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Saturday, November 30, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 33

He That Hath Understanding, Let Him Calculate the Number of the Beast (continued)

Remember, as Christ gives us the command to calculate at once the number of the name of the beast, He first says, "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding ..." Thus, in calculating the number of the name of the beast, whose name is "blasphemy," Wisdom and understanding are irrevocably linked. The word "understanding" is sometimes translated "mind" in our Bibles; however, the Greek word "nous" has a much fuller meaning than our words "understanding" and "mind."

In Revelation 13:18 and 17:9, the words "understanding" or "mind" indicate thought, reasoning, perception, mind and understanding; thus, as it is used in these scriptures, "understanding" is  "the thought and the reasoning that takes place in the mind, which leads to understanding," and this "understanding" is the outcome of Christ being "made unto us Wisdom." And Christ is made unto us Wisdom because of the Work He accomplished upon His Cross.

The first time this word "understanding" (nouse) is used in the New Testament confirms that this "understanding" is only possible through the work of the Cross. In Luke, chapter 24, we find many of the wondrous things that took place immediately following the Cross, and the Resurrection of Christ; and in Luke 24:25, we find that Christ opened [fully opened, opened effectually, thoroughly opened] the "understanding" of His followers so that they might understand the scriptures concerning Himself.

Beloved, when the Lord appeared to these disciples He found those who had been devastated by His Cross; all their hopes, ambitions, and future plans had died with Him. Thus, His Cross had begun to do its work in their lives. And what was the result of this devastating work of His Cross: He opened their "understanding" concerning Himself. It is because of ALL that Christ accomplished upon His Cross, that Christ is made unto us Wisdom; and it is because of the work of the Cross in our lives that He opens our "understanding" concerning Himself. And in the measure that we "progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him," in the measure that we recognize, perceive, and have "understanding of the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly," in that measure we will have "understanding" of that which is antichrist. In other words, in the measure that we come to know Christ in Fullness through the work of the Cross in our lives, that is the measure we will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to "understanding" that which is according to Christ, and that which is not according to Christ.

Therefore, we see that the Cross is the essential factor, if we are going to be able to "count" the number of the beast; and the Holy Spirit draws our attention to this again when He uses the word "count" in Revelation 13:18. The word calculate or "count" means "to compute, to reckon, to calculate"; however, in order to understand what the Holy Spirit means when He tells us to calculate, we need to grasp what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He used the word "count" in relation to discerning that which is antichrist. As far as we can determine, the Holy Spirit only uses this exact word for "count" one other time in the New Testament, and that is in Luke 14:28. In Luke 14:27-29, we find the real significance of the word "count", for the word "count" is irrevocably linked with those who take up the cross and follow the Lord.

So by using the word "count" or "calculate" in Revelation 13:18, the Holy Spirit indicates that there is great cost in calculating the number of the beast; and in Revelation 15:2 and 20:4, we find this confirmed, because those who overcome the beast laid down their lives, denied their self and followed Christ [lost sight of their self and their own interest], and if need by, they laid down their very physical lives, and they did this "because of the Word of God and because of the Testimony of Jesus."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 34 - "Let Him That Hath Understanding Calculate At Once ..." )

Abide in Prayer

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Real prayer results are the result of abiding. The flesh squirms while still, but the spirit longs for stillness. It is in these protracted moments of silent prayer that saints of God see God. A rushed prayer time is like running to catch a subway, out of breath with only a blur in the background. But a person who abides in prayer breathes the clean air of Christ. They are not pushed to check their quiet time box for the day. They trust all will get done in God’s timing. Faith abides in prayer.

Yes, the Lord fills with faith the spiritual lungs of those who sit still and breathe in His goodness.  His Holy Spirit energizes your being when you are quiet before your Heavenly Father. An eternal exchange of spiritual stamina takes place when you place yourself in the holy presence of Almighty God. You get to know Him and He affirms you as His child. His goodness and grace spills over into your heart when you are silent before Him. He blesses your soul for being still!

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

Moreover, Christ commands us to stop doing and start being. We fail to obey Jesus when we fail to stop and listen to His heart. Obedience to stop leads to faith to start. So, we enjoy our Savior in stillness and He reveals His sweet Spirit. His Spirit of love softens our heart. His Spirit of generosity opens our hands to give. His Spirit of grace gives us patience in our relationships. His Spirit of holiness keeps us pure in our motives. His Spirit of forgiveness frees us from retaliation.

Most of all, as we abide in prayer, we know He is God. He is God our Creator who formed us in our mother’s womb, who gave us our unique looks, giftedness and personality. Because He knows us best, He knows what’s best. As we abide in prayer we know He owns us, because He bought us by the precious blood of His son Jesus. Christ is in us and we are in Christ. Since we are His servants, we want to follow our Master. We abide in prayer to know God’s heart for us.

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17, NKJV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, my heart yearns to abide with You in prayer. Give me the faith to be still with You.

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 4:35; 1 Kings 18:39; Isaiah 43:11; John 15:4-9; Mark 6:46

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Friday, November 29, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 32

He That Hath Understanding, Let Him Calculate the Number of the Beast

So we see that satan's primary goal is to counterfeit the True Lamb of God, and the work He has accomplished. This is blasphemy. We have seen that the name of the beast, that the name of that which is antichrist, is blasphemy: "And upon his [the beast's] heads the name of blasphemy" (Revelation 13:1). And we have been given the command: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count [at once] the number of the beast [the number of the name of it]: for it is the number of a man [or of man]; and his (its) number is six hundred and sixty-six - 666" (Revelation 13:18; Revelation 15:2).

The Lord introduces this command by stating, "Here is Wisdom"; and these three words indicate that calculating the number of the name of the beast, the number of that which is antichrist, will be difficult, but not impossible. Then the Lord commands, "Let him that hath understanding count"; and in linking the words, "Wisdom" and "understanding," the Lord is revealing those, the overcomers, who are enabled by the Holy Spirit to calculate the number of the beast. He reveals those who will know that which is truly of Christ, and who will know that which is antichrist.

In the Book of Revelation, the word "wisdom" is used four times, Revelation 5:12; 7:12; 13:18; 17:9. Two times "wisdom" is attributed unto the Lamb, and unto God, and two times it is used in the discernment of that which is antichrist. In Revelation 5:12 and 7:12, we find all those who dwell in the heavenly realm, and all those who, throughout the ages, have come out of great tribulation, worshiping, honoring and adoring the Lamb of God, which hath prevailed: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing" (5:12).

Then in Revelation 13:18, and in 17:9, "wisdom" is used in connection with "understanding" the number of the name of the beast, it is used in "understanding" that which is antichrist. It is important to see that in both of these scriptures, "wisdom" and "understanding" are designedly linked by the Holy Spirit, for here is the key to our being able to calculate the number of the beast. First of all, we know that Christ is the Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24; Proverbs 8:14-22); and we know that "by His [God's] doing you [we] are in Christ Jesus, Who [because we are in Him] became to us Wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). So just as we can do nothing to earn our redemption, we can also do nothing to earn, or learn, the Wisdom of God; for Wisdom is a gift from God, it is a gift of His grace which is given to us, and energized in us, by the Holy Spirit Himself. The wisdom of God is as vast  and as full as Christ Himself; but for now, we want to look at two of the very important reasons that Christ "became to us Wisdom from God."

1. Ephesians 1:17 tells us that we have been granted a spirit of wisdom and revelation, we have been granted "The Wisdom that is from above" (James 3:17), in order that we may thoroughly, accurately, and intimately know Christ, that we may have a full knowledge of Christ, and of that which is according to Christ: "[for I always pray] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation - of insight into mysteries and secrets - in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him".

2. Then, we also find that Christ "became to us Wisdom from God" in order that we might fully understand that which is antichrist, that which is against Christ, that which is not according to Christ: "Here is Wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count [at once] the number of the best [the number of the name of it]; for it is the number of a man [or of man]; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six - 666" (Revelation 13:18; 15:2).

Beloved, since "Christ Jesus ... is made unto us Wisdom," why is it that so many Christians do not have an adequate apprehension of Christ? And why is it that so many Christians do not discern nor have understanding of that which is antichrist?

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 33)

Genuine Repentance



 
Because we desire to be more like Jesus, we make resolutions, ask Him to help us, and try to behave differently. Yet despite our best efforts to do things God's way, we slide back into old habits. Frustrated, we may ask Him, "Why can't I change?" The reason is, overcoming sinful attitudes and behaviors starts with genuine repentance, which has three aspects.
 
Conviction. The Holy Spirit will reveal the areas in which we've sinned and convict us of wrongdoing. Through Scripture, the Spirit shows us God's standard and what needs to change. Repentance begins with understanding where we have gone astray.
 
Contrition. The next step--grieving over our iniquity--is followed by confession to the Lord. Genuine sorrow arises from the knowledge that we've sinned against Him. In contrast, human unhappiness often comes from being caught misbehaving. Other times we are miserable because of where our choices led us, or feel shame that people know about our sin. True contrition is followed by humble confession.
 
Commitment to act.  Real repentance is complete when we wholeheartedly pledge to turn from our old behavior and move toward righteous ways. God knows we won't live perfectly, but He looks for a surrendered heart that diligently seeks to obey Him.
 
Paul used strong language when telling us to turn from iniquity: "Put to death... whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Col. 3:5 niv). What sin are you struggling to overcome? Have you genuinely repented, committing to turn from it permanently? Let the Holy Spirit empower you to change.

~Charles Stanley~

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 31

"If Anyone Has An Ear, Let Him Hear" (continued)

You know, beloved, because of the world spirit which has been allowed to prevail in the church, it has been the history of most of what is called "Christianity" to follow after that which is sensational, to follow after that which has a show of authority and power, to follow after that which is successful, because these things seem to have life in them. But in truth, it is only the counterfeit of the One Who is Real Life and Power and Authority. And only those who have an ear to hear, only those "in the Spirit," only those who have allowed the way of the Cross in their lives will be able to calculate the number of the beast. Only those who have the work of the Cross in their lives will be able to discern that which is truly the Resurrection Life, and the Resurrection Power of the Lord Jesus Christ. So for those who have an ear to hear, the Holy Spirit clearly and purposefully reveals this deadly strategy of satan to counterfeit the Cross, and the Resurrection of the True Lamb of God. The Holy Spirit does this as He inspires John to use the following phrase to describe the deadly wound of this beast: "as having been slain" (Revelation 13:3).  Although the King James Version, and some other translations of the Bible, do not make the phrase clear enough for us, it should read: "as having been slain," or "as if it had been slain") Does this sound familiar? Well, it is familiar because, in Revelation 5:6, the Holy Spirit also uses this phrase "as having been slain" to describe the True Lamb of God: "as though it had been slain".

