Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Climbing the mountain took several hours. It was no easy feat for casual climbers and it took concentration, will power and endurance. During devotions this morning I was led to a hymn I used to sing during my childhood. I examined the words carefully in the context of my past, the present and what the unknown future may hold. It is my decision to stop or keep climbing deciding I have gone far enough; the view from my present position is sufficient; I desire to see no more. Had my son and I decided to stop mid mountain we would have missed what President Jefferson said was a view compared to a trip across the Atlantic Ocean!
In our mountain trail experiences, when we feel like "this is good enough", we must encourage ourselves to continue on, press on, the view from the heavens will be well worth the effort. Which will it be?
I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven's table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Tho' some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven's table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Tho' Satan's darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven's table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I'll pray till Heaven I've found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven's table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Hymn by ~ Johnson Oatman, Jr. 1856-1922 Charles H. Gabriel 1856-1932
Thursday, August 26, 2010
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2010
FROM THE BATTLEFIELD OF FAITH
When Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, it wasn't because he'd heard revival was breaking out there. He wasn't a discouraged preacher looking for someone to impart something of God to him. No—he states clearly, "I went up…to Jerusalem…by revelation and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach" (Galatians 2:1–2). Paul went to Jerusalem to share a mystery that God wanted to reveal to his people. This godly man had his own full, glorious revelation of Christ. He didn't learn the doctrines he preached by shutting himself in a study with books and commentaries.
He wasn't some isolated philosopher who dreamed up theological truths, thinking, "Someday my works will be read and taught by future generations. "Let me tell you how and where Paul produced his epistles. He wrote them in dark, damp prison cells. He wrote them while wiping the blood from his back after being scourged. He wrote them after crawling from the sea, having survived another shipwreck. Paul knew that all the truth and revelation he taught came from the battlefield of faith. And he rejoiced in his afflictions for the gospel's sake.
He said, "Now I can preach with all authority to every sailor who's been through a shipwreck, to every prisoner who's been locked up with no hope, to everybody who has ever looked death in the face. God's Spirit is making me a tested veteran, so I can speak his truth to everyone who has ears to hear.
"God hasn't turned you over to the power of Satan. No—he's allowing your trial because the Holy Spirit is performing an unseen work in you. Christ's glory is being formed in you for all eternity. You'll never get true spirituality from someone or something else. If you're going to taste God's glory, it's going to have to come to you right where you are—in your present circumstances, pleasant or unpleasant. I believe one of the great secrets of Paul's spirituality was his readiness to accept whatever condition he was in without complaining. He writes, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, there with to be content" (Philippians 4:11). The Greek word for content here means "to ward off." Paul is saying, "I don't try to protect myself from my unpleasant circumstances. I don't beg God for relief from them. On the contrary, I embrace them. I know from my history with the Lord that he's doing something eternal in me." "That ye may be able to bear it…" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The word bear which Paul uses here implies that our condition isn't going to change. The point is for us to bear up under the situation. Why? God knows that if he changes our condition, we'll end up destroyed. He allows us to suffer because he loves us. Our part in every trial is to trust God for all the power and resources we need to find contentment in the midst of our suffering. Please don't misunderstand me—being "content" in our trials doesn't mean we enjoy them. It simply means we no longer try to protect ourselves from them. We are content to stay put and endure whatever is handed to us, because we know our Lord is conforming us to the image of his Son.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
from a Sermon By Leonard Ravenhill
John 19:30 "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar He said, 'It is finished' and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost."
I said last week that I'd attempt to talk to you on the three most important words, I believe, in history - IT IS FINISHED. This is one of the seven sayings, as we say, of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Just three words - IT IS FINISHED.
The Greatest Words Ever Uttered By the Greatest Man That Ever Lived.
In these three words I see the consummation of all the Old Testament truth and the germination of all New Testament truth. I don't believe that ever in history, anywhere, at any time, by anybody, were three words more pregnant with meaning than these three words given by one Man at the end of His life - It is finished. It is finished.
Now supposing that you were here and I was where you are - How would you start to handle a text like this? I feel as though I am trying to catch the wind in my arm. I am trying to pick up the Atlantic Ocean up in a sieve. How do you deal with it? Its magnitude staggers me, its mystery staggers me, its majesty staggers me.
It seems to me that here is a terminus in the life of the Lord Jesus: all the prophesies, all the law, all the prophets, terminate in this saying of the Lord Jesus Christ. And everything from here blossoms out because this is the beginning of it all. Three simple words - it is finished.
I suggest to you in all reverence that these three words terrified hell. IT IS FINISHED! You see, this English phrase of ours, this little sentence, is not in the Greek at all. And I don't know much about Greek, but I did discover that in the Greek it is just one word: FINISHED!
Matthew 27 says that Jesus cried with a loud voice: "FINISHED!"...And I am sure all hell shook! You see, this is an arena into which Jesus is moving. You can say the life of Jesus was a three act drama. You get the first years of His life, 30 years in preparation for 3 years. The first chapter has been written, the second chapter is now coming to a climax on the cross, the third chapter is yet to come in all His resurrection splendor. There is nothing to equal it anywhere.
I get indignant when I hear people say, "What we need to do is study comparative religion." Well, I say again with some heat and some feeling in my spirit, Christianity is not a comparative religion, it's a SUPERLATIVE religion! Because this one saying of Jesus Christ explodes every other religion on God's earth! They are all fakes. They are all useless. This momentous event... I can see demons peeping out from hell as they see Jesus has gone to the cross. I can see angels looking over the parapets of heaven, I can see the Jews and the Romans and the Greeks. They are all at the cross!
The Cross of Jesus...we sing the hymn -
"Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land, A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way.
" Look, if you put the cross on Palestine, like that, and let the arms go round, you can scoop them round the whole world, because geographically, the cross is almost the center of the world. It is the center of time. When we shot a rocket, did we change the calendar? When we invented the atom bomb, did we change the calendar? Isn't it amazing a little Baby came into the world and He divided time? - He divided men - He divided nations. People say, "If we have revival we'll all be one." No! If we have revival we will be more divided than ever!
