Material for Sacrifice

Elisabeth Elliott in her devotional A Lamp unto My Feet says that our unfulfilled longings can be material for sacrifice.  This has provided much food for thought for me today.

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“I had been praying for something I wanted very badly. It seemed a good thing to have, a thing that would make life even more pleasant than it is, and would not in any way hinder my work. God did not give it to me. Why? I do not know all of His reasons, of course. The God who orchestrates the universe has a good many things to consider that have not occurred to me, and it is well that I leave them to Him. But one thing I do understand: He offers me holiness at the price of relinquishing my own will. 

“Do you honestly want to know Me?” He asks. I answer yes. “Then do what I say,” He replies. “Do it when you understand it; do it when you don’t understand it. Take what I give you; be willing not to have what I do not give you. The very relinquishment of this thing that you so urgently desire is a true demonstration of the sincerity of your lifelong prayer: ‘Thy will be done.’” 

So instead of hammering on heaven’s door for something which it is now quite clear God does not want me to have, I make my desire an offering. The longed-for thing is material for sacrifice. Here, Lord, it’s yours. He will, I believe, accept the offering. He will transform it into something redemptive. He may perhaps give it back as He did Isaac to Abraham, but He will know that I fully intend to obey Him.”

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My Father

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On the darkest days when I feel inadequate, unloved and unworthy, I remember whose daughter I am and straighten my crown. 

~Anonymous

I Needed the Quiet

769BF4C0-E056-4AC3-9194-1F76FF411F6DI needed the quiet so He drew me aside,
Into the shadows where we could confide.
Away from the bustle where all the day long
I hurried and worried when active and strong.

I needed the quiet though at first I rebelled,
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld,
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things.
Though weakened in body, my spirit took wings
To heights never dreamed of when active and gay.
He loved me so greatly He drew me away.

I needed the quiet. No prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead–
A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide.
I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.

~Alice Hansche Mortenson

The True Vine

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I finished reading The True Vine by Andrew Murray this week.  It is divided up into daily readings.  It took me twice as long to read as it “should” have because there was so much to meditate on in this little book.  I’m so glad that I picked it up and took the time to read it.  It helped me get off to a great start with my one word of abide this year!

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“Let us realize that we can only fulfill our calling to bear much fruit, by praying much. In Christ are hid all the treasures men around us need; in Him all God’s children are blessed with all spiritual blessings; He is full of grace and truth. But it needs prayer, much prayer, strong believing prayer, to bring these blessings down.”

“He tells us that if we ask in His name, in virtue of our union with Him, whatsoever it be, it will be done to us. Souls are perishing because there is too little prayer. God’s children are feeble because there is too little prayer. We bear so little fruit because there is so little prayer. The faith of this promise would make us strong to pray; let us not rest till it has entered into our very heart, and drawn us in the power of Christ to continue and labor and strive in prayer until the blessing comes in power. To be a branch means not only bearing fruit on earth, but power in prayer to bring down blessing from Heaven. Abiding fully means praying much.”

“Be wholly occupied with Jesus. Sink the roots of your being in faith and love and obedience deep down into Him. Come away out of every other place to abide here. Give up everything for the inconceivable privilege of being a branch on earth of the glorified Son of God in Heaven. Let Christ be first. Let Christ be all. Do not be occupied with the abiding–be occupied with Christ! He will hold you, He will keep you abiding in Him. He will abide in you.”

“Gracious Lord, teach me this lesson, that it is only through knowing Thy will one can know Thy heart, and only through doing that will one can abide in Thy love.”

Murray, Andrew (2010-03-27). The True Vine: Meditations for a Month on John 15:1-16. Kindle Edition.

*The photo is of plum blossoms in the spring.  Springtime in Japan is breathtaking!

Abide in Christ

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As part of my one word for 2018, I am reading The True Vine: Meditations for a Month on John 15:1-16 by Andrew Murray.  I’m glad it is broken up into short daily readings, because there is a lot to meditate on in those daily readings.  Today, I am sharing a few quotes for you to think on.  I highly recommend this book!

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How many eyes have gazed on and admired a great vine with its beautiful fruit. Come and gaze on the heavenly Vine till your eye turns from all else to admire Him. How many, in a sunny clime, sit and rest under the shadow of a vine. Come and be still under the shadow of the true Vine, and rest under it from the heat of the day. What countless numbers rejoice in the fruit of the vine! Come, and take, and eat of the heavenly fruit of the true Vine, and let your soul say: “I sat under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”

*****

“Abide in me”: that refers more to that which we have to do. We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him.

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How much weary labor there has been in striving to understand what abiding is, how much fruitless effort in trying to attain it! Why was this? Because the attention was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of the living Christ, in whom we were to be kept abiding, who Himself was to hold and keep us. we thought of abiding as a continual strain and effort–we forget that it means rest from effort to one who has found the place of his abode.

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And so it sometimes comes that souls who have never been specially occupied with the thought of abiding, are abiding all the time, because they are occupied with Christ.

*quotes from Murray, Andrew (2010-03-27). The True Vine: Meditations for a Month on John 15:1-16. Kindle Edition.

For more quotes from this book, click here.

Dying to Self

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When your good is evil spoken of,
when your wishes are crossed,
your advice disregarded your opinions ridiculed,
and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart
or even defend yourself,

but take it all in patient, loving silence,

~That is dying to self~

When you lovingly and patiently bear any dishonor,
any irregularity or any annoyance;
when you can stand face to face with waste, folly,
extravagance, spiritual insensibility,
and endure it as Jesus endured it,

~That is dying to self~

When you receive correction and reproof from
one of less stature than yourself,
and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly,
finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart,

~That is dying to self~

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

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From the books…

I have been participating in a study of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s new book, Adorned:  Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.  It has been such a blessing.  Here are a few quotes that made me think as we began the study.

“Not long ago, I was struck by the results of a survey I read. Nonbelieving older teens and young adults were asked if they had a personal friend or acquaintance who was a Christian. Of the roughly 85 percent who said they did, only 15 percent indicated they saw any lifestyle differences between their Christian and non-Christian friends. And it’s not only students and young adults who see it that way. This problem applies to both older and younger generations. It should not be this way. Believers should be noticeably different. True believers will be noticeably— beautifully— different. And sound doctrine is what makes it so.” ~pg. 37

“Sound doctrine tells us that we exist to bring glory to God and that every circumstance that comes into our lives can contribute to that end. If we could get just that one truth fixed in our hearts, we would never look at our circumstances the same way again.” ~pg. 38

“Sound doctrine tells us that even as believers we can expect to struggle with indwelling sin, fleshly appetites, and self-centeredness. It reminds us that if we are not abiding in Christ and allowing His Spirit to do His sanctifying work in us, we may be capable of producing religious work but not of bearing spiritual fruit.” ~pg. 39

“Don’t think you can dress up your life with better behavior or become the beautiful woman you’re hoping to grow into without grounding your life in biblical truth. If you’re not willing to start there and stay there, saturating yourself in Scripture and receiving sound teaching from mature believers, your pursuit of a godly, fruitful life will always be an exercise in frustration.” ~pg. 45

Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss (2017-02-07). Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.