Archive for December, 2008

Do Not Forsake Me Until I Declare Your Strength…

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Greetings!

Introduction:
Among the precious blessings given me, are friendships with older, god-fearing saints. Though they may have physical and other limitations, their zeal continues unabated! Here are three thing you can count on with these people: 1. They are busy working for Jesus. 2. They experience more than their share of trials. 3. They know Jesus and He knows them. This time I mention one hero friend of the older generation. He always inspires me to be active for Jesus!

The Wise Soul-Winner (Prov. 11:30):
Psalms 71:18 “Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”

I want to introduce you to my friend and hero Ben. Ben is 81, has serious health problems—diabetes, and pernicious anemia are only two of them, but is busy working for Jesus. Visiting Ben I have personally seen the motor home He modified into a witnessing vehicle. I have heard his stories of answered prayer and am so grateful to be on his prayer list. I have also heard about his long-term efforts to reach his former tilling clients. Ben invented a tiller—a tiller on steroids, it can grind a stump several inches thick while going through a wheat field—but that tiller was used for more than just tilling up fields, it was also Ben’s witnessing machine. You see, he gave all his customers books and invited them to yearly catered dinners at the Legion hall where he lovingly shares Jesus with them. Recently the tiller was retired, but Ben didn’t retire, for he is still planning to invite his clients to the catered dinners, and now visiting his neighbors and passing out books—he has 400 books to share, and has already given 150 of them away. He does more than most of us who are much younger. Why? Well he loves Jesus. He knows God has a supreme witnessing purpose for his life. He maintains a simple life. and He uses his time and his funds wisely. I recall hearing of a student missionary who was going overseas who Ben promised to help. He had a bit of money in a bank account and promised to help the student with that money. He figured he had $66 Canadian. Going to the bank he asked the teller for the money in cash. She checked his account and then whispered, “How do you want your money?” He was a bit perplexed. How many different bills could a person request for such a little bit of money. Turns out, there was more than $2,000 in that account. Ben is certain the Lord put the extra money in his account. Ben never has much money, but God keeps taking care of him and he uses what he has for God. I think he is what we would call a wise soul-winner! Why? He is doing what he can. He is touching the people he knows. He is investing his resources wisely. And since he can’t serve Godin other places, he is making it possible for others to go in his place.

Ben isn’t the only one doing this, by the way. Another one of my retired prayer partners sent 2,500 Christian books to her neighbors, and is busy praying that the books will be silent messengers kindling a new interest in Jesus.

On Overcoming:
Isaiah 43:1,2 “But now says the LORD that created you, O Jacob, and he that formed you, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by thy name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; neither will the flame kindle upon you.”

The following may be a new thought: It is because God IS blessing us that we sometimes find ourselves enduring pruning experiences. And remember, surrender is not only about allowing God to put His hands on us, but also about taking our hands off. Note the following:

Christ says to (us), You are mine. I have bought you. You are now only a rough stone; but if you will place yourself in my hands, I will polish you, and the luster with which you shall shine will bring honor to my name. No man shall pluck you out of my hand. I will make you my peculiar treasure. On my coronation day, you will be a jewel in my crown of rejoicing. The Divine Worker spends little time on worthless material. Only the precious jewels does he polish … cutting away all rough edges. This process is severe and trying; it hurts human pride. Christ cuts deep into the experience that man in his self-sufficiency has regarded as complete, and takes away self-uplifting from the character. He cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing-wheel, presses it close that all roughness may be worn away. Then, holding the jewel up to the light, the Master sees in it a reflection of himself, and he pronounces it worthy of a place in his casket. Blessed be the experience, however severe, that gives new value to the stone, causing it to shine with living brightness. RH, March 7, 1912

We all want to be witnesses for Jesus. Just remember that fruit-bearing and pruning go together. It goes without saying, that bear MUCH fruit means MUCH… (you know the word AND the experience I suspect)!

Prevailing In Prayer:
“And Enoch walked with God.” Gen. 5:24

What does it mean to “walk” with God. Someone recently wrote of taking walks and imagining that Jesus was with them; even mentioned thinking about what He might be wearing. Many of us take walks—a good thing—and meditate and do various things as we walk. My two favorite things are listening to sermons—easy these days with an mp3 player and a downloaded sermon from audioverse.org, or sermonindex.net/; or memorizing the Bible—I copy the chosen chapter from a small print Bible I have, cut out the verse from the copy, tape the verses of the chapter to a 3×5 card, cover the card with plastic mailing tape so it doesn’t get soggy if it rains, and bring the card with me. I’ve learned several chapters of the Bible this way.

