Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Sifted Company

Gideon's company represents a sifted company brought down to a position of absolute faith in God, for that was what God was after - "Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me saying, Mine own hand hath saved me."

They had to be right down to a place where God was their only estate, and faith in Him was the ground upon which they stood. 

Then every man had to put his sword on his side and stand in his place.

You have a very good picture in Gideon's 'three hundred' of a sifted company standing in prayer and the Word of God: "The Sword of the Lord"-The Word of the Lord.

The Lord saw to it that all who had heart trouble went home, for a fearful heart is useless. 

Faith is necessary here. A divided heart is no use and disqualifies its owner. 

A fearful heart was the first test, and a great host went home because they were fearful-hearted.

A divided heart was the next test, and those who went down on their hands and knees to drink the water showed that they were not wholly ready for this business.

Those who stood and lapped out of their hands were eager, for they kept on their feet, and this drinking was only done because it was necessary.

Those who lapped were of undivided heart and were wholly in this business.

A divided heart disqualifies, and the Lord sees to it that divided hearts are sifted out.

At last He gets His company, and they are all with him in the faith of the Son of God, having a life of deep fellowship with Him in prayer and in the Word. 

That will always be a sifted company, and we should not be discouraged or think that a strange thing has happened when the Lord begins to sift out and many go home. 

That is the Lord's way of getting effectiveness. He must sift. 

He Himself, while here on the earth, gave us very much in His personal teaching in this very connection.

He calls, and the reactions to His call are; "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." Then there are other interests: "I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go to prove them"; "I have married a wife"; "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it." That is a divided heart!

And then we have His own word: "If a man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple"; "Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

That is no faint heart! The Lord calls for that, and by the three hundred He delivers the Midianites into our hands, and He saves Israel.

They are the salvation of the rest.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Master's Way And That Of His Servant

Then He shows them that, if they would follow Him, their path also would be one of suffering, for He said to them all, " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Now this is no light thing. We may deny ourselves hosts of pleasures, and yet not deny ourselves.

To let self go is the last thing we want to do. It means real suffering to refuse ourselves,- but we cannot follow Christ truly unless we deny ourselves.

Yea, more, for the Lord added, take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Christ took up His cross willingly for the glory of God and in His love for us, that He might die for us, and we are called to follow Him.

But we cannot take up His cross—we are not called to do so, nor could we.

We are called to take up our own. Each man has his own cross to take up. 

Men were not crucified on the same tree. Each had a tree or cross to himself, and had to carry it to the place of crucifixion. 

Your cross is not mine, nor mine yours, but every disciple has to carry his own cross. This must mean suffering and shame here, and even mortal death.

If a man was seen carrying his cross, every one knew that he was considered not fit to live.

This is the place the world will give us if we are true in following Christ, and we have ourselves also to take that place as being in ourselves not fit to live.

The cross represents the end of man. That is why we read in Romans 6 "Our old man is crucified with him. that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." 

Also Galatians v. 24 says : "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." This we are called to do practically every day—not to spare the flesh, but to deny ourselves, and that without anybody knowing it perhaps in this world.

If we sought to get a name for it, and to be thought something of for our self-sacrifice or self-denial, it would not any longer be carrying our cross, but the very opposite.

It is a great test for us to do this every day. A man might be willing to do some heroic deed for Christ once and for all, and perhaps lay down his life, but to do this daily, week by week and year by year, for many a long year, this is where the test comes in.

But the Lord is sufficient for us and can enable us to do that which He encourages us and bids us to do.

He said moreover, that whosoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but that whosoever should lose his life for Christ's sake should save it.

He would find life in a far better way, above and beyond this world, and he would gain far more than all that could be got in this world. 

Besides in what way would a man be advantaged if he should gain the whole world and lose himself or be cast away?

For in any case he would lose the whole world after gaining it, for he could not keep it, nor take it with him when he dies.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prayer Is The Link That Connects Us With GOD

Act 12:5  Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Prayer is the link that connects us with God. It is the bridge that spans every gulf and carries us safely over every chasm of danger or need. 

Think of the significance of this story of the first-century church: Everything seemed to be coming against it, for Peter was in prison, the Jews appeared triumphant, Herod still reigned supreme, and the arena of martyrdom was eagerly awaiting the next morning so it could drink the apostle’s blood.

But the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” So what was the outcome? The prison was miraculously opened, the apostle freed, the Jews bewildered, and as a display of God’s punishment, wicked King Herod “was eaten by worms and died.

And rolling on to even greater victory, “the word of God continued to increase and spread” (vv. 23–24).

Do we truly know the power of our supernatural weapon of prayer? 

Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that not only asks but also commands?

God baptizes us with holy boldness and divine confidence, for He is looking not for great people but for people who will dare to prove the greatness of their God! “But the church was earnestly praying.”

~A. B. Simpson~

In your prayers, above everything else, beware of limiting God, not only through unbelief but also by thinking you know
exactly what He can do.

Learn to expect the unexpected, beyond all that you ask or think.

So each time you intercede through prayer, first be quiet and
worship God in His glory.Think of what He can do, how He
delights in Christ His Son, and of your place in Him—then
expect great things.

~Andrew Murray~

Our prayers are God’s opportunities.

Are you experiencing sorrow? Prayer can make your time of affliction one of strength and sweetness.

Are you experiencing happiness? Prayer can add a heavenly fragrance to your time of joy.

Are you in grave danger from some outward or inward enemy?

Prayer can place an angel by your side whose very touch could shatter a millstone into smaller grains of dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could destroy an entire army.

What will prayer do for you? My answer is this: Everything that God can do for you.“Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (2 Chron. 1:7).

~Frederick William Farrar~

Wrestling prayer can wonders do, Bring relief in dire straits;
Prayer can force a passage through Iron bars and heavy gates.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Father Is The Gardener

John 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  

It is a comforting thought that trouble, in whatever form it
comes to us, is a heavenly messenger that brings us something from God.

Outwardly it may appear painful or even destructive,
but inwardly its spiritual work produces blessings.  

Many of the richest blessings we have inherited are the fruit of sorrow or pain.

We should never forget that redemption, the world’s greatest blessing, is the fruit of the world’s greatest sorrow. 

And whenever a time of deep pruning comes and the knife cuts deeply and the pain is severe, what an inexpressible comfort it is to know: “My Father is the gardener.”

John Vincent,a Methodist Episcopal bishop of the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and a leader of the Sunday school movement in America, once told of being in a large greenhouse where clusters of luscious grapes were hanging on each side.

The owner of the greenhouse told him,“When the new gardener came here, he said he would not work with the vines unless he could cut them completely down to the stalk.

I allowed him to do so, and we had no grapes for two years,
but this is now the result.

There is rich symbolism in this account of the pruning process when applied to the Christian life.

Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, and the gardener appears to be cutting everything away.

Yet he sees the future and knows that the final result will be the enrichment of the life of the vine, and a greater abundance of fruit.

There are many blessings we will never receive until we are ready to pay the price of pain, for the path of suffering is the only way to reach them.

~J. R. Miller~

I walked a mile with Pleasure, She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow, And never a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her When Sorrow walked with me.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Is Required Of Stewards To Be Faithful

1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I believe that the greatest virtue in the eyes of God is faithfulness; it embraces everything.

Faithfulness is after God's own heart.

Take a passing glance at this steward – Paul the Apostle. "Demas forsook me..."; (2 Tim. 4:10); "...all that are in Asia turned away from me..." 
2 Tim. 1:15.

Look at him when everything which would inspire to faithfulness is breaking down.

He is left practically alone. 

He has more enemies than ever. 

And now the tragedy, the pathos is that so many of his enemies are those to whom he has been most used.

While there were enemies without it was not so difficult, but now the very people for whom he has spent himself have become his enemies.  

But there is no thought, no hint, no suggestion of giving up.

His word is, "...faithful unto death...." 

This steward was faithful. You cannot say that, when he died, the situation outwardly testified to tremendous success. It did not look like that at all.

Paul's life was not vindicated up to the hilt. No! He died largely a lonely man, but faithful, " is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."

But what enrichment of others may follow from the meeting of that requirement, costly as it is.

Paul is not dead! I only hope that Paul knows of all that has sprung from his ministry, all that his ministry means to us. 

