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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Number One Cause for Spiritual Drought

By far the Scriptures teach that the number one cause for spiritual drought is sin.  And the number one cure for drought, according to the Scriptures, is repentance.
In 2 Chronicles 6:26-27, King Solomon is clear in this prayer,

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.

Notice that the heavens were shut up, there was no rain, because of sin.  But when the people confessed God's name and turned and repented, Solomon prayed, "God, hear and open the heavens once again and send rain."

This prayer is particularly significant because Solomon is praying at the dedication of the temple.  Scripture declares to us in 2 Corinthians 6:16You are the temple of the living God.

The Old Testament temple was just a type and a shadow pointing to better things—to the era in which God would no longer dwell in buildings made with mortar and stone, but take up residence in human hearts.

That's you and me!  As 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are not our own.  We have been bought with a price, and God's expectation is that we glorify Him in our bodies.  You and I are God's temple.

If there is sin in your life, turn from it and turn to God, so that you can experience the refreshing rain of God's blessing in your life.

~Bayless Conley~

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 54

The Universal Range of the Eternal Purpose

We resume our consideration of this subject by asking - What is the thing that is really upon our hearts as the burden of the Lord at this time? What is the object which we have so strongly in view?

A Primary Object of Present Divine Need

My answer is, without any hesitation or equivocation, that I believe and feel most strongly and intensely that what the Lord is after, what the Lord needs, what the Lord is seeking to possess Himself of, is a vessel in such relationship to Himself and His throne in the heavens, as will bring that throne and that heavenly dominion and authority very mightily to bear upon the whole spiritual system of His enemy, upon the principalities and upon the powers and upon the world rulers of this darkness and upon the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies, as they have control of this cosmos. What the Lord is seeking after is a vessel that is in such a relationship to Himself that it will register the throne of God upon those forces and upon the cosmos.

Now that is what is weighing with me tremendously, and that is the burden of these days. That has been the thing central to the six gatherings which we have already had as we have been dwelling largely in the Book of Daniel, and what we are going on with today is not a departure from that, it is only a following up, a continuation, for we said earlier in the conference that the Book of Daniel and the Letter to the Ephesians have very much in common. The principles are the same. And so we are perhaps more in Ephesians now than in Daniel so far as the actual Scripture is concerned, we are still dealing with the same matter. In the Book of Daniel we saw four men, and the Lord making One, in the midst of them, forming a vessel, an instrument for the registration of the rule of the heavens upon the spiritual forces operating back of world systems, and we saw the breaking in of the government of the heavens again and again as those men operated in fellowship with the throne of God. And that is where we are and everything is gathered up into that, and I do trust that with all that may be said which may be more or less helpful, illuminating or interesting or informative, we shall see that the center and heart of the whole thing is just that God shall have in us individually and collectively, wherever He may place us on this earth, vessels, an instrument in such a spiritual union with Himself in the heavenlies that the heavenly thing may be wrought out.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 55)

One of the Broadest Avenues that Lead to Destruction!

I do not hesitate for a moment to pronounce the theater to be one of the broadest avenues that lead to destruction! Fascinating no doubt it is, but on that account the more delusive and the more dangerous. Let a young man once acquire a taste for this species of entertainment, and yield himself up to its gratification--and he is in great danger of becoming a lost character, rushing upon his ruin. All the evils that can . . .

  corrupt his morals, 

  blast his reputation, 

  embitter his life, 

  and destroy his soul--

lurk in the purlieus of the theater! Vice in every form lives and moves and has its being there. Myriads have cursed the hour when they first exposed themselves to the contamination of the theater.

Light and darkness are not more opposed to each other, than the Bible and the theater. If the one is good--then the other must be evil. If the Scriptures are to be obeyed--then the theater must be avoided. The only way to justify the theater, as it is, as it has ever been and is ever likely to be, is to condemn the Bible--the same individual can not defend both!

(Editor's note: Hannah More's words have certainly come true in our generation. Our American "entertainment" has perhaps done more to corrupt our society than anything else. We Christians would do well to evaluate our entertainment choices by God's Word.)

~Hannah More (1745-1833)~

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 53

They That Honor God, God Will Honor (continued)

"Through faith ... not of weakness were made strong; waxed valiant in fight" (Hebrews 11:34). "The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). But it is immensely important to recognize the place of honoring God. It is just the opposite of nature; it represents the work of the cross having been done. The natural man never will honor God. He may in a mock-humility, but flesh never has, and never will honor God; flesh always takes glory to itself. The most difficult thing for the Lord is to use anybody very much. Whenever the Lord begins to use us there is always that little demon sitting upon our shoulder whispering in our ears: "You are becoming successful, you are becoming something," and that is the Lord's difficulty with this flesh of ours. It does so quickly become gratified with any kind of success or blessing, take something to itself, and when people foolishly begin to gather around and make something of the instrument, as though the instrument were an authority, the flesh feels so nice about it and begins to purr like a cat. Self-satisfaction - that is the curse, and it gets in God's way. For heaven to come in completely God must be honored, it must be all the Lord and that means when God is honored He can go on with His work. It is a law of spiritual power, spiritual authority. If Christ had power and authority over the devil it was surely because of the emptiness of His life from the self-principle. We have often said that the root sin is self interest.

