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My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26

What does it mean to give your whole heart to God? To give your whole heart to God is to have all the energy of your soul always centered on Him.

It is in this way we are conformed to His will.

Sometimes our soul is very easily turned to outward, physical things; it is very easy to become distracted to the Lord, your Centre.

How far we turn away from Him will depend on how much we yield to the distraction and how far we allow ourself to be drawn away to surface things. In like manner, the means we use to return to God will depend on how far we have turned from Him.

As soon as you notice ourselves straying from the Lord, we should deliberately turn our attention within to the living God. Return at once to that place where we really belong: in Him. “

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

 

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Now I must confess this passage is part of a bigger picture… it must be read in the understanding of the grace and salvation of God, that it is NOT by works we are saved or our own effort but by the free gift of God. We cannot work ourselves close to God. We cannot earn or repay salvation.  We cannot force intimacy with God by effort of will. We cannot manufacture anything.

 

So in saying that, almost a disclaimer, I say that with our will, strength, emotion and heart – with all of who we are – we must turn and keep turning towards God.

We can choose to stay faithful.

We can choose to be obedient loving children.

We can choose to listen to God.

Or we can choose to be faithless, sinful, disobedient kids who turn away from their loving Father and what we know is right.

Lets not pretend here… we know when we are sinning most times. We know we are making a choice to disobey God. We know we are making a choice to give in to ourselves.

We need to at those times choose to turn to God, to humble ourselves and repent, and His grace and His power that helps us stay faithful, that makes the way of escape from temptation, that is our deliverance.

Being obedient faithful Christians is a choice we make. It is a conscious decision we make each time we get out of bed in a way.

Each decision and action should be tempered with the consciousness of who we are and WHO we follow.  Each decision is a choice to live in His Kingdom, not our own.  The war rages between kingdoms, between self and seeking first the Kingdom of God.

We can become easily distracted and turn away from God. But we can easily turn back and find grace and mercy from God. His arms are ever open and willing.

We can make conscious choices to do things that will stir our hearts affection for God:

  • worship
  • prayer
  • bible reading
  • journaling / personal devotions
  • attending church and connecting with a house group
  • having coffee with friends and talking about God
  • reading books about God

 

Let us draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.

”God’s wisdom burns away all the impurities in a person for one purpose: to leave them fit for divine union.

The fire that consumes us – utterly – is His highest wisdom.

This fire gradually consumes all that is earthly; it takes out all foreign matter and separates these things from the gold. The fire must melt and dissolve this dross by force so that it can rid the gold of every alien particle. Over and over again, the gold must be cast into the furnace until it has lost every trace of pollution. Oh, how many times the gold is plunged back into the fire – far, far more times than seem necessary. Yet you can be sure the Forger sees impurities no one else can see. The gold must return to the fire again and again until positive proof has been established that it can be no further purified.

Now the gold is fit for the most exquisite workmanship. In the future, if the gold should get dirty and seem to lose its beauty, it is nothing more than an accidental impurity which touches only the surface. This foreign particle which attaches itself to the surface is a far cry from having corruption deep within the hidden nature of the gold.”

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

This is my last day of the chapter of collection of passages in 100 Days In The Secret Place dedicated to “The Way Of The Cross.”  Reading this book has been a real transformer, a challenge to change, a magnifying glass on my heart, where I have felt naked, exposed, weak and stretched. I have felt that I have been in the furnace of God as he has exposed weaknesses and strongholds and fears and frustrations. Fingers crossed (aka praying!) that by reading this book I will be a “newer” and “nicer” person – that I will be more like Jesus. It has been a process. But worth it.

This process of transformation for me can been summed up by these passages in the bible:

John 15:1-8 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

Matthew16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

In all of our lives there are things that God is working on and transforming in our lives.

There are things we need to lay down and surrender.

There are things we need to obey.

There are things we need to deny ourselves about.

All and all for the glory of God and the transformation of ourselves for the service of God.

