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2017 40 Days of Prayer, Day 40

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The Abiding Presence of God:
A Life of Complete Dependence

 

Day 40

 

For the last 39 days we have mediated on Romans 8.  We have read such powerful words as: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” and “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” and “we have received a spirit of adoption in which we cry out ‘Abba, Father!” and “God works all things together for good for those that love Him…” and “who can separate us from the love of God in Christ…”  For this last day of our 40 days of prayer, reflect on these truths.  Contemplate God’s sovereign mercy to save us from sin and to make us His own children.  Reflect on the presence of the Spirit in our lives.  We are completely dependent on the Spirit of God.  We must live with a constant awareness of our need for His work in our lives. 

Consider FF Bruce’s summary of this chapter from excerpts from his book, Romans in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.  “So long as we endeavor to rely on our own resources, we fight a losing battle; when we avail ourselves of the resources of life and power that are ours ‘in Christ Jesus,’ we are more than conquerors.  Christ dwells in us by His Spirit, and His Spirit infuses into us a new principle – the law of life – which is stronger than indwelling sin and sets us free from sin’s tyranny.  Under the old order, before the coming to the Spirit, it was impossible to do the will of God.  …But those who belong to the new order of the Spirit do the will of God from the heart. … For not only does the Spirit maintain life and power in the spirit of believers here and now; His indwelling presence is a token that our body, still subject to mortality, will rise to new life as Christ’s own body rose … The glory to come far outweighs the affliction of the present.  The affliction is light and temporary when compared with the all-surpassing and everlasting glory. … When the day of glory dawns, the glory will be shown on a universal scale in the people of God, the glorified community of Christ. … This is the hope of the people of God, “Christ in you.” … This is an essential element in our salvation; it enables us to accept the trials of the present, so that by patient endurance we may win our lives ... Indeed, God’s grace co-operates in all things for His people’s good, even in those things which at the time are so distressing and perplexing and hard to bear. …  Since God is our strong salvation, what force can prevail against us?  Since His love was supremely shown in the sacrifice of His own Son on our behalf, what good thing will He withhold from them?  … Nothing can come between us and His love.”

Prayer Focus

Thank You, God, for all that You have done in saving us through the life of Your Son.  Thank You for giving us Your Spirit to lead us.  God, You are so good.  Your mercies are new every morning.  I ask that You would do a work in my life.  Make me more like Your Son every day.  Do a work in my family and friends.  Please, do a work in the ministries of Matthew Road Baptist Church by the power of Your Spirit.  Help us as we minister to the communities in our area and as we seek to minister all over the world.  By Your Spirit, help us as we partner with Your servants in difficult places.  In all things be glorified as we exalt Your Son.  Be glorified as You bring us ever increasing joy.

From DL Moody’s Secret Power

PEACE DECLARED

When France and England were at war, a French vessel had gone off on a long voyage. When they came back, the crew were short of water, and being now near and English port, they wanted to get water. But they were afraid that they would be taken if they went into that port. Some people in the port saw them, saw their signal of distress, and sent word to them that they need not be afraid, that the war was over, and peace had been declared.  But they couldn’t make those sailors believe it, and they didn’t dare to go into port, although they were out of water. At last they made up their minds that they had better go in and surrender up their cargo, and surrender up their lives, to their enemies than to perish at sea without water. When they got in, they found out that peace had been declared, and that what had been told them was true. So there are a great many people who doesn’t believe the glad tiding that peace has been made. Jesus Christ made peace on the Cross. He satisfied the claims of the law; and this law which condemns you and me, which has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. He has made peace, and now He wants us just to enjoy it, just to believe it. Nor is there a thing to hinder us from doing it, if we will. We can enter into that blessing now, and have perfect peace. The promise is: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind remains on You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4

Now, as long as our mind is stayed on our dear selves, we will never have peace. Some people think more of themselves than of all the rest of the world. It is self in the morning, self at noon, and self at night. It is self when they wake up, and self when they go to bed. They are all the time looking at themselves and thinking about themselves, instead of “looking unto Jesus.” Faith is an outward look. Faith does not look within, it looks without. It is not what I think, nor what I feel, nor what I have done, but it is what Jesus Christ is and has done. So we should trust in Him who is our strength, and whose strength will never fail. After Christ rose from the grave, John tells us three times, He met His disciples and said to them, “Peace be unto you.” There is peace for the conscience through His blood, and peace for the heart in His love.

