VIDEO The Focal Point of Spiritual Power – Why Most Christians are Powerless, Spiritual Warfare

The Focal Point of Spiritual Power

If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me…” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.

The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Our danger is to water down God’s word to suit ourselves. God never fits His word to suit me; He fits me to suit His word. Not Knowing Whither, 901 R

By Oswald Chambers


Spiritual Warfare – Why Most Christians are Powerless


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Thanksgiving, When?

image-11-first-thanksgiving-at-plymouth1

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. one day a year.

It’s Thanksgiving in heaven every day.

Think I’ll move to heaven.

harvest.jpgHappy Thanksgiving Day Forever!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His steadfast love endures forever!” ~Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving!

Know What You Yourself Believe

2 Timothy 1:12-14

All people have a belief system whether they realize it or not. Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. What we believe affects every area of our life and shapes each decision we make, yet few of us take the time to really think about what we accept as true.

All belief systems have a foundation. Some people base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning, and desires. But that is not to be the case with Christians—Jesus calls His followers to adapt life to their faith in Him and the authority of His Word.

Anytime we add other philosophies or ideas to Scripture or pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, we create our own version of faith, based on personal reasoning. God’s Word is the only true and reliable foundation for belief, because it contains the recorded thoughts of an eternal, omniscient God. All other concepts must be measured against Scripture to determine their validity.

Knowing what the Bible says is essential for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of the Lord. This world offers many philosophies that sound good but are laced with lies. A faith anchored in what Scripture teaches is your protection against deception.

Each time you face a problem or decision, search God’s Word for the answer. Begin your day by reading the Bible and asking God to help you understand what He is saying. He loves communicating with His children, and as you spend time with Him, He’ll open your mind to know His thoughts.

Four Commands For Believers

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)

Our text today gives four commands for believers to obey, each of which is difficult but nonetheless “is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (v. 15). It comes in a lengthy passage (2:11–3:12) that discusses the matter of authority and a Christian’s proper response to it. Ponder each command:

Honor all men. This could be translated “Give honor to all.” While the verb is the same as in the last command, its verb tense is not the same, here indicating a continued, conscious choice to do this, while honoring “the king” indicates the development of a lifestyle of showing respect to civil authority. Evidently our day-to-day encounters with sinful “men” require us to be continually choosing to regard them with honor and dignity. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Love the brotherhood. Our agape love—God’s kind of unselfish, undeserved love—should extend, on a habitual basis as seen in the verb tense, to all believers. “See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22).

Fear God. A lifestyle marked by a reverential fear of God is in mind here. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).

Honor the king. As mentioned above, this is to be a life’s commitment, continually recognizing the God-given authority of human government (1 Peter 2:1-14).

“Having your conversation [i.e., manner of life] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (v. 12). JDM

The battle is not yours, but God’s

2 Chronicles 20:1-19

2 Chronicles 20:1

This was a chastisement upon him for joining with Ahab, for now the wicked join against him; but it was sent in love, and therefore ended well.

2 Chronicles 20:2, 3

He did not only fear because of the vast number of the invaders, but because the Lord had told him by the mouth of the prophet that wrath would be upon him. His fears, however, drove him to prayer, and whenever this is the case matters will be sure to mend.

2 Chronicles 20:4

Great troubles can only be met by great prayer. Let us use this certain remedy when trial comes upon us.

2 Chronicles 20:5-12

This was a noble prayer; the king pleaded the divine power and sovereignty, he reminded the Lord of his former favours to his people, and then he pleaded the promise and covenant. After this manner also should we pray. The last sentence is peculiarly sweet: “our eyes are upon thee.” For direction, help, protection, and encouragement they looked alone to the Lord. We shall be sure to see good when our eyes are fixed upon God alone.

2 Chronicles 20:13

The prayers even of little ones are powerful with God. All our family should learn to pray, and in times of distress each one should assist in calling upon the Lord for help.

2 Chronicles 20:14

God will soon send a loving word when all his people humbly cry unto him.

2 Chronicles 20:15, 17

When the Lord undertakes for his people he makes short work of their enemies.

2 Chronicles 20:18

God’s great mercy humbled them into lowliest adoration. They did not question the truth of the promise, but worshipped gratefully at once.

2 Chronicles 20:19

This was real faith. Cannot we also praise the Lord for favours yet to come? He will bless us, let us even now bless him.

