..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Rarity of Gentleness by George D. Watson Part 2

by George D. Watson

No Desire To Be Gentle

So few professed Christians form a deep
determination to becoming thoroughly gentle
in their nature and life. They look upon
a gentle disposition as a beautiful flower
which can grow only in favored spots, or
as a spiritual luxury, a celestial cake
and ice cream, which is pleasant to have
in the feverish bustle of life, but not as
being an essential staple in Christian experience.

This is why so few Christians are really gentle.
Many wicked sinners think they cannot give
sufficient emphasis to their language without
loading it with oaths and rude swearing.

And in like manner, many Christians think if
they are not rough, and loud, and impetous,
and cutting, that their words will have no
power. Some think they must us "slang," and
"rowdy expressions," to suit a certain class
or strike truth home, but if such persons will
consult the behavior of Jesus, and the Apostles,
and preachers like Wesley, and Fenelon, and
Fletcher and Edwards, and Finney, men that God
used in breaking the hardest of hearts, they will
find that the purest, hottest truth requires no
adjuncts of passion or street language to give
it edge.

Unless we, from the bottom of our hearts, desire
a gentle spirit, and then by the grace of God
determine that we will have it, it is not likely
that we will ever known its inexpressible
blessedness. It is possible for us to desire
sanctification, and even resolve on having it,
without involving the proper appreciation of
having a soul filled with all the meekness and
gentleness of Jesus.

It is a law in the spiritual life that we get from
God just about what we determine to have. It is
amazing how God watches and honors the deep, serious
determinations of the will of his creatures. Most
men do not known that they determine to go to hell,
but such will be proved to be the fact in the day
of judgment. Most Christians are in one sense
willing to be made holy, but a still fewer number
ever seriously determine from their hearts desire
to be holy, and a still fewer number ever
seriously determine to become holy, and a still
fewer number determine to have all their nature
turned into spotless, lowly, gentle love.

Every advance step in grace must be preceded
by first apprehending it, and then a prayerful
resolve to have it. Real gentleness is not a
mere set of parlor manners that we can put off
and on, it must be soaked into every fiber of
our being, and must be drawn from a Divine mountain.

No Commitment To Becoming Gentle

So few are willing to undergo the suffering out
of which thorough gentleness comes. We must die
before we are turned into gentleness, and
crucifixion involves suffering; and it is not a
painted death, but a real breaking and crushing
of self, which wrings the heart, and conquers
the mind. There is a good deal of mere mental and
logical sanctification nowadays, which is only a
religious fiction.

It consists of mentally putting one’s self on
the altar, and then mentally saying the altar
sanctifies the gift, and then logically
concluding therefore one is sanctified: and such
an one goes forth with a gay, flippant, theological
prattle about the deep things of God; but the
natural heart strings have not been snapped, and
the Adamic flint has not been ground to powder,
and the bosom has not throbbed with the lonely,
surging sights of Gethsemane, and the beautiful
self-constructed air castles have not been crushed
to pieces; and not having the real death marks of
Calvary, there cannot be that soft, sweet, gentle,
floating, victorious, overflowing, triumphant life
that flows out like a Spring morning from an empty

We must not only lie in the tomb when we are first
sanctified, but that death must be carried out in
the little hidden details of life, and this involves
a vast amount of quiet suffering, the unostentatious
bearings of a thousand pains, and the speechless
enduring of secret crosses, told only to God with
silent midnight tears. But if we want to be filled
with a gentle spirit, we must be filled with death
to self.

Many Christians seem to not understand that, after
the instantaneous work of sanctification, there is
a vast stretch of progress in having the mind of
Jesus; that the will can more and more sink into
God's will, until, in numberless ways, the choices
and preferences on the smallest matters are sunk in
the sweet, placid waters of the Father's will, and
the thoughts can be more and more lifted to heavenly
perceptions, and all the affections enlarged and
flooded with the indwelling of Jesus, until every
expression, and tone, and manner, in some way
indicates the mark of God upon it.

To have a real gentle spirit, there must not be the
least secret feeling of anything bitter, or sour,
or severe, or combative, or dictatorial, or sitting
in judgment, or religious braggadocio. If we do not
know how to suffer, then we will never know how to
be gentle.

No Commitment To Be Like Jesus

To be filled with the gentleness of Jesus, we must
put it above everything else; that is, set a price
on it in our hearts, above all Christian activity,
above all preaching, or evangelistic work, or
Scripture exegesis, or building of churches, or
running a mission, or feeding the poor, or nursing
the sick, or going to heathen lands, or cutting a
great figure in the Christian world, or in the
visible church. Who will believe this and comply
with it?

