Archive for August, 2007

One Sin…

Friday, August 31st, 2007

“For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.” Romans 8:13.

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” Colossians 3:5

The following words come from Thomas Watson, a Puritan pastor, are worth pondering. Please remember he is speaking of “cherished” sin!

“A godly man considers the mischief which
one sin lived in, will do.

1. One sin lived in, gives Satan as much advantage against you as more sins. The fowler can hold a bird by one wing. Satan held Judas fast by one sin.

2. One sin lived in, proves that the heart is not sound. He who hides one rebel in his house is a traitor to the crown. The person who indulges one sin is a traitorous hypocrite!

3. One sin lived in, will make way for more as a little thief can open the door to more. Sins are linked and chained together. One sin will draw on more. David’s adultery made way for murder. One sin never goes alone! If there is only one nest egg the devil can brood on it!

4. One sin lived in, is as much a breach of God’s law as more sins. “Whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.” (James 2:10) The king may make a law against felony, treason and murder. If a man is guilty of only one of these he is a transgressor.

5. One sin lived in, prevents Christ from entering. One stone in the pipe keeps out the water. One sin indulged in, obstructs the soul and keeps the streams of Christ’s blood from running into it!

6. One sin lived in, will spoil all your good duties. One dead fly will spoil the whole box of precious ointment. A drop of poison will spoil a glass of wine. Abimelech, a bastard-son, destroyed seventy of his brethren. (Judges 9:5) One bastard-sin will destroy seventy prayers.

7. One sin lived in, will be a cankerworm to eat out the peace of conscience. “Alas! What a scorpion lies within!” (Seneca). One sin is a pirate to rob a Christian of his comfort. One jarring string puts all the music out of tune. One sin lived in will spoil the music of conscience.

8. One sin lived in, will damn as well as more sins. One disease is enough to kill. If a fence is made ever so strong, and only one gap is left open; the wild beast may enter and tread down the corn. If only one sin is allowed in the soul, you leave open a gap for the devil to enter! A soldier may have only one gap in his armor and the bullet may enter there. He may as well be shot there as if he had no armor on at all. So if you favor only one sin, you leave a part of your soul unprotected and the bullet of God’s wrath may enter there and shoot you! One sin lived in, may shut you out of heaven! What difference is there, between being shut out of heaven for one sin or for many sins? One millstone will sink a man into the sea as well as a hundred!

Therefore, beware of cherishing one sin! Give a certificate of divorce to every sin. Kill the Goliath sin! “Let not sin reign over you.” (Romans 6:12) In the original it is “Let not sin king it over you.” Grace and sin may be together but grace and the love of sin cannot. Therefore parley with sin no longer but with the spear of mortification, spill the heart-blood of every sin!” (Thomas Watson)

The only thing I would add is that “cherished” sin also prevents our prayers from being answered!

Learn about overcoming at path2prayer.com.

Prayer and God’s Will

Monday, August 27th, 2007

‘And this is the boldness which we have toward Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him.’—I John v. 14, 15

These words of Jesus indicate one of the most important factors in suceeding in prayer: Praying according to God’s will. It has been my experience that prayer is ALWAYS answered along the pathway of God’s will. And those who have most succeeded with God are those who have most sought to know and do God’s will. This was Daniel’s secret, and it has been true ever since.

George Muller, the greatly used founder of orphanages in Bristol England, said the reason his prayers were answered didn’t have to do with his being more spiritually-minded, or having a more favored relationship with God, rather it had to do with his seeking to know and do God’s will.

Are your prayers being answered? When did you last undertake an inventory of your life to determine to what degree God is having the first and last word on what is going on.

A good way to do this is to liken your life to a home–kitchen, bedrooms, formal living room, recreation room, etc.–and go through each room to see how many of the rooms have been truly surrendered to Jesus, and whether the contents of those rooms have also been surrendered.

Then think about your prayers and consider the modifications needed to bring answers.

Read more on the subject from Andrew Murray in his book With Christ in the School of Prayer.

Learn more about the More Abundant Life and prayer at path2prayer.com

The Gift of HIS Name

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Note the following words of Andrew Murray:

“Jesus solemnly gives to all His disciples a general and unlimited power of the free use of His Name at all times for all they desire. He could not do this if He did not know that He could trust us with His interests, that His honour would be safe in our hands.”

These words, taken from the 24th Chapter of Murray’s book With Christ in the School of Prayer, remind us that God has given in prayer a power and ability that exceeds what we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

I wonder, do we really believe this, and secondly, are we exercising this gift?

Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I WILL do it.” (John 14: 13,14, emphasis added)

In speaking on this subject, I am often challenged as to how much God is willing to do on our behalf. This is a good question, and the answer needs to include both the shorter “whatever” clause, and the longer “whatever…is consistent with His will” clause.

