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Friday, September 30, 2016

Behold The Lamb of God,"

"Behold the Lamb of God, Which Taketh Away The Sin of The World"

Dear one, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, it is our hope that this message will help you find salvation in and through Jesus Christ. And if you do know Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, we trust that this message will help you live an overcoming life.

The Bible tells us that John the Baptist, as he was fulfilling his Divine commission to prepare the way of the Lord, saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). In these words the Holy Spirit, the Inspirer of the Bible, is directing our heart, our soul and spirit, our whole spiritual being to "Behold," the Lamb of God, to "Behold," Jesus Christ Who is the Lamb which God hath provided, the Lamb which God "verily... foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:20).

Jesus Christ, the Perfect Lamb of God, was without blemish, without fault, without blame, without spot - the sin of the world had no place in Him. And of this Perfect Lamb the Holy Spirit declares three times: "I find in Him no fault at all" (John 18:38); 19:4, 6). I find in Him no ground for accusation at all. And who did the Holy Spirit declare these eternal words through? A disciple? An Israelite? A temple priest? No, in order to bring about the full counsel of God, of which "The Cross" is the most important part, the Holy Spirit, again, took the enemy in his own craftiness. The Holy Spirit declared the perfection of the Lamb of God through Pilate, who represented the evil forces which ruled this sinful world; and behind the rulers of this sinful world was, and is, the prince of this world, satan himself. Yes, even the one who is the cause and the inherent power behind all evil was made to admit through those he ruled, "I find in Him, in Christ, no fault at all." Consequently, this perpetrator of all evil, that old serpent, called the devil and satan, furiously inspired the Jews to cry out, saying, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him." Thus God, Who works all things after the counsel of His Own Will, provided Himself a Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world.

In John 14 Jesus said, "...the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in ME" - nothing which falls under his power. There was in Christ nothing which satan could claim as his ground. In all others he could that which is his own, and so in all others he could enforce the power of death. But in Christ he had nothing and the power of death had no hold on Him. Jesus, The Lamb of God, then said, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence."

satan had nothing in Christ, he could not enforce the power of death upon Christ; but Jesus, the Lamb of God, offered Himself voluntarily because He loved the Father. Death had no power over Christ, and so He said, "Arise, let us go hence" - in essence Jesus was saying, "death has no power over Me, but I am the Lamb which My Father hath provided; therefore, I go to meet death." Christ voluntarily gave Himself to be crucified: He willingly said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit" - He Himself gave up His Spirit and died, for nothing could kill Him. The Lamb of God offered Himself freely,His Blood was shed, He died, and He was buried, and, glory of glories, even then death had no power to hold Him in the grave, and UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE - and "behold" He is alive for evermore!

"Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world."

In this all-powerful declaration, the Holy Spirit is summing up the Atoning Work of our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit is saying that the Lamb Whom God hath provided "taketh away" the sin of the world - all "the sin" - past, present, and future. And the Lamb accomplished this by taking, by bearing, "the sin of the world" upon Himself, for upon Him was laid the iniquity of us all: - "For He (God) hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin' that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (in Christ)" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Beloved, when the Holy Spirit inspired these words, He used the word "taketh" in the present tense; and this means that the Blood of the Lamb not only cleanses past sin, but the Blood of the Lamb is, at this instant, taking away the sin of the world. Yes, it is the Blood - the consummate and complete atoning work of the Lamb, the Shed Blood of the Lamb, the limitless power of the Blood of the Lamb, which is taking away the sin of the world.

Dear ones, if there is anyone reading this who has never received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord; and if you are wondering how your sin may be taken away, and how you can become a child of God, one who is saved by His grace and who has eternal Life, John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." If you are wondering, "What must I do to be saved?" the Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; and the Bible says: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to even to those who believe in His name." And to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God also says of His fullness you shall receive "grace upon grace" (John 1:12, 16). So, dear one, believe and receive in your heart our Precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and you will be included in the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ. And, along with all those who are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, you will have the priceless privilege of becoming an overcomer - of becoming one who overcomes because of the Blood of the Lamb.

Because of the Blood of the Lamb

Revelation 12:11

Beloved, the Atonement, the Redemptive work of the Lamb, is eternal: - the power of the Blood of the lamb to take away all sin is from everlasting to everlasting. But the power of the Blood of the Lamb to take away the sin of the world does not exhaust the Work and Triumph of the Lamb of God. In the Book of Revelation, the manifold glories of the Lamb of God are revealed over and over again, over twenty-five times the Holy Spirit inspires John to write of the Lamb (Rev. 5:6; 12:11; 17:14, etc) The Lamb of God is the preeminent One in the Book of Revelation. In this book of Revelation God reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, in all His Resurrected Glory and Power; however, we also know that this book reveals the warfare of the ages, a warfare which takes place in the visible and invisible realm; and this warfare, which has continued throughout all the ages, will continue until it reaches its final conclusion. Although Christ has totally and completely defeated the enemy of God on and through and in His Cross, God has ordained that Christ's Victory become a reality, become a living expression, in the lives of those who are redeemed by the Blood of Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ instructs all of His Church that they must become overcomers - He was writing to the Church then, and to the Church up to and including the present time, and to the Church in future time. Seven times the Lord tells His Church that we must overcome (Rev. 2 and 3). In Revelation 1:11, the symbolism of the number "seven" tells us that the Lord is speaking of the whole Church (the true Church includes all the redeemed); yet even though He is writing to the Church as a whole, the Lord still brings it right down to the fact that each believer must overcome, when He says: "To him (to each one) that overcometh." And how do we overcome? Revelation 12:11 gives us the answer: we overcome Because of the Blood of the Lamb.

And what, or who, is the Church (each one of us) to overcome? The Word of God says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." Who is this "him"? Revelation 12:9 tells  tells us that we are to overcome "that old serpent, called the devil and satan, which deceiveth the whole world."

In John 14:30 we saw that Jesus said, "... the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me"; this means, there was IN CHRIST nothing which satan could claim as his, there was no ground of accusation in Christ. Now to get the full impact of what Christ is saying we must proceed on to His next words, for the Lord Jesus immediately speaks of the Vine (Himself) and the branches (the redeemed) and He says, "Abide in Me, and I in you ... for apart from Me you can do nothing": "Abide in Me - maintain a living reality and communion with me." Jesus our Saviour is saying to us, " - satan hath nothing in Me, therefore abide in Me." When Jesus says, "Abide in Me," He is saying: "If you are to serve Me, if you are to produce fruit, fruit which has lasting results, if you are to be victorious over the enemy, then you must by faith stand and live and walk in the good of what I AM, not what you are; for My Shed Blood eternally satisfies God's own Righteousness; and My Shed Blood is made unto you righteousness - that is, It gives you eternal righteousness before God." If we are saved, then we are washed in the Blood; we are in Christ, we are the redeemed, we are accepted in the Beloved, we have eternal right standing before God! This is the eternal position of all who are saved, and it cannot be made otherwise (Ephesians 1:3-14).

However, Revelation 12:11 reveals that we are to be overcomers. Therefore, if we are to become overcomers, if we are to become those who in and through and with Christ overcome the enemy, then we must become and live and walk in the good of Who Christ is and What He has accomplished. We must never stand on our own ground, for in ourselves there is always ground that satan can lay hold of, but by faith we must stand in Christ, for that old serpent, called the devil and satan, hath nothing in Christ. This is the Power of the Blood.

Consequently, brethren, if we are to become overcomers by living in the good of Christ's Victory, then it is an absolute necessity that we comprehend, in and by the Spirit, God's value of the Blood of the Lamb. We must realize that, even though we are saved and have a deep desire to serve the Lord, satan will habitually accuse us of our past and present sins; he will condemn us and bring up over and over again, for he is the accuser of the brethren. In accusing us of our past and present sins, satan is blaspheming the Power of the Blood. He is saying that Christ's sacrifice is not enough. All of this is the enemy's attempt to lessen the Power of the Blood. When we are saved, we were justified before God; and justified means, just as if we had never sinned. Thank God for the limitless, perpetual Power of the Blood. If satan accuses or torments us about past or present sins, let us take our stand in Christ, for satan hath no ground of accusation in Christ. Let us proclaim Christ's Righteousness because in Him we are made the righteousness of God.

