..."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)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Use of Prophecy in Evangelism and the Church's Call to Israel

by Reginald Kelly

All modern trends are moving inexorably
in the direction predicted by the Hebrew
prophets. In addition to keeping the church
wakeful, this fact should be continually
pointed to in the church's witness, as a
powerful evidence of the Bible's authority
and inspiration, and as a call to come to
terms with the claims of Christ and the
urgency of salvation through faith in the gospel.

Expectation of the sure fulfillment of
prophecy was a given in first century Israel.
The church's task was to show that prophecy had
been fulfilled in Christ and would continue to
be fulfilled in the imminent destruction of
Jerusalem and ultimately, the return of Christ.

Many, such as the sectaries of Qumran, the people
of the Dead Sea scrolls, dwelt in desert
communities in expectation of Jerusalem's imminent
desolations and the final world conflict. We have
come full circle. Once again the world stands under
the shadow of another threatening age ending crisis
over the question of Jerusalem, the "controversy of
Zion." The prophetic scriptures are indeed on schedule,
but few employ this compelling fact in presenting
the gospel to an intellectualizing generation that
demands evidence. Well, the evidence is in our daily news.

The modern church naturally acknowledges that Christ
fulfilled prophecy, though many are at a serious loss
to make the case from the Old Testament. But for the
larger part, the church has scant knowledge of the
legitimate aspects of first century Jewish expectation.
Those "legitimate aspects" are still outstanding and
in evident process of contemporary fulfillment.

As for world Jewry, unlike their first century
counterparts, Jews for the most part are ignorant of
what the prophets foretell concerning Jerusalem and
the last days, but this is beginning to change through
the current popular fascination with apocalyptic themes
(albeit only slightly and with pitiful distortions).

Most modern Jews are secular, and like the world, are
comparatively ignorant of both sides of the prophetic
equation concerning both Christ and Israel. But God has
given the church a powerful tool for the convincement
of a skeptical age. However, due to the scandal of its
recurrent misuse through failed 'apocalyptic scares',
this tool, so powerful in the early church, has been
allowed to slip into disuse.

Prophecy is God's own self-chosen apologetic
(Isa 41:21-23, 26; 43:9-12; 44:7; 45:11, 21; 46:10;
"the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy;"
Rev 19:10b). And where prophecy does not at once
convince, it leaves a seed of witness that unfolding
of events will confirm pointing to the truth of Christ
and the gospel. The seed may yet germinate under the
right conditions, particularly in the case of Israel
when the church will move the Jew to jealousy by the
manifest evidence of the Spirit, coupled with the
testimony of prophecy. Furthermore, prophecy leaves
all who persist in resistance of the saving good news
without excuse (Jn 15:22). Prophecy exposes the hiding
place (Isa 28:17).

Paul said his gospel was to be known to all nations
by the scriptures of the prophets (Ro 16:25-26). This
was the divinely ordained 'modus operandi' of the the
early church's approach to evangelism as seen in all
the NT examples of apostolic proclamation. The gospel
was to be held forth to Jew and to gentile as a
heretofore hidden, but no less foretold mystery
Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:10-12) contained in the prophetic
writings and to be made known to all nations by the same.
Perhaps this neglect, together with its failure to take
seriously the mandate to go first to the Jew, has robbed
the church of some of the strength of its witness.

In these days of restoration, let us pray that the
church will recover this vital key, which is essentially
the apostolic method of evangelism, and that recovery of
this lost key will also aid the church in the recovery
of its own lost apostolic and prophetic identity.

So while the end of the age awaits what God has determined
concerning Israel (Zech 12:10 w/ Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21;
Ro 11:26), Israel awaits a further eschatological purpose
that God has determined to accomplish in the church before
the Lord's return (Dn 11:32-35 w/ Jn 13:35; 14:12; 16:21-26;
17:11, 21-22; Eph 4:13; Phil 1:20; 3:10-14; Rev 12:10-11).

Though not easy to prove exegetically (since it is more by
implication and by the cumulative evidence), there is a
case from scripture that certainly implies that a prior
travail and birthing into eschatological fullness must be
accomplished by the church before the final tribulation
(Zion's travail) can begin for Israel (consider the mystery
implicit in Isa 66:7 as compared w/ Rev 12:5, 13).

