Only He Can Transform the Heart

“Give up the struggle and the fight; relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus; look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him, He will transform you into His likeness. You do the beholding–He does the transforming. There is no short-cut to holiness.”

–Alan Redpath

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

 

 

 

 

 

The Time is Ripe, [Ascension Truths]

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After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.

Acts 1:9-10

Look at the disciples. There were 500 standing with their mouths open tracking Jesus’ ascension. They were witnesses to the Lord’s departure.

Suddenly two men appear, clothed in white. They both seem to be extraordinary–they clearly explained what has just happened.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

We live in an age of history where Jesus sits on the throne. It is not an ordinary time, He has ascended to His Father and now lives “to make intercession for us.” This is no small thing.

Perhaps sometimes we wish to move with the disciples and have their experiences. Perhaps we feel we would be better followers if we could share with them the miracles of the Lord Jesus. Somehow we would be stronger believers.

Let us remember though that we will see His second coming. The angels were quite clear about this– He will come again! Scripture is quite vocal about this.

We will see Him just as He is, and we will be changed into His likeness.

We don’t know exactly when. It is Father’s decision. But we will be there, and the promises are true. This is possibly the greatest privilege we could ever have.

Saint, now it the time to prepare. We know enough scripture to understand the imminent. We are to take active steps to be part of His return to earth and His Kingdom which becomes visible.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”

Matthew 25:13

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A Basic, But Profound Discipleship

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Today, through the marvel of modern medicine, we can do heart bypasses, heart transplants and even artificial hearts.

But no one can make an unclean heart clean once it becomes dirty. We cannot fix it to live in eternity with a infinitely holy God. It is through the process of biblical discipleship that you and I are being prepared for living with Him.

Discipleship is the methodology God has ordained for us to change our hearts. But because discipleship is so challenging and so demanding, we’re tempted to avoid the Gospel’s call. It seems like there are many believers and just a few disciples.

Nothing but discipleship is an acceptable response to His sacrifice on the cross for me.

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1) A true disciple will love Jesus Christ above all.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:37

“It never cost a disciple anything to follow Jesus; to talk about cost when you are in love with someone is an insult.”

–Oswald Chambers

2) A true disciple must deny himself.

 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

3) A true disciple, intentionally and deliberately, embraces the cross.

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:38

“The cross of discipleship is that I daily and hourly delight to tell my human nature that I an not my own; I no longer claim right to myself.”

–Oswald Chambers

4) A true disciple is close to Jesus and follows Him.

 “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

John 12:26

5) A true disciple will love other disciples.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:7

It is incredible to see the fervor with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants, They spare nothing. Their first legislator [Jesus] has put it in their hearts that they are brethren.”

–Lucian, Greek writer (120-200 A.D.)

6) A true disciple abides (continues) in the teaching of the Lord.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”

John 8:31 (John 15:8-9)

7) A true disciple lives to follow the words and teaching of the Lord Jesus.

“Jesus said to him, “’No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

Luke 9:62

A word about joy. The Holy Spirit turns all the hard things of discipleship into sweetness. Perhaps the difficult part is found in the first few minutes of the decision to follow in a specific matter. But the peaceful presence soon follows and your life will be flooded with light. There is joy in this journey.

A word about obedience. The Holy Spirit rushes in to touch the weakest act of obedience. He understands our feeble and cowardly hearts and promises to help us to obey Him.

A word about becoming unique. The disciple is a rarity among the world (and even the Church). Following Him in your walk may set you apart as odd and peculiar. If you will follow it will mean you will die to what people think. You should love them anyway. You maybe persecuted and spoken evil of. Forgive them, they won’t understand.

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To Sit and Wait, by JR Miller

“Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.”   

The Biblical “Rose of Sharon”

Matthew 26:36, KJV

by J.R. Miller


You and I have often felt that experience, that disappointment. There has arisen, mayhap [‘perhaps’] a great opportunity for Christian service. Some are sent to the front; some are sent to the middle. But WE are made to lie down in the rear.

Perhaps sickness has come; perhaps poverty has come; perhaps obloquy [‘censure, blame’] has come; in any case we are hindered and we feel sore. We do not see why we should be excluded from a part in the Christian life. It seems like an unjust thing that, seeing we have been allowed to enter the garden, no path should be assigned to us there.

It is a hard thing to be kept in the background at a time of crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane eight of the eleven disciples were left to do nothing. Jesus went to the front to pray; Peter, James and John went to the middle to watch; the rest sat down in the rear to wait.

