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Jan 09

 

 

 

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DIVINE RECOMPENSE

   "He that watereth shall be watered also himself." #Prov 11:25

   If I carefully consider others, God will consider me; and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the Lord will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord’s own promise; it is mine to fulfill the condition, and then to expect its fulfillment.

   I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to grieve. It is far more profitable for me to become unselfish, and then out of love of my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall I do? I will pull the plug, and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around me. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock flows out to water others the Lord thinks of me. Hallelujah!

 

   "The liberal soul shall be made fat." #Prov 11:25

  
If I desire to flourish in soul, I must not hoard up my stores, but must offer to God my very best. To be close and miserly is the world’s way to prosperity, but it is not God’s way, for He says, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty." Faith’s way of gaining is giving. We must find in our hearts the joy of giving again and again; and we then may expect much prosperity will come to us as a gracious reward for a liberal course of action. We then will have fatness with contentment

   I am thoroughly content. For our sake the Lord Jesus "became poor" that He might lift us up into communion with Himself.

Feb 09

 

 

 

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NEVER DESPAIR

"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings"
#Malachi 4:2

Fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and yet to have a fuller accomplishment in His second advent, yet this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark for you? Does the night deepen into a denser blackness? Still, do not despair: the sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest.

The sun which will arise is no common sort. It is THE sun—the Sun of Righteousness, whose every ray is holiness. He comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law even to save us… ah even to heal us. Jesus as much displays the holiness of God as His love. Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because it is righteous.

Our one question should be—"Do we fear the name of the Lord? Do we reverence the living God, and walk in His ways? "Then for us the night must be short; and when the morning comes, all the sickness even the sorrow of our soul will be over forever. Light, warmth, joy, and clearness of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will quickly follow after.

Has Jesus risen on us? Let us sit in the sun. Is He hidden below the distressed horizon from our gaze? Then wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.

 

 

GOD ALWAYS HEARS

"My God will hear me" #Mic 7:7

 Friends may be unfaithful, but the Lord will not turn away from the gracious soul; on the contrary, He will hear all its desires. The prophet says, "Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. A man’s enemies are the men of his own house." This is a heartbreaking state of affairs; but even in such a case the Best Friend remains true, and we may tell Him all our grief.

Our wisdom is to look unto the Lord, and not to quarrel with men or women. If our loving appeals are disregarded by our own relatives, wait upon the God of our salvation, for He will hear us. He will hear us all the more because of the unkindness and oppression of others, and we shall soon have reason to cry, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy!"

Because God is the living God, He can hear; because He is a loving God, He will hear; because He is our covenant God, He has bound Himself to hear us. If each of us find in our heart to speak of Him as "My God," we may with absolute certainty say, "My God will hear me." Come, now, wounded heart, let your sorrows speak out to the Lord your God! I will bow the knee in secret, and inwardly whisper, "My God will hear me."



A HEAVENLY ESCORT

"And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest" #Gen. 28:15

Do we need traveling mercies? Here are the choice ones—God’s presence and preservation. In all places we need both of these, and in all places we will have them if we go in obedience to the call of duty, and not merely according to our own fancy.

Why should we look upon removal to another place as a sorrowful necessity when it is presented to us by the divine will?  In all lands, in all situations and in every state of being, the believer is equally a pilgrim and a stranger; and yet in everything the Lord is His dwelling-place, even as He has been to His saints in all generations. We may miss the seeming safety of yesterdays place and perceived protection thinking the new a foreboding danger, but when God says, "I will keep thee," we are in no real danger. This is a blessed passport for a spiritual traveler, and a heavenly escort for a spiritual emigrant. Staying the same is seldom God’s will.  We must grow.  We must grow by faith not by sight. We  must increase in His wisdom.

Jacob had never left his father’s room before: he had been a mother’s boy, and not an adventurer like his brother. Yet he began to travel by fearful necessity, and God went with him. He had little luggage, and no attendants; yet no prince ever journeyed with a nobler bodyguard. Even while he slept in the open field, angels watched over him, and the Lord God spoke to him. If the Lord bids us go, let us say with our Lord Jesus, "Arise, let us go hence."



