Spiritual Vows To Make and Keep

Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows, and pledges. The psalmist was not averse to the taking of vows. He said, “Thy vows are upon me, 0 God, I will render my praises unto thee” (Psalm 56:12).

My counsel in this matter is that if you are really concerned about spiritual improvement – the gaining of new power, new life, new joy, and new personal revival within your heart -you will do well to make certain vows and proceed to keep them. if you should fail, go down in humility and repent and start over. But always keep these vows before you. They will help harmonize your heart with the vast powers that flow out and down from the throne where Christ sits at the right hand of God

A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says, “I want to be free. I don’t want to lay any vows upon myself; I don’t believe in it; it is legalism.” Well, let me paint a picture of two men.

One of them will not take vows. He will not accept any responsibility. He wants to be free. And he is free – in a measure – just as a tramp is free. The tramp is free to sit on a park bench by day, sleep on a newspaper by night, get chased out of town on Thursday morning, and find his way up a set of creaky stairs in some flophouse on Thursday night. Such a man is free, but he is also useless. He clutters up the world whose air he breathes.

Let’s look at another man – maybe a president or prime minister or any great man who carries upon himself the weight of government. Such men are not free. But in the sacrifice of their freedom they step up their power. if they insist upon being free, they can be free, just like the tramp. But they choose rather to be bound.

There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything. They have turned the grace of God into personal license. But the great souls are the ones who have gone reverently to God with the understanding that in their flesh dwells no good thing. And they knew that without God’s enablement any vows taken would be broken before sundown. Nevertheless, believing in God, reverently they took certain sacred vows. This is the way to spiritual power. There are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and to keep.

1. DEAL THOROUGHLY WITH SIN
Sin has been driven underground these days and has come up with a new name and face. You may be subjected to this phenomenon in the schools. Sin is being called by various fancy names – anything but what it really is. For example, men don’t get under conviction any more; they get a guilt complex.

Instead of confessing their guilt to God and getting rid of it, they sit on a couch and try and tell a man who ought to know better all about themselves. it comes out after a while that they were deeply disappointed when they were two years old or some such thing. That’s supposed to make them better.

The whole thing is ridiculous, because sin is still the ancient enemy of the soul. it has never changed. We’ve got to deal firmly with sin in our lives. Let’s remember that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Righteousness lies at the door of the kingdom of God. The soul that sins, it shall die.

This is not to preach sinless perfection. This is to say that every known sin is to be named, identified, and repudiated and that we must trust God for deliverance from it so that there is no conscious, deliberate sin anywhere in our lives. It is absolutely necessary that we deal thus, because God is a holy God and sin is on the throne of the world.

So don’t call your sins by some other name. if you’re jealous, call it jealousy. If you tend to pity yourself and feel that you are not appreciated, call it what it is – self-pity.

And then there is your temper. Don’t call it indignation. Don’t try to christen it by some other name Call it what it is. Because if you have a bad temper you will either get rid of it, or it will get rid of much of your spirituality and most of your joy. So let’s deal with sin thoroughly. Let’s be perfectly candid. God loves candid people.


2. NEVER OWN ANYTHING
I do not mean by this that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from the sense of possessing them. This sense of possessing is what hinders us. All babies are born with their fists clenched, and it seems to me it means, “This is mine!” One of the first things they say when they begin to speak, is “mine” in an angry voice. That sense of “This is mine” ‘is a very injurious thing to the spirit. If you can get rid of it so that you have no feeling of possessing anything, there will come a great sense of freedom and liberty into your life.
Now don’t think that you must sell all that you have and give it to charity. No. God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be – provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all you are doing is just working for Him. You can be restful about it then, because we never need to worry about losing anything that belongs to someone else. If it is yours, you are always looking in your hand to see if it is still there. If it is God’s, you no longer need to worry about it.
Let me point out some things you’ll have to turn over to God. Property is one thing. Some of the dear Lord’s children are being held back because there is a ball and chain on their legs. if it is a man, it’s his big car and fine home. If it is a woman, it’s her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest. Take that vase for instance. There it stands. And if anybody knocked it off and broke it, the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life! it is always necessary to remember that we are only stewards of that which is usually called a possession.

