Author Archives: Allan Halton

Are You At Wit’s End Corner?

The old poem Wit’s End Corner came up upon my heart in a time of prayer this morning, and I felt such joy in the promise of the God of lovingkindness who loves to meet us just where we are at our wit’s end. This is the theme of Psalm 107. I’ll just quote a fragment of it:

…And they are at their wit’s end (Ps. 107:27).

And then what?

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses.

What is wit? According to one online dictionary it means astuteness of perception or judgment: acumen. When the King James Bible came out it meant simply knowledge, the ability to know what to do.

Our whole world is just about at that corner.

I myself am there… again. This morning as I came to the second-last verse my eyes overflowed with tears and my heart with His love and promise, and he who had been sorrowful was suddenly rejoicing! My beloved Jesus assured me, reminded me, He has been waiting right there to meet me! I can hardly wait!

That is the lesson to be learned at Wit’s End Corner, the lesson of learning the lovingkindness of the Lord. Here is the last verse of Psalm 107.

Whoso is wise, and will give heed to these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Are you there too, dearly beloved of the Lord?

Are You at Wit’s End Corner?

Are you standing at Wit’s End Corner,
Christian with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now;
Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember—at Wit’s End Corner
Is just where God’s power is shown!

Are you standing at Wit’s End Corner,
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain;
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember—at Wit’s End Corner,
Is where Jesus loves to come!

Are you standing at Wit’s End Corner?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head;
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember—at Wit’s End Corner
The Burden-bearer stands.

Are you standing at Wit’s End Corner
Yearning for those you love,
Longing and praying and watching,
Pleading their cause above,
Trying to lead them to Jesus—
Wondering if you’ve been true?
He whispers at Wit’s End Corner
“I’ll win them as I won you.”

Are you standing at Wit’s End Corner?
Then you’re just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him Who faileth not!
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved.
But only at Wit’s End Corner
Is “the God Who is able” proved!

Antoinette Wilson

A Mid-Summer Exhortation

What follows here was shared with me by a friend in Cranbrook. B.C. in whose home a few have been gathering several times a week for five or so years to pray and wait on God as they seek Him earnestly for the awakening so deeply needed in this hour. They pray not for their own group alone, but for the Church at large.

I felt to share here what he passed on to me; it is a timely exhortation that I think many others will appreciate.

A MID-SUMMER EXHORTATION: (Saturday July 27, 2019)

This morning in our prayer meeting the Lord put a word on my heart and I shared it and it birthed much participation and enlargement by others in the meeting.

In the last few days I had become aware of a weariness that had come into our midst. We are a small group and we consistently meet several times a week. It has literally been a miracle that a few have been able meet so often and not become weary of each other and of the way. But recently weariness suddenly came into our midst, but the Lord was faithful to quickly raise up a standard against it. The weariness was not on one or two that were spreading it to the others; it was like a cloud over all of us. There was no condemnation to anyone from the Lord, but an exhortation to all to rise above it.

Before sharing more on this morning’s meeting I would like first to share with you a word that was quickened to us within a few days of New Year’s 2019. It seemed to be prophetic of a continuing time of dryness for the coming year. Now here we are mid-summer 2019 and the word proves to have been a true word. We have known much dryness this year.

Here is what I shared at the beginning of the year:

A New Year’s (2019) Greeting To All Our “Companions”:

Companions?? That’s different!!

The Scriptures talk of companions in labours, companions in tribulation, companions in travel, etc. Many of us are also companions in prayer and in seeking the Lord, and in patience.

In our morning prayer time the song of Habakkuk 3:17 was quickened to us:

Though the fig tree does not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines (not even the beginning signs of fruitfulness); the labour of the olive shall fail (no matter how often we faithfully meet or give Him no rest, we don’t seem able to penetrate that realm of ever-abiding anointing), and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock be cut off from the fold (even though our desire is to be flowing in the River of God with the Universal Body of Christ, true spiritual joinings and bondings are scarce), and there be no herd in the stalls (not many coming to the meetings, not a whole lot of demonstrated hunger).

What a bleak scenario.

But what is the prophet’s response to it?

Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. (Hab. 3:18,19)

If you can identify with some of this we want to give you this encouragement for 2019. Don’t hang up your harps upon the willows as they did momentarily in Psalm 137. Or if you already have hung them up, take them down and start rejoicing no matter what your circumstances are (lest your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth). Be like Paul and Silas who were in a brutal foreign land, so to speak, and yet after being beaten, sang praises to God at midnight and God answered with an earthquake and salvation was released to all that would receive it.

Back to Habakkuk:

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but in the end IT SHALL SPEAK, and NOT LIE, though it seems to tarry, and tarry, and tarry, wait for It; because it will surely come, it will not tarry! (Hab: 2:3)

Also this from Malachi:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall SUDDENLY COME TO HIS TEMPLE, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. (Mal: 3:1)

Benediction:

God bless all of you and your families and extended families in 2019 and forever. Remember the covenant is “A lamb for a house.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

With Love, your companions… Terry & Susan

And Now Here We Are More Than Halfway Through 2019:

With that prophecy of Habakkuk’s about the desolation in the land, the Lord was preparing us for what this year held for us. Yet we have persevered, for He has encouraged us and sustained us all along with His word and promises. Yet as I said, a weariness suddenly came upon us. On Saturday morning July 27, as we addressed the weariness head on, the Lord gave us encouragement from Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. (Isaiah 43: 18-21)

Wonderful promise from Isaiah. But it follows with this:

BUT THOU HAST NOT CALLED UPON ME, O JACOB; BUT THOU HAST BEEN WEARY OF ME O ISRAEL. (Isa. 43:22)

No Lord, we have not been weary of you, we are just weary of the meetings and of each other. But the Lord says no, you’re weary of the way. Does not the word say that “I am THE WAY”? Have I not called you to gather together, and given you grace to endure? You’ve become weary of Me.

Thankfully every heart bowed in repentance to His judgement and joy was restored.

Ezekiel 47:

God showed us clearly that He wants us to go deeper into His river, and He has a specific depth that He wants to take us to. “And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters…..” We see here that He is Lord, it is His will that is to be done. He is not calling us to enter into the river and find our comfort zone. He has a specific destination for us and it is our responsibility—and privilege—to follow Him.

We all felt that this is not a word just for our fellowship, but it is a word for the churches that have a desire for more in this hour. God sees our weariness with The Way in this hour and He is here now, with a line in His hand to take us all another thousand cubits into the river.

Mathew 6:27, 2 Corinthians 4:7, and John 15:4

And which one of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

We cannot add one cubit to our stature but HE can add a thousand cubits.

God Bless,
Terry Conroy

A Bride In War Boots

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This message which I published on A Mending Feast a few years ago came on my heart again this morning. For, do you hear it? The alarm of war is sounding. Let us, then, put on our beautiful wedding garments, and go forth with our Beloved to the battle!

A Mending Feast

Our beloved old friend CL Moore, who years ago came up from Oklahoma from time to time to minister in our midst, told us once he’d seen a vision of the bride of Christ.  She was dressed in pure white linen, and her beauty was breathtaking.  But then CL noticed something very incongruous.  She was wearing army boots!

Now, there are several places in Scripture that reveal it is not in the least strange that this bride is prepared for war.   But let us get the emphasis right.  It is the bride who is prepared for war.

First this:

Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour unto Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His bride hath made herself ready.
And to her was given that she should be arrayed in fine linen clean and white [or, bright]: for fine linen is the righteousness [that…

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The Canon Of Life

I wanted to call this blog entry Sola Vitae, but changed my mind because I didn’t want to appear to be “putting on airs.” I don’t know Latin. Nevertheless, the idea for that title did seem to come to me by inspiration, and if you’ll follow along with me here, you’ll see why.

During the Reformation someone came up with the Latin phrase sola scriptura—Scripture alone—to proclaim the rule that is to govern all points of doctrine and practice for the Christian. The canon of Scripture, as it is called, is to be the determining rule for establishing Christian doctrine and practice. I myself am of this persuasion, as is the Bible. “All scripture,” saith the Bible, “is given by inspiration of God [is God-breathed] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16,17). The implication of course is that what is not God-breathed is not to be used for doctrine and practice.

