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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Focal Point Of All Satanic Opposition


The Lordship of Christ is the one focal point of all Satanic challenge and opposition.

Never let us think that the antagonism of Satan relates to mere details, mere incidents, relates to us or to things.

No, Satan has a comprehensive view of the situation.

He is able to take in the whole range of things, and to see the significance of details, and if he focuses upon any detail, as he does, it is only with his far view, his whole view, that he does it.

The end that he is after through everything is this matter of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Yes, he may focus a good deal of attention upon a relationship, upon two believers who are brought together, who have to live together, and he may bring a great amount of power and stress and cunning to bear upon those related lives in order to divide them.

Do you think he is interested in dividing people as such, and that, when he has done that, he will be satisfied because that is done? Never! 

That is not his object at all. In making that division, he has something very much bigger in view, and that is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

And so our relationships as just two people carry with them the great significance of the lordship of Satan or the Lordship of Christ, and anything between just two simple children of God resolves itself into no less a matter than the ultimate thing in God's universe.

The ultimate thing may be bound up with just two simple children of God in their related lives.

And what is true in that, is true in a countless number of things which in themselves may seem to be very insignificant and hardly worth taking account of.

How petty many things seem, how paltry! You almost blush to talk about them as things, they are so silly, and yet somehow or other Satan is most interested in them.

But do you think that Satan is petty or paltry in that sense, just wanting to make a lot of silly mischief here and there?

Oh no, we give him credit for something more than that.

His kingdom is at stake, and in all these silly little matters, so absurd and ridiculous, there is bound up this mighty issue of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Thus in all these matters, the Cross has to have a very deep place; in our relationships, in the twos and the threes, and the little circles, so that Satan does not get in and secure a foothold to destroy this expression of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The Cross has to be there. The Cross carries with it, not just the dealing with failure, little things in the lives of God's people: the Cross carries with it the immense issue of the Lordship of God's Son.

The Church, therefore, takes up that meaning of the Cross and is to be a company of the Lord's people on this earth which represents the overthrow of Satan's power, in his destruction of oneness, fellowship, relatedness, co-operation, and this bringing into view of the absolute Lordship and sovereign Headship of Jesus Christ.

The Church is for that. This is the question bound up with the Cross and with the Church, namely, Christ's Lordship, and Satan is interested in the Lord's people only in so far as this ultimate thing is being really affected.

You see, you can have what is called "the Church", and what are called "the churches", with no knowledge whatever of this spiritual warfare.

This real spiritual conflict in the heavenlies against the forces of evil is a thing which is altogether foreign to that which is called "the Church" here in this world.

They do not have any fights, any battles, any warfare.

It is something outside their ken. Why?

They have got no impact of a living knowledge of the Cross.

The Cross with them is a story, a history, a doctrine, a creed, not a mighty inwrought reality and power.

Immediately it becomes that, they will know the fight.

Satan does not trouble where there is no living working of the Cross. That is not the Church.

You cannot have a church without the Cross, and you cannot have the Cross without a living expression which provokes the powers of evil.

That is the Cross according to God's mind.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Thursday, December 24, 2015

By Faith Abraham Obeyed

 
Heb 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Whither he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that he went with GOD.

He leant not so much upon the promises as upon the Promiser.

He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise GOD, who had designed to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself.

O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the LORD High Admiral; 

Willinghood to rise up, leave all, and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth's best cannot bear comparison with Heaven's least.

~F. B. M.~

It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your GOD on any venture of faith.

Tear into smallest pieces any itinerary for the journey which your imagination may have drawn up.

Nothing will fall out as you expect.

Your guide will keep to no beaten path. He will lead you by a way such as you never dreamed your eyes would look upon.

He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.

The day had gone; alone and weak I groped my way within a bleak And sunless land. The path that led into the light I could not find! In that dark night GOD took my hand.

He led me that I might not stray, And brought me by a new, safe way I had not known.

By waters still, through pastures green I followed Him--the path was clean Of briar and stone.

The heavy darkness lost its strength, My waiting eyes beheld at length The streaking dawn.

On, safely on, through sunrise glow I walked, my hand in His, and lo, The night had gone.

~Annie Porter Johnson~

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Defended And Covered

Isa 31:5  As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

With hurrying wing the mother bird hastens up to the protection of her young. She wastes no time upon the road when coming to supply them with food or guard them from danger.

Thus as on eagle's wings will the LORD come for the defense of His chosen; yea, He will ride upon the wings of the wind.

With outspread wing the mother covers her little ones in the nest. She hides them away by interposing her own body. 

The hen yields her own warmth to her chicks and makes her wings a house, in which they dwell at home.

Thus doth Jehovah Himself become the protection of His elect. He Himself is their refuge, their abode, their all.

As birds flying and birds covering (for the word means both), so will the LORD be unto us: and this He will be repeatedly and successfully.

We shall be defended and preserved from all evil: the LORD who likens Himself to birds will not be like them in their feebleness, for He is Jehovah of hosts.

Let this be our comfort, that almighty love will be swift to succor and sure to cover.

The wing of GOD is more quick and more tender than the wing of a bird, and we will put our trust under its shadow henceforth and forever.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Obedience Is Life

Obedience towards the revealed will of GOD means deliverance from death.

That is what we mean by the maintenance of our life.

This attitude was true of the Son of GOD throughout His life. 

Being obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, He overcame death.

Therefore He is alive for evermore.

So everything is bound up with obedience in the matter of life. 

Immediately we withhold obedience to GOD, we arrest the Life of the LORD in us, and make it impossible to go on. 

Obedience is Life. 

This spiritual meat is not only maintaining our Life, it also increases our Life.


It is leading us into the fullness of Christ.

We grow by taking that meat, and Life increases by obedience. 

In Philippians 2 we are told that the LORD Jesus was obedient to the Father to the uttermost, “wherefore also GOD highly exalted Him and gave unto him the name which is above every name.” 

That is fullness resultant from obedience.

Every fresh act of obedience leads us into a greater fullness in Christ, into spiritual enlargement.

But disobedience brings limitation and holds up the flow of Life.
This then, is the meaning of spiritual food: the doing of His will, being obedient in all things.

This spiritual feeding is related to our union with Christ in His resurrection.

It is a living upon that which Christ is in death and resurrection.
In the background of John chapter 6 we have the Passover.

In connection with what that means spiritually, the LORD Jesus fed a great multitude.

The Jews were about to eat the Passover lamb.

But before that took place we have here a hungry multitude, and He - GOD'S Lamb - feeds them with bread saying: “I am the bread of life.” 

He links that with the Passover, the Cross, the Lamb slain, saying in effect: “I am yours. In my death and resurrection, that is, in ME you have Life.”

It is Christ imparted to us.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Friday, December 11, 2015

Honor Him In The Trials

Isa 24:15  Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
 

Mark the little word "in"! We are to honor Him in the trial - in that which is an affliction indeed and though there have been cases where GOD did not let His saints feel the fire, yet, ordinarily, fire hurts.

But just here we are to glorify Him by our perfect faith in His goodness and love that has permitted all this to come upon us.

And more than that, we are to believe that out of this is coming something more for His praise than could have come but for this fiery trial.

We can only go through some fires with a large faith; little faith will fail.

We must have the victory in the furnace.

~Margaret Bottome~

A man has as much religion as he can show in times of trouble. 

The men who were cast into the fiery furnace came out as they went in - except their bonds.

How often in some furnace of affliction GOD strikes them off! 

Their bodies were unhurt - their skin not even blistered.

Their hair was unsinged, their garments not scorched, and even the smell of fire had not passed upon them.

And that is the way Christians should come out of furnace trials liberated from their bonds, but untouched by the flames.
  
Col 2:15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

That is the real triump;


Triumphing over sickness, in it; 

Triumphing over death, dying;

Triumphing over adverse circumstances, in them.

Oh, believe me, there is a power that can make us victors in the strife.

There are heights to be reached where we can look down and over the way we have come, and sing our song of triumph on this side of Heaven.

We can make others regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich in our poverty.

Our triumph is to be in it.

Christ's triumph was in His humiliation.

Possibly our triumph, also, is to be made manifest in what seems to others humiliation.

~Margaret Bottome~

Is there not something captivating in the sight of a man or a woman burdened with many tribulations and yet carrying a heart as sound as a bell?

Is there not something contagiously valorous in the vision of one who is greatly tempted, but is more than conqueror?

Is it not heartening to see some pilgrim who is broken in body, but who retains the splendor of an unbroken patience?

What a witness all this offers to the enduement of His grace!

~J. H. Jowett~

When each earthly prop gives under, And life seems a restless sea, Are you then a GOD kept - wonder, Satisfied and calm and free?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The All Of Belief

Mark 9:23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
 

Our unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way; in fact, there is no other real difficulty as to our spiritual progress and prosperity.

