“In trial and weakness and trouble, He seeks to bring us low, until we learn that His grace is all, and to take pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. His presence filling and satisfying our emptiness, becomes the secret of humility that need never fail. The humble man has learned the secret of abiding gladness. The weaker he feels, the lower he sinks, and the greater his humiliations appear, the more power and the presence of Christ are his portion.”
~ Andrew Murray
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
May we never minimize so great a peace! May we never discount what it means to be at peace with God. We may long for peace here and now, but may we ever so much long for peace in eternity. May we remember how far we have fallen away from the grace and favor of God and how far He has come to turn away His great wrath and grant us His peace. We now have the privilege of serving the Price of Peace. He who declares to the storms “Peace, be still”. He, who is Jesus Christ, and brings to us this peace which Scripture describes as surpassing our understanding. God’s peace does surpass our understanding, doesn’t it? Who can comprehend such mercy? Such love? That the sovereign and eternal God of heaven and earth, He who is holy, blameless and pure – He who the Bible says is comprised of unapproachable light – would justify poor sinners through the sacrifice of His own Son – and reconcile, that is join together, His lowly creatures back to Himself through and by His eternal and everlasting peace.
Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbor, where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger in your name we shall find comfort and peace.
~ Prayer of Basil of Caesarea (329-379)
Much of the feebleness, barrenness and paucity of religion results from the failure to have a scriptural and reasonable standard in religion, by which to shape character and measure results. We cannot possibly mark our advances in religion if there is no point to which we are definitely advancing. Always there must be something definite before the mind’s eye at which we are aiming and to which we are driving. Many Christians are disjointed and aimless because they have no pattern before them after which conduct and character are to be shaped. They just move on aimlessly, their minds in a cloudy state, no pattern in view, no point in sight, no standard after which they are striving. There is no standard by which to value and gauge their efforts. No magnet is there to fill their eyes, quicken their steps, and to draw them and keep them steady. In religion, we must not only go on. We must know where we are going. This is all important. It is essential that in going on in religious experience, we have something definite in view, and strike out for that one point.
~ E.M. Bounds (1835-1913)
“The just shall live by faith.”
~ Romans 1:17
To live by faith is a far surer and happier thing than to live by feelings or by works. The branch, by living in the vine, lives a better life than it would live by itself, even if it were possible for it to live at all apart from the stem. To live by clinging to Jesus, by deriving all from Him, is a sweet and sacred thing. If even the most just must live in this fashion, how much more must I who am a poor sinner! LORD, I believe. I must trust Thee wholly. What else can I do? Trusting Thee is my life. I feel it to be so. I will abide by this even to the end.
~ Charles Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook
“For the LORD’s portion is His people…”
~ Deuteronomy 32:9 (NKJV)
It is amazing to think of all the things God could delight in, He is abundantly pleased to delight in His people. The Creator of heaven and earth has no greater love, joy or delight than to pour out His care and affection over the people whom He has chosen for Himself. This concern is seen in no fuller glory than when God’s own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died that sacrificial death that allows us the high privilege, that allows us, those who come by faith, to become the Lord’s portion.
“You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to the LORD your God.”
~ Deuteronomy 17:1 (NKJV)
Why did the Lord God command Israel to only offer a sacrifice free from blemish or defect? Was God just be trivial and trying to make worship unnecessarily difficult for His people to perform? Of course not! The mandate to bring no blemished or defective animal before the Lord was to teach Israel a vital spiritual lesson – that God is most holy, perfect and pure -and therefore cannot accept anything less than perfection for Himself. Anything less is an affront to the nature and character of a righteous God.
Yet we know that these mere animals possess no real moral character and only symbolize and point to the one true sinless sacrifice that can claim moral purity and perfection – Christ Himself. Jesus alone fulfilled the Old Testament obligation and command to offer only that which was free of defect or blemish. He offered Himself in place of sinful imperfect man who are riddled with blemish and defect. Christ offered Himself that we, those who come to Him by His mercy and by our faith, are graciously no longer an abomination to the Lord.