There are dangers here. On the one hand, we may not believe this promise and therefore not receive blessings God would grant if we asked. Secondly, we may take the verse to heart, but claim the promise for things that are inconsistent with His person or will, and therefore not obtain answers and wonder if Jesus really meant what He said.

I find both dangers present. Many don’t really believe in the power of prayer and minimally exercise it. Others do, but try to use it for their own selfish-and sometimes personally dangerous purposes, and therefore don’t obtain answers either.

Many are praying, and having discovered that God’s will is the sweetest and best will–in this I think if Francis Ridley Havergal, the sweet minstrel who wrote so many of our wonderful hymns, who said, “God’s will is delicious” as she was nearing death–are seeking to know God’s will, and to pray for God’s will, and are experiencing answer after answer to prayer.

Recall, “It is God’s plan, to grant in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not otherwise grant, if we did not ask.” (Great Controversy p. 525)

Seems like learning more about this matter of praying in Christ’s name would be good. Read the rest of the chapter at path2prayer.com.

You can learn more about knowing God’s will at path2prayer.com as well.

A Brief Update

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

I continue to travel in France and Switzerland, and am thoroughly enjoying the trip. Of notable significance, and of which I am grateful for God’s enabling and the many prayers of my friends, has been the opportunity to speak a few times in one of the churches in France, in the French language. I grew up speaking French at home, and try to read it as much as I can, but taking the Sabbath sermon, and speaking on prayer in the afternoon, went far beyond anything I had done before. I am also pleased to share, that though the weather had been cool and wet prior to our coming, the first ten days or so of the journey included good-sometimes perfect-weather. God is good. I haven’t been able to update path2prayer.com lately, but will do more soon.

Speaking of Prevailing Prayer

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Charles Finney (1792-1875) is a man worth knowing. Trained as a lawyer, but experiencing the Lord Jesus in a powerful way, he went on to become a revivalist of few equals, and worked mainly in the Eastern part of the US and England. People who read his Lectures on Revival-given extemporaneously on a weekly basis in 1834-were deeply moved with his idea that revivals were NOT merely the sovereign work of God, but could be brought to any place at any time if the proper “means” were used.

Jonathan Goforth read Finney’s lectures and his autobiography, began using the “means,” and became a much blessed revivalist in China. James Fraser also read the lectures, followed the same course and obtained similar same results.

Finney was a careful student of the Bible and believed it was true. He was just as convinced that the Bible’s conditions were to be CAREFULLY followed, and EXPECTED the desired results would come! In our day, we claim the promises, but are not as careful in following the stated conditions-often bringing shame and failure.

A friend shared with me some things Finney said on prayer and the Holy Spirit.

“I answer, what is here taught as to prayer must be taken in connection with what is taught elsewhere. For example, what is here said of asking must be taken in connection with what is said of praying in faith—with what is said by James of asking and not receiving because men ask amiss, that they may consume it upon their lusts. If any of you were to frame a will or a promissory note, binding yourself or your administrators to pay over certain moneys, on certain specified conditions, you would not think it necessary to state the conditions more than once. Having stated them distinctly once, you would go on to state in detail the promise; but you would not expect any body to separate the promise from the condition, and then claim the promise without having fulfilled the condition, and even perhaps accuse you of falsehood because you did not fulfil the promise when the conditions had not been met.

Now, the fact is that we find, scattered throughout the Bible, various revealed conditions of prayer. Whoever would pray acceptably must surely fulfil not merely a part, but all of these conditions. Yet in practice, the church, to a great extent, have overlooked, or at least has failed to meet these conditions. For example, they often pray for the Holy Spirit for selfish reasons. This is fearfully common. The real motives are selfish. Yet they come before God and urge their request often and long,—perhaps with great importunity; yet they are selfish in their very prayers, and God cannot hear. They are not in their inmost souls ready to do or to suffer all God’s holy will. God calls some of his children through long seasons of extremest suffering, obviously as a means of purifying their hearts; yet many pray for pure hearts and for the Spirit to purify their hearts, who would rebel at once if God should answer their prayers by means of such a course of providence. Or, God may see it necessary to crucify your love of reputation, and for this end may subject you to a course of trial which will blow your reputation to the winds of heaven. Are you ready to hail the blessings of a subdued, unselfish heart, even though it be given by means of such discipline?

