Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Consecration

Every once in awhile, I stumble across a gem of a book, and right now I am reading through one that is thus far, one of the most spiritually encouraging books that I have read. It is titled Kept for the Master's Use and was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in the late 1800's. She was also the author of the well-known hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. This book is actually based upon this hymn that she had written, and it shares about full consecration to the Lord in all areas of our lives.

I had begun the book awhile back and was about halfway through when I decided to start it over so I could take notes while I read. There were just so many convicting and encouraging portion
s of it that I wanted to be able to easily find later on!


This past Sunday evening while we were all gathered in the living room doing various things, I read through chapter one again and copied down several excerpts. One touched my heart so much that I shared it with my family after copying it down, and I thought I would share it here as well. (And to help keep it in context, remember that the title of the book is Kept for the Master's Use) . . . .

"We want our lives kept, not that we may feel happy, and be saved the distress consequent on wandering, and get the power with God and man and all the other privileges linked with it. We shall have all this, because the lower is included in the higher; but our true aim, if the love of Christ constraineth us, will be far beyond this. Not for "me" at all, but "for Jesus"; not for my safety, but for His glory; not for my comfort, but for His joy . . . Yes, for Him I want to be kept. Kept for His sake; kept for His use; kept to be His witness; kept for His joy! kept for Him, that in me He may show forth some tiny sparkle of His light and beauty; kept to do His will and His work in His own way; kept, it may be, to suffer for His sake; kept for Him, that He may do just what seemeth good with me; kept so that no other lord shall have any more dominion over me, but that Jesus shall have all there is to have - little enough, indeed, but not divided or diminished by any other claim. Is not this, O you who love the Lord - is not this worth living for, worth asking for, worth trusting for? This is consecration . . . ." (Kept for the Master's Use; pg. 22-23.)

Oh, to have such a heart as this! Each time I read through this, I find my heart so convicted and hungering after this kind of life and heart. Yes, the aim is high, and it may seem
in our human minds difficult, if not impossible, to reach, but as the author shared just a bit earlier in the chapter:

"Consecration is not so much a step as a course; not so much an act, as a position to which a course of action inseparably belongs." (Kept for the Master's Use; pg. 14)

So I journey on . . . desiring and seeking to bring each aspect of my life into this full consecration to the Lord. And as I continue reading in this book, I am sure more portions of it will be shared here!

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
(Romans 12:1-2.)

10 comments:

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Have been reading your blog for a while but have not commented, until now!

    I also read this book a few years ago and made some notes. Two of the helpful portions I noted are pages 59/60 - 'If our feet are not our own, ought we not to take care of them for Him whose they are?' Also the paragraph across pages 90/91.

    Her biography - 'Memorials of Frances Hidley Havergal' - written by her sister, describes a life of great devotion to the Lord and is well worth reading.

    She also wrote the following (can't remember where I read it!):
    'Seldom can the heart be lonely,
    If it seeks a lonelier still;
    Self-forgetting, seeking only
    Emptier cups of love to fill.'

    Thank you for the post!

    Neil

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  2. How absolutely beautiful! I got tears in my eyes. It's hard to find books with such passion and conviction these days. Have you ever read anything by Elizabeth George? She has some amazing books. I am going to have to see if I can't find this book online. So powerful! :o) Thank you so much for posting this. I might print it and hang it up in my house! :o)

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  3. Sarah...the whole idea of being kept for the Master, and not for ourselves, reminds me of a poem that I've loved for a very long time. It is by Sir Thomas Browne and goes like this:

    "If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
    Like to a shell dishabited,
    Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
    And say, `This is not dead`,
    And fill thee with Himself instead.

    But thou art all replete with very thou
    And hast such shrewd activity,
    That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
    Unto itself - `twere better let it be,
    It is so small and full, there is no room for me.`"

    How often in life are we so replete with ourselves and our own desires, that we leave no room for the Master and His consecrating work in our lives?

    Thanks for the post...her sentiments are powerful and convicting indeed.