God refines us and purifies us.

He uses people and circumstances to transform us and shape us. We often laugh about praying for the fruit of Patience, and then come across all the bad slow drivers, slow checkout operators and people “sent to try us”. But in a way that is exactly what happens!

In these situations we must keep our eyes upon Jesus, the author and PERFECTOR of our faith. we must continue to trust Him. we can be honest, because sometimes it does hurt. we must try not to hold back, but to open wide to his grace, mercy and fire. holding back restrains the hand of God, but an open heart gives God full permission to hurt and heal and bring transformation.

2 Timothy 2:20-22 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace

I’ve never said it would be easy.

God doesn’t say it would be easy.

He does promise to be WITH us through the flames and floods.

And that is good news.

That gives me the courage to walk on in life.

today, if you’re feeling the pressure of life and are stressed and going through hard times try and get God’s perspective on what is going on.  is he teaching us something?  is he training us?  is he shaping us? is he refining us?  is he drawing us closer?  is he transforming us?  is he correcting us?  is he comforting us?

remember Jesus calls us to come to him and find rest.  he calls us to cast our cares upon him because he cares for us.  he calls us to abide in him and hide in him.

in the hard times you will find hope and peace and strength with Jesus.

“You must be patient in all the suffering that God sends you. If your love for hte Lord is pure, you will love Him as much on Calvary as on Mt Tabor. The Lord Jseus loved His Father on Mt Tabor where He was transfigured, but He loved Him no less on Calvary where He was crucified. Surely then, you should love the Lord as much on Calvary, for it was there that he made the greatest display of His love.

You must learn to love the cross. He who does not love the cross does not love the things of God. (see matthew 16:23) It is impossible for you to truly love the Lord without loving the cross. The believer who loves the cross finds that even the bitterest things that come his way are sweet. The Bible says “To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” (Proverbs 27:7b)

How much do you desire to hunger after God. You will hunger after God and find Him, in the same proportion that you hunger after the cross.

Here is a true spiritual principal that the Lord will not deny: God gives us the cross, and then the cross gives us God.”

Jeanne Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

Humans are fickle creatures. We are kind to those who are kind to us. We love those who love us. We shun those who shun us.

We can often utalize those fallen human traits in our relationship with God. If God is nice to us we will return the “favour” with devotion and worship. If God seems to be disaplining us we turn our nose up and turn away…

Does this seem right???

We should, as Madam Guyon encourages us, instead love God ALL the time, during the mountain top seasons and the desert seasons. We should love God as He showers on us blessings – and we should love God as He washes all the crud out of our lives. Transformation is not an easy process. Often it is accompained by painful circumstances and situations that try us and refine us. It is not all joy and transfiguration. It is a process of denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus.

We should in these times embrace God all the more.

Our desire is to know God right… to be in relationship with Him… right? Right. Therefore let us be nt fickle in our devotion, but hungry for God and embracing His ways.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

God is good. He works all things together for GOOD for His purposes and plans. His plans and purposes towards us are good. We can trust Him. No matter what. We can trust Him. He loves us.

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26 What does it mean to give your whole heart to God? To give your whole heart to God is to have all the energy of your soul always centered on Him.

It is in this way we are conformed to His will.

Sometimes our soul is very easily turned to outward, physical things; it is very easy to become distracted to the Lord, your Centre.

How far we turn away from Him will depend on how much we yield to the distraction and how far we allow ourself to be drawn away to surface things. In like manner, the means we use to return to God will depend on how far we have turned from Him.

As soon as you notice ourselves straying from the Lord, we should deliberately turn our attention within to the living God. Return at once to that place where we really belong: in Him. “

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

Now I must confess this passage is part of a bigger picture… it must be read in the undesrstading of the grace and salvation of God, that it is NOT by works we are saved or our own effort but by the free gift of God. We cannot work ourselves close to God. We cannot force intimacy with God by effort of will. We cannot manufacture anything.