3. NEVER DEFEND YOURSELF
We are all born with a desire to defend ourselves. And if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it But if on turn the defense of yourself over to God, He will defend you. He told Moses in Exodus 23: “I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and an adversary to thine adversaries.”

What do we defend? Well, we defend our talents; we defend our service; and particularly, we defend our reputation. Your reputation is what people think you are, and if a story gets out about you, the big temptation is to try to run it down.

Henry Suso was a great Christian of other days. Once he was seeking what some Christians have told me they are seeking to know God better. Let’s put it like this: You are seeking to have a religious awakening within your spirit that will thrust you farther out into the deep things of God. Well, as Henry Suso was seeking God, people started telling evil stories about the man, and it grieved him so that he wept bitter tears and had great sorrow of heart.

Then one day he looked out the window and saw a dog playing on the lawn. The dog had a mat, and kept picking the mat up, tossing it over his shoulder, running and getting it, tossing it some more, picking it up and tossing it again. God said to Henry Suso, “That mat is your reputation, and I am letting the dogs of sin tear your reputation to shreds and toss it all over the lawn for your own good, but one of these days things will change.”

And this did change. it was not very long before the people who were tearing his reputation were confounded, and Suso rose into a place that made him a power in his day and a great blessing still to those who sing his hymns and read his works.

4. GUARD YOUR WORDS ABOUT OTHERS
Never pass anything on – about anybody else that will hurt him. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God’s favor. if you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God’s children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back – a little spot somewhere – and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it. “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.”

if you want God to be good to you, you are going to have to be good to His children. You say, “But that’s not grace.” Well, grace gets you into the kingdom of God. That is unmerited favor. But after you are seated at the Father’s table, He expects to teach you table manners. And He won’t let you eat unless you obey the etiquette of the table. And what is that? The etiquette of the table is that you don’t tell stories about the brother who is sitting at the table with you – no matter what his denomination, or nationality, or background.

5. NEVER ACCEPT ANY GLORY
God is jealous of His glory and He will not give His glory to another. He will not even share His glory with another. It is quite natural, I should say, for people to hope that maybe their Christian service will give them a chance to display their talents. True, they want to serve the Lord. But they also want other people to know they are serving the Lord. They want to have a reputation among the saints. That is very dangerous ground – seeking a reputation among the saints. It’s bad enough to seek a reputation in the world, but it’s worse to seek a reputation among the people of God. Our Lord gave up His reputation, and so must we.

Meister Eckhart once preached a sermon on Christ cleansing the Temple. He said, “Now there was nothing wrong with those men selling and buying there. There was nothing wrong with exchanging money there; it had to be. The sin lay in their doing it for profit. They got a percentage on serving the Lord.” And then he made the application: “Anybody that serves for a commission, for what little bit of glory he can get out of it, is a merchant, and he ought to be cast out of the temple.”

I go along with this. If you are serving the Lord, and yet slyly -perhaps scarcely known to you – you are hoping to get just a little five percent commission, then look out! it will chill the power of God in your spirit. You must determine that you will never take any glory, but see that God gets it all.

Now, it is the easiest possible thing to give a message like this. The hard thing is to make it work in one’s own life. Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the back of your Bible and forget. They have got to be written in your own blood. They have to be made final, irrevocable, if it only comes off the surface, it is no good. Much of our consecration is just that way – it comes off the surface. Many of our promises conic off the surface. No, no. Let it come out of the depths of your heart, the deep depths of’ your spirit.

These vows cut against the old human nature. They introduce the cross into your life, and nobody ever walks back from carrying his cross. When you make these vows, remember, they strike at the heart of your self-life and there is never a place to go back to. And I say, “Woe unto the triflers!”

