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Monday, June 27, 2016

Called According to His Purpose (and other devotionals)

Called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God has a very great purpose for His people by their eternal calling and by their wonderful redemption. A very great purpose... so much greater than the majority of Christians have realized. I do not think I am saying a false thing when I say that perhaps the larger number of Christians have got little further than to know that they are saved, and to be very glad that they are saved, to rejoice in being saved. Comparatively few are really in the good of God’s great, great purpose from eternity, “Called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). It is not for us now to say what that purpose is, to explain it. It is sufficient to state the fact. We are called with a very great purpose, not just even to get out of Egypt and the clutches of the devil, but with an object, a tremendous object, nothing less than the infinite fullness of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and an eternal vocation. It is a great thing to which we are called in Christ, but how many Christians are really in it, and if they know they are in it, are tasting of the meaning of it: that this Life is an inexhaustible Life, that there are new vistas all the time?
I am not exaggerating. The heavens are opened and we see more and more, and ever more, of what it is to which we are called. It is just wonderful.... You are not meant just to be saved and get to heaven, to know your sins are forgiven and to have a certain number of blessings which come with salvation. But there lies before you and reaches out through eternal ages such a purpose of God concerning us all that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

~T. Austin-Sparks~


I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:10 NIV)
Resurrection always means that we are outside of the world. After His resurrection the Lord Jesus never again appeared to the world. He never manifested Himself personally to the world after His resurrection. The resurrection means that He had passed, in that sense, out from the world and stood apart, and His power over the world was His apartness from it. His ability to deal with the situation is because He is no longer involved in the situation. Resurrection Life means that we are outside of the world spiritually, and in a superior position....
We have to learn how to live by the power of Christ's resurrection, so that the death around us is not able so to impinge upon us as to bring us into its grip. Resurrection union with the Lord Jesus means that we are not involved in the death that is all around us. We can move in scenes of death and not be touched by death. This is a very important lesson to learn, how to be in Life in the midst of death.... In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus we are delivered from the curse – that is, from the death which works vanity – and we have been brought into the place where we can go right through to the Divine end, the full realization that vanity no longer rests upon us. We are no longer held up; no longer in the position that we live and come to a point and that is the end, and we can go no further. We can go right on now! The fruit of Life can come to perfection because the power of death in the curse has been canceled in the power of His resurrection. The condemnation has been removed.

~T. Austin-Sparks~


The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:27 NIV)
In the destruction of Jerusalem – toward which the Letter [to the Hebrews] pointed – the whole earth was shaken so far as Jewry was concerned. The Temple, as the focal point of that whole world, crashed even with the ground. The priesthood, as gathered up in the high-priestly order, passed away. The temple service ended, and the nation ceased to be an integrated and unified people. These were things capable of being removed. And yet how long they had stood! What forces they had withstood! What confidence there was that they could never cease to be! How assured they were that God was so bound up with it all that it could never be destroyed and cease to be! How they fought and clung to it to the last terrible extremity! But it was of no avail. God was no longer wanting the framework and earthly system, which had taken so much room, and energy, and expenditure, before the really spiritual was reached. The percentage of spiritual value was so small after all, and spiritual interests lay so far along the labyrinthine ways of religious machinery and tradition, that it was not worthwhile. The means to the end was not immediate, that is, there was far too big a distance between the means and the end. There was no immediate touch with the real Divine requirement, and there was far too much that was intermediate. And so it had to go, and, rather than preserve it, God Himself shook it.
What remained after the shaking was just that, and that only, which was Christ in a spiritual and heavenly way: Christ in heaven, and here by His Spirit, the gathering point, or occasion of assembling; Christ in heaven the High Priest and Sacrifice; the order of God's house here a purely spiritual and heavenly one – not formal, arranged, imposed, imitated, or material. Order grows out of life, and if that Life is Divine, and unchecked, Divine order will be spontaneous.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

The One, True God

"So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other."

—Deuteronomy 4:39

We don't see a lot of idol worship in our culture—at least outwardly. But I think that in some ways, maybe there is.

People have their gods, although they don't call them gods. Their gods are what they trust in. Maybe it's a person. Maybe it's a bank account. Maybe it's a career. Maybe it's their appearance. Maybe it's something else.

Then one day something happens, and they lose that money in the bank account. Something happens, and they lose that position. Something happens, and they no longer look like they once did. It's a wakeup call, and they realize that whatever their god was, it was never a good thing to build their lives on.

Anyone or anything that takes the place of the true and living God in your life can potentially become an idol. But here is the bottom line: When crisis hits, is that god going to save you? No, but the Lord will.

Sometimes God allows us to see the futility of what we put our trust in. That is what He did with Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. The Egyptians worshiped pretty much everything, including birds, the Nile River, and plants. You name it, they worshiped it. So the Lord, in sending the plagues, afflicted them with the very things they worshiped.

God was saying, in effect, "You want a worship service? I'll lay some frogs on you. Worship away." There were frogs everywhere—frogs in their beds, in their ovens, and on their floors. God was showing them the futility of what they trusted in.

Have your so-called gods let you down yet? In time they will, because they aren't real. In this battle of the gods, there is only one real God. And He is the God who will win.
~Greg Laurie~

We have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Our natural mind is a great obstacle in the race which we are running, cropping up all the time with its complexes, its arguments, its interests and its methods. When the Corinthians were brought into the Church they left behind their obvious sins, but they carried over into their new realm the old, natural ways of thinking and reasoning which belonged to the world and not to the Spirit of God. But the apostle remonstrated with them: "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16), so urging them to allow the Cross to be planted between the natural mind and the spiritual. We shall only come to the fullness of Christ as we leave behind the mind of the natural man and move on more and more in the progress of the mind of Christ. On everything; every judgment, every conclusion, every analysis, every appraisal; we must ask the Lord: "Is that Your mind, Lord, or is it mine?" We may sometimes feel that we have the strongest ground for taking up a certain attitude or coming to a certain conclusion; we may feel that we have all the evidence and so are convinced; and yet we may be wrong.

The man who wrote the letter to the Corinthians knew from deep and bitter experience that this was the case. "I verily thought... that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth," he said (Acts 26:9). There was no man who had stronger convictions as to the rightness of his course than Saul of Tarsus. The great revolution which took place in him when he came to Christ was that he had to say: "I have been all wrong in my fundamental way of thinking." After that confession he made good headway in the race because he was always ready to subject his thinking to the jurisdiction of his crucified Lord. This is the way of spiritual progress. We shall not get very far while we hold to our own opinions and our own conclusions, even though we may have the support of others; we have to learn to conquer our natural mind by submission to the mind of Christ. This is most important if we are concerned about spiritual progress. And spiritual progress is the increase of Christ – there is no other.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

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