Much More Than Words

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:26

At a dedication ceremony during which a Bible translated into a local African language was presented, the area chief was presented with his own copy. In appreciation, he lifted the Bible to the skies and exclaimed, “Now we know God understands our language! We can read the Bible in our own native mother-tongue.”

No matter our language, our heavenly Father understands it. But often we feel unable to express our deepest longings to Him. The apostle Paul encourages us to pray regardless of how we feel. Paul speaks of our suffering world and our own pain: “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22), and he compares that to the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness,” he writes. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26).

God’s Holy Spirit knows us intimately. He knows our longings, our heart-language, and our unspoken words, and He helps us in our communication with God. His Spirit draws us to be transformed into the image of God the Son (v. 29).

Our heavenly Father understands our language and speaks to us through His Word. When we think our prayers are weak or too short, His Holy Spirit helps us by speaking through us to the Father. He yearns for us to talk with Him in prayer.

Thank You, Lord, for understanding my language and innermost longings. When my prayers are weak and dry, bear me up through Your Spirit.

When we feel weak in our prayers, God’s Spirit helps us in ways we can’t imagine.

By Lawrence Darmani 


Our inability to know what to ask for when we pray is part of a bigger story. According to Paul’s letter to the Romans, there’s a lot more we can’t do for ourselves. We also can’t avoid the consequences of our own choices, change our own hearts, make ourselves right with God, or even live up to our own expectations (Romans 4:5; 6:23; 7:18–21). Yet Paul doesn’t leave us helpless and hopeless. He begins and ends chapter 8 showing us how to rise on wings of wonder. Could anything lift us higher than to know that we also can’t do anything that would cause the God who is for us to stop helping and loving us? (vv. 11, 31–39).

Mart DeHaan

The Death of Self

Matthew 16:24-26

Jesus Christ was obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2:8). While some Christians may be called upon to give up their life for the glory of God, most believers won’t face martyrdom. The death required of us, however, is no less real. We die to self.

Human beings are an independent lot. We want things our way, in our time, and on our terms. But Jesus said that anyone who wants to be His follower must deny him- or herself (Matt. 16:24).  Of course, that covers obvious issues like sinful habits and evil thoughts. But it also means that in some instances we must decline good things because they come at the wrong time or don’t fit God’s plan.

To an outside observer, the Christian’s commitment to obey must seem strange, especially when hands emptied by self-denial take up a cross instead (v. 24). Sometimes following the Lord involves suffering. What bystanders can’t see or experience is the deep satisfaction believers gain from doing what is right. Jesus once said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). As food is to the body, so obedience is to the soul and spirit. Working for God nourishes, energizes, strengthens, and enlightens—bringing us even more satisfaction than do those things we typically think of as pleasures.

Even when self-denial hurts, obeying God brings joy. Believers who prioritize submission to Him will know what I mean. Contentment is found in drawing close to the Lord, sensing His approval, and looking forward to hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21 NIV).

I Will Build My Church Not a Building!

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:181) 

This is the first of 115 occurrences of ekklesia in the New Testament—three times translated “assembly,” all other times as “church.” It is a compound of ek and klesia, thus meaning “called out” from their previous locations to meet together as a body for some purpose. The three times it is translated “assembly” refer to the town meeting in Ephesus (Acts 19:32, 39, 41). Once it refers to the congregation of Israelites in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), leaving 111 times when it refers to a Christian church or churches.

Of these 111, at least 86 clearly refer to local churches, each meeting as a body in specific times and places. Individual local churches may come and go, but the institution of the local church will continue at least until the return of Christ. In the Bible’s final chapter, after outlining the entire future of the world, Jesus said, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches” (Revelation 22:16). All churches of all times and places, as well as the seven representative churches of Asia (Revelation 2 and 3), which have long since died out as distinct local churches, are thus intended to hear of the world’s prophetic future.

This is the last mention of churches, but the first, as cited in our text, has eternal dimensions, for even the “gates of hell” cannot prevail against it. This church actually will be in heaven itself. “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23). HMM

To be spiritually minded is life and peace

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2:1, 2

This is the one thing needful for us to know. All our reading and studies will be in vain if we are ignorant of Christ and his atoning blood. If Paul the preacher determined to know nothing but this, we may be sure it is above all things important.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5

If men believed because of the preacher’s grand speech, their faith would be good for nothing. If one man can convert you, another can unconvert you. God’s power is needed; no minister can give us faith.

1 Corinthians 2:6-8

Simple as the gospel is, it is wisdom itself—more philosophical than philosophy, and more reasonable than human reasons best conclusions.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

What reason and imagination could not have conceived, the Holy Spirit has revealed; spiritual men have an inner eye and ear to which the Spirit grants discernment.

1 Corinthians 2:12

Ours is a spiritual religion, which our new nature receives from the Spirit of God: it is not wrought in us by ceremonies which we can see with our eyes, neither are we persuaded into it by the fair speeches of men, but we are taught it by the Holy Spirit himself.

1 Corinthians 2:13

As spiritual men receive the faith by a spiritual work, so they endeavour to spread it by spiritual means only. They reject the pride of learning and the pomp of oratory, and rely upon the Spirit and the truth.

