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Friday, September 30, 2016

Striving In Prayer

Striving In Prayer

"Because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf: having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me" (Phil. 1:29, 30).

"Whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ; where unto I labor also striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily. For I would have you know how greatly I strive for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ" (Col. 1:28 - 2:2).

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God" (Col. 4:12).

There is much more in the Word of the same nature that could be added to these passages, but these are sufficient, I think, to indicate something we need to lay to heart. I always feel that one of the great factors in our own spiritual enlargement is a real active concern for others; not in the sense that we look after another's vineyard and neglect our own, become "busy-bodies" as the Apostle would term it, occupied with everybody's business except our own, but that there is a right and proper and fruitful concern for others. What the Scriptures that we have read bring before us is that God's great revelation of purpose in the Church is not going to be realized without some tremendous and terrific conflict. There have to be those who throw themselves into that conflict for that end.

The Importance of Taking The Initiative

So here the Apostle says, "What great conflict I had for you and for them of Laodicea," and for many others. "Striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily." "Epaphras ... a servant of Christ Jesus ... always striving for you in his prayers." It is the laying to heart of this matter about God's desire for His people in such a way as to draw us into tremendous spiritual conflict over it. Now, we are meeting the conflict perhaps, without seeking it directly, but it is a very true thing that very often the advantage is with those who take the initiative. Do you not recognize that when the enemy takes the initiative in the matter of spiritual assault, we usually find ourselves at a disadvantage. When it comes from his side, we turn in upon ourselves, we begin to ask questions. We find ourselves sometimes almost paralyzed by the pressure, the tenseness and the forms in which his assault comes. It affects us in such a way as almost to overwhelm us and put us out. That is because he is taking the initiative, and he knows enough of strategy in warfare to know that it is with the one who takes the initiative that a great deal of the advantage lies.

Now we shall always of course meet that and he will always be doing it, but what about the other way around? Paul met a very great deal of the onslaught of the enemy upon spirit and mind and body. It came along every line and by every channel and means conceivable. He tells us a good deal about the nature of his conflicts, spiritual and temporal, in his ministry and life, but Paul by no means left things there. He also makes it perfectly clear that he took the initiative as well, and these words which we have just read concern the initiative of the Lord's people on this matter. If the enemy is out with all his might and all his cunning to frustrate this purpose of God in the saints, namely, their coming to the fullness of understanding, their having the full knowledge of Christ; I say if he is out by every means to frustrate that, there has to be some initiative from the other side. There has to be a real throwing of ourselves into this matter in a spiritual way against this assailing of the children of God, so that God's end shall not be frustrated.

"What great conflict I have for you," says the Apostle, "striving." You know how he uses that word in his Corinthian letter about the Olympic games. "If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (2 Timothy 2:5). He sees this man in the arena or on the track stretched out, throwing himself into the battle, striving for the mastery. It is the same word. And here it is striving for the mastery over the enemy and for the will of God, that His people might know the mystery of God, even Christ, unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, and so on. Well, the emphasis is clear and does not need a great deal added to it of words from me.

My deep feeling is that there has to be another side to our concern about this matter of the Lord's desire for His people to come to fullness, beyond the personal, and until that other side is brought in the end will not be reached. That means there must be those who will really throw themselves in to strive, by the enablement, the energy of the Spirit, to strive over this matter.

An Old Testament Illustration

When I was thinking about this, there came back to my mind the very familiar story of Elisha and the Shunammite, and her son. It seems to me to be the point of this very matter. Elisha, as you well know, sets forth in type that which was ordained to remain here on this earth after the Lord was risen. Elijah and Elisha had passed through the Jordan, the Cross, and Elijah had been translated to heaven. The great issue upon which that continuation of the testimony here depended was that there should be with Elisha a double portion of his master's spirit. His request was that. He was put on probation over that. He was tested and drawn out concerning that, but, having been approved, Elisha received a double portion of the spirit of his head. The sons of the prophets always spoke of Elijah in those words - "Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy mater from thy head today?" (2 Kings 2) Elijah was his head. Now when the head was received up into heaven, the double portion of the Spirit came upon Elisha. He was here on this earth in the power of the Spirit to maintain and carry on a testimony of life, so that at every move, in every connection, Elisha is found meeting conditions of death. He is called upon to prove that the Spirit is with him as the Spirit of resurrection by having to encounter death in many forms.

Among these many instances is the one of the Shunammite's son, full, I think, of helpful features and elements if we were dealing with it as a whole. We only have one thing in mind at the moment. Here, for instance, in grace the Lord had visited her and given her that son; for I think it is quite evident that she had closed that chapter in her life as something which would never be. You remember she asked the prophet not to mock her, and then later when the son died, she said, "Did I desire a son of my lord?" as much as to say, I had closed that chapter, that was something which I killed in my heart, I was not any longer thinking in that direction; you did that. It was something that could not be, but the impossible was done. The thing that she no longer dared to think about or hope for had become an actuality by the grace of God. It was something God had done in grace, and the son existed.

Now the son dies. Strange mysterious ways of God, to give something altogether of Himself, something beyond our powers and beyond our expectations, and then, having done something so much of Himself, to allow it to fall under what looks like a mere calamity, to die. Strange ways of God! The Lord does do strange things, things that are strange to our understanding. He is beyond us.

When the boy is dead, there is one there who has not been by the way of the Cross and the anointing, namely, Gehazi. He was not there to go through the Jordan with Elijah and Elisha. He did not come back again across Jordan in the power of the anointing, triumphant over death. He was not under the anointing of the double portion; he was a mere professional, not an anointed one. He came to a very sad end, a very tragic end. The leprosy of Naaman the Syrian clave to him. That, by the way, happens to people who take up Divine things not crucified, uncrucified people, unanointed people. Gehazi went to this death chamber and tried to do something for this boy, and nothing happened, and he had to go away acknowledging that there was nothing. Elisha came, and you remember his procedure. He went in and he stretched himself upon that body, hands to his hands, feet to his feet, lips to his lips, eyes to his eyes. He got right down on this situation, so to speak. He got into it, he identified himself with it, he made himself a part of it. But he was in the good of the power of resurrection. It is safe to do it when you are there. He was under the anointing, and because he was a man under the anointing on the ground of resurrection, he could come into touch with that situation, not to his own undoing but to the undoing of it. It was as though he literally lifted that boy out of death.