SECRET OF JOY

Remember, then, that love is power, and peace is power. Now I will call attention to another fruit of the Spirit, and this too is power - the grace of joy. It is the privilege, I believe, of every Christian to walk in the light, as God is in the light, and to have that peace which will be flowing unceasingly as we keep busy about His work. And it is our privilege to be full of the joy of the Lord.

We read that when Philip went down to Samaria and preached, there was great joy in the city. Why? Because they believed the glad tidings. And that is the natural order, joy in believing. When we believe the glad tidings, there comes a joy into our souls. We are told that our Lord sent the seventy out, and that they went forth preaching salvation in the name of Jesus Christ, and the result was that there were a great many who were blessed. The seventy returned, it says, with great joy, and when they came back they said that the very devils were subject to them, through His name.

The Lord seemed to just correct them in this one thing when He said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 KJV

There is assurance for you. They had something to rejoice in now. God doesn’t ask us to rejoice over nothing, but He gives us some ground for our joy. What would you think of man or woman who seemed very happy today and full of joy, and couldn’t tell you what made them so? Would we not think such a person unreasonable? But there are a great many people who want to feel that they are Christians before they are Christians. They want the Christian’s experience before they become Christians, and they want to have the joy of the Lord

before they receive Jesus Christ. But this is not the Gospel order. He brings joy when He comes, and we cannot have joy apart from Him. There is no joy away from Him, for He is the author of it, and we find our joy in Him.

JOY IS UNSELFISH

Now, there are different kinds of joy. There is the joy of one’s own salvation. I thought, when I first tasted that, it was the most delicious joy I had ever known, and that I could never get beyond it. But I found, afterward, there was something more joyful than that. Namely, the joy of the salvation of others. Oh, the privilege, the blessed privilege, to be used of God to win a soul to Christ, and see a man or woman being led out of bondage by some act of ours toward them.

To think that God should condescend to allow us to be co-workers with Him. It is the highest honor we can wear. It surpasses the joy of our own salvation, this joy of seeing others saved. John said, He had no greater joy than to see His disciples walking in the truth (3 John 1:4). Every man who has been the means of  leading souls to Christ understands what that means. Young disciples, walk in the truth and you will have joy all the while.

I think there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is caused by things which happen around me, and circumstances will mar it. But joy flows right on through trouble, it flows on through the dark. Joy flows in the night as well as in the day, and through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring which the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about.  But the Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.

This joy is fed by the Divine Word. Jeremiah says,

“Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

He “ate” the words, and what was the result? He said they were the joy and rejoicing of his heart. Now people should look for joy in the Word, and not in the world. They should look for the joy which the Scriptures furnish, and then go work in the vineyard.

Because a joy that doesn’t send me out to someone else, doesn’t impel me to go and help the poor drunkard, doesn’t prompt me to visit the widow and the fatherless, that doesn’t cause me to go into the mission field or other Christian work, is not worth having, and is not from above.  A joy that does not constrain me to go and work for the Master is purely sentiment and not real joy.

 

Posted by Daniel Sweet with

2017 40 Days of Prayer, Day 39

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The Abiding Presence of God:
A Life of Complete Dependence

 

Day 39

“nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:39

From the Love of God

Again, Paul intends the list to be exhaustive.  There is nothing that can separate us from God.  God rules over all things.  He has supreme authority over any and all things.  No place on the planet can put a barrier between us and God.  No life experience overpowers God.  The supreme concern of the Apostle carried beyond the omnipresence of God.  Paul wants us to know that the love which God has demonstrated to His children will never be destroyed.  Nothing can conquer God’s love.  Love is God’s supreme power at work in the lives of believers.  Paul can contemplate no greater force in keeping us in the presence of God.  And this love, “the love of God,” is found in the person of Christ Jesus.  While we are “in Christ” we abide in the inseparable love of God.  Jesus says in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”    From Moo’s commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, this paragraph “ends on the note with which it began: the impossibility that the believer can be separated from divine love.  The fact that this love is identified specifically as ‘the love of Christ’ in verse 35 and ‘the love of God’ here only shows us again how much Paul joined God and Christ in the experience of the believer.  This love of God for us is ‘in Christ Jesus our Lord.’  For it is in giving ‘his own Son’ that God’s love is above all made known to us, and only in our relationship to Christ do we experience the love of God for us.”  God love us and He demonstrated how great his love truly is by giving to us the life, death and resurrection of His Son.  God love us and His love is greater than anything we can experience or imagine for nothing in this life can overcome the divine love of God in the cross of Christ. 

Prayer Focus

God, thank You for this great chapter, Romans 8, which reminds me of Your infinite love for me.  You are so kind to love me despite my sin.  In Your mercy You have withheld the judgment for my sins.  In Your grace You have provided an everlasting reward that I do not deserve.   Thank You for giving the life of Your Son to secure my eternal presence with You.  I praise You, my King, for You are good and kind. 

From DL Moody’s Secret Power

AFTER LOVE, WHAT?

After love comes peace. I have remarked before, a great many people are trying to make peace. But that has already been one. God has not left it for us to do, all that we have to do is to enter into it. It is a condition, and instead of our trying to make peace and to work for peace, we want to cease all that, and sweetly enter into peace. If I discover a man in the cellar complaining because there is no light there, and because it is cold and damp, I say, “My friend, come up out of the cellar. There is a good warm sun up here, a beautiful spring day, and it is warm. It is cheerful and light, come up, and enjoy it.” Would he reply, “O, no, sir, I am trying to see if I can make light down here. I am trying to work myself into a warm feeling.” And there he is working away, and he has been at it for a whole week. I can imagine my reader’s smile. But you may be smiling at your own picture, for this is the condition of many whom I daily meet who are trying to do this very thing. They are trying to work themselves into peace and joyful feelings. Peace is a condition into which we enter. It is a state, and instead of our trying to make peace, let us believe what God’s Word declares. That peace has already been made by the blood of the Cross. Christ has made peace for us. Now what He desires is that we believe it, and enter into it. Now, the only thing that can keep us from peace is sin. God turns the way of the wicked upside down.

“There is no peace for the wicked, says my God. They are like the troubled sea that cannot rest, casting up filth and mire all the while;” Isaiah 57:20-21KJV

But peace with God, by faith in Jesus Christ, peace through knowledge of forgiven sin, is like a rock. The waters go dashing and surging past it, but it abides. When we find peace, we shall not find it on the ground of innate goodness.  In John 16:33a, we read: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace.” (KJV)

“In me ye might have peace.” Jesus Christ is the author of peace. He procured peace. His gospel is the gospel of peace.

“Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,”Luke 2:10-11 KJV

Then came that chorus from heaven, “Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth.” Luke 2:14 KJV   

He brought peace.  “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b KJV

How true that in the world we have tribulation. Are you in tribulation? Are you in trouble? Are you in sorrow? Remember this is our lot. Paul had tribulation, and others shared in grief. Nor shall we be exempt from trial. But within, peace may reign undisturbed. If sorrow is our lot, peace is our legacy. Jesus gives peace, and do you know there is a good deal of difference between His peace and our peace? Anyone can disturb our peace, but they can’t disturb His peace. That is the kind of peace He has left us. Nothing can offend those who trust in Christ.

NOT EASILY OFFENDED

In the 119th Psalm, the 165th verse, we find “Great peace have they who love Your law: and nothing shall offend them.” (KJV)

The study of God’s Word will secure peace. You take Christians who are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and you find they have great peace; but it is these who don’t study their Bible, and don’t know their Bible, who are easily offended when some little trouble comes, or some little persecution, and their peace is all disturbed.  Just a little breath of opposition, and their peace is all gone.

Sometimes, I am amazed to see how little it takes to drive all peace and comfort from some people. Some slandering tongue will readily blast it. But if we have the peace of God, the world cannot take that from us. It cannot give it; it cannot destroy it. It is peace which Christ gives.

“Great peace have they which love Your law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV

Christ says, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” Matthew 11:6 KJV

Now, if you will notice, wherever there is a Bible taught Christian, one who has the Bible well marked, and daily feeds upon the Word by prayerful meditation, he will not be easily offended.

Such are the people who are growing and working all the while. But it is the people who never open their Bibles; these people who never study the Scriptures, who become offended, and are wondering why they are having such a hard time. They are the persons who tell you that Christianity is not what it has been recommended to them. That they have found it was not all that we claim it to be. The real trouble is, they have not done as the Lord has told them to do. They have neglected the Word of God. If they had been studying the Word of God, they would not be in that condition. If they had been studying the Word of God, they would not have wandered these years away from God, living on the husks of the world. But the trouble is, they have neglected to care for the new life. They haven’t fed it, and the poor soul, being starved, sinks into weakness and decay, and is easily stumbled or offended.

This body that we inhabit for a day, and then leave, we take good care of.  We feed it three times a day, and we clothe it, and take care of it, and then by and by, it is going into the grave to be eaten up by the worms. But the inner man, that is live on and one, and on forever, is lean and starved.

SWEET WORDS

In Numbers 6:22-26, we read:

“And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise you shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless you, and keep you: The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.(KJV)

I think these are about as sweet of verses as we find in the Old Testament. I marked them years ago in my Bible, and many times I have turned over and read them. “The Lord life up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” They remind us of the loving words of Jesus to his troubled disciples. “Peace be still.” The Jewish salutation used to be, as a man went into a house, “Peace be upon this house,” and as he left the house the host would say, “Go in Peace.”

Then again, in the 14th chapter of John, the 27th verse, Jesus said:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.(KJV)

This is the precious legacy of Jesus to all His followers. Every man, every woman, every child, who believes in Him, may share in this portion. Christ has willed it to them, and His peace is theirs. This, then, is our Lord’s purpose and promise: the peace He gives to you. Christ gives it, and He is not going to take it away again. He is going to leave it to you.

“Not as the world gives, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 KJV

But you know, when some men make their wills and deed away their property, there are some sharp, shrewd lawyers who will get hold of that will and break it all to pieces. They will go into court and break the will, and the jury will set the will aside, and the money goes into another channel.

Now this will that Christ has made, neither the devil nor man can break it. He has promised to give us peace, and there are thousands of witnesses who can say: “I have my part of that legacy. I have peace, I came to Him for peace, and I got it. I came to Him in darkness. I came to Him in trouble and sorrow.  I was passing under a deep cloud of affliction, and I came to Him and He said, ‘Peace, be still.’ And from that hour peace reigned in my soul.”

Yes, many have proved the invitation true, “Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 KJV  They found rest when they came. He is the author of rest, He is the author of peace, and no power can break that will; yea, unbelief may question it, but Jesus Christ rose to execute His own will, and it is in vain for man to contest it.

Skeptics may tell us that it is all a myth, and that there isn’t anything in it, and yet the glorious tidings is ever repeated.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 KJV.

The poor and needy, the sad and sorrowful, are made partakers of it. So, my reader, you need not wait for peace any longer. All you have to do is to enter into it today. you need not try to make peace. It is a false idea; you cannot make it. Peace is already made by Jesus Christ, and is now declared unto you.

 

 

 

2017 40 Days of Prayer, Day 38

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The Abiding Presence of God:
A Life of Complete Dependence

 

Day 38

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,”  Romans 8:38

Nothing Can Separate Us

Paul intends this list to be exhaustive.  He categorizes every conceivable thing that might bring separation.  Death provides the most daunting example of separation.  For those who have buried a loved one, nothing compares to the deafening silence that ensues.  “I just want to talk with him.”  “I just want to hear her voice.”  “I just want to hold his hands or share a cup of coffee with him.”  The pain of separation fills every moment of the day for those who have recently buried a spouse.  If death cannot separate us from Christ, then nothing can separate us.  Nothing in this life, no angel or demon, nothing from the present time and nothing in our future can separate us from God.  He is a friend that sticks closer to us than a brother.  He abides continually with us.  His powers transcend any of these temporary forces, even death itself.  He has always and will always be sovereign over all these things.  He demonstrated His power over these things when He brought Jesus Christ back from the dead.  Many mighty things were accomplished in the resurrection of Christ.  One such accomplishment is this: the resurrection proves that death is no match for God and it is incapable of separating us from Him.

Prayer Focus

God, You are good.  Your mercies are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness.  You never leave me.  Nothing can separate me from Your love.  Nothing in this life is big enough or strong enough to compete with Your power.  Nothing in this life can undo Your love.  Even though death itself should come against me, I trust in Your promises.  You proved Your power over all things, including death, when You brought Your Son back from the grave.  In the name of Jesus Christ, the resurrected One, I pray, Amen.

From DL Moody’s Secret Power

LOVE’S WONDERFUL EFFECTS/CRITICS BEWARE

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away."1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV

That’s the work of love. It is not easily provoked. Now if a man has no love of God in his heart, how easy it is to become offended. Perhaps with the church because some members of the church don’t treat him just right, or some men of the church don’t bow to him on the street, he takes offense, and that is the last you see of him. Love is long-suffering. If I love the Lord Jesus Christ, these little things are not going to separate me from His people. They are like the dust in the balance. Nor will the cold, formal treatment of hypocrites in the church quench that love I have in my heart for Him. If this love is in the heart, and the fire is burning on the altar, we will not be all the time finding fault with other people and criticizing what they have done.

Love will rebuke evil, but will not rejoice in it. Love will be impatient of sin, but patient with the sinner. To form the habit of finding fault constantly, is very damaging to spiritual life. It is about the lowest and meanest position that a man can take. I never saw a man who was aiming to do the best work, that there could not have been some improvement. I have never done anything in my life, I have never addressed an audience, that I didn’t think I could have done better. And I have often berated myself that I had not done better. But to sit down and find fault with other people when we are doing nothing ourselves, not lifting our hands to save someone, is all wrong, and is the opposite of holy, patient, divine love.

Love is forbearance. What we want is to get this spirit of criticism and fault finding out of the Church, and out of our hearts. Let each one of us live as if we had to answer for ourselves, and not for the community, on the last day. if we are living according to the 13th chapter of Corinthians, we will not be constantly finding fault with other people.  “Love suffers long and is kind.

Love forgets itself, and doesn't dwell upon itself. The woman who came to Christ with that alabaster box, I venture to say, never thought of herself. Little did she know what an act she was performing. It was just her love for the Master. She forgot the surroundings, she forgot everything else that was there. She broke that box and poured the ointment upon Him, and filled the house with its odor. That act, as a memorial, has come down these 1800 years. It is right here - the perfume of that box is in the world today. That ointment was worth $40 or $50; no small sum of those days for a poor woman. Judas sold the Son of God for only about $15 or $20. But what this woman gave to Christ was everything that she had, and she became so occupied with Jesus Christ that she didn’t think what people were going to say.

So when we act with a single eye for the glory of our lord, not finding fault  with everything about us, but doing what we can in the power of this love, then will our deeds for God speak. The world will acknowledge that we have been with Jesus, and that this glorious love has been shed abroad in our hearts. If we don’t love the Church of God, I am afraid it won’t do us much good. If we don’t love the blessed Bible, it will not do us much good.  What we want, then, is to have love for Christ, to have love for His Word, and to have love for the Church of God, and when we have love, and are living in that spirit, we will not be in the spirit of finding fault and working mischief.

 

 

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