May the Lord just take a look at these two things and bring them home to our hearts. May we keep in mind what the Lord is after in these days is to bring individuals, and a company of people in this world into a place that through them the heavens may govern, and the powers back of this world system may recognize that there is a God in heaven!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 54 - (The Universal Range of the Eternal Purpose)

I Will Meditate In Thy Precepts

Psalm 119:15
I will meditate in Thy precepts.
There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in His service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser's feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom. Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this morning, "I will meditate in Thy precepts."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 52

They That Honor God, God Will Honor (continued)

Beloved, that represents something very, very valuable to the Lord and gives the Lord a way. There was never for one moment a hint that it was in themselves to do anything. You read chapter one and you find that those who were brought in before the king, of the children of the captivity, were to be of the royal seed and of those who held high positions among the Jews in their own nation, socially and intellectually; they were to be wise, taught in all the learning and science of their own people and well read, and Daniel and the other three were chosen because they occupied that high position socially and intellectually and were learned in all the wisdom of their people, but never for one moment in the hour of crisis did they hint that any ability of theirs would solve the problem, would give the answer. "There is a God in heaven." They honored God. They gave no honor in the first place to the king's meat. The difficulty with the prince of the eunuchs was that if Daniel carried out his purpose, and his brethren did likewise, their countenances would be poorer and they would look less well nourished than those who received the king's meat. Daniel and his brethren honored God and refused to give any honor to the king's meat or wine. If they looked the same as the others, having partaken of the king's food,s where was the superiority of the spiritual over the natural? And so they determined to refuse the king's meat and they said in effect: "At the end of the time of probation you will find that we are better than the rest, without the meat." They honored God, they were trusting God, they gave no honor to the king's meat. They took no honor to themselves and their own ability. They attributed all to God, and whenever a situation of difficulty arose they went to the Lord about it. In the first instance, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel having been given a space of time sought out his three brethren and before the Lord they sought guidance. You see it was always honoring God: "For them that honor Me I will honor," and He did (1 Samuel 2:30).

This is perhaps a very simple principle and you may hardly see the force of it but a vessel that is really going to bring God into evidence, and the heavens into evidence so that the forces of hell and earth are going to have to take account of this and say: "There is that here which cannot be accounted for on any human ground whatever this is something beyond the natural, this is something more than man, this is none other than God," a vessel that is going to bring in a testimony like that, a vessel that is going to be instrumental in making every knee to bow to Him, has got to be one which is wholly and utterly relying and dependent upon the Lord, taking nothing to itself, honoring God. It must be a vessel which is empty of everything but the Lord and gives the Lord His place, and in everything it is perfectly clear that it is the Lord; not man or woman, the company, the movement, the organization, not the brain behind the thing, the ability, the acumen, but the Lord; on the human plane there is nothing to account for this; this is the Lord.

That is what the Lord is after, to get that testimony. It was like that in the first days of the Church. "For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God chose the foolish things of the world, that He might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that He might put to shame the thing that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea, and the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are; that no flesh should glory before God" (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). But the thing which governs that strange providence of God in making sure that His vessel is an empty one and in himself a weak one and one which will take no honor to itself, the thing which governs Him in so dealing with His vessel is to make sure that all who see, know, wholly attribute it to Himself. You want God to come in? God will come in in the measure in which you go out! The heavens will come  in in so far as we are emptied and stripped of all natural resources, and if we are emptied out to the last drop that may be God's way of making room for a larger manifestation of heaven. It is true to spiritual experience. When you are weak and conscious of personal helplessness, that is not the time to throw up your hands and say: "I am no good for anything and never shall be," that is the time to say there is plenty of room for the Lord, and to exercise faith in the Lord to come in, and the Lord's providences and sovereignty operate along the line of weakening  us to make us strong.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 53)

Our Incomparable Companion

Most of us don’t like being alone for extended periods of time. In fact, we are not designed to live in isolation. Even at the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen.2:18). But sometimes situations in life leave us separated from others. Or perhaps we simply feel lonely, even though we live with our mate or family. But whatever your situation may be, if you are a believer, you’re never alone.

Knowing His followers could feel abandoned after His crucifixion and ascension, Jesus promised to send them a Helper who would never leave them—the Spirit of truth. The same One who came to them at Pentecost still abides within every believer. He has been sent to walk alongside us as our comforter, enabler, and guide.

The Holy Spirit, unlike human companions, is perfectly adequate to meet our every need. Since He knows us intimately, He can comfort us in pain and loss when no one else can. Anytime we find ourselves in a quandary, He knows exactly what we ought to do. Since the future is laid bare before His eyes, He’s aware of all the details that concern us. What’s more, He promises to guide us each step of the way, calming our fears and overcoming our inadequacies.
Because we were created for God, only through His Spirit are we made complete. He is the ultimate solution to man’s aloneness: He’s always available and will never forsake or forget you. When others let you down, the Comforter is present to lift you up with the reminder that you’re not alone.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 51

satan's Vantage Ground (continued)

Chapter two, of course, brings in the practical outworking of that and it is not long after Daniel has purposed in his heart that he comes into action, God brings him forward under such circumstances and conditions as put the whole situation into Daniel's hands. The king dreams. No magician, no wise men in all Babylon can help the king in the interpretation of the dream and he commands that they all be slain, and they seek for Daniel and his companions to be included in the slaying. Daniel asks: "Why is the decree so hasty from the king?" Asks the king to appoint a time - "There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets," and so the time, the space is given and Daniel mobilizes the prayer forces, goes to his three companions, calls them together, and then in the night vision the thing is revealed to Daniel, and out of the secret history of moral ascendancy there issues the outward and public expression of that ascendancy and the whole situation is put into the hands of Daniel, he is the man in command.