In America – and maybe in other places too – SO many people are saying, “Try Jesus try God!” Triflers, experimenters, tasters they arc. Like a rabbit with a half dozen holes so if one is stopped up lie can flee to another! No! From the cross there is no place to flee You don’t “try” Jesus. He is not there to be experimented with. Christ is not on trial. You are. I am. He is not! God raised Him from the dead and forever confirmed His deity and scaled Him and set Him at His own right hand as Lord and Christ. Turn everything over to Him, and you’ll find your life begin to lift. You’ll blossom in a wonderful way.

Now, if you happen to be one of those on whom God has laid His hand for a deeper life, a more powerful life, a fuller life -then I wonder if you would be willing to pray this kind of prayer: -0 God, glorify Thyself at my expense. Send me the bill – anything, Lord. I set no price. I will not dicker or bargain. Glorify Thyself. I’ll take the consequences.

This kind of praying is simple, but it’s deep and wonderful and powerful. I believe that if you can pray a prayer like that, it will be the ramp from which you can take off into higher heights and bluer skies in the things of the Spirit.

by A. W. Tozer

The Final Message


“And He said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” ‭‭

(Revelation‬ ‭22:10-21‬ ‭NASB)

Beware Of Mosquitoes

Do you know what animal kills the most humans every year? It is not the untamed tiger or the mammoth elephant or the venomous snake. It is the tiny mosquitoOne study found that mosquitoes kill 20 times more humans than snakes every year.

And the mosquito doesn’t kill you by its strength. It kills you by a small little prick that infects you with a deadly disease. Then it is off to transmit it to the next human being.

If I found a venomous snake in the house, I would drop whatever I am doing to get rid of that snake. It doesn’t matter if I am talking to the CEO of the company, or even the president of my country. I will drop whatever I am doing to drive the venomous snake out of my house.

But because I live by what my eyes see, I dismiss the harmless-looking mosquito. And I am a fool if I do not recognize the FACT that the infection-carrying mosquito that flies around in my house is 20 times more dangerous than a venomous snake in my house.

This has a simple spiritual application. A lot of us are worried about the huge trials. We marvel at people who are able to stand strong for Jesus when faced with threats of great evil or death. And we absolutely should: To be willing to die for Jesus is a tremendous act of courage, and an evidence of a deep loyalty and the supernatural grace that God makes available at such intense times of trial.

But these kinds of spiritual persecutions are like venomous snakes that enter our house. The vast majority of us do not face these kinds of spiritual threats on a daily basis. What we do face are spiritual mosquitoes that slip into our house and are ignored.

  • The small mosquito of inconvenience because of changes in the routine, children growing up, etc. The Lord asks us to drive out all the mosquitoes of complaint (in thought and word and feelings). Philippians 2:14
  • The small mosquito of being offended by the actions of someone else. The Lord asks us to violently drive out all self-pity. Matthew 16:23
  • The small mosquito of envy towards the blessing of God on another brother. Jesus tells us to love as Christ loved us (1 Corinthians 13:4; John 13:34)
  • The small mosquito of lust in my interactions with others. The Lord tells us to repent of lust just as we would repent if we had committed physical adultery (Matthew 5:28)
  • The small mosquito of unkind words towards loved ones. Jesus tells us that anger in our heart or words is as serious as murdering our loved ones (Matthew 5:22)

Spiritual mosquitoes cause the most havoc in Christians. The devil and his forces might find that sincere Christians watch for spiritual serpents and tigers and lions and so on. But we can be casual to allow his spiritual mosquitoes to fly in and out of our everyday lives. And the biggest cause for spiritual death among Christians are the tiny mosquitoes that are allowed to remain.

