Tuesday, February 24, 2009
1. Am I storing up treasures here or in heaven...if I could see my "heavenly bank account" what would it look like and would I be ashamed or excited
2. Are my works from the flesh or are they of the Spirit...will my works be consumed as straw, hay and wood...even with the best of intentions.
One man who's life exemplifies a surrendered life full of faith, devotion and singleness to Christ and His will is Rees Howells. Rees was born in South Wales October 10, 1879 and was always a good boy. As a youngster he loved to be in church "under the influence of God." When he was 22, he left Wales for America with the ambition to see the world and make money.
When he got to America, he got a job with his cousin Evan Lewis and continued living the religious life he had lived in Wales. Thus when his cousin asked him one day if he was ‘born again,’ he was miffed. "My life is as good as yours," he said.
However over the next weeks, his cousin kept at him. After a time of seeking, an illness and hearing the testimony of a converted Jew, he saw himself for the sinner he was, and personally received Jesus into his life.
Shortly after he returned to Wales in 1904, the Welsh revival broke out. He became involved in it and worked at discipling new converts. However, he and his friends sensed spiritual needs in their own lives. And so in the summer of 1906 they spent their summer holiday at the Llandrindod Wells convention (a Welsh equivalent to the English Keswick Conference) where Howells made a pivotal decision.
From the first meeting, Howells was deeply moved. The realization dawned on him that the Holy Spirit was a person, and not an ‘influence.’ In his words:
He said to me, "As the Savior had a body, so I dwell in the cleansed temple of the believer. I am a Person. I am God, and I am come to ask you to give your body to Me that I may work through it. I need a body for my temple but it must belong to Me without reserve for two persons with different wills can never live in the same body. Will you give me yours? But if I come in, I come as God, and you must go out. I shall not mix Myself with your self."
This precipitated a five-day struggle in Mr. Howells. From the first, he realized it was an unconditional surrender, of which he said:
"I had received a sentence of death, as really as a prisoner in the dock. I had lived in my body for twenty-six years, and could I easily give it up....I wept for days. I lost seven pounds....Nothing is more real to me than the process I went through for that whole week. The Holy Spirit went on dealing with me, exposing the root of my nature which was self, and you can only get out of a thing what is in its root. Sin was canceled, and it wasn’t sin He was dealing with; it was self..."
Some of the things he came to a point of surrender over:
1. His love of money: "The Lord told him that He would take out of his nature all taste for money and any ambition for the ownership of money."
2. His choice in making a home: "I saw I could never give my life to another person, to live to that one alone.
3. His ambition:"Supposing he had a mission in a town and another mission opened in the same place; if there was jealousy between the two, and it was better for the town only to have one, then it would be his which would have to go."
4. His right to a good reputation: "As he was thinking of men of the Bible who were full of the Holy Ghost, and particularly John the Baptist, the Lord said to him, "Then I may live through you the kind of life I lived through them."
Finally on Friday of that week he came through this crisis experience.
The book, Rees Howells - Intercessor, continues with stories of how God worked through this man teaching him faith and intercession as he prayed for the sick, prayed for the salvation of friends and acquaintances, gave up raising his own son to work as a missionary, traveled without any money in his pocket, bought estates, established a Bible school, and prayed for international events, especially during the World War II. And all the while God also continued to deal with his self-life.
Does this ring familiar to you? I wonder if it isn’t on exactly this issue – the surrender of the self-life to the Holy Spirit – that we who have come to Jesus are most radically sifted. It determines whether we grow or remain stunted, are useful to God or are set aside from getting His assignments because of our own agendas, will someday see our life’s efforts last or burn up.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
"Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1
"Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put." Oswald Chambers
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We are like Peter in many ways...denying our Lord to others, even though we know they are bound for eternal torment in hell. Or we are still living in the flesh and ready to cut the ear off the first person that disagrees or desecrates our faith. Too many times this is the picture of me, and although I cling to my Saviors long suffering, I know I greatly deserve His discipline.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This statement of Jesus was pointed right to the religious people of the day, the Pharisees. But before we are ready to pass judgment on them let's look at what they were like and the similarities to the religious people of today.
The Pharisees were:
- The conservatives of the day...they were fundamental in their theology
- They believed in the infallibility of the Torah (First five books of our Old Testament)
- They believed in angels and expected the supernatural
- They believed in the resurrection of the dead
- They believed in blood atonement
- They were evangelistic in their zeal...they were so successful converting people from hedonism to Judaism that when the plans for the temple of Herod they had to greatly enlarge Court of the Prostlelyte because of the great numbers that converted
- They were missionary in their fervor...it was said they would circle the world for just one convert...because they believed their was only one truth and one faith
- They were pre-millennial in their hope, they were looking for the personal, bodily, eminent coming of the Messiah
- They were devout in their practice...fasting 2 days per week with even some not swallowing their own spit from sunrise to sunset
- They prayed 3 times per day with the shortest of their prayers being 10-12 minutes...and not all prayed on the street corner but many prayed in their prayer closets
- They observed all of the dietary laws and feasts
- They were giving and most gave 30% of their income
They were fundamental in theology, evangelistic in zeal, missionary in fervor, pre-millennial in their hope, devout in their practice and many were sincere and earnest in what they knew, taught and practice.