The first thing Jesus did before He could walk or talk was divide men. "Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him."The last thing He did on the cross was divide men. In His lifetime He divided men. He went into the Synagogue and there was a division because of Him. Wherever Jesus goes there is division. And those demons were looking down in terror. Come on, come on, you've forgotten. Think again about the majesty of this event. You know how great it was? One of His other sayings was, "My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken Me?" In a tongue He knew so well, He says, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani." Which we can hardly interpret except: "My God, I am deserted."
Everybody deserted Him. You see, there at that moment when Jesus said: "It is finished," Mercy and Truth met together, Righteousness and Peace kissed each other... and hell went into panic. How do I know? Because the earth was shattered. The whole earth rocked on it's axis. The earth trembled under the impact of the sin that He bore for us. Heaven trembled... I've been to art galleries around the world, you've been in many I guess, you saw some beautiful pictures. But you know, there never was a photo of the cross; it's representations are all imagination. That event was so sacred that, as it were, God took His coat off and hung it over the sun. And there was darkness for three hours. He would not let anybody see His Son become corruption.
Jesus Christ, in the mystery of God's divine grace, was, as Wesley says, God "contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man," in the incarnation. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. Yet He clothed Himself in flesh and blood and crept into a woman's womb. How God became man I do not know, but less, less, less do I know HOW DID HE BECOME SIN?
You know the answer? No, you don't. Neither does any living person. Everyman who's honest - take Spurgeon or anybody - the more honest the man is he, more he says, "I am baffled." As I get older I see more and more that, "great is the mystery of Godliness." I said to a brother today, "I feel that in spiritual matters, after 55 years walking with God, I don't have my feet wet, not even the sole underneath, never mind water to the ankles, or theknees, of the loins." God has opened His treasure house to us. As I've used the phrase so often before: Do we really explore the possibilities of God?What's the most exciting thing in your life? Don't answer me, answer straight up to God. Tell Him what is the most exciting thing. That you become more knowledgeable, make more money, become more fit? What is the most exciting thing to you? Is it that day by day you slip in to Him and worship and adore Him?
I was thinking of this great hymn of Wesley today. He is talking about the cross and he says this -
"Would Jesus have the sinner die? Why hangs He then on yonder tree?What means that strange expiring cry? Sinner He prays for you and me,'Forgive them Father. O forgive.They know not, that by Me they live.'
Thou loving all atoning Lamb Thee - by Thy painful agony,Thy blood, Thy sweat, Thy grief, Thy shame,Thy cross and passion on the tree, Thy precious death and life - I pray Take all, take all my sins away!" And then, in the rapture of that, Charles Wesley says this (and it's so wonderful. I can see that woman crying at the feet of Jesus, and I can see John Wesley, scholarly, dignified, trailing his academic gown behind him in Oxford University.) -
"Oh, let me kiss Thy bleeding feet. And bathe and wash them with my tears,The story of Thy love repeat,In every drooping sinner's ears,That all mankind with me may prove, Thy sovereign everlasting love. Oh, let Thy love my heart constrain."
You see if He works it inward, it's going to work outward somewhere. God only puts up with words so long. A brother said to me during this week, "You know brother, I think we die in areas of our life. We don't die totally to God's Spirit. We die in areas. God gives up on us, in certain areas. He does not tolerate anymore. We said so much, we made our vows, we won't do it, God bypasses us in that area." Hold fast to that that thou hast that no man take thy crown! (Not demons, but that men take thy crown.)
So Charles finishes his hymn by saying this:
"Oh, let Thy love my heart constrain,Thy Love for every sinner free, That every fallen soul of man May taste the grace that found out me,That all mankind with me may prove, Thy sovereign, everlasting love."
This, I say, was the most momentous moment in history. Hell had feared this moment for centuries, for millenniums! Why do you think the devil greased the path of Jesus and tried to make Him take a short cut to conquer the world? Why do you think he stirred up enmity among the religious people? You see, there is one rotten canker that is in so many churches, as well as it was before. What does it say about Joseph? His brothers sold him. For what? For envy.What does it says about the Lord Jesus? The priests sold Him for envy. That festering thing in the heart of men and women. They sold Him because of envy. They sold Him because they hated Him. He was only a little baby, less than two years of age, when they had what history calls the Massacre of the Innocents.
I said to you before, I'll say it to you again, whether you love me or hate me for it: If you've got children you ought to be up an hour before they go to school and cover those children every day with the blood of Jesus and really lay hold of the promises. They live in a hell of a world in the day in which we live. If you don't do it, I'll do it for you. Remember, when Satan thinks there is something going to happen, he is going to dog that child. I prayed, and I still do, whether you know or not, I pray for some of our kids, if I am here or not, if Jesus tarries, they will become some of the leaders half a generation, a decade from now. God will make them missionaries and evangelists, and teachers, and apostles, in the last great awakening, (which men are trying to work right up now and you can't do it.) But He is going to get youngsters and fill them with the Spirit, and teenagers in their early years.
Remember Moses. You know, people say if you are good you do as the government tells you. If you are good, you tell the government to go to hell if they want to go and you obey God. And the father and mother of Moses did not obey the government, they hid their baby when the government said it should be destroyed. He is going to be the law giver, he is going to be one of the greatest men in history, and Satan says NO! The same thing happened in the life of Jesus. Jesus is not two years old and "Herod is troubled and all Jerusalem with him," and they said, "destroy Him." I often think about king Herod - he had more faith than the disciples. Somebody said, "He is going to be a King," and he believed it. Somehow Satan said, "You better believe it, that little fellow is the Son of God with power and authority. He is going to dethrone you and wreck your kingdom." And so just as they tried to destroy Moses at two years of age or under, they tried to destroy Jesus. From the moment He was born to the last thing on the cross.
As I've said so often, I still say to myself - I need to - that even if you've gone to the cross, even if you got on the cross, the old devil comes with subtlety and he says, "Listen, get down from the cross and save yourself. Nobody is living like you. They live it up. They can't tell the difference, except they go to church on Sunday. Other than that, as for prayer and fasting and seeking God and travail... so... Why do you do it? Why don't you get an easier job? Get ten times as much as you get - going round here or going to some fancy church or some other thing." He comes to you in some way. You've decided you were going to live according to the standard of the Lord Jesus and he says, "Well, why don't you pinch it a little bit here, and reduce your convictions there, and not be so stiff right there, and do just a little compromise. Ha, everybody gets away with it."
