PROPORTIONAL

Eph. 3:20 ¶ Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

The work of God is supernatural but requires collaboration; in other words our will is a key factor in the way the Lord uses us. Today’s verse is a beautiful picture of the collision of the supernatural and the natural. The Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond what we ask or think according…. According to what? According to the power that is at work in us. In others words the way we are used is in proportion to our yieldedness. He can do anything, He just needs a vessel to work with. That was the whole point of the prayer of Evan Roberts in the revival in Wales, “Bend us Lord!” What was Evan asking for, the bending of our will so that the Lord could be glorified in us. Bend us Lord, we want to see your glory in us and through us. Here are some thoughts from Wuest’s wordbook on today’s verse.

“Paul says that God is able to do super-abundantly above and beyond what we ask or think, and then some on top of that. The word “ask” is aiteō, “to ask that something be given”; it is a request of the will. “Think” is noeō, “to consider.” The power (dunamis) that is putting forth energy in us (energeō), is the operation of the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. This latter is determined by the yieldedness of the believer to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the saint determines what God is able to do for him. In His inherent ability, there is no limit to what God can do in and through the saint. But the saint limits the working of God in and through him by the degree of his yieldedness to the Spirit.”
What a shocking promise from the Lord, “exceedingly abundantly above and beyond what you can ask or even think”. In other words, all things are possible, all He needs is a yielded heart. What happens then? First, you are made whole, then He begins to pour through you for His glory.

POT OF OIL

2Kings 4:2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

I love the story of the widow and the pot of oil. The miracle of provision for this mom left in financial need on the death of her prophet husband is beautiful and displays the Lord’s supernatural provision for His own. But there is another side, and even deeper side to this story. This pot of oil is a picture of us, we are the vessels of oil that this story speaks about. As Paul said, “We have this treasure in jars of clay”. The oil, or the treasure, is the Holy Spirit. Just as the oil was the solution to this woman’s dilemma, the Spirit is the solution to all of life’s dilemmas. There is oil in the vessel, this supernatural oil effects every part of our lives. It effects our mind and intellect, it effects our physical well being, it also effects our emotions and makes us emotionally whole. If you have oil in your pot you have all the answer you need. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this.

“Yes, our very bodies will feel the fullness. The Holy Ghost is a true tonic for physical energy and perfect health. The fullness of the Spirit is the elixir for body and brain and being. To be filled with His blessed life will make our feet spring, our nerves steady, our brain strong, our circulation regular, and our whole being at its best for God and holy service.

•  Then, also, our very circumstances keep time to the blessed fullness of the heart within.

•  Like the widow’s pot of oil that flowed out into every vessel, so the presence of God touches everything that comes into our life, and we find that all things work together for good to us if we love God and fulfill His purpose.

•  Our circumstances will become adjusted to us, or we become adjusted to our circumstances, and the whole of our life, “fitly framed together,” will become vigorous, and full of power and blessing.”

As this widow began to pour out the oil her problems were being solved. Her sons were no longer being taken into slavery and she was not going to lose her house. What saved her from her certain destruction? She had oil in the pot.

DABBLERS AND DRINKERS

rod-long-355994.jpgJohn 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Human beings without Christ are really like zombies, walking dead people with no source of life or joy. Expressionless faces wandering through life trying to pretend they are something that they aren’t or have something they don’t have. Life itself comes into our emptiness when we meet Jesus Christ. In today’s verse Jesus speaks about an overflowing joy that comes from Him when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. In this whole passage He has been teaching about the Spirit and compares the life of the Spirit to the life of a grape vine. Life flows from the branches into the vine and produces fruit. Jesus describes this as overflowing joy. He is actually making the most radical of all promises, stay filled with Him and you will experience a continual flow of overflowing joy. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes it.

“The filling of the Holy Ghost will bring us joy and fullness of joy. “These things have I spoken unto you,”the Master said after He had given us the promise of the Spirit, “that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” And so the apostle prays that “the God of hope may fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. The fullness of the Spirit must crowd out pain, doubt, fear and sorrow, and bring the joy of Christ to fill our being. What is it that makes the melody in an organ? It is not the touch of skillful fingers only on the keys, but it is the filling of the pipes by the movement of the pedals. I may try in vain to play the most skillful tune, unless the organ is filled; and so our songs of praise are dead and cold until the breath of God fills all the channels of our being. Then comes the heart-song of praise and the overflowing fountain of gladness.”

Many have dabbled with Christianity and not experienced the fullness Jesus is promising. Dabbling is not enough; abiding in Him and drinking of Him is the way to fullness of joy. So ask yourself this question today, am I a dabbler or a drinker.

EMPTY FIRST

He breathed on them —John 20:2

I remember a funny story about a pastor from another city who found himself in our extended revival meetings back in the summer of 1995. This pastor was actually on vacation in New Orleans when he heard about the services at Victory Fellowship. Those meetings were other worldly with hundreds of people being overwhelmed with supernatural joy. Young people and old people, rich people and poor people; they were all being consumed with the joy from heaven. This pastor came to service after service and no matter how munch he tried he couldn’t “get it”. Then after about a week of day and night services (I don’t think that was the vacation plan) this pastor got major really touched. I was in my office after midnight and I heard a commotion in the hallway. I went out to see this pastor drunk, laughing and being carried to his car. He was totally intoxicated with the Spirit. The next day he told us what had happened. He said he was kneeling and the Lord said that He couldn’t be filled because he was already filled with himself. He had to be emptied first. That was it, from that moment he was caught up in the glory of the Lord. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on being filled with the Spirit.

“The beautiful figure suggested by the words “He breathed on them” is full of simple instruction. It is as easy to receive the Holy Spirit as it is to breathe. It almost seems as if the Lord had given His disciples the very impression of breathing, and had said, “Now this is the way to receive the Holy Spirit.”

