Monday, February 27, 2012

Blessings According to Psalm 84 (Amplified Bible)

I do not wish to add much explanation to the below verses as they are clearly expounded and self-explanatory in Amplified Bible. The verses themselves are so satisfying needing no commentary or much explanation, although I have added my comments (bold faced) as required.

V 4 - Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

(WE are the TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD and the SPIRIT OF THE LORD MOST HIGH RESIDES IN US -this verse speaks of dwelling in the presence of God wherever we are and whatever we are doing. This is a real possibility!! You can sing praises within yourselves, in words and in tongues (Spirit))

V 5 - Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. (HIGHWAY TO ZION IS THE PATHWAY OF HOLINESS)

V 6 - Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.

V 7 - They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion.

V 11 - For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly (adhering to rectitude; righteous, honest).

V 12 - O Lord of hosts, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts in You [leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving]!
As the Prophet Jeremiah says "When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear Your name, O LORD God Almighty" Jeremiah 15:16, desire to feed on the Word Of God "for man shall not live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD that comes from the MOUTH OF GOD."

Live By His Word and Be Blessed!!!

Please feel free to share your views and thoughts on this devotion. Thanks!!

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Leonard Ravenhill: A Man of God

Leonard Ravenhill was one of Britain’s foremost outdoor evangelists of the 20th century. God used him to help bring thousands of people to Christ throughout Britain. Unlike the case with many of today’s evangelists, the conversions that Leonard helped to bring about were generally lasting conversions. That’s because he did not water down the Gospel when he preached it. Later in life, Leonard and his family moved to the United States, where he worked with Bethany House Publishers. In the 1980s, Leonard and his family moved to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries. Leonard regularly taught classes at Last Days Ministries, and he was a mentor to the late Keith Green.

A. W. Tozer, who was a friend of Leonard, said this about Leonard: “To such men as this the church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives. Rather, the next generation builds his sepulcher and writes his biography—as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored.

“Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountain-top, to shame the careless priest at the altar, to face the false prophet and to warn the people who are being led astray by him.

Such a man as this is not an easy companion. He is not the professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it is over to hurry to the most expensive restaurant to feast and crack jokes with his retainers. Such evangelists will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere. And again, that marks him out as different.”

I first met Leonard in 1989, when he was eighty-two years old and in frail health. At first glance, I would not have thought that God could still use this fragile, white-haired man. He walked slowly and unsteadily, and he sometimes needed help to get up and down from his chair. Yet, as soon as he opened his mouth, I immediately realized that my initial impression was wrong. At eighty-two, Leonard still spoke with fire and conviction, and it felt like his eyes were piercing right through to my soul.

During the last few years of his life, Leonard moderated a prayer meeting held once a week (later once a month), which was attended primarily by pastors and evangelists. Some of these men made a four-hour round trip to attend those prayer meetings. I attended those prayer meetings from 1989 until they ended in the summer of 1994, a few months before Leonard’s death. During the years that I attended those prayer meetings, I never once left without being deeply challenged by what Leonard had said.

One of Leonard’s gifts was his ability to spontaneously create insightful spiritual maxims as he spoke. These were short, memorable observations about God, the church, and the world. I always took a notebook with me to these meetings to write down some of his observations and maxims. Here are some of Leonard’s spiritual insights from those meetings:

“A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience.”

“The last words of Jesus to the church (in Revelation) were ‘Repent!’”

“A true shepherd leads the way. He does not merely point the way.”

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”

“Your doctrine can be as straight as a gun barrel—and just as empty!”

“John the Baptist never performed any miracles. Yet, he was greater than any of the Old Testament prophets.”

“I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in the United States are truly born again.”

“Our God is a consuming fire. He consumes pride, lust, materialism, and other sin.”

“There are only two kinds of persons: those dead in sin and those dead to sin.”

[Concerning the darkness that has enveloped most of Christendom:] “When you’re sitting in a dark room, you can either sit and curse the darkness—or you can light a candle.”

“Children can tell you what Channel 7 says, but not what Matthew 7 says.”

“Some women will spend thirty minutes to an hour preparing for church externally (putting on special clothes and makeup, etc.). What would happen if we all spent the same amount of time preparing internally for church—with prayer and meditation?”

“Maturity comes from obedience, not necessarily from age.”

“What good does it do to speak in tongues on Sunday if you have been using your tongue during the week to curse and gossip?”

“Would we send our daughters off to have sex if it would benefit our country? Yet, we send our sons off to kill when we think it would benefit our country!”

“The only time you can really say that ‘Christ is all I need,’ is when Christ is all you have.”

“The Bible is either absolute, or it’s obsolete.”

“Why do we expect to be better treated in this world than Jesus was?”

“Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”

“Testimonies are wonderful. But, so often our lives don’t fit our testimonies.”

[Concerning one of the new “movements” in the church that was causing a stir among Christians:] “There’s also a stir when the circus comes to town.”

“My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil’s most wanted list.”

“You can’t develop character by reading books. You develop it from conflict.”

“When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it ‘legalism.’”

“We can’t serve God by proxy.”

“We must do what we can do for God, before He will give us the power to do what we can’t do.”

“There’s a difference between changing your opinion, and changing your lifestyle.”