The ruin of spirituality among modern Christians
is in putting the fussy doing of religion ahead of
the deep, divine inward being like Jesus. Unless
our hearts fairly break with the intense love of
the humility and gentleness of Jesus, so that we
appreciate being just like him in all our inward
spirit and behavior, and esteem that first and
foremost in the moral universe, then we must
fail of ever knowing him in the deepest sense
that Paul refers to in the third chapter of
Philippians. The Lamb of God reveals the very
sweetness of his inner life only to those who
esteem him in and for himself, above all creation
and spiritual activities.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rarity of Gentleness by George D. Watson --Part 1

The Rarity of Gentleness

When God conquers us and takes all
the flint out of our nature, and we get
deep visions into the Spirit of Jesus, we
then see as never before the great rarity
of gentleness of spirit in this dark and
unheavenly world.

Even apart form the criminality and vileness
of man’s fallen condition, there is a host
of deformities which sin has entailed upon
mankind. Among these deformities may be
classed roughness, rudeness, curtness, and
the painful facility of using stinging, cutting
words and manners, and gestures, and looks,
and tones of voice, which are almost universally
manifested, not only by sinners, but by Christians,
and good Christians, and even by many who
advocate the higher life.

It is so seldom we find a real gentle spirit,
one who is gentle all through, and gentle under
all circumstances, that when we meet such an one
it seems like a cala lily in a field of briars,
or a patch of blooming prairie surrounded by
rough deserts.

I am not speaking of that natural grace which
some people seem to inherit, for that is not deep
enough. One of the worst criminals I ever saw was
a perfectly handsome man, with a voice and manner
so soft as a lady’s But I speak of divine gentleness
which comes in to the soul as a result of having all
the nature and faculties perfectly subdued by the
Holy Spirit. It is amazing what lack of gentleness
there is among the Lord’s own people.

Among the reasons why so few Christians are
thoroughly gentle in spirit may be the following:

Not Recognizing The Worth Of Gentleness

So few really apprehend the worth of a gentle spirit;
they seem to overlook it as a cardinal trait in religion.
There are so many Christians who regard real gentleness
as a weakness, a soft, sentimentalism, which in some
way interferes with thorough righteousness, and boldness,
and plain dealing, and a pushing zeal for God. The
graces of the Spirit do not settle themselves down
upon us by chance, and if we do not discern certain
states of grace, and choose them, and in our thoughts
nourish them, they never become fastened in our nature
of behavior.

Just as rough worldly men look upon experimental
salvation as a weak thing, fit only for old women
and children, so a great many sturdy, driving
Christians, regard perfect gentleness and quietness of
spirit as too tame a thing to have much divine power
in it. The more we possess a certain grace, the more
we see the value of it.

The reason why so few Christians seek perfect humility
in everything is because they do not see the infinite
worth of humility. The same is true of gentleness; in
fact gentleness is the expression of humility, like
the odor is to the flower.

There is something about the character of God, and
it pervades all His creation, and every branch of His
government, which bespeaks the infinite gentleness of
His nature. He clothes all the vast and rugged forms
of His works with a majestic quietness, and velvet
gentleness, which betrays they character of His mind.
He drapes the roughest mountain with green shrubbery,
or the soft blue air; even storms are edged around with a
fringe of delicacy, and none of the stupendous works of
God in ocean, earth or air, or flying worlds, have that
severe "raw-headed and bloody-bone" appearance, which
would have been the case if a creature had made them.

God leaves a trace of Divine refinement on everything
He touches. And when we look at His moral government,
and even at the outpouring of His wrath, on nation or
individuals, there is not a touch of personal revenge,
but the highest proofs of patience and tender pleading,
and He punishes as if He wept while doing it, and His
thunderbolts are both preceded and succeeded with
pathetic accents, as if tender mercy were the garniture
in which His fiery judgments were clothed.

God never does anything in a harsh or uncouth way.
He often breaks the hearts of the toughest old
sinners with a touch of gentleness, or a soft sweet
voice, or the stroke of a motherly hand softer than
the down on an angel’s wings. Unless we have clear
perceptions of the character of God, it is not likely
that we will have a positive thirst for that character.
Vision precedes action. We must see with our spiritual
eye the graces of the Spirit, before we live them out
in our experience. The words, "Behold the Lamb of God,"
must always precede the words, "Who taketh away the
sin of the world."

