Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Profound Spiritual Experience From The Life of D.L. Moody

“As Dwight Moody walked the streets of New York seeking funds for rebuilding the religious facilities of Chicago [after the great Chicago fire], he admitted, ‘My heart was not in the work of begging.  I could not appeal.  I was crying all the time that God would fill me with his Spirit.’  Moody was so burned out that nothing else really mattered.  He said that ‘it did not seem as if there were any unction resting on my ministry.’  He had endured almost four months of intense spiritual agony.  ‘God seemed to be just showing me myself.  I found I was ambitious; I was not preaching for Christ; I was preaching for ambition.  I found everything in my heart that ought not to be there.  For four months a wrestling went on in me.  I was a miserable man.’

But suddenly, ‘after four months the anointing came.  It came upon me as I was walking in the streets of New York.’  The Holy Spirit came upon Moody in great force while he was walking down Wall Street.  All of a sudden nothing was important except to be alone with the Lord.  He went as fast as he could to the residence of a New York friend and asked for a room to pray in.

‘Ah, what a day!  I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name.  Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years.  I can only say God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.'”

Lyle W. Dorsett, A Passion For Souls: The Life of D. L. Moody (Chicago, 1997), page 156.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

E.M. Bounds on Daily Prayer

“True prayers are born of present trials and present needs. Bread for today is bread enough. Bread given for today is the strongest sort of pledge that there will be bread tomorrow. Victory today is the assurance of victory tomorrow. Our prayers need to be focused upon the present. We must trust God today, and leave the morrow entirely with Him. The present is ours; the future belongs to God. Prayer is the task and duty of each recurring day -- daily prayer for daily needs.” 
― E.M. Bounds

When we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today. We do not seek tomorrow's grace or tomorrow's bread. They thrive best, and get most out of life, who live in the living present. They pray best who pray for today's needs, not for tomorrow's, which may render our prayers unnecessary and redundant by not existing at all!” 
― E.M. Bounds

Friday, May 15, 2015

Praying In Secret By Andrew Murray

'Pray to thy Father which is in secret.’  God is a God who hides Himself to the carnal eye.  As long as in our worship of God we are chiefly occupied with our own thoughts and exercises, we shall not meet Him who is a Spirit, the unseen One.  But to the man who withdraws himself from all that is of the world and man, and prepares to wait upon God alone, the Father will reveal Himself.  As he forsakes and gives up and shuts out the world, and the life of the world, and surrenders himself to be led of Christ into the secret of God’s presence, the light of the Father’s love will rise upon him. 

 The secrecy of the inner chamber and the closed door, the entire separation from all around us, is an image of, and so a help to that inner spiritual sanctuary, the secret of God’s tabernacle, within the veil, where our spirit truly comes into contact with the Invisible One.  And so we are taught, at the very outset of our search after the secret of effectual prayer, to remember that it is in the inner chamber, where we are alone with the Father, that we shall learn to pray aright.  The Father is in secret:  in these words Jesus teaches us where He is waiting us, where He is always to be found. 

 Christians often complain that private prayer is not what it should be.  They feel weak and sinful, the heart is cold and dark; it is as if they have so little to pray, and in that little no faith or joy.  They are discouraged and kept from prayer by the thought that they cannot come to the Father as they ought or as they wish.  Child of God!  listen to your Teacher.  He tells you that when you go to private prayer your first thought must be:  The Father is in secret, the Father waits me there. 

 Just because your heart is cold and prayerless, get you into the presence of the loving Father.  As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth you.  Do not be thinking of how little you have to bring God, but of how much He wants to give you.  Just place yourself before, and look up into, His face; think of His love, His wonderful, tender, pitying love.  Just tell Him how sinful and cold and dark all is:  it is the Father’s loving heart will give light and warmth to yours. 

 O do what Jesus says:  Just shut the door, and pray to thy Father which is in secret.  Is it not wonderful?  to be able to go alone with God, the infinite God.  And then to look up and say:  My Father!

‘And thy Father, which seeth in secret, will recompense thee.’  Here Jesus assures us that secret prayer cannot be fruitless:  its blessing will show itself in our life.  We have but in secret, alone with God, to entrust our life before men to Him; He will reward us openly; He will see to it that the answer to prayer be made manifest in His blessing upon us. 

 Our Lord would thus teach us that as infinite Fatherliness and Faithfulness is that with which God meets us in secret, so on our part there should be the childlike simplicity of faith, the confidence that our prayer does bring down a blessing. 

 ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.’  Not on the strong or the fervent feeling with which I pray does the blessing of the closet depend, but upon the love and the power of the Father to whom I there entrust my needs.  And therefore the Master has but one desire:  

Remember your Father is, and sees and hears in secret; go there and stay there, and go again from there in the confidence:  He will recompense.  Trust Him for it; depend upon Him:  prayer to the Father cannot be vain; He will reward you openly. Still further to confirm this faith in the Father-love of God, Christ speaks a third word:  ‘Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.’  

At first sight it might appear as if this thought made prayer less needful:  God knows far better than we what we need.  But as we get a deeper insight into what prayer really is, this truth will help much to strengthen our faith.  It will teach us that we do not need, as the heathen, with the multitude and urgency of our words, to compel an unwilling God to listen to us.  

It will lead to a holy thoughtfulness and silence in prayer as it suggests the question:  Does my Father really know that I need this?  It will, when once we have been led by the Spirit to the certainty that our request is indeed something that, according to the Word, we do need for God’s glory, give us wonderful confidence to say, My Father knows I need it and must have it. 

 And if there be any delay in the answer, it will teach us in quiet perseverance to hold on:  FATHER!  THOU KNOWEST I need it.  O the blessed liberty and simplicity of a child that Christ our Teacher would fain cultivate in us, as we draw near to God:  let us look up to the Father until His Spirit works it in us.  

Let us sometimes in our prayers, when we are in danger of being so occupied with our fervent, urgent petitions, as to forget that the Father knows and hears, let us hold still and just quietly say:  My Father sees, my Father hears, my Father knows; it will help our faith to take the answer, and to say:  We know that we have the petitions we have asked of Him. (Taken from the book, "With Christ In The School Of Prayer")

Monday, May 11, 2015

Unseen Realities: Part 2 (Spiritual Warfare)

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 ESV)

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

Jesus Christ came into the world as a human being to destroy the works of the devil. He, being fully God and fully man was and is the only qualified person to take back that which Satan had stolen from mankind. The cosmic battle in the spiritual realm was won by the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. His Kingdom is active in the world today although not fully seen or understood at his time. When he returns to the earth he will take over. At that time he will lock Satan away, and restore the earth back like it was before the fall of Adam and Eve.

Until the return of Christ we are engaged in a life and death struggle with Satan and his demonic hordes. These unseen forces are behind  all of the evil throughout the history of the world. As followers of Jesus we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb (Christ death and resurrection), by the  word of our testimony (Scripture), and we love not our lives unto death (sacrificial living).

Prayer and God's word are weapons we use to defeat Satan's lies and false religions and ideologies, that he uses to keep people in spiritual darkness. Without the belief in the absolute truth of Jesus and his gospel, Satan uses his lies to build demonically inspired strongholds in the minds of people. The devil's strategy has always been to cast doubt on the Word of God. When people change the meaning of Scripture to suit their lifestyles, they have fallen prey to the powers of darkness.

The question we must ask ourselves is: Do we really believe in the authority of the Bible, and if we do will we place ourselves under it? - Bobby

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Salvation Sufficient for All by Richard Trader

Sir Robert Anderson, in the preface of his book, Forgotten Truths, wrote these words: "In the early years of my Christian life I was greatly perplexed and distressed by the supposition that the plain and simple words of such Scriptures as John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:6 were not true, save in a cryptic sense understood only by the initiated. For, I was told, the over-shadowing truth of Divine sovereignty in election barred our taking them literally. But half a century ago a friend of those days (the late Dr. Horatius Bonar) delivered me from this strangely prevalent error. He taught me that truths may seem to us irreconcilable only because our finite minds cannot understand the Infinite; and we must never allow our faulty apprehension of the eternal counsels of God to hinder unquestioning faith in the words of Holy Scripture."

Sir Robert Anderson warned of those who teach that the atonement of Christ crucified is not sufficient for the salvation of all mankind.  He gave three examples in John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, and 1 Timothy 2:6. A literal interpretation of these verses makes it clear beyond question that the death of Jesus Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all people.

John 3:16 teaches that God loves the world. That is God's common grace appearing to all mankind. A distinction must be made, however, between God's common love for all and God's covenant love for the church, which includes all born again believers (Ephesians 5:25). Those who are born again experience God's love in their hearts (Romans 5:5). God's love is for all, however, God's salvation is efficient only for believers.

1 John 2:2 teaches that Christ crucified is an atonement sufficient to save all mankind, "the whole world." To deny this is to deny the plain and clear understanding of Holy Scripture. The atonement of Jesus Christ once again is declared sufficient for sinners everywhere. However, once again it is efficient to save from wrath only those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:36).

1 Timothy 2:6 makes it clear that Christ gave himself as a "ransom for all." While some teachers interpret this to mean all the elect, that is not what the text states. Here we find a ransom sufficient for all mankind. God's will of command is for all people everywhere to repent, turning by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 17:30; 1 Timothy 2:4). However, the ransom is only efficient for all who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is an atonement sufficient for all and efficient only to save believers? Sufficiency is about the value of the atonement. The blood of Jesus Christ is unlimited in value to save to the uttermost all who believe in Him. The efficiency of the atonement is certain to save God's people by grace through faith, in Christ alone.