Friday, August 9, 2013

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED"?

THIS WAS THE PASSWORD INTO THE EARLY CHURCH.

"O the spirit filled life; is it thine, is it thine?
Is thy soul holy filled with the Spirit Divine?
O thou child of the King, has He fallen on thee?
Does He reign in the soul, so that all men may see?
The dear Savior's blest image reflected in thee?

"Has He swept through thy soul like the waves of the sea?
Does the Spirit of God daily rest upon thee?
Does He give thee to know that all things may be done
Through the grace and the power of the crucified One?
Does He witness to thee of the glorified Son?

"Has He purged thee of dross with the fire from above?
Is He first in thy thoughts, has He all of thy love?
Is His service thy choice, and is sacrifice sweet?
Dost thou run at His bidding with glad eager feet?

"Has He freed thee from self and from all of thy greed?
Dost thou hasten to succor thy brother in need?
As a soldier in Christ dost thou hardness endure?
Is thy hope in the Lord everlasting and sure?
Hast thou patience and meekness, art tender and pure?

"O the Spirit filled life may be thine, may be thine,
In thy soul evermore the Shekinah may shine;
It is thine to live with the tempests all stilled,
It is thine with the blessed Holy Ghost to be filled;
It is thine, even thine, for the Lord has so willed."

by Mrs. Charles Cowman, an old Methodist


Saturday, June 22, 2013

PREPARATION FOR THE PROMISED REST" by Paul Gandy (page 17)

THE SEEKER after the 'rest' of God, or sanctification, has arrived at this juncture by reading God's Word; and the Holy Spirit has caused desire to rise up in the heart.  A careful study of Romans 12:1+2 will give a firm footing for the believer as he presses toward the mark.  Verse 1 begins with a strong plea from apostle Paul to his brethren to present themselves, having found mercy, as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, because it is a service which is entirely reasonable.  Remember that when you were a sinner, the Word of God declared that you were dead in trespasses and sin.  In verse 1 however, we are besought to be a living sacrifice.  Somewhere previous to this call to consecration, there must have been a moment when we were passed from death unto life--being Born Again.  It has already been presented to the reader that the rest that God promises is not for disobedient hearts.  The living sacrifice is to be holy.  As the new born heart guides an individual to eschew evil and choose the good, the result is that of walking in the light as He is in the light and cleansing has begun, which is sometimes thought of as initial sanctification and is largely involved in righteous living and identifying ourselves as a follower of Christ.  We stay in step with our Lord which is the only path to be acceptable to God.  We are commanded to present our bodies, and, since our body is controlled by our heart and mind and will, those are understood to be consecrated. The seeker is to abandon himself to the Holy Ghost.  Peter spoke of committing the keeping of our souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (I Peter 4:19).  God made us and He alone knows how to care for us and what is best for us.  This, Romans 12:1 declares, is reasonable--Amen.

Verse 2 speaks of non-conformity to this world brought about by a transformation--that of a renewed mind. In John chapter 17, Jesus prayed that His disciples should not be taken out of the world, but should be kept from the evil (verse 15).  This eludes to the physical world where we live and move and have our being. The 'world' mentioned in Romans 12:2, must evidently be compared to the second part of John 17:15 where Jesus prayed that the followers be kept from 'the evil' or the world system that denies Christ and seeks for self gratification.  Moving on into the second part of verse 2 from Romans 12, we find that the mind is renewed, being transformed.  Paul is not speaking of the New Birth for he had used the term 'brethren' in verse 1 and this term he never used to address sinners.  Remember that before the disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost they were of a fleshly mind.  They tried to hinder children from coming to Jesus, had jockeyed for position within their circle, and were generally enamored with the celebrated status of being associated with Jesus and His daily activities.  However, when things got heated up and the church leaders were threatening the Lord, then fear and dread seized the disciples.  During the arrest and mock trial of the
Lord, the disciple had fled and poor Peter had denied the Lord three times.  Consider the behavior of the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.  They had consecrated their all and had tarried 10 days when the Baptism of the Holy Ghost was poured upon them, purifying their hearts by faith.  As they exited the upper room,  what a difference--now they had the mind of the Spirit and were filled with the Spirit. 

Peter immediately launched out on a new preaching career with the boldness of a lion.  There was no thought of co-existing or compromising with the church leaders--no place of apology for the message of Jesus, the Christ!!  Ready to suffer, ready to stay, ready to go, ready to do God's Will.  Their minds had been renewed and they would never quite be the same again.  The disciples had followed Jesus, they had believed Him, they obeyed His words, they assembled in the upper room.  Here they without a doubt consecrated their all to Jesus, and suddenly, the Holy Ghost sanctified their hearts.  They proved, "What is that good and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God!! (Romans 12;2)

"THE PROMISED REST" by Paul Gandy (page 16)

REST is a word with which all of mankind can relate and it appeals to every weary person.  Who has not longed for it after toil, or heartache, or oppression, or worry?  Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give thee rest"--Matthew 11:28.  As long as there is activity or continued effort, one cannot enjoy a rest.  Only after ceasing from labor whether mental or physical, can a person truly be at rest.  The promise of the Lord to give rest is obviously on a spiritual plane and speaks to a situation of unrest that cannot be remedied by our own strength or resources.  The Lord is making himself available to all of mankind and is desirous to be of service to any who would come to Him. From what burden would the Lord's 'rest' free us?  If we think of the days of Joshua, it would mean freedom from wars and conflicts.  The foe was identifiable and could be dealt with by force.  However, since Jesus speaks concerning spiritual values, the conflict that wearies us and causes a heavy burden might well be the fleshly mind, the carnal mind, the enmity against God (Romans 8:5-8).  The blood of the sacrificial animals in the Old Testament was not efficacious to deal with this aspect of man's spiritual need.  That blood dealt with outward sins; those that could be categorized and enumerated.  In Roman 8, verses 5-8, something quite different is spoken of as a problem to man and an antagonist to God.  Verse 8 seems to indicate that the flesh is not pleasing to God, but verse 9 brings the focus back to the inclination of the person--whether they be fleshly minded or spiritually minded.  The word 'minded' reveals that wemay make the choice for one or the other. 

Let us digress for a little while and consider some scriptures concerning spiritual rest.  Matthew 11:28 has already been cited and speaks of Christ offering rest as the believer approaches the Lord (indication of obedience).  However, in Hebrews chapter 3, the 'rest' of the Lord is clearly denied to the disobedient, unbelieving individual who had been accounted as one of God's people (Hebrews 3:18), and had seen His wonderful works (of 40 years) in the wilderness.  They provoked the Lord by their unbelief. 