The LORD can do everything; but when He makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of His omnipotence.

Yes, the confederacies of evil shall be scattered if we can but believe.

Despised truth shall lift its head if we will but have confidence in the GOD of truth.

We can bear our load of trouble or pass uninjured through the waves of distress if we can gird our loins with the girdle of peace, that girdle which is buckled on by the hands of trust.

What can we not believe?

Is everything possible except believing in GOD? 

Yet He is always true; why do we not believe in Him?

He is always faithful to His word; why can we not trust Him?

When we are in a right state of heart, faith costs no effort: it is then as natural for us to rely upon GOD as for a child to trust his father.

The worst of it is that we can believe GOD about everything except the present pressing trial. This is folly.

Come, my soul, shake off such sinfulness, and trust thy GOD with the load, the labor, the longing of this present.

This done, all is done.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Monday, December 7, 2015

Active Faith

Now, we say so often: 'feelings make no difference, sight is not the question at all, faith is the thing that gives substance to the things unseen'.

Yes, beloved, that is true to principle, it is active faith.

Faith which is the active thing.

Sometimes we have said: 'Alright, I will not disbelieve, I will blankly hold on although I cannot feel, I cannot see, I have no sense of it, I will hold on to the truth.'

That is an excellent thing if we go that far, but very often for our deliverance just a little more than that is needed.

It means acting upon. Oh yes, I have to go somewhere, I have to do something, and if one thing more than another is needed, it is that there should be a knowledge that the LORD is in me for this.

I have not that feeling, that sense at all.

Well, I believe He is, but I cannot go unless I have a manifestation - well, you will never go. 

It is as you go, that is, put your faith into action and count upon the LORD as in you to meet that situation, that you will find He is there.

We have found that so often; again and again we have had to start out as though we had hardly ever known the LORD in our life, if ever we did have an experience of the LORD, well, it has gone; feels as though it's gone for ever.

We have had to start like that as though alone, but have had to say: 'LORD, You are faithful, You are unchangeable.

You are not like I am, subject to all kinds of variations of feelings and emotions and actions. 

You are the same yesterday, today and for ever. 

You abide faithful, there is no variation with You, no shadow cast by turning.

You have said this and I take You at Your word and I am going on the strength of that, feeling nothing.'

The wonderful thing is you have a good time! 

The LORD does come up to the occasion; it is just wonderful.

When it is over you may just go back again and feel as dry as ever you did.

He, the LORD, meets the occasion, you have connected your faith and the LORD has approved, and you know.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Peace Whatever Exposure

Eze 34:25  And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
 
It is the height of grace that Jehovah should be in covenant with man, I feeble, sinful, and dying creature.

Yet the LORD has solemnly entered into a faithful compact with us, and from that covenant He will never turn aside.

In virtue of this covenant we are safe.

As lions and wolves are driven off by shepherds, so shall all noxious influences be chased away.

The LORD will give us rest from disturbers and destroyers; the evil beasts shall cease out of the land.

O LORD, make this Thy promise good even now!

The LORD's people are to enjoy security in places of the greatest exposure: 

Wilderness and woods are to be as pastures and folds to the flock of Christ.

If the LORD does not change the place for the better, He will make us the better in the place.

The wilderness is not a place to dwell in, but the LORD can make it so;

In the woods one feels bound to watch rather than to sleep, and yet the LORD giveth His beloved sleep even there.

Nothing without or within should cause any fear to the child of GOD.

By faith the wilderness can become the suburbs of heaven and the woods the vestibule of glory. 

~Charles Spurgeon~

Monday, November 30, 2015

THE KINGDOM SUFFERS VIOLENCE

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.

Now, having in a very imperfect way considered what the prophets were talking about and what you and I have come into touch with, let us see what can be missed.

Let us look at these other words: "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16).

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12).

It "suffereth violence." That does not simply mean that it permits of violence.

It really means that it calls for violence, and it is men of violence that take it by force. Luke puts it "entereth violently".

Here is the spirit of citizenship in that Kingdom "by force". Why?

This is not merely an appeal to be in earnest - though it certainly includes that, seeing what a tremendous thing this Kingdom is, and what an immense loss will be suffered if we do not take it seriously.


But you see, the LORD Jesus is speaking as in the midst of things which are constantly opposing.