(more tomorrow)

Monday, April 20, 2009


By George D. Watson

"Before God can launch us out into the breadth
and sweetness of His service, and entrust to
us great things for Himself, we must be perfectly
subdued in every part of our nature to His will
and the disposition of His mind. We must be subdued
in our hearts, in our wills, in our words, in our
tempers, in our manners; subdued through and through
so thoroughly that we will be flexible to all His
purposes and plans. We must be so subdued that harshness,
severity, criticism, sluggishness, laziness, impetuosity,
and all wanting our way, even in religious matters,
will be subdued out of us.

Conversion will not finish this work, and perhaps not
in one case out of a thousand will the second work of
grace produce this complete condition of teachable
subjugation to God’s Spirit. Being able to preach
strong sermons on sanctification will not do it,
and neither camp meetings, conventions, Bible schools,
nor the writing of books and editing of papers on
Christian holiness will prove adaquate for this.

We must be subdued, not merely in our own opinion,
not merely think ourselves subdued, not only subdued
in the esteem of our friends and fellow workers, but
subdued so perfectly that the all-seeing eye of God
can look us through, and the omniscient One knows
that we are subdued. God must conquer the man that
He can trust with His great thoughts and plans. The
Holy Ghost must saturate us with a divine conquest
before He can use us to conquer other souls.

The Lord will begin to subdue us with gentle means;
and if we sink lovingly and promptly into His mind,
the work will be done; but if we have flint or iron
in our nature, and it is necessary, He will use heroic
means to put us between the millstones and grind us
to powder, until He can mold us without any resistance
to His purpose. The greatest difficulty in the way of
God’s using His servants, even His zealous and ofttimes
sanctified servants, is that they are not perfectly,
universally, and constantly subdued under the power of God.

We must be so subdued as to stop meddling with other
people’s matters that God has not entrusted us with,
so subdued as not to be calling God’s servants hard
names, and thrusting at Christians who are doing what
they can in their various fields for the Master; so
subdued that we can hold our tongues, and walk softly
with God, keep our eyes upon Jesus, attend to our
own work, and do God’s will promptly and lovingly,
glad to have a place in His Kingdom and to do a
little service for Him.

Oh! it is grand to be absolutely conquered by the
Holy Ghost, and swing out a thousand miles from
everybody and everything into the ocean of God’s
presence, and work with Him in humility, without
stumbling over others, without religious pevishness,
and to bend with every plan God gives us.

When we are subdued in the sight of God, He will work
miracles in us, and power in experience, in healing,
in finance, in service, in gentleness, and in sweetness
of the inner heart life; miracles of grace that will
astonish us and surprise our friends, and utterly amaze
our enemies, when they come to know the magnitude of
what God has wrought.

Let us get subdued in every way, in everything; so subdued
that we can keep still in God and see Him work out the
great bright thoughts of His eternal mind in our lives.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Devotions From the Heart: If We Say

by Derek Gitsham

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we say that we
have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His
Word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10

Being “born of God” is a phrase very common to
John in his first Epistle. He does not mean that
we shall have no more sin in our lives. In fact,
to the contrary, we will be very much more aware
of sin and its power working against us than ever
before. John was writing this at a time when error
was creeping into the Church via a group called the
Gnostics who were being used to deliberately pervert
the Gospel. John was answering these errors here
by placing sin in its rightful place in our thinking.

Regeneration does not mean that sin has been entirely
removed. John Wesley writes, ‘sins remains but does
not reign.’ This is so in the believer, but he does
not have to yield to sin within himself. The phrase,
“If we say we have no sin,” is not saying that we are
living in sin but that we have no sin in the sense of
an a humble acknowledgment of it being still with us.

Paul’s statement to the Romans in 7:23-25 says that
‘I see another law in my members warring against the
law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the
law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that
I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then
with the mind I myself serve the law of God but with
the flesh the law of sin.’

Paul’s statement to Titus in chapter 2:14 reads,
‘Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from
all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works.’ The Lord is still purifying
His Church, still continuing to remove all sin from our
lives, that He may present His Church to Himself,
spotless, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.

We dare not be deceived on this matter says John. We
do have sin in us, we must be aware of it, not allowing
it to have its way in us, and seek, by a relationship
with the Lord, to see our own personal deliverance from
it every day of our lives.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Following the Lamb Wherever He Goes

"These are they which follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed
from among men, being the firstfruits unto
God and to the Lamb." (Rev. 14:4)

Here are the first fruits of the reward of
the Lamb who was slain. Here is the victory
of Easter. Here there is beauty and wonder
beyond imagination. Here there are no words:
only unadulterated adoration.

These are they that "follow the Lamb
wheresover He goes." The thought makes me
weak-kneed with longing. Here are these
that will not, cannot, ever let Jesus go.
They follow Him everywhere, eternally.
Oh, to be one of their number! or at
least to never be turned back from
being with Him!

Jesus has paid dearly for the privilege
of having these firstfruits, yet He does
not think so, so highly does He think of
them. There was a time and a place where
Jesus had to make His journey alone.

There was a time when and a place where
those who followed the Lamb
could not go. On His way to death He
told Peter, "Where I am going you cannot come,
but later you will come" (John 13:34-37).
What a unimaginable amount of sovereignty,
passion, majesty and wonder is in that short

At that time no-one could follow Jesus to
where He was going. He had to make that hard
journey of death alone. Yet He made it to inherit
such a people, He did it so these who follow
Him shall NEVER bear the pain of even a
moment's separation from Him ever again.

Some want only to go to heaven. Others want
to only escape hell. But there are a
few, choice ones: those for whom the eyes
of the Lord run up and down the face of
the earth, and back and forth through the
endless pages of human history, looking for
those who will follow Him everywhere
and always
. For to these there is
no heaven but Him.

There is no life away from
Him, there is nothing to be desired
apart from Him. They live to follow the
Lamb and there are no other events that
entice them, no other place that calls them,
no other interest that distracts them.

Here are the first fruits of what the Lamb
died for. Here is what God counted the cost
for. Beloved, let us not be asleep in our pursuit
of God. In the Song of Solomon, the Lord
comes to the young maiden and puts his
hand, dripping with myrrh, through the
lattice work, summoning her to follow Him.
She has retired to the comfort of her bed.
She is not able to follow Him everywhere
for that would mean forsaking pleasure
for the fellowship of His sufferings, of
which the myrrh so poignantly speaks (Song
of Songs 5).

He leaves her.

When she notices that He is gone, she
is frantic with anxiety. She gets up and
goes forth into the night looking for Him.
She realizes her mistake in not
ardently responding to His call. She
is not ready to follow Him everywhere.
She has not layed it all down, fought
it all out, surrendered everything.

Other things pull her. And yet, she
realizes her mistake in not responding
to Him. She runs through the darkened
streets, humiliating herself in
her pursuit, but determined enough
so that her pride no longer matters.

She finds her beloved and WILL NOT
LET HIM GO. Here she is changed from
a casual acquaintance of God to
an eternal follower, one who will
not let Him go.

Jacob, also, had this same tenacity.
He encountered the angel of the Lord
and though he started the encounter
one man, he finished it changed into
another man. Encounter with God
does that to you. It's dangerous,
that encounter: dangerous to your
old life; to your reputation before
men; to your sad, self-possessed
life. If, however, you let yourself go
toward Him, He becomes irresistible
and nothing else then matters. You
have eyes only for Him.

There is only one place in eternity
that we should want to be and that
is following the Lamb wheresoever
He goes.
That is not because of
the notoriety that will bring us
because we have longed since caring
about notoriety. We are there
to behold Him alone. We get to watch
Him. We get to sit with Him. We get
to adore Him. We get to never
take our eyes off Him.

If you are thinking that this does
not fit the image of your ultimate
destiny then perhaps you do not
really understand what this is all
about. God deserves more than a mere
thank you, he deserves your eternally
undivided attention, but He will not
demand it. This is not something
we will feel obligated to give God,
it is something we will find ourselves
begging to be apart of!

We don't earn our way to heaven, we
never could. But those that are
mentioned here, have had their
hearts "strangely warmed" and utterly
purified. They are virgins
in holiness and in truth. They know no
one, want no one, see no one else but
Jesus. They have sacrificed ALL, if
one can call it a sacrifice, for
the highest calling there is: sitting
at Jesus' feet. This place is not
for the half-hearted nor for the
double-minded. To get there you
would have had to fight an all-
or-nothing battle, only to find
that you were not capable of winning
it in your own strength:
only God could win it for you.

God bought the rights to these
holy virgins with His Own Blood.
Will you seek to have their
heart? Will you strive to be as
they are, to be counted in their
blessed number?

Here is the Easter message,
with its inherent and
everlasting challenge:
Do you have the heart to
to follow the Lamb
wheresover He goeth?

Andrew Murray: The Priesthood of the Believer Part 3

(excerpted from the Power of the Blood of Jesus)

is what gives to nearness to God its full glory.

In Israel the priests were the mediators between
God and the people. They carried into the Presence
of God the sins and needs of the people: they
obtained from God the power to declare the pardon
of sin and the right of blessing the people.

This privilege now belongs to all believers, as
the priestly family of the New Covenant. When God
permitted His redeemed ones to approach Him through
the blood, it was that He might bless them, in
order that they might become a blessing to others.

