Constant Communication

Then the king said to [Nehemiah], “What do you request?” So [Nehemiah] prayed to the God of heaven. And [he] said to the king, “If it pleases the king . . . .” Nehemiah 2:4-5

Stewards are in constant touch with their masters regarding the master’s plans. When it comes to Christian leadership, the same stewardship principle applies—constant communication. Therefore, prayer is the foundational principle for Christian leaders. Prayer is how Christian stewards stay in touch with the Master about His plans.

One instance in Nehemiah’s life is a good example. When Nehemiah wanted permission from the Persian king to return to Jerusalem, he was afraid. When the king asked what Nehemiah wanted, he sent a silent prayer heavenward before he spoke (Nehemiah 2:4-5). Nehemiah knew God wanted the wall rebuilt, but he didn’t know if the king would grant permission. So, in the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 5:17—“pray without ceasing”—Nehemiah prayed for the king’s positive response.

All Christians are leaders in the sense of carrying out God’s will in various arenas of life. Therefore, prayer is the constant means by which we know the Father’s will and gain His provision.

Every minister ought to know that if the prayer meetings are neglected, all his labours are in vain. Charles Finney

Why We Need Spiritual Discernment

Phil. 1:1-10

Things are not always what they seem is the mantra of many mystery novels and television shows, but it’s also a wise attitude for successful living. Too many people make decisions based on feelings or judge situations by what appears to be real. God has given every believer a spirit of discernment so we can determine what’s best.

Think about how many decisions a person must make on a daily basis—choices about family, finances, work, and more. Ideally, a decision would have a correct choice and an incorrect one. As a result, the choice would be easy. In reality, what seems right isn’t always what’s best. Some things, while neither wrong nor sinful, are nonetheless outside of God’s will for us.

Scripture doesn’t contain specific directives regarding every possible life scenario. Instead, it’s filled with principles laid down by direct teaching or, at times, through stories. Believers are able to grow in spiritual maturity so that biblical principles coupled with guidance from the Holy Spirit become tools for making godly judgments. The question isn’t whether a certain choice looks good or feels right, but whether it’s God’s will for that point in a person’s life.

A well-developed spirit of discernment is essential for living in God’s will. Without this sensitivity to the Lord’s plan, a man or woman takes everything at face value. Many choices that look good and feel right are actually contrary to what the Lord desires for a believer’s life. That is why we must evaluate situations from a biblical perspective.

Thou Hast Made Me Glad

“For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” (Psalm 92:4)

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1). So begins this “Song for the Sabbath day” (heading), the psalmist extolling the virtues of praising God both day and night (v. 2). The true believer, with a proper understanding of God’s majesty, can see, in every situation, His lovingkindness and faithfulness. There is no better way to begin and end the day than to rehearse manifestations of His loving control over each event and circumstance and express confidence in His ability to handle new situations. “O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (v. 5).

Vexation over the seeming prosperity of the enemies of God is understandable, but we must rest in the fact that God will act justly at the proper time, when it best suits His purpose. “The wicked . . . shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, . . . shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered” (vv. 7-9).

Conversely, the righteous will ultimately flourish. Whether in this lifetime or in the next, God’s justice will prevail. “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God” (v. 13).

The claim of ultimate victory must not be considered as vague, insufficient, and improbable, as skeptics have always claimed. The reputation of God Himself is on the line. He will not allow His name to be tarnished. He must act “to shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (v. 15). As in our text, we can even now be “glad” and “triumph” in His works, whether we see them in this life or in the life to come. “O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (v. 5). JDM

Retarded Spiritual Progress

I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. —Psalm 119:15-16

Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of retarded spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession, do so many persons find themselves no farther along than when they first believed?…

The causes of retarded growth are many. It would not be accurate to ascribe the trouble to one single fault. One there is, however, which is so universal that it may easily be the main cause: failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God….

The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God….

Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him.

In a busy life, Lord, it’s so easy to neglect the important time we need to cultivate our knowledge of You. I devote myself to furthering my spiritual progress by seeking knowledge of You. Amen.

Ministry of Church

The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

Not all of the pooled efforts of any church can make a Christian out of a lost man! The Christian life begins with the individual; a soul has a saving encounter with God and the new life is born.

All else being equal, every individual. Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life.

There he will also find the best arena for the largest exercise of those gifts and powers with which God may have endowed him.

Unfortunately, the word “church” has taken on meanings which it did not originally have. The meaning of the word for the true Christian was fixed by our Lord and His apostles, and no man and no angel has authority to change it!

The universal Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and the ground of the Truth.

Without doubt, the most important body on earth is the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood!

The imagination will sometimes fly up to God

The imagination will sometimes fly up to God with such a power that eagles’ wings cannot match it. It sometimes has such might that it can almost see the King in His beauty, and the land which is very far off. But if it is potent one way, it is another, for imagination has taken us down to the lowest plains of earth. But I rejoice and think of one thing, that I can cry out when this imagination comes upon me. So it is with the Christian. If he cries out, there is hope. Can you chain your imagination? No; but the power of the Holy Ghost can. Ah, it shall do it! and it does do it at last, it does it even on earth.