GOD ROUTS OUT FEAR

Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel Nu 23:23

All silly, superstitious fears should be cut up from the root to the branch with this! Even if there were any truth in witchcraft and omens, they could not affect the people of the Lord. Those whom God blesses, devils cannot curse.

Ungodly men, like Balaam, may cunningly plot the overthrow of the Lord’s people; but with all their secrecy and policy they are doomed to fail. Their powder is wet, the edge of their sword is blunted. They gather together; but as the Lord is not with them, they gather together in vain. We may sit still, and let them weave their nets, for we shall not be taken in them. Though they call in the aid of Beelzebub, and employ all his evil craft, it will avail them nothing: the spells will not work, their divination will only further deceive themselves.

What a blessing for us who believe! How it quiets the heart! God’s Jacobs wrestle with God, but none shall wrestle with them and prevail. God’s Israels have power with God and prevail, but none shall have power to prevail against them. We need not fear the fiend himself, nor any of those secret enemies whose words are full of deceit and whose plans are deep and unfathomable. They cannot hurt those who trust in the living God. We defy the devil and all his legions.

 


He restoreth my soul...-Psalms 23:3

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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 12:1-2

Paul, writing to the born-again, Spirit-filled Christians in Romans 12, tells them to do something with their bodies and their minds. Man's spirit is born again at the New Birth - but he still has the same old body and the same soul. He is to present his body to God, and he is to see to it that his mind is renewed.

The Hebrew word translated "restoreth" in Psalm 23 and the Greek word translated "renewed" in Romans 12:2 have just about the same meaning. For example, a valuable antique chair which looks like a wreck can be restored. Afterwards it's still the same chair, but it has been renewed. A man's spirit is never restored; it's born again, or recreated. But his soul is restored when his mind becomes renewed with the Word of God.

The greatest need of the Church today is for believers to have their minds renewed with the Word of God. It is the Word of God that restores the soul, renews souls, and saves souls!




"He will keep the feet of his saints" #1Sa 2:9

The way is slippery, and our feet are feeble, but the Lord will keep our feet. If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be His holy ones, He will Himself be our guardian. Not only will He charge His angels to keep us, but He Himself will preserve our goings.

He will keep our feet from falling, so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.
He will keep our feet from wandering, so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world’s custom.
He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.
He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass, so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed, or be poisoned.
He will also pluck our feet out of the net. We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.

With a promise such as this, let us run without weariness, and walk without fear. He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.




REST IS A GIFT

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" #Mt 11:28

We who are saved find rest in Jesus. Those who are not saved will receive rest if they come to Him, for here He promises to "give" it. Nothing can be freer than a gift; let us gladly accept what He gladly gives. You are not to buy it, nor to borrow it; but to receive it as a gift. You labor under the lash of ambition, covetousness, lust, or anxiety: He will set you free from this iron bondage, and give you rest. You are "laden"—yes, "heavy laden" with sin, fear, care, remorse, fear of death; but if you come to Him, He will unload you. He carried the crushing mass of our sin, that we might no longer carry it. He made Himself the great Burden-bearer, that every heavy laden one might cease from bowing down under the enormous pressure.

Jesus gives rest. It is so. Will you believe it? Will you put it to the test? Will you do so at once? Come to Jesus, by quitting every other hope, by thinking of Him, believing God’s testimony about Him, and trusting everything with Him. If you come as this to Him, the rest which He will give you will be deep, safe, holy, and everlasting. He gives a rest which develops into heaven, and He gives it this day to all who come to Him.

 



Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. -1 John 4:4

 You are under the influence of the Divine Spirit, and have overcome them-your testimony, proceeding from the Spirit of Christ, has invalidated all other words, testimonies of all lies, proceeding from the influence of Satan; for greater is the Holy Spirit which is in you, than the spirit which is in the world.

 The Holy Spirit lives within you to help you!

 He lives within you to strengthen you!

 He lives within you to comfort you!

 He lives within you to heal you!