When Paul wrote this to Timothy, it was the Old Testament scriptures he had in mind, scriptures Timothy had been taught from his childhood, scriptures that were “able to make [him] wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” as Paul has just said in the previous verse. Yet even as Paul wrote this to Timothy, he was adding another writing to writings that were becoming recognized as divinely-inspired scriptures (2 Pt 3:16), documents that would accompany the Old Testament scriptures and eventually complete what we now know as the canon, the rule, of Scripture. The 39 books of the Old Testament were recognized as the canon of Scripture in the days of Jesus and earlier. The 27 books of the New Testament were recognized as the complete canon of Scripture at least as early as the second century. Other writings of the day, while they may have been interesting or informative one way or another, were recognized as not having the same divinely inspired and authoritative stamp.

Our English word canon is from the Greek kanon, which Strong’s defines simply as rule. That, in turn, is derived from the Hebrew kaneh, which in the Old Testament is often translated reed. We find it in Ezekiel  40:3 where in prophetic vision he sees a man in white linen with the appearance of bronze. He is about to show Ezekiel a temple. The man has “a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed…” In the New Testament Paul uses kanon three times in 2 Corinthians 10:13-16 referring to the limits of the area God had measured out for him in which to proclaim the Gospel. Paul was not free to preach wherever he wanted; he had to stay within those limits. In fact, even within those limits he could not go wherever he liked, he had to abide in the steps God had set before him.

Paul uses this word in a different context in Galatians, and this will lead us into the meaning of the title I coined for this blog entry (which about doubles my Latin vocabulary):               

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature [or, creation]. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Gal. 6:14-16)

It’s the phrase, “walk according to this rule” that we want to look at more closely. The word walk in Scripture is usually peripateo, which means something like “to walk around.” Peri: around, as in looking around with a periscope. Patio: something you walk around on. When Paul says “walk in the Spirit,” it’s the word peripateo that he uses (Gal 5:16). Walk around in the Spirit: everything you do, everywhere you go, walk in the Spirit.

Amen. Yet, that is not the word Paul uses here; it is stoicheo he uses here, which means “to keep in step, to walk in rank.” The thought is of ordered steps. This is the word Paul uses when he speaks of those who, whether circumcised or uncircumcised, “walk (stoicheo) in the steps [footsteps, or tracks] of that faith of our father Abraham…” (Rom. 4:12). So we see the idea there—walking in someone else’s tracks, ordered steps. Luke uses it in Act 21:24, where James is exhorting Paul to purify himself prior to keeping a vow, thus demonstrating that the rumors that were going around about him—that he was teaching Jews living among the Gentiles to “forsake Moses” and didn’t need to circumcise their sons or keep the Jewish customs—James urges Paul to show the Jews here in Jerusalem that all this is false, but rather, Paul, “thou walkest orderly, and keepest the law.” Some teach that Paul really messed up here, but God had His own way of rescuing him out of it before it involved animal sacrifice; and in any case this would have accorded with Paul’s own desire to be “all things to all men.”

 Unto the Jew I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under law as under law, that I might gain them that are under the law… (1 Cor. 9:19-22)

This rule

But back to the Galatians passage. What rule does Paul have in mind by this rule?  

He has just said, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule (Gk. kanon)…” This, then, is the rule he is referring to—the canon, the rule, of the new creation, of new creation life, by which those in Christ are graced to order their steps.

Let’s back up a little further. “For, in Christ Jesus…” What is that for there for? What does he mean by for? It follows immediately upon this:

 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [or, by which] the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For, in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

In other words, those in the world are either of the circumcision or the uncircumcision. But Paul in the crucified Christ is now dead to the world, and the world is dead to him, the world with its rules has no claim on him anymore. As he says in another place, “if ye died with Christ unto the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances…?” (Col. 2:20). Those in the world are either Jews or Gentiles, either circumcised or uncircumcised; now in the risen and glorified Christ, Paul is a new creation who walks according to a different rule, the rule of the new creation.

