The Work of the Spirit of God

An excerpt from Sermon #921, by C.H. Spurgeon, delivered to a faithful audience on March 20, 1870.
     VERY often we address the Gospel to the chief of sinners; we believe it to be our duty to do this with the greatest frequency; for did not our Lord, when bidding His disciples to preach the Good News in every place, use the words, “beginning at Jerusalem”? Where the chief of sinners lived, there was the Gospel first to be preached; but at the same time it would show great lack of observation if we regarded all mankind as being equally gross, open offenders against God; it would not only show a lack of wisdom, but it would involve a lack of truthfulness, for though all have sinned and deserve the Wrath of God, yet all unconverted men are not precisely in the same condition of mind in reference to the Gospel.
     In the parable of the sower we are taught that before the good seed fell upon the field at all, there was a difference in the various soils; some of it was stony ground, another part was thorny, a third was trodden hard like a highway, while another plot is described by our Lord as “honest and good ground.” Although in every case the carnal mind is enmity against God, yet are there influences at work which in many cases have mitigated, if not subdued, that enmity. While many took up stones to kill our Lord, there were others who heard Him gladly; while to this day thousands reject the Gospel, there are others who receive the Word with joy! These differences we ascribe to God’s Prevenient Grace; we believe, however, that the subject of these differences is not aware that Grace is at work upon him; neither is it precisely Grace in the same form as Saving Grace, for the soul under its Power has not yet learned its own need of Christ, or the excellence of His Salvation.
     There is such a thing as a preparatory work of Mercy on the soul, making it ready for the yet higher work of Grace, even as the plowing comes before the sowing. We read in the narrative of the Creation that before the Divine Voice said, “Let there be light,” darkness was upon the face of the deep, yet it is added, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Even so in the darkness of human nature, whereas yet no ray of the Living Light of God has shone, the Spirit of God may be moving with secret Energy, making the soul ready for the hour when the true Light shall shine.
Drew Sanborn

Photograph by Drew Sanborn

I am very encouraged by these words, because I know that YHWH is already at work upon the hearts of those He has asked me to be a Light to. Let us rest in this beautiful truth, this Sabbath day, giving glory to God for the work He is doing within the hearts of men everywhere. HalleluYah. Amen.
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Beauty and Function

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

– William Morris

 

William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement.

William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement.

I am on this kick right now to rid my home of anything I’m not using. For too long have I been lugging around baggage from years gone by that is only collecting dust. Therefore, when I came across this quote today I had to post it as a record of this season in my life.

It’s lovely that Morris connects the ideas of useful (or functional) with beautiful. I believe true beauty must be functional. Otherwise beauty is mere vanity.

True beauty serves a very important purpose as it warms and uplifts the heart in remembrance of the Creator of beauty, even if it’s on a subconscious level of thought. When I see true beauty it resonates with my soul, brings me peace, and merriment of heart, without me even realizing it’s happening sometimes.

It has been written, “a merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” {Prov 17:22}. I wonder if the writer of those words ever connected beauty with it’s merry-heart-function? If we surround ourselves with true beauty, I wonder if we will notice a difference in our countenance.

I find it intriguing that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so they say, but the merry-heart-function of beauty is the same for every beholder, regardless of what they consider beautiful. Don’t you think?

crying need

“The world today is in crying need of a revelation of Christ Jesus in the person of His saints. God desires that His people shall stand before the world a holy people. Why? – because there is a world to be saved by the light of gospel truth; and as the message of truth that is to call men out of darkness into God’s marvelous light is given by the church, the lives of its members, sanctified by the Spirit of truth, are to bear witness to the verity of the messages proclaimed.” -Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers pg. 458

the perfect role model

For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:  Who did no sin*, neither was guile** found in his mouth:  Who, when he was reviled, reviled*** not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judges righteously.  1 Peter 2:22-23

By personally accepting Christ’s love and sacrifice for us on a daily basis, we are given His power to accomplish His example and become like Him in character; that no matter what comes our way, we would be without guile, without reviling, and without threatening towards others, committing ourselves to God, who alone judges righteously.

I have not found a greater example to follow in any other human being or religion, than the example given to us in Jesus Christ.  I want to be more like Christ!

 

 

 

*sin – transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4)

**guile – (noun) insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.

***revile – (verb) to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively.

patience

patience

captured while waiting to leave the Laguna Sawdust Festival 2009

Behold the Lamb of God!

“It is not sufficient that the human race behold Jesus as the Man of men, the Superman.  He is not only the Man of God; He is also the Lamb of God.  As Emmanuel, the God-man, Jesus Christ is the great Sin Bearer.  Jesus is man’s outstanding example, ‘the realized ideal of humanity;’ but He is more than that:  He is the Saviour and Redeemer of all who accept His grace and surrender to His sovereign will.  As the Son of man and the Son of God, Christ saves from sin and all its terrible consequences.  The repentant sinner need only fix his eyes upon the Lamb of God to be so completely transformed that his fear is turned to joy and his doubts to hope.  The stony heart is broken under the compelling power of grace, and a tide of love sweeps over the soul.  Beholding Jesus as the great atonement for sin is the secret of the transformation of character into the divine image.

“Jesus said: ‘This is My Father’s will, that everyone who fixes his gaze on the Son of God and believes in Him should have the Life of the Ages, and I will raise him to life on the last day.’  John 6:40, Weymouth.  The power of a fixed gaze to reproduce what is looked upon is beautifully illustrated by the camera.  In order to reproduce the likeness of a landscape or a person, the camera must be fixed in an immovable position till the image is formed on the delicate film.  The eyes or lens must be focused on the object to be photographed, and the gaze must remain fixed until the light completes the impression.  The film must then be taken to the darkroom and be submitted to a chemical bath in order to bring to view all the beautiful details of the reproduction.

“Someone has said that ‘Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple.’  He is posing for the reproduction of His image in us, and [our] gaze must remain fixed till His character is fully reproduced.  As in the photograph, the darkroom experience and the acid test of fiery trials are necessary in order to develop and to make visible what has been impressed upon the mind and heart by beholding Jesus.  These were the experiences that developed into visibility the marvelous perfections of Christ’s matchless character.  The darkroom of obscurity and trial developed the character of Joseph in Egypt, of Moses in the wilderness, of David in exile from the wrath of Saul, of Daniel in Babylonian captivity, and of Paul during the severe persecutions that ended in his martyrdom…

“‘All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied.  The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus…  If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image.  The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness.’ — The Desire of Ages, E.G. White, p302.

“Beholding the Man of God transfixes the gaze and produces admiration.  Beholding the Lamb of God reaches the heart and effects a transformation.”

{quoted from Behold the Man, Taylor G. Bunch, p13-15.

stalking light {4/15/2010}

This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  {I John 1:5}

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