Skip to content

IN NEED OF REVIVAL?

revive1

IN NEED OF REVIVAL? Most of us frequently are if we are being honest. When somebody told Billy Sunday that revivals weren’t necessary because they didn’t last, the evangelist replied, “A bath doesn’t last, but it’s good to have one occasionally.” So then, where do you think we could go to find the answer to the question of how we might experience revival? You might be surprised to discover that the best place is Psalm 119 which has more than 1/3 of all the uses of the word “revive” in the Bible.

Ps 119:25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Ps 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.
Ps 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.
Ps 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
Ps 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
Ps 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.
Ps 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
Ps 119:149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.
Ps 119:154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.
Ps 119:156 Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.
Ps 119:159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.

As you observe those passages, do you think there is any association between personal revival and personal time in the pure milk of God’s Word (1 Pe 2:2)? As you have surmised, that is a rhetorical question! Of course there is an association, and in fact they are intimately related – read especially Ps 119:25, Ps 119:50, Ps 119:93, Ps 119:107, Ps 119:149, Ps 119:154, Ps 119:156. C H Spurgeon said “If we want revival, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God.”

If God seems distant and you feel dry in your spiritual life and are in need of the times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord (For ultimately His Presence is the essence of revival) then purpose in your heart (Da 1:8) over the next few days or weeks to meditate on (even memorize) the passages in Psalm 119 that link revival with intake of God’s Word, beseeching God that from our “innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ (Jn 7:38). I am speaking of a renewal of that exhilarating experience when we first fell in love with Jesus when His Spirit birthed us into the Kingdom of God (cf Rev 2:4-5).

“Therefore repent (Confess any known sin. Separate and “kill” any secret sin you have been trifling with) and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jer 33:3) And then “wait for the LORD and you will gain (literally exchange your weakness for His strength – 2 Cor 12:9) new strength and will mount up with wings like eagles, will run and not get tired, and will walk and not become weary,” (Isa 40:31) “for thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isa 57:15)

God’s will for our life is revival, for when we are spiritually revived, the aroma of Christ is evident (2 Cor 2:14-16) and the Light of Jesus (Jn 8:12) is clear and bright and the Father is glorified as Jesus called for in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify (give a proper opinion of) your Father Who is in heaven.”

And so we see that the “secret” to personal revival is simply to “re-Bible!” Let me suggest that instead of reading a larger portion of Scripture (as in most reading plans where too often it is in one ear and out the other), you take smaller “bites” of Scripture, giving yourself a chance to chew on the passages as you would a bite of select prime rib. And then you will be more likely to ponder that passage as you go throughout your day.

Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord,
Let it go over the land and sea;
Send it according to Thy dear Word,
And let it begin in me.
-McKinney

May God “revive His work in the midst of the years.” (Hab 3:2) and may our prayer frequently be “Revive me according to Your Word.” (Ps 119:25) In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Related Resources:

OPENING THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN

windowheaven

Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

While these words in Malachi were addressed to Israel and thus apply primarily to them, as with all Scripture, while there is one accurate interpretation, there can be many applications. Such is the case with this beautiful promise. Note that it is a conditional promise calling for one to bring the whole tithe to God, which in context refers to money and/or sacrificial animals. But the principle of offering up sacrifices to the Lord also applies to our prayers.

As someone wrote “Prayer is the offering of our sincere desires to God. It involves a sense of our unworthiness and necessities.” And so are not our prayers an offering from our heart to God even as are our gifts of money, etc? Indeed, our prayers are a spiritual offering. If God calls us to honor Him by bringing the “tithe into the storehouse,” it begs the question “What about the “tithe” so to speak of my prayers?” “Am I bringing my prayers into the storehouse (cf the “storehouse” in Rev 8:3-4 = “the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.”)? In Hebrews 13:15 we see the exhortation “Through Him (Christ our Mediator) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” And Peter writes “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pe 2:5) James Rosscup elaborates on the spiritual sacrifices believers are now to offer up to God…

To offer up is in the aorist tense, describing the entire process of the ongoing worship as comprising one composite unit, even with its many parts. The sacrifices are spiritual, in contrast to OT material sacrifices of bulls, goats, lambs, birds, and meal (Lev. 1–5). Even in the OT times God discerned when worship was with sacrifices coming spiritually from the heart (Ps. 51:17). Of this nature, the present aspects of worship are the many spiritual ministrations believers present to God, many in prayers…When these take the form of prayers, they are committed to the God Who delights in these as in the sweet incense and the morning sacrifice when these were pure in OT days (Ps 141:2). A part of them are what the writer to the Hebrews describes as “the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Heb 13:15). (An Exposition on Prayer in the Bible)

And so surely our prayers are an offering of spiritual sacrifices to the Almighty God. What would be the efficacy of prayers (“large petitions”) like Colossians 1:9-14 if we offered them up to God as our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving? Would not our Almighty God Whose works are great and marvelous (Rev 15:3) be pleased to open up “the windows of heaven and pour out for (us) a blessing until it overflows.”? And how can we be confident God will answer according to this promise in His Word? Because of His faithfulness to His own word which says “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will (which is seen in His Word, like Col 1:9-14), He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) Beloved, may God be pleased to open the windows of Heaven and pour out upon us the spiritual blessings including the blessing of personal, corporate and national revival in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Worship Him today by singing the beautiful hymn “Come My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare” from John Newton which includes these great words regarding our prayers to the King…

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much;
None can ever ask too much.

Here is the link to this great hymn…
https://mattforeman.bandcamp.com/track/come-my-soul

THE LITTLE FOXES

foxes

THE LITTLE FOXES – In Song of Solomon we read “”Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” (Song 2:15). One application equates the “little foxes” with “little” sins. This begs the question – are any sins really “little?” And “How does your garden grow?” (from nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary”)

A man was walking down a hill in the woods when he stepped on a little twig. The twig rolled and he fell. As he got up and went on his way, he thought to himself “If that had been a big log, I would have seen it and climbed over. There would have been far less likelihood of my falling, for I would have been aware of the danger.” The very fact that the twig was so small was what made it so dangerous.

In our daily spiritual walk, we are continually being tempted and continually in danger of being carried away and enticed by our own lusts and if we give in the result is sin (James 1:14-15). The devil is a tempter and he cleverly places little temptations (like little twigs) that so easily entangle us (cf Hebrews 12:2) and defeat us. His “little twigs” are generally more effective than “big logs” partly because they are so often unnoticed and partly because even if we do notice them, we consider them too small to really make a significant difference in our spiritual walk. In short we too often fail to heed Jesus’ commands to “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26:41)

Application – Beware of the “little foxes,” those temptations that seem so trivial and minimal as to easily escape our notice. Remember that it was only a “little thing,” (one bite of a forbidden fruit) through which “sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Ro 5:12)

As Puritan John Owen wisely asked “Do you mortify? (read Colossians 3:5) Do you make it your DAILY work? Be ALWAYS at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

And the good news is that we are not left to ourselves to kill sin but as Paul instructed “By the Spirit (God’s provision of supernatural power) put to death (Our responsibility) the deeds of the body and you will live.” (Ro 8:13). Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said this was the “most important statement in regard to sanctification” in the entire New Testament. (see link to sermon below).

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien (manner)
As to be hated needs but to be seen,
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We, first endure, then pity, then embrace.
— Alexander Pope – Essay on Man

Sins are like circles in the water when a stone is thrown into it – one produces another. When anger was in Cain’s heart (Ge 4:6-7), murder was not far off (Ge 4:8).

So let us “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Are You Entangled? – https://www.preceptaustin.org/are_you_entangled

Sermon on Romans 8:12-13 Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones –https://www.mljtrust.org/…/rom…/the-way-of-sanctification-2/

A LIFE ONCE SPENT IS IRREVOCABLE

adoniramjudson
QUOTE OF THE DAY – Adoniram Judson once said…

A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity. The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever. Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness?! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked. (E. Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (Anson, Randolph & Company, 1883, pp. 13-15)

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship….For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Read more on his incredible life as God’s man in Burma…
https://www.preceptaustin.org/adoniram_judson

Lauren Daigle – You Say….I Believe What You Say of me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI

CRY OUT

Cry_Out

CRY OUT!
H
ELP IS ON THE WAY!

Hebrews 2:18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (See complete commentary)

Play the old Maranatha Chorus “Cry Out!”
Play the new chorus by Third Day Cry Out to Jesus

Jesus comes running to the cry of His brethren which is beautifully pictured by a parent who responds without hesitation to the cry of their child crying out in distress!

Come to the aid (997) (boetheo [word study] from boé = at a shout or cry as for aid or help [only NT use = Jas 5:4=”outcry”, the cry of the oppressed] + théo = to run) means literally to run on hearing a cry from one (in need or danger) to give help, relief, aid and/or assistance to someone. To hurry or hasten to the help of someone who is oppressed or in need of assistance. To bring or furnish aid. To assist by supplying what is needed.

TDNT – Boetheo “is often used of the physician…and cf. also the healings of Jesus (Mk. 9:2224Mt. 15:25). Similarly in Ac. 16:9Rev. 12:16. Of God as the One who helps it is used only at 2 Cor. 6:2, quoting Isa. 49:8. It is used of help in religious need at Mk. 9:24Heb. 2:18. (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament – Volume I)

Gary Hill’s discussion gives us a good feeling for the meaning of this great Greek verb –   boēthéō (from 995 boē, “intense exclamation” and theō, “run”) – properly, run to meet an urgent distress-call (cry for help); deliver help by quickly responding to an urgent need (intense distress). boētheō (“supply urgently needed help”) means to give immediate aid – in time for a pressing need, i.e. “to run, on a call to help” (TDNT, 1:628). Boētheō was originally a military word, responding to a critical, urgent need (MM).  Boētheō is also used in Homeric Greek (800-900 BC) for responding to a war-cry. (ED: A GREAT DESCRIPTION FOR BELOVED WE ARE DAILY IN AN ONGOING SPIRITUAL WAR WHETHER WE KNOW IT OR NOT!) (The Discovery Bible) (Bold added)

THOUGHT – Dr Hill’s description begs the question – What is my response when I am tempted (and we are always being tempted to one degree or another – cf 1 Peter 2:11 where “wage war” is present tense = continuously, James 1:14) Which direction do I go when I tempted? Do I run toward the temptation? Do I flee from the temptation (cf 1 Cor 6:18)? Do I cry out for urgent help from Jesus Who was tempted in the same way and yet did not sin and Who is ever able to run to my aid when I am tempted? May God grant us the desire and the power to cry out to Jesus when we are sorely tempted to sin against our Father (cf Ge 39:9). Amen. But remember even though we “cry out” our part is not just passive and to “let go, let God,” but more like “Let God and let’s go (flee from the temptation)!” And remember that with the temptation comes the way of escape, but we must (energized by the Spirit) choose to run through the way of escape.

Hendriksen – The word “help” is very meaningful and touching. In the original it consists of two smaller words: a cry and run. In any context in which this word is used it is an earnest and moving request that the Lord, or whoever the potential helper happens to be, may rush toward the person who is in need, and may help him. (New Testament Commentary Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark )

Mills writes that boethéo “denotes a loud, ringing cry for help, thus emphasizing the desperate, helpless state of the supplicant.” (The Acts of the Apostles. 3E Ministries)

Moulton and Milligan have identified the noun help (boetheia) and the verb to help (boetheo) repeatedly recurring at the end of petitions in Greek secular writings (papyri)

SPIRITUAL HELP FROM
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN!

Secular Greek often used boetheo in the description of a physician according to Kittel (TDNT). It is interesting that the Gospels uses of boetheo in situations where individuals address Jesus (the Great Physician) in a sense “interceding” with Him to come to the aid of loved ones who are demon possessed. Thus the sense in those passages is to provide spiritual help and healing. In Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia, the man appealed to him “Come over to Macedonia and help (aorist imperative) us” clearly a call to bring the soul healing/saving Gospel to Europe! Jesus sent help in this case in the form of a His man on the scene, the Apostle Paul! Paul also alludes to the saving help of the Gospel in 2Cor 6:2. In short, we see that most of the NT uses boetheo are in the context of individuals in need of spiritual help, even as is true of Hebrews 2:18.

Boethéo means to relieve – the verb relieve in English means to free, wholly or partially, from pain, grief, want, anxiety, care, toil, trouble, burden, oppression or any thing that is considered to be an evil; to ease of any thing that pains the body or distresses the mind.

JESUS THE SAVIOR
SUCCORS SUFFERING SAINTS

Jesus became a Man of SORROW
that He might become
The One Who able to SUCCOR

Boetheo means to succor (KJV reads “He is able to succor them that are tempted”) which is a word you may not be too familiar with, but which means literally to run to or run to support hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners. (succor is derived from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help, from sub– = up + currere to run). (See below for more discussion of this aspect of Jesus’ help to the helpless)

Boetheo – 8x in 8v and rendered (NAS) as – come to the aid, 1; come to…aid, 1; help, 4; helped, 2. Boetheo is used 78 times in the Septuagint translation – e.g., in Ps 121:1 “where does my help come from?” and Ps 124:8 “Our help is in the Name of the LORD.” See also 1Sa 7:12Ps 28:7,  37:40,  40:1344:26,  46:5,  54:4,  70:5,  79:9,  86:17,  94:17109:26119:86,  175.

Matthew 15:25 But she came and began to bow down (proskuneo = verb translated “worship” in Mt 15:25KJV!) before (Jesus), saying, “Lord, help (present imperative in context signifying a petition not a demand) me!”

Wuest: And having come, she fell upon her knees and touched her forehead to the ground in profound reverence before Him, saying, Sir, be helping (Ed: picking up on the present tense) me.

Comment: The Canaanite woman pleaded with Jesus to help her demon-possessed daughter, and in so doing we see her desperation, her persistenceand faith (Read context = Mt 15:21-28, especially Mt 15:28), her humility, her submission (her posture of worship), her dependence and her bold confidence(help is in the imperative mood – where the imperative expresses a petition, not a command) in Jesus.

THOUGHT – Would it be that more of God’s children had this Gentile woman’s desperate, dependent attitude and like her we would not hesitate to cry out for Jesus to come to our aid when we find ourselves drowning in the dire straits of temptation and in great need of His assistance! Do you really believe Jesus will come running to your aid and has the power to overcome your temptations? Do you cry out when you are being tempted ( Caveat : I am assuming you have not gone somewhere, done something or looked at something that has aroused the flesh and the fires of temptation and that is the pathogenesis of your current strong temptation!)

