VIDEO The Key to the Master’s Orders

The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest….” In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.

From Jesus Christ’s perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person— Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities and programs. Suppose a crisis were to come into your father’s or your brother’s life— are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, “Oh, but I have a special work to do!” No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work— He calls us to Himself. “Pray the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is an easy thing to argue from precedent because it makes everything simple, but it is a risky thing to do. Give God “elbow room”; let Him come into His universe as He pleases. If we confine God in His working to religious people or to certain ways, we place ourselves on an equality with God.  Baffled to Fight Better, 51 L


40053 Matthew 9:32-38 by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Finding a Quiet Life

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” We all heard that question as children and sometimes even as adults. The question is born in curiosity, and the answer is often heard as an indication of ambition. My answers morphed over the years, starting with a cowboy, then a truck driver, followed by a soldier, and I entered college set on becoming a doctor. However, I can’t recall one time that someone suggested or I consciously considered pursuing “a quiet life.”

Yet that’s exactly what Paul told the Thessalonians. First, he urged them to love one another and all of God’s family even more (1 Thessalonians 4:10). Then he gave them a general admonition that would cover whatever specific plow they put their hand to. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (v. 11). Now what did Paul mean by that exactly? He clarified: “You should mind your own business and work with your hands” so outsiders respect you and you’re not a burden on anyone (vv. 11–12). We don’t want to discourage children from pursuing their giftedness or passions but maybe we could encourage them that whatever they choose to do, they do with a quiet spirit.

Considering the world we live in, the words ambitious and quiet couldn’t seem further apart. But the Scriptures are always relevant, so perhaps we should consider what it might look like to begin living quieter.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

How does Paul’s phrase—“mind your own business”—sit with you? Who comes to mind of someone who lives a quiet life that you might emulate?

Jesus, living a quiet life sounds so inviting, but I know it won’t come easily. I ask for the grace to mind my own business, not so I can close myself off from the world, but that I won’t add to the noise.

Godly Decisions

Hebrews 12:15-17

Any ungodly act—whether it involves lying to a friend, manipulating coworkers to get ahead, or stealing from another person—places emphasis on gratification at any cost. The seemingly ordinary choices involved in such an act can affect the rest of our life. To avoid sacrificing something worthwhile for something with no lasting value, we should guard against these attitudes and actions:

Allowing appetites to rule us—Everyone has inborn needs, such as the desire for food and sleep. While these are natural and God-given, they can become the driving force in our life if we aren’t careful. Believers should have the spiritual fruit of self-control, which governs our yearnings (Gal. 5:22-23).

Being blind to what’s truly valuable—God’s priorities are totally different from what the world considers important. Unless we guard our heart (Prov. 4:23), we can easily be distracted by pursuits with no lasting worth.

Failing to consider consequences—Adam and Eve didn’t contemplate what might ultimately happen if they ate the forbidden fruit; they focused solely on the immediate benefit (Gen. 3:1-19). Nor did Samson think about the repercussions of his interactions with Delilah, and he paid dearly (Judg. 16:16-23). How easy it is to make a rash decision because the immediate benefits seem attractive! The Lord wants us to instead pause, pray, and seek His wisdom before we act.

What decisions are you currently facing? Prayerfully consider what is driving you, and before making choices, think about the potential effects of your actions.

Out of Ivory Palaces

“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.” (Psalm 45:8)

Psalm 45 is one of the Messianic psalms, quoted as such in Hebrews 1:8-9. The section so quoted (vv. 6-7), which immediately precedes our text, begins with one Person of the Godhead addressing the Messiah also as “God,” whose throne is eternal. Then, He says, “Oh God, . . . thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” The “oil of gladness” was the holy oil used for the anointing of priests and kings and was compounded of a mixture of spices that included myrrh and cassia (Exodus 30:22-25). Since the Messiah had been anointed to be “above his fellows” (first as High Priest, then as King of kings), “all his garments” would bear the sweet aroma of the holy ointment.

At the birth of Christ, His garments were “swaddling clothes,” and the gifts of the eastern wise men included a supply of myrrh and frankincense (Luke 2:7; Matthew 2:11). At His death, they gave Him to drink “wine mingled with myrrh [and] . . . parted his garments” (Mark 15:23-24). Then once again His body was wrapped in linen clothes and anointed with myrrh and aloes (John 19:39-40) for His burial.

The psalmist sees Christ (i.e., “Messiah,” both Greek and Hebrew titles meaning “the Anointed One”) emerging triumphantly from the “ivory palaces.” These mansions with their ivory walls and pearly gates are of shimmering white beauty in the distant heavenly city that will someday descend to Earth (Revelation 21:2, 10-21).

The Lord descended once from these ivory palaces to take on human flesh in Mary’s womb, thence to a burial in Joseph’s tomb. But someday He will again come forth, anointed as eternal King, and then “shall the people praise thee for ever and ever” (Psalm 45:17). HMM

One Test for Today: Success

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

—2 Corinthians 2:17

Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded. Immediate “results” are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever works. If it gets results it is good. There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure.

A tree can weather almost any storm if its root is sound, but when the fig tree which our Lord cursed “dried up from the roots” it immediately “withered away” (Mark 11:20-21). A church that is soundly rooted cannot be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up. No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.   ROR008-009

Lord, give us solid roots. Forgive us for our preoccupation with success and move in Your church today to restore to us a proper perspective. Amen.

 

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.—Ephesians 4:31.

 

The wider vision of the mind;

The spirit bright with sun;

The temper like a fragrant wind,

Chilling and grieving none;

The quickened heart to know God’s will,

And on His errands run.

Susan Coolidge

 

It is of the very greatest moment to know the occasions of our sin, and the way in which it shows itself. To know the occasions, puts us on our guard, to know how our sin shows itself, gives us the means of stopping it. Thus, as to these occasions; one is made angry, if he is found fault with roughly, or even at all, or slighted, or spoken slightly of, or laughed at, or kept waiting, or treated rudely, or hurt even unintentionally, or if his will is crossed, or he is contradicted, or interrupted, or not attended to, or another be preferred to him, or if he cannot succeed in what he has to do. These sound little things when we speak of them in the presence of God, and in the sight of eternity. But these and such like little things make up our daily trials, our habits of mind, our life; our likeness or unlikeness to God, who made us in His own image; our eternity.

Edward B. Pusey.

 

Be One With Christ Jesus

“Because I live, ye shall live also.” John 14:19

Jesus has made the life of believers in Him as certain as His own. As sure as the Head lives the members live also. If Jesus has not risen from the dead, then are we dead in our sins; but since He has risen, all believers are risen in Him. His death has put away our transgressions, and loosed the bonds which held us under the death sentence. His resurrection proves our justification: we are absolved, and mercy saith, “The Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die.”

Jesus has made the life of His people as eternal as His own. How can they die as long as He lives, seeing they are one with Him? Because He dieth no more, and death hath no more dominion over Him, so they shall no more return to the graves of their old sins, but shall live unto the Lord in newness of life. O believer, when, under great temptation, thou fearest that thou shalt one day fall by the hand of the enemy, let this reassure thee. Thou shalt never lose thy spiritual life, for it is hid with Christ in God. Thou dost not doubt the immortality of thy Lord; therefore, do not think that He will let thee die, since thou art one with Him. The argument for thy life is His life, and of that thou canst have no fear; wherefore rest in thy living Lord.

 

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