But there is something to be said for spending quality undistracted time communing with Jesus—realizing He is next to me while I am walking and talking with Him. Sometimes we are so busy we don’t take the time—something that isn’t good for us and I am sure frustrates Him! It reminds me of a time when I was speaking in a city about an hour away from where I live. The pastor also lived in my town, but we independently drove to the church because our schedules were so different and because we had so little time to spare before departing—gas was also cheaper:) On one occasion we happened to leave at the same time and eventually found ourselves driving side by side. We followed each other the entire trip, waving and smiling to each other from time to time. We should have stopped to ride together but we were running late and I didn’t know if he was coming back immediately after the meeting. Sometimes my relationship with Jesus is the same way, so busy that I don’t take the time to surrender and invite Jesus to be a part of my day in the serious earnest say that is so necessary every day, which means I don’t have much time for Him during the day either. On those days I probably have a perfunctory prayer to get the day going and figuratively wave at Him from time to time, and I am sure He waves back, but I am also sure He has a sad smile on those days. I think He would rather be in the car with me, so to speak, or walking next to me, and helping me, and enjoying the day with me. So, whether we are walking in the quiet of the day, or we are commuting to work, or we are studying in some class, let’s make sure Jesus is a part of every minute of every day.

“Waiting upon God. Just think—that He may reveal Himself in us; that He may teach us all His will; that He may do to us what He has promised; that in all things He may be the Infinite God…. This is the attitude of soul with which each day should begin. On awaking in the morning, in the inner chamber, in quiet meditation, in the expression in prayer of our ardent longings and desires, in the course of our daily work, in all our striving after obedience and holiness, in all our struggles against sin and self-will-in everything there should be a waiting upon God to receive what He will bestow, to see what He will do, to allow Him to be the Almighty God.” Andrew Murray The Secret of Adoration Christian Literature Crusade, p 70

Goals:
A prayer partner is a wonderful gift. Do you have a prayer partner?

Coming Up:
I am in Nashville, TN the weekend of January 17, speaking on prayer.

Path2prayer.com:
You will find some links on god-honoring music in the new resources section. Sometime soon there will be more audio files having to do with August Francke, one of three “spiritual fathers” of George Muller, and the Welsh Revival.

Would you like to receive this newsletter directly? Please write!

A Final Prayer:
Father, I want to thank you for Ben and people like him, who are not letting anything—age, sickness, intimidation, the press of daily life, resources or finances—get in the way of serving you. Thank you that we can all follow Ben’s example in shining brightly for you wherever you have planted us. Help me be such a person, and help the one reading this to be that kind of person too. Make us the people that you can happily use. To that end we give you permission to prune us so that we can bear much fruit. And do the same kind of good work in our families and in the members of our churches. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

God bless you!

Dan

Newsletter: With Both Hands Joyfully

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Greetings

Introduction:
We have just held Thanksgiving here in the US. Considering the economic and other challenges being faced, I suspect this year’s thanksgiving celebrations were muted compared to past years for many families. But we are admonished to give thanks at ALL TIMES and for ALL THINGS no matter what is going on! I know doing so isn’t easy but it is still God’s plan, and we need to recognize His presence in our lives, and accept what is going on, as one person put it, “with both hands joyfully.” If we count our blessings, we will find plenty to praise God for; if we remember how God has worked in the past, we will also trust Him for the future!

The Wise Soul-Winner (Prov. 11:30):
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

I recently read of three kinds of “go” when it comes to missions: 1. Young people MUST go. 2. Parents must LET go. 3. Those who cannot go must HELP them go. I have modified the three a bit, but I think L.E. Maxwell is on target with this. I want to ask three questions:

1. If you are younger, have you already gone, or are you planning to go, as a volunteer missionary. You should. Your life will be changed as a result!
2. If you are a parent, are you encouraging the young adult in your family to spend time in missions? Remember, we are either “no limit” Christians, or “limit God Christians.” The same holds true for parents.
3. If you are in neither category and are unable to go, what are you doing to make it possible for someone to serve in your place? Supporting can include prayer, encouragement, finances, or whatever else God puts on your heart.

Do you need ideas for where to serve? In addition to serving in the orphanages in Cambodia and Thailand, there are also service opportunities teaching languages in Southeast Asia (this is a very interesting situation), working with schools in Central America, or working with a school or orphanage in Eastern Europe.

