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Friday, January 31, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 26

Corporately Praying the Word

The greatest need we have as Christians has always been, and always will be, that each member of the Body of Christ have an adequate apprehension of what we believers have come into and unto when we came to Christ. Over 1,900 years ago, Paul wrote in his inspired letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians that the Mystery, which was hidden in God from past ages and generations, was now revealed. In these letters, God revealed in fullness that which had been planned in the Eternal Counsels of the Godhead before all time and ages began: He revealed the fullness of His Great Mystery, which is THE CHRIST AND HIS UNSEARCHABLE RICHES. Nevertheless, it is a prevailing fact that in the past history of God's people, right up to the present time, vast numbers of Christians have little or no comprehension of the Full Purpose of God in Christ.

Throughout the centuries, many things have contributed to the unenlightened state which persists in Christianity. We all know that structured religion has limited the spiritual growth of many and has kept the majority of Christianity in an unenlightened state. Also, in the pursuit of a greater revelation of Christ, others have left organized Christendom, but even some of these have contributed to this limitation by believing that they, exclusively, have the full truth.

The Church has suffered great loss on both counts because, on the one hand, the Church has remained unenlightened as to the fullness of Christ, while, on the other hand, it became "exclusive" and kept the enlightenment needed for all unto itself - on this account, the majority of Christianity has little impact upon the forces of darkness. Beloved, the only qualification that God has laid down in order for us to be a part of this great mystery (in which Christ is to be all, through all, in all) is that we be born again, "born from above," i.e., be saved by His grace. The mystery of Christ is now revealed, because God hath - 

"made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in The Christ ... the mystery is now made manifest to His saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of (the) glory ..." (Ephesians 1:9, 10; Colossians 1:26, 27).

We must always remember in our search into "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ" that no one individual or group or many groups can contain, or be, or express, the Fullness of Christ by themselves. The Church His Body is "inclusive" of all those who have been saved by His grace, whether it be those in the past, the present, or the future; and each measure of Christ that dwells in each member is being incorporated into all that is called the Church His Body. Therefore, no matter how much revelation of Christ we have, we can never contain all the fullness that is Christ, either individually or in our corporate groups or even in all the Church which dwells on earth at the present time, because "The Church, which is His Body, is the Fullness of Him" (Ephesians 1:22, 23), and this Church, which is His Body, includes all those who have been, and will be, redeemed by His Blood and saved by His grace.

Consequently, because of the Greatness of Christ and because the Church His Body is the Fullness of Him, it is vital that we understand the importance of corporately praying the Word. First Timothy 4:13 commands us to "give attendance to reading (a knowing by reading, a knowing accurately by simply reading)"; and, in context, this can only be referring to the Word of God.


(which means, attend unto, to hold unto, to bring to or near; to turn one's mind, thoughts and attention, to the Word of God; to attach one's self to the Word and cleave unto it by reading the Word of God, which imparts to us a knowing accurately of that which God is speaking.)

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 27)

Victory Through Him

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!—Rom 8:37

The Gospel is so arranged and the gift of God so great that you may take the very enemies that fight you and the forces that are arrayed against you and make them steps up to the very gates of heaven and into the presence of God.
Like the eagle, who sits on a crag and watches the sky as it is filling with blackness, and the forked lightnings are playing up and down, and he is sitting perfectly still, turning one eye and then the other toward the storm. But he never moves until he begins to feel the burst of the breeze and knows that the hurricane has struck him; with a scream, he swings his breast to the storm, and uses the storm to go up to the sky; away he goes, borne upward upon it.
That is what God wants of every one of His children, to be more than conqueror, turning the storm-cloud into a chariot. You know when one army is more than conqueror it is likely to drive the other from the field, to get all the ammunition, the food and supplies, and to take possession of the whole. That is just what our text means. There are spoils to be taken!
Beloved, have you got them? When you went into that terrible valley of suffering did you come out of it with spoils? When that injury struck you and you thought everything was gone, did you so trust in God that you came out richer than you went in? To be more than conqueror is to take the spoils from the enemy and appropriate them to yourself. What he had arranged for your overthrow, take and appropriate for yourself.
When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with blindness, he said “Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury.” Then God enabled him to invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of them were gloriously saved.
God did not take away Paul’s thorn; He did better—He mastered that thorn, and made it Paul’s servant. The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of thrones.

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 25

Praying the Word (continued)

We will come to know that "He (Christ) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). Let us note that the Word says, "hath delivered us," not "is going to." As we pray Scriptures such as these, we automatically will speak an "Amen" by the Spirit. "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (are held together). And He is the Head of the Body, the Church: Who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the Preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." - "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him" (Colossians 1:17-19; 2:9, 10). Amen! Amen! Amen!

As we pray the Word in Colossians, and in other Scriptures as the Lord leads, we will come up over any problem into the Ascended life of the Lord. Also, we will find that our mind will be turned away from self, and we will begin to pray for the needs of others, for it is only after we have "come up over" our problem into the realm where Christ is all in all and the enemy is under His feet, that we can begin again to intercede for others.

When we pray the Scriptures found in Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21, and Colossians 1:9-19; 2:9 and 10; 3:1-4 for the Body of Christ, we join ranks with those who are praying for the Full Plan and Purpose of God. Ephesians 6:17 and 18 tells us that our two offensive weapons are the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" and "praying in the Spirit" with "all prayer." As we pry the Word of God, we turn our sword upon the enemy and begin to do battle for God's plan and God's people; and thus our sword is already sharp should the enemy attack us. We do not have to draw our sword, for we are already prepared in full battle array; we have on the full armor of God, for we are seated together in Him Who is "far above all."

And, brethren, we should not wait to be attacked by the enemy, for the greatest defense is a vigorous offense. Let us attack the enemy with these prayers of God, for our of His mouth goes a "sharp two-edged sword" (Revelation 1:16; 19:15). Let us be - 

"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit ... for all saints. - Let the high praises of God be in (our) mouth and a two-edged sword in (our) hand" (Ephesians 6:18; Psalm 149:6). Amen! Amen! Amen!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 26 -"Corporately Praying the Word")

Trusting In God's Faithfulness

Is there something God has told you to do that seems just too difficult? You can be sure that if He has called you to carry out His will, He’s going to be faithful to accomplish it through His Spirit living and working in you. So if you tell Him, “I can’t do that, Lord—what if I fail?” you’re really saying, “God doesn’t keep His word.” And yet, our total expectation should be in Him—not in our own energy, ability, or experience.

