You must learn to wrestle against the things that hinder your communication with God, and wrestle in prayer for other people; but to wrestle with God in prayer is unscriptural. If you ever do wrestle with God, you will be crippled for the rest of your life. If you grab hold of God and wrestle with Him, as Jacob did, simply because He is working in a way that doesn’t meet with your approval, you force Him to put you out of joint (see Genesis 32:24-25). Don’t become a cripple by wrestling with the ways of God, but be someone who wrestles before God with the things of this world, because “we are more than conquerors through Him…” (Romans 8:37). Wrestling before God makes an impact in His kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you, and I am not complete in Christ, my prayer accomplishes nothing. But if I am complete in Christ, my prayer brings victory all the time. Prayer is effective only when there is completeness— “take up the whole armor of God….”
Always make a distinction between God’s perfect will and His permissive will, which He uses to accomplish His divine purpose for our lives. God’s perfect will is unchangeable. It is with His permissive will, or the various things that He allows into our lives, that we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to these things allowed by His permissive will that enables us to come to the point of seeing His perfect will for us. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28)— to those who remain true to God’s perfect will— His calling in Christ Jesus. God’s permissive will is the testing He uses to reveal His true sons and daughters. We should not be spineless and automatically say, “Yes, it is the Lord’s will.” We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
If there is only one strand of faith amongst all the corruption within us, God will take hold of that one strand. Not Knowing Whither, 888 L
Enduring Words for Troubled Times – STAND Ephesians 6:13
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice.2 Timothy 1:5
In 2019, research exploring the spiritual heritage of believers in Jesus in the United States revealed that mothers and grandmothers have a significant influence on spiritual development. Nearly two-thirds of people who claim a legacy of faith credited their mother, and one-third acknowledged that a grandparent (usually a grandmother) also played a significant role.
The report’s editor remarked, “Over and over, this study speaks to the enduring impact of mothers in . . . spiritual development.” It’s an impact we also discover in Scripture.
In Paul’s letter to his protégé Timothy, he acknowledged that Timothy’s faith was modeled to him by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). It’s a delightful personal detail highlighting the impact of two women on one of the leaders of the early church. Their influence can also be seen in Paul’s encouragement to Timothy: “continue in what you have learned [because] from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (3:14–15).
A strong spiritual heritage is a precious gift. But even if our upbringing lacked the kind of positive influences that helped form Timothy’s faith, there are likely others in our life who’ve had a profound impact in helping to shape our spiritual development. Most important, we all have the opportunity to model sincere faith to those around us and leave a lasting legacy.
To be thankful is a direct command of Scripture; if we are not thankful, we are being disobedient (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thankfulness, like most important attitudes of the Christian life, originates in the will, not in the emotions. We do not have to feel thankful in order to be thankful. Those who have children train them to say “thank you.” In Britain, children are expected to say “thank you” even before they receive anything. It is simply a matter of proper conduct.
God often deals with us in that way, requiring us to say “thank you” before we actually receive something. Oftentimes, if we wait to receive it first, we will not get it.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:15–17)
This passage makes two demands of us: to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, and to give thanks while doing them. These instructions apply to every task, whether it’s scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning the bathroom, driving the car, or writing a letter.
That gives us a pretty good gauge of right and wrong. If there is anything that we cannot honestly do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks all the while, then we’d better not do it. This method cuts away a whole list of do’s and don’ts. It is a basic principle to guide our words and actions.
Thank You, Lord, for all You have done for me. I proclaim that I will do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father while I am doing them. I shall show gratitude. Amen.
… choose today whom you will serve … — Joshua 24:15
One of the great problems in the Church today is that people just can’t make up their minds. One minute they determine they are going to serve God and Christ. The next minute they are afraid they are going to miss out on some goodies of this world. They don’t want to become too religious, and so they have just enough religion to make themselves miserable, but certainly not enough to get them into heaven. However, their indecisiveness will one day be solved for them at the final Judgment, when heart and mind and soul and body will be cast into hell. No more indecision then.
The present problem with indecision is that it causes people to do nothing. That is the great problem of the Church. That was the great problem of Joshua’s day. That is why so little progress is made in the kingdom—why it is so difficult to get people to volunteer to serve.
Let us decide to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and to serve Him all the days of our lives.
Question to ponder: Can you truly say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”?
The Spirit and the bride say, Come….Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. —Revelation 22:17
Maybe you feel in your heart that you just can’t go on as you are, that the level of spirituality to which you know yourself called is way beyond you. If you feel that there is something that you must have or your heart will never be satisfied, that there are levels of spirituality, mystic deeps and heights of spiritual communion, purity and power that you have never known, that there is fruit which you know you should bear and do not, victory which you know you should have and have not—I would say, “Come on,” because God has something for you….
There is a spiritual loneliness, an inner aloneness, an inner place where God brings the seeker, where he is as lonely as if there were not another member of the Church anywhere in the world.
Ah, when you come there, there is a darkness of mind, an emptiness of heart, a loneliness of soul, but it is preliminary to the daybreak. O God, bring us, somehow, to the daybreak! HTB046
[W]hen the renewal of the Spirit of God comes to your life…there may be only one term to describe it—exploding love. ROL089
I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity.—Joel 2:28
What are some evidences of the Spirit-filled life? How do we know when we are fully indwelt by the divine Paraclete?
I am not going to begin where you might expect, in the area of spiritual gifts, but in a realm I believe to be equally important yet seldom mentioned. I refer to the area of the subconscious.
The longer I live, the more I feel the church has missed its way here. We have talked much about the works of the Spirit on the conscious level but little of His work at a subconscious level. We have failed to see, generally speaking, that part of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian is to project His power and presence into the depths of the personality—even the subconscious.
We are told that about one-tenth of the mind is conscious and the other nine-tenths subconscious. Like the iceberg, which is nine-tenths submerged, life is largely lived in the submerged part of our being. Now, if this is so, then it becomes evident at once that if the submerged nine-tenths is not working with the conscious purposes of the one-tenth, then there is going to be a serious division, and a division this serious becomes divisive. Whatever controls the nine-tenths greatly influences the one-tenth. The Holy Spirit wants to project Himself into that submerged part of our being in order to harness those untamed forces and make them work for us and not against us. Then the subconscious is no longer an enemy but a friend.
O God, my Father, I am grateful that You have provided for my deepest need—the need of unifying and controlling the depths within me. My heart tingles at the thought that I can be unified—on the inside. Thank You, Father. Amen.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.”—Matthew 7:24
The Christian life is hard work. Christianity involves systematically striving to implement the truths of God’s Word into your life. Spiritual depth and maturity do not come without consistent effort.
Jesus had just concluded the Sermon on the Mount, which sets forth some of the most profound truths ever spoken. The Son of God had clearly explained the kind of life that is pleasing to the Father. Yet Jesus knew, even as He was concluding His sermon, that some of His listeners would leave and never apply a word they had heard.
Jesus said that a man who takes the words of God and builds them into his life is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Rocks are hard to build on. It takes great effort to attach a foundation to a rock. A house built on sand provides instant comfort; building on a rock is laborious and tedious. Yet building on sand leaves the builder in a vulnerable position, while the one building on the rock is secure.
How can you tell what kind of foundation a life has been built on? Watch to see what happens when a storm comes. A life built upon the Word of God will withstand the very storm that sweeps away the life that did not heed God’s Word.
There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Maturity only comes through hard work and obedience to what God says. The next time you hear Jesus speaking, immediately begin to firmly build His truth into your life, so that no storm can unsettle you.
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