Sunday, December 30, 2012
What a small, easy step it is from doubting a father's love to taking matters into our own hands. But what a tragic one!
The moment you force things according to your will, you expose your heart to an avalanche of evil.
The first thing that changed in Joseph's brothers after they began to doubt their father’s love was the way they talked.
Listen to them: "Come, let's kill him. No, cast him into a pit. Better yet, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and make a little money!"
Their hearts swelled with contempt and betrayal and out of those corrupted hearts burst a stream of wicked words—the language of the world.
Unholy speech is a sure sign of a hardened heart.
Joseph's brothers became insensitive to sin and their corrupted conversation led to criminal behavior.
First they talked like the wicked and then they began to act like them.
Before long, they became cold, calculating criminals.
Not only did they sin, they covered it up and then went about their business of tending sheep as though nothing had happened.
How low we go when once we doubt our Father's love.
How corrupt and insensitive we become. Malachi the prophet warned the children of Israel concerning the hardness of their hearts. Like Joseph's brothers, the Israelites had fallen prey to doubt and had wound up calloused to their sin.
The book of Malachi begins, "The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?" (Malachi 1:1-2).
Incredible! They dared to tell God, "We see no evidence in our lives that You love or care for us."
Show me a Christian who begins to doubt God's love and decides to take matters into his own hands, and I will show you a Christian whose conversation is becoming corrupted.
Almost overnight there will be a noticeable change.
The more he doubts, the more unholy his speech will become.
Their words betray what is in their hearts: fear, unbelief, and despair.
Throw off all evil, unbelieving thoughts.
Do not continue to doubt God’s great love!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Do you think it makes God sound too human and vulnerable to say that He cries? Then ask yourself how a God of love could not cry when His own people doubt His very nature. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and according to the book of John He wept when those closest to Him doubted His love and concern. That was God incarnate at the tomb of Lazarus, crying over friends who failed to recognize who He was.
Time and time again Christ's dearest associates on this earth doubted His love for them.
Think of the disciples in a storm-tossed boat that was taking on water. Jesus was in the stern of the boat, sound asleep. Fearing for their lives, His followers shook Him awake and then accused Him of outright unconcern. Master, carest thou not that we perish? (Mark 4:38).
How their accusation must have grieved the Lord! That was God Almighty in their boat! How could He not care?
But whenever men take their eyes off the Lord and concentrate instead on their circumstances, doubt always takes over.
Jesus was astounded!"How can you be afraid when I am with you? How can you question My love and care?"
Christians today grieve the Lord in this matter even more.
Our unbelief is a greater affront to Him than the unbelief of Mary, Martha, and all the disciples, for our sin is committed against greater light.
We stand on a higher mountain and see more than they could ever see. We have a completed Bible with a full and detailed record of God's trustworthiness. We have the written testimonies of almost twenty centuries of Christians, generation after generation of godly fathers who have passed down to us unshakable proofs of God's love. And we have countless personal experiences that testify to God's tender love and affection for us.
Let us look for His exceeding mercy and love, admit the sinfulness of our unbelief, and recognize who He is!
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Jesus prayed to the Father: "All mine are thine, and thine are mine; I am glorified in them" (John 17:10). "The love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (verse 26).
Jesus makes it very clear: When we are one with Him, we enjoy the very same love of the Father that He enjoys. God delights in us as much as He does in His own Son.
The Bible also tells us God is our Father, just as He is Christ's Father. Jesus testified: "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
So, how hard are you striving to please God? Do you go through seasons in which you feel you are delighting Him? And do you have "low" seasons when you feel you are displeasing Him?
Beloved, you have to put facts ahead of your feelings. And the fact is, God's pleasure in you has nothing to do with your strivings, intensity, good intentions or actions. No, it all has to do with your faith.
I believe God wants us to have what I call a "focused faith" that says, "All your faith may be focused on the principle that if you wish to stand holy before God, you must come to Him in Christ."
The writer of Hebrews warns against having ". . . an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). This is an issue of faith! When we move away from the foundational doctrine of being accepted by God through Christ, we are turning back to the law, the flesh and spiritual bondage!
We which have believed do enter into rest . . . For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his (4:3,10). Scripture makes it clear: The evidence of faith is rest.
The only way to bring your striving, sweating, troubled soul into peace is to convince yourself, "I am in Christ and I am accepted by God. He delights in me, regardless of whether I am up or down. No matter how I feel, I know my position in Christ—that I am seated with Him in heavenly places!"
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
That heavenly calling is never negative, never neutral, never passive, but always positive. You may not have very much in your daily life to make the calling seem positive.
It may be you go to business in the morning and fulfill your daily work, the trivial round, the common task, as we say, with very little variety entering into it. It is the same round day after day, week after week, month after month; the same people, the same surroundings, the same activities very largely.
Only on the rarest occasion does something especially interesting come into the daily course. It would be so easy in a situation like that to say: "Well, in my sphere of life there is not much of the glamor of a heavenly calling! My work is plain and simple. I have just to get on with it every day, and I see very little else beyond it." Remember that at all times, in all circumstances, the calling is positive.