They That Honor God, God Will Honor

Now what is the next thing as a secret, for the vessel, as to its ascendancy? The first thing is the purposing of heart. The second is the honoring of God, and that is a thing which runs right through this book. It comes out in very clear definition. "There is a God in heaven," and all the way through when a crisis arises and there is an emergency, it is always a recognition of the God of the heavens, and without any kind of veiling, covering up, hiding, compromise. The declaration is made: "There is a God in heaven." God is honored. You remember when the image was set up in the plain of Dura and all were commanded to bow down and worship that image, these three companions and Daniel refused to worship the image, and they were brought before the king and challenged as to why they refused. What was their answer? "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter" - that is fine! There is no place for any argument. The fact is that we are responsible to God; that is settled for us in our hearts forever. We do not argue, we do not explain, we have taken our position of absolute faithfulness to God and that is all there is to it. If you throw us into the fiery furnace it makes no difference to the position we have taken. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" - this is settled once and for all, the thing which is paramount is that we honor God.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 52)

A Godly Heart

The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts. But many people take this passage out of context, forgetting that their own mindset plays a vital part in bringing it to fruition. As my mother once said, "Where your mind goes, your feet go, so be careful what you think about."
What is your responsibility when it comes to claiming promises from God?
Delight yourselves in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). Christians should rejoice in God and desire to walk in obedience. The Lord must have first place in your life before you can claim the promise in this verse.

Commit your way to the Lord (v. 5). Allow God to change any aspect of your ambition that is not His will.

Remember that when He doesn't answer a prayer as you wished, it is for a reason.

Trust in Him (v. 5). God is merciful, all-knowing, kind, and generous. You can trust Him with your hopes and dreams.

Rest in Him (v. 7). Resting in the Lord means trusting Him to answer prayers in His timing or transform your aspirations so they conform to His will.

Wait upon the Lord patiently (v. 7). Jesus waited three decades before beginning His three-year ministry on earth. According to His example, waiting is one of the key principles of Christian living.
Do your desires align with God's purpose and plan for your life? He longs to give His followers abundant blessings and fullness of joy. So allow your dreams to be conformed to the Lord's will, and follow His guidance faithfully. Only when you surrender to Him will you experience God's best for your life.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 50

They That Honor God, God Will Honor (continued)

satan's Vantage Ground

"Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank"; for the king of Babylon was related to Nebuchadnezzar's gods, to idolatry, and this Book of Daniel shows perfectly clearly that it is not just Babylon, but it is the spiritual power and system back of Babylon with which Daniel was dealing. We will prove that before we are through. And Daniel saw that that would be a gangway between him and their system, against which he stood and across that gangway the enemy would come and paralyze him and rob him of the power of spiritual and moral dominion, ascendency to govern the situation in Babylon for God. The devil was out to offer him the dainties from the king's table and the pleasant wine as a trap to paralyze his spiritual life. Now do not misunderstand me. The instance cited is not intended as a wholesale condemnation of that thing mentioned or of other things, but it is used as an illustration to show you that if in secret history with he Lord where neither companions, Christian friends and brethren know anything, where Daniel is alone with the Lord, there is a realization of what the Lord would have and a facing up to that; if in that secret history there is the slightest touch of question, doubt about anything as to the Lord's will, that is the pivot upon which revolves the strength of the whole spiritual life, the dominion, the government of the heavens. Just think, that all the mighty power of the God of the heavens, the kingdom of the God of the heavens is suspended in our lives if there is a questionable thing between us and the Lord, a thing about which we have doubt. Yes, we bind the hands of heaven if we are not absolutely clear on every detail with the Lord and there is not the most complete break at every point with that whole system against which we are here as a vessel of the testimony. Holiness is necessary, separation is necessary; an uncompromising attitude between everything that the devil offers as a link between us and his system. The victory of the Lord Jesus over the prince of this world was because the prince of this world came to Him and had nothing in Him. "The prince of this world cometh: and he hath nothing in Me" (John 14:30). If only the prince of this world could have got something in Him! He tried to get personal ambition. Anything like that and the Divine end is frustrated. You see how basic is the principle of an absolute separateness from that kingdom in all its connections and aspects if there is  going to be spiritual power. Let us not consider the question of spiritual power merely from a personal standpoint of how it affects us, whether we win the benefit or not, but let us remember that it is a part of a testimony to God's Son. The Lord Jesus is bound up with this. The kingdom of the heavens is bound up with this. The eternal predesignating of God is bound up with this, and a people out of the nations for His Name.

So then Daniel brings in the moral ascendancy or elevation which is necessary to the vessel of the testimony unto the time of the end. He lays the foundation in that realm, moral and spiritual elevation brought about in the secret presence of God. It says Daniel purposed in his heart; it does not say the other three purposed, but before you get through the chapter the other three are in this; out of the secret history on the part of one the others are brought in, but it was a personal thing in the presence of God where Daniel said: "I must be clear of this, I must stand back from this system at every point; I will not be defiled, for defilement means an advantage to the enemy." That was where the foundations were laid for this whole book on the spiritual side.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 51)

The "Why's" of Life

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" - Mark 15:34

Isn’t it wrong to ask God "why?" Isn't it wrong to question God? One day I was reading this verse, and suddenly I realized that Jesus asked God "why?" While Jesus was on the cross, dying for the sins of the world, He asked God, "Why have You forsaken Me?" We all know that God did not forsake Jesus. We also know that Jesus never sinned, so asking God "why" does not have to be wrong. Just by including the Lord in our thoughts shows a step of faith. It shows faith because we are praying, acknowledging that He is listening, and God will reward our faith.