In the Greek, these two phrases in Revelation 5:6 and 13:3, are very similar as to their wording, there are just slight differences in grammar, but there the similarity ends. And that is because one phrase refers to the True Lamb of God, and the other one refers to the counterfeit lamb of satan For in Revelation five, we find the Lamb of God as it had been slain, we find the Lamb, Who bears the wounds of the Cross in His Glorified Body, standing in the midst of the Throne where He Reigns in Absolute Sovereignty forever and forever. However, in Revelation thirteen, we find that the beast, the counterfeit lamb, who is merely an agent of satan, is completely bound to the earthly, to the temporary realm; and that is because this bestial lamb receives his power, his throne, and his authority from the dragon. This means that the power of this counterfeit lamb, the power of that which is antichrist, is limited.

"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he (the dragon) stood on the sand of the seashore. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea ... and the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority" (Revelation 12:17; 13:1, 2.)

The dragon, that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan: "stood upon the sand of the sea" (Revelation 13:1). Please note that the King James Version, and some other translations, lead us to believe that it was John that was standing on the sands of the sea;  but the words, "I stood" should read "he stood." Therefore, it was the dragon, the serpent of old, who is called the devil, and satan, that "stood on the sand of the sea." We all know that the sand of the sea is forever moving and shifting. Consequently, the Holy Spirit is instructing us that the dragon's stand is temporary, "he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12): - his power is limited! His throne is unstable! His authority is short lived!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 32 - "He That Hath Understanding, Let Him Calculate the Number of the Beast")

A Message From Isaiah


I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. Isaiah 45:2-3

One morning a few years ago, I woke up with the word “Isaiah” in my mind. I personally do not know anyone named Isaiah so I wondered why this name was on my heart. As I opened my Bible that morning, I literally turned to the first page of Isaiah. I immediately began wondering what message the Lord might have for me in this book. Since then, God has given me more messages from the book of Isaiah than I can count, and Isaiah now holds some of my most treasured sections of Scripture. One of my personal favorites is chapter 45.

When I first read that the Lord will make my “crooked places straight” and will “cut the bars of iron,” I knew these were messages of freedom. Then to hear that the Lord calls me by my name, this made the message even more personal, as if He was speaking to me directly. I have come to understand that Heisspeaking to me directly. I took Him at His word and I began to pray:

Lord, please go before me and straighten out those parts of my life that are out of order or where I do not see the path before me. And please break the gates and cut the bars that keep me locked up, that have held me captive. I desire those treasures You have for me in the freedom that You want to give me. You are God and there is none other. I need You to be my God today and forever.

These verses are just a snapshot of this great book. Through Isaiah I learned how to pray God’s Word back to Him and through praying God’s Word, I have seen His personal touch on my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Maybe today is the day for you to open your Bible to the book of Isaiah. Who knows how many messages God has for you there? He knows and you will soon find out. May God go before you and bless you.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 30

"If Anyone Has An Ear, Let Him Hear" (continued)

The number of the name of the wild beast? 666? What a lot of speculation this has caused in Christendom. For centuries Christians, and even the world, has tried to make this number fit the name of a man such as Nero, or Hitler, or Mussolini, etc.; or they have tried to make it fit the name of a Pope or some other world or religious leader, who leads a religious-worldly system of some kind. Endlessly, down through the ages, attempts have been made to make the number 666 fit the name of a man. However, the Word of God tells us it is the number of the name of the wild beast. And what is the name? In Revelation thirteen, where we find this wild beast being described in the intense, symbolic language of the Holy Spirit, we are told the "name" or "Names" of the wild beast: "And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy [and on the heads of  it names of blasphemy]" (Revelation 13:1) So according to the Word of God, the "name" or the "names" of the wild  beast, of that which is antichrist, is "blasphemy." And the number of the name is 666. Let us repeat again that the name of the beast, the name of the antichrist, is "blasphemy." And the most satanic, profane, unholy, unsacred blasphemy is satan's attempt to counterfeit, to imitate the True Lamb of God, and all that He Accomplished.

Throughout the ages and generations satan has been antichrist, against Christ, and here in Revelation 13, the Holy Spirit reveals the blasphemous culmination of satan's antichrist activities as that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan, brings forth his unholy counterfeit of the True Lamb of God. satan even attempts to duplicate the death, and the Resurrection of the Lamb of God. Revelation 13:3, reveals that this wild beast is wounded in one of his heads. Keep in mind that there is only One Head in God's Kingdom, Christ Jesus our Lord - He is Head of the Church, and He is Head of all principality and power (Ephesians 1:22; Col. 2:10).

So in satan's attempt to counterfeit the True Lamb of God, the wild beast is wounded in one of his seven heads and his deadly would was healed. Notice, the wild beast was healed, he was not resurrected, satan does not have resurrection power. "And his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered [was amazed and followed] after the beast." This is satan's attempt to bring forth a source of life other than Christ, Who is Life. Thus we can be sure that one of the blasphemous names of the beast is the counterfeit of resurrection life, and to resurrection power.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31)

satan's Tools


 
"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and, let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
 
There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress. One of the worst of these is despondency. The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.
 
The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring, or, as the text in Numbers literally puts it, "as it were murmured." Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin. Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever.
 
We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid and give us the faith of God and crown us with victory.
 
***
 
It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes  are to end in failure. Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. Let us "count it all joy" when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real. --Selected
 
**
 
The devil has two master tricks. One is to get us discouraged; then for a time at least we can be of no service to others, and so are defeated. The other is to make us doubt, thus breaking the faith link by which we are bound to our Father. Lookout! Do not be tricked either way. --G.E.M.
 
***
 
Gladness! I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness! It puts the soul so in tune again, and keeps it in tune, so that Satan is shy of touching it--the chords of the soul become too warm, or too full of heavenly electricity, for his infernal fingers,  and he goes off somewhere else! Satan is always very shy of meddling with me when my heart is full of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
 
My plan is to shun the spirit of sadness as I would Satan; but, alas! I am not always successful. Like the devil himself it meets me on the highway of usefulness, looks me so fully in my face, till my poor soul changes color!
 