From His infancy to the cross, the last thing they did, I read in Matthew when He had gone to the cross, they passed by - the scum of the earth passed by - and they wagged their heads and reviled Him. It was nothing unusual to see a man go down the street carrying a cross. It's as common as a boy carrying a baseball bat. "Hey look who is going, do you know who that is?" "So what, they put many a false prophet to death. Only He is a bit more brazen than the others, you know, He preached a sermon He said would shake the world, called the Sermon on the Mount. He has a bit more power but, you know why He does it? You know why He pushes devils around? Because He is the prince of devils, they have to obey Him."
Here is the holiest, purest, most spotless man that ever lived. What does the world do? Blister Him, Blast Him, Bruise Him. They watched a man go down the street. Well, when the high priest went into the holy place, did he go in rags like this? Stained with His own blood? Had he been up for hours? Had he been pushed around by a vassal king by the name of Pilot, who said, "Oh, You get over to Herod. You are in his domain." And Herod says, "You get Him back into his territory... I don't want this responsibility?" You think the high priest could have gone into the holy place with a faded gown that once belonged to a king, and a crown of thorns, and spit on his jaw, and hair pulled from his face, struggling under a load as though he was drunk? The priest went into the holy place in garments of glory and beauty, the most beautiful garments in the world, all hand sown, meticulous, marvelous. He went with a crown on his head, he went with a breast plate. Beautiful stones.
How did Jesus go? Jesus went there staggering to the cross.Did He have a stone? A red stone on His breast? No, just His own blood, that's all. Did He have an immaculate garment threaded? No, a peasant's garment. Did He have a golden crown with "Holiness unto the Lord"? No, He had a crown of thorns with holiness in His spirit.
Did people stand in awe and say, "The priest has gone in, will he come out?" No. This is what they said as the holiest man that ever lived trudged up that road that they call the "via dolorosa", staggering under a cross, "Ha, ha, He is the Man that talked about being strong and He gave strength to the weak, and eyes to the blind, and He did a lot of things, and look He can't keep up the load." He wasn't sinking under the load of the cross. He was carrying the weight of the sin of the world!
Those poor dumb, blind folks that stood there, the gamblers and the thieves, the lawyers and the doctors and the soldiers had no eyes to see. The priest went into the holy place with gorgeous diamonds and priceless stones on his breast once a year for one nation - and could be dead and replaced before next year. Here is a man staggering up this road who is going to take the consummate sin and grief, not of one nation, but of THE WHOLE WORLD! There is not a computer of computers that can give you the frightful amount of human guilt; it was more than the sands by the sea shore or the stars in heaven. He isn't going to go every year - He is going once into the holy place.He isn't burdened under a cross of wood - He is carrying the sin of the world which Samson, with all his strength, could not carry. He is solving a problem that Solomon, with all his wisdom, could not solve.
Oh, blind idiots looking out of their chariots, those Romans with their proud garments, those priests who thought they had an investiture from God, those merchants who scorned His poverty. God pity them! He is going to the cross. He hasn't got a dime in His pocket and He put every vein of silver in the world and nugget of gold that is in it. Nobody stood by Him. Not even His disciples. Isn't there a hymn that says: "The pain in His heart was the hardest to bear, The heart that was broken for me."?
Again I say, He is not going to repeat the act. He is doing it once and for all. That's what He is doing. See, Jesus is the consummation of everything, every type that is in the Old Testament. You can take the sacrificial type - He is the red heifer. He is the perfect lamb. He is the dove whose breast was put in blood and thrown away, sent out into the air. But the priest has no sacrifice. It does not cost him a thing - he is using the blood of beasts. This Man is going to enter the holiest place of all in His own blood. Not every year but once forever. The priest that walks into the holy place to the astonishment and amazement of all the people is going to go once and eventually is going to die - but our High Priest is going to live forever.
He is the perfect offering and He is the perfect priest, He is the perfect prophet and He is the perfect King. Moses is the greatest prophet, but "a greater than Moses is here". You take the perfection of every one of those characters in the Old Testament and He is the ultimate in perfection.He has the wisdom of Solomon. He has the patience of Job, He has the self-reliance of Nehemiah.He has the statesmanship of Moses. He has the courage of Joshua. He has the broken heart of Jeremiah. All rolled into one personality. Do you wonder that Satan said, "If you can get that Man out of God's will, if we can push Him out of the main track, we can hold the world captive for millions and millions of millenniums."
Again, going down that road the people mocked Him - that's what the Bible says. "They that passed by reviled Him wagging their heads." What a bunch of dumb, blind, senseless folk. If Caesar comes down the road they bow the knee and say, "Hail, Caesar."If the priest comes, they stand in awe. But, you see, He not only was, He IS. In this mad, insane, world in which we live, HE STILL IS DISPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN.
As you know, I am not very fond of translations of the New Testament - I like the good old King James. But I love this verse in Phillips's translation. I am going to get it printed as a little card. His translation of Ephesians 1:10 is this: "For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan. He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ." I don't care how drunk the nations are with their iniquity today! I don't care that politicians are as hypocritical today as they were in Nixon's day or anybody else's. I don't care how intoxicated men are with iniquity. I don't care that people say we are nearer a blowout in the Middle East at this moment than ever we've been for years. (When they finished the news the other night the newscaster actually said, "Well, that's the end of the bad news for the day." They are not often so honest!)
But listen, God has allowed us to know. Come on, lift your chin up however rough the going. God has allowed us to know. We are initiated. We are the believers. We know Him, and He has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it's this: "He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in His Christ."
Could you try and imagine what Jesus was thinking on that road to the cross? I think the earth shook beneath His feet. I say God draped the sun - He would not let anybody see His Son bear the sin. He became sin for us! Remember please, will you? When Jesus utters these three words - It is finished - it is after the three hours of darkness that covered the whole earth. There was a historian in Egypt at the time who wrote this, listen, "In this awful mid-day that has become midnight, either God is suffering or Somebody He loves is suffering." That was a pagan testimony. The whole world shook under the impact. He is not bearing millions or trillions or quadrillions, He is bearing the total sum of human sin. Not only committed sin but depravity as a whole.
They reviled Him, they shook their heads. Verse 41 of that 27th chapter of Matthew says, "Likewise the chief priests." These are the men who know the law and the prophets. These are the men that read Isaiah 35 so many times, "When He comes the eyes of the blind shall be opened." And He did it before them and they still spit on His face, because that's what it says a bit later on.
Oh, you have it rough and I have it rough at times. Anybody boot your behind and nearly break your spine? Anybody get a nice mouthful of flem and spit in your eye? Anybody take your beard and pull the flesh out with it? Anybody say, "Well, I know you of course, you are devil possessed"?They mocked Him, they scorned Him, they reviled Him.The people passing by wagged their heads.And then the priests mocked Him.But wait a minute, there were two men beside him crucified, you know what they did? The thieves which were with Him, they cast the same in His teeth. Isn't it amazing that to the very doorstep of hell itself they scorned Him and blasphemed Him? And they were a heartbeat away from eternity.
Well, one of the hymns says about this Lord Jesus of ours,"It is the way the Master went, should not the servant tread it still?"
It is finished. What is finished? Well, alleluia, from one angle this is finished, men aren't going to abuse Him anymore. A hymn writer says, "The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now, The royal diadem adorns the mighty Victor's brow."He is out of the reach of men. They aren't going to push Him around. They aren't going to crucify. They aren't going to nail Him to a tree. How do you know that those thieves that were hailing Him and cursing Him on the tree were not part of the crowd of five thousand He fed. He did not discriminate. He did not say, "Give it to Jews, but not to those, and not to those Greeks, and..." He said, "Feed them!" Well, He throws His mercy over the air, over a hundred nations, a thousand peoples this afternoon.
"Tell me the story of Jesus,Write on my heart every word.
Fasting alone in the desert,Think of the pain that He bore,"
Oh, my God, my God. To me it is insufferable that the church has lived for 2000 years and there is still a person in the world that doesn't hear the gospel. There are still 1000 tribes that don't have the written Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.Partly our fault. I am glad, I lived in a house where all was talk about God and missionaries - I prayed for missionaries when I didn't know if they were missionaries or football players - but I prayed for them.
He said, "It is finished." What is finished? Man's power over Him.What is finished? Satan's abuse of Him. Satan's testing of Him.
He started with forty days in the wilderness and He ministered three years. How long did He live before the three years? Thirty years. So He had ten years training for every one year He was going to minister. That's pretty good training, isn't it?
Thirty years of training? But again, He is going to do in this one act what all the "blood of beasts on Jewish altars slain, could give no guilty conscience peace nor wash away one stain, but Christ, the Heavenly Lamb, takes all our sins away." Ten million oxen have been slain. Thousands of sheep, sacrifices have been made, new moons and Sabbaths; people have done all kinds of things, and Jesus ties it all up in one redemptive act: Christ the Heavenly Lamb.
No, He is not going to be tempted anymore now. He is not going to be looking out of His eyes corners as He carries that awesome cross, and carries the sin of the world and thinks, "I can't see Peter around or anyone."He suffered heartbreak because His disciples were unfaithful.He suffered heartbreak because the synagogue and the temple rejected Him.I say they knew the law and the prophets. They heard Isaiah 35 so many times; they dreamed of it, "The highway shall be there and bondages are going to cease, the Romans will lose their power over us. There is going to be no cripple, no lame. He is going to heal and cure and everybody is going to be sanctified." And when they met Him in flesh and blood they didn't even know Him. Do you know why? Because He didn't do it their way - that's why. Because He put new wine in the old wine skins, and they burst.
The last great outpouring - a lot of people say it's here, I don't believe that for a minute. I believe we have one or two trickles, but surely not an outpouring. Someone said recently, "Well, if this is the visitation; if there are fifty million born again people, then why is the nation in this condition?" Well, the salt has lost its savor. I believe there will be such a visitation that even the workings of God will become headlines above the sports headlines, above political headlines, above economic headlines. There are going to be such manifestations of divine power that God is going to get the glory for His Son. That's going to shake the world too. It is finished. When He said, "It is finished," really He is saying, "I don't need this body anymore. I don't need food anymore. I don't need sleep anymore. I am not a human being any more in the sense you know humanity. IT IS FINISHED!" "Men have no power over Me. Satan has no power over Me."
Jesus said, "It is finished." What was finished? Temptation. No more temptation. It has no power over Him. No more dependence on human agencies. He is going to pass into a tunnel. He is going to do what no man in history ever did. This is an unprecedented act. It's an UNREPEATABLE ACT!
I say He is the perfection of the law, He is the perfection of prophets. Take the most beautiful characters in the world and mold them all into one and HE IS EXACTLY THAT! And instead of angels hanging over Him and coming down and slaying people and saying, "BOW DOWN YOU REBELS, THIS IS THE SON OF GOD," people kicked Him, and reviled Him, and they spat on Him. THEY MOCKED HIM. Remember that lovely song that says, "He could have called ten thousand angels?" I like that song.
It is finished. What was finished? The tyranny of the devil. I don't think the church has wakened up to that yet, but it is finished. It is so. I believe that when Jesus cried with a loud voice it echoed down every corridor in hell.
IT IS FINISHED!! I can almost hear the demons in hell say, "What? He's broken our power." "You mean that Satan doesn't have...?" "No, no, no. Satan is bound. And not only that, death has lost it's sting." "What?" "Yes, death has lost it's sting. And more than that... 'The vilest offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus his pardon receives.' It doesn't matter if he is going in the Woldorf Astoria this afternoon with somebody else's wife dripping with diamonds. Or if he is a bum down the street. Or he is with the folk that still go naked to the beach every week there in San Diego and defy the police to arrest them. Or whether he is a big ecclesiastical guy standing behind the desk with all his mind loaded with such modernistic ideas. It makes no difference. If he comes to the cross..." Well, we sang about it this afternoon, "That old rugged cross, so despised by the world has a wondrous attraction."
