VIDEO Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

He…wondered that there was no intercessor… —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work— work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

When you are joyful, be joyful; when you are sad, be sad. If God has given you a sweet cup, don’t make it bitter; and if He has given you a bitter cup, don’t try and make it sweet; take things as they come.  Shade of His Hand, 1226 L


5 Indicators of a Hard Heart (clip) by Shane Idleman

Three Commands From An Empty Tomb

 

 

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you’” (Matthew 28:5-7 NASB).

Springtime is here. Dogwoods and daffodils bloom as winter retreats and warmer days are welcomed.

Across America, churches will soon be packed on Easter Sunday.

Why?

Easter is about forgiveness and hope through a sacred death and an empty tomb. Easter is about the grimness of the grave being overcome. It is about Jesus Christ rising bodily, victoriously and eternally from the grave. Behold our resurrected Lord triumphantly displaying the keys to death, hell and the grave in His nail-scarred hands! No wonder Easter is the annual apex for all Christians.

No other religion dares to make such claims. Muslims readily admit that Muhammad is dead. Buddha and Confucius are also in the grave, as is Joseph Smith. But after Jesus died, He rose from the grave, never to die again.

The women who followed Jesus to Jerusalem from Galilee had gone to the tomb to properly anoint their Lord for burial. There they found an angel who gave them three significant commands:

The first command was “Do not be afraid” (v.5)

Those women came to the tomb wondering how they would remove the stone so they could anoint Jesus’ body (cf. Mark 16:1). But when they arrived, an angel had already rolled the stone away (cf. Matthew 28:2). Jesus was not there — He had risen! And because He had risen, there would never again be a valid reason for fear. As Bill Gaither’s song says, “Because He lives, all fear is gone.”

The angel’s second command was “Come, see” (v.6).

There was nothing to hide. Jesus’ body had not been stolen. This was no gimmick or fabrication, as the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem slyly suggested (cf. Matthew 28:11f). Jesus was really alive. The angel rolled the stone away, not to allow Jesus to leave the grave, but to let the women and everyone else to look in! Jesus’ burial proved His actual death. His empty tomb proved His actual resurrection. Now everyone could “come, see” for themselves.

The third command was, “go quickly and tell” (v.7).

The good news of Jesus’ resurrection demanded sharing. The angel’s words at this point were similar to those spoken by Jesus after His resurrection and prior to His ascension: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NASB). Jesus had risen from the grave and His disciples were commissioned to take that good news to the ends of the earth.

As they proclaimed the gospel message, people repented of their sins, believed that Jesus died and rose for their salvation, and received Jesus as Lord and Savior by calling on His name in humble prayer. The book of Acts describes how those early disciples boldly shared the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome in just three decades. They could not stop speaking of what they had “seen and heard” (cf. Acts 4:20). Today we who follow Jesus must continue to tell the world the saving message of His death, burial and resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

No religion in the world claims anything like Jesus’ empty tomb. His vicarious death and victorious resurrection are what make the good news “good.”

The angel’s three commands echo through the centuries, calling out to us this Easter season. By faith, with spirit-ears, we still hear His commands:

“Jesus is alive! Do not be afraid!”

“Jesus is alive! Come, see!”

“Jesus is alive! Go quickly and tell!”

That is the message of Easter! That is what we must share with our lost neighbors. We must tell everyone that there is hope, healing and forgiveness for anyone who comes to Christ in repentance and faith, and that salvation comes from the bloody cross and empty tomb of Jesus.

Do not be afraid. Come and see. Go quickly and tell.

by Steve Gaines

Are You Helpful or Heartless Toward Others?

Helpful or Heartless Toward Others?

Do we need any more arguments than these to become intercessors– that Christ “always lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25), and that the Holy Spirit “makes intercession for the saints”? Are we living in such a relationship with others that we do the work of intercession as a result of being the children of God who are taught by His Spirit? We should take a look at our current circumstances. Do crises which affect us or others in our home, business, country, or elsewhere, seem to be crushing in on us? Are we being pushed out of the presence of God and left with no time for worship? If so, we must put a stop to such distractions and get into such a living relationship with God that our relationship with others is maintained through the work of intercession, where God works His miracles.

Beware of getting ahead of God by your very desire to do His will. We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, becoming so burdened with people and problems that we don’t worship God, and we fail to intercede. If a burden and its resulting pressure come upon us while we are not in an attitude of worship, it will only produce a hardness toward God and despair in our own souls. God continually introduces us to people in whom we have no interest, and unless we are worshiping God the natural tendency is to be heartless toward them. We give them a quick verse of Scripture, like jabbing them with a spear, or leave them with a hurried, uncaring word of counsel before we go. A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to our Lord.

Are our lives in the proper place so that we may participate in the intercession of our Lord and the Holy Spirit!