Disbelief differs from unbelief because a person may not have enough facts to form a belief about the
situation or event or tale.  Unbelief  however, is a choice not to believe in the face of hard facts that have proper credibility.  In the case of Israel, many chose not to believe after having seen God at work with their own eyes.  The Lord said that this attitude provoked Him to anger.  This anger is seen in the scriptures in I John 5:9-12, where the unbelieving are charged with calling God a liar when they refuse the record that God has given of Jesus, the Son. 

In Hebrews 4:9, we are told that, 'There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."  This rest was flatly denied to the unbelieving crowd.  In Joshua's day, the 'rest' was to follow God on into Canaan, the land of promise.  However, Hebrews 4:8 reveals that Joshua was not able to provide the rest as promised in the Holy Ghost dispensation--this could only come by the shed Blood of Jesus.  Now consider this passage in Hebrews 13:12 which declares, " Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own Blood, suffered without (outside) the gate."  The purpose of His suffering is revealed to be the sanctification of the people.  The 17th  chapter of John's gospel indicates a prayer and a desire of our Lord for this very thing.  He asks the Father to sanctify "them" (His follower which were, "not of this world") by Truth.  So then, this sanctification cannot be extended to the world (sinners), but to those who have responded to the message of Christ before He was crucified; a message to repent of sins and to believe on the Son of God. This establishes a reconciliation or a right relationship between God and man.  Then a grateful heart may
desire this sanctification for which Jesus died.  The New Birth makes that heart a candidate for God's 'rest'.

There is nothing in this recognition of the work of the Blood of Christ that in any way diminishes the experience of the New Birth.  The Blood of the Lamb of God is efficacious for the forgiveness of sins and the bringing in of Grace and a new found strength against temptation.  Jesus spoke of giving Life and also giving Life more abundant.  Consider the first part of Hebrews 13:12 again, "Wherefore Jesus also," and more particularly the word "also".  It portends to an adding of something, and yet retaining what was already in place.  God has always been merciful to provide for forgiveness of sins.  This has been so obvious as we have seen how He dealt with the Israelites.  However, as is stated in Hebrews 10:4, "-it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."  The deficiency was not in the animal's blood or in a faulty ritual.  The point of verse 4 can be seen by a reading of verses 1,2, and 3. The conscience of the worshipper could not expect to be relieved of the inescapable cycle of sinning and repenting.  Again, the sacrifice and the ritual were in good order, but the dispensation of the Old Testament had no provision for anything further.  In Galatians 3:23 we read, "but before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."  Verses 24 and 25 say, "wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith, But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."  Again, Hebrews 10:1 speaks of the law as a shadow of good things to come.  It also speaks of the law and animal sacrifice as being unable to bring the worshipper to perfection (to a satisfied conscience).  Perfection was not a goal that was obtainable then. 

This perfection is extremely important because it is specifically linked to the Savior's Blood.  Hebrews 10:14 says, "For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."  Here now we see perfection as commensurate with sanctification.  It is generally understood that the word "sanctify" has two main meanings.  The first meaning can relate to our choice to distance or separate ourselves from evil and evildoers.  It is simply an act of the will and can be accomplished by the individual when they have been enlightened.  The second meaning of the word "sanctify" is strictly speaking of the purging or purifying done in an individual's heart by the Spirit of God through the Word (John 17:17).  This then, would require an act of God's will as an answer to the expectant heart waiting before the Lord in complete consecration (Romans 12:1+2).  When an individual, through instruction from God's Word places his all on the altar, he may prove the Will of God.

Now let us look at Hebrews 10:5-10 in which verse 5 indicates that when Jesus arrived on the earth,
the animal sacrifices were no longer pleasing to God for the verse reads, "sacrifice and offering Thou
wouldest not, but a body has Thou prepared me."  Verse 6 continues, "in burnt offerings and sacrifice
for sin Thou has had no pleasure."  The ultimate goal of the Almighty had not been attained through any former sacrifices no matter how innumerable.  Perfection( the Holy Ghost's own word choice) had not been reached--only the Blood of God's only begotten Son would bring the possibility and availability of perfection for the heart of man!!

Look with us at Hebrews 10:9+10.  Verse 9 indicates that Jesus is to fulfill God's Will, and in doing so, eclipse the Old Testament ritual of animal sacrifice by His offering upon the Cross.  Verse 10 then,  reveals that the Will of God, in allowing the death of His Son, is the very Will that allows for sanctification of the believer.  Now as we look back again at Hebrews 10:14, it should be more apparent that the one offering of Jesus is sufficient to make the sanctified perfect(pleasing to God) all the way through and beyond the judgment and on in to forever (eternity!!).  Glory to the Blood of the Lamb for ever and ever!!


Monday, June 17, 2013

"THE PROMISED LAND" by Paul Gandy (page 15)

The land flowing with milk and honey, wells that were brimming with fresh water, vineyards ready to
yield beautiful grapes, even houses for the taking, all were waiting for God's chosen people to occupy and possess. This land became theirs by default of the former inhabitants who had disregarded God's mandate to not corrupt themselves.  After many warnings and reproofs, their day of grace had been exhausted and God now allowed the Israelites to conquer and destroy them.  The idols, graven images, worship groves and every remembrance of the false gods of the Canaanites was to be utterly destroyed, thereby the land would be cleansed of all the corrupt leftovers of the previous inhabitants.  When a family moves into a house which had  been previously occupied, the usual course is to begin patching, painting, and cleaning so as to disinfect and clean the interior of the house.  This brings peace of mind and the effort rewards the family with new smells and a freshened environment.  Next, the furniture is placed to the liking of the occupants and a more familiar feel settles in.  The house quickly becomes a haven, a refuge, a home, a place to long for at the end of a hard day's work.  This is what the Israelites were accomplishing as they went to war in the name of the Lord and displaced the disobedient nations out of the land.  Deuteronomy 6:23 says that the Lord brought the people (Israel) out (of Egypt) that He might bring them in (to their promised home in Canaan).  The passing of Moses on Mount Pisgah and the handing over of the role of leadership to Joshua had helped the Israelites to trust the Lord to continue to provide guidance for them as they pressed on into the promised land.

