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O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs…

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Others may, you cannot

OTHERS MAY: You CANNOT
-by G.D. Watson.

If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into
a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands
of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or
measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will
seem to let other people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful,
may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out
their plans, but you cannot do it, and if you attempt it, you will
meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you
sorely penitent.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes,
of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any
such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep
mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your
good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have
a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor,
because He wants you to have something far better than gold,
namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the
privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you
hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice
fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in
the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He
may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He
will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are
doing; and then to make your work still more precious He may let
others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make
YOUR REWARD TEN TIMES GREATER when JESUS COMES.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love,
and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your
time, which other Christians never feel distressed over. So make
up your mind that God is an Infinitely Sovereign Being, and has a
right to do as He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you
a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with
you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be His love slave, He will
wrap you up in Jealous Love, and bestow upon you many blessings
which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

Settle it forever, then that you are to DEAL DIRECTLY WITH the
HOLY SPIRIT, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your
tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that
He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so
possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart,
pleased and delighted over this PECULIAR, PERSONAL, PRIVATE,
JEALOUS GUARDIANSHIP and MANAGEMENT OF the HOLY
SPIRIT OVER YOUR LIFE, then you will have found the vestibule
of Heaven.

-G.D.Watson (1845-1924).
SOURCE: Faith, Prayer, & Tract League,
Tract #76; Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

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More about preaching…

Let the preacher know that he stands on holy ground.
Let him hear the Word of the Lord.
Let him say, “Thus saith the Lord” or let his mouth be bound, his tongue tied.
Let him fear no man. The world dies on the voice of man, his proclamations, his wishful thinking.
Let not the preacher use his pulpit to convince others that he is a wise prophet or a holy man. God is not mocked.
Let the preacher say, “Thus saith the Lord,” for he has nothing else that the ear of man must hear before the deafness of death encompasses him.

Source Unknown – Scribed Georgia Pris

This quote was found in First Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND. There was no author on the scribe just the scriber and thus, no year.

Here is another thought from a Saint:

On Intercession and Ministry – by Art Katz

Prayer, in my opinion, before, during, and after the public ministry of the word affects the quality and power of the word that goes forth, without which we miss the fullness of God’s intention. Other factors would be our corporate agreement and bondedness together. The taking of communion is a spiritual statement to the Lord (and to the powers of the air) about that unity. If we are not really bonded, and just going along, or we have some unspoken and unresolved things, then that will unquestionably affect the power of the spoken message. This is critical. Are we together sufficiently in God’s sight as to really release a quality of power? It is not just the speaker as being the vocal member bearing the weight of it, but are we all bearing it together with him in participation?

Something of an existential kind is unfolded in proportion to the quality of prayer, identification and bondedness that is true of us. The word is birthed by the spasms and contractions of intercession before it is finally brought forth. The speaker is only being acted upon by what is being released by this effectual prayer and support. For the most part, we do not see the spiritual connectedness, and therefore our prayers are so often desultory and nominal. We are religiously performing something that is expected of us, but our heart and our gut are not in it, not because we are lazy or indifferent, but simply because we have not understood the spiritual reality of the thing.

Whomsoever you are joined in common life together will affect the proclamation, even though it is only one mouth expressing it. Peter’s first sermon, which led to the salvation of thousands of resistant Jews, is an example of this:
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:
“Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words” (Acts 2:14).

The key to the power of that address was: “But Peter taking his stand with the eleven.” Peter spoke in perfect agreement with those who rose with Him. What he said is precisely what they would have said. They were in agreement, not only with the word, but also with each other, because they experienced a Pentecost themselves together. The fire that was upon their heads also forged them into one.

We have lost this understanding because ours is a ‘professional’ age where individuals are not only celebrated in the world, but also in the church. There is little emphasis on the genius of the Body as the corporate expression and channel of the Life of God. The message may find its expression through one mouth, but the power that is issued is relative to the authentic spiritual agreement and participation in the realm of Spirit. Life and death are always hanging in the balance, and the issue becomes our agreement in order to affect the anointing, power, word and boldness.

The world has really schooled us into an observer mentality rather than participant, and also to a sense of individual separation one from another. But in the Kingdom of God, we are as much responsible corporately for the word as we are for the mouth through which the word issues. This is the whole genius of man and woman in one new man. Can the woman find a depth of satisfaction to hear through her husband that which is in her own heart, and which she might actually have greater ability to express, but wants it to come forth through the head? Is she joined with him, and so identified with him that his success in it is her own satisfaction? We should be so jealous for the word that our only gratification is for the word to come forth in fullness and power through whomever the Lord has appointed. We should see it as being ourselves doing the speaking, because we are so one with that mouth.