“Our seminaries today are turning out dead men.”

“How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV?”

“Everyone recognizes that Stephen was Spirit-filled when he was performing wonders. Yet, he was just as Spirit-filled when he was being stoned to death.”

“If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!”

[Concerning the fixation that today’s church has with numbers, with growth at any price:] “The church has paid a terrible price for statistics!”

“Any method of evangelism will work—if God is in it.”

“Church unity comes from corporate humility.”

“You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God.”

“Many pastors criticize me for taking the Gospel so seriously. But do they really think that on Judgment Day, Christ will chastise me, saying, ‘Leonard, you took Me too seriously’?”

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”

“You can know a lot about the atonement, and yet receive no benefit from it.”

“If the whole church goes off into deception, that will in no way excuse us for not following Christ.”

Written By David Bercot

Friday, February 17, 2012

Charles Finney - The Great American Revivalist! (1792 - 1875)

"Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” is the essence of the ministry of the great revivalist Rev. Charles G. Finney who was mightily used by God for an amazing revival in the United States. His ministry was marked by strong conviction of sin and positive evidence of conversion.
Charles G. Finney was born in Warren, Connecticut on August 29, 1792 to Sylvester and Rebecca Finney. The Finneys settled in Hanover in Oneida County two years after the birth of Charles Finney. Young Finney desired to become a lawyer. After his studies in Yale College, he was admitted in the bar and began practicing law. God chooses people to perform the choicest work. God chose Charles Finney even before he was formed in the womb of his mother. Charles Finney had a deep desire to know the truth of salvation. He had a determination in his heart that he should have a divine intervention, but he did not like the people around him to be aware that he was seeking God and so he sought out for a secluded place in the woods. He was alone in the woods and was praying. God met him and brought in him brokenness and complete humility before Him to apprehend him for His divine purpose. After this incident, there was a great urge in him to preach the gospel. It was very clear to him that for this purpose he was apprehended. Thereafter, he started preaching the gospel abandoning the practice of law. Most often, his subject of preaching would be “the blessedness of righteous and dreadful fate of the wicked”.
One Sunday morning, Charles Finney was ministering in a church; “carnal mind is the enmity against god” was the topic of the day. God’s word, being powerful and sharper than any other two-edged sword penetrated into the hearts of the listeners and they were all greatly convicted of their sins. Later that evening a counseling meeting was arranged at the Deacon’s place that Mr. Finney could minister them individually. A young man after this meeting started off home quietly, but no sooner he reached his house, the burden of sin became so great that he fell flat on the floor and cried aloud for divine pardon. People from the neighborhood gathered around him not knowing what had happened to this young man, but soon they were also stricken by conviction and were in complete tears, and they were also crying aloud for forgiveness. That day many began their lives anew in Christ Jesus and with great joy they all returned back to their homes. Such was the work of the Holy Spirit through the labors of Rev. Charles Finney. God brought great revivals through Rev. Charles Finney in places such as New York, Clinton, Antwerp, Utica, Gouverneur, Boston, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rochester, Rome, and many places in United States and England.
When Finney was ministering in Utica, he visited a cotton mill in that area, as he walked through it, he observed that workers were under the sense of conviction. All the workers burst into tears spontaneously as Mr. Finney approached them. The owner of the mill came to know of the happenings, and he told the supervisor of the mill, “stop the mill and let the people attend to religion; for it is more important that our souls should be saved than that this factory run.” The work was stopped and they all gathered in a large place, to them Mr. Finney ministered the word of God. There were a great number of conversions that day; all the workers gave their hearts to Lord Jesus.
When Mr. Finny was ministering in the city of Rome he lodged at Mr. Gillet’s house, a congregational pastor. The pastor’s wife was a beautiful lady and had great passion for apparels and ornaments. Finney being their guest used to converse with them. The Holy Spirit initiated a great conviction in her with regard to her fondness of dress and jewels. As the conviction in her became progressively greater, she was literally begging Mr. Finney to pray for her salvation. One day when Mr. Finney was in his study, she entered the room and begged him to pray for her, as Mr. Finney felt that she was depending much on him he just left the room abruptly. After a period of time, the lady came out the room seeking him with the fullness of joy and radiance of face. She joyfully exclaimed, “O, Mr. Finney I have found the savior. Don’t you think that it was the ornaments in my hair that stood in the way of salvation and conversion? I have found when I prayed that they would come up before me and I would be tempted, as I supposed, to give them up. But I thought they were trifles, and that God did not care about such trifles. This was the temptation of Satan. But the ornaments that I wore continually kept coming up before my mind whenever I attempted to give my heart to God. When you abruptly left me I was driven to desperation. I cast myself down, and lo these ornaments came up again; and I said I will not have these things come up again, I will put them away from me forever. As soon as I promised to give them up, the lord revealed himself to my soul; and O! I wonder I have understood this before.” This context shows two kinds of people, on one hand there is a vessel of honor used by God to liberate the souls that are entrapped by the devil. As we progressively conform to the image of Christ with overflowing anointing of his power our conversation shall direct others to the way of salvation and sanctification. They may even exclaim and say “were not our hearts burning within us while he/she talked with us on the road and opened our scriptures to us.” On the other hand, we see a struggling soul under the conviction work of the Holy Spirit entangled in the passions and fashions of the world. This soul obtained freedom not only by the blood of Jesus and work of the Holy Spirit, also by the determination rather the sincere decision, in the presence of the Most Holy God, to please Him only. Please note the statement of this lady, “I will not have these things come up again.” We may be weak, falling time and again in our Christian walk, but this “I will not” resolved for the sake of the Lord would channelize the strength of God towards us and help us to be victorious over the things that enslave us.