Of course, Christians do sin because no one is perfect but Christ; and so the Word of God provides for this when in 1 John 1:9 Christians are told, "If we confess our sins (before God), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Beloved, because we are Christians we must never take any sin we commit lightly. We must acknowledge our sin before God and ask His forgiveness. Sin in a Christian's life can interrupt our fellowship and our walk with God, but nothing can take away our right-standing before God because the Blood of the Lamb is eternal and perpetual in cleansing Power. "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Anyone who desires to become an overcomer must stand in the good of Christ's Righteousness, for He is our Right-Standing before God. An overcomer can only overcome the enemy because of Who Christ is and because of all that He alone accomplished - this is the Power of the Blood and this is God's Value of the Blood; and it must, by faith, be ours.

Another tactic of the enemy is to bring up our ancestry and to try to make us believe that it is hopeless to live the overcoming life because of that which has been passed on to us through our ancestry, generation after generation. satan will even plant in some of our minds the excuse that "It is not my fault that I am like I am"; and he does this by accusing and blaming our sins and failures and problems upon someone or something else - such as, upon our mother or upon our father; or upon someone in our ancestry;or upon our background and environment; or the blame may be placed upon our home, family, husband, wife, children, other Christians, occupation, etc. Dear ones, we are not saying that we can ignore these things as if they do not exist, but we are saying that no matter what our lot in life, we can - because of the Blood of the Lamb - overcome in the midst of our circumstances.

When satan, the accuser of the brethren, brings up all the things we are in the natural man, and states that we will never make it - when the accuser says we will never become overcomers - then our stand must be: In Him (in Christ) "we have redemption through His Blood," for "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (a new creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). - Behold, the fresh and new have come. - And all this is from God. Beloved, in Christ we are a new creation - This is the Power of the Blood - "And they (the overcomers) overcame him (that old serpent, called the devil and satan), because of the Blood of the Lamb."

In Revelation chapter 5, we find that The Lamb that was slain has redeemed us to God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people; and The Lamb is standing in the midst of the Throne of God where all things are working after the counsel of God's Own Will. So, no matter what our circumstances may be, our stand is this: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who care called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). - The Lamb is in the midst of the Throne - This is the Power of the Blood - "And they (the overcomers) overcame him (that old serpent, called the devil and satan), because of the Blood of the Lamb."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Our Love to Christ (and other devotionals)

Our Love to Christ

"Jesus Christ, whom not having seen, ye love: in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8)

What a wonderful description of the Christian life! People who had never seen Christ yet truly loved Him and believed on Him, so that their hearts were filled with unspeakable joy. Such is the life of Christians who really love their Lord.

We have seen that the chief attribute of the Father and of the Son is love to each other and love to man. This love should be the chief characteristic of the true Christian. The love of God and of Christ is shed abroad in his heart and becomes a well of living water, flowing forth as love to the Lord Jesus.

This love is not merely a blessed feeling. It is an active principle. It takes pleasure in doing the will of the beloved Lord. It is joy to keep His commandments. The love of Christ to us was shown by His death on the Cross; our love must be exhibited in unselfish, self-sacrificing lives. Oh that we understood this: In the Christian life love to Christ is everlasting!

Great love will beget great faith: faith in His love to us, faith in the powerful revelations of His love in our hearts, faith that He through His love will work all His good pleasure in us.

The wings of faith and love will lift us up to heaven, and we shall be filled with joy unspeakable. The joy of the Christian is an indispensable witness to the world of the power of Christ to change hearts and fill them with heavenly love and gladness.

O ye lovers of the Lord Jesus, take time daily in the inner chamber with Him anew to drink in His heavenly love. It will make you strong in faith, and your joy will be full.

Blessed Father, I pray that love, joy, and faith will be my life each day through the grace of our Lord Jesus. Amen

~Andrew Murray~
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Love to the Brethren

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34; 15:12)

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that as the Father had loved Him, even so He loved them. And now, following His example, we must love one another with the same love. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). He had prayed: "that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (John 17:21). If we exhibit the love that was in God toward Christ and in Christ to us, the world will be obliged to confess that our Christianity is genuine and from above.

This is what actually happened. The Greeks and Romans, Jews and heathen, hated each other. Among all the nations of the world there was hardly a thought of love for each other. The very idea of self-sacrifice was a strange one. When the heathen saw that Christians from different nations, under the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit, became one and loved one another even to the point of self-sacrifice in time of plague or illness - they were amazed and said: "Behold how these people love one another!"

Among professing Christians there is a certain oneness of belief and feeling of brotherhood, but Christ's heavenly love is often lacking, and we do not bear one anothers burdens or love others heartily.

Pray that you may love your fellow-believers with the same love with which Christ loved you. If we abide in Christ's love and let that love fill our hearts, supernatural power will be given us to take all God's children unto our hearts in love.

Dear Father, as close as is the bond of love between the Father and the Son, between Christ and His followers, so close must the bond of love be between all God's children. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

"He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and show it unto you" (John 16:14)

Our Lord, in the last night that He was with His disciples, promised to send the Holy Spirit as a Comforter. Although His bodily presence was removed, they would realize His presence in them and with them in a wonderful way. The Holy Spirit as God would so reveal Christ in their hearts that they would experience His presence with them continually. The Spirit would glorify Christ and would reveal the glorified Christ in heavenly love and power.

How little do Christians understand and believe and experience this glorious truth. We would fail in our duty as ministers if, in a little book like this or in our preaching, we encouraged Christians to love the Lord Jesus without at the same time warning them that it is not a duty they can perform in their own strength. No, that is impossible; it is God, the Holy Spirit alone, who will shed abroad His love in our hearts and teach us to love Him fervently. Through the Holy Spirit we may experience the love and abiding presence of the Lord Jesus all the day.

But let us remember that the Spirit as God must have entire possession of us. He claims our whole heart and life. He will strengthen us with might in the inner man, so that we have fellowship with Christ and keep His commandments and abide in His love.

When once we have grasped this truth, we will begin to feel our deep dependence on the Holy Spirit and pray the Father to send Him in power into our hearts. The Spirit will teach us to love the Word, to meditate on it, and to keep it. He will reveal the love of Christ to us, that we may love Him with a pure heart fervently.

Dear Lord Jesus, help us begin to see that a life in the love of Christ in the midst of our daily life and distractions is a glorious possibility and a blessed reality. Amen

~Andrew Murray~
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Christ's Love to Us

"Even as the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you: abide ye in My love" (John 15:9)

In communion between friends and relations everything depends on their love to each other. Of what value is abundance of riches if love is lacking between husband and wife or parents and children? And in our religion, of what value is all knowledge and zeal in God's work without the knowledge and experience of Christ's love? (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) O Christians, the one thing needful in the inner chamber is to know by experience how much Christ loves you and to learn how you may abide and continue in that love.

Think of what Christ says: "As the Father hath loved Me" - what a Divine, everlasting, wonderful love! "Even so have I loved you." It was the same love with which He had loved the Father and that He always bore in His heart which He now gave into the hearts of His disciples. He yearns that this everlasting love should rest upon us and work within us, that we may abide in it day by day. What a blessed life! Christ desires every disciple to live in the power of the self-same love of God that He Himself experienced. My brothers and sisters, do you realize that in your fellowship with Christ, in secret or in public, you are surrounded by and kept in this heavenly love? Let your desire reach out to this everlasting love. The Christ with whom you desire fellowship longs unspeakably to fill you with His love.

Read from time to time what God's Word says about the love of Christ. Meditate on the words, and let them sink into your heart. Sooner or later you will begin to realize: The greatest happiness of my life is that I am loved by the Lord Jesus. I may live in fellowship with Him all the day long.

Dear Lord Jesus, my heart continually says: Thy love to me is unspeakable, Thou wilt keep me abiding in Thy love. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Friday, September 16, 2016

Praying the Word

Praying the Word

Preface

This article is taken from the book, "Intercession: The Throne Ministry," by Emmanuel Church. This article is being printed in the hope that it will assist the Lord's people in spiritual prayer. Such prayer will not only meet the need of God's Will, but it will manifest itself in expression of that Will - that Will being, "to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery" ... "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:27).

And what great conflict there is against such an expression of God's Will in the lives of the Lord's people. That is why we feel there is great need for such prayer to be made at all times in the Spirit by the Body of Christ.

We have also found that praying the Word of God back to Him is one of the main ways God meets any critical situation in the Body, for it will guard the heart of His people and strengthen them for the warfare. This type of prayer will not only keep us awake and watchful against the enemy, but will aid in driving him off the ground of the inheritance.

