VIDEO The Key of the Greater Work

…I say to you, he who believes in Me,…greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. —John 14:12

Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered; a “wise” man does not (see Matthew 11:25).

Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do…” (John 14:13). Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We must learn to work according to God’s direction, and He says to pray. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Defenders of the faith are inclined to be bitter until they learn to walk in the light of the Lord. When you have learned to walk in the light of the Lord, bitterness and contention are impossible. Biblical Psychology


What did Jesus mean by “greater works than these”? (Ask Dr. Stanley)

Insight from the Spirit

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13

As the French soldier dug in the desert sand, reinforcing the defenses of his army’s encampment, he had no idea he would make a momentous discovery. Moving another shovelful of sand, he saw a stone. Not just any stone. It was the Rosetta Stone, containing a listing of the good things King Ptolemy V had done for his priests and the people of Egypt written in three scripts. That stone (now housed in the British Museum) would be one of the most important archaeological finds of the nineteenth century, helping to unlock the mysteries of the ancient Egyptian writing known as hieroglyphics.

For many of us, much of Scripture is also wrapped in deep mystery. Still, the night before the cross, Jesus promised His followers that He would send the Holy Spirit. He told them, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is, in a sense, our divine Rosetta Stone, shedding light on the truth—including truths behind the mysteries of the Bible.

While we’re not promised absolute understanding of everything given to us in the Scriptures, we can have confidence that by the Spirit we can comprehend everything necessary for us to follow Jesus. He will guide us into those vital truths.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What are some portions of the Bible you have found difficult? List them and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into better understanding of those Scriptures.

God of all truth, help me to rest in the Spirit of truth that I might better understand the wisdom You’ve provided.

Read A Message for All Time: Understanding and Applying the Bible.

Sunday Reflection: The Ultimate Role

o get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

When we’re feeling unsure of God’s plan for our life, we can look to our various roles for some guidance—whether it’s our position as a parent, sibling, child, best friend, elder, coworker, or neighbor. These identities remind us of where God has placed us and whom we have a responsibility to love.

Though helpful as guardrails, however, these titles aren’t our highest authority. At times when our various responsibilities seem in conflict, it’s good to remember that the Holy Spirit is our most reliable and true compass. We will know when to step outside our traditional roles only if we’re listening to Him intently. Ultimately, in fact, all that we do, say, and give should be submitted to the Spirit. Then we’ll have peace that we’re where God intended us to be (John 14:26-27).

Our primary identity is child of God, and more than any other, that role should define us and guide our decisions. When it does, and we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, Jesus promises everything else will be taken care of (Matt. 6:33)—which includes our family and loved ones.

Think about it
• Think of your most important roles in life. Are these the same areas you consider to be your ministry? Why or why not?

Follow the Leader

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ). (Philippians 3:17-18)

Godly leaders are responsible for living exemplary lives so that those whom they teach will both follow and eventually become leaders of others. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” Paul demanded of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:1). “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works,” he instructed Titus (Titus 2:7). But Paul was first a follower of the life example of Christ.

Today’s verse uses some unusual terms to both define the responsibility to follow and mark those walking after Paul’s lifestyle. Memos is Greek for “follow,” compounded with a prefix that means “together.” Our English word “mimic” comes from memos. We are expected to imitate the examples of those who lead godly lives, who themselves are committed to emulate the Lord Jesus.

Further, we are expected to “mark” those living after godly examples. The Greek word skopeo is the strongest word among several for identifying someone or something. It has the sense of intense observation. In the secular literature, it is sometimes used for a spy. God expects us to pay careful attention to those who “have the rule over [us]” (Hebrews 13:17).

And we are to watch out for those who may influence us for evil. There are “enemies” of the Lord Jesus. Those are sometimes among us, and we must “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). May God give us the discernment to know the difference between “good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). HMM III

Long Ago I Learned From Your Statutes

Oof

I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord. I will obey Your statutes. I call to You; save me, and I will keep Your decrees. I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I hope in Your word. I am awake through each watch of the night to meditate on Your promise. In keeping with Your faithful love, hear my voice. Lord, give me life, in keeping with Your justice. Those who pursue evil plans come near; they are far from Your instruction. You are near, Lord, and all Your commands are true. Long ago I learned from Your decrees that You have established them forever (Psalm 119 vv. 145-152).