Mark 9:22 “It (the demon) has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity (verb form splagchnizomai derived from splagchnon) on us and help (aorist imperative) us!”

Comment: Do not miss the association – His great pity for us precedes His matchless help for us! The aorist imperative is a petition that seeks instant help! “Now not later please” is the idea!

Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help(present imperative) my unbelief.”

Hendriksen comments on “help” in present imperative: “Continue moment by moment and day by day to come to my aid, so that I may overcome my unbelief.”

Acts 16:9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help (aorist imperative) us.”

Comment: The man of Macedonia in using the plural for himself speaks for Europe, and his cry for help Europe’s need of Christ. Paul recognized a divine summons in the vision.

Kent Hughes helps us understand the picture of the verb boethéo remarking that: This was one of the great turning points of history, and we should thank God for it, for as a result the gospel has come to us in the West. Nothing makes a person strong like hearing someone cry for help! You can be walking down the street completely fatigued so that you would like to lie down on the curb and go to sleep, but then you hear a crysomeone is in trouble!and you completely forget your weariness. Paul and his associates moved forward in the power of Christ’s strength. (Hughes, R. K.. Acts: The Church Afire. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books) (Bolding added)

Acts 21:28 (Context = Acts 21:27-29) Unbelieving Jews from Asia who were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost “upon seeing (Paul) in the temple (of Herod), began to stir up all the multitude and laid hands on him, (then they began continually) crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid (see boetheo below)(present imperative)!

Comment – (boethéo – Acting as though Paul had committed an act of blasphemy, they called for help in dealing with it – a vivid picture of the meaning of running to the aid of one who cries out for aid!). This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and the Law, and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. -29)

2 Corinthians 6:2 for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” (“I ran to your cry and brought you aid” = Wuest) Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (now is a propitious, favorably disposed, epochal season),” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION “–

Comment: Paul is addressing the Corinthians, saved (who were not living in grace) and/or unsaved (who had never received grace) warning them not to receive the grace of God in vain. He quotes the Septuagint (Greek of the Hebrew OT) of Isa 49:8.

Revelation 12:16note But the earth helped the woman (Metaphor for Israel), and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.

The cognate (related) noun boetheia is used in Hebrews in the exhortation “Let us therefore (based on the truth of Heb 4:14noteHeb 4:15note) draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16note)

Comment on “time of need”: Greek adjective eukairos (eu = well, good + kairos = opportunity) = seasonable, timely, opportune, at the right time, well-timed, in season, timely. Mk 6:21 = only other NT use. BDAG = “in our lit. only pert. to time that is considered a favorable occasion for some event or circumstance, well-timed, suitable.” A T Robertson = well-timed help, help in the nick of time, before too late.

Vincent on “time of need”: Lit. for seasonable help, or help in good time; before it is too late; while there is still time to seek God’s rest. Others, however, explain, when it is needed; or, before temptation leads to sin.

Ryrie comments: His grace comes when we come in our time of need, and not until. (Ryrie Study Bible)

The cognate adjective boethos is used in Hebrews 13:6note where we read “The Lord is my Helper [boethos – the One Who responds to my call for help], I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?

Comment: This is the only NT uses of Boēthós which is common (45 uses) in the Septuagint (Lxx), the first use describing the wife as a man’s helper (Ge 2:18). The writer of Hebrews uses boethos to describe the Lord as poised and ready to run to the relief of His tempted/afflicted children. When? When they cry out for His assistance. Crying out reflects humility, a sense of dependence, a laying aside of self-reliance, that dangerous tendency we all “run to”. One has to make a choice to cry out to Jesus! Are you too proud or too self sufficient to cry out?

HELP FROM ANGELS
VERSUS
HELP FROM JESUS

Warren Wiersbe makes a distinction between the help angels give and the help given by our merciful and faithful High Priest, Who “stands ready to help us! He was tempted when He was on earth, but no temptation ever conquered Him. Because He has defeated every enemy, He is able to give us the grace that we need to overcome temptation. The word “succour” (boethéo “Come to the aid”) literally means “to run to the cry of a child.” It means “to bring help when it is needed.” Angels are able to serve us (Heb 1:14note), but they are not able to succor us in our times of temptation. Only Jesus Christ can do that, and He can do it because He became a man and suffered and died. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) (Bolding added)

Kenneth Wuest commenting on Hebrews 2:18 says “How precious to know that when we are being tempted, the Lord Jesus always stands ready, eager to run to our cry and bring us aid.’

Philip Hughes – The help that he brings is twofold: in the first place, forgiveness of sins, the annulment of past defeats, and, in the second place, the power (his power) to fight and overcome temptation. His own conquest of temptation means for the Christian that the dominion of sin over him has been broken (Ro 6:14note). These two realities, forgiveness and power, are present in the passage before us. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews – Philip Edgbumbe Hughes)

A W Pink adds that we need to “Remember Who He is, the God-man. Remember the experiences through which He passed! He, too, has been in the place of trial: He, too, was tempted—to distrust, to despondency, to destroy Himself. Yes, He was tempted “in all points like as we are, sin excepted.” Remember His present position, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high! How blessed then to know that He is “able” both to enter, sympathetically, into our sufferings and sorrows, and that He has power to “succor.” (Pink, A W: An Exposition of Hebrews)

As Man, a man of sorrows,
Thou hast suffered every woe,
And though enthroned in glory now,
Canst pity all Thy saints below.

KJV Study Bible – How much easier it is to help someone when we ourselves have gone through similar trials! Christ as Man has fully suffered the greatest of trials and so can ably comfort. These suffering Jews needed to hear that Christ had suffered as they were suffering.” (Bolding added. King James Version Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

As Paul reminds us “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” (2 Co 1:3-5)

MacArthur – Ours is not a cosmic God, powerful and holy, but indifferent. He knows where we hurt, where we are weak, and where we are tempted. He is the God we can go to not only for salvation but for sympathy.” (MacArthur Study Bible)

Wiersbe – Now He is a merciful and faithful High Priest; we can depend on Him! He is able to succor us when we come to Him for aid. The word succor means “to run when called for” and was used of physicians. Christ runs to our aid when we call Him! (Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Matthew Poole – This is the most powerful preservative against despair, and the firmest ground of hope and comfort, that ever believing, penitent sinners could desire or have.”

Adam Clarke – “There are three things,” says Dr. Owen, “of which tempted believers do stand in need: 1. Strength to withstand their temptations; 2. Consolations to support their spirits under them; 3. Seasonable deliverance from them. Unto these is the succour afforded by our High Priest suited; and it is variously administered to them: 1. By his word or promises; 2. By his Spirit; (and, that, 1. By communicating to them supplies of grace or spiritual strength; 2. Strong consolation; 3. By rebuking their tempters and temptations; ) and 3. By his providence disposing of all things to their good and advantage in the issue.” Those who are peculiarly tempted and severely tried, have an especial interest in, and claim upon Christ. They, particularly, may go with boldness to the throne of grace, where they shall assuredly obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Were the rest of the Scripture silent on this subject, this verse might be an ample support for every tempted soul.”