Praying the Word

Beloved, we cannot express too much the importance of praying the Word of God as the Holy Spirit leads us. Through the years, praying the Word has become a vital force in our prayer life. All of the preceding chapters of this book ("Intercession: The Throne Ministry") have been brought forth as a result of our individually and corporately praying the Word. As we have encountered a problem or trial, or a move of the enemy of God, we have searched together the Word of God for a Word to pray; and the Holy Spirit has always given it to us. Oh, maybe not immediately, but over a period of time the Word has always come, "...precept upon precept, line upon line ... here a little, and there a little ..." as the Lord has taught us to wield "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

Whatever the need, the Lord has always given His Word, the Written Word to pray. The Word says, "Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven": and the Word of God by the Spirit must be the Source, the Fountain-head, and the Ultimate Cause for all our praying. The Word of God is the only creative force that can bring forth that which is according to the Will of God.

Therefore, in each situation and circumstance, we need to pray and stand upon the "settled" Word of God; for it is the Holy Spirit's way to give a Word from the Whole of God's Word to meet any situation. We have found that whenever we get into problems of any kind, whether they be trials, persecutions, weaknesses, or afflictions, our human spirit and soul may begin to sink. If the problem is allowed to depress us, it will push our spirit downward, and thus our emotions, our mind, and our communion with God will be brought into a place of being pressed out of measure. In this position, we will not be able to come up over the situation. Now, "to overcome" means "to come up over." Overcoming is not simply sounding highly victorious and spiritual. Overcoming means that, in every problem we face, we allow the Resurrected, Ascended, Glorified, Exalted Christ to have His rightful position in our hearts.

For example, let us say that we are attacked by fear. In the midst of a problem or trial, some sort of fear over-whelms us, and we become frightened in some way. We become upset, our mind goes out of control, and we can only think about the problem. Though we desperately try to put our mind on the Lord, the situation has control over us. Now how do we "come up over" this? One way to come up over this in the Spirit is to pray the Word. Many of us have done this without realizing it. The Word of God is God's Will. Praying the Word by the Spirit is praying God's Will back to Him, and there is no greater prayer to pray than the Word of God.

Some of the books of the Bible which are excellent to pray are  those of Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and 2 Timothy. These are short books and are particularly about the Church and its calling, and they instruct us concerning our daily lives. The Book of Colossians contains four chapters, and it takes about twenty minutes to read it prayfully. In these four chapters, the Holy Spirit takes us from before the foundation of the world to the place where creation began, and then He brings us through all the redemptive process. He reveals our life in the Church and our daily walk with our husband, wife, and children. He continues on in the letter to give instruction to all of us who work and live in the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God begins this book with the presentation of the Headship of Christ in the universe and in the New Creation, and then He brings the Authority of this same Headship into our daily individual walk life, and He does this in only four chapters!

Now as we begin to prayerfully read the scriptures, we find that the Word of God is living and operative; and as we prayerfully read and pray the Word back to God, our mind will be girded up. The Word says, "Gird up the lions of your mind" (1 Peter 1:13). Praying the Word will accomplish this, for as we pray our mind will be filled with the inspired Word of God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16); and as we pray the Word, the very Breath of God begins to take hold of our heart. The Resurrected, Glorified Christ takes our sinking heart and brings it into its rightful position, whichis that we are seated with Him at the right hand of God, "far above all principality, and power, and might, anddominion," situation, circumstances, and problems. Now from this position, we can look at the problem from God's vantage point - The Throne. No longer will we be in the circumstance looking up, but we will be seeing things as God sees them. Although our situation may not change, nevertheless, we will come to know that He is Lord over all in experience.

We will come to know that "(Christ) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). Let us note that the Word says, "hath delivered us," not "is going to." As we pray scriptures such as these, we automatically will speak an "Amen" by the Spirit - "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (are held together). And He is the Head of the Body, the Church: Who is the Beginning, the First born from the dead; that in all things He might have the Preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him ..." (Colossians 1:17-19; 2:9, 10). Amen! Amen! Amen!

As we pray the Word in Colossians, and in other scriptures as the Lord leads, we will come up over any problem into the Ascended life of the Lord. Also, we will find that our mind will be turned away from self, and we will begin to pray for the needs of others, forit is only after we have "come up over" our problem into the realm where Christ is All in All, and the enemy is under His feet, that we can begin again to intercede for others.

