Dec 13, 2011
In the Secret in the quiet place.
Dec 13, 2011
In the Secret in the quiet place.
The answer remains, “Because we are willing to live without it.”
God fills the hungry and satisfies the thirsty (Psalm 107:9).
The rain falls on the dry land and the fire falls on the sacrifice placed on the altar (Isaiah 44:3; 1 Kings 18).
These are consistent biblical principles.
And so, when we get to the point that we cannot live any longer without divine visitation and our hearts are ready to burst with longing for His glorious presence, we can be sure that the answer is near.
It is the exact opposite with those who are filled and satisfied with other things.
That is why God often comes in the back door, pouring out His Spirit in unexpected places and working through unlikely vessels. It because the front door is often closed.
That’s why Jesus was born in the manger. There was no room in the inn.
That’s why He rebuked the church of Laodicea.
The believers there said, “I am rich, and have stored up goods, and have need of nothing.” They did not realize that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev 3:17. MEV).
Doesn’t that describe so many of us in the church of America today?
The truth be told, our great abundance has been a blessing and a curse.
It has been a blessing because most of us don’t live in grinding poverty and many of us have a surplus to help those suffering around the world.
But our great abundance has also been a curse.
We are so filled with other things – with sports and entertainment and possessions and activities and carnality – that there is little room for God in our lives. The distractions are endless and the love for other things crowds out our love for God.
How hungry are we?
How deeply do we yearn for God’s kingdom to come to our nation?
How desperate are we to see a divine visitation rock our country, our city, our church, our home, ourselves?
These questions may not be relevant to you, but they are certainly relevant to me.
Do I really hunger and thirst for righteousness? What drives me and motivates me and energizes me? If you could watch my life for a 24-hour period, what would you determine mattered to me the most?
I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on you (or on myself), but I am trying to ignite something deep within – a spark for more of God’s presence, a spark of spiritual longing, a spark of passion and desperation. God will pour out His Spirit on those who are truly desperate for Him!
Let me give you a simple analogy.
Imagine that you are going away for a one-week retreat to meet with God. You are staying alone in a cabin where there is no TV, internet access, or cell phone service, so you don’t even bring your phone or laptop.
How many hours per day do you think you will read the Word and pray? How much quality time will you have with God?
Now imagine that identical scenario except with one slight difference: There is a giant-screen TV with cable access to all your favorite channels, plus a massive archive of your favorite movies and TV shows. And there is high-speed internet access and unlimited, free cell phone service for texting and calls. And did I mention the cabin has the most amazing sound system built into the entertainment room?
Do you think you might find less time for the Word and prayer? Do you think you might be just a bit distracted?
That is a picture of our lives today as 21st century Americans. In the words of Jesus, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:19, ESV).
To give just one example, consider the power of the god of sports.
Not only does it consume our time, but it dominates our emotions.
When our home football team loses dramatically in the last second of a game we are devastated for days, our hearts torn with disappointment. And when we lose because the refs blow a call, our passion for justice is stirred. “This is not right!” we cry out with one voice.
But we are hardly broken hearted and devastated over the fact that millions of Americans are lost and without God, that we have been in steady moral and spiritual decline, that our nation leads the world in the exportation of pornography, that we still slaughter one million babies in the womb every year, and that we have more single-parent homes than almost any developed nation on the planet.
As for our passion for justice, the refs blowing a call troubles us more than the epidemic of human trafficking in our nation. Or do even realize that cities like Atlanta and Seattle and San Diego and Charlotte are hotbeds for the trafficking of minors?
To say it again, I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone, nor will a guilt trip produce spiritual fruit.
I am trying to serve as a faithful physician, analyzing our symptoms and providing a diagnosis of our condition with a view toward regaining our health. For the real issue is not so much the state of the nation but the state of our individual hearts, and one coal burning bright can set the other coals ablaze.
Is there anything from stopping you from seeking God in private, asking Him to light a fresh fire in your heart, crying out to Him to bring you back to your first love, supplicating Him to glorify Jesus afresh in your eyes?
Is there anything more important than this?
Wherever you are, however far you have fallen and however great your own needs, our God will not refuse your cry.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” (Isa 57:15, ESV)
Let’s take our Father at His Word, determining to ask and seek and knock until the answer comes.