Priestly mediation; a priestly heart that can have
the needed sympathy with those who are weak; a
priestly power to obtain the blessing of God in
the temple, and convey it to others; in these things,
INTERCOURSE, the drawing near to God through the blood,
manifests its highest power and glory.

We can exercise our priestly dignity in a twofold


The ministry of intercession is one of the highest
privileges of the child of God. It does not mean
that in this ministry we, having ascertained that
there is a need in the world, or in some particular
person, pour out our wishes in prayer to God, asking
for the necessary supply. That is good, so far as it
goes, and brings a blessing with it. But the peculiar
ministry of intercession is something more wonderful
than that, and finds its power in "the prayer of faith."

This "prayer of faith" is a different thing from the
outpouring of our wishes to God, and leaving them with

In the true "prayer of faith" the intercessor must
spend time with God to appropriate the promises of His
word, and must permit himself to be taught by the Holy
Spirit, whether the promises can be applied to this
particular case. He takes upon himself, as a burden,
the sin and need which are the subject of prayer, and
lays fast hold of the promise concerning it, as though
it were for himself. He remains in the presence of God,
till God, by His Spirit, awakens the faith that in this
matter the prayer has been heard. In this way parents
sometimes pray for their children; ministers for their
congregations; labourers in God's vineyard for the souls
committed to them; till they know that their prayer is

It is the blood, that by its power of bringing us near
to God, bestows such wonderful liberty to pray until
the answer is obtained. Oh! if we understood more
perfectly what it really means to dwell in the presence
of God, we should manifest more power in the exercise
of our holy priesthood.


A further manifestation of our priestly mediation
is that we not only obtain some blessing for others
by INTERCESSION, but become the INSTRUMENTS by whom it
is ministered. Every believer is called, and feels
himself compelled by love, to labour on behalf of
others. He knows that God has blessed him that he
might be a blessing to others; and yet-the complaint
is general that believers have no power for this work
of bringing blessing to others. They are not, they say,
in a condition to exercise an influence over others by
their words. This is not to be wondered at, if they
will not dwell in the sanctuary. We read that "The
Lord separated the tribe of Levi-to stand before the
Lord-and to bless in his name" (Deut. 10:8).

The priestly power of blessing depends on the priestlike
life in the presence of God. He who experiences there
the power of the blood to preserve him, the helpless
one-will have courage to believe that the blood can
really deliver others. The holy lifegiving power of
the blood will create in him the same disposition as that
in which Jesus shed it-the sacrifice of himself to redeem
others. In intercourse with God, our love will be set on
fire: by the love of God, our belief that God will surely
make use of us will be strengthened; the spirit of Jesus
will take possession of us, to enable us to labor. in humility,
in wisdom, and in power; and our weakness and poverty become
the vessels in which God's power can work.

From our word and example blessing will flow, because we
dwell with Him who is pure blessing, and He will not
permit anyone to be near Him without being also filled
with His blessing Beloved, is not the life prepared
for us a glorious a blessed one? The enjoyment of the
blessedness: of being near to God; the carrying out
of the ministry of His house; the imparting of His
blessing to others: Let no one think that the full blessing
is not for him, that such a life is too high for him.

IN THE POWER OF JESUS' BLOOD we have the assurance that
this-, "DRAWING NEAR" is for us also, if only we wholly
yield ourselves to it. For those who truly desire this
blessing I give the following advice :--

i. Remember that this, and nothing less, is designed for
you. All of us who are God's children have been brought
nigh by the blood. All of us can desire the full experience
of it. Let us only hold this fast: the life in INTERCOURSE
with God is for me. The Father does not wish that one of
His children should be afar oft: We cannot please our God
as we ought if we live without this blessing. We are priests,
graced lives as priests are prepared for us; free entrance into
the sanctuary as our abiding place, is for us; we can be
assured of this, God bestows on us His holy presence for
indwelling, as our right, as His children. Let us lay fast
hold of this.

ii. Seek to make the full power of the blood your own
possession in all its blessed effects. IT IS IN THE POWER
OF THE BLOOD THAT INTERCOURSE is possible. Let your heart
be filled with faith in the power of the blood of
RECONCILIATION. Sin has been so entirely atoned for,
and blotted out, that its power to keep you away from
God has been completely, and for ever, taken away.

Live in the joyful profession that sin is powerless to
separate you one moment from God. Believe that by the
blood you have been fully justified, and thus have a
righteous claim to a place in the sanctuary. Let the
blood also cleanse you. Expect from the fellowship that
follows, the inner deliverance from the defilement of
sin which still dwells in you. Say with the Scriptures
"How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse YOUR
conscience to serve the living God." Let the blood sanctify
you, separate you for God, in undivided consecration, to be
power of the blood have free course in you. You will discover
how this brings you, as it were, automatically near to God,
and protects you.

iii. Do not fear to expect that JESUS HIMSELF will reveal
in you the power of the blood to bring you nigh to God.

The blood was shed to unite us to God.

The blood has accomplished its work, and will perfect it
in you.

The blood has unspeakable virtue and glory in God's sight.

The Mercy Seat sprinkled with blood is the chosen place of
God's abode and is His throne of grace. He draws near with
joy and good pleasure to the heart that surrenders itself
entirely to the efficacy of the blood.

The blood has irresistible power. Through the blood Jesus
was raised up from the grave, and carried into heaven. Be
assured the blood is able to preserve you every day in God's
presence by its divine lifers= giving power. As precious and
all powerful as the blood is, so sure and certain is also
your abiding with God, if only you trust is steadfast.
"Washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb-therefore
are they before the throne of God and serve him day and night
in his temple." That word about the eternal glory has a
bearing also upon our life on earth. The fuller our faith
and experiences of the power of the blood, just the closer
the INTERCOURSE, and the more sure the abiding near the throne:
the wider the entrance to the unbroken ministry of God in
His sanctuary ; and here on earth just the greater the power
to serve the living God just the richer the priestly blessing
which you will spread around you. O Lord! may this word have
its full power over us now, here, and hereafter!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Andrew Murray: The Priesthood of the Believer Part 2

(excerpted from "The Power of the Blood of Jesus")


Our vocation to bring to God spiritual sacrifices
is a further privilege.

The enjoyment of the priests in drawing near to God
in His dwelling place was subordinated entirely to
something higher. They were there as servants of the
Holy Place, to bring to God, in His house, that which
belonged to Him. Only as they found joy, in drawing
near to God, could that service become truly blessed.

The service consisted in:-The bringing in of the blood
of sprinkling; the preparation of the incense to fill
the house with its fragrance; and, further, in the
ordering of everything that pertained, according to God's
word, to the arrangement of His house.

They must so guard, and serve, and provide for, the
dwelling place of the Most High, that it should be
worthy of Him, and of His glory, and that His good
pleasure in it might be fulfilled.

If the blood of Jesus brings us near, it is also,
chiefly, that we should live before God as His
servants, and bring to Him the spiritual sacrifices
which are well pleasing in His sight.

The priests brought the blood into the Holy Place
before God. In our intercourse with God there is no
offering that we can bring more pleasing to Him,
than a believing honouring of the blood of the Lamb.
Every act of humble trust, or of hearty thanksgiving,
in which we direct the attention of the Father to
the blood, and speak its praises, is acceptable to Him.

Our whole abiding there, and INTERCOURSE, from hour to
hour must be a glorifying of the blood before God.

The priests brought the incense into the Holy Place,
so as to fill God's house with fragrance. The prayers
of God's people are the delightful incense, with which
He desires to be surrounded in His habitation. The value
of prayer does not consist merely in its being the means
of obtaining things we need. No ! it has a higher aim
than that. It is a ministry of God, in which He delights.

The life of a believer who truly enjoys drawing near
to God through the blood, is a life of unceasing prayer.
In a deep sense of dependence, for each moment, for
each step, grace is sought for and expected. In the
blessed conviction of God's nearness and unchanging
goodness, the soul pours itself out in the confident
assurance of faith that every promise will be fulfilled.
In the midst of the joy which the light of God's face
bestows, there arises at the same time, along with prayer,
thanksgiving, and adoration.

These are the spiritual offerings-the offerings of
the lips of the priests of God, continually presented
to Him -they having been SANCTIFIED AND BROUGHT NIGH
BY THE BLOOD-that they might ever live and walk in His

But there is still something more. It was the duty of
the priests to attend to everything far cleansing or
provision that was necessary, in the ministry of the
House. What is the ministry now, under the New Covenant?
Thanks be to God, there are no outward nor exclusive
arrangements for divine worship. No! The Father has so
ordered, that whatever any one does who is walking in
His presence, just because of that, it becomes a
spiritual offering. Everything the believer does, if
only he does it as in God's presence, and inspired by
the priestly disposition, which offers it to God as a
service, it is a priestly sacrifice, well pleasing to
God. "Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatever
ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. x. 31).

"Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father
by him" (Col. iii. 17). In this way, all our actions
become thank-offerings to God.

How little Christians recognise the glory of a
life of complete consecration, to be spent always
in intercourse with God!

power of the blood, my earthly calling, my whole
life, even my eating and drinking, are a spiritual
service. My work, my business, my money, my house,
everything with which I have to do, becomes sanctified
by the presence of God, because I, myself, walk in
His presence. The poorest earthly work is a priestly
service, because it is performed by a priest of God's temple.