Paul said his gospel was to be known to all nations by
the scriptures of the prophets (Ro 16:25-26). This was
the divinely ordained 'modus operandi' of the the early
church's approach to evangelism as seen in all the NT
examples of apostolic proclamation. The gospel was to be
held forth to Jew and to gentile as a heretofore hidden,
but no less foretold mystery (Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:10-12)
contained in the prophetic writings and to be made known
to all nations by the same.

Perhaps this neglect, together with its failure to take
seriously the mandate to go first to the Jew, has robbed
the church of some of the strength of its witness. In
these days of restoration, let us pray that the church will
recover this vital key, which is essentially the apostolic
method of evangelism, and that recovery of this lost key
will also aid the church in the recovery of its own lost
apostolic and prophetic identity.

So while the end of the age awaits what God has
determined concerning Israel (Zech 12:10 w/ Mt 23:39; Acts
3:21; Ro 11:26), Israel awaits a further eschatological
purpose that God has determined to accomplish in the
church before the Lord's return (Dn 11:32-35 w/ Jn 13:35;
14:12; 16:21-26; 17:11, 21-22; Eph 4:13; Phil 1:20;
3:10-14; Rev 12:10-11). Though not easy to prove
exegetically (since it is more by implication and by the
cumulative evidence), there is a case from scripture that
certainly implies that a prior travail and birthing into
eschatological fullness must be accomplished by the church
before the final tribulation (Zion's travail) can begin
for Israel (consider the mystery implicit in Isa 66:7
as compared w/ Rev 12:5, 13).

There is a twofold travail of the woman. First there
is the preliminary spiritual travail of the heavenly
Zion. This is accomplished before Israel's pain comes
(see Isa 66:7 w/ Rev 12:5; compare also Jn 16:21; Gal
4:19 as a pattern). Then follows the earthly travail
(the literal tribulation) of the earthly Zion/natural
Israel (compare Isa 13:8; 66:8; Jer 30:6; Mic 5:3;
Dn 12:1; Mt 24:21). It is only AFTER this travail
(the brief but unequaled tribulation) that "a nation
is born in one day" (Isa 66:8; 59:19-21; Zech 3:9;
Ezk 39:22).

This 'one day' is the spiritual regeneration
and regathering of Israel (as also the translation and
gathering of the church) that comes at the 'great day
of God' at the tribulation's end in conjunction with
the destruction of the Antichrist (2Thes 2:8) and the
resurrection of the righteous at Christ's post-tribulational
last trumpet return (compare Isa 25:7; 26:19; 27:13;
Dn 12:1-2 w/ Mt 24:29-31; 1Cor 15:52, 54; 2Thes 2:1-3,
8; 2Pet 2:10, 12; Rev 16:14-15).

However symbol and imagery may be interpreted, one
thing seems beyond dispute, i.e, there is a spiritual
kind of travail and birth that must be completed before
Israel's earthly tribulation can begin. There is a
spiritual birth that happens before the time of Israel's
eschatological tribulation. The two travails, one
spiritual, and the second physical, are bound together.

Unless an unscriptural wedge is driven between Israel
and the church (as in dispensationalism), the woman's
birthing of the manchild pertains to the church (the
true Israel within Israel), no less than the persecuted
woman pertains to both Israel and the church in the
tribulation. Unless the presence of the church is
defined out of the tribulation, as in dispensationalism,
then it cannot be doubted that the church is in view
when the scripture refers to "the rest of her offspring,
who hold to testimony of Jesus;" Rev 12:17). It is not
enough to see this as only fulfilled in Mary and Christ,
since this travail and birth is accomplished at the
threshold of the last 3 1/2 years and is the catalyst
for what follows.

The New Testament shows an awareness of the clear
distinction between tribulation as an inalienable
principle of the spiritual life, and the final
'great tribulation' of brief duration that ushers
in Christ's return. The two must not be confused.
When this important distinction is made, it becomes
clear that the travail of the woman and the birth of
the man child has to do with a heavenly occurrence
that immediately results in the final tribulation
of 'short' duration.

The birthing of the man child completes the time of
the woman's travail, which permits Michael's victory
over Satan in heaven. With Satan's expulsion from
heaven to earth, his time is 'short'; the tribulation
is here, and thus the kingdom of God can now come.
Regardless how the woman's travail is understood,
it is clear that it has not reached its final goal
until the final casting down of Satan, and this
happens only at the mid point of Daniel's seventieth week.

