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October 23, 2016

“Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.”  Luke 10:19.

            Astonishing the mercy, and wonderful the privilege manifested to the followers of the Lamb! Poor, and weak, and helpless, as they are in themselves, yet how strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus! My soul, never lose sight of these blessed things. In Jesus thou art not only a conqueror, but more than conqueror. As the armies in heaven overcame by the blood of the Lamb, so here below, it is all in him, and by him, the victory is obtained. God will bruise-Satan under our feet shortly; but it is God that must bruise him, and it is he that must put him under our feet. Oh for grace to see where our strength is, and as cheerfully to ascribe all to him; that He, in whom we are made to tread on serpents and scorpions, may have the glory due to his name, that He who gives the strength may have the praise.                               —Robert Hawker

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.”

Isaiah 40:11

Our good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish-he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die-he consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones he gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye he must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In his lifetime on earth he was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that he dwells in heaven, his loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did he gather me to himself, to his truth, to his blood, to his love, to his church! With what effectual grace did he compel me to come to himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has he restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of his everlasting arm! The best of all is, that he does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending himself to rescue and preserve his most unworthy servant. How shall I love him enough or serve him worthily? I would fain make his name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for him? Great Shepherd, add to thy mercies this one other, a heart to love thee more truly as I ought.                                                               Charles Spurgeon

“YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM” “YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM”

Colossians 2:10

            The believer standing in Christ does not fluctuate with his feelings, not even the increase or decrease of his faith or understanding or anything else. He stands complete in Christ. God would never trust any of His children to stand before him at anytime in their own selves – that is, in their merits or certain good frames of mind. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are yet dust. Therefore, He has on purpose provided for them this perfect standing in Christ Jesus. “Ye are complete in Him,” the Holy Ghost said. He says in another place, “Ye are perfect in Christ Jesus,” (Col. 1:28.) The very nature of our God requires us to be perfect and complete before Him at all times. He, out of necessity, therefore provided all this for His children: a perfection, a completeness, which can never be diminished. It is as unchanging as God himself, (Hebrews 6:17; 13:8). Every true believer may walk through this world in perfect liberty, free from anything and everything – yes, even his sin, fear of condemnation, and all else that would cause him to doubt of his completeness. He may freely come to God, worship Him, call Him “Father,” and this he may do at all times with the utmost confidence and thankfulness, because in Christ he stands, first and foremost and always, complete before God. “O thanks be to God for Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                     Bruce Crabtree

Revelation 2:4-5  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.

     This is Christ’s word to the church at Ephesus.  They had left the first love they had for Christ.

    First love made you do works like driving a long distance and thinking nothing of it.  It made you want to hear his voice so that you made every effort to be where you could hear his word.  First love made you willing to give up whatever was necessary and gave you contentment to have only the necessities so that you would let nothing come between you and your first Love.  There was so much comfort and peace that you never would have imagined that your love would ever be anything less than it was at first.  Back then first love was so strong that you could hardly understand when you saw others fall from their first love. This is how it is when Christ first ravishes the heart of a sinner.

     So how do you leave your first love?  Slowly, ever so slowly, other things begin to steal your affection.  The cares of this world creep in.  They are legitimate cares: others whom you love, provisions you must make, your occupation, your home, just day-to-day life.  Where once your life was simple, over time it becomes full and you have less and less time. Many works of faithfulness remain, as we see here with the church at Ephesus, but the first works that once accompanied your first love slowly fade away.  You begin to take love for granted, but without realizing it, you have left your first love.

    Will love in this life continue when this is the case?  Then certainly Christ will not stand to be second or third or less than first. So Christ says, “Remember therefore from whence you have fallen.”   Go back in your mind to that time when love was new. It does much to rekindle love to remember how it was at first. Christ says, “And repent.”  Do not continue on in the same old routine but turn from the cares that have taken you away from your first love.  Christ says, “And do the first works.”   In order for first love to remain it requires work, it requires the first works.

     How thankful we are that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8: 38-39)  As we see Christ send this word to those he everlastingly loved at Ephesus, to wake them up, to turn them to himself, we behold that Christ will not allow his beloved bride to fall away.  May his sovereign, unchangeable love ignite our hearts and constrain us to turn from all else to do those things we did when he first made us to see the great love wherewith he loved us.                                                                                                                                                Clay Curtis