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1/07

 

 

 

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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  -Hebrews 11:1

In Hebrews 11:1 God tells us what Bible faith is.  Moffatt's translation of this verse reads, "Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see." Another translation says, "Faith is giving substance to things hoped for."  Still another translation reads, "Faith is the warranty deed, the thing for which we have finally hoped is at last ours."

There are a number of kinds of faith.  Everyone, saved or unsaved, has a natural, human faith.  But here God is talking about a scriptural faith.  He is talking about Bible faith, about believing with your heart.  And there is a vast difference between believing with your heart and just believing what your physical senses tell you!

Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality.

For example, you hope for finances to meet the obligations that you have to pay.  Faith gives you the assurance that you will have the money when you need it.  "Faith is the evidence of things not seen." You hope for physical strength to do the work that you must do.  Faith says, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid" (Psalm 27:1).  Faith will say about itself everything that the Word says, for faith in God is simply faith in His Word.

 

...According to your faith be it unto you.-MATTHEW 9:29

If you eat natural food regularly and don't get any exercise, you'll grow fat and flabby.  Likewise, if you don't exercise your faith, your "faith muscles" will be flabby.

Exercise your faith on the level where you are.  Some Christians are beyond others in development of their faith.  As you feed and exercise your faith, it will grow.  Remember, nobody climbs the ladder by starting at the top rung.

Some people have become defeated because they tried to believe beyond their level of faith.  They heard faith taught, and they tried to start at the top of the ladder.  Because their faith wasn't at that level, faith didn't work for them, and they said, "That faith message doesn't work.  I tried it, but it doesn't work."

Faith will work for you as you exercise it.  After a while you'll be able to believe God for things you never dreamed you could.  According to your faith be it unto you.  If you request is based on God's Word, and you believe God to do it, God will do it.

Wherever you are in faith, keep your attitude right.  Keep a positive attitude - and keep the switch of faith turned on.  Keep believing God and using your faith

 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.  3 John 2

As our last devotional dealt with 5 as the number of grace lets look at the five crucial activities that are involved in this divine monetary flow.  Two are His as the Supplier.  Three are yours as the receiver.  Jesus will open the very windows of heaven if these activities are respected and done.  They are in His Word.

1. God wills that we prosper. 
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2
This is not that we will be prosperous in a stationary condition, but that He will make our way prosperous, implying action.  The God of heaven will prosper us; therefore, as His servants we will arise and build.
Angels are involved in prosperity. "The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way" (Gen. 24:40).

2. We begin to claim prosperity.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. Psalm 66:12
If you are going through fire and water in your financial situation, know that God promises you a wealthy place.  Take this Word and stand on it.  It is His intention for you to mature in faith! 
Riches come many times in the days of famine and persecution. "They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied" (Ps. 37:19).
You may feel that you can't prosper in a time of recession, but did God say that?  No. God's Word says, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him...to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine" (Ps. 33:18,19).
We are not to be hung up on money, only on the Supplier of money. "...give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Prov. 30:8,9).

3. When we keep His Word, God will prosper us.
Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. Deuteronomy 29:9
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32
Keeping God's Word is an essential activity that will cause the very windows of heaven to gush forth with His prosperity.

4. As we seek Him, God prospers us.
...as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. 2 Chronicles 26:5
Normally, I don't think we become desperate about seeking the Lord. Perhaps at night we pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep...." Then we wake saying, "Now I'm awake; take care of me today." We say we have done well during a day if we have read one psalm. That is not seeking the Lord!...who hath hardened himself against him (God), and hath prospered? Job 9:4
You cannot hide from God and prosper for very long; but if you seek Him, He will make your way continually prosperous. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7
He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:9
Seek God and spend time in His presence. Make your hunger known to Him.

5. The lips of the righteous feed many.
Your prosperity depends on what you say with your mouth.  We have seen that it depends on our activities, such as seeking God and keeping His Word.  Now God's Word is saying, "Claim the Word"  A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Proverbs 18:20
God's Word says that what you are saying with your mouth is feeding your stomach. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many. Proverbs 10:20,21
By confessing prosperity Scriptures for other people and other families, you can stand in proxy faith for others and receive blessings for them.

 

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth..    Psalm 37:7-9

WITHIN THE TEXT WE ARE GIVEN FIVE COMMANDS.
The first is rest. Rest does not automatically fall on someone.  A person doesn’t just wake up in the morning with an attitude of rest suddenly falling on him or her.  Rest is a choice. Rest is a decision.

The second command given in these verses is to wait patiently.  Patience does not suddenly engulf an individual. It too, is a decision.  Once a person chooses to rest, patience is the next choice because God’s promises may not manifest immediately, but they will manifest!  Overnight answers are the exception, not the rule in the Christian life.  If a farmer planted seed today and reaped a harvest immediately the next day, he would probably tell you, “This is not normal.  It is out of the ordinary order of things.” Farmers who plant seed know the harvest will eventually come in due season. It will take time for the harvest to manifest, but it will manifest—first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear!

The third command given in Psalm 37:7‐9 is fret not.  In other words, do not allow yourself to get upset.  Do not worry about any situation.  Fretting is probably one of the greatest areas Christians struggle with today.  But we are commanded not to fret. 

Fourth, we are commanded to cease from anger.  Notice what this verse does not say.  It does not say to taper off of anger.  We are commanded to “cease” from anger.  Cease means to stop.  God does not ask us to do what we cannot do.  If He commands us to cease from anger, we can cease!

Finally, we are commanded to forsake wrath.  Wrath is an explosion of anger.  People use excuses about anger.  They will say things like, “I explode so easily.  My dad exploded, my grandparents exploded, and it’s just a part of who I am—it’s in my genes!”  Verse 8 says “forsake it.”

 

2/07

 

 

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Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion (sympathy) one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful (tender hearted), be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. 1 Peter 3:8-10:

Verse 9 literally says we are not to repay evil for evil or return insults for insults.  Instead, we are to bless others knowing we have been called to inherit blessings.

Peter is quoting from Psalm 34:12-13 which says, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.  Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
Our text is teaching us we can actually live life loving every day!  That is how God designed it for His children.  But how does this happen?  We are to refrain our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking guile.  We refrain our tongue from speaking evil and our lips from speaking guile by changing what is in our heart with the Word of God.

Eight Commands
Contained within these verses of Scripture we are given eight commands.  First, we are commanded to be of one mind.  The only way it is possible for us to be of one mind is for us to think the Word of God.  The Word is the mind of Christ.  If we are to be of one mind, we are to think in line with the Scripture.

Next, we are commanded to have compassion.  Compassion is not a feeling although it can manifest as a feeling.  Just as other areas in our Christian life, compassion is a choice.  One of the first things our flesh likes to do when we see others making mistakes is to judge them.  We think “How could they have been so stupid?”  We may look at a situation and be tempted to be angry, condescending, or blame someone for the situation rather than having compassion.  But if we honestly think about it, we have probably done similar things and worse!  Yet God has had compassion on us, even in our stupidity!

The third command given is love.  We are commanded to love others and love is also a choice.  Many married couples having marriage problems will say, “Well, I just don’t love her anymore” or “I no longer have feelings for him.”  But love is not a feeling—it is a decision and a choice. 

The fourth command is to be tender hearted.  Being tender hearted is again, a choice.

Fifth, we are commanded to be courteous.  This means to submit ourselves to one another. Courtesy says, “You go ahead of me. I’ll wait.”  It is preferring others over yourself.

The sixth command is not repaying insults.  At one time or followers of Jesus, we are not to repay insults for insults.

Seventh, we are commanded to refrain our tongue from evil.  And the eighth command is to speak no guile.  Repeatedly we are given choices.  But what is the purpose of making the right choices?  The purpose is that we will live long and see good days!

 

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:2
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

Notice, joy does not ignore temptations.  Instead, joy faces temptations.  Rather than meeting your problems with anger, frustration, or rage, we are to meet them with joy.  We have a choice and that choice is to rejoice in the Lord!  This verse tells us two times that we are to rejoice.  I believe it is mentioned twice because it is so easy to forget to rejoice.  The world does not know how to rejoice but every child of God can choose to rejoice regardless of the circumstances they may be facing.

Rejoice Evermore
First Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice ever more.”  You may say, “Well, I haven’t done too well in the past when it comes to rejoicing.”  But you can make a choice to rejoice ever more from this day forward!

Charles Duncomb had a small Bible school in Tulsa called Trinity Bible School .  He was British and traveled with Smith Wigglesworth for many years.  When Brother Duncomb traveled with Smith Wigglesworth, they would stay in the homes of families from the churches in which Smith was ministering.  Smith would always request to have a room by himself.  Often Smith would be in a place for two or three weeks while he was holding meetings. 

One family Brother Duncomb and Smith stayed with were quite wealthy and gave Brother Duncomb and Smith each their own separate rooms.  In this particular home, Brother Duncomb’s room was directly under Smith’s room.  In Brother Duncomb’s room hung a beautiful crystal chandelier.  The first morning Brother Duncomb was awakened at six in the morning by what seemed to be an earthquake.  The crystal chandelier was shaking and swinging back and forth.  He ran into the hallway to discover nothing else in the house was shaking except in his bedroom.  He ran upstairs and peeked into Smith’s room and discovered Smith dancing and leaping around the room.  Brother Duncomb entered Smith’s room and asked “Do you do this every morning?” Smith replied, “Yes, I have communion with the Lord and dance before Him.”  Smith had made a decision to rejoice in the Lord. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”  Rejoicing is a choice!

 

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

Joy is a choice. Rather than waking in the morning and complaining about everything that is ahead—dreading the paper work piled on your desk or how many units need to be completed on the assembly line before the end of the day—choose joy! Joy is a choice to act on earth as heaven is acting at this moment with joy!  Not only will joy bring spiritual healing; it will bring physical healing. When you allow joy to rise in your heart, that joy will overflow into your body and set you free!

Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the  in health.  JOY WILL HEAL YOUR BODY!

A Merry Heart is Like a Medicine Proverbs 15:13: A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 
You cannot have joy in your heart without it appearing on your face.  When joy is in your heart, you do not even need to think about whether or not it shows up on your face—it just does.  When joy in your heart, you do not need to force a smile.  You do not need to pretend to by happy.  When joy is in your heart, you will be genuinely happy in life.

Proverbs 18:14: The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
This verse is saying the spirit and attitude inside you will heal your infirmities.  By contrast, if you are wounded inside and carry bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness, your body cannot sustain what you are carrying inside.  Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness will actually break down and bring deterioration to you body, usually in the form of sickness and disease.  One of the greatest ways to manifest divine health in your body is walking in the joy of the Lord.

 

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Joy produces spiritual strength.
Another translations reads,
“Go your way and eat fat things and drink sweet drinks, and then send portions of them unto those who don’t have anything prepared for this day is holy unto the Lord.  Neither be sorrowful for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10
:


This verse is telling us to focus on the joy of the Lord and not on the food.  The main thing that produces health is not the foods we eat; it is the joy of the Lord!  Many people eat perfectly healthy and yet, they are not walking in health because they are not walking in the joy of the Lord.

Awhile back there was an article in Reader’s Digest talking about the benefits of laughter.  The article recounted a story about a man who was dying of cancer.  He was not a Christian and had been given up by the doctors to die.  One of the requests he made to his wife was to rent some Three Stooges movies for him to watch.  His wife rented stacks of Three Stooges movies.  People in the hospital could hear him laughing and laughing as he watched these movies.  The article told of how this man laughed himself to health.  The cancer in his body completely disappeared!  He was not even a Christian and yet, the power of joy brought healing!

I am advocating allowing the joy of the Lord to manifest in your life.  There are certain spiritual principles that work even when applied by the world.  Giving brings fruit and joy often brings long life, even when an unbeliever is applying spiritual principles ignorantly!  Often Christians put so much emphasis on external things but Jesus taught it is not what goes in the mouth that defiles a man or woman but what comes out of the mouth—what we speak.  Allow the joy of the Lord to manifest in your life.  It is healing and medicine to your flesh.    CHOOSE JOY!

 

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,  Acts 9:11 

A Christian who does not pray is a contradiction in terms.  The word of God is food for us but prayer is the breath of God.  A believer can no more survive in this world without food of Spirit and breath of Spirit than my physical body can live without the essentials of all life.

Paul had prayed many times in the ritual of the Pharisee but now he for the first time upon his conversion breathed the true breath of pray and was alive unto his life in Christ.  Even as the newborn draws his first breath upon entering this new world so Paul found the secret to fulfillment and accomplishment.

We separate hypocrisy and reality in prayer when God sends us our answer on the breath (the Holy Spirit of God.)  For God knows when we draw the breath of the Holy Spirit or when we stand in tradition and formality.

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;

 

But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.  Numbers 16:42-43

Imagine the people murmuring, “Moses, you killed them! Aaron, you killed them! You’re the reason they are dead!  We know how you operate!  If someone comes against you, you just have God kill them!”  In coming against Moses and Aaron, the people were actually coming against God Himself.

Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Lord and interceded on behalf of those remaining who had witnessed Korah’s rebellion.  God extended mercy upon the people and gave them one day to have a change of heart.  But instead of getting their hearts right with the Lord, they became angry at Moses and Aaron.  They blamed them for the deaths of those who had rebelled the day before.

Numbers 16:41: And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And Moses and Aaron come before the tabernacle of the congregation.

The glory of God appeared representing grace before judgment.  God gave them one last opportunity to realize in their rebellion they weren’t coming against Moses and Aaron; they were coming against the presence of the Lord.  To come against God’s leadership is to come against God.  This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with leadership, but to actually revolt against their position of leadership is to revolt against God.  For anyone to read about Abraham, Joseph, Paul or any others God placed in positions of leadership mentioned in the Bible and say, “God didn’t choose you!  You chose yourself and put yourself in the position you hold,” would be ludicrous and yet, that is what these people were saying to Moses and Aaron.
Numbers 16:44-45 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment.  And they fell (Moses and Aaron) upon their faces.

 

And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
Numbers 16:46

When Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Lord, it was because they wanted to know the ways of God.  Moses sought after God’s ways but the people sought after His acts.  A true worshiper wants to know the ways of God.  A true worshiper wants to know God’s heartbeat.  A true worshiper wants to know the thoughts, intents, and motives of God more than they want to see the acts of God—the miracles.  The people were always looking for miracles.  Moses witnessed the same miracles the people had witnessed, but far past the miracles, he saw the heart of God.  Moses was a worshiper.  Aaron was a worshiper.  They knew the heart of God.

The day before the children of Israel had seen false worship.  On this day, they were going to see true worship.  The word atonement is the same word used in reference to Jesus going to the cross.  The plague has begun.  Even thought Moses hadn’t seen it, he knew it because He knew God’s heart and His ways.

Numbers 16:47: And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
Once again, the word atonement is used.
Numbers 16:48: And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
Because of the atonement made in behalf of the people, the plague was stopped.
Numbers 16:49-50: Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.  And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

 

Proverbs 14:4: Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

People often ask, “Why do churches have problems?  Can’t we just all worship the Lord without there being problems?  Isn’t there some way to get problems out of the church altogether?”  Actually, there is a way to get rid of the problems in the church—get rid of the people!  Just as this verse is saying, if there are no oxen, the crib is clean.  However, the more oxen you have, the greater the mess!  As long as there are people, there will be problems.  But God has given us ways to work through our problems!  One way is through worship.

It would have been easy for Aaron to say to Moses, “Well Moses, I really don’t want to leave God’s presence and make an atonement for the people.  I would rather stay here in God’s presence and avoid that whole mess out there!”

Worship Needs to be Taken Before the World

It was never intended for worship to be confined to four walls.  Worship must be before God.  That is where we get our strength.  It is true that we should worship God in church, in our homes, and in our cars but worship needs to be taken outside where the people are.  I am not talking about doing the act of worship before the world—lifting our hands, praying in tongues, and singing.  God is looking for worshipers.  A true worshiper is a worshiper at all times, regardless if they are actually participating in the act of worship.  Often we mistake the word worship to mean, “to be worshiping.” 

In this story, Aaron took worship to where the people were.  We don’t need to go out before the world and try to be like them.  You need to go out and be like God.  When Aaron went out, worship became an atonement for the people.  The lifestyle of a worshiper can stop the attacks of Satan and the influence of the world. 

 

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

The daily lifestyle of a worshiper becomes an atonement for the people that will stop the plague.  You may come home from work frustrated and upset.  You may get into strife with your spouse because you have brought the “plague” of the world home with you.  But worship can stop it.  Centering your thoughts and attitudes on the Lord becomes a type of atonement.

Aaron didn’t live in the holy place.  The holy place is where he went to worship the Lord.  He lived with the rest of the children of Israel .  He had a tent to return to after leaving the holy place.  He had a family to return to after leaving the holy place.  We don’t live in church.  We come to Sunday and mid-week services but then we leave to go home or to our jobs.  We live in the world. 

Our lifestyle as a worshiper should speak to the world.  We shouldn’t be cussing like the world or gossiping like the world, or only working when the boss is looking like the world often does.  Our life should demonstrate the fact that we are worshipers.

 

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13

God calls us the salt of the earth. The salt of the earth is a worshiper.  God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.  Truth is the Word of God.  Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” 

The salt of the earth must keep its savor.  To keep our savor we must be filled with the Word of God.  Salt basically does three things.  First, it is a preserver.  In the ancient world where there was no refrigeration, they rubbed meat down with salt.  It served to preserve the meat.  Believers are the preserver of the land in which they live.  The United States is blessed because of the salt—Word filled believers who remain strong in the Word and strong in prayer.
1 Timothy 2:1-2:  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Quietness and peace are a result of the salt of the earth.  A worshiper is not a fanatic who speaks out loud in tongues with his hands lifted all day long.  A true worshiper goes to work and influences everything around him.  A worshiper knows God and fellowships and communes with Him. 

Not only does salt preserve, it also gives flavor.  Your employer should be blessed in his business just because or your presence.  Potiphar’s household was blessed because of Joseph’s presence.  Potiphar had increase because of Joseph’s presence.

As worshipers, our presence becomes an atonement—something that stops the plague.  Aaron didn’t walk out in the midst of the people and say, “Hey guys, let me give you some advice here.”  Aaron walked out and just stood in the midst of the people.  He stood between the living and the dead and while he stood, the plague stopped.  Believers need to walk in this world knowing who they are in Christ!

Not only does salt preserve and flavor, it is also a hindrance.  In the ancient world, when one nation would conquer another nation, they would destroy everything in sight.  They would destroy all of the buildings and then plow them under.  To ensure nothing would grow on the land, they would completely cover the ground with salt.  As believers, not only do we preserve and flavor situations around us, we also hinder Satan’s kingdom. 

Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  We become an atonement against the plague.  Worship is a lifestyle.  Again, we are to take that lifestyle into the world and be the salt of the earth.

 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

We are to show forth the praises of God.  Praise and worship of the heart is not to be kept hidden in where no one can see it.  The praise and the worship we have in our heart toward God is to be expressed outwardly.  That expression may be the lifting of hands or it may be dancing before the Lord.  Keeping praise and worship in our heart with no outward expression is not found in the Bible.  Even nature praises the Lord.  The Bible says the trees will clap their hands and the rocks will praise Him.  Praise is to be demonstrated.  Worship is to be demonstrated.

As a family, let us remember how the Lord has favored us in his grace, and also let each saved one among us remember his calling.  We believers are chosen, royal, priestly, peculiar, and beloved of heaven.  What manner of persons ought we to be?   We ought to live far better than others, for the Lord has dealt so much better with us.  May rich grace rest upon us, and cause us to show forth the praises of our God.

 

"Seeking the wealth of his people." --Esther 10:3

Mordecai was a true patriot, and therefore, being exalted to the highest position under Ahasuerus, he used his prominence to promote the prosperity of Israel .

In this he was a type of Jesus, who, upon His throne of glory, seeks not His own, but spends His power for His people.  It would be well if every Christian would be a Mordecai to the church, striving according to his ability for its prosperity.  Some are placed in stations of affluence and influence, let them honor their Lord in the high places of the earth, and testify for Jesus before great men.

Others have what is far better, namely, close fellowship with the King of kings, let them be sure to intercede daily for the weak of the Lord's people, the doubting, the tempted, and the comfortless.  It will bring the consequence of honor if they make intercession for those who are in darkness and dare not draw nigh unto the mercy seat.  

Instructed believers may serve Jesus if they lay out their talents for the general good, and impart their wealth of heavenly learning to others, by teaching them the things of God.  The very least in our Israel may at least seek the welfare of his people; and his desire, if he can give no more, shall be acceptable.

It is at once the most Christ-like and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living to himself.  He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself.  On the other hand, to seek our own personal greatness is a wicked and unhappy plan of life, its way will be seriously hindered and its end will be fatal.

Here is the place to ask you whether you are to the best of your power seeking the wealth of your local church?  I trust you art not doing it mischief by bitterness and scandal, nor weakening it by your neglect.  Friend, unite with the Lord's poor, bear their cross, do them all the good you can, and you shall not miss your reward.