"It is finished." The implication of the Greek word is "This is complete." This is redemption complete. You can't add to it. You can't subtract from it. It doesn't need something the priest says added to it. Jesus made a perfect redemption for men. His blood was shed. It's more than all the blood of beasts. Because again, it says in Hebrews 10:9, "If the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works." He not only paid the total sum of human sin, He nailed it to the tree. That's what He did.
It wasn't the Greeks that put Him there, it wasn't the Romans that put Him there - they were all there, I thank God for that. The Greeks were there, their day was over, they were coming out of their glory, they were fading out. They were the past generation.The Romans were there, they were the ruling generation at that time. And who else were there? Well, the black folk were there, a future generation. So, you see, the past, the present, the future, all were at the cross. If you lay a cross on the floor it points North, South, East and West. If you stand the cross up it embraces - as Wesley says, "The arms of love that compass me do all mankind embrace." If you stand it up it points to a topless heaven and to a bottomless hell and the arms are outstretched to save.
We are mutilating all the hymns and we mutilated that gorgeous hymn we sing so often, "Beneath the cross of Jesus." A stanza of it says this, listen -
"The darkness of an awful grave That gapes both deep and wide;"And there between us stands the cross,Two arms outstretched to save,Like a watchman set to guard the wayFrom that eternal grave."
At the other side of that cross there is an eternal grave, and the only obstruction to that eternal grave is the finished work of the Lord Jesus. You see, it is finished, the law and the prophets they've no... at least the Old Testament economy, as we say, has no power. Sin, if we obey God, has no dominion over us. Death has no dominion over us. The power of Satan has been broken. Heaven has received Him. And the next thing is not only "It is finished," but "He is Risen" which will be superseded with "I will come again."
We shouldn't put our tongue in our cheek and say this in a whisper. We ought to shout this from the house top. To a world that is groping in darkness we ought to proclaim with a trumpet voice, "It is FINISHED, you can't buy salvation, you can't crawl on your knees through the holy city, you can't go on a pilgrimage, you can't offer your righteousness, there is nothing you can do, but bow in humility and confess and accept it."
It is finished. This is the language of earth. Why? Because in heaven they never say, "It is finished." Because it is never going to be finished, for all eternity. Oh, redemption is finished, sure enough. All that I said is finished. But you see, this never finishes. We are going to live and reign with Him for ever and ever. And Gabriel isn't going to blow the trumpet one day and say, "Hey, you've been living in this super millennium for four billion trillion years and it's over." NO SIR. I like that part of the Messiah where it goes up and up as they sing "And He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings." Nobody wants it to finish in eternity. We are going to be with the eternal Bride Groom.
But wait a minute. They never say it in hell either. There will be people in hell today and people in hell a billion years from now. No messenger will come from another world and say, "It is finished. Your judgment is passed. You've no more suffering for your sin. The wrath of God doesn't abide in you anymore." No. If we are going to escape that eternal judgment, if we are going to enter that eternal rest, it must happen now. Isn't it amazing that people withhold their petty little lives from Him? That they love their sin enough to get the anger and wrath of God? Rather than repent, and believe, and be saved? Christ's love is, "so amazing and so divine,"
That He bore our sins in His body, That He took the curse and the wrath of God upon Him. That He took our sins and His heart was broken that ours might be healed. He was an outcast that we might be brought in.He suffered without the gate that we might enter into heaven and said,
IT IS FINISHED!
Copyright (c) 1994 by Leonard Ravenhill - http://www.ravenhill.org/
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Mr. Keller speaks of one sheep of his fold that always looked through his retaining fence, desiring to go into the neighboring pasture. The farm adjacent to his was run by a person who cared less for his flock. The pasture was always in disrepair, grasses were not planted properly or irrigated for the dry spells, his sheep were diseased and infested with various microbes and sores; yet some of Mr. Keller's sheep desired to leave his tender green pastures to go into the inferiour one.
One sheep in particular that he favored because of her beauty and stature would even wait for low tide so she could bolt into the neighboring pasture. Other sheep would then follow her. It was causing severe problems. It got to the point that Mr Keller had to slay the rebellious sheep because it she was leading others to rebellion. It broke his heart, but it had to be done for the safety and well being of his flock.
I am amazed at the work required to shepherd of a flock. Pasture has to be maintained, irrigated and sown. Clean water sources need to be found and monitored. There are many sleepless nights when preditors are on the prowl. Mr Keller says that on one evening alone two wild dogs killed over 100 sheep.
The herd mentality is amazing. If one sheep is spooked and runs, the entire herd flees in terror. When one or two wonder off not knowing where they were going, they have to be sought after and returned to the safety of the shepherd. During nights of terror for the sheep, the apprearance of the shepherd has an immediate calming effect on the entire herd. With gun or staff in hand, with his faithful collie beside him, late into the night the sheep would sleep and graze in the green pastures the shepherd had planted, maintained and carefully watched over.
Christ, our Good Shepherd causes us to lay down in His green pastures. He causes us to; at times we do not do so willingly! Mr. Keller speaks of the early morning dew that coats the tender grasses having enough moisture to sustain the sheep. King David, also a shepherd mentions dew tenderly falling from the heavens that sustains us. The dew of the Holy Spirit, the tender Comforter of the sheep falls from the heavens on a daily basis. He never slumbers or sleeps; He is always awake and watchful over the flock.
In is interesting that even Jacob, the son of Abraham and Isaac is mentioned several times in the Bible as being a shepherd of a flock. This is recorded in Genesis and even mentioned in the Book of Hosea, chapter 12:12 ~
" And Jacob fled into the country of Syria and served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep...."
Likewise, Christ, the Good Shepherd left heaven and came to planet earth to serve for a wife; His Bride. He led, prayed, bled and died on behalf of the flock the Father gave Him.
I recommend this book, A SHEPHERD LOOKS AT PSALM 23. The requirements about the requirements of being a good shepherd gives new understanding of what the Bible speaks of in the context of Christ, our Good Shepherd.
We must remember and remain aware constantly, that we daily have stray sheep watching our actions. They need a good shepherd to lead them to greener pastures; the pastures of God. Some will follow us. Let us be the obedient to our Great Shepherd. There are many enemies waiting to pounce on us at the first opportunity. The devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking what he may devour. This is his nature. But - There is great safety as we listen, watch, obey and follow our Shepherd.