Finney’s sermons are so powerful having greater impact on the listeners. This was actually the result of his dependence on Holy Ghost. He wrote, “For I believe that all ministers called by Christ to preach the gospel are to preach the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. What else did Christ mean when he said, “ Go and disciple all nations; and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world. What did he mean when He said, speaking of the Holy Spirit, “He shall take of mine and show it unto you?” “He shall bring all things to remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you?” What did He mean when He said, “If any man believe in me out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water?” This spoke He of the Spirit that they, which believe on Him, should receive. All ministers may be, and ought to be, so filled with the Holy Spirit that all who hear Him shall be impressed with the conviction that “God is in them of the truth.”

Charles Finney’s preaching is simple and direct. Most of his sermons were not written notes and they were instantaneous. Most often he himself would not know the message that he would deliver. They were all absolutely prophetical and would often rend the hearts of people before the living God. He addressed the crowd direct saying, “you are guilty of these sins;” and “the lord requires this of you.” Finney said, “ They (ministers) often preach about the Gospel instead of preaching the Gospel. They often preach about people instead of preaching to them. They studiously avoid being personal in the sense of making impression on any one present that he is the man.”Finney never wished to please the audience and hence never used smooth enticing words with regard to sin. He was honest before God and Man and never was a respecter of person.
Finney humbly confesses that his powerful sermons were from the God and not of his own. He wrote, “Let no man think that those sermons which have been called powerful were production of my own brain or my own heart, unassisted by the Holy Ghost. They were not mine but from the Holy Spirit in me.”
Dr. John Campbell, the editor of the “British Banner”, marvels at the oratorical skills of Charles Finney- “Multitude have stood amazed at themselves as presented in the mirror he exhibits at their astonished view. This peculiar power alone would have rendered Mr. Finney remarkable among the public instructors; but this is only one feature of his complex multifarious character as preacher. His declamatory are fully equal to his logical powers. In this walk, we think he has no superior. He thunders and lightens when his subject requires it, in a manner to shake the hearts of an assembly, rousing the most apathetic, and awing the most careless.”

Charles Finney was the second president of Oberlin College, a theological seminary, where he taught on the subjects such as Systemic Theology, Pastoral Theology, and Mental and Moral Philosophy. He was educating the young men and woman until 1865. In August 1875 Rev. Charles Finney entered into the glorious kingdom of God.
God takes the initiative in the relationship between God and man. He sent his only begotten son into the world to be the propitiation of sins that man might be reconciled with God. God almighty in order to accomplish his divine plan of restoration of mankind raises up great preachers like Rev. Charles Finney to bring the lost ones at the feet of Jesus. Charles Finney contributed to the world the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Chronically and constantly our Lord God has been affirming that therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT. For the law of spirit of life in Christ Jesus will set them free from the law of sin and death. Roman 8: 1, 2. 19 And, the flip side of this truth is I John 3:19,20 - "This is how we know that WE BELONG TO THE TRUTH and how WE SET OUR HEARTS AT REST in His presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God." As long as we are WATCHFUL TO WALK IN SPIRIT, we will not be condemned.
We are to be constantly mindful of the fact that our hearts and lives are stripped bare before Jesus, the omnipresent and omniscient God. We can never hit-and-run and escape scot-free from our actions. The more we try to justify our wrongs and the more we cover up, the more it has dominion over us. As we fall prostrate before God who is all forgiving- rending our hearts before Him and asking Him to do a deep surgical removal of that sin in our lives, and as we truly repent before Him, He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us away from all our sins. Once the assurance of forgiveness returns into our hearts, we need to resolve in the presence of God to never go back to that sin from which we have been delivered in the presence of the Almighty. Then the Lord showers His strength to make us stand from falling again.

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

Friday, February 10, 2012

Signs, Wonders, and Miracles!!!!

I am being led by the Spirit of The living God to share the article by Hubert Bunney holding back my own write-up. The Lord has been speaking to me "why He performs signs and wonders" from the life of Moses, Jesus, and the disciples of Jesus. Nevertheless, when I lay my eyes on this article, I read through it and the Lord ministered to me through it and is leading me to share this article with you all. May you all be blessed as the Spirit of the Living God ministers to you!!
The book of Acts (the history of the church) is very interesting in how it tells us the basis of the triumph of the church. I believe God wants the church today to be as victorious as it was in the book of Acts. He wants the victories and the power, to have the ability, to spread the gospel and touch people’s hearts. See, it is possible to have a head-to-head religion and never get to the heart. But the power of the Spirit can touch hearts. What is taught in the book of Acts is if we want to have triumph we have to honor the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, and honor his leadership through obedience to His word.
There is a lot of talk today that we don’t need to relate our experiences to the bible. People say "This is the third move of God and he is doing experiences you can’t find in the word." Well, if I can’t find them in the word, I’m not gonna preach them because the bible says preach the word. It’s enough for me just to have the many experiences of the bible I haven’t had yet. And so I’m not going to be reaching out for something beyond the bible. I’m going to stay with the book and then I know I am safe. Feeling’s can fluctuate. I have heard people say the world was greener when I got saved. Well, the world was great when I met my wife, too. God will use feelings, bearing witness with our spirit but you cannot go completely by feelings. You have to stay to the word.