Often your motive in asking for the Spirit is merely personal comfort and consolation—as if you would live all your spiritual life on sweet-meats. Others ask for it really as a matter of self-glorification. They would like to have their names emblazoned in the papers. It would be so gratifying to be held up as a miracle of grace—as a most remarkable Christian. Alas, how many in various forms of it, are only offering selfish prayers! Even a minister might pray for the Holy Spirit from only sinister motives. He might wish to have it said that he is very spiritual, or a man of great spiritual power in his preaching or his praying; or he might wish to avoid that hard study to which a man who has not the Spirit must submit, since the Spirit does not teach him, nor give him unction. He might almost wish to be inspired, so easy would this gift make his preaching and his study. He might suppose that he really longed to be filled with the Spirit, while really he is only asking amiss, to consume it on some unhallowed desire. A student may pray for the Spirit to help him study, and yet only his ambition or his indolence may have inspired that prayer. Let it never be forgotten, we must sympathize with God’s reasons for our having the Spirit, as we would hope to pray acceptably. There is nothing mysterious about this matter. The great end of all God’s spiritual administrations towards us in providence or grace is to divest us of selfishness, and to bring our hearts into harmony with his in the spirit of real love.” Charles Finney

Perhaps we should take Finney seriously and follow the Bible conditions for success MORE seriously!

Read more on revival at path2prayer.com

Revival…

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Isa. 41:17, 18 “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

Many are convicted that revival is sorely needed. Many of us participated in the ten day seeking for Global Rain. While in Christchurch NZ a group from a local Pentecostal church came to my meetings partially because they were also seeking revival over a ten day period. Just today I came across this gathering in Canton, OH in October (http://www.revivalconference.com/). This event is being put on by Greg Gordon who also runs the mega semonindex site where many sermons are available. It is interesting that Greg specifically mentions the conference being non-denominational, not about money, that no “big bands” are coming etc., and that each speaker is coming on his own basis.

In the years prior to 1844 when God was afoot in the land in a particular way and many had been independently led to believe that Jesus was returning soon, and were simultaneously preparing their lives, and preaching the message of that hour, in many cases without having compared notes, God worked in a great way. I wonder if the same thing isn’t happening again in our day?

Many of us prayed, and have been praying since, for revival. Perhaps you know the acronym PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)! I think we need to keep praying until something happens.

For Elijah in his day, it meant obeying as God slowly developed circumstances that could bring revival. It meant risking his life in going to Ahab, then returning to Ahab. It meant trusting God to do countless miracles along the way. It meant praying until the fire came down-a good spiritual event, but also praying until the desired rain came. Please don’t misunderstand me, but it seems like we’ve been having lots of Mt. Carmel experiences, and there has been much activity and sacrifice going on, but I don’t think we’ve seen the fire yet, and the rain has certainly NOT come!

Where are the men and women who are willing to sacrifice themselves for God at this time? Where are the people who realize that God’s battles are won on their knees? Where are the people who will live in a distinctive and bright and shining way regardless of what others are saying or doing?

I think God is afoot in the land. Please join me in PUSHing until the desired rain is poured down!

Learn more about revival at path2prayer.com

The Prayer that Pleases God’s Heart

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Some time ago I was visited by the son of one of my friends who had become Hara Krishna. It isn’t my purpose to criticize the movement here, though I have to say that I find the caring, personal, Christian God so much more satisfying. However, in the course of our conversation he asked me if I would be interested in learning a prayer that would perfectly satisfy God. Hm? A prayer that would perfectly satisfy God. Of course I was. He proceeded to demonstrate a prayer which sounded like many repetitions of about the same phrase. I was underwhelmed and unconvinced that a prayer that seemed unintelligible and repeated the same phrase over and over again could really satisfy God-at least the God that I believe exists. I believe the prayer that pleases God’s heart is one that is intelligent, caring, and specific.

I ran into the same kind of thing when traveling, when, after having shared many stories of answered prayer, my seatmate expressed surprise that I could pray so specifically to God and that He was so willing to respond. I recall her statement was: “Do you dictate to God what he is supposed to do? I’ve never thought of prayer in that way. I’ve never thought of God as having such personal interest in us!” No, I don’t think the prayer that pleases God is one that is self-centered, and dictates that dictates that He has to work in a particular way, but I do believe that He is a caring God who is deeply concerned about what goes on with His children on planet earth, and that He loves to help us. That’s why I find the Christian understanding of God so much more satisfying. Now please don’t misunderstand and think that Christianity is about self-centered praying and living. It isn’t even though one would sometimes think it is from what is too often observed among His children.

But, when we talk about the prayer that truly pleases God, we are referring to prayer that is concerned for His kingdom and other centered, as expressed in the following poem that a new friend Lance Landall wrote when he was thinking about the work that I do. I think his thoughts are worth pondering. What do you think?

Here is his poem:

Tugging God’s Heart

The prayer our Father loves most, is, the intercessory prayer,
Such strongly tugs at His heart, such He always loves to hear.
It shows concern for others, concern that should always be,
At the forefront of our mind, but more so, when on bended knee.

Christ prayed for others too, and did so, even as He died,
Yes, while hanging on the cross, “Forgive them, Father,” He cried.
Even when Christ was dying, He prayed for His enemies,
An act of intercession, that He knew, His Father would please.