1 Corinthians 2:14, 15

judgeth or discerneth

1 Corinthians 2:14, 15

judged discerned

1 Corinthians 2:16

The whole of mankind may correctly be divided into natural and spiritual, and these are as distinct as the dead and the living. The natural man has no spirit, and cannot therefore discern spiritual things. In the new birth a spirit is implanted in us, and thus we gain spiritual faculties, we live in a spiritual atmosphere, and are capable of spiritual joys. Have we received this higher life? Have we the mind of Christ? Lord, work it in us, for Jesus’ sake!


Mighty Redeemer! set me free

From my old state of sin;

Oh, make my soul alive to thee,

Create new powers within.


Renew mine eyes; and form mine ears,

And mould my heart afresh;

Give me new passions, joys, and fears,

And turn the stone to flesh.


Far from the regions of the dead,

From sin, and earth, and hell,

In the new world that grace has made,

I would for ever dwell.


Teach me, my God and King,

In all things thee to see;

And what I do in anything,

To do it as for thee.


All may of thee partake,

Nothing so small can be

But draws, when acted for thy sake,

Greatness and worth from thee.


If done beneath thy laws,

E’en servile labours shine;

Hallowed is toil, if this the cause,

The meanest work, divine.


Allied to thee, our vital Head,

We act, and grow, and thrive:

From thee divided, each is dead

When most he seems alive.


Thy saints on earth, and those above,

Here join in sweet accord:

One body all in mutual love,

And thou our common Lord.


Thou the whole body wilt present

Before thy Father’s face!

Nor shall a wrinkle or a spot

Its beauteous form disgrace.


There is a house not made with hands,

Eternal, and on high,

And here my spirit waiting stands,

Till God shall bid it fly.


Shortly this prison of my clay

Must be dissolved and fall:

Then, O my soul! with joy obey

Thy heavenly Father’s call.


‘Tis he, by his almighty grace,

That forms thee fit for heaven;

And, as an earnest of the place,

Has his own Spirit given.


Be not yoked unequally

With the unbelieving race;

For what concord can there be

With the heirs of sin and grace?


Sin opposes sanctity;

Darkness, light doth ever shun,

Right and wrong can ne’er agree,

Christ and Belial ne’er be one.


Wherefore be ye separate,

Nor with sinners hold accord,

While ye in a holy state,

Bear the vessels of the Lord.


Bound by his word, he will display,

A strength proportion’d to our day;

And, when united trials meet,

Will show a path of safe retreat.


Thus far we prove that promise good,

Which Jesus ratified with blood:

Still he is gracious, wise, and just,

And still in him let Israel trust.


Do I believe what Jesus saith,

And think his gospel true?

Lord, make me bold to own my faith,

And practise virtue too.


Suppress my shame, subdue my fear,

Arm me with heavenly zeal;

That I may make thy power appear,

And works of praise fulfil.


If men should see my virtue shine

And spread my name abroad,

Thine is the power, the praise be thine,

My Saviour, and my God.


What have I else whereof to boast?

A sinner by myself undone,

And still, without thy mercy, lost,

I glory in thy cross alone.


Conform’d to my expiring Head,

I share thy passion on the tree;

And now I to the world am dead,

And all the world is dead to me.


Go, you that rest upon the law,

And toil and seek salvation there;

Look to the flame that Moses saw,

And shrink, and tremble, and despair.


But I’ll retire beneath the cross;

Saviour, at thy dear feet I’ll lie;

And the keen sword that Justice draws,

Flaming and red, shall pass me by.


Everyday Is Worship

Their heart is far from me… in vain they do worship me. (Matthew 15:8-9)

It is my experience that the totality of our Christian lives—our entire attitude as persons—must be towards the worship of God!

If you do not know the presence of God in your office, your factory, your home—then God is not in the church you attend, either!

I became a Christian when I was a young man working in a tire factory in Akron, Ohio. I remember my work there—but I remember my worship there, too! I had plenty of worshipful tears in my eyes. No one ever asked me about them, but I would not have hesitated to explain them.

You can learn to use certain skills until they are automatic. I became so skillful that I could do my work and then I could worship God even while my hands were busy.

If the love of God is in us and the Spirit of God is breathing praise within us, all the musical instruments in heaven are suddenly playing in full support! Even our thoughts become a sanctuary in which God can dwell.


What Sanctifies Our Offerings?

“And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord.” Lev. 4:7

The altar of incense is the place where saints present their prayers and praises; and it is delightful to think of it as sprinkled with the blood of the great sacrifice. This it is which makes all our worship acceptable with Jehovah: He sees the blood of His own Son, and therefore accepts our homage.

It is well for us to fix our eyes upon the blood of the one offering for sin. Sin mingles even with our holy things, and our best repentance, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving could not be received of God were it not for the merit of the atoning sacrifice. Many sneer at “the blood”; but to us it is the foundation of comfort and hope. That which is on the horns of the altar is meant to be prominently before our eyes when we draw near to God. The blood gives strength to prayer, and hence it is on the altar’s horns. It is “before the Lord,” and therefore it ought to be before us. It is on the altar before we bring the incense; it is there to sanctify our offerings and gifts.

Come, let us pray with confidence, since the Victim is offered, the merit has been pleaded, the blood is within the veil, and the prayers of believers must be sweet unto the Lord.


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