When we pray the scriptures found in Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; and Colossians 1:9-19; 2:9, 10; 3:1-4 for the Body of Christ, we join ranks with those who are praying for the Full Plan and Purpose of God. Ephesians 6:17 and 18 tells us that our two offensive weaponsare the "Sword of the Spirit, whichis the Word of God" and "praying in the Spirit" with "ALL-prayer." As we pray the Word of God, we turn our sword upon the enemy and begin to do battle for God's Plan and God's people; thus, our sword is already sharp should the enemy attack us. We do not have to draw our sword for we are already prepared in full battle array; we have on the full armour of God, for we are seated together in Him Who is "far above all."

And, brethren, we should not wait to be attacked by the enemy, for the greatest defense is a vigorous offense. Let us attack the enemy with these prayers of God, for our of His mouth goes a "sharp two-edged sword." Let us be "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit ... for all saints." - "Let the high praises of God be in (our) mouth and a two-edged sword in (our) hand. Amen

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Word and Prayer (and other devotionals)

The Word and Prayer

"Quicken me, O Lord, according to Thy Word" (Psalm 119:107)

Prayer and the Word of God are inseparable and should always go together in the quiet time of the inner chamber. In His Word God speaks to me; in prayer I speak to God. If  there is to be true fellowship, God and I must both take part. If I simply pray, without using God's Word, I am apt to use my own words and thoughts. What really gives prayer its power is that I take God's thought from His Word and present them before Him. Then I am enabled to pray according to God's Word. How indispensable God's Word is for all true prayer.

When I pray, I must seek to know God aright. It is through the Word that the Holy Spirit gives me right thoughts of Him. The Word will also teach me how wretched and sinful I am. It reveals to me all the wonders that God will do for me and the strength He will give me to do His will. The Word teaches me how to pray - with strong desire, with a firm faith, and with constant perseverance. The Word teaches me not only what I am, but what I may become through God's grace. And above all, it reminds me each day that Christ is the great intercessor and allows me to pray in His Name.

O Christian, learn this great lesson, to renew your strength each day in God's Word, and so pray according to His will.

Then we turn to the other side - Prayer. We need prayer when we read God's Word - prayer to be taught of God to understand His Word, prayer that through the Holy Spirit I may rightly know and use God's Word - prayer that I may see in the Word that Christ is all in all and will be all in me.

Dear Father, it is in the blessed inner chamber, that I may approach Thee in Christ through the Word and prayer. There I offer myself to Thee and Thy service and am strengthened by the Holy Spirit, so that Thy love may be shed abroad in my heart and I may daily walk in that love. Amen

~Andrew Murray~
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Obedience

"Obey My voice ... and I will be your God" (Jeremiah 11:4)

God gave this command to Israel when He gave them the law. But Israel had no power to keep the law. So God gave them a "new covenant" to enable His people to live a life of obedience. We read (Jeremiah 31:33), "I will write My law in their hearts" (Jeremiah 32:40), "I will put my fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me." (Ezekiel 36:27). "I will cause you to walk in My statutes." These wonderful promises gave the assurance that obedience would be their delight.

Let us listen to what the Lord Jesus says about obedience (John 14:21-23). "He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me;and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and We will make our abode with him." And in John 15:10, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love." These words are an inexhaustible treasure. Faith can firmly trust Christ to enable us to live such a life of love and of obedience.

No father can train his children unless they are obedient. No teacher can teach a child who continues to disobey him. No general lead his soldiers to victory without prompt obedience. Pray God to imprint this lesson on your heart: the life of faith is a life of obedience. As Christ lived in obedience to the Father, so we too need obedience for a life in the love of God.

Alas, the thought is too common: "I cannot be obedient, it is quite impossible." Yes, impossible to you, but NOT to God. He has promised "to cause you to walk in His statutes." Pray and meditate on these words, and the Holy Spirit will enlighten your eyes so that you will have power to do God's will.

Dear Father, let my fellowship with Thee and with the Lord Jesus Christ have as its one aim and object - a life of quiet, determined, unquestioning obedience. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sowing the Wind (and other devotionals)



Sowing the Wind

They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.

—Hosea 8:7

In the early twentieth century G. K. Chesterton wrote, almost prophetically, "You may talk of God as a metaphor or a mystification . . . but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing one's conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can."

When people are angry with God, they are often angry with God's people. This is because they are being convicted by the Holy Spirit as a result of their sin. Jesus said, "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers" (Matthew 5:11).

If we are true followers of Jesus, we have to stand up for what is true and not be intimidated by what others say. Great men and women of God who have been used throughout history to change the course of human events have stood up for what is true. William Wilberforce was one of those people. He was a parliamentarian who would have had a very successful career in politics, had he pursued it. Instead, after his conversion, he dedicated his life to eradicating slavery in England. He succeeded, resulting in its abolition in 1807.

Government isn't able to solve the problems we're facing in our country. There is a place for government. But we have to call on the name of the Lord. We have done our level best to remove Him from our classrooms, from our culture, and from our courtrooms. We have sown the wind. The Bible says those who do that will reap the whirlwind. As philosopher George Santayana pointed out, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
~Greg Laurie~
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To him who overcomes I will give the privilege of sitting down with Me on My throne, as I also have overcome and have sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21 WNT)

We all have resurrection Life if we are joined to Christ as Resurrection, but there is something more than that; there is resurrection power, which carries us eventually (if it has its full outworking) to the Throne, and not all will come to the Throne. It is: “to him that overcomes.” Caleb, like Paul, and Paul, like Caleb, stood against the more general course of things amongst the Lord’s people. The majority were content with going so far as to the inheritance, possessing so much, and there staying and settling down. An unfinished course, a curtailed spiritual advance, an accepting of something less than what God had appointed and intended. The majority took that course, but Caleb was never content and he stood against the majority just as he had always stood against a majority that did not represent God’s full mind....
Spiritual leadership always involves loneliness. That is the cost of it. The overcomers will always be, so far as the larger Christian world is concerned, a lonely company, having to go on, with few able to follow. Caleb could not accept the popular voice, his heart was too set upon the Lord. He wholly followed the Lord, not the popular and general standard of Christian life. We may say that Caleb was the very embodiment of all that God meant the whole people to be. When you see Caleb you see what God wished all Israel to be, but all Israel did not come to the standard of Caleb. But the Lord gets in a Caleb the satisfaction of His heart. The Lord realizes His full thought in a Caleb, in the same way as He does in a Paul.

~T. Austin-Sparks~
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Now, what do you think of my religion?

(George Everard 

A rich lady once asked a very faithful pastor to call upon her, and when he was seated in her drawing-room, she began to relate to him all her good deeds, and how much she had done for the poor and the suffering. It was a long story, and the catalogue of her virtues and good works was quite overwhelming. 

She had such a high opinion of herself, and her ways and doings, that she never doubted but her pastor would think her a very paragon of Christian excellence. So, very confidently she closed up her narration by putting to him the question, "Now, what do you think of my religion?"

She had a reply very blunt and straightforward, and certainly not the one she expected.

"Madam," said he, pointing to his hat on the table, "you have no more religion than that hat!"

Now you may be far from the open, glaring self-righteousness of this lady, but it may be equally true of you, in God's sight, that you have "no more religion than a hat!" Your religion may all turn upon self. There is a secret dependence upon your own character, upon your freedom from vice, upon your moral conduct--that mars whatever is good about you.

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'  
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:10-14
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Ten thousand foul sins and vices burst forth and turn earth into a Hell! 

(George Everard, "The Curse Removed!"

"There shall be no more curse!"
 Revelation 22:3

What a sad history our world has had! Ever since the tempter set his foot on earth, all the fair beauty and glory that pertained to man have well-near utterly perished!

Cursed is the ground for man's sake--thorns and thistles spring up apace! And far worse, man himself becomes as a thorn or a brier--instead of adorning the paradise of God.

Hatred and envy and evil passions of all kinds stir him up to immorality, violence, cruelty and murder.

The image of the righteous, holy God is lost.

Ten thousand foul sins and vices burst forth and turn earth into a Hell! 
Selfishness, pride, jealousy, oppression--bringing misery and confusion into all the relationships of life.

And the soul of man, once the palace of the King of Love--becomes the cage and dwelling-place of unclean spirits!

Oh the terrible weight of the curse which since the Fall has rested on man! Oh the woe and the wickedness which have blighted that which was once holy and fair and beautiful! The crown has fallen from our head--woe unto us that we have sinned!