Can you hear a message and have your interest engaged and at the same time intercede? That would take a remarkable quality of spirituality, maturity and separation from self. The ultimate sacrifice would be to leave the room and to miss what is taking place, and not even know what is going on, in order to give yourself to intercession. “My house is a house of sacrifice,” said our Lord, and that sacrifice, like any act of self-denial, releases an enormous power in that moment. Power is released wherever the principle of the Cross or self-denial is taking place, even the denying of yourself the pleasure and enjoyment of hearing the thing that is going forth, and to separate yourself for intercession even while it is going forth. As long as the prayer is going forth, then the word is going forth, and the moment it ceases, then the word ceases.

Here is a writing from a Moderator on SermonIndex:

A Baptism of Agonized Preaching

The only acceptable way to preach the blood of Christ is through a broken heart. The preacher must be devastated, grieved; his heart must be in tune with God’s, because our God is a hurt and grieving God.If I am to preach salvation, I should first pray for tears, for pain, for remorse. I must feel the same pain God feels, weep the same tears my Lord wept. These tears are able to dissolve the scab on my sin-apathetic heart. The universal indifference; the aborted babies, the public blasphemies, the church’s harlotry with the world, the arrogant mockery, the abuse and hatred men express at my Father and the cross of Christ – all these must move me to tears if I am to deliver a transforming gospel. Indeed, if these can not move me to tears, how then can I say I love my God with all my being? And if I truly loved my neighbor as myself, I would fight and plead and pray and fast until souls are aborted from hell and birthed into God’s Kingdom. Christian, the cross must be preached, even unto death! Even when sinners despise and brothers criticize. Even if no one will come with me or support my burden. The cross must be preached where the people gather, where they commute; lost souls must hear the gospel even if they hate the messenger. Jesus said the true Christian would be hated, despised, rejected, mocked. He said that no student is greater than his teacher. Rejection and self-denial are the true costs of following Jesus Christ, and I’ll wear this garment of pain like a royal robe of blessing. I have resolved that my entire life is all for Christ; I crave to be consumed in His presence. His smile on my life is my sole reward.I am unworthy for such a majestic calling as to preach the blood of Jesus Christ! Created from the dust, yet called to preach God’s own shed blood, I must never be seen. I must always pray the Father reduce my being to absolute dirt, because that is all I am. Redeemed refuse once headed for the incinerator. I must remain broken and burdened, lowly and pained. I can not be bothered with insignificant agendas and programs, with vain hobbies and crude conversations while sinners perish. I must keep my focus on the bloodstained cross and hell bound lost. I know my God wills this, for He always diverts my attention back to it when I stray.Yes, brothers and sisters, have preached the cross, but I regret seldom through tears of pain, and if there is one prayer that is utmost in my devotions, it is this: God grant me agony as I preach repentance to the lost. Everything physical God can keep if only He give me this weeping passion for lost souls in my preaching. Oh, that the unction would go deep down into my spirit! That those within earshot would wring their hands in despair in the presence of God’s Spirit. That the lost would turn a deathly pale and fall to their knees in awareness that their sins have nailed the Son of God to the cross. Oh, that the miracle of repentance – true repentance – would be wrought through my preaching. Saints, what greater thing could be granted upon this temporal earth! Tears for the hell bound!Satan does all he can to distract the true preaching of the cross. Any man that determines in his heart to gain the burden of God and preach the blood of Calvary will soon have a vicious demonic fight on his hands. I have found that Satan’s most effective weapon has always been just plain old distractions. Distractions are like Satan’s spiritual napalm, because they spread quickly and cause so much damage in so little time. Distractions are like hissing snakes, and Satan sinks the fangs daily. Somehow, and by my own volition, I often find myself too mentally preoccupied to effectively witness, pray, and give God deep devotional time. My spirit yearns for the opposite, and I have noticed that turning the tables on the flesh is an arduous and painstaking task.Beloved, before I asked God for the burden to weep for the lost, Satan left me alone. I read my Bible diligently; I witnessed and volunteered all I had for church programming. I preached my heart out every Friday night! Everything was going fine; I was a model Christian! There was only one problem: Satan was leaving me alone. But as soon as I asked for tears and agony, the tables turned against me. When I burdened in my gut to take the gospel out to the streets, the heavy artillery started flying. And when I endeavored to meet God daily in radical prayer, Satan hit me with major napalm.One thing I am sure of: Christians living unburdened lifestyles do not burden hell. The minister of the bloodstained cross of Jesus Christ is a burden for hell. The uncompromised preaching of repentance is a clamoring alarm in hell, and the man or woman who takes it outside the church and into the streets must be stopped at all costs! This is when the napalm hits! Satan’s assaults have one goal: to keep me from reading my Bible and praying, from whence I get power from God. Satan’s plan of attack is to cut off the fellowship that feeds the flames of eternity within the heart of the preacher.God is looking for infantrymen that will go and invade the enemy territory, take down the guards, and set the captives free. Some Christians attend workshops, but Jesus needs soldiers that are prepared to roll up their sleeves, strap on the armor and wreak havoc with mighty swords. Action is involved. There is a fight to be fought, prayers to be prayed, a living gospel to be preached.It’s a violent camp, Satan’s kingdom. Prayers alone will not bash down the walls; consecrated men and women filled with the Holy Ghost must physically go into the highways and hedges preaching repentance. Oh, God pity us if we do not preach this living gospel of blood and fire!- Paul West

An open letter to all preachers

Abstract from an Address before the Nettleton Rhetorical Society in the Theological Seminary at East Windsor, by the Rev. George Shephard, Professor of Sacred Rhetoric in the Theological Seminary in Bangor, circa 1850-51.