 He lives within you to bring you prosperity!

 He lives within you to bring you a victorious in life!

 Let you words become positive confessions of your promised testimony instead of talking failure and doubt.



Give It All You’ve Got

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 MSG).  

 When you first wake up to face a new day, give it all you've got!
 When you're dealing with a tough challenge, give it all you've got!
 When you need to make a difficult decision, give it all you've got!
 When it's time to exercise and lift those weights, give it all you've got!
 When you have to go on after a disappointment, give it all you've got!
 When the day is long and you want to shut down, give it all you've got!
 When a change is necessary and you must do it, give it all you've got!
 When you lose someone close and have to go on, give it all you've got!
 When the years pile up and you need to end well, give it all you've got!

The martyred missionary Jim Elliot used these words to say the same thing: "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.

 

Mar 09

 

 

 

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  No Higher Calling than Ministry of the Holy Spirit

"He [God] also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:70-72, emphasis added)

He was a wise ruler, and the psalmist magnifies the Lord for having appointed him.   In closing the Psalm we are glad it ended so peacefully; with all noise of tumult or of sinful rites hushed into silence. After a long voyage over a stormy sea, the ark of the God’s people rested on its mount, it’s sure foundation, beneath a wise and gentle reign, to be hurled about no more hither and thither by floods and gales.  The psalmist had all along intended to make this his last stanza, and we too may be content to finish all our songs of love with the reign of the Lord's anointed.

Thus have we ended this lengthy parable, may we in our life parable have less curse, and as much of grace as displayed in God’s record of His highly favored children, and may we close it under the safe guidance of "that great Shepherd of the sheep."  AMEN.

 

GOD WILL ANSWER

"He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them" Psalm 145:19

The Holy Spirit has shaped this desire in us, therefore He will answer it. It is Christ own life within which prompts the cry, and therefore He absolutely will hear it. Those who fear Him are men under the holiest influence, and, therefore, their desire is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. Like Daniel, they are men of desires, and the Lord will cause them to realize their aspirations.

Holy desires are a grace given in the new spring sprout, and the heavenly Husbandman will cultivate them until they come to a full ear of corn. God-fearing men desire to be holy, to be useful, to be a blessing to others, and so to honor their Lord. They desire supplies for their need, help under burdens, guidance in perplexity, deliverance in distress; and sometimes this desire is so strong, and their case so pressing, that they cry out in agony. Crying out as little children in pain, and then the Lord works most comprehensively, and does all that is needful, according to this Word—and will save them.

Yes, if we fear God, we have nothing else to fear; if we cry to the Lord, our salvation is certain.

Put this text on your tongue, and keep it in your mouth all day long, and it will be to you as "a wafer of sweet delicacy."

 

GOD CAN MAKE YOU STRONG

"Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded" #2Ch 15:7

God did great things for King Asa and Judah, but yet they were feeble folks. Their feet were tottering in the ways of the Lord, and their hearts very hesitating, so that they had to be warned that the Lord would be with them while they were with Him, but that if they forsook Him He would leave them. This was the case under the old covenant.  They were also reminded of the sister kingdom, how poorly it fared in its rebellion, and how the Lord was gracious to them when repentance was shown. The Lord’s design was to confirm them in His way, and make them strong in righteousness. So it ought to be with us. God deserves to be served with all the energy of which we are capable. Though today He is with us and will never leave us, we still tie the hands of God with half hearted responses or staggering faith to serve God’s Word in the church.

If the service of God is worth anything, it is worth everything. We shall find our best reward in the Lord’s work if we do it with determined diligence. Our labor is not in vain in the Lord, and we know it. Half-hearted work will not bring reward; but, when we throw our whole soul into the cause, we shall see prosperity. This text was sent to the author of these notes in a day of terrible storm, and it suggested to proceed under full steam, with the assurance of reaching one’s goals in safety and with a glorious provision.

