When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means? We take the word sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification? The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns, and an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns. Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone. Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us? And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself…” (John 17:19). The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.
Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse? Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”? Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23). The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?
Streams In The Desert
And, lo, I am with you alway (Matthew 28:20).
Never look ahead to the changes and challenges of this life in fear. Instead, as they arise look at them with the full assurance that God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. Hasn’t He kept you safe up to now? So hold His loving hand tightly, and He will lead you safely through all things. And when you cannot stand, He will carry you in His arms.
Do not look ahead to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you His unwavering strength that you may bear it. Be at peace, then, and set aside all anxious thoughts and worries.
–Francis de Sales
The Lord is my shepherd. Psalm 23:1
Not was, not may be, nor will be. “The Lord is my shepherd.” He is on Sunday, on Monday, and through every day of the week. He is in January, in December, and every month of the year. He iswhen I’m at home and in China. He is during peace and war, and in times of abundance or poverty.
–J. Hudson Taylor
He will silently plan for you,
His object of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be
Your Pilot through each subtle snare.
He WILL silently plan for you,
So certainly, He cannot fail!
Rest on the faithfulness of God,
In Him you will surely prevail.
He will SILENTLY plan for you
Some wonderful surprise of love.
No eye has seen, nor ear has heard,
But it is kept for you above.
He will silently PLAN for you,
His purposes will all unfold;
Your tangled life will shine at last,
A masterpiece of skill untold.
He will silently plan FOR YOU,
Happy child of a Father’s care,
As if no other claimed His love,
But you alone to Him were dear.
–E. Mary Grimes
Whatever our faith says God is, He will be.
Teach me to forgive
— Author unknown
One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.
His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.
Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there, and with tears in his eyes, he prayed
“Lord – You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed.
Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how. It is not fair Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – Teach me To Forgive.”
As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them. He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head.
Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.
“Have you ever told a lie, He asked?” The man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?” The man answered, “Yes, Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.
“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours,” Jesus asked? And the man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?” The man, crying now, answered, “Yes, Lord.”
As Jesus asked many more times, “Have you ever”? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, “Yes, Lord.”
Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before. Jesus said, “I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.”
It may be hard to see how you’re going to get through something. But, when
you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is…
“If God brings you to it… He will bring you through it.”
God Tested Them
From: Through the Bible
Exodus 15:25b-26 (NIV)There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”
The people were thirsty and had come to a place of bitter water. It would have taken an entire lake to give that many people and their herds a drink. They asked if God was able to provide their needs. The Psalmist said they were testing God (Psalm 78:19). Both in the verse for today and in the next chapter, when they demand food, God turned it around and said the test is not if He was able to provide, but it is if they are able to obey. That is still the test. God provides food for every living thing in the world daily. Most starvation is due to wars that do not allow food to enter into areas where there is need. Man gets in the way and will be held accountable. But the point God is making is that if we are listening and obeying His directions, He will provide our needs.
In that day, God gave them health laws that if followed carefully would prevent much of the diseases they witnessed in Egypt. Today we are no longer under those laws but are to be led by the Holy Spirit. If we will listen and obey, we will not need affliction to help turn our ear toward God for our good. When God gave instructions for the collection of manna, He again says it is to test them to see if they can learn to obey. When we operate in a dependency on God, we will always have enough. It is when we go our own way that we find we are in need, because our own ways are not blessed. The test is for us, not God.
Consider: How should I respond to God’s testing?
Matthew 6:25, 33-34 (NIV) 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In the verse just prior to this, Jesus told His disciples they had to choose between serving God and serving money. Loving one causes a detesting of the other. If you are going to rely on your own ability and what you can earn, your trust in God will fade. If you rely on God and His provision, your trust in self will fade. We all choose where we will place our faith. We may say it is in God, and yet our actions show we are relying on the money we earn.
Jesus is asking a question we should consider. What is life about? What is the importance of life? Is it to be dressed nicely and eat the nicest food? Or is it about the kingdom and His righteousness? You will act on what your heart really believes. Do we live for our taste buds? Once put so plainly, we see the absurdity of it. This is the way unbelievers live. If we have come to believe in the God who desires intimate fellowship with us, then we should be living for much greater goals than food and clothes. Surely, as we live in pursuit of His kingdom and righteousness, He will take care of those things for us.
How worry free the life of the Christian should be! We have a God who provides our needs day by day. We have found life to be more than the physical. We have found that our provision is not from our ability. We may struggle and go through difficulty, but we have purpose and meaning in our life. The great Provider will provide our every need in His perfect time. Rest in Him. Trust Him to be who He declares Himself to be. Focus on the real importance of life, and your temporary lack of a physical need will seem as insignificant as it really is. Before you know it, He will meet the need.
Remember: Stay focused on His kingdom and His righteousness.