Few things in the New Testament more amply describe that sort of thing than these words about Epaphras: a servant of Jesus Christ striving for you in his prayers. It is like that. I am not just giving you Bible Study. This is the point: I do not believe things are going to happen until we get down to it. I believe God is waiting for a getting down to this situation. There have to be some people who really do get down to it.

The Factor of Prayer in Relation to the Lord's Purpose

Take the present situation among the Lord's people. God has a purpose, but are we taking it for granted, are we waiting for something to happen, looking out all the time, observing, spectators, weighing it up, judging it? This is not happening and that is not happening, this is all we can see! I do not believe anything will happen until a people really get down to this; a people, mark you, who stand on resurrection ground, who have the anointing, and then get down to it to break the deadlock of death, to break the bonds which bind. It is real business. There has to be a striving over this matter. It is not going to happen, it is not just going to come to pass. All this that Paul says and all that is here in the Word is sheer nonsense if the mere fact of a thing being in the will of God ensures its happening, apart from any other consideration. What are you striving about, Paul? There is no need for all that agony, travail, striving of yours! The Lord purposes it, it is the will of God; you just believe and be quiet and it will come to pass, the Lord will do it! Well then all this is unnecessary, and therefore it is nonsense. Is it? Does this not represent something, count for something? You see what I mean.

In Colosse, in Laodicea,and for many others who had not seen his face in the flesh, all those churches, their being knit together in love unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding that they may know the mystery of God, be presented every man complete in Christ, that hangs upon this man's conflict and the conflict of Epaphras and others. How much of this are we doing? It is so easy to criticize one another's spiritual life, and the spiritual life of other people. It is so easy to take account of small measure, little growth, the arrest and limitation. It is so easy just to be lookers-on. Yes, in our hearts we are troubled, we are perplexed. In a way, we ask the Lord continually to do something, we are not detached altogether, but are are quite sure that we are where Paul was? "How greatly I strive for you." How I get down to this, how I identify myself with this situation, this need! - this that has come in which is just the opposite of what God intended, this that has interfered with the continuation of progress and development in a life that God produced, this which undoubtedly is the Lord but locked up, fallen under something in the way of a blight, a lack, an arrest, a hold up.

There is the sovereignty of God, of course, in this, the sovereignty of God which works over the enemy in order to draw out some people. As we said at the beginning, our own enlargement is bound up with our vocation; or, to put it in another way, we shall not make much progress spiritually until we take spiritual responsibility. It is vital to our growth that we have concern for souls, our own spiritual growth. I do not believe people do grow, however much information they accumulate along spiritual lines, if they are all the time turned in on themselves. Responsibility is a tremendous thing for enlargement, and here is a man who took responsibility to the full. But he turns to these Philippians and he says, "To you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf," and these sufferings are very often along this line, soul suffering for the saints. "I ... fill up ... that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ ... for His body's sake, which is the church" (Col. 1:24). The sufferings of Christ; it is given to you to suffer with Him. The sufferings of Christ for His body's sake which is the Church - I fill up that which remains of that.

It might be that the edge of a great deal of the enemy's assault upon us would be blunted if we were a little more of the assailing kind. I think we feel the keenness of it because we wait for it. I think there is something that really does save us when we are turned out in the aggressive. There are values, great values, to our own spiritual life, safety and growth, by a positive and an aggressive spirit in the interests of the Lord; for undoubtedly a positive state is a protection. To be fervent in spirit is a great protection.

I do not want to say a great deal more. I felt that the Lord wanted that emphasis this evening. You are concerned and I am concerned in a way. We recognize a need, a great need, and in relation to that need perhaps we come to wonder why this and why that. Then we begin to try and interpret it and explain it, and we give this interpretation and that interpretation, and all too often it again becomes a turning in on ourselves or on ourselves collectively.

Well, let us face this to begin with, that the Lord's people never did in all their history come through to His end for them without terrific conflict, a great withstanding. It was always so, and they have never come through only as the Lord has had a vessel which has taken up that issue in a most positive way. It was like that with Israel in their getting through to the land. Joshua and Caleb took up that issue and fought it through, and by them a generation came in. Daniel took up that issue when the people were in captivity and fought it through in the heavenlies. The coming back of the remnant was undoubtedly to be laid instrumentally in Daniel's door. And here Paul in the same thing on the higher spiritual level; satan out to withstand this coming of the Church to God's end in fullness. Among others, here is Paul taking it up, fighting it out. It always has been, it always will be. In every city  Paul had to meet it and fight it through. He is there himself on resurrection ground under the mighty anointing, but look at Philippi and the jail and the stripes, look at Corinth. There was evidently very real need for the Lord to say to Paul about Corinth, "Fear not, I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:10). It was very necessary for the Lord again and again to come alongside and fortify His servant because of what he was meeting in the city. See what he met in Ephesus: the sentence of death, he despaired even of life. Right in the conflict in every city, but fighting it through. The Lord needs that kind of instrument.

Again I say, while there may be various subsidiary causes for arrest or limitation, here is the big issue, that the enemy is out to prevent our going through, to prevent the Lord's people from knowing what His thoughts are about them, being brought into touch or led into touch with that which will be for their enlargement. It is all a mighty campaign of the enemy, blinding, nullifying, neutralizing, hindering, putting up blankets, clouds, and smoke, everything and anything. It is all a part of this determination of his that the saints shall not be brought through to completeness in Christ.

Over against that, there have to be those who, together in the Lord, standing on the right and sufficient ground, take up this issue in the Name of the Lord and fight it out. "How greatly I strive" has to be true of a company of us.

The Lord give us grace for this and really work in us, and we shall see things breaking. No one will doubt, no one will dispute, that we are in a life or death issue. We are going to live and live triumphantly, or we are going to die, going to fade out. Perhaps in the Lord the issue rests with us along this line. The Lord add to the company of Epaphras!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Understanding Your Life's Purpose # 2

Understanding Your Life's Purpose by Better Understanding God # 2

Who remembers when a conference chairman brought his Bible to the table with him for the purpose of using it? Minutes, regulations, rules of order, yes. The sacred commandments of the Lord, no. An absolute dichotomy exists between the devotional period and the business session. The first has no relation to the second.