 

YOU DEAL WITH GOD

"I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man" Hosea 11:9

The Lord makes known His sparing mercies in today’s text. It may be that the reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens a speedy doom. Let the Word of God hold him up from despair. The Lord invites you to consider your ways, and confess your sins. If He had been man, He would have cut you off long ago. If He were now to act after the manner of men, it would be a word and a blow and then it would be an end of you: but this is not so, for "as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are his ways above your ways."

You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keeps not His anger for ever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath. Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you, even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a God to deal with, and not a hard man, nor even a merely just man. No human being could have patience with you: you would have wearied out an angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing father; but God is longsuffering. Come and try Him now. Confess Jesus as Lord, believe, and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved.

 

EVER MINDFUL

"The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us" #Ps 115:12

I can relate to that first sentence. Can’t you? Yes, the Lord has thought of us, provided for us, comforted us, delivered us, and guided us. In all the movements of His divine intervention He has been mindful of us, never overlooking our day to day affairs. His mind has been full of us—that is another definition of the word "mindful." This has been the case all along; without a single break. At special times, however, we have more distinctly seen this mindfulness, and we would recall them at this hour with overflowing gratitude. Yes, yes, "the Lord hath been mindful of us."

The next sentence is a logical inference from the former one. Since God is unchangeable, He will continue to be mindful of us in the future as He has been in the past; and His mindfulness is tantamount to blessing us. But we have here, not only the conclusion of reason but the declaration of inspiration: we have it on the Holy Ghost’s authority—"HE WILL BLESS US." This means great things and even the unsearchable. The very indistinctness of the promise indicates its infinite reach. He will bless us after His own divine manner, and that forever and ever. Therefore, each say, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!"

 

GOD DELIGHTS TO GIVE

"And the Lord said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" #Ge 13:14,15

A special blessing for a memorable occasion. Abram had settled a family dispute. He had said, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me, for we be brethren;" and hence he received the blessing which belongs to peacemakers. The Lord and giver of peace delights to manifest His grace to those who seek peace and pursue it. If we desire closer communion with God, we must keep closer to the ways of peace.

Abram behaved very generously to his kinsman, giving him his choice of the land. If we deny ourselves for peace’ sake, the Lord will more than make it up to us. As far as the patriarch can see, he can claim, and we may possess this privilege like Abram; by faith. Abram had to wait for the actual possession, but the Lord facilitated the giving of the land upon him and his posterity. Boundless blessings belong to us by covenant gift. We are Abraham’s posterity. All things are ours. When we please the Lord, the veil on our eyes is removed and He makes us to look everywhere, and see all things our own, whether things present, or things to come, all are ours, and we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

 

ARE THE KIDS IN?

"I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring" #Isa 44:3

Our dear children do not have the Spirit of God by nature, as we plainly see. We see much in them which makes us fear as to their future, and this drives us to agonizing prayer. When a son becomes especially fallen away, we cry with Abraham, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!" We would sooner see our daughters live as Hannah than as queens. This verse should greatly encourage us. It follows upon the words, "Fear not, O Jacob, my servant," and it has the potential to banish our fears.

The Lord will give His Spirit; will give it plentifully, pouring it out; will give it effectually, so that it shall be a real and eternal blessing. Under this divine outpouring our children shall come forward, and "one shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob."

This is one of those promises which we with offspring inquire of the Lord often. We should, at set times, and in a distinct manner, pray for our offspring? We cannot give them new hearts, but the Holy Spirit can; and He is easily to be entreated of. We cannot always have power over their faith or lack thereof but the Holy Spirit can, The great Father takes pleasure in the prayers of fathers and mothers. Do you have any dear ones outside of the ark? Then do not rest till they are shut in with us by the Lord’s own hand.

 

A MAN WITHOUT FEAR

"And he said, Certainly I will be with thee" #Ex 3:12

Of course, if the Lord sent Moses on an errand, He would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve, and the great power it would require, would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world, and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence He says, "Certainly I will be with thee," as if it were out of the question that He would send him alone.