Solomon used a similar analogy of “little foxes” that were ruining the vineyard that was in blossom – Song of Songs 2:15 – Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom. These were not the adult scary-looking foxes. These were the foxes while they were still cute and harmless-looking.

So may we always be on guard.


**By Sandeep Poonen © Copyright – Sandeep Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://nccf.com/ 

Photo by icon0.com from Pexels

7 Characteristics of the Bride

 

Seven Characteristics of the Bride of Christ

The Bride (Wisdom), we read builds her house on SEVEN PILLARS. These seven pillars are listed for us in James 3:17, and the true church is built on these pillars. By these characteristics, we can identify the Bride of Christ anywhere:

Purity : The first and most important pillar in the true church is purity. This is not a hollow pillar of a merely external purity. No. It is solid through and through. It is purity of the heart, and it grows from the seed of the fear of God deep within the heart. It is not by clever brains but by pure hearts that the true church of Christ is built. We cannot build the church if we don’t have spiritual revelation on God and His ways – and only the pure in heart will be allowed to see God in their hearts (Matthew 5:8).

Peaceableness : Righteousness and peace always go together. They are twins. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace (Romans 14:17). True wisdom is never argumentative or quarrelsome. It does not strive. It maintains harmonious relationships with everyone, as far as possible. It is impossible to quarrel with a man who is filled with Divine wisdom, for such a man is a peaceable man. He may be firm and he may be hated by compromisers. But he is always peaceable. Jesus told His disciples that when they travel to preach the gospel, they should stay only in the house of “men of peace” (Luke 10:5-7). We must be men of peace, if we are to build God’s house.

Consideration : The Bride of Christ is always fair to others, gentle, patient, forbearing and courteous. She is never harsh or rough but always considerate of the feelings of others. When the church is supported by this pillar, it becomes easy to bear with one another – even if some are slow of understanding or crude in their manners. The problem, we begin to realise, is not the crudeness of our brother or sister, but the impatience that dwells within us. And so we fight the right enemy – our Self-life – and not our brothers and sisters.

Willingness to Yield : One who cannot receive admonishment and exhortation, or who feels that he has gone beyond that stage, is truly foolish, even if he is an elder or an older man ( Ecclesiastes 4:13). In India especially, many people have the heathen idea that “older people are wiser”. This may be true in earthly matters but certainly not in spiritual matters. Jesus did not choose any of the older people in the synagogues to be his apostles. He chose young men. Older people in the church often find it difficult to receive exhortation from a younger brother who may be the elder in the church and also far more godly. But that is because of their pride. Those who are willing to receive correction become wise (Proverbs 13:10). And so where the brothers and sisters in a church are eager to receive exhortation and correction, a truly glorious church will be built. The wise man loves those who exhort him faithfully and will eagerly seek out their company. ‘Submit to one another’ (Ephesians 5:21) are the words written on this pillar.

Fullness of Mercy and its Good Fruits : The Bride of Christ is full of mercy – not just occasionally merciful. She has no problem forgiving anyone, freely and cheerfully from the heart. She does not judge or condemn others, but rather exercises compassion towards them like her Bridegroom. This mercy is not just a mental attitude but finds expression in good fruits that are brought forth in her actions. She does good in all the ways she can to all the people she can at all the times she can.

Steadfastness : A brother who has Divine wisdom will be free from all crookedness. He will be wholehearted and straightforward, with a single eye, free from doubts and hesitation. He will not be double-minded, but strong in faith in God, and he won’t be looking at his own weaknesses, but at the promises of God. Such a brother knows that victory over all conscious sin is possible here and now. He is a dependable person – who can be trusted at all times to keep his word. He is steadfast and unmovable. You cannot make him bend his convictions or to compromise in any matter. He is straight and upright as a rod.