The Lord has met us through His servant, and we never, never get to the depths or anywhere near the bottom of the fullness of Christ that has come through Paul. 

We shall go on, and, if we live twice or three times the length of our present life, we shall still be making discoveries of what we owe to Paul's faithfulness as a steward. That has been going on century after century.

That is faithful stewardship, and although the steward may be called away from his earthly stewardship, the stewardship goes on. 

Faithfulness is always rewarded beyond our wildest dreams.

May the Lord maintain us in faithfulness, even though that faithfulness may sometimes involve us in an appearance of utter failure.

The Lord make us good stewards.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GOD Uses Broken People

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17) 

Those people God uses most to bring glory to Himself are those who are completely broken, for the sacrifice He accepts is a “broken and contrite heart.”

It was not until Jacob’s natural strength was broken, when “his hip was wrenched” (Gen. 32:25) at Peniel, that he came to the point where God could clothe him with spiritual power. 

And it was not until Moses struck the rock at Horeb, breaking its surface, that cool “water [came] out of it for the people to drink” Ex. 17:6.

It was not until Gideon’s three hundred specially chosen soldiers broke the jars that were in their hands Judg.7:19, which symbolized brokenness in their lives, that the hidden light of the torches shone forth, bringing terror to their enemies. 

It was once the poor widow broke the seal on her only remaining jar of oil and began to pour it that God miraculously multiplied it to pay her debts and thereby supplied her means of support. (See2 Kings 4:1–7.)

It was not until Esther risked her life and broke through the strict laws of a heathen king’s court that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death.
See Est. 4:16.

It was once Jesus took “the five loaves . . . and broke them” Luke 9:16 that the bread was multiplied to feed the five thousand.

Through the very process of the loaves being broken, the miracle occurred. 

It was when Mary broke her beautiful “alabaster jar of very expensive perfume” (Matt. 26:7), destroying its future usefulness and value, that the wonderful fragrance filled the house.

And it was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken by thorns, nails, and a spear that His inner life was poured out like an ocean of crystal-clear water, for thirsty sinners to drink and then live.

It is not until a beautiful kernel of corn is buried and broken in the earth by DEATH that its inner heart sprouts, producing hundreds of other seeds or kernels.

And so it has always been,down through the history of plants,people, and all of spiritual life—God uses BROKEN THINGS. 

Those who have been gripped by the power of the Holy Spirit and are used for God’s glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in their self-will, broken in their ambitions, broken in their lofty ideals, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desires, and often broken in their health.

Yes, He uses those who are despised by the world and who seem totally hopeless and helpless, just as Isaiah said: “The lame will carry off plunder”  
Isa. 33:23.

Oh, break my heart; but break it as a field Is plowed and broken for the seeds of corn; Oh, break it as the buds, by green leaf sealed, Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;

Love would I offer unto Love’s great Master, Set free the fragrance, break the alabaster. Oh, break my heart; break it, victorious God, That life’s eternal well may flow abroad;

Oh, let it break as when the captive trees, Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties; And as thought’s sacred grove to life is springing, Be joys, like birds, their hope,Your victory singing.

~Thomas Toke Bunch~

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pathway Of Suffering

Mat 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell
on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if
it be possible, let this cup pass from me:
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou
We must face the fact and we must seek help from God always to bear in mind that we are going to have a path of suffering if we are in fellowship with the Lord Jesus....

There has to come a point when we sit down and do some calculating and come to a definite conclusion on this matter – that, although very often we may not be able to see that our suffering is because of our relationship to Him (the sufferings are so manifold and diverse, and very often they look as though they have no relationship at all with our Christian life) at the same time, whether we can discern it or not; the fact remains that the pathway of the child of God, of the fellow of Jesus Christ, is the pathway of suffering.

I say, postponement or delay in settling that matter keeps us all the time in that state of hoping and waiting for it to be different, and, because the difference does not come, getting downcast and feeling that all is wrong and that the Lord is against us and all that sort of thing, thus giving all the ground that the enemy wants for destroying our testimony.

The very first thing to remember when we take this cup is that while we are taking it as the cup of salvation, while we are remembering the atonement which is in the Blood, and all the wonderful redemption which is ours because of that Blood, the cup does also speak to us of fellowship with His suffering....