 

He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.  Isaiah 53:10
 
Stand in faith receiving the speedy fulfillment of this promise, all you who love the Lord.  It is easy work to pray when we are rooted and grounded, as to our desires and needs, upon God's own promise.  How can He that gave the word refuse to keep it?  Immutable veracity cannot demean itself by a lie, and eternal faithfulness cannot degrade itself by neglect.  God must bless His Son; His covenant binds Him to it.  That which the Spirit prompts us to ask for Jesus, is that which God decrees to give Him.

There is a growing process that brings abundant blessing.  It could not be described as a get rich quick scheme because it requires change of heart and action.  The devil came to steal kill and destroy.  Jesus came to reverse that process.  There must always be a pressure in our lives driving us to serve the Lord and lead us to godliness.  This very presence of God also presses against the curse.  The power that upholds us is the same power that drives away the works of the devil.  We are then left as God purposed to prosper and see the pleasure of the Lord.

 

"For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him." --Ezra 8:22

A convoy would have been desirable for this journey, but a holy shame would not allow Ezra to seek one.  He feared lest the heathen king should think his professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve His own worshippers.  He could not bring his mind to lean on an arm of flesh in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by Him who is the sword and shield of His people.

It is unfortunate that few believers feel this holy jealousy for God; even those who in a measure walk by faith, occasionally spoil the special Jesus shine of their life by craving aid from man.  It is a most blessed thing to have no props and no walls of protection, but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone.

Would any believers seek state endowments for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is dishonored by their asking Caesar's aid?  Is it as if the Lord could not supply the needs of His own cause!  Should we run so hastily to friends and relations for assistance, if we remembered that the Lord is magnified by our implicit reliance upon His solitary arm?

My soul, wait only upon God.  One may say, "But are these things not means to be used?"  Assuredly they are; but our fault seldom lies in their neglect: far more frequently it springs out of foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God.  Few run too far in neglecting the man’s arm; but many sin greatly in making too much of it.  Learn to glorify the Lord by leaving such means untried, if in using them you may dishonor the name of the Lord.  God can afford to take care of His own.

 

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: Amos 8:11

Famine of the words of God; a time in which there is no prophet, no spiritual counselor, no faithful reprover, none any longer who would point out the way of salvation, or would assure them of the mercy of God on their repentance and return to him.  Their beauty stained and their honor fallen in the dust.  No instruction, no comfort.  Endlessly wandering searching for God’s word yet never sure if it is found.

We live in a great time where God’s word covers the earth.  In fatness we receive the word picking and choosing on the choicest of meat and we throw to the dogs the bits that seem unseemly for our consumption. 

Revival depends on hearts hungry yet even more starving for one morsel.  Christ only can give gifts to men.  Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear forgetting them away.

3/07

 

 

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And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.  But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 1Sam 25:36, 37

My goodness what extremes one can span in just twenty-four hours.  Ecstasy and excess to dumbfounded and confused fear.  Then only ten days later death.  Nabal owed his wealth to King Saul and would have nothing to do with David for fear of risking even a penny of it. 

David the head of a band of 600 seemed freeloaders to the powers that be.  David and his army needed to be employed and it was common for these bands of warriors to watch the flocks of the rich sheep-masters whom Nabal was one.  They drove away enemies and marauders.  It was common to receive remuneration for those services.  Nabal refusal struck David in his heart.

Nabal was high on himself, yet it is not wise to cheat the anointed of God who have risked their lives in your service.  The scripture describes the loss of thought and feeling.  His heart became as stone.  Nabal was given grace through the excellent intercession of his wife Abigail who recognized the powerful and anointed man of God.  David withdrew his army.  Keeping all carnal possession yet Nabal’s house was an empty heap of ruin.

Life has no meaning without that touch of grace which only God can deliver; creating hope, love and joy in our hearts.  What a difference repentance makes when we receive Gods free gift of forgiveness and offer ourselves to His service.  Joy eternal springs from our hearts as we grow and are blessed to the uttermost.

 

Then said some of them of Jerusalem , Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?  John 7:25,26

There were various opinions and conjectures.  All those who had come up to the feast were interested in him.  Jesus always creates a stir, thus men cannot remain indifferent, but must take one side or the other in reference to him.  The confident manner in which our Lord faced the crowd led many to ask whether, after all, the rulers were not afraid of him.  Maybe because they said nothing he was the Christ.

We ought not to allow ourselves to be swayed by prejudice and influenced by superficial appearances.  Good men and good things are often despised.  Truth and holiness have been always relentlessly tested of mankind.  All is not gold that glitters, and there is much true gold which never glitters at all.  May we be taught by the Holy Spirit not to be moved by the outward which claims right by self justification.  Yet let us side with our Savior and may he always be found. 

Healing seldom shines brightly yet is fundamental to our victory of faith.  There are still many who are offended by the stance of our Savior against all critics who still object to this simple hope.  Could it be they are moved so adamantly to healing by faith because it is Christ? 

Faith requires a difference.  Where will you stand this day.  Will you receive or will you bow your head in sadness and walk away from the Lord of Glory?

 

Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, 1Chronicles 29:3

In addition to the immense amount of gold and silver treasure which David had already bequeathed for various uses in the service of the temple, he now made an additional contribution destined to a specific purpose--that of overlaying the walls of the house.  This voluntary gift was from the private fortune of the royal donor, and had been selected with the greatest care.  The gold was "the gold of Ophir," then esteemed the purest and finest in the world. 

He had thought upon the matter, and provided many things, and provided many things, and these were all of the best.  It would be a praise to God if we all served God in this fashion, with thought and with sacrifice.

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Laughter should be considered more of an attitude rather than an audible, physical expression. Webster's dictionary defines attitude as “a bodily posture showing a mental state, emotion, or mood.'” From the spiritual viewpoint, the attitude engages first, and the physical reaction follows. Attitudes are formed by conviction. Conviction is not formed by attitude.

Christians who have developed strong convictions as to who they are, where they are headed, and their knowledge of who God is, have healthier attitudes toward life than those without such deep-seated convictions.

Laughter is joy flowing and a countenance glowing. An attitude of trust, faith, hope, and love will find expression in delight. Many adults have healthy attitudes and a flow of joy in their lives, carried over from a positive attitude established as a child.

Even as a child reared in an atmosphere of broken pledges often becomes insecure and usually feels threatened by the future, so are Christians without a strong conviction of faith in God’s promises.

 

Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies.... Deuteronomy 28:47,48a:

Many times the Scriptures teach us that those who seek the Lord are to rejoice. Probably no place in Scripture is as emphatic of God's attitude toward joy as is expressed in our text.

I have never seen anyone become lukewarm or go back on their spiritual commitment if they kept the joy of their salvation. This is why God gave such a solemn warning to Israel . The days when the offerings were taken to the Temple were of great joy, singing, and dancing in the streets as they brought their first fruits to offer to the Lord. As time passed and the ritual became routine, the original joy was no longer there and the act became ceremonial.

There is a parallel in the new Christian going to church, tithing, and witnessing with great joy. Then gradually, perhaps because of church gossip or contention, the joy begins to ebb away. How wonderful it would be if we were able to immunize all baby Christians against this. Anything that takes our joy is not of God. When we lose our joy, we are in danger of serving the enemy and spiritual want.

There are four common denominators to personal and church revival: a spirit of fellowship, a spirit of worship, a spirit of joy, and a spirit of faith.
Congregations respond with joyful laughter, and how their faces beam as they listen to the Word, and how quick they are to hug one another with pure joy.

This joy flowing is a quick, ready laugh and the joyful presence of our Lord. He is in their midst. People, who all their lives felt rejected, now feel accepted by their new brothers and sisters. Drug addiction and other vices have been replaced by the satisfying portion of grace. Marriages that were shipwrecked are now being healed and sailing on a sea of happiness. The body of Christ is coming together in joyful worship. Miracles happen and God's love flows in the joy of the Lord.

We will always face many tests, but the Lord is our strength. We can be joyful or miserable. It is our attitude that shows. If you are having difficulty showing a good, positive, happy attitude, then learn how to express good, solid, Scripture-based convictions. Let them flow. Speak them out loud:
"I can do all things through Christ." (Phil. 4:13.)
"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4.)
Then expect that attitude to change. Turn the corners of your mouth up instead of down and laugh.

 

“In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel of honor, sanctified, and useful for the master’s use, and prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart ” 2 Timothy 2:20-22

Paul gave Timothy instruction about ministering to his congregation. The “great house” is the local church. It is not great because it has a large congregation, meets in a nice location or because the people own the building. It is a great house because royalty attends every time the doors are opened. Royalty includes the people attending as well as the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus walks through our churches to examine them (Revelation 2:1). Some vessels are found of wood and earth and others were of silver and gold. Some vessels bring God honor (those of silver and gold), while others bring Him dishonor (those of earth and wood). When we carry sin in our life and don’t deal with it, we dishonor God. We also dishonor God when we don’t pursue a righteous life. God wants us to turn from sin to pursue a godly lifestyle. He wants us to be sold out to Jesus! We cannot pray for God to make us a sanctified vessel. This is something we must do ourselves.

God has given us all the material and tools needed. He has given us His Word and all the power of the Holy Spirit. He is waiting on us to open our lives to Him. We are to follow righteousness in our everyday life, words, and actions. We are also to follow after faith in God’s Word and should be living that faith out before the world. Next, we are to follow divine love in our walk. Finally, we are to follow peace. Strife has no place in our lives nor should we ever allow it a place.

 

And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor , unto this day. Joshua 7:25-26:

Most of the promises of God pertaining to our daily walk are conditional. Don’t’ walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Don’t fellowship in darkness or stand around with sinners. Don’t sit in the seat of the scornful. If you follow these conditions then whatever you do will prosper. Often, we like to pull out the part about prosperity and all of God’s loving promises for us and ignore the preceding verses that are conditional.

Mark 11:23 and 24 work, but Mark 11:25 follows, “And when you stand praying, forgive…”

Partaking of the communion elements can bring healing but there is a condition—a man is to examine himself first. If an individual doesn’t examine his heart, the result is stated in 1Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Disobedience to the Word is sin; sin and the promises don’t mix. Whatever is not faith is sin.

The first battle at Ai Joshua chapter 7, represents the flesh; it was a failure. The second was a success. Carnality cuts off God’s power in the believer’s life. Whenever Achan committed a sin, the children of Israel were powerless. They went into battle and were chased out by a heathen army. They were defeated because of the sin in the camp. But the moment they were rid of the sin, God’s power returned. It works the same way in our personal lives. When we walk free of sin in obedience to the word and being led by the Holy Spirit, we walk in God’s power and anointing. 

1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. Genesis 24:63

Isaac went out to take the advantage of a silent evening, and a solitary field, for mediation and prayer.  Our walks in the field are then truly pleasant, when in them we connect ourselves to our deepest fellowship with God in meditation and prayer.  We have a free and open vision of the heavens above us, and the earth around us, and the hosts and riches of both.  

We can then be led to the contemplation of the Creator and Owner of all.  Merciful divine intervention are then doubly comforting, when they find us in the way of our obligation.  Isaac certainly had to be thinking on his new future and was now praying for good success in this affair, and meditating upon that which was proper to encourage his hope in God concerning it.  Now when he sets himself, as it were, upon his watch-tower, to see what God would answer him, he sees the camels coming.  His vision of God’s plan now is made ready for his exercise of faith.

 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

When the battle seems endless and you think you'll never make it, remember that you’re reprogramming a "worldly" mind to think as God thinks. In the same way that computers are programmed, our minds are programmed. From the time we’re born, our minds are like computers that have had a lifetime of garbage programmed into them. But God, who’s the best "computer programmer" around, is working on us every day to reprogram our minds as we cooperate with Him.

Learning to change our thinking works the same way. There will be days when we don't do everything right—days when our thinking is negative. But never stop trying. God is gradually bringing us around to His way of thinking. Just don't give up!

 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! II Timothy 1:7

Do battle with the devil’s lies and confusion.  Declare out loud that you will not allow any outside force to do your thinking.  Your power is in the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, and the Word of God.  Ask God to give you discernment of the lies of the devil. Think about what you are thinking about.  As you recognize a lie to your mind, always defend yourself out loud.  When you catch a lie to your mind, use this prescription regularly–and you will regain peace, your memory, restful nights, and the ability to concentrate and comprehend.

You are in a battle–you are not alone–for all of God’s people fight this same fight.  Make up your mind not to give up!  As you begin this battle, it will seem worse than ever.  The reason is that the demonic powers are fighting to keep their place in your mind (and in your thinking).  Call upon God’s grace in the Name of Jesus, and He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome every evil tendency fully.

Remember, regaining your mind is a process.  God knows our weakness; that is why He gave us I John 1:9.  Just ask for forgiveness and see the Blood of Jesus washing away your sin.  Don’t give up!  Continue claiming what belongs to you (your mind and your thinking belong to you), and Jesus will help you overcome. 

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Every minute of every day brings new opportunities to learn something we’ve never known before.  One of the most important facets I’ve learned about love is unselfishness, which is characterized in the Bible as a willingness to sacrifice one’s own wishes for those of others.  I’ve learned that true love will always adapt and adjust to the needs and desires of other people.

Selfish people have hard hearts.  They expect everyone else to adjust to them and their needs.  They simply don’t know how to adjust to others without becoming angry or upset.  God gives compassion—the heartfelt desire to meet the needs of others first before our own. Walk in love and learn to adapt your own needs and desires in order to help meet the needs of others.  Learn how to show love in different ways to different people.  Not all people need the same thing from us.

Do I ever feel too needed?  Of course!  We all feel overwhelmed from time to time.  But I remind self that God gives grace for whatever He places in our life, and I’m fortunate to be loved and needed by so many.  Just telling people “I love you” is not enough.  We need to go beyond the words and actually do something to help meet their needs.

Once you’ve found God’s love, you’ll have no trouble establishing and maintaining good, healthy relationships with others. Your primary goal in life will be to put the wishes of others before your own.  You’ll learn that true love is all about sacrifice, and selfishness will be a thing of the past.

 

For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. Psalm 69:9

Love is the energy of life.  It is what motivates people each day to keep going.  Everywhere you look, you see people searching for love.  God is love, and they will never find what they're looking for until they find Him.  The only true fulfillment which we so desperately seek is to choose to walk in love—to actually put love into action by reaching out and loving others.

I wanted to walk in love, but I just couldn't. I had the urge...but no power to follow through. I always made elaborate plans, but couldn't carry them out.  Unfulfilled desire is often frustrating.  One cannot love others until one receives God's love.  God loves us because He wants to—it pleases Him.  God loves us because it's His nature to love, and He always will love us.  God's love is unconditional.  God's love is the power that forgives our sins, heals our emotional wounds, and mends our broken hearts.

Everyone in the world wants to be loved and accepted, and the love of God—that wonderful gift He freely gives us—satisfies that need.  His love flows to us, and then it should flow through us to other people.  See yourself as a container full of blessings. You will find that you are always happier when choosing to make others happy.

God expects us to "season" the lives of those around us.  All of life is tasteless without love.  Love is the salt, the energy of life, and the reason to get up every morning.  We know that because we are deeply loved by God, we can never run out of love, no matter how much we give away

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". (Hebrews 11:1, 5-6)

In churches today there are many who don't believe in the catching away of the Church before the Tribulation, as Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8. It has become popular in some circles to scoff and make fun of the Rapture.  Yet it is the way of escape that God has prepared for the righteous, much the same as He did in Noah's day.

A number of people who profess to be Christians and believe they are going through seven years of Tribulation. Some of them will almost fight you for the right to "tribulate". I believe some of it stems from the fact they have forced the wrong pieces of the prophetic puzzle into the wrong place in the Scriptures.  They confuse the Second Advent with the Rapture of the Church. Matthew 24:29-31, which clearly describes the Second Advent, not the Rapture.

Some are confused concerning the elect mentioned in Matthew 24:22. This scripture refers to the elect of Israel and not the Church. But some have forced parts of the prophetic word into places where it does not fit, and this has caused much confusion concerning the sequence and timing of end-time events.

Hebrews give us what I call the faith-and Rapture connection: (Hebrews 10:34-37) "For ye had compassion on me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry".  And out text.

 

For ye had compassion on me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:34-37)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:1, 5-6)

There is a faith connection that links us to that blessed event called the Rapture. Will those who don't believe in the promised Rapture be partakers of that which God has provided?

We know Enoch was translated by faith, and the Scripture states without faith it is impossible to please God. The Rapture is God's plan for the righteous to escape the seven years of Tribulation destined to come upon the wicked of the earth. Then, knowing the very principles of faith causes more concern about this matter. Jesus said to the centurion... "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee (Matthew 8:13)... Whosoever shall say... not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith"(Mark 11:23)

Those who say they are going through the Tribulation may be, because of what they say and believe. To say the least, that seems to be a possibility. However, the answer to this whole matter may be in the fact that the revelation concerning the Rapture will become so clear and irrefutable to everyone whose heart is right before God before it takes place.

Daniel said: "...none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand".  We are coming to the close of 6000 years of human history and the Church Age will soon come to an end. The Apostle Paul taught that the Body of Christ will be raptured before the seven years of Tribulation begin and the seventh millennium will usher in 1000 years of peace on earth (Daniel 12:1-10).

God has released to this generation the revelation of the end time as never before in any generation. It seems that God has held this revelation in a time-lock code until the generation appeared on the scene that would experience these events. There is no question that this generation will experience the fulfillment of the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

 

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13

Some call it "millennium fever". They state that every new millennium has brought the flakes out of the woodwork calling doomsday destruction for planet earth. Why is this new millennium any different?

It is different because the Scriptures reveal it to be the seventh and last millennium before eternity. Beyond any doubt, the prophetic Word reveals 6000 years of human history will finish God's dealing with man under the Earth-lease established in Genesis 1:26-28 (see Mark 12:1-9). Then there will be one more 1000 year period in which the righteous of the earth will rule and reign with Christ here on earth before eternity. (Revelation 5: 10 and 20:10)

Every prophetic time line from Genesis to Revelation points to 6,000 years of human history before the seven years of Tribulation, and then one more 1000 years of peace before eternity. That's what makes this millennium different from any other millennium in all of human history. The seven years of Tribulation seems to be a transitional period that fits between the sixth and the seventh millennium as far as God's calendar is concerned. This transitional period will include the Endtime Harvest, the Rapture of the Church, and the seven years of Tribulation.

As the Tribulation ends we find in Revelation 19, Jesus descends from Heaven with the saints that have been with Him there for seven years being taught how to rule and reign with Him. They descend on the Mount of Olives, destroy the armies of the anti-Christ, then satan is bound and cast into the bottomless pit and there will be a thousand years of peace and righteous rule on planet earth.

The Earth-lease is about to expire and planet earth is about to face the most traumatic change in 6,000 years of human history. To use the words of the Apostle Paul: "You (The Body of Christ) are children of light, and not of darkness... And God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation and deliverance by our Lord Jesus Christ". The Body of Christ above all others should have a good understanding of this matter so we can proclaim the truth concerning this glorious event called the Rapture that is about to take place on planet earth.

4/07

 

 

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"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained". (I Tim. 4:6)

In John 9:1-2 there are some who say: "This man was born blind so God would get glory out of this healing." There are four ways that Jesus could have answered the question asked of him: (1) It was the man's sin; (2) It was the parent's sin; (3) Both; or (4) Neither. With any one of those statements, He would have provided an answer to their question. In verse 3, He answers their question by saying, "Neither". Jesus provided a sufficient answer to their question. God’s Word reveals that His will is that it be on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Ask yourself, "Is it God's will that this man be able to see when he is in heaven"? The answer is obvious.  Of course not!

In John 9:4 Jesus reveals the intent when He said: "I must work the works of Him that sent me...". Verse 6: "When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay". Now get this picture. Jesus, who at that point was not popular among the religious leaders anyway, spits on the ground, makes mud and puts it in the blind mans eyes.  Verse 7: "And he said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing".

This reveals that the blindness was not from God. Yet there are some who believe that God makes some people blind, gives some cancer and makes some crippled. If our Heavenly Father did these things, even the wicked would call it child abuse. We know from the scriptures God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts. James said: "Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning". (James 1:16-17)

 

The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" John 10:10

Don't blame God for the problems and tragedies that happen here on earth because they are curses released in the earth through the fall of man. But Jesus came and redeemed us from the curse and made provision for us to have abundant life. God wants you well; for that is the will of God for you on the earth. People can be crippled in their prayer life if they don't know and understand the will of God. It is imperative that we know God's will before we pray. It is impossible to pray the prayer of faith if you don't know God's will, because faith comes from knowing His will and being fully persuaded of it.

John 10:10 is the dividing line of contrast revealed by Jesus. This gives us insight into who is behind so many of the problems we face in life and also give us the revelation that Jesus wants you to have abundant life until it overflows. "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)". (John 10:10 Amplified)

Search the scriptures until you know the intentions of your Heavenly Father. Find the will of God concerning the circumstances you face. When you know God's will and are fully persuaded of that truth, you can pray in faith!

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22). This verse reveals that you are only limited by what you can believe based on the authority of His Word. So don't be discouraged by what others believe or don't believe. Never base your faith on past experiences but rather on the Word. Allow God's Word to live big within you. You can do and be what His Word says. God's Word is healing to all your flesh.

 

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:9-11

No one asks for disappointment and we certainly don’t want to be lied to.  Disappointment is an avenue for the devil to produce lies and this is true of us all; we are all taken unawares.  We are ambushed by disappointment’s lies

The pattern works itself stealthily into our consciousness.  

  1. We accept the lie.
  2. We hide what we now think is wrong in us.
  3. We limit our desires.
  4. We turn to false comforters.
  5. We become bitter
  6. We give up.

No we have not so learned Christ!  We must fight back!  We must speak to the lies and prove to ourselves these lies are not true of you. We must learn God’s word so we can prove His perfect will in our lives.

 

1   THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the <physical and spiritual> captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

2  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord <the year of His favor> and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3  To grant <consolation and joy> to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment <expressive> of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness <lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God>, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3 Amplified

We've all been wounded deeply by he lies that come to us in our disappointment. Ultimate healing won't occur until we get to heaven (Rev. 21:4). Then "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." But for now, healing occurs when we realize how we've been deceived in our disappointment and allow God to show us what is true.

Finding the truth heals by freeing us from the prison of deception and releasing us to be the people God intended us to be. God wants to heal and set us free from the power of the evil one's lies, both past and present. He doesn't save us from our sins, give us a new nature in Christ, and then just leave us at the mercy of Satan's deception.

"The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (1 John. 3:8).
Remember, one of the devil's primary works is to mislead us with deception. That is how he causes the greatest harm. The good news is that Jesus came to put a stop to it—in a deeply personal way. He wants to meet with us in our hurting and deceived hearts and speak truth that brings healing and freedom.

He says to all of us who have accepted Him as our Savior, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock" (Rev. 3:20). We first invited Him in when we trusted Him to save us from the penalty of our sins. Now the Lord wants further access into those places inside of us that are disappointed and misled. But He won't come in unless we invite Him as we did the first time He met us in our hearts.

Inviting our Loving Father into the disappointed and deceived regions of our hearts is a deeply personal and unique process. Sometimes it occurs alone in our private moments of prayer and reflection. At other times it happens in the presence of a caring friend or spiritual advisor. Some of us experience healing suddenly, while most of us come to know it gradually.

 

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:18

The way of healing and freedom does not spare us from further disappointment. Nor does it protect us from being lied to again. We are still in a war—a spiritual war—the war between good and evil. We don't choose this war. The war chooses us. Like it or not, we are born into it. We, the ones who bear the glory and image of God, are what the forces are fighting over.  And we can't afford to ignore that we are in it. We must remember who our deadliest enemy is and stay alert.

We need to avoid falling into another one of Satan's traps by obsessing about him. But we don't want to ignore him either, because all of the lies we've been taught in our disappointment ultimately come from the devil not God. We must recognize him for the fierce enemy he is, for without him we wouldn't be in a war. Remember, Jesus said that satan is the one who is determined "to steal and kill and destroy" (John. 10:10).

Our greatest enemy is not disappointment. The apostle Paul made it clear that our real fight is with satan and his forces of evil and darkness: Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians. 6:12).

Stay Alert. Paul said, With this in mind, be alert. Be prepared. Watch for it. We will still continue to experience disappointment and we should expect more attacks. The world will continue to seduce us away from God with half-truths. The ringleader, satan, will keep trying to deceive us with more lies about ourselves, life, and God.

Some lies will sound so familiar. Remember that many of our negative, bitter, or self-defeating thoughts are not just coming from within us. And with the power Jesus gave to us we can "resist the devil" and he will "flee from us" (James. 4:7).

Knowing that we have been lied to before, and will be lied to again, doesn't take away the pain of disappointment. But it reminds us to combat the lies in the power of our risen Lord (1 John. 4:4) so the devil doesn't gain a foothold in our lives (Ephesians. 4:28).

 

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use... (2 Timothy 2:21).

Can a person ever recover and come back to a place of usefulness with God, having experienced some failure or loss of position, whether in ministry or life? The answers often given seem to take two extremes. On one side there are those who pass sentence and decree an absolute no to any prospect of restoration. On the other side there are those who desire to sweep the issue under the rug and give a quick restoration to the fallen after a simple apology.

Both extremes are wrong. We see in the New Testament, believers and Church leaders were restored, but only after a considerable period of time and observation.

Paul believed in restoration for believers, including ministers. The key word in this scripture is "meet." It is the Greek word euchrestos, and it means "useful." This means, if they would eventually become "useful," they must have been "unuseful" at the time. Usefulness is also a proven condition with clear benchmarks and clear deeds of attrition and restitution.  The root Greek word for meet (useful) would mean to supply what is needed.  Some things, either in action or good thing, or both, are exchanged to ensure that a change of heart and faithfulness can consistently be acted upon. Patience and dedication to service are the perfect mark of a changed heart

We find an example of restoration to the ministry in the life of John Mark. In Acts 13:13, John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip. Later, Barnabas wanted John Mark to join them again (Acts 15:37), but Paul disagreed. The Bible says, "And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder..." (verse 39). Restoration of John Mark was such an issue it caused Paul and Barnabas to part from each other and go their separate ways.

However, over a period of many years, Paul watched Mark purge himself and become a vessel of honor. In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul describes Mark as "profitable to me for the ministry." This is the same word euchrestos. Paul now calls Mark "useful" to the Lord's work. Also See Philemon.

The examples of restoration make the scriptural position clear. If a Gospel deserter and a thief can become useful to God after public failure, there is hope for all of us! God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to enable us to become "useful" to the ministry once again. We, too, can cleanse ourselves and become vessels of honor, "meet for the master's use."

 

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?  Bid her therefore that she help me.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:40-42

It is not a question of contrasting the activist life to the contemplative life. It's a matter of priorities.
      The harder Martha worked the more worked up she became.
      Martha’s problem was one of balance and holding the right tension to each part of her life.
      Make sure the necessary doesn’t get out of proportion and distort our lives.
      Martha’s work is necessary—in the church and in the home
      But, Mary gets the halo


Martha wanted Jesus to lighten her load that day. He did exactly that, but not the way she thought it should be done. He knew that our relationship with God does not develop in the midst of fretting busyness. The one thing needful is to hear God speak to us. Mary chose to put time into that primary relationship and not to be distracted by trivia.

"Martha must be a Mary," wrote one commentator, "and the true Mary must also be a Martha; both are sisters."


The balance of Martha and Mary must both be properly upholding one another if we are to have any stability or security in life at all. The balance between the two has to be finely adjusted if the resulting effect is to be strong and usable.

We live in this world. This means we concern ourselves with food and clothes and homes and family and jobs and studies. But we also live in the world of the spirit. We concern ourselves with our relationship to God. That was Martha's real problem. She was working without strength.  To get our service right we get our priorities right.

We must let Jesus minister to
us before we go out to minister for Him. That is God's order: we first love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and then we are prepared to go out and love our neighbor as ourselves. When we turn that upside down, we may end up feeling overworked and unappreciated.

When we have the right priorities, God will enable us to do what needs to be done— with joy and satisfaction.

 

0 foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself  Luke 24:25-27

It must have been devastating for Jesus' followers to have their hopes and dreams crushed right in front of their eyes.  They believed him to be the deliver who would free all of Israel .  He was killed, and then his body missing from the grave, and this talk of angels? 

We humans are problem solvers by nature and we seldom do this alone.  Unfortunately we can only look at life through a keyhole and our lack of information distorts our judgment.  But when Christ, on the road to Emmaus, was allowed to illuminate their understanding of the Word of God in their experience, they began to get a fresh outlook on their circumstances.

Our Lord's response sounds abrupt. Yet in reality, this situation is a case study in education. Look at the wording. "Foolish ones" is a compound word that literally means "without knowledge." The disciples on the road were handicapped by having only part of the information. "Slow of heart to believe" is a rebuke of their  slowness in trusting God for what He had promised.

Jesus then provided the only remedy for spiritual ignorance—more information. The Teacher focused their attention on key passages of the Old Testament that explained that the Messiah must suffer before being glorified.

Our lesson is that though we may sometimes struggle with disappointment, we often lack all the information to make sense of it at the time. The Lord will certainly and eventually provide means or the necessary information to bring closure to our problem. In some cases, we won't get clear understanding until we meet Christ face-to-face in eternity. But because life on earth is a spiritual bootcamp of sorts, it's essential to be teachable and in regular contact with our Teacher. Then our faith and knowledge can grow.  He promised in James he would answer all questions if asked in faith and not foolishly slow of heart.

 

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

What are the toughest decisions you have to make?  We decide whether to get up in the morning. Then we decide when to get up—early, late, somewhere in between. Then we decide how to get up—both literally and figuratively on the right or the wrong side of the bed. Thereafter we really get into decision-making—what to wear, what to put on first, whether to brush our teeth or brush our hair first, what to eat for breakfast, whether or not to wash the dishes or possibly what route to take to work, and on and on.

A lot of those decisions don't rank high as earth-shaking choices. Often they add up, however, to a good or bad start for our days. 

And of course there are the most important decisions you've made in your lifetime, choosing your marriage partner, your first date with Mr. or Miss. Right: What should you wear?  Wear should you take them to impress them adequately?  Perhaps you've struggled with whether to marry at all—or to remarry after a bad marriage and a heart-ripping divorce. Or maybe you are married and can't decide whether to have children.

DECISIONS!  We make them.  Then they turn around and make us. And sometimes they break us.

Eve awoke one day and was deciding what to eat?  Here we have the beloved of Adam, the indispensable addition to the life of man on earth making decisions.  And yet the paradox of being created in the image of God is our free will can be placed above God’s will.  How great was the anguish felt by Adam and Eve moving from Eden to alienation all because of breakfast.

Our choices must be filtered by God’s word.  The word of God is Spirit and it is life.  To obey God’s word today will make it a good day.  Not that there will not be the same challenges but it is because we search the heart of God to find what is acceptable.

 

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell… Hebrews 11:31-32a

Rahab stands as a tribute to the possibilities within every one of us.  She stood between two choices; follow the choice of patriotism to her earthly king or follow God’s promise of life.  She had only a second to decide to hide the spies or give them up.

It is the same for us. Our past is irrelevant. Our future alone matters to God.  Faith can blossom in any environment.  Roses can grow in manure piles.  Whatever lies behind us is not nearly as important as what lies before us.  The choices we have made in the past have brought us where we are today.  The choices we make today, tomorrow, next week, or next year will determine our destiny.

Some of those choices will be split-second decisions.  They will come out of who we are and what we believe about ourselves, our world, and God.  Those decisions will determine the actions we take.

Rahab heard about Israel 's God.  She responded to what she heard by faith.  She made a split-second decision to go with God by saving the two spies.  Her faith gained her life in the midst of destruction.  It gained her the salvation of her entire family.  It gained her a place in Israel and marriage to Salmon, who, tradition tells us, was one of the two spies.  It also gained her a place in the genealogy of Israel 's greatest king and a place in the genealogy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What she had been was irrelevant.  What she became through active faith was all that mattered. 

What resources do you fall back on when you have to make split-second decisions in your life?  Are your decisions grounded in your faith in a loving, compassionate God whose hand is on you for good?  Do your actions show your faith as you go with God and with His people?  Look up to Rahab.  Look at this prostitute who modeled vibrant faith for Israel and for us today.

 

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Literally one finds favor and additional grace.  We can all use all the help we can get.

In Corinth Paul found a city built on pleasure; a Las Vegas of the Mediterranean so to speak.  Sex for pleasure with temples of sensuality.  Priestesses and priest were prostitution tools for gratification.  Homosexuality and incest were common place.  Marriages were arranged at birth and the only reason to have a relationship between husband and wife were to have children.  Judo-Christian values did not exist.

When a husband or wife became born again they had to change their entire life style.  Paul had to instruct in the basics of marriage.  If the man were to receive Jesus as savior and his wife was still going to the temple every night or involved homosexual relationships he had to make hard choices.  He also had to stop engrained patterns of behavior in his own life.  The same was true if a women or child were to become born again.  Nothing is impossible for God.

There were occasions for divorce.  God hates divorce but he loves the divorcee.  Divorce is a sin.  Paul listed three reasons for a divorce.  Abuse, desertion, and adultery were the biblical reasons for divorce.  He also said it was not a sin to remarry.  I know there are some who treat divorce and remarriage as an unpardonable sin but the bible is clear on these matters.  It is also clear that if you divorce and one of the couple remarries it would be a sin to remarry.  

If you say, “But pastor I have sinned and had a divorce what am I to do?”  The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9

Yet incompatibility is not a biblical reason for divorce.  If you and your spouse are born again you are compatible.  If God can heal your body, and your mind, then God can heal your marriage.  Do not give up.  You may have to get spiritual counseling to help you but do not give up and do not let the devil convince you that it would be too embarrassing to seek help from your pastor or spiritual counselor.

 

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them  Mark 11:24,

Peter was arrested, Herod the king put him in prison and had him guarded by sixteen soldiers.  Not only did he have him guarded by sixteen soldiers, but he had him bound with two chains between two soldiers and had him placed behind a locked door with guards guarding the door.
 
None of this was done secretly.  The rest of the Christians in Jerusalem knew what had happened.  The Bible tells us in Acts chapter 12 that the church was in constant prayer for Peter.  They were gathering together in rooms and praying that Peter would get out of prison.   

Then something unexpected occurred.  The day before Herod was going to display his captive Christian to the Jews, an angel of the Lord appeared beside Peter. He was sleeping, still in chains between two guards. Light began to shine in the prison and the angel struck Peter on the side and raised him up.  Then the angel said, “Arise quickly!” and chains fell off Peter’s hands.  Then Peter was told to get his clothes and sandals together and get dressed.  The angel and Peter walked past the guard the iron gate opened by itself and they went down the street.
 
Peter didn’t really think it was happening.  He thought it was a vision.  When Peter came to his senses and realized that it was really happening, he decided to go to Mary’s house, the mother of John Mark.  
 
Mary’s house was full of Christians, all praying for Peter’s release.  Peter knocked on the door.  A girl named Rhoda went to the door but didn’t open it.  She recognized Peter’s voice and in her excitement forgot to open the door and let him in.  Instead, she ran in where they were praying and announced that Peter was at the door.  They thought she had lost her mind.  How could Peter be at the door anyway?  After all, he had to be in prison.  That’s why they were praying.  Well, Peter kept knocking and when the door was finally opened, those in the room were astonished.
 
Nineteen hundred years later, things haven’t changed much.  We pray and when our prayers are answered we are astonished.   When we pray, we are to pray in faith. What is faith?  Faith is simply believing that God has done what He said He would do and acting on it.

 

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9

What did Jesus mean when He referred to "peacemakers"? The most basic Bible definition of a peacemaker is one who witnesses for the Lord Jesus. A peacemaker is one who shares his faith with others and brings them to eternal life.

Peace is the message the angels announced at the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to bring a peace, which the world could not offer. There is a supernatural peace that only comes through faith in Jesus. Romans 5:1 tells us when we are justified by faith we then have peace with God. The world is searching for peace today not realizing true peace is only available through faith in God's Son. God gives a supernatural peace that will last through the best and worst times. Paul described God's peace as that which passes all understanding. This is a divine peace that the mind cannot comprehend or explain, but when you have it, you know it!

Peace is the title of the message we preach to others. Paul described those who witness for the Lord as having beautiful feet, preaching the gospel of peace (Romans 10:15). He also explained that we have been given the same ministry as that of the Lord Jesus--the word of reconciliation. Reconciliation means to bring peace to warring parties. A peacemaker announces that the war is over between God and man. Jesus brought peace to us through the cross and to have His peace we only need to accept it!

Witnessing does not make us a child of God. It announces that we are children of God. Witnessing is the outward expression of our personal relationship with God. Mature believers make the best witnesses.

 

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.  These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.  John 12:40-41

Pleading the blood of Jesus is a heaven-given resource that grants us a license to stand in dominion over the works of hell. We can use it in the same sense that an attorney stands before the court and makes a “plea” on legal grounds, based upon a body of evidence.
1. The Blood Provides Protection
2. The Blood Provides a Means of Deliverance
3. The Blood Provides the Promise of a New Day
4. The Blood Provides a Witness

“Even the word of God oftentimes proves a means of hardening sinners. The evangelical prophet himself makes the heart of this people fat, not only as he foretells it, passing this sentence upon them in God's name, and seals them under it, but as his preaching had a tendency to it, rocking some asleep in security (to whom it was a lovely song), and making others more outrageous, to whom it was such a reproach that they were not able to bear it. Some looked upon the word as a privilege, and their convictions were smothered by it (Jeremiah 7:4); others looked upon it as a provocation, and their corruptions were exasperated by it.” Matthew Henry

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 

What a great healing of heart for those who hear and see the presence of the Lord.  Pray today that your eyes be opened and your ears will hear so your heart may be redeemed from the pit and comforted by our loving and gentle savior Jesus.

 

Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.  Psalm 65:4

Acceptance leads to abiding: God does not make a temporary choice, or give and take; his gifts and calling are without repentance.  He who is once admitted to God's courts shall inhabit them for ever; he shall be  John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

"No more a stranger or a guest, But like a child at home."  We cannot and will not come to God of ourselves He works graciously in us, and attracts us powerfully.  He subdues our unwillingness, and removes our inability by the almighty workings of his transforming grace.

Permanence gives preciousness.  Terminating blessings are only half blessings.  To briefly touch his garment is blessed but this is only part of what our Lord desires for you.  To dwell in the courts of the Great King is to be honored; to dwell there for ever is to be in a paradise like state; to be made supremely happy.  Wonderfully this can be the portion of every man whom God has chosen and caused to approach unto him, even though once his hardheartedness and sin prevailed against him

 

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.  Be not wise in your own conceits. Romans 12:15, 16

Take an energetic interest in the prosperity of others.  Let it be a matter of rejoicing when you hear of the health, prosperity, or happiness of any brother or sister in Christ.  Rejoice firstly in the power of the word that is working in all believers.  Let this be first in your mind and in the Greek continually moving forward or upward.  Yet on the converse make an effort to obtain a compassionate or sympathizing mind.  Let your heart feel for the distressed; enter into their sorrows, and bear a part of their burdens.  Do not become the burden, but relate to is with clear objective understanding.

We can and are moved by the weakness and infirmity of our beloved in the Lord.  It is a fact, attested to by universal experience, that by sympathy a man may receive into his own warm feelings a measure of the distress of his friend. And, his friend does indeed find himself relieved in the same proportion as the other has entered into his griefs. 

"But how do you account for this?"  I do not account for it at all.  It actually depends upon certain laws of nature, the principles of which have not been duly developed by God’s word.  The word on the converse instructs us to bring the healing word that they may be healed, freed, and comforted.  We are compelled to provoke those we love to join in our love and faith and to disconnect from the curse and be reconnected to the blessing.  The Lord has taught us we do great favor to those we love and join with, by lifting up our brother and not just staying in that natural comfort zone. 

To be of the same mind means we deal with our natural thoughts and emotions.  If the nature to lower ourselves is a tool of the natural harmony then we use it to gain access to death, sickness, and sorrow so as to directly infuse this with the blessings of God’s word.  We do this then in the most compassionate and appropriate way possible with tenderness and genuine caring for our minds (intellect and emotion.)  We are in fact linked; we are the same.  We all have the same possibility of falling and then being blessed.

It is far better to be healed than to be consoled only.  Yet to console, brings the heart to awe-inspiring moments of compassion and understanding.  God has worked in us this incredible ability to understand and do good.  But good alone without the blood to cleanse protect and heal is of no matter, and cannot restore the lost, sick or fallen.  If I can lower, I can also influence the low to arise.  We can join minds to encourage in the power of the word which changes minds.  When two agree they can have whatsoever they ask!

 

She called his name Ben-oni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand).  Genesis 35:18

In every situation there is a bright side as well as a dark side.  Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death, yet Jacob, though weeping this great loss of love, set his eyes forward to see the mercy of the child's birth.  It will go well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in God’s promise and faithfulness.

Samson's lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if faithfully considered.  The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the dark foreboding woods bloom with beautiful flowers.  The stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil.  Dark clouds sanitize bright drops of heaven’s refreshing, and black earth grows our sustenance.

God prepares for us only good, though every evil trial would distract us from our purpose.  In the dark hard rock there is gold to be found. 

Sad hearts have peculiar skill of discovering the most unfavorable point of view to see in our trial; if there were only one mudding pit of destruction in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would only hear its roar.  There is a tinge in us all of this dejected thinking, and we are apt to cry like Jacob, "All these things are against me."

Faith's way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst outrages of misfortune.

Like Gideon's men, faith does not worry over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes forth even more.  When faith’s tide of prosperity flows away, she finds treasures hidden in the sands.  When faith’s sun of gladness goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry wondrous promises of heaven, thus making our dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin.

 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. –(Ephesians 4:13)

The Spirit of God is calling for unity.  We must lay down disagreements and come together for the true purpose of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Winds of doctrine, according to Ephesians 4:14, are childish.  The apostle compares their condition then to a state of childhood, in describing the perfect man.  The perfect man here refers to the man grown up--the man of mature life.  Christ had appointed pastors and teachers that the infant church might be trained to maturity, or become strong--like a man.  He refers to the state of manhood as compared with that of childhood---a state of strength, vigor, wisdom, when the full growth should be attained. This is similar to 1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 Unto the measure of the stature or, age. The word stature expresses the idea.  It refers to the growth of a man.  The measure to be reached is Christ; or we are to grow till we become like him.  The phrase, "the measure of the fullness,” means full measure -- in the Hebrew, where two nouns are so used one is to be rendered as an adjective-- as trees of greatness--meaning great trees.  Here it means, that they should so advance in faithfulness and knowledge as to become completely like Jesus. 