What foreign mission board actually seeks to follow the guidance of the Lord as provided by His Word and His Spirit? They all think they do, but what they do in fact is to assume the scriptualness of their ends and then ask for help to find ways to achieve them. They may pray all night for God to give success to their enterprises, but Christ is desired as their helper, not as their Lord. Human means are devised to achieve ends assumed to be divine. These harden into policy, and thereafter the Lord doesn't even have a vote.

In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way, as have the other churches in our group.

What Christian when faced with a moral problem goes straight to the Sermon on the Mount or other New Testament Scripture for the authoritative answer? Who lets the words of Christ be final on giving, birth control, the bringing up of a family, personal habits, tithing, entertainment, buying, selling and other such important matters?

What theological school, from the lowly Bible institute up, could continue to operate if it were to make Christ Lord of its every policy? There may be some, and I hope there are, but I believe I am right when I say that most such schools to stay in business are forced to adopt procedures which find no justification in the Bible they profess to teach. So we have this strange anomaly: the authority of Christ is ignored in order to maintain a school to teach among other things the authority of Christ.

The causes back of the decline in our Lord's authority are many. I name only two.

One is the power of custom, precedent and tradition within the older religious groups. These like gravitation affect every particle of religious practise within the group, exerting a steady and constant pressure in one direction. Of course that direction is toward conformity to the status quo. Not Christ but custom is lord in this situation. And the same thing has passed over (possibly to slightly lesser degree) into the other groups such as the full gospel tabernacles, the holiness churches, the pentecostal and fundamental churches and the many independent and nondenominational churches found everywhere throughout the North American continent.

The second cause is the revival of intellectualism among the evangelicals. This, if I sense the situation correctly, is not so much a thirst for learning as a desire for a reputation of being learned. Because of it good men who ought to know better are being put in a position of collaborating with the enemy. I'll explain.

Our evangelical faith (which I believe to be the true faith of Christ and His apostles) is being attacked these days from many different directions. In the Western world the enemy has forsworn violence. He comes against us no more with sword and fagot; he now comes smiling, bearing gifts. He raises his eyes to heaven and swears that he too believes in the faith of our fathers, but his real purpose is to destroy that faith, or at least to modify it to such an extent that it is no longer the supernatural thing it once was. He comes in the name of philosophy or psychology or anthropology, and with sweet reasonableness urges us to rethink our historic position, to be less rigid, more tolerant, more broadly understanding.

He speaks in the sacred jargon of the schools, and many of our half-educated evangelicals run to fawn on him. He tosses academic degrees to the scrambling sons of the prophets as Rockefeller used to toss dimes to the children of the peasants. The evangelicals who, with some justification, have been accused of lacking true scholarship, now grab for these status symbols with shining eyes, and when they get them they are scarcely able to believe their eyes. They walk about in a kind of ecstatic unbelief, much as the soloist of the neighborhood church choir might were she to be invited to sing at La Scala.

For the true Christian the one supreme test for the present soundness and ultimate worth of everything religious must be the place our Lord occupies in it. Is He Lord or symbol? Is He in charge of the project or merely one of the crew? Does He decide things or only help to carry out the plans of others? All religious activities, from the simplest act of an individual Christian to the ponderous and expensive operations of a whole denomination, may be proved by the answer to the question, Is Jesus Christ Lord in this act? Whether our works prove to be wood, hay and stubble or gold and silver and precious stones in that great day will depend upon the right answer to that question.

What, then, are we to do? Each one of us must decide, and there are at least three possible choices.One is to rise up in shocked indignation and accuse me of irresponsible reporting. Another is to nod general agreement with what is written here but take comfort in the fact that there are exceptions and we are among the exceptions. The other is to go down in meek humility and confess that we have grieved the Spirit and dishonored our Lord in failing to give Him the place His Father has given Him as Head and Lord of the Church.

Either the first or the second will but confirm the wrong. The third if carried out to its conclusion can remove the curse. The decision lies with us.

~A. W. Tozer~

(An Essay on "The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches"

(The End)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Understanding Your Life's Purpose # 1

Understanding Your Life's Purpose # 1

Here is the burden of my heart; and while I claim for myself no special inspiration I yet feel that this is also the burden of the Holy Spirit.

If I know my own heart it is love alone that moves me to write this. What I write here is not the sour ferment of a mind agitated by contentions with my fellow Christians. There have been no such contentions. I have not been abused, mistreated or attacked by anyone. Nor have these observations grown out of any unpleasant experiences that I have had in my association with others. My relations with my own church as well as with Christians of other denominations have been friendly, courteous and pleasant. My grief is simply the result of a condition which I believe to be almost universally prevalent among the churches.

I think also that I should acknowledge that I am myself very much involved in the situation I here deplore. As Ezra in his mighty prayer of intercession included himself among the wrongdoers, so do I. "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens." Any hard word spoken here against others must in simple honesty return upon my own head. I too have been guilty. This is written with the hope that we all may turn unto the Lord our God and sin no more against Him.

Let me state the cause of my burden. It is this: Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name. By these I mean not the Roman Catholics nor the liberals, nor the various quasi-Christian cults. I do mean Protestant churches generally, and I include those that protest the loudest that they are in spiritual descent from our Lord and His apostles, namely, the evangelicals.

It is a basic doctrine of the New Testament that after His resurrection the Man Jesus was declared by God to be both Lord and Christ, and that He was invested by the Father with absolute Lordship over the church which is His Body. All authority is His in heaven and in earth. In His own proper time He will exert it to the full, but during this period in history He allows this authority to be challenged or ignored. And just now it is being challenged by the world and ignored by the church.

The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited, constitutional monarchy. The king (sometimes depersonalized by the term "the Crown") is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Normally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions. On formal occasions he appears in his royal attire to deliver the tame, colorless speech put into his mouth by the real rulers of the country. The whole thing may be no more than good-natured make-believe, but it is rooted in antiquity, it is a lot of fun and no one wants to give it up.

Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" is the church's national anthem and the Cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions. Under proper circumstances Christ is allowed to say "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden" or "Let not your heart be troubled," but when the speech is finished someone else takes over. Those in actual authority decide the moral standards of the church, as well as all objectives and all methods employed to achieve them. Because of long and meticulous organization it is now possible for the youngest pastor just out of seminary to have more actual authority in a church than Jesus Christ has.