Yet Jesus said that they were unwilling to come to Him for life. How many of us are so sincere in our desire to do for God that we miss the truth of Jesus? Are we ready to come to Him, daily feasting on the bread of life and allowing the overflow of Him to light the world? Or are we like the Pharisees, ready to do everything we can for God by our own power?
Are we ready to be fully consecrated to the Lord, forsaking everything for His name sake? Or are we still holding back, still making provisions for the flesh and sin and in doing so not coming to Him for life, even if we are avid church goers. How many of us want the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives but still rule and reign our own lives...still in essence being our own gods? Oh, that we would come to Jesus not willingly holding anything back - Because He is Worthy.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The question remains...do you trust and obey, which is an outpouring of our belief, in the Word of God? If so step back for one moment and ponder a few truths in light of how you daily live your life.
Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being...
Without God every molecule of the universe would deflate and life would cease to exist. Yet how many of us believe this as truth but live our lives as if it is not paramount. How so you ask...
- Are we tied to our bank accounts or jobs for our sense of security?
- Are we easily flustered when our plans and budgets seem to not be on target?
- Do we trust God to take care of our daily needs or do we trust man to do so?
- Are we easily angered when our "security" or money is taken away from us?
- When a "tragedy" befalls our lives, like a sickness or unforeseen financial burden, do we immediately get anxious or do we trust that God is allowing or even doing something to purify our faith or make us a vessel for blessing
Despite our American way of life and us having a right to security, which was just a mirage in the distance and actually never existed, are we not just fragile sheep ready to flee at the first sign of danger?. Sept 11 and now our "global financial crisis" are chipping away at anything that we think can give us security...and that is a good thing. Christians need not be anxious but gleefully looking to their Lord and Saviour to be used as a blessing. Oh how much wasted time and energy we spend on such fruitless deeds when all along we could have been resting in the Lord and His goodness.
Php 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Am I willing to have God and God alone as my only source of security? Am I willing to rely upon Him and trust Him, by faith and not sight, because He is worthy to be trusted and obeyed? Am I living as if I have been crucified (Gal 6:14)to the worlds ways of getting security and now living in my Lords ways (Mat 6:25) or am I just a proud little rat running in the worlds system?
Since so many liked the previous video...I find this one to be very moving
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I Repent by Derek Webb
i repent of my pursuit of America's dream
i repent of living like i deserve anything
my house, my fence, my kids, and my wife in our suburb
where we're safe and white i am wrong
and of these things i repent
i repent of parading my liberty
i repent of paying for what i get for free
the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent i repent
judging by a law that even i can't keep
wearin righteousness like a disguise to see through
the planks in my own eyes
i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
of caring more of what they think than what i know of what they need
and domesticating You until You look just like me
i am wrong and of these things i repent
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Do I want to come to Him for life? The answer is a resounding YES! But that is not the essence of the question...the question must be addressed as "Are you willing?" From a intellectual level the answer is easy but as we might see how that would radically change our lives the question is much more profound.
As the Lord has worked in my life, let me give you a couple of questions just on the point of significance. Most of us receive a feeling of significance from the worlds system and from one another. Christ came to do away with that and to "crucify us to the world" (Gal 6:14) yet our body and souls have become so accustomed to living off the world and others that it has become a de facto frame of reference. Am I willing daily to (Luk 9:23):
- Die to the love of human praise...looking for a compliment, a secret fondness to be noticed, a drawing attention to self in conversation, a desire to be noticed because of my intellect, my clothing, my new __________
- Die to any sense of pride... an exalted feeling in view of success or position, pride because of the intellect and/or appearance, because of natural (God given) gifts and abilities, to the rights of your opinion being exalted (even if it is correct)
- Die to any self will...a sense of "I have the right to run my life", an unyielding headstrong disposition, a disposition to pick flaws especially when set aside and unnoticed
Also, Am I willing to Live totally off of Christ as He did off the Father (John 17:21)
- Am I willing to live despised and forsaken by men (Isa 53:3)
- Am I willing to have no place to lay my head (Mat 8:20)
- Am I willing to be hated to the point of men desiring to kill me (John 8:59)
- Am I willing to miss lunch to bring the gospel to the woman at the well (John 4)
- Am I willing to have even my closest friends and family reject me for His sake (Luk 14:26)
- Am I willing to stand in the gap and intercede (Num 14:19) even when people are cursing me and God
If I am not willing to live like Jesus then somewhere within my heart I am saying that I deserve better then my Saviour! Oh that we would be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and allow us to see ourselves in light of the Holiness of God and the wickedness of man.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Just as Adam and Eve in the garden desired to be their own gods, thus rejecting the rule of God in disobedience to His only direct command, we too love being our own gods. Walking in the Spirit is an outright surrender to the rule and reign of God and a simultaneous giving up of every right that we have in ruling our own lives. The ironic thing is that we really do not have any rights apart from a Sovereign God and need Him for even our most base existence.
