Sunday, September 4, 2016

Days of Heaven on Earth

Mark 6:31 (NIV)
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

0ne of the greatest hindrances to spirituality is the lack of waiting upon God. We cannot go through 24 hours with just the breaths of air we inhale as we sip our morning coffee. We must, rather, live in the atmosphere and breathe it all day long.

Christians do not wait upon God enough. It requires hours and hours daily of spiritual communion with the Holy Spirit to keep our vitality healthful and full. Every moment should find us breathing out ourselves into Christ, and breathing afresh His life.

God is waiting to send us the Holy Spirit. He is longing to bless us. His one business is to quicken and sustain our spiritual life with His infinite and great resources. Let us receive Him. Let us live in Him. Let us give to Him the joy of knowing that His infinite grace has not been bestowed in vain, but that we appreciate and appropriate the blessings He bestows.

Lord, help me this day to dwell in Thee as the flower in the sunshine, as the fish in the sea, living in Thy love as the atmosphere and element of my being.

- A.B. Simpson

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Be Wise: Look Ahead and Face Reality

“The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts” (Proverbs 14:8 TLB).

Many people in life start out well, but they end up progressing poorly because they don’t plan for the pitfalls. But the Bible says the wise man looks ahead and faces reality.
As we make plans for our future, we all face pitfalls, such as cultural distractions, voices of doubt, tempting shortcuts, and discouraging delays. Just look at Noah: He had pitfalls after God told him to build the ark, but he overcame them — and you can, too.

Now, this doesn’t mean God will give you a goal as audacious as building an ark, but I pray he’ll give you a big goal — even an audacious one — for your next 10 years.

The Bible says, “The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts” (Proverbs 14:8 TLB). By looking ahead, we’ll not only be prepared to spot the pitfalls when they come into our lives; we’ll also be equipped to make plans that help us become the man or woman God wants us to be.

Ask God to help you establish goals for the next decade of your life. Then you’ll be ready to move forward and learn how to handle the pitfalls that could potentially keep you from getting where God wants you to go.

What are the lessons from your last 10 years that you can apply to your next decade?

When you look to the future, who do you want to become? What do you want God to accomplish in your life?

How do your goals reflect the power of God in your life? Do you dream big because you serve a big God?

- Rick Warren

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Looking Back

There is an art of forgetting, and every Christian should become skilled in it. Forgetting the things which are behind is a positive necessity if we are to become more than mere babes in Christ. If we cannot trust God to have dealt effectually with our past we may as well throw in the sponge now and have it over with. Fifty years of grieving over our sins cannot blot out their guilt. But if God has indeed pardoned and cleansed us, then we should count it done and waste no more time in sterile lamentations. And thank God this sudden obliteration of our familiar past does not leave us with a vacuum. Far from it. Into the empty world vacated by our sins and failures rushes the blessed Spirit of God, bringing with Him everything new. New life, new hope, new enjoyments, new interests, new purposeful toil, and best of all a new and satisfying object toward which to direct our soul's enraptured gaze. God now fills the recovered garden, and we may without fear walk and commune with Him in the cool of the day. Right here is where the weakness of much current Christianity lies. We have not learned where to lay our emphasis. Particularly we have not understood that we are saved to know God, to enter His wonder-filled Presence through the new and living way and remain in that Presence forever. We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God. The Triune God with all of His mystery and majesty is ours and we are His, and eternity will not be long enough to experience all that He is of goodness, holiness and truth. In heaven they rest not day or night in their ecstatic worship of the Godhead. We profess to be headed for that place; shall we not begin now to worship on earth as we shall do in heaven?


- A.W. Tozer

Friday, July 22, 2016

If you believe in this, then you must believe that . .

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying. For instance, we say in the Creed “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” I had been saying it for several years before I asked myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight it seems hardly worth putting in. “If one is a Christian,” I thought, “of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying.” But the people who compiled the Creed apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church. And I have begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not nearly so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that very easily slips away if we don’t keep on polishing it up.

We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord’s Prayer; was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven. No part of His teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it. He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.


- C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory

Friday, July 15, 2016

Revival Conditions

Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting "Glory to God," it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way. We are calling on God to send fire on our altars, completely ignoring the fact that they are our altars and not God's. And like the prophets of Baal we are working ourselves into a frenzy as if we could by violence command the arm of the Almighty.

The whole error results from a confused notion of revival and a failure to recognize the moral laws that underlie the kingdom of God. God never moves whimsically; His ways are never impulsive or erratic. He never sends judgment unless there has been a violation of His laws, nor does He send blessing apart from obedience to those laws. So precise are His movements both in justice and in mercy that an intelligent observer, aware of the circumstances, could predict with complete accuracy any visitation of judgment or grace God might send to a nation, a church or an individual.

Of this we may be certain: We cannot continue to ignore God's will as expressed in the Scriptures and expect to secure the aid of God's Spirit. God has given us a complete blueprint for the Church and He requires that we adhere to it 100 percent. Message, morals and methods are there, and we are under strict obligation to be faithful to all three. Today we have the strange phenomenon of a company of Christians solemnly protesting to heaven and earth the purity of their Bible creed, and at the same time following the unregenerate world in their methods and managing only with difficulty to keep their moral standards from sinking out of sight. Coldness, worldliness, pride, boasting, lying, misrepresenting, love of money, exhibitionism--all these things are practiced by professedly orthodox Christians, not in secret but in plain sight and often as a necessary part of the whole religious show.


- A. W. Tozer

The Devil’s Most Wanted List

"My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil’s most wanted list."  Leonard Ravenhill

This is a powerful statement!  If we are on the devil’s most wanted list we are on God’s most useful list!  Leonard would also say that if we are not known in hell we are not worth a hill of beans.  Does the kingdom of darkness know you exist here today?  Are you a threat to the strongholds of the enemy?  If you are not, what good are you to God?  

See our life as a Christian is not to be one of passivity, but of aggression.  We are to be fighting the good fight of faith.  We are to be on the offensive advancing the Kingdom of God and destroying the works of the enemy!  We are to follow Jesus Christ and do as He did.  It says in 1 John 3:8 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  We have a very similar purpose in being birthed into the family of God. Our purpose as a Christian is not to sit around until we are raptured out of here or passively hear a sermon very week or so until we die!  Ever since the very moment you were born again into the kingdom of God you have been called to destroy the works of the enemy!  You are called to be deeply in love with God through Bible reading, prayer and worship.  This intimacy and love for God is to then flow out of you to go and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who are lost and captivated by sin.  

If there is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than there must also be more tears and sorrow in hell over one sinner who repents.  For every soul that hears the Gospel and believes, the devil’s strongholds over that person is broken.  Do you want to be on the devil’s most wanted list, then go around telling the world that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son sent to deliver them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Gods love.  Begin to do the works of Jesus Christ.  Jesus went about teaching, preaching and healing the sick.  

The devil hates when believers start to operate in the supernatural and perform genuine Holy Spirit empowered miracles.  This is why satan has so many counterfeits.  Praise God though, when the Holy Spirit begins to move and do supernatural things in people, there is nothing more to be said.  When God confirms the Gospel message with true healings, miracles and demonic deliverances, the devil’s power is squashed flat.  Christ has defeated him and the devil stays in submission to His name now and forever.

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”  Acts 19:13-16

Are you known in hell?  Is your life doing something for the kingdom of God?  Let us be like Ravenhill and desire to be on the devil’s most wanted list.  This is nothing to fear, because we know that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  We need to make our lives count!  We cannot simply coast through life giving half effort in the things of God.  Let us, by the grace of God, give our all in all!  Let us wage war against the sin, corruption, hunger, homelessness, drug dealers, murderers and overall wickedness of this world.  How do we do that?  By preaching the Gospel!  By saving souls.  By living a holy life full of loving others the way Jesus loved them.

Scripture of the Day:  Acts 19:13-16
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” 

Leonard Ravenhill

Do what is NOT your duty

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. —Matthew 5:39

This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus— it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, “Do your duty,” but is, in effect, “Do what is not your duty.” It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, “Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood.” Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling “up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.

Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is— Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.


OSWALD CHAMBERS

My Utmost for His Highest