Every day will provide some opportunity for you to learn spiritual ascendancy; some occasion for you to bring in the value of your relationship with the Lord; to put to the test the resources which you have in Christ; to grow in grace; to know victories.
How do you know but that in that very uninteresting, perhaps unpromising sphere of life you are on test on some of those great matters, such as faith, patience, or patient endurance?
It would be interesting to know exactly what the throne of the Lord is made of. When we come to that throne, I wonder whether we shall find a throne of gold in a literal sense, or whether we shall find it made up of many things?
When we come to analyze the throne we may find that it is made up of patience, faith, endurance, and all such moral elements, and that these elements constitute the power by which He governs.
It is sharing the patience of Jesus Christ which is sharing the throne. There is something mighty in the ultimate outworking of the patience of Jesus, the faith of Jesus Christ, the endurance. These are the constituents of His throne. He is working throne elements into us now in the drab, uninteresting life day by day.
You may be on test for the throne.
There may be bound up with the least interesting course of life some very, very real intention of the Lord.
Let us remember that the heavenly calling is always positive, in all circumstances, in all places. We are on test for the throne, as to whether it shall function through us both here and hereafter.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The burden of hidden sin King David carried for an entire year cost him dearly. It broke his health, plagued his mind and wounded his spirit. It created havoc in his home,disillusionment in God's people, mockery among the godless. Finally, he cried out, "I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me" (Psalm 38:17). The Hebrew word for halt here means "fall." He was saying, "I am about to fall from this heavy load of sorrow."
Some Christians might look at David in his time of turmoil and think, "What a tragedy Satan was able to bring upon David. How could this once-tender psalmist come to the brink of a fall? God must have been terribly angry with him."
No! It was not the devil who made David's sin so heavy, it was God. In His great mercy, God allowed this man to sink to the depths, because He wanted him to see the magnitude of his sin. He made David's unconfessed sin so heavy, he could no longer bear it and he was driven to repentance.
The truth is, only a righteous man like David could be so powerfully affected by his sin. You see, his conscience was still tender and he felt the sharp pains of every arrow of conviction God thrust into his heart. That's why David could say, "My sorrow is continually before me."
That is the secret of this whole story: David had a godly sorrow, a deep and precious fear of God. He could admit, "I see the Lord's disciplining hand in this, pressing me down to my knees, and I acknowledge that my sin deserves His wrath.”
The writer of Lamentations says, "I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. He hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me. He hath set me in dark places as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone" (Lamentations 3:1-9).
The writer's point is clear: When we live with hidden sin, God Himself makes our chains so heavy, chaotic and terrifying, we are driven to open confession and deep repentance.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
If you can go about your daily life facing all sorts of interruptions and demands, and yet not spend ten minutes in God's presence, your love is dying.
Think about it: If you love someone exclusively above all others, you will make that person feel he is the most important being on earth. Everything else will pale in comparison to him.
Is this not how you first loved your spouse when you were courting? If she called while you were busy, you dropped everything just to talk to her. If anyone intruded on your time alone together, you resented it. Everything else took second place in your efforts to develop the love between you.
Many Christians today go for weeks, even months, without spending quality time with Jesus.
How can they love Jesus with a whole heart when they neglect Him for days on end?
In Song of Solomon, the bride could not sleep because her beloved ". . . had withdrawn himself . . ." (Song of Solomon 5:6). This woman arose in the middle of the night, saying, "My soul failed . . . I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer" (same verse). So she quickly ran
into the streets, looking everywhere for her lover, crying out, "Have you seen my beloved?"
Why was this such a serious matter to her? Because, as she said, "This is my beloved, and this is my friend" (verse 16). "I am sick of love [faint with desire for him]" (verse 8). She could not be without her beloved.
How does Jesus feel when He spreads the table and anxiously awaits our company,yet we never show up? The Bible calls us His bride, His beloved, His one great love. It says we were created for fellowship with Him.
So, what kind of rejection must He feel when we continually put others before Him?
Friday, November 30, 2012
Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
The Kingdom is so much bigger than conversion.
Of course, if you are going to be saved at all – I mean saved initially – you will have to mean business for that. You will have to make it a Desperate Matter, because there will be Everything To Stop You.
But the Kingdom means a very great deal more than merely getting into it, far more than being converted.
There is a great deal more in the purpose of God for our lives than we have ever imagined, and if we are to enter into that, Violence Has To Characterize Us.
We MUST Desperately Mean Business, and come to the place where we say: "Lord, I Am Set Upon All That Thou Dost Mean In Christ. I Am Set Upon That, And I Am NOT Going To Allow Other People's Prejudices Or Suspicions Or Criticisms To Get In The Way; I Am NOT Going To Allow Any Man-Made System To Hinder Me
I Am Going Right On With Thee For ALL Thy Purpose.
I Am Going To Do Violence To Everything That Would Get In The Way." It calls for violence, and we have to do a lot of violence to get all that God wills for us.
Oh, how easily many lives are side-tracked, simply because they are not Desperate Enough!
They are caught in things which Limit – things which may be good, that may have something of God in them, but which none the less are limiting things, and do not represent a wide open way to all God's purpose.