 

A Signal That Jesus’ Return Is Near

2 Thessalonians 2:1

When Paul wrote his second letter to the church of Thessalonica, he was exceedingly excited at the thought of Jesus’ soon return. In fact, he was so thrilled about the prospect of Jesus’ coming again that he devoted the entire second chapter of Second Thessalonians to the events that would occur in the last days. As Paul wrote this famous chapter about the events of the last days, he began by declaring, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”

Notice that Paul uses the word “beseech” in this verse. Normally the word “beseech” would be the Greek word parakaleo, but in this verse, Paul uses the word erotao rather than the word parakaleo. The word erotao means to ask or to make a strong request. This word calls upon the listener to cautiously listen to what is being said and to respond in a fitting manner to what has been heard. Because Paul is speaking of the coming of the Lord and uses the word erotao to appeal to his listeners, he clearly means for them to take his words seriously and to let these words make a strong impact in their lives.

When we think about the coming of the Lord, it should make a strong impact in our lives. It should affect the way we live, the way we think, the way we carry on in our relationships, and the way we invest our money into the Kingdom of God. It is simply a fact that Jesus is coming for His Church, and we should constantly live in the light of His coming. When we live with the awareness that Jesus is coming again, it changes our conduct and behavior. By using the word erotao (“beseech”), Paul is communicating to his readers that they have a responsibility to respond to his message about Jesus’ soon return. They are to live in a godly, upright, and holy manner as they wait for “the coming of our Lord.”

Then he begins to speak to them about the “coming of our Lord.” The word “coming” is from the Greek word parousia. This word always places special emphasis on the Presence of the Lord—especially the Presence of God that can be tangibly felt among His people. Here it is used to describe the strong Presence of God that will be felt when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself. The word implies that the Church will feel a phenomenal divine Presence when it is time for Jesus to gather His people to Himself at the end of the age.

This means that as we come closer to the return of Jesus, the parousia—the strong Presence of the Lord— will be strongly sensed among believers. In fact, the ever-growing, strong Presence of the Lord in the midst of the Church will be one of the signals that Jesus’ return is close at hand. As His Presence gets stronger and stronger, we will know it is time for Him to return to “gather” us to Himself When Paul speaks about “our gathering together unto Him,” the phrase “gathering together” comes from the Greek word episunagoge. This word is used perfectly in the apocryphal book of Second Maccabees 2:7, where it refers to that moment in the future when God will finally gather His people together to Himself. This is exactly how Paul uses it in Second Thessalonians 2:1 as he talks about that moment when God will finally gather His people together to Himself at the coming of Jesus.

In Second Thessalonians 2:1, Paul uses the word episunagoge (“gathering together”) to describe that future moment when the Lord will quickly gather or collect His people together to Himself at the end of the age. At that divine moment, all of God’s people will be quickly gathered together and collected in a common assembly to meet the Lord in the air. What a meeting that will be!

 

Considering the Greek words that Paul used in Second Thessalonians 2:1, this verse could be interpreted the following way:

“Brothers, I make this urgent, heartfelt request to you today, earnestly and sincerely pleading with you from the bottom of my heart to hear what I’m telling you and to do exactly as I say. The appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ is very near. In fact, it is so close that we can almost feel His Presence as if He were already here among us. The moment we have all longed for and waited for is almost upon us! I’m talking about that moment when Jesus will finally gather us together to Himself.”

The apostle Peter warned us that at the end of the age, many scoffers would mock at the promise of Jesus’ return, asserting that if Jesus was going to come, surely He would have already come. Peter wrote, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?…” (2 Peter 3:3, 4).

The word “scoffers” is from the Greek word empaidzo, and it described one who makes fun of another through mockery. It conveyed the idea of disdain, scorn, derision, and ridicule. The Greek word empaidzo also meant to play a game. It was often used for playing a game with children or for amusing a crowd by impersonating someone in a silly and exaggerated way. For instance, this word might be used in a game of charades when someone intends to comically portray someone or even make fun of someone.

We find this word used in Luke 22:63, where the Bible tells us, “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.” The Greek word empaidzo categorically lets us know that these men turned a few minutes of that nightmarish night before Jesus’ crucifixion into a stage of comedy at His expense. They put on quite a show, hamming it up as they almost certainly pretended to be Jesus and the people He ministered to. Perhaps they laid hands on each other as if they were healing the sick; or lay on the floor and quivered, as if they were being liberated from devils; or wobbled around, acting as if they had been blind but now could suddenly see. Whatever these leaders did to mock Jesus, it was a game of charades to mimic and make fun of Him.

Now Peter uses this same word to depict mockers in the last days who would make fun of those who believe in Jesus’ coming. I can almost hear them saying, “Come on, if Jesus was going to come, don’t you think He would have been here by now? Quit hanging on to this false hope, you dreamers!”