There is an employment of God’s methods and I believe that these methods taught in the book of Acts work. They are as much for today as they were for that day. I believe God set a pattern down here for us to follow this path. This is a dependence upon his means and promotion of His ends. I told you I wanted to speak to you about signs, wonders and miracles. Miracles have different accents. A sign is a miracle, a wonder is a miracle, and a miracle is a miracle. The miracle has the accent upon the power of the act. The sign puts the accent upon the portent or the pointing of the act. Pointing to the word of His grace, pointing to his servants, pointing to Jesus. It is sort of an attestation of the person, of the message, the means and the methods. And then a wonder has to do with the effect that this miracle has had upon the observers. They get into wonderment and they marvel that God has given such power unto men. And so it’s the effects upon the observers, but they are all miracles. Now, I believe God has chosen in the book of Acts that his method of advertisement is the miraculous.
Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place.
They were not scattered! They did not have this attitude, I can worship God anywhere; it’s just as well to worship God on the golf course on Sunday morning as it is in church. They were all together in one place.
And I believe that is important. You know there were 500 people that were given the commission to return unto Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father. From the time the Holy Spirit fell in days after, there were only 120 people there. Where were the other 380? They didn’t come to be in one place in one accord. Maybe they had lots of things to do, as busy people, but they didn’t get the promise. But these 120 stayed there in one place and in one accord, in prayer.
Acts 2:2. And suddenly there came from heaven as a mighty, rushing wind, and filled all the house where they were sitting.
If you check close in scripture, especially at the end of Luke, you’ll find that they were on the Mount of Olives (about a Sabbath’s day journey from Jerusalem) when he lifted up his hands and he blessed them and was received into heaven. And he said, "Return to Jerusalem! Now, they didn’t go outside the walls of Jerusalem to John Marks’ house like tradition tells you (they lead you there when you go over to Israel). They went inside the walls of Jerusalem. And you know that John Marks’ house is almost as far out of the walls of Jerusalem as the Mount of Olives is. So they would have disobeyed if they went to John Marks’ house. They went into the temple and were continually in the their praising and waiting upon God. And in this temple, it had many abodes (rooms). I think there were at least 38 rooms for the priests, and the apostles were in one of these upper-rooms of these walls in the courtyard of the temple.
Now, the apostles weren’t sitting in the courtyard. They were sitting in this upper-room. The sound of a mighty, rushing wind did not fill Jerusalem. It filled the room where they were sitting. And so I don’t think that was what drew the attention of the crowd together.
Acts 2:3. And there appeared unto them (120, not the people out in the courtyard) cloven tongues like as a fire, and it sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with tongues as the spirit gave them utterance.
Now, you never hear the crowd outside saying, "Wasn’t that miraculous the fire on the heads of those people." I don’t think the people in the courtyard that came together saw the fire or necessarily heard the wind that had filled the room where they were; neither the courtyard or the whole city.
Acts 2:5-8 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. And now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled (wonderment of this situation) saying one to another, "Behold are not all these Galileans?"
In other words, how come these Galileans are able to speak in our language wherein we were born. And when you go from v6, "When this was noised abroad," what was noised abroad? This speaking with tongues. So this sign of speaking with tongues was what drew the multitude together. And they have all kinds of questions about this thing.
Acts 2:12-13.And they were all amazed and were in doubt saying one to another, "What meaneth this? Others mocking said, "These men are full of new wine."
I want to say something about this because there are people who emphasize today that Christians should be drunk (in the spirit). If anything the bible teaches, is the opposite. Christians should be sober. I hear people say, "I was filled with the spirit, got into my car, backed into somebody else’s car. On the way home, I knocked 5 garbage cans over, I was so filled with the spirit." But the Holy Spirit did not cause you to do that. Let’s be honest about this thing. The only ones that said they were drunk were the mockers. Are you gonna take the words of the mockers? Peter stood up and rebuked the mockers and said they were wrong. So this idea that the more you are filled with the spirit, the more silly you act, the more drunk you are, is not found in the bible. It is found in people’s minds. It’s been propagated for years. "Be not drunk with wine where is revelry (excess), be filled with the spirit." Be under control of the Holy Ghost. It is vastly different!
What I am saying here is, God’s advertisement was when this was noised abroad. What? When, this speaking in tongues was noised abroad, the multitude came together and said, "What means this? How hear everyone of us speak in our own language wherein we were born?" So God’s advertisement was they were filled with the spirit and speaking with other tongues, the sign of being filled with the spirit.