When you doubt God’s trustworthiness, that unbelief becomes a gap in your spiritual armor, and you can be sure that’s exactly where Satan will attack you. You’ll begin to doubt even more about God’s character, such as His goodness—and that distrust will become a heavy load of baggage you’ll needlessly drag through every area of your life.

You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to have faith in favorable circumstances. He’s asking you to trust that He is who He says He is.
Do you believe that God is a liar? It’s really that simple: either He is truthful or He’s not. But if you believe that faithfulness is His character, then you can do anything He requires. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge or trials or a flood of blessing comes.

It’s actually when life gets rough and rugged that the sweetness of God’s faithfulness makes itself real in your heart. As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character becomes part of who you are and strengthens from within.

~Charles Stanley~

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 24

Praying the Word

Beloved, we cannot express too much the importance of praying the Word of God as the Holy Spirit leads us. Through the years, praying the Word has become a vital force in our prayer-life. All of the preceding chapters of this book have been brought forth as a result of our individually and corporately praying the Word. As we have encountered a problem or trial, or a move of the enemy of God, we have searched together the Word of God for a Word to pray; and the Holy Spirit has always given it to us. Oh, maybe not immediately, but over a period of time the Word has always come, "...precept upon precept, line upon line ... here a little, and there a little ..." as the Lord has taught us to wield "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Isaiah 28:10; Ephesians 6:17).

Whatever the need, the Lord has always given His Word, the written Word, to pray. The Word says, "For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven"; and the Word of God by the Spirit must be the Source, the Fountain-head, and the Ultimate Cause for all our praying. The Word of God is the only creative force that can bring forth that which is according to the Will of God.

Therefore, in each situation and circumstance, we need to pray and stand upon the "settled" Word of God; for it is the Holy Spirit's way to give a Word from the Whole of God's Word to meet any situation. We have found hat whenever we get into problems of any kind, whether they be trials, persecutions, weaknesses, or afflictions, our human spirit and soul may begin to sink. If the problem is allowed to depress us, it will push our spirit and soul downward, and thus our emotions, our mind, and our communion with God will be brought into a place of being pressed out of measure. In this position, we will not be able to come up over the situation. Now, "to overcome" means "to come up over." Overcoming is not simply sounding highly victorious and spiritual. Overcoming means that in every problem we face, we allow the Resurrected, Ascended, Glorified, Exalted Christ to have His rightful position in our hearts.

For example, let us say that we are attacked by fear. In the midst of a problem or trial, some sort of fear overwhelms us, and we become frightened in some way. We become upset, our mind goes out of control, and we can only think about the problem. Though we desperately try to put our mind on the Lord, the situation has control over us. Now how do we "come up over" this? One way to come up over this in he Spirit is to pray the Word. Many of us have done this without realizing it. The Word of God is God's Will. Praying the Word by the Spirit is praying God's Will back to Him, and there is no greater prayer to pray than the Word of God.

Some of the books in the Bible which are excellent to pray are those of Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and 2 Timothy. These are short books are are particularly about the Church and its calling, and they instruct us concerning our daily lives. The Book of Colossians contains four chapters, and it takes about twenty minutes to read it prayerfully. In these four chapters, the Holy Spirit takes us from before the foundation of the world to the place where creation began, and then He brings our life in the Church and our daily walk with our husband, wife, and children. He continues on in the letter to give instruction t all of us who work and live in the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God begins this book with the presentation of the Headship of Christ in the universe and in the New Creation, and then He brings the Authority of this same Headship into our daily, individual walk life, and He does this in only four chapters!

Now as we begin to prayerfully read the Scriptures, we find that the Word of God is living and operative; and as we prayerfully read and pray the Word back to God, our mind will be girded up. The Word says, "Gird up the loins of your mind" (1 Peter 1:13). Praying the Word will accomplish this, for as we pray our mind will be filled with the inspired Word of God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." It is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16); and as we pray the Word, the very breath of God begins to take hold of our heart. The Resurrected, Glorified Christ takes our sinking heart and brings it into its rightful position, which is that we are seated with Him at the right hand of God, "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion," situations, circumstances, and problems. Now from this position, we can look at the problem from God's vantage point - The Throne. No longer will we be in the circumstance looking up, but we will be seeing things as God sees them. Although our situation may not change, nevertheless, we will come to know that He is Lord over all in experience.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 25)

Willing to Walk

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? - Amos 3:3

What does it mean to walk with someone? If you walk with someone, you keep the same pace or stride. You walk beside them, close enough to see and hear them clearly. Walking with someone in the physical sense represents fellowship and synchronicity, where neither one is moving ahead or lagging behind. To walk with someone requires a willingness to move ahead together in the same direction and for the same duration. As the verse says, for two to walk together, they must agree—on quite a few things.

The Bible is filled with "two [who] walk together." The Lord gave Moses a partner in Aaron. Naomi had Ruth. David had Jonathan. Even Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, two by two. Peter and John would continue as friends and partners as they started the first church. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 says that two are better than one because they are there to help each other, pick each other up, and even help keep each other warm. And, of course, from the beginning, God put man and woman together: to walk together and to become one in marriage. But to truly walk together, we must agree with our partner, have common goals, be willing to submit, and work together for the purposes of God.

God puts us together because He knows the value of fellowship and friendship. He has made it a necessity to the point that if we do not have fellowship with others, we will struggle with loneliness and depression. Jesus wants us to walk with Him in fellowship and friendship. He desires for us to agree with Him, submit to Him and allow Him to set the course. If we can truly learn to walk in agreement with the Lord, then we will successfully walk together in our marriages and other friendships. We cannot walk with someone and be at odds, eventually the walk will end.