Many have pondered the spiritual parallel that the conquering and possession of the promised land might mean to the believer and his or her personal experience.  Is it not interesting that the entrance into Canaan was by way of another supernatural crossing of a watery barrier?  And, the Bible declares that Jordan (river) was at floodtide, overspreading all of its banks.  This was caused by rain runoff which produced strong currents, whirlpools, etc. that made the crossing otherwise very treacherous. This crossing was not a hurried, fearful event, as might be ascribed to the crossing of the Red Sea, but a slow premeditated preparation and consecration that spoke of unhurried confidence and trust in the Lord's command.  Joshua was instructed of the Lord as to the priest's role in carrying the Ark of God to the brink of the river; for when the soles of their feet touched the brim of the river, the water parted and backed up all the way to the city of Adam and beyond.  The priests bore the Ark to the middle of Jordan and stood still at that location until all the people were passed over to the opposite shore.  This was a confident, organized, purposeful march into the land of promise.  Time was allowed for Joshua to set up twelve stones at the place where the priests stood in the river bed as a monument to mark the event and signify that twelve tribes had crossed over.  (Two and one half tribes were established back on the other bank after the men had fulfilled their promise to Moses to help their brethren secure the possession in Canaan land).  A twelve stone monument was also built up on the shore after the crossing was completed and the river returned to its course again.  Now these two stone monuments are very interesting.  One could be seen on the shore, but the other was in the depths of the river and could not be seen.  This speaks of the faith that motivates, compels, and inspires a man though no eye can see it.  The monument on the shore, indicates the traceable, accountable, visible life of faith and the results of choices and actions that the inward motivation dictated.  Jesus spoke of the individual that is Born of the Spirit as being likened to the wind that blows hither and thither--it can be felt, but  the force behind its movements can not be seen. 

The Israelites were in the land of promise.  They also were deep into enemy territory and would have to displace the enemy by trusting in God to deliver the enemy into their hands.  This was no game or sport. It was life or death.  They were being led into this land by God's design.  Surely there were lands that were uninhabited that could have been seized without any opposition, but as the Israelites followed the leadership of the Lord, He led them directly to Canaan.  He led them into battles and conflicts that they would certainly have avoided if the choice had been for them to make.  It was God's will that brought them into the situation and God's protection that kept them through the battle.
 

What were the Israelites to learn from the battles?  God had expressed his displeasure toward the
inhabitants of Canaan because they had corrupted themselves even though God had reproved them.
The first lesson then, would be to observe what the Canaanites had done, and not to repeat their
disobedience.  As the Israelites gathered the spoil of the battle, they saw the high places and groves
of heathen worship and remembered the warnings from God that they should never even mention
the name of the heathen gods.  All of the high places and groves were to be destroyed and were
never to be duplicated by the people.  Following God brought Joshua and his people into this new
land and they were being established as a nation.  They would occupy and defend this region in the
Name of the Lord, and the joy of the Lord was their strength.  As the warring ended, the Israelites
began to experience rest--something they had not know for generations.

"LEARNING TO FOLLOW GOD" by Paul Gandy (page 14)

Israel experienced deliverance from the cruel bondage of Egypt by the omnipotent hand of God.  The
Lord had responded to their groans and had moved with compassion to effect their escape.  A new day had dawned and the Israelites were learning to follow God.  This was something altogether new
because faith was now protocol.  They knew not what direction they would be taken, how long they
would  journey, if there would be enough food each day and , or course, the major concern was fresh
water.  There is a romance in following God's will that can be easily missed if we look to God only to
satisfy our physical and sensual desires.  Soon after the Exodus, the Israelites began to murmur and
complain much like spoiled children.  Moses was the target of all of the discontent of the people, yet
he did his best to remind them of God's care for them thus far.  Moses was instructed in God's law and
taught the Israelites.  He also set up the tabernacle and established the order of worship with utensils,
etc. for all of the rituals and sacrifices, and instructed the Levites as to their role in it all.  The people
were learning a premeditated and methodical worship of the God who had called them unto Himself
in order that they may have a means to thank and praise and adore Him for all of his benevolences
toward them.  As has been stated before, man was created with a will and with it the freedom to make
his own choices.  One of the most difficult of all choices for men to have to make is the admittance of
the need to be guided.

Men of all generations have aspired to diverse endeavors supposing that these should receive approbation from the Almighty God.  However, just the opposite proves to be reality because God is
looking not for what we can do, or accomplish, but that we recognize that only through Him and his
grace can we be successful.  Remember that Jesus spoke that if any would abase himself, the same
should be lifted up. Simply put, the way up is first down.  That seems to be an odd way of achieving
success, but a little reflection will vindicate it as a sound path.  The Israelites were such a strong
willed people.  They had endured hundreds of years of enslavement and were anxious to put their new
freedom into a daily routine of living their lives and pursuing new dreams and frontiers.  Some wanted
to raise livestock, some wanted to farm the land, others desired to produce clothing and linen.  They
were so endowed with talent and were desirous to put that knowledge to work.  They did not fully
understand God's way as yet. They  needed to be proved a while in order that they may learn to hearken
to God's will.  They had not been established in the land where the Lord intended for them to dwell.
They were in the middle ground between Egypt and the promised land. 

Some have referred to that region as "no man's land" because it was a wilderness that could not be
tamed and was not suitable as habitation for a permanent abode.  The  harshness and extremes of the
region were used of God to bring particular tests upon this group of people that they may choose, or
better, may resolve that, come what may they would follow and obey the leadership of the Lord. They,
as people of God, would need to learn to relinquish the right to themselves, and to lay aside their will
and to seek his will first of all.  Beyond all of this, surely the people would quickly recognize their       
frailty and vulnerability, if only for a moment God should not be concerned for their wellbeing.  The
wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness, at the very best, was more of a defense of their
new religious belief system.  They were starting and stopping at God's command and attending upon
those things that were needful for the rites and rituals of worship when the tabernacle was again pitched.
God desired to bring the Israelites to the promised land, but first, He must try them and test them until
all the fuss and complaint was quelled.  Only then, could God instill confidence in his people and cause them to wage an offensive war in which frame of mind they would accept nothing but victory in pursuit of the promised land. 








Sunday, December 23, 2012

"GOD HAS NOT PROMISED....."


God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised, sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God has not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He has not told us, we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God has not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love!

Annie J. Flint. (1919)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Loved!

"WHO CAN ESTIMATE HOW MUCH WE OWE TO SUFFERING AND PAIN?
But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life.
Where were FAITH, without trial to test it;  or PATIENCE, with nothing to bear;  or EXPERIENCE, without tribulation to develop it?"

"Loved!  then the way will not be drear;
For One we know is ever near,
Proving it to our hearts so clear
That we are loved.

Loved when our sky is clouded o'er,
And days of sorrow press us sore;
Still we will trust Him evermore,
For we are loved.