Freedom from Hypocrisy : The Bride has more spiritual content inwardly than others can see in her externally. Her hidden life is better than the opinion that others have of her external life. This is the exact opposite of the ‘spiritual adulteress’ or the ‘Harlot,’ whose so-called spirituality is only meant for receiving the honour of men. What she has is actually ‘religiosity’ and not true spirituality. The bride watches her inner thoughts, motives and attitudes far more than her external words and actions. She longs for God’s approval over her inner life and cares nothing at all for man’s approval of her external life. By this test, each of us can know whether we are part of the Bride or of the Harlot.

The Bride of Christ has the seed of wisdom implanted in her heart and so she will have these seven characteristics growing in her year by year. Although she is still far from perfect, she is pressing on and growing towards perfection.

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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Photo by Secret Garden at Pexel

Let Christ Be the Centre of Your Life

The New Testament teaches that in order for a man to be saved, he needs to repent first. Repentance means turning from our old way of life. It means a whole lot more than just giving up some bad habits, like drinking and gambling, etc. Our old way of life is a self-centred life; and repentance means saying, “Lord, I’m tired of being centred in myself and I want to turn to You now and to be centred in You.”

“To delight ourselves in the Lord is to put God at the centre of our lives.”Jesus came to save us from sin. In other words, He came to save us from self-centredness. Put the word “self-centredness” instead of the word `sin’ in the New Testament and you’ll see what meaning comes up in many passages. “Sin shall not be master over you” (Rom. 6:14) becomes “Self-centredness will not be master over you”. That’s God’s desire for His people. And yet if we examine our lives, we’ll find that even in our most sacred desires, there is self-centredness. To ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit can be a self-centred desire, if we want this power in order to be a great preacher, or a great healer etc. That’s as self-centred a desire as wanting to be great in this world. Do you see how sin enters even into the most holy place?

That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, first of all, not even that we might be filled with the Spirit, but that God’s name might be hallowed (Matt. 6:9, Luke 11:2). Only a truly spiritual man can pray this prayer in sincerity. Anyone can repeat this prayer, of course. Even a parrot can do that. But to really mean it, from the depths of our hearts, will require a total devotion to God, where He is first in our lives, where we are centred in Him, and where we are not seeking His blessing as much as Himself. If He gives us His gifts, well and good; and if He does not give us any gifts that’s all right with us too, because we long for God Himself, and not His gifts. Why did God teach the Israelites to love Him with all their hearts and to love their neighbour as themselves? Only to deliver them from their self-centredness.

There is an acrostic on the word joy that says, “Put J – Jesus first, O – others next, and Y – yourself last. Then you can have joy.” God is perpetually full of joy. There is no sorrow or anxiety in heaven, because everything is centred in God. The angels are always rejoicing, because they are centred in God. The reason we lack joy, peace, and so many other spiritual virtues is because we haven’t found our proper centre. We tend to use God for our own ends. And even prayer becomes something like this, “Lord, please let my business prosper……Help me to get a promotion in my job…..Please let me get a better house…..” etc. We want God to become our servant, helping to make our earthly lives more comfortable – like the genie in the story of Aladdin and his lamp.

This is the type of God that so many believers pray to – one who is a means to their own advancement and profit in this world. But the God of the New Testament is not one who helps you to win the 100 metres race in the Olympics or to outwit your competitor in a business deal. Our prayers reveal how self-centred we are.

“Delight yourself in the Lord” the Bible says, “and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4). To delight ourselves in the Lord is to put God at the centre of our lives. And so, it is only a God-centred person who can have all the desires of his heart. “No good thing will God withhold from those who walk uprightly (that is, from those who are walking with their head on top – who have God controlling their lives)” (Psalm 84:11). “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”(James 5:16) – and the righteous man is the God-centred man. On the contrary, the fervent prayer of the self-centred man, even if he prays all night is going to avail nothing. It is the type of life we live that gives value to the prayer we pray.