The only way for us to come into all that the Lord means not only into what we have seen but into all that He has purposed – is to be desperate, to be men of violence; to be men who say, "By God's grace, Nothing and No One, however good, is going to stand in my way; I am going on with God." Have that position with the Lord, and you will find that God meets you on that ground.
No men – not even Paul himself – knew all that they were going to know. Paul was constantly getting fuller unveilings of that unto which he was called. He received something fairly strong and rich at the beginning; then, later, he was shown unspeakable things (2 Corinthians 12:4). He was growing in apprehension. But why? Because he was a man of violence. God meets us like that.
With the perverse Thou wilt show Thyself froward (Psalm 18:26). That, in principle, means that God Will Be To You What You Are To Him. He will mean business if you mean business.
There is a vast amount in the Kingdom that we have never suspected. Do believe that.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Joh 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
When the Lord has blessed and prospered, how many people have not themselves become something? Here is a successful movement! Here is my chance! There is a laying hold of that work, and a turning of it to personal account. That is the history of things.
The most dangerous time for the work of God is the time of blessing. You will always find people coming in when there is blessing, not because they have God's end in view, but because a realm of blessing means personal good....
The Lord is calling us on to the fullness of Christ, and sometimes on the way He may let us see the working of His power, that He is with us.
The world may be against us, the devil may be withstanding, and the Lord lets us see in some little way that He is with us.
And then alongside of that there comes the most awful peril, in that we snap our fingers at everything and everybody, and at the devil himself. We are supported by the Lord in the position we have taken! We are vindicated! That is a perilous position.
The Lord may have to say, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven! Do not find any personal gratification in the fact that the demons are subject unto you!"
It is all in the same realm as glorying in a wrong way in the blessings of the Lord.
We have to go on steadily, and take our encouragements when they come, thank the Lord quietly for them, and get on with the main business, not staying to gloat over the fruits of the Lord's blessing in a personal way.
There is a great deal of ground covered by that. It is often a source of so much gratification if only you can tell people of the success that is coming to you in the work of the Lord, how many people are coming, how many souls are being saved, how you are being used, how the Lord's seal is upon you. All unconsciously we take hold of the honor for our own flesh.
The Lord has to hide so much from us, because it is dangerous for us; our flesh makes it dangerous.
We shall be tried by blessing as well as by adversity. The keenest fires of trial are often those of success or prosperity. Such tests discover whether our hearts are fixed upon the Lord or upon things.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Monday, November 26, 2012
Think for a moment about all the ways God has met the needs of His people throughout history.
When Israel was in the wilderness, they had no supermarkets or grocery stores. There was not even a blade of grass in sight. But God rained down manna from heaven so the people would have bread, and He caused birds to fall by the bushel from the sky so they would have meat. He caused water to gush from a rock. And He supernaturally kept their shoes and clothing intact, so that they never wore out in forty years of use.
In the Old Testament, we read that a hungry prophet was fed by a raven. A barrel of meal and a bottle of oil supernaturally replenished themselves. And an entire enemy army fled upon hearing a strange noise—leaving behind enough supplies to feed an entire city of starving Israelites.
In the New Testament, we read that water was turned into wine. Money was found in a fish's mouth to pay taxes. And five thousand people were fed with only five loaves of bread and two fish.
All these miracles of supply cry out to us, "God is faithful. He can be trusted!"
And in Leviticus 25, we read of another supernatural phenomenon—an especially ripe harvest in the year before the sabbath for the land.
Next, God commanded that the people observe seven consecutive cycles of sabbaths for the land: "Thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years" (verse 8). In other words: "You are to celebrate this sabbath every seventh year, for a period of forty-nine years—seven sabbaths times seven."
In biblical terms, the forty-nine-year period would comprise a whole generation. The implication here is that such a period would provide enough time for an entire generation to learn to trust the Lord.
Over that time, parents and grandparents would build up a history of faith, so they could tell their children: "Yes, it's true! God supplied everything we needed the first six years, but when the seventh year came, many of us were afraid. Yet God's provision saw us through to the eighth year, and right up to the ninth. Sometimes it was frightening, but there was always enough. No one starved, and no one had to beg. Every need was supplied.
God tested our faith—and He remained faithful!"
The point is, when God says, "Trust me," He means it!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
2Ti 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
How much have you to dispense? Are you sure that you are dispensing what you have? The Lord did not lead you through that trial, through that darkness, through that strange experience, just for your own sake.
The Lord has not dealt with you as He has, in order that you should be shut up to yourself, to enjoy the result alone. He has done that to constitute you a steward.
If you and I will only allow that fact to govern us in the days of difficulty and trial, it will help us through.
We should hold fast to the fact that the trial is to mean enrichment for the Lord's people, and an increase of equipment and qualification for stewardship....
Ask the Lord to release you into your stewardship within your measure.
We are not speaking of an official, organized service for God, where you have to be continually ministering to others, whether you have the resources with which to do it or not. That is all false, and puts strain upon you; you may well revolt against that kind of thing.
We simply have in mind the way in which the Lord creates living contacts.
Children of God may cross your path in dire need, and may all the time be looking for the person who can help them. They have been crying to the Lord to meet the need, and have been watching to see how the Lord would answer. They may cross your path, and you talk upon all sorts of ordinary things; they pass on their way, and you have failed in your stewardship. They have not received that for which they have been asking, and the steward has disappointed the Lord, and those who were looking to the Lord.