    ~ Betsy

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  4. That is one of our favourite hymns, Sarah, and now the tune is whispering in my mind!
    What a beautiful writer Frances was.

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  5. Welcome to my blog, Neil, and thank you for leaving a comment!

    Thank also you for sharing those two portions from her book that were helpful to you. The first one I remember reading, and the chapter it is from I found to be very thought-provoking. When thinking of consecration to the Lord, one wouldn’t generally think of something like our feet, yet feet are mentioned often in Scripture and one verse that came to mind is “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This is just one way that our feet can be kept for Him!

    I wanted to read the second quote you mentioned, but found that the pages in my book are numbered differently than yours. The first quote is on page 66 in mine, so I’m not sure where the second one would be. But I’ll be reading it eventually - I just won’t know it when I do. :)

    Thank you for mentioning about her biography. Just from what I have seen in Kept for the Master’s Use, she seems to be an amazing woman of God, and I look forward to reading the biography about her.

    I like the last little poem you shared from her! It is a beautiful reminder of unselfishly giving and serving others through the love of Christ. Thank you for sharing it!

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  6. Thank you so much for your comment, Nabila! It was wonderful to hear how much of a blessing this was for you. And I can relate to how you feel . . . this excerpt sums up so well what a beautiful relationship we can have with our Lord and Savior, and how beautiful a life consecrated to Him can be. And may we earnestly seek after and desire this! I like your idea about printing this out and putting it in a place where you can see it. It would be a wonderful reminder!

    Yes, I have read one of Elizabeth George’s books before, and I remember appreciating a lot of what she shared. If I remember correctly, the one I read was A Woman after God’s Own Heart. Are there any books of hers that you would recommend?

    Thank you again for your comment!

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  7. Thank you for sharing that poem, Betsy! How true it is . . . and it is a sobering reminder. For it is only when we empty ourselves of ourselves that Christ can truly abide in us and do His work in our lives. As I read what you shared, I was reminded of a passage that I read yesterday morning in the book of Luke: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” This fits in well with what you were sharing!

    And the poignant question you asked would be good for us all to ask ourselves and to examine our hearts in light of it: “How often in life are we so replete with ourselves and our own desires, that we leave no room for the Master and His consecrating work in our lives?”

    May we empty ourselves more and more of self so that Christ can fill our hearts with Himself and continue His consecrating work in our lives!

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  8. It was good to hear from you again, Elizabeth! Thank you for your comment. :) This is one of my favorite hymns as well as the words are so convicting. And I would agree with you that Frances Havergal was a beautiful writer . . . and one who must have had a very close relationship with the Lord. I am thankful that she took the time to write so that others can be encouraged and edified in the Lord through her books and hymns!

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  9. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for your comment. Isaiah 52v7 would link with the verse you shared: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that announceth glad tidings, that publisheth peace; that announceth glad tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" How we can thank the Lord Jesus for the way His feet took Him!

    After posting yesterday, I was afraid that your book might be paginated differently to mine! It is in the chapter 'Our lips kept for Jesus'. Of the 17 pages in this chapter in my book, the quote is on pages 10 and 11. It begins 'The lips of younger Christians' and ends with 'Ah, Miss F., I ought to have been yours!' No doubt the message applies to Christians of all ages. It is about sharing the gospel with others who are unapparently (to us) seeking and longing.

    Am sure you will be encouraged by the biography. FRH is a remarkable example of someone who surrendered to the Lord.

    Neil

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  10. Thank you, Neil, for sharing where to find the excerpt! I did find it, and I can see why it was one that you found helpful. It was sobering and convicting, and timely for me as this is an area that has really been on my heart and mind the past month or so. As you shared, the message does apply to all ages, and if only all believers in Christ (myself included) would take these opportunities to share the gospel and speak a word for Christ to others! I think we would be surprised by how many were open, willing, and even eager to listen.

    The verse from Isaiah does relate well. And yes, thank the Lord for where His feet took Him! To think of where we would be if it were not for Him!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)