Paul shows that the day of the Lord and the church's
gathering unto Christ must await the revelation of
the mystery of iniquity (2Thes 2:1-3, 7-8). The
revelation of this mystery is the 'without which not'
of Christ's once and for all return. But this event
cannot come until Satan is cast down. It is important
to note that Michael's expulsion of Satan, the
announcement of the inbreaking of kingdom power (12:10),
and the woman's 3 1/2 year flight into the wilderness,
all hinges on the completion of the woman's travail
in the birth and ascent of the man child.

In view of the connection of these events to the
limited tribulation of 3 1/2 years, it is evident
that the fulfillment cannot be limited to the
entirety of the inter-advent period. Rather
something future seems intended that reiterates
in pattern and principle what was accomplished
in the birth, safe escape, and victorious ascent
of the Seed over all principality and power.

I believe this future travail of the church awaits
a Pauline or Danielic kind of priestly travail for
Israel (compare Ro 9:3; Gal 4:19)? What will it take
to bring an indulgent and self-occupied church to
this? Will the church finally understand that there
can be no informed praying for the coming of the
kingdom that ignores the prior necessity of unequaled
tribulation, as only this can end in Israel's age
ending confession (Dn 12:7; Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; 14:22)?

Will the church come to understand that the age cannot
with Christ's return independently of the day of
Israel's national repentance? And will the church ever
come to see its own divinely intended role in preparing
Israel for that confession through its tribulation
witness? The church, rightly defined is the corporate
Ebhed Yahweh. Not only as the witnessing remnant,
but also as the corporate 'servant - intercessor' in
the travail of divine love for covenant Israel.

Such travail will require a selfless willingness
for the events that are necessary to its fulfillment?
What will raise the church's consciousness and prayer
to its calling to travail for a kingdom that cannot
come apart from a church willing to lay its life
down for Israel? [Note that on the basis of
Ro 11:12, 15, Israel's future "fullness" is the
key to an exponential increase of salvation
among the nations. Thus how can a church devoted
to 'missions' ignore its calling 'to the Jew first'?]

It is so much more than Israel's salvation that is
at stake; it is the very name and glory of God in
His covenant pledge that is at stake, though most
of the church historically would see no loss at
all to their concept of divine glory if Israel
should remain estranged forever (Ro 11:25-36).

If the travail of the woman is not wrongly dissociated
from the church, it seems clear that there is an
inseparable relation to something that must first
be accomplished in and through the church that is
related to the finishing of the mystery of God (Rev 10:7).

This doesn't happen in a vacuum; it presupposes truth
and revelation, and the travail of true faith and
intercession. It is not new truth, but a deeper
apprehension of the prophetic scriptures at the
time of fulfillment that will constrain the church
to a place it would not otherwise have gone, in
analogy with Jesus' word to Peter: "Truly, truly,
I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress
yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when
you are old (weak and dependent), you will stretch
out your hands, and another will dress you
("dressed in His righteousness alone"), and
carry you where you do not want to go" (Jn 21:18).
For Peter, it was a martyrs cross; for the church
of the last days, it will be the great tribulation.

I believe the church will be brought corporately
to something almost analogous to Mary's conception
and birth of the Word, as utterly weak, as utterly
meek, and so completely apart from the help of man.
There is mystery here; but I am sure that Michael's
removal of Satan (in analogy with his removal of
the opposing Prince of Persia in answer to Daniel's
travail; Dn 10:13), and the resulting tribulation
(which is necessary to bring Israel back in
fulfillment of the everlasting covenant at Christ's
return), must not be dissociated from a fullness
that must first come to the church, as it knows
itself to be facing the final and greatest test.

This heavenly victory will be accomplished by the
church's deeper apprehension of the revelation of
the mystery of the gospel in conjunction with the
final opening of Daniel's sealed vision. In short,
the church must attain to its own "fullness"
before Israel can attain to "their fullness"
(compare Ro 11:12 w/ 11:25). God has placed the
two in amazing tandem. The one is dependent on the
other and cannot come to full formation without
the other. Israel and the church are a mutual
source of divinely intended provocation with a
view towards the revelation of the glory of
sovereign mercy apart from works. "I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy."

I am personally convinced that the same God who
will be publicly vindicated in His word
concerning Israel will be no less vindicated in
the sight of men and angels concerning a yet
unfulfilled eschatological fullness for the church.
Before it will be "Israel My glory" (Isa 46:13),
it will be "glory in the church" (Eph 3:21).

And contrary to the false dichotomy of the
dispensational error, the twain do meet! Regenerated
Israel on earth will be no less the body of Christ
than the glorified church ruling and reigning with
Christ. The seed is the seed, and it is such by
nothing other than union with the indwelling Spirit
of Christ, regardless of dispensation.

So while the end of the age waits for Israel, Israel
waits for something to be restored and demonstrated
in the church, and it is a sovereign God of absolute
predestination that will accomplish to fulfill His
purpose in both at the "set time" (Ps 102:13),
"for that that is determined shall be done" (Dn 11:36).

God knows how to both to their appointed place
"at the time appointed" (Dn 8:19; 11:35), but it
is a pitiful theology that drives a wedge between
God's sovereign ability and the church's necessary
responsibility. A new dispensation of divine requirement
is at hand. When prophecy will be in the final
stages of fulfillment, things formerly discussed and
debated of only casual consequence will begin to be
divinely required. Much will be exposed and many
will fall away.

As Jesus was a stone of stumbling and rock of offense
to the religion of first century Israel, so will the
offense of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Jew, become an
extension of the same essential mystery in its final
form (see Isa 28:9-16). All nations will be required
to grapple with a prophetic testimony of the gospel
that can no longer be conveniently separated from the
issue of Israel.

As the age began, so shall it end, and all the great
issues that formed the offense of the cross and the
gospel, will be present in the last offense that
brings all nations to oppose the everlasting
covenant in Israel's election and divine right
to the Land. Not because they are worthy in
themselves, but because of what God has decreed
concerning them. It is not their Land because
they are holy Christians; it is their Land because
of God's predestinating prerogative to make them
holy Christians in the day of His power (Ps 110:3).

Apparently, God is holding all nations responsible
to know this, since when the nations come down to
the mountains of Israel to 'divide' and 'part' the
Land (Dn 11:39; Joel 3:2), God's fury comes up in His
face (Ezk 38:18), since He regards this act as the
ultimate act of hubris and violence "against the holy
covenant" Dn 11:28, 30). So it is clear that the
contention of God with all nations over the issue of
His covenant with Israel cannot be separated from the
issue of the gospel.

In fact, this is how God has chosen to press the
issue of the gospel upon the conscience of all
nations. To not have God's heart towards Israel
(especially when the prophetic standard is being
raised in the sight and hearing of all nations)
is to not know God's heart or His covenant.

We may be sure that Satan enjoys the church's ignorance
of this mystery, as it helps to extend his illicit
tenure in the heavens, which prolongs this present evil
age. But at some soon point, something's got to give!

Come quickly Lord Jesus, and accomplish in heaven and
on earth all that holds back your return! Lord, you said
that when you looked there was "no man .. no
intercessor," so your own arm brought to you the
decreed salvation of Israel (compare the contexts
of Isa 59:16 w/ 63:5). Lord, this is not in the
heart of man; it is in your heart.

Lord, in ourselves, we could never be willing for
the price. Create the intercessor in us. It is
Him you always hear. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Come suddenly to your temple! is our prayer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Have I Not Seen the Lord

by Derek Gitsham

"And last of all he was seen of me also,
as of one born out of due time." (I Cor. 15:8)

The Apostle Paul was not numbered among the
first and original Apostles. Yet he made the
claim along with them that he had seen the Lord.
In a previous chapter (9:1), he mentions again
that he had seen the Lord, in defense of his
apostleship to the Corinthians.

The reason for this was that they were questioning
his authority over them, so he needed to clarify
his position among them, and to give proof of his
Apostleship. In another reference he says that
the signs of an apostle were “wrought among you
in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty
deeds” (II Corinthians 12:12).

The interesting thing to note here is that Paul had
never seen Jesus in the flesh, yet compares what had
happened to him on the Damascus Road as the same as
seeing Jesus in the flesh after He was risen from
the dead. All the references in I Corinthians 15
were to those who had seen Jesus raised from the dead,
but he also lists the names and includes a number of
five hundred who also had seen Him.