Let us ask the Lord to give us release from our tied-up state, to fulfill this stewardship.
The Lord's Word is: "...it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful," not eloquent, intellectual, or with a strong personality, none of those things.
What is your mental conception of a steward?
One who has a great facility of speech, who finds no difficulty in talking? No! "...it is required in stewards, that a man be found FAITHFUL."
~T. Austin Sparks~
Thursday, November 15, 2012
And they called unto Lot . . . Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them" (Genesis 19:5).
Lot's day of reckoning finally came. A wild mob of Sodomite men surrounded his house, pounding on the door and shouting obscenities. They demanded that Lot send out the two angels who were staying there so they could rape them.
What a horrifying scene! Yet Lot's reaction was to try to strike a deal with the men. It appears that Lot was a judge in Sodom, because he sat at the city gates. He had a reputation to protect so he tried to reason with the mob. He even went as far as calling them "brethren"—proving he had taken Sodom's sin
I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing" (verses 7-8).
One theologian writes that Lot knew his daughters were not in danger because these men were homosexuals. Perhaps Lot reasoned to himself, "These men are partying sodomizers, looking to fulfill their perverted lusts. They're no threat to women. If I send my daughters out, they'll come home tomorrow morning unharmed."
How foolish! Even if that were true, Lot would have been trying to replace one sin with another. It is impossible to bargain with lust!
Lot, an example of what hidden sin can do to a righteous man, clearly was deluded.
His sin had produced in him such a dangerous condition that he would give up everything including his beloved family to save face.
This man was not ready to face reality. He was dragging out his moment of reckoning, still wheeling and dealing, trying to delay God's deliverance in his life. And, beloved, that is the attitude of many Christians today. They convince themselves, "My God is a God of mercy. He delivered me from my sin before, and He'll do it again."
No! God is saying to you through this passage, No more bargaining. No more trading a lighter sin for a heavier one. It all has to go!
~ David Wilkerson~
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Look at Thomas. "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe!" 'Say what you like, I am not going to believe!'
So he has shut himself out and is a man alone.
Then, for some reason or other, perhaps sick of his loneliness or under the persuasion of some friends, he comes in on one occasion where they are.
He is no more with them in heart, but he is there in body, and the Lord appears, and the first act of the Lord is to make straight for that man.
Now Thomas, come and see the marks that you demanded to see, reach hither your finger!
Thomas broke, and went down; "My Lord, and my God".
It is that sort of thing that makes the true Christian life and makes the church.
That is what the Lord is after, to get us away from our mere ecclesiasticism, all that externality and formality, and get us down to the place where God in Christ has got our hearts in brokenness and worship, and we simply say "My Lord, and my God".
~T. Austin Sparks~
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Joh 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Perhaps you have been amazed sometimes, and perplexed and bewildered, why God should use that, and that and that; and such and such persons.
You have been inclined to say: "It is all contrary to what I believe to be necessary to God for His work. I see that the Bible says that instruments have got to be according to God's mind in order to be used." But history does not bear that out.
As I say, He has used the devil, and the devil is not according to God's mind. There is a sovereignty of God spread over in relation to His end. But when you have said that, it is a frightening fact when you come to the work of God.
I mean this – that we may be working for God, and doing many mighty things as employees of the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, and then, in the end, be cast away!
In the end, we ourselves might just go to pieces. Here it is this strange thing, that these men went out, twelve and seventy, with this 'delegated authority' – this delegated authority and exercised it, and mighty things resulted; and then these same people are found, after the Cross, with their faith shattered; nothing to rest upon. What does it say?
Thank God, the book of the Acts transforms the whole situation! Because the book of the Acts brings in this mighty new factor: that Christ, Who had delegated the authority, is now indwelling as the authority Himself. And the works now are mighty works, but they are not just works FOR the Lord they are the works OF the Lord.
It all goes to prove this tremendous fact: that it is "Christ IN you" that is the indispensable necessity for Life and for work.... What a marvelous thing it is that we are in the dispensation when the one thing, above all others, that God will make true, is "Christ in you" – Christ IN you!
~T. Austin Sparks~
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Assyrian army had surrounded Jerusalem. At that point, King Hezekiah decided, "We are not going to lean on the arm of flesh this time. We are going to do it all God's way!"
The king humbled himself and sought God in prayer: “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord” (Isaiah 37:1). Hezekiah confessed, "Lord, I know I have nothing of myself to give You except my faith. I am helpless in my own strength to fight Sennacherib. We're surrounded by our enemies. Please, give us Your direction!"
Hezekiah knew that Isaiah would have God's word of guidance, so this time he sent his envoy to the prophet. These men said to Isaiah, "The children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth" (verse 3). In other words: "This time we want to do everything God's way but we have no strength
left. What should we do?"
Isaiah had God's word for them: "Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard. . . . I will cause [Sennacherib] to fall by the sword" (verses 6-7). God was saying, "Any enemy of yours is an enemy of Mine now because you have turned the battle over to Me! If anyone talks against you, hurts you or abuses you, it is an attack against Me. I will take care of that enemy, whether human or demonic."
