Archive for the ‘Communion’ Category

Kindness Accepted

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

“Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Sam. 9:1

After subduing the land and putting into place his administration (2 Sam. 8:15-18), among the first things David did, was to seek someone of the family of Saul to show kindness to, in memory of Jonathan.

There was a candidate: Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth happened to be a son of Jonathan but he was lame in both feet—he had been dropped when family members had hastily fled the palace upon hearing that Saul and Jonathan had died (2 Sam. 4:4).

In showing kindness, David responded out of the generosity of his own heart, not on the basis of Mephibosheth’s merit!.

David restored to Mephibosheth the lands and servants that formerly belonged to Saul. He also invited him to eat at his table—which necessitated Mephibosheth living in Jerusalem with David.

Mephibosheth responded in amazement: “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” He had good reason to be amazed. He was from Saul’s family—didn’t David have reason to hate any family member of Saul? He had no property to offer—at least when David first called for him. And he had two lame feet—he could do nothing productive to act out his appreciation. To all appearances and in his own mind, he was nothing better than a dead dog!

I often hear from visitors to path2prayer.com and readers of the newsletter who lament their inability to serve God as they wish. They are only too aware that earthly blood flows through their veins and characters, and as hard as they try change, they find themselves doing what they don’t want to do, and not doing what they want to do (Rom. 7:19). They mourn their “lame feet” so far as changing anything goes, and see nothing worthy to approve themselves to God.

Fortunately for Mephibosheth, David’s offer was based on his generosity as I said, not Mephibosheth’s merit. All Mephibosheth could do was gratefully accept David’s offer, live in Jerusalem, and enjoy the food from David’s table.

In writing this I am reminded of Eph. 2:5-7 “Even when we were dead (slain) by our own shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; (He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for) it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved….” Amplified Version

Today, like Mephibosheth and other unworthies since—individuals like Manasseh come to mind (2 Chron. 33:10-13), we need to gratefully accept God’s generous offer, live in His presence, and daily eat from His table.

We also need to stop thinking of about our “lame feet” and all the things that have contributed to them being lame. Mephibosheth had not chosen to be dropped, but he was; we didn’t choose to be born in Adam, but we were. He could not change his circumstances of himself; neither can we. He could never adequately show his gratitude, neither can we. But he accepted the offer and made the necessary changes to receive the blessings of that offer, and so should we!

His part was to move to Jerusalem, then remain in Jerusalem and enjoy the food offered at David’s table. Which of course raises the question: Did you linger in the King’s presence and eat from his table this morning?

Finally, the next chapter tells about David wanting to show kindness to the son of the King of Ammon who had just passed away. Instead of responding positively, this boy questioned David’s motives, rejected his offer, and realized a very different outcome. More about that next time.

Father thank you that Your love and attention is not based on our good behavior or our bad behavior, but on what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank You that out of Your love to Jesus, You want to show us kindness today. Help us to accept Your kindness, move into a closer relationship with You, and help us to enjoy the food from Your table. We need Your help with our families, some of which are not accepting Your generous offer of new life. We need Your help with our jobs, because though we may be spiritually living in Your kingdom now, we are still physically living in Satan’s earthly kingdom. Some of us need Your help with our physical health. Others need Your financial help. Whatever the case may be, thank You that Your offer to us is based on Your generosity and not on our merit, though we have to take advantage of Your offer. So bless the one reading this today, and might the time spent in Your presence and eating from Your table be sweet; and might Your presence be with him or her in all that goes on. Might Your blessings be known continually even if there are frequent reminders, so to speak, of “lame feet.” I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have a blessed day!

The River Still Flows

Friday, August 1st, 2008

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God….” Psalms 46:4

I found an old poem this morning which brought joy to my heart. Though I don’t know the author’s name, because it comes from a book of poetry of the German Pietists called, “The Hymns of Tersteegen, Suso and Others,” I am confident it comes from one of the people who so desired to have a heart experience with Jesus in the 1600-1700s.

The River of God

From the Rock that God has riven
Flows the sacred river,
Through the wastes of barren ages,
Ever and for ever.

Still on this side and on that side,
Grow the healing trees-
Bearing fruit for all the hunger
Leaves for all Disease.

From the everlasting fountains
Still it flows along,
Making glad the holy city
Of eternal song.