The whole epistle to the Galatian churches is Paul’s outcry against certain teachers who were trying to persuade new Gentile believers that in addition to faith in Christ they were required to keep the Old Covenant law, all of which was summed up in the one word, circumcision. Definitely not, said Paul. Not anymore. In Christ Jesus it is no more a matter of the rule of Moses that Israel was once required to keep, nor of any other rule by which Gentiles—the uncircumcised—were themselves restrained from walking after the natural inclination of the heart of fallen man. Rather, all those in Christ whether Jew or Gentile, are now a new creation, and the new creation man walks by a different rule, the rule of new creation life—the New Covenant law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This is a law not of restraint, but of liberty. No, not the liberty of “doing your own thing.” On the contrary, it is walking in the ordered steps—the stoicheo—of a much higher and far more beautiful law. In Christ Jesus life is a rule. The life of the new creation man is a canon, a rule. How wondrous is that!

I said at the start that sola scriptura is a rule that I espouse. I am in fellowship with others who do the same and determine not to move a hair’s breadth from this rule. We are zealous for this, passionate about it. But oh, brothers and sisters, oh that we had the same zeal, the same passion, the same dedication, to sola vitae—life alonethe same determination to walk in the liberating confines of the steps of the rule, the canon, of new creation life. Upon these Paul pronounces a benediction.

As many as walk according to this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Co-operating Faith

I’ve been wanting to share with you further about those two entries from F.B. Meyer’s Our Daily Walk that I wrote about last time. They both centred on the raising of Lazarus, and Martha’s faith. To refresh your memory here are extracts:

From the January 12th entry:

THIS CROWNING miracle of our Lord’s life is generally described as the Raising of Lazarus. I am not sure that it might not with equal truth be called the Awakening of Martha, for it is certain that the Lord lifted this soul, whom we have been wont to count prosaic and matter-of-fact, to a most remarkable elevation of faith and hope, as they stood together in the shadow of a great sorrow.

In common with the majority of religious people, Martha believed in a general resurrection at some still future date, but she had not realised that God lives in the present tense, that the Eternal is here and now, and that faith must learn to reckon on God’s I AM. We are always putting the manifestation of the Divine in the far past, or the far future. The heaven is high above the earth on which we stand; only at the horizon, behind us and before us, do heaven and earth touch. We all need to learn the lesson that here, in the prosaic commonplaces of life, Jesus Christ is the present and immediate answer to every need.

Christ always needed faith in some one, as the fulcrum on which to rest the lever of His mighty power, and He found it in Martha. What can He not do, even here and now, in the hearts of those who are slow to believe, and those who are dead in trespasses and sins? Believest thou this?

From the April 19th entry:

This chapter might be more truly known as “The Raising of Martha,” for our Lord enabled her, matter-of-fact and practical as she was, to realize that He was the Resurrection and the Life. He insisted that her faith was an essential condition in the raising of her brother to life. The emphasis is on the word “thou” (Jn11:40). Our Lord always needs the co-operating faith of some true heart to be with Him when He works a miracle, and He chose the least likely of the two sisters to supply the pivot on which He could rest the lever of His Divine help. As she withdrew her objection to the removal of the stone, her faith suddenly became capable of claiming the greatest of Christ’s miracles.

You see that the entries are strikingly similar; what is more striking is the way I discovered the similarity. It was as a matter of course that I read the first one on January 12. I “happened upon” the second one when, having closed the book after reading the first one, and, still thinking on what I had just read, I absent-mindedly ran my thumb across the page ends and opened the book again. Lo and behold: the April 19th entry. I began reading, and… this is more than a coincidence! Suddenly I realized my Lord was speaking to me. And I knew what He was speaking to me about.

This is what He was, and still is, speaking to me about.

F.B. Meyer says rightly that “our Lord always needs the co-operating faith of some true heart to be with Him when He works a miracle…” Of course He is able to do whatever He wants, but it is not His desire to grant or impart anything to anyone arbitrarily; he desires our consent, our cooperation, our fellowship, in all He says and does. And so Meyer says that the story of the awakening of Lazarus from sleep could well be called the awakening of Martha. For Christ awakened Martha from her sleepy faith in the last-day resurrection to the living faith that “the resurrection and the life” was standing right before her eyes. “Believest thou this?” He asked.  “Yea Lord,” she responded, “I believe that Thou art the Christ which should come into the world.” Perhaps she did not fully comprehend what He had just said to her, but she believed in Him.

The raising of Lazarus was truly a manifestation of great power; as Meyer has said, it was perhaps the greatest work of power that Jesus ever did while on earth. Let me tell you of another resurrection which is by far the greater miracle. In his epistle to the Ephesians Paul says that God displayed the exceeding greatness of His power when He raised up Jesus from the dead. How much power was that? I think it was all of it, if that can be said. But I’ve left out some words here. Let’s fill them in. In Ephesians Paul prays that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, to the intent that we may know:

          1) the hope of His calling;

          2) the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints;

          3) the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe

          There. The words I left out. Paul declares that the same power by which God raised Christ from the dead is the power that works in us who believe. And so here we have our Lord seeking to awaken faith in you and me as He did with Martha of old. Do we believe this? The power of God toward us who believe is according to the working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies… and we will just stop midstream in the rushing current of this sentence to quote Bible scholar F.F. Bruce on the passage:

                    The third thing which the apostle desires his readers to know is the power of God. But when he thinks of the power of God, he presses all the terms for power in his vocabulary into service in order to convey something of its all-surpassing character… . He piles synonym on synonym as he describes how God’s ‘power’ (dynamis) operates according to the inworking (energeia) of the strength (kratos) of His might (ischys)… . (F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Ephesians)

That same power—yes, the same power that God wrought when He raised Christ from the dead—is working, is at work, in us who believe. This is why F.B. Meyer’s words laid hold of me. Here they are again:

               Christ always needed faith in some one, as the fulcrum on which to rest the lever of His mighty power, and He found it in Martha. What can He not do, even here and now, in the hearts of those who are slow to believe, and those who are dead in trespasses and sins? Believest thou this?

What is He able to do in the hearts of those dead in trespasses and sins? Let us not be slow to believe. He is able to quicken them together with Christ so that they are no longer dead in trespasses and sins, but alive unto God. This—the miracle of regeneration—is the very resurrection life of Jesus Christ Himself in those who believe in Him and have received His Spirit. Indeed, this is the greatest of all miracles, and comes to the one whose heart is prepared by faith.

And this is just the beginning of a life that has no end. To be born from above by the Spirit of God means the beginning of a new life on resurrection ground, a step-by-step walk in which God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even think according to this power working in us (Eph. 3:20). We are empowered to walk with Christ “in newness of life,” His own resurrection life, completely free from sin (Rom. 6:4).

Believest thou this? (Believe is the verb; faith is the noun.) I want to emphasize that word because when the regenerating Spirit comes in Christ’s baptism—baptism in Holy Spirit—faith must continually reach out and apprehend the implications of this baptism. It is possible to be baptized in Holy Spirit and still lack knowledge as to what this baptism includes. It is possible even when the knowledge comes by revelation, to still lack faith to receive it. “Know ye not…” Paul asked the Romans. (Is it not likely that the Holy Spirit had you and me in mind when Paul was inspired to write that?)  “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

What kind of death is that? Death to sin. “In that He died, He died unto sin once…”

“…But in that He liveth He liveth unto God” (Rom. 6:10).

Wonderful for Him, you say. But the whole purpose of the Christ, to the glory of God, is that this might be wonderful in you and me as well. And He has the provision and power to make it so. Paul continues that we who are in Christ are to account ourselves dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. “Likewise,” he says, “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).

You say you are in Christ but this is not true of you, your experience is just the opposite, and you are still waiting for God to do this in you? But have you seen this, have you received the revelation? If so, are you sure your problem is not one of unbelief? For this is true of those in Christ.

“Now, if we died with Christ, we believe (there’s that word again) that we shall also live with him…” (Rom. 8:8).