(An open letter to all who claim to be Pastors or will stand before a group of people, of any size and address them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; a call to reclaim true preaching.)

It seems to be generally admitted, that the pulpit has not the power it once had. And it is evidently the duty of ministers and the churches to inquire into the causes of this falling off in the efficiency of the pulpit, and to endeavor seasonably to check and arrest the evil.

The cause of this falling off cannot lie in this, that Christian truth has grown decrepid and passed into its dotage. No; Christian truth is in its freshness. Its vigor now is all that it was. If there is a seeming oldness arising from repetition, yet it will again become spirit and life.

The adversary is putting in requisition all the power of his vast genius, contriving new schemes and systems, multiplying his lying gospels, and drawing multitudes of gaping disciples to every monstrous thing he chooses to start. The preacher now stands in a contested position. He speaks to minds preoccupied; to ears all the time assailed with counter voices. Again: There is a growing incompetency to receive and digest the solid meat of veritable argument. There is here, indeed, some degeneracy in the times. There is not so much patient, productive thought, as once, –an evil fostered by the kind of reading now in vogue, a great proportion of which is light and trashy, under the influence of which the mind pines away, and becomes incompetent to think. Hence many are ready to cry, Give us something brilliant, beautiful, entertaining.

There are tendencies in the pulpit which account, in part at least, for the diminished effectiveness so generally admitted. Both in deep piety and in sound practical talent, which are vastly important qualities in the preacher, there seems to be a falling off, –owing, in part, to the present mode of training ministers in public seminaries, which tends to foster too much confidence in the intellect, and a disposition to aim at distinction in scholarship, while simple godliness is too much neglected. It does not by any means follow that seminaries are to be undervalued; but we should watchfully guard against this tendency.

Another unfavorable circumstance is an abatement in the fulness and strength of doctrine. Doctrine, clearly stated and thoroughly discussed, is indispensable to the authority and cogency of preaching. It is the leading element of power. There cannot be too much vigilance and earnestness in preserving the element of clear, definite, and solid Christian doctrine.

All attempted improvements of doctrine come into the series of enfeebling tendencies. Truth must not be marred. In stating the truth, we must use the very instrument furnished in the Bible. The truth must be presented in God’s own type.

Another enfeebling device is to mix the truth with something else. The object of this is to make the truth more palatable. The intellect insists upon showing itself in some curious feats. There must be a display. There is an effort to make literary sermons, intellectual sermons, great sermons. There is a tendency of this sort in the evangelical pulpit of the present day. The hearers feel it. The most pious and discerning mourn over it.

Some preachers give out a mutilated, diluted gospel, rather than the gospel in its purity and strength. This artificial cast, so injurious to pulpit efficiency, is developed by certain peculiarities of style and language. There is something ambitious, something away from the ordinary track, something splendid and high-wrought. In this, there is a sad missing of the great object of preaching, namely, to meet men’s souls with God’s truth.

A quality of preaching which is very important in our times, and which would do much to retrieve the good influence of the pulpit, and preserve it wholesome and effective, is the grace of humility in the preacher, –a disposition to put himself out of sight, and to lay off the laurels of genius, originality, and ornamental literature. The chief potency of preaching, lies not in curious novelties, but in the vivid utterance of the truth.

The Bible in sermons, will prove an element of great power. Ministers should be more men of one book, and that the Bible. This biblical element of sermons brings God before the hearers. It was this which gave the early New England pulpit such power. And where, out of the Bible, shall we find such potent theology, and such admirable models for the preaching of it, as among the old theological giants of New England, whose writings have those peculiar qualities which ought to characterize gospel sermons. They are everywhere full of God; so instinct with living doctrine (instinct with life), facts, and descriptions, that the attention cannot escape, nor the conscience or heart slumber. And for the finish and clenching of the whole, there comes down the weight of God’s mighty sanctions, giving to all the force of positiveness and authority. This downright, authoritative quality we are in danger of dropping quite too far, not preaching, in this respect, as those mightier men did. We shall retrieve our proper standing only as we come back again; and those venerable men will bring us back, if we have swerved, –will bring us back where they stood, in the position which God assigns us, ready for positive and wholesome utterances, and, being admitted to speak in the name of God, to do it with authority, and not as the scribes.

Woods, Leonard, D.D., Theology of the Puritans, (Boston: Woodbridge, Moore & Co.), 44-45, as found in http://books.google.com/

Parentheses are my own comments.

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