By being honest with the Lord, our hearts are softened to receive His wisdom involving the things of the past, while helping us to move forward in faith for future decisions. God tells us in James 1:5-8:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

So the "why" questions are not the sin, but receiving an answer to those questions and then doubting the answer is the sin.

Today, start asking "why" about things you do not understand and ask the Lord to help you to go forward in faith. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in how to receive His answers to the "why" questions in your life. Pray for faith, as we know that without faith, it is impossible to please God. As our faith grows, we will move forward to make decisions as the Lord leads us and we will trust in His guidance and direction for all things. The goal is to get past the "why's" and move on to the "what's"—trust, obey and get going.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 49

They That Honor God, God Will Honor (continued)

The Basic Principle of Spiritual Effectiveness

The first chapter of this book, as we have said, introduces that basic principle of spiritual power, authority, dominion, which comes out in the life of Daniel and his friends, and that basic principle is found in the words: "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8). I do want to add just a very brief word in that connection again by way of extra emphasis, to point out that no life can be spiritually effective, can count for God in the spiritual realm, bring in the government of God, can uphold or maintain or advance the testimony of Jesus, stand against the powers of darkness, bring the consummation of the ages nearer, which is the overthrow of the whole satanic kingdom and the bringing in of the universal rule of the heavens. - Only in so far as that life is in a position of absolute separation from everything in that realm against which that testimony of Jesus stands, will be spiritually effective. If you have one link, one point of contact voluntarily with that system through any medium, you are crippled, you are paralyzed.

How often we have had people come to us and they have poured out a story of spiritual defeat, of failure, an up and down experience (not a down and up one), more downs than ups, a lack of spiritual power, and when we have sought to get to the cause of it they have been willing to confess various things, they have come out quite frankly - "I think it very likely may be this or that or something else." And they have not made much difficulty about confessing certain things, and the Spirit of the Lord has been saying to us: "It is not that, there is something else." "There is something else that they are not willing to mention," and when through probing and sifting at last we have got on the scent of the thing, we have touched something that had a relation to their like, something they liked (these other things they did not like, and therefore were willing to confess them), but there was something that they liked, some indulgence of the flesh, and this they would not confess. I remember a man who was in that category, and when one tried to help him he was ready to confess that most likely it was his bad temper, that was the trouble. Confessed it with a long face, and in my heart I felt, No, that is not it, there is something else, and I was asking the Lord: "What is it?" "Give this thing into my hands," and as that man got round to another point of the compass in his direction to me I got his breath, and the Lord said" "That is it, tobacco." And I said: "Has the Lord ever put His finger upon a certain habit, indulgence?" "You may have argued that there was no wrong in it, but has the Lord every very gently said something to you about that?" and I say by a flush that the thing had been touched. He said: "Well, I see no harm in that, what is wrong with that? A good many other men have been used of God who do it." I said: "It is not a matter of general right and wrong; right and wrong is a matter of whether the Lord has ever just touched a thing ever so lightly and said, not that it was a downright wicked thing, but: "I would rather it was not" and that raises the issue. When we had got down to that he said: "There have been times when I have come up against it." I said: "Brother, that is the arrest of your whole spiritual life and that is the back door through which the devil comes in, and the bad temper is not the cause but the effect, and all the defeat is the result of one reservation that you have with the Lord. There is not a full obedience and willing abandonment; you are prepared to confess all sorts of faults, but that one thing you are not prepared to confess, you have got a hold with the Lord."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 50 - (satan's Vantage Ground)

Knowing the Real Jesus

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. - Colossians 1:24

My children took their achievement tests this past week. My daughter told me that there was a Bible achievement test also but the school opted to not have the children take it. I asked her if they told her why. She said yes and then gave me a sample question of what was on the test. She said, “Which characteristic does not belong to Jesus?
a.       happiness
b.       love
c.       forgiveness
d.       compassion
She told me that a question like that confused a lot of sixth graders because they equate Jesus with joy and their interpretation is that joy and happiness are the same things. I told her that a lot of adultChristians have the same interpretation. It is difficult for us to follow a King that was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). We don’t want to believe that the Christian life is filled with those same sorrows and afflictions at times.
However, it is during those sad times in each of our lives that we understand the afflictions of Christ as He becomes our Sustainer, our Strength and our Peace. It is at those times that we discover joy from the depths of our hearts instead of happiness that is only superficial, changing with the circumstances. Our Christian life is not only about receiving from the Lord but also about enduring until the end.
If you are struggling with sorrow and grief, know that the Lord understands. Continue to come to Him. There is hope in every situation for we know the Lord will cause all things to work together for good. Just fix your eyes on Jesus.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 48

The Testimony and Its Vessel Unto the Time of the End

They That Honor God, God will Honor

We are concentrating upon this particular thought, that in relation to His heavenly testimony, the testimony concerning His Son Jesus Christ, God has constituted and appointed a vessel, an instrument here in the midst of the Gentile world powers, and that from that vessel or instrument the government of the heavens in this world unto the Lord's end is expressed. The Church is that instrument. Inasmuch as the Church as a whole is not in line with God's purpose, vitally cooperating, and spiritually in a position to exercise that Divine and heavenly authority, God is securing for Himself a remnant, a body within, an overcomer company in which, and through which the laws and principles of this heavenly government are established and put into operation. We are here because it is in that connection that the Spirit is speaking, and we want to hear what the Spirit saith. So far as we are concerned, and all those to whom we may have a ministry, with whom we may have any spiritual influence, that we and they should come fully, livingly, vitally, energetically into oneness with God's purpose unto the time of the end.