Gal 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the spirit, ….
Some people have the ability to lay their hands upon people, for the people to receive the Holy Spirit. Simon wanted to buy that gift. He saw Peter do it and he said, "Give me this gift that whosoever I lay hands upon them may receive the spirit." That is one way to receive it, but another way is if a person is testifying or worshipping, they can minister the spirit. Preaching with the accompaniment of the manifestation of God’s presence can minister the spirit.
One of things I’ve noticed today is we are separating the word from the spirit. The word and the spirit are not to be divorced, they are to be together. Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and they are life." So don’t divorce and don’t separate. Jesus said, "The spirit of the Lord was upon me for he anointed me to preach." There should be the spirit and the word together. What people are doing, they are separating the spirit and the word by saying "All you need is the word of God, and you just go by what the word says," but that is not right because the word says different things to different people. A classic example of this is Proverbs 26:4, which says "Answer not a fool according to his folly" and the following v5 says, "Answer a fool according to his folly." Tell me how you are to answer a fool? YOU HAVE TO BE LED OF THE SPIRIT! This is true in all the things of the bible.
Some people think that if a nation is sinful she will be judged of God. Not necessarily so! She might be blessed of God. "The goodness of God leads to repentance," so you don’t know if God is going to judge America or not, and neither does anyone else. When these people try to tell you we’re gonna be in for the greatest depression America has ever had, they don’t know what they’re talking about. We might have the greatest depression or we might have greatest prosperity to continue on. You can’t take any scripture to prove America is going to be judged, because God might want to bless her to turn her from her sins like he did Israel. I pray that we are nation that he can continue to bless. I’m not anxious for economic collapse. Do you know anybody who would like to stand in line and collect soup? I’m not anxious for that. Now if that’s what God wants, I will submit to it. But if God wants prosperity, I don’t want to think I’m backslidden ‘cause he’s prospering me. See, some people think prosperity has the danger of getting proud. That is true, but God still wants to prosper us. You have not gained anything in character if you haven’t had the test. People think, if I can stay away from the thing that might test me I’ll show my character. No you won’t. God put you into the test to show you your character. The glory of all nations is a land flowing with milk and honey. Do not let anyone talk you into putting your tail between your legs and your ears down like a dog ‘cause God is blessing us with prosperity. That doesn’t mean we are not a sinful nation and don’t have problems in our country, but one of the problems we don’t have right now is depression and recession. Thank God for that! "He gives us all things to enjoy." I’m not talking about this false type of thing that God wants all Christians to be millionaires, but God wants to prosper you. And one of the great things of prosperity is the will of God for your life, being in that place of contentment and satisfaction.
And so Gal 3:5 says here, "He therefore that ministereth to you the spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Do you know what we need to do? Say "God sharpen my spiritual ears." The bible says "the Lord dug out and bore Jesus ears that he might hear," that he might know right from wrong. God, get the sin of the world out of my ears that I might have better spiritual hearing, because if miracles take place by the hearing of faith, give me the faith that hears. We need to hear from God. Whenever you’re in prayer and you’re talking to God, that’s good, but there should be a place of God talking to you. See, some people go into Gods presence and they tell God their shopping list and what they want to do and sign off and say "See you tomorrow." After you’ve told him what is on your heart, maybe pause a minute for him to tell you what’s on his heart. Then you can move under the direction of God and you’re hearing his voice, which creates faith.
I want to take you to some scriptures to show you how much God put on signs, wonders, and miracles in the evangelism of the bible.
Rom 15:18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the gentiles obedient, by word and deed, 19. Through mighty signs, and wonders, by the power of the spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Now Paul constantly says, "My gospel was not in word only," and he tells us about this deed in v19, "Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the spirit of God so that from to Jerusalem and around about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." Now I looked up these scriptures and what it is actually saying is there is a partial gospel and there is a full gospel. And if you want to preach the full gospel, you can’t divorce it from signs, wonders and miracles. He says, "I fully preached the gospel of Christ." So if you want to fully preach it, it is through mighty signs, wonders and by the power of God. We want the power of God. We don’t want to separate the spirit and the word. We don’t want the dry letter, which is death. We want God to be working with us.

Acts 2:22. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
"Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you." Some translations on this word, approval, have it as accredited among you. You’ve heard of schools that were accredited and non-accredited, but Jesus was accredited by the miracles and wonders and signs which God did in the midst of them. God put a stamp of approval on him by the signs, wonders and miracles. Should we have that today? Jesus said, "Greater works shall ye do because I go unto my father." Now, I am not saying that I have it all but I’m open to it. I want it; I admit the need. I admit that I need more of the anointing of the spirit, I need more of God working with me. I believe the church of Jesus Christ today needs to go back to the pattern of the church of the book of Acts. And I believe if we do, we will see more of the miraculous, more of the manifest presence of God, more conviction of sin, and more things that cause people to fear God.
Now Jesus didn’t go to the University of Jerusalem for his accreditation. He didn’t say, "See the sheep skin I have on the wall." He didn’t go up to someone being possessed and say, "In the name of the Alma Mater of the University of Jerusalem, come out." It didn’t work that way! God backed him. They were amazed that even the spirits obeyed his voice, and so it was the miraculous again.
This thing is spread through the bible to show us the importance of it. How we can ignore it, I don’t know.
2 Cor 12:12. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.When Paul was preaching to the Corinthian church, he said these signs, wonders and mighty deeds are truly the marks of an apostle, that which a person must have to be an Apostle. The mark of the miraculous must be there.