From the throne of Christ in glory,
Rock that God has riven,
Onward still the crystal river
Bears the life of Heaven.

Sheep lie yet in quiet pastures
By the waters still,
Lilies grow in God’s green meadows,
Cedars on His hill.

Still to drink the living waters
Come the souls athirst,
Eyes behold the Face of Jesus
Even as at first.

Clad in white there walk beside Him
Still the blessed throng-
Through the ages sound unsilenced
Psaltery and song.

Onwards weary generations
Pass through deserts dread.
Void and silent skies above them,
Under them the dead.

Whilst unseen the Lord’s fair garden
Round about them glows,
And the barren wilderness
Blossom as the rose.

Whilst beside them unimagined
Glide the waters fair-
Whilst around, the psalms ascending
Tell that Christ is there.

C.P.C., From Hymns of Tersteegen, Suso and Others.

Find many more beautiful writings on Christian devotion at path2prayer.com

This link will direct you to pages with information on how to have a stronger devotional life: Help me have a stronger devotional life

You can also find sermons from Gerhard Tersteegen at path2prayer.com

 

Bring God What You Can!

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

“He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

I’ve been carefully reading True Christianity by Johann Arndt and came across the following quotation this evening. It reminded me of the times I have struggled to have meaningful devotional moments with the Lord. I know I’m not the only one and accordingly wanted to share it.

“If you cannot bring to your beloved God many and great offerings such as meditation, prayer, and thanksgiving, bring to him what you have and can, and with these, a good will and holy desires; and hope that you might please him in your worship.

“To have such a holy desire, indeed, to wish to have one, is not a small gift or sacrifice. It too pleases God. … God does not demand more from you than his grace works in you and you cannot give him more than he has given you. Pray to your Lord Jesus Christ that he make your sacrifice and gifts perfect with his perfect sacrifice, for your perfection is in him; in us, it is in part.

“Speak as follows: Dear God and Father, take my meditation, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving in your dear Son, and do not look on it as it is in itself but [as it is] in Christ; thus, it will give you pleasure as a perfect work; my Lord Jesus will make that perfect which is lacking in me.

“Thus, your meditation, prayer, and thanksgiving succeeds and even if it is in itself weak and dark, and has its shortcomings, it is a great perfection, a great light and glory from the merit of Christ. …

“Your old acts are in themselves nothing, but if they are adorned with Christ’s perfection, all your works truly please God. Apples that are brought in in golden trays are seen as particularly valuable. Apples in themselves are not considered so great, but they are more lovely if they are brought in in golden rays. So it is with our prayer, meditation and thanksgiving in Christ.”

Arndt wrote his book in the Spring of 1606 and helped initiate the “Pietist” movement so that positively impacted the nascent Lutheran Church, bringing about a new interest in a religion of the heart, and spawning later Pietist revivals through the efforts of Philip Spener, August Francke and Nicholas Zinzendorf. In fact, Zinzendorf was raised reading True Christianity by his godly grandmother.

Are you struggling to connect with God? I hope you will take Arndt’s words to heart, and “bring to God what you have and can…” I hope you will also believe that God will accept your effort, remembering that God doesn’t demand what his grace hasn’t worked in!

Father, I don’t know who is reading these words, but if they are anything like me, I know they’ve had their moments of struggling in their devotional time with you, when the things they read seem to fall short and the prayers offered don’t seem to ascend any further than the sky. I pray that you will take these words and set them as seals upon their hearts, so that when the enemy of souls comes along and suggests they are unworthy and not good enough, and that their time in prayer and meditation is falling short, they can know that in Jesus, they are not only accepted, but perfectly accepted in the beloved. And Father, please work in as much grace as you possibly can, so that they might bring great glory and honor to you. Thank you in advance, Father, for being perfectly capable and perfectly willing to perform what I am asking. And while you are at it, please send the Spirit with power into their lives. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Learn more about how to have a meaningful devotional life at path2prayer.com

Loving God Supremely

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

I received this today and want to pass it on to you. I hope my love for Jesus is of the right kind.

This comes from Thomas Watson:

Love to God is an expansion of soul, or the inflaming
of the affectionsËœby which a Christian breathes after
God as the supreme and sovereign good.