But Jesus Himself bore on the cross, the penalty and the curse that sin merited--and now He gives in its place an everlasting and unchanging blessing!

There shall be a new Heaven, and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. God shall wipe away all tears from men's eyes. Sorrow and suffering, pain and death, shall no longer burden the earth.

"There shall be no more curse! They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there! And they shall reign forever and ever!" Revelation 22:3-5
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Our Convictions Our Defense


A person of conviction has become convinced, by either evidence or argument, that his beliefs are true. Today, most men and women would rather live by preference than conviction. They choose to believe something based on certain conditions and circumstances. When the situation changes, so does their loyalty. In other words, a lot of people vacillate on issues that require a firm resolve.
Contrast this wishy-washy approach with the mindset of the great men and women of Scripture. Despite many years of unfair treatment, Joseph never wavered in his commitment to godly principles . As a result, he was in the right place at the right time to ensure Israel’s survival (Gen. 50:20). Daniel, another righteous man in an idolatrous land, earned the trust of foreign kings by standing firm in his beliefs (Dan. 1:20). When his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also refused to compromise their beliefs, they influenced a king to recognize Jehovah as the one true God (3:29).
As these biblical heroes show, godly convictions can withstand the changing winds of opinion and the persuasive arguments of opponents. If we are grounded in the Word and trust what God has said, we can stand firm in our beliefs. Confidence breeds the courage to remain strong amid conflict.
Instead of following your own preferences, choose to live by godly conviction. The Bible has much to say about the most important aspects of your life. See if God’s principles and promises hold true. Through prayer and study, allow Him to firmly root you in solid biblical convictions.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~



Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Inner Chamber (and other devotionals)

The Inner Chamber

"When thou prayest enter into thine inner chamber" (Matthew 6:6).

Have you ever thought what a wonderful privilege it is that everyone each day and each hour of the day has the liberty of asking God to meet him in the inner chamber and to hear what he has to say? We should imagine that every Christian uses such a privilege gladly and faithfully.

"When thou prayest," says Jesus, "enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." That means two things. Shut the world out, withdraw from all worldly thoughts and occupations, and shut yourself in alone with God to pray to Him in secret. Let this be your chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly Father. Let your watchword be: Alone with God.

This is only the beginning. I must take time to realize His presence with me and pray to my Father who seeth in secret, in the full assurance that He knows how I long for His help and guidance and will incline His ear to me.

Then follows the great promise: "Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." My Father will see to it that my prayer is not in vain. All through the occupations of a busy day, the answer to my prayer will be granted. Prayer in secret will be followed by the secret working of God in my heart.

As the Lord Jesus has given us the promise of His presence and shows us the way to the inner chamber, He will assuredly be with us to teach us to pray. It is through Him that we have access to the Father. Be childlike and trustful in your fellowship with Christ. Prayer in fellowship with Jesus cannot be in vain.

Blessed Father, I confess each sin, I bring to Thee my every need. I offer my prayer to Thee in the name of Christ. Amen

~Andrew Murray~
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"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

The public profession which Jesus requires of those who believe His gospel.

He tells His apostles to "baptize" those whom they received as disciples. It is very difficult to conceive, when we read this last command of our Lord's, how men can avoid the conclusion that baptism is necessary, when it may be had. It seems impossible to explain the word that we have here of any but an outward ordinance, to be administered to all who join His Church. That outward baptism alone often confers no benefit, the case of Simon Magus plainly shows: although baptized he remained in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:23). But that baptism is a matter of entire indifference, and need not be used at all, is an assertion which seems at variance with our Lord's words in this place.

The plain practical lesson of the words is the necessity of a public confession of faith in Christ. It is not enough to be a secret disciple: we must not be ashamed to let men see whose we are,and whom we serve. We must not behave as if we did not like to be thought Christians; but take up our cross, and confess our Master before the world. His words are very solemn: "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me ... of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).

Let us observe the obedience which Jesus requires of all who profess themselves His disciples. He bids the apostles teach them to observe all things, whatsoever He has commanded them.

This is a searching expression. It shows the uselessness of a mere name and form of Christianity; it shows that they only are to be counted true Christians who live in practical obedience to His Word, and strive to do the things that He has commanded.

~J. C. Ryle~