In my case, also, the same rule holds good. If I go upon the Lord’s errand, with a simple reliance upon His power, and a single eye to His glory, it is certain that He will be with me. His sending me binds Him to back me up. Is this not enough? What more can I want? If all the angels and archangels were with me, I might fail; but if HE is with me, I must succeed. Only let me take care that I act worthily toward this promise. Let me not go timidly, half-heartedly, carelessly, presumptuously. What manner of person ought I to be who has God with him! In such company it behooves me to play the man, and like Moses go in unto Pharaoh without fear.

 

EVEN THE FAINTEST CALL

"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered" #Joel 2:32

Why do I not call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down, and devise schemes, and invent plans? Why not now roll myself and my burden upon the Lord? Straightforward is the best runner—why do I not run right now to the living God? In vain I look for deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal “SHALL” to make it sure.

I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word "Whosoever" is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I therefore will follow the leading of the text, and right now will call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise.

My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find out ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver me.

 

JUSTICE SATISFIED

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you" #Ex 12:13

My own sight of the precious blood is for my comfort; but it is the Lord’s sight of it which safely secures me. Even when I am unable to see it, the Lord looks at it, and passes over me because of it. If I am disquieted, because my faith is dim, yet I am equally safe, because the Lord’s eye is not dim, and He sees the blood of the great Sacrifice with a steady gaze. This brings great joy to my heart!

The Lord sees the deep inner meaning, the infinite fullness of all that is meant by the death of His dear Son. He sees it with restful memory of justice satisfied, and all His matchless attributes glorified. He beheld creation in its progress, and said, "It is very good;" but what does He say of redemption in its completeness? What does He say of the obedience even unto death of His Well-beloved Son? No one can know our Father’s delight in Jesus, His rest in the sweet savor which Jesus presented when He offered Himself without spot unto God.

Now we rest in calm security. We have God’s Sacrifice and God’s Word to create in us a sense of perfect security. He will, He must, pass over us, because He did not spare our glorious Substitute. Justice joins hands with love to provide everlasting salvation for all the blood-sprinkled ones.   

God’s Oath

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."  Job 1:21

Following this incredible statement, God added:

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. (1:22)

Right about now, I'm shaking my head. How could anyone handle such a series of grief-laden ordeals so calmly? Think of the aftermath: bankruptcy, pain, weakness, 10 fresh graves . . . the loneliness of those empty rooms. Yet we read that he worshiped God, he did not sin, nor did he blame his Maker.

Well, why didn't he? How could he ward off the bitterness or ignore thoughts of suicide? At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I suggest three basic answers: Job claimed God's loving assurance in His Word; he counted on the promise of resurrection; and he confessed his own lack of control deferring to the hope of God’s best.  

GROW UP

"And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall" Malachi 4:2

Yes, when the sun shines, even the sick leave their bed chambers, and walk outside to breathe the fresh air. When the sun brings spring and summer, the cattle leave their stalls, and seek pasture on the higher mountains and hills. Thus, when we have conscious fellowship with our Lord, “we leave the stall of despondency, and walk abroad in the fields of holy confidence. We ascend to the mountains of joy, and feed on sweet pasturage which grows nearer Heaven than the food of carnal men.”

To "go forth" and to "grow up" is a double promise. Be eager to enjoy both blessings! Why should you be a prisoner? Arise, walk free. Jesus said that His sheep shall go in and out and find pasture; go forth and feed in the rich meadows of boundless love.

 

April 09

 

 

 

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It does not say, "Do not make him angry."

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."-- Eph 4:30

"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." It does not say, "Do not make him angry." There are some men with such a hard character, that to make another angry does not give them very much pain; and indeed, there are many of us who are scarcely moved by the information that another is angry with us.

But where is the heart so hard, that it is not moved when we know that we have caused others grief?--for grief is a sweet combination of anger and of love. It is anger, but with all the provocation taken out of it. Love sweetens the anger, and takes the edge off it, not against the person, but against the offense. We all know how we use the two terms in contra-distinction one against the other. When I commit any offense, some friend who has only a little patience, suddenly their forbearance snaps and they are angry with me. The same offense is observed by a loving father, and he is grieved. There is a disturbing anger in his heart, but he is angry and he sins not, for he is angry against my sin; and yet there is love to neutralize and modify the anger towards me.  He in his wisdom knows and looks at the sin itself as being the fault and longs to restore the loved one to peace.