Now we begin to see that that instrument, that vessel, functions by reason of certain very clearly defined laws. It has to be in a spiritual and moral position and relationship to the Lord. It does not function mechanically or automatically. It may be an elect vessel, and it may have been foreknown and foreordained before the foundation of the world, God may have foreknown every member of it, and yet running alongside all the eternal counsels of God, and the sovereignty of God, there is always spiritual and moral responsibility; and while it is difficult to relate and reconcile those two things, nevertheless they are equally true that even an elect vessel can never fulfill the object of its predestination, its foreordination, only insofar as it corresponds with the spiritual and moral principles which God has laid down for its effectiveness.

Chapter one of the Book of Daniel, as we have seen, introduces the basic principle of spiritual effectiveness. I am very anxious that this shall not go over your heads or that you should in any measure feel that a great deal of truth on a broad scale is being given out, but rather that you should see that this does apply to you personally and individually, that everyone is, in God's thought and desire and will, related to this testimony and to this vessel of the testimony unto the time of the end. That you individually with a personal responsibility and anointing, and in relation to others of the children of God are really called into fellowship with the government of the heavens in the earth concerning God's purpose for the age. You and I are really solemnly called into that, just as truly as ever Daniel was in that, you and I are in that, for Daniel is only a type and representation. He typifies and represents that which we have in the letter to the Ephesians, which reaches on to us, embraces us, calls us in; and beloved, if ever you read the sixth chapter, or the first chapter of the letter to the Ephesians and feel that that in any way applies to you, that you can stand in there, you can lay claim to that, that it embraces you, well, you are in effect standing in the place of Daniel and his three friends.

Now if Daniel and his three friends represented something of tremendously solemn significance and importance to heaven in their day, and to hell, and to the nations of this world, you and I occupy that position of spiritual importance to God. And while that may sound very lofty, it may sound very much above you. If only you could read your own spiritual history in the light of heaven - that is, if you have got a spiritual history, if you are really going on with God spiritually, if you are alive unto the Lord - if you could read your own spiritual history in the light of heaven you would be reading the Book of Daniel and the Letter to the Ephesians in your own life. You would be able to see that the same things are operative in your experience spiritually as were there, and are there. So I want this thing to come right home to us very definitely and draw us in, every one of us.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 49 - (The Basic Principle of Spiritual Effectiveness)

Our Heart's Desires

If you could have anything in the world, what would it be? Your answer reveals a lot about who you are. The psalmist writes, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4). There is nothing wrong with desires--they motivate us to achieve great things. But not all of our yearnings come from God.
Consider your aspirations and what they say about who you are:
Do you hope for a position of authority in order to be in control? Longing for personal advancement in order to manipulate others reveals a lack of integrity, whereas a godly person craves righteousness.
Do you dream about wealth and fame? Perhaps there's a void in your spirit that you're trying to fill. But only God can meet the insatiable needs of the human heart.
Are you afraid to ask the Lord for what you want? Maybe you think He won't listen, but God tells us to approach His throne with boldness and confidence (Heb. 4:16).
If the Lord doesn't respond affirmatively to your prayers, ask Him to make your desires conform to His will. Whatever you do, don't take matters into your own hands and go after what you want. There is always a high price to pay for rebelling against God.
God cares for us bountifully, but that doesn't mean we can expect Him to deliver whatever we want, whenever we want it. Only when our dreams align with His plan for our lives does He fulfill them. The thoughts that preoccupy us are an accurate barometer of the state of our relationship with Christ.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 47

The World Dominion Gathered up In One Man (continued)

Oh, how deeply and wonderfully clear that principle is in Daniel, the first chapter. The whole history lies ahead and it is a history of the combat between heaven and hell as fought out here on the earth. The world rulers of this darkness, the principalities and powers on the one hand, heaven on the other, but the instrument by which the issue is decided is that small thing right in the heart of it, and whether it is the testimony's maintenance in victory and administration of victory, or whether so far as that instrument is concerned it is going to be defeat and the enemy getting the advantage, depends upon whether there is a link between us and the enemy system at any point. We have a way of saying: "Do not take it on." You understand what I mean. So often a very plausible thing can be offered by the enemy, so often the things seem so true, really above argument, beyond contention. Well, prove all things. Beware! The enemy is out all the time to form a link between you and has dominion. If he gets it the testimony will go. The vessel of the testimony must purpose in its heart that it will not defile itself. And the dainties from the kings' tale and the wine may speak to us, young men and women especially, of those advantages, advances, facilitations of progress and improvement which the enemy offers under cover of : "Well, do not be too extreme, do not be singular, do not be fanatical; just be perfectly level and balanced, do not be a stickler." Yes, you many have some dainties from the king's table if only you will lower your standard a little in business. But the testimony means that up to the hilt there must be no compromise on moral principles; you may stand, and in the end you will stand and the other things will have gone, but you will be there. Heaven is on your side; yo may lose for the time being, but heaven is on your side and the kingdoms of this world will pass, but the kingdom of the God of heavens is an everlasting kingdom to be given to you if you will stand. You see what this vessel begins? Just there, "Daniel purposed in his heart."

I would like to say this, just to round that off. It does not mean, beloved, that because you and I take a faithful, obedient, whole-hearted, consecrated stand for the Lord, that we are going to be delivered from the lion's den or the fiery furnace, and that the Lord is coming in to smooth our way and cause us to escape such. No, the sovereignty of the heavens does not always work by delivering us out of the trouble. It comes in through the trouble. It is through the trouble that the heavens come in. God gets more by it than by delivering us from it.

