PRAYER CHANGES ME

Prayer Changes Me

Why do I pray? I pray because I am helpless. I can do nothing of myself. Everyone of God’s children is dependent on God. Our Lord Himself said, “Without Me, you can do nothing!” John 15.5. We pray because we are helpless, and every need of ours has to be met by God. “My God shall supply all your needs…” Phil 4.19. ALL your needs; whether big or small, whether vital or insignificant – every need has to be met by God. That is the state of our helplessness.

In the spiritual realm, everything operates by prayer. Pray without ceasing. Prayer operates like breathing. There is an inward cry from the heart. It is total dependence. And when we talk about dependence, what is dependence but faith? Faith without prayer is dead.

Prayer changes things, they say. That’s true. Circumstances change through prayer. Stormy seas become silent; strong winds are hushed. Be still, and know that I am God. Prayer brings us to that point of stillness, where we leave everything in the hands of God.

Prayer changes me. If I am praying, then certainly there is a change in me. We have too much knowledge in our heads, too little prayer in our hearts. Prayer is a cry from the heart. Prayer is asking, seeking, knocking, and then thanking, praising, worshipping. Prayer is interceding for loved ones, and even praying for our enemies (if we reach that spiritual stage). Prayer is essential. Prayer is the incense God seeks from us. But it is not always prayers and supplications; we need to learn to praise and worship our Lord.

J.K.

Advertisements
Image | Posted on by | 1 Comment

CHRIST TAKING ASCENDANCY

This change from Christ in heaven to Christ in you is just with that object in view. It is that, Christ being in you, everything else shall be brought down under Christ, and that Christ should take the ascendency in us just as He has taken universal ascendency in heaven, and it is that taking of ascendency which is the conforming to His image. “No longer I” is a very inclusive statement, for that “I” is many-sided. There is ‘I like’ and ‘I will’, ‘I think’ and ‘I want’. And then the opposites, ‘I don’t like’, ‘I will not’, ‘I do not think’, ‘I do not want’. And ‘I’ is much more comprehensive than that. Conformity to His image simply means that that is ruled out, and oh! what a business that is! While we have all accepted the final and the full abolition of the ‘I’, by no means have we attained unto that. We are very often in some way or another up against that ‘I’, and the question again is whether it is going to be Christ or ‘I’ (Self!). But the very fact that the Holy Spirit makes a conflict of it shows that the thing is active, and that something is going on. We need to ask definitely that the Lord will keep that active, and that He will make these crises much more acute. (So that the last vestiges of ‘I’ or ‘Self’ are rooted out! ~Ed.)

T.A.S.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ONLY BY MY SPIRIT

There is a tremendous amount of energy, and activity, and machinery, and zeal and devotion in the work of the Lord, in the service of the Lord, which seems to be producing something quite big, and carrying on something quite extensive. It is not for us to judge, but it is for us to lay down laws and recognize those laws, or, rather, recognize laws that are laid down by God. When eventually all work, all service, all activity, is weighed in the balances, which will determine what abides for ever or passes away for ever, all that which was MERELY human energy for God will go; all that which was merely man’s enterprise for the Lord will go; all that which was in any way out from man himself, even though in devotion to God, will go. Only that which was the energy of Christ, the wisdom of Christ, the power of Christ, will remain. God is not using your energies and my energies. He is calling upon us to use the energies of Christ. God cannot set His seal upon anything that is of man. God’s seal only rests upon that which is of His Son, and we must not say that because a thing is big, extensive, and SEEMS to be a great work for God, that it necessarily is such. What we have got to be quite sure about is that that thing is not being carried on by the momentum of man, or the momentum of organization, the momentum of machinery, the momentum of human zeal and energy for God nor by the momentum of a programme, but that it is being energized by the Holy Ghost, that it is Christ Himself who is the life and the power of that thing. In so far as human personalities, energies and all that kind of thing are the mainspring, we may be sure that in the end there is going to be a good deal that goes. That can be seen as you look back over the history of things which claimed to represent God.