Let your heart be soft today toward the Holy Spirits true leadings.  Follow with readiness of mind and heart.

 

The Good Fight

Fight the good fight of faith....-1 Timothy 6:12

 The only fight the Christian is called upon to fight is the faith fight.

 If you're in any other kind of fight, you're in the wrong kind of fight.  There's no need to fight the devil - Jesus has already defeated him.  There's no need for fighting sin - Jesus is the cure for sin.  But there is a fight (enemies or hindrances) to faith.

 The greatest enemy to faith is a lack of understanding of God's Word.  In fact, all hindrances to faith center around this lack of knowledge, because you cannot believe or have faith beyond your actual knowledge of the Word of God.

 However, your faith will automatically expand into your physical world as your understanding of God's Word grows (Romans 10:17).  If your faith is not put into effect, it's because your knowledge of God's Word is not growing.  And you cannot grow or develop spiritually if you are not exercising your God given faith.

 

Ignorance is not bliss

"examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Slice it any way you wish, ignorance is not bliss. Dress it in whatever garb you please, ignorance is not attractive. Neither is it the mark of humility nor the path to spirituality. It certainly is not the companion of wisdom.

On the contrary, it is the breeding ground for fear, prejudice, and superstition . . . the feeding trough for unthinking animals . . . the training field for slavery. It is blind and naked (Tennyson), the mother of impudence (Spurgeon), it brings despairing darkness (Shakespeare), never settles a question (Disraeli), nor promotes innocence (Browning). And yet it remains the favorite plea of the guilty, the excuse of the lazy---and even the Christian's rationalization for immaturity.

In Samuel's day, a school of the prophets was formed to dispel the ignorance among the people.

This philosophy carried into the New Testament as Jesus frequently rebuked His listeners for not reading, not knowing the underlying principles for living. How often Paul expressed similar convictions with such strong words as, "I do not want you to be unaware." Dr. Luke commended the church at Berea because they were "examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Swindoll

Mighty triumph o’er His foes

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

What appeared to be defeat was actually the preface of victory. That ugly, rugged cross took its toll, but it failed to have the final voice.

Deep in the silence of night, against all odds and in mockery of strong-armed soldiers, that victim became the Victor. "Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes." Or, as Charles Wesley wrote of that Easter-morning miracle:

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

The bloody battlefield paled into a misty memory as the tomb opened its jaws for all to enter. Death could not keep its prey . . . He tore the bars away . . . He came back from beyond.  In the bowels of the earth, deep in the shadows of Sheol, there was a cry of war, chains of death and sin exploded casting the fallen warriors of evil in all directions.  The combat heightened as Jesus in resurrection power came hand to hand with the prince of darkness in his desperate attempt to stop the Lord of Glory.  All his dark might, all his dark power brought to naught as he bowed his head under the foot of the King of Heaven, Earth, and the Grave.

Every year the empty cross, yes the empty tomb, yes even the empty paradise makes its own bold proclamation. Etched into the monument of  victory is a Name that is above every name, the gentle Conqueror, the King of Kings, the sovereign Lord.

On Easter Sunday we shall again visit that historic battleground. We won't find Him there on a cross or standing tall as a bronzed statue of the  cross. For "He is not here . . . He has risen, just as He said" (Matthew 28:6).

 

 

to cheat oneself.       

Eph 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,

 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

Philip Bailey, the nineteenth-century poet, made this statement:

“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself.
All sin is easy after that.”

Receive the best you can be.  Do not consider your life a lost sacrifice but rather a promise being fulfilled.  Think long term… What will I be known for?  Communicate your good deeds and reap the benefits of righteousness.  Begin today to build your blessings and give praise to God in all things.

 

Guard Yourself

Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

"Watch out," said John, in effect. "Be on guard against anything that might occupy the place in your heart that should be reserved for God."