Not only does Christ have little or no authority, His influence also is becoming less and less. It would not say that He has none, only that it is small and diminishing. A fair parallel would be the influence of Abraham Lincoln over the American people. Honest Abe is still the idol of the country. The likeness of his kind, rugged face, so homely that it is beautiful, appears everywhere. It is easy to grow misty-eyed over him. Children are bought up on stories of his love, his honesty and his humility.

But after we have gotten control over our tender emotions what have we left? No more than a good example which, as it receded into the past, becomes more and more unreal and exercises less and less real influence. Every scoundrel is ready to wrap Lincoln's long black coat around him. In the cold light of political facts in the United States the constant appeal to Lincoln by the politicians is a cynical joke.

The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten among Christian, but it has been relegated to the hymnal where all responsibility toward it may be comfortably discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion. Or if it is taught as a theory in the classroom it is rarely applied to practical living. The idea that the Man Christ Jesus has absolute and final authority over the whole church and over all of its members in every detail of their lives is simply not now accepted as true by the rank and file of evangelical Christians.

What we do is this: We accept the Christianity of our group as being identical with that of Christ and His Apostles. The beliefs, the practises, the ethics, the activities of our group are equated with the Christianity of the New Testament. Whatever the group thinks or says or does is scriptural, no questions asked. It is assumed that all our Lord expects of us is that we busy ourselves with the activities of the group. In so doing we are keeping the commandments of Christ.

To avoid the hard necessity of either obeying or rejecting the plain instructions of our Lord in the New Testament we take refuge in a liberal interpretation of them. Casuistry is not the possession of Roman Catholic theologians alone. We evangelical also no how to avoid the sharp point of obedience by means of fine and intricate explanations. These are tailor-made for the flesh. They excuse disobedience, comfort carnality and make the words of Christ of none effect. And the essence of it all is that Christ simply could not have meant what He said. His teachings are accepted even theoretically only after they have been weakened by interpretation.

Yet Christ is consulted by increasing numbers of persons with "problems" and sought after by those who long for peace of mind. He is widely recommended as a kind of spiritual psychiatrist with remarkable powers to straighten people out. He is able to deliver them from their guilt complexes and to help them avoid serious psychic traumas by making a smooth and easy adjustment to society and to their own ids. Of course this strange Christ has no relation whatever to the Christ of the New Testament. The true Christ is also Lord, but this accommodating Christ is little more than the servant of the people.

But I suppose I should offer some concrete proof to support my charge that Christ has little or no authority today among the churches. Well, let me put a few questions and let the answers be the evidence.

What church board consults our Lord's words to decide matters under discussion? Let anyone reading this who has had experience on a church board try to recall the times or time when any board member read from the Scriptures to make a point, or when any chairman suggested that the brethren should see what instructions the Lord had for them on a particular question. Board meetings are habitually opened with a formal prayer or "a season of prayer"; after that the Head of the Church is respectfully silent while the real rulers take over. Let anyone who denies this bring forth evidence to refute it. I for one will be glad to hear it.

What Sunday school committee goes to the Word for directions? Do not the members invariably assume that they already know what they are supposed to do and that their only problem is to find effective means to get it done? Plans, rules, "operations"and new methodological techniques absorb all their times and attention. The prayer before the meeting is for divine help to carry out their plans. Apparently the idea that the Lord might have some instructions for them never so much as enters their heads.

~A. W. Tozer~
Tozer Essays

(continued with # 2)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Confession of Sin

Confession of Sin

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Too often the confession of sin is superficial, and often it is quite neglected. Few Christians realize how necessary it is to be in earnest about the matteror feel that an honest confession of sin gives power to live the life of victory over sin. In fellowship with the Lord Jesus we need to confess with a sincere heart everysin that may e a hindrance in our Christian lives.

Listen to what David says, "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee; I said, I will confess my transgression, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Thou art my hiding place; Thou shall compass me aboutwith songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:5-7). David speaks of a time when he was unwilling to confess his sin. "When I kept silence, Thy hand was heavy upon me." But when he had confessed hissin, a wonderful change came.

Confession means not only that I confess my sin with shame, but I hand it over to God, trusting Him to take it away. Such a confession implies that I am wholly unable to get rid of my guilt, but by an act of faith I reckon on God to deliver me. This deliverance means, in the first place, that I know my sins are forgiven, and secondly, that Christ undertakes to cleanse me from the sin and keep me from its power.

O Christian, if you are seeking to have fellowship with Jesus, do not fear to confess each sin in the confident assurance that there is deliverance. Let there be a mutual understanding between the Lord Jesus and yourself that you will confess each sin and obtain forgiveness. Then you will know your Lord as Jesus who saves His people from their sin.

Dear Father, I believe that there is great power in the confession of sin, for the burden of sin is born by our Lord and Saviour. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

The First Love

"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4).

In Revelation 2:2-3, eight signs are mentioned showing the zeal and activity of the Church at Ephesus. But there was one bad sign, and the Lord said: "Except thou repent, I will come unto thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." And what was this sign? "Thou hast left thy first love."

We find the same lack in the Church of the present day. There is zeal for the truth, there is continuous and persevering labor, but that which the Lord values most is wanting, the tender, fervent love to Himself.

This is a thought of great significance - a church or a community or a Christian may be an example in every good work, and yet - the tender love to the Lord Jesus in the inner chamber is missing.

There is no personal daily fellowship with Christ, and all the manifold activities with which people satisfy themselves are are as nought in the eyes of the Master Himself.

Dear brother and sister, this book speaks of the fellowship of love with Christ in the inner chamber. Everything depends on this. Christ came from heaven to love us with the love wherewith the Father loved Him. He suffered and died to win our hearts for this love. His love can be satisfied with nothing less than a deep, personal love on our part.

Christ considers this of the first importance. Let us do so too. Many ministers and missionaries and Christian workers confess with shame that in spite of all their zeal in the Lord's work, their prayer life is defective because they have left their first love. I pray you, write this down on a piece of paperand remember it continually - The love of Jesus must be all - in the inner chamber, in all my work, in my daily life.

