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THOMAS: THE BLESSEDNESS OF BELIEVING

慕安德烈每日靈修 God's Best Secrets by Andrew Murray

 
Scripture: "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."—JOHN xx. 29.
        We all count the blessedness of Thomas as something very TT wonderful: Christ manifesting Himself and allowing Thomas to touch His hands and His side. No wonder that this blessedness can find no words but those of holy adoration: "My Lord and my God." Has there ever been higher expression of the overwhelming nearness and glory of God ?

        And yet Christ said: "Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." True, living faith gives a sense of Christs divine nearness far deeper and more intimate than even the joy that filled the heart of Thomas. Here, even now, after the lapse of all these centuries, we may have experienced the presence and power of Christ in a far deeper reality than Thomas did. To those who see not, yet believe, simply, only, truly, fully, believe in what Christ is and can be to them every moment, He has promised that He will manifest Himself, and that the Father and He will come and dwell in them.

        Have we not often been inclined to think of this full life of faith as something beyond our reach? Such a thought robs us of the power to believe. Let us turn to take hold of Christs word: "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe." This is indeed the heavenly blessing, filling the whole heart and life, the faith that receives the love and the presence of the living Lord.

        You ask how to come to this childlike faith. The answer is very simple. Where Jesus Christ is the one object of our desire and our confidence, He will manifest Himself in divine power. Thomas had proved his intense devotion to Christ when he said, "Let us go, that we may die with Him." To such a love, even when it is struggling with unbelief, Jesus Christ will manifest Himself. He will make His holy promise an actual reality in our conscious experience: "I am with you alway." Let us see to it that our faith in His blessed word, in His divine power, in His holy abiding presence, be the one thing that masters our whole being—Christ will in very deed manifest Himself, abide with us, and dwell in our hearts as His home.

Valiant for Truth

信心的支票簿 Faith's check book

 
Scripture: "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits"(Daniel 11:32).
        The LORD is a man of war, Jehovah is his name." Those who enlist under His banner shall have a Commander who will train them for the conflict and give them both vigor and valor. The times of which Daniel wrote were of the very worst kind, and then it was promised that the people of God would come out in their best colors: they would be strong and stout to confront the powerful adversary.

        Oh, that we may know our God: His power, His faithfulness, His immutable love, and so may be ready to risk everything in His behalf. He is One whose character excites our enthusiasm and makes us willing to live and to die for Him. Oh, that we may know our God by familiar fellowship with Him; for then we shall become like Him and shall be prepared to stand up for truth and righteousness. He who comes forth fresh from beholding the face of God will never fear the face of man. If we dwell with Him, we shall catch the heroic spirit, and to us a world of enemies will be but as the drop of a bucket. A countless array of men, or even of devils, will seem as little to us as the nations are to God, and He counts them only as grasshoppers. Oh, to be valiant for truth in this day of falsehood.

Morning, July 17

司布真日間靈修 Morning by Morning

 
Scripture: “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”(1 Thessalonians 1:4)
        Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by “looking unto Jesus.” If you desire to ascertain your own election;—after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Tell him that he has said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of Gods chosen ones; but if you stop and say, “I want to know first whether I am elect,” you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him.” Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be—“I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.
        
“Sons we are through Gods election,
        Who in Jesus Christ believe.”

Evening, July 17

司布真夜間靈修 Evening by Evening

 
Scripture: “Let not one of them escape.”(1 Kings 18:40)
        When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, “Let not one of them escape.” He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins—they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.

God is Not Unobservant

荒漠甘泉 Streams in the Desert

 
Scripture: "I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place" (Isa. 18:4, RV).
        Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

        Is not this a marvelous conception of God--being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

        There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived. --Daily Devotional Commentary

        Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.

The righteousness of faith

Restoring My Soul (VOL1) Day 142

 
References: Further Study: Phil 3:9 Rom 10:10 Gal 3:1-14 Phil 3
In all his writings, Paul drew a big distinction between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith. According to his own testimony, he had no interest in gaining a righteousness of his own from the law. Rather, he desired the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. This became his life’s pursuit. With first hand experience, he was able to instruct the church in Rome, ‘With the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness’. Evidently, he was not talking about a legal righteousness. Salvation is not about doing the right things or saying the right things. Demanding salvation according to a particular prayer or confession is as much under law as trying to earn salvation by works. Righteousness that comes from God is real and substantial. It is the authority to live as a son of God, and it will be evidenced by relational living in the body of Christ. Marvellously, the capacity to believe and live righteously comes by receiving the word of God. This was the testimony of Abraham. Yahweh the Son brought the word of righteousness to Abraham. This word, called the ‘righteousness of faith’, called to Abraham until he believed. It called the faith of Abraham into existence, so that the righteousness of faith then became Abraham’s righteousness. It was imputed to him, and Abraham could make confession unto salvation. By continuing to call on the name of the Lord, he found the grace of God to be the full expression of the word spoken to him. So, the righteousness of faith calls into existence the righteousness of faith!

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Priestly service

Restoring My Soul (VOL2) Day 142

 
References Further Study Rev 16:15 Rev 6:11 Rom 12 Rev 1:6 Rev 4:1, 4 Rev 19:8 Matt 24:6 Dan 12:4 Eph 5:26 Rom 12:1
Like John, we must behold Jesus our Saviour standing in the lampstands. He is clothed in white robes as our great High Priest. And like the martyrs at the opening of the fifth seal, He gives us a white robe also. We are instructed to ‘keep’ it, knowing that blessed is he who watches and keeps his robes. We must reject the thought or possibility that the redeeming work of His precious blood has made us only recipients of, rather than participants in His priesthood. Let us remind ourselves again, that we are fellow partakers with Him. We must present ourselves as a living sacrifice which is our reasonable priestly service. When John beheld the door standing open in heaven, he saw twenty-four elders all clothed in white robes with crowns of gold on their heads. The authority of our great High Priest will rest upon the twenty-four, and indeed, upon all who are gathered with them. The end of all things is at hand. The time of the end, as prophesied by Daniel, is about to begin. Everyone who follows the Lamb will be found worthy to walk with Him in white. The white robes are the righteous works of the saints. In the service of our priesthood, our robes will be soiled and stained by the offering up of spiritual sacrifices. We wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. And like the priests of old, our bodies are washed with pure water. This is the washing of the water by the word. Again, our English translations do not do justice to this passage. The priests in former times washed their hands in the bronze laver, symbolising their obedience and application to the word of God which they were serving.

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The light of a lamp

Restoring My Soul (VOL3) Day 142

 
References Further Study Psa 119:130 Psa 18:28 Mat 5 2Pe 1:19 Joh 12:36 Mat 5:14-15 Joh 8:12
When we think of a lampstand, we immediately think of the light that it bears. However, the light is the outcome of three intersecting initiatives. Firstly, there must be a receptacle fixed upon the branch of the lampstand. In symbolic terms, this is an almond cup. Needless to say, the oil coming from the golden bowl would be completely ineffective if there was no vessel to contain it. Secondly, there is the oil itself. Nevertheless, a vessel with its oil is not yet a lamp in the truest sense. The Holy Spirit is the fire that ignites the lamp. The light of present truth is the outcome of these three intersecting initiatives. We are reminded of the psalmist who said, ‘The unfolding of Your words gives light’. In another place he said, ‘For You light my lamp, the Lord my God illumines my darkness’. According to the apostle Peter, the word of present truth is indeed the ‘prophetic word made more sure’. It is a lamp shining in a dark place. It would be inadequate to say that we are only sons of light in the individual sense. We are to be light in three completely connected ways. Certainly, we are to be sons of light in the most individual sense. And likewise, every worthy house must aspire to be a light in the community. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that it gives light to all who are in the house. And then in the corporate sense, we are to be a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. It is in this respect that we are the light of the world. A local church, when it is joined as a branch of the lampstand, can be filled up to all the fullness of Him who is the fullness of the ‘Light of life’.

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Looking for lost coins

Restoring My Soul (VOL4) Day 142

 
References Further Study Mat 10:6 Mat 9:36 Luk 15 Joh 10:11 Act 20:28 Luk 19:10 Luk 12:7
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus spoke of looking for lost sons, lost sheep, and lost coins. The chapter begins with the parable of the lost sheep. If a man has one hundred sheep and loses one of them, he will leave the ninety-nine and look for the one. We could consider that a lost sheep is a believer who has lost their way. They have backslidden, or been hurt and disillusioned and fallen away. It is the work of shepherds to find these lost sheep and bring them back to the care and safety of the flock. The chapter finishes with the parable of the lost son. We could liken the lost son to someone who has grown up in a Christian family, but then decided to go another way. They are squandering their inheritance in a far country. A parent does not go after them, but they do wait expectantly for the lost son or daughter to return. They are looking for them while they are still a long way off. Between these two well-known parables is the account of a woman who lights a lamp to search for a lost coin. This is most significant. It is the picture of a lampstand church, seeking and saving those who are lost. The woman is the church, and we are all individual members of this woman. Every member of a lampstand church should be a lamp, shining in a dark place, looking for lost coins. A lost coin is a good symbol. Hidden somewhere in the dust of the ground, it doesn’t know it has value, and it doesn’t know it is lost. The lost coin is the unbeliever and the unchurched. There will be many lost coins in our neighbourhoods and workplaces that need to be connected to Jesus.

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