Monday, May 22, 2017

A Lesser Known Truth

 "When doubts come, meet them not with arguments, but with assertions of faith. All doubts are an attack of the enemy; the Holy spirit never suggests them--never. He is the Comforter, not the Accuser; and He never shows us our need without at the same time revealing the Divine supply." - Hannah Whitall Smith

"No soul can be really at rest until it has given up all dependence on everything else and has been forced to depend on the Lord alone. As long as our expectation is from other things, nothing but disappointment awaits us."- Hannah Whitall Smith

Just lying there among the books....
Home improvement....
Book upon book just lying there.
Not a book store, it is a thrift store.
The last stop for a lot of items before they are cast upon the garbage heap.
For whatever reason, their owners have given them up. Maybe no longer useful, or have no need for them, these items are given to a thrift store in hopes that others may find value and use.

I confess that I bought the book because of the title.
I also bought it with the wrong intent.
The book itself is old looking...pages yellowed. The font used on the cover was ancient and out of style. I even smiled when I read the title....."The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life". Happy? Why everyone knows that God never promised us happiness. I have spoken this on several occasions. Joy? Yes, the joy of the Lord, but never happiness. 

I confessed that I bought the book to read what someone wrote years ago. First surprise....the book was printed in 1952......but the book was written in 1870. what would cause someone from 1870 to write such a book? And would what the author wrote be relevant and still speak to my time and society? 
As I began to read the foreword I got a glimpse into the life and purpose of the book written by Hannah Whitall Smith.

The following is taken from the intro to the book:
"She writes here, not for spiritual genius, not for the world-forsaking saint, but for those who are in the world and of it, for the great little ones who long for God as they struggle for bread. She writes in their language---plainly; the confusing theological speech of the scholar is not here; the secret is revealed in countless illustrations from the common walk of life. It is as simple and understandable as the language of Jesus Christ."

One of my favorite passages is found on the first page:
A keen observer once said to me, "You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. he does not want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek very earnestly for anything so uncomfortable." 

What I share this morning, I do so from my own personal perspective.
There is a message that runs in my mind, my heart and my spirit continually. I know that this message is not unique to me. I am but one who hears it. What message? That what passes for the Gospel today might just not be the real deal. It has  been slicked up and made shiny and appealing to those who stand outside the will and relationship with Christ. We dare not teach the cross and the blood of Christ for fear of offending others. We cannot teach that there is suffering in the denial of self in order to take up this cross. At the same time, we are afraid to say anything about the unspeakable joy that comes in the darkest of times. Joy that is born in this relationship between us and a God who has reached out to offer us the ultimate gift. The church is delivering "Carnival food" which has no nutritional value, to a starving people who need real nourishment. 

This message that I hear has many different voices.....Ravenhill, Tozer, Havner, Evans, Moody, Etter, Pickett, Bonhoeffer, Campbell. Each one carrying a passion for the truth of Jesus to be shared. So for me to purchase this book written by Hannah Whitall Smith only added one more to the chorus that burns in me. 

In the book, she writes...The greatest burden we have to carry in this life is "Self". The most difficult thing we have to manage is "Self". Only the saving power of God and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit can lift us out of this age old struggle with self. And example of this struggle to surrender self is found on page 39 of her book...It is much less difficult for us to commit the keeping of our future to the Lord, that it is to commit our "present". We know that we are helpless when it comes to our future, but we feel as though the present is in our own hands and must be carried on our own shoulders. To commit this surrender of self to God means that we learn to rest in Him. Let your soul lie down upon the couch of His sweet will---relax every strain, and lay off every burden. Let yourself go in a perfect abandonment of ease and comfort of being assured of the simple fact that He holds you up, and your are perfectly safe---your part is simply to rest. His part is to sustain you. He cannot fail.

I want to learn to simply follow...
I want to abandon myself to complete surrender of my will so I can embrace His will.
I want to share with others the real, life changing news that sin has been defeated.
The power of sin has been broken...
The penalty of sin has been paid for....
The presence of sin is daily being kept at bay by the Holy Spirit that lives within me.

This is the life that is lived in Him.
Maybe........just maybe there is a happiness in coming to an understanding that such a life is possible on this side of heaven.

Thanks for letting me share....
God on you...


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