Psalm 127:3-5

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"

Keeping The Cross As Our Focus...

I don't know how many of you have read C.J. Mahaney's book "Living the Cross-Centered Life," but if you haven't, it is WELL worth the read. I'm on my second journey through it and each chapter I have been convicted and motivated. One of the chapters I've been reading on today is on assurance and joy (chapter 10). I wanted to post up several quotes that really struck and convicted me. Hopefully they will be encouraging to you as well.

In speaking about the cross of Christ...

"Paul could not graduate beyond the Cross of Jesus as the source and power of his religion, as the place at which he gained assurance, as the demonstration beyond any other need of proof of the grace and love of God." pg. 106

C.J. Mahaney asks the reader: "In the last week, what was your primary preoccupation in life? What was your spiritual focus? Was it on that spot where God most reveals His personal love for you - the cross? Or was it on your own circumstances, your own condition, your own concerns? Was your preoccupation with your personal pursuit of godliness? Growth in godliness must be pursued, but never apart from joyful gratitude for the cross." pg. 106

I have to admit that this last week has been a struggle for me. I've wanted to be free from a trial that God has sovereignly placed in my life. I've been tired of it and wanted to move on in life. However, I was focusing on my own weakness and my situation in life, not on the Lord and His grace during this time. Instead of focusing on Christ, I was focusing on myself.

This, in some ways, is a form of pride. I felt like I knew best and that God should not be continually giving me this opportunity to trust Him. Haven't I already learned the lesson? I want to move on. Haha... God is SO gracious though because He obviously knows that I still need plenty of sharpening in this area of my life.

Last night at bible study, I liked the definition that one lady offered for the word "pride." "Pride: dust deifying itself." How true!!! My sinful, finite self wants to put itself in place of God and choose how events should unfold in my own life. How wrong and sinful I am!!!

Another quote that struck me from the book was:

"Let there never be a lengthy period of time where you aren't receiving inspiration and instruction related directly to the cross, since that's where we find a fresh, sustaining conviction of His personal love." pg. 107

He also quotes Jerry Bridges saying: "Preach the gospel to yourself.... doing so, he says, means 'you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.'" pg. 107

When my eyes are focused on the cross and what Christ did for me, I will not longer be so caught up in my daily toil but be refreshed as I see that Christ has already saved me from what I deserve: death and separation from God. Every earthly trial that I go through is nothing in comparison to what I deserve and God has given me the means, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, to overcome each trial and temptation.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.... For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:7-18


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