There is a whole organized system, expressing tremendous prejudice.

He said to them on one occasion: But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew23:13.

There is everything, from devil and men, to obstruct; to enter in requires violence.

If you can be hindered, you will be hindered.

If you are going to be easy-going, you will give to antagonistic forces all the ground that they want to put you out.

That is why I pointed out that it is not only a once-for-all entering into the Kingdom, but it is a continuous entering.

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 (II Corinthians 12:4).


He was growing in apprehension. But why? 

Because he was a man of violence. GOD meets us like that. 
"
With the froward thou wilt shew 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.


There is more for all of us to know than anybody on this earth knows - far more than the very greatest saints, the most advanced Christians, know of the purpose of GOD.

Paul intimates that. In his Philippian letter he makes it clear that, even at the end of his life, he has yet to apprehend, he needs still to know. "That I may know..." (Philippians 3:10).

There is far more to know. Do you believe that? 

Are you going to allow your life simply to be boxed up within the measure that you know, or within the measure of other people?


No...it is the measure of Christ that is GOD'S end.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13).

No movement, no society, no evangelical organization, no church on this earth has come to that yet, but that is the objective in view.

But GOD requires, in order to bring us to fullness, that we be men of violence, that we really mean business, that we say to everything that gets in the way..and oh, the plausible voices, which nevertheless are subtly influenced by prejudices!...


Stand thou aside: I am going on with God, I am going to allow nothing to stand in the way.

The gospel of the kingdom is preached.

Can you imagine those Judaizers speaking to the people about Jesus?

Be careful; mind you don't get caught!

Our advice to you is to steer clear of that - don't get into too close touch with Him!

All that was going on. Paul was up against it all the time.

He was tracked down throughout his journeys by these very people who, following on his heels, said, 'Be careful - it is dangerous!


The LORD Himself experienced the same kind of thing; and He said: "the kingdom... suffereth violence."

It calls for violence; you will not get in to begin with, and you will certainly not get in in growing fullness, unless you are one of those people who do violence to everything that stands in the way of GOD'S full purpose as revealed in Christ.


You will not even know what that purpose is, GOD will not be able to reveal to you the next part of it, unless He finds that you are one after this kind - entering in violently.

Are you like that?

Well, if we are passive, there is everything to be lost; if we mean business, there is everything to be gained.

The LORD make us men and women like that, lest we be numbered among those of whom it is said that they "have ears to hear, and hear not" Ezekiel 12:2. 

~T. Austin Sparks~

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Tent Makes The City Precious

Heb 11:9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
 

Heb 11:10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

First, then, it is the tent which makes the city precious. We see at a glance that it was so with Abraham.

It was the very insecurity of that tent-life, the isolation of it and its thousand perils, that made the dream of a city so infinitely sweet.

Had Abraham spent ail his days within strong wails he would never have known the power of that ideal.

Mingling with other men in crowded thoroughfares and sharing in the security of numbers, life would have been too rich, too full, too safe, to leave any place or power for this vision.

But life in the tent left room and verge enough. What could be frailer than that covering of skin which shook and flapped at every wandering breeze?

How it strained when the blast from the hills swept down on it! How the lashing rain in the dark night would soak it!

It is in such surroundings, perilous, lonely, comfortless, that men begin to dream about a city.

That is the meaning of GOD'S treatment of Abraham. That is why GOD housed him in a tent.

It was not to harden him nor yet to crush his pride; it was to waken him to the worth of the ideal.

It took the tent so fragile and unstable, so lightly rooted, so easily overswept, to make GOD'S promise and prospect of a city a very precious thing to Abraham.

I cannot help but think that as GOD dealt with Abraham, so does He deal in providence with us all. 

There is a flood of light poured on life's darker aspects for me when I remember the city and the tent. 

After all, the important thing is not what we live in; the supremely important thing is what we look for.

It is not my actual achievement which is vital; it is the purpose, the aim, the direction of my life.

If life is to be redeemed from sense and time and brought under the powers that are eternal, the eyes must be opened somehow to GOD'S city.

And how shall I open them? says the Almighty. How shall I make the unseen city precious?

The answer to that lies in the tent of Abraham - so insecure, so perilous and so frail.

From which I learn that much of life's harder discipline, and many a dark hour that men are called to, is given to humanity by Abraham's GOD that hearts may begin to hunger for the city.


~George H. Morrison~
     

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rest In All Thy Goings

Exodus 33:14  And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Precious promise! LORD, enable me to appropriate it as all my own.