If you are struggling today in your walk with someone, a marriage, friendship or partnership, you must first get your walk back in agreement with the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you walk with Him in those areas in which you are struggling. Maybe you need to repent from rebellious ways or attitudes or maybe you need to submit to going in a direction you have not wanted to go. Once you learn to walk with God first, then you will be so much better in walking with others.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, January 27, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 23

"For Ever, O Lord, Thy Word is Settled in Heaven" (continued)

5. Esther 7:5 - And now, in the midst of Haman's end, we come to the last alphabetical Acrostic in Esther; last because it is different from the other four in that it proclaims the "I AM." When Esther told the king of the adversary's plot, the king exclaimed, "Who is he, and where is he?" In the original the Acrostic is formed by the final letters of the king's question, and the Name is spelled backwards. Therefore, controlled by the hidden power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the king unconsciously utters the words which spell the Name of The "I AM." The great "I AM" of Exodus 3:14, The One Who sees the beginning unto the ending, The One Who had delivered His people out of the hand of Pharaoh, was again breaking the power of His enemy - "with secret hand the Lord fighteth." So the king,controlled by the hidden power of God, proclaims The "I AM" - The "I AM" Who said -

"This is My Name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations, by this name I AM to be remembered to all generations."

This is not saying that God has to remember as if He forgets, or that we have to remember Him, but it is saying that sealed, kept, and fully controlled in the eternal memory of Go is His Purpose In The Christ. And in His eternal memory, kept there by His hidden power, are the ones chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.

Therefore, when the enemy is doing his worst against the people of God because of his hatred of Christ, the "I AM", the One Whose Name lives forever, "with secret hand fighteth." And whether it is a pagan king or an emissary of satan or satan himself, they must, consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So from Esther's experience we learn that Philippians 2:10 and 11 is being fulfilled in each and every age and generation.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Dear ones, in each generation the intercessors like Mordecai and Esther choose to proclaim His Lordship no matter what the circumstances. They do this by faith, for they have come to know Him Who Is The Beginning and The Ending. They know by trusting Him and taking Him as Lord that "The Alpha and The Omega" is working all things after the counsel of His Own Will. And in the depths of their innermost being, which through Christ has become one with the Eternal Memory of God, they know that the "I AM" is always there for His people, not always to make thing right in the earthly realm, but always to bring forth a greater increase of THE CHRIST.

Beloved, intercession is a Royal Work, it is the Throne Ministry that is energized and kept by the Right Hand of God: IT IS THE SECRET HAND OF GOD THAT FIGHTETH! Intercession is the "Hidden power of God" at wok: it is the great and royal work of God's Spirit, Who, in union with "the faithful" of each and every age, is bringing forth and maintaining and completing that which God has Purposed in the Christ. This Royal Work has included in its faithful throng those such as Mordecai and Esther: may it also include us, may we remain among the faithful.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 24 - "Praying the Word")

No Such Thing As Wasted years

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” - Joel 2:25

The book of Joel was written by the prophet of whom we know the least. His book is only three chapters in length but is packed with sincere pleas for repentance for the nation of Israel. Joel knew the Lord’s Day was coming but he also knew and spoke of God’s endless mercy and grace. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Joel 2:25. For me, this verse represents great hope and encouragement for the future. Not only is our God a God of second chances, but also He is a God who restores our past. I have witnessed this restoration first hand in my own life.
I was raised in church, accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized, all before the age of 10. I can honestly say I have known the Lord most of my life, but I have not always chosen to walk with Him. There is a big difference inknowingHim versus livingfor Him. There is also a big difference in knowingaboutHim versus knowing Him personally. I spent many years as an adult choosing to live my life my way. I still read the Bible, went to church and prayed…prayed a lot for the things I wanted. But my life was my own. Then one day, something changed in my heart. My eyes were opened in a very different way. I realized who was really on the throne of my life and it was not Jesus. I began to see how empty my life had become and that I wanted more. More meant more of Him. It was time to live for Jesus. It was time to change my course. But what about those wasted years? I had such sadness realizing the time I had wasted. If only I had done things differently.

Then one day, I come across this verse in Joel. And the Lord Himself said to me that He would restore all of those years that the locust had eaten. He has a plan for my life and His plans and callings are irrevocable. Not only is God with me as I go forward but also He has never left me. I look back and see God’s tremendous grace. And I have seen God do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine in just a few short years.  Do you have regrets about wasted years? Know today that God will restore them all. If you have been away from Him, come back today. Repent and ask the Lord to sit on the throne of your life and carry out His plans and callings for you. Let this verse give you hope and encouragement to begin a new day.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 22

"For Ever, O Lord, Thy Word Is Settled in Heaven" (continued"

Lamentations, chapter three is different, for it consists of sixty six verses. The first three verses commence with Aleph and the second three verses commence with Beth and so forth, throughout chapter three, until the whole Hebrew alphabet is used. And in chapter three, verses 46-48 and 49-51, the order of the alphabet is again designedly transposed to reveal that things are not as they seem; because THE ALPHA and THE OMEGA, THE LIVING WORD, will complete that which hath been purposed in Himself - and this is true whether it concerns Israel or the Church. Each letter of the alphabet is repeated 3 times, signifying that God the Father in and through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit will sum up and complete all things in the Christ. Thus, in Lamentations, The Alpha and Omega" emphasizes the importance of intercession, for many years later Jeremiah's words will be fulfilled and a remnant of those such as Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Esther will be used to further God's Purpose - Great is Thy Faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion ... therefore will I hope in Him" (Lamentations 3:23, 24).

Brethren, the Holy Spirit has led us and many of God's children to pray the above Psalms and Scriptures over and over again. Now when we do this [whether we are conscious of it or not] we are proclaiming Christ, The Living Word, "as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending" (Revelation 1:8).

