“If you would direct your heart right And spread out your hand to Him,
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
The Surrendered Life
To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.
Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.
If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” Proverbs 4:24
I worked for a carpenter one summer between college semesters. Being the inexperienced apprentice, occasionally I would cut a board too short. Seeing that I had wasted a good board, my frustrated boss would reply: “Get the wood stretcher!”
His point? Wood doesn’t stretch.
Neither does the truth. Once stretched, it is no longer the truth. It is “crooked, devious talk.”
But let’s face it. Stretching the truth now and then can be a handy option, especially if we are in trouble or trying to gain some advantage. But if you think that twisting or slightly adjusting the truth isn’t damaging, think again. When Satan spoke to Eve in Genesis 3:1-24, he exaggerated God’s command—“Don’t eat of this one tree”—asking her if God had really said, “You shall not eat from every tree.” Due to his clever mismanagement of true truth, Eve no longer felt that God was generous and good but rather stingy and restrictive. This distortion of the truth planted seeds of doubt and distrust in Eve’s mind that blossomed into disastrous disobedience—a disobedience that has significantly damaged each of us as well.
Every day there are plenty of opportunities to fall to the temptation of mismanaging the truth for our own advantage. Sins of the tongue like flattery, boasting, gossip, and slander are all easily committed when we lose a high regard for the truth.
But under the surface, distorting the truth is a sign of some serious internal problems. Anger is a fertile spawning ground for exaggerating someone’s faults in order to wound them when they have hurt or crossed us.
If your life is committed to “me first” and to making sure you are on top of the pile, your twisted truth words will quickly betray your addiction to yourself.
Pride will lead you to embellish the truth to help you feel better about yourself or to make you look better than others. Seductive thoughts will lead you to flattery and alluring twists of the truth. A greedy heart will hide the true faults of a product and embellish its virtues just to make a sale.
But beware, stretching the truth for your personal advantage ultimately backfires. It’s our character that suffers as landmark virtues like trust and credibility, two building blocks of successful relationships, get slain on the battlefield of our self-serving twisting of the truth. Turning anger to patience and forgiveness; turning self-serving instincts to loving others; turning pride to true humility and greed to generosity will enable you to have the courage to experience the joy of telling it like it really is—which, believe it or not, will ultimately produce better outcomes than stressing yourself out by always twisting and turning the truth to your own gain. As the poet Sir Walter Scott said, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
From: Streams in the Desert
—F. B. Meyer
—C. H. Spurgeon
From: Our Daily Bread
You give them drink from your river of delights.
We have a hummingbird feeder in the garden, and we love to see the little birds come and drink from its sugary water. Recently, however, we went on a short trip and forgot to replenish its contents. When we came back, it was completely dry. Poor birds! I thought. Because of my forgetfulness, they haven’t had any nourishment. Then I was reminded that I am not the one who feeds them: God is.
Sometimes we may feel that all of the demands of life have depleted our strength and there is no one to replenish it. But others don’t feed our souls: God does.
In Psalm 36 we read about God’s lovingkindness. It describes those who put their trust in Him and are abundantly satisfied. God gives them water from His “river of delights” (v. 8). He is the fountain of life!
We can go to God every day for the supply of our needs. As Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The springs of my faith and all my graces; the springs of my life and all my pleasures; the springs of my activity and all its right doings; the springs of my hope, and all its heavenly anticipations, all lie in thee, my Lord.”
Let us be filled with His abundant supply. His fountain will never run dry.
Lord, I come to You with the confidence that You will fill me with what I need.
God’s love is abundant.