Sadness discolors everything; it leaves all objects charmless; it involves future prospects in darkness; it deprives the soul  of all its aspirations, enchains all its powers, and produces a mental paralysis!
 
An old believer remarked, that cheerfulness in religion makes all its services come off with delight; and that we are never carried forward so swiftly in the ways of duty as when borne on the wings of delight; adding, that Melancholy clips such wings; or, to alter the figure, takes off our chariot wheels in duty, and makes them, like those of the Egyptians, drag heavily.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 29

"If Anyone Has An Ear, Let Him Hear - Here Is Wisdom" (continued)

Let us remember that each time the Lord Jesus Christ speaks these Words, "if anyone has an ear, let him hear," a great season of peril is at hand, "for the strategic, epochal season is imminent" (Revelation 1:3). This means that God is moving to bring forth a greater increase in Christ, and His archenemy, that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan, is moving to stop it. Therefore, when Christ speaks these Words, a time of great tribulation is threatening: a time of pressures from evils, a time of pressures from afflictions, a time of pressures from distresses.

Fifteen times the Lord gives the command, "if anyone has an ear, let him hear"; and the final time He gives this command in Revelation 13:9, it sums up and confirms what is behind the other fourteen. This is because this final command was given in conjunction with the command to "calculate at once" the number of the beast. Therefore, each time this command was given in the gospels, and in the Book of Revelation, and each time the Holy Spirit quickens this command to us, the antichrist spirit of satan was, and is, at work behind the scene. That old serpent was, and is, at work to add to or to take away from all that Christ is; he was, and is, at work to add to or take away from all that Christ accomplished.

Since the instant satan had the iniquitous thought in his heart, "I will make myself like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14), he has used every deceptive way he could to usurp the position of Christ, the reality of Christ, in the hearts of God's people. Hence, we are both commanded and warned, that we must "calculate at once" the number of the beast. So how do we calculate, count, compute the number of the beast? - "And the number of it is six hundred and sixty-six." (Nestle Greek Interliner). In Revelation 12:1, 17:5, if we stay with the context of these scriptures, and its figurative language, one thing begins to stand out above all the other evil things that the dragon, that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan, the one who is the father of "the lie," is moving to counterfeit the True Lamb of God, and the Work He Accomplished.

Consequently, the dragon anoints his own messiah, he gives this beast his power, and his throne, and he gives this wild beast great authority. Now we must keep in mind that the dragon, that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan, has deceived the whole world, the adamic race (Revelation 12:9). Therefore, this counterfeit of the True Lamb of God is not primarily directed toward the world, the world is already deceived, and being deceived; but this wild beast, this counterfeit lamb, has always been, and is, directed toward deceiving the people of God. And what is this great deception? It is that this wild beast attempts to take away from, or add to, the Finished Work of Christ. Beloved, if something is counterfeit it is not easily discerned. To counterfeit something is the highest degree of imitation: it is false, but it has the appearance of truth and it appears to be real; it is an imitation of something with a goal to deceive or defraud. Remember what satan first said in his heart: "I will exalt my throne above the Most High" - "I will be like (imitate) the Most High," I will do all I can to resemble and appear to be the Most High. In other words, the goal of satan's evil heart is to counterfeit the Most High. And who is the Most High? Christ has ascended far above all the Heavens, He is Enthroned far above all (Ephesians 1:19; 4:10).

This is why the command of the Lord Jesus, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear," is given in conjunction with this grave warning: "Here is Wisdom." He who has understanding, let him calculate at once the number of the wild beast, for it is the number of a man [or] of man; and the number of it is six hundred and sixty-six. And in speaking of those who had gotten the victory over the beast, Revelation 15:2 tells us it is "the number of the name of it." (666).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 30)

Our Divine Teacher



One of the reasons that many people—including believers—don’t read the Bible is because they can’t understand it. We would expect that to be the case for those who don’t know Christ, but why do so many believers fail to comprehend the truths of Scripture? Maybe it’s because they haven’t asked for help from their divine Teacher. One of the Holy Spirit’s chief responsibilities is to enable Christians to understand the things of God.

When looking at believers who know more than we do, we’ll sometimes think, I will never be able to reach that level. The issue, however, isn’t how much knowledge you have right now, but whether you are growing in your understanding. The Spirit will teach you what you need to know, not necessarily what others know. Because He wants to make us godly people, He’ll give us enough truth each day to change our lives. He will interpret the meaning and give an application designed specifically for each person.

The Spirit’s goal is not to fill your mind with information but to bring you to a deeper level in your relationship with the Lord. He wants you to understand the truth so you will fall in love with Jesus. Then you’ll long to spend time in the Word, thereby getting to know Him even better.
But all these treasures of God’s Word could remain out of reach if you never ask the Teacher to unlock them. Each time you read your Bible, ask the Lord for understanding. A wonderfully intimate love relationship with Christ awaits those who let the Spirit reveal to them the thoughts of God.

~Charles Stanley~

Monday, November 25, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 28

"If Anyone Has An Ear, Let Him Hear" - "Here is Wisdom" 

So John was "in the Spirit in the Lord's Day: John was in the Spirit in the Supreme, Sovereign, Imperial Day of the Lord; and in the Spirit he saw with the spiritual eye, and he heard with the spiritual ear. This was not a literal seeing and hearing with the natural senses; it was not what many think of as visions or dreams, but it was a spiritual perception, it was a revelation and comprehension, it was a perceiving and understanding "in the Spirit". And "in the Spirit", John saw and heard those who were companions with him in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ ... because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus. He saw "those souls" under the altar, he saw and heard "those souls" who had and would subject themselves to the way of the Cross (Revelation 6:9).

