Is Your Mind Stayed on God?

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3

Is your mind stayed on God or is it starved? Starvation of the mind, caused by neglect, is one of the chief sources of exhaustion and weakness in a servant’s life. If you have never used your mind to place yourself before God, begin to do it now. There is no reason to wait for God to come to you. You must turn your thoughts and your eyes away from the face of idols and look to Him and be saved (see Isaiah 45:22).

Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. You should seek to be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with all that happens in nature— the rising and the setting of the sun, the shining of the moon and the stars, and the changing of the seasons. You will begin to see that your thoughts are from God as well, and your mind will no longer be at the mercy of your impulsive thinking, but will always be used in service to God.

“We have sinned with our fathers…[and]…did not remember…” (Psalm 106:6-7). Then prod your memory and wake up immediately. Don’t say to yourself, “But God is not talking to me right now.” He ought to be. Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Encourage yourself to remember, and your affection for God will increase tenfold. Your mind will no longer be starved, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.

by Oswald Chambers

Praying while in a Crisis

James 5:13-18

Scripture says that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). Effective—that is exactly what we want our prayers to be, especially in a crisis. When we meet God’s requirements, we can be confident that He’ll not only hear our concerns but will also act on them in accordance with His purposes.

Requirement #1—Fervent prayer. Motivated by a deeply burdened heart, fervent prayers are filled with passion and a strong sense of personal helplessness. They also have a narrow focus on some specific difficulty about which we care deeply. Scripture calls this type of prayer “laboring earnestly” (Col. 4:12).

Requirement #2—Righteousness. As soon as we place our trust in the Savior, we become rightly related to God as His children. At that moment, we are permanently sealed with the Holy Spirit and are declared righteous forever because of our position in Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:9). While salvation is by faith rather than by deeds (Eph. 2:8-9), genuine faith will result in an obedient lifestyle and good works (James 2:26). If we willingly and knowingly engage in sin, then we are not living righteously and our prayers will not be effective.

When the Lord hears an impassioned prayer, He knows who is praying. If it is a righteous person whose life reflects God’s ways, Scripture promises the Holy Spirit will begin His divine work.

God responds with great power to the prayers of even one righteous person. That person can be you!

For Our Justification

“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

We rejoice greatly in Christ’s resurrection, knowing that He has promised that “because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). But it is also very important to realize and remember that if He had not been raised from the dead, we would still be lost sinners, separated eternally from God. He was raised, Paul reminds us, “for our justification.”

The immensity of the load of sin which Christ bore with Him on the cross is beyond comprehension. He had to “taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), for He was the offering “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Since “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), were it not for the infinite power, as well as the infinite love, of both the Father and the Son, such an infinite weight of sin would seem impossible to overcome, so Christ would die forever, and we would be lost forever. How could we ever know that we had been forgiven and that He had paid the awful price that would suffice for our salvation? How could we ever be acquitted and declared righteous before God?

That is exactly what the resurrection of Christ assures! “By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18). His infinite righteousness has more than balanced the terrible weight of “the sin of the world,” and He was able to take it away (John 1:29). Although the wages of sin must be death, “the free gift is of many offences unto justification” (Romans 5:16).

This gift of total and eternal justification is free because of His love, but even a free gift must be accepted before it can be possessed. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). HMM

Buried Under the Snow

And he did not many mighty works mere because of their unbelief. —Matthew 13:58

How many blessed truths have gotten snowed under. People believe them, but they are just not being taught, that is all. I think of our experience this morning. Here was a man and his wife, a very fine intelligent couple from another city. They named the church to which they belonged, and I instantly said, “That is a fine church!” “Oh, yes,” they said, “but they don’t teach what we came over here for.”

They came over because they were ill and wanted to be scripturally anointed for healing. So I got together two missionaries, two preachers, and an elder, and we anointed them and prayed for them. If you were to go to that church where they attend and say to the preacher, “Do you believe that the Lord answers prayer and heals the sick?” he would reply, “Sure, I do!” He believes it, but he doesn’t teach it, and what you don’t believe strongly enough to teach doesn’t do you any good.

It is the same with the fullness of the Holy Ghost. Evangelical Christianity believes it, but nobody experiences it. It lies under the snow, forgotten. I am praying that God may be able to melt away the ice from this blessed truth, and let it spring up again alive, that the Church and the people who hear may get some good out of it and not merely say “I believe” while it is buried under the snow of inactivity and nonattention.

Lord, don’t let me be guilty of keeping the truth of the Holy Spirit’s ministry “buried under the snow.” Help me to both teach and live the active presence and controlling power of the Holy Spirit today. Amen.

Our Heavenly Abode: Part of God’s Goodness

… We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

The true Christian may safely look forward to a future state that is as happy as perfect love wills it to be!

No one who has felt the weight of his own sin or heard from Calvary the Saviour’s mournful cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” can ever allow his soul to rest on the feeble hope popular religion affords.

He will—indeed, he must—insist upon forgiveness and cleansing and the protection the vicarious death of Christ provides.

“God has made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” So wrote Paul, and Luther’s great outburst of faith shows what this can mean in a human soul: “O Lord,” cried Luther, “Thou art my righteousness, I am Thy sin!”

Any valid hope of a state of righteousness beyond the incident of death must lie in the goodness of God and the work of atonement accomplished for us by Jesus Christ on the cross. The deep, deep love of God is the fountain out of which flows our future beatitude, and the grace of God in Christ is the channel by which it reaches us!

Even justice is on our side, for it is written, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We Are Not Orphans

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD. PSALM 37:23

I once wrote in an editorial that Christian believers are not orphans in this world, making the point that the divine Shepherd goes before us and that we travel an appointed way.

A reader wrote to question my allusion to our traveling an “appointed” way, asking: “I was brought up a Methodist. In your comments, do you mean this to be foreordination? That is what the Presbyterians believe. Just what did you mean?”

I replied that I had not meant to go down that deep into doctrine—that I had not been thinking of foreordination, predestination or the eternal decrees.

“I was just satisfied that if a consecrated Christian will put himself in the hands of God, even the accidents may be turned into blessings,” I told him.

Anyway, I am sure the Methodist brother can go to sleep at night knowing that he does not have to become a Presbyterian to be certain that God is looking after him!

Dear Lord, in these quiet moments this morning, prepare my mind and heart for the encounters You’ve arranged for me today.