Yes, there is something which is going up to His praise and glory as Christ is being formed through the fires of adversity and suffering.

It is fellowship with Him in His sufferings, after all, if it is bringing about more Christlikeness.

So our first thing is to reckon with this and get it settled. What are you expecting, what are you waiting for, what are you concerned about, what are you pleading and praying for?

If you are praying for full and final deliverance from adversity and suffering and difficulty and all that sort of thing, let me tell you your prayer will never be answered.

Forms of suffering may change, but in some form or another we are going on to the end in a way of adversity.

Satan is not going to become our friend while we are friends of Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of Satan is not going to rally to our support while we belong to the kingdom which is opposed to his.

Let us settle that. It will get us free, perhaps, from this entanglement.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Times Of Darkness


Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)

What is a believer to do in times of darkness—a darkness of
perplexities and confusion—a darkness not of the heart but of
the mind?

These times of darkness come to a faithful and believing disciple who is walking obediently in the will of God.

They come as seasons when he does not know what to do or which way to turn.

His sky becomes overcast with clouds, and the clear light of heaven does not shine on his path, so that he feels as if he were groping his way through complete darkness.

Dear believer, does this describe you?
What should you do in times of darkness?
Listen to God’s Word: “Let him . . . trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
Actually, the first thing to do is nothing. This is a difficult thing for our lowly human nature to do.
There is a saying,“When you’re rattled, don’t rush.” In other words, “When you are confused and do not know what to do, do nothing.”
When you find yourself in a spiritual fog do not run ahead, but slow the pace of your life. And if necessary, keep your life’s ship anchored or tied to the dock.
The right thing is simply to trust God, for while we trust,
He can work.

Worrying, however, prevents Him from doing anything for us.
If the darkness covering us strikes terror in our hearts and we run back and forth, seeking in vain to find a way of escape from the dark trial where God’s providence has placed  us, then the Lord cannot work on our behalf.

Only the peace of God will quiet our minds and put our hearts at rest.We must place our hand in His as a little child and allow Him to lead us into the bright sunshine of His love.

He knows the way out of the dense, dark forest,so may we climb into His arms, trusting Him to rescue us by showing us the shortest and most reliable road.
~Dr. Pardington~
Remember, we are never without a pilot—even when we do not know which way to steer.
Hold on, my heart, in your believing—
Only the steadfast wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with his anchor, will go down;
But he who Jesus holds through all,
Will stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.
Hold on! An end will come to sorrow;
Hope from the dust will conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer’s morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;
The Father reigns! So cease all doubt;
Hold on, my heart. Hold on, hold out.

















Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Anxiety should never be found in a believer.

In spite of the magnitude, quantity, and diversity of our trials, afflictions, and difficulties, anxiety should not exist under any circumstances. 

This is because we have a Father in heaven who is Almighty, who loves His children as He loves His “one and only Son” (John 3:16), and whose complete joy and delight it is to continually assist them under all circumstances.

We should heed His Word, which says,“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

In everything—not simply when our house is on fire or
when our beloved spouse and children are gravely ill, but even in the smallest matters of life.

We are to take everything to God—little things, very little things, even what the world calls trivial things.

Yes, we are to take everything, living all day long in holy fellowship with our heavenly Father and our precious Lord Jesus.

We should develop something of a spiritual instinct, causing us to immediately turn to God when a concern keeps us awake at night.

During those sleepless nights,we should speak to Him, bringing our various concerns before Him, no matter how small they may be.

Also speak to the Lord about any trial you are facing or any difficulties you may have in your family or professional life.

By prayer and petition—earnestly pleading, persevering and enduring, and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.

With thanksgiving—always laying a good foundation. Even if we have no possessions, there is one thing for which we can always be thankful—that He has saved us from hell.

We can also give thanks that He has given us His Holy Word, His Holy Spirit, and the most precious gift of all—His Son.Therefore when we consider all this,we have abundant reasons for thanksgiving.

May this be our goal! “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

This is such a wonderful, genuine, and precious blessing that to truly know it, you must experience it, for it “transcends all understanding”

May we take these truths to heart, instinctively walking in
them, so the result will be lives that glorify God more abundantly than ever before.

~George Mueller~