"He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it" (verse 33). God says, "Others may be falling all around you, but that doesn't mean a thing. You are walking in covenant with Me and I have promised to do battle against every enemy that assails you."
What a wonderful picture God has given of His power to deliver us from our enemies. The enemy may shoot fiery arrows at us, but they will not strike. Satan may noisily attack us with a huge army of lusts and temptations, but in the end he will turn and run. God has declared, "I will defend every child of Mine who believes in Me enough to lay down his own sword."
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Act 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet
Christendom is largely constituted by this sense its architecture, its ritual, its music its adornment its lighting (or lack of it), its tone its atmosphere its vestments and so forth.
ALL are of the soul.... Spiritual death marks that realm, and while there may be intense emotions which make for resolves, "high" thoughts and desires, there is no genuine change in the nature of those concerned, and repeated doses of this must be taken to maintain any measure of soul-self-satisfaction which makes them feel good.
ALL religions have this soulish feature in common, more or less, and it is here that the fatal blunder has been made by many religious people who contend that other religions, which are undoubtedly devout and sincere, should not be interfered with, but the good in them should be recognized and accepted.
It is the confusing of religion with what the Bible means by being spiritual. Religion can rise to high levels and sink to terrible depths. It is the same thing which does both. But that thing never rises above the human level; it never really reaches God.
Religion can be the greatest enemy of God's true thought, because it is Satan's best deception. Asceticism is no more truly spiritual than aestheticism. There is no more a brief with God for rigors, denials, fastings, puritanic iciness, etc., as such, than for the opposite.
Simplicity may give God a chance, but it is not necessarily spiritual. It may be a matter of taste....
How near to the truth in perception and interpretation can the mystical go! What wonderful things can the imagination see, even in the Bible!
What thrills of awe, amazement, ecstasy, can be shot through an audience or congregation by a master soul!
But it may all be a FALSE world with NO Divine and eternal issues. It may all go to make up this life here, and relieve it of its drabness, but it ends there.
What an artificial world we live in! When the music is progressing and the romantic elements are in evidence the dress and tinsel and human personalities are parading, see how PRIDE and RIVALRY assert themselves, and what a power of make believe enters the atmosphere!
Yes, an artificial world.The tragedy in this melodrama is that it is "real life" to so many. This soul-world is the devil's imitation. It is all false, wherever we may find it, whether associated with religion or not....
The Christian Faith embraced as a religion, a philosophy, or as a system of truth and a moral or ethical doctrine, may carry the temporary stimulus of a great ideal; but this will not result in the regeneration of the life, or the new birth of the spirit.
There are multitudes of such Christians in the world today, but their spiritual effectiveness is nil.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Friday, October 19, 2012
Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
I have borne with you all this time because I love you; anything could have happened to you, but I have not let it, I have shown you infinite longsuffering and patience, and earnest solicitude for your eternal well-being: because I love you, I have kept you alive, and have brought you to this time and to this place; I have not let you go. Oh, that this might come home to us!
We may, all unconsciously, be hearing this message now simply because of this infinite love of God which has been preserving us unto this hour to let us know it. You may think it is quite fortuitous that you are hearing it – just one of the chance happenings of life; but if you knew the truth it is this infinite love of God which has held you to this time in relation to the infinite purposes of that love to let you know it.
There is nothing casual about it, there is sovereign love here. "Because I have so loved, because, self-sufficient as I am, I cannot do without you" – oh, mystery of Divine love! – because I so much wanted you I created you, and now at this moment I am drawing you.
We cannot take that in, but that is the teaching of the Word of God... God does not want that kind of love that is not love at all because it gets everything that it wants to satiate its own lusts. That is not love.
This love of God must make us like itself, it must be after its own kind. And so, strangely enough, many have come to find the love of God through the dark way of suffering – to discover that God was not their enemy but their friend, when they thought that He was pursuing with the object of destroying them....
Listen again, whoever you may be. If you know yourself only a little you must be amazed at this statement, but if it does not come to you as the most wonderful thing that ever was or could be, there is something grievously the matter with you; that such a One should say to such as WE, I have loved THEE, with an everlasting love.
May God Himself bring that home to us with something of its implication, something of its meaning and value, its glory, its wonder. If He should graciously do that, we shall be worshipers for the rest of our lives; there will be something about us that is in the nature of awe and wonder and we shall go softly.
The realization of it will smite all our pride to the dust. There is no room for pride here. This will remove all those horrible things - pride, avarice, covetousness, self-interest, worldly ambition - and we shall be very humble, very grateful people, full of a great longing somehow to requite that love, somehow to win for that One His rights.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Monday, October 8, 2012
Now, deep down in Saul there was the self-principle active; there is no doubt about it; and, although at times he seemed to rise above it and to have the Lord's interests at heart, that self-principle was recurrent, and when put to the final test with Amalek in I Samuel Chapter 15, we find that it asserted itself again.
That was the turning point, where the Lord rejected Saul and finally in intention passed the kingdom from him to David.
The self-principle goes too deep for the Lord to regard it lightly.
It is not just a matter of the person. It is there that the link with an entirely antagonistic spiritual system is found. Amalek was such a link. Amalek had stood in the way of Israel when they came out of Egypt and were making for the land. They had stood across their path in the attempt to frustrate the Lord's intentions of spiritual fulness for Israel, and that very people Amalek were the test case for Saul as to whether he was really wholly set upon the Lord or whether he had personal interests.
When, through Samuel, the Lord commanded Saul to destroy every vestige of Amalek, leaving nothing alive, Saul reserved the best of the herd and the flock.
He discriminated according to human judgment, to keep something that he fancied, that he thought was good.
He set his own judgment over against the judgment of the Lord because of this self-principle that was in him, thus proving that in principle he was one with Amalek, that is, he was not set upon all that the Lord was after.
The Lord was seeking to bring Israel into the land, that is, to spiritual fulness. Amalek said 'No'. Saul and Amalek found themselves one in principle. He spared them.
But see what Samuel does to Agag, king of the Amalekites! - he hews him in pieces before the Lord. There is no compromise there.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Psa 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Psa 37:1 A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
Pro 24:19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
Thursday, September 20, 2012
All hell quakes at the effectual, fervent prayer of a single believer. The powerful praying of just one intercessor sounds like raging thunder in the caverns of the damned. Not one inch of space in hell remains unaffected by a believer who denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows Christ with his whole heart.
Yet, we must remember: The soul that cries out with agonizing yearnings for depth in Christ will become the central focus of Satan's conspiracy of interruptions.
A pastor wrote to me, saying, "My greatest battle is not with some secret sin of the flesh but with maintaining a consistent life of prayer and study in God's Word! Satan rarely tempts me with sexual sin, but he gets me so busy with the daily affairs of life that my times for prayer and study are crowded out. I don't allow this to happen intentionally but I get caught up in all kinds of projects and interruptions. This cycle is repeated over and over and Satan is robbing me of my time with God."
Like millions of other sincere Christians, this dear pastor is the victim of a demonic conspiracy of interruptions. And the devil's chief target in these attacks is the secret closet of prayer. So, how does the devil keep believers out of this fearsome, secret place? Does he entice with erotic images, soothing thoughts of escape through alcohol or drugs, or dreams of fame and prosperity?
No, never! The devil knows that the person in union with Christ will not be tempted by such vulgarity. Instead, the old fox seeks to interrupt and hinder a believer's every attempt to enter the presence of God and study His Word.
Communion in prayer and the study of God's Word cannot be optional. Your thought should not be merely that you ought to pray but that you cannot survive without prayer. Job declared, I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food (Job 23:12).
Only when prayer becomes important enough will you make the time to do it!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
One night Jacob sat in an open field and had it out (wrestled) with the Lord: "God, how did I end up in this mess? You made such great promises to me. You told me You would guide me, keep me, fulfill Your plans in me. How could any of this be Your leading? What kind of covenant walk is this? Lord, I simply have no future" (see Genesis 32:24-26).
Now, you may reason to yourself, "Maybe Jacob didn't seek God about some of the choices he made. Maybe he acted out of his flesh.” Well, perhaps he did, but all that is beside the point. God could have intervened on Jacob's behalf at any time but He did not.
The fact is, we can have a contrite spirit and still have problems. You and your spouse may be going through a terrible trial. You have prayed, "Lord, I don't understand. I know my heart is right, and I'm walking with You, so why
are You allowing this awful trial?"
Most of us think, as Jacob did, that contrite, praying Christians should not have to endure great sorrows. We should not have to face awful times or fearful conditions in which our very future is threatened. Yet, the reality is that humble, repentant, praying Christians still suffer great peril and sorrows.
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to keep us from problems. Never does He promise us a smooth ride in our job or career. Nor does He promise us exemption from affliction. In fact, He says: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19). This verse does not say God delivers us from afflictions, but out of them.
Paul speaks of knowing the heights and depths of God's love for him. Yet the Lord didn't keep Paul's ship from sinking. In fact, He allowed the apostle to be stoned, beaten and disgraced. Paul says he was exposed to perils on land and on sea, from robbers and from his own countrymen.
At times we may weep, wondering, "God, where are You? Why haven't You taken me out of this?" But even though the Lord allows us to go through things that try our souls, in one way or another He delivers us out of them all, just as He did Jacob and Paul.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
My Vision of the Destruction of America By A. A. Allen July 4, 1954 Atop the Empire State BuildingAs I stood atop the Empire State Building, I could see the Statue of Liberty, illuminating the gateway to the new world. Here, spread before me like an animated map, is an area 60 or 80 miles in diameter. I was amazed that the Spirit of the Lord should so move me, there atop the Empire State building. Why should I feel such a surge of His Spirit and power there?
Suddenly I heard the voice of the Lord. It was as clear and as distinct as a voice could be. It seemed to come from the very midst of the giant telescope; but when I looked at the telescope, I knew it hadn't come from there, but directly from Heaven. The voice said, 2 CHRONICLES 16:9, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou has done foolishly; therefore, from henceforth thou shalt have wars." Immediately when I heard the voice of God, I knew this was a quotation of scripture; but never before had a thing come to me so forcibly by the power of the Spirit.