We also quoted another scripture, which speaks of those who were slain, who poured out their lives, because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus Christ; and that scripture is found in Revelation 20:4.

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness (the testimony) of Jesus, and for the Word of God,s and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

Now it is not our purpose to try and interpret this scripture as to what we believe about the millennium, or about the great tribulation, etc.; for we believe that if we are allowing the work of the Cross in our lives, we will be prepared by the Holy Spirit to live and reign with Christ both now, and in the ages to come. And it is certainly evident that those spoken of in Revelation 20:4 had allowed the work of the Cross in their lives; for they could not have overcome the beast [which figuratively speaks of that which is antichrist], had not the Cross and its principle of self-denial been a reality in their lives. Revelation 20:4 makes it clear that those who are companions with John in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, are those who have overcome that which is antichrist. This leads us right to the Word that the Lord has given us, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 13:9). Revelation 13:9 is the last time the Lord speaks this command to His people, and with it comes the gravest warning of all, for it warns of that which is antichrist.

In order to understand what is meant by the beast, and by all that is antichrist, we must look at the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, where we find the Lord giving two warnings, two commands, of the gravest importance.

"If anyone has an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 13:9).

"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count (calculate) the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his (its) number is six hundred threescore and six (666)" (Revelation 13:18).

Revelation 13:9 is the last time the Lord gives this command, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear"; and He gives this command along with the solemn warning to "calculate at once" the number of the beast. The words "at once," which are used in the Wuest Translation of the New Testament, gives us the real sense of urgency that these commands are meant to convey. It is a grave mistake to place that which is antichrist, that which is against Christ, only in the period of time that many call the end-time, or to assume that the antichrist will be an individual man at the time of the end. This interpretation of Revelation 13:18 causes many Christians to become passive in spiritual warfare in their age and generation - they become unwatchful and unalert in the Spirit. A passive Christian cannot discern that which is antichrist; and the Holy Spirit warns in 1 John 2:18; "even now are there many antichrists." From the time that satan, the devil, had the first iniquitous thought in his heart against Christ (Isaiah 14:12-15), until he is finally cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), his antichrist spirit will be against Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 29)

Patience with Perspective


But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

Are there ever times when you become tired of trying? From work to your family, the list of needs seem endless with all fingers pointing to you. You know the promises of God and know that He is absolutely working in your life, but the “flesh” part of you becomes worn out and on edge.

The other night, at dinner time, I was trying to cook…and help with homework…and talk to my mother who was visiting. In addition, the phone was ringing, the news was on and my youngest child was singing for everyone to hear.  I could sense the tension rising within me. The noise seemed too loud and the night was becoming too long.  Because I recognized these feelings and knew how poorly I have handled them before, with all the self control I could muster, I prayed to the Lord and said, “Please help me do all this with an attitude and with words that would please You.”  Immediately I sensed the Lord say to me, “Enjoy it; find peace right now.” That thought was the furthest thing from my mind but those words pierced my heart.

It just doesn’t matter if everything gets done on time or in the right order. It just does not matter if there are grease stains on my daughter’s homework paper and there are dishes left in the sink when I go to bed. What does matter is that I honor the Lord by pouring out His love through me especially in the times that push and pull on my nerves. What matters is that I find the joy of the Lord in everyday challenges and appreciate every passing moment of the day. It is in these most challenging times, when you feel as if everyone is looking to you, that you can only endure by continuing to look to the Lord. God hears and answers the smallest of prayers when they are dripping with honesty. He knows us and understands us. Today, when the anxiety is increasing and your patience is decreasing, turn to the Lord so that you can soar above the circumstances while renewing your perspective and strength.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 27

"I Was In the Spirit ... and Heard" (continued)

John saw the souls of those who lived a life of self-sacrifice "under the altar," and the idea behind the symbolic language of the phrase, "under the altar," is that they subjected their whole "being" to the work of the Cross. In Revelation, the word "altar" is used many times, and it is always seen as being in the midst of he Throne. Remember, the "altars" of the tabernacle and the temple, in the Old Testament, were only the "patterns" [examples], of things in the heavens (Hebrews 9:23). So in Revelation 11:1, and 14:18, and 16:7, the word "altar" is speaking of the finished work of Christ upon the Cross; and in Revelation 8:3 and 9:13, the "golden altar" is speaking of the Throne Ministry of the One "Who is even at the Right Hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us," it is speaking of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thus, in Revelation 6:9, John saw the souls of those who lived a life of self-sacrifice "under the altar"; and in this instance, the word "under" implies subjection - it means that they subjected their whole "being" to the work of the Cross. They chose to hear what "the Spirit saith," they chose to "follow the Lamb" - they chose to follow the Lamb, Who bares the wounds of the Cross in His Glorified Body, they chose to "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" (Revelation 14:4). And He said to all, "If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself - that is, disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interest, refuse and give up himself - and take up his cross daily, and follow Me [that is, cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example, in living and if need by in dying also]" (Luke 9:23).

John was "in the Spirit", and He saw that those "souls," like himself, were suffering because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus; he saw that they were crying: "How long, O Lord." - How long do we have to endure seeing the wickedness of the satanic forces prosper? "Then they were each given a long and lowing and festive white robe..." (Revelation 6:11). This is not the white robe of righteousness, for they received the robe of righteousness the day they were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; but they were given the festive robe of the feast, which means they were to feast on Christ and all that He is. And they were told that they "should rest yet for a little season." They were told to "rest" in the finished work of Christ. They were to "rest" in the fact that the Lamb, Who bears the wounds of the Cross in His glorified body, is standing in the midst of the Throne. Now, this "rest" does not imply inactivity, for the word "rest" speaks of God's rest: "And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made" (Genesis 2:1, 2). This points us to the New Testament where the work of God's new creation was completed in Christ when upon His Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ cried: "It is finished!"

So when God told them to take their "rest", He was telling them that they are now engaged in the Throne Ministry, they are now standing in the good of all that the Lamb had accomplished. Remember, John also saw the prayers of saints in the midst of the Throne, he saw those who prayed prayers that brought about God's End through His Way - the way of the Cross. He saw the prayers of those who laid down their lives, their self-interests, their self-preeminence, their self-centeredness; he saw the prayers of those who allowed the the work of the Cross in their lives. John saw the prayers of those who were his companions "in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience (perseverance and endurance) of Jesus Christ." "In the Spirit," John saw with the all-seeing eye of the Spirit that he was not alone; he saw all those who were, and are, alive to God, and to God's will. "In the Spirit" he comprehended that all those "souls" who had laid down their lives throughout the ages were fellow-partakers with him in that which he must endure in order to fulfill his course - to fulfill his portion in all the fullness of Christ. And he saw that both he, and they, were companions with those souls who had yet to fulfill their course.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 28 - "If Anyone Has an Ear, Let Him Hear" - "Here is Wisdom")

In Everything


 
"In nothing be anxious" (Phil. 4:6).
 
No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, "In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
 
"In everything," that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grime, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things -- everything -- living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.
 
"By prayer and supplication," taking the place of beggars, with earnestness, with perseverance, going on and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.
 
"With thanksgiving." We should at all times lay a good foundation with thanksgiving. If everything else were wanting, this is always present, that He has saved us from hell. Then, that He has given us His Holy Word -- His Son, His choicest gift -- and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we have abundant reason for thanksgiving. O let us aim at this!
 
"And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." And this is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done. --George Mueller, in Life of Trust.
 
***
 
Twice or thrice a day, look to see if your heart is not disquieted about something; and if you find that it is, take care forthwith to restore it to calm.--Francis De Sales

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What it Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 26

"I Was In the Spirit ... and Heard" (continued)

Because of the Word and Because of the Testimony of Jesus"

The context of the above scripture indicates that John, along with many of the Lord's bondservants (Revelation 1:1) had been, and were now, companions, fellow-partakers, joint-partakers "in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus ..." This tells us that John, as well as many others of the Lord's people, who were not actually with him on the Island of Patmos, were fellow-partakers of Christ's sufferings "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus." By interpreting scripture with scripture, we can comprehend what it means for the faithful to suffer in this way. We only have to prayerfully read Revelation 6:9-11, and 20:4, in order to grasp the intensity of both the sufferings, and the warfare, that the faithful of every age must endure "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus."

"And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also."

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and their hand; and they cam to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

John was "in the Spirit" when He saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained. He was "in the Spirit," and being "in the Spirit," he was in the realm of the Throne; and in the realm of the Throne, the Lamb opened the seven seals to the "Book" that only He was worthy to open: - a "Book" that contained both the righteous counsels and judgments of the One which sat upon the Throne - counsels and judgments which had been foreordained in past-eternity but which were set into motion because the Lamb hath prevailed.

John was "in the Spirit," and with the spiritual eye, with the comprehending, perceiving eye of the Holy Spirit, he saw the Lamb open the seven seals and he saw that which was, that which is, and that which-is-to-come: he saw intense spiritual warfare; he saw the antichrist spirit; he saw wars and pestilence and famine and death; he saw the wrath of God come upon satan and his host, and upon all that satan had ever instigated, etc. But in the midst of these seven seals, John also saw the fifth seal opened, and he saw the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony they held, and continued to hold and possess. The testimony they held, and continued to hold and possess, was not their own witness or testimony, but it was the testimony of Jesus Christ. In the very first chapter of Revelation, we find the testimony of Jesus Christ in His own words: "I AM Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending," saith the Lord, "Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, the Almighty" ... "I AM the First and the Last: I AM He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I AM alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:8, 17, 18). 

So the testimony of Jesus Christ is that He is ALL the fullness of God. He is the Lamb that hath prevailed, He is Alive for evermore. Furthermore, Revelation 19:10 tells us that, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy", in other words, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, our Crucified, Resurrected, Ascended Lord and Saviour, is the intrinsic value, the essence, and the substance of the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Fullness of ALL-THAT-GOD-IS, and He hath prevailed, and He is alive for evermore. This is the testimony of all who, like John, are "in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ ... because of the Word of God and because of the Testimony of Jesus Christ. And we shall see that the way they "held," the way they continuously held and maintained and possessed this testimony, the testimony of Jesus Christ, was through the work of the Cross in their lives. So John saw the souls of them who laid down their lives, who lived a life of self-sacrifice, who poured out their lives as a drink offering unto the Lord, in order that they might fulfill the course God had set before them. This is not must speaking of those like Abel and Stephen, who were actually killed, martyred, because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. But it is speaking of all who have lived, and of all who are living, and of all who will live, a life of self-sacrifice in spirit, in soul, in heart, and in body, in order that God have all that He purposed in Christ.


~ T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 27)

A Godly Heart


 
The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts. But many people take this passage out of context, forgetting that their own mindset plays a vital part in bringing it to fruition. As my mother once said, "Where your mind goes, your feet go, so be careful what you think about."
 
What is your responsibility when it comes to claiming promises from God?
 