May the Lord draw us into His purpose, constitute us a part of that vessel for His testimony, show us how very much is bound up with the conflict in which we are; help us to see why it is that He is dealing with us as He is. It is to bring us to a place where there is nothing in ourselves. He may take up the weak things and by them through them, bring to nought the things that are, and bring us morally to govern, which shall fit us to govern literally later on.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 48 -  (They That Honor God, God Will Honor)

Looking for Fruit

As believers, we all want the fruit of the Spirit, but how can we know if we truly have it? Even unbelievers can display these qualities when conditions are positive. This nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is not what we do, but who we are, and it is primarily on display in Christians when circumstances are unfavorable. Two characteristics help us recognize these traits in our lives.

Fruitful believers are not controlled by their environment. Everyone experiences trials and pain, but those who are filled with the Spirit do not lose His fruit because of their situations. They keep their joy even when difficulties overwhelm. If someone speaks harshly, they respond with kindness. Because the Holy Spirit is in control, He is free to produce His fruit no matter what the circumstances are. Even though such believers may feel pain, anger, or a desire for revenge, they choose to trust the Lord to protect them and direct the outcome.  

Fruitful Christians recover quickly after a fall. These believers are not perfect, but they are sensitive to the Spirit's conviction and are quick to return to the Lord in repentance. In fact, they are actually grateful for the correction and praise God, not only for revealing their weakness but also for drawing them back to obedience.

No one produces these amazing qualities in himself. Trying harder to be godly will never work. Character transformation occurs when we submit to God, giving Him complete control of our lives. Only then will the Spirit be free to produce fruit that remains even in the deepest, darkest storms.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, November 21, 2014

Praying with Impact

Since praying is such a common practice for believers, over time it's easy to fall into habits that result in a lifeless and empty prayer life. Instead of a dynamic conversation with thoughtful requests and active listening for God's response, our prayers can seem more like grocery lists. Because communication with the Lord is such a vital part of the Christian life, we occasionally need to step back and examine how we're doing.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
How effective are my prayers? Is God answering my petitions, or does it seem as if they never go past the ceiling?
Who am I praying for? Are most of my requests for myself or others?
What am I asking the Lord to do? Have I looked in the Word to see what He wants, or am I trying to get Him to intervene according to my plans and desires?
When do I pray? Is it only during emergencies or when I need something?
If you discovered any selfishness in your answers, you're not alone. Most of us struggle to enter God's presence with our eyes focused on Him instead of our needs. But the only way we'll be able to pray with impact is to fill our minds with Scripture so we can find out what the Lord wants to do.
Your prayer life can become effective and dynamic if you'll approach the Lord with a clean heart (Psalms 66:18), align your requests with His will, and believe He will do what He says (Mark 11:24). Then you'll be able to pray with absolute confidence knowing that He will hear and answer your petitions.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 46

Hell's Hatred of the Vessel of Testimony (continued)

The World Dominion Gathered Up In One Man

Do you notice that in this second chapter the image of Daniel brings all the world-empires from the beginning of the Babylonian empire to the end of the Roman empire and its ten provinces, into the form of one personality, one image, the image of man? Has the significance of that struck you? All the world-empires, all the "Times of the Gentiles" gathered up in the figure of one man. I ask you if the final issue of this dispensation, of this world-government on the human side, is not going to be gathered up in one personality, the antichrist? There is no doubt about it that the Word of God makes it clear that that principle will be carried out, that the government of this world will be headed up in one personality, the antichrist. There is in Daniel one man, and all is gathered up into the figure of one personality, one corporate body. That is set right over against the Son of Man. The Christ, and the antichrist; they both come out in Daniel.

Now what is the dominion of the Son of man over the antichrist in the Church, the vessel? It is the absolute distinctiveness of that vessel, separation, holiness; its complete break with the whole system of the evil one at every point, and not allowing one touch of defilement with that system. Have you not in your spiritual experience seen recognized more than once, that in order to destroy your spiritual power and strength and your moral ascendency or effectiveness, the enemy in some way or another must make a contact between you and his kingdom? He will put a temptation in your way, he will put a suggestion into your mind, he will make suggestions to you, put thought into you. In thousands of different ways he puts out a gangway, and he wants you to cross that gangway, to accept that gangway, a link between you and his system. There is no wrong in temptation, beloved, most believers know what it is to have evil thoughts suggested to their minds. It does not mean they have sinned because an evil though has been suggested, but at the point where they entertain that, respond to that, allow that, they have sinned and made a link with the enemy, and before long that very link is the means of their undoing, their weakness, breakdown, and not until they get back to the Lord and say: "I allowed that to linger, I added another to it." Or in some way the enemy put out and we took on, and that has been completely dealt with, wiped out by the Blood, we do not get back our position. The rule of the heavens through the instrument in overthrowing the power of evil demands no defilement, no contact. Oh, sometimes it will come along the line of discouragement, sometimes through depression, doubt; sometimes through an overwhelming sense of weakness, and the enemy strikes a blow and sends a fiery dart of questioning the Lord, His love, His wisdom. We can never exhaust the ways in which it comes, but it is not just the fact that it comes, but the fact that we accept it, we take it on, we allow the enemy to lodge his gangway and we go across; we are undone. Mark you, the principle, the basic principle of spiritual and moral ascendency, of dominion, of overthrowing the power of the enemy, of having authority over all the power of the devil is not in our language, our phraseology, is not the volume of our voice, the forcefulness of our effort, our manner, it is the moral purity of our lives; or, in other words, the fact that we give the enemy no ground anywhere.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 47)

Looking Through the Mirror

When Paul declared the mysterious and breathtaking promise that "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8: 28), he was musing in teleology. He was dealing with the realm of the remote rather than the proximate. This suggests that the proximate must be judged in light of the remote.