That’s why the first three longings of our life should be: “Father, Your Name should be hallowed. Your kingdom should come. Your will should be done.” (Matt. 6:9-10) We may have many other requests such as, “Heal me of my backache, help me to find a better house to live in, help my son to get a job,” etc. These are all good requests. But if you can say, “Father, even if you don’t grant these requests, my primary desire is that Your Name will be glorified” – then you’re a spiritual man.

 


By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/

Picture by Adam Kontor at Pexels

Child of God Wait Patiently


Child of God Wait Patiently

O child of God, wait patiently when dark thy path may be,

And let thy faith lean trustingly on Him who cares for Thee;

And though the clouds hang drearily upon the brow of night,

Yet in the morning joy will come, and fill thy soul with light.

O child of God, He loveth thee, and thou art all His own;

With gentle hand He leadeth thee, thou dost not walk alone;

And though thou watchest wearily the long and stormy night,

Yet in the morning joy will come, and fill thy soul with light.

O child of God, how peacefully He calms thy fears to rest,

And draws thee upward tenderly, where dwell the pure and blest;

And He who bendeth silently above the gloom of night,

Will take thee home where endless joy shall fill thy soul with light.

By Fanny Crosby

Dying To Self

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

DYING TO SELF

In these last days, the Spirit must bring us to the Cross if we would be saved. And once we die on the Cross, we will not respond to any slights against our human flesh any longer, because dead people don’t move.

The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you—your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, [your years of service, your accomplishments, your degrees, your intellect], your anything—then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it [as God intended].

“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil.3:10

The Crucified Life Challenge:

When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely ignored and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult of the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When your good is spoken of as evil, your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder and irregularity, or any annoyance; when you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works or itch after praise; when you can truly love to be unknown, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any clothing, and any interruption by the will of God, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances. THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

ARE YOU DEAD YET?


**By Bill Britton, “Dethrone the King: Dying to Self,” The Heartbeat of the Remnant, July/August, 2002, 19

Jesus tempted as we are

Unfolding The Rosebud

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

By Helen Steiner Rice

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**Photo by Jovana Nesic

Have Patience With Me

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” Ephesians 4:2

“Have patience with me,” cried the slave as he begged his fellow-slave for mercy (Matt.18:29). This is also the unspoken cry that comes to us as housewives and mothers from many of those with whom we have to do each day. But we need to be sensitive in our spirits if we are to hear that cry – for it is unspoken. It may be that our children are slow at learning something that we have repeatedly been trying to teach them, and we are sorely tempted to become impatient with them. If we could hear their unspoken cry, saying, “Have patience with me, I am trying my best to do it right,” then it would be easier for us to overcome the temptation to get irritated with them.

Perhaps the servant who helps us with our work around the home is somewhat clumsy, and not as clean as we want her to be, and we are tempted to be hard on her. But her unspoken cry is, “Have patience with me. Give me another chance and I’ll improve” – and we are presented with another opportunity to be more gentle. Or it may be that our aged parents, being old and infirm, are now dependent on us. Their feeble, unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I don’t want to trouble you, but I need your help now.” If we are sensitive to their feelings, we will hear their cry and help them, without depriving them of their dignity, and without letting them feel their dependence.

Perhaps the behaviour of our fellow-sisters in the church is a trial for us. Their unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I still lack a lot of wisdom.” Then we realise that they also, like us, are struggling towards perfection.In such situations, we all find a tendency in our flesh to be like that unmerciful slave. Yet those are the very times when we need to remember afresh how much we have been forgiven by God, and how patient others have been with our own follies. So we should have our spiritual ears attuned at all times to hear the cry for patience that comes to us from our fellow-slaves – both young and old. Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4).

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**By Dr Annie Poonen © Copyright – Annie Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

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Others May You Cannot

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
(Proverbs 3:11-12)

OTHERS MAY, YOU CANNOT

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,__and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes__to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My__sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit,He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do. Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works. Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honoured and put forward while keeping 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. God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done;this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely 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, you will have found the vestibule of heaven,the high calling of God.

By G.D. Watson