

Evening

“He did it with all his heart and prospered.”
2 Chronicles 31:21

This is no unusual occurrence; it is the general rule of the moral universe that those men prosper who do their work with all their hearts, while those are almost certain to fail who go to their labour leaving half their hearts behind them. God does not give harvests to idle men except harvests of thistles, nor is he pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to find its hid treasure. It is universally confessed that if a man would prosper, he must be diligent in business. It is the same in religion as it is in other things. If you would prosper in your work for Jesus, let it be heart work, and let it be done with all your heart. Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and earnestness into religion as ever you do into business, for it deserves far more. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities, but he does not encourage our idleness; he loves active believers. Who are the most useful men in the Christian church? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Who are the most successful Sabbath-school teachers? The most talented? No; the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire, those are the men who see their Lord riding forth prosperously in the majesty of his salvation. Whole-heartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has bidden me do it, and in his strength I will accomplish it.” Christian, art thou thus “with all thine heart” serving thy Master? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work was his! He could say, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” When he sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden he had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when he poured out his heart, it was no weak effort he was making for the salvation of his people. Was Jesus in earnest, and are we lukewarm? 

AMEN

 

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

 

 

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers,whose names are in the book of life.

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Phil.4.3

Does God treat you the way you deserve?

Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to anger and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we desire. For his unfailing love toward those who love him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:1-12 NLT

About this week’s promise

Mercy is compassion, poured out on needy people. But the mercy of God, which he expects us to model, goes one step further. God’s mercy is undeserved favor. Even when we don’t deserve mercy, God still extends it to us. Our sin and rebellion against God deserve his punishment; but instead he offers us forgiveness and eternal life. If God was merciful toward us despite our sin, how merciful should we be toward those who have wronged us?

From the TouchPoint Bible
(Tyndale House) p 1233

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Disclaimer