Although the word boetheo is not used, Matthew gives us a blessed illustration of Jesus’ succoring or coming to the aid of one in need recording the story of Peter walking on the water “but seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt 14:3031)

Comment: Jesus’ response is a vivid picture of what He will do for us beloved. And what was the condition? He cried out and so too must we. It is a humbling thing to cry out in need to another but God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. If a man or woman is willing to humble themselves in the presence of the Lord, he will lift them up!

JESUS IS ABLE TO SUCCOR
THOSE WHO ARE BEING TEMPTED

E. A. Thomson has this quote in regarding the succor provided by our Savior Who has suffered slings similar to His saints…

If ever I fall into a surgeon’s hands with broken bones, give me one whose own bones have been broken.” How can those who have never known what illness is, enter with the tenderness of a perfect fellowship into the chambers of the sick? or how can those who have never known a want understand with a matter-of-fact experience the anxieties of the poor and needy? (The Biblical Illustrator)

The writer’s point is this – Jesus is the Great Physician Who knows! He is able. He is ready to come to your cry for aid. Cry out beloved. His is the same One today Who yesterday said…

Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness… (Isa 50:2)

Later in Isaiah He answers declaring

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save. Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. (Isa 59:1)

In a similar statement W. Gouge writes that

It is found by experience that childbearing women are more pitiful (Ed: mercy filled) to others in their travails than such women as are barren. The like may be said of such as are afflicted with any painful malady. (EdPoint? Jesus is mercy filled [Heb 2:17noteHeb 4:16note], because His cup of trials and temptations suffered was filled to the brim beloved!) (The Biblical Illustrator)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes concerning “JESUS SUCCORING.

He is able to succor them that are tempted. In this we note His pity (mercy), that He should give Himself up to this business of succoring them that are tempted. He lays Himself out to succor them that are tempted, and therefore He does not hide Himself from them, nor pass them by on the other side. What an example is this for us! He devotes Himself to this Divine business of comforting all such as mourn. He is Lord of all, yet makes Himself the servant of the weakest. Whatever He may do with the strongest, He succors “them that are tempted.” He does not throw up the business in disgust; He does not grow cross or angry with them because they are so foolish as to give way to idle fears.” (The Biblical Illustrator)

Spurgeon goes on to discuss Jesus’ “methods of succoring them that are tempted” listing out four areas as follows

(1) Usually by giving a sense of His sympathy.

(2) Sometimes by suggesting precious truths, which are the sweet antidote for the poison of sorrow.

(3) Sometimes He succors His people by inwardly strengthening them. (Ed: Cp Eph 3:16 where the Spirit of Christ is the One through Whom Christ strengthens.)

(4) I have known the Lord bless His people by making them very weak. The next best thing to being strong in the Lord is to be extremely weak in yourself. They go together, but sometimes they are divided in experience. It is grand to feel, “I will not struggle any more; I will give all up, and lie passive in the Lord’s hand.” Spurgeon then draws his discussion to a conclusion asking two questions “Where else can you go?. Where better can you go?” (The Biblical Illustrator)

Jeremy Irons asks

Now shall I tell you how our Lord “is able to succor” you? It is just simply by revealing Himself. “I am thy salvation”; “It is I; be not afraid.” It comforts, it cheers, it upholds. Just observe what encouragement here is for faith to the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having Himself “suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” He has the fulness of grace; “all power is given to Him in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18); it is in His own hands, and He is “full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) “He is able to succor them that are tempted.” “Well,” say you,” is He willing?” Suppose I reverse the question: Are you willing that He should? or are you looking somewhere else for succor? Are you willing that He should do it in His own way?” (The Biblical Illustrator)

G. Lawson writes regarding our Savior’s ability to succor His brethren that

The saying is, “None so merciful as those who have been miserable”; and they who have not only known misery, bat felt it, are most powerfully inclined, not only to inward compassion, but to the real relieving of others miserable. And this was a contrivance of the profound wisdom of that God, who is infinitely knowing and merciful, to find a way how to feel misery and be merciful another way. This was by His Word assuming flesh, that in that flesh He might be tempted violently and suffer most grievously; and all this that He might be more merciful and effectually succor sinful man.” (The Biblical Illustrator)

W. F. Adeney writes that Christ is able to succor

By His knowledge and sympathy He can give just such grace as is needed. Pathology must precede therapeutics. The diagnosis of disease is the first duty of the physician, and it is the most difficult; when that is successfully accomplished, the prescription follows almost as a matter of course. (The Biblical Illustrator)

W. A. Bridge asks

HOW DOTH HE SUCCOR those that are tempted in the day and time of their temptation?

1. Christ succors tempted souls before the temptation comes sometimes, by a special manifestation of Himself, His love and fulness, to them. Again, He succors before the temptation by filling the heart with the Holy Ghost. When the vessel is filled with one liquor, it keeps out another.

2. He succors also under temptation by opening the eyes of him that is tempted to see that it is but a temptation. A temptation is half-cured when a man knows that it is but a temptation: when a man’s eyes are open to see the tempter and the temptation. Therefore men are so hardly cured, because they are hardly persuaded that it is a temptation. When they see that, then they say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Christ opens their eyes. Again, He succors under temptation, by letting fall some glimpse of His love, some love-look upon a tempted soul. And so, when Peter was in the high priest’s hall, Christ looks upon him, and he went out and wept bitterly.

3. After temptation He succors: by filling the heart with joy unspeakable and full of glory; by sending the angels to minister: as when the devil left Christ, had tempted Him and left Him, then came the angels and ministered to Him. Every way — before temptation, and in temptation, and after temptation — the Lord Jesus Christ is a succoring Christ to tempted souls. He was a Man of Sorrows that He might be a God of succors; His heart is full of succors.” (The Biblical Illustrator)

DOES YOUR FRAME
NEED FRAPPING?

Unger has an interesting note on ancient ships…

The imperfection of the build, and the tendency to strain the seams, led to taking on board “helps” (Gk. boetheia), cables or chains (apparatus for securing a leaking vessel), that in case of necessity could be passed around the hull, at right angles to its length and made tight—a process called frapping in the English navy.

Luke uses the noun boetheia in his description of the storm tossed ship in (Acts 27:17), writing that “after they had hoisted (the lifeboat) up, they used supporting cables (boetheia) in undergirding the ship and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor, and so let themselves be driven along.”

Comment: In Acts 27:17 “boetheia” refers specifically a rope or chain for frapping a vessel to keep the beams from separating. Frapping (derived from Mid French [fraper] to draw tight as with ropes or cables) means a lashing binding a thing tightly or binding things together.

In nautical terms, this procedure of passing ropes under the ship to hold it together is termed frappingFrap is a nautical term that means to draw tight, to lash down or together. So in the midst of the storm in Acts 27 the sailors wrapped cables around the ship’s hull and winched them tight. Thus supported, the ship would be better able to withstand the severe pounding of wind and sea.

THOUGHT – Beloved, do you see the word picture inherent in the Biblical use of (verb – boethéo, noun – boetheia) in other verses? From time to time all saints encounter unexpected storms with potentially destructive wind and waves and find themselves in desperate need of our great Captain, Jesus, to batten down the hatches, sending His help that we might be able to endure the stormy trial or temptation, emerging on the other side of the “storm” intact, even unscathed! That’s supernatural! That’s what happens when we cry out for the Savior’s succoring!