We consider than Jesus.  His faith, his vision, his actions, and his words.  We can behave in the manner as he has set the measure.  We look forward and upward always imitating our Lord.

 

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! b II Timothy 1:7

Claim your mind back from the enemy; he will not want to give it back as he has gained a foothold.  You will have to do battle with his lies and confusion.

Your first step is to declare out loud that you will not allow any outside force to do your thinking–no man and no spirit.  There are spiritual laws that demons must obey.  They cannot stay where a man wills them not to stay.  Your power is in the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, and the Word of God.  Ask God to give you discernment of the lies of the devil.

Recognize a lie in your mind, always defend yourself out loud.  When you catch a lie to your mind, use this prescription regularly–and you will regain peace, your memory, restful nights, and the ability to concentrate and comprehend.

You are in a battle–you are not alone–for all of God’s people fight this same fight (Ephesians 6:12).  Make up your mind not to give up!  According to Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above and keep it set!  Call upon God’s grace in the Name of Jesus, and He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome every evil tendency fully.

Remember, regaining your mind is a process.  God knows our weakness; that is why He gave us I John 1:9.  Just ask for forgiveness and see the Blood of Jesus washing away your sin.  Don’t give up!  Continue claiming what belongs to you (your mind and your thinking belong to you), and Jesus will help you overcome.

5/07

 

 

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And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  Mark 12:30

This commands the utmost of all our energies: Put intensity into your affection--Do it with all your might.

But this is not all that the Lord demands. God will have all these qualities in their most perfect effort.
You must the Lord thy God with all your powers--with a sincere, a passionate, an intelligent, an energetic love.

Taking these four things together, the command of the Law is:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," says the Law, "with all thy heart," or, with perfect sincerity;
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul," or, with the utmost fervor;
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind," or, in the fullest exercise of an enlightened reason; and
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength," or, with the whole energy of our being!

 

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.  Psalm 27:13, 14

Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even David who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks.  Faith puts words to the lips of our soul, and so prevents fainting.  Hope is heaven's salve for the present sorrow.  In this land of the curse, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living. 

We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and satisfy our soul's hunger with foretastes of the Lord's eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.  Even in this life we can expect to see God bless us exceedingly above all we could ever ask.

 

In thee the fatherless findeth mercy #Hos 14:3

This is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone. When a child is left without its natural protector, our God steps in and becomes his guardian: so also when a man has lost every object of dependence, he may cast himself upon the living God and find in Him all that he needs. Orphans are cast upon the fatherhood of God, and He provides for them.

We know what it is to hang onto the bare arm of God, and he bears witness in our hearts that no trust is so well warranted by facts, or so sure to be rewarded by results, as trust in the invisible but ever living God.

Some children who have fathers are not much better off because of them, but the fatherless with God are rich. It is better to have God and no other friend than all the fathers on the earth and no God. To be bereaved of the natural father is painful, but so long as the Lord remains the fountain of mercy to us, we are not truly orphaned.

Let the fatherless children confess this gracious word, and let all who have been stripped of visible support do the same. Lord, let me find mercy in you! The more needy and helpless I am, the more confidently I do appeal to your loving heart and your perfect provision.

 

The Lord looseth the prisoners" Psalm 146:7

He has done it. Remember Joseph , Israel in Egypt , Manasseh, Jeremiah, Peter, and many others. He can do it still. He breaks the bars of brass with a word, and snaps the fetters of iron with a look. He is doing it. In a thousand places troubled ones are coming forth to light and enlargement.

Jesus still proclaims the opening of the prison to them that are bound. At this moment doors are flying back and fetters are dropping to the ground.

He will delight to set you free if at this time you are mourning because of sorrow, doubt, sin, sickness, poverty and fear. Jesus will enjoy giving you liberty. It will give Him as great a pleasure to loose you as it will be a pleasure to you to be loosed.

No, you do not have to snap the iron chains: the Lord Himself will do it. Only trust Him, and He will be your Emancipator. Believe in Him in spite of the stone walls, or the handcuffs of iron.

Satan cannot hold you, sin cannot chain you, even despair cannot bind you, if you will now believe in the Lord Jesus, and in the freeness of His grace, and the fullness of His power to save.

Defy the enemy, and let your words now be your song of deliverance: "Lord Jesus loose the prisoners!"

 

And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.  Jer 29:7

   The principle involved in this text would suggest to all of us who are the Lord’s strangers and foreigners that we should be desirous to promote the peace and prosperity of the people among whom we dwell. Specially should our nation and our city be blest by our constant intercession. An earnest prayer for your country and other countries is well becoming in the mouth of every believer.

   Eagerly let us pray for the great boon of peace, both at home and abroad. If strife should cause bloodshed in our streets, or if foreign battle should slay our brave soldiers, we should all bewail the calamity; let us therefore pray for peace, and diligently promote those principles by which the classes at home and the races abroad may be bound together in bonds of amity.

   We ourselves are promised quiet in connection with the peace of the nation, and this most desirable; for thus we can bring up our families in the fear of the Lord, and also preach the gospel without let or hindrance. Today let us be much in prayer for our country, confessing national sins, and asking for national pardon and blessing, for Jesus’ sake.

 

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands 1Sam 17:47

Let this point be settled, that the battle is the Lord’s, and we may be quite sure of the victory, and of the victory in such a way as will best of all display the power of God.

Men have forgotten the Lord too much, yes, even in this text by the assemblies of Israel . When there is an opportunity to make men see that the Great First Cause can achieve His purposes without the power of man, it is a priceless occasion which should be used well. Even Israel depends too much on sword and spear. It was a great thing not to have a sword in the hand of David, and yet David to knew that his God would overthrow all the army of enemies.

If we indeed are contending for truth and righteousness, let’s not tarry till we have talent, or wealth, or any other form of visible power at our disposal; but with such stones as we find in the brook, and with our own usual sling, let us run to meet the enemy.

If it were our own battle we might not be confident; but if we are standing up for Jesus, and warring in His strength alone, who can withstand us? Without a trace of hesitancy let us face the Philistines; for the Lord of Hosts is with us, and who can be against us?

 

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store Deut 28:5

Obedience brings a blessing on all the provisions which our diligence sets before us.

That which comes in and goes out directly, like fruit in the basket which is for immediate use, shall be blest; and that which is laid by with us for a longer season shall equally receive a blessing. Perhaps ours is a hand basket portion. We have a little for breakfast, and a bite for lunch in a sack when we go out to do our work in the morning. This is well, for the blessing of God is promised to the basket. If we live from hand to mouth, getting each day’s supply in the day, we are as well off as Israel ; for when the Lord provided for His favored people He only gave them a day’s manna at a time. What more did they need? What more do we need?

But if we have a store, how much we need the Lord to bless it! For there is the care of getting, the care of keeping, the care of managing, the care of using; and, unless the Lord bless it, these cares will eat into our hearts, till our goods become our gods, and our cares prove heavy weights.

O Lord, bless our substance. Enable us to use it for thy glory. Help us to keep worldly things in their proper places, and never may our savings endanger the saving of our souls.  Bless us in your abundance as we are now free to walk in your complete blessing.

 

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness John 12:46

This world is dark as midnight; Jesus has come that by faith we may have light, and may no longer sit in the gloom which covers all the rest of mankind.

Whosoever means you and I. If we trust in Jesus we shall not sit in the dark shadow of death anymore, but shall rest in the warm light of a day which shall never end. Why not come out of the dark and into the light now?

A cloud may sometimes hover over us, but we will not abide in darkness if we believe in Jesus. He has come to give us the brightest daylight. Shall He come in vain? If we have faith we have the privilege of sunlight: let us enjoy it.

From the night of natural depravity, of ignorance, of doubt, of despair, of sin, of dread, of sickness, of poverty Jesus has come to set us free; and all believers shall know that He does not come in vain.

Shake off depression, beloved of the Lord. Do not abide in the dark, but abide in the light. In Jesus is your hope, your joy, your Heaven and all blessings. Look to Him, to Him only, and you shall rejoice as the birds rejoice at sunrise, and as the angels rejoice before the throne.

 

As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem Isaiah 31:5 

Swooping and shouting and pecking the mother bird hastens up to the protection of her young. She wastes no time in her journey when coming to supply them with food, or guard them from danger. Thus as on eagle’s wings will the Lord come for the defense of His chosen; yes, He will ride upon the wings of the wind. 

With outspread wing the mother covers her little ones in the nest. She hides them away by interposing her own body. The hen yields her own warmth to her chicks, and makes her wings a house, in which they dwell safely. Thus does Jehovah Himself become the protection of His elect. He Himself is their refuge, their abode, their all. 

As birds flying, and birds covering (for the word means both), so will the Lord be unto us: and this He will do repeatedly and successfully. We shall be defended and preserved from all evil: the Lord who likens Himself to birds is not like them in their feebleness, for He is Jehovah of hosts. Let this be our comfort, that almighty love will be swift to relieve, and sure to cover. The wing of God is quicker and more tender than the wing of a bird, and we will put our trust under its shadow henceforth and for ever.

 

Thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong Joshua 17:18

It is a great encouragement to the warrior to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence, and ventures where he had been afraid to go else where. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory, and that we shall do so in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall. The grace of God in its Omnipotence is put forth for the overthrow of evil in every form: hence the certainty of triumph.

Certain of our sins find chariots of iron in our constitution, our former habits, our associations, and our occupations. Nevertheless we must overcome them. They are very strong, and in reference to them we are very weak; yet in the name of our Lord Jesus we must master them, and we will. If one sin has dominion of us we are not the Lord’s free men. A man who is held by only one chain is still a captive, for of the saints it is said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." Rise, then, and slay every Canaanite, and break to pieces every chariot of iron! The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist His sin-destroying power?

 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new   Rev 21:5

Glory to God!  All things need to be made new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin.  It is time that the old vesture was rolled up and laid aside, and that creation put on her Sunday suit.  But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first; for it needs as much power to make out of evil as to make something out of nothing.

Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and He is fully competent in the performance of it.  Already He has commenced His labor, and for centuries He has persevered in making the hearts of men new, and bring order to society.  By-and-by He will make the whole constitution of human government new, and human nature shall be changed by His grace; and there shall come a day when the body shall be made new, and raised like unto His glorious body.

What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of our King!  We are not dying out: we are hurrying on to a more glorious life.  Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing His purpose, and making us, and all things about us, "new," and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.

 

It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.  Zech 14:7

It is a surprise that it could be so; for everything threatens that at evening time it shall be dark.  God wants to work in a way so much above our fears and beyond our hopes, that we are greatly amazed, and are led to praise His sovereign grace.  No, it shall not be as some hearts are prophesying: the dark will not deepen into midnight, but it will all of a sudden brighten into day.

Never despair.  In the worst times let us trust in the Lord who turns the darkness of the shadow of death into the morning.  When the count of bricks is doubled Moses appears, and when tribulation abounds it is nearest its end.

This promise should assist our patience.  The light may not fully come until our hopes are weary in waiting all day to no purpose.  To the wicked the sun goes down while it is yet day: to the righteous the sun rises when it is almost night.  With patience wait for that heavenly light, which may seem a long time in coming, but is sure to prove itself well worth waiting for.

Come, my soul, take up thy parable and sing unto Him who will bless you in life and in death, in a manner surpassing all that nature has ever seen when at its best.

 

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more   Isaiah 2:4

Happy times are coming!  At present the nations are heavily armed, and are inventing weapons more and more terrible, as if the chief end of man could only be answered by destroying myriads of his fellows.  Yet peace will prevail one day; yes, and so prevail that the instruments of destruction shall be beaten into other shapes and used for better purposes.

How will this come about?  By trade?  By civilization?  By arbitration?  We do not believe it.  Past experience forbids our trusting to means so feeble.  Peace will be established only by the reign of the Prince of Peace.  He must teach the people by His Spirit, renew their hears by His grace, and reign over them by His supreme power, and then will they cease to wound and kill. 

Man is a monster when once his blood is up, and only the Lord Jesus can turn this lion into a lamb.  By changing man’s heart, his blood-thirsty passions are removed.  Let every reader of His book of promises offer special prayer today to the Lord and Giver of Peace, that He would speedily put an end to war, and establish harmony over the whole world.

 

Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended  Mat 26:33

One may say, "this is no promise of God."  Just so, but it was a promise of man, and therefore it came to nothing.  Peter thought that he was saying what he should assuredly carry out; but a promise which has no better foundation than a human resolve will fall to the ground.  No sooner did temptations arise than Peter denied his Master, and used oaths to confirm his denial.

What is man’s word?  An earthen pot broken so easily.  What is your own resolve?  A blossom, which, with God’s care, may come to fruit, but which, left to itself, will fall to the ground with the first wind that challenges the branch that upholds you.

Only hang on man’s word what it will bear.

On your own resolve do not depend at all.

On the promise of your God hang time and eternity, this world and the next, your all and the all of all your beloved ones.  Rely upon Jesus without limit. Trust not yourself nor any born of woman, beyond what is necessary; but trust only and wholly in the Lord.

 

Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee  Deut 33:29

That arch-enemy, the devil, is a liar from the beginning; but he is so plausible that, like mother Eve, we are in the natural man disposed to believe him.  Yet in our experience we shall prove him a liar.

He says that we shall fall from grace, dishonor our profession, and perish with the doom of apostates.  But, trusting in the Lord Jesus, we shall hold onto our profession of faith and prove that Jesus loses none whom His Father gave Him.  He tells us that our food stores will fail, and we shall starve with our children.  Yet, the Feeder of the ravens has not forgotten us yet, and He will never do so, but will prepare us a table in the presence of our enemies.

He whispers that the Lord will not deliver us out of the trial which is looming in the distance, and he threatens that the last ounce will break the camel’s back.  What a liar he is!  For the Lord will never leave us, nor forsake us. "Let him deliver him now!" cries the false fiend: but the Lord will silence him by coming to our rescue.

He takes great delight in telling us that death will prove too much for us.  "How will you do in the swelling of Jordan ?"  But there also he shall be revealed a liar to us, and we shall pass through the river singing psalms of glory.

 

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath Deut 33:13

We may be rich in such things as Joseph obtained, and we may have them in a higher sense.  Oh, for "the precious things of heaven"!  Power with God, and the manifestation of power from God, are most precious.  We enjoy the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, the glory of our God.  The blessing of the three divine Persons in love, and grace, and fellowship we prize beyond the most fine gold.  The things of earth are as nothing in preciousness compared with the things of Heaven.

"The dew."  How precious is this!  How we pray and praise, when we have the dew!  What refreshing, what growth, what life is in us when the dew is about!  Above all things else, as plants of the Lord’s own right hand planting, we need the dew of His Holy Spirit.

"The deep that coucheth beneath."  Surely this refers to that unseen ocean underground which supplies all the fresh springs which satisfies the earth.  Imagine, for anyone even you or I, to tap the eternal fountains!  This is an unspeakable godsend; let no believer rest till he possesses it.  The all-sufficiency of Jesus is ours for ever.  Let us take full advantage of it now.

 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

A help that is not present when we need it is of little or no value.  The anchor which is left at home is of no use in the midst of the storm.  The money, which one used to have, is of no worth when the bills are due. 

Very few earthly helps could be called "very present".  They are usually far away when searching, far away when needed to use, and farther still when once used.  But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid.

He is more than "present," He is very present.  More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is within us in our trouble.  He is more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind.  He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present.  He is present now if this is a gloomy time in our life.  We must rest ourselves upon Him. 

He is our refuge, so let us hide in Him.  He is our strength, so let us group ourselves with Him.  He is our help, so let us lean upon Him.  He is our very present help, so then let us relax in Him now.  We do not need to have a moment’s care, or an instant of fear.  "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."

 

This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven  Acts 1:11

Let us turn our thoughts to the promise of our Lord’s His second coming.  This is as sure as the first advent, and derives a great measure of its certainty from it.  He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service.  He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.

This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy.  Today we are in our time of humble hearts and gracious testimonies, even as He was while here below; but when He comes it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation.  Dead saints shall live at His appearing.  The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended.  The long rest and inconceivable splendor of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring

He is coming!  He is on the road and traveling quickly.  The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts!  Ring out, the bells of triumph!

 

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea  Micah 7:19

God never turns from His love, but He soon turns from His wrath.  His love to His chosen is according to His nature, His anger is only according to His office: He loves because He is love, He frowns because it is necessary for our good.  He will come back to the place in which His heart rests, namely, His love to His own, and then He will take pity upon our griefs and end them.  

He will press us to grow and accomplish our ministry but finding His love will make all the trials worth it.  What a choice promise this is—"He will subdue our iniquities"!  He will conquer them.  They cry to enslave us, but the Lord will give us victory over them by His own right hand.  Like the Canaanites, they shall be beaten, put under the yoke, and ultimately slain.

As for the guilt of our sins and our doubts, how wonderfully are they removed!  "All their sins," —yes, the whole host of them; "thou wilt cast" —only an almighty arm of great strength could perform such a wonder; ‘into the depths of the sea” -where Pharaoh and his chariots went down.  Not into the shallows where they might return again but washed out by the tide into the "depths"; our sins and failures shall forever be lost.  They are all gone. They sank into the bottom like a stone. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

6/07

 

 

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He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken  Psalm 34:20

This promise by the context is referred to the much afflicted righteous man: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."   He may suffer skin-wounds and flesh-wounds, but no great harm shall be done, "not a bone of him shall be broken."

This is great comfort to a tried child of God, and comfort which I willing accept; for up to this hour I have suffered no real damage from my many afflictions.  I have neither lost faith, nor hope, nor love.  No, I am a long way form losing these bones of character, they have gained in strength and energy.  I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials began.

Not even my joy has been destroyed.  There have been many bruises by sickness, bereavement, depression, slander, and opposition; but the bruise has healed, and there has been no compound fracture of a bone, not even a simple one.  It is not difficult to find the reason.  If we trust in the Lord, He keeps all our bones; and if He keeps them, we may be sure that not one of them is broken.  We will certainly remain as we have been recreated in Christ.

Come, my heart, do not sorrow.  You are feeling the sting, but there are no bones broken.  Endure hardness, and bid defiance to fear.  Stand and see the salvation of the Lord.

 

This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven  #Acts 1:11

Let us turn our thoughts to the promise of our Lord’s His second coming.  This is as sure as the first advent, and derives a great measure of its certainty from it.  He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service.  He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.

This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy.  Today we are in our time of humble hearts and gracious testimonies, even as He was while here below; but when He comes it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation.  Dead saints shall live at His appearing.  The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended.  The long rest and inconceivable splendor of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring

He is coming!  He is on the road and traveling quickly.  The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts!  Ring out, the bells of triumph!

 

I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?  Isaiah 51:12, 13

This is our portion for today.  There is no need to enlarge upon it.  Read it, receive it, believe it, feed on it, and pray it before the Lord.  He whom you fear is after all only a man; while He who promises to comfort you is God, your Maker, and the Creator of Heaven and earth. 

Infinite comfort more than covers a very limited danger.

"Where is the fury of the oppressor?"  It is in the Lord’s hand.  It is only the fury of a dying creature; fury which will end as soon as the breath is gone from them.  Why, then, should we stand in awe of one who is as frail as ourselves?  Do not dishonor our God by making a god of insignificant men.  We can make an idol of a man by rendering to him excessive fear as well as by paying him inordinate love.  Let us treat men as men, and God as God; and then we shall go calmly on in the path of duty, fearing the Lord, and fearing no one else.

 

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth  Mark 9:23

Our unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way; in fact, there is no other real difficulty as to our spiritual progress and prosperity.  The Lord can do everything; but when He makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of His Omnipotence.

Yes, the confederacies of evil are certainly scattered if we can but believe.  Truth shall lift its head if we but have confidence in the God of truth.  We can bear our load of trouble, or pass uninjured through distress, if we gird our loins with the girdle of peace, that girdle which is buckled by the hands of trust.

What is it we cannot believe?  Is everything possible except believing in God?  Yet He is always true; why would we not believe Him?  He is always faithful to His word; why then would we not trust Him?  When we are in a right state of heart faith costs no effort; it is then as natural for us to rely upon God as for a child to trust its father.

The worst of it is that we can believe God about everything except the present pressing trial.  This is recklessness.  Come, my soul, shake off such sinfulness, and trust in your God with the load, the labor, the longing of this present.  This done, all is done.  Man is a monster once his blood is boiling, and only the Lord Jesus can turn this lion into a lamb.  By changing a man’s heart, his blood-thirsty passions are removed.  Let every one offer special prayer today to the Lord and Giver of Peace, that He would speedily put an end to hostilities, and establish agreement in the church and in this world.

 

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor John 12:26

The highest service is imitation.  If we would be Christ’s servant we must be His follower.  To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honor to His name.  Let us follow this guide every day.