T.A.S.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

REFLECTING CHRIST

Christ is not a second personality or power, to come along to reinforce US, to vivify US, to strengthen US, for us to use in life and in service, and that He should make US something. That is not the thought, and that is not the angle of Scripture at all. And yet, how almost universally, perhaps largely unconsciously, that is what is happening. Christians are wanting to be made something, even as Christians; and Christian workers and the Lord’s servants are, though perhaps unwittingly, wanting to be made something as workers; and they want Christ to reinforce THEM, come behind THEM, and make THEM something as His servants and in His service. That whole system of things is diametrically opposed to the truth. The truth is that Christ shall be all, and that we decrease that He may increase; that He should be the primary Personality, and that the impact and registration of any life and any service should not be: ‘What a good man he was!’ or ‘What a good woman she is!’ or ‘What a fine worker!’ but: ‘What a presence of Christ! What a testimony to Christ! What an expression of Christ! What a sense of Christ! What a reality of Christ!’

T.A.S.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GREASY THE ROBBER

Chapter 1

Immigrants

“He fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.”*

The nickname “Greasy” was given to Paul when he was but eight years old under special circumstances that will be mentioned later. His real family name was Tikhomirov.1 He was the son of a farmer from one of the poorest villages in the Government of Mogilev. The family consisted of the father, the mother, and two children—ten-year-old Shura (Alexandra) and eight-year-old Pasha (Paul). They lived peacefully, were religious in the orthodox way, and enjoyed the respect not only of the inhabitants of their own village, but of those of all the district.

On the holy days, the local orthodox priest used to visit them to play cards with the father—not for money, but merely to pass the time. Sometimes the game was “Duratchki” (tomfool), in which it was customary for the losing one to suffer the pack of cards to be thrown at his nose. If either of the players had some money, they sent the children for liquor, which would put them in a hilarious mood. The priest, whom they called “Batushka” (Daddy), used to say, “It is no sin to drink with moderation. Even the Lord Jesus loved to be joyful, and at the wedding in Cana changed water into wine.”

The children loved to look on, and noted with special interest how the nose of the priest would become more and more red—they did not know whether it was from drinking the liquor or from the frequent hits with the pack of cards thrown at him cleverly by their father, who usually won the game. The good-natured priest used to say with a croaking voice, “He who will endure to the end will be saved. I shall have my turn, my beloved, and then look out, because it is written, ‘Owe no man any thing,’* and, ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’*”

This hilarious life came to an abrupt end. Several successive bad harvests compelled the farmers of the village of Sosnovka to consider moving to Siberia. In groups they talked over the matter with one another and finally decided to send out messengers to find an appropriate piece of land in one of the Siberian districts. Because he was a clever and experienced man, Tikhomirov was among those landseekers. After three months the messengers returned; they had found land in the Government of Tomsk. Promptly selling their land and property, the farmers started on their way. This was in the year 1897.

During the trip, the trains made slow headway and had to make long stopovers at the crossroads in Samara, Chelyabinsk, and Omsk. The moving farmers had to wait for weeks to get trains for further travel. Their days and nights were spent in the small railroad stations, sleeping on the floor. The boiled water was not sufficient for all, nor could the people afford to buy warm food from the restaurants. Consequently, the poor, simple people satisfied themselves with dried herring or other dried fish and drank unboiled water. As a result, many had stomach trouble, and cholera set in. The older people were especially afflicted by the plague.

On the last stretch before reaching Tomsk, Mr. Tikhomirov became sick. All indications signified cholera. To the horror of his wife and children, at one of the stations he was taken from the train and put in the barracks for people with infectious diseases. It was only natural that Mrs. Tikhomirov and the children leave the train also. They found refuge not far from the barracks behind the snow fences along the railroad tracks. Daily they inquired about the condition of the father, but the report was worse every time.

After three days had passed, the sorrow-stricken mother had to tell the children that she also was sick. It was a heart-breaking scene when the mother was taken away on a stretcher from the crying children. In her they lost their last support. With a sad heart the mother parted from her children, suspecting that she would never see them again. But more terrible to her was the possibility that her beloved children soon would be orphans in a strange land.

