Anointed To Teach God's Word

Classic Christian teaching from the holy Bible

The Believer’s Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 4


 

Obedience

A Walk in Conformity to God’s Ways


God’s will is not an intangible, indefinite thing. Indeed so practical is it that it stretches itself over our entire manner of living claiming the authority to fashion our daily walk.

Deut. 5:33, “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

1 Kings 3:14, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy Father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”

Over the family life of His children the heavenly Father presides and He fully expects to counsel with them regarding the kind of clothes they wear; the books they read; the studies they pursue; the companions they seek; the business they enter; the money they spend; the possessions they have; the life plans they form; their habits of recreation and play as well as of work; and their food and drink. Radiating from the will of God as the center there are ways of thinking, talking, resting, working, playing, eating, dressing, living which are consistent with our home life in the heavenlies and are worthy of the training which we have received of our Father.

Phil. 1:27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Phil. 2:15, “That ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world.”

Yet there are prodigals in the Father’s family who despising the restraints in the Father’s home go their own way into the far country. There are others who remain at home but reserve the right in certain matters to conform their ways to those of the world. There are Christian men who contend that in business one must use the methods of the world to succeed even if they are somewhat shady and dishonoring. There are earnest Christian women who in matters of dress follow the extreme fashions of the world. There are both men and women who in most of their ways of life have sought and followed the Lord’s guidance, yet in one supreme choice – that of a partner for life – have disobeyed God’s direct command to marry “in the Lord,” and a life of suffering and sorrow has often been the result. There are leaders o the Church even who have departed so far from God’s ways of financing His work that they have filled the house of prayer with the tables of money changers. Many a Christian has ceased to walk in the will of God because at some definite point he has departed from the ways of God. To be filled again with God’s Spirit will mean to return to the place of disobedience in confession of sin and then start right in God’s  way.

1 Peter 1:14, “As children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance.”

Romans 12:2, “And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

But it is not only in what we do but in what we do not do that we fail to follow the ways of the Lord. In so many homes God seems to figure so little in the ordinary life of week days. The family attend church together on Sunday and perhaps the children are sent to Sunday School but there is no family altar, no blessing at the table, no mention of God in conversation.

A Walk in Obedience to the Word of God

Some may plead ignorance of the will of God as an excuse for disobedience. But God does not ask us to walk in the dark. God has spoken to us and His will is clearly revealed in His Word. Over and over again in the Old Testament God commanded the children of Israel to hearken unto His voice and then to do what they heard. And He commanded parents to teach their children that the children also might walk in the will and way of God. “The word ‘obey’ comes from a Latin compound, it means that you do in consequence of what you hear.” In the New Testament God makes the same appeal to His children.

Deut. 28:1, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth.”

James 1:22-24, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

To walk in the whole will of God requires that we walk in the whole truth of God. Some err and depart from walking in God’s ways because they reserve to themselves the right to become critics of God’s Word and to accept or reject it according to the dictates of reason. But how can one do the will of God when he has rejected some portion of the Word of God which possibly he most needs? Will one who has rejected the personality of the Holy Spirit pay much attention to the command “Be filled with the Spirit”? Another may have refused to accept the truth of a life of victory over the power of sin even thinking it an unscriptural doctrine. Then he is not likely to obey the command to reckon himself dead to sin and to let it not reign over him. Walking in the will of God demands a walking in the truth of God.

2 John 4, “I rejoice greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.”

3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

~Ruth Paxon~

(continued with # 5)

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Our Joys and Sorrows


The waters were made Sweet – Exodus 15:25 

OUR joys and sorrows, like the varied products of nature, lie very close together. One moment we are singing the joyous song of victory on the shores of the Red Sea, and vow we will never again mistrust our God; and then, by a sudden transition, we find ourselves standing beside the Marah waters of pain and disappointment, inclined to murmur at our lot.