John never qualified that warning. The aged apostle deliberately refrained from classifying the idols or giving us a comprehensive list to follow. It's an unconditional command. Any idol, regardless of its beauty or usefulness or original purpose, is to be set aside so that Christ might reign supreme, without a single competitor.

I don't have many temptations to worship evil things. It's the good things that plague me. It isn't as difficult for me to reject something that is innately bad or wrong as it is to keep those good and wholesome things off the throne. That, I believe, is where the battle line begins. Swindoll

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Act in Love

...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.-Romans 5:5

"I hate my mother-in-law!" a minister's wife said. "I don't even know if I am saved or not, because the Bible says, 'Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him'" (1 John 3:15) This woman was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But she was letting the devil dominate her through her mind and her flesh.

Her minister said, "Look me in the eye and say out loud, 'I hate my mother-in-law.' As you are saying this, check up on the inside of you - because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, not our heads - and tell me what is happening."

She did as she was asked and said, surprised, "Something is 'scratching' me down in my spirit!"

"Yes, something on the inside of you is trying to get your attention," Her minister said. "The love of God in your spirit wants to dominate you, but you are allowing your mind - where those thoughts have built up - to dominate you.. In your heart, you actually love everyone."

"Yes, I do," she agreed. "What shall I do now?"

"Act in love. And let your heart dominate you - not your head."

 

See the Salvation of the Lord

Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.   Exodus 14:13

These words contain God's command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties.  He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do?

The Master's word to him is, "Stand still."  It is well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master's word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.  

Despair whispers, "Lie down and die; give it all up."  But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, "Retreat; go back to the world's way of action; you cannot play the Christian's part, it is too difficult.  Relinquish your principles."  

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God.  His divine decree has dried out to us go from strength to strength, and so we shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn us from our Lord’s course.  What, if for a while we are called to stand still, yet this is but to renew our strength for some greater advance in due time.  

Impetuosity cries, "do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness."  We must be doing something at once--we must do it so we think--instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, "If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle."  

But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Rash Behavior, but it hears God say, "Stand still," so as immovable as a rock it must stand.

"Stand still";--keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward."

 

HEAR SO AS TO BE HEARD

"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

Make a clear note of this, that we must hear Jesus speak if we expect Him to hear us speak. If we have no ear for Christ, He will have no ear for us. In proportion as we hear we shall be heard.

Moreover, what is heard must remain, must live in us, and must abide in our character as a force and a power. We must receive the truths which Jesus teaches, the precepts which He issues, and the movements of His Spirit within us; or we shall have no power at the mercy-seat.

Think for a moment of the boundless field of privilege that opens to us when we receive our Lord’s words, and have them abide in us! We are to have whatever we ask  in prayer, because we have already surrendered our will to the Lord’s command. Thus are Elijahs trained to handle the keys of Heaven, and lock or loose the clouds. One such man is worth a thousand common souls. Do we humbly desire to be intercessors for the church and the world, and like Luther to be able to have what we will of the Lord? Then we must bow our ear to the voice of the Well-beloved, and treasure His words, and carefully obey them. One has need to "hearken diligently" if you want to pray effectually.

 

Victory of Faith

Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand.
1 Samuel 17:50

“What an interesting counterstrategy! To this day, two timeless truths of giant warfare live on. Both are as appropriate today as they were in the days of Goliath.

Prevailing over giants isn't accomplished by using their technique. That's "lesson one" for all of us. Goliath might have been mistaken for the battleship Missouri with all his noise and bronze. Not David . . . he didn't even carry a sword! His greatest piece of armor, the lethal weapon that made him unique and gave him victory, was his inner shield of faith. It kept him free from fear, it made him hard of hearing threats, it gave him cool composure amidst chaos, and it cleared his vision.

Conquering giants isn't accomplished without great skill and discipline. To be God's warrior, to fight His way, demands much more expertise and control than one can imagine. Using the sling and stone of the Spirit is a far more delicate thing than swinging the club of the flesh. But oh, how sweet is the victory when the stone finds its mark . . . and how final.”

 

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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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