Beloved Jesus is able to run to your aid
when He hears your cry for His help.

Perhaps right now you need to take a moment and like the Canaanite woman above (click), bow down in worship (even singing the hymn below), reminding yourself that your Helper Jesus is truly ready, able and willing to run to your assistance no matter the “size or shape” of your test or temptation.

WHAT A FRIEND
WE HAVE IN JESUS

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there

Picture from https://awakeamerica365.com/cry-out/

ARE YOU REDEEMING THE TIME?

redeem the time

ARE YOU REDEEMING THE TIME? – Paul wrote “Therefore (because we have been awakened from spiritual stupor and spiritual death and have the light of Christ – Eph 5:14) BE CAREFUL how you walk, not as unwise men (“fools”), but as wise, REDEEMING (making the most of) THE TIME, because (explains why we must redeem the time enabled by the Spirit) the days are evil (The evil of our day should motivate us to redeem the time).” (Eph 5:16)

Before reading on, pause and make a list of the things you value most in life. Undoubtedly God, Jesus, family, etc are at the top of your list. But did you list “TIME?”

Below is a link to the song entitled “Redeem the Time” – It is beautiful vocal by David Smallwood with well done, and very moving graphics.

Father, may the words of this song cause us to soberly ponder the length of eternity and the brevity of our opportunity to live our life in the power of the Spirit for the glory of Christ. Amen

Jonathan Edwards America’s greatest theologian understood Paul’s charge to REDEEM THE TIME and as a young man wrote “Resolved: Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. Resolved: to live with all my might while I do live.”

Time that is past you can never recall,
Of time to come, you are not sure at all;
Only the present is now in your power,
Therefore, redeem and improve every hour.

Adoniram Judson a famous missionary to Burma wrote that “A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity… the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever… each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny… How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, (enabled by God’s Spirit) resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly (forever) marked.”

David Brainerd whose candle burned so brightly that God brought him home at the relatively young age of 29 wrote in his diary “Oh, how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misemployed it or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey!”

It’s too late to redeem the time that is past,
but not the time that is passing!

Adrian Rogers offers some other practical thoughts on redeeming the time: (1) Learn to live in the eternal now. Today is the only day you have. Redeem the time. (2) Stop saying, “If I had time.” You do have time. (3) Stop worrying about tomorrow, and stop waiting for tomorrow. Give God today, and He will take care of tomorrow. (4) Cut yourself loose from the past. Bury your failure in the grave of God’s forgetfulness (cf Mic 7:18-19Isa 43:2544:22), and let Him give you a brand new day. (5) If you have not accepted Christ, now is the time “for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (kairos = the opportune time!) I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU”; behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (kairos),” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2 Cor 6:2)

Let us pray like the old Puritan – Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness; GIVE ME A HOLY AVARICE TO REDEEM THE TIME, to awake at every call to charity (love) and piety (godliness), so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the Gospel, show neighborly love to all. Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on Thyself (Thy Spirit), mortification, crucifixion, prayer.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen (From Valley of Vision)

May the prayer of Moses be our prayer…

“So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Amen)
(Psalm 90:12)

See much more in depth discussion of Redeem the Time
https://www.preceptaustin.org/redeem_the_time

Now that you’ve read this entry, listen to the powerful words sung by Robin Mark – When Its All Been Said and Done…

PRAYERS STORED IN A BOWL

Praying_Hands

YOUR PRAYERS ARE SAFELY STORED IN A BOWL -Revelation 5:8 describes “golden bowls full of INCENSE, which are the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS” “on the golden altar which is before the Throne.” (Rev 8:3) Now observe carefully that in the Rev 5:9 John describes “men from EVERY TRIBE and TONGUE and PEOPLE and NATION.” From this context we can discern a relationship between SUPPLICATION in Rev 5:8 and SAVED SOULS in Rev 5:9. Clearly, our prayers for the salvation of the souls of others are safely “stored in a bowl” in Heaven! Our prayers like incense have ascended to the very Throne Room of Heaven! This indeed is amazing grace!

“The true odors (fragrant incense in bowls in heaven) are the heart-prayers of God’s children…Every prayer which broke out in a sob from an agonizing heart, every sigh of the solitary and struggling Christian, every groan of those groping Godward, mingles here with the songs of the happy and triumphant.” (Lockyer) In the golden bowls (Rev 5:8) are the fragrant prayers of saints awaiting answers.

Paul wrote “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thes 2:19-20) Of whom is Paul speaking? The Thessalonian believers! In God’s great plan of redemption He allowed Paul to play a role in their salvation. And when we share the Gospel and pray in the Spirit for others to be born again by the glorious Gospel, we too are storing up for ourselves “treasures (note the plural) in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6:20-21)

This truth should encourage us to pray without ceasing (1 Th 5:17) for every soul in our sphere of influence. God’s answer may be delayed as it was in my case on two occasions – On the first, my father prayed for my salvation daily for 20 years and one day at age 39 I called him and told him God had saved me and it was then that he told me that God had answered his prayers which he had prayed for 20 years! In the second instance, I prayed for my son for 20 years and about 4 years ago God answered and saved his soul and granted him sobriety for the first time in his life. If you are praying for loved ones, may my two “twenty year experiences” encourage you to “keep on keeping on!”

You can count on it — God stores our prayers in a bowl in Heaven. Beloved may God’s Spirit enable you to continue steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord in praying for souls of lost loved ones and hidden people groups (see below), knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58). Matthew Henry has remarked that “Prayers of faith are filed in Heaven; and, though not presently answered, are not forgotten.” Amen and Amen!

HIDDEN PEOPLE GROUPS are those groups unreached by the Gospel and lack enough followers of Christ and resources to evangelize their own people. In 1980 there 16000 such groups, but God has answered the cries of His children for the lost souls in these groups and today (2018) that number has been reduced to about 7000. What is shocking is that there are still a number of unreached groups, especially in India, that have literally millions of souls and not a single believer has been reported in those groups! Jesus’ words still ring loud and clear 2000 years later – “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35) Based on Rev 5:8-9, followers of Jesus can intercede TODAY for souls to be harvested from among the remaining unreached Hidden People groups and know their prayers will be effective in bringing souls to eternal salvation for in Rev 5:9 John describes souls from EVERY tribe, tongue, people and nation before the Throne of God. The secret of reaching men is to know the secret of reaching God. And a significant component of that “secret” is being faithful to speak to God about the redemption of lost souls.

Would you consider storing up for yourself treasure in heaven daily for the rest of your life (Mt 6:20)? Can I encourage you to take a step of faith and believe that God will hear your prayers for HIDDEN PEOPLE GROUPS, will store those prayers in a bowl in Heaven and that one day in eternity you will meet those for whom you have been praying day after day, year after year?

While the battle is the Lord’s, we as His soldiers are still called to march forth on our knees. And in light of that truth let us apply the famous words of Winston Churchill to our battle for souls against our inveterate, invisible enemy…

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” (from his speech given in October, 1941) Indeed “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) Our adversary does not care how much we read about prayer for the lost if only he can hinder us from praying for them!