Time, that affects all things below,
Can never change the love He'll show;
The heart of Christ with love will flow,
And we are loved."
Mrs Charles Cowman

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seth C Rees' Sanctification

Immediately after his conversion Seth C. Rees began to preach. He was very successful, and held meetings in various parts of Indiana and Ohio. But soon the Spirit convicted him for his need of entire sanctification. He says: "Under the search-light of the ministry of such men as David B. Updegraff or Dr. Dougan Clark, I would feel keenly conscious of a shortage in my experience. Again and again have I rushed from the meeting into the woods or open country, by day or by night, to weep and cry to God for hours. My suffering under conviction for inbred sin greatly surpassed anything I endured as an awakened sinner. At one time, after crying earnestly for deliverance from the 'old man,' and after hours of agony, I began to be filled with a sense of sinking, sinking, and it seemed as if I were dying. Then I began to say, 'Yes,' to the Lord. 'Yes! Yes! Amen! Amen! Amen!' The past, the present, the future, all the unknown, my reputation, my all, went upon God's altar. I 'died hard.' but I 'died sure.' At last there began to creep into my soul a tranquil feeling, a holy hush, a death-like stillness, a sweet, placid 'second rest,' and I knew that I was sanctified wholly. The Holy Ghost came in consciously and dispelled all my doubts, filling me with Himself. "

Seth C. Rees' Conversion

SETH COOK REES (Founder of the Pilgrim Holiness Church)
Seth C. Rees was born August 6, 1854, at Westfield, Hamilton County Indiana. He is of old Quaker stock, his ancestors for generations back being members of the Society of Friends. The spiritual life of his church was at a low ebb during his youth and early manhood. Worship was formal and often lifeless, and there was little power in the ministry. Of a very active and energetic nature, it is not surprising that in the absence of vital godliness in the church he became reckless and godless. When he was nineteen years of age, Calvin Pritchard, a revivalist of great piety and effectiveness, held meetings at Westfield. The thoughtless Quaker boy became deeply convicted. The memory and influence, of his guarded and conscientious boyhood drew him toward God. He says of his own experience: "The 'anxious seat' or 'penitent form ' was not then used in our meetings, but at the close of a sermon preached 'with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven ' all were requested to stand who desired the players of God's people. To the utter astonishment of a large congregation, almost all of whom knew me personally, I arose to my feet. I had not at that time the most remote idea of ever being converted. In fact, I had no thought that it was possible for me to be saved. I remember distinctly of saying to myself, 'I will give them a good subject for them to try their hand on.' No further request was made, and no one spoke to me about the step I had taken. To a similar invitation the next evening I stood up, more because I had done so the night before than anything else. But I now began to feel very serious, and when on First-Day night a different call was made, and all were asked to arise who sincerely desired to become Christians, I, in company with a number of others, promptly responded. Nothing more was said to me either publicly or privately but the dear Holy Spirit suggested to me that I attend the day meeting on Second-Day morning. As I entered the meeting-house yard a neighbor said, 'Will thee come and sit with me?' and without waiting for an answer, he led the way to a seat much farther forward than I had been accustomed to occupy since a boy. I had not long been seated when the Spirit fell upon the congregation, and the meeting proved to be one of testimony and confession. When the service as well under way, a strange power came over me, and I arose to my feet and confessed I was an awful sinner. I was not on my feet thirty seconds, but I sat down a saint! It seemed as if all heaven dropped into my soul. Up to that time I had not attempted to pray. I had not shed a tear. Now my eyes were fountains, and I wept like rain. The complexion of everything changed. Every blade of grass, every drop of water, and every bird of forest and field seemed to dance with delight."


Saturday, August 4, 2012

"Carry Your Troubled Heart To Jesus"


"I am troubled!" Psalm 38:6

This is very often the case with the believer, he is seldom long without something to trouble him. He has . . .
  so much sin within him, 
  so many foes without him, and
  such unexpected and difficult things in his path 
--that he is often agitated and distressed. 

Where he looked for comfort--he finds sorrow; 
where he expected help--he finds hindrance; 
where he promised himself pleasure--he experiences pain. 

He is wearied-- 
weary of himself, 
weary of sin, 
weary of the world,
weary of the carnal state of the church. 

But what a mercy it is for the troubled Christian, that his Lord has experienced trouble as well as himself; so that He can sympathize with him. Jesus once said, "Now My soul is deeply troubled!" He has a fellow-feeling with us in all our troubles, and will first sanctify them, and then safely bring us out of them. 

Beloved, are you troubled today? 

Carry your troubled heart to Jesus, pour it out before Him. He can calm it, soothe it, and give it cheering repose. Take it to Jesus--to sanctify it for you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"An Infant's Breath Might Blow It Out"

"He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick." Matthew 12:20  What is weaker than the bruised reed--or the smoldering wick? A reed that grows in the marsh--let but the wild duck land upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river--moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed.  Then look at the smoldering wick--what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true--but it is almost smothered; an infant's breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame.  Weak things are here described--yet Jesus says of them, "I will not break a bruised reed; I will not put out a smoldering wick." Some of God's children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there--who can pull up Gaza's gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men. But the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer-by. They are a little fearful flock. If temptation comes--they are captured like birds in a snare. If trial threatens--they are ready to faint. Their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave; they drift along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows--weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight.  Yet, as weak as they are--and because they are so weak--they have this promise made specially to them! Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it reveals the compassion of Jesus to us--so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him--though He might well chide us for our weakness. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoldering wick no damping frowns! C.H.Spurgeon

Order My Steps In Your Word

There are others whose steps were never ordered in God's word, for their ways are hypocritical. They walk today like Christians, tomorrow as worldlings. They sing the songs of Zion, and they chant the hymns of Baal. They worship the Lord with his people, but they worship Bacchus also with his votaries. Alas! for the many who wear a mask and a facade, and make fair pretenses and a glittering show, but the truth is not in them. I fear there are some of you whose steps are not ordered by God, for your ways are sin. Pleasure enchants you; alas! this fleeting pleasure, whose cup glitters with beady bubbles, but whose dregs are hell! Would God you would cease from your evil ways, and turn at His rebuke, for then He has promised He will have mercy upon you. Among us this morning are many whose outward conduct is unblameable, and whose morals are excellent, but yet their heart is not right with God. They live without prayer day after day; they have an atheistic heart which shuns the Deity. I put this prayer before you not that you may use it, but that you may judge yourselves by it; and if this one prayer condemns you, how will you bear the majesty of the Judge of all the earth, who shall come in person to judge the world in righteousness according to our gospel? Jesus has died for sinners; He came to save the ungodly. Trust Him, trust Him, trust Him, and from this day you shall begin to live. O may the Spirit of God help you to trust Him, and then, but not until then, shall you be in a fit state to breathe this prayer for sanctification to God of perfect holiness, "Order my steps in your word." C.H Spurgeon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Godly Instructions from a Godly Man (Principles of Bible reading)