Jesus taught that it was impossible for us to serve two masters and the life of the carnal man is a picture of this struggle. As much as I would like to go on with this post I think I will end it today and pick it up tomorrow...but I will allow Oswald Chambers to so eloquently and succinctly state the point I am attempting to get across.
Feb 6 - Are you ready to be poured out as an offering 2Tim 4:6 - Are you ready to be poured out as an offering? It is an act of your will, not your emotions. Tell God you are ready to be offered as a sacrifice for Him. Then accept the consequences as they come, without any complaints, in spite of what God may send your way. God sends you through a crisis in private, where no other person can help you. From the outside your life may appear to be the same, but the difference is taking place in your will. Once you have experienced the crisis in your will, you will take no thought of the cost when it begins to affect you externally. If you don’t deal with God on the level of your will first, the result will be only to arouse sympathy for yourself.
"Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar" ( Psalm 118:27 ). You must be willing to be placed on the altar and go through the fire; willing to experience what the altar represents-burning, purification, and separation for only one purpose-the elimination of every desire and affection not grounded in or directed toward God. But you don’t eliminate it, God does. You "bind the sacrifice . . . to the horns of the altar" and see to it that you don’t wallow in self-pity once the fire begins. After you have gone through the fire, there will be nothing that will be able to trouble or depress you. When another crisis arises, you will realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What fire lies ahead in your life?
Tell God you are ready to be poured out as an offering, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
We must die to self
We are called by Jesus to self-denial.[Mark 8:34] Our self-life has died with Him. We must now agree to this. We must, as it were, sign our own death sentence. We must choose to dethrone self. It is only as we are united with Christ's death in the spirit of faith that we are cut off from the corrupting power of the self-life.
It has been said: "We are so addicted to self, so wrapped up in self, so entwined with self, so infatuated with self, that our spiritual natures cannot be centred in God in a deep union of love, without a violent contradiction of our old natures. This is the secret of the cross. It does violence to corrupt human nature. It slays the old life." (FJ Huegel)
We must die daily to all self-righteousness, self-seeking, self-pity, self-justification, self-esteem, and every other self-glorying manifestation of the self-centered flesh.
We must "lose our lives" in order to find them.
Jesus said that only as we were willing to lose our lives could we save them and become His servants.[John 12:25] He spoke of the "corn of wheat" which must fall into the ground and die in order to germinate and produce growth and harvest.[John 12:24]
He thus spoke of His need, and our need, to die on the cross. Every vestige of our old self-motivated natural life must be "lost". Those things which we have counted as gain to us, we must count as loss in order to win Christ. Such "gains" may include our culture, our upbringing, our attainments.
Crucifying the flesh and the world
Those who belong to Christ Jesus must crucify the self-centred flesh with its desires.[Gal 5:24] Only when this is done can the individual soul and the church of Jesus flourish.
We must not "love the world or the things of the world",[1 John 2:15] nor must we have "prides of life".[1 John 2:16] We are to "boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world is crucified to us and we to the world".[Gal 6:14] We are no longer of the world's spirit, but of the Spirit of God.
The dying of Jesus in our bodies
Living the crucified life means we absorb pressure, accept opposition, face disappointment and fellowship with Jesus in His sufferings. This is the "dying of Jesus" in our bodies.[2 Cor 4:10] And as we share the wounds of Jesus, life flows from us.[2 Cor 4:12]
We must "will" to die
So many Christians, after baptism, forget to use their will to stay dead, buried and living with Jesus. No wonder there are many backsliders. As we continue "living the crucified life", we are "alive to God" and will "walk in the Spirit",[Gal 5:25] enjoying the victorious life of Jesus.
This song below comes from a group out of the UK called the Modern Jesus Army and it is a bit different then most of the stuff you will here on your local Christian Radio Station but I think it sums up this post well...some of the lyrics are:
I want to die to my flesh, to all envy and pride,
To lose my old self, live with You crucified,
To be dead to this dark world's enticement and charm,
To the old sins and habits which do me much harm.
I want to die, I want to die,
I want to die, I want to die.
I want to live in Your life, I want to stay in Your will,
To go through the struggles, endure with You still.
Old things which seemed gain to me, counting as loss.
All filled with the Spirit, I live through the cross.
I want to live, I want to live,
I want to live, I want to live.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This is the guard in all truth and all faith. Salvation isn't from a person only, it is, but salvation is a person. David saw this in Psalm 27:1"The Lord is my light and my salvation;" again we have it: 1John 5:12 "He that hath the son, hath life, life is in the son, he that hath not the son shall see life but the wrath of God abideth upon him." You understand therefore, that salvation is Christ. He is our light, He is our salvation. He didn't die to send it, He died to become it and He isn't just some Savior because He's in heaven,He has to be in you.
Col 1:27 God wanted to make known to those among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 1:28 We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
As Paul says it is Christ in us and that we proclaim Him. Everything and anything is Christ and all should, can and will be counted as nothing for the glorious riches of knowing Him. Why not make that day today?
Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,