How new will this New Year be - we must make it new!

How new shall this New Year be
If everything will still be the same -
A million children wrecked by hunger
A million other torn by shame?
How happy shall this New Year be
With those haunting memories of pain
Of women and children torn apart
By men pretending to be vilely sane?
How different will this New Year be
If the world goes on as it does,
If it wakes up another morning
And is not an ounce different from what it was?

We must celebrate this New Year, yes we must do;
But how new will this New Year be unless we do something new?
Yes, we must celebrate this New Year, yes we must do;
But how new will this New Year be - we must make it new!

No Goodbyes for 2013

When situations look tight
And wearisome seems the fight
When giving up feels just alright
Then we find rest and strength in God's unfailing Light!
Thankful for a great 2013 -- no goodbyes for we'll carry it into a new year soon!

Persistence in Christian Life

Published in REVIVE, Dec. 2013

Somebody has said it well, “It is not how you start the race, but how you end the race that wins you the prize.” There are many who start the race very well; there are only a few who become winners.  Paul specified, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1Cor.9:24). In other words, God wants us to run with a single, determined focus – to obtain the prize.

“To persist” means “to continue firmly in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.” To persist means to keep moving ahead in spite of wind, fire, and rain. To persist means to continue, to be constant, to keep pressing forward. To persist means to never stop.


Persistence Brings Answers to Prayer

The Bible always connects prayer with persistence. Jesus promised, “Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” In the original language, the sense of the verse is “Keep on asking and it shall be given unto you, keep on seeking and you shall find, keep and knocking and it shall be opened unto you.” Jesus Himself persisted in prayer for long hours, even whole nights at times. He taught through parables that one must not give up or lose heart when praying, but must keep on persisting in prayer. In the Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge, He demonstrated that how even an unjust judge was moved to action when the widow kept persisting at his door (Luke 18:1-8). He mentioned that a friend would get up in the middle of the night to help his friend with whatever he asks, because he persisted. In fact, He observed that though not because of the friendship, he would rise up and give whatever the friend needed because of his friend’s persistence (Luke 11:8, NKJV). Many saints fail to obtain answers to their prayers because they fail to persist. They persist till a point but give up just before the answer would come. Isn’t it silly to destroy the eggs under incubation just because we aren’t able to see any change on the external? Many abort a dream out of impatience in face of the invisible. But, if one persisted, the invisible would break through the shell in the fullness of time. Persistence brings answers to prayer; therefore, the Bible exhorts us to never stop praying (1Thess.5:17, NLT). When the Church persisted single-mindedly in prayer in the Upper Room, God poured down His Holy Spirit; when they prayed without ceasing for Peter, God broke through the gates of the prison and set him free (Acts 12:5). God answers prayers. God is ready to answer persistent prayers.

Persistence Inherits the Promises of God

Hebrews 6:12 instructs us to not be sluggish, but become imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises of God.

Imagine a man dying in abject poverty while a cheque of one lakh rupees lies rumpled in his pocket. Imagine he had an infinite number of such promissory papers that have not been activated because they were never processed through the bank. Perhaps, he didn’t know anything about their value; perhaps, he was just sluggish to walk down to the bank.

Sadly, that is the condition of many Christians. They either have false views about God’s will for their lives and so live in abject fruitlessness or have become too sluggish to press on in godly diligence to obtain all that God wants to entrust them with in order to display His power in their lives. One reason is because they aren’t transformed by the renewing of the mind by submitting to the pure Word of God.

God’s will is revealed in His promises; He has given us His promises because He loves us and wants us to inherit them. However, as somebody put it, He can’t force the blessings down our throat. We are called joint-heirs with Christ, which means that our signature (faith) and receiving (persistence) is required. Some Christians are only a little better off than the monks who lived in caves or sat on poles for years because they believed that was God’s will for their lives. It’s a sad condition to attempt self-mortification through carnal means when the Bible declares that it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can mortify the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). God’s promises touch the whole man – body, soul, and spirit (3John 1:2; 2Cor.7:1). They are sufficient for us to live a godly life in this earth (2Pet.1:3).

Persistence brings Productivity – Fruitfulness

The Bible encourages us to not get tired of doing good; because if we don’t lose heart, we will reap the reward in due time (Gal.6:9). No farmer gives up hope because he doesn’t see the harvest a week after he has sown the seed; he knows that the seed has its time. They say that the Chinese bamboos, when planted, display no sign of growth for many years; however, in the due time, they suddenly shoot up to gigantic height. All through those seemingly unproductive years, they had been taking deep roots under the soil. If we persist, we will see the fruit. The key is: taking root. There are times when God is just sharpening the axe, in order to use it at a specific point of time later.

If one is continuing in sinful practices, one must immediately repent and turn around. Don’t waste time by allowing sin to waste your time. Replace sinful practices with godly and good actions, and every action sown will bear a reward.

Persistence is Purpose-Oriented

Paul asserted that he had reason for persisting in his course; he doesn’t run aimlessly, he doesn’t box as one beating the air (1Cor.9:26, RSV). He tells the Corinthian Christians “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1Cor.9:24). Purpose and goal define the meaningfulness of living. God has a course charted out for each one of us. Even before we were born, all that God has designed for us, to each day, was written in His book even before they came to be (Psalm 139:16). But, it is up to us to discover His will and persist in the calling, the goal that He has called us to. It is up to us to unravel His will in our lives. If we lose hope, our goals are being shattered; our foundations are crumbling; our vision, failing. But, if we know whom we have believed, then we will be persuaded that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that Day (2Tim.1:12). He will enlarge the ground beneath our feet to keep our feet from slipping (Psalm 18:36). So, we can run confidently forward towards the goal to obtain the prize. We do not need to fear when our hope is anchored in God. He Himself is keen to unravel His purposes in our life; for it is God who is working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him (Phil.2:13, NLT).

Persistence Obtains the Prize

Again, it is not how we start the race but how we finish it that matters. There are many who start out very well; but fall away during the course. There are many who enrol themselves for discipleship; there are only a few who graduate. God has called us to run the race with the determination to obtain the prize. God is only interested in giving the rewards to those who can multiply the five talents into five more and the two talents into two more. God is interested in our success, whether at job, at business, or at school. God wants us to keep winning all along the way. Winning occurs within the circle of discerning what God’s right will is. The crucifixion of Jesus was not defeat, but victory. The martyrdom of the saints was not defeat, but their victory; for they overcame the devil by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb and they were not afraid to die for Christ – they persisted to the end (Rev.12:11). God wants us to run with the certainty of the knowledge of God and His will, and to run in order to ultimately obtain the imperishable crown (1Cor.9:25).


Overcoming Every Besetting Sin by the Power of the Spirit

Hebrews 12:1 instructs us to tear away every weight and besetting sin from our lives, those sins that easily ensnare us and keep us from moving forward. There are many Christians who have never seen much progress in their Christian life of decades because of some sin that has kept defeating them each time they were about to step forward. We can’t persist any further until we have let the Holy Spirit deal with that besetting sin – it might be a bad addiction, a sinful habit like lying and procrastination, a wrong attitude, or an evil craving; but, whatever it may be, it must go right away, right now. Somebody said that the best way to break a habit is to drop it. Peter J. Daniels, the Australian entrepreneur, tells us that the best way to develop a good habit is to keep it persistent for 100 days and never allow an exception against it – and the habit will lock in. In his psalm celebrating God’s blessing for persistence, David prays, “Examine me, GOD, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I'm fit inside and out so I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat.” (Psalm 26:2,3, MSG). Jesus told us to remove the plank in our eye before talking about the speck in someone else’s (Matt.7:2-5). Often, we make remarks about progress without any essential progress in our own lives; because, in our own personal life, we have been living defeated lives. Studying God’s Word pierces through the entrails of our inner world and rips us open before the light of God (Heb.4:12,13). Now, there is the good news for us in the New Testament. God has given us the earnest of the Spirit to help us in this very matter; because the Spirit searches all things and the Spirit knows the mind of God (2Cor.5:5; 1Cor.2:10; Rom.8:26,27). God helps us to grow internally strong in edification through praying and interceding in the Spirit, and the Spirit knows what to pray for when we’ve run out of all that we know or can do (Rom.8:26,27; 1Cor.14:2,4).