Profiting from the Scriptures
by J.C. Ryle

(1) For one thing, begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing--is to do it; and the way to read the Bible--is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it--which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears--the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

(2) For another thing, read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it. Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant people seem to imagine, that all is done if they advance so many chapters every day, though they may not have a notion what they are all about, and only know that they have pushed on their bookmark ahead so many pages. This is turning Bible reading into a mere ritual form. It is almost as bad as the Popish habit of 'buying indulgences'--by saying an astounding number of 'Ave-Marias' and 'Pater-nosters' (Hail-Mary's and Our-Father's--on their 'rosary beads'.) It reminds one of the poor Hottentot who ate up a Dutch hymn-book because he saw it comforted his neighbors' hearts! Settle it down in your mind as a general principle, that a Bible not understood--is a Bible that does no good! Say to yourself often as you read, "What is this all about?" Dig for the meaning like a man digging for gold.

(3) For another thing, read the Bible with child-like faith and humility. Open your heart--as you open God's book, and say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!" Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own desires and prejudices. Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth--whether you like it or not. Beware of that miserable habit into which some readers of the Bible fall--they receive some doctrines because they like them; and they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some relation, or friend. At this rate, the Bible is useless! Are we to be judges of what ought to be in God's Word? Do we know better than God? Settle it down in your mind--that you will receive all and believe all, and that what you cannot understand--you will take on trust. Remember, when you pray--that you are speaking to God, and God hears you. But, remember, when you read Scripture--that God is speaking to you, and you are not to "dictate," but to listen!

(4) For another thing, read the Bible in a spirit of obedience and self-application. Sit down to the study of it with a daily determination that you will . . .
live by its rules,
rest on its statements,
and act on its commands.

Consider, as you travel through every chapter, "How does this affect my thinking and daily conduct? What does this teach me?" It is poor work to read the Bible from mere curiosity, and for speculative purposes--in order to fill your head and store your mind with mere opinions; while you do not allow the book to influence your heart and life. That Bible is read best--which is practiced most!

(5) For another thing, read the Bible daily. Make it a part of every day's business to read and meditate on some portion of God's Word. Private means of grace are just as needful every day for our souls--as food and clothing are for our bodies. Yesterday's food will not feed the laborer today; and today's food will not feed the laborer tomorrow. Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God's Word every day.

(6) For another thing, read all of the Bible--and read it in an orderly way. I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say at the least, a very presumptuous habit. "All Scripture is profitable." (2 Timothy 3:16.) To this habit may be traced that lack of well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day. Some people's Bible-reading is a system of perpetual 'dipping and picking'. They do not seem to have an idea of regularly going through the whole book.

This also is a great mistake. No doubt in times of sickness and affliction, it is allowable to search out seasonable portions. But with this exception, I believe it is by far the best plan to begin the Old and New Testaments at the same time--to read each straight through to the end, and then begin again. This is a matter in which every one must be persuaded in his own mind. I can only say it has been my own plan for nearly forty years, and I have never seen cause to alter it.

(7) For another thing, read the Bible fairly and honestly. Determine to take everything in its plain, obvious meaning--and regard all forced interpretations with great suspicion. As a general rule, whatever a verse of the Bible seems to mean--it does mean! Cecil's rule is a very valuable one, "The right way of interpreting Scripture is to take it as we find it, without any attempt to force it into any particular theological system."

(8) In the last place, read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament deliverers are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ's sufferings, and of Christ's glory yet to come.
The first coming and the second;
the Lord's humiliation and His glorious kingdom;
His cross and the crown--
shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!

I might easily add to these hints, if space permitted. Few and short as they are--you will find them most profitable when implemented.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are You Ready for the Lord's Return?

"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that KNOW NOT GOD, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power...."
(2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
You know what? You don't have to believe anything the Lord says in His precious Word. God has given each one of us a free-will to either choose to serve Him or choose not to serve Him. He will NEVER force us to love and serve Him. Actually, the Lord doesn't want people obeying Him who were made to serve and obey Him (He has enough Angels). Rather, He wants you to serve Him because YOU want to, not because you've been forced. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, He will implore you, but He won't beg you.
I've loved, obeyed and served God for over thirty years. I'm going to use Charles Wesley's words in the hymn, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" to describe what it's been like serving Him these many years.
"JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL"
"Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high!
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Til the storm of life is past.
Safe into the haven guide. Oh, receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none; Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.
Leave, ah, leave me not alone; Still support and comfort me!
All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head With the shadow of Thy wing.

THOU, O CHRIST, ART ALL I WANT; MORE THAN ALL IN THEE I FIND.
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name; I am all unrighteousness.
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound, Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art; Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; Rise to all eternity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Second Definite Work of Grace

"Most Christians strive, by holding fast their faith in justification, to stir and strengthen themselves for a life of gratitude and obedience. But they fail sadly because they do not know, do not in full faith yield themselves to Christ, to maintain His life in them. They have learned from Abraham the first lesson, to believe in God who justifies the ungodly. But they have not gone on to the second great lesson, to believe in God who quickeneth the dead and daily renews that life through Christ who lives in them and in whose life alone there is strength and fullness of blessing". "There is so little insight into the deep truth that the world and the flesh that loves the world is enmity against God. Hence it comes that many Christians seek and pray for years for conformity to the image of Jesus and yet fail so entirely. They do not know, they do not seek with the whole heart to know, what it is to die to self and the world".

Sinning and religiousness go on together. . . . . Where the power of godliness is not, nearness to godly things is only the more dangerous.

Andrew Murray


It is time that we, as Christians, awaken to the fact that Jesus is going to return for His Bride and that that Bride (the true Church), must be found spotless and without sin! Sin in the heart is NOT going to enter Heaven. If God allowed sin back into Heaven there would have been no reason for Jesus to die on the Cross.
If you are a sinner, please repent and ask Jesus to forgive you. If you are truly saved or converted and the Holy Spirit witnesses to your heart that you have been forgiven then please ask God to cleanse your heart of the carnal nature that caused you to sin in the first place. Until this happens, the enemy still sits on the throne of your heart. The Lord is not going to share this place with the enemy. The throne of your heart is only going to be occupied by one god, the god of this world or the God of Heaven!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reflections on "THE NEW BIRTH" by Paul Gandy (page 13)

    So many doctrines and creeds have been manufactured by man across the years as a sure path to Heaven.  Allow it to be said that Heaven should not be the focus of our approach to God.  Please understand that Heaven is the ultimate reward for our obedience to the Gospel.  But, Paul wrote so simply, yet profoundly, "that I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10).  There is that intimate word again "know" . The whole scope of the new birth is to convict us of our sins, help us to confess and forsake our sins (and the practice of sinning), create faith in the Blood of Christ, bring us to repentance, give us an unquestionable witness that we are now a child of God (Romans 8:14-17), and set us on a new road, reconciled and justified. Old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).  The seeker after God now has a new course to follow and will not turn back to the old paths because he or she is fully set to do God's will (look at II Corinthians 7:10 + 11).  If a person does not have an amen for what Paul said in those two verses, let them pray and seek the Lord until the Spirit witnesses to the heart.  In the old song, 'Arise My Soul, Arise', Charles Wesley penned these words in the fourth verse, "The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One, He cannot turn away the Presence of His Son.  The Spirit answers to the Blood, the Spirit answers to the Blood, and tells me I am born of God".

  (To be continued on page 14)

"THE NEW BIRTH" by Paul Gandy (page 12)

   In the third chapter of John's Gospel, we see Nicodemus coming by night to talk to Jesus.  It is amazing how Jesus always spoke to the heart need of an individual rather than addressing what they asked or said.  Nicodemus began the conversation by declaring that Jesus must be from God because the miracles attested to the fact.  However, Jesus did not answer in relation to the statement, but instead, told Nicodemus that a man must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.  Jesus went on to explain to the puzzled Nicodemus that there is a natural birth, in the flesh, and a supernatural birth in the spirit.  Just as birth pains are a necessary part of the natural birth, a person will experience birth pains as a part of the new birth.  Review again mentally the account of the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and when we begin to listen to the voice of the Spirit, we may, as Nicodemus, have to actually relearn some things and be willing to see things as God sees them.  Until we are born again, we cannot "see" the Kingdom of God.  Most of what we believed before was full of superstition.  Even the disciples of the Lord thought that He would set up an earthy kingdom and conquer the Romans.
   Our first encounter with God will bring His authority to bear on our conscience.  It is not so much what God desires of us as subjects of His sovereignty, but He wants us to know Him.  As we begin to find out who God is, we understand better what pleases Him and we can make necessary adjustments in our life to draw closer to Him.  It is by revelation that we know Him.  He reveals Himself to the earnest seeker.  The scripture tells us to, "walk in the light as He is in the light" (I John 1:7).  Walking in the light simply means to stay on the path that God has shone and to acknowledge Him as He is, from the personal revelations that you have received.  Do not diminish or augment any of the revelations given to you, but cherish them.  The first chapter of Romans speaks of those who did not like to retain God in their knowledge and began to change God into some imaginative being that would not reprove their wicked ways.  Some persisted until God gave them over to a reprobate mind and perversion.  It is a dangerous thing to tamper with God given light.  Personal revelation given from God is a treasure and should be given a special place and credence in our hearts.   So many are wanting evidence that God is real, and one way that he reveals Himself is through conviction. Many who have sought God for the new birth did not at first now what to say to the Lord.  While they waited before the Lord, a vivid remembrance of a past sin would surface. As this was being considered, the seeker now remembers that the particular circumstances of this sin were totally unknown to anyone  but the seeker.  Yet, here it all is being rehearsed back to them with every detail, even details long forgotten.  This is just where God certifies to the seeker that He is in attendance and it quite aware of their sins.  If we will confess this sin and all of our sins, even those which may be somewhat faint in our memory, God for Christ's Sake will forgive our sins.  When the Spirit convicts there must not be any evasion of things He will bring out in the light.  A quick acknowledgement of our guilt will open up the way ahead as the seeker agrees with the Spirit.  Think for a moment of a democratic court with a judge, a defense lawyer, a prosecutor and a jury.  A defendant is brought in and is questioned about some alleged wrong doing.  In order for the defense counselor to properly and effectively defend the defendant,  the latter must have been perfectly honest about the facts that he related to the counselor.  Jesus is our Counselor and will undertake our case, but if we fail to give complete disclosure as the Spirit probes our heart, then the Lord cannot set us at liberty.  In the epistle of  First John, chapter one, verses 5-10, we see the criteria for complete transparency before the Lord.

  To be continued on page 13

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"A New Life" by Paul Gandy (page 11)

As we continue to analyze the historical account of the Israelites and the wonderful deliverance wrought by God in their behalf, let us continue to ponder the similarities for the individual experience, as well.  The Israelites stood on the far shore of the Red Sea and sang a song of Praise for complete deliverance from their long, hard bondage.  They had identified themselves with their God and he had shown himself to be strong to deliver them.  They had obeyed, by faith, the Passover ritual and had seen that the blood was paramount in the plan of redemption.  Under the banner of the blood, they were spared the judgement of God.  With Moses in the lead, the congregation was ready to follow God.  The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night assured them of God's presence.  All that was to be done was to keep in step with the moving of God.  Where was God leading?  Away from Egypt, away from bondage, away from pagan worship, away from vanity, is the only direction to go for the people of God.  Leaving those things far behind is a wise choice for one that has been delivered.  In Hebrews 11:15 we read,  "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned."  Years ago, an old preacher made this declaration, "If a man lives in a house next door to a dance hall, and is accustomed to dancing and drinking there very often; and , if that man finds salvation, he will need to move.  He may resist the beat of the drum, the howl of the horns, and vibration of the violins for a time.  If he tries to be victorious in his own strength, he will be back on the dance floor within two weeks."  God knows best.  Whenever the going was hard, the Israelites murmured against Moses and spoke of Egypt as if it had been better to never have departed from it.  How easy to forget the cruel bondage and remember only the dole of food and water---just barely enough to survive!  Just here is where the crossing of the Red Sea should have been a wonderful object lesson to God's people.  The waters parted by faith, the people responded by faith, and though the waters were fearful to behold, the dry ground under their feet gave them a firm footing as they pushed on to the other shore,  They turned to witness the waters coming back together over their enemies.  The Red Sea now became a line of demarcation.  The people were never supposed to go back onto the shore on the side toward Egypt.  To do so would have taken a deliberate action of procuring a boat or raft, or of an even more dangerous action of attempting to swim across.  Can not it be seen that God intended for His people to dwell in a new land and enjoy all things new?  When an individual is delivered from sinning and its bondage by the Precious Blood of Christ, a line is drawn across that person's path and through the miracle of the new birth, he or she is privileged to step over that line into new life.  All the sins of the past are forgiven and are no longer able to bring bondage and fear.  When one stands on the redemption side of the line, there is Praise and Honor for the One who made possible this wonderful deliverance.  In II Corinthians 5:14, we read these words, "For the love of Christ constraineth us--,"  and this constraint gives Glory to God.