There is, however, a tree, which, when cast into the waters, makes them sweet. It is the tree of the cross. “He bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” The cross means the yielding up of the will. Now, it is in proportion as we see God’s will in the various events of life, and surrender ourselves either to bear or do it, that we shall find earth’s bitter things becoming sweet, and its hard things easy.
We must yield our will to God. – The secret of blessedness is in saying “Yes” to the will of God, as it is shown in the circumstances of our lot or the revelations of His Word. It is the will of a Father whose love and wisdom are beyond question.

We must accept what He permits. – It may be that our pains emanate from the malevolence or negligence of others; still, if He has permitted them, they are His will for us. By the time they reach us they have become minted with His die, and we must patiently submit.

We must do all He bids. – The thread of obedience must always be running through our hands. At all costs to our choice and feeling we must not only have His commands, but keep them. Our Lord perpetually lays stress on obeying His words. This is the spirit of the Cross, and the properties of this tree sweeten earth’s bitterest sorrows.

~F. B. Meyer~

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His Great Love # 14


 

Love: The Supreme Test of the Church

I was saying that John fell at His feet as one dead. There was another man who, traveling on a road with the positive intention of blotting out from this earth, as far as it lay in his power, every remembrance of Jesus of Nazareth, was met by this same Lord of glory. All-terrible? Well, certainly Saul of Tarsus went down, he was broken, the encounter overpowered him and left its mark upon his very physical body to the end of his life. For three days he had no sight, and they had to help him into the city. But do you tell me that was God the All-terrible? Oh, listen to the conversation! “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” What is the one of that? It is not, I am sure, the tone of anger. It is a pleading tone of entreaty, of sorrow, of solicitude. “Who art Thou, Lord?” “I am God the All-terrible, and now I have brought you to book?” No – “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest …” “What shall I do, Lord? …”  “Rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” The Lord went ahead of him, prepared the way for him (Acts 9:1-9; 22:4-11). Do you tell me that terrible revelation was not love? Well, ask Paul himself what he thought about it, and see in after years what he had to say about it. He did not say, “He met me, He smote me, He destroyed me, He bought me into such awful judgment that I lost all hope.” He said, “He loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). That meeting, terrible and devastating as it might be in one sense, was a meeting with the Lover of his soul!

I say again, we have to make over anew our conception of Divine love. It is not that sickly, sentimental thing we call love. It is something tremendous. We have so to reconstruct our conception of Divine love as to see that our highest interests for all eternity demand very faithful dealings with us by God, and the more we really know the heart of God, the more we come to be ready to say, “Thou art right, Lord; even in what I would call Thy hard handling of me, Thou art right.” God in His love has the end in view, not just the pacifying of some fretful child with a toy. We are called unto His eternal glory and “our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (1 Corinthians 4:17). But we do not always believe it while the affliction is on us. We do not even call it “light”; but He knows how transcendentally and infinitely the glory outweighs the suffering. He has decided with the greatness of the end in view, it is worth His while to be faithful with us and let nothing pass that would take from that glorious prize of His glory or work against it. He knows quite well that, when we are with Him afterward, were we to see something that was not taken up by Him and dealt with because of the suffering and the pain it would have caused us, and because we would have murmured and complained, that we would say to Him then, “Lord, why didst Thou not do that in spite of me?” And so, knowing the end and dealing with us in the light of it, the faithful and the true love is other than our poor sickly conception of love. Love in our thinking so often means just giving way all the time, just having everything we want or giving everything that others want. God deals with us, not as infants, but as sons (Hebrews 12:7). The presentation, you see, is all a comprehensive and detailed consummation of love.

The Churches Challenged as to Love

Now you pass to the next two chapters, and you have the churches; and the Lord is here dealing with the churches on the basis of the presentation. That can be seen by noting that every one of the seven messages to the churches takes up some feature of the presentation of Christ in the first chapter. You can look at that and note it. Actual phrases in the presentation of chapter one are used in relation to the churches respectively. So He is dealing with the churches on the basis of Himself as fully presented, and therefore if the presentation is the comprehensive embodiment of love, He is dealing with all the churches on that basis.