He Is Lord

Now, let us return to the Book of Esther and see how the Lord of ALL has hidden His Name by using this same powerful Acrostic figure of speech. satan, in his attempt to nullify God's promise of the Messiah, is using his emissary Haman to blot out the whole nation of Israel, but God is "hiding" His power! Hence, the Name of "Jehovah," which is usually written "Lord" in the English, is hidden four times in this book and the Lord's all-inclusive Title, the "I AM" is hidden once. In Esther, the alphabetical Acrostic is different in that it occurs in phrases and words; and this Acrostic does not use the successive order of the alphabet but in the original language it spells individual words, sometimes they are spelled backwards for emphasis. 1. Esther 1:20 - Ahasuerus, the king of a very large empire, made a feast and called all his princes and nobles together and showed them the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesties. Scripture says that they drank and each man did according to his own pleasure for six days (the number of man) and on the seventh day the drunken king called for Queen Vashti to show herself before this rabble, and to her credit, she refused. Hence, Vashti is set aside; and to save face, the heathenish king sent out a decree: "All the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small." In the Hebrew, the Acrostic is formed by the first letters of the phrase, "All the wives shall give," which in the original Hebrew spells the Name of the Lord. However, the Divine Name is spelled backwards, which speaks of the Lord overruling the prevailing circumstances in order to bring about His Will; and translated from the Hebrew, it would read like this:  Due Respect Our Ladies ... (Lord).  Ahasuerus may have thought that he and his seven princes ruled his great empire, but we know differently. Because the King of kings and Lord of lords was proclaiming His Lordship as He overruled the prevailing circumstances in order that Esther might become queen, a woman whose only Lord was the Living God. Thus, satan's evil plot is defeated because God purposefully hid Esther in the palace. 2. Esther 5:4 - Under the influence of satan, Haman, the descendant of Amalek, had persuaded the king to decree that all Jews should be killed: But God had made Esther queen "for such a time as this". And, at the risk of her life, she went before the king to intercede for God's people. Minute by minute ... step by step ... day by day, Esther allowed herself to be led of the Lord in order to accomplish this Throne Ministry of intercession - while in her heart she cried: "and if I perish, I perish." But the Lord reigneth! - so the king said "What is thy request?" And Esther answered, "If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him." The underlined phrase is the Acrostic figure of speech, and this time the Name of the Lord is formed by the first letter of each word but the Name is spelled forward, which when translated from Hebrew to English reads like this: "Let Our Royal Dinner ... (LORD). Thus, interwoven in His eternal Word is the un-annullable decree that He is Lord! He is at all times in control: not the kings of great empires, not the Hamans, and certainly not satan, because the Lord's Name is Above Every Name; He is Lord! (Philippians 2:9, 11).  3. Esther 5:13 - Haman went forth that day with a glad heart thinking he was even in greater favor with the king because of Esther's request. However, as he went, he saw Mordecai in the king's gate and his hatred of Mordecai, the Jew, rose up in him - a bitter hatred that had accumulated throughout the generations of Amalek, for it was the bitter and venomous hatred of the serpent himself against "The Seed" of the woman. And Haman said to his wife: "yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate." The underlined phrase is the Acrostic, and this time the letters are at the end of each word and the word is spelled backward, thus speaking of the Lord overruling and turning back the counsel of the enemy; and in the English it may be freely rendered: saD foR nO avaiL ... (Lord). And even though Haman does not realize it, with his own voice he has sealed his and his descendants' doom, because God is overruling and turning back the enemy's counsel. The Eternal Word, the Lord of all, is executing judgment upon His enemies, "Because with secret hand the Lord fighteth against Amalek from generation to generation" (Exodus 17:16).  4. Esther 7:7 - At last the time has come and Esther's intercession draws to a climax as the king, moved by the hidden power of God, grants her petition. Now, in God's appointed timing, Esther discloses the fact that she is a Jew and that the wicked Haman had plotted the murder of her and her people. Then Haman realizes that his end is near: "for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king." Again, the Acrostic is underlined and in the English is translated thus: eviL tO feaR determineD ... (LORD).

So the enemy of God is taken in his own craftiness, and Haman is hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Beloved, no matter what our trials or circumstances, we must come to realize that the hidden power of God proclaims in His Word, with intricate detail, the the Alpha and Omega is the Beginning and the Ending: He is Lord! Hence, the Word of God has determined that the diabolical plots of the enemy against the Christ  and His people must proclaim, and consummate in, the unequivocal fact that Jesus Christ is Lord. No wonder satan hates the Word!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 23)

Conviction for the Believer

Recently I spoke to a heartbroken woman. Her father was dying, and he was cold toward his family and God. He desired no contact and refused to discuss any spiritual matter.
But God is able to reach anyone—even someone hostile to the faith. Consider the apostle Paul’s conversion! Yet Scripture also teaches that the Lord eventually gives people over to the hardness of their own hearts. There may come a point when He no longer draws them by revealing their need for a Savior.

The situation is different for believers, though. When we, in our humanness, continue to sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us so we’ll get back on track. At that point, we can humbly repent and follow Him or ignore His voice and continue to sin. If we persist in error, our Father will keep calling us back. But the danger is that our hearts may become desensitized and eventually we may cease hearing His warning.

Thankfully, we are children of God, and He loves us too much to let us remain in a sinful pattern. Though chastisement and conviction are never pleasant, He knows our travelling down the wrong road results in much greater heartache. The Lord is a shepherd, using His staff and rod to lovingly bring us to green pastures.

On the Christian journey, there will be temptations to stray, falsely promising to satisfy longings. Stay closely connected to Jesus through prayer and Scripture. Be listening so you can obey immediately when He calls you to change course. In the long run, living God’s way brings the greatest joy.

~Charles Stanley~

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 21

The Living Word: The Alpha and Omega

In the Word of God, figures of speech are used in order to draw our attention to that which the Holy Spirit is especially emphasizing. One brother has said: "It is not too much to say that, in the use of these figures, we have, as it were, the Holy Spirit's own markings of our Bibles." So, let us draw our attention to the figure of speech that we want to consider, which in the English is called "Acrostic." The following definition of this figure of speech may be hard for us to grasp at first, but as we go on and see its usage in the Scripture, it will become clear to us.

The Acrostic figure of speech is a figure of repetition that uses the alphabet of the original language in which the Bible was written. It is not the repetition of the same letter of the alphabet, but of different letters which are designedly placed by the Holy Spirit at the beginning or at the end of words which are arranged in lines. The letters may be repeated in the order in which they occur in the alphabet or in some other particular order. Also, these letters of the alphabet which are placed at the beginning or ending of successive lines, or words, can spell another word.

We need to note that the Acrostic figure of speech, like many other figures, occurs only in the original manuscript and cannot be reproduced exactly in the translations. Some printings of the King James translation note this Acrostic figure of speech in their margins; the Companion Bible and the Darby translation make significant note of this figure of speech. As we have said, the best way to understand this important figure of speech is to see how the Lord uses it in the Scriptures. So let us proceed and search into some of the Scriptures to which the Holy Spirit has given such special significance.