To Be Continued on page 12

"Deliverance From Sin" by Paul Gandy (page 10)

The Israelites were standing on the opposite shore of the Red Sea.  The sea was no longer divided.  The miracle that allowed the fleeing souls to pass over on dry ground was not given for the pursuers.  Only those who had made the choice to hide behind the blood spattered door posts, on the night of the exodus, were granted this deliverance.  (The Red Sea, so appropriately named, is a spiritual type of the Blood of Jesus.)  Now Israel began to sing!  No more groans of slavish bondage-no more fears of cruel taskmasters with stinging whips.  The Egyptians were impotent and the dead bodies washing up on the shore were proof enough.  Liberty-what a beautiful word!  Hope is renewed and the future is laden with so many possibilities.  Thanks and Praise be to God!
A similar deliverance occurs when an individual has obtained liberty through faith in the Blood of Christ.  The sin account that was so heavy on the heart can be rolled away in an instant of time.  Those sins that hounded us and chased us can be likened to the Egyptian army pursuing after Israel.  But, through the Blood of Christ, we can be separated from those sins forever and the remembrance of them will bring Praise and gratitude to the lips.  A songwriter wrote, "He breaks the power of cancelled sins, blessed be the Name of the Lord." 

To Be Continued on page 11

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"THE GREAT ESCAPE" by Paul Gandy (page 9)

This grand deliverance can be obtained in the spiritual realm in the heart of man.  Why else would God go to such great links to depict for us such miraculous care for these poor Hebrew slaves?  Surely, if this deliverance was granted to so  many at one time, it could certainly be wrought for just one penitent soul!  Let us examine the deliverance of the Israelites as if it was only a single individual that had been delivered.  The practice of sinning brings a soul into hard cruel bondage.  Proverbs 13:15 says, "The way of the transgressor is hard."  Jesus said in John 8:34, "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."  David cried out, "And my sin is ever before me" in Psalm 51:3B.  When a sinner, these three statements are very real to that person though he or she may not think of their life in that respect.  There is an easy perpetuation to a life of sinning.  Since mankind has the ability to choose, why cannot he just make the choice that tomorrow he will not sin anymore?  Because conviction from the Holy Spirit places the guilt for sins committed on the heart, and the simplest response is to look at the mountain of sins already in the account and say, "What is to be done with all these past sins?"  A despair may settle in on that person who has not yet heard that there is a Savior Who can deliver them.  Think now of the Israelites being under the lash, before Moses the deliverer was brought on the scene.  The poor slaves expected nothing but the same treatment each and every day.  The visible taskmasters were a type of personal sins.  There was no relief from them day after day.  Remember, David said his sins were ever before him-he could not escape from them-they moved in unison with him just as a shadow will mock the object between it and the source of light.  Another observation is that when Moses began to make demands on Pharaoh about releasing the Jews to go into the wilderness to worship God, Pharaoh told the taskmasters to make the work harder.  Again, looking at this from the spiritual realm, the devil  invariably increases temptations toward an individual who is beginning to listen to the overtures of the Holy Ghost.  Just right here is where some turn back and continue on in the bondage of sin.  In Luke 8:12, 13, we see something similar as Jesus expounds the parable of the sower and his seed.  It is good to remember that we are in a warfare over the destiny of our soul.  Christ desires victory for us, but Satan designs defeat and perdition.  As the people heard more and more about the miracles at the hands of Moses and saw the plagues carried out against the Egyptians, they gained more confidence in Moses as a deliverer.  This helped them to ponder a possibility of a life set free from bondage as their hearts began to muster faith.  The institution of the Passover brought the focus of their faith to that of the blood as a key element in the plan of deliverance.  The passing over of the death angel of those under the spattered blood on the door posts, brought in the fact that the blood was a plea-in this case a plea for mercy.  A song writer wrote these words; "My faith has found a resting place not in device or creed.  I trust the ever living word, His precious blood to plead.  I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me".  Another wrote; "Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary, they pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me".  Back to the exodus, the death of the firstborn caused Pharaoh to set the captives free and he urged them to leave that night.  Spiritually speaking, there comes a point when Satan realizes that a person is listening to God, and by faith, is moving toward God.  Personal experience can attest to the fact that at this point, Satan appears to be offended and fairly turns upon the seeker to make them feel guilty for deserting him.  His pride is wounded.  The soul following God has defected from the devil's territory and is looking toward  a new country and a better one indeed.
To be continued on page 10......

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"THE ENTRAPMENT OF SIN" by Paul Gandy (page 8)

When Joseph brought his father, Jacob, and all his brethren down to him into Egypt, they enjoyed reunion, and relief from the famine.  They were prosperous, healthy and happy there.  In process of time, a new pharaoh came to power who cared not for any special privileges to the Israelites.   Eventually, he put them under taskmasters and to hard labor which caused the people to groan under the severity of it all.  Many years passed until God chose Moses to deliver His people out of bondage.  Plagues were brought against Pharaoh and his nation time and time again, but he hardened his heart.  Finally, Moses prepared the Jews for an exodus with the institution of the passover supper.  Blood from slain lambs was placed over the door of the dwelling and on both sides of the door on the exterior.  Thus, when the destroying angel came to each dwelling that night to destroy the firstborn, the blood upon the door kept back the angel and he passed over and no hurt came to the people within.  After the death of the firstborn throughout Egypt, pharaoh let Moses and the Israelites depart.  After a short while, pharaoh changed his mind and determined to bring them back into slavery again.  The army was sent out after the Israelites and was swiftly moving to overtake them.  The unarmed Israelites were hedged in between high rock cliffs on either side and, now they had come to a halt against the Red Sea.  It looked as if all was lost and that pharaoh would again be cracking a whip over their heads.  But God had mercy for these helpless ones who were hoping to escape Egyptian bondage once and for all.  The cloud which went before them now moved behind them and remained between them and the Egyptians.   The Israelites received light from the cloud, but the Egyptians received darkness so that they did not attempt anything during the night.  Moses was instructed to wave his rod over the sea and then God began His miracle working by causing a division in the waters and a strong east wind to dry the sea floor.  Moses and his people crossed the Red Sea, with walls of water on either side, safely along on dry ground.  The Egyptian army pursued after them only to find themselves in trouble as the waters closed back over them from just a simple waving of the rod in Moses' hand.  Death came to the entire army and Israel saw their dead bodies washed up on the shore.  What a splendid, miraculous, complete deliverance by the hand of Almighty God!
To be continued on page  9.....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"DEALING WITH SIN" by Paul Gandy (page 7)