Now you note that the messages and the churches are bounded by Ephesus and Laodicea, and not as unrelated but as embracing and covering all the seven. In Ephesus and Laodicea the trouble is defective love. Ephesus, “thou didst leave thy first love”; Laodicea, “thou art neither hot nor cold.” The whole question with these churches is love. Let us hurriedly look a them separately, as far as we can.

First Love as Covering All

Here again is the wonderful thing, that in Ephesus, which marks the beginning of everything, all turns on love. “Thou didst leave thy first love.” What is first love? Well, first love is all-inclusive in its nature. You will not be able subsequently to find any characteristic or feature of love without finding it in first love. First love covers all the ground of love. We could not tabulate the meaning of first love. It is everything, it is all that you can say about love, utterly selfless, self-forgetting, uncalculating. It is fierce, it is fiery, it is completely hot, strong and faithful. That is where the Lord begins. First love is the basis on which the Lord takes up the whole matter, comprehensive of all love’s features. So in relation to the ultimate situation, we see here, through Ephesus, that what the Lord must have in His Church is inclusive love, love in all its features. He must come at the end back to the beginning, and bring His Church likewise back to that basis. Of course, there must have been a first love; you cannot depart from what never was. That will challenge us.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 15)

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The Believer’s Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 3


 

Obedience

A Chinese Christian came to talk with me about her old mother for whom she was greatly burdened. She was an ardent idolater and for more than thirty years had been a devoted vegetarian. The daughter had preached the Gospel to her mother, had prayed for her, and had plead with her to become a Christian, but to no avail. The mother’s heart hardened rather than softened. “Why does God not hear my prayer for my mother?” she asked almost as though chiding God. I had watched the daughter’s face as she talked; there were hard lines in it that were the outward token of inward rebellion. A bit of gentle probing and soon with a flood of tears came the confession of awful rebellion toward God because He had taken her five boys one after another home to Himself – the baby having gone only a month before. “God is unfair and unloving, yea, even cruel!” such was the language of her soul. The will of God was not good and perfect but unjust and unkind. Hardness of heart followed upon rebellion. But God wrought a miracle of grace that day by enabling her joyously to accept and submit to the gracious will of God. Oh! the riches of His grace! The next day in a way wholly inexplicable except by God’s supernatural working the old mother came a long distance in from the country to see her daughter. Startled by something in the daughter’s face which she had never seen there before she asked what had happened. Then followed the confession of her rebellion toward God because of her affliction and of the hardness of her heart. The old mother’s heart was strangely moved and softened and very shortly it opened to admit the Saviour. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous – nevertheless afterward …”

We shall suffer through trials and tribulations permitted to test the sincerity of our surrender and the reality of our faith. Abraham was permitted to build the altar, to lay on the wood, to bind Isaac, to lay him on the altar, to stretch forth his hand, yea, even to take the knife to slay his own son, before the angel of the Lord called unto him from heaven, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Some such test may be used by God to bring into the light the quality of our surrender and faith.

1 Peter 1:6-7, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

In conversation with a godly man who verily walked with his Lord the fact was disclosed that the life of joy and peace in the Lord which he then enjoyed had come only after he had walked through a hailstorm of trial which had stripped him of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you could not have bought him back to his former life had you laid that amount in cash upon his table.

In a recent trouble in Nanking, China, many of the Chinese Christians lost all their earthly possessions. But their hearts were filled with praise that God had counted them worthy to suffer thus for Christ.

Some pamphlets and books which have reached a circulation of hundreds of thousands and have brought untold blessings to countless persons were written by a man whose body is so frail that he can write for only a few moments at a time. But everything that comes from his pen breathes forth the joy and peace of a heart sunk deep into submissiveness to the will of God.