If I imitate Jesus I will have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him.  To seek His presence bestows upon us power through favor.  The issue of our Lord’s life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with Him in His humiliation we shall be with Him in His glory.  Find the courage, and put your feet in the blood-marked footprints which our Lord has left us.  For in not too many days you too shall be lifted up in victory.

Let me not fail to note that the Father will honor those who follow His Son.  If He sees each of us true to Jesus He will favor and honor us for His Son’s sake.  No honor can be like this.  Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honor; the substance of glory comes from the Father.  Therefore cling to the Lord Jesus more closely than ever.

 

The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.  Psalm 29:11

David had just heard the voice of the Lord in a thunderstorm, and had seen His power in the hurricane whose path he had described; and now, in the cool calm after the storm, that overwhelming power by which Heaven and earth are shaken is promised to be the strength of the chosen.  He who flies on the bolt of lightning will give to His redeemed the wings of eagles.  He who shakes the earth with His voice will terrify the enemies of His saints, and give His children peace. 

Why are we weak when we have divine strength to flee to?  Why are we troubled when the Lord’s own peace is ours?  Jesus, the mighty God, is our strength; let us put Him on and continue in our service.  Jesus, our blessed Lord, is also our peace; let us relax in Him this day, and end our fears.  What a blessing to have Him for our strength and peace both now and forever!

That same God who rides upon the storm in days of tempest will also rule the hurricane of our tribulation, and send us long days of peace.  We shall have strength for storms, and songs for fair weather.  Let us sing unto God our strength and our peace. 

Go away, dark thoughts!   Rise up, faith and hope!

 

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it   1Thes 5:24

   What will He do? He will sanctify us wholly. See the previous verse. He will carry on the work of purification till we are perfect in every part. He will preserve our whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." He will not allow us to fall from grace, nor come under the dominion of sin. What great favors are these! Well may we adore the giver of such unspeakable gifts

   Who will do this? The Lord who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, out of death in sin into eternal life in Christ Jesus. Only He can do this: such perfection and preservation can only come from the God of all grace.

   Why will He do it? Because He is "faithful" —faithful to His own promise which is pledged to save the believer; faithful to His Son, whose reward it is that His people shall be presented to Him faultless; faithful to the work which He has commenced in us by our effectual calling. It is not their own faithfulness, but the Lord’s own faithfulness, on which the saints rely.

   Come, my soul, here is a grand feast to begin a dull month with. There may be fogs without, but there should be sunshine within.  

 

No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly   Ps 84:11

There could be some things we believe would be pleasing things the Lord may withhold, but no good thing.  He is the best judge of what is good for us.  Some things are assuredly good, and these we may have for the asking through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Holiness is a good thing, and this He will work in us freely.  Victory over evil tendencies, strong tempers, and evil habits, He will gladly grant, and we ought not remain without it. 

He will bestow full assurance, and a close communion with Himself, and access into all truth, and boldness with great frequency at the mercy seat.  If we do not have these, it is from want of faith to receive, and not from any unwillingness of God to give.  A calm, a heavenly frame, great patience, and fervent love—all these will He give to holy diligence.

But note well that we must "walk uprightly."  There must be no cross purposes and crooked dealings; no hypocrisy nor deceit.  If we walk foully God cannot give us favors, for that would be a premium upon sin.  The way of uprightness is the way of heavenly wealth—wealth so large as to include every good thing.  God wants us to prosper in all areas of our live spirit, soul, and body.

What a promise to plead in prayer!  Let us bow to our knees now.

 

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; be. cause it will surely come, it will not tarry  Hab 2:3

   Mercy may seem slow, but it is always sure.  The Lord in unfailing wisdom has appointed a time for the manifestation of His gracious power, and God’s time is the best time.  We may be in a hurry; the vision of the blessing excites our desire, and hastens our longings; but the Lord will keep His appointments.  He never is before His time; He never is behind.

   God’s word is a living thing which will speak, and will come.  It is never a dead letter, as we are tempted to fear when we have watched for its fulfillment.  The living word is on the way from the living God, and though it may seem to linger, it is not in reality doing so.  It is only a matter of patience, and we shall soon see for ourselves the faithfulness of the Lord.  

No promise of His shall fail; "it will not lie."  No promise of His will be lost in silence; "it shall speak."  In comfort it will speak to the believing ear!  No promise of His has the need to be renewed like a bill which could not be paid on the day in which it fell due—"it will not tarry."

   Come now, impatient soul, can you not wait for your God?  Rest in Him and be still in blissful peacefulness.

 

I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wrath: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made  Isaiah 57:16

Our heavenly Father seeks to give instruction for maturity, not our destruction.  His contention with us has a kind intention toward us.  He will not be always in arms against us.  We think the Lord is long in His chastisements, but that is because we are short in our patience.  His compassion endures forever, but not His contention.  The night may drag its weary length along, but it must in the end give place to cheerful day.  As contention is only for a season, so the wrath which leads to it is only for a small moment.  The Lord loves His chosen too well to be always put out with them.

If He were to deal with us always as He does sometimes we should faint outright, and go down hopelessly to the gates of despair.  Courage, dear one!  The Lord will end His reprimands soon.  Bear up, for the Lord will bear you up, and bear you through.  He who made you knows how frail you are, and how little you can accept.  He will handle tenderly that which He has fashioned so delicately.  Therefore, be not afraid because of the painful present, for it hastens to a happy future.  He that smote you will heal you; His slight wrath shall be followed by great mercies.

 

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart  Psalm 37:4

Delighting in our Lord has a transforming power, and lifts a man above the less than admirable desires of our fallen nature.  Delight in the Lord is not only sweet in itself, but it sweetens the whole person, until the longings of the heart become right so the Lord can safely promise to fulfill them.  It is especially a splendid delight which molds our desires till they are like the desires of God?  We struggle so with our faith, or lack thereof, when in truth joy has more to do with a right heart than how much one knows.

Our foolish way is to desire, and then set to work to accomplish what we desire.  We too often do not go to work in God’s way, which is to seek Him first, and then expect all things to be added unto us.  If we will let our heart be filled with God till it runs over with delight, then the Lord Himself will take care that we shall not want for any good thing.

Instead of going searching the world and its pleasures for joys lets stay at home with God, and drink waters out of our own fountain.  We can expect too much from our friends, our pastor, or teachers which in fact they do not have the power to deliver.  Our Lord Jesus can do far more for us than all our friends. 

It is better to be content with God alone than to go about fretting and pining for the trivial inessentials of time and sense.  For a while we may have disappointments; but if these bring us nearer to the Lord, they are things to be prized exceedingly, for they will in the end secure for us the fulfillment of all our right desires.  If it brings us closer to the Lord than in fact we will have the desires of our heart that God has placed deeply in our hearts.  God does not intend for us to go without but rather to accomplish our goals by demonstration of His greatness and absolute power.

 

He that humbleth himself shall be exalted   Luke 18:14

It should not to be difficult to humble ourselves, for what do we have we to be proud of?  We ought to take the lowest place without being told to do so.  If we are sensible and honest we should be little in our own eyes.  This is especially true before the Lord in prayer.  There we cannot speak of merit, for we have none: our one and only appeal must be to mercy based on God’s promise.  Our only right was earned not by us but our Lord Jesus.

Here is a cheering word from the throne.  We shall be exalted by the Lord if we humble ourselves.  For us the way upward is downhill.  When we are stripped of self we are clothed with humility, and this is the best we can wear.  The Lord will exalt us in peace and happiness of mind; He will exalt us into knowledge of His Word and fellowship with Himself; He will exalt us in the enjoyment of sure pardon and justification.  He will provide all He has promised both spiritual and physical.  He will give us favor with God and man.

The Lord puts His honors upon those who can wear them to the honor of the Giver.  He gives usefulness, acceptance, and influence to those who will not be puffed up by them, but will be abased by a sense of greater responsibility.  Neither God nor man will care to lift up a man who lifts up himself; but both God and good men unite to honor those of humble worth.  Yet remember, humble is not stupid or weak, but truly the greater mind of understanding and strength of courage.

O Lord, lift me that I may rise in your greatness.

 

My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness  2Cor 12:9

Our weakness should be prized as it makes room for divine strength.  We might never have known the power of grace if we had not felt the weakness of carnal nature.  Blessed be the Lord for tests of faith when they drive us to the strength of God.

This is a precious word from our Lord’s own lip.  It makes the heart laugh for joy.  God’s grace enough for me!  Shouldn’t we think this?  Is the sky not enough for a bird, and the ocean enough for the fish?  The All-Sufficient is sufficient for my largest want.  He who is sufficient for earth and Heaven is certainly able to meet the case of one simple person of faith like me.

Fall back upon our God and His grace.  He will enable us to bear grief through to its end, with great joy of heart.  His strength shall be poured into us till we little ones shall harvest the mountains to its true promise of God’s perfect provision; the fruit of God’s word.  His mighty ones of humility’s valor shall have victory over all. 

It is better for us to have God’s strength than our own; for if we were a thousand times as strong as we are, it would all amount to nothing in the face of the enemy; and if we could be weaker than we are, which is scarcely possible, yet we could do all things through Christ.

7/07

 

 

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Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God   
Ezek 34:30

To be the Lord’s own people is a choice blessing, but to know that we are such is a comfortable blessing.  It is one thing to hope that God is with us, and another thing to know that He is so.  Faith saves us, but assurance satisfies us.  We take God to be our God when we believe in Him; but we get the joy of Him when we know that He is ours, and that we are His.  No believer should be content with hoping and trusting, he should ask the Lord to lead him on to full assurance, so that matters of hope may become matters of certainty.

It is when we enjoy covenant blessings, and see our Lord Jesus raised up for us as a fact of prominence, that we come to a clear knowledge of the favor of God toward us.  We learn not by law, but by grace, that we are the Lord’s people.  Let us always turn our eyes to free grace. Assurance of faith can never come by the works of the law.  It is an evangelical virtue, and can only reach us in a gospel way.  Do not look within.  Look to the Lord alone.  As we see Jesus we shall see our salvation.

Lord, send us a flood of love that we shall be washed beyond the mire of doubt and fear.

 

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved   Ps 121:3

If the Lord will not suffer it, neither men nor devils can do it.  They would greatly rejoice if they could cause us to disgracefully fall, drive us from our position, and bury us out of memory!  If it not for one hindrance, they could do this to their heart’s content, and Only one: the Lord will not suffer it; and if He does not suffer it, we shall not suffer it.

The way of life is like traveling among the mountains.  Along mountain paths one is constantly in danger of the foot slipping.  Where the way is high the head is apt to swim, and then the feet soon slide: there are spots which are smooth as glass, and others that are rough with loose stones, and in either of these a fall is hard to avoid.

Anyone who throughout life is enabled to keep himself upright and to walk without stumbling has the best of reasons for gratitude.  With pitfalls and snares, weak knees, weary feet, and subtle enemies, no child of God would stand strong for an hour were it not for the faithful love which will not suffer his foot to be moved. 

     Amidst a thousand snares I stand
     Upheld and guarded by thy hand;
     That hand unseen shall hold me still,
     And lead me to thy holy hill.

 

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace  Rom 6:14

Sin will reign if it can: it cannot be satisfied any place less than the throne of the heart.  We sometimes fear that it will conquer us, and then we cry unto the Lord, "Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.  This is His comforting answer, "Sin shall not have dominion over you. It may assail you, and even wound you; but it shall never establish sovereignty over you.

If we were under the law, our sin would gather strength and hold us under its power; for it is the punishment of sin that a man comes under the power of sin.  As we are under the covenant of grace, we are secured against departing from the living God by the sure declaration of the covenant.  Grace is promised to us, by which we are restored from our wanderings, cleansed from our impurities, and set free from the chains of habit.

We may lay down in despair and be "content to serve the Egyptians" if we were still as slaves working for eternal life; but since we are the Lord’s free men, we take courage to fight with our corruptions and temptations, being assured that sin shall never bring us under its sway again.  God Himself gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

My people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord…  Jeremiah 31:14

Note the "my" which comes twice: "My people shall be satisfied with my goodness."

The kind of people who are satisfied with God are marked out of as God’s own.  He is pleased with them, for they are pleased with Him.  They call Him their God, and He calls them His people; He is satisfied to take them for a portion, and they are satisfied with Him for their portion.  There is a mutual communion of delight between God’s people and people’s God.

These folks are satisfied. This is a great thing!.  Very few of the sons of men are ever satisfied, their lot be what it may; they have swallowed the poison, and it continually cries, "Give! give!"  Only sanctified souls are satisfied souls.  God Himself must both convert us and cause us to be content.

It is no wonder that the Lord’s people should be satisfied with the goodness of their Lord.  Here is goodness without complication, reward without negotiation, mercy without scolding, love without change, favor without reserve.  If God’s goodness does not satisfy us, what will?  Are we still groaning?  Surely there is a wrong desire within if it be one which God’s goodness does not satisfy.

Lord, I am satisfied. Blessed be thy name.

 

"If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it"  John 14:14

   What a wide promise!  Anything!  Whether large or small, all my needs are covered by that word "anything."  Come, my mind, be free at the mercy seat, and hear thy Lord saying to you, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

   What a wise promise!  We are always to ask in the name of Jesus.  While this encourages us, it also honors Him.  This is a constant plea.  Occasionally every other plea is darkened, especially such as when we are walking outside of God’s will for us, or our ability to receive His grace.  But, in these times the name of Jesus is as mighty as ever, and we may plead it with full assurance.

   What an instructive prayer!  I may not ask for anything to which I cannot put Christ’s hand and seal.  I dare not use my Lord’s name to a selfish, presumptuous or willful petition.  I may only use the Lord’s name to prayers which He would Himself pray if He were in my situation.  It is a high privilege to be authorized to ask in the name of Jesus as if Jesus Himself asked; but our love to Him will never allow us to set that name where He would not use it.  Study God’s word and His promises so we may confidently use His word as our guide in prayer, for “all the promises are yes and amen in Christ.”

   Am I asking for that which Jesus approves?  When I find the courage of faith produced by the knowledge of God’s word I put His seal to my prayer?  Then I have that which I seek of the Father.

 

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus  Philippians 4:19

Paul’s God is our God, and will supply all our need.  Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we are certain of this for ourselves.  God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so.  His pity, His power, His love, and His faithfulness, all work together that we may not be lacking.

What an incredible measure does the Lord use: "According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory?  His "riches of glory by Christ Jesus," who can estimate this?  According to this immeasurable measure God will fill up the immense chasm of our necessities.  He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love and supply in its highest form.  Hallelujah!

I personally know what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord.  Faithfulness has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their offerings; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been the least poorer, no, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, "My God shall supply all our need." God’s supplies are surer than any bank.

 

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn  Isa 54:17

   There is great clatter in the forges and smithies of the enemy. They are making weapons wherewith to smite the saints. They could not even do as much as this if the Lord of saints did not allow them; for He has created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire. But see how busily they labor! How many swords and spears they fashion! It matters nothing, for on the blade of every weapon you may read this inscription: It shall not prosper.

   But now listen to another noise: it is the strife of tongues. Tongues are more terrible instruments than can be made with hammers and anvils, and the evil which they inflict cuts deeper and spreads wider. What will become of us now? Slander, falsehood, insinuation, ridicule—these are poisoned arrows; how can we meet them? The Lord God promises us that, if we cannot silence them, we shall, at least, escape from being ruined by them. They condemn us for the moment, but we shall condemn them at last, and for ever. The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped, and their falsehoods shall be turned to the honor of those good men who suffered by them.

 

For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance  Psalm 94:

He will not cast even one of them. Man has his cast-offs, but God has none; for His choice is unchangeable, and His love is everlasting.  None can find a single person who God has forsaken after having revealed Himself as personal Savior to him.

This greatest truth is mentioned in the psalm to cheer the heart of the afflicted. The Lord chastens His own; but He never forsakes them.

This results in a double work of the law and the rod is our instruction.  The fruit of that instruction is a quieting of spirit, a sobriety of mind, out of which comes rest. 

The ungodly are let alone untill they finish digging their pit into which they will fall and be taken; but the godly are sent to school to be prepared for their glorious and victorious destiny in this life and the life to come.

Judgment will return and finish its work upon the rebels, but it will equally return to vindicate the sincere and godly.  Hence calm submission to correction; does not come as anger, but love.

 

He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant  Psalm 111:5

Those who fear God need not fear want.  Through all the long years our Lord has always found meat for His own children, whether they have been in the wilderness, or by the brook Cherith, or in captivity, or in the midst of famine.  Even today the Lord gives us our daily bread day by day, and we do not doubt that He will continue to feed us until we want no more.

As to the higher and greater blessings of our covenant of grace, He will never cease to supply them as our case demands.  He is mindful that He made the covenant, and never acts as if He regretted it.  He is mindful of it when we provoke Him to destroy us.  He is mindful to love us, keep us, and comfort us, even as He guaranteed to do.  He is mindful of every jot and tittle of His promises, never letting one of His words to fall to the ground.

We are sometimes sadly unmindful of our God, but He is graciously always mindful of us.  He cannot forget His Son who is the Surety of the Covenant, nor His Holy Spirit who actively carries out the covenant, nor His own honor, which is bound up with the covenant.  Hence the foundation of God stands sure, and no believer shall lose his divine inheritance, which is his by a covenant of salt.

 

And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob   Gen 50:24 |

Joseph had been an incarnate outside influence to his family.  All our Josephs die, and a thousand comforts die with them.  Egypt was never the same to Israel after Joseph was dead, nor can the world again be what it was when our beloved ones were alive to some of us.

But see how the pain of that sad death was alleviated!  They had a promise that the living God would visit them.  A visit from Jehovah!  What a favor!  What a consolation!  What a Heaven below! 

O Lord, visit us this day

It was certainly promised: the Lord would bring them out.  They found in Egypt a cold welcome when Joseph was dead; even more than that, it would become a house of bondage to them.  But not forever.  They would come out of it by a divine deliverance, and march to the land of promise. 

We shall not weep here forever.  Dreams may die but the Lord will deliver.  Things may turn for the worse but the Lord will deliver.  People may turn their backs on you but the Lord will deliver.  We shall be called home to the glory-land of freedom and provision.  Wherefore, "comfort one another with these words."

 

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness   Psalm 17:15

The portion of other men fills their bodies, and enriches their children, but the portion of the believer is of another sort.  Men of the world have their treasure in this world and fail to see beyond this world whether in denial of ignorance, but men of the world to come look higher and further.

Our possession is twofold.  We have God’s presence and provision here and His likeness hereafter.  Here we behold the face of the Lord in righteousness, for we are justified in Christ Jesus.  Oh, the ecstasy of beholding the face of a reconciled God!  The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ yields us great peace in this earth, and it is no different than Heaven to come.

But seeing does not end it: we are to be changed into that which we gaze upon.  We shall sleep a moment and then wake up to find ourselves as mirrors which reflect the beauties of our Lord.  Faith sees God with a transforming look.  The heart receives the image of Jesus into its own depths, till the character of Jesus is imprinted on the soul.  This is satisfaction.  To see God and to be like Him—what more can I desire?  David’s assured confidence is here performed by the Holy Ghost now given as the Lord’s promise.  I believe it.  I expect it.  Lord, make it so.  Amen.

 

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.  Micah 5:7

If this is true of the literal Israel , much more is it true of the spiritual Israel , the believing people of God.  When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered

They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them.  Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them.  Coming fresh from Heaven, shining like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew.  They appear little as individuals, though when united, they are all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the Lord fulfills through them. Dewdrops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres.  Lord, make us like the dew!

Godly people are as showers which come at God’s bidding without man’s permission.  They work for God whether men desire it or not.  Dew does not require human permission anymore than the rain does.  Lord, make us thus prompt and bold, and free for your service wherever we find ourselves
.

 

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth  John 16:13

Truth is like a vast cavern which we desire to enter, but we are not able to navigate it alone.  At the entrance it is clear and bright; but if we would go further and explore its innermost recesses, we must have a guide, or we will lose ourselves.  The Holy Spirit, who knows all truth perfectly, is the appointed guide of all true believers, and He leads them as they are able to bear it, from one inner chamber to another, so that they have revealed the deep things of God, and He makes His secret plain to them.

This is such a wonderful promise for the humble inquiring mind!  We desire to know the truth, and to enter into it.  We are conscious of our own aptness to err, and we feel the urgent need of a guide.  We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is come and abides among us.  He condescends to act as a guide to us, and we gladly accept His leadership. 

We wish to learn "All truth” that we may not be one-sided and out of balance.  We do not want to be willingly ignorant of any part of revelation lest thereby we should miss blessing, or incur sin.  The Spirit of God has come that He may guide us into all truth: let us with obedient hearts hearken to His words and follow His lead.

 

He goeth before you into Galilee ; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you  Mark 16:7

He was in due time where He had an appointment to meet His disciples.  Jesus keeps His appointments.  If He promises to meet us at the mercy-seat, or in public worship, or during the communion sacraments, we may depend upon Him that He will be there.  We may shamefully stay away from the appointed meeting-place, but He never does.  He says, "Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I"; he does not say "There will I be," but, "I am there already."

