Monday, June 08, 2015

Hope After The Fall

...therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:23-24 ESV)

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive

(1 Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV)

Sin is not a popular subject in western society today, but the weight of it has been felt by everyone who has ever lived. As a result of their rebellion against God, and the authority of his word, Adam and Eve were driven from God's unhindered presence that they had enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. The result of the fall that plunged the human race into sin has been catastrophic. All human beings who have ever lived have been marred by the sin of our first parents. We are the image bearers of God, but we have been spiritually disfigured by the fall. In fact the Bible says that we are spiritually dead apart from Christ. The fall plunged the whole planet into spiritual darkness.

Sickness, broken relationships, disease, wars, natural disasters, and calamities of all sorts are the results of the rebellion of Adam and Eve. Many of us think that we are pretty good people. But apart from Christ we are lost without hope for eternity. The gravity of our hopeless situation called for extreme measures. Since God is just, and cannot tolerate sin, he had to send his sinless son to take the death penalty that we all deserved. Because we all inherited Adam and Eve's sinful nature.

Our rebellion cost the Son of God his life. The consequences of this great catastrophe that our first parents thrust upon the earth had to be atoned for. The good news is that Jesus' death has triumphed over evil, and he has been raised from the dead, and rules in Heaven. Those who have turned from sin (which is an ongoing process) trusted in, and are followers of Christ, will only face natural death, but not eternal separation from God. Jesus tasted death for everyone (Heb.2:9) so that we can be eternally with him, so that we can be joined back to the Father and live in his all satisfying presence forever. - Bobby

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")