Crowded To Christ
Once it was my working,
His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him,
Now He uses me.
I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God. I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation -- but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me.
I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptationsto irritability, hard thoughts, and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not.
Then came the question, Is there no rescue? Must it be thus to the end -- constant conflict, and too often defeat? Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin; and no wonder, for faith and even hope were getting low. I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no strength against it. I felt I was a child of God. His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all, "Abba, Father," But to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless.
All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was -- how to get it out. I knew full well that there was in the root, the stem, abundant fatness, but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question. As gradually light dawned, I saw that faith was the only requisite -- was the hand to lay hold on His fullness and make it mine. But I had not this faith.
I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and morethe worndrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Saviour, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelie which His word, but rather made Him a liar! Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world; yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?
When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before: "But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."
As I read, I saw it all! Ah, there is rest! I thought. I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me -- never to leave me, never to fail me?
~ Hudson Taylor
"I didn't know I had a temper until after I was saved." Until then the house ...had not been divided, even as "Satan is not divided against himself." There had been no dispute, since she was the sole occupant and proprietor. Blissfully self-satisfied she had her own way; she had held sway over all her little world. But when the Spirit of God gave her a new life in Christ, war began -- civil war. The flesh lusted against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O, Lamb of God, deliver me.
~ Amy Carmichael
Those who truly possess the world make it their servant.
Do you possess the world? Or does it possess you? Is it your servant or your lord? your minister or your master? Remember, he who drags his chain has not escaped. Boast not of your possessions if you are a slave of self and sin. Loaded down with lands and houses, some poor souls still hug their chains.
My mind recalls the history of Grandma and Grandpa Kirk, who lived on a poor Ontario farm with a modest family of ten children. Yet they managed to give hundreds of dollars to missions. Their children were were brought up on mush and missions. Years later one of their sons (now a member of Sudan Interior Mission) left his quarter section to Grandma and Grandpa to live on. They were to old to farm it, yet with their cows and chickens they managed to give to missions several thousand dollars. During one year alone, after they were seventy years of age, they gave one thousand dollars to foreign missions and spent only eighty dollars on themselves.
Robert Athington lived in a single room, cooked his own meals, and gave to foreign missions five million dollars...After his death a slip of paper was found on which he had written these words: "Gladly would I make the floor my bed, a box my chair, and another box my table rahter than that men should perish for the want of the knowledge of Christ." Robert Arthington possessed his world. Do you possess yours? Or does it possess you?
Circumstances may be providential, or may be forced upon us. or may be of our own creation. In any case let us settle on this one thing: god is eager to use them for our good. In no instance should we allow them to becloud the face of God even as Dr. Holden once said, "Circumstances have proved to be not hiding places from God, but meeting places with God."
But how cam we win the victory? Not b fretting or fighting, not by setting our teeth to grin and bear it, not by dogged determination to wait for the suffering to pass, not by a mere negative silence and submission -- not by any and all these fleshly energies. Victory comes only by a deliberate acceptance of these things from the hand of our loving Father. "To them that love God all things work together for good." A saintly old farmer understood this truth and put the text, "God is love," on his weathercock. Mr. Spurgeon queried, "Do you mean that God's love is as changeable as the wind?" To this the godly man replied, "No; whichever way the wind blows, God is love." To the man who loves God every weather is right.
"Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but he is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing."
The blind preacher of Scotland, George Matheson, ...said: "My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I have never thought of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows"
One who was passing through deep watersof affliction wrote to a friend: "Is it not a glorious thing to know that no matter how unjust a thing may be, or how absolutely it may seem to be from Satan, by the time it reches us, it is God's will for us, and will work for good to us."
(Streams in the Desert)
George Fox said, "...I was never in prison that it was not the means of bringing multitudes out of their prisons."
"A pure conscience is the home of faith. There she abides. Let conscience be defiled, and faith disappears."
Sadu Sundar Singh was once traveling in the mountains with a Tibetan companion on a bitterly cold day when snow was falling. Both men were so nearly frozen to death that they despaired of arriving at their destination alive. About that time they stumbled over a man half buried in the snow, unconscious and nearly dead from exposure. The Sadhu suggested that theycarry the unfortunate man to shelter, but the Tibetan refused to help, insisting that they would have all that they could do to savthemselves. While the Tibetan passed on his way, the Sadhu shouldered the man and with great fficulty managed to struggle on with his heavy burden. Through his extra exertion, Sundar began to warm up, and before long the nearly frozen fellow hanging on his shoulders began to share his warmth. Soon the Sadhu came upon the body of the Tibetan, frozen to death. by the time Sundar had arrived at the village, the half-dead man had recovered consciousness. With a full heart, Sundar thought of the words of his Master: "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."
An old Eskimo said to the Bishop of Selkirk, "You have been many moons in this land. Did you know this good news then? Since you were a boy? And your father knew? Then why did you not come sooner?"
Again, in the snowy heights of the Andes a Peruvian asked, "How is it that during all the years of my life I have never before heard that Jesus Christ spoke those precious words?"
It was repeated in the white streets of Casablanca, North Africa, "Why have you not run everywhere with ths Book?" said a Moor to a Bible seller. "Why do so many of my people not know of the Jesus whom it proclaims? Why have you hoarded it to yourselves? Shame on you!"