We must go at certain times from our abode, for here we have no continuing city.

It often happens that when we feel most at home in a place, we are suddenly called away from it. 

Here is the antidote for this ill.

The LORD Himself will keep us company.

His presence, which includes His favor, His fellowship, His care, and His power, shall be ever with us in every one of our marchings.

This means far more than it says; for, in fact, it means all things. If we have GOD present with us, we have possession of heaven and earth.

Go with me, LORD, and then command me where Thou wilt! But we hope to find a place of rest. The text promises it.

We are to have rest of GOD'S own giving, making, and preserving.

His presence will cause us to rest even when we are on the march, yea, even in the midst of battle. 

Rest! Thrice blessed word. Can it ever be enjoyed by mortals?

Yes, there is the promise, and by faith we plead it.

Rest comes from the Comforter, from the Prince of Peace, and from the glorious Father who rested on the seventh day from all His works.

To be with GOD is to rest in the most emphatic sense.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mountains Turned To Plains

Zec 4:7  Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

At this hour a mountain of difficulty, distress, or necessity may be in our way, and natural reason sees no path over it, or through it, or round it.

Let faith come in, and straightway the mountain disappears and becomes a plain.

But faith must first hear the word of the LORD--"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

This grand truth is a prime necessity for meeting the insurmountable trials of life.

I see that I can do nothing and that all reliance on man is vanity.

Not by might. I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit.

GOD alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of.

If it be so that the Almighty GOD takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing.

He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot.

This power He can lend to me.

If the LORD bids me move an Alp I can do it through His name.

It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain; for the LORD hath said it.

What can I be afraid of with GOD on my side?

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Heavenly People


Act 4:32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

The LORD must have a company in the earth who, in every respect, are a heavenly people.

Their spiritual resources of life, power, wisdom, knowledge, and purpose must be heavenly and by mediation of the Holy Spirit alone.

Their means and methods must be Divinely supplied and dictated.

Their energy must be directly Divine energy; which means that they must have been separated from their own.

The spiritual relationships and associations must be heavenly.

It was the resolving into an earthly institution and system which cost the Church its Throne power at the beginning, and there can be no recovery without a clear position as to traditional relationships.

There will need to be a purely heavenly position as to the really heavenly nature of the Body of Christ – the Church, without any contradictions in earthly orders.

We have heard it said that at a certain gathering of servants of the LORD "it was like a touch of heaven; everyone dropped – for the time being – their differences of denomination and earthly divisions." This speaks for itself.

But why go back to them?

They were of one mind and one soul. We can never arrange this, or decide to do this heavenly business to any consequence (except failure) unless each one concerned is in it by revelation of the Holy Spirit, and is born into it through spiritual travail.

We shall be wasting our time if we expect, try, or even pray for anything really effective apart from this essentially heavenly and therefore anointed ground.

There is no royal road or short cut to the Throne or to Throne power; it will cost us everything here.

We have known more than one to be faced with this issue, and in trying to keep something here miss the LORD'S highest and best, and later in life to know that it was so.

Will you go to the LORD and ask Him to do that deep work by His Cross in the hands of the Holy Spirit which will result in your being brought into the place where His authority is exercised through you, and His rule is registered in the realm where things matter most, through your heavenly union with Him?

~T. Austin Sparks~

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Radiance Of Divine Life

2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

I believe that if we are living in the radiance of Divine Life, there will be something of it betrayed by our faces.

At any rate, the world will know something if we are really living in touch with the LORD, and there will be a language which only the spiritual can enjoy and understand.

There will be those spiritual counterparts of the seed of Abraham, a people different from all the rest.

Now the tragedy of what is called "the Church" has so often been, and perhaps is more today than ever, that that distinctiveness is being lost.

It seems today as if a set is being made in some way to remove all the offense and all the difference, and to get us near to people without anything that clashes, in the hope of winning them.

Yes, that is what is going on in the religious world around; it is a conforming to this age.

But what came in at Pentecost is fundamentally this, that this people of the Spirit are so utterly different in the very center of their being, different altogether from all other peoples, and their power and influence lie in that fact.

You cannot fit them in with other things, and it is not because they are awkward and difficult and deliberately irritate people, but there is that which by reason of their spiritual constitution marks them off; and if they did but know it, this is the secret of their influence in the world.

The progress and increase of spiritual Life means this, that the gap widens all the time between the children of God and those in the world who are not such.