There were infallible proofs to Jesus being raised.
Right in the middle of all their claims, Paul says,
‘He was seen of me.’ This was obviously a spiritual
event, a light shining from heaven, and Jesus speaking
to Paul. The many who had seen Jesus alive after His
death became eyewitnesses to His Resurrection. Though
Paul includes himself among those chosen ones, his
personal encounter with Jesus was a special moment for
him. Jesus was now in the glory, at the right hand of
God, revealing Himself to Saul of Tarsus; an event that
would change him forever and save him.

Paul did not see just a resurrected Jesus, but an ascended
and glorified Jesus. Was not this an honour being bestowed
on him that was to greatly affect the whole Christian world
throughout the Church Age? To see Him in His glorified
state was indeed something Paul would never forget. Surely
the Holy Ghost comes to bear witness to and glorify Jesus.
May we seek to encounter the Risen and Glorified Christ
and may let Him be glorified in us all today.

A Zealous Man

Characteristics of a Zealous Man

A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently
a man of one thing. It is not enough to
say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising,
thoroughgoing, wholehearted, fervent in spirit.
He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing,
he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in
one thing; and that one thing is to please God.

Whether he lives, or whether he dies
whether he has health, or whether he has sickness
whether he is rich, or whether he is poor
whether he pleases man, or whether he gives
whether he is thought wise, or whether he is
thought foolish
whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise
whether he get honour, or whether he gets shame
for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all.

He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to
please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is
consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it
- he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he
is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he
has but done the work for which God appointed him.

Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal.
If he cannot preach, work, and give money, he will
cry, and sigh, and pray. . . If he cannot fight in
the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses,
Aaron, and Hur, on the hill (Exodus 17:9-13).
If he is cut off from working himself, he will give
the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another
quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean
when I speak of ‘zeal’ in religion.

J. C. Ryle

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fenelon: Dealing with an Overactive Mind

Cultivate peace; be deaf to your too
prolific imagination; its great activity
not only injures the health of your body,
but introduces aridity into your soul.

You consume yourself to no purpose; peace
and interior sweetness are destroyed by your
restlessness. Think you God can speak in
those soft and tender accents that melt the
soul, in the midst of such a tumult as you
excite by your incessant hurry of thought? Be
quiet, and He will soon be heard. Indulge but
a single scruple; to be scrupulously
- Francis Fenelon

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Remedy for a Languid Mood

"The only remedy for a languid mood
is that we should 'rekindle our love'
as Polycarp wrote to the church of
Ephesus, 'in the blood of God."
Let us ask for a fresh infusion of the
Holy Spirit to quicken our sluggish
hearts, a new disclosure of the
charity of God.

The Spirit will help our infirmities
and the very compassion of the Son
of God will fall upon us, clothing
us with zeal like a garment, stirring
our affections into a most vehement
flame, and fill our souls with heaven.

--The Hidden Life of Prayer

Friday, May 15, 2009

Devotions From the Heart: Not Entering In

by Derek Gitsham

"So we see that they could not enter
in because of unbelief." Hebrews 3:19

There are many warnings in the book of
Hebrews that point to the fact that if
certain conditions are allowed to persist,
then there will be dire consequences in
the life of the believer.

Many Christians will have problems with
this concept but the Hebrew writer leaves
us in no doubt that we can fall, and we
will fall, if we allow unbelief to gain a
foothold (4:11). He says in the 10th chapter,
verse 35, ‘that we are not of them who draw
back into perdition, but of them that believe
to the saving of the soul.’

Again in the 6th chapter and the 9th verse:
‘but beloved we are persuaded better things
of you, and things that accompany salvation,
though we thus speak.’ There were a list of
corrective things also in the book of Hebrews
imploring them to grow up and become those
that were being fed with strong meat and not
living on milk (5:12-14).

The thing that becomes apparent reading
Hebrews is that if the process of faith is
continuing in the life, there need be no
problem in backsliding into unbelief. Unbelief
is the result of the heart not progressing in
the things of God through a deliberate pursuit
of God.

Hence this is the reason why in the 6th chapter
he encourages them to go on to perfection,
literally, “to be borne or carried along to
perfection.” In the 12th verse of the same
chapter he tells them to ‘be followers of them
who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’

Another reason why saints fall into unbelief is
because God delays things in their lives. God’s
delays are not His denials; the fact that we are
encouraged to be patient is telling us that things
are not coming into our lives immediately. Many
times God has to prepare us to receive what we
desire from Him by faith. Pursue Him, dear ones,
and keep unbelief outside the door, then shall we
enter in to all that is ours.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Taking Heed How We Hear : Part 1-- Quieting our Heart

"Take heed therefore how ye hear: for
whosoever hath, to him shall be given;
and whosoever hath not, from him shall
be taken even that which he seemeth to have."
Luke 8:18

In the days to come it will be vital for
us to hear God as clearly as possible.
But hearing God, while straightforward
to the pure, will prove challenging
to those whose ears are full of
of the noisy wax of this world.