As the mother was carried into the barracks, the desperate children ran crying behind the carriers until the heavy barracks door was slammed in their faces. How lonesome and miserable Shura and Pasha felt. As if bereft of their senses, they circled the barracks, calling now for their father and then for their mother. The only answer they received was a coarse cry from the guard, threatening them with a whipping if they would not leave the barracks. But the children did not cease crying and asking to be let in. They wanted to die with their parents, since they felt that they could not live without them. Thus they kept running around the barracks until late at night when the severe cold compelled them to think of their warmer clothing, which they had left with some other things behind the snow fences. However, when they came back to the spot where they had been camping, they found no sign of their baggage. Apparently someone had taken the few poor things of the immigrants…

NOTE:
This is a true story demonstrating the power of the Gospel. It is based in Russia. The translator is Charles Lukesh, a missionary with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. It came out in 1940. If you want to read the rest of this very powerful and touching narrative, please go to http://library.timelesstruths.org/texts/Greasy_the_Robber/

JONATHAN KIRBY

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COMING TO THE END OF OURSELVES

“But all things are of God” (2 Cor 5.18), nothing out from man now. All things out from God, and they have to be; nothing can be out from ourselves in this matter, but many have tried it. They have subsequently come to see how futile it is. The sooner we recognize it, realize it, accept it and settle it, the happier; that this whole thing is now out from God and not out from ourselves. That is where our hope begins. Our assurance begins there. All the joy begins when you come to the place where you cannot do anything. Yes, then it begins. When you get there the Lord begins to show you what He can do, and He does not, until you come to that place. That is true in the first steps in the believer’s life; even in the matter of the initial step of salvation that is true

I remember in one of the docks in Glasgow there was a man who could not swim and who fell into a deep water dock. He shouted and struggled and announced quite audibly that he had fallen in, and a man who saw him go in, heard him shouting, watched him kicking, and though himself a good swimmer, just folded his arms and looked at him. The man in the water went down, came up again still kicking, still struggling, still trying to shout. Still the man on the side watched him, apparently unmoved. He went down again and when he came up his kick was nearly all gone, his struggle was practically over, he just appeared and then was disappearing for the third time when the man at the side went in and brought him out. When the man was brought round he said: “Why didn’t you save me before? Why didn’t you come in at the beginning? Do you know I nearly died, I was practically as good as dead?”. “Yes”, said the other man, “I have saved a good many men like you, but when I started saving men from drowning I found that their kicking and struggling dragged me down with them and two men were nearly dead, and I learned that it must be my job, and not my help, so I wait until he gives it up and then I save him.”

T. AUSTIN SPARKS

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DANGER OF USING HUMAN WISDOM IN GOD’S WORK

“Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary …” (1 Chron. 28:10).

David had imitated the Philistines and taken the Ark of God upon a bullock-cart. He had not consulted the priests and the Levites before doing this. Instead, he had consulted the captains and officers of his army. During that incident Uzzah touched the Ark and died immediately. Through this bitter experience David had learnt the lesson that he should not use human wisdom to do the work of God. We cannot dispense with implicit obedience to the revealed will of God. We cannot change God’s Word, or find a better method than God’s method.

Very often, like David, we also are deceived by our own wisdom. We have so much confidence in our Bible knowledge that we go forward to preach without spending sufficient time in prayer. Some preachers have about twenty-five well prepared sermons with them. They can get ready with one of them at a moment’s notice. As a result they do not feel the need for prayer. They are like some Indian wives who can cleverly use the left-over rice of the previous day. Adding tamarind juice and other ingredients to it they can prepare tasty “Puliharam” for the morning’s breakfast. Guests may think it is freshly cooked whereas it is really the left-over food of the previous day. In the same way these preachers may preach very eloquently and give the impression that their messages are fresh, while they are only stale old sermons, and are like chaff in the eyes of the Lord. We should not depend upon our knowledge, but look to the Lord afresh to receive His appropriate message for every occasion. That is the divine order. Likewise we have to find the divine order for all matters in our private life, home life and church life. In every case, unless we are freed from our own plans we will not be able to find out God’s heavenly plan for us.

Later on we see that the Lord had to bring David to the threshing floor a second time, the threshing floor of Araunah, because he very soon forget the lesson God had taught him. We all suffer from forgetfulness. But even those who have good memories are very quick to forget the lesson which God teaches us. So God keeps on reminding us again and again.

Later on God gave to David in writing the plan for the Temple (1 Chronicles 28:11,19), just as many years ago, He had given to Moses in writing the Ten commandments. This plan was a shadow or type of the House of God which is eternal. Thus the plan for building the House of God became the fifth stone which God gave David. The revelation of God’s plan for the Church becomes the fifth stone which God wants to give to us also. The Church, which is the true House of God, is to contain all the fullness of God. We must consider and fully understand and appreciate what a wonderful privilege it is to be co-workers with God and have a share in building the House of God.

B.S.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment