Friday, February 7, 2014

He Always Holds Our Hand

     The raging, rushing water struck terror in the heart of the little boy, as he, and his father and sister, stood on the banks of the river and surveyed it. 
   "Do we really have to cross over?" he asked his Father anxiously. Fear clouded his blue eyes, 
  His Father looked at him with love in his eyes and the slightest hint of a twinkle..
    "To get to the other side we do, Yes."
  His Father reached for his hand and engulfed the small boy hand in his large reassuring grip.
     "Look son, I will hold your hand. I will keep holding onto you the whole way across. I will tell you where to step and I will not let go. You will be fine. Trust me."

   The gentle kind words brought peace to his heart. The strong hand of his Father gave him confidence.
     "Okay Dad, if you promise not to let go. I will do as you say, it would be a whole lot easier if you let me ride on your shoulders like her."
     He gestured toward his sister who was now sitting in absolute calmness on her big Father's shoulders.
   His Father chuckled and clamped his big hand on the boys small shoulder.
       " You will be as safe as she is. I will be holding your hand and I will not let go."

   And so they crossed over. The little girl sitting quietly on her father's shoulders. The boy with his hand clasped securly in his big Father's comforting grip. The Father planted his feet firmly on the river bed, pointing out rocks and footholds along the way to the boy.
     "Okay now, see that rock there? There you go, that's good, one jump at a time, we'll get there."
  And so the Father encouraged the son and kept him from falling with the grip of his strong hand. He helped him leap from rock to rock, across distances that he could not have possibly made on his own.

   The Father kept his promise and never let go. The boy, trusting his Father"s strong grip, focused on the next spot his Father asked him to jump to and paid no heed to the rushing water. On the other side they looked back over the rushing river they had just crossed. The boy's heart nearly bursting with pride in his Father.
     "Wow Dad, I would never have made it without you!"


Trusting Him to Keep You

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Phil 3:12

     We all know that we need to abide in Christ, but do we believe a life of unbroken fellowship is possible? Are there only some special Christians that spend a lot of time with Christ or have special opportunities that this is possible for? Can it be expected in the life of a Christian who is fully occupied in the affairs of this life?

   Do we hear of a life in Christ and wish for it, but feel we are too weak and too unfaithful to have it? Dear friends, how little we realize that a life in Christ is meant just for the weak and so beautifully meant to sustain our feebleness.

  It is not in doing "great" things and does not demand that we first live a holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness trusting itself to the ALMIGHTY ONE, to be kept. The unfaithful ones casting ourselves on the one who is altogether trustworthy and true.

  Abiding in him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying his salvation, but a consenting to let him do all for us, and in us and through us! It is a work he does for us as the result and power of his redeeming love.

   Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait, for what he is performing. It is this complete confidence in Christ, that in him there is a safe abiding place that is sadly lacking among Christians.They hardly take the time or trouble to realize that when he said,"Abide in me." (John 15:4) He is offering himself, the keeper of Israel, who does not sleep, with all his power and love, as the living home of the soul! Where the mighty influence of his grace is stronger to keep them, then all their feebleness is to lead them astray.Their idea of grace is that their conversion and pardon are God's work, but that in gratitude to God, it is now their work to live as Christians and follow Jesus. They fail continually and become hopeless and their despondency only brings hopelessness.

   No friend, as it was Jesus who drew you when he said, "Come."(MT 11:28) so it is Jesus who keeps you when he says,"Abide." The grace to come, and the grace to abide, both come from Christ alone.

   His word COME was the cord of love that drew you near. His word ABIDE is the band that holds you fast and binds you to himself. Take time to listen to the voice of Jesus.In ME, he said, IS YOUR PLACE-IN MY LOVING ARMS, IT IS I WHO LOVES YOU SO, who says, ABIDE IN ME. SURELY YOU CAN TRUST ME. The voice of Jesus in your soul calls for your response, "Yes Jesus, in you I can and will abide."

   The words,"Abide in me." are no law of Moses, demanding from the sinner what they can't perform. They are the command of love, which is a promise in a different shape. Think of this until all of the burden, fear and despair melt away and the first thought that comes to you, as you hear about abiding in Jesus is one of bright and joyous HOPE! It is for ME! I will enjoy it!

  You are not under law, with it's command, DO, but under grace with it's blessed BELIEVE WHAT CHRIST WILL DO FOR YOU! 
     And if the question arises,"But surely there is something I must do?" The answer is....Our doing and working are the fruit of what Christ is doing in us.

  The connection between Christ's work and ours is beautifully described in Paul's words, "I press on, If that I may lay hold on that for which Christ has laid hold of me."(NKJV) It was because he knew the Christ had grasped him in his mighty hand with the glorious purpose of making him one with himself.

  "Christ has laid hold of me.", are words full of faith and assurance that gave him the courage and the strength to press on and lay hold of that which Christ had laid hold of him for...Each new insight of the great end that Christ had laid hold of him for gave him fresh courage to aim at nothing less.

  Our story today is a picture of the Christian life. The Father takes hold of the son's hand and points the way to where he wants him to place his feet.The jump is too far and too dangerous for the child alone, but the father's hand is his trust and he leaps to get to the point to which his Father is holding him for. It is the Father's strength that secures him and lifts him up.

  Even so is the relationship between God and you, Oh weak and trembling believer. fix your eyes an what he has laid hold of you for...A life of unbroken fellowship with himself is what he is seeking to lift you up to. The pardon and peace you have already received, the Spirit and his grace are only preliminary. All that you see promised in the future, holiness, fruitfulness and everlasting glory are only the natural result. Union with himself and the Father is his highest goal.Fix your eyes on this and gaze until it becomes clear. Christ's aim is to have me abiding in him.

   Then let the second thought enter your heart. Christ has laid hold on me. His almighty power has grasped me and offers now to lift me up where he wants me to be. FIX YOUR EYES ON CHRIST. Gaze on the love that beams in those eyes and asks why you could not trust him. The one who sought you out, found you and brought you near. Why could you not trust HIM to keep you now? Gaze on that arm of power and answer within yourself. DO I HAVE REASON TO BE ASSURED THAT HE IS INDEED ABLE TO KEEP ME ABIDING IN HIM?

  Think of the spot he points to, the blessed place he laid hold on you for and keep your gaze fixed on him, holding and wanting to lift you up. Could you this very day take that upward leap and rise to the blessed life of abiding in Christ?

  Do it today friend and if doubts arise or failure tempts you to despair, remember where Paul found his strength,"Christ has laid hold on me." In that assurance you have a fountain of strength. From those words you can gather confidence that the good work he began in you he is able to perform.

The story is mine, but the instruction is adapted from Andrew Murray's book, ABIDE IN CHRIST. I love the things I have learned from Andrew Murray, But some of it is hard to read. This is my effort of breaking it down and hopefully making it easy to read and understand in our world today.I also want to a give a tribute to my own dear husband who walked through the valley of doubt and learned the truth that is written in this very article from God and his word and then he taught me and showed me these things that were confirmed in my heart through reading Andrew Murray's writings from so many years ago.  God bless you!