First, most of us are exposed to too many human
words, and this overexposure can dilute
our ability to respond quickly and accurately
to God when He speaks to us. The second
thing is that we must wrestle with is discerning
the purity of what we hear. It is up to us to
listen for God's Voice alone and to put
every other voice in its proper place. There is
a difference between humanly good things and
things spoken from the divine throne of God.
And third, we must not have a disconnect between
hearing God and obeying Him.

Paul says,"There are...many kinds of
voices in the world, and none of them is
without its own message." (1 Corinthians 14:10).
Our world is oversaturated with voices,
with sound, with opinion. Even we, as
Christians, are exposed to myriads of words
that present themselves as "Christian" words;
as the Voice or Mind of God; as timely, anointed,
prophetic or "cutting edge" words. Often,
they are no such thing.

Solomon said, "For in the multitude of dreams and
many words there are also divers vanities: but
fear thou God." (Ecclesiastes 5:7) We live
in a society saturated with words and this
is true even of the Christian world. We have
24/7 access to million of Christian words
through Christian television, radio, internet,
conferences, cd's etc. etc. etc. etc.

For all the good a plethora of sermons,
bible studies, and messages can bring,
I would contend that overindulging in them
can harden us to really hearing God as
deeply as He deserves to be heard. Nothing can
replace the Voice of God which speaks
to us in the silent depths of our being.
Nothing. Jesus went each day to be alone
with God. It was His Life and His lifeline.
Christ did not tune into Mt.of Olives Radio
to hear God. He just sat quietly before
His Father.

Do we understand that we can substitute
good human words, become christian media
junkies, but actually spend little time
alone with God? Multi-tasking with
God is not a good idea, it is an insult.

We are drowning in messages, in twitters,
in IM's, in church services, bible
studies, programs and every wordy form
of "Christian" endeavor. Yet, so
many people say they have trouble
hearing God. God speaks through men
and women, have no doubt, but it
is through men and women who have
been alone with Him and listened.

It is possible to replace the voice of God
with the voice of our favorite preacher or
teacher, however good, and not realize the

Can we listen to preaching or teaching for
hours on end but walk away unchanged or
gospel-hardened? How much is too much? We may even
recognize the now rare instances of anointed
preaching but it can still have no affect within.

How long should we ponder one message
before we get offered (or just
decide to gobble down) another?
It is like biting into chocolates
and then putting them back in the
box when we don't find the flavor
we desire. Having too many choices,
too many words to pick from, tempts
us to listen to the ones that most
suit our flesh, or tempts us to hear
none of them at all or worse yet,
lures us into thinking that by
hearing we have somehow magically
owned the truth presented. A godly
message always points us back to
interaction with God Himself.

Do we feel challenged by something
and then the next minute we are
on to more information gorging
so that the initial challenge goes
unwrestled with?

I love Sermonaudio.com, but when does it
become Christian entertainment and not
a ministration of the Spirit? Perhaps
when I use it in place of going directly
to God.

Should there be a moratorium on
preaching until the oceans of
of unsubstantial and nutritionally empty
words show themselves for what they are
and we are famished to hear the Word
of the Lord ALONE? Or should we just
get alone with God and then the emptiness
of men's words will become perfectly clear?

Our opening verse tells us to take
heed how we hear for how we hear will
determine what we get to keep and what
will get taken away from us. There are
a million words out there and to try
to hear them all will end up in our
doing justice to none of them and
most certainly missing God and all
He intends for us.

We have to listen for God's Voice. We have
to quiet our hearts and shut off the
noise. And we have to move ourselves
away from the lethargy of lazy hearing.
For hearing demands more than just mental
acknowledgement, it demands obedience. And
we cannot obey two or three or three million
masters. It is Christ Alone we are meant to

Hearing God means that I listen for Him
above all others. It means I shut out
the noise and voices of the world to
listen to God alone. It also means that
I act on what I hear. Jesus says, "those
who love me, obey me," (John 14:23). There
is no system breakdown between hearing and
then doing. May it always be so with us.
May we truly block out the noise of the
world and listen for the Voice of our Lord.
Silence isn't just golden, its godly.