Jesus is always first in fellowship: “He goeth before you.”  His heart is with His people, His delight is in them and He is never slow to meet them.  In all fellowship He goes before us.

But he reveals Himself to those who come after Him: “There shall ye see him.” Joyful sight!  We do not care to see the greatest of mere men, but to see HIM is to be filled with joy and peace.  And we shall see Him, for He promises to come to those who believe in Him, and to manifest Himself to them.  Rest assured that it will be so, for He does everything according to His word of promise: "As he said unto you."  

Catch at those last words, and be assured that to the end He will do for you "as he said unto you."

 

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken   Isa 62:4

 

"Forsaken" is a dreary word.  It sounds like a sentence of death.  It is the record of the sharpest sorrows, and the prophecy of the most dreadful ills.  An abyss of misery drops its mouth wide open in that word "Forsaken."  

Forsaken by one who pledged his honor!  Forsaken by a friend so long tried and trusted!  Forsaken by a dear relative!  Forsaken by father and mother!  Forsaken by all!  This is despair indeed, and yet it may be patiently borne if the Lord will take us up.

But what must it be like to feel forsaken of God?  Think of that bitterest of cries, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Have we ever in any degree tasted the bitterness and the gall of "Forsaken," in that sense?  If so, let us beseech the Lord to save us from any repetition of so unspeakable a sorrow.  Oh, that such darkness will never return!  Malicious men said of a saint, "God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him."  But it was always false.  The Lord’s loving favor shall compel our cruel foes to eat their own words, or, at least, to hold their tongues.

The reverse of all this is that matchless word, Hephzibah—"the Lord delighteth in thee." This turns weeping into dancing.  Let those who dreamed that they were forsaken hear the Lord say, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” 

 

And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord   Lev 4:7

The altar of incense is the place where saints present their prayers and praises; and it is pleasant to think of it as sprinkled with the blood of the great sacrifice. This makes all our worship acceptable with Jehovah: He sees the blood of His own Son, and therefore accepts our worship

It is well for us to fix our eyes upon the blood of the one offering for sin. Sin mingles even with our holy things, and our best repentance, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving could not be received of God were it not for the merit of the atoning sacrifice.

Many sneer at "the blood"; but to us it is the foundation of comfort and hope. That which is on the horns of the altar is meant to be prominently before our eyes when we draw near to God. The blood gives strength to prayer, and hence it is on the altar’s horns. It is "before the Lord," and therefore it ought to be before us. It is on the altar before we bring the incense; it is there to sanctify our offerings and gifts.

Come, let us pray with confidence, since the Victim is offered, the merit has been pleaded, the blood is within the veil, and the prayers of believers must be sweet unto the Lord.

 

I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it    Rev 3:8

Saints who remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word have an open door before them.  Commit your soul to live and die by that which the Lord has revealed in His Word, and there will stand before you this open door.

Enter in by the open door of communion with God.  Who shall deny us?  Jesus has removed our sin, and given us His righteousness, therefore we may freely enter.  We may do so by the Lord’s grace.

Before us is an open door into the mysteries of the Word.  We may enter into the deep things of God.  Our Calling, Union to Christ, the Baptisms of Fire and Water, the Gifts of the Spirit, the Rapture, the Second Advent, and on we harvest His Richness—all these are before us, and we may enjoy them.  No promise and no doctrine are now locked up against us.

Before us is an open door of access in private, and an open door of usefulness in public.  God will hear us; God will use us.  A door is opened for the onward march to the completed church above and for daily fellowship with saints here and now.  Some may try to shut us up or shut us out, but all in vain.

Very soon dear one we shall see an open door into Heaven: the pearl gate will be our way of entrance, and then we shall go in unto the Lord and King, Jesus the Son of God and be with Him eternally shut in.

 

And I will strengthen them in the Lord: and they shall
walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord   Zech 10:12

A comfort for saints being challenged by sickness.  They may have grown faint, and they may fear that they may never rise from the bed of doubt and fear; but the great Physician can both remove the disease, and take away the weakness which has come of it.  He will strengthen the feeble.  This He will do this in best possible way, for it shall be "in the Lord."  Our strength is far better in God than in self.  In the Lord it causes fellowship, in ourselves it would create pride.  In ourselves it would be sadly limited, but in God it knows no bound.

When strength is given, the believer uses it.  He walks up and down in the name of the Lord.  What an enjoyment it is to walk abroad challenging illness, and what a delight to be strong in the Lord after a season of prostration!  The Lord gives His people liberty to walk up and down, and an inward leisure to exercise that liberty.  He makes gentlemen of us: we are not slaves who know no rest, and see no sights, but we are free to travel at our ease throughout Immanuel’s land.

Come, my heart, do not be sick and sorry, Jesus bids you to be strong, and walk with God in holy expectation.  Obey His word of love.

 

8/07

 

 

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And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live   Deut 30:6

Here we read of the true circumcision.

Note the author - "The Lord thy God."  
He alone can deal effectually with our heart, and take away its carnality and pollution.  To make us love God with all our heart and soul is a miracle of grace which only the Holy Ghost can work.  We must look to the Lord alone for this and never be satisfied with anything short of it.

Note where this circumcision is fashioned.  
It is not of the flesh, but of the spirit.  It is the essential mark of the Covenant of Grace.  Love to God is the indelible token of the chosen seed; by this secret seal grace is certified to the believer.  We must make sure we do not trust in no outward ritual, but are sealed in heart by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Note what the result is—"that thou mayest live."  
To be carnally minded is death.  In overcoming the flesh we find life and peace.  If we mind the things of the Spirit, we shall live.  Oh, that the Lord, our God, may complete His gracious work upon our inner natures, that in the fullest and highest sense we may live unto the Lord.

 

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land   2Chron 7:14

Though called by the name of the Lord, we are nevertheless transgressing men and women.  What a mercy it is that our God is ready to forgive!  Whenever we sin hasten to the mercy-seat of our God, seeking pardon.

We are to humble ourselves.  We should be humbled by the fact that after receiving so much love we yet transgress?  Lord, we bow before you in the dust, and own our grievous ingratitude.  We are shamed as we have fallen short of the honor we are so favored with!

Next, pray for mercy, for cleansing, for deliverance from the power of sin

In this prayer we are to seek the Lord’s face.  Lord, look on us in your Son Jesus, and smile upon your servants.

With this we must turn from evil, God cannot turn to us unless we turn from sin.

Then comes the triple promise of hearing, pardon, and healing.  Father, grant us these in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me  John 6:57 

We live by virtue of our union with the Son of God.  As God-man Mediator, the Lord Jesus lives by the self-existent Father who has sent Him, and in the same manner we live by the Savior who has quickened us.  He who is the source of our life is also the sustenance of it.  

Living is sustained by feeding.  We must support the spiritual life by spiritual food, and that spiritual food is the Lord Jesus.  Not His life, or death, or offices, or work, or word alone, but Himself, as including all these.  On Jesus, Himself, we feed.

This is set forth to us in the Lord’s Supper, but it is actually enjoyed by us when we meditate upon our Lord, believe in Him with appropriating faith, take Him into ourselves by love, and assimilate Him by the power of the inner life.  

We know what it is to feed on Jesus, but we cannot speak it or write it.  Our wisest course is to practice it, and to do so more and more.  We are entreated to eat abundantly, and it will be to our infinite profit to do so when Jesus is our meat and our drink.

Lord, we thank you that this, which is a necessity of our new life, is also its greatest delight.  So,we do at this hour feed on you. 

 

He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded   Proverbs 13:13

Holy awe of God’s Word is at a great bargain.  Some men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord, and sit in judgment upon it.  "I did not, because of the fear of God."  We accept the inspired Book as infallible, and prove our esteem by our obedience.  We have no terror of the Word, but we have a childlike awe of it.  We are not in fear of its penalties, because we have a fear of its commands.

This holy fear of the commandment produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the recklessness of pride.  It becomes a guide to us in our movements; a drag when we are going down-hill, and a stimulus when we are climbing it.  Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of inspiration; a sense of freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a confidence of pleasing God, which is as Heaven below.  The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord; but what of that?  The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.

 

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy"  #Ps 126:5

Weeping times are suitable for sowing: we do not want the ground to be too dry.  Seed steeped in the tears of earnest anxiety will come up all the sooner.  The salt of prayerful tears will give the good seed a flavor which will preserve it from the worm: truth spoken in earnestness has a double life. Instead of stopping our sowing because of our weeping, let us redouble our efforts because the season is so propitious.

Our heavenly seed could not fitly be sown laughing.  Deep sorrow and concern for the souls of others are a far more fit accompaniment of godly teaching than anything like levity.  We have heard of men who went to war with a light heart, but they were beaten; and it is mostly so with those who sow in the same style.

Come, then, sow on in your weeping, for you have the promise of a joyful harvest.  You shall reap.  You, yourself, shall see some result of your labor. This shall come to you in so large a measure as to give you joy, which a poor, withered, and scanty harvest would not do.  When your eyes are dim with tears, think of the golden corn.  Bear cheerfully the present toil and disappointment; for the harvest day will fully recompense thee.

 

"I will correct thee in measure" #Jeremiah 30:11

To be left uncorrected would be a fatal sign: it would prove that the Lord had said, "He is given unto idols, let him alone."  God grant that such may never be our portion!  Uninterrupted prosperity is a thing to cause fear and trembling.  As many as God tenderly loves He rebukes and chastens: those for whom He has no esteem He allows to fatten themselves without fear, like cattle for the slaughter.  It is in love that our heavenly Father uses the rod upon His children.

Yet see, the correction is "in measure":  He gives us love without measure, but chastisement in measure."  As under the old law no Israelite could receive more than the "forty stripes save one, which ensured careful counting and limited suffering, so is it with each afflicted member of the household of faith -every stroke is counted.  It is the measure of wisdom, the measure of sympathy, the measure of love, by which our chastisement is regulated.  Far be it from us to rebel against appointments so divine.  Lord, as you stand by me, it is for me to cheerfully take that cup from your hand, and drink according to your directions, saying "Thy will be done."

 

"He shall save his people from their sins" #Mat 1:21

Lord, save me from my sins.  In the name of Jesus I am encouraged to pray this way.  Save me from my past sins, that the habit of them may not hold me captive.  Save me from my sins of my flesh, that I may not be the slave of my own weaknesses.  Save me from the sins which are continually visible to myself that I may not lose my horror of them.  Save me from secret sins; sins unperceived by me from my want of light.  Save me from sudden and surprising sins: let me not be carried off my feet by a rush of temptation.  Save me, Lord, from every sin.  Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

You alone Lord can do this.  I cannot snap my own chains or slay my own enemies.  You know temptation, for you were tempted.  You know sin, for you carried the weight of it.  You know how to nurture me in my hour of conflict; you can save me from sinning, and save me when I have sinned.  It is promised in your very name that you will do this, and I pray let me this day verify the prophecy.  Let me not give way to temper, or pride, or despondency, or any form of evil; but save me unto holiness of life, that your name, Jesus, may be abundantly glorified in me.

 

"A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time" #Isaiah 60:22

Works for the Lord often begin on a small scale, and they are none the worse for this.  Feebleness educates faith, brings God near, and wins glory for His name.  Prize promises of increase!  Mustard seed is the smallest among seeds, and yet it becomes a tree-like plant, with branches which lodge the birds of Heaven.  We may begin with one, and that "a little one,’ and yet it will "become a thousand."  The Lord is great at the multiplication table.  How often did He say to His lone servant, "I will multiply thee!"  Trust in the Lord, you ones and twos; for He will be in the midst of you if you are gathered in His name.

"A small one."  What can be more despicable in the eyes of those who count heads and weigh forces!  Yet this is the nucleus of a great nation.  Only one star shines out at first in the evening, but soon the sky is crowded with countless lights.

Nor do we think need the prospect of increase to be remote, for the promise is, "I Jehovah will hasten it in his time."  There will be no premature haste, like that which we see at excited meetings; it will be all in due time; but yet there will be no delay.  When the Lord hastens, His speed is glorious. 

 

"Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever" #2Sam 7:29 2:4 

This is a promise boldly litigated, and so it offers us double instruction. Anything which the Lord God has spoken we should receive as surely true, and then plead it at the throne.

How sweet to quote what our own God has spoken!  How precious to use a "therefore" which the promise suggests, as David does in this verse!

We do not pray because we doubt, but because we believe.  To pray unbelievingly is unbecoming in the children of the Lord.  

No, Lord, we cannot doubt you: we are persuaded that every word of yours is a sure foundation for our boldest expectation.  We come to you and say, "Do as you have said."  Bless your servant’s house.  Heal our sick; save our hesitating ones; restore those who wander; confirm those who live in your word.  Lord, give us food and raiment according to your word.  Prosper our undertakings; especially cause our endeavors to make known your gospel in our neighborhood successful.  Make our servants your servants, our children your children.  Let the blessing flow on to future generations, and as long as any of our race remains on the earth may they remain true to you and your word.  O Lord God "let the house of your servant be blessed."

 

"Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart" #Ps 97:11

Righteousness is often costly to the man who walks in it despite the challenges.  But, in the end it will bear its own expenses, and return an infinite profit.  A holy life is like sowing seed: much is going out, and apparently it is buried in the soil, never to be gathered up again.  

We are mistaken when we look for an immediate harvest’; but the error is very natural, for it seems impossible to bury light. Yet is says “light is sown.”  It lies latent: none can see it, it is sown.  We are quite sure that it must one day manifest itself.

So fully sure are we that the Lord has set a harvest for the sowers of light, and they shall reap it, each man for himself.  Then shall come their gladness.  Sheaves of joy for seeds of light.  Their heart was upright before the Lord, though men gave them no credit for it, but even censured them: they were righteous, though those about them denounced them as intolerant.  They had to wait, as farmers wait for the precious fruits of the earth: but the light was sown for them, and gladness was being prepared on their behalf by the Lord of the harvest.

Courage, brothers!  We do not need to be in a hurry.  Let patience possess our souls, for soon shall our souls possess light and gladness. 

 

"And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord’ #Jer 15:20

Stability in the fear and faith of God will make a man like a wall of iron, which no one can batter down or break.  Only the Lord can make such; but we need such men in the church, and in the world, but especially in the pulpit.

Against uncompromising men of truth this age of shams will fight tooth and nail.  Nothing seems to offend Satan and his seed like decision.  They attack holy firmness even as the Assyrians besieged fenced cities.  The joy is that they cannot prevail against those whom God has made strong in His strength.  Carried about with every wind of doctrine, others only need to be blown upon, and away they go; but those who love the doctrines of grace, because they possess the grace of the doctrines, stand like rocks in the midst of raging seas.

Where does this stability come from?  "I am with thee, saith the Lord": that is the true answer.  Our Lord Jesus will save and deliver faithful souls from all the assaults of the adversary.  Hosts are against us, but the Lord of hosts is with us.  We dare not budge an inch; for the Lord Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide for ever.

 

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" #Mat 6:33

See how the Bible opens: "In the beginning God."  Let your life open in the same way.  Seek with your whole soul, first and foremost, the kingdom of God , as the place of your citizenship, and His righteousness as the character of your life.  As for the rest, it will come from the Lord Himself without your being anxious concerning it.  All that is needful for this life and godliness "shall be added unto you.

What a promise! Food, raiment, home, financial stability, health and so forth, God undertakes to add to you while you seek Him.  You mind His business, and He will mind yours.  If you want boxes, tape, and string, you get them thrown in when you buy more important goods; and just so all that we need of earthly things we shall have thrown in with the kingdom.  

He who is an heir of salvation shall not die of starvation; and he who clothes his soul with the righteousness of God cannot be left abandoned of the Lord with a naked body.  Cast away burdensome care.  Set all of your mind to seeking the Lord.  Covetousness is poverty, and anxiety is misery: trust in God is an estate, and likeness to God is a heavenly inheritance.  Lord, I seek you with all my heart, allow me to find you.

9/07

 

 

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"For the elect’s sake those days be shortened" #Mat 24:22

For the sake of His elect the Lord withholds many judgments, and shortens others.  In great tribulations the fire would devour all were it not that out of regard to His elect the Lord governs the flame.  Thus, while He saves His elect for the sake of Jesus, He also preserves the race for the sake of His chosen.

This is a great honor for His saints!  How diligently we ought to use this influence with our Lord!  He will hear their prayers for sinners, the sick and the broken and bless their efforts for their salvation.  He blesses believers that they may be a blessing to those who are in unbelief.  Many a sinner lives because of the prayers of a mother, or wife, husband, or daughter, to whom the Lord has respect.

Have we rightly used this singular power with which the Lord entrusts us?  Do we pray for our country, for other lands, and for the age?  Do we, in times of war, famine, pestilence, stand out as intercessors, pleading that the days may be shortened?  Do we lament before God the outbursts of infidelity, error, and licentiousness?  Do we beseech our Lord Jesus to shorten the reign of sin by hastening His own glorious appearing?  Let us get to our knees, and never rest till Christ appears.

 

"His servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads" #Rev 22:3, 4

Three abundant blessings remain ours in His glory.

"His servants shall serve him."  No other lords shall oppress us, no other service shall distress us.  We shall serve Jesus always, perfectly, without weariness, and without error.  This is Heaven to a saint: in all things to serve our Lord Christ Jesus and to be owned by Him as His servant is our life’s high ambition for eternity.

"And they shall see his face." This makes the service delightful: indeed, it is the present reward of service.  We shall know our Lord, for we shall see Him as He is.  To see the face of Jesus is the utmost favor that the most faithful servant of the Lord can ask.  What more could Moses ask than—"Let me see thy face?"

"And his name shall be in their foreheads." We shall gaze upon our Lord till His name is imprinted upon our brows.  We are acknowledged by Him, and we acknowledge Him.  The secret mark of inward grace develops into the public and clearly demonstrated professed relationship.

Yet in all that shall be there is a seed of it now.  Whatever promise that shall be completed there is now the substance of that power.  O Lord, give us these three things in their beginnings here, that we may possess them in their fullness upon your return!

 

"And it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance" #Num 15:25

Because of our ignorance we are not fully aware of our sins of ignorance.  Yet we may be sure they are many, in the form both of commission and omission.  We may be doing in all sincerity, as a service to God, that which He has never commanded, and can never accept.

The Lord knows every one of these sins of ignorance.  This may alarm us, since in justice He will require these trespasses at our hand; but on the other hand, faith finds comfort in this fact, for the Lord will see to it that stains unseen by us shall yet be washed away.  He sees the sin that He may cease to see, by casting it out of His view of us.

Our great comfort is that Jesus, the true priest, has made atonement for all the congregation of His children.  That atonement secures the pardon of unknown sins.  His precious blood cleanses us from all sin.  Whether our eyes have seen it and wept over it, or not, God has seen it, Christ has atoned for it, the Spirit bears witness to the pardon of it, and so we have a three-fold peace.

Dearest Father, I praise your divine knowledge, which not only perceives my iniquities, but provides an atonement which delivers me from the guilt of them, even before I know that I am guilty.

 

"And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be" #Exod 8:23

Pharaoh has a people, and the Lord has a people.  These may dwell together, and seem to fare alike, but there is a division between them, and the Lord will make it apparent.  This apparent same event shall not happen forever alike to all, but there shall be a great difference between the men of the world and the people of Jesus our Lord’s choice.

This may happen in the time of judgments, when the Lord becomes the sanctuary of His saints.  It is very conspicuous in the conversion of believers when their sin is put away, while unbelievers remain under condemnation.  From that moment they become a distinct race, come under a new discipline, and enjoy new blessings.  Henceforth, their homes are free from the grievous evils which defile and torment the Egyptians.  They are kept from the pollution of lust, the bite of worry and care, the corruption of lying falsehoods, and the cruel torment of hatred, which devour many families.

Rest assured, tried believer, that though you have your troubles you are saved from swarms of worse ones, which infest the homes and hearts of the servants of the world’s Prince, the devil.  The Lord has put a division; see to it that you keep up the division in spirit, aim, character and company.

 

"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you" #Ezek 36:25

What a great joy this is!  He who has purified us with the blood of Jesus will also cleanse us by the water of the Holy Spirit.  God said it, and so it must be, "Ye shall be clean."  Lord, we mourn our uncleanness, and it is good to our heart to be assured by your own mouth that we shall be clean.  Make a speedy work of it!

Deliver us from our worst sins.  The uprisings of unbelief, and the deceitful lusts which war against the soul, the vile thoughts of pride, and the suggestions of Satan to blaspheme the sacred name— all these shall be so purged away as never to return.  Those who read this today who have felt untold guilt for your weakness and sin, hear these words today.  Though you have tried to hide in defeat I declare you free today.

He will also cleanse us from all our idols, whether of gold or of clay: our impure loves, and our excessive love of that which in itself is pure.  That which we have idolized shall be broken from us.

It is God who speaks of what He Himself will do.  Therefore this word is established and sure, and we may boldly look for that which it guarantees to us.  Cleansing is a covenant blessing, and the covenant is ordered in all things and sure.

 

"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" #Ps 118:17

This is a fair assurance!  It was based upon a promise, inwardly whispered in the Psalmist’s heart, which he seized upon and enjoyed.  Is my case like  David's?  Am I depressed because the enemy insults and offends me?  Are there multitudes against me, and few on my side?  Does unbelief propose to me, “Lie down and die in despair”—a defeated, dishonored person?  Do my enemies begin to dig my grave?