On Overcoming:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezek. 36:26

One of my favorite songs is closely linked to Pastor E. L. Minchen, a much loved evangelist of former times. At his revivals they would always sing the song, “I want dear Lord…,” the words of which follow. I traded a few letters with Pastor Minchen shortly after I graduated from college. In addition to asking how he came to know Jesus, I asked what were his favorite books. He mentioned a few, confessing that he still cried in reading over some of them, particularly mentioning one on the cross of Christ. I hope to have some of his sermons on path2prayer.com before too long. I mention the song because it shares the way of victory in very simple terms: A heart-felt desire for a pure and clean heart, a desire to have a heart where there is no cloud or other barrier, a desire for a heart that comes from heaven, a heart that only God can bestow. Here are the words of the song:

I want, dear Lord, a heart that’s true and clean,
A sunlit heart, with not a cloud between;
A heart like thine, a heart divine,
A heart as white as snow;
On me, dear Lord, a heart like this bestow.

I want, dear Lord, a love that cares for all,
A deep, strong love that answers every call;
A love like thine, a love divine,
A love to come or go;
On me, dear Lord, a love like this bestow.

I want, dear Lord, a soul on fire for thee,
A soul baptized with heavenly energy;
A willing mind, a ready hand
To do whate’er I know,
To spread thy light wherever I may go.
George Galloway Jackson (1866-93)

Prevailing In Prayer:
“Giving thanks always, for all things….” (Eph. 5:20)

Jonathan Goforth, who served with Hudson Taylor in China, tells of a “Miss Gregg,” a single missionary, who at a point of discouragement determined that she was going to return to England. She had been promising the ladies at her mission station that when he came to hold meetings, the missionaries would all come into harmony. But instead of things changing as a result of the meetings, they had remained the same. Desponding, she stated: “The meetings are all over and the quarrels remain unsettled. I’m so disappointed. I simply cannot face those women again. They trusted me so implicitly. So the only thing I can do is to go back to England.” Goforth was eating with her at the time, and relates how she also shared how a motto that had been given her one year previously had become, in her words, “blurred.” The motto went as follows: “Whatever my Father sends me, be it joy or disappointment, no matter how hard it may be to bear, since I know it comes from my Father, I’m going to receive it with both hands joyfully.” Under the circumstances, however, the motto sounded hollow and though a friend had recently repainted it, she had in fact turned it around at this time of disappointment. Goforth reminded her that she had been insisting that God work in a particular way to bring about the solution. As he put it, “In other words, as far as you were concerned, God had no option. He must please you in your own way or else lose your service. Remember that God is sovereign. He can never lay aside His sovereign will and authority. I understand that Mr. Green is out there now in the tent holding a prayer‑meeting with the Christians. How do you know but that at this very moment every hindrance has been removed?” The words had hardly left his mouth when “Mr. Green” bounded in crying “Hallelujah! All quarrels have been made up, and every hindering thing has been laid away, and they’re all waiting out there in the tent for you people to come and rejoice with them over what God has done.” Needless to say, the hallelujahs began while people began getting up from the table. Miss Gregg didn’t leave the mission either. She remained and was mightily used by God all over China, receiving the things in her life as blessings, no matter what they were, joyfully with both hands.”

Presumption versus Faith:
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Psalm 19:13.

Someone wrote asking the difference between faith and presumption? Note the following points:
1. To insist that every one of our prayers is answered is presumptuous. (1 John 5:14)
“The assurance is broad and unlimited, and He is faithful who has promised.  When we do not receive the very things we asked for at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers.  We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good-that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are.  When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise:  for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most.  But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption.  God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly.  Then do not fear to trust Him,  even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers.  Rely upon His sure promise, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you.’”  Steps to Christ 96

2. To minimize Satan’s success to tempt us to presumption is presumptuous. (1 Peter 5:8)
“Beloved, Satan being fallen from light to darkness, from felicity to misery, from heaven to hell, from an angel to a devil, is so full of malice and envy that he will leave no means unattempted, whereby he may make all others miserable with himself… makes use of all his power and skill to bring all the sons of men into the same condition and condemnation with himself. Satan has cast such sinful seed into our souls, that now he can no sooner tempt, but we are ready to assent; he can no sooner have a plot upon us, but he makes a conquest of us. If he does but show men a little of the beauty and finery of the world, how ready are they to fall down and worship him! Whatever sin the heart of man is most prone to, that the devil will help forward. If David is proud of his people, Satan will provoke him to number them, that he may be yet prouder (2 Sam. 24). If Peter is slavishly fearful, Satan will put him upon rebuking and denying of Christ, to save his own skin (Matt. 16:22; 26:69-75). If Ahab’s prophets are given to flatter, the devil will immediately become a lying spirit in the mouths of four hundred of them, and they shall flatter Ahab to his ruin (2 Kings 22). If Judas will be a traitor, Satan will quickly enter into his heart, and make him sell his master for money, which some heathen would never have done (John 13:2). If Ananias will lie for advantage, Satan will fill his heart that he may lie, with a witness, to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Satan loves to sail with the wind, and to suit men’s temptations to their conditions and inclinations. If they be in prosperity, he will tempt them to deny God (Proverbs 30:9); if they be in adversity, he will tempt them to distrust God; if their knowledge be weak, he will tempt them to have low thoughts of God; if their conscience be tender, he will tempt to scrupulosity; if large, to carnal security; if bold-spirited, he will tempt to presumption; if timorous, to desperation; if flexible, to inconstancy; if stiff, to impenitency.” Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies from Satan