Thus, when we pray for others, we emulate our Saviour,
We participate in, what’s truly, Christ-like behaviour.
Yes, we show the same concern, that our Lord Himself displayed,
When He journeyed on this earth, and for others, earnestly prayed.

And that’s our mission also — to be praying earnestly,
Yes, unceasingly, increasingly, and expectantly.
That is, on behalf of others; which will deeply touch God’s heart,
And ensure, that in His plans, we will play a special part.

Oh, yes, what a privilege, and what a blessing also,
That we can commune with God, we, sinners from top to toe.
That we can speak directly, with the Father, who reigns above,
Whose Son’s still interceding, and pleading, because of His love.

Oh, yes, what a privilege, and what a blessing also,
That we can pray for others, and via such, love also show.
Yes, that we too, can intercede, that we too, can also plead,
With the Father up on high, whose response is guaranteed.

Yes, the prayer our Father loves most, is, the intercessory prayer,
Such prayer He loves to answer, such will always reach His ear.
Yes, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer,
But never more so, than when with Him, other’s needs we share.

By Lance Landall

You can find more of his poetry at his web site: Poetry with a Mission

Find more on prayer at path2prayer.com

Spreading PURE Christianity

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

The following of Tozer was sent to me and is worthy of reading on our knees!

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “Which,” He said, “you have heard from Me.” —Acts 1:4

The task of the church is twofold: to spread Christianity throughout the world and to make sure that the Christianity she spreads is the pure New Testament kind…. Christianity will always reproduce itself after its kind. A worldly- minded, unspiritual church, when she crosses the ocean to give her witness to peoples of other tongues and other cultures, is sure to bring forth on other shores a Christianity much like her own….

The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it. Our Lord said “Go ye,” but He also said, “Tarry ye,” and the tarrying had to come before the going. Had the disciples gone forth as missionaries before the day of Pentecost it would have been an overwhelming spiritual disaster, for they could have done no more than make converts after their likeness, and this would have altered for the worse the whole history of the Western world and had consequences throughout the ages to come. Tozer, Of God and Men, 35-37.

To get more devotionals go to this address: info@litmin.org

Learn more about others who have been greatly used of God at path2prayer.com

I Want This Kind of Life!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I want the kind of life A. B. Simpson describes in the following poem:

“I am crucified with Jesus,
And He lives and dwells in me;
I have ceased from all my struggling,
‘Tis no longer I, but He;
All my will is yielded to Him,
And His Spirit reigns within,
And His precious blood each moment,
Keeps me cleansed and free from sin.
“All my cares I cast upon Him,
And He bears them all away;
All my fears and griefs I tell Him,
All my needs from day to day.
All my strength I draw from Jesus,
By His breath I live and move;
E’en His very mind He gives me,
And His faith, and life, and love.
“For my words I take His wisdom,
For my works His Spirit’s power,
For my ways His gracious presence
Guards and guides me ev’ry hour.
Of my heart He is the portion,
Of my joy the ceaseless spring;
Saviour, sanctifier, keeper,
Glorious Lord and coming King.”

I hope you have a happy and blessed “kept by Christ” day!

Find out more about this life at path2prayer.com.

Is Fruit Lacking?

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Have you ever wondered why there is so little fruit-bearing and successful witnessing going on these days? It’s easy to point fingers in many directions, and there is plenty to be concerned about and pray over, but I wonder how often do we seriously consider the state of our own hearts? Probably not often enough!

J. Gregory Mantle shares the following telling words:

“These are days of marvelous religious activity but think of the disproportion between activity and achievement! Are there not multitudes of Christian workers who have grown so accustomed to failure that they have almost ceased to expect success? Surely, with so much preaching and teaching, with so much Bible circulation and tract distribution, we ought not only to be holding our ground, but to be making inroads upon the kingdom of darkness. Yet we are not nearly keeping pace with the increasing population of the world, and today there are more millions sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death than ever there were.

One explanation of the fact that results are so often scanty and meager, or not real and abiding, lies here, the initial step to fruitful service has not been taken. Either through ignorance or unwillingness, the vast majority of those who profess to be fellow-workers with God in the regeneration of the world have never definitely hated and renounced the self-life, and it is because they are so much alive to self that they are so little alive to God.

Many, in their eagerness to succeed, are continually crying to God for the gift of spiritual power. But God cannot fulfill their desire, for He is a jealous God, and will not give His glory to another; and to trust men and women with spiritual power who are full of self-assertion would only be to feed their vanity and promote their self-idolization and love of self-display.” J. Gregroy Mantle Beyond Humiliation

I think Mantle is right on target: Being so alive to self negates God’s ability to work in and through us. How do we deal with this “self”? By dying to it; by DYING TO SELF!

Over time I want to post the chapters of this wonderful book to make it available to others. Read and be blessed.

Find more resources at path2prayer.com.