We, like Martha

The point I am making is that we, like Martha before she was awakened to faith, are prone to put this life some distance into the future when a mighty move of the Spirit shall  take place, and then we shall begin to walk in this beautiful resurrection life. God has grace, the provision for those who hear and believe, to begin walking in it now. Jesus continues to say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” I realize that we may not hear this livingly merely by reading it in our Bible. Let us open our hearts then, willing to receive. When Christ by His Spirit speaks the living word to us, “the word of His grace,” let us be ready to embrace, to believe that word, in spite of present experience. When revelation comes our part is to believe on the basis of the word of God—not our experience.

Sometimes you may find yourself in a vein of revelation and it is wonderful. But I find often that revelation comes with the sudden flash of illumination, the “quickening ray” from the eye of the Lord that Wesley described:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

We know the wonder, the ecstasy, the rapture, of revelation, that it opens the mind to truth we did not know existed. And we rejoice in it. Yet revelation can be devastating. Have you had that experience? Revelation, when received, breaks up the long-set concrete of darkness in the mind, it looses the bonds and hindrances of the flesh—self pity, moroseness, defeatedness, doubt, congenital unbelief, “nature’s night,” as Wesley called it. “For ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord…”

When are we light in the Lord? Now, says the apostle.  

          Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light (Eph. 5:14)

Let us awaken, then, and be loosed from our bonds and our grave clothes!  

          Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city… Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion (Isa. 52:1,2).

“Arise, and sit down…” For God has “raised us up together, and seated us together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:6). Believest thou this?

Let us cooperate with God, then. When the word of His grace comes to us, however it comes, as devastating as it may be, as impossible as it may be, let the response of our heart be, Amen. I receive this, I believe you. Your word works effectually in the one who believes. And the bonds of darkness, of death, fall off; we rise to walk with Christ in newness of life.  Amen.

I Am The Resurrection

I have a hard copy of a devotional by F.B. Meyer called Our Daily Walk, which I “happened upon” in a Mennonite second-hand store some time ago. I’m sorry to say it continued to lay neglected in a cardboard box in my study for a long while. But this year, casting about for a new devotional to go through, I was reminded of this book after a recommendation of F.B. Meyer’s writings on Ron Bailey’s blog (which you may enjoy at http://biblebase.com/a-the-baptist/). So I retrieved the book from its box and have been greatly appreciating it. It looks like I have discovered F.B. Meyer.

This morning I was quite struck with the January 12th entry. After I closed the book, still thinking, I ran my thumb over it, and opened it again. It was the April 19th entry.  Are you trying to say something to me, Lord?

Here are three excerpts:

“We are always putting the manifestation of the Divine in the far past, or the far future… Jesus Christ is the present and immediate answer to every need.”

“Christ always needed faith in some one, as the fulcrum on which to rest the lever of His mighty power…”

“In many cases those who have received life from Christ are still bound about with grave-clothes…”

Here are the two entries copied from Precept Austin: https://www.preceptaustin.org/our_daily_walk_by_f_b_meyer_-_jan

January 12

CHRIST’S TEACHING ABOUT RESURRECTION

“Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord!”– Jn 11:25-27.

THIS CROWNING miracle of our Lord’s life is generally described as the Raising of Lazarus. I am not sure that it might not with equal truth be called the Awakening of Martha, for it is certain that the Lord lifted this soul, whom we have been wont to count prosaic and matter-of-fact, to a most remarkable elevation of faith and hope, as they stood together in the shadow of a great sorrow.

In common with the majority of religious people, Martha believed in a general resurrection at some still future date, but she had not realised that God lives in the present tense, that the Eternal is here and now, and that faith must learn to reckon on God’s I AM. We are always putting the manifestation of the Divine in the far past, or the far future. The heaven is high above the earth on which we stand; only at the horizon, behind us and before us, do heaven and earth touch. We all need to learn the lesson that here, in the prosaic commonplaces of life, Jesus Christ is the present and immediate answer to every need.

Christ’s teaching about Resurrection differs widely from immortality. Plato believed in the immortality of the soul, but had no conception of resurrection. Resurrection is the reunion of the soul with the body, when it shall be raised in a form identical with, though different from, the body laid in the grave, as the sheaf of corn is identical with, though different from, the seed-corn cast into the soil amid the tears of autumn.