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Always keep in contact with those books and those people that enlarge your horizon and make it possible for you to stretch yourself mentally. The Moral Foundations of Life, 721 R

Zebrafish

Open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness. Acts 26:18

How amazing the Creator! He endowed zebrafish with remarkable abilities. According to Smithsonian Magazine, these minnows have supersized powers. When their brains are damaged, they regenerate. When their fins are cut off, they grow back. When they are blinded, they regain their sight. That’s why scientists at Vanderbilt are studying the zebrafish’s retina regenerative abilities to find applications for humans. Could one of God’s smallest creatures help the blind to see?

The miracle of sight could never have happened randomly or through a set of biological accidents. It’s a God-given endowment.

In Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa, he spoke of how Jesus had appeared to him on the Damascus Road and told him to share the message that opens the eyes of the blind. May the Lord give us the same task! May we take the Resurrection message to those blinded by Satan, and may the Creator of the zebrafish open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light!

May God open your eyes to see the reality of His kingdom in your midst, may He open your ears that you may clearly hear His voice. Susie Larson, in Blessings for the Evening

I will call them my people which were not my people

John 4:27-42

John 4:27

Their Jewish prejudices were aroused by his large-hearted care for a Samaritan woman, for they would have scorned to speak to her; yet they were awed by his appearance, and felt too much esteem for their Master to enquire too boldly.

John 4:28, 29

The convert becomes a missionary. Her worldly cares are all forgotten; she cares only for the souls of others.

John 4:30

God blessed the woman’s testimony so that their curiosity was excited, and she thus became one link in the chain of causes which led to the conversion of many. We might all be useful if we would but try.

John 4:32

He was so happy in his work that he forgot the calls of appetite; the soul conquered the body.

John 4:34

This occupied all his thoughts, and success in it was refreshing to his heart.

John 4:35

The people were streaming out of Sychar, eager to hear; the Samaritans were as ready for the word as the corn for the sickle. This was a goodly, sight, but it called for further effort. When the people are willing to receive the word, they bring great responsibility upon their ministers.

John 4:38

So is it with us all. We are reapers of what was sown in ages gone by, and especially of that which Jesus has sown by his agonies and death.

John 4:39

Very imperfect instruments may be used by the Holy Spirit to lay the foundations of faith. Foxe tells us that some were brought to a knowledge of the truth in his day by reading Chaucer’s works: “And in that rarity of books and want of teachers, this one thing I greatly marvel at,” says he, “that the word of God did multiply so exceedingly, for I find that one neighbour conversing with others did soon win and turn their minds to the truth.”

John 4:40-42

They outgrew their first instructor, and rose to a firmer basis of faith and a clearer understanding of the Gospel. If they learned so much in two days, how much ought we to have learned who have had Jesus teaching in our streets these many years.

Let us learn from this deeply interesting Scripture to live to do good, and let us also learn that no service which we can render to our fellow-creatures is so really beneficial as to bear witness to them concerning Jesus.

 

Help me, O Lord, thy love to show,

Thy saving truth proclaim;

‘Tis all my business here below

To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”

 

Happy, if with my latest breath

I may but gasp thy name;

Preach thee in life, and cry in death,

“Behold, behold the Lamb!”

.

Yes, Resurrection Is A Fact

Be established in the present truth… for we have not cunningly devised fables. (2 Peter 1:12, 16)

The resurrection of Christ and the fact of the empty tomb are not a part of this world’s complex and continuing mythologies. This is not a Santa Claus tale—it is history and it is a reality!

The true church of Jesus Christ is necessarily founded upon the belief and the truth that there was a real death, a real tomb and a real stone!

But, thank God, there was a sovereign Father in heaven, an angel sent to roll the stone away and a living Savior in a resurrected and glorified body, able to proclaim to His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth!”

Brethren, He died for us, but ever since the hour of the resurrection, He has been the mighty Jesus, the mighty Christ, the mighty Lord!

Our business is to thank God with tearful reverence for the Cross, but to go on to a right understanding of what the resurrection meant both to God and to men. We understand and acknowledge that the Resurrection has placed a glorious crown upon all of Christ’s sufferings!

 

Without Fear of Man

And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.” Deut. 28:10

Then we can have no reason to be afraid of them. This would show a mean spirit, and be a token of unbelief rather than of faith. God can make us so like Himself, that men shall be forced to see that we rightly bear His name, and truly belong to the Holy Jehovah. Oh, that we may obtain this grace, which the Lord waits to bestow!

Be assured that ungodly men have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they also fear them. Haman trembled because of Mordecai, even when he sought the good man’s destruction. In fact, their hate often arises out of a dread which they are too proud to confess. Let us pursue the path of truth and uprightness without the slightest tremor. Fear is not for us, but for those who do ill and fight against the Lord of hosts. If indeed the name of the Eternal God is named upon us, we are secure; for, as of old, a Roman had but to say Romanus sum, I am a Roman, and he could claim the protection of all the legions of the vast empire; so every one who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty Heaven of angels than leave a saint without defense. Be braver than lions for the right, for God is with you.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: