Daily Archives: November 29, 2011

From the Writings of R.A. Torrey

     If we as christians are to make a difference for our Lord and Savior, we must, and I repeat must, get our act together.  We cannot and will not make a difference in this world for Christ Jesus until He has made a difference in us.  As long as christianity is something that we talk about, and fail to live out, we will continue to be called hypocrites, and be looked upon as the brides carrying lamps in their hands with no oil.  To truly be effective in our christian lives we must be . . . .

Looking To Jesus
by
R. A. Torrey
(1856-1928)

     If we are to run with patience the race that is set before us, we must always keep looking to Jesus (Heb_12:1-3). One of the simplest and yet one of the mightiest secrets of abiding joy and victory is to never lose sight of Jesus.

1. First of all, we must keep looking at Jesus as the ground of our acceptance before God. Over and over again, Satan will make an attempt to discourage us by bringing up our sins and failures and thus try to convince us that we are not children of God, or not saved. If he succeeds in getting us to keep looking at and brooding sins, he will soon get us discouraged, and discouragement means failure. But if we will keep looking at what God looks at, the death of Jesus Christ in our place that completely atones for every sin that we ever committed, we will never be discouraged because of the greatest of our sins. We shall see that while our sins are great, very great, indeed they have all been atoned for. Every time Satan brings up one of our sins, we shall see that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from its curse by being made a curse in our place (Gal_3:13). We shall see that while in ourselves we are full of unrighteousness, nevertheless in Christ we are made the righteousness of God, because Christ was made to be sin in our place (2Co_5:21). We will see that every sin that Satan taunts us about has been borne and settled forever (1Pe_2:24; Isa_53:6). We shall always be able to sing,

Jesus paid my debt,
All the debt I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

     If you are this moment troubled about any sin that you have ever committed, either in the past or in the present, just look at Jesus on the cross; believe what God tells you about Him, that this sin which troubles you was laid upon Him (Isa_53:6). Thank God that the sin is all settled, be full of gratitude to Jesus, who bore it in your place, and worry about it no more. It is an act of base ingratitude to God to brood over sins that He in His infinite love has canceled. Keep looking at Christ on the cross and walk always in the sunlight of God’s favor. This favor of God has been purchased for you at great cost. Gratitude demands that you should always believe in it and walk in the light of it.

2. In the second place, we must keep looking at Jesus as our risen Savior, who has all power in heaven and on earth and is able to keep us every day and every hour. Are you tempted to do some wrong at this moment? If you are, remember that Jesus rose from the dead, remember that at this moment He is living at the right hand of God in the glory; remember that He has all power in heaven and on earth, and that, therefore, He can give you victory right now. Believe what God tells you in His Word, that Jesus has power to save you this moment “completely” (Heb_7:25). Believe that He has power to give you victory over that sin that now besets you. Ask Him to give you victory; expect Him to do it. In this way, by looking unto the risen Christ for victory, you may have victory over sin every day, every hour, every moment. “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead” (2Ti_2:8).

     God has called every one of us to a victorious life, and the secret of this victorious life is always looking to the risen Christ for victory. Through looking to Christ crucified we obtain pardon and enjoy peace. Through looking to the risen Christ we obtain present victory over the power of sin. If you have lost sight of the risen Christ and have yielded to temptation, confess your sin and know that it is forgiven because God says so (1Jn_1:9), and look to Jesus, the risen One, again to give you victory now, and keep looking to Him.

3. In the third place, we must keep looking to Jesus as the One whom we should follow in our daily conduct. Our Lord Jesus says to us, His disciples today, as He said to His early disciples, “Follow me.” The whole secret of true Christian conduct can be summed up in these two words “Follow me.” “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1Jn_2:6). One of the commonest causes of failure in Christian life is found in the attempt to follow some good man whom we greatly admire. No man and no woman, no matter how good, can be safely followed. If we follow any man or woman, we are bound to go astray. There has been but one absolutely perfect Man on this earth–the Man Christ Jesus. If we try to follow any other man we are surer to imitate his faults than his excellencies. Look to Jesus and Jesus only as your Guide.

     If at any time you are in any perplexity as to what to do, simply ask the question, What would Jesus do? Ask God by His Holy Spirit to show you what Jesus would do. Study your Bible to find out what Jesus did do, and follow Him. Even though no one else seems to be following Jesus, be sure that you follow Him. Do not spend your time or thought in criticizing others because they do not follow Jesus. See that you follow Him yourself. When you are wasting your time criticizing others for not following Jesus, Jesus is always saying to you, “What is that to you? You must follow me” (Joh_21:22). The question for you is not what following Jesus may involve for other people. The question is, What does following Jesus mean for you?

     This is the really simple life, the life of simply following Jesus. Many perplexing questions will come to you, but the most perplexing question will soon become as clear as day if you determine with all your heart to follow Jesus in everything. Satan will always be ready to whisper to you, “Such and such a good man does it,” but all you need to do is to answer, “It matters not to me what this or that man may do or not do. The only question to me is, What would Jesus do?” There is wonderful freedom in this life of simply following Jesus. This path is straight and plain. But the path of him who tries to shape his conduct by observing the conduct of others is full of twists and turns and pitfalls. Keep looking at Jesus. Follow on trustingly where He leads. This is the path of the righteous, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Pro_4:18). He is the Light of the world; anyone who follows Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life all along the way (Joh_8:12).

From “Morning and Evening” by C.H. Spurgeon

     We, as Christians, need to heed this with all diligence.  How much harm have we caused to our Savior and Lord, and our brothers and sisters by failing to do this. 

“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people … Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”

Lev_19:16, Lev_19:17

Tale-bearing emits a threefold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person concerning whom the tale is told. Whether the report be true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should count it shame to help the devil to dishonour the Church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse. We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren, let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now. Be this our family rule, and our personal bond-SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN.

The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful. Does the flesh shrink from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and brethren. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in his warning given to Peter, the prayer with which he preceded it, and the gentle way in which he bore with Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.

From “A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God vol. 1 – Morning Meditations” by William Mason

    This is a reminder of what God has done for us, not what we have done.

Giving thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.- Col_1:12.

Too many of God’s dear children seem to abound more in complaining of what they find and feel in themselves than in praising God for what he hath done for and in them. Why is this? They do not live enough in their own kingdom; they do not enough consider their own privileges; they dwell not enough upon the rich love of God their Father to them; the free-grace of Jesus their Redeemer FOR them, and the work of the comforter IN them. But, what from a sense of their corruptions, the devices of Satan, the sight of the spirituality of the law, the legality that is in them, they cannot think themselves made meet for God’s kingdom; therefore they do not praise God for it. Say, O ye sons and daughters of the Most High, is this right? What! because you find sin abound in you, will you not give praise that grace doth much more abound towards you and IN you also? Consider, God the Father HATH made us meet. Who? Us vile sinners. How? by taking away the being of all sin in us? No, no more than by taking us out of the body. If we never have meetness for glory till all sin is perfectly destroyed in us, we shall never begin the work of praise till we get to glory. But praise is a present work for what God HATH already done in us. First, “God HATH delivered us from the power of darkness.” The prince of darkness no more blinds our eyes to the evil of sin, the curse of the law, the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus, and the preciousness of his salvation. For, secondly, “God HATH translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” We are out of the kingdom of nature, sin, pride, and unbelief; we live under the spiritual reign of JESUS. Therefore, thirdly, we possess all the graces of this kingdom; FAITH in the king of saints, love to the king of saints, and “love to all the saints;” to all our fellow-sinners, who confess Jesus the Son of God, and salvation by him ONLY. Is sin our burden? Christ our glory, our life of holiness? Is holiness the desire of our souls? we have light, life, faith, love, holiness; then God HATH made us meet for the enjoyment of his glory. Nay, we do enjoy him NOW. We have fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, therefore, we are now to give him thanks; we shall never have any other meetness for heaven on earth, though greater degrees of the comforts of this may be experienced. O my soul, art thou no longer in the darkness of sin? Satan’s slave? under the curse of the law? blinded by pride to the charms of Jesus? tied and bound by the chains of unbelief? an enemy to God’s grace, his truth, and his people? “O Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name, for thou hast done marvelous things.” etc.- Isa_25:1.

 

 

 

A Thought on Anxiety

      We live in a world ridden with anxiety; people who are anxious, filled with fear, worry, and doubt, suspicious of everyone and everything, and quick to defend or take action against any perceived wrong, any questioning of our beliefs.  All searching, looking, wanting that some ONE thing that we hide in our heart of hearts thinking that if we have it then we’ll be satisfied.  We look for it in people, in possessions, in power, in money, in business, in education, in every conceivable nook and cranny in the world.  We flip over every card in the deck, buy lottery tickets for the power ball, fill casinos to the brim, bet on every game, horse race, and athletic event in hopes of hitting it big, and then when we do – if we do – it’s on to the next thing.
       Some of us – all of us – have been successful in our lives, on some level, perhaps at just one thing, at one time, but we’ve all experienced success.  Some of us have been successful at a great many things in a multitude of areas, and yet we still want more; are still anxious; uneasy, fearful, afraid, unsure, only to ready to believe that it can all vanish in a millisecond.  We live with that nagging, shadowy voice in the back of our minds that says “this isn’t enough.”  “Better work harder,” or some such thing.  
     Like the gerbil on the wheel, we keep running through the routines of our lives scarcely taking notice of the people and things around us, and then when we do stop (though we don’t really) it’s never a complete stop – just a slowing down – a switching of gears, and we call it relaxing, taking time off, but it’s really just taking away time from something or someone else.  We don’t dare stop, not intentionally at least, because to stop – to stop completely – creates a vacuum, an empty space, a place in which, just maybe, another voice can be heard, a very faint, very far off, voice that says wait.  A voice that very softly asks us in that rare undefined moment “Why are you doing this?”   That with each beat of our hearts says, “Is this all there is,” and saturates each breath we take with the rhythmic “why can’t I be satisfied?”
     We live with the “I wants,” “I have to have’s,” and the “I can’t live without’s.”  Then when we feel the pain (and there’s always the pain – though we deny, hide, avoid, and disavow it –  it’s undeniably there) we do everything in our power, use every means at our disposal, to try to kill it, to get rid of it, and yet it’s always there.  Entertainment, sports, illicit drugs, and alcohol are the great narcotics we use to deaden , dull, and desensitize our hearts and minds to it, and to the voice, the very gentle, very soft, very forceful voice that keeps repeating the questions – the ones we can find no satisfactory answer to – that haunt us in the most importune moments.
     We live in a state, a country, a world of anxiety.  We worry about worrying.  We live in, with, because, and in spite of it.  Yet we don’t do any of them well.  Why anxiety?  Why this unease, this disquieting spirit, within us?  Perhaps the answer lives in the silence of those very rare moments, in the solitude of reflective thought, in the quiet contemplation of creation, in that lone voice that speaks to us all at one time or another.  Perhaps, as gravity holds us to ground, as an anchor steadies a ship among waves, as a compass guides on an unknown path, the answer lies in the connections.  I’ve often wondered and thought of anxiety as a disconnect for isn’t that in reality what it is?  Can any musical instrument play beautiful music when it’s out of tune?  
     We look at anxiety as a bad thing, but as in so many things, definition is determined by design.  It is said that anxiety is the handmaid of creation, that all art, in part, stems from it, and I can see where that might be true.  Yet, I also believe, that anxiety serves as a herald, that it rides on our hearts and minds as Paul Revere rode through the darkness of night warning and giving notice to those who would listen that something was amiss and not right.   
     As any electrician knows the power goes out when there’s a disconnect, and I believe that’s what anxiety is to the human being.  It’s a failure to connect.  As a christian, I know that my power to live comes from my connection to Christ, and it’s in my relationship with Him that I find and am connected to the source of my strength.  

Here’s some food for thought:

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

George Muller.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained.

Arthur Somers Roche.

An average person’s anxiety is focused on :

40% — things that will never happen
30% — things about the past that can’t be changed
12% — things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — about health, which gets worse with stress
8% — about real problems that will be faced

     100% of the above can be alleviated and resolved through prayer.