We cannot live any longer with a fresh visitation from on high.
So pray with me right now, “Lord, start the work in me!”
Dr Michael Brown
God wants His children to ask for what’s on their hearts, because He delights to give. Even more, He wants to fellowship with us. What joy can be ours every time we meet our heavenly Father through prayer!
The privilege of supplication rests on our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Only those who are part of God’s family can claim Him as their Father (John 1:12) and avail themselves of His pledge to answer prayer. He makes no such commitment to unbelievers. The single exception is the sinner who asks for forgiveness and receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As promised, his or her prayer is always answered with salvation (Rom. 10:9).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses three verbs to describe prayer: ask, seek, and knock. Notice the progression in intensity from a request to a search and then to further action. Prayer is more than giving God requests. It involves seeking His will to guide our entreaties. It means “knocking on doors” by exploring different solutions and obtaining godly counsel to help determine the Lord’s mind. Jesus pledged that we will receive, we will find, and God will open the door for us. We have His assurance that God will respond and what He does is good.
Prayer is simple, yet at times we find it hard to practice. We try different methods but often feel dissatisfied and wonder if our prayers are having any effect. Ask the Lord to teach you more about biblical praying. Put into practice what you learn, and wait in assurance for His answers!
“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” (Judges 6:12)
Gideon was not a very promising leader to all outward appearances. He was of the undistinguished and divided tribe of Manasseh, and “my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (v. 15).
But that’s exactly the kind of man God knows He can use, for “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). God, therefore, greeted him thus: “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor” (text verse).
As a matter of fact, there were other qualities in Gideon that must have commended him to God. He was already busy threshing “wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites” (v. 11). He was not sitting idly but was already doing what he could for his people. Furthermore, even though he lived in a time of great apostasy when even his own father kept an altar for the god Baal, he still worshipped the true God and was greatly exercised that “the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites” (v. 13). He was burdened for his people, but all he had been able to do was to try to feed them, hiding his wheat from the invaders. Before the Lord could use him further, however, he had to destroy the family idol and offer his own sacrifice to the true God, even though he knew his family and neighbors might try to kill him (vv. 25-32). God, then, did indeed “save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” through Gideon (v. 14).
If we would be mighty for God, like Gideon, we must begin like him: poor yet faithful, burdened for the Lord’s truth, and doing what we can—putting away every idol of the mind, and acknowledging our Savior’s sacrifice for us. HMM
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. —Colossians 3:2
God has revealed Himself many times and in many ways to assure men and women made in His image that there is another and a better world than this vale of tears we refer to as home…
When people around us learn that we are involved in a spiritual kingdom not yet visible, they think we are prime candidates for a mental institution. But this we know: Those same people around us are subject to the cruel tyranny of material and temporal things—things that will decay and pass away. No world dictator ever ruled his cowering subjects with any more fierce and compulsive domination than the material, visible things rule the men and women of this world.
Of all the calamities that have been visited upon this world and its inhabitants, the willing surrender of the human spirit to materialistic values is the worst! We who were made for higher worlds are accepting the ways of this world as the ultimate. That is a tragedy of staggering proportions.
We who were meant to commune with the Creator God, with the angels, archangels and seraphim, have decided instead to settle down here. As well might the eagle leave his lofty domain to scratch in the barnyard with the common hens.
It’s so easy, Lord, to become enamored with and ensnared by the things of this barnyard. Help me to be more lofty in my affections today. Amen.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life. (Romans 6:23)
Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it!
They make it seem that God is only concerned with our escaping the consequences.
The gospel, then, in practical application, means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past!
But the heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man’s past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart.
To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most!
Sinner, let this be thy comfort, that God sees thee when thou beginnest to repent. He does not see thee with his usual gaze, with which he looks on all men, but he sees thee with an eye of intense interest. He has been looking on thee in all thy sin, and in all thy sorrow, hoping that thou wouldst repent; and now he sees the first gleam of grace, and he beholds it with joy. Never warder on the lonely castle top saw the first gray light of morning with more joy than that with which God beholds the first desire in thy heart.