Archive for the ‘James H. McConkey’ Category

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.

Prayer Power AND Helplessness Go Together

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalms 73:26

Ever wondered why you lack power in prayer? Ever wondered why you feel so weak and helpless when prayer should be giving you strength? I am sure you have; we all have!

Is it when we are feeling strong that we should be feeling most capable of praying and attaining power with God? Or is it when we are feeling weak and helpless?

In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul said,

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sounds like just the opposite of what many believe when it comes to Christian living, AND, I would suggest when it comes to prayer.

Hallesby made the following comment in his book on prayer:

Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in heart and answering the prayer of your helplessness…. Helplessness … is the decisive factor not only in our prayer life, but in our whole relationship to God. As long as we are conscious of our helplessness we will not be overtaken by any difficulty, disturbed by any distress or frightened by any hindrance. We will expect nothing of ourselves and therefore bring all our difficulties and hindrances to God in prayer. And this means to open the door unto Him and to give God the opportunity to help us in our helplessness by means of the miraculous powers which are at His disposal. Prayer, p. 17,26

I don’t know about you, but I find this very encouraging. It IS NOT when I feel so strong that I necessarily attain great power through prayer, but when I feel helpless.

I have great respect for James McConkey. He wrote at least seven books and many pamphlets, sent them out free of charge in return for donations, and was used of God in a wonderful way. You can find the Surrendered Life and the 3-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit at path2prayer, along with other sermons.

He had started out in his career as a business man selling ice, but God eventually led him from his ice to work for himself (see a Business Owner’s Testimony). The pathway wasn’t easy, but it was God’s way, and eventually, surrendering his business up to God, God put him on a new pathway of marvelous service for God.

I must share with you, however, that at one point he went through a great illness, so much so, that his friends were certain he was going to die. He speaks about this in the Sure Shepherd pamphlet. But God led him through again, and made him a wonderful blessing.

Here is what McConkey says on this matter of helplessness in prayer

Prayer comes to its own; enters into its lawful heritage of mighty power only with men who have reached the end of themselves and are clinging to God. Power in prayer did not come to Jacob while he strove in his own strength, but when he clung in his own helplessness. “What poor humans are we, that God must needs let us be driven into the stress of necessity and helplessness because in no other way can he constrain us to betake ourselves to prayer to Him! Yet it is even so. Do we pray when the wind is a-beam, the skies fair, and our ship running free before the breeze? Nay, but when the mast is overboard, the rudder gone, and the ship in the trough-then we pray. Do we pray when our loved ones are in prosperity, health, and strength? Nay, but when the sober-faced physician shakes his head, and says he has done all he can, and death’s shadow settles down over the chamber of a precious one-then we pray. Strength is self-reliant and thinks it needs no God. But weakness is driven to God-reliance and there learns the secrets of the prayer life. Helplessness begets dependence-dependence leads to prayer; and prayer brings power. Out of our own insufficiency into God’s sufficiency, by the pathway of prayer, is the secret of power. Wherefore self-strength may be worse than weakness. For the weak man learns to cling and pray. But the strong one stays self-centered and misses God. James McConkey, Life Talks, p. 107,108

Unless your life is greatly different from mine, I suspect you often feel helpless too–helpless to change circumstances, helpless to overcome difficulties of various kinds, helpless to remedy relational situations, helpless to bring about change in the spiritual life. Where is God when He is needed so badly? Why won’t He respond right away? Doesn’t He understand?

Perhaps we need to take this matter of helplessness to heart and realize that it is through our very helplessness that God is working. Note the following from another one of my favorite authors:

No soul will be left to perish who asks in faith for the help of Christ. The weakest, the most struggling soul, may live, and find hope and sufficiency in God. When Jesus comes into the storm and the darkness, midnight is as bright as noonday. The faith that recognizes Christ leads the soul to rest implicitly upon the promises, because God is behind them. There is hope for the most desponding. Those who take Christ at his word, who surrender their souls to his keeping, their lives to his ordering, will find peace, quietude, and rest. He will impart grace to the needy soul. E. White, Signs of the Times, May 28, 1896

David never lost hope that God was his strength, regardless of the circumstances, in his day. I wonder if we see God as OUR strength, regardless of our circumstances, in our day! Can we also realize that our very helplessness is also our great aid in prayer? I hope so.

Learn more about how to trust God and pray at path2prayer.com.

James McConkey: Holy Ground

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

What does it mean to continually live on Holy Ground? This is the question that James Mcconkey seeks to answer in his booklet, Holy Ground.

In the booklet, McConkey shows how consecration, responding to God’s call at GOD’S TIME, patience, suffering, service, and soul-winning, are all facets of what it means to live on Holy Ground.

Regarding patience, James McConkey says the following:

Much of our prayer life consists in beseeching God to surround us with a new set of circumstances. Instead of that we should pray for grace to stay under the present circumstances while He works out in us His purpose of Christ-likeness. God does not need a new set of circumstances to make you Christ-like. All He needs is for you to “stay under” the old set with which He has environed your life. I question if there is any Christian reading these lines who needs a change of circumstances as much as he needs that Christ-like change in himself which God is seeking to work out as he stays under his present conditions. A young man came into my room one day for a conference. He said he had been praying earnestly to God to make an important change in his environment, but God had failed to do so. So his faith had been much shaken. I suggested that God might have a purpose in keeping him where he was, and that it might be well to submit it all to Him and stay under His hand while He worked out His great purpose. We got down upon our knees together and I prayed that he might make such a committal. I waited a moment to hear it, but when I looked up he was standing with his hand upon the door knob ready to go out. He had no intention nor desire to stay under God’s hand, but was getting ready to get out. We pray to God to change our environment, but when God puts His hand upon us to change us instead of staying under that hand we reach for the door to get out. Of course if God Himself changes our circumstances it is different. But until He does so, it is well for us to stay under our present environment, realizing that the place whereon we stand is the holy ground of patience for us.

This is a VERY INSIGHTFUL discussion on this all important subject. I shared a written copy with a friend of mine today, and she immediately asked for twenty more copies to share with friends in various places. Read it, you will understand why she was so interested!

Here is the link to read James McConkey’s Holy Ground.

Here is where you can find more of the books and pamphlets of James McConkey.

Here is information on practical Christianity.

The God-Planned Life

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Prov. 3:5,6

A well known quotation on prayer goes as follows:

He gives “to every man his work.” Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God. E. White, Christ Object Lessons, p. 326

What this means, of course has been hotly debated. Does it mean that God has a CERTAIN plan and we don’t really have any choice in the matter? Does it mean that we are to park our brains and our good sense at the door and function as robots as God leads us forward? What is the place of human choice in all of this?

In the God-Planned Life, James McConkey gives us much to think about, particularly in the thought that we have been created in a particular way, to achieve a particular end result, which no other person can accomplish in quite in the same way.

He also shares some interesting thoughts on what following God’s plan actually means. For some, to hear a call from God is to immediately abandon what has been going on before and taking up work in some new location, often not using the skills developed over years and doing it in a location, and under circumstances very foreign to the way God seemed to be leading formerly.

Here is what McConkey said on this point:

Talk God’s plan and consecration to it to Christian men and straightway many of them think you mean them to give up their business and head at once for the pulpit or the foreign missionary field. To come into God’s plan is to go into some other place, as they view it. But there never was a greater mistake. Consecration is not necessarily dis-location. Not by any means. God’s plan for a man’s life does not of necessity lift him out from his present realm of life and surroundings. It is not a new sphere God is seeking. It is a new man in the present sphere! It is not transference; it is transformation. The trouble is not usually with the place; it is with the man in the place. And when a man consecrates his life to God to find and enter into God’s perfect plan for that life, God will usually keep him right where he is, but living for God and His kingdom instead of living for self. So until God shows you differently, stay where you are and live for God.

It is interesting that another favorite author, F B Myer, felt the same way and often decried the alacrity with which people abandoned their posts to go and serve God elsewhere. He was quite convicted that usually our primary calling is where we have been planted.

Now I’m not in any way suggesting that we shouldn’t be serving God in some other location, but we need to be CERTAIN of God’s call, and make sure we FOLLOW GOD in pursuing that call. It seems to me that too many are somewhat convicted and go off to do God’s work in their OWN way. Unfortunately the results sometimes fall far short, God is blamed, and He is left on the hook for something that He may not have been intending at all.

Let me know what you think of McConkey’s thoughts on this very important subject after you read The God-Planned Life.

You can find more on guidance at path2prayer.com as well.

The Ministry of Suffering

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the books and booklets of James McConkey. Recently I was blessed to find three more small booklets of his, and again was pleased with what I found.

One of these booklets is called The Ministry of Suffering.

In this booklet, McConkey shows that suffering is fundamental to becoming dependent on God, fundamental to knowing God, fundamental to serving God, and fundamental to knowing the life of God. After reading the booklet, you realize suffering is oh so necessary!

Unfortunately, the purpose and necessity of suffering isn’t too well appreciated in our day, in fact it seems that most Christians do their best to avoid it–to their eternal loss! Sadly, they are missing some of God’s richest blessings.

Here is what James McConkey says on the subject in The Ministry of Suffering:

Suffering is the testing-room of God.

God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain, which shatter at the mere touch of temptation. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost limit without collapse. He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing-room of suffering. It is there He tries out the stuff of which He would have us be. The Spirit, Himself, says of our own dear Lord that “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience through the things which He suffered.” If Jesus Christ, Himself, entered into such a school as this, how much more do we who are God’s frail children need to learn the lessons which come only under such a schoolmaster. Many of us need no other argument than our own experience to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing-room of faith….

Through suffering we are brought into dependence upon God.

Faith is dependence upon God. And this God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends. And self-dependence only comes to its end with some of us when sorrow, suffering, affliction, broken plans and hopes bring us to that place of self-helplessness where we throw ourselves upon God in seeming utter helplessness and defeat. And only then do we wake to find that we have learned the lesson of faith: to find our tiny craft of life rushing onward to a blessed victory of life and power and service undreamt of in the days of our fleshly strength and self-reliance. Oh, the victory of what the world would call a broken life! Broken in self-strength to find the strength of God: broken in fortune to find the riches of God: broken in earthly pleasure-quests to find the joy of God….

Through suffering we are brought into the service of God.

We come face to face with baffled plans and blasted hopes only to have the veil of our blindness torn from our eyes and behold God’s will with its blessedness of service and its far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory to follow. Lest we forget God lets us come into that pathway of suffering where the things of the flesh that have been making us forget are forced into the background and Jesus Christ becomes the true center and passion of our lives. This is what suffering has meant to some of you, nor would you recall it-even if you could….

Through suffering we come to know the life of God.

God lets the purging fires of some great bereavement, sorrow, or temporal loss sweep through your fleshly life. And when it has done its work that life seems to you to lie like a scorched and blackened waste, in utter ruin and desolation. But it has all been “for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness.” And up from the blackened waste springs the verdure, bloom, and beauty of a new life to which we were but strangers before. We have become “Subject unto the Father of spirits” and we “live” (Heb. 12 :9) as we never lived before; for now indeed do we live unto Him who loved us and gave Himself for us….

Click on the following link to read The Ministry of Suffering.

Learn more about the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.

Omnipotent Power in Prevailing Prayer

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

“If ye ask, I will do.” John 14:14

Just how much power becomes available to us when we pray? This question is addressed by James McConkey in the following words:

“God, the eternal God of the universe, stands, as it were, like an almighty servant and says, “If you, my child, will only pray I will work; if you will only be busy with asking I will see to the doing. Not only does He bestow at our crying, but He acts. Not only does our praying evoke Hs bounty, it sets in motion His omnipotence. Wherefore, as we enter into the secret chamber of prayer, nothing will so stir us to mighty intercession, nothing will so soon make us master-pleaders with God for a lost world, as to whisper to our own soul, again and again this wonderful truth, “while I am praying God is really doing that which I am asking.”

Thus to the child of God bowed in prayer that the gospel may be sent to the dark land, though he may not see it, yet as he prays God baffles the powers of darkness; as he prays God moves the hearts of kings; as he prays God breaks down the barriers to evangelization; as he prays God loosens the bands of superstitions; as he prays God opens up the pathways to forbidden lands; as he prays God unclasps the purses of His children; as he prays God raises up and thrusts forth the gospel messengers to the whitened harvests. As he is praying God is doing. This is explicitly asserted. “Search my word,” says our Lord. “Find out clearly in it what My will is concerning the world. Pray according to that will. Then as you pray, ‘Lord, thrust forth laborers into the harvest,’ I thrust them forth! As you pray, ‘Lord break down the obstacles,’ I break them down! As you pray, ‘Lord stir men’s heart to give,’ I stir them! Whatsoever ye ask in my name, I do.”

Beloved, what a tremendous responsibility is ours! What a unique privilege! That all the power of an omnipotent god is ready and waiting to be put into triumphant irresistible action at the prayer of one of His children! That the very hosts of heaven are marshaled against the powers of darkness at that importunate call of yours which is according to the will of God! He declares that all power in heaven and earth is His, and then, as it were, places Himself at our disposal and says, “Now my child you pray and I will work; you ask and I will do!” James McConkey, Prayer

Needless to say, we should be praying!

At path2prayer.com you will find James McConkey’s, Omnipotent Power in Prevailing Prayer.