Our problem is this: We do not yet possess the full light of the remote. We are still looking in a dark mirror. We are not utterly devoid of light, though. We have enough light to know that God has a good purpose even when we are ignorant of that good purpose.

It is the good purpose of God that gives the final answer to the appearance of vanity and futility in this world. To trust in the good purpose of God is the very essence of godly faith. This is why no Christian can be an ultimate pessimist.
The world in which we live is not a world of chance. Its beginning was not an accident, its operation is not an accident, and its telos, or goal, is not an accident. This is my Father's world and He rules it without caprice. As long as God exists, vanity is a manifest impossibility.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Spend some time reflecting on the goodness of God. In what specific ways is His goodness being manifested to you right now?

For Further Study

1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."

Romans 8:28-29: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." 

~R. C. Sproul~

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 45

Hell's Hatred of the Vessel (continued)

The Nature of the Vessel's Present Ascendency (continued)

Beloved, you never know what you are going to effect for God in securing others to a position of definite, strong standing for the Lord, by taking a strong, though costly stand yourself. Sometimes you personally have to take a stand alone at great cost, which may involve you in a good deal of suffering. You never know what that is going to mean for the Lord by others being morally brought into a strong place. The Lord needs "Daniels" in this sense; the men and women who will take a personal stand, at any cost, upon what they know to be according to the mind of God. It is not a question, in the first place, of whether others do it or not; or whether others will follow suit or not; it is what God requires, what is according to God. The question is not, What will it cost me? What will others think of it? Will others agree with me? It is, Will the Lord require that? If so, that is the only ground for me to act upon. And acting like that very often means that moral stamina comes into others and the Lord gains by a personal, lonely stand for Him, a mighty increase of reinforcement in His testimony.

Now that may be a word that touches someone who is being faced with a course which is costly, and a price has to be paid, and as far as they know there is not another one who will take that step; but if you do you may discover there are several others whom the Lord will meet if you go in in faithful devotion, if you go on in what you know to be the will of God for you. Daniel purposed he would not defile himself. This brings in a whole new world. Wherein lay the defilement? You read of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem. You will find he took away the vessels of the House of the Lord and put them into the house of his gods. Nebuchadnezzar had gods, and it was not the Lord. There was another spiritual system back of Babylon. It was not just Babylon, just some earthly system, not just men; it was hat spiritual thing back of men and the system of the world-ruler. Yes, something spiritual behind; that comes out so much in this book. Back of Babylon was the prince of this world, the god of this age. He was moving things in Babylon and moving things against Daniel and his companions, because of the testimony and the Lord, the testimony of the God of Heaven. That was behind; and Daniel knew that to voluntarily partake of those things from the king's table was to involve himself in the moral and spiritual background of things, and that would be defilement, and that kind of thing would rob him of power with God as well as with men. So he calculatingly and deliberately purposed he would not defile himself, he would not allow any kind of voluntary link between himself and that spiritual system back of this world order. If only people recognized the things of which they say; "Well, there is no harm in it," the things of this world, even the religious things of this world with which they have voluntary connections, in which the dabble and indulge; if only they recognized that back of those "harmless" things there is the working of a sinister force, to entrap them, to spoil them, to rob them of spiritual power! And you know as well as I do, that any professing child of God who has some compromising thing in their life, something that forms a link, be it never so small, between them and the spiritual system back of this world, they are robbed of power with God and with men and it is not until that thing is dealt with and thoroughly put away that they have any kind of spiritual or moral ascendency. Until that thing is repudiated from the heart of God cannot come in and communicate Himself to the. No compromise with the devil through any kind of means or form of this government. I said that introduces a whole new world; now let it open up.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 46 - The World Dominion Gathered Up In One Man)

The Mighty Magnet

"And I, if l be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me"   (John 12:32).

Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest "draw" that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw other? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn and see if it does not draw them. No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and leaned, depraved or amiable--all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the LORD work in His own way, and draw with the LORD's own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 44

Hell's Hatred of the Vessel of Testimony (continued)