God bears witness. The bible says, if you have received the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. It is important that we witness to people, but it’s also important God works with us and he witnesses to people through us and by us.
Heb 2:4.God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
God bearing them; the them is the Apostles that heard Jesus in v3. Now, on the word "both", the Greek word is "Te", and "Te" is a special conjunction that says that the thing that it is connecting "with", and the thing it is connected to has an internal connection. If I have an external coupling, I can take it off but I can’t take an internal connection off any better than if I tried to take my arm or head off. No way, it is inwardly connected. What it is saying here is, "God bearing them witness", has an inward connection with signs and wonders. So, God’s method of bearing them witness was signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. When God wants to bear witness, it is inwardly connected that his witness is signs, wonders and miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 5:32. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Now, "these things" are, "these words", and the Greek word used for "word" here is not logos, but rhema.
We are witnesses of these rhema’s. …"And so is also the Holy Ghost;" Now what it is saying here is, we bore witness and so did the Holy Ghost. The witness of man is good but the witness of the Holy Ghost is better. So God is a witness, he is a testifier. We are to testify and God is to testify. Today, the missing thing at many times is, we give the testimony and God is silent. It doesn’t do anything and doesn’t say anything. We should so want God to work with us that we say, "God, I want you to bear witness. I’m doing the best I can to explain this gospel but I want you to help. I don’t want be out here working alone. I’m a social worker, I work with you." They bore witness, "so also did the Holy Ghost." We should say, "Jesus, work with me. It is so lonely when I’m working alone." It’s so hard and difficult trying to convince man to accept Jesus and no wonder, you’re asking people to give up the rights of their life. So we are asking a hard thing and we need to have help of God in that situation.
Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
The reason why the Apostles stayed was because the unbelieving Jews stirred up the gentiles and made their mind evil effected. So the unbelieving Jewish people poisoned the Gentiles minds against the apostles, so they would not receive the Apostles message. But the Apostles felt when there is a battle on, we’re going to see this thing through until we get the victory. They stayed a longer time and said, "We’re gonna fight harder."
Now, one of the reasons the Lord doesn’t back some ministry is because it is nothing but legalism; it is not the gospel of the grace of God, it is works. Can people do miracles by the works of the law? No, they do it by the hearing of faith. God bears witness to the gospel of the grace of God. He doesn’t bear witness to legalism or clothesline preaching. He doesn’t bear witness to picketing a saloon or chaining yourself to an abortion center. But he does bear witness to the gospel of Grace. The gospel will do more than shooting doctors. That is what causes people to join the other side. Let’s get away from this foolishness and let’s get to the main issue of changing the hearts of people. When they have a change of heart, it’s all taken care of. You can stop someone from drinking and pass laws to make everything dry so nobody will get drunk, pass laws that it is illegal to perform abortion, but you can’t make a sinful person a saint by laws. You just make him a mad rebel. He’s mad at the church, mad at Christians, he’s mad at everyone. Stop fighting with people about having a drink. They don’t have anything else to make their heart happy. They don’t have Jesus in their heart. See what I am saying is we both have the same goal but we don’t agree with the method. I’m not interested in passing legislation of the United States so that sinners cannot sin.

A sinner sins because he is a sinner. And if you really want to make him mad, stop him from sinning. That is what he does because that is what he likes.
So God bore witness to the word of his grace. Grace will make you what you ought to be. Paul says, "I am what I am by the grace of God." Grace is the enabler that will keep me from sinning and make me the person I ought to be. We need to preach the gospel of the grace of God because it works. It’s a teacher. It teaches men to deny ungodliness in this present world. It teaches us to live sober lives without making us mad at God and at the church. I think we are doing things today that are hindering evangelism because we are making sinners mad at the church. See, I am not part of these things that are being passed upon sinners. Sign this petition, we’ll get so that New York State cannot even sell an alcoholic beverage. No, I won’t sign it, I have a better method. I want to be a friend of sinners and go right to the party where they are and sit down and share the gospel with them. I’ll tell ya, the bible says this grace works, the other doesn’t. Jesus was a friend of sinners, he went to a wedding reception and turned water into wine. I don’t know how you did that Jesus, it must have been grape juice. It couldn’t have been the real stuff. You wouldn’t do that, Lord. I spent all of my life working against that alcohol and now you made some more. You do things that really bother me, Lord.
Acts 4:29-31. Now the Lord behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants with all boldness we may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal. And that signs and wonders may be done by the name of the Holy child Jesus.
Does this sound like a broken record? Is this like the God who doesn’t have to say the same thing twice to keep repeating it over and over again? What is God trying to do? He is trying to etch it on our hearts so deep that we can’t forget it. If we stretch forth our hand and God doesn’t stretch his, nothing is going to happen. But if we discern that God wants someone to be healed, and we discern he’s putting his hand on them, and we put ours out, something is going to happen.
John 10:25. Jesus answered them, I told you and you believed me not. The works that I do in my father’s name they bear witness of me.
What are some of the works that Jesus did? In v21, it tells us that he opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick and did miracles and this bore witness of Jesus. Jesus testified about the Father and God the Father bore witness of Jesus and put approbation upon him.
John 10:31 And when the Jews took up stones again to stone him, v32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works have I shewed you from my father; for which of these works do you stone me? V33 The Jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; …
They wanted to stone him because he said he was the Son of God but Jesus basically says, "Why do you stone me when I’ve shown you the works of my father? That should be proof enough that I am what I say I am." If only the church would say to people when they’re preaching to them, "If God is not backing you with the miraculous, we won’t believe a word that is said. "Some Churches haven’t seen a miracle in twenty years. In the bible they would be in bad shape and would have to admit to the church, that the words they preach from the pulpit are not trustworthy. But Jesus said "if God doesn’t do the works, don’t believe me. " (" If you don’t believe me, believe the miracles.")
John 10:37. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the father is in me, and I in him. (KJV)
I’ve heard people say, miracles are not important. Jesus felt they were important enough to tell the people, "Don’t believe what I say if there is no miracles. "If I’m not doing the work of my father, don’t believe what I say."