Lord Jesus, I pray that Thou wilt be my all, in the inner chamber, in all my work, in my daily life. Amen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Saviour To The Uttermost

A Saviour To The Uttermost

"Wherefore also He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

Howsoever viewed, this is a great and heartening statement. The ability of our Lord Jesus Christ to save at all times and in all circumstances is the sheet anchor of the faith of God's people. A Saviour who never fails, who can never be confronted with a situation too difficult for Him, is a fundamental necessity to all who are seeking to live to the glory of God in an end time, and who are, therefore, continually meeting the fierce and unceasing antagonism of the force of darkness. Here the glorious declaration of His power to save to the uttermost is made for our comfort, and for the strengthening of faith.

We shall look at this in two ways firstly, regarding it as a statement by itself and seeking to gather its rich and full meaning; then looking at it in its context and noting the immense reinforcement that is brought to faith as the statement is seen to be the culminating point of one section of the whole great argument concerning the person and work of Jesus our Lord.

(1) The Great Statement

This is a favorite text for evangelistic sermons. It is indeed "good news" for the sinner. No one, however sunken in sin, is beyond the reach of His saving power. He is able to save all who come, and to save them to the uttermost. Let the message go out to the furthest bounds of human sin and need, and be sounded in the ears of the most hardened and degraded of the sons of men. No case is too hard for Him. Hallelujah!!

But this is written as a message to the Lord's people. It is a glorious declaration of His saving power in relation to those who draw near to God, and is based, not only upon His death on Calvary, but upon His present life and ministry as the High Priest of His people. It is because "He ever liveth" that "He is able to save to the uttermost" (or completely.) This is the gospel for the saints. What a joy to declare it! The more dire the need (and some of the Lord's people are in desperate need) the greater the comfort of the declaration. What a consolation to the heart, when involved in some situation of acute, and humanly hopeless, difficulty, to remember that, interceding for us at the right hand of Divine power, we have One who, because He ever liveth, is able to exercise saving power to the full range and depth of an uttermost need: and not only able but willing to save, and in the bitterest trial to "make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it." To trust Him is to find salvation. "They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true."

"To the uttermost." This is a translation of a very rich original word. Like many of the words God employs in Holy Scripture it is a word with a big content. Some one has truly said that the words the Holy Spirit uses are great words in that they have God behind them. They are often much bigger than we realize. This word combines two separate ideas; first that of quality, then that of reach. It speaks of His ability to save completely in the present, and also to go on saving thus for ever; fullness of resource for present need, however dire, and also for every future need to the end of our earthly history. It may be expressed thus: Whatever the depth and complexity of present need, in whatsoever realm that need may be, whether in spirit,soul, or body; in Him, as exalted at God's right hand, there is complete ability to meet it: and further, by no possibility can there arise a situation to the farthest reach of time where that ability will be diminished, or His saving power be other than an abiding reality.

We are living in days when the outlook for this world is gloomy indeed and when fear might well grip the heart even of the believer. No man knows what is going to happen today, or tomorrow, still less the day after. Fear is gripping the hearts of men everywhere. Many of the Lord's people are afraid that they will become involved in some situation beyond the power of human endurance. Many in war-torn lands are going through trials and sufferings which strain endurance to the breaking point. Not a few, even in peaceful lands like our own, are tried in circumstances or physical suffering which seems to be beyond measure. How shall such endure to the end and be joyful in the midst of their tribulations? Only by an experience of His saving power, entered into on the basis of faith in His ever-present and never-diminishing ability to make His salvation a glorious reality. Faith asserts in the face of the most extreme difficulty and of human impossibility: "He ever liveth! He is able to save to the uttermost!"

This is true in every realm of human need. Whether the problem be related to sin, the world, the devil, or to death and him who wields it as a potent weapon, the power of an uttermost salvation resides in our Priestly Intercessor on the Father's throne. Fearful heart, take comfort: He ever liveth! He is there in the full value of His Calvary triumph. Nothing has been lost in the process of the years. All that He won as the mighty victor in the hour of His weakness and seeming defeat, He holds on our behalf. It is all available to faith.

"And now He lives,
Proclaim the joyful story, the Lord's
on high;
And we in Him are raised to endless glory
And ne'er shall die."

Death has no dominion over Him, nor can we be brought under the power of it while we keep Him in full view. He lives, and has said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Living, He is abundantly able to save.

(2) The Statement In Its Setting

The comfort, consolation, and strength-giving power of this declaration, are immensely reinforced as we view it in its context, and see it as the culmination of a great argument. We miss a great deal of the valueof the Word of God by our habit of reading short portions or single chapters. It is always worth while to take time to see the scope and range of the particular book we are reading, to note its divisions, apprehend its arguments,and see where the climaxes come. The "wherefores" and "therefores" of the Word are most helpful in this connection. They always cast us back on that which has preceded the passage in question and indicate the foundation of the statement made. So this great declaration of the unceasing ability of the Lord to minister an uttermost salvation commences with "Wherefore." That is linked in the first place with verse 24: "But He, because He abideth for ever, hath His priesthood unchangeable" (Hebrews 7). This, in turn, is the culmination of the whole argument concerning our Lord's priestly ministry in contrast with the Aaronic priesthood of the old economy.

It will help if we seek to see something of the scope and range of the Epistle to the Hebrews. He was written to Hebrew believers; men who had been reared in the old Mosaic order of things, with its outward and visible worship, its sacrifices and preisthood, laws and ordinances. All this was passing away before their eyes and they had not yet become fully alive to the inward and esentially spiritual character of that into which they had entered as they passed out of Judaism into the Christian Church. Hence the Holy Spirit was seeking to demonstrate to them the immense superiority of Christ, in every aspect of His Person and work, as contrasted with the old order of things and the leaders they held in reverence. The key word of the Epistle is "better." There is  better hope, a better testament, better promises, better sacrifices, a better resurrection, a better country, etc.

Firstly, then, the Lord Jesus is declared to be God's final  message to men (chapter 1:1-2) and as such is superior to the angels and messaners through whom the old covenant was given (chapters 1 and 2). Then He is placed in contrast with Moses, the revered leader of the people from Egypt to Canaan, and the one through whom the Law was given. Christ is shown to be superior to Moses inasmuch as, in God's house, the Son issuperior to one who, however great, was after all but a servant (chapter 3:1-6). Joshua takes up the position of national leader on the death of Moses and conducts the people into the promised land; but though he gives them a large measure of possession, he was not able to give them rest therein. Our Lord is shown to be superior to Joshua in that He is able to lead His people into 'the rest that remaineth to the people of God' (chapter 4:8-10). Then comes the long section dealing with the great matter of priesthood, commencing with chapter 4:14 and going through to chapter 10. Christ as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek is set forth in contrast to the Aaronic priesthood, and the superiority of His office and ministry is found to consist in the fact that, whereas the priest of old were men whose lives were short and their ministry constantly interrupted by death, He lives by the power of an endless life and hath an unchangeable and age-abiding ministgry. The great declaration in relation to His priesthood is a twofold one (chapter 5; 5-6).