The ticking of the telescope stopped. The man before me had used up his dime's worth. As he stepped away, I knew that I was next. As I stepped to the telescope and dropped in my dime, immediately the ticking started again. This ticking was an automatic clock which would allow me to use the telescope for a limited time only. As I swung the telescope to the north, suddenly the Spirit of God came upon me in a way that I had never thought of before. Seemingly, in the Spirit I was entirely caught away. I knew that the telescope itself had nothing to do with the distance which I was suddenly enabled to see, for I seemed to see things far beyond the range of the telescope, even on a bright, clear day. It was simply that God had chosen this time to reveal these things to me, for as I looked through the telescope, it was not Manhattan Island that I saw, but a far larger view.
That morning much of the view was impaired by fog; but suddenly as the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, the fog seemed to clear until it seemed that I could see for thousands of miles, but that which I was looking upon was not Manhattan Island. It was all of the North American continent spread out before me as a map is spread upon a table. It was not the East River and the Hudson River that I saw on either side, but the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans; and instead of the Statue of Liberty standing there in the bay on her small island, I saw her standing far out in the Gulf of Mexico. She was between me and the United States. I suddenly realized that the telescope had nothing to do with what I was seeing but that it was a vision coming directly from God; and to prove this to myself, I took my eyes away from the telescope so that I was no longer looking through the lens, but the same scene remained before me.
There, clear and distinct, lay all the North American continent with all its great cities. To the north lay the Great Lakes. Far to the northeast was New York City. I could see Seattle and Portland far to the northwest. Down the west coast there were San Francisco and Los Angeles. Closer in the foreground lay New Orleans at the center of the Gulf Coast area. I could see the great towering ranges of the Rocky Mountains and trace with my eye the Continental Divide. All this and more I could see spread out before me as a great map upon a table.
As I looked, suddenly from the sky I saw a giant hand reach down. That gigantic hand was reaching out toward the Statue of Liberty. In a moment her gleaming torch was torn from her hand, and in it instead was placed a cup; and I saw protruding from that great cup a giant sword, shining as if a great light had been turned upon its glistening edge. Never before had I seen such a sharp, glistening, dangerous sword. It seemed to threaten all the world. As the great cup was placed in the hand of the Statue of Liberty, I heard these words, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, drink ye and be drunken and spew and fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send." As I heard these words, I recognized them as a quotation from Jeremiah 25:27. I was amazed to hear the Statue of Liberty speak out in reply, "I WILL NOT DRINK!" Then as the voice of the thunder, I heard again the voice of the Lord saying, "Ye shall certainly drink" (Jeremiah 25:28). Then suddenly the giant hand forced the cup to the lips of the Statue of Liberty, and she became powerless to defend herself. The mighty hand of God forced her to drink every drop from the cup. As she drank the bitter dregs, these were the words that I heard: "Should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts"
When the cup was withdrawn from the lips of the Statute of Liberty, I noticed the sword was missing from the cup, which could mean but one thing. THE CONTENTS OF THE CUP HAD BEEN COMPLETELY CONSUMED! I knew that the sword merely typified war, , and destruction, which is no doubt on the way. Then as one drunken on too much wine, I saw the Statue of Liberty become unsteady on her feet and begin to stagger and to lose her balance. I saw her splashing in the gulf, trying to regain her balance. I saw her stagger again and again and fall to her knees. As I saw her desperate attempts to regain her balance and rise to her feet again, my heart was moved as never before with compassion for her struggles; but as she staggered there in the gulf, once again I heard these words: "Drink ye and be drunken and spew and fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you"
As I watched, I wondered if the Statue of Liberty would ever be able to regain her feet, if she would ever stand again; and as I watched, it seemed that with all her power she struggled to rise and finally staggered to her feet again and stood there swaying drunkenly. I felt sure that at any moment she would fall again, possibly never to rise. I seemed overwhelmed with a desire to reach out my hand to keep her head above water, for I knew that if she ever fell again, she would drown there in the gulf. "Thou shalt not be afraid for the by night, nor for the arrow that flyeth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday" (Psalms 91:5-6).
Then as I watched, another amazing thing was taking place. Far to the northwest, just out over Alaska, a huge, black cloud was arising. As it rose, it was as black as night. It seemed to be in the shape of a man's head. As it continued to arise, I observed two light spots in the black cloud. It rose further, and a gaping hole appeared. I could see that the black cloud was taking the shape of a skull, for now the huge, white, gaping mouth was plainly visible. Finally, the head was complete. Then the shoulders began to appear; and on either side, long, black arms.
It seemed that what I saw was the entire North American continent, spread out like a map upon a table with this terrible skeleton-formed cloud arising from behind the table. It rose steadily until the form was visible down to the waist. At the waist the skeleton seemed to bend toward the United States, stretching forth a hand toward the east and one toward the west, one toward New York and one toward Seattle. As the awful form stretched forward, I could see that its entire attention seemed to be focused upon the United States, overlooking Canada at least for the time being. As I saw the horrible black cloud in the form of a skeleton bending toward America, bending from the waist over, reaching down toward Chicago and out toward both coasts, I knew its one interest was to destroy the multitudes.