Presumption is a common temptation, and as Satan assails men with this, he obtains the victory nine times out of ten. Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and claim by their faith to been listed in the warfare against all evil in their nature, frequently plunge without thought into temptations from which it would require a miracle to bring them forth unsullied. Meditation and prayer would have preserved them and led them to shun the critical, dangerous position in which they placed themselves when they gave Satan the advantage over them. The promises of God are not for us rashly to claim while we rush on recklessly into danger, violating the laws of nature and disregarding prudence and the judgment with which God has endowed us. This is the most flagrant presumption.” Lift Him Up, p. 80

3. To claim God’s promises even though we are disobeying is presumptuous. (1 Sam. 15:22)
But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” Desire of Ages p. 126

4. To seek after anything less than GOD’S COMPLETE WILL lends itself to presumption. (Prov. 3:5)
“I never remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the word of the living God, I made great mistakes.” George Muller Counsels to Christians

5. To limit oneself to only ONE voice lends itself to presumption. (Isa. 8:20)
When God reveals His will, he will speak first and foremost through His word, then through the impressions he places in our hearts, through the providential opening and closing of doors, the counsel of friends and spiritually mature individuals—sometimes, and His peace. Note all of these—or maybe I should say MOST of these will point in the same direction. Note that anything that is contrary to the teachings of God’s word CANNOT be according to His will. Fleeces only confirm God’s will; they do not reveal it. And by all means take enough time to clearly hear his voice. In the desire to be bold for God, some individuals are jumping off presumptuous cliffs—so to speak—and finding that the landing is a bit hard if not disastrous. If you are serious about knowing God’s will, and open to whatever He wants, you can be assured that He will carefully and clearly reveal what He has in mind. And if you are not sure, wait until it becomes clear.

6. God’s bidding are His enablings. (Php 3:12,13)
“As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All his biddings are enablings.” Christ Object Lessons, p. 333

7. God will lead us forward one step at a time. (Isa. 30:21; John 7:17)
It has been pointed out that God will generally lead us one step at a time. If God has called you to a particular service or task, He will clearly open doors and bring resources that make that next step possible. Faithfulness in that step will open the way to the next step. If you study the lives of great Christians—George Muller and Hudson Taylor, for example—you will find they went forward taking incremental steps, for which God had prepared them with prior, often small, preparatory testing experiences ahead of time.

8. Genuine faith will result in the impossible! (Php 4:13)
Heavenly intelligences are waiting to cooperate with human instrumentalities, that the world may see what human beings may become through a union with the divine. Those who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God’s service will constantly receive a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the life of His life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in mind and heart. Through the grace given us we may achieve victories which, because of our defects of character and the smallness of our faith, may have seemed to us impossible. To every one who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.” Heavenly Places 62

Goals:
Are you spending time with Jesus each day? What about a prayer partner? Are you still praying that God will allow you to lead at least one person to Jesus and last day truth this year? Did you write a letter or call that person you are trying to reach?

A Special Meeting:
A special gathering of young adults will take place in San Jose, California from December 17 to 21. Get more information on these meetings at http://www.gycweb.org.

Service Opportunities
Asapministries.org is seeking volunteers for a short-term—I believe a two week—mission trip to Cambodia in February.

Path2prayer.com:
I have added a document on evaluating a marriage partner and some audio sermons, including the Romanian translations of my More Abundant Life series.

Communicating with me and Requests
Please let me know how you are doing, and feel free to send prayer requests.

Do you know friends who would benefit from this newsletter? Please have them write me in that regard.

Father in heaven. Thank you for for my friend. Thank you for reminding us that you know what you are doing and that your providences can be joyfully received with both hands. Might we seek to hear your voice. Might we then carefully obey you. Help us learn to trust you with the easy things and the not so easy things. Please provide the resources, the direction, and anything else that is needed to assure that my friend will meet every demand of truth and duty. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

God bless you!

Dan

Dan Augsburger
path2prayer.com
God’s will; nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!

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