Martha could hardly understand all these marvellous disclosures, but she answered Yea to them, on the ground of what she knew Christ to be. He at least was the Messiah, and whatsoever He said, it must be so. So it is that we may still accept much, that we cannot understand, on the bare word of Jesus.

Christ always needed faith in some one, as the fulcrum on which to rest the lever of His mighty power, and He found it in Martha. What can He not do, even here and now, in the hearts of those who are slow to believe, and those who are dead in trespasses and sins? Believest thou this?

PRAYER

O God of Life and Love, Thou hast filled our hearts with joy unspeakable. We thank Thee that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and that those who believe in Him shall never die. He lives, and they live, and we live! We thank Thee, we praise Thee, we bless Thee. AMEN.

April 19

LOVE’S CONFIDENCE!

“His sisters sent unto Him saying, Lord, behold he whom Thou lovest is sick.”– Jn11:3.

THE LAPSE of years made it possible for the Apostle to draw aside the veil which curtained the happy friendship and fellowship of Christ in the home at Bethany. It was the one green oasis in the rugged wilderness through which He passed to the Cross!

There were diversities in that home, Martha, practical, energetic, and thoughtful for all that could affect the comfort of those she loved and served; Mary, gifted with spiritual insight and tender sympathy; Lazarus, probably a man of few words, quiet and unobtrusive, but Jesus loved each one (Jn11:5).

The sisters never doubted that Christ would speed at all hazards to save Lazarus after the breathless messenger had brought the tidings of his sickness. Anything less than infinite Love would have rushed instantly to the relief of those troubled hearts; Divine Love alone could hold back the impetuosity of the Saviour’s tender heart until the Angel of Pain had finished her work. He wanted to teach His disciples never-to-be-forgotten lessons, and also He was eager for the spiritual growth of the faith of the sisters.

This chapter might be more truly known as “The Raising of Martha,” for our Lord enabled her, matter-of-fact and practical as she was, to realize that He was the Resurrection and the Life. He insisted that her faith was an essential condition in the raising of her brother to life. The emphasis is on the word “thou” (Jn11:40). Our Lord always needs the co-operating faith of some true heart to be with Him when He works a miracle, and He chose the least likely of the two sisters to supply the pivot on which He could rest the lever of His Divine help. As she withdrew her objection to the removal of the stone, her faith suddenly became capable of claiming the greatest of Christ’s miracles.

He calls to us also to help our brethren. In many cases those who have received life from Christ are still bound about with grave-clothes, old habits and evil associations cling to them and impede their progress, and He bids us “Loose him and let him go.” He asks for our co-operation in the emancipation of those who have been held fast in the power of the Evil One.

PRAYER

O God, we rejoice that we can turn to Thee in the midst of great anxiety, and commit all our troubles to Thy sure help. As Thou art with us in the sunlight, be Thou with us in the cloud. Sustain us by Thy near presence and let the comforts which are in Jesus Christ fill our hearts with peace. AMEN. m

Generational Spirits?

The title’s question mark gives away my conviction concerning this popular teaching.

It’s too long a message for a blog entry, so I’ve put it on my Other Writings page.

Here’s how it begins:

Let me lead into this subject by sharing my personal experience with a fellowship that used the term “familiar spirit” to refer to evil spirits that (according to this fellowship) entrench themselves in the families of mankind. For example, if Grandpa and Uncle Bill and cousin Jack are alcoholics, this is the work of a “familiar spirit,” and inevitably the new generation will grow up and be victimized by the same. Or, if Great Grandma and Grandma and Dad have heart disease or Alzheimer’s, this is no doubt the work of a “familiar spirit.”

The elders of this fellowship would sometimes visit the fellowship I was part of, bringing this teaching with them—to the point that just about every sin and problem and sickness in our midst was credited to the evil working of familiar spirits. Prayer times were invariably filled with their loud declarations binding the familiar spirit in So and so, and the familiar spirit over Such and such a family, or breaking the curse of a familiar spirit over this one who was sick… and so on….

Those interested can read the full message here:  Generational Spirits?

 

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