SAVIOUR, LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US *
Saviour, like a shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tendere care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use thy folds prepare:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
We are Thine; do Thou befriend us,
Be the Guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Hear Thy children when they pray;
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Hear Thy children when they pray.
Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful thought we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse, and power to free:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Early let us turn to Thee;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Early let us turn to Thee.
Early let us seek Thy favor,
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessed LORD and only Saviour,
With Thy love our bosoms fill;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still.
* Dorthy A. Thrupp 1779-1847 William B. Bradbury 1816-1868
Saturday, August 21, 2010
In this verse as Christ is praying to the Father and says, " And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One."
My old understanding or what glory is left me out of His equation and request! I have been troubled by His giving me His glory because I never saw some mysterious shining cloud or halo around me, never! Is this the glory He speaks of? Something spiritual, perhaps, that only angels and demons and other spiritual beings can see?
No! A thousand times no. The word glory Christ speaks of means this:
* dignity, honor, praise, worship and to be of reputation in such a way that it becomes very apparent! He was praying that we would have His glory upon us in our daily lives as we live for Him. To have a dignity, honor and reputation about our character that it becomes very apparent to all those we interact with. The world sees that there is something very different about us. It is no glory cloud of mystery or holiness; it is in our everyday actions.
What a relief this was to read and research this week. I have been walking around for 56 years waiting for some glory cloud to appear to me!
The LORD'S dignity, honor, praise, character and worship must be so astounding that even a man of Moses character cannot behold it without dying. God could only show Moses His back as He passed by on the Mount. How marvelous He must truly be! What a surprise we are in for when we finally cross over our Jordan or are translated into His presence in the great Taking Away when He returns for those who are looking for Him. He said He is coming back for those who are looking for Him.
Are we constantly looking up? Or have the cares of this world so burdened us that we only look down upon our problems? And I do have problems!! But in the middle of the tests, trials and temptations and doubts and fears, we must continually to always look up, for our Redemption is almost here.
Our Redemption is a Person. Full of glory, dignity, honor and praise. He is coming for His Bride, who is also full of His glory, dignity, honor and praise. His Bride is you and I!
Have a great Sabbath thinking upon Him.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2010
THE SPOILS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
“Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 26:27). This verse opens to us a profound, life-changing truth. It speaks of spoils that can only be won in battle. And once these spoils are won, they are dedicated to the building up of God’shouse. I believe if we grasp the powerful truth behind this verse, we’ll understand why the Lord allows intense spiritual warfare throughout our lives.
ManyChristians think once they’re saved, their struggles are over, that life will be smooth sailing. Nothing could be further from the truth. God not only allows our battles, but he has a glorious purpose for them in our lives.What are “spoils of warfare”? Spoils are plunder, loot, goods taken in battle by the victors. The Bible first mentions spoils in Genesis 14, when a confederation of kings invaded Sodom and Gomorrah. These invaders captured the inhabitants and plundered their possessions: “They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah…. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son” (Genesis14:11–12).When Abram learned that his nephew Lot was taken captive, he gathered his 318-man army of servants and pursued the enemy kings.
Scripture says he overtook the invaders and “smote them…. And he brought back all the goods,and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (14:15–16). Picture victorious Abram here. He was leading a long procession of joyful people, and wagons piled high with goods of all kinds. And along the way, he met Melchizedek, king of Salem. Scripture tells us Abram was moved to tithe to this king of all his plunder (see 14:20).
“Consider how great this man was,unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils” (Hebrews7:4).Here is the principle God wants us to lay hold of: Our Lord is interested in much more than making us victors. He wants to give us spoils, goods, spiritual riches from our warfare. We’re to emerge from battle with wagon loads of resources. This is what Paul refers to when he says, “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, italics mine).David had a reverent attitude toward spoils taken in warfare. We see it in a decree he set forth toward the end of his life. David had just appointed his son Solomon to follow him on Israel’s throne. And now he gathered the nation’s leaders together to set up a divine order for sustaining God’s house.
What resources would they use for this holy work? “Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord” (1Chronicles 26:27). Let me set the scene. After every military victory, David took back spoils and stockpiled them in abundance: gold, silver, brass, timber, money too vast to count. And he had one purpose in mind: to use these spoils as resources for building the temple.When Scripture speaks of maintaining the temple, the original Hebrew means “to repair the house, to strengthen and consolidate what was built.” These resources were meant to maintain the temple’s original splendor.
Where is God’s temple today? It’s made up of his people—you, me, his church worldwide. According to Paul, our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost. And, like ancient Israel, our Lord still maintains his temple through spoils gained in battle. That’s why our trials are meant for more than just our survival. Through every battle, God is laying aside riches, resources, wealth for us. He’s stockpiling a whole treasury of goods from our warfare. And those spoils are dedicated to building up and maintaining his body, the church of Jesus Christ.
Think about it: For years after Solomon built the temple, it was maintained in good order by the spoils taken in past wars. God’s house remained vibrant and alive, because his people had emerged from every conflict not just victorious, but rich in resources. We find this principle of “supply through battle ”throughout God’s Word.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
* Any additions in italics and parentheses are mine.
It is our duty to praise the Master of all,
to ascribe greatness to the Molder of primeval creation,
for He has not made us like the nations of the lands and has not emplaced us like the families of the earth;
for He has not assigned our portion like theirs nor our lot like all their multitudes.
For they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a g-d which helps not-
But we bend our knees, bow, and acknowledge our thanks before the King Who reigns over kings, the Holy One, blessed is He. He stretches out heaven and establishes earth's foundation,
the seat of His homage is in the heavens above and His powerful Presence is in the loftiest heights.
He is our G-d and there is none other.
True is our King,
there is nothing beside Him,
as it is written in His Torah (the Law)
"you are to know this day and take to your heart that Hashem (the Name, God,YHVH) is the only G-d in heaven above and on the earth below-there is none other.
Therefore we put our hope in You,
Hashem our G-d,
that we may soon see Your mighty splendor,
to remove detestable idolatry from the earth,
and false g-ds will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty's sovereignty.
Then all humanity will call upon Your Name,
to turn all the earth's wicked toward You.
All the world's inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear.
