The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

…strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey.

Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people. If I am in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The question is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I can live without any offense toward anyone. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23).

God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” (Ephesians 4:30). He does not speak with a voice like thunder— His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, “Why can’t I do this?” You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is— drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.

by Oswald Chambers

The Real Enemy – Before and After

The Real Enemy

2 Timothy 2:3

There is a spiritual war being waged throughout the entire world. We as believers must recognize that our enemy is very real, but through Christ, we have the power to fight effectively.

The Scriptures reveal that Satan and a whole empire of evil spirits oppose God and His kingdom. However, the enemies are fallen angels; while we shouldn’t underestimate their abilities, we must not be deceived into thinking of their power as greater than it actually is. Fallen angels are no match for God. When the Lord rebuked demonic forces that were causing torment, they were forced to obey. Jesus gave His disciples authority over these spirits (Luke 10:17-20), and He gives the same to His followers today. First John 4:4 says that through the Holy Spirit, we have already overcome the enemy, because “greater is He who is in [the believer] than he who is in the world.” But if we fail to take up our position in Christ, we will feel overwhelmed and defeated.
Though Satan cannot have our souls, he will try to disable us. When we give in to temptation, he may say, “You’re a weak, unworthy sinner who will never be able to really serve God.” If we believe such accusations, we run the double risk of ceasing to listen to the voice of Truth and forgetting our real identity in Christ. Instead, we can resist the devil (James 4:7) and say to him, “I reject that! It came from you, and I rebuke you in Jesus’ name. What’s more, I take that thought captive to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We have this authority!

Before and After

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Acts 1:8a

In recent days the media has covered many heartwarming scenes of toddlers, born deaf, hearing for the first time after a cochlear implant. That is a true “before and after” scenario—to go from not hearing to hearing with the flip of a switch.

It wasn’t the result of flipping a switch, but the apostles of Jesus had their own “before and after” experience: pre-Pentecost versus post-Pentecost. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit to give them power to fulfill the Commission He had given them. And the Spirit was poured out on them in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Before that moment, the disciples had been fearful, uncertain, and isolated behind closed doors in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12-13). After Pentecost, everything changed. Peter preached a bold sermon and thousands believed in Christ (Acts 2:41). In the following days, the apostles preached boldly in Jerusalem and worked powerful miracles in defiance of orders not to preach.

The Holy Spirit can make the same difference in our lives if we will remain submitted and obedient to Him—being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

God commands us to be filled with the Spirit; and if we are not filled, it is because we are living beneath our privileges. D. L. Moody

Recommended Reading: John 16:5-15

Righteous Friends

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

The phrase “a man is known by the company he keeps” has been used in English-speaking countries since the 1500s.

Not only is the saying biblically based, but it is easily observable in everyday life.

Friends Shape Friends: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). In our text above, James notes that the world’s friendship so contrasts with the heart and mind of God that such a friendship turns our relationship with God into enmity. The apostle John gives the clear reason: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).

Friends Love Each Other: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you . . . . I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you . . . . These things I command you, that ye love one another” (John 15:14-17). This is pretty simple. If I love the Lord Jesus, and you love the Lord Jesus, then we will love each other—because we have a common friend!

Friends Stick Together: Because of our common love for the Lord Jesus, we do not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). Neither do we follow the “counsel of the ungodly,” or hang around “in the way of sinners,” or feel at home with “the scornful” (Psalm 1:1), because there is no fellowship in “righteousness with unrighteousness”
(2 Corinthians 6:14).

Godly people will have godly friends. HMM III

Prophet, Not Orator

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. —Isaiah 51:16

The Christian minister, as someone has pointed out, is a descendant not of the Greek orator but of the Hebrew prophet.

The differences between the orator and the prophet are many and radical, the chief being that the orator speaks for himself while the prophet speaks for God. The orator originates his message and is responsible to himself for its content. The prophet originates nothing but delivers the message he has received from God who alone is responsible for it, the prophet being responsible to God for its delivery only. The prophet must hear the message clearly and deliver it faithfully, and that is indeed a grave responsibility; but it is to God alone, not to men.

Lord, please help me never to rely on my own thoughts or message; give me a word from You as I stand before Your people. Amen.

The Erotic Is Rapidly Displacing the Spiritual

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:12

The period in which we now live may well go down in history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men today than any other god. For millions, the erotic has completely displaced the spiritual!

Contributing factors are the phonograph and radio, which can spread a love song from coast to coast within a matter of days; the motion picture and television, which enable a whole population to feast their eyes on sensuous women and amorous young men locked in passionate embrace (and this in the living rooms of “Christian” homes and before the eyes of innocent children!). Add to these the myriad of shrewdly contrived advertising campaigns which make sex the not too slyly concealed bait to attract buyers for almost every imaginable product; and degraded columnists who have consecrated their lives to the task of the publicizing of soft, slinky nobodies with the faces of angels and the morals of alley cats.

Now if this god Eros would let us Christians alone I for one would let his cult alone for the whole spongy, fetid mess will sink some day under its own weight and become excellent fuel for the fires of hell. But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the Christian church.

When God’s sheep are in danger the shepherd is morally obliged to grab his weapon and run to their defense. For much of this century timidity disguised as humility has crouched in her corner while the spiritual quality of evangelical Christianity has become progressively worse year by year. How long, O Lord, how long?

Unclean by Comparison

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. REVELATION 1:17

In the Old Testament, whenever the living God revealed Himself in some way to humankind, terror and amazement were the reactions. People saw themselves as guilty and unclean by comparison!

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes the overwhelming nature of his encounter with the Lord of glory. Although a believer and an apostle, John sank down in abject humility and fear when the risen, glorified Lord Jesus appeared before him on Patmos.

Our glorified Lord did not condemn John. He knew that John’s weakness was the reaction to revealed divine strength. He knew that John’s sense of unworthiness was the instant reaction to absolute holiness. Along with John, every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest presence of God.

Jesus at once reassured John, stooping to place a nail-pierced hand on the prostrate apostle, and saying: “Do not be afraid. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades” (see Revelation 1:17-18).

Lord, only through Your divine presence in my life do I have spiritual power to serve others in Your name. Fill me anew today, O Lord.