Is Your Ability to See God Blinded?

blinded
Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things… —Isaiah 40:26

The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.

The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking. Wake up and accept the ridicule that Isaiah gave to his people, and deliberately turn your thoughts and your eyes to God.

One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize. We can no longer even imagine putting ourselves deliberately before God. It is actually more important to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the area of intercession than in our personal contact with others. The power of visualization is what God gives a saint so that he can go beyond himself and be firmly placed into relationships he never before experienced.

by Oswald Chambers

Grounded in Truth

Psalm 25:4-10

If we’ll let the truths of Scripture fill our minds, guard our emotions, and influence our conduct, God will richly reward us. By reading and meditating on His Word, you’ll learn to understand His ways. This isn’t something we can figure out on our own, because His ways are unlike ours—they are higher, bigger, and eternal.

Following God on His terms will lead to a deepening relationship with Him. That’s because He chooses to reveal Himself to those who seek Him and obey His instructions. And when you see that God always keeps His promises, your confidence in His faithfulness will soar. Whatever the situation may be, you’ll know you can trust Him. Then He will transform your worries into joyful anticipation about what He’s going to do next in your life. Even if hard times await, you’ll be convinced that the Lord will work them out for good.

A life grounded in truth is powerful. Those who live by the Word develop spiritual discernment, which guides their choices and guards against deception. Because they demonstrate wisdom and godliness, the Lord enables them to impact others greatly. Since He knows they can be trusted, He also gives them greater responsibilities and opportunities for service in His kingdom.

With all these benefits available to us, it seems obvious what the wisest course of action is: Invest time and energy in building the truth of God’s Word into your life. Other activities that clamor for attention may seem important or pleasurable, but none of them can offer us the spiritual riches of a life grounded in truth.

The Spirits in Prison

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Peter 3:18-19)

Just who were these imprisoned spirits to whom Christ preached when He had been “put to death in the flesh”? This has been a controversial verse, so one should not be dogmatic in discussing it. However, the idea that these were souls in purgatory to whom Christ was offering a second chance is clearly wrong, for Hebrews 9:27 declares plainly that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

One point often overlooked is that the word “spirits” can apply to angels as well as human beings. In fact, when it occurs in the plural, as it does here, it refers specifically to angels in at least 26 of its 30 occurrences.

This strongly suggests that these were evil spirits to whom Christ was (literally) “proclaiming” the victory He had won over Satan when He had “once suffered for sins” on the cross (the same word is translated “proclaimed” in Luke 12:3—“proclaimed upon the housetops”). These fallen angels had tried to corrupt all flesh “in the days of Noah” (1 Peter 3:20; see Genesis 6:1-4, 12), and therefore had been cast “down to hell” and “delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).

But as Peter had preached on the day of Pentecost: “His soul was not left in hell, . . . . This Jesus hath God raised up” and “hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:31-32, 36). Thus, He is now our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom some day soon “every knee should bow, . . . in heaven, and. . . in earth, and . . . under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). HMM

The Text Plus the Holy Spirit

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. —Ezekiel 33:31

When you are trying to find out the condition of a church, do not just inquire whether it is evangelical. Ask whether it is an evangelical rationalistic church that says, “The text is enough,” or whether it is a church that believes that the text plus the Holy Spirit is enough….

I would rather be part of a small group with inner knowledge than part of a vast group with only intellectual knowledge. In that great day of Christ’s coming, all that will matter is whether or not I have been inwardly illuminated, inwardly regenerated, inwardly purified.

I too, Lord, “would rather be part of a small group with inner knowledge than part of a vast group with only intellectual knowledge.” Fill us with Your Spirit and Your presence today. Amen.

Prayer Is Never a Substitute for Obedience

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late—and how little revival has resulted?

I believe our problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work!

A church, for instance, follows its traditions without much thought about whether they are scriptural or not. Or it surrenders to pressure from public opinion and falls in with popular trends which carry it far from the New Testament pattern. Then the leaders notice a lack of spiritual power among the people and become concerned about it. What to do? How can they bring down refreshing showers to quicken their fainting souls?

The answer is all ready for them. The books tell them how—pray!

The passing evangelist confirms what the books have said—pray!

So the pastor calls his people to pray. The tide of feeling runs high and it looks for a while as if the revival might be on the way. But it fails to arrive and the zeal for prayer begins to flag. Soon the church is back where it was before and a numb discouragement settles over everyone.

What has gone wrong? Simply this: Neither the leaders nor the people have made any effort to obey the Word of God. They felt that their only weakness was failure to pray, when actually in a score of ways they were falling short in the vital matter of obedience!

Christ Came to Save

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world. JOHN 3:17

Millions who have rejected the Christian gospel have generally been too busy and too involved to ask themselves a simple question: “What really is God’s intention toward me?”

They could have found the plain and simple answer given by the Apostle John: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

This is a gravely significant message from the heart of God Himself! Yet, even in the full light it provides, people are indifferent. Upon our eyes there seems to have fallen a strange dimness; within our ears, a strange dullness. It is a wonder, and a terrible responsibility, that we should have this message in our possession and be so little stirred about it!

I confess that it is very hard for me to accept the fact that it is now very rare for anyone to come into the house of God, silently confessing: “Dear Lord, I am ready and willing to hear what you will speak to me today!”

Dear Lord, how grateful I am that You do not condemn, but by Your Spirit You do convict. Help me to hear and act upon Your promptings today.