What then?  Shall I yield to the whisper of fear, and give up the battle, and with it give up all hope?  Far from it.  Not while there is still life in me: "I shall not die."  Strength and vigor will return and remove my weakness: "I shall live."  The Lord lives and I shall live also.  My mouth shall again open: "I shall declare the works of Jehovah."  Yes, and I shall speak of the present trouble as another instance a testimony of the wonder-working faithfulness and love of the Lord my God who always delivers me.  

Those who would gladly measure me for my coffin had better wait a bit; for "the Lord hath strengthen me as iron, but he will not give me over to death."  Glory to His name forever!  I am immortal till my work is done.  Till I finish my course of faith no vault can close upon me.

 

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love" #John 15:10

These things cannot be separated—abiding in obedience, and abiding in the love of Jesus.  A life under the rule of Christ can by itself prove that we are the objects of our Lord’s delight.  We must keep our Lord’s command if we would bask in His love.  If we live in sin and doubt we cannot live in the love of Christ.  Without the holy faithfulness which pleases God, we cannot please Jesus.  He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus.

Conscious enjoyment of our Lord’s love is a delicate thing.  When we are tender of heart, and careful in thought, speech, and life to honor our Lord Jesus, then we receive tokens of His love without limit.  If we desire to receive such bliss and contentment we must purposely live a faithful, holy and honorable lifestyle.  

The Lord Jesus will not hide His face from us unless we hide our face from Him.  Sin makes the cloud which darkens our Sun: if we will be watchfully obedient and completely consecrated, we may walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have as sure an abiding in the love of Jesus as Jesus has in the love of the Father.  Here is a sweet promise with a solemn "if."  Lord, let us each have this "if" in our hand; for as a key it opens our lives to true freedom.

 

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord” #Hosea 6:3

Not all at once, but by degrees shall we attain holy knowledge, and our business is to persevere and learn little by little.  Do not despair, though progress may be slow, for we shall yet know.  The Lord, who has become our Teacher, will not give up on us, however slow our understanding may be; for it is not for His honor that any degree of human folly should confound His skill.  The Lord delights to make the simple wise.

Our duty is to keep to our main topic, and follow on to know, not necessarily this peculiar doctrine nor that, but to know the Lord Jesus Himself.  To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, this is life eternal.  Let us keep to this way, for in this we shall gain complete instruction.  By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after being assaulted, and life after death.  Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the course of the Almighty Lord.

My soul, keep close to Jesus, follow on to know God in Jesus, and so shall you come to the knowledge of Christ, which is the most excellent of all the sciences.  The Holy Ghost will lead you into all truth.  This is His gracious office?  Rely upon Him to fulfill it.

 

"And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves” #Ezek 37:13

It is so: those who receive life from the dead are sure to recognize the hand of the Lord in such a resurrection.  This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo—to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death, and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life.  None could work this but the living God, the Lord and giver of life.

How well do I remember when I was lying in the valley full of dry bones, as dry as any of them!  Blessed was the day when free grace sent the man of God to prophesy upon me!  Glory be to God for the stirring which that word of faith caused among the dry bones.  More blessed still was that heavenly breath from the four winds which made me live!  Now I know the quickening Spirit of the ever-living Lord Jesus. Truly He is the living God, for He made me live.  My new life even in its occasional sorrow is clear proof to me that the Lord can kill and make alive.  He is the only God.  He is all that is great, gracious, and glorious, and my quickened soul adores Him as the great I AM.  All glory be unto His sacred name!  As long as I live I will praise Him.

 

"But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen" #Hosea 1:7

Precious word!  The Lord Jesus Himself will deliver His people in the greatness of His mercy, but He will not do it by the ordinary means.  Men are slow to give to God the glory due His name.  If they go to battle with sword and bow, and win the victory, they ought to praise their God; yet they do not, but begin to magnify their own right arm, and glory in their horses and horsemen.  For this reason our Lord often determines to save His people without second means, that all the honor may be to Himself alone.

Let your heart lean, to the Lord alone, and not to man.  Expect to see God all the more clearly when there is no one else to look to.  If I have no friend, no adviser, no one at my back, let me be none the less confident if I can feel that the Lord Himself is on my side.  Yes, I am glad if He gives victory without battle, as the text implies.  Why do I ask for horses and horsemen if the Lord Himself has mercy upon me, and lifts up His arm for my defense?  Why do I need bow or sword if God will save?  Let me trust, and not be afraid, from this day forth and forevermore. Amen.

 

"The Lord will be with you" #2Chron 20:17

This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a immense multitude had come out against him; and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom.  If the Lord be with me, it matters little who may desert me.  If the Lord be with me, I shall conquer in the battle of life, and the greater my trials the more glorious will be my victory.  How can I be sure that the Lord is with me?

For certain He is with me if I am with Him.  If I trust in His faithfulness, believe His word, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me.  If I am on Satan’s side God is against me, and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God I may be sure that He will honor me.

I am quite sure that God is with me if Jesus is my sole and only Savior.  If I have placed my soul in the hands of God’s Only-begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth all His power to preserve me, that we do not dishonor His Son.

Oh for faith to take hold upon the short but this sweet text!  O Lord, fulfill this word to your servants!  Be with me in the house, in the street, in the field, in the shop, in my workplace, and alone.  Be with all your people in great mercy and blessing this day.

 

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord" #Ps 27:14

Wait!  Let your waiting be on the Lord!  He is worth waiting for.  He never disappoints the waiting soul.

While waiting keep up your spirits.  Expect a great deliverance, and be ready to praise God for it

The promise which should cheer you up is in the middle of the verse— "He shall strengthen thine heart." This at once goes to the place where you need help.  If the heart is sound, all the rest of the system will work well.  The heart wants calming and cheering; and both of these will come if it is strengthened.  A forceful heart rests and rejoices, and steadily beats force into the whole man.

No one else can get at this secret vessel of life, the heart, to pour strength into it.  God alone who made it can make it strong.  God is full of strength, and, therefore, He can impart it to those who need it.  Be brave; for the Lord will impart His strength to you, and you shall be calm in tempest, and glad in sorrow.

"Wait, I say, on the Lord."  Indeed, I do say it.  I know by long and deep experience that it is good for me to wait upon the Lord.

 

"A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench" #Isa 42:3

I expect tender treatment from my Lord.  Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, and as pliant, as a reed.  Very possibly my purpose may even seem less meaningful.  Someone said, "I don’t care about you"; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue.  There is sadness of heart!  Can one find themselves even equal to a reed that grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head.  I am bruised, sorely, sadly bruised.  There is no music in me now; there is a rift which drains the heart.  Yet Jesus will not break me; and if he will not, then I care little what others try to do.  O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath your protection, and forget my bruises.

Truly I am also fit to be likened to "the smoking flax," whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains.  I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit.  My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light, and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon me.  Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers; and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful.  Lord, kindle me anew, and cause me to shine forth to in your glory, and to the praise of your tenderness.

 

"It shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God" #Hosea 1:10

Sovereign grace can make strangers into sons, and the Lord declares His purpose to deal with rebels firmly, and make them know what He has done.  Beloved, the Lord has done this in my case; has He done the like for you?  Then let us join hands and hearts in praising His adorable name!

Some of us were so decidedly ungodly that the Lord’s Word most truly said to our conscience and heart, "Ye are not my people."  In the house of God, and in our own homes, when we read the Bible, this was the voice of God’s Spirit in our soul, "Ye are not my people."  Truly a sad condemning voice it was.  But now, in the same places, from the same ministry and Scripture, we hear a voice, which saith, "Ye are the sons of the living God."  Can we be grateful enough for this?  Is this not too wonderful for words?  Doesn’t it give us hope for others?  Who is beyond the reach of almighty grace?  How can we despair of any, since the Lord has wrought so marvelous a change in us?

He who has kept this one great promise will keep every other; wherefore, let us go forward with songs of adoration and confidence.

 

10/07

 

 

 

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"Happy is the man that feareth alway" #Prov 28:14

The fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion.  Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for more higher virtues.  He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.

Happy is he who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong.  Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves.  Fear is not weak self consciousness or feeling of intimidation yet it has a real fear motivating a purposeful reaction to avoid the shame of error, or neglecting duty, or even casually committing known sin.  It is suspicious and careful of ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy.  This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happy.  The watchful guard over his soul is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post.  He who foresees evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and finds destruction.

Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, "No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon."  Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle, which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world.  In both senses he that "feareth alway" is made happy.  Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness.  Let us not repeat his trial, but abide by his verdict.

 

"Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in,  and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out" #Deut 28:6

The blessings of the law are not cancelled.  Jesus confirmed the promise when He bore the penalty.  If we keep the commands of our Lord, we may appropriate this promise without question.

This day I will come in to my house without fear of evil tidings, and I will come into my prayer closet expecting to hear good news from my Lord.  I will not be afraid to enter my personal temple for self-examination, nor to examine my affairs by a diligent inspection of my dealings.  I have a good deal of work to do indoors, within my own soul; Oh, for a blessing upon it all, the blessing of the Lord Jesus, who has promised to abide in me and with me.

I must also go out.  Timidity makes me wish that I could stay hidden within the doors of my person, and never mingle with the world without again.  Evil, fear of rejection, uncertainty make me nervous without.  But I must go out in my calling, and I must go out that I may be helpful to my brethren, and useful to the ungodly.  I must be a defender of the faith and an assailant of evil.  Oh, for a blessing upon my going out this day!  Lord, let me go where You lead, on Your errands, under Your command, and in the power of Your Spirit.

Lord Jesus, turn in with me and be my guest; and then walk out with me, and cause my heart to burn while You speak with me on the way.

 

"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" #Lam 3:27

This is as good as a promise as one can get.  It has been good, it is good, and it will be good for me to bear the yoke.

Early in life I had to feel the weight of conviction, and ever since it has proven to be a soul-enriching burden.  Would I love the gospel as well had I not learned by deep experience the need of salvation by grace?  Jabez was more honorable than his brethren because his mother bare him with sorrow, and those who suffer much in being born unto God make strong believers in the powerful gift of grace.

The yoke of criticism is an exasperating one, but it prepares a man for future honor.  He is not fit to be a leader if he has not run the gauntlet of disapproval.  Praise intoxicates if it is not preceded by real lessons in humility.  Men who rise to eminence without a struggle usually fall into dishonor.

The yoke of affliction, disappointment, and excessive labor is by no means to be sought for; but when the Lord lays it on us in our youth it frequently develops a character which glorifies God and blesses the Church.

Come now soul, bow your neck; take up your cross. It was good for you when young, it will not harm you now.  For Jesus… shoulder it cheerfully.

 

"His heavens shall drop down dew" #Deut 33:28

What the dew is to the world of nature that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace.  How greatly we need it!  Without the Spirit of God we are dry and withered.  We droop, we fade, we die.  How sweetly does this dew refresh us!  When once favored with it we feel happy, alive, vigorous, elevated.  We want nothing more.  The Holy Spirit brings us life, and all that life requires.  All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: We hear, we read, we pray, we sing, we go to the table of communion, and there we find no blessing until the Holy Ghost visits us.  But when His dew falls upon us, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

What a promise this is for us!  "His heavens shall drop down dew."  We may be visited with grace.  We shall not be left to our natural drought, or to the world’s burning heat, or to the hot winds of Satanic temptation.  May we feel at this very hour the gentle, silent, saturating dew of the Lord!

Why shouldn’t we?  He who made us to live as the grass in the meadow, will treat us as He treats the grass; He will refresh from above.  Grass though cannot call for dew as we are able to do.  Surely, the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer His pleading child.

 

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him" James 1:12

Yes, he is blessed while he is enduring the trial.  No eye can see this till it has been anointed with heavenly eye-salve.  But he must endure it, and not rebel against God, nor turn aside from integrity.  He is blessed who has gone through the fire, and has not been consumed as a counterfeit.

When the test is over, then comes the prize of divine approval —"the crown of life."  As if the Lord said, "Let him live; he has been weighed in the balances, and he is not found wanting."  Life is the reward: not mere being; but holy, happy, true existence, the realization of the divine purpose concerning us.  Already a higher form of spiritual life and enjoyment crowns those who have safely passed through fiercest trials of faith and love.

The Lord has promised the crown of life to those who love Him.  Only lovers of the Lord will hold out in the hour of trial; the rest will either sink or sulk, or slink back to the world.  Come, dear heart, do you love your Lord?  Truly?  Deeply?  Wholly?  Then that love will be tried; but will not be quenched, neither will the floods drown it.  Lord, let your love nourish us to the end.

 

"And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind and a covert from the tempest." #Isa 32:2

This MAN we all know well.  Who could He be but the Second Man, the Lord from Heaven, the Man of sorrows, the Son of Man?  What a hiding-place He has been to His people!  He Himself bears the full force of the wind, and shelters those who hide themselves in Him.  We have thus escaped the wrath of God, and we shall thus escape the anger of men, the cares of this life, and the dread of death.  Why do we stand in the wind when we may so readily and so surely get out of it by hiding behind our Lord?  Let’s run to Him today, and be at peace.

Often the common wind of trouble rises in its force and becomes a tempest, with huge gusts throwing us before it.  Things which looked firm and stable sway in the blast.  Many and great are the failures among our carnal confidences.  Our Lord Jesus, the Man of Glory, is a covert which is never blown down.  In Him we acknowledge the tempest sweeping by, but we ourselves rest in delightful serenity.

This day let us just hide away in our hiding-place, and sit and sing under the protection of our Shelter.  Blessed be the name of Jesus!  Blessed Jesus!  How we love you!  For we in you we trust for truly you are to us who believe a safe shelter in the time of storm.

 

"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward"
#Mat 10:42

Well, I can do as much as that . I can do a kind act toward the Lord’s servant.  The Lord knows I love them all, and would count it an honor to wash their feet.  For the sake of their Master I love the disciples.

How gracious of the Lord to mention so insignificant an action— "to give to drink a Cup of cold water only"!  This I can do, however poor: this I may do, however lowly: this I will do very cheerfully.  This, which seems so little, the Lord notices—notices when done to the least of His followers.  Evidently it is not the cost, nor the skill, nor the quantity, that He looks at, but the motive: that which we do to a disciple, because he is a disciple, his Lord observes, and recompenses.  He does not reward us for the merit of what we do, but according to the riches of His grace.

I give a cup of cold water, and He makes me to drink of living water.  I give to one of His little ones, and He treats me as one of them.  Jesus finds an apology for His liberality in that which His grace has led me to do, and He says, "He shall in no wise lose his reward."

 

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon" #Ps 92:12

These trees are not trained and pruned by man: palms and cedars are "trees of the Lord," and it is by His care that they flourish; even so it is with the saints of the Lord, they are His own care.  These trees are evergreen and are beautiful objects at all seasons of the year.  Believers are not sometimes holy and sometimes ungodly: they stand in the beauty of the Lord under all conditions.  Everywhere these trees are noteworthy: no one can gaze upon a landscape in which there are either palms or cedars without his attention being fixed upon these royal growths.  The followers of Jesus are the observed of all observers: like a city set on a hill they cannot be hid.

The child of God flourishes like a palm tree, which pushes all its strength upward in one erect column without a single branch.  It is a pillar with a glorious capital.  It has no growth to the right or to the left, but sends all its force heavenward, and bears its fruit as near the sky as possible.  Lord, fulfill this type in me.

The cedar braves all storms, and grows near the eternal snows, the Lord Himself filling it with a sap which keeps its heart warm and its boughs strong.  I pray Lord, let it be so with me.

 

"And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders" #Deut 33:12

Yes, there is no safety like that which comes from dwelling near to God.  For His best beloved the Lord can find no surer or safer place.  O Lord, let me always abide under your shadow, close to your wounded side.  Nearer and nearer I will come to you, my Lord; and when I am especially near to you, I will abide there forever.

What a covering the Lord gives to His chosen!  Not an ordinary roof shall cover him, nor a bomb shelter, nor even an angel’s wing, but Jesus our Lord Himself.  Nothing can come at us when we are covered.  The Lord grants us this covering all day long, however long the day.  Lord, let me abide this day consciously beneath this shelter of love, this covering of your power.

Does the third clause mean that the Lord in His temple would dwell among the mountains of Benjamin, or that the Lord would be where Benjamin’s burden should be placed, or does it mean that we are borne upon the shoulders of the Eternal?  In any case, the Lord is the support and strength of His saints.  Lord, let me ever enjoy your help and then this will be sufficient for me. 

 

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing" #Zeph 3:17

What a word from our beloved Lord!  The Lord God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power!  This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope.  Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Lord, and He dwells in His church, therefore may His people shout for joy.

We not only have His presence, but He is engaged in His choice work of salvation.  "He will save."  He is always saving: He takes His name of Jesus from it.  Let us not fear any danger, for He is mighty to save.

Nor is this all.  He abides evermore the same; He loves, He finds rest in loving, He will not cease to love.  His love gives Him joy.  He even finds a theme for song in His beloved.  This is exceedingly wonderful.  When God wrought creation He did not sing, but simply said, "It is very good"; but when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song.  Think of it, and be astonished!  Lord Jesus sings a marriage song dancing about His throne over His chosen bride.  She is to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song.  O Lord Jesus, by your immeasurable love to us teach us to love you, to rejoice in you, and to sing unto you our life-psalm.

 

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" #Ps 110:3

Blessed be the God of grace!  He has His own children whom He has chosen from of old to be His peculiar portion.  These by nature have wills as stubborn as the rest of the wayward sons of Adam; but when the day of His power comes, and grace displays its omnipotence, they become willing to repent, and to believe in Jesus.  None are saved unwillingly, but the will is made to sweetly yield itself.  What a wonderful power this is, which never violates the will, and yet rules it!  God does not break the lock, but He opens it by a master-key which He alone can handle.

Now we are willing to be, or to do as the Lord wills.  If at any time we grow rebellious He has but to come to us with power, and straightway we run in the way of His commands with all our hearts.  May this be a day of power for us as to a noble effort for the glory of God and the good of my fellow believers!  

Lord, I am willing; may I not just hope that this is a day of your power?  I am wholly at your disposal; willing, yes, eager, to be used of you for your holy purposes.  O Lord, let me not have to cry, "To will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would, I find not"; but give me power as you give me will.

 

"Knowing that tribulation worketh patience" #Rom 5:3

This is a promise in essence if not in form.  We have need of patience, and here we see how we acquire it.  It is only by enduring that we learn to endure, even as by swimming men learn to swim.  You could not learn that art on dry land, nor learn patience without trouble.  it is worth it to suffer tribulation for the sake of gaining that beautiful self-control of mind which quietly acquiesces in all the will of God?

Yet note a singular fact, which is not according to nature, but is supernatural.  Tribulation in and of itself works bad temper, unbelief, and rebellion.  It is only by the sacred infusion of grace that it is made to work in us patience.  We do not thresh the wheat to collect the dust: yet the flail of tribulation does this upon God’s floor.  We do not toss a man about in order to give him rest, and yet so the Lord allows this with His children.  Truly this is not the manner of man, but greatly redounds to the glory of our all-wise God.

Oh, for grace to let my trials bless me and be turned around for good!  Why should I wish to stop their gracious operation?  Lord, I ask you to remove my affliction, but I beseech you ten times more to remove my impatience.  Precious Lord Jesus, with your cross engrave the image of your patience on my heart.

 

"But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby" #Isa 33:21

The Lord will be the greatest good to us without any of the drawbacks which seem to accompany the best earthly things.  If a city is favored with broad rivers, it is liable to be attacked by galleys with oars, and other ships of war.  But when the Lord represents the abundance of His bounty in this case, He takes particular care to shut out the fear which the metaphor might suggest.  His perfect love is blessed.

Lord, when you send wealth like broad rivers, do not let the galley with oars come up in the shape of worldliness or pride.  When you manifest my abundant health and happy spirits, do not let "the gallant ship" of carnality come sailing up the wide overflow.  When I have success in Your holy service, broad as the Mississippi, yet let me never find the galley of self-conceit and self-confidence floating on the waves of my usefulness.  When you make me so supremely happy as to enjoy the light of your countenance year after year, yet let me never despise your feeble saints, nor allow the vain notion of my own perfection to sail up the broad rivers of my full assurance.  Lord, thank you for that blessing which makes rich and neither adds sorrow, nor sin.

 

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth" #Amos 9:9

The sifting process is going on still.  Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted.  In all countries God’s people are being tried "like as corn is sifted in a sieve."  Sometimes the devil holds the sieve, and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us forever.  Unbelief is quick to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears.  The world lends a willing hand in the process, and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigor.  Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process.

Well, well!  Let it go on.  Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat.  Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff.  And how great is the mercy which comes to us in God’s promise, "yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth!"  All shall be preserved that is good, true, and gracious.  Not one of the least of believers shall be lost; neither shall any believer lose anything worth calling a loss.  We shall be blessed in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.

 

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live" #Ezek 47:9

The living waters, in the prophet’s vision, flowed into the Dead Sea , and carried life with them, even into that stagnant lake.  Where grace goes, spiritual life is the immediate and the everlasting consequence.  Grace proceeds according to the will of God, even as a river in all its windings follows its own sweet will; and wherever it comes it does not wait for life to come to it, but it creates life by its own quickening flow.  

Oh, that it would pour along our streets, and flood our inner cities!  Oh, that it would now come into my house, and rise till every room were made to swim with it!  Lord, let the living water flow to my family and my friends, and let it not pass me by. I hope I have drunk of it already; but I desire to bathe in it, yes, to swim in it.
 
O my Savior, I need life more abundantly.  Come to me, I pray thee, till every part of my nature is vividly energetic and intensely active.  Living God, I pray, fill me with your own life.  I am a poor, dry stick; come, fill me, and make me to live so that, like Aaron’s rod, I may bud and blossom and bring forth fruit unto your glory.  Quicken me, in my Lord Jesus’ name.  Amen
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"If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things" #Judges 13:23

This is a sort of promise deduced by logic. It is an inference fairly drawn from ascertained facts. It was not likely that the Lord had revealed to Manoah and his wife that a son would be born to them, and yet had it in His heart to destroy them. The wife reasoned well, and we shall do well if we follow her line of argument.

The Father has accepted the great sacrifice of Calvary, and has declared Himself well pleased; how can He now be pleased to kill us? Why a substitute if the sinner must still perish? The accepted sacrifice of Jesus puts an end to fear.

The Lord has shown us our election, our adoption, our union to Christ, our marriage to the Well-beloved: how can lie now destroy us? The promises are loaded with blessings, which necessitate our being preserved unto eternal life. It is not possible for the Lord to cast us away, and yet fulfill His covenant. The past assures us, and the future reassures us. We shall not die, but live; for we have seen Jesus, and in Him we have seen the Father by the illumination of the Holy Ghost. Because of this life-giving sight we must live for ever.

 

"Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations" #Num 23:9

Who would wish to dwell among the nations, and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for "a hermits lodge in some wilderness."

It is certain that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as the world, and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us to greatly differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord

This may not only reconcile us to the world’s cold shoulder and sneers, but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide, therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be odd and solitary to the end.

 

"For thou wilt light my candle" #Ps 18:28

It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this is a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can bring light into my darkness, and at immediately light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a "darkness which is so thick it can be felt," yet He breaks the gloom, and without delay makes it bright around me.

The great mercy is, that if He lights the candle no one can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the Lord created in the beginning are still shining. The Lord’s lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out.

Let us, then sing in the dark like the nightingale. Expectation shall furnish the music, and hope shall give us the tune. Soon we shall rejoice in a candle of God’s lighting. We may seem dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather, or bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. Ours eyes must be upon Jesus alone. Soon the candles of the Lord will be shining about us!

 

11/07

 

 

 

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"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" #Heb 4:9

God has provided a Sabbath, and some must enter into it. Those to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief; therefore, that Sabbath remains for the people of God. David sang of it; but he had to touch the minor key, for Israel refused the rest of God. Joshua Could not give it, nor Canaan produce it: it remains for believers.

Let us labor to enter into this rest. Let us quit the weary toil of sin and self. Let us cease from all confidence, even in those works of which it might be said, "They are very good." Do we really have any without God working through us that would qualify? Still, let us cease from our own works, as God did from His. Now let us find solace in the finished work of our Lord Jesus. Everything is fully done: justice demands no more. Great peace is our portion in Christ Jesus.

As to our daily matters, the works of grace in our soul, and the work of the Lord in the lives of others, let’s cast these burdens upon the Lord, and rest in Him. Speak the word with confidence trusting God will complete what He has begun. When the Lord gives us a yoke to bear, He does so that by taking it up we may find rest. By faith we labor to enter into the rest of God, and we renounce all rest in self-satisfaction or laziness. Jesus Himself is perfect rest and we are filled to the brim in Him.

 

"He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." #John 16:14

The Holy Ghost Himself cannot glorify the Lord Jesus better than by showing to us Christ’s own things. Jesus is His own best commendation. There is no adorning Him except with His own gold.

The Comforter shows us that which He has received of our Lord Jesus. We never see anything correctly till He reveals it. He has a way of opening our minds, and of opening the Scriptures, and by this double process He increases the vision of the Lord to us. There is an art in revealing a matter, and that art belongs in the highest degree to the Spirit of truth. He shows us the things themselves. This is a great privilege, as many know who have enjoyed a Holy vision.

Seek the illumination of the Spirit; not to gratify our curiosity, nor even to bring personal comfort, so much as to glorify the Lord Jesus. Groveling notions dishonor our precious Lord. It is far greater to have a vivid impression of His person, and work, and glory, that we may cry out His praise with all our heart and soul! Where there is a heart enriched by the Holy Ghost’s teaching there will be a Savior glorified beyond expression. Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly light, show us Jesus our Lord!

 

"Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" #Ps 81:10

What an encouragement to pray! Our human notions would lead us to ask small things because our deservings are so small; but the Lord would have us request great blessings. Prayer should be as simple a matter as the opening the mouth; it should be a natural, unconstrained utterance. When a man is earnest he opens his mouth wide, and our text urges us to be fervent in our supplications.

Yet it also means that we may be bold with God, and ask many and large blessings at His hands. Read the whole verse, and see the argument: “I am Jehovah, thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt : open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Because the Lord has given us so much He invites us to ask for more, yes, to expect more!

See how the little birds in their nests seem to be all mouth when the mother comes to feed them. Let it be the same with us. Let us take in grace at every door. Let us drink it in as a sponge sucks up the water. God is ready to fill us if we are Only ready to be filled. Let our needs make us open our mouths; let our faintness cause us to open our mouths and pant; yes, let our fears make us open our mouths with a child’s cry. The opened mouth shall be filled by the Lord Himself!

 

"He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant" #Ps 111:5

Those who fear God need not fear want. Through all these long years our good Lord has always found meat for His own children, whether they have been in the wilderness, or by the brook Cherith, or in captivity, or in the midst of famine. Always the Lord has given us day by day our daily bread, and we do not doubt that He will continue to feed us till we want no more

As to the higher and greater blessings of the covenant of grace, He will never cease to supply them as our case demands. He is mindful that He made the covenant, and never acts as if He regretted it. He is mindful of it when we provoke Him to destroy us. He is mindful to love us, keep us, and comfort us, even as He at this very moment doing. He is mindful of every jot and tittle of His promises, never suffering one of His words to fall to the ground.

We are sadly unmindful of our God, but He is graciously mindful of us. He cannot forget His Son who is the Surety of the Covenant, nor His Holy Spirit who actively carries out the covenant, nor His own honor, which is bound up with the covenant. Hence the foundation of God stands sure, and no believer shall lose his divine inheritance, which is his by a covenant of salt.

 

"And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee" 
#Gen 17:7

O Lord, you have made a covenant with me, your servant, in Christ Jesus my Lord; and now, I pray, let my children be included in its gracious provisions. I truly believe this promise is made to me as well as to Abraham. I know, that my children are born in sin, and formed in iniquity, even as those of other men; therefore, I ask nothing on the grounds of their birth, as I well know that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and nothing more. Lord, receive them to be born under your covenant of grace by your Holy Spirit!

I pray for my descendants throughout all generations. Be their God as you are mine. My highest honor is that you have permitted me to serve you; may my offspring serve you in all years to come. O God of Abraham, be the God of his Isaac! O God of Hannah, accept her Samuel!

Lord, as you have favored me and my family, I pray that you remember other households of your people which remain unblest. Be the God of all the families of Israel . Let not one of those who fear your name be tried with a godless and wicked household, in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

 

"Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" #Exod 4:12

Many true servants of the Lord are slow of speech when called upon to plead for the Lord and His promise.  Great confusion produces inexperienced and very poor representation of truth. However, it is well to remember that the Lord made the tongue which can be slow, and we must take care not to blame our Maker.  It may be that a slow tongue is not so great an evil as a fast one, and fewness of words may be more of a blessing than floods of non productive words. It is certain that real saving power does not lie in human rhetoric, with its figures of speech, and pretty phrases, and grand displays.  Lack of fluency is not necessarily a great deficiency as it may look to the casual observer.

If God be with our mouth, and with our mind, we shall have something better than the sounding brass of eloquence, or the tinkling cymbal of persuasion. God’s teaching is wisdom; His presence is power.  Pharaoh had more reason to be afraid of stammering Moses than of the most fluent talker in Egypt ; for what he said had power in it.  He spoke of choices with real consequences –plagues and deaths.  If the Lord be with us in our natural weakness we shall be covered with supernatural power.  Therefore, let us speak for Jesus boldly, as we ought to speak.

 

"But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat" #Lev 22:11

Strangers, and wanderers were not to eat of holy things. It is still this way today in spiritual matters. Two classes were free at the sacred table, those who were bought with the priest’s money, and those who were born into the priest’s house. Bought and born, were two indisputable proofs of the right to partake of holy things.

Bought. Our great High Priest bought all those who receive Him with their faith; at a price. They are His absolute property—altogether the Lord’s. Not for what they are in themselves, but only for their owner’s sake are they admitted into the same privileges which He Himself enjoys, and "they shall eat of his meat." He has meat to eat which the world knows not of. Because you belong to Christ, you share with your Lord.

Born. This is an equally sure way to privilege; if born in the Priest’s house we take our place with the rest of the family. Regeneration makes us fellow-heirs, and of the same body; and, therefore, the peace, the joy, the glory, which the Father has given to Christ, Christ has given to us. Redemption and regeneration have given us a double divine permission in this promise.

 

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee" #Num 6:24

This first clause of the high-priest’s benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God.

It is a joy to abide under this divine blessing! It puts a gracious flavor in all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and pleasures are blessed; yes, our losses and crosses, and even our disappointments are blessed. God’s blessing is deep, emphatic, and effectual. A man’s blessing may begin and end in words; but the blessing of the Lord makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not "May prosperity come to you," but "The Lord bless thee."

It is equally delightful to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved from evil, they are reserved unto boundless happiness. God’s keeping goes with His blessing, to establish it and cause it to endure.

Amazing Grace desires that the rich blessing and sure keeping pronounced here may come upon every one of you who may at this moment be looking at these lines. Please breath the text to God as a prayer for His servants.

 

"The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide" #Ps 37:31

Put the law into the heart, and the whole man is right. The heart is where the law should be; for then it truly lies, like the tables of stone in the ark.  It is then correctly in the place appointed for it. The law puzzles when in the head, on our backs it is too heavy a burden. When it is in the heart it has perfect power to uphold.

What choice words the psalmist uses, "the law of his God"! When we know the Lord personally as our own God, His law becomes liberty to us. God with us in covenant makes us eager to obey His will and walk in His commands. Is the precept my Father God’s precept? Then I delight in it.

This promise guarantees that obedient-hearted man shall be sustained in every step that he takes. He will do that which is right, and he shall thus do that which is wise. Holy action is always the most prudent, though at the time it may not seem to be so. We are taking narrow road of God’s providence and grace when we keep to the heart way of His law.

The Word of God has yet never misled a single soul. Its plain directions to walk humbly, justly, lovingly, and in the fear of the Lord, are words of wisdom. Through Wisdom the Word leads us to make our way prosperous. This newfound freedom move us to rule in Wisdom’s dominion of Godliness purify even as we are made pure.

He walks surely who walks in hearts faith righteously.

 

"Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers bath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged" #Deut 1:21

We ought to be bold enough to win our own possession. There is a heritage of grace provided. All that one believer has gained is free to another. We may be strong in faith, fervent in love, and abundant in labor; there is nothing to prevent it; let us go up and take possession. The sweetest experience and the brightest grace are as much for us as for any of our brethren, Our Lord Jesus has set it before us; no one can deny our right; let us go up and possess it in His name.

The world also lies before us to be conquered for the Lord Jesus. We are not to leave any country or corner of it not subdued. That slum near our house is before us, not to baffle our endeavors, but to make them yield. We have only to summon courage enough to go forward, and we shall win dark homes and hard hearts for Jesus. Never leave the people in a lane or alley to die because we have not enough faith in Jesus and His gospel to go up and possess the land. No spot is too dark, no person so profane as to be beyond the power of grace. Cowardice, be gone! Faith marches to conquest.

 

"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest" #Josh 1:7

Yes, the Lord will be with us in our holy war, but He demands of us that we strictly follow His rules. Our victories will very much depend upon our obeying Him with all our heart, throwing strength and courage into the actions of our faith. If we are halfhearted we cannot expect more than half a blessing.

We must obey the Lord with care and thoughtfulness. The phrase "Observe to do" is full of meaning. This is the heart of all the promises of His divine will; we must obey with universal readiness. Our rule of conduct is according to all the word. We may not pick and choose, but we must take the Lord’s commands as they come, one and all. In all this we must go on with exactness and consistency. We are to be on a straight and forward course, which bends neither right nor left. We are not to err by being more rigid than the word, nor turn away from center in lightheartedness trying for a more free and easy way. With such obedience there will come prosperity; spirit soul and body.

O Lord, we test your promise with courage that is be not in vain.

 

12/07

 

 

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The Lord God will help me" #Isa 50:7

These are the prophetic words of Messiah in the day of His obedience unto death, when He gave His back to the tormentors, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. He was confident in the divine support, and trusted in His Father.

Our sorrows are as so very small compared with our Lord’s! Believe that Heavenly Father will help us too? The Lord was in a peculiar position; for as the representative of sinful men—their substitute and sacrifice—it was needful that the Father should leave Him, and cause Him to be as we are; separated from God. No punishment is of necessity laid upon us who have received Him as Lord: nor are we bound to cry, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" Did your Savior even in such an extreme case still rely upon God, then so can you? He died for you, and thus made it impossible that you should not be left alone.  Be of good cheer.

In this day’s labors or trials say, "The Lord God will help me." Go forth boldly. Set your face like a flint, and resolve that no faintness or shame shall come near you. If God helps, who can hinder? If you are sure of omnipotent aid, what can be too heavy for you? Begin the day joyously, and let no shade of doubt come between you and the eternal sunshine.

 

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit" #John 15:2

This is a precious promise to those who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems somewhat sharp. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for much of our Lord’s purging work is done within the curse of this world by means of afflictions of one kind or another. Though it seems harsh to cut the branch yet when one thinks of the budding fruit on another branch trying to break forth, why not help it with all the power in your means.  Jesus looks for the budding, seeking, faithful fruit in making that decision.

It is not the evil but the good that face tribulation in this life. It is those who would have fruit and who challenge the curse. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.

To the believer, purging is always wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. By the Word we shall be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord, who has made us, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility.

Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had sought the favor of worldliness.

Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill your gracious word to those who receive by faith, and cause us to abound in fruit to your praise!

 

"The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up" #1Sam 2:7

All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him. Let me equally see His hand if I am abased, and let me as heartily praise Him. When we go down in the world, it is of the Lord, and so we may work through it patiently. When we rise in the world, it is of the Lord, so we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the Lord has performed, and it is all well.

It seems that the Lord’s way is to lower those whom He means to raise, and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the low I may well rejoice, because I see in it the preface to the lifting up. The more we are humbled in His grace, the more we shall be exalted in His glory. That impoverishment will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.

O Lord, I feel of late taken down, and made to feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray make it a profitable one to me. Fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for the Glory of my Lord Jesus! Amen.

 

"For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness" #2Sam 22:29

Am I in the light? Then you, O Lord, are my lamp. Take you away, and my joy would be gone; but as long as you are with me, I can do without the passing on of the torches of time and the candles of created comfort. What a light the presence of God casts on all things! I heard of a lighthouse which could be seen for twenty miles, but our Lord Jesus is not only a God who is present, but is seen far off, even in the enemy’s country. O Lord, I am happy and content when your love fills my heart. You are all I desire.

Am I in the dark? Then you, O Lord, will lighten my darkness. Before long things will change. Affairs may grow more and more dreary, and cloud may be piled upon cloud; but if it grows so dark that I cannot see my own hand, still I shall see the hand of the Lord.

When I cannot find a light within me, or among my friends, or in the whole world, the Lord, who said "Let there be light," and there was light, can say the same again. He will speak me into the sunshine. I shall not die but live. The day is already breaking. This sweet word shines like a morning star. I clap my hands for joy though many hours have passed.

 

"It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking,I will hear" #Isa 65:24

This is quick work! The Lord hears us before we call; and often answers us in the same speedy manner. Foreseeing our needs, and our prayers, He so arranges His provision that before the need actually arises He has supplied it, before the trial assails us He has armed us against it. This is the promptness of omniscience, and we have often seen it exercised. Before we dreamed of the affliction which was coming, the strong consolation which was to sustain us had arrived. What a prayer-answering God we have!

Though God be in Heaven and we are on the earth, yet He makes our word, like His own word, to travel very swiftly. When we pray aright in faith we speak into the ear of God. Our gracious Mediator presents our petitions at once, and the great Father hears them and smiles upon them. To have God’s faith is to have the immediacy of His ear.  This kind of praying is Great! Everyone would be much in prayer if they knew that they had the ear of the King of kings?

This day I will pray in faith, not only believing that I shall be heard, but that I am heard; not only that I shall be answered, but that I have the answer already.

 

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" #John 14:13

Not every believer has learned to pray in Christ’s name. To ask in His name, as authorized by Him, is a high order of prayer.  When the petition is clearly right with God’s word we then may dare to set the name of Jesus to it, as then it must be granted.

Prayer is all the more sure to succeed because it is for the Father’s glory through the Son. It glorifies His truth, His faithfulness, His power, His grace. The granting of prayer, when offered in the name of Jesus, reveals the Father’s love to Him, and the honor which He has put upon Him. The glory of Jesus and of the Father are so wrapped up together, that the grace which magnifies the one magnifies the other.

The river is made famous through the fullness of the fountain, and the fountain is honored through the river by which it flows. If the answering of our prayers would dishonor our Lord, we would not pray; but since in this thing He is glorified, we will pray without ceasing in that dear name in which God and His people have a fellowship of delight.

 

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" #2Kings 6:16

Horses and chariots, and a great host, trapped the prophet in Dothan . His young servant was frightened. How could they escape from such a large body of armed men? But the prophet had eyes which his servant did not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm. Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron.

Even so is it at this hour. The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth is abused in their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for anxiety. Agents for Christ, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind, are on the side of righteousness. God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need. The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil. Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the honor of Godly men who possess an encouraging secret, which has lifted them above all fear. We are on the winning side. The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end. Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: "They that be with us are more than they that be with them."

 

"If thou seek him, he will be found of thee" #1Chron 28:9

We need God; we can have Him for the seeking. He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face. It is not, if you deserve Him, or purchase His favor, but merely if you "seek" Him. Those who already know the Lord must go on seeking His face by prayer, by diligent service, and by holy gratefulness: to such He will not refuse His favor and fellowship. Those who, as yet, have not known Him to find their hearts rest should begin seeking today, and never cease till they find Him as their Savior, their Friend, their Father, and their God.

This promise is strong assurance to the seeker! "He that seeketh findeth." You, yes you, if you seek your God shall find Him. When you find Him you have found life, pardon, sanctification, preservation, and glory. Seek, and seek on, you shall not seek in vain?  Here is the place, and now is the time. Bend that stiff knee; yes, bend that stiffer neck, and cry out for God, for the living God. In the name of Jesus seek cleansing and justification. You shall not be refused. Here is David’s testimony to his son Solomon, and it is my personal witness to you. Believe it and act upon it.

 

"He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee" #Job 5:19

Eliphaz spoke the truth of God. We may have as many troubles as the workdays of the week, but the God who worked on those six days will work for us till our deliverance is complete. We know there is a rest in Him our Sabbath. The rapid succession of trials is one of the sorest tests of faith. Before we have recovered from one blow, it is followed by another and another till we stagger. Still, the equally quick succession of deliverances is exceedingly reassuring. Our confidence is that when the Lord allows our six trials, six there will be, and no more.

It may be that we have no day of rest, for seven troubles have come upon us. What then? "In seven there shall be no evil touch thee." Evil may roar at us, but it shall be kept at more than arm’s length, and shall not touch us. Its hot breath may distress us, but its little finger cannot be laid upon us.

With our loins gird about us we will meet the six or the seven troubles, and leave fear
to those who have no Father, no Savior, and no Sanctifier.

 

"For his anger endureth but a moment;  in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night,  but joy cometh in the morning" #Ps 30:5

A moment under the strain of difficult times seems very long, and yet it is but a moment after all. If we grieve the Father’s Spirit we cannot look for His smile; but He is a loving God ready to pardon, and He soon puts aside all remembrance of our faults. When we faint and are ready to die because of life’s humiliations, His favor puts new life into us.

Our weeping night soon turns into joyous day. Brevity is the mark of mercy in the hour of a believer’s trials.

Come, my heart, begin your hallelujahs! Do not weep all through the night, but wipe your eyes in anticipation of the morning. These tears mean for us much good when the light breaks. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace; and make the vision of His favor more precious. A night of sorrow supplies those shades of the pictures by which the highlights are brought out with distinctness. All is truly well to those who love Him.

Published by Amazing Grace Ministries Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Distributed by Amazing Grace Ministries Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the Authorized / King James Version (KJV)  No part of these articles or  books  may be reproduced without written permission except for brief quotation in books and critical reviews.
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