As I watched in horror, the great black cloud stopped just above the Great Lakes region and turned its face toward New York City. Then out of the horrible, great gaping mouth began to appear wisps of white vapor which looked like smoke, as a cigarette smoker would blow puffs of smoke from his mouth. These whitish vapors were being blown toward New York City. The smoke began to spread until it had covered all the eastern part of the United States. Then the skeleton turned to the west and out of the horrible mouth and nostrils came another great puff of white smoke. This time it was blown in the direction of the west coast. In a few moments' time the entire West Coast and Los Angeles area were covered with its vapors.
Then toward the center came a third great puff. As I watched, St. Louis and Kansas City were enveloped in its white vapors. Then on they came toward New Orleans. Then on they swept until they reached the Statue of Liberty where she stood staggering drunkenly in the blue waters of the gulf. As the white vapors began to spread around the head of the statue, she took in but one gasping breath and then began to cough as though to rid her lungs of the horrible vapors she had inhaled. One could readily discern by the coughing that those white vapors had seared her lungs. What were these white vapors? Could they signify bacteriological warfare or nerve gas that could destroy multitudes of people in a few moments' time? Then I heard the voice of God as He spoke again: "Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty and maketh it waste and turneth it upside-down and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her ; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied and utterly spoiled, for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away. The world languisheth and fadeth away. The haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant; therefore, hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men left"
As I watched, the coughing grew worse. It sounded like a person about to cough out his lungs. The Statue of Liberty was moaning and groaning. She was in mortal agony. The pain must have been terrific, as again and again she tried to clear her lungs of those horrible white vapors. I watched her there in the gulf as she staggered, clutching her lungs and her breast with her hands. Then she fell to her knees. In a moment she gave one final cough, made a last desperate effort to rise from her knees, and then fell face forward into the waters of the gulf and lay still as . Tears ran down my face as I realized that she was ! Only the lapping of the waves, splashing over her body which was partly under the water and partly out of the water, broke the stillness.
"A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, yea, and nothing shall escape them". Screaming of Sirens Suddenly the silence was shattered by the screaming of sirens. The sirens seemed to scream, "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"
Never before had I heard such shrill, screaming sirens. They seemed to be everywhere to the north, the south, the east, and the west. There seemed to be multitudes of sirens; and as I looked, I saw people everywhere running, but it seemed none of them ran more than a few paces, and then they fell. And even as I had seen the Statue of Liberty struggling to regain her poise and balance and finally falling for the last time to die on her face, I now saw millions of people falling in the streets, on the sidewalks, struggling. I heard their screams for mercy and help. I heard their horrible coughing as though their lungs had been seared with fire. I heard the moanings and groanings of the doomed and the dying. As I watched, a few finally reached shelters, but only a few ever got to the shelters.
Above the moaning and the groaning of the dying multitudes, I heard these words: "A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth, for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations. He will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth, and the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground" (Jeremiah 25:31-33).
Then suddenly I saw from the Atlantic and from the Pacific and out of the Gulf rocket-like objects that seemed to come up like fish leaping out of the water. High into the air they leaped, each headed in a different direction, but every one toward the United States. On the ground the sirens screamed louder, and up from the ground I saw similar rockets beginning to ascend. To me these appeared to be interceptor rockets although they arose from different points all over the United States; however, none of them seemed to be successful in intercepting the rockets that had risen from the ocean on every side. These rockets finally reached their maximum height, slowly turned over and fell back toward the earth in defeat. Then suddenly the rockets which had leaped out of the oceans like fish all exploded at once. The explosion was ear-splitting. The next thing which I saw was a huge ball of fire. The only thing I have ever seen which resembled the thing I saw in my vision was the picture of the explosion of the H-bomb somewhere in the South Pacific. In my vision it was so real that I seemed to feel a searing heat from it.
As the vision spread before my eyes and I viewed the widespread desolation brought about by the terrific explosions, I could not help thinking, While the defenders of our nation have quibbled over what means of defense to use and neglected the only true means of defense faith and dependence upon the true and living God the thing which she greatly feared has come unto her! How true it has proven in Psalms 127:1: Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
Then as the noise of battle subsided, to my ears came this quotation: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. 2. A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains, a great people and a strong, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3. A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, yea, and nothing shall escape them. 4. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6. Before their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness. 7. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war, and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks. 8. Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path; and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark,, and the stars shall withdraw their shining (Joel 2:1-10).
Then the voice was still. The earth, too was silent with the silence of . Then to my ears came another sound a sound of distant singing. It was the sweetest music I had ever heard. There was joyful shouting and sounds of happy laughter. Immediately I knew it was the rejoicing of the saints of God. I looked, and there, high in the heavens, above the smoke and poisonous gases, above the noise of the battle, I saw a huge mountain. It seemed to be of solid rock, and I knew at once that this was the Mountain of the Lord. The sounds of music and rejoicing were coming from a cleft high up in the side of the rock mountain.
It was the saints of God who were doing the rejoicing. It was God's own people who were singing and dancing and shouting with joy, safe from all the harm which had come upon the earth, for they were hidden away in the cleft of the rock. There in the cleft they were shut in, protected by a great, giant hand which reached out of the heavens and which was none other than the hand of God, shutting them in until the storm be over passed.