Before You, Hashem, our G-d, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage,
and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that You may reign over them soon and eternally.
For the kingdom is Yours and You will reign for all eternity in glory as it is written in Your Torah:
Hashem (the Name) shall reign for all eternity.
And it is said: Hashem will be King over all the world - on that day Hashem will be One and His Name will be One.
This is a profound prayer when it is read in context of Scripture and the writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul said that blindness has happened in part to Israel so the nations could come in to the covenant. Blindness has also come in part because of the leaderships rejection of Messiah when He came the first time.
The passages of this prayer, ALEINU, which is read three times a day, is amazing when read in context of Christ's prayers, especially in John 17...that "we may be one, and He and the Father are One, that we may be One in them."
This is the exact opposite of the curse from the Garden of Eden. In the garden Adam and Eve were expelled so they would not "become like Us..." as God said. But now, His desire is for us to finally become one with Him. Amazing!
The grace, longsuffering, compassions of our Father. How He desires us to be with Him.
Restoration of All Things
©August 15, 2010
by Asher Intrater
We believe in the biblical principle of restoration. God made everything in the world "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Yet, Adam's sin and Satan's rebellion caused much destruction. God's plan of redemption not only saves us from damnation, it also restores the damage that was caused.
That restoration is first personal. Our spirit, soul, and body are redeemed. However, God's restoration is also general, and includes everything in the world. Personal restoration is better known in the Christian world, while world restoration is better known in the Jewish world. The New Covenant includes both.
The traditional Jewish prayer, "Aleinu" (It is incumbent upon us), which closes every service, three times per day, makes a petition – לתקן עולם במלכות שדי – "to repair the world in the kingdom of El Shaddai." The word here for "repair" is – תיקון – "Tikkun." [This is the name we use for our cooperative ministries with Dan Juster, Don Finto, David Rudolph, Eitan Shishkoff, and Paul Wilbur.]
World restoration (Tikkun) is central not only to our ministry, but to the worldview of the kingdom of God. There are five passages in the New Covenant that speak specifically of world restoration.
Matthew 17 – The Church
Romans 11 – The Messianic remnant
Matthew 19 – Natural Creation
Acts 1 – Kingdom of Israel
Acts 3 – All Things
Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.
Yeshua prophesies that someone in the spirit and power of Elijah will come "first" – that means before Yeshua returns. The "days of Elijah" restoration will take place before the 2nd Coming. The phrase, "all things," cannot mean all things in the world, because that will only happen after Yeshua returns. This restoration is parallel to the prophecy that "the bride will make herself ready" (Revelation 19:7). The elements of the kingdom of God will be restored within the community of faith before Yeshua returns. When He returns, what is within the people of God will be revealed and given to the nations. A central theme of prophetic ministry in our generation is the restoration of the true Church as we approach the 2nd Coming.
What will their restoration be but life from the dead?
There will also be a restoration of the Messianic remnant of Israel. This dual restoration can be seen in Revelation 7:4 and 9. The elements to be restored are those found in the early community of faith in the book of Acts. There we see sacrificial love, extravagant giving, bold evangelism, miraculous signs, and unity of the saints.
The end times remnant of Israel will be even stronger than the apostolic community of the first century (Romans 11:12). The revival of the end times will be greater than the revival they experienced (Acts 2:17). The Messianic remnant will be a key element leading to the resurrection of the dead.
In the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
As both the international Church and the remnant of Israel come into their fullness (Romans 11:15 and 25), they will together call upon Yeshua to return (Matthew 23:39, Revelation 22:20). At that time the kingdom of God will be established on the earth for a thousand years. This Millennial kingdom will include two key elements.
The first is "regeneration." The Hebrew translation says, "renewal of creation." The Greek original is paliggenesia – pali means "again" and genesia means "genesis" like creation in the book of Genesis. Natural creation will be redeemed (Romans 8:19-22). The heavens and earth will be renewed as they were immediately after the flood of Noah (II Peter 3:3-5). People will begin to live longer lives (Isaiah 65:17, 20).
The second element is a world wide kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.
Will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
The apostles expected Yeshua to restore the Davidic kingdom immediately upon His resurrection from the dead. However, He told them they first had to receive the Holy Spirit and preach the gospel to the nations. His kingdom was to be international, not just Israelite; and spiritual, not just governmental. It is a renewal and expansion of the Davidic kingdom (Isaiah 2:2-4). The former dominion will be restored (Micah 4:8).
Yeshua will sit upon His throne in Jerusalem; the apostles will sit on twelve thrones governing the tribes of Israel. Those who have "followed Him" will sit on thrones governing the rest of the nations - when Yeshua returns in glory (Matthew 16:27; 19:28; 24:30; 24:46-47; 25:21; 25:31; 26:64).
Whom the heavens must receive until the time of the restoration of all things; which God has spoken by the mouth of all His prophets since the world began.
Ultimately, God will restore all things. There is nothing that will not be restored. This includes everything planned at creation; everything prophesied to Israel; everything promised to the Church. It includes all things in heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:10). God's commitment to restore all things is a source of great hope and encouragement to us all.
Two Urgent Prayer Requests
Israeli Media – The news coverage of Messianic Jews in Israeli media is still scheduled to come out this week. Pray for favor and anointing.
Muslim World – A significant opportunity to share the gospel on television in Hebrew, with translation to Arabic, is scheduled to be filmed this week.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2010
TAKE HOLD OF YOUR TRIAL BY FAITH
If we didn't have conflict, pressure, trials, wars, we would become passive and
lukewarm. Decay would set in and our temple would lie in ruins. We wouldn't be
able to handle the territory we've gained. That's why the enemy's plan against
us is clear: He wants to take us out of the battle. His aim is to remove all
the fight from us.
We find all our resources for maintenance—strength to go on, power over the
enemy—in our spiritual battles. And on that day when we stand before the
Lord, he will reveal to us: "Do you remember what you went through on that
occasion? And in that awful battle? Look at what you accomplished through it
all. It was all secured through the battles you won."
The simple fact is, God has put his treasure in human bodies. He has made you a
temple, a house for his Spirit to dwell in. And you have a responsibility to
maintain that temple. If you become lazy and careless, neglecting the
maintenance work needed—regular prayer, feeding on God's Word, fellowshipping
with the saints—decay will set in. And you'll end up in absolute ruin.
