Settle it on the Front End

I received a prayer request recently from a friend whose loved one needed prayer.  He was having difficulty believing that God could love him.  He felt that he was “too bad” and had “sinned too much”.  But Scripture tells us that God loves us and that He pursues us.  This can be a difficult concept for us to believe and understand when so much in our life is based on the conditional.  It can be especially difficult for those whose earthly father was not as loving as he should have been.

In Experiencing God, Dr. Henry Blackaby says, “The cross, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection are God’s final, total, and complete expression that God loves you.   Never allow your heart to question God’s love.  Settle it on the front end of your desire to know Him and experience Him.  He loves you.  He created you for a love relationship.  He has been pursuing you in that love relationship.  Every encounter He has with you is an expression of His love for you.  God would cease to be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love!” 

Charles Spurgeon put it this way in his book, Morning and Evening:

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.  He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.  But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”  Remember, therefore, 

  • it is not your hold of Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not your joy in Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; 

Therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.  If we would at once overcome satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”  Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon your mind; when you awake in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.  Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.   “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

This Frequent Oozing Out of Contamination

Malgorzata

Some days I am much more conscious of my sin than others.  Oh, I am certain that my sinfulness is there and  that I am just as sinful on the days when I am not conscious of my sin.  But one particular day,  a day when I was more aware of my sin, I read the following excerpt from page 285 of “The Gospel in Leviticus”.   May it bless you in the consciousness (and unconsciousness) of your sins as well.

“It is indeed melancholy, my brethren, that we, as Christians, still have so much impurity cleaving to us—that with all our efforts so much evil still works in us—that with all our penitence, prayers and resolves, there yet is this frequent oozing out of contamination—that with all the doings of God to cleanse us, we still have so much cause to hang our heads in shame, and humble ourselves in dust and ashes—that not one of us but would blush and be mortified almost to death to have all our thoughts and feelings suddenly laid open to the inspection of those around us.  But still it is not without its good effects.

  • We need something to keep us humble, to drive us continually to the throne of grace, and to keep us ever mindful of our dependence upon the mercy of God.
  • If we were not troubled with these secret flows of sin, we would be in great danger of growing spiritually proud, negligent, and over-confident. But this keeps us down at the foot of the cross, and ever prompts to more earnest prayer, and keeps the soul from stagnation.
  • It makes us feel the presence and power of the foe, that we may be stirred up to ever-renewed zeal, and be strengthened the more by our trying encounters with the enemy.
  • It helps to soften us towards the failings of others, and to make us charitable in our judgments of offenders.
  • Though it is painful, and keeps us in constant peril of making shipwreck of our faith, I do not know whether I would have it otherwise if I could. I fear that we should be too much at rest and satisfied in this present world, if we were not thus made to feel the inconvenience of living in the flesh.
  • It helps greatly to reconcile us to the idea of dying. It contributes to make our dying day, a blessed day; because it will put an everlasting end to these vexations. Then we shall be delivered “from the body of this death…..

Egypt may pursue us to the sea, and its men of war go with us into the waves, but there shall the oppressor cease. From that flood he shall never rise again.  He shall never reach the other shore, or set foot in heaven.  God shall there take off his chariot-wheels, and he shall pursue and oppress us no more. Oh, happy, happy day! that thus lays all our tormentors forever with the dead…

  • And then, again, this constant consciousness of sin assists in endearing to us the cross and righteousness of Jesus. Though evil ever works within us, we have a remedy.
  • We have an Advocate in heaven ever interceding for us. Though uncleanness clings to us, life and purity flows down through him to cover our unrighteousness and to help our infirmities.
  • With all our weaknesses, in Him we are strong.
  • Let faith but touch the hem of His garment, and healing is at hand.
  • Let the poor sinner but press to Him, and all these disgusting issues shall be as though they were not.

Blessed Physician, that God hath sent to us from the heavens! How precious the virtue that goeth out from him! He healeth all our diseases. His blood cleanseth from all sin.

Allow me, then, my dear friends, to commend this Savior to you. He is what you need; and He is ready to become everything to you that is necessary to complete your peace. You may find yourself full of sin; but He is able to cleanse you. You may be poor and friendless; but He sympathizes with you, and proposes to you eternal riches. In more than angelic meekness, He spreads out His hands to you, and says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are Heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Only accept that call, and you shall be blessed forever.”

 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

~ Isaiah 1:18

De-Icing Before Taking Off

Snowblind

Continuing with the theme from my last post of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and throwing off  “everything that hinders”, Ron Hutchcraft expounds on this idea in the article below, “De-Icing Before Taking Off”.

Southwest Wing Over Phoenix
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De-Icing Before Taking Off

By Ron Hutchcraft

I usually leave airplanes to the experts.  I fly on commercial airplanes and I usually don’t give a lot of thought to the maintenance or the flying of the plane – usually, but not on a very wintry day in Toronto.  The plane was warming up at the gate, all the passengers were seated, and I was as usual already busily at work until I glanced out the window at the wing which was covered with snow, and getting more covered.  I may not know too much about airplanes, but I do know that you have to de-ice them before they take-off.   A little ice on the wings affects the lift on an aircraft and causes you to go “boom.”   I’m used to the de-icer truck taking care of things at the gate before we leave, and we were preparing to leave the gate iced and snowed.  Finally, the pilot told us that they would do that on the runway which is actually a better idea.  But, I told my wife later that if they hadn’t done something about those wings, I was off that plane. It’s unbelievable how much damage a thin layer of ice can do.

Our word for today from the Word of God is about crash prevention in your life.  Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”  Actually this verse is talking about a runner not a flyer, but the principal is still the same: get rid of anything that’s slowing you down or hindering you.  I think pilots call it drag.

  • Now in terms of your commitment to live for Jesus Christ, are there too many days when you crash?
  • The same old sinful attitudes or thoughts; same old reactions that trip you up?
  •  Or you go through the day depressed and discouraged instead of with the joy you used to have.
  •  Or you just forget about God a lot of the day.

Your crashes haven’t been fatal, but they’ve done too much damage.  The problem may be a thin coating of sin, of compromise on your wings.  It doesn’t take much to bring you down, that’s why the Bible says to deal with it forcefully and aggressively.  It says, “throw it off.”   Personal purity is not a passive thing.  It actively attacks anything that’s a drag on your flight plan of following Jesus.

Every new day means another take-off into that day – people and pressures and temptations.  Before you leave the gate, be sure you de-ice.  Spiritual flight preparation means that you get on your knees before your Savior and you pray through what you know will be the temptations of that day.  Anticipate them; walk through them with Jesus before you face them.  Claim His power for each one.  Commit yourself to send Him to the door when that temptation knocks.

There are going to be surprises, but you’ll be ready for them if you’ve prepared yourself for the ones you know are coming.  One major source of spiritual ice on your wings is a negative, complaining attitude.  Has there been too much of that?  It will make everything look dark all day long.  Lose it at the beginning of the day and replace it with praise and thanks.

De-icing also means checking your motives before you take off.  Ask the Lord to expose any things you might be doing for your own glory, or out of bitterness, or jealousy, or to get your own way, and throw it off.  And ask the Lord to show you where there’s any breakage in your relationships, and make that right with God and then later with that person.

As you examine your day through Jesus’ eyes, you’ll begin to see the weight that can bring you down.  Get rid of it there before you’re airborne and it’s too late.  You can prevent a lot of crashes if you deal with what could cause a crash before you ever take off.

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

~ Hebrews 12:-2 (MSG)