Monday, December 31, 2007

The Word and Warfare

The Holy Spirit is like our General in this war, and the sharper the soldier, with readied weapons, the more powerfully He will be able to use us, with greater damage to the Enemy of our soul.

Of the weapons He has provided for doing battle, the sword of the Word and prayer are the ones for offense. The rest of the armor parts are for protection, for defense, but the Scriptures are to be wielded in attack, often through prayer.

Among the various ways and means that the spiritual soldier can gain and maintain a state of readiness, sword continually sharpened, memorization of the Word is the best.

Psalm 119:11 provides the most basic, foundational motive for memorizing the Scriptures --- “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” As Charles Spurgeon noted astutely, it is the best thing in the best place for the best purpose.

As a seasoned Seminary professor I admired once said, “It is amazing the affinity the Holy Spirit has for a trained mind.” In context he was encouraging Seminary training, but there is needed application related to Scripture memory, as well.

The more of the Bible that is lovingly stored away by the Christian soldier, the greater the ammunition available to the blessed Spirit for warfare.

And He is so faithful to bring to one’s remembrance a pertinent verse, or even part of one, at the exact time it is needed most. It would be grievous to know how many times we have succumbed to temptations, or acted un-biblically, or made foolish decisions simply because we didn’t know the Word.

Like Elisha’s servant in II Kings 6:17, may the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see the ongoing warfare that is happening in the spiritual realms even at this moment. Would that He would impress upon us the urgency of having un-rusted swords, by hiding His Word in our hearts for use at any given moment!

Morning Plea

Thank You for the morning, Father.. for the refreshing effect of sleep.. for the protection You provide through the night, when we are most vulnerable...

Praise to Your Name that You never sleep, nor slumber... that we are always before You...

Amazing that You would commit Yourself to such as us.... providing Your Book filled with promises, as trustworthy as Your Name and character..

providing Your very presence in the Person of the Holy Spirit... expressing Himself through producing fruit by grace...

through bringing to our remembrance the things the Lord Jesus said...

through bearing witness with our spirit that we are Yours..

through faithful, needed conviction of sin...

through promptings in our inner man that speak to our spirit for direction and leading...

through speaking peace to our hearts...

through confirming by conversation with others Your will from Your Word...

and all because of the Lord Jesus, and His sinless death and blood atonement for satisfying Your just and righteous anger against sinners!

Selah (Pause & Ponder)

Father, grant that this would be a day in which our eyes are fixed upon You... for when we focus on ourselves and our walk, it leads to either despair or pride.

Forgive for ways we compare ourselves with others... for there, again, we are given to either introspection or self-satisfaction.. neither of which is pleasing to You. Only as our thoughts are filled with contemplations of You, Your blessed Word, Your faithful character, will, and ways, will our perspective be pleasing and our lives usable.

Forgive, too, for the love of ease that fills our days... we see so little sacrifice, know so little of the heaviness of heart You have for this lost world...

No one better than You knows the prayerlessness of our hearts... our thoughts so easily taken from You, and placed on the seen, the incidental, the transitory, the temporal, the inconsequential, the worldly.

Do a work of restoration, Father, that can be explained in no other way than that You did it.

Be pleased to call us back to Yourself... to the days when our love for You was fresh, clean, joyous, thrilled with You, yearning to know You, to tell others how wonderful You truly are!

You know perfectly how desperately we need a personal awakening... and how deeply our decadent nation needs awakening... instill in our hearts afresh... grant the desire anew... to pay the price of godliness, to become usable again, and used for Your glory....

and please move us from fine-sounding words and phrases, to actual obedience.

In the Lord Jesus' Name,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Impact of Absence

As presence, so absence has an impact.

Perhaps it's precisely because of the power of presence that the impact of absence is so keenly felt. And no other time of the year heightens the awareness of this truth as does Christmas.

Touted by the world as the ultimate time of year when families are to gather intact, and experience a closeness unknown at any other time, any deviances from those expectations are seen as regrettable. So, with such unreasonable expectations, and with so many marriages and homes being devastated by divorce and unfaithfulness, Christmas becomes an occasion for cynicism and melancholy.

Is there an absence here? Yes. The impact of ignoring the One whose presence is at the very heart of Christmas takes a terrible toll. Only as the Lord Jesus is looked to for salvation, and only as He is centralized in the celebrations at this time of year, will peace of mind and spirit be possible.

However intensely the world tries to trivialize this truth, Jesus IS the Reason for the Season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In His Presence

There is such power in presence!

I recall when the soldiers sought to arrest the Lord Jesus in the Garden, on the night of His betrayal…. And, upon being told that He indeed was the one they sought, “they drew back and fell to the ground,” (John 18:6).
What a sight that must have been! Battle-hardened soldiers, nerves steeled by the atrocities of war, and they are stumbling to the ground, retreating from the presence of a young, unarmed Rabbi. How can this be explained...?

It was a demonstration of deity. The Lord Jesus had said, "I am He." He had proclaimed The Name. Even as in the Old Testament encounter and conversation with reluctant Moses, The Name gave assurance of God's presence (Exodus 3:14). [By the way, Moses, too, found his way to the ground, when brought into His presence].

Such a challenge are these encounters with the living God to the theoretical acknowledgement of His presence in the experience of too many believers. When will we move from vague, mental agreement with the doctrine of His omnipresence, to actually encountering Him...?

May He shake us to the core of our being by His powerful presence!