But the grammar used in Second Peter 3:3, 4 tells us that this mocking is the characteristic behavior of these scoffers. It could be more accurately translated, “Mockers will come mocking.” In other words, they don’t only mock on occasion; they are mockers by habit. They find great delight in regularly mocking and making fun of those who believe that Jesus is coming to gather His Church to Himself.

But regardless of what doubt-filled believers or antagonistic unbelievers say as they mock us, the truth is that Jesus is coming again soon! Second Thessalonians 2:1 gives us one of the signs that will occur to let us know His arrival is upon us: We will suddenly be aware of the supernatural Presence of Jesus in the Church like never before. The closer we come to the time of His return, the more strongly this phenomenal Presence of God will be felt in our midst. In fact, it will seem as if His coming is already upon us! That strong Presence of God will signal to us that it is just about time for Jesus to quickly gather us and collect us to Himself!

So in the days to come, close your ears to the mockers who make fun of you for believing in Jesus’ soon return. Then open your heart to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make you sensitive to His voice inside your spirit. As you are faithful to do this, you will recognize that moment when the Presence of God becomes much stronger in the Church, and you’ll know that moment for what it is—one of the greatest indications that Jesus’ return is upon us!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me to be sensitive to Your Presence so I can be aware of that moment when Your coming is near to us. Help me close my ears to those mockers who say You will never come. By Your grace, I will hold tightly to Your promise that You will come one day to collect Your people to Yourself. Help me live a life that is holy—one that pleases You and for which I will not be ashamed when You suddenly appear to gather the Church to Yourself.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am living a holy life that pleases God, a life for which I am not ashamed. I say no to sin; I crucify my flesh; and I do my very best to yield to and walk in the Spirit. I am sensitive to the Presence of God. And when the moment draws near for Jesus to come and collect His people to Himself, I will sense the growing strength of His Presence in the Church and will recognize it as a signal that God’s people will soon be leaving planet earth! I believe in Jesus’ coming; I expect it in my lifetime; and I am doing all I can to preach the Gospel to the lost so they won’t be left out when Jesus gathers the Church to Himself.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Are you living a life that makes you feel confident about seeing Jesus face to face when He returns for His people? Or are you allowing secret sins in your life that make you fearful about Jesus’ soon return? If you answered yes to the second question, what are those secret sins, and what steps do you need to take to remove them from your life?
  2. What can you do to increase your spiritual sensitivity so you will recognize the moment when the Presence of God suddenly and supernaturally energizes the Church, alerting God’s people that the time for Jesus’ arrival is upon them?
  3. Write down two lists, answering the following two questions: What things do you need to remove from your life because they adversely affect your spiritual sensitivity? What do you need to add to your life to help you become more spiritually sensitive?

 

Ever Feel Abandoned?

Disconnected? Cast aside? Isolated? Take heart my friend, because God is “a father to the fatherless… and sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:5a, 6a) (See Psalm 10:4; 107:14)

 

Have you ever been crushed by circumstances? Overwhelmed by life? Whiplashed by a situation that seems out of your control? Take courage, because your loving Sovereign is concerned for the most defenseless among us: “A defender of widows.” (Psalm 68:5a) (See Psalm 72:2, 4)

 

Ever feel like a prisoner to your surroundings? Or to your sins? Or to life itself ? The good news is that “God leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (Psalm 68:6) (See Psalm 107:10, 14; 147:6; Isaiah 61:1)

 

Perhaps you feel exhausted. Dried out. Stale. Look up because your Father promises to give you “abundant showers… ” as He “refreshes His weary inheritance.” (Psalm 68:9) (See Hosea 6:3)

 

You may be worried about meeting your financial obligations. Be at rest. “From your bounty, O God you [provide] for the poor.” (Psalm 68:10) (See Psalm 37:25; Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 13:5)

 

In case you are wondering if He is there, or even cares about your situation,

  • Muse over the words from Mozart’s Requiem, “Remember, merciful Jesu, that I am the cause of your journey.
  • Ponder the profundity of Brenan Manning’s story of an Irish priest who observes an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, “You must be very close to God.” The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, “Yes, Hes very fond of me.
  • Identify with Karl Barth’s response to someone’s inquiry as to the most profound thought he had learned in all his theological studies, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Just how do we daily experience His grace? By total surrender to the lordship issues God has already identified in our lives. It is He, after all who gently reminds us that “only the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (Psalm 68:6b) All He asks from us is radical honesty, and radical dependency, thus releasing Him to do what is so dear to His heart: “Daily [bear] our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19b)

 

That being true, let us offer this prayer to Him, “Lord, thank you for what you have allowed to come my way. I repent of my rebellion, fear, anger and stubborn self-will. In this moment I surrender to your Lordship, and choose to believe that for today you are my sufficiency and the answer to my every need. Thank you in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

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