As I look back on my own fifty years of ministry, I recall many times when it
would have been easy for me to quit. I would pray, "Lord, I don't understand
this attack. Where did it come from? And when will it end? I don't see any
purpose in it at all." But over time, I began to see fruit from those trials.
And that fruit—resources, strength, spiritual wealth—supplied me in a way I
couldn't have gotten through any other means.
I urge you: Take hold of your trial by faith, and believe God has allowed it.
Know that he's using it to make you stronger…to help you take spoils from
Satan...to make you a blessing to others…and to sanctify it all to his glory.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power
may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair" (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are
seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are
temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool, holy is He.
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy.
And He, being full of compassion, forgiveth iniquity and destroyeth not.
Thou, O LORD, wilt not withhold Thy compassion's from me;
let Thy mercy and Thy truth continually preserve me.
Remember, O LORD, Thy compassion's and Thy mercies;
for they have been from old.
Ascribe strength unto God;
His majesty is over Israel,
and His strength is in the skies.
Awe inspiring is God out of your holy places;
the God of Israel, He giveth strength and power unto the people;
blessed be God.
O LORD, Thou God who requitest evil and bringest the wicked to judgment, shine forth.
Rise up, Thou Judge of the earth;
render to the arrogant their recompense.
Salvation belongs unto the LORD;
Thy blessing be upon thy people.
The LORD of Hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our high tower.
O LORD of Hosts, happy is the man that trusts in Thee.
Save, O LORD;
O King, answer us in the day that we call.
Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance;
tend them, and sustain them forever.
Our soul has waited for the LORD;
He is our Help and our Shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name.
Let Thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in thee.
Show us Thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us Thy salvation.
Arise for our help and redeem us for Thy mercy's sale.
I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
open your mouth, and I will grant you of My bounty.
Happy is the people whose God is the LORD.
And as for me, in Thy mercy do I trust;
my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
I will sing unto the LORD because He hath dealt bountifully with me.
Friday, August 6, 2010
FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 2010
GOD LOVES YOU!
The Father loves you—it is at this point that multitudes of believers fail God. They are willing to be convicted of sin and failure, over and over again. But they will not allow the Holy Ghost to flood them with the love of theFather. The legalist loves to live under conviction. He has never understood the love of God or allowed the Holy Spirit to minister that love to his soul.
We at Times Square Church have taught that the righteous person, the true lover of Jesus, loves reproof. He learns to welcome having the Holy Spirit expose all his hidden areas of sin and unbelief — because the more he deals with sin, the happier and freer he becomes. Yet, the attitude I see in many Christians is: "Keep on judging me,Lord — convict me, rebuke me!" This is not the same thing as true conviction. For example, I see this in many responses to my newsletter messages. When I write a message that thunders with judgment, I get overwhelmingly approving responses. When I share about the sweetness and love of Jesus, I receive letters saying,"You're not preaching the truth anymore!"
It is as though these people are saying, "If you're not reproving, then what you're saying can't be the gospel." Such believers have never entered into the great love-mission of the Holy Spirit. This is an area where you must learn to walk in the Spirit—and not by feelings! Walking in the Spirit means allowing the Holy Ghost to do in us what he was sent to do. And that means allowing him to flood your heart right now with the love of God!
"Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). Isaiah said, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 66:13). Isaiah was writing to a stubborn people of God who "went on frowardly [backsliding] in the way of [their] heart" (Isaiah 57:17). Tell me—How long will a teacher stick by a stubborn, obstinate student who refuses to heed advice? Not very long! But the prophet Isaiah takes one of the highest images possible among men—that of a mother's love for her child—and shows us something of the love that our Father has for us.
One mother in our church takes a whole day to visit her son in an up state prison. She gets on a bus and rides for hours, just to see him for a short while. Such a mother will look across at her son in that drab uniform and see the agony in his eyes—and each trip she will die a little more inside. But she never quits on him. He is still her son!This is the kind of love the Holy Spirit wants you to know God has for you! He comforts us by telling us, "You once said you gave your all to Jesus. You gave him your love, and he still loves you. And now, neither will I let you go. I've been sent by him to do a work—and I will keep doing it! "
There is no true comfort for anyone on this earth except that of the Holy Spirit. This is why you need the Holy Ghost abiding in you. He alone can lay you down at night, as in a warm bed, and fill your heart with perfect peace. He alone can truly comfort you in times of pain and sorrow. He is the one who will assure you, "This comfort is not just temporary—it is eternal!"
Sunday, August 1, 2010
As a child, Christ amazed the teachers of the Law when He was only a child. He sat in a synagogue and spoke of things which spread amazement among the priests, scribes and possibly members of the Pharisee's. They wondered how a child could have such insight.
Where do we get our hope, insight and strength? From the same source as Christ. On various occasions He opened and read the Torah Scroll from the Prophets and the Law. This has been the standard God set up since the Ten Commandments were written by the hand of God Himself. The Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms are written for our correction, admonish, encouragement and hope. This is the source of our strength; it has to be. There is no other source. The addition of the Gospels and the New Covenant give new depth to the Old; they are one in the same.
Like the Prophet Jeremiah said, " Thy words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Thy Name, O LORD God of Hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16) * Jeremiah ate, digested and thought upon the Words of God until they because an intricate part of his being.
There is no other source. No revelation, no hope, thought or action laid on any other foundation other than the Word of God will succeed. Like Jeremiah, King David, Isaiah, the Apostles, Mary, Martha and all of the men and women of faith throughout the ages, the Word is our source for all that is good and godly.
Memorize, underline and pray the promises God has given us. I pray for peace every day. Peace in the middle of great apostasy and unbelief. Peace in the middle of the greatest storms mankind will ever see. Though the mountains be moved and the seas roar, there is One who rides as King of the flood! He is our Father, we are His children. If this could only become a permanent part of our being we would never be shaken for long.
Psalm 125 says, " They that trust in the LORD shall be as Mt. Zion,
which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. (notice the length of time-FOREVER)
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth, even forever."
FOREVER! God's Promises Never Fail, Fade, or Fall Off Of The Shelf!!