Here is an easy way to pray for the HIDDEN PEOPLE GROUPS daily – bookmark Joshua Project and/or download the APP from Joshua Project and select daily notifications and you will receive a daily text reminder with the name of the hidden people group for that day. See also the related link for Global Prayer Digest. Several years ago I was pleasantly surprised to read Pastor John Piper’s words related to prayer for hidden people groups…

“To help (us) stay encouraged to pray for huge Christ-exalting movements of God….each day, as part of our family devotions, Noël and Talitha and I read the daily reading from the Global Prayer Digest….Would you join me in praying sweeping, global prayers that God would glorify Jesus by opening the eyes of millions of (hidden peoples) to see and savor the truth and beauty of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the justification and jubilation of millions of “other sheep” that are not yet in the fold?”

Now even if you forget to read the full entry for the HIDDEN PEOPLE GROUP of the day, the APP will send you a text so you never have to miss a day praying for lost souls who have never heard the Name of Jesus (Acts 4:12) and the good news of His saving Gospel (Ro 1:16).

Beloved, this is your “once in a lifetime opportunity!” Praying for souls is something we can only do now on earth and is an exciting, rewarding way to redeem our short time on earth for our eternity in heaven! Indeed, if you (energized by the Spirit) pray now, your time in Heaven will be marvelously magnified by the presence of those you took time to pray for on earth! Don’t procrastinate! Don’t delay! Bookmark the two sites and download their APPS today (see links below).

David Brainerd, the missionary to the American Indians, understood the need to redeem the time by praying for hidden peoples writing in his diary “This morning about nine I withdrew to the woods for prayer. I was in such anguish that when I arose from my knees I felt extremely weak and overcome….I cared not how or where I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls for Christ.” Brainerd redeemed the time until God took him home at age 29, where he will experience joy forever over the treasures of native American souls in heaven because of his prayers!

If Paul were speaking to us today he might say something like this “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to ALL PEOPLE (aka “hidden people”), and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Gal 6:10) Today is your “opportunity of a lifetime!” May our prayer be “Lord, burn eternity into our eyeballs!”

And may our Father in Heaven grant you amazing grace by His Spirit to be energized and motivated to intercede for peoples you have never seen but will one day see in the presence of the Lamb that was slain and Who Alone is Worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and and might and honor and glory and blessing (Rev 5:12). Amen.

Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the Throne of Grace.

Daniel wrote that “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

David wrote “May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen (Psalm 141:2)

To paraphrase Paul – Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time…that God will open up a door for the Word, so that missionaries may speak forth the mystery of Christ” so that the Spirit of Christ might rescue those who are perishing. (cf Col 4:2-3)

Rescue the Perishing by Fanny Crosby

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Refrain:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

https://joshuaproject.net/
http://www.globalprayerdigest.org/issue/day/

HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?

Francis Schaeffer wrote an excellent book years ago entitled “How Should We Then Live?” The New Testament gives us a wonderful answer to Schaeffer’s question. Paul sums it up in Galatians 2:20+ “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ LIVES in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but ALIVE to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11+) Writing to the saints at Corinth, Paul explained we are “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the LIFE of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the LIFE of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:10-11). John writes “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this LIFE is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11+) And again John writes “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might LIVE through Him.” (1 John 4:9+). “Jesus Christ, through Whom we LIVE.” (1 Cor 8:6NET)  Notice the strategic prepositions – WITH Christ, IN Christ, THROUGH Christ. He is our “ALL IN ALL” (song).  In Colossians 3:4 Paul simply, succinctly summarizes this truth as “Christ our LIFE.” (Colossians 3:4+). How should we then live? WITH Christ, IN Christ, THROUGH Christ all FOR Christ and His glory.

Father, make this truth of Christ our LIFE the reality of our life by the life giving Spirit of Christ for the glory of Him Who is our Life. Amen

Wayne Barber – “Living the Christ life is daily surrendering to His will and His Word which allows us to enter into divine enablement by the Spirit of Christ. I must decrease and He must increase. (John 3:30+) As I am willing (and supernaturally enabled by His Spirit) to deny self, and surrender to Him, He takes it from there and energizes my very being, empowering me to do what He has commanded me to do.  “God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. (Phi 2:13NLT+) “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Php 1:21+). (Wayne Barber)

Guy King – We are all aware of the teachings of old astronomers concerning our planetary universe. Ptolemy was the first in the field (A.D. 127-51), one of the most eminent of the scientific men of the ancient world. He taught that our earth was the centre of the universe, and that all else revolved around it. How grand to think of ourselves as the hub of the universe! It took something like thirteen hundred years to dispel the illusion. Copernicus (A.D. 1473-1543) demonstrated that the sun was the centre, with the earth and all else revolving around it. I wonder if we have changed our life’s centre? Because we begin by giving self that position – everything turns round ourselves: what we wish, we think, we propose. It often takes a long time for us to see the falsity, and futility, of the idea that this self, this bit of earth is the hub. It is a happy moment when we alter the outlook, and recognize “the Sun of Righteousness,” Malachi 4:2+, as our new Centre. Thenceforward, every aspect of life rotates round Him. Such, then, is the resurrection life in Christ our life.

Ruth Paxson – For several weeks I lived in a boarding house kept by a little woman who weighed only eighty-five pounds. She was kept from falling into a heap by a brace worn at her back. She had lived on the third floor for two years with no outlook but the blue sky above and a patch of green grass a few feet square below. But her eyes shone like stars, upon her face was a smile that the affliction and adversity she suffered could not remove, and mirrored in her countenance was a radiance that one never sees on land or sea except where the Light of the world dwells in undimmed brightness. CHRIST was the Life of her life. A Christian business man lay dying of cancer. Friends called to comfort him and they left feeling that they had been taken to the very door of Heaven and had seen the King in His beauty. CHRIST was the Life of his life in sickness as He had been in health. A young Chinese man who had been converted from a very godless, wicked life, and had been a Christian less than two years, came to call on me one day. After he left a gentleman who saw him for only a brief moment said, “Who was that young man? I never met anyone who so instantly compelled me to think of CHRIST as did he.” CHRIST had become the Life of his life. Is He the Life of your life? Can you truly say, “Christ liveth in me”; “to me to live is Christ”?

C H Spurgeon – CHRIST OUR LIFE – Paul’s marvelously rich expression indicates, that Christ is the SOURCE of our life. “When we were dead in our transgressions, (God) made us alive together with Christ.” (Eph 2:5+) That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb (Jn 11:43) raised us to newness of life (Ro 6:4+, Ro 6:11+). He is now the Substance of our spiritual life. It is by His life that we live; He is in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27+), the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought.

Christ is the SUSTENANCE of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus’ flesh and blood? “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” (Jn 6:50, 33) O way worn pilgrims (Heb 11:13+, 1Pe 2:11+) in this wilderness of sin, you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, except ye find it in Him! (cf Mt 5:6+)

Christ is the SOLACE of our life. All our true joys come from Him; and in times of trouble, His presence is our consolation (He 13:5,6+, Jn 16:33). There is nothing worth living for but Him; and His lovingkindness is better than life! (Ps 63:3+)

Christ is the OBJECT of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port, so hastes the believer towards the haven of his Savior’s bosom. As flies the arrow to its goal, so flies the Christian towards the perfecting of his fellowship with Christ Jesus (Php 3:10,11+). As the soldier fights for his captain, and is crowned in his captain’s victory, so the believer contends for Christ, and gets his triumph out of the triumphs of his Master. “For him to live is Christ.” (Php 1:21+)

Christ is the EXEMPLAR (one that serves as a model for another) of our life. Where there is the same life within, there will, there must be, to a great extent, the same developments without; and if we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus we shall grow like Him. We shall set Him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in His footsteps (1Pe 2:21+, 1 Jn 2:6+), until He shall become the CROWN of our life in glory.

Oh! how safe, how honored, how happy is the Christian, since CHRIST IS OUR LIFE!

May God grant each of us by His Spirit His amazing grace to put into practice the words of Steve Green’s song Embrace the Cross. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

IS YOUR OUTLOOK AN “UPLOOK?”

Good morning. I received an email from someone in England about an error on my notes in Titus 2:11-14+ and as I was answering thought I would shoot this verse to you today — it is surely one of the great verses in the entire Bible…

For (term of explanation – see what Paul is explaining in Titus 2:10+) the grace of God has appeared (THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST), bringing salvation to all men (PAST TENSE SALVATION), 12 instructing (DISCIPLINING) us (FIRST THE NEGATIVE) to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and (NOW THE POSITIVE – BOTH [+] and [-] ONLY POSSIBLE AS WE RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT – Ro 8:13+) to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present (“evil” – Gal 1:4+) age (PRESENT TENSE SALVATION), 13 (present tense = continually) looking for (FUTURE TENSE SALVATION) the Blessed Hope (Phillips = “the glorious dénouement“) and the appearing of the glory of our great God and SaviorChrist Jesus (THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST), 14 Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession (WE ARE NOT OUR OWN! cf 1 Cor 6:19-20+), zealous for good (GOD = Jn 15:5) deeds.

You can see why this verse is so powerful — It has both the First and Second Coming of Christ and all Three “Tenses” of Salvation 

  1. PAST TENSE (JUSTIFICATION) = I have been saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9+).
  2. PRESENT TENSE (SANCTIFICATION) – I am being saved daily by grace through faith and dependence on the Holy Spirit (cf Gal 3:3+)
  3. FUTURE TENSE (GLORIFICATION) = I will be saved by grace (1 Pe 1:13+) for when we see Him we will be like Him (1 Jn 3:2+, 1 Jn 3:3+)

Note the powerful principle Paul gives us which should motivate and enable daily Spirit energized living (cf Php 2:12+, Php 2:13NLT+) – Titus 2:13 = Speaks about our LOOKING while Titus 2:12 = Speaks about our LIVING. Do you see the principle? Here it is…

WHAT (WHO) we are LOOKING for, will (should) impact WHAT (WHO) we are LIVING for. Expectant looking is another name for “Vertical Vision” whereas living for this passing world is “Horizontal Vision.”

There was a movie by Buster Keaton in 1924 called “The Navigator” which has a picture that wonderfully illustrates what our daily attitude toward Christ’s Second Coming should “look like”…

Buster Keaton looking expectantly
The Navigator” 1924

Stated another way,

EXPECTANT Looking
Is the “Antidote” for
APATHETIC Living

It is simple, but powerful and Biblical! If you are looking for Jesus to return, you are far more likely to be denying ungodliness and worldly desires, and instead living sensibly, righteously and godly in this present evil age! If we are looking for Him, we will be living for Him. This future hope (absolute assurance God will do good to us in the future) empowers present behavior. Have you allowed the world to weigh you down and cause you to take your eyes off of His return? Are you living more for your passing pleasure than for His glorious appearing? Don’t be downcast. Confess it. Repent. And begin to live as if His return could be today (because it COULD BE TODAY!).

You will be amazed at what a difference “a DAY” will make in your personal perspective, prerogatives and practices!

Dr M R De Haan founder of Our Daily Bread ministry kept a motto on his desk which read

PERHAPS TODAY!

And all God’s people say “Yes! AmenMaranatha!”

William Barclay who is not always totally orthodox did have a great comment on this “present age” in Titus 2:12:

Chrysostom said that worldly things are things which do not pass over with us into heaven but are dissolved together with this present world. A man is very short-sighted if he sets all his heart and expends all his labour on things which he must leave behind when he quits this world. But an even simpler interpretation of worldly desires is that they are for things we could not show to God.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, by Your Spirit, please embed the manifold truths of Titus 2:11-14 deeply into our hearts, emblazoning them on our “mind’s eye,” even giving us a desire to memorize them, but even more a passion to live them out in the enabling power of Your Spirit and for the glory of Your Son, the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, Who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). Amen

INSIGHT: ONE IN EVERY 30 NT VERSES REFER TO THE SECOND COMING! Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the Second Coming of Christ. More than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy and about one third is not yet fulfilled. Many of these unfulfilled predictions refer to the Second Coming. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. There are 1,845 references to it in the Old Testament, and 17 Old Testament books speak of the Second Coming. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Coming – one out of every 30 verses! Twenty-three of the twenty-seven New Testament books refer to this great event. Three of the four other books are single-chapter letters written to individuals concerning a particular subject, and the fourth is Galatians, which does imply Christ’s coming again. For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are EIGHT on Christ’s second coming. 

Alexander MacLaren rightly said The apostolic church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than about death and heaven. The early Christians were looking, not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory.”

ARE YOU LISTENING?

listening
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19 NLT)

Are you a good listener? Listen to what Pr 18:13 says about listening…

“The one who gives an answer before he listens– that is his folly and his shame.” (NET)

A few thoughts on James 1:19, Pr 18:13 and the lost art of listening –

As Howard Hendricks says, “Marriage is sometimes the dialogue of the deaf.”

The Harvard Business Review says 65 percent of an executive’s time should be spent listening.

So much more so in our most intimate relationships.

When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking—I’m not listening.

A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?

Lend a man your ears and you will immediately open a pathway to his heart.

To illustrate the high cost of poor listening, Diana Bonet, listening consultant and author of The Business of Listening, offers this example: A $100,000 error was caused by a dispatcher who routed a fleet of drivers to deliver building materials to the wrong state. The dispatcher heard the city (Portland), but quit listening before he heard the state (Maine). The result: eight trucks, 3,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon.

Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. – Abraham Lincoln

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

I cried, and from His holy hill
He bowed a listening ear;
I called my Father, and my God,
And He subdued my fear.
—Isaac Watts

Eloquent silence often is better than eloquent speech.

A Way Of Loving – In her book Listening To Others (Hearing their Hearts), Joyce Huggett relates her experiences of listening so that we can respond with wisdom those who are suffering or in difficult situations. She says they often raved about all she had done for them. “On many occasions,” she writes, “I had not ‘done’ anything. I had ‘just listened.’ I quickly came to the conclusion that ‘just listening’ was indeed an effective way of helping others.”

This was the help that Job’s wordy, preachy friends failed to give him. While it is true that they sat with him for 7 days in silence, “for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13), they didn’t listen when Job started talking. He complained that they were “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2) and was so distraught that he even accused God of not listening. He cried out, “Oh, that I had one to hear me!” (Job 31:35).

• Listening says, “What matters to you matters to me.” Sometimes people do want advice. But often they just want to be listened to by someone who loves and cares about them.
What does active listening accomplish?

• Listening is a way of loving others.

It says, “I want to understand and know you.”

• It comforts the brokenhearted, builds relationships, and encourages faith in God.