Methinks that party in the rear must have murmured. They were IN the garden, but that was all; they had no share in the cultivation of its flowers. It was a time of crisis, a time of storm and stress; and yet they were not suffered to work.

Be still, my soul, it is not as thou deemest! Thou art NOT excluded from a part of the Christian life. Thinkest thou that the garden of the Lord has only a place for those who walk and for those who stand! Nay, it has a spot consecrated to those who are compelled to SIT…….

When that experience comes to thee, remember, thou art not shunted. Remember it is CHRIST that say ‘Sit ye here.’ THY spot in the garden has ALSO been consecrated. It has a special name. It is not ‘the spot of wrestling,’ not ‘the place of watching’, but ‘the place of waiting.’

There are lives that come into this world neither to do great work, nor to bear great burdens, but simply to be; …….they are the flowers of the garden which have had no active mission. They have wreathed no chaplet; they have graced no table; they have gladdened the sight of JESUS. By their mere perfume, by their mere beauty, they have brought Him joy; by the very preservation of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master’s heart. Thou needst not murmur shouldst thou be one of these flowers!”

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J. R. Miller (1840 – 1912) James Russell Miller was born on March 20, 1840 at Frankfort Springs, Pennsylvania and died on July 2, 1912. Besides authoring over 80 books, booklets, and pamphlets, Dr. J.R. Miller was the Editorial Superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, and a very active pastor in a succession of churches. He had a strong popularity among that generation of believers.

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This was sent to me from a dear friend; she had taken it from a very old devotional, published in 1925.  However, the truths are not dated.  They speak to us, long after the writer has gone to heaven. 

These principles come to us, especially with our disabilities– mental, emotional and physical. Perhaps they meet us in a hard place, but they can lead us into hope and purpose. 

 

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A Life for a Life

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We must decide upon some things. This is not easy theology. It calls us to take decisive action.

The idea of Jesus dying on the cross for my sin is brutal. I’m left with the idea that I contributed to His death. But my sin had to be covered, and alas, and He did so. But I can never repay God for the drastic measures He took. But I do know that my life is now His. His for mine.

In many cultures it is a life for a life. Some people groups believe that the person who saves another person is owed a “life debt” out of gratitude. I become His “property” because He died in my place. A life for a life. His for mine.

There are sins that I commit that He must pay for. This is not as easy as you might think; I confess my sin, and Jesus Christ picks it up. He has chosen to pay every and all penalties for it. I go “scot-free” while He must die. This is what He decided to do for me. A life for a life.

The cross was not just a Roman method of execution. It was planned in eternity for the rebellion of mankind. It was God’s “method.” He knew those “from the foundation of the world” but had to find a way to atone for their sin, and redeem them from Satan’s control. He must die for them. And it’s a life for a life. His for mine.

I’ve been “ransomed” and redeemed. His death gives me eternal life– something which can ever be taken away. His own death makes me “holy.” The Bible promises me even more than this: forgiveness, peace, joy and “real” holiness. He has done everything, I have done nothing except believe. His life for mine. A life for a life.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

Romans 11:33, ESV

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Being Lorded Over

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“…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 12:3

“The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship.”

  John MacArthur

Christians believe that Jesus is Lord. I suppose this really means that they regard Jesus Christ is be the supreme authority in their lives. They look to Him to be their presiding judge in all they say or do. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”(1 Cor. 6:20).

Sometimes I think that as Americans we can struggle with this “Lord idea.” We don’t understand living under a sovereign king. A king that exercises total authority and lordship over his subjects. Many believers rather think of the Kingdom of God as a democracy.

Yet when we say, Jesus is Lord (as we Christians are prone to say) we really mean that He is a savior, that He has provided His blood in order to obtain our forgiveness. But this is only half of it. If Jesus is Lord it should mean what we are completely under His rule.

“…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

1 Corinthians 8:6

Lordship means sovereign control. It means He has the authority to do what He pleases with over the totality of our lives. We’re in His sphere of control. To relinquish this to Him is life’s biggest challenge.

“The lordship of Jesus is not simply a hope of Christians that someday might be realized; it is a truth that has already taken place.”

R.C. Sproul

This small post can not change anything. That is not the point. All I ask is that you consider anew the implications of what I’m saying here. Is there a daily acknowledgement to His sovereign control over your life? Does saying “Jesus is Lord” have ramifications of a submitted heart?

I can attest that Jesus is not only a worthy savior but a wonderful lord. His governance is one of love. He has never ever done anything that has been detrimental to me, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1-2). He is a worthy savior.

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