1. "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee."
2. "Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

And, further, this declaration is confirmed by God's oath:

"The Lord sware and will not repent Himself, Thou art a Priest for ever ..." (chapter 7:21).

Priesthood is an office, but one based upon moral suitability, upon sonship. The priests of the old Aaronic order were able to deal gently with the ignorant and the erring, because they themselves were compassed with infirmity, and therefore were compelled to offer sacrifice, not only for the sins of the people, but also for their own. They had the power of sympathy strongly developed becasue of their personal experience.

Our glorious High Priest was sinless and needed not to offer sacrifice on His own behalf. Nevertheless His power of sympathetic understanding is in no wise inferior to that of Aaron and his successors. Though He was a Son, He entered into the school of suffering and therein "learned obedience." He came to His perfection as Man, and therefore to His suitability for the high-priestly office, along the road of discipline: it was not that there was ever in Him a disposition towards disobedience. But it is one thing to be disposed to obedience and another to learn what obedience really means in the discipline of life. His delight in the will of God, declared when He came into the world, must be proved by treadintg the thorny road of life in dependence and active obedience. As another has well said, "The progress from the disposition to the deed of obedience is a practical learning of the virtue of obedience." So having come to His perfection along this difficult and painful road, He not only "became the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him," but is able fully to sympathize with those obedient souls in all the trials and conflicts they endure, as they also tread the hard road leading to their perfection.

The fullness of His experience, gathered in the school of suffering, and the certainty of His moral suitability to be the unchanging High Priest of His people, is seen in the fact that God, in making the double declaration, "Thou art My Son ... Thou art a Priest for ever," confirmed His appointment to the priestly office with an oath.

Now this is a remarkable thing. It is an altogether new note in relation to priesthood. The priestly order of the old dispensation was of Divine orgin, but God never spake of it in terms like this. What is involved in this really startling statement?

The purpose for which God employed this surprising method is clearly stated in chapter 6 with reference to Abraham: "For men sware by the greater: and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. Wherein God, being minded to shew more abundantly ... the immutability of His counsel, interposed with an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:16-18).

The oath of God was taken for the strong encouragement of the heirs of promise.

Here then is finality and unchangebility. God has sworn by Himself and will not repent. "Thou art a Priest for ever." Here is a fact altogether beyond the reach of the rebel forces in the universe, one which nothing in heaven or hell can change. After the order of him who was without genealogy, having neither beining of days nor end of life, our blessed Lord, "the Man Christ Jesus," having entered as our forerunner within the veil, "abideth a Priest continually."

Having reached this great climax in chapter 7:24-25, and making the declaration that, because Christ abideth ever and hathan unchangeable priesthood, He is able to save to the uttermost, the writer sums the matter up thus: -

"Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: "We have such a High Priest, Who sat down on the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man" (Hebrews 8:1-2).

Two points are to be noted. 1. He sat down. 2. He is a Minister of the sanctuary. Priests of the Aaronic order never sat down in the sanctuary: their work was never completed; the same sacrifices had to be offered year by year continually. But our High Priest offered one sacrifice for sins for ever. Having made propitiation for sins, He has passed through the heavens and is seated on the Father's throne. He is King as well as Priest. He is in the place of supreme and universal power. At the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, all authority is committed into His hands. The work of redemption is finished. The claims of Divine righteousness are fully satisfied. His victory over the rebel forces is full and final. In Him everything in the purpose and program of God has been secured. But all that has to be made good in the experience of 'the people for His name' who are being gathered out from the nations of the world, and who, in the wonderfully gracious purpose of God are to share His throne in the coming kingdom. He is their representative, their forerunner, but they have not arrived where He is. Hence we have the paradoxical statement that, though He has sat down, He is none the less a Minister of the sanctuary. He is in full activity as the High Priest of His people, perpetually ministering on their behalf before God, in order that they may be maintained in their heavenly life, and may overcome all resistance even as He overcame.

It is His ceaseless and untiring ministry in "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man," that is the ground of His people's sure confidence and triumphant boldness. "He ever liveth to make intercession." His ministry is a twofold one. On the one hand He maintains us before God by the virtue  of all that He is in Himself, and by the value of His atoning sacrifice  in all its range and power; and, on the other hand, He mediates to us of His fullness continually, so that as we 'draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, we find grace to help in every time of need.'

Thus we are able constantly to experience His ability to save to the uttermost. There is no reason why we should be fearful in any circumstance, or despair in any situation of acute and desperate need. If we are conscious of uttermost need, He is presentede to faith as an uttermost Saviour, on the basis of God's immutable oath. He is Redeemer, Saviour, High Priest, and Sovereign Lord. We have such a High Priest. Let us evermore rejoice in what He is in Himself, where He is in His Sovereign Lordship, andwhat He is doing in that tireless ministry on our behalf in the very presence of God.

"The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever ..." He is able to save to the uttermost. Hallelujah! 

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Father's House and the Family of Heaven

The Father's House and the Family of Heaven

~George Everard~

Among my readers there may be many lonely,desolate ones. Perhaps years ago you may have known the cheerfulness of a happy home, but of late you have walked alone through life. Your lot is a solitary one. You seem to stand alone, like a pillar in the desert, on which every stormy wind beats. Neither parent nor child, brother nor sister - is near to speak a word of sympathy when you need it. But after all there is a bright side to this dark cloud. There is blue sky overhead, if you will only look for it. If you make the Lord your stay and confidence, and if your trust is in the saving name of Jesus - you are a child in the great family of Heaven, a citizen enrolled in the books of the celestial city; you are not a solitary traveler on the way to Zion, but journeying on side by side with a goodly host, and shall soon share with them the pleasures which are at God's right hand!