Some of the Scripture songs I learned as a kid have supported me in times of crisis such as those described by this psalmist (i.e. “Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart,” “Thy Word Is a Lamp unto My Feet”), My Mom taught me that music comforts. I remember her singing around the house some of Norman Clayton’s songs: “Now I Belong to Jesus” and “We Shall See His Lovely Face.”

As trouble sweeps in like a flood, the psalmist gets up before daybreak to pray. Then at night, restless and sleepless, he meditates on God’s promises, likely committed to memory when he was younger. Because he knows the Word, the psalmist can call on it instantly for help in any emergency. He promises to “keep Your decrees” (v. 146), “to hope in Your word” (v. 147), and “keeping with Your faithful love , . . Your justice” (v. 149). This musician feels close to the Lord because God’s Word is lodged firmly in his mind and heart!

Scripture songs are like tapes that play over and over in our minds. Because more of our senses are involved in learning them, they bring God’s truth to the forefront of our consciousness. What a glorious wedding when the Word is united with music!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, thank you for my mom who taught me hymns and gospel songs when I was young. Now these Scripture songs and biblical promises hold me steady in times of trouble.

Various Forms of Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.—Colossians 4:2

Today we ask ourselves: what does it mean to “pray always with all prayer and supplication”? The phrase “praying always” presents no difficulty; quite clearly, this means praying as often as possible, regularly and constantly. But what does it mean to pray “with all prayer and supplication”? Paul means, I believe, that we should pray with all forms or kinds of prayer.

You see, there are many different forms of prayer that are available to us. First, there is verbal prayer when we present our prayer to God in carefully chosen words and phrases. Second, there is silent prayer, when no words cross our lips, but prayer flows directly from our hearts. Third, there is ejaculatory prayer, when we express sounds rather than words, as when we sigh or groan in prayer. Then there is public prayer, common prayer, or “praying together”—or, as some prefer to call it, “praying in concert.” So praying with “all prayer” means using every form of prayer available to us, praying in every way and manner we can. We are to be at it always and in endless ways.

But there is a certain form of prayer to which the apostle refers which deserves our closer examination—the prayer of “supplication” or “petition”—when we pray with regard to special requests and needs. We must not overlook this, for it is so easy to be caught up in adoration and praise that we neglect to focus our prayers on the various needs that arise from time to time, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others. This, too, is a necessary kind of prayer.

Prayer

Father, help me to see the senselessness of trying to muddle through life in my own strength when You have made Your power and resources available to me through prayer. Help me grow in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 7:1-12; Ac 1:14; 4:24; 12:12; 21:5

What is evident about the early church?

How does Jesus relate fatherhood to prayer?

Can You Say “I Know”

2 Timothy 1:12

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2 KJV). It is always the work of the Spirit of God to bring order out of chaos, light out of darkness, definiteness out of indefiniteness, certainty out of uncertainty, a clear experience out of a mixed state of the affections and will.

My comrade, does your spiritual experience somewhat resemble the primal earth? Is it shapeless when compared with the rounded, clean-cut life of some Christians you know, void of the triumphant experience of salvation which they possess, and with gloom and deep shadows where there should be an unbroken flood of light? The Holy Spirit is continually brooding over you, moving over the God-created depths of your heart, to change this unhappy state of things and to bring your experience to that condition of which even the Father Himself shall say that it is “good.”

A man ought to be as sure of his salvation from sin as of his existence. There is no foundation in the Bible for a “hope-so” religion. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God,” wrote John, addressing Christians, “that you may know [not guess, or think, or hope, but know] that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Read the things that John says “we know” in his very positive epistles. “We know that we are of God” (1 John 5:19); “We know that the Son of God is come”

(1 John 5:20); “We know that we dwell in him, and He in us” (1 John 4:13); “We know that we have passed from death unto life” (1 John 3:4); “We know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him” (1 John 5:15); “We know that we are of the truth” (1 John 3:19).

Have you this certain knowledge? Have you let God finish His fair creation of purity and peace in your heart? The Spirit of God is brooding over you always, to help you, to teach you, to carry you ever forward, to finish the work of your glorious salvation.

The Bible hope is a sure one. Make sure of yours by believing God till you can exchange its faint expression for that triumphant cry of Paul’s, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Elizabeth Swift Brengle, Half Hours with My Guide