AS HAD BEEN STATED, ADAM AND EVE WERE CREATED HOLY AND WERE INDWELT BY GOD'S SPIRIT.  They were perfect human beings in every way, and they were sinless.  Let that last statement sink in because it is very important.  So much theology has been recited to prove that fallen mankind has a sin nature and that he sins because it is his nature to do so.  Then from where did this nature come?  Did God create it?  God forbid!  Did it perhaps evolve somehow?  Sin nature theology has been vogue in every generation because it seems to explain the results of man's actions as he chooses to sin in word, thought and deed.  What happened in Adam and Eve's heart at the moment when they deliberately  chose a course of action contrary to God's known will?  Their choices caused God's Holy Spirit to remove from their hearts and leave them desolate.  They were no longer led of the Spirit, but instead they now were led of the flesh.  Very simply, their human nature (not sin nature) was left to its own recognizance without the sweet Holy impulses to righteousness from the Holy Spirit.  Human nature without the indwelling of God's Spirit is very predictable.  It will always chose what benefits self.  The proponents of the existence of a sin nature ultimately are hoping that it leaves them impotent to cease sinning thereby taking away any impunity.  However, if this the original course is followed to its logical end, then somewhere along that path, God must be charged with willingly creating man with a sin nature, and if that be so, how could he hold us responsible for sins that we commit?  How could he be so indifferent as to convict us of unavoidable conduct?  The fact remains that conviction for sin would have absolutely no power over us if we, by nature, were sinners (without choice in the matter), much as if we were to scold a wild dog for being carnivorous.  It will be a meat eater until the day it dies because its nature dictates its actions.  A dog, however is not tempted to be carnivorous -it is naturally that way.  Conversely, man is tempted to sin, but it is not natural for him to do so and, that is exactly why conviction is effective upon the heart.  It is simply that our God given conscience teaches us that there is a better choice that we should have made.  Not that conscience was slow to point out the better choice in time, but when the bad choice is made, conscience sings out again in protest.  We are warned as the temptation  is presented to us and we are convicted afterwards when disobedience is chosen.  If you have a sensitive conscience, thank God for it and do your best to cherish its guidance.
To be continued on page 8......

Reflections on "WHAT CONSTITUTES A SIN" by Paul Gandy (page 6)

EVER SINCE THE FALL OF MAN FROM A STATE OF HOLINESS INTO THE PRACTICE OF SINNING, MEN HAVE WORKED TO FORMULATE METHODS AND MEANS OF SERVING GOD, OF WORSHIPING GOD, OF PRAISING GOD, THAT WOULD APPEASE HIM.  Many have fasted for long seasons, have denied themselves certain foods or enjoyments, or have been secluded on purpose that through all these self-abasement's, they may have somewhat to offer for their sinful condition.  It appears that Satan is successful today in getting mankind to believe that God is the hard taskmaster who received pleasure from our useless struggles to please Him.  When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples was there ever a time recorded where they were berated or made to feel unwanted or isolated?  Did He not speak to them many words of comfort and encouragement?  The Lord offered explanations for things that had been hidden from the prophets of old and showed many wonderful miracles of healing and of power over the elements.  He always answered each question no matter how insignificant it may have been.  Ask yourselves, did Jesus ever one time treat His followers as if they needed to appease Him?  On the contrary, did he not say that the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister?
To be continued on page 7....

"WHAT CONSTITUTES A SIN" by Paul Gandy (page 5)

JAMES 4:17 SAYS, "THEREFORE TO HIM THAT KNOWETH TO DO GOOD, AND DOETH IT NOT, TO HIM IT IS SIN."  I John 3:4 says, "Whosoever commiteth sin transgresseth also the law:  for sin is the transgression of the law."  Paul writes in Romans 4:15, "Because the law worketh wrath:  for where no law is, there is no transgression." What are these 3 New Testament writers saying?  James uses the word "know" which is a form of the word knowledge.  John speaks of sin as a transgression of a law.  Paul further explains that without a law in place, there is no sin.  If the three thoughts are combined it could be said that if a person is aware that God would not be pleased with a certain choice and yet the choice is made, that choice brings a liability called sin.  The color of the automobile  you chose to drive brings no condemnation from God because there is no law.  Other such choices on a daily basis are equally as incidental because no law has been generated.  We come back to the free moral agency of man again.  The individual can chose to obey a "known" law of God, or he can choose to have his own way in the matter and (willingly) ignore God's will.  Thus his choice becomes sin if the latter course is taken.  The conscience now bears witness to the transgressor (see Romans 2:12-2:15).
To be continued on page 6.....

REFLECTIONS on "The Operation of Sin" by Paul Gandy (page 4)

THE FREE MORAL AGENCY OF MAN MUST OF DESIGN ALLOW THE MAN TO BE WILLFUL.
We have seen in Eve the display of wrong willfulness. She could just as easily have rejected the serpent's counsel and used that willfulness to convey herself away from the temptation and thereby remain victorious. God is trying to teach an object lesson through the disclosure of Adam and Eve's disobedience against a published law of the Creator. A married couple is free to enjoy intimacy, and as long as that intimacy is exclusive to all others, both mates are assured of a mutual trust, as well. If however, that trust is violated, mistrust reigns, and in time, the marriage will no doubt collapse. There is something about intimacy that is sacred. The Lord Jesus spoke of an intimacy that could be obtained in the which the sanctified believer would enjoy the presence of the father and the Son(see John 17:21-23). It is important to note that the first act of sin brought about the first separation. God turned Adam and Eve out of the Garden and there were no more "walks" with God's voice in the cool of the day. It is also important to take note of God's reaction to the sin that was committed. God could have told the two that they were forgiven and let them continue to live in the Garden. It was not that simple because Eve forsook the trust God had known with her. She even accepted the faint possibility that God did not want her to have every privilege and enjoyment that she should. She was actually finding fault with the Creator and Lover of her soul. Can we imagine even for one moment that God did not feel the scrutiny of his character as Eve conversed with the serpent? When Eve chose to eat of the fruit, the rift was begun.  God did not cause it, but Eve did.  Moreover, the scripture is clear that Adam was not deceived (I Timothy 2:14), but he did eat of the fruit that Eve brought to him.  It should be apparent that Adam knew Eve would suffer some sort of punishment for her sin, so it appears that Adam desired to be with her in punishment rather than to retain his integrity and remain true to God.  Since God had given Eve to Adam, then Adam surely concluded that God Could take her away (as part of her punishment).
To be continued on page 5.....