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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Source of All

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Sufficient understanding of the blessedness concerning the eternal “purchased possession” (Eph 1:14 – saints of God) will avail, in those reborn, the work of God manifesting an unmoved confidence in His complete “care for you” (1 Pet 5:7). Often God’s blessings are not received and appropriated in their fullest intent due to the “old man.” I’m convinced that most of this interference derives from misunderstanding the cleansed state of the saint, of which can be continually recalled in the mind and heart, concerning our permanent separation from the sin nature (Rom 8:9).


Forgiveness received comes not in relation to the quality of the recipient—but in the love of the Giver, thus it is the privilege of the blessed to remember the unchanging position of innocence they occupy in the Lord Jesus before the Father, so that we may now experience the same joy in Him that He has in us (without impedance).




Source of All


“But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth” (Mark 5:33). To ensure enjoyment of any blessing conferred, it is necessary to join it with the Lord Jesus, the source of it. Independence was the ruin of the first man; dependence is the normal characteristic of the “new man.” The more conscious I am of my gain (in Christ—NC), the more necessary it is that I should be assured of its perpetuity. The deepest misery of man is traceable to this—that in proportion to the value he sets on anything, so is his anxiety as to its continuance; and the less apprehension there is of it being lost, the more enjoyment there is in it.


Man in nature (natural man – NC) cannot connect any favor or blessing with its source; but as to all spiritual blessings, we have the guarantee of their perpetuity in the knowledge of Him from whom every favor comes. Gifts or acquisitions in themselves only make one unhappy in proportion as they are valued (see them as a source—NC), unless we connect them with the Lord Jesus, and realize Him as the giver; not only as One able to give, but as One to whom we are brought into the closest relationship, and who imparts to us of Himself, in order to qualify us for Himself.


If I know His mind about me, I am not only assured of the continuance of His love but I also know that every gift is an expression of a love which passes knowledge. I enjoy all that He gives me, which is all that is unfolded to me in His Word, because it acquaints me with His heart. Hence my heart, in order to have full rest seeks His heart and not merely what He confers, which conference is only the expression of it. The very eagerness to acquire, and the extent of the acquisitions, are often followed by a winter of depression, simply because there has been too much occupation with the acquisition, while losing sight of the Source.


Acquisitions, even spiritual ones, if held apart from the Lord Jesus (again, considering them as a source—NC), cannot maintain freshness of joy and vigor in the soul, any more that the action of the heart in the human subject is enough for healthful consciousness without the head, or seat of feelings. For healthful action there must be an unbroken correspondence between the two. Just so, there will not be a real enjoyment in the soul unless there be the consciousness of union with the Lord Jesus as spring, fountain and giver of it all.


Hence it is in the trials and vexations here, which appear to be contrary to love that we, in turning to our Father are assured of His love. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom 5:5). As we receive from our Father so must our dependence on Him consciously increase, and our independence be repudiated. Trials break down independence, but the dependence must keep pace with every favor received, or the independence of the flesh will supervene, and there will be darkness, because there is not dependence coequal with the acquisition (not maintaining distinction between Source and gift—NC).


If I would enjoy the abundance of grace, I must connect it all with the Lord Jesus, who is the center and source of everything from the Father to me. The more fully I do so—thanking Him for His favors, owning His gifts to me, praising Him for the light and truth He imparts to me—the more fully will my soul enjoy all the unquestioning assurance that comes from Him who gave Himself for me.


- J B Stoney




Excerpt from MJS devotional for October 17:


“The true servant is finally subdued, but not stultified; prepared but not deprived of individuality. All that is rendered inoperative is the old man—and thank God for that!” - MJS


“When we are finally prepared, our Lord says: ‘When I died, you died. When I went to the Cross I not only took your sins, but I took you. I not only took you as a sinner, but I took you as being all that you are by nature; your good as well as your bad; your abilities as well as your disabilities; yes, every resource of yours. I took you as a worker, a preacher, and organizer. My Cross means that not even for Me can you be or do anything out from yourself; but if there is to be anything at all it must be out from Me, and that means a life of absolute dependence and faith.’“ -T. A-S.


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