Overcoming Every Negativity with Faith in God’s Word

The Bible tells us that faith overcomes the world (1John 5:4). Now, let’s define negativity biblically. Anything that seems to be positive is not positive in the same manner that all that glitters is not gold. Any form of confidence is not sane; for self-confidence is also found in great amounts among the insane. Lucifer became the devil because of a false possibility-thinking (he thought it was possible to exalt his throne above God). Biblically speaking, faith is that which walks in the lustrous path of God’s Word; negativity is that which walks in darkness. Anything that is not illuminated by the Word of God is negativity. The children of Israel persisted till the borders of Canaan, but failed to get in because of negativity. Their negativity soon erupted in complaining, grumbling, self-pitying, lusting, frustration, and rebellion: the end result, destruction. The Bible says that God destroyed them because they didn’t have faith (Jude 1:5). He saved them out of Egypt, of course, but destroyed them in the wilderness. They never got into the Promised Land because they didn’t mix God’s good news with personal faith (Heb. 4:2). We must bring every thought and false (fear instilling, vile) imagination captive to the feet of Jesus (2Cor.10:5). We must get out of negative company (friends, movies, books, music, etc) and get into faith company; for God has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light, so that we may walk in the light as He is in the light and we may have fellowship one with another (1John 1:7).

Persistence finds answers to prayer, brings forth fruit, fulfils God’s plan, and wins every battle. But, there is a price to pay, there is pain involved, there are things to lose; but there are also greater things to gain and a greater joy more satisfying than all. So, let’s persist in order to obtain the crown.

The Good Samaritan

The Levite and the priest were so concerned about church service that they left the wounded man unattended. The Good Samaritan gave all he had to save the man in need. Jesus wants us to know that a heartless man is a neighbor of nobody - a stranger to both God and man. But the Good Samaritan who might have never preached a sermon is the one whose story God Himself shares with us to change our hearts.


The Cross


His body was broken to unite us with God
He suffered the most extreme deprivation to grant us sufficiency in Himself
He met a finite end to become the root of our infinite destiny
He wore the perishable to cloth us with the imperishable
He experienced the here to lead us into the beyond

Plurality was reconciled with Unity
Contingency found sufficiency in Necessity
Finitude found completion in Infinity
Change was absorbed into Immutability
Immanence was introduced to Transcendence

3 Pointers of the Lord's Table

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (1Cor. 11:26)

The Lord's Table points us to:
1. Our Past Roots - The Cross of Christ, His Death and Resurrection
2. Our Present Responsibility - To Proclaim His Death and Resurrection.
3. Christ's Future Return - Till He Comes Back

Empowering Consumers: National Portal of India Letter

To provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumer disputes Department of Consumer Affairs offers several services.

If you have any grievance against any Brand, Product or Service Provider please refer the following options to raise your voice and exercise your rights:
Consumers can also lodge complaints with the District Consumer ForumsState Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

An enlightened consumer is an empowered consumer. Be alert and report the discrepancy to protect your Rights.

Christ the Mediator in All Relationships

Some Principles of Judgment in Relationships
1. Not to make a personal judgment about any person without knowing the person personally. “Do not judge!” (Matt 7:1) We have no reasons to subscribe to any other person’s judgment about any other person.
2. A person is not what he/she was in the past, but what he/she is in the present – we must be reminded of the power of God that can transform a person in the split of a moment; so, the situation of even an hour ago is not proof enough to make a judgment about the present situation. To condemn anyone as a hopeless situation is to deny the love and the power of God.
3. Christ is the Mediator in all relationships for a Christian.

The third principle is central to both 1 and 2 as well. I wish to elaborate my thoughts on 3.

The Vertical-Horizontal Mediatorship of Christ

Christ not only destroyed the wall of separation between God and man, but also brought down the wall of separation between man and man (Eph.2:11-16). Thus, we not only have peace with God through Christ; but, there is also peace among men through Christ. The word “through” is ultra-significant.

The Vertical Mediatorship unites the Horizontal Relationship. This makes possible the Communion of the Spirit. God only indwells an integrated house, not a disintegrated house.

Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to God as our Father. Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to our neighbor as neighbor.

Christ is the Mediator through whom we relate to all humanity as the beloved of the Father (John 3:16).

Christ is the Mediator though whom a friend relates to a friend, a husband relates to his wife (and vice versa), a parent relates to his/her child (and vice versa), a boss relates to his/her employee (and vice versa).

Any relationship that is not mediated through Christ is Christless – it bears no fruit (John 15:5).

Any relationship that is not mediated through Christ our High Priest is vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.

When we relate through Christ, the boundaries of the relationship are defined by Christ.
When we relate through Christ, the nature of the relationship is determined by Christ.

Christ as fully God and fully man is the perfect Mediator between God and Man, and Man and Man. The Mediatorship is individual and personal; not corporate – each one has the prerogative of making the choice to submit to His High Priesthood.

Christ’s Ubiquitous Centrality

The centrality of Christ in our relationships with people is not like a dot in the center (Fig 2).
His centrality is ubiquitous intra-relationally and inter-relationally. It spreads over and stands in the gap between every relation of ours, mediating each act and response (Fig 3). He must rule over our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about others. While it is possible that one has views and opinions that are disintegrative to the Body; we can affirm that such disintegrative thoughts are neither in Christ nor from Christ nor through Christ. The centrality of Christ in relation to each of us is like the relation of each part of the body to the other through the brain (Eph.4:15,16).

The analogies are physical but Christ’s Mediatorship is personal (intra-personal, Phil 2:5; inter-personal, Rom.15:7).

Christ is central to all relationships. His Lordship covers every avenue of our life.

Related Quotes

"... the God-given reality of the neighbour with whom I live is given me through Christ; if not, my relation to him is on a wholly wrong basis. All our attempts to bridge the gulf between our neighbours and ourselves by means of natural or spiritual affinities are bound to come to grief. There is an unbridgeable gulf, and “otherness” and strangeness between us. No way of his own can lead one man to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behaviour, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbours through Him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbours" - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

"But the same Mediator who makes us individuals is also the founder of a new fellowship. He stands in the centre between my neighbour and myself. He divides, but He also unites. Thus although the direct way to our neighbour is barred, we now find the new and only real way to him—the way which passes through the Mediator." - Bonhoeffer


"When God Himself is between a husband and wife, where each person and partner in the marriage seeks to put the Lord first in their personal life, you know what will happen? They will be glued together. God is the greatest binding force in the universe. When He holds two people together, it is impossible for anybody to separate them; not the devil, not demons, not the whole world, not circumstances, not poverty, not even death. And if God is not there to hold people together, then people are held together by other forces. And the other forces are not as strong. I don't know whether you have seen an advertisement for this adhesive called Fevicol. One of the advertisements I've seen, it is pictured in some of the bottles of Fevicol that they sell where two things are stuck together and on each side an elephant is trying to pull it. And they can't separate it. When a husband and wife are joined together by God, it's even greater than that. No elephants can separate them. No demons can separate them. No human beings can separate them. But they must have God in the middle. God is a greater joiner than Fevicol, or Araldite, or anything, or superglue. God in-between a husband and a wife will join them both together in such a way that nothing can separate them.... The way God did it from the beginning is the way a marriage is held together, where the Lord is first, and where each person has a relationship with God, which is greater than their relationship with each other. In other words, if you're a husband, you must not seek to be first in your wife's affection. The Lord must be first in her affections. And if you're a wife, the Lord must be first in your husband's affection, and you must be second. And those who put the Lord first and walk in the light, the Bible says in 1 John 1:7, "If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another..." And the two are held together. - Zac Poonen, Word for the Week (August 31, 2014)



The Purpose, Task, and Rule of the Church

-The purpose of the Church is the glory of God (Eph 1:6; 5:27)
-The task of the Church is evangelization - making disciples (Matt 28:19,20)
-The rule of the Church is love - the command to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which is true piety and religion (Matt 22:37-40; James 1:27).

The purpose will be fulfilled, the task will be completed, but the rule of love will abide forever.

The purpose must not be confused with the task. The task must not be confused with the rule. The Great Commission is to preach the goodnews to all people. The Great Commandment is to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Social justice, liberation, mercy, and caring for the poor is an expression of who we are; salvation of souls, spiritual transformation, and discipleship is the reason why we are here on earth.

The Glory of the Lord - A Theological Overview

The Hebrew word for "Glory" used in the Old Testament is kabod and it signifies "glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches honour, splendour, glory, dignity, reputation, reverence". The New Testament Greek word is doxa and signifies "splendour, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace, majesty".

The Bible talks about the glory of the sun, the moon, and the stars.
"There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory." (1Co 15:40-41 NKJ)

It mentions a woman's hair as being her glory (1Cor.11:15) and says that the "glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head." (Pro 20:29 NKJ)

However, all glory of creation is momentary and fleeting. But, God's glory is eternal, immutable, and absolute.

God's glory is revealed in His:
1. General Revelation (Psalm 19:1; Rom.1:20ff). His creation declares His glory.
2. Special Revelation. God's Propositional Word (The Inscribed Word) reveals His Glory. God's Personal Word (The Incarnated Word, Jesus Christ) is the final revelation of God's Glory.

In the Bible, we find at least two aspects of the Glory of God:
1. The Essential and Intrinsic Glory of God. This is God's Glory as He is in Himself. Generally, we know it as part of the Mystery of God and the Glory that is hidden; but, revealed in the last days in the person of God's Son Jesus Christ who is the brightness of God's glory (Heb.1:3).
2. The Manifested Glory of God. This is recurrently found  in the Bible in the form of the various Theophanies in which God's glory appears as cloud, pillar of fire, and smoke.

With regard to Christ's glory Himself, we know of at least:
1. Christ's glory with the Father during His preexistence, before the Incarnation (John 17:5)
2. Christ's glory revealed in the Incarnation as the glory of God's only begotten Son (John 1:14).
3. Glories that were to follow after His passion (1Peter 1:11)
4. Christ's ascension into glory (1Tim.3:16)
5. God's glory in the Church through Christ Jesus (Eph.3:21)
6. Christ return in the glory of the Father (Matt. 16:27).
7. Christ's glory in the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:23).

We also know the Mission of Christ to be at least two-fold:
1. To glorify the Father by completing the work He gave Him to do (John 17:4)
2. To bring many sons to glory (Heb.2:10; Rom.8:18-21)

The Old and the New
We also see that the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God within us surpasses the glory revealed in the Old Covenant (2Cor.3). This doesn't mean that the glory underwent progression; but, we only saw the true glory in the face of Jesus Christ now shining in our hearts through the Spirit of God (2Cor.3:18; 4:6). Thus, it is important for one to turn to the Lord so that the veil will be removed. It is also important to seek the Lord so that our eyes be opened to know the hope of our calling and the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph 1:18,19) The Old was only a shadow that pointed to the New.

1. In the OT, the glory of God had to be seen; in the NT, it has been seen, revealed already in Jesus Christ.
2. In the OT, the glory was external; in the NT, it is internal - Christ in us, the hope of glory.
3. In the OT, the glory was geographical, it filled the temple, a place; in the NT, the glory is spiritual - we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and the glory is manifest inside of us.
4. In the OT, the glory was distant - they saw it afar off and feared to draw near; in the NT, it is closer than our breath.
5. In the OT, it was out there; in the NT, it is in here.
6. In the OT, the glory of God was a stranger - it evoked fear; in the NT, the glory of God is our friend - grounded in love.

The Manifestational Glory of God is often seen as manifested in Volume (filling the temple, and likewise) and/or Motion (moving in/out, standing), and Power (Rev.15:8; 2Thess 1;7).

We can find at least 12 distinctives of the Glory of God in the Church of the New Testament (2Corinthians 3,4):
1. Surpassing Glory (3:10)
2. Unfading Glory(3:11)
3. Open, Uncovered, Unveiled Glory (3:18; 4:3)
4. Transforming Glory (3:18)
5. Englightening Glory (4:6)
6. Humble Glory (4:7) - dwelling in earthen vessels
7. Precious Glory (4:7) - treasure
8. Invisible Glory (4:8-12) - cannot be crushed.
9. Adorable (4:15)
10. Magnificent - far outweighing (4:17)
11. Eternal (4:17)
12. Invisible (4:18)

Now, this glory is in relation to the Christian; which means that it also involves the subjective response of the Christian towards the Absolute Glory of God.

We find three aspects of God's Glory operating in the life of the believer:
1. Glory that cannot be worked for - it is a gift (John 17:22)
2. Glory that works upon us, to transform us (2Cor.3:18)
3. Glory that is worked out of us (2Cor.4:17). When we are crushed (in suffering), His glory is squeezed out.

We can classify it into the three aspects of the Salvation table:
1. Positional Glory (Gift)
2. Progressive Glory (Changed from Glory to Glory)
3. Perfect Glory (Glorification of the Saints and Manifestation of the Sons of God)

Courage (2Timothy 1): Reasons to Be Fearless

2 Tim.1:3-7

Fear is the mega killer. Fear cripples, paralyses, torments, kills.

Gary Whetstone: False Evidence Appearing Real

Roosevelt: The most fearful thing to fear is fear itself.

Timothy might have been a timid person (1Cor.16:10-11; 1Tim.4:12)

Reasons to be Fearful
1. Background: Acts 16 (Cf. Judges 6. Gideon had the same problem)
2. Age: Timothy was a youth (1Tim.4:12). Such was the problem also of Jeremiah.
3. Loneliness: Timothy was alone in Ephesus. (Cp. Elijah’s loneliness, Moses’ loneliness)
4. Context: Ephesus was a big city. There was the huge Diana’s Temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the world. Timothy was from a small town.

Reasons to be Fearless
1. A Legacy of Faith (2Tim.1:4-5). He had the heritage of saints. He was surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Heb.12:1).
2. Gift of God Inside (2Tim.1:6).
3. Spirit of Power, Love, and Self-Disciplines (2Tim.1:7).

Enemies of Courage
1. Immediate Perception. What we see, hear, sense. Threat, Panic. (e.g. The Anakites)
Conditional Association. Sensation overtakes and amnesia results. (e.g. Israelites at Red Sea)
2. Imagination. What we visualize. Pictures, images. Worry, Anxiety.
3. Intimidations. Threatening (e.g. Goliath, Rabshekeh..)

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith is “the substance of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1)

In other words, the things that we hope for are, at present, composed of and given to us as faith. Therefore, whenever we have faith we also have the things we hope for in the form of faith now.  That is why Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). He doesn’t ask them to believe that they will receive it in future but to believe that they have already received it in faith. In other words, if someone has faith in God for something, he already has that thing. I believe this is so because God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant. We may have those things later on, but if God has already said a “yes”, then there is no doubting about their reality which we experience in the form of faith. Faith itself, thus, becomes the evidence, as we shall see later, of things yet unseen. But more than just being evidence, faith is the fact of our having what we are hoping for. It is in this spirit that we know that we are the children of God, that our citizenship is in heaven, and that the devil is a defeated foe. Obviously, all these facts will be physically manifest only at the last day but they are readily known as facts by us now without any doubt.
I believe this is so because God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant.
That is faith: to know the future in the present as true. Therefore, a man of faith doesn’t live his life regretting about the past or worrying about his present but he is elated by faith to see the hopes of the distant future as a timeless reality and lives his life in accordance to the reality of those facts in the sight of God (Phil. 3:7-10). That is one reason why unbelief in God’s revelation is sin; because it attempts to falsify God (1Jn. 5:10). It attempts to deny what is true and undeniable in the sight of God. Therefore, the unbelievers cannot inherit the kingdom of God since they cannot see it and know it now. Weighing the ultimate value of spiritual faith, it has infinitely greater value than the temporary escapism of drug hallucinations, day-dream fantasies, and entertainment. These may provide temporary escape from the inescapable void of the future inherent in the blank realities of the present that the unbeliever experiences, but can’t liberate the soul in reality, engendering more vexation of spirit than peace. Life, as a result, becomes more banal, confused, and dissatisfying. But faith connects the life of the believer to the eternal realities of God and, therefore, his spiritual experiences possess the value of a far greater reality that the world can’t counterfeit.


Spoiled by God's Love

~To God my exceeding joy (Psa 43:4)~
You may not have a big car, but you're on the cruise to heaven;
You may not have gold and silver, but you're given the keys of heaven;
You may not have a good house, but you're God's House, His Temple;
You may not have many friends, but the Best Friend gave His life for you;
You may not have flown in an airplane, but you'll ride on the clouds;
You may not have crossed your village, but you'll rule over nations;
You may not have sung in a choir, but you'll sing with myriads of saints...
You may not have a computer, but you've got the Living Word of God;
You may not have a cell phone, but your voice reaches heaven (toll free);
You may not have many degrees, but you got temperature - the fire of the Spirit;
You may not have bread on the table, but you've eaten the Bread of Life...
You may not have had anybody who said that they liked you, but you got Someone who hasn't spared anything to say that He loves you.........
So, plunge into the riches of His grace, wallow in His goodness; it's okay to be spoiled by God's love. LOVE GOD, GIVE HIM YOUR BEST, SERVE HIM, HAVE A BLESSED DAY OF WORSHIP!!! GOD BLESS!!!

Evangelism, Exaltation (Worship), Edification - Thoughts

Jesus said "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible" in connection with the salvation of souls (Mar 10:27)... For God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti 2:4). No excuses allowed! If God has planted an idea of evangelism in your heart, don't stifle it with the thorns of godless excuses. He really wants all people to get saved. Focus on the demands of heaven.

~"My soul thirsts for God..." (Psa 42:2)~
If we're really thirsty, we won't stop being thirsty until we've been really satisfied... Some get thirsty when they hear an exciting sermon; then, forget about the thirst as soon as the meeting is over; some get thirsty and come to the river; but, are so afraid, ashamed, and doubtful that they come no further; but, the really thirsty plunge into the fullness of God and are baptised (immersed, filled up to overflowing measure) with the Holy Spirit.
~Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (Joh 7:37-38)~

~The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk... (1Ti 1:5,6)~
A theological curriculum that abounds in "idle talk" (speculative theology, anti-supernaturalism, Pharisaism) is bound to engender spiritual lethargy (no matter how brilliant the religious showmanship appears to be). A right study-plan of God's Word should produce purity of affections, clarity in moral discernment, and child-like sincerity in faith.

Worship & Humility (Psalm 34:2)

~"My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad." (Psalm 34:2)~

TO WORSHIP (Gk. proskuneo, Hb. shachah) means "to bow down with the face to the ground; to prostrate": this is only possible through absolute humility and self-surrender. While the mind is immersed in self-interest and self-conceit, it can never appreciate the sound of praise and worship to God. Only "the humble shall hear.. and be glad!"

When I look into the heavens, the moon and all the stars, I wonder What is man that you are mindful of him? (Psalm 8)

~"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3,4)~

There are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Now, there are 500 billion such galaxies in the universe. Imagine the number of all the stars if we multiply the 400 billion with the 500 billion; it would be 200000 billion stars. Yet, God knows each of the stars by its name - how much more precious is the life of a human created in the very image and likeness of God. And, then we are only about 7 billion people on this planet. We are precious!


Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:29,30).

God cares for the sparrows; how much more He cares for us. He says that even the hairs of our head are numbered.

How precious are we to God?

We can try, perhaps just come close, to understand that if we look at the Lord Jesus Christ. He said that He came into the world to seek and save those who were lost. We are so precious that He doesn't want any of us to be lost in our sins.

Jesus said that He came to serve and give His life a ransom for many. He death on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice, was the price He paid to save us from the consequences of sin - that was eternal separation from God and all His goodness. Now, we need to only turn to God and He is there with His arms outspread to take us in because the stains of sin have all been washed away by the love of Jesus Christ.

He allowed humanity to hate Him to the core by allowing them to crucify Him. On the cross, He embraced us despite our rebellion with His infinite love; He put an end to all enmity; He removed every writ of condemnation. He gave Himself in the Ultimate Sacrifice.


Because, we are the Pearl of Great Price that God doesn't want to lose. We are precious in His sight.

Yet, we devalue ourselves by separating ourselves from our Source. Our value is not intrinsic in ourselves; it is derived from who we are in Him, because of Him.

The Psalmist talks about our God-given value in Psalm 8:5:
"You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor."


The Psalmist also mentions the original purpose of God for humanity:

"You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas." (Psalm 8:6-8)

God created us to be winners, to be victorious, to be wise rulers of His world. But, sadly, how humanity has turned the earth into ruins. We may have excelled in material civilization; but, the earth lies polluted and poisoned under our hands.

The Bible says that the creation now groans in agony, waiting for its redemption, i.e. the manifestation of the sons of God, the ones who will bear the scepter in the world to come. (Romans 8)

In this life now, the vision glows warmly in the lives of those who have turned their hearts to God and have received the earnest of the Holy Spirit. He groans within us to bring forth in us what He wants us to be.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30).


Therefore, the Bible reminds us to remember God in the days of our youth (Eccl.12:1), to make the best use of time for the days are evil (Eph.5:16), and to listen to the voice of the Spirit today when He talks to us (Heb.3:7,8).

We have been given only one life; it is our vantage point. What we decide today determines our destiny tomorrow. Let us not waste it; let us seek Him, His will, and glorify His name by fulfilling His desire for each one of us.

There is no limit to what we can do if we trust in the Lord. God has ordained strength even out of the mouth of babes and infants.

The Psalmist could say:
"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength..." (Psalm 8:1,2)

I AM THAT I AM (Ex. 3:14)

This is the Name by which God introduced Himself to Moses. The exact passage is:

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. (Ex.3:13,14)

This is the Name by which only God can introduce Himself.

If somebody asked me who I am, I might answer by telling that I am the son of so and so, or that my profession is such and such, or that I work at such and such, etc. My identity is dependent on a host of other things. The technical term is "contingency". My identity is contingent upon a number of other factors.

However, God's identity is not dependent on anything else. He is who He is! As Ravi Zacharias said, "God is the only being in existence, the reason for whose existence lies within himself." God's identity is absolute, independent, and final - He is the Beginning and End of all things. In the ultimate sense, in fact, it is from Him that all things derive their particular identity.

"For in him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

He is self-sufficient, self-contained, and self-satisfied eternally - in need of nothing. He is the great I AM!

The Unique Christ - IV - The Song of the Bride

The Song of the Bride
What does He lack that I should seek another?
I desire nothing apart from Him.
What is that desire that is better than the joy He gives?
I find my deepest enjoyment only in Him.
My Lover is altogether lovely,
Brighter than the morning star,
Fairer than the nocturnal moon,
Stronger than the sun at noon;
My Lover is indescribably lovely –
And, see, He has chosen me!
When my heart began to wander after the fleeting shadows,
Love drew me back to His Arms of peace;
When my thoughts were all shaken by fears of tomorrows,
I was gently reminded that I am His.
I cleave to the One whose breath is my life.
He speaks and I’m filled with overwhelming joy.
I seek no other, He’s my joy consummate;
His love is unsurpassable; His kindness, ultimate!

The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and" we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.....

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever. 
~A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God~

The Unique Christ - I - The Song of the LambThe Unique Christ - II – The Song of the ClayThe Unique Christ – III – The Song of the Disciple

IRENAEUS (c.130-c.200)

Adversary of the Gnostics

  • Doctrine of Christ’s Incarnation, Union of Natures, and Recapitulation theory of Atonement.

  • The church is one and universal, and it confesses one and the same faith throughout the world. The common faith is confessed at baptism, at which one act the believer receives forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit.

  • “Canon of truth” referred to the “rule of faith”, the content of the apostolic preaching in summary form that served as a norm for interpreting Scripture and determining the apostolic faith.

  • Took church at Rome as the representative church in his argument for apostolic succession (from one teacher to the next; not, from ordainer to ordained). The apostolic faith was preserved at Rome.

  • Affirmed the reality of the physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist against the Gnostic depreciation of material elements.

  • Mary, in reversing the disobedience of Eve, found a place in Irenaeus’s doctrine of recapitulation.

JUSTIN MARTYR (c. 100- c.165)

Apologist and Martyr.

“For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death … perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure” (2Apol.12)

• One of the first highly educated Gentiles to use his learning to defend Christianity even before the emperor himself.
o His writings use citations from Euripides, Xenophon, and above all Plato to strengthen his case for Christianity.

• Opposed rival teacher Marcion who taught that the New Testament contradicted the Old Testament.
• Logos-theology: Even before the coming of Christ, the logos was manifested partially in such Greek philosophers as Socrates and Heraclitus, and in such Hebrews as Abraham, Ananias, Azarias, Misael, and Elijah (1st Apology). Plato’s truth was dependent on Moses (chs.59-60).
o The seed of God’s logos (logos spermatikos) was disseminated to all men in their God-given capacity to respond to truth. “Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians” (2Apol. 13:4)
o There were Christians before Christ, such as Socrates and Heraclitus (1Apol. 46:3)
o All Theophanies in OT were Christophanies “For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither comes to any place… but remains in His own place…” (Dial.127:2)

• Fullest Accounts of Christian Rituals including baptism and Eucharist (1st Apology 61-67)
• On the basis of Isaiah 53:2 declared that Jesus was not of a comely appearance. (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew)
• Used the concept of typology in finding Christ prefigured in many other OT passages. (e.g. Noah’s ark – wood of the cross; Leah – synagogue; Rachel – church; Joshua – Jesus…) (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew)

According to an accurate account complies in the 3rd century, Justin was brought to trial with six other believers c.165. He answered his interrogator simply and went courageously to his death.

John D. Woodbridge (ed), Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988)

Ignatius of Antioch (d. c. 98-117)

Fed to lions during the reign of Trajan (AD 98-117). Wrote 6 letters en route to Rome.

• First to use the word Christianismos (Christianity, Ign.Rom 3:3; Magn.10:3)
• Opposed Docetism (Trallians 9;11-2; Smyr.1-3)
• First to stress the concept of “monepiscopacy” (or monarchical episcopacy): a single bishop in a given city presides over the 3-fold ministry of (i) bishop (ii) presbyters (iii) deacons
o The bishop presides in the place of God (Magn.6:1; Tral.3:1)
o Submission to bishop is necessary to achieve henosis (“unity,” Ign.Eph.5:1).
o Even when a bishop is youthful as at Magnesia (Magn.3:1) or is silent as at Ephesus (Ign.Eph.5:1) or at Philadelphia (Philad.1:1), they are not to be despised, for silence is a characteristic of God Himself.

• First to use the word katholikos (“universal”) of the church (Smyr 8:2) “Set on unity” (Philad.8:1). Urges Polycarp (1:2) “care for unity your concern for there is nothing better”.
• First to maintain that either the bishop or his authorized representative has to be present for a Eucharist to be valid (Smyr.8:1). He called the gathering of Christians to celebrate it the pharmakon athanasias, “the medicine of immortality” (Eph.20:2). He also began the association of the Eucharist with the concept of a sacrificial altar, thusiasterion (Magn.17:2; Philad.4:1)
• He begged the Romans not to prevent his martyrdom (Ign.Rom.1:2, 2:1). He proclaimed: “Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ.” (Ign.Rom.4:1).

We are informed of his martyrdom in Rome in the reign of Trajan (c. A.D. 108) by Polycarp, Ireneaeus, Eusebius, and Jerome. Later legendary accounts from the 4th and 5th centuries (the Martyrium Colbertinum and Antiochenum) relate that his bones were collected and brought bak to Antioch. These relics were later brought back to Rome in the 6th or 7th century.

John D. Woodbridge (ed), Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988)

Waiting on the Lord - Sermon Outline

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Psa 27:14 NKJ)
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31 NKJ)
  • If you're growing weaker; it means you have not been waiting.
  • If you're afraid; it means you have not been waiting.
  • If you're becoming weary; it means you have not been waiting.
Do not say, "I will recompense evil"; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you. (Pro 20:22 NKJ)
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD. (Lam 3:25-26 NKJ)
  • If we try to hurry things; we end up aborting things.
  • If we are not experiencing the goodness of God, we have not been seeking Him.
  • If we are not quietly resting and hoping in Him, He can't save us.
For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. (Psa 37:9 NKJ)
Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. (Psa 37:34 NKJ)
  • Those who wait on the Lord walk in the path of righteousness.
  • Those who wait on the Lord inherit the earth.
  • Those who wait on the Lord hold on to God's way and to His word. They are exalted.

Job: The Friends of Job Pursue the Will of the Devil to Find Fault with Job (3rd Round: Chs 21-31)

  • Job wants his friends to bear with him till he has finished speaking; for his complaint is not against man. He asks that if their argument was right why do the wicked live and prosper though they care nothing about God. If someone says that God will punish the children for the father's sin; how reasonable would that be, because they won't mind what happens to others after them. (Ch21)

  • Eliphaz is now very blunt and accusatory. He tells Job that his righteousness mean nothing because Job's wickedness is great. He accuses him of exploiting the poor, showing no compassion to the needy, and oppressing the widows and orphans.He interprets Job's questions as intending to say that God can't see the suffering of man. He calls Job to repentance. (Ch22)

  • Job wishes to see God and talk with Him, because he believes He will hear him (Perhaps, expressing his discouragement as well that his friends couldn't understand him). He has faith in God and is sure that though he can't see Him, He holds him and after He has tested him, he shall come out like gold. Yet, that doesn't mean that Job is not terrified because of the present situation. He observes again that the wicked do prosper in this short life on earth. Somehow, the argument seems to indicate that a man's character cannot be judged by the conditions he falls into (or God allows) in this life. (Chs23-24)

  • Bildad is very short this time. All he can say is that it is impossible for man to be righteous before God. Thus, in some way or the other, Job is not blameless. It is interesting that the friends of Job are doing the same thing that the devil wanted to do against Job - they try to find some fault with him. The irony is that the very suffering he is going to was not because he was blameworthy; but, because he was blameless and God wanted to prove that. (Ch25)

  • Job makes the longest reply this time. He remarks about how powerless their counsel has been and responds in strong poetic words that the intricacies of divine design in nature exhibit merely the outskirts of God's ways. He says, "How small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?" Job makes some remarkable scientific statements in this discourse. Job affirms that he will not give in to their false condemnation of him- to their lies. His conscience is clear. Job knows about the final doom of the wicked. He also observes that true wisdom is found only in God; the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. Job knows that and remembers that the fear of the Lord ruled his life and blessed his life in the former days. He recounts his days of kindness and mercy and how he was honored and esteemed by people. But, now his physical humiliation has led to rejection. He is shocked because he had not expected this to happen to him. He confesses his life of integrity, justice, and mercy. His practice was governed by the fear of the Lord. He would willingly submitted to a rightful indictment; but, he cannot submit to the false accusations of his friends. Chapter 31 ends with the words "The words of Job are ended." (Chs26-31)

  • Zophar doesn't answer anymore.


Job: You...make my humiliation an argument against me (Round 2: Chs12-20)

"If indeed you magnify yourselves against me, and make my humiliation an argument against me...." (Job 19:5)

It is sad to see that the friends who had come to comfort Job start ending up trying to convict and condemn him. The pain is aggravated by their aggressiveness to reproach Job.
  • Job remarks that what they are saying isn't something very new. His friends still can't relate with his pain. He doesn't accept their accusations and says that they all whitewash with lies and are worthless physicians; it would have been better if they would keep silent; why should they be speaking falsely for God. He asks God why He is hiding His face and counting him as His enemy. He feels he is left alone to mourn for himself. (Chs12-14)
  • Eliphaz accuses Job of speaking out of his own sinfulness. He seems to be irritated that Job didn't agree to look inferior than them in knowledge, and retorts "Are you the firstborn of the human race?....What do you know that we do not know?" It seems that Eliphaz was quite older than Job because he remarks, "The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, those older than your father." The softer Eliphaz has turned a bit aggressive here. He quotes the ancients as affirming that the wicked are the ones who perish. (Ch15)
  • Job again replies that he has heard many such things and laments of how miserable comforters they all are. They still are not relating to his pain. He feels that God has become his enemy and has abandoned him to misery. Job is extremely broken because of his suffering. (Chs16-17)
  • Bildad seems to feel irritated that Job is not acknowledging their wisdom. "Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?" he asks. His statement is that it is the wicked who lose everything and are completely destroyed. (Ch18)
  • Job feels greatly tormented by his friends who find an opportunity to magnify themselves against him in his humiliation. Job continues to describe his agony. His cry to them is summed up in these words, "Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me, never satisfied with my flesh?" (Ch19)
  • Zophar starts out by stating that the prosperity of the wicked is short-lived. Many of the things which Job's friends are saying are true; but, they are applying it to a wrong person and to a wrong situation. It seems here, in Zophar's case, that Job's friends have progressed from simple speculation to some kind of belief of what sins Job might have done. For instance, Zophar says that the wicked will be destroyed because "they have crushed and abandoned the poor, they have seized a house that they did not build." Perhaps, it's similar to the elder brother in the Prodigal Son's story who accuses his brother of wasting all the money on harlots. Zophar's final words seem to try to threaten Job. All attempts to comfort are forsaken because of the aggression provoked by Job's refusal to admit that their theological evaluation of his condition is right. (Ch20)

Idle Words Vs Effectual Words (Quote) - A. A. Allen

From A.A.Allen's, The Price of God's Miracle Working Power

"Every idle (unprofitable) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Mat 12:36.

Nothing more quickly and thoroughly reveals the lack of real spirituality than does foolish talking, jesting, and IDLE WORDS. There is nothing that will more surely label the shallow Christian as one who has no concern for others, nor any burden for the lost and suffering than his perpetual flow of foolish talking, and nonsensical joking. Although in the eyes of many, this seems to be a small matter, there are few spiritual diseases more devastating, nor more contagious.

God classes foolish talking along with some very unattractive companions, -- "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints: neither filthiness, nor FOOLISH TALKING, nor JESTING, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." Eph 5:3-4.

Jesus himself declared, "--Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, FOOLISHNESS: all these EVIL THINGS come from within, and DEFILE the man." Mar 7:21-23. Foolishness, then will defile a man, the same as fornication! There are many who would never kill nor steal, but will even enter the pulpit, and publicly and unashamed, reveal through their words that they are defiled within. I have never yet found a man whom the Lord is using mightily for the deliverance of the sick and sinful whose mouth is filled with foolishness. They may entertain the people, and get a few hearty laughs in response to their jokes and nonsense, but when it comes to really being able to bring deliverance, or to bring a help and blessing when a real need arises, THEY HAVEN'T GOT THE GOODS! They may even try at times to put off the usual character of lightness for a little while, and to preach or teach about deep things, but to those who hear them there is no ring of sincerity, no real persuasion that they speak as the oracles of God. They are like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

I do not wish to infer that God's people should go around with a long face all the time, having no joy. God's people are the happiest people in the world. God has commanded, "Rejoice evermore." 1Th 5:16. God's people are expected to be so happy that they will shout, sing, clap their hands, dance, laugh, and even leap for joy. A few scriptures which show these things are the following:

"Make a JOYFUL NOISE unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with GLADNESS: come before his presence with SINGING." Psa 100:1-2.

"O CLAP YOUR HANDS, all ye people: SHOUT unto God with the voice of triumph." Psa 47:1.

"Let them praise his name in the DANCE: let them SING praises unto him with the TIMBREL and HARP." Psa 149:3.

"David DANCED before the Lord with all his might." 2Sa 6:14.

"Then was our mouth filled with LAUGHTER, and our tongue with SINGING: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are GLAD." Psa 126:2-3.

"Rejoice in that day, and LEAP FOR JOY." Luk 6:23.

For the Joy of the Lord is thy strength." Neh 8:10.

The Christian who doesn't have JOY is a weak christian, a poor representative of the faith he claims, and will probably soon be completely backslidden, and seeking his joy somewhere else.

This joy which brings strength is rejoicing in the Lord. It is not rejoicing in the power of our own strength, nor of our own wit. "But now rejoice ye in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil." Jam 4:16.

Many who are guilty of the sin of foolish, excessive, and unprofitable talking will at first be tempted to brand me a fanatic, and to rise to the defense of their pet sin. They will declare that it is a mistake to take things too seriously. For this, they can find no scriptural defense. The rescuing of the lost, and deliverance of the suffering, is a serious matter, requiring the whole heart and mind of the one who is consecrated to the task. Many have reserved the right to talk as much, and in whatever manner, they choose. They would rather have their jokes, foolish jesting and nonsense than to have the power of God in their lives. If this is your case, God will have to go on without YOU.

God has chosen to work through the spoken word of representatives in the world. When Jesus was here, he said to his disciples, "The WORDS that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE." Joh 6:63. What are your words?

James compares the speech coming out of our mouths to water coming from a fountain. (Jam 3:10-11) He insists that a fountain should give forth the same kind of water all the time -- not sweet water part of the time, and bitter water part of the time. Then he adds, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good CONVERSATION his works with meekness of wisdom." Jam 3:13.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, BUT THAT WHICH IS GOOD TO THE USE OF EDIFYING." Eph 4:29.

Words which are not good to the use of edifying are IDLE (vain, empty, or unprofitable) words. They are WASTED words. God has given to the believer's WORD an authority and power which makes it precious. Precious things should not be wasted.

Jesus said, "Whosoever (that means you!) shall SAY unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAITH shall come to pass, he shall have WHATSOEVER HE SAITH." Mar 11:23. This gives to US the power to speak with authority, even to the extent of controlling inanimate things. This is the same power which Jesus used when he spoke to the wind and the sea, and the storm was gone. (Mar 4:39.) It is the same power which Moses used when he spoke to the rock in the desert, and water gushed forth. (Num 20:8.) Joshua used the same power when he commanded the sun and the moon to stand still. (Jos 10:12-13) Jesus demonstrated the use of this power when he spoke to the fig tree, saying, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever." (Mar 11:14) He told the tree to die, AND it died! It was on this occasion that he expressly delegated this same power and authority to ANY who BELIEVE.

It is to men and women whose words can be with such power -- whose spoken words can bring deliverance from every oppression of satan -- salvation for the soul and healing for the body -- that Jesus warned that IDLE, WASTED, WORDS should be brought into judgement. Words which should have been life and deliverance! Words which should have been bread to starving souls! But words which were nothing but chaff! In the face of a world of dying, starving souls and suffering humanity, witholding the one source of life and deliverance, and offering stones for bread! Sending forth from the fountain which should give forth the PURE WATER OF LIFE a stream of froth and foolishness, which is, if not poisonous, utterly unattractive and unprofitable! What will you say to the judge in that day, when our deeds and WORDS are judged by the standard of the word of God, in which we are exhorted, "If any man SPEAK, let him SPEAK AS THE ORACLES (utterance or speech) OF GOD." 1Pe 4:11.

Those who insist upon having their foolishness at any cost, are so like the group of young ladies seen in a vision by a consecrated saint of God, who were too busy making daisy chains to warn the people who were hurrying by that their steps were leading to an awful precipice, where they would quickly fall over, and be dashed to death upon the rocks below. This is far from the spirit of Christ, who HAD COMPASSION UPON THE MULTITUDES.

I do not intent to infer that there is no place for humor in the conversation of the Christian, or even in the preaching of the Word. Many times, our speech or preaching can be humorous, and yet sanctified. Often, a bit of humor, especially when used to illustrate a point, can be very profitable, in arousing the attention and interest of the hearers, and in driving home the message of the gospel, so that souls are aroused and turned to God. So used, it is NOT idle, nor unprofitable.

The reason so many Christians speak so many idle words, is that they speak SO MANY WORDS! They talk so much that they have no time to think, and no time to listen to the voice of God. Foolish words come so easily. We do not even have to think of them. We can listen to any conversation, anywhere, and come away with a large supply of them which can be produced by repetition. The spirit of the age is an ever increasing spirit of levity, which makes serious thinking difficult for both sinner and saint. It is typified by the oft repeated saying, "Don't take life too seriously. After all you'll never get out of it alive." In such an age it takes real effort and consecration to "Study to be quiet", and to wait before God long enough to have words to speak which are the words of God, and which can have power. But the wise man will do it. "He that hath knowlege, spareth his words." Pro 17:27. "But the mouth of fools FEEDETH ON FOOLISHNESS." Pro 15:14.

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin." Pro 10:19.

A fool's voice is known BY MULTITUDE OF WORDS." Ecc 5:3.

Holiness is necessary for power, as has already been shown in previous chapters of this book. And holiness is not complete until it has also taken posession of the tongue. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy IN ALL MANNER OF CONVERSATION." 1Pe 1:15.

I beseech you, brethren, for the sake of the lost and suffering who will never find deliverance UNLESS YOU MAKE YOURSELF READY TO TAKE IT TO THEM, give this matter your prayerful consideration. Consecrate yourself to God afresh. Present to him YOUR BODY, a living sacrifice, AND DO NOT FORGET NOR NEGLECT TO INCLUDE YOUR TONGUE, YOUR LIPS, YOUR VOICE!

"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt." Col 4:6.

"Keep that which is committed to thy trust (the power to speak in God's stead, and bring deliverance), avoiding profane (not holy) and vain (empty, worthless) babblings." 1Ti 6:20.

It is my prayer that all who read this book will put all on the altar, and get in a place where they can carry a burden for the lost and suffering: that they will cast aside ALL those things which hinder the power of God in their lives. God can go on without you. But if YOU go on with God, you must go His way. Put foolishness aside NOW! Get out of the eddy and into the stream of God's power.

The PROMISES are for you, if you will only believe them, meet God's conditions, and PAY THE PRICE.

[All emphasis in bold, mine - D.M.]

Job: Attempts to Justify God Can End up in Bad Theology - I

The case of Job and his three friends reveals that even attempts to justify God can end up in bad theology and actions that are gravely displeasing to Him. God is just, of course; but, suffering doesn't always mean "punishment for sin". Jesus made that clear to His disciples when He said that the man who was born blind was born so, not because of his sin or anybody's sin, but in order that God's works may be revealed in him (John 9:3). It would have been better for Job's friends to shut their mouths about what they didn't know instead of imagining stuff and trying to find explanation for something that was difficult in such situations. We are called to mourn with those who mourn (Rom.12:15); that is much better in most cases. Only someone who has gone through the pain that Job went through could grasp the agony that is present in each word he utters. But, it is written for us so that we can understand the patience of Job.

Chs 1-11 (First Round)
  • Job is introduced by the author as blameless and righteous before God; but, Satan wants a trial of faith. (Chs1-2). Satan believes that Job will curse God if God will hurt him. God allows Satan to hurt Job.
  • Job's agony is so great that he wishes he was not born. He finds no purpose in suffering. (Ch3)
  • Eliphaz tries to interpret Job's suffering as divine chastisement and finds in it a hope for the future. He cites his experience with some spirit who rhetorically reveals that man cannot be righteous before God - the argument seems to veer in support of sin as originating from human weakness or finitude. (Chs4-5)
  • Job is discouraged that his friends can't relate to his experience of pain; instead of comforting him; they try to theorize things. He cries out to God for relief. (Chs6-7)
  • Bildad tries to argue that God cannot be unjust - history teaches that; tradition attests to that.(Ch8)
  • Job asks, "But how can a mortal be just before God?" He still can't understand why he's going through all this. He asks God to leave him alone before he dies. (Chs9-10)
  • Zophar is vexed because Job can't see it and keeps babbling his pain. There is some sense in all this, he thinks. However, God is so great and man so small that it's difficult to know the reason behind everything that is happening. But, Job can be sure that God is exacting of him less than his guilt deserves. He encourages Job to repent.

Yessu Mera Aur Mein Unade Rogan Ni Sakhiyon - Punjabi Popular Folk Chris...


Understanding Lust & the Path of Deliverance (Teaching Outline)

Lust is not pent up energy that must be released; instead, lust is like a beast that must be starved to death. As the starvation grows acute, the beast will look desperate, but after the final drought of hunger unsatisfied, the beast will be dead -- it may be revived, nevertheless, at the smell of fresh water....

Characteristics of Lust

  1. Various (2 Tim.3:6)
  2. Harmful (1 Tim. 6:9)
  3. Foolish (1 Tim.6:9)
  4. Deceitful (Eph.4:22)
  5. Fleshly (1Pet.2:11)
  6. Worldly (Tit.2:12)
  7. Ungodly (Jude 1:18)

Thrust of Lust

  1. Lusts of Flesh (Eph.2:3)
  2. Lust of Heart (Rom.1:24)
  3. Lust of Eyes (1John 2:16)

Historiography of Lust

  1. Lusts of Men (1Pet.4:2)
  2. Lusts of your Fathers (John 8:44)
  3. Former Lusts (1Pet.1:14)
  4. Youthful Lusts (2Tim.2:22)

Experience of Lust

  1. Temptation of Lust (James 1:14)
  2. Drawn away by Lust (James 1:14)
  3. Enticed by Lust (James 1:14)
  4. Conception of Lust (James 1:15)
  5. Looking in order to Lust - Active (Matt.5:28)
  6. Burning in Lust (Rom.1:27)
  7. Corruption of Lust (2Pet.1:4)

Consequence of Lust

  1. Blindness (2Pet.1:9)
  2. Bondage (2Pet.2:19,20)
  3. Blasphemy (2Pet. 2:2)
  4. Sin (James 1:15)
  5. Death (James 1:15; Rom.8:13)

Deliverance from Lust

  1. Flesh crucified with lusts - The Fact (Gal.5:24)
  2. Partakers of Divine (Sinless) Nature by Promise (2Pet.1:4; 1John 3:9)
  3. Do not allow sin to be king by obeying its lusts (Rom.6:12)
  4. Put on Christ (Rom.13:14)
  5. Make no provision for the flesh (Rom.13:14)
  6. Flee lusts (2Tim.2:22)
  7. Abstain from lusts (1Pet.2:11)
  8. Mortify deeds of the body by the Spirit (Rom.8:13; Col.3:5)
  9. Present body to the Lord as living sacrifice (Rom.6:13; 12:1-3)
  10. Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2Tim.2:22)
  11. Walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16)
  12. Hold on to the Word of Life (Phil.2:16)
  13. Possess body in sanctification and honor (1Thess.4:4)

Benefits of Overcoming

  1. Fulfillment of God's will (Rom.12:1-3)
  2. Fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23)
  3. Fearlessness and Confidence toward God (1John 3:21)
  4. Rewards in Christ's Kingdom (Rev.2-3)

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Explorations of Faith - II: Beyond Uncertainty

Beyond UncertaintyAphorisms from Volume I
  1. Faith in God is of ultimate kind and is, therefore, both unique and absolute. Since it is not concerned with contingent things of this world it is also not like the belief in the contingent things of the world.

  2. Belief in God is foundational to our common-sense assumptions about this world as both moral and rational. Anyone who denies God must also deny the existence of absolute morals and absolute truth, for both lose their foundation if their foundation is found within this world itself. It would be like trying to place a ball on that ball itself.

  3. The unchanging nature and character of God is the foundation of true morality and His veracity is the foundation of all reasonability and truth.

  4. We believe in the present what we hope about the future; the future being invisible at the present. The future possesses the goal and meaning that integrates our present life and gives us a reason to move forward.

  5. False hope is hoping in things that are unreal in the sight of God; for instance, the hope of the demons to defeat God. This is a false hope because it is not based on a reality sanctioned by God. Their faith, therefore, lacks a solid basis and their hope has no real anchor. It is also, therefore, both useless and dangerous. Obviously, false faith leads to false hopes.

  6. Job did not flicker because he knew that though circumstances might change, the nature and being of God is beyond the shadow of a change, and that his faith was anchored not in the appearance of circumstances but in the constancy of God. His faith was not a response of the flesh that sought physical motivation to go on.
Faith is the ground or basis of things hoped for
  1. The faith that is not based on God’s Word is not foundational about the things of God. It leads to somewhere else. But the faith that is connected to God’s Word is the ground for experiencing the things of God.

  2. The faith of God is an act directly related to God and not this space-time world; therefore, it pierces through space-time and catches hold of the hem of God’s garment unleashing His power and blessings in this temporal frame.

  3. An act of faith connects to the will and power of God. Therefore, Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible to you” (Mt. 17:20); for through faith what is possible to God is also possible to the believer.

  4. The experience of faith is the experience of divine truth. This is very obvious in the Scriptural assertion that the natural or carnal man cannot receive the things of God (1Cor. 2:14). They have no personal significance for him. There were many people who saw and heard Jesus during His physical ministry in this world; however, it was very few who really believed and, consequently, experienced Him.

  5. Knowledge is composed of truth; therefore, knowing something means also to believe in the truth about that thing.

  6. False belief doesn’t constitute knowledge; it constitutes ignorance and deception. True belief alone, therefore, is knowledge.

  7. Faith is the basis of spiritual experiences.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for
  1. Whenever we have faith we also have the things we hope for in the form of faith now. That is why Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). He doesn’t ask them to believe that they will receive it in future but to believe that they have already received it in faith.

  2. God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant.

  3. That is faith: to know the future in the present as true.

  4. A man of faith doesn’t live his life regretting about the past or worrying about his present but he is elated by faith to see the hopes of the distant future as a timeless reality and lives his life in accordance to the reality of those facts in the sight of God (Phil. 3:7-10).

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for
  1. God is the foundation and terminal of faith since He is the Beginning and the End of all reality; for everything consists and subsists by Him (Isa. 41:4; 48:12; Col. 1:7; Rev. 21:6).

  2. This world cannot be the final source and end of faith since it is contingent and therefore not final in itself.

  3. Since we ourselves are part of this world, to trust in this world would amount to trusting in nothing (objective); for, it would be like a man trying to walk on his boots.

  4. It is the reality of God where the world finally collides and comes to an end. There is nothing conceivable by reason, experience, or faith beyond Him. Therefore, the faith of God is final.

  5. Since this faith is distinctive and final, being based upon the absolute and unchanging nature of God, this assurance is also unshakeable and final. That is the reason why a man of faith is at peace with himself; he is not alarmed at the appearances of contradicting situations because he knows that the thing he is hoping for is assured in the sight of God (Isa. 26:3).

  6. Fear is a sign of unbelief; that is the reason why cowards cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Rev. 21:8).

  7. The assurance of hope is stronger than hope alone. For in it hope is combined with confidence.

Faith is the Evidence of Things Unseen
  1. Faith doesn’t need further evidence for its existence than its presence itself. Since it is the final ground of the things hoped for, it is also the evidence of the things hoped for. It is not based on anything else. It is the basis for everything that we know and experience.

  2. Attempts to base faith on rational or empirical proofs, i.e. on logic or experience, adds nothing to it. These may help to justify beliefs but cannot be the source of faith. One must not search for evidence for faith. Faith itself must be seen as the evidence for everything else.

  3. There are, however, certain criteria to measure the authenticity of such faith since this could easily lead to superstition and false belief: (a) The believer must possess a sound mind, (b) Faith must be open to reason; in other words, open to verification and falsification or, at least, justification, (c) This faith must be connected with righteousness and peace; this is so because the faith of God cannot contradict the character of God, (d) It must not contradict the written Word of God, i.e., the Scriptures, which reveal God.

  4. Faith as voluntary act is the precursor to knowledge as Jesus said, “If any man desires to do His will (God's pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority” (Jn. 7:17, Amplified). Thus, the will-to-believe is the condition for the knowledge of truth. If anyone is unwilling to accept the truth, then all evidence is meaningless (perhaps detestable) to him.

  5. Faith is a choice, it is not automatically produced.

  6. When one encounters the revelation of God one has the choice of accepting it or rejecting it. The nature of both the encounter and choice is spiritual and not rational or physical. Therefore, the choice is also a moral one.

  7. The world has no substitute for the faith of God.

Lead us not into temptation (Matt 6:13) - With Quotes from John Gilland William Gurnall

This short prayer phrase contains a number of powerful facts:
1. "Lead us" - The fact that God doesn't abandon us in the hour of temptation. When He promised to be with us to the end of time, He stays with us even in the very moment of temptation. Unless He is there with us, He cannot lead. The prayer doesn't say "Send us not into temptation." But, it says, "Lead us not into temptation" because, even in the hour of temptation, the Lord is there with us to deliver us from falling. Now, this doesn't mean that it is God who tempts man - no, not at all; because the Bible tells us that He doesn't tempt anyone (James 1:13). But, He allows us to be tempted in order that we might be strong.. but, only that we may be strong. He doesn't want us to fall into the hands of evil in any case. So, He is there to make the way of escape that we may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

2. "us" - Temptation is common to all men. We do not fall into uncommon temptation. So, we must be aware that God's saints go through trials and temptations; and we need to pray for them as well.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man" (1 Cor.10:13)
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." (1Pet. 5:8-9)
"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18)

3. "not" - It is a powerful negative, and the only one in the Prayer taught by our Lord. It unravels the saint's desire to stay away from evil, because of the fear of the Lord and His love for Him. It is a prayer that God wants to answer, because He sees here that we hate evil so much that we hate to come near it, or even pass by it; far be it to fall into its hands. There are many who do not see temptation as temptation at all, because they do not see evil as evil. The drunkard, for instance, doesn't see the wine shop as a temptation to drink; he only cherishes it as an opportunity to drink. He doesn't have the struggle until he is delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of God's Dear Son. This prayer in negative is the other side of the coin of the fact that "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal.5:24) The moment we grab His hand stretched towards us in the mire of sin that we are in, His strong hands grab hold of us and pull us out of any imaginable vileness that we have been in.

"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still" - Betsie Ten Boom

4. "into" - or into the hands of temptation; so that God abandons us into the hands of the enemy. No, we don't want that. Even if we have to go through temptation we do not want to fall into the hands of temptation. And, His promise is with us:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." (Isa 43:1-2)

In some cases, divine abandonment does occur; especially, where there has been willful rebellion. So, God rejected Saul in the Old Testament because he rebelled against God's grace over his life. Similarly, in the New Testament, we find Paul talking about God abandoning the gentiles who suppress the truth of God by unrighteousness.

"because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened...Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever...For this reason God gave them up to vile passions." (Rom. 1:21-26)

However, to those who can pray with earnestness "Lead us not into temptation", He is more than willing that no temptation will overtake us "except such as is common to man"; and, He is there to keep us as the Word promises us, because we belong to Him:

"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (1Jn 5:18-19)

"the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations..." (2Pet. 2:9)

5. "temptation" - This is the main thing that the Christian dreads. Jesus said, "Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!" (Matt. 18:7, ESV). He also instructed us: "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:13, ESV). His antidote, again, is simple: "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation." (Matt.26:41). If we are not watching and if we are not praying, we will naturally enter into temptation. But, when we watch and pray, let us also watch in the way that we can pray "Lead us not into temptation."

John Gill

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,.... Such a petition as this is often to be observed in the prayers of the Jews (a),

אל תביאני, "do not lead me" neither into sin, nor into transgression and iniquity, ולא לידי נסיון, "nor into temptation", or "into the hands of temptation";''

that is, into the power of it, so as to be overcome by it, and sink under it; in which sense the phrase is to be understood here. We are not here taught to pray against temptations at all, or in any sense, for they are sometimes needful and useful; but that they may not have the power over us, and destroy us. There are various sorts of temptations. There are the temptations of God; who may be said to tempt, not by infusing anything that is sinful, or by soliciting to it; but by enjoining things hard and disagreeable to nature, as in the case of Abraham; by afflicting, either in body or estate, of which Job is an instance; by permitting and letting loose the reins to Satan, and a man's own corruptions; by withdrawing his presence, and withholding the communications of his grace; and sometimes by suffering false prophets to arise among his people: his ends in them are on his own account, the display of his power; grace, wisdom, and faithfulness; on account of his Son, that his saints might be like him, and he might have an opportunity of exercising his power and pity: and on his people's account, that they might be humbled; their faith and patience tried; might see their weakness, and need of Christ, and be excited to prayer and watchfulness. There are also the temptations of Satan; which lie in soliciting to evil, suggesting hard and blasphemous thoughts of God, and filling with doubts and fears; which are cunningly formed by him, and are very afflictive. There are moreover the temptations of the world, which arise from poverty and riches, from the men of the world, the lusts of it, and from both its frowns and flatteries: add to all this, that there are temptations arising from a man's own heart. Now, in this petition, the children of God pray, that they may be kept from every occasion and object of sinning; from those sins they are most inclined to; that God would not leave them to Satan, and their own corrupt hearts; nor suffer them to sink under the weight of temptations of any sort; but that, in the issue, they might have a way to escape, and be victorious over all.

William Gurnall

"Darts have a wounding killing nature, especially when well headed and shot out of a strong bow by one that is able to draw it. Such are Satan’s temptations — headed with desperate malice, and drawn by a strength no less than angelical; and this against so poor a weak creature as man, that it were impossible, had not God provided good armour for our soul, to outstand Satan’s power and get safe to heaven. Christ would have us sensible of their force and danger, by that petition in his prayer which the best of saints on this side heaven have need to use — ‘Lead us not into temptation.’ Christ was then but newly out of the list, where he had tasted Satan’s tempting skill and strength; which, though beneath his wisdom and power to defeat, yet well he knew it was able to worst the strongest of saints. There was never any besides Christ that Satan did not foil more or less. It was Christ’s prerogative to be tempted, but not lead into temptation. Job, one of the chief worthies in God’s army of saints, who, from God’s mouth, is a nonesuch, yet was galled by these arrows shot from Satan’s bow, and put to great disorder. God was fain to pluck him out of the devil’s grip, or else he would have been quite worried by that lion."

"Christ teacheth us to pray against suffering under the notion of temptation: ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’ That is, let us not be led into sin when we fall into suffering, let us not fall into thy hands and Satan’s together."

"God useth the temptations of Satan to one sin, as a preventive against another; so Paul’s thorn in the flesh to prevent his pride. God sends Satan to assault Paul on that side where he is strong, that in the meantime he may fortify him where he is weak. Thus Satan is befooled, as sometimes we see an army sitting down before a town, where it wastes its strength to no purpose, and in the meantime gives the enemy an advantage to recruit; and all this by the counsel of some Hushai, that is a secret friend to the contrary side. God, who is the saint’s true friend, sits in the devil’s council, and overrules proceedings there to the saint’s advantage. He suffers the devil to annoy the Christian with temptations to blasphemy, atheism, and with these, together with the troubles of spirit they produce, the soul is driven to duty, is humbled in the sense of these horrid apparitions in its imagination, and secured from abundance of formality and pride, which otherwise God saw invading him. As in a family, some business falls out, which keeps the master up later than ordinary, and by this the thief, who that night intended to rob him, is disappointed. Had not such a soul had his spirit of prayer and diligence kept awake by those afflicting temptations, it is likely that Satan might have come as a seducer, and taken him napping in security."

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