The Nature of the Vessel's Present Ascendency

We have to see the nature of the ascendency of that vessel. In this present age it is true that the vessel is called to be in a state of ascendency, in a place of government, now, a place of dominion if you like, ruling. But its government, its ruling, its domination in this age is not the same as it will be in the age to come. It is going to rule. There is another sense in which the kingdom will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, then it will be literal government, literal dominion, it will be recognized and acknowledged, it will be universally manifested, the accepted order. It is not that now, that hardly needs saying; and yet the principle is to be just as true now as it will be then. But the nature of the government now is not literal, but moral. Now I explain what I mean by that by illustrating from this Book of Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar is that head of gold. God had given him a kingdom, the greatest of all those world's kingdoms; every other dominion that followed was a step of deterioration. Silver, brass, iron, clay. A drop in value all the way through; but Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire was the most glorious of all empires, and God had given it to him. Daniel and his tree companions are in the center of that, and I ask you, who rules, Nebuchadnezzar or Daniel? When no one could help the king out of his difficulty over his dream and eventually Daniel came in, it says: "Then Daniel answered before the king." Why? Because he had already been before the King of kings. If you follow him in before Nebuchadnezzar you are moving in an atmosphere of dignity, quiet confidence and assurance. From that very first step, as we pointed out before, when Daniel heard that all the wise men were to be destroyed, he confidently announced that there was a God in heaven who revealeth secrets and he would give an answer to the king. There was not any hesitation and saying: "Well, I will ask the Lord and see if He will give an answer." Absolute assurance, absolute confidence, serenity, kept him perfectly steady. He never host his head. He called his three companions and they prayed, and the Lord revealed the thing to Daniel in the night season. "Daniel answered before the king." It is moral authority, ascendency, he is governing morally and again and again things were, so to speak, put into his hands. He became the moral ruler of the situation again and again. He ruled even from the den of lions, he was on top; he was on top of the king. The king morally groveled to this man more than once. And those three, where were they morally? Well, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us ... and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:17-18). What is the result of that? Not that they are delivered from the fiery furnace - keep that in mind - not that God comes in and opens a way of escape for them, but the Son of God associates Himself with them in the fire, and the result is that everything goes down before them morally
and they come out as kings, they reign morally. You see the ascendency is a moral thing in the midst of this world-system, and government from the heavens morally. What is the secret of that ascendency which, in the sovereignty of the God of the heavens, brings the power into our hands? Go back to the first chapter of the book and you have the secret, the foundation secret: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." It says: "But Daniel purposed in his heart"; it only says that about Daniel, but before you get through the chapter you find the other three are in the same position. It does not say they purposed, but it says Daniel purposed, and it is clear that Daniel's moral lead, moral stand, moral ascendency, brought his brethren alongside of him in fellowship in that testimony. Now there are two things there. I will mention the second first.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 45)

God Works Within Us

Let these words slowly sink into your understanding: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (v. 20). What an amazing description of God’s ability to work within us.

Yet so often our focus is mainly on what we want Him to do around us: If He would change this situation or fix that problem, then my life would be better. But He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us!

The Holy Spirit has more than enough power to transform lives from the inside out, but working change within is usually a slow process. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and will never give up on us.

The Lord has a purpose for your life, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although He has an individualized plan for each one of His children, He also has an overarching goal—to conform every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might make no sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing.

What would you like to see the Lord do within you? As you read the Scriptures, look for qualities that God considers precious, and ask Him to work them out in your life. Then rely on His wonderful promise to do even more than you have asked or imagined.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Rule of the Heavens # 43

Hell's Hatred of the Vessel of Testimony (continued)

This is a spiritual principle, a spiritual truth, and the point that I am seeking to get at is this, beloved; there has got to be something in our relationship to heaven and God's specific purpose which makes possible the manifestation of that mighty, devil-conquering life in us. We have got to know the power of His resurrection. That is essential to the vessel of the testimony at the end time, unto the end, to get through to the end: it means that we must be that in which the power of His resurrection is manifested. That is not merely an obligation; that is a privilege. It is a costly privilege, but that is what the Lord needs.

I am always so glad of that correspondence between Paul and his Lord, that when the Lord came to die He said: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from My Father" (John 10:17-18). When the Apostle Paul came to the end he did not say: 'No I am going to be taken hold of and they are going to kill me, and I shall not be able to help myself.' He quietly, serenely announced: "The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:6-7). There is no surrendering to fate in that. There is mo capitulating to the hands of men in that. There is, as it were, a quiet, deliberate walking out in the recognition that the Lord's time had come and not man's. Now there is a correspondence between Paul and his Master, but note, Paul is in representation the vessel of the testimony in this age. The testimony of Jesus was peculiarly placed within that vessel in a representative way. We have often said Paul personally embodied all the special revelation which was entrusted to him; he became a personal sign of that revelation. The truth which was committed to him from heaven had a specific outworking in his own life and experience because he had got to represent the Church in this age in himself as the vessel of its unveiling, and the issue of the Church in this age is the expression in fullness, of the power of Christ's resurrection as triumphant over death in translation, not by the grave but by the air.

"Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying;
No sickness, no sadness, no dread, and no crying."

We have sung that: that is the prospect for the Church; that is the glorious possibility, No! that is the certainty, as the final issue. But that represents that death is robbed finally of its power, that the power of His resurrection is manifested in eluding the grave and depriving death of its object. That is Enoch. But Paul represented that, and his last utterances are: "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection"; yes, true: "and the fellowship of His sufferings" (Philippians 3:10), that is Daniel and the others. "The power of His resurrection" not as something just at the beginning of his Christian life and walk, but something at the end. And not as  something merely to deliver him with all others in a general resurrection from the grave, but in a specific out-resurrection from among the dead. That is the testimony of the Church, a vessel for that. Paul represented that specific thing for the Church in this age. Daniel continued and Daniel stands in his lot at the end. Have you grasped the principle that is implied in that? A wonderful thing. But beloved, you and I are called even now - though we may die, we may go by the grave - yet now, at this end time, you and I are called to be a part of that vessel in which the power of His resurrection is manifested, that the murderous plottings of hell are eluded, are overcome, and that the murderer who comes out to destroy before the Lord's purposes are accomplished shall be baffled by the power of His resurrection in us. When we ought to have been dead a dozen times we are still alive. Yes, the Lord wants an adequate vessel for that, not one, two or three scattered here an there, but an adequate vessel for that; and He is seeking that. In relation to that we are here. You and I must not accept death until the Lord tells us the time has come. If we do we open the door for the enemy to triumph. (Many of you do not understand that. If you do not, do not worry about it, but ask the Lord to give you the essential thing of what we are saying.) Now that all comes out of that statement: "Daniel continued." Daniel stands at the end. The vessel is there when all has been done to see that the vessel should not be there. The testimony is there - goes on unto the end. But we have to see something more about such a vessel.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 44 - (The Nature of the Vessel's Present Ascendency)