That is not to be taken literally in this sense, that we begin a mistaken system of hiving off, shutting ourselves up, getting out of touch. That is a wrong application of the principle.

The LORD Jesus is preeminently our example in that He could move in any circle, and He did so deliberately, publicans and sinners, all classes, He moved amongst them...

But His power over them was in His basic difference from them.

Let us be careful how we are caught in this great movement of conforming to this age.

To conform is to lose spiritual power.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can Thine Heart Endure?

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Much that perplexes us in our Christian experience is but the answer to our prayers.

We pray for patience, and our Father sends those who tax us to the utmost; for "tribulation worketh patience."

We pray for submission, and God sends sufferings; for "we learn obedience by the things we suffer."

We pray for unselfishness, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice ourselves by thinking on the things of others, and by laying down our lives for the brethren.

We pray for strength and humility, and some messenger of Satan torments us until we lie in the dust crying for its removal.

We pray, "Lord, increase our faith," and money takes wings; or the children are alarmingly ill; or a servant comes who is careless, extravagant, untidy or slow, or some hitherto unknown trial calls for an increase of faith along a line where we have not needed to exercise much faith before.

We pray for the Lamb-life, and are given a portion of lowly service, or we are injured and must seek no redress; for "he was led as a lamb to the slaughter and...opened not his mouth."

We pray for gentleness, and there comes a perfect storm of temptation to harshness and irritability.

We pray for quietness, and every nerve is strung to the utmost tension, so that looking to Him we may learn that when He giveth quietness, no one can make trouble.

We pray for love, and God sends peculiar suffering and puts us with apparently unlovely people, and lets them say things which rasp the nerves and lacerate the heart; for love suffereth long and is kind, love is not impolite, love is not provoked.

LOVE BEARETH ALL THINGS, believeth, hopeth and endureth, love never faileth.

We pray for likeness to Jesus, and the answer is, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong?" "Are ye able?"
    
The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance, every trial, straight from the hand of a loving Father;

And to live up in the heavenly places, above the clouds, in the very presence of the Throne, and to look down from the Glory upon our environment as lovingly and divinely appointed.

~Selected~

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile All sense of nearness, human and divine;

The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart, The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;

But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone, The everlasting arms upheld my own.

I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds, The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,
      
The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears, And all my little candle flames burned out;

But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night, The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.
    
I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease, A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose;

Above my head the skies were black with storm, And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;

But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew, I heard His voice and Perfect peace I knew.
    
I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,

Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;

Giver of good, so answer each request With Thine own giving, better than my best.

~Annie Johnson Flint~

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sailing Through The Tempest

Psalm 66:12  Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

Paradoxical though it be, only that man is at rest who attains it through conflict.

This peace, born of conflict, is not like the deadly hush preceding the tempest, but the serene and pure-aired quiet that follows it.

It is not generally the prosperous one, who has never sorrowed, who is strong and at rest.

His quality has never been tried, and he knows not how he can stand even a gentle shock.

He is not the safest sailor who never saw a tempest; he will do for fair-weather service, but when the storm is rising, place at the important post the man who has fought out a gale, who has tested the ship, who knows her hulk sound, her rigging strong, and her anchor-flukes able to grasp and hold by the ribs of the world.

When first affliction comes upon us, how everything gives way!

Our clinging, tendril hopes are snapped, and our heart lies prostrate like a vine that the storm has torn from its trellis; but when the first shock is past, and we are able to look up, and say, "It is the LORD," 

Faith lifts the shattered hopes once more, and binds them fast to the feet of GOD. Thus the end is confidence, safety, and peace.

~Selected~

The adverse winds blew against my life; My little ship with grief was tossed; My plans were gone--heart full of strife,

And all my hope seemed to be lost..."Then He arose" - one word of peace. "There was a calm"...a sweet release.

A tempest great of doubt and fear Possessed my mind; no light was there To guide, or make my vision clear.

Dark night! 'twas more than I could bear--"Then He arose," I saw His face--"There was a calm" filled with His grace.

My heart was sinking 'neath the wave Of deepening test and raging grief; All seemed as lost, and none could save, And nothing could bring me relief--

Then He arose and spoke one word,

There was a calm!" IT IS THE LORD..

~L. S. P.~

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Central Issue of Human Pride

What is the one evil thing that is the root of all trouble? It is pride.

What is the good thing? Well, just the opposite - humility.