Again some have faltered by the way and failed to walk obediently because they have murmured at God’s choice of a path. They rejoiced in the thought of being “made perfect in every good work to do his will” but they mistook a good work for a great work. Instead God asked for a quiet walk with Him in the obscurity of the home perchance ministering to the needs of an aged parent or a sick sister. God’s will was to live joyously before Him and patiently before others, following the example of Him who as truly did His Father’s will when making tables in the carpenter shop and assisting in the support of a widowed mother as when He fed five thousand people or taught the multitude. Only a very few of those who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were made apostles; most of the one hundred and twenty were sent back into the ordinary life of business and home.

God wishes us at the very beginning of our walk with Him to accept His will as “good and perfect and acceptable” and then to enter into each day sinking our will into His and submitting with joy and gladness to whatever comes during its hours knowing that every testing and trial is being used by Him to mature our growth into the likeness of our Lord.

Hebrews 13:21, “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations (trials): Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.”

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 4 – “A Walk in Conformity to God’s Ways”)

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The Fatherhood of God


Galatians 3:26
Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
 
The fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, “Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid.” List thee, Little-faith. Great-heart is God’s child, and you are God’s child too; and Great-heart is not one whit more God’s child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly- favoured apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.
“This cov’nant stands secure,
Though earth’s old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now.”
All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart towards all. One may do more mighty works, and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King’s mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us, when we draw near to God and say, “Our Father.” Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith, but ask, like the Apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it be real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honour our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ’s glory, and be happy in His service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, till perfect love shall cast out fear.
 
~Charles Spurgeon~
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The Believer’s Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 2


 

Obedience

It is well for us to know at the very beginning of our walk in obedience to God that it will mean testing through suffering. We have the pattern for such a walk in the earthly life of our Lord. “Though he were a Son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Think of it – HE learned obedience! With a sinless nature that rejoiced above everything else to do His Father’s will we would think there would have been no necessity for Him to learn obedience. But the Word tells us that He needed to learn obedience and that this was accomplished through the thing that He suffered! Is there one of us who does not need to begin in the primary and go clear through the university in the school of obedience? And if our divine Teacher learned what He would teach us on this great theme through suffering can we expect to learn it in any other way? God does not deceive us in this matter and tells us plainly that we shall be partakers of Christ’s sufferings, and this in full accord with His will.

1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

1 Peter 4:19, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

We shall suffer through the misunderstanding, reproach and rejection of those who refuse the Lord Jesus the rule over their lives. It may even be that those of our own household will inflict upon us the keenest suffering we will ever endure. “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Even our well-doing may be evil spoken of and our work and prayer for the salvation of those we love be wholly misinterpreted. But remember Him who “came unto his own and his own received him not;” who was accused of “casting out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils,” and who wept over Jerusalem saying, “How often would I … and ye would not.”

1 Peter 3:16-17, “Having a good conscience; that wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.”

1 Peter 4:14, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”

We shall suffer through the chastening which in His infinite love God sees is necessary for our spiritual growth. We need to keep constantly in mind the goal which God as set for us – conformity to the image of His Son. “And this is the will of God even your sanctification.”  “Be ye holy even as I am holy.” It is a wondrous thing God wills to work out in us and He has His own method of doing it. To polish the vessel into greater perfection God often uses the method of chastening. No words are so clear and comforting on this theme as those of Scripture itself.

Hebrews 12: 6-13, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he reveiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

I think of a dear friend whose life is daily being refined as by fire through a terrible affliction which has come upon her only daughter. While talking with her I have seen her face radiant with the light that can come only from a heart at rest in the will of God at the same time her yes have been blinded with tears. Through her affliction she has become a partaker of the holiness of God.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 3)

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The Power of Proclamation


 

In our last few devotionals, we have seen we are to pray for the unsaved and live lives that shine the gospel.

But there does come a time to speak up.  Look at Romans 10:13-14,

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?

When the time does come to speak up, a lot of Christians are like arctic rivers:  frozen at the mouth.  But someone must tell the story!

Pray for the unsaved, let your light shine, and when the time comes, tell them the gospel story.  Paul said in Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.

Through just a simple proclamation of the message, many people, when they hear it, will believe and be saved.  The reason for that is found in Romans 10:17,

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

A proclamation of the message causes faith to arise in people’s hearts.  Just simply tell them the gospel story:  Mankind was separated from God,  Jesus paid the price for their sins,  He was raised from the dead, and if you put your trust in Him, you can be saved.

As well as opening your mouth to share the Good News, you might consider writing letters to your friends to simply and clearly share the gospel.  Incorporate your own story if you feel it would be helpful.

It is easy to share the gospel if you just remember three things:  our rebellion, our ransom, and our response.  With those three things, you can share the gospel with anyone. 

~Bayless Conley~

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The Believer’s Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 1


 

Obedience

We often make the mistake of thinking that life lived in the will of God means all sunshine and no storms; that to be filled with the Spirit means exemption from temptation and suffering. But it is not so. A few days ago I started for a walk down a mountain road. The sun was shining brightly and I anticipated the pure delight of a beautiful sunset over the lake and an unclouded view of the mountains. But before long I walked straight into a rainstorm and for half an hour rain and hail came down upon me. There was nothing to do but walk right on which I did and came out later into the sunshine again. Both the sunshine and the storm were allowed by the Father in Heaven. So we find it in our walk with Him in daily life. Two things are bound to be encountered in a walk in obedience to the will of God; one is the temptation of satan, and the other the testings of God.

Every step of the walk in the will of God will be contested by the evil one whose own greatest sin is self-will. He seduced God’s first man into disobedience and self-will and the persistent attack that he made upon the second Man throughout His earthly life had but one motive back of it – to deflect Him from a walk of implicit obedience to His Father. The Spirit-filled man is now his chief target and the temptation of disobedience is the one fiery dart above all others that he constantly aims at him.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of presumption. He tempts him to go beyond the will of God in the matter of the Spirit’s manifestation. He says to him, “If thou be Spirit-filled, then speak in tongues.” Many earnest people today are being led astray by thinking to prove their reception of the Spirit’s fullness by some outer, visible, spectacular manifestation rather than by his inner supernatural presence in power. In this they go beyond the will of God because they go beyond the Word of God.

satan tempts also through another form of presumption, to lag behind the will of God. He tempts the Spirit-filled man to rely upon his spiritual attainment and to neglect the study of God’s Word for personal growth. Resting in his supposed permanent fullness he begins to live on stale manna; to rely for strength upon his own oft-repeated testimony; to trust in an unconsciously receding experience. More than one Spirit-filled person has lost his fullness by attempting to live off of it without a constant replenishing.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of pride. The Holy Spirit’s motto is “Christ everything;” satan’s motto is “Anything but Christ.” So he tempts the Spirit-filled man to look away from Christ and to look in unto self. He has achieved a real victory when he gets the Spirit-filled man to rejoice in his fullness and to testify regarding his blessing rather than to rejoice in the Giver of the fullness and to sing praises unto the Blesser. The grave danger of fixing one’s eyes upon an experience, however exalted and blessed, instead of upon Him who bestowed it was expressed very tellingly by Spurgeon when he said,

I looked at Christ
And the dove of peace flew into my heart;
I looked at the dove of peace –
And it flew away.”
 
The one who places such emphasis upon the blessing is very apt to look reproachfully upon those who have not a similar one. He becomes self-righteous and indulges in criticism and Pharisseeism. He looks down upon others with a “holier than thou” attitude which is evidence enough of the diminishing fullness of the Holy Spirit.
 
satan tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of persecution. satan’s one purpose is to deflect him from obedience and if he cannot do it by pressure from within he will attempt it by persecution from without. The Spirit-filled men of the early Church were stoned, beaten, imprisoned and killed. The form of persecution endured today by the Spirit-filled Christian may take a different form but it is none the less real. He who stands four-square for “the whole Gospel in the whole Bible for the whole world” in these days of apostasy is bound to endure persecution. Many a person has given place to the devil in the matter of his faith because he could not endure the taunt of being “unscholarly” or “unintellectual” or because he did not have the courage of his conviction in the atmosphere of opposition and denial. But such persecution is certain to come to every godly believer.
 
2 Timothy 3:11-12, “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I enured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
 
In this walk of obedience to God’s will will we shall be met also by the testings of God. Sometimes it has happened that one who has refused to yield to the temptations of satan has succumbed to defeat through the testings of God. There is a subtle danger that one who has lived a consistent, yielded, devoted Christian life may think that he has gained thereby a place of special favor in God’s family circle and that he merits exoneration from the sufferings of adversity or affliction. A very earnest, active Christian man recently uttered a doubt as to the goodness of God because He had permitted an affliction to come into his home. But let us beware of ever thinking that God’s love and goodness mean favoritism, and above all let us not lose the blessing out of even the keenest suffering God permits us to endure by failing to trust Him.
 
~Ruth Paxson~
 
(continued with # 2)
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The Holy Spirit an Absolute


 

Luke 24:36-49

Salvation occurs when we trust Jesus as our Savior–He forgives us, transforms us, and sees us as righteous. In that moment, we are redeemed, and though we continue to struggle with sin, it is a defeated foe. Then as time goes on, our service, gifts, and love for Him should naturally become greater.

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians sit in church week after week, going through the motions yet lacking passion and failing to grow. How is such a thing possible? Tragically, many believers are unaware of the essential ministry of God’s Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity and co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. The opening chapter of Scripture tells us that He existed before the formation of the earth and in fact participated in creation (Gen. 1:2, 26). Today, He has the critical role of helping and counseling all believers.

The Holy Spirit is a gift to every child of God. His presence within us isn’t something we have to earn or acquire. Rather, it is a marvelous privilege–by indwelling our hearts, He can guide and strengthen, steering each believer away from danger and into truth (John 16:7-8). Scripture tells us that Jesus came so we could experience a full life (10:10). This is possible only when we listen to His Spirit and obey.

Are you experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised? He wasn’t talking about happy circumstances but rather the joy and contentment possible through a relationship with Him. If you’re lacking in this area, consider your understanding of the Holy Spirit, and pray to be in tune with His promptings.

~Charles Stanley~

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Whose Voice Are You Hearing?


 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. – Genesis 3:6

It does not always seem clear to us when God speaks. However, when we become living sacrifices who continually worship, pray and seek the Lord, we become more willing and able to hear His voice. As we draw near to the Lord, He draws nearer to us and is faithful to speak in a way that brings peace, confirmation and often, He brings changes to our surrounding circumstances.  We have to ask ourselves whom are we listening to? There are so many voices speaking and our minds seem to have a voice of their own. But which voice do you follow? Adam heard the voice of God when He gave the one rule of living in the Garden of Eden. He was told by God to not eat from one tree. But Adam listened to the wrong voice when faced with a choice of disobeying God’s command. Eve bought the lie of the serpent’s voice and mankind has suffered the consequences ever since.  

Many people in our lives give us many conflicting messages. We each have a responsibility to know what the Lord is telling us, to listen to Him and to act on those commands. We have to make the Lord’s Word our guide and not deviate from His truths regardless of how appealing other additional information may sound.  If you have come to Christ, you have His Holy Spirit in you. He is there to lead you and guide you in the ways He has called you.

The Holy Spirit anoints you with His presence and with spiritual gifts which are supernatural. These gifts are not based on your skill or experience. So, you need to be dependent on the Lord to fulfill your calling. Your calling may be completely different than what your family thinks of you. Your calling may be completely different than what you thought it would be. Be sure to follow His voice. Be confident, knowing that He knows what is best. If you listen to other voices than God’s, you could suffer consequences that will have a negative effect on your life. Take your thoughts captive, stay in His Word and trust Him to lead you in the way you should go.  

~Daily Disciples~

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