• Listening is also a means of learning the facts.

• Solomon, in Proverbs 18:13, warned that it is folly to answer a matter before hearing it.

• Most of all, listening to others should reflect our attentiveness toward God and His Word. God has so much He wants to teach us and tell us.

Listening is hard work, and it takes time. It takes time to listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart, so that if we do speak, we speak with gentle wisdom.

Oh, Lord, give us a loving heart and a listening ear. Amen

As you take a moment of stillness today and give Him a listening ear, you’ll be better able to listen to the hurting people around you.

A caring heart, a listening ear,
A thoughtful word, a loving tear
Will help to lift the heavy load
Of hurting people on life’s road.
–DJD

You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.

Dave Roper on Learning to Listen – Renè Descarte, the sixteenth-century philosopher, said, “I think, therefore I am.” Sarah, our granddaughter, says, “You are, therefore I talk.” Silence has never been golden to Sarah. Some years ago I was sitting in our family room trying to read a Time magazine while, at the same time, Sarah was trying to carry on a conversation with me. To my shame I was paying little attention, responding to her comments with an occasional grunt. Finally in exasperation she crawled into my lap and got in my face. “Papa,” she shouted, “are you listening to me?” “Sarah,” I confessed, putting down my magazine, “I haven’t been listening well. Forgive me. I’ll listen to you now.” My commitment to Sarah is one that I want to keep on other occasions as well. It’s one of the gifts “of what remains” that I can give to others—to talk less and listen better. As Frasier Crane would say, “I’m listening”—or, to be more honest, I’m trying to learn how to listen.

I want to listen well so that when I finish a conversation, others will walk away knowing there’s at least one person in this care-less world who has some inkling of what they’re doing, thinking, and feeling. I want to hear the hushed undertones of their hearts. I want them to know that I care. Listening, however, doesn’t come easy for me. For years I was paid to talk; I was a “word monger” to borrow Augustine’s apt description of a teacher. It comes as a revelation to me that I can do more with my ears now than I can with my mouth. In her book Listening to Others, Joyce Huggett relates her experiences of listening to suffering people. She says they often talk about all she’s done for them. “On many occasions,” she writes, “I have not ‘done’ anything. I have ‘just listened.’ I quickly came to the conclusion that ‘just listening’ was indeed an effective way of helping others.” This was the help Job’s wordy, would-be friends failed to give him. They were “miserable comforters,” he complained. “‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me!’” Job is not alone in his longing. All human beings want to be heard, and listening is one of the best ways in the world to love others. Listening says, “You matter to me.” (Job 16:2; 31:35)

Kenneth Grahame’s Badger in “The Wind in the Willows” knew how to do it.

He sat in his arm-chair at the head of the table, and nodded gravely at intervals as the animals told their story; and he did not seem surprised or shocked at anything, and he never said, “I told you so,” or, “Just what I always said,” or remarked that they ought to have done so-and-so, or ought not to have done something else. The Mole began to feel very friendly towards him.

Listening is a lost art these days. We don’t listen well and we aren’t used to being listened to. Most of our words simply disappear into the air. I have a friend who, when he goes to noisy parties and people ask how he’s doing, on occasion has replied quietly, “My business went belly-up this week, the bank foreclosed on my house, my wife left me, and I have terminal cancer.” “Wonderful!” one man murmured, as he pumped my friend’s hand and moved on. I keep wondering if I’ve done something similar to others.

Some years ago I came across the following advice about listening—which I’m still in the process of learning and applying:

• When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking—I’m not listening.
• When I give unsolicited advice—I’m not listening. (Unsolicited advice always sounds like criticism.)
• When I suggest they shouldn’t feel the way they do—I’m not listening.
• When I apply a quick fix to their problem—I’m not listening.
• When I fail to acknowledge their feelings—I’m not listening.
• When I fidget, glance at my watch, and appear to be rushed—I’m not listening.
• When I fail to maintain eye contact—I’m not listening.
• When I don’t ask follow-up questions—I’m not listening.
• When I top their story with a bigger, better story of my own—I’m not listening.
• When they share a difficult experience and I counter with one of my own—I’m not listening.

Listening is hard work, and most of us are unwilling to put in the time—and time is the operative word. Listening means setting aside our own timetable and tendency to hurry on to our next destination. It means settling into a relaxed, unhurried, leisurely pace. “Only in the ambiance of leisure,” Eugene Peterson writes, “do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance.” In leisure we regard others’ interests as more important than ours (Php 2:3). In leisure we say, “You are more significant than anything I have to do right now. You are the only one who counts, the one for whom I am willing to forgo my other obligations, appointments, and meetings. I have time for you.” In leisure, we listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart so that if we do speak, we speak with wisdom. A leisurely pace, a listening ear, a loving heart. May you and I, by God’s grace, acquire them. (From David Roper’s book Teach Us to Number Our Days)

It takes two years to learn to talk and seventy years to learn to keep your mouth shut.

“A wise man will hear and increase in learning” (Pr 1:5)

Be a good listener, but be careful who you listen to.

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention …. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.

Ray Pritchard’s advice on Listening –
Psychologists talk about “active listening.” That means listening all the way through to the end of a statement. Which is not what most of us do. The reason we don’t hear what the other person is saying is because we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say back to them. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening–that is his folly and shame.” Active listening means you focus on the other person, you listen to the whole statement, you let the meaning of it sink in, then you restate it in your own words.

Here are some tips for active listening:

• Lean toward the person while they are talking to you.
• Look directly at them (instead of letting your eyes wander) while they are speaking.
• Listen with your eyes and ears. Look for non-verbal cues like crossed arms and legs, looking into space, clinched fists, fingers drumming on the table, wide gestures, the forced grin. Those cues usually indicate some level of stress.
• Don’t interrupt. Period. Just don’t do it. Don’t finish someone else’s sentences either.
• Ask clarifying questions. “Could you repeat that? How long have you been feeling that way? What else about that really bothers you? How often do you feel frustrated about the way I act?”
• Don’t plan your response while you are listening to them talk.
When they are finished, say something like, “Let me see if I can put that in my own words.”
• You’ll know you’ve been a successful listener when you can put their thoughts in your words to their satisfaction. After all, the bottom line on listening is not that you think you heard, but that they think you heard.

By the way, did you know that listening is good for your health? Dr. James J. Lynch, a researcher at the University of Maryland, says that “while we speak with words, we also speak with every fiber of our being.” He discovered that blood pressure and heart rate rise rapidly whenever people talk. It also falls rapidly when people listen. For people with a history of hypertension, talking often raises the blood pressure into the danger zone. It happens, he says, because they tend to talk intensely and breathlessly, interrupting and speaking over other people. “They frequently fail to listen; they are on guard, defensive. So their pressure stays up.”

Here is his conclusion: How can we enjoy conversation yet keep blood pressure down? By listening more, by breathing regularly while talking, by alternating between talking and paying attention to what the other person is saying. (Readers Digest, 4/86, p. 124)

A tribute was once paid to a great linguist that he could be silent in seven languages. It’s a wonderful and rare gift. More of us need to use it. Communication begins with listening more.

Father, fill us with Your Spirit so that we might be supernaturally enabled to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” for the glory of Your Name and in the Name above all names, Christ Jesus. Amen

I’d Rather Have Jesus by SELAH