Psalms 111 and 112 each have 22 lines in the original Hebrew (there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet); and in the Hebrew, each line begins with each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. These two beautiful psalms are Hallelujah Psalms [Hallelujah = "Praise ye the Lord"; and as written, it is the title of the two Psalms], and they are linked together because they are Acrostic Psalms: Psalm 111, praises the Lord for His Words, and Psalm 112, praises the Lord for His Ways. Thus, the Lord is emphasizing the importance of praising in all things. Most of us praise the Lord for His works. But it is also necessary, if we are to mature, to praise Him for His ways of dealing with us - that which He allows in our lives, and circumstances which will, if yielded to, bring forth an increase of Christ and cause us to be in "the way." Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending; and, equally as important, in the midst of all our circumstances, He is through all - He is the A, B, C, D, E, g... right through to Z - He is the Way.

Psalm 119 consists of 176 verses, and it is divided into 22 groups of eight verses each. In the original language, the eight verses of each group begin with the same successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, for example: the first eight verses begin with the letter "Aleph," the second eight with "Beth," and so on throughout the whole Psalm. What a marvelous way for the Lord to express to us the importance of His Word, which is the controlling factor and creative agent of all that God has purposed. "For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven"; 8 Alephs! 8 Beths! 8 Gimels! 8 Daleths! etc. - Twenty-two eights! - the power of the resurrection personified through the Living Word - "Which is, and Which Was, and Which is To Come" - The Alpha and Omega - He that liveth, Was Dead, and is Alive for Evermore. This Psalm is the Living Word Himself emphasizing the importance of the Written Word: "In Whom (in Christ) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3), and it is a royal work to search out that which God hath concealed.

Lamentations, chapters one through four are particularly expressive of the Acrostic figure of speech, for in these chapters we have the Holy Spirit expressing, through Jeremiah's intercession, the broken heart of the Lord over His people who have been led away from the direct course. When one reads Lamentations, it seems that all is lost as far as Israel is concerned; and all that is left is to lament over their failure. But "The Alpha and Omega," The Aleph and The Tau, the Great High Priest Who ever liveth to make intercession unto the uttermost is not through with them; and, even as Jeremiah laments, we find "The Beginning and the Ending" is expressing Himself. There are twenty-two verses in chapter one, and each verse begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which says: "This is not the end, Jeremiah - I AM The Ending - I AM The Fulfillment of Perfection." The same is true of chapters two and four - except, that in both chapters, the order of the Hebrew alphabet in verses 16 and 17 are transposed (reversed), which figuratively speaks that the order is not set and this intercession will reverse the failure of Israel!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 22)

Consider Your Deeds

"I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead." - Revelation 3:1

Companies hire consultants to come into their business to assess and evaluate the services they provide. The goal is to become more efficient, make more product and have better outcomes. Hiring an outsider allows an unbiased opinion without any emotional attachments to the employees involved or the personal dynamics that make up each "excuse" of why the employees do not achieve the company's goal.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus does not ask for a consultant, like a prophet or angel, to come in to evaluate His church and His people. He clearly and lovingly assesses each church Himself. He starts each letter with the words, "I know your deeds" and then to six out of the seven churches, He says, "But".  Deed is also another word for work, which in the Greek means an act, deed, work that is done or anything accomplished by hand, art, industry or mind. These churches know Jesus because they each have a saving faith to be called and hear what He is saying. So, Jesus speaks to each one about their works, not their faith. And we know that faith without works (or deeds) is dead. However, the Overseer of each church rebukes their works and deeds that follow their faith. The stakes are high. The rebuke is not about losing your job but the shaking of your eternal foundation.

Jesus writes these letters explaining that He understands who they are, where they live, what they do and to six of the churches, how they fall short. Then, He lovingly tells them how to return or be restored. God is also for us. He wants us to be our best and live abundantly. How we live our life here day by day does matter for eternity. For me personally, I do not want any "Buts" when standing before Jesus face-to-face. I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into My rest." I want all He has for me here and I want to do it and live it His way.
Today, read over Revelation 2-3. Meditate on the verses; ponder His descriptions in your mind. Then ask the Lord which description looks a lot like you. He will honestly and clearly answer and then help you become all He wants you to be. The stakes are too high—take His words seriously.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, January 24, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 20

"For Ever, O Lord, Thy Word is Settled in Heaven" (continued)

Esther, who represents the throne ministry of intercession, becomes a vessel through whom God can bring forth deliverance for His people and judgment upon His enemies. Esther is one who interceded much in spirit and acted very slowly and spoke very little as she was led painstakingly, step by step, by the Lord until Haman and his descendants were destroyed.

The accounting of the destruction of Haman's ten sons is set out in an unusual way in the Hebrew and, therefore, becomes significant. Remember, everything in the Written Word of God is significant, whether we can fully understand it or not; and in every Hebrew manuscript, the names of Haman's sons are presented thus (Esther 9:7-9).

Haman's ten sons are listed in this way in order that the Lord's people will be reminded that there is always a satanic move either to destroy God's people or to cause them to wander from the direct course. Four times Haman is called "the Jews' enemy"; and the fourth time his sons are also included in this venomous phrase. This phrase, "the Jews' enemy", is representative of the satanic forces, the seed of the serpent, who are seeking, in every age, by any means possible, to stop God's people before they can finish the course that God has set before them.

However, let us also remember that it is in "such a time as this" that God is Hiding His Power; and at His appointed time, the descendants of Amalek (Haman and his ten sons) are brought to an end. Ten is the number of order and completeness; and, in this instance, because it is referring to the enemy, it denotes that Amalek's cup of iniquity is full: satan's evil and treacherous plot against God's people had come to full cycle! And then it is, whether in Esther's time or in ours, that God "with Secret Hand" executes judgment upon His enemies and saves His people in order that they can be free and ready to finish the course He has set before them.