So in saying that, almost a disclaimer, I say that with our will, strength, emotion and heart – with all of who we are – we must turn and keep turning towards God.

We can choose to stay faithful. We can choose to be obedient loving children. We can choose to listen to God. Or we can choose to be faithless, sinful, disobedient kids who turn away from their loving Father and what we know is right. Lets not pretend here… we know when we are sinning most times. We know we are making a choice to disobey God. We know we are making a choice to give in to ourselves. We need to at those times choose to turn to God and his grace and his power that helps us stay faithful, that makes the way of escape from temptation, that is our deliverance.

Being obedient faithful Christians is a choice we make. It is a conscious decision we make each time we get out of bed in a way. Each decision and action should be tempered with the consciousness of who we are and WHO we follow.

We can become easily distracted and turn away from God. But we can easily turn back and find grace and mercy from God. Let us draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.

”The activity of the self is the source of all the evil nature as well as all the evil deeds of man. On the other hand, the LOSS of the selfhood in the soul increases the purity of the soul.

As long as you employ your self-nature in any way, some faults will also continue to exist in you.

How can two things as opposite as the soul and God ever be united? How can the purity of God and the impurity of man be made one?

Certainly much more is required than just he efforts that you can make.

What, then, is necessary for the union to be achieved? A move on the part of Almighty God Himself. This alone can ever accomplish union.

For two things to become one, the two must have similar natures. For instance, the impurity of dirt cannot be united with the purity of gold. Fire has to be introduced to destroy the dross and leave the gold pure. This is why God sends a fire on the earth (it is called His Wisdom) to destroy all that is impure in you. Nothing can resist the power of that fire. It consumes everything. His Wisdom burns away all the impurities in a man for one purpose: to leave him fit for divine union.

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

One thing that I have found while reading this book is that some of the passages really challenge me in Christian concepts. We don’t talk about loss of self in the 21st century really. It is all about ME. We don’t talk about purging our self nature so that we will become more pure and unified with God.

Is Madam Guyon talking about us all becoming automated cookie cutter robots here by eliminating the self nature? No. God has created us with unique personalities and giftings. We all in our small way express Him. We need to be free in God to be the person God has made us to be, holy, righteous, reflecting His glory

It is our self nature however that leads us away from God and into sin. It is our selfishness and I WANTS that lead us to make the choice against God to do sin. It is this element of self that must surrender daily – second-ly to God and His ways.

To also clarify – when we become Christians we are made into new people, new creatures. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Our sinful nature died on the cross with Jesus and we now have HIS righteousness. Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he who died has been justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him”

This is not the self nature. Our self is our soul, our personality, our heart, our flesh. It has the ability still to choose to obey or disobey. By the death on the cross Jesus has paid the penalty and we can be called children of God, acceptable to God. This is a free gift and there is nothing we can contribute to this.

Even by our renewal and drawing near to God and transformation we do not win by works greater friendshpi with God. I do believe obedience pleases God though….

Colossians 3:10 and having put on the new, having been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

Let us with a desire to know God and make Him known draw near to God and allow His fire to refine us. Let us, now that we are part of God’s family, work to look like His Son.

”God’s wisdom burns away all the impurities in a person for one purpose: to leave them fit for divine union.

The fire that consumes us – utterly – is His highest wisdom.

This fire gradually consumes all that is earthly; it takes out all foreign matter and separates these things from the gold. The fire must melt and dissolve this dross by force so that it can rid the gold of every alien particle. Over and over again, the gold must be cast into the furnace until it has lost every trace of pollution. Oh, how many times the gold is plunged back into the fire – far, far more times than seem necessary. Yet you can be sure the Forger sees impurities no one else can see. The gold must return to the fire again and again until positive proof has been established that it can be no further purified.

Now the gold is fit for the most exquisite workmanship. In the future, if the gold should get dirty and seem to lose its beauty, it is nothing more than an accidental impurity which touches only the surface. This foreign particle which attaches itself to the surface is a far cry from having corruption deep within the hidden nature of the gold.”