There is no doubt about it wherever you look, from the day that man sinned to this day and to the end which the Bible gives us, you find it is just that issue which lies behind the whole history of GOD and man and the evil forces...just that issue.

There are many aspects of it, but it comes to one question. In one way or another it can be traced to this question of pride or humility.

Yes, the whole Bible is built upon it.

The whole meaning of Christ’s coming into this world is bound up with it, His very coming from glory.

Somewhere, somehow, before He arrived, He “emptied himself” (Phil. 2:7).

He spoke to the Father later of the glory He had with Him before the world was (John 17:5).
He had laid aside all that, He had emptied Himself.

And then His strange, ah, yes, very strange... until we have this key - His strange entry into this world, the circumstances of it all related to His coming and His whole time here.

The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests [lit. roosts]; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head (Matt. 8:20).

It is all this one issue.

The whole meaning of His coming – His condescension, self-emptying, birth, life, death and the whole explanation of the experiences of His people – is all centered in this one matter.

The discipline, the chastening, as it is termed, the Lord’s dealings with us are centered in one thing...

It is all related to the purpose for which Christ came, and how He came and how He accomplished the purpose.

And, further, the whole nature and vocation of the Church is centered in this one thing.

The Church that is going to serve the eternal counsels of GOD will never be a Church of pride, self-glory, worldly glory, worldly power, worldly praise.

It will be, ever and always, what it was at the beginning, something that the world will not look upon with praise, will always look upon with contempt.

That is essential to its vocation, for its vocation is positively to displace the world, and its temper and spirit and standards...

To do something spiritually in this universe to rid it of that evil thing which has been its plague and curse from Adam onward.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Flesh, Or Self-Principle~In The Mind

It is found in the mind. It makes use of our intellect and our reason in order to overpower opposition and bring things our way, to argue and to substantiate our own position.

And therefore, before you and I can ever get into the true realm of heavenly things, we have got to have a “circumcised” intellect, reason, mind.

Is that not exactly what the Lord was saying to Nicodemus? 

Here is this teacher of Israel, coming to argue, to discuss, and the Lord says, “It is no use.

You may have been circumcised in the flesh as a good Jew, but what you need is to have your intellect circumcised”.

Except a man be born anew, he cannot SEE

You have got it all in the mind, all as an intellectual apprehension.

If I have spoken of earthly things, and you do not understand them, where will you be if I begin to talk to you about heavenly things?

Out of your depth altogether!

Devout son of Abraham though you may be, you need to experience a radical severance between your natural mind and the things of Heaven.

That is the trouble with many people. It is their head that is in the way all the time - the one thing that is obstructing their progress is their own head!

Their stubborn-mindedness, or their clever-mindedness; their intellectual superiority, or their argumentative disposition: you meet it all the time...there is no way through.

If you try to take them on that line you are simply beating your own head against a wall.

The Lord Jesus never attempted such an approach in trying to win souls. He simply said: “You must be born from above”.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Despondency And Unbelief

1Sa 27:1  And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

What a fit of despondency and unbelief was here!

We can hardly believe that this is he who in so many psalms had boasted of the shepherd care of God, who had so often insisted on the safety of God's pavilion.

It was a fainting fit, brought on by the bad air he had breathed amid the evil associations of Adullam's cave.

Had not God promised to take care of him?

Was not his future already guaranteed by the promises that he should succeed to the kingdom?

But nothing availed to check his precipitate flight into the land of the Philistines.

Bitterly he rued this mistake. The prevarication and deceit to which he was driven; the anguish of having to march with Achish against his own people; the sack and burning of Ziklag : these were the price he had to pay for his mistrust.

Unbelief always brings many other bitter sorrows in its train, and leads the soul to cry,

How long, 0 Lord? Wilt Thou forget me for ever? How long wilt Thou hide thy face from me?

Let us beware of losing heart, as David did.

Look not at Saul, but at God, who is omnipotent; not at the winds and waves, but at Him who walks across the water; not at what may come, but at that which is for the gIorious LORD is round about thee to deliver thee.

He shall deliver thy soul from death, thine eyes from tears, and thy feet from falling.

He that has helped will help. What He has done, He will do. 

God always works from less to more, never from more to less. 

Dost thou not hear hast thou not heard his voice saying, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee?

What, then, can man do unto thee?

Every weapon used against thee shall go blunt on an invisible shield!

~F. B.. Meyer~