At the beginning of this charter, we said that the Book of Esther exemplifies the statement, "The Hiding of His Power"; and we also said that the Name of God does not appear in this book. However, we have found that it is by Divine Design that the Name of God does not appear in Esther, for God has chosen to hide His All-Powerful Name in this book by using the Hebrew alphabet in the form of a figure of speech. In doing this, the Lord is emphasizing and calling attention to the fact  that He Is, as He clearly states in the New Testament, The Alpha and Omega - The Beginning, The Through All, and the Completion - The One Who worketh all things after the counsel of His Own Will.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21 - The Living Word: The Alpha and Omega")

Fear Not, I Am With Thee

1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.
Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Heaven is the "undefiled inheritance"; it is the land of perfect holiness, and therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God's word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe; that all the righteous shall hold on their way; that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of Christ shall find Him a faithful and immutable preserver. Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on earth; not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in Him shall ever perish, but shall be with Him where He is. Believer, let us often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, and honour the faithfulness of our God by a holy confidence in Him. May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand; and whisper in your ear the promise, "Fear not, I am with thee." Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that "faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 19

For Ever, O Lord, Thy Word Is Settled in Heaven" (continued)

In this scripture, we have the first occurrence of the word "write" in the Bible. Over and over again, God would command his servants, "Write thou," in order that His Written Word would be brought forth; and all through the ages, these Words have been rehearsed in the ears of "the Joshuas" as they prepare for battle. Repeatedly the Lord has said to them as He said to Joshua:

"Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law ... turn not from it to the right hand or to the left (this is how we stay on direct course by letting the Written Word become a living reality in us through Christ) ... this book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein" (Joshua 1:7, 8).

No wonder satan sent Amalek to attack Israel: The Book of the Law was being written, the Words that could not come back to God void were being recorded, and would continue to be recorded until the Written Word of God was complete. Enraged, the enemy set out to stop the Word of God from being fulfilled, for if he can nullify one Word, one Jot or Tittle of the Word of God, then his doom cannot happen; but even though satan may cause, and fight, many battles, he has already lost the war - because God's un-annullable Word says:

"For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89).

So we find that Mordecai will not bow nor reverence Haman because Haman is a descendant of Amalek, he is of that seed of the serpent who seeks to nullify the Word of God. Through Jeremiah, God had recorded that a remnant would return from captivity and build His temple; and through Isaiah, He had written that out of this remnant would come the Messiah. For this reason, satan would now try to destroy the whole nation of Israel, and Haman would be his evil emissary.

Haman, inspired by satan, was full of wrath toward the people of Mordecai; he and his evil cohorts spent months seeking just the right time to destroy God's people. Haman's goal was to destroy the Lord's people, thereby accomplishing satan's ultimate object, which is to destroy the promised "SEED." In Esther, we have three thirteens connected with this gigantic effort of satan against God's purpose (3:12, 13; 8:12). We must always go back to Genesis 14:4 to discover the significance of the number thirteen, because its first occurrence is also found in that evil list of the seed of the serpent: "in the thirteenth year they rebelled." So, the number thirteen speaks of the terrible rebellion and apostasy and iniquity of satan himself, when he chose to reject the position given to him by God and tried to exalt himself above the Most High.

Month after month Haman and his forces sought the best time to destroy all the Jews (men, women, and children); and after Haman had convinced the king to do so, the Word says they chose "the thirteenth day of the twelfth month" to cause all Jews to perish "in one day." But we have a God WHO HIDETH HIMSELF so that He can take the enemy in his own craftiness; and in this book, God had hidden the Power of His Might in the vessels of Mordecia and Esther. "With Secret Hand" He fighteth against Amalek, and "With Secret Hand" Esther is made queen "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 20)

Earnest Simplicity

Freely you have received; freely give. Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Matthew 10:8-10

Jesus gives His disciples simple instructions with a simple strategy to simply share the gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. He commissioned them to focus first on their own nation. The Lord encouraged an unencumbered life so His followers where free to focus on eternal life. Christ keeps it simple because He knows we are easily distracted and can drift into complex schemes that suck the life out of opportunities to give life. The gospel only needs clarity in communication, as the Spirit’s power uses this earnest simplicity to unleash heaven’s influence.

Status, stuff, society, sin and self all move toward making matters more complex than is necessary in the Kingdom of God. Like an intricate spider web, the complexity of life can trap us in an inertia unable to respond in spontaneous service. By the time we are free to return a call or clear our calendar, the hurting person has moved on to someone who has time. The motto of earnest simplicity is ‘less is more.’ Because God has freely given to us, we are free to freely give to others. Avoid sin’s complexity so you are available to bless others with pure joy.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. Proverbs 29:6

Earnest simplicity does not mean we are all called to live a monastic life, but it does mean we are free from the seduction of stuff. An unencumbered life is not isolated from society, but it is free from culture’s control. A life with margin does not seek status, but it does use success as a platform to care for the unfortunate in Jesus' name. Enjoy your season of simplicity as a window for the sunbeams of the Son’s love to shine through your soul. Simplicity points to your Savior!

Perhaps it's time to resign a role or responsibility that no longer requires your attention so you are available for impromptu interactions with hurting hearts. Sometimes it is the spur-of-the-moment ministry opportunities at your church that mean the most. Be on call for Christ and He will open doors for you to simply share the gospel with lost souls. Moreover, create margin with money, so in the moment you can freely give to those hungry for help. A little bit of immediate encouragement is the fruit of earnest simplicity. Keep it simple, so the Spirit can work in you!

Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God.Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I speak the simple gospel and simply live by faith in Your provision.

Related Readings: Proverbs 15:16-19; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 1:17

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 18

For Ever, O Lord, Thy Word Is Settled in Heaven" (continued)

So Joshua led the battle, and Moses stood on top of the hill with the Rod of God in his hand; and when he grew tired and dropped his hands, the enemy would prevail, so Aaron and Hur helped by holding up his hands - thus representing the corporate work of God's people as they are "strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." The people of God won the battle that day, but the war would go on, because God would not be through with Amalek until his cup of iniquity was full. The Septuagint puts it this way:

"And Moses built an altar to the Lord and called its name, The Lord is my Refuge; because with secret hand the Lord fighteth against Amalek from generation to generation."

"With Secret Hand," speaking of the Right Hand of God, which is the Absolute Sovereignty of God bringing about all things - in and through and unto Christ - after the counsel of His Own Will.

Deuteronomy 25:17 and 18 gives us one of the reasons the Lord continued to make war on Amalek, for Amalek had attacked the weak and feeble in the rear. He attacked the stragglers who could not keep up the pace, those who wandered away from the direct course; the enemy tried to cut those off from the rest. The enemy had calculatingly attacked when Moses and the other spiritual leaders were faint and weary in the way; remember, Moses could not continue to hold up his hands. Here is a warning that we should heed: The enemy will always attack those who wander from the direct course that God has set before them, and he will try to cut them out of the Way of the Lord. And he does this when those who are strong become faint and weary - when they become drooping or flagging or listless or indifferent from exhaustion, when they lose strength or force because of their circumstances, when they are exhausted and full of labors.

Moses was first of all an intercessor with God's interest at heart, and the true spiritual leaders of God's people are always those who intercede and stand and take the offensive by the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." When the intercessors become faint and weary in their task, then the enemy will smite "the hindmost of thee, even all that were (are) feeble behind thee"; he will try and cut off those who have wandered from the course. Those of us who have committed ourselves to intercession should be watchful, for like Moses we can become faint of heart or discouraged, and the enemy is alert and watching for such a time as this.

Let us hold up each other's arms!
Let us keep the Rod of God's power high!
Let us stand firm in our position in Christ at God's Right Hand!
Let us remain alert and "watch unto prayer" and, thereby, stop Amalek from preying upon the feeble.

Now, we need to see that there was an even greater reason that God "fighteth against Amalek from generation to generation." We have said that behind Amalek is satan, and satan in all his evil being is first and foremost antichrit: he is against all that God has purposed in The Christ. And being antichrist, he is anti-Word, for Christ is The Living Word; and The Living Word Through The Written Word proclaims satan's doom from the beginning to the end: - ""It (Christ) shall bruise thy head ... the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone ... for ever and ever" (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 20:10). The Written Word absolutely proclaims satan's doom. Therefore, he will do anything in an attempt to annul completely, to make void, to annihilate, to blaspheme, to nullify, the Word of God.

So behind the scenes, almost hidden from view unless we search, there is a great battle going on in the heavenlies as Joshua and Moses and the others prevail against Amalek, for God is about to tell Moses to record this important battle in a book.

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial in a book (Hebrews = in the Book)."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 19)

Jesus Christ the Sin Bearer

The cross is so common in our culture that most people don’t think twice when they see one on a church. But unfortunately, familiarity with the symbol can actually get in the way of understanding what it truly means. So let’s stop to consider how Jesus became the bearer of sin.

We begin with Scripture written long before Jesus was born. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, explains how man chose to disobey God. Because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their descendants are all born under the curse of death, having inherited a sinful “flesh” nature.

In Leviticus, God’s laws for the Jewish nation included observance of Yom Kippur, the day each year when the Israelites fasted, prayed, and sacrificed an animal to atone for sin. In essence, the goat would bear the wrongs done by the people and suffer the penalty that divine justice required.

Centuries later, Isaiah prophesied that a Savior would atone for transgression once and for all (Isa. 53:5, 8; Heb. 7:27). After another 700 years, John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The Messiah had come, though He was totally different from what the people expected—so much so, in fact, that they rejected Him and requested His crucifixion.

In all, God gave 613 laws through Moses. But none of us can perfectly follow even the Ten Commandments. In fact, one reason He gave us these rules is to show us our need for a Savior (Ps. 19:7; Gal. 3:24). Meditate on those commands (Ex. 20:1-17), asking God to speak to your heart.

~Charles Stanley~

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 17

"Forever, O Lord,
Thy Word is Settled in Heaven" (continued)

"Enoch walked with God," and God took him out of this world before the flood; but Noah, who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" went through that terrifying flood.

Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly thrown into a dungeon for many years before he was made second in command to Pharaoh; but Moses, who by Divine Purpose was saved from death as a baby and became Pharaoh's daughter's son and was reared in the palace and could have possibly been the next Pharaoh, was sent to the backside of the desert for 40 years.

Daniel stood for over 70 years while in captivity as he prayed and interceded for God's Purpose in the land of Israel, yet, he was not allowed to return to the land; but Ezra and Nehemiah returned to restore God's temple because God sovereignly moved upon the kings who held them captive.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever." Amen (Romans 11:33, 36).

So we find that Esther is not delivered from Ahasuerus' harem; on the contrary, she is made his queen. Mordecai, like his contemporaries, Nehemiah and Daniel, has a favored position in the king's household: "Mordecai sat in the king's gate"; whereupon, the Word tells us that Mordecai watched closely over Esther, and he advised her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew. God always has a reason for "the hiding of His power", and this time He hid it in the palace of a pagan king in a woman called Esther, and in a man called Mordecai.

It was after Esther had become queen that the evil Haman rose to power (Esther 3:1) and was placed by the king in the position that was probably second in command in the kingdom. "And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence" (3?2). Why not? Mordecai undoubtedly bowed to the pagan king, when then would he not bow to Haman? We find the answer to our questions in Esther 3:1 as the Holy Spirit tells us of Haman's ancestry, "Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite"; hence, Haman was a descendant of the Amalekite kings. In Exodus 17:16, the Word of God solemnly records that "the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." And whom the Lord has "war with," so do they who live a life in the Spirit: Therefore Mordecai would not bow!

Exodus seventeen will help us to understand the significance of this "war." Israel was about to be given another lesson in the wilderness. We know that God allowed the wilderness experience so that they could learn by trial what was truly in their hearts and whether they would wholly follow Him or not. The Lord also allowed the wilderness experience so that they could learn that He was the answer to all their need, no matter what the circumstances; for if they learned this, they would become a people completely dependent upon Him in all things! So the people could not find water, they were tired, weary, and complaining as usual; and Moses, following the Lord's directions, had smote the rock and a great river had gushed forth to quench the thirst of a thirsty people: - the water from the smitten rock foretold of the Living Water, the Holy Spirit, to be sent forth by a Smitten Saviour. Then Amalek comes on the scene, and there is war! - for any time God's people are being satisfied by the rivers of living water, war will immediately erupt. And here we find the first mention of that great warrior of God, Joshua, as he goes forth to do battle with the Amalekites; and we know that behind the Amalekites is satan himself, because in the scripture the Amalekites are first mentioned in Genesis 14:7 among that infamous list of the seed of the serpent.

~. T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 18)

God Speak

“They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28).

Be careful what you attribute to the Lord; make sure He is speaking and not ego, greed, or pride. Watch out for spiritual sounding souls, as they can be the culprits of Christless advice. They may talk about God and even invoke His will into discussions. Be wary of someone who assigns God’s will arbitrarily on a prayerless whim.

Make sure what others are suggesting, even commanding, is not self-serving for them. God speaks through generous givers, not tawdry takers. God normally communicates through humility, faith, and accountability. If others have it all figured out for you, this is a flag. They may have a wonderful plan for your life and have missed God’s plan entirely. Avoid people who throw God’s endorsement around aimlessly.

Pseudospirituality is nauseating to our Lord. How can He speak clearly, consistently, and with creditability through someone infiltrated with compromised character? This type of “God speak” creates a dysfunctional faith. It is faith built on man’s persuasion and persistence rather than God’s will. What starts out as a pure word from the Lord can evolve into a perverted word from man. Listen first to God; then validate it with man.

God does speak through His Word. Holy Scripture does not need any help as it stands on its own, tall and glistening in the glory of God. While you read and digest His Word, by faith you know He has spoken. He speaks loudly, precisely, and clearly from Scripture. “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:4).

Use the New Testament as a filter for the Old Testament. This is the Jesus method of Bible interpretation. Seminary can be a good form of learning, but sitting at the feet of Jesus is better! As He speaks to you through His Word, validate it through wise counsel.

God speaks loudly and precisely every day. He speaks through authorities, He speaks through our spouse, He speaks through our health, He speaks through our calendar, He speaks through friends, He speaks through strangers, and He speaks through circumstances, but most of all He speaks through His Word.

Obey what you know, and over time what you are unsure of will become clear. Listen intently to the Lord and submit. Do not use or abuse this Christian privilege of hearing, knowing, and understanding God’s voice. He speaks; so humbly listen and obey.

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’” (1 Samuel 3:10).

Prayer: Is the Bible my primary resource for discerning God’s will?

Related Readings: Exodus 20:1; Psalm 62:11; Acts 11:9; Hebrews 1:1–3

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Monday, January 20, 2014

Intercession: The Throne Ministry # 16

"For Ever, O Lord,
Thy Word Is Settled in Heaven"

Beloved, as we further consider the throne ministry of intercession, we want to share with you a phrase that the Lord has pointed out to us in Habakkuk 3:4, "The Hiding of His Power." We have been prayerfully searching the Scriptures in order to find out what He is speaking to us in these few but powerful and mighty Words. Beloved, when the power of God is hidden and the saints are in an intense conflict and trial of faith, it is important for us to realize that there is a mighty warfare going on, in the heavenlies, for the emancipation of God's chosen ones from satanic bondage.

Through prayer, the Lord gave us the Book of Esther as a portion of His Word which exemplifies "The Hiding of His Power." The Book of Esther is different from all the other books in the Bible because the Name of God does not appear in it. Many commentators believe that God's name is not mentioned because the Jews were under God's judgment - He had sent them into captivity and servitude as a result of their continued idolatry. But we do not believe that God's judgment upon them is the reason His name does not appear in Esther, because other books, such as Ezekiel and Daniel, were also written during the time of the Jews' captivity and God's name appears in them over and over again. No, the reason that God's name does not appear in the Book of Esther is by Divine Design; for, as we shall see, the Holy Spirit conceals it for a Divine Reason because of the Divine Purpose. Proverbs 25:2 tells us:

"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."

Have you ever noticed that many times when we are searching for answers from God, it seems that we cannot find the way and that things seem to get more difficult instead of better? Well, these are the times when we need to faint not nor grow weary in well doing. We need to continue to prayerfully search for God's Will in the matter, for as Proverbs 25:2 says, searching is the Royal work. And if we continue to search out God's Will and Way, we will come to realize the Sovereign work of God, the Royal work of God, within our circumstances.

In Esther, we find that God does not always do things just as He has done them before. Sometimes we put God in a box (in our own square of things) and expect Him to act just as He has acted before. However, we have a God that many times "Hideth Himself" in ways that we just cannot see Him within our circumstances. We think that Mordecai and Esther must have experienced this, and at times they must have had thoughts like this: "Had not God protected and delivered Sarah from the harem of the heathenish kings, two different times?! Surely He would do the same for Esther!" But here, along with Esther and Mordecai, we can learn a valuable lesson: God does not always deal with His children in the same way, He deals with each of us according to that which He purposes in "The Christ." Therefore, seeing that each of us are different in our inward being because of heredity, environment, and circumstances, God allows in each of our lives that which will bring forth a greater increase of Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 17)

Nothing Is Hard for God

Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hands" (2 Kings 3:16-18).

To human thinking it was simply impossible, but nothing is hard for God. Without a sound or sign, from sources invisible and apparently impossible, the floods came stealing in all night long; and when the morning dawned, those ditches were flooded with the crystal waters, and reflecting the rays of the morning sun from the red hills of Edom.
Our unbelief is always wanting some outward sign. The religion of many is largely sensational, and they are not satisfied of its genuineness without manifestations, etc.; but the greatest triumph of faith is to be still and know that He is God.
The great victory of faith is to stand before some impassable Red Sea, and hear the Master say, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord," and "Go forward!" As we step out without any sign or sound--not a wave-splash--and wetting our very feet as we take the first step into its waters, still marching on we shall see the sea divide and the pathway open through the very midst of the waters.
If we have seen the miraculous workings of God in some marvelous case of healing or some extraordinary providential deliverance, I am sure the thing that has impressed us most has been the quietness with which it was all done, the absence of everything spectacular and sensational, and the utter sense of nothingness which came to us as we stood in the presence of this mighty God and felt how easy, it was for Him to do it all without the faintest effort on His part or the slightest help on ours.
It is not the part of faith to question, but to obey. The ditches were made, and the water came pouring in from some supernatural source. What a lesson for our faith!
Are you craving a spiritual blessing? Open the trenches, and God will fill them. And this, too, in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways. Oh, for that faith that can act by faith and not by sight, and expect God to work although we see no wind or rain.
--A. B. Simpson
~L. B. Cowman~