“There is nothing on earth that I desire beside You.”
Psalm 73:25. The Christian loves God above all other
objects. God is the quintessence of all good things;
He is superlatively good. The soul admiring in Him
that constellation of all excellenciesËœis carried out
in love to Him in the highest degree. God, who is
the chief of our happinessËœmust have the chief of
our affections. The creature may have the milk of
our loveËœbut God must have the cream! Though
some drops of love may run to our kindred and
friendsËœyet the full torrent must run out after
Christ. Relations may lie on the bosomËœbut
Christ must lie in the heart!

We set a high value upon God as being the most sublime
and infinite good. We so esteem God, as that if we have
HimËœwe do not care though we lack all other things. The
stars vanish, when the sun appears. All creatures vanish
in our thoughts, when the Sun of righteousness shines in
His full splendor. The soul that loves God, rejoices in Him
as in his treasureËœand rests in Him as his center. The
heart is so set upon GodËœthat it desires no more.

We must love God more for what He is (His intrinsic
excellencies)Ëœthan for what He bestows. True love is
not mercenary. You need not hire a mother to love her
child. Just so, a soul deeply in love with God needs not
be hired by rewards. It cannot but love HimËœfor that
luster of beauty which sparkles forth in Him!

“And we know that all things work together for
good to those who love God.” Romans 8:28

Despisers and haters of GodËœhave no lot or part
in this privilege. It is children’s breadËœit belongs
only to those who love God.

This is a sharp reproof to those who do not love God,
to such as have not a grain of love to God in their
heartsËœand are there such reprobates alive? He who
does not love GodËœis a beast with a man’s head!
Oh wretch! Do you live upon God’s bounty every day
˜yet not love Him! These are monsters in nature˜
devils in the shape of men! Let them read their doom:
“If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is
cursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22

Might we live today in the love of God!

Find practical tips on how to know and serve God in the right way at path2prayer.com

I received this from Grace Gems.

Expanding Our Sphere Through Faithfulness

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25: 21

In my reading this morning, I came across the following statement of James McConkey regarding witnessing:

“It is not the sweep of service but the act of serving which brings the soul-growth. Steady, persistent service seemingly of the most trifling kind will be pasture to your soul, and bring growth to your life. Aim to be faithful in your sphere. Leave to God the expansion of that sphere (italics provided). To teach the class, visit the sick, comfort the sorrowing, cheer the downcast, minister on all sides in the little things which come daily to your willing hands – all this sort of going out will feed your inner life, and steadily advance you in Christian growth. “If ye know these things blessed are ye if ye do them.” It is the doing of little things rather than in the dreaming of great ones that we find pasture and most perfectly fulfill the conditions of growth.” James McConkey Going In To God and Out To Men

I was especially touched by his “Be faithful in your sphere. Leave to God the expansion of that sphere.”

Many of my friends struggle with feeling “faithful” if they are not winning worlds to Christ. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t aim high, but often in our quest to win “the world,” we overlook the people all around us.

McConkey’s point is that if we are faithful in the things at hand, God will take responsibility for expanding our sphere. He reminds that even in witnessing we should be depending on God.

What does this mean on a practical basis? For all it should begin by being faithful in their daily devotions. It will continue for many by ongoing intercessory prayer for family members and the people they come in contact with every day. It may mean starting a prayer group at the work place, or with other members of your church. It may mean walking around your neighborhood and praying for the people who live there. It may mean helping a neighbor in some way. It may mean helping an older person that God has placed in your pathway. Perhaps, as a result of ongoing prayer, it may mean giving Bible studies to someone. In ALL cases it is being faithful as God is leading.

And, if we are faithful in “our sphere” as McConkey puts it, God will expand that sphere, for Jesus said, “thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”

Lord, help us to be faithful in OUR sphere!

Read James McConkey’s “Going In To God and Out To Men at path2prayer.com for yourself.

Evaluating Our Love For God

Monday, September 10th, 2007

The following on evaluating our love for God comes from Thomas Watson, and is worth pondering:

“He who loves God desires His presence. Lovers cannot be
long asunder, they soon have their fainting fits, for lack
of a sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love
with God desires the enjoyment of Him. David was ready
to faint away, when he had not a sight of God. “My soul
faints for God.” Psalm 84:2

He who loves God, does not love sin. “You who love the
Lord–hate evil.” Psalm 97:10. The love of God–and the
love of sin, can no more mix together than iron and clay.
Every sin loved, strikes at the being of God. He who loves
God, has an antipathy against sin. He who would part two
lovers is a hateful person. God and the believing soul are
two lovers; sin parts between them, therefore the soul is
implacably set against sin. By this try your love to God.
How can he say he loves God, who loves sin–which is
God’s enemy?

He who loves God is not much in love with anything else.
His love is very cool to worldly things. The love of the world
eats out the heart of piety; it chokes holy affections, as earth
puts out the fire. He who loves God–uses the world but
chooses God. The world engages him–but God delights
and satisfies him. He says as David, “God, my exceeding
joy!” Psalm 43:4. “God is the cream of my joy!”

He who loves God cannot live without him. Things we love,
we cannot be without. A man can do without music or flowers,
but not food. Just so, a soul deeply in love with God looks upon
himself as undone without Him. “Hide not Your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down into the pit.” Psalm 143:7.
If God is our chief good–we cannot live without Him! Alas!
how do they show they have no love to God–who can do
well enough without Him! Let them have but food and drink,
and you shall never hear them complain of the lack of God.

He who loves God will be at any pains to get Him. What
pains the merchant takes, what hazards he runs–to have
a rich return. Jacob loved Rachel, and he could endure the
heat by day, and the frost by night–that he might enjoy her.
A soul that loves God will take any pains for the fruition of
Him. “My soul follows hard after You.” Psalm 63:8. The soul
is much in prayer; it strives as in agony, that he may obtain
Him whom his soul loves. “I will seek Him whom my soul
loves.” Canticles 3:2.

He who loves God, prefers Him before estate. “For Whom
I have suffered the loss of all things.” Phil 3:8. Who that
loves a rich jewel–would not part with a flower for it?”

It goes without saying that Satan is committed to our NOT having the kind of relationship described by Watson, and he works hard to make sure that distractions, discouragements, dissuasions, defeats or depression, etc., weaken our hold on God. Satan sometimes seems to have the upper hand as circumstances and relationships and responsibilities pile up around us, and ALL seem to call for our attention, but I believe God can put such a desire for Him in our hearts, that we will continue seeking regardless of the challenge.

Of course it especially has to do with taking time for God. No relationship can grow or remain without investing quality time on a regular basis. And, if it is important to us, we will reorder our priorities to make sure we have the needed time.

If we are TOO busy to have this time, we are certainly busier than God ever intended.

You can read more about knowing God at path2prayer.com

Piety is NEVER Old Fashion!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

There are many ideas out there as to what works, and what doesn’t work, when it comes to serving the Lord and making a difference for His kingdom. For some it is all about a particular understanding of truth; others might speak about a particular experience lived out.

I believe Henry’s Law’s words are worth considering:

“The true believer labours in the open day. In busy haunts of busy men he strains the toiling nerve. The world is the wide field. There are the precious souls, which need the wholesome warning and the faithful word. There sin abounds; and misery dwells; and ignorance spreads it blinding veil. There Satan rules with deathful sway. In this wild waste the good seed must be cast. In graceless crowds grace must be manfully displayed. But private hours gain strength for public zeal. When all is still the opening heavens pour down their dew.

“In quietude the soul draws nearer to Christ’s arms. Then tender whispers testify of love. Then truth unfolds the wondrous page; and promises assume substantial form; and distant prospects brighten to the view. It is apart from men that grace takes deeper root; temptations wither; the world’s false glitter fades; the inner man is strengthened to resist; and loins are girded for the battle field. The soldier of the cross goes forth from solitude to fight his fight. He, who seeks God alone, has gone in public by his side.

“Moses and Aaron soon return. But they come not with empty hands-they are enriched with the best gifts. Here is sweet evidence of gainful commerce with the Lord. Laden with good, they haste to scatter good around. Their souls are redolent of heaven. ‘They blessed the people.’ Lev. 9:23

“The blessed of the Lord bless earth. And they are the most blessed, who most throng the mercy seat. The wise, the rich, the learned, and the strong, are tools employed by God to move the world’s machine. But it is PIETY, which strews real weal (blessings) on men. they, who descend from Zion’s heights, are, as the clouds, which drop refreshing rain.” Henry Law Christ is All: Leviticus

Do we want to bless and be blessed, perhaps we should also “throng the mercy seat.” Learn more about having a “community-changing” relationship with the Lord at path2prayer.com.