Mark 16:17. And these signs shall follow them that believe; …
V20.And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord
working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Miracles have to have purpose. V17 & 18, list the signs. I want to be a believer like it is described here, that these signs might follow. I don’t believe we should be on a witch-hunt for people being demon possessed but when you come up with a problem, deal with it. When you really believe the full gospel, you will speak with new tongues. And although God does not call us to be a snake charmer, he could use us like Paul who was bitten for the purpose of opening a door of ministry on the Island of Malta. It was divine intervention that the poison did not kill him and it was attestation to Paul that he didn’t die. That’s what gave him the opportunity to preach the gospel on this Island, then healing of Publius father made it more. When they came out, the whole island came out to be healed. So miracles have to have purpose. If you drink poison on purpose that’s crazy. That might even be showing off. People have gold dust in their hair today, but what is its purpose? I can’t find it at all in the bible.
Then V19: so then after the Lord had spoken unto them he was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. V20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. The people who heard him when he raised his hands and blessed them and was ascended up into heaven, they went forth and preached everywhere with the Lord helping them and confirming it. When I was down at our alumni meeting, the Lord woke me up early in the morning and gave me this scripture in v20. And then God asked me a question that I was never, ever asked by anybody in my life. And the Lord said to me, "Do I major in minors?" No lord, you don’t major in minors. "Well, I was working with them confirming the word with signs following them. Do I major in minors?" Do you know why the Lord asked me that? Everyplace I go, people are playing down the miraculous. I believe God wants to restore the miraculous to the modern day church. The wisdom of the world is trying to erase this with the busyness so we cannot wait on God. We need a restoration, a revival of the book of Acts. We need the latter and the former rain to come back to the church. We need another Pentecost, something that takes us out of the realm of the natural and into the spiritual.

Make us, Father, what you want us to be. May we preach the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Father, bear witness to your church, I pray, in the name of Jesus and for your glory, amen.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 - 1892) - The Powerful Pulpit Preacher of England

"Now, I venture to say that all history proves that the truth has very seldom been accepted by the rulers of this world, and that for the most part the poorest of the poor have been more able to perceive the truth than the greatest of the great have ever been. There would have been no Christianity in the world at the present moment if it had not found a shelter in workshops and in cottages."

"Christianity is a life which grows out of truth."

"Charity and purity are the two garments of Christianity."

"Secularism teaches us that we ought to look to this world.Christianity teaches us that the best way to prepare for this world is to be fully prepared for the next."

"The church of God owes very little to kings and princes and nobles. She owes far more to fishermen and peasants."

"God will not cause his children to be born where there are none to nurse them; he will be sure not to send converts to churches which do not want them."

These were the words of the highly gifted orator Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who was instrumental in the hand of God for a great revival in United Kingdom.

Charles H. Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834 in Keveldon, England. His father Rev. John Spurgeon and his grandfather were congregation Independents. The early years of Charles Spurgeon were spent in Stambourne with his granndfather who brought him up in evangelical faith. He was a child genius and a boy of profound intellect. Even at the age of 6, when some children have advanced no farther in spelling than words in one syllable he could read out with a point and emphasis, which was really marvelous in one so young. Here is an example of his inquisitive nature and his earnest desire to understand the Biblical facts, which he has recorded in his own words. “When I was a small boy I was allowed to read the scriptures at family prayer. Once upon a time when a reading in Revelation, which mentions the bottomless pits, I paused and said, “Grandpa, what can this mean?” The answer was kind but unsatisfactory, “Pooh, Pooh, child go on.” The Child, however, intended to have an explanation, and therefore selected the same chapter morning after morning, and always halted at the same verse to repeat the enquiry, hoping that by repetition he would importune the good old gentleman into reply. I can remember the horror of my mind when my dear grandfather told me what his idea of the “bottomless pit” was. There is a deep pit and the souls are falling down. Oh, how fast it is falling! the last ray of light at the top has disappeared, it falls on-on-on and so it goes on falling on-on-on- for a thousand years! Is it not getting near the bottom yet? Won’t it stop? No, no, the cry is on-on-on. I have been falling a million years; am I not near the bottom yet? No you are not near the bottom yet. It is a bottomless pit and so the soul is falling perpetually into a deeper depth. Woe! Without termination, without hope of its coming to a conclusion. Doesn’t this really enlighten us about the real but definite destiny of those who turn their backs to Christ, the Savior?

In 1850, On January 6, when he was in a Primitive Methodist Chapel listening to a preacher, God’s word came straight to him. The preacher looked into the eyes of Spurgeon and said, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look. Look. Look. You have nothing to do, but to look.” Charles Spurgeon beautifully described this incident-“I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said. I did not take much notice of it- I was so possessed with that one thought, like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed and so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard the word “Look” what a charming word it seemed to me! The cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun. I do from my soul confess that I never was satisfied till I came to Christ."

Charles Spurgeon’s ministry began in Cambridge at his residence. He was just 16 when he started preaching the gospel in the churches, and the listeners marveled at his intellect and artistic speech. His fame spread far and wide and the church leaders invited him to preach in their churches on special occasions. One such invitation came from a little church in Waterbeach. Charles Spurgeon accepted the invitation and began to minister among the people of Waterbeach. God blessed his ministry there and so he remained there and continued his pulpit ministry. Although he had encouraged and helped many to go to college, when his father urged him to apply to Stepney College he refused to join a college. Rising up early in the morning, waiting upon God, getting divine revelations with the help of the Holy Spirit, and sharing it to the congregation was the secret behind the success of his pulpit ministry.
Charles Spurgeon was invited to preach in a church at New Park Street, London. He ministered the word of God for a few Sundays in London, eventually as per divine leading he left Waterbeach and settled his ministry at New Park Street. Crowds of people flocked to this chapel with the earnest desire to know the depths of the word of God through Charles Spurgeon. His sermons became very popular and often attracted great number of audience. On one occasion about 12,000 people gathered to hear him preach under one roof.
As the Lord greatly blessed his ministry there was much inadequacy in terms of space and so there was a need for a larger building to accommodate the growing crowd. Therefore, in 1861 the foundation for “The Metropolitan Tabernacle” was laid. The congregation contributed generously and cheerfully for the construction purpose. They were able to build a beautiful church, which could accommodate more than 6,000 people at a time. Charles Spurgeon’s experience was as that of the Old Testament Saint David, the king of Israel, which could be put in a nutshell as – “You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”- Psalms 66:12.

Mr. Spurgeon founded a college for young men who desired to serve the Lord Most high to give them the opportunity to educate themselves for the work. Spurgeon wrote about the purpose of this The pastor’s college – “I had not even a remote idea of whereunto it would grow. They were springing up around me, as my own spiritual children, many earnest young men who felt an irresistible impulse to preach the Gospel, and yet with half an eye it could be seen that their lack of education would be a sad hindrance to them."

Mr. Charles and Ms. Susannah Thompson were united in Holy Matrimony on January 12, 1856. They were gifted with twin sons Thomas and Charles. Their personal life was remarkable for faith, sacrifice, and dedication. Mrs. Spurgeon not only aided in her husband’s ministry being her husband’s personal secretary, but also dispensed gifts of books and boxes of clothing to the village ministers. She also saved money from her housekeeping and started “The Book Fund’ to provide financial aid for the education of the pastors throughout United Kingdom.
God laid a heavy burden in the heart of Mr. Spurgeon regarding the pathetic spiritual status of the educational institutions of England. He wrote “We have too much given up our children to the enemy. A great effort should be made to multiply our day-schools, and to render them distinctly religious by teaching the gospel in them, and by laboring to bring the children, as children to our Lord Jesus. The silly cry of nonsectarian is duping many into the establishment of schools in which the most important part of wisdom, namely the fear of the Lord is altogether ignored. We trust this folly will soon be given up, and that we shall see schools in which all that we believe and hold dear, shall be taught to the children.” Mr. Spurgeon opened an orphanage, the Stockwell Orphanage, which was run with the supreme objective to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is an undeniable fact that the present-day schools have been given up to the adversary. There is a great need for a total reformation with respect to moral upbringing in our schools. Bible says in Isaiah 54:13 “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children.” It is a must that we need to dedicate ourselves afresh and cry unto God for this promise to come true in our lives.

Charles Spurgeon suffered from physical pain and rheumatism most of his life. His health declined greatly and he was forced to be away from the pulpit. From the “furnace of affliction”God enabled Spurgeon to write an enduring work called, “The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith.” Charles Spurgeon, the great orator, Mr. Valiant-for-truth entered the kingdom of God on January 26, 1892 in Menton, France. As per his wish, he was buried in the center of the Stockwell Orphanage grounds.
“Look unto me and be ye saved” is the blessed verse of conversion in the life of Charles Spurgeon. This is a simple word, but very powerful Rhema or Spoken word from the very mouth of God, which transformed the life of this young man.
Jesus' simple, however, discerning and intent look caused conviction and repentance of Peter, after he betrayed Jesus. "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times," and he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61,62. As long as we focus on Him, we will walk over the raging seas underneath our feet. Once we look away from Jesus, then we begin to lose balance and the ground beneath us gives way. Therefore, looking unto Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith, let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling.- Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 2:12. This great man of God has richly blessed us with his nonobliterating sermons and exemplary life.

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

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