In these chapters we have seen much of the evil that mars the comfort and happiness of the home is appointed for us now. From within and from without, from God's chastening hand in sickness,and from numberless causes over which we have but little control - there comes perpetually something that disturbs and distresses us. But we must look beyond. What is lacking in the earthly home, may be found in the heavenly home. What our hearts have long yearned for in vain here below, may yet be found without alloy before the throne of God.

A few words addressed to the believing Hebrews show the lofty privileges and blessed fellowship which Christians possess. The inspired author contrasts the bright and cheery hopes of believers now, with the fear and dread that belonged to the earlier dispensation.

"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22-24). We are struck here with the bold, startling way in which the apostle puts forth the present standing of Christians. "You have come," he declares, "unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God."

"But how can this be?" might believers ask. "Are we not still in the valley, struggling with our sins and temptations and sorrows? Are we not still in the valley of tears, the land of trouble and woe?"

"True," would the apostle reply; "but by virtue of your union with Christ, you are even now to be reckoned as sitting down in the heavenly places. In Him you are justified, in Him accepted, your name is in the books of the city, and He, your Forerunner, has already taken possession of it in your name."

But what is the Christian's home? Where shall the family be gathered together? The apostle describes it as "Mount Zion," "the heavenly Jerusalem," "the city of the living God."

It is an abode of purity and love. Sometimes we see a spot so fair, that we might imagine that the curse had been removed and that Eden had opened again its gates to the inhabitants of earth; but we find after a while that we have been mistaken. The presence of evil makes itself felt; and the strife of tongues,and sin abounding, soon make the vision vanish away. But within the Father's house, nothing can ever defile. Love reign sin every breast, and God wipes away every tear from the eye.

It is, moreover, the unchangeable city, the city of immortality. It is the city which has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. Man can build cities which may last for many centuries, and whose renown for beauty spreads far and wide - but what shall be the city whose foundation has been laid by God Himself, and which He has prepared for His own people?

Ah, believer, lift up your eyes to that blessed abode of rest and joy. Now we dwell in homes which soon crumble into dust; but there is an abode which shall never be taken down. Now we dwell in a land where sin meets us at every turn - but that is an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. Now we dwell in cities and towns and villages of dying men and dying women, and we with them soon to lie side by side in our cemeteries and churchyards - but then our abode will be the city of the living God, where there shall be no more sorrow, nor crying, nor death.

But let us now look at the glorious inhabitants of the heavenly city. We are told that there will be "an innumerable company of angles."

We read of angels as "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister" in some way to God's people. We read of the Angel of the Lord encamping round about those who fear God, and having charge over them to keep them in all their ways. We read of angels accompanying the spirit of the believer to the world above. But as yet, while in these bodies of clay, our eyes are too dim to discern those who are thus mercifully sent to guard or assist us. But we shall see them by-and-by. We shall see ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of angels.

We often mourn that the ways of Zion are so infrequented, and that so few are the pilgrims to the better land. But it is a joyful thought that perhaps for one we have lost on earth, we may find hundreds to take their place. It will be a blessed addition to the Church triumphant to meet with myriads of holy angels who have never known sin, and yet who are all joined with us under one Head, Jesus Christ our Lord.

But not only will the angels form a part of the great family gathered together hereafter, but redeemed sinners, pardoned sinners, those who once seemed the most unlikely to reach the heavenly Canaan.

Heaven is gathering in one by one into her capacious bosom, all the holy and excellent of the earth. From all churches where Christ has been exalted as the sinner's only hope, from all congregations, from all cities and towns and villages - there come the Lord's children, made fit by Divine grace to sit down in the eternal kingdom.

Here comes a child out of an ungodly family, raised by a special manifestation of God's grace to be a witness for Christ amidst surrounding darkness. Here comes a whole family led on and trained for the kingdom by a devoted Christian parent. Here comes one who for years has been a stranger, a sufferer, living a life of bitter poverty among those who had no sympathy with her, nor shared her hope of coming glory. Here comes one in humble life, a faithful servant, who has used her one talent for the Master's glory, and whose holy consistent life has left a savor of Christ wherever she has dwelt.

All these form a part of that "church of the firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven." These are those who are "the first fruits of earth unto God and the Lamb." These are those who have the birthright and blessing of the Father's eternal love, heirs of His kingdom, and joint heirs with His dear Son. And as soon the burden of the flesh is laid aside, they are made at once, as to the spirit, perfect.

In this present life they are justified in Christ, sanctified and made righteous by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - yet still troubled by manifold infirmities. But by-and-by it will be otherwise. We read of "the spirits of just men made perfect." No fears or doubts remaining, no evil in the flesh to be resisted, no assaults of the tempter to be overcome - but every imperfection subdued, and every soul perfected in the image of Christ.

But not only is there to be communion with God's people, but with the Lord Himself. We have come to "God the Judge of all."

"You have come" close in holy fellowship to Him who is the righteous King and Protector of His Church. In the upper kingdom we read of "the throne of God," and that "the glory of God lightens it." And though we may never be able to behold, even in eternity, the full light of the Father's presence - yet still we shall be nearer to Him than even before. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

And there is fellowship with the Saviour.  You are come "to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."

Ah, it is the presence of Jesus which makes Heaven on earth - or Heaven above! Without His presence, all else would be in vain. Heaven would be no Heaven, were Jesus absent.

I have heard of a Christian being asked "what she would do in Heaven if Jesus were not there;" and the answer she made was that "she would ask them to let her out again." Yes; there might be the glorious city, there might be the home where none of earth's trials could ever enter, there might be the countless myriads of angels, and the hosts of the  redeemed; but the sun of Heaven's glory would be dark, the light which should illumine the whole would be absent, if Jesus were not in the midst of His glorified Church.

And mark it, dear reader, here is the link binds all together in the everlasting fellowship of love. How could fallen man ever be united to the holy Jehovah? How could sinners ever have communion and fellowship with the holy angels? Here is the link - even Jesus and His blood. God and angels and man, those yet in the flesh and those now delivered from the bondage of corruption, saints militant and saints triumphant - all are knit together in one blessed family, in one glorious fellowship, by Jesus and His precious blood.

Ah, come to the Saviour, and so trust in Him that His precious blood may be sprinkled upon you, and speak to God on your behalf. Abel's blood cried for vengeance - but Christ's blood cries for mercy. It brings down mercy,pardon, salvation, and life eternal on every soul that is sprinkled with it.

If you wish to belong to the great family, the household of God, if you wish to share their glory and partake of their endless joy - then come then to Jesus without delay. He is the Mediator of the new covenant. God has laid up all its precious gifts in His hand - wisdom, righteousness, grace,and everlasting mercy - all these come to us through Him, and by no other channel. And the gracious and merciful Saviour delights to welcome those who turn to Him.

A Swedish sailor was on the deep. The Holy Spirit had convinced him of sin, and he could not rest without the mercy for which he longed.

"I was ready to cry out, 'Who will deliver me - who will help me?' " And my heart sunk down in despair. What a miserable sinner I felt I was! My heart was sick and sore. I know not what to do. I had no one to guide me.

"One night I was standing by the helm; I thought of Christ, and my heart turned to Him for help. And with my very first thought of Him, He met me in His grace; and oh, what words of mercy and love I seemed to hear Him speak to me! Come to Me, you heavy laden one. Come to Me; I cast none out. I am meek and lowly of heart. Learn of Me. Take My yoke, it is easy. Take My burden - My grace shall make it light."

"There at the wheel, the Saviour showed Himself to me. I love Him now, because He first loved me. I cannot speak your language well; but Christ understands me, and I understand Him. And ever since I met Him at the helm, I live very close to Him. I hear Him tell me to hold up my sails to the gales of the blessed Spirit, and He will waft me straight to the heavenly land."

May every reader of these pages have the same blessed hope possessed by this sailor! May every day spent in any earthly house be a day of preparation for that Home which shall never be broken up!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Worthy Sayings of Great Christians

On a tablet in a large church seating 1,000 people, this inscription was placed in memory of John Geddie: "When he landed in 1848 there were no Christians here; when he left in 1872 there were no heathen."

~Memorial to John Geddie, The "Father" of Presbyterian Missions in the South Seas.~

From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three; no such outward, upward movement has continued after such pray meetings declined.

~Dr. A. T. Pierson~

The more God's people reckon with the devil in their praying, the more they will taste of the liberty of the Spirit in dealing with the issues of life.

~F. J. Perryman~

Lord, even demons are subject unto us in Thy name.

~The Seventy~

O hell, I see thee surging round;
But in my Lord a cleft I've found,
A solid, sure abiding place
From which my enemy I face,
As here with Thee at God's right hand,
I, on Thy Calvary-Victory stand.


Should all the hosts of death
And powers of hell unknown
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage or malice on,
I shall be safe; for Christ displays
SUPERIOR POWER and guardian grace.

~Isaac Watts~

"If the only prayer you said was "thank you" to the great God above, that would be enough."

~Meister Eckhart~

"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love."

~Meister Eckhart~

"Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there."

~Meister Eckhart~

What a wonderful change
In my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul,
For which long I have sought,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

~Rufus H. McDaniel~

Worthy Sayings of Great Christians

The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death.

~Martin Luther~

That is why, at every point in history where the Church of Christ has been carried on some wave of revival back to reality and self-consecration, thousands of men and women have rediscovered Paul, and have thrilled again to the music of his message.

~Dr. J. H. Jowett~

Oh! for a heart that is burdened!
Infused with a passion to pray;
Oh! for a stirring within me;
Oh! for His power every day.
Oh! for a heart like my Saviour,
Who, being in an agony, prayed.
Such caring for others, Lord give me;
On my heart let burdens be laid.
My Father, I long for this passion,
To pour myself out for the lost -
To lay down my life to save others -
"To pray," whatever the cost.
Lord, teach me, Oh teach me this secret,
I'm hungry this lesson to learn,
This passionate passion for others,
For this, blessed Jesus, I yearn.
Father, this lesson I long for from Thee -
Oh, let Thy Spirit reveal this to me.

~Mary Warburton Booth~

Love for lost souls led great soul winners to say,

There is a love constraining me
To go and seek the lost;
I yield, O Lord, my all to Thee
To save at any cost!

Let me love Thee, love is mighty
Swaying realms of deed and thought;
By it I can walk uprightly,
I can serve Thee as I ought.
Love will soften every trial,
Love will lighten every care;
Love unquestioning will follow,
Love will triumph, love will dare!

Prayer - the soul's blood.

~George Herbert~

"Now I leave off to speak any more to creatures,and turn my speech to Thee, O Lord. Now I begin my intercourse with God which shall never be broken off. Father and mother, friends and relations! Farewell, meat and drink! Farewell, the world and all delights! Farewell,sun, moon, and stars! Welcome God and Father! Welcome sweet Lord Jesus, Mediator of the New Covenant! Welcome Blessed Spirit of Grace, God of all Consolation! Welcome Glory! Welcome Eternal Life! Welcome Death!"

Dr. Matthew MacKail stood below the gallows, and as his martyr cousin writhed in the tautened ropes, he clasped the helpless jerking legs together and clung to them that death might come the easier and sooner. And so, with Christ was Hugh MacKail "with his sweet boyish smile." "And that will be my welcome," he said; "the Spirit and the Bride say, Come."

~The Martyrdom of Hugh MacKail~

Such blessed apostles, with their healthy, holy disregard for the world and its men, shame us.

"They climbed the steep ascent to heaven
Through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train."

Soon it will be "Farewell mortality, welcome eternity." Here's wishing you, beloved believer, a year of sacrificial service for Him who was our sacrifice. May we, too, finish our course with joy!

Brethren, it is just so much humbug to be waiting for this, night after night, month after month, if we ourselves are not right with God. I must ask myself - "Is my heart pure? Are my hands clean?"

~Comment from the Hebrides Revival~

My soul, ask what thou wilt,
Thou canst not be too bold;
Since His own blood for thee He spilt,
What else can He withhold?


The place of prayer,
O fruitful place!
The Spirit hovers there;
For all embodiments of grace
Are from the womb of prayer.

~Harold Brooke~

Revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat. Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die - or if need be, to win and die! "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

~Charles G. Finney~

God's cause is committed to men; God commits Himself to men. Praying men are the vice-regents of God; they do His work and carry out His plans.

~E. M. Bounds~

Prayer is the sovereign remedy.

~Robert Hall~

Prayer is the acid test of devotion.

~Samuel Chadwick~