But even this does not exhaust the glory of the
blessing of INTERCOURSE. The highest blessing of the
priesthood is, that the priest appears as the

from chapter six
(continued tomorrow)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Andrew Murray: The Priesthood of the Believer Part 1

(exerpted from The Power of the Blood of Jesus)


Although this privilege belonged exclusively
to the priests in Israel, we know that they had
free access to the dwelling place of God. They
had to abide there continually. As members of
the household of God, they ate the shew-bread,
and partook of the sacrifices. A true Israelite
thought there was no higher privilege than this.
It is thus expressed by the Psalmist, "Blessed
-or happy-is the man whom thou choosest, and
causest to approach unto thee that he may dwell
in thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the
goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple"
(Ps. 65: 4).

It was because of the manifested presence of God
there that believers, in those old days, longed
after the house of God with such strong desire.
The cry was, "When shall I come and appear before
God (Ps. xlii. 2). They understood something of
the spiritual meaning of the privilege, "Drawing
near to God." It represented to them the enjoyment
of His love, and fellowship, and protection, and
blessing. They could exclaim, "Oh, how great is
thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that
fear thee; thou shalt hide them in the secret of
thy presence" (Ps. 31: 19,20).

The precious blood of Christ has opened the way
for the believer into God's presence; and
intercourse with Him is a deep, spiritual reality.
He who knows the full power of the blood is brought
so nigh that he can always live in the immediate
presence of God, and in the enjoyment of the
unspeakable blessings attached to it.

There, the child of God has the assurance of God's
love; he experiences and enjoys it. God Himself
imparts it. He lives daily in the friendship, and
fellowship of God. As God's child he makes known to
the Father, with perfect freedom, his thoughts and
wishes. In this intercourse with God he possesses
all that he needs; he wants no good thing.

His soul is kept in perfect rest and peace, because
God is with him. He receives all requisite direction
and teaching. God's eye is ever upon him, guiding him.
In intercourse with God, he is able to hear the softest
whispers of the Holy Spirit. He learns to understand the
slightest sign of his Father's will, and to follow it.
His strength continually increases, for God is his
strength, and God is ever with him.

Fellowship with God exercises a wonderful influence on
his life and character. The presence of God fills him
with humility, and fear, and a holy circumspection. He
lives as in the presence of a king. Fellowship with God
produces in him godlike dispositions. Beholding the image
of God, he is changed into the same image. Dwelling with
the holy One makes him holy. He can say, "It is good for
me to draw nigh to God (Ps. 72: 28).

O you who are the children of the New Covenant, have not
you a thousand times more reason to speak thus, now that
the veil has been rent asunder, and the way opened for
living always in God's holy presence? May this high
privilege awaken our desires. Intercourse with God;
fellowship with God; dwelling with God; and He with us:
may it become impossible for us to be satisfied with
anything less. This is the true Christian life.

But intercourse with God is not only so blessed because
of the salvation enjoyed in it, but also on account of
the service that may be rendered, because of that intercourse.

from chapter six
(continued tomorrow)

O Jesus, King most wonderful,
Thou Conqueror renown'd.
Thou sweetness most ineffable,
In whom all joys are found!
Thee, Jesus, may our voices bless;
Thee may we love alone;
And ever in our lives express
The image of Thine own.

photo taken in Abergavenny, Wales

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Devotions From the Heart: Being Alone

by Derek Gitsham

"And Jacob was left alone and there wrestled
a man with him until the breaking of the day."
Genesis 32:24

This chapter in the life of Jacob is a very crucial
moment in his life. It was the plan of God to meet
with Jacob, and bless him like never before. However,
the circumstances surrounding this event were

Jacob’s brother Esau was very angry with Jacob after
he had succeeded in deceiving Isaac, Esau and Jacob’s
father, into blessing him instead of his brother Esau.
Esau was intent on slaying Jacob after this
(Genesis 27:4).

However, when they finally meet, God had taken care
of the situation and Esau does not want to hurt his
brother. There is a new reason for this. Scripture
says, ‘When a man’s ways please the Lord he makes
even his enemies to be at peace with him.’

When Jacob and Esau finally meet it is after the Lord
has met with Jacob, and his name is changed, and is
blessed by God. Being right with God, allows God to
work in your circumstances, and threatening situations
are overruled by God’s sovereign power. The Lord
meeting Jacob changes him beyond recognition.