(more to come)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Standing Alone: T. Austin Sparks

Standing Alone

There are people who can move in crowds,
and who will act when they have others
supporting and encouraging them, but many
fade out when it is a case of facing this
tremendous thing alone. Superior greatness
is shown by taking personal responsibility
whether others do so or not.

Superior greatness is willingness to stand
for what God has revealed as His will, though
we have to stand alone. It may be one against
many, there may be a considerable amount of
aloneness, but that is where the test of our
spiritual measure comes in, in initiative and
responsibility that does not wait for an
organization to come into being to deal with
the situation, but makes it a personal matter
—and a thorough-going one, too.

T. Austin-Sparks

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Stranger and A Pilgrim: A.W.Tozer on True Spiritual Fellowship

“The man who has passed on into the divine
Presence in actual inner experience will
not find many who understand him.

A certain amount of social fellowship will
of course be his as he mingles with religious
persons in regular activities of the church,
but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find.

But he should not expect things to be otherwise.

After all, he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and
the journey he takes is not on his feet but in
his heart. He walks with God in the garden of
his own soul, and who but God can walk there with him?

He is of another spirit from the multitudes that
tread the courts of the Lord’s house. He has seen
that of which they have only heard, and he walks
among them somewhat as Zacharias walked after his
return from the altar when the people whispered,
“He has seen a vision.”

The spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity.
He lives not for himself but to promote the interests
of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all
to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself.
He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour
glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his
Lord promoted and himself neglected.

He finds few who care to talk about that which is
the supreme object of his interest, so he is often
silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy
religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation
of being dull and over serious, so he is avoided and
the gulf between him and society widens.

He searches for friends upon whose garments he can
detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out
of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he,
like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God.

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the
Lord will take me up.”

His inability to find human companionship drives him
to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He
learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned
in the crowd; that Christ is All in All, that He is made
unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and
redemption, that in Him we have and possess life’s summum bonum.

The Saint Must Walk Alone, by A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Waiting at the Posts of God's Door

"Blessed is the man that heareth me,
watching daily at my gates, waiting
at the posts of my doors. "
Proverbs 8:34

photo taken in Abergavenny, Wales

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Real Faith in the Real World

"Beware the piety that denies the natural life,
it is a fraud. We can all shine in the sun, but
Jesus wants us to shine where there is no sun,
where it is dark with the press of practical
things."--Oswald Chambers

Devotions From the Heart: If We Say

by Derek Gitsham

"If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the
truth." 1 John 1:6

The interesting phrase ‘if we say’ is used by
John in this Epistle seven times. He is forcing
the readers to confess either the truth or a lie.
‘If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk
in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.’ John
is clearly saying that it is impossible to have
fellowship and live contrary to that fellowship.

So important is this concept of fellowship to
John that he believes that living outside of a
close relationship with God can and will have
devastating results in the believer. Walking
in darkness is not possible to the man who is
in union with the Lord. This is good news to
the saint. Fellowshipping with the Lord is a
power in the believer’s life that will cause
him to be watching and praying, and keeping
his eyes on the Lord in everyday matters.
Billy Graham said years ago that he never
began a day without fellowshipping with the
Lord, for it affected everything that he did
during that day.

In the first chapter of this Epistle, the
third verse, John says that he is declaring
all he has seen and heard, that those he was
writing to might have fellowship with him.
Then he writes that ‘our fellowship is with
the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.’
He is not saying that he is fellow shipping
separately with the Father and Jesus, but
that he is in fellowship with the Father
and the Son together in Their fellowship.

What a marvel that is! The Father and the Son
have been in union together forever. Their
fellowship has been unbroken until the Cross.
Hence the reason Jesus cried out, ‘Father, Father
why hast Thou forsaken me.’ The fellowship had
been broken for the sole purpose of bringing us
all into Their fellowship, but in so doing broke
the heart of Jesus at the Cross, resulting in
His death.

A tremendous price has been paid for
us to be in union with the Father and the Son.
It behooves us to do all within our power to
maintain this relationship. Without it we will
surely walk in darkness and go back into sin.
The Lord help us all to achieve this end.