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Saturday, July 23, 2016

He Died For All (and other devotionals)

He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him. (2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV)

We can only know Christ after the Spirit, so that Christ for us in this dispensation is spiritual in the sense that all that we know of Him or can have to do with Him can only be in the Spirit. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.” (2 Cor. 5:16). He is known after the Spirit. Our resources are spiritual. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual. Everything has got to come to us from above. The one great effort of the enemy, which is again and again successful through this dispensation, has been to bring the things of God down to the attachment with this world, attachment to this earth, to make them something here....
You only need to read John to see how unattached everything is, how everything is lifted clean out of this world, and everything is bound up with the fact that Christ is in heaven, and that the Lord’s people are here, but not here; here, but not known; in the world, but not of it; a mystery people in this world so far as the world is concerned... unrecognized, unknown. And yet by that very means and for that very reason, the most potent force that this universe knows: the spiritual, hidden, secret people of God in this earth. To take hold of Christianity and mold it, and shape it, and systematize it, and crystallize it, and make it some mighty movement here; with its roots here, with all its associations such as man can see, appreciate and approve; to register itself upon the ordinary consciousness of this world as being something; all of that is contrary to the Word of God and is contrary to spiritual life and spiritual power. Christ is in heaven, and we are lifted out, translated, seated together with Him in the heavenlies. Our present purpose in this world is testimony only, by which others will be taken out of the nations, a people for His name.

~T. Austin-Sparks~


Just Look Around

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

—1 Peter 5:6

When God is looking for a man or a woman to use, He often goes out of His way to find someone who will say, "I'm the last person You would want to choose."

The Lord might say to that person, "Actually, you are the first person I wanted to choose because you think you're the last person I would want to choose." People who think they are qualified, people who think they can do it all and know it all, disqualify themselves. Why? Because "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

Sometimes people tell me they want to be in ministry, and they want my advice regarding how they can get into the ministry. Ministry is everywhere. Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35).

I started out in ministry on the streets. I was just someone who heard the gospel and believed it. I went out on the streets of Newport Beach, around the pier, and I walked around. I'd walk up to people I had never met and talk to them about my faith. I looked for any opportunity I could find.

In the Bible we see that the people God called to serve Him usually were busy doing something else. Gideon was grinding wheat. Elisha was plowing a field. Peter and John were mending nets. Matthew was sitting at his tax table.

Ministry is all around us if we will just open our eyes. Work where you are. Do what you can where you are. If you are faithful in the little things, God will open up great opportunities for you.
~Greg Laurie~

Today's reading: 2 Kings 9:1-10:27

As we arrive at 2 Kings 9 Jehu is anointed king of Israel, and what immediately follows is deadly violence. I find passages like these extremely difficult to read, understand and accept--even knowing that this account is from a much different time period where customs, traditions, practices and laws were nothing like what we follow today. Nevertheless, it's part of God's Word as well as biblical history which means I need to know about it and look for lessons from it.
There was one word that kept going through my mind as I read this heavy passage--SIN. Sin is powerful, far-reaching and always has consequences.
What are some of the spiritual consequences when we choose to sin? What helps you keep your focus on God and following His ways? 

Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

It is the Spirit that quickeneth. - The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. - Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.

I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. - The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. - The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. - If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. - This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.

No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

PSA. 80:18. John 6:63. Rom. 8:26,27. Eph. 6:18. Psa. 119:93. John 6:63. II Cor. 3:6. -John 15:7. I John 5:14. I Cor. 12:3. 
EVENINGHave no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolators; for then must we needs go out of the world. I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. - That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

EPH. 5:11. I Cor. 15:33. I Cor. 5:6,7,9 11. Phi. 2:15. II Tim. 2:20.

~Samuel Bagster~

Nearest and Dearest Fellowship 

"So shall we ever be with the LORD"   (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

While we are here the LORD is with us, and when we are called away we are with Him. There is no dividing the saint from His Savior. They are one, and they always must be one: Jesus cannot be without His own people, for He would be a Head without a body. Whether caught up into the air, or resting in paradise, or sojourning here, we are with Jesus; and who shall separate us from Him? What a joy is this! Our supreme honor, rest, comfort, delight, is to be with the LORD. We cannot conceive of anything which can surpass or even equal this divine society. By holy fellowship we must be with Him in His humiliation, rejection, and travail, and then we shall be with Him in His glory. Before long we shall be with Him in His rest and in His royalty, in His expectation and in His manifestation. We shall fare as He fares and triumph as He triumphs. O my LORD, if I am to be forever with Thee, I have a destiny incomparable. I will not envy an archangel. To be forever with the LORD is my idea of heaven at its best. Not the harps of gold, nor the crowns unfading, nor the light unclouded is glory to me; but Jesus, Jesus Himself, and myself forever with Him in nearest and dearest fellowship.
~Charles Spurgeon~

This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses.—Luke 21:13
Life is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have somebody “call back” and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill. We are all climbers together, and we must help one another. This mountain climbing is serious business, but glorious. It takes strength and steady step to find the summits. The outlook widens with the altitude. If anyone among us has found anything worth while, we ought to “call back.”
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back—
’Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track; 
And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low, 
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your your face,
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back—
’Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track. 
~L. B. Cowman~

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