Delight yourselves in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). Christians should rejoice in God and desire to walk in obedience. The Lord must have first place in your life before you can claim the promise in this verse.
Commit your way to the Lord (v. 5). Allow God to change any aspect of your ambition that is not His will.
Remember that when He doesn't answer a prayer as you wished, it is for a reason.

Trust in Him (v. 5). God is merciful, all-knowing, kind, and generous. You can trust Him with your hopes and dreams.

Rest in Him (v. 7). Resting in the Lord means trusting Him to answer prayers in His timing or transform your aspirations so they conform to His will.

Wait upon the Lord patiently (v. 7). Jesus waited three decades before beginning His three-year ministry on earth. According to His example, waiting is one of the key principles of Christian living.
 
Do your desires align with God's purpose and plan for your life? He longs to give His followers abundant blessings and fullness of joy. So allow your dreams to be conformed to the Lord's will, and follow His guidance faithfully. Only when you surrender to Him will you experience God's best for your life.

~Charles Stanley~

Friday, November 22, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 25

"I Was In the Spirit ... and Heard"

The Romans did not possess this "Day!" Nor do the earthly powers of our time, or the time to come, possess this "Day!" Nor does that ancient serpent, called the devil, and satan, possess this "Day!" No, it is the Lord's Day because it is the "Day" the Lamb hath prevailed - "in the midst of the Throne ... stood a Lamb as it had been slain." - Though slain, the Lamb stands, and He stands in the midst of the Throne. It is the "Day" that the Lamb, "bearing the wounds of the Cross in His Glorified Body," stands in the midst of the Throne.

The Lamb was slain, and He prevailed. He overcame, and conquered all His foes. He spoiled principalities and powers; He triumphed over them in His Cross (Galatians 2:15). Hell and the grave could not hold Him! He is alive forevermore! He arose from the grace and He ascended into the realm of the Throne! And now this prevailing Lamb, through the might of God's Spirit, is bringing all things into, and under, the supreme, sovereign order that God always intended!

The Lamb is both Saviour and Conqueror, and since His Cross, His resurrection, and His ascension, it is the Lord's Day. It is the Imperial day of the Lord. That is why, along with everything else that is going on in the realm of the Throne, there is always continuous, and everlasting, worship of the Lamb that was slain, of the Lamb that bears the wounds of the Cross in His glorified body, of the Lamb that hath prevailed.

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." And the four beasts said, "Amen." And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped Him that liveth for ever and ever" (Revelation 5:11-14).

And beloved, when we are "in the Spirit" we dwell in the ascended Life, and we are joining consciously, and at times unconsciously, with this innumerable host in everlasting worship of the Lamb that hath prevailed.

"Because of the Word and Because of the Testimony of Jesus"

So John was "in the Spirit" on [in] the Lord's Day; and he was 'in the Spirit", even though he was on the island of Patmos, where he was in a time of great tribulation - a time of pressures from evils, a time of pressures from afflictions, a time of pressures from distresses, a time of great spiritual pressures that always occurs when God is bringing forth a greater increase of Christ's fullness, and the satanic forces are out to stop it.

"I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 1:9).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 26)

The "Why's" of Life


And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" - Mark 15:34

Isn’t it wrong to ask God "why?" Isn't it wrong to question God? One day I was reading this verse, and suddenly I realized that Jesus asked God "why?" While Jesus was on the cross, dying for the sins of the world, He asked God, "Why have You forsaken Me?" We all know that God did not forsake Jesus. We also know that Jesus never sinned, so asking God "why" does not have to be wrong. Just by including the Lord in our thoughts shows a step of faith. It shows faith because we are praying, acknowledging that He is listening, and God will reward our faith.
By being honest with the Lord, our hearts are softened to receive His wisdom involving the things of the past, while helping us to move forward in faith for future decisions. God tells us in James 1:5-8:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

So the "why" questions are not the sin, but receiving an answer to those questions and then doubting the answer is the sin.
Today, start asking "why" about things you do not understand and ask the Lord to help you to go forward in faith. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in how to receive His answers to the "why" questions in your life. Pray for faith, as we know that without faith, it is impossible to please God. As our faith grows, we will move forward to make decisions as the Lord leads us and we will trust in His guidance and direction for all things. The goal is to get past the "why's" and move on to the "what's"—trust, obey and get going.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 24

"I Was in the Spirit ... and Heard"

We began this by sharing that the Lord had given a word from His Word; and that word was, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Revelation 2:7). The Lord chose the apostle John to write these inspired words, and in Revelation 1:10 we find him writing: "I was in the Spirit on [in] the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, 'Write in a Book what you see (implies the spiritual eye), an send it to the seven churches ...' " (Revelation 1:10, 11).

John's words give us the key to hearing "what the Spirit saith unto the churches," for John said: "I was in the Spirit... and I heard." And we must be "in the Spirit" if we are to hear what "the Spirit saith." Then after John had fallen at the feet of the Resurrected Lord, after John completes the letters to the seven churches, after he writes for the seventh time, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." After this, John saw that heaven's door was open. He saw a door set open in heaven, a door that was already opened. This indicates that the door, that the Way into God's Presence had at one time been closed. But now the door is open, and it is open because of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this door will forevermore be open to all who are in Christ: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness [confidence] to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us ..." (Hebrews 10:19, 20).

Therefore, as John moved in the good of the shed blood of his Lord, he "heard" that same Voice (1:10), the Voice of many waters, the Voice of the Resurrected Lord which flows to every one of His Own whether they are in a high place or at a low place spiritually. John heard "the Voice" which was like the sound of a trumpet, the trumpet which in God's Word always calls His people together for a greater Revelation of Himself, or for war; and in John's case, and for those to whom "The Book" was to be sent, it was for both.

Then John says, "And immediately I was in the Spirit." Now we all know that no Christian is "in the Spirit" all of the time, for Christ is the only One Who perfectly lived a life "in the Spirit." However, when it says that John was immediately "in the Spirit," it does not mean that John was so much out of the control of the Spirit that it was an effort for him, spiritually, to again become "in the Spirit." No, when John says, "immediately I was in the Spirit," this means that whatever John was doing at the time, whether it was hard labor in the rock quarries on the Isle of Patmos, or doing something else, he was living in the reality of the shed blood of Christ. Thus, when the Holy Spirit moved, John was, as a spontaneous result of his life in Christ, "in the Spirit."

Dear ones, whether we are having an Isle of Patmos experience, or whether we are just living our daily life before the Lord, we should come to a place in the Lord that we do not have to make an effort to get "in the Spirit." We should be living our lives in the good of all that Christ accomplished, so that when the Spirit moves, we become "in the Spirit." Consequently, we will be able to say like John, "immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a Throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the Throne ..." John was "in the Spirit," and with the eye of the Spirit John beheld the realm where all things are being worked out (energized) after the counsel of God's will.

John was "in the Spirit" and he beheld the mighty workings of the Throne (Revelation 4 and 5).

"In the Spirit" he beheld the One that sat on the Throne.

"In the Spirit" he beheld that in the midst of the Throne "stood a Lamb as it had been slain" - he beheld the Lamb that hath prevailed to open "the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

"In the Spirit" he beheld, in the midst of the Throne, the seven Spirits of God - the sevenfoldness of the Holy Spirit, he beheld the Omnipotent power and energy of God's Spirit at work in the midst of the Throne.

"In the Spirit" he beheld, in the middle of the mighty workings of the Throne, the prayers of the saints - the intercession of those devoted to the Lord.

Revelation 1:9 and 10 tells us that John was on the Isle of Patmos, and that he was "in the Spirit on [in] the Lord's Day." Notice the Greek says, "in the Lord's Day," and it means that the Lord possessed the Day. It is speaking of the Supreme Realm of the Lord's Throne. This does not refer to a day set aside by the people of God for worship and rest. No, the Romans would not have allowed this because John was on the Isle of Patmos, and he was there because of the Word o God, and the Testimony of Jesus; and the Romans would have considered him a criminal. No, this was "in the Lord's Day!" This was, and is, and ever shall be the supreme, sovereign Day of God's Throne, and John was "in the Spirit on [in] the Lord's Day."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 25)

Knowing the Real Jesus


Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. - Colossians 1:24

My children took their achievement tests this past week. My daughter told me that there was a Bible achievement test also but the school opted to not have the children take it. I asked her if they told her why. She said yes and then gave me a sample question of what was on the test. She said, “Which characteristic does not belong to Jesus?

a.       happiness
b.       love
c.       forgiveness
d.       compassion

She told me that a question like that confused a lot of sixth graders because they equate Jesus with joy and their interpretation is that joy and happiness are the same things. I told her that a lot of adult Christians have the same interpretation. It is difficult for us to follow a King that was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). We don’t want to believe that the Christian life is filled with those same sorrows and afflictions at times.

However, it is during those sad times in each of our lives that we understand the afflictions of Christ as He becomes our Sustainer, our Strength and our Peace. It is at those times that we discover joy from the depths of our hearts instead of happiness that is only superficial, changing with the circumstances. Our Christian life is not only about receiving from the Lord but also about enduring until the end.

If you are struggling with sorrow and grief, know that the Lord understands. Continue to come to Him. There is hope in every situation for we know the Lord will cause all things to work together for good. Just fix your eyes on Jesus.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Our Heart's Desires


 
If you could have anything in the world, what would it be? Your answer reveals a lot about who you are. The psalmist writes, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4). There is nothing wrong with desires--they motivate us to achieve great things. But not all of our yearnings come from God.
 
Consider your aspirations and what they say about who you are:
 
Do you hope for a position of authority in order to be in control? Longing for personal advancement in order to manipulate others reveals a lack of integrity, whereas a godly person craves righteousness.
 
Do you dream about wealth and fame? Perhaps there's a void in your spirit that you're trying to fill. But only God can meet the insatiable needs of the human heart.
 
Are you afraid to ask the Lord for what you want? Maybe you think He won't listen, but God tells us to approach His throne with boldness and confidence (Heb. 4:16).
 
If the Lord doesn't respond affirmatively to your prayers, ask Him to make your desires conform to His will. Whatever you do, don't take matters into your own hands and go after what you want. There is always a high price to pay for rebelling against God.
 
God cares for us bountifully, but that doesn't mean we can expect Him to deliver whatever we want, whenever we want it. Only when our dreams align with His plan for our lives does He fulfill them. The thoughts that preoccupy us are an accurate barometer of the state of our relationship with Christ.

~Charles Stanley~

Friday, November 8, 2013

Off line woes!

The big moving day is drawing near. Starting today, I will be 

off 

line for maybe a week, or week and a half, to get ready for the 

move to another house, and then, after the move, come back 

online with a new service provider (new home phone, TV 

hookup, etc.) This morning I have to disconnect the computer 

and get all of that packed and ready for the movers. Thankfully

my son, Joe Sewell, is co-administrator of my Christian

groups 

on Facebook. He will handle any problems that might occur. He 

will also "accept" those who want to join the groups and, of 

course, "ban" any who post unacceptable posts to the groups. I 

will miss you all and will be very happy when I get back online 

and see your friendly faces! God bless you all! May His grace 

and generous mercy flow down abundantly upon you.

Kathy - Disciple of Christ