Arriving at this place was brought about by God
bringing Jacob to where he was alone. Being
alone is part of God’s dealings with His people.
Isaiah 51:2 says that ‘God called Abraham alone.’
God has to separate us all from people and friends,
to get us to Himself.

Many suffer from loneliness, but God wants us to
use loneliness to get to Him. The moment Jacob
was left alone, the angel of the Lord came to Him.
How often the Lord is working towards coming to
His saints and blessing them when they are alone,
but because of ignorance we try to fill the void
when God is wanting to meet with us.

If you are being left alone, don’t be afraid, but
use this time to meet with the Lord. He is wanting
you for Himself. The Shulamite woman in the Song
of Solomon was left alone by her lover to see whether
she would go after Him. Go after Jesus, dear saint,
when you are alone. It is not for you, but for God.
He is waiting for us.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spurgeon on Leaving the Times and Dwelling in the Eternities

The following excerpt is from “A Sermon for
a Winter’s Evening,” a message on John 18:18
by C.H. Spurgeon, first published in 1910.
Timely words, and true.

The text describes a scene in the courtyard
outside the High Priest’s house on the night
of Jesus’ crucifixion:

“And the servants and officers stood there,
who had made a fire of coals, for it was cold:
and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood
with them, and warmed himself.” (John chapter 18)

Though no doubt the motives which led both
Peter and John into the high priest’s house
were commendable, Peter’s position among the
soldiers and hangers-on around the fire was
extremely full of peril, and offered no
corresponding advantages.

Did he not know that “evil communications
corrupt good manners”? Did he not know that
the men who had taken his Lord prisoner were
not fit associates for him? Should he not
have felt that, though he might have his
hands warmed, he would be likely to get his
heart blackened by mixing with such company?

Brethren, I like to warm my hands; but if I
cannot warm them without burning them, I
would rather keep them cold.

Many things are in a measure desirable; but
if you cannot obtain them without exposing
yourself to the smut of sin, you had better
let them alone. Has not our Lord called us
to go without the camp? Are we not warned
against being conformed to this world?

Deny yourselves the warm place around
society’s charcoal brazier, for its sulphurous
vapor will do you more harm than the cold. Some
tell us that we must keep abreast of the times;
but if the times run the wrong way, I see no
reason why we should run with them. Rather let
us leave the times, and dwell in the eternities.
If I must, in warming my hands, defile them—
I will sooner let them become blue with cold.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A.W. Tozer: The Old Cross & The New

The OLD CROSS and the NEW
by A.W. Tozer.

All unannounced and mostly undetected there
has come in modern times a new cross into
popular evangelical circles. It is like the
old cross, but different: the likenesses are
superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy
of the Christian life, and from that new
philosophy has come a new evangelical technique
- a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching.
This new evangelism employs the same language as
the old, but its content is not the same and its
emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world.
For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the
journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed
by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed
to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and,
if understood aright, it is the source of oceans
of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets
Adam live without interference. His life motivation
is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure,
only now he takes delight in singing choruses and
watching religious movies instead of singing
bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor.

The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun
is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different
evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not
demand abnegation of the old life before a new
life can be received. He preaches not contrasts
but similarities. He seeks to key into public
interest by showing that Christianity makes no
unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same
thing the world does, only on a higher level.

Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring
after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the
very thing the gospel offers, only the religious
product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it
redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner
and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect.
To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert
yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says,
"Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the
thrill-seeker it says, "Come and enjoy the thrill
of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is
slanted in the direction of the current vogue in
order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be
sincere but its sincerity does not save it from
being false. It is false because it is blind. It
misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for
the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man
in Roman times who took up his cross and started
down the road had already said good-by to his friends.
He was not coming back. He was going out to have it
ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing,
spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely
and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms
with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when
it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is
no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any
of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear
or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the
individual by liquidating him and then raising him
again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels
between the ways of God and the ways of men is false
to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers.
The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it
intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring
our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at
the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground
and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves
as public relations agents sent to establish good will
between Christ and the world. We must not imagine
ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to
big business, the press, the world of sports or modern
education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our
message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The
life He offers is life out of death. It stands always
on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it
must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and
concur in God's just sentence against him. What does
this mean to the individual, the condemned man who
would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology
be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and
believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to
forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing,
excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God,
but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern
displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust
upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life
and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that
ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to
the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from
the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

To any who may object to this or count it merely a
narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has
set His hallmark of approval upon this message from
Paul's day to the present. Whether stated in these
exact words or not, this has been the content of all
preaching that has brought life and power to the
world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers,
the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and
signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy
Ghost gave witness to God's approval.

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper
with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase
the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown
us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the
old cross and we will know the old power.