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

Today is the last day of Octoberfast and so interestingly this is the last day of the chapter of collection of passages in 100 Days In The Secret Place dedicated to “The Way Of The Cross.” This month has been what I would call a “messy month” where I have felt naked, exposed, weak and stretched. I have felt that I have been in the furnace of God as he has exposed weaknesses and strongholds and fears and frustrations. Fingers crossed (aka praying!) that by the end of this month I will be a “newer” and “nicer” person – that I will be more like Jesus. It has been a process. But worth it.

This month for me can been summed up by these passages in the bible:

John 15:1-8 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

Matthew16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

In all of our lives there are things that God is working on and transforming in our lives. There are things we need to lay down and surrender. There are things we need to obey. There are things we need to deny ourselves about. All and all for the glory of God and the transformation of ourselves for the service of God. God refines us and purifies us. He uses people and circumstances to transform us and shape us. We often laugh about praying for the fruit of Patience, and then come across all the bad slow drivers, slow checkout operators and people “sent to try us”. But in a way that is exactly what happens! In these situations we must keep our eyes upon Jesus, the author and PERFECTOR of our faith. we must continue to trust Him. we can be honest, because sometimes it does hurt. we must try not to hold back, but to open wide to his grace, mercy and fire. holding back restrains the hand of God, but an open heart gives God full permission to hurt and heal and bring transformation.

2 Timothy 2:20-22 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace

I’ve never said it would be easy. God doesn’t say it would be easy. He does promise to be WITH us through the flames and floods. And that is good news.

All around us Christians are seeking to convert the lost to Jesus.  What is the best way to do this?  And once men having been converted, what is the best way to aid them in attaining full perfection in Christ?

The way to reach the lost is to reach them by the heart..  If a new convert were introduced to  real prayer  and to a true inward experience of Christ as soon as he became converted you would see countless numbers of converts go on to become true disciples.

Burdening the new Christian with countless rules and all sorts of standards does not help him grow in Christ.  Here is what should be done:  The new Christian should be led to God!

How!

By learning to turn within to Jesus and by giving the Lord his whole heart.  If you are one of those in charge of new believers, lead them to a real real inner knowledge of Jesus.  Oh what a difference there would be in the lives of those new Christians!

Or a new Christian, for all of us in fact , the heart is all important if we are to go forward in Christ.  Once the heart has been gained by God, everything else will eventually take care of itself.


Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

I can relate to this both by experience and by theological thought.  My own experience as a new Christian in 1993, and since then, was that my heart was won first and then once I was captivated by God it meant that he ruled and reigned and by love could correct me and change me and change the outward things that I was doing.  I didn’t know what a Christian should and shouldn’t be doing.  But God showed me bit by bit and revealed his heart to me and thus my desire was to follow and obey.

I think it is really important for new Christians to really encounter God.  Not rules.  Not church.  But the one true living God who loves them and knows them and saved them.

New Christians don’t need to have their brains filled up with head knowledge, they need to develop trust and faith in God.  They don’t need to know the meaning of the 3rd toe on the left foot of the beast, just that God is mighty and able to save and that he has a plan and purpose and works His good in all things.  They need to know that when they pray God hears them and works in their life.   There are complex things in christianity.  God doesn’;t heal always because he is working the big picture.  God sometimes says no as his answer to prayer.  Life is hard and God uses experience to produce hope and faith and good things in our lives.  Being a Christian and knowing God isn’t happy happy joy joy all the time.  BUT do new Christians need the weight of all the negativity that older Christians sometimes have about such things.  Nope.  They need the truth in love and light and hope.

They need the opportunity to discover for themselves the complexity of the plans of God, but aalso how he is always GOOD and GREAT.  They need to know that sometimes the answer is no, but that God always is with them and walks through the fire and flames with them.

When our hearts are devoted to God obeying Him is easier.  All of us need to stir our hearts to love towards God, keeping the love fresh and real.

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