It is not necessary for us to go to the isolation room of a hospital to have our lungs contaminated with impure air. All we need to do is to keep in our lungs the air we inhaled a minute ago, and it will kill us. All the pure elements have been absorbed from it, and there is nothing left but carbon and other deadly gases.

Therefore, if we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must first be emptied not only of our old sinful life, but of our old spiritual life. We must take a new breath every moment, or we will die. God wants us to empty out all our being into Him. Then we can take Him in-without needing to try too hard.”
So maybe there needs to be some emptying before you can really be filled with Him. Don’t wait, empty yourself out today and make room for the glory of the Lord.

FULLNESS

And of his fulness have all we received. John 1:16

If you know anything about humans you know that without Christ there is a profound emptiness. Most of us try our best to cover it up, some do a better job of it than others. No matter all our efforts this emptiness effects every part of our lives. It effects our emotions, our relationships, and everything we do with our lives. The only solution, the fullness of Christ; Christ enters our lives and His fullness permeates every part of us. He satisfies our heart, heals our emotions, and fills us with purpose and direction. The life that Jesus lives and displayed for us in His humanity becomes ours. His joy, His peace, His love for His Father, and His love for hurting people becomes our life. We begin to live off of the fullness that spills out of Christ and flows into us. Charles Spurgeon shares about the fullness of Christ like only he can.
“These words tell us that there is a fulness in Christ. There is a fulness of essential Deity, for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. There is a fulness of perfect manhood, for in him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed. There is a fulness of atoning efficacy in his blood, for the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. There is a fulness of justifying righteousness in his life, for there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. There is a fulness of divine prevalence in his plea, for He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him; seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. There is a fulness of victory in his death, for through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. There is a fulness of efficacy in his resurrection from the dead, for by it we are begotten again unto a lively hope. There is a fulness of triumph in his ascension, for when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and received gifts for men.”
So our lives of emptiness is over, we are now living off of Christ’s fullness. After reading today’s devotion I hope you get this; this fullness of Christ is not just our theology but the very life that we live. Every practical area of my life can begin to live off of the fullness of God that we have received in Christ.

THE BALANCE OF GOD

Ps 36:8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,

And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
The Lord has a way of taking care of our whole life, the spiritual and the natural are covered by the blessing of the Lord. David spoke here of the blessing of his Father’s house. I am sure he had his Father Jesse’s house as well as His heavenly Father’s house in mind. David came from a prominent family in Bethlehem. He had great memories of his father’s house. I can remember having those feelings, especially when I was struggling to make ends meet with my young family. My father’s house was like a refuge, a place of blessing and abundance. Parris and I would load the kids into the van and head to my father’s house, we knew the fridge would be full. David was also thinking of the abundance of His heavenly Father’s house. The spiritual blessings flow like a river, a river of life that never runs dry. Here are some thoughts from John Calvin on the blessings of the Father’s house.
“I have no doubt that by the fatness of God’s house the prophet means the abundance of good things which is not designed for all men indiscriminately, but is laid up in store for the children of God who commit themselves wholly to his protection. Some restrict the expression to spiritual graces; but to me it seems more likely, that under it are comprehended all the blessings that are necessary to the happiness and comfort of the present life, as well as those which pertain

to eternal and heavenly blessedness. It ought, however, to be observed, that in the style of speaking which the prophet here employs, the use of earthly blessings is connected with the gracious experience of faith, in the exercise of which we can alone enjoy them rightfully and lawfully to our own welfare. When the ungodly glut themselves with the abundance of God’s benefits, their bodies indeed grow fat like the flesh of cattle or swine, but their souls are always empty and famished. It is the faithful alone, as I have said, who are satisfied with the goodness of God towards them, because it is to them a pledge of his fatherly love.”
There is a carnal ‘fatness’ that comes from carnal indulgence. There is also a spiritual ‘fatness’ that comes from delighting in the abundance of our Father’s house. What kind of ‘fat’ are you?

LOST TREASURE

Eph. 3:18,19 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 
‘Am I enough for you?’ That was the strangest question I had ever been asked. This is what the Lord asked me in the fall of 1994 when I was laying on the floor of our church in one of our services. I had never thought of God on those terms. He was my Savior, my Healer, my Provider, and my Counselor. I had never thought of God in the way quite like His question demanded; He was the treasure. Not His gifts but Him. For the first time I began to understand what the Lord meant when He called Himself jealous. He wanted my affection and was unwilling to share it with anyone or anything else. I was beginning to see the seriousness of revival; it is all about the heart. In today’s scripture the Lord describes the depths of His love for us. This love captures us and actually becomes the foundation of our love for Him. Here is how Matthew Henry sees it.
“The breadth, and length, and depth, and height. By enumerating these dimensions, the apostle designs to signify the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ, the unsearchable riches of his love, which is higher than heaven, deeper than hell, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Some describe the particulars thus: By the breadth of it we may understand the extent of it to all ages, nations, and ranks of men; by the length of it, its continuance from everlasting to everlasting; by the depth of it, its stooping to the lowest condition, with a design to relieve and save those who have sunk into the depths of sin and misery; by its height, its entitling and raising us up to the heavenly happiness and glory.”
I finally began to get it; His love is unsearchable. It is in tasting the depths and height of His love that my love for Him is birthed. That brings me back to the floor of our church that Monday morning in September of 1994. He was after my heart. He was winning my heart by pouring out unprecedented measures of His love on my life. I finally had my answer. He was more than enough! Better than fame, success, money, or anything this life could offer. He became my Treasure.

MY CUP IS OVERFLOWING

Psa. 23:5 ¶ You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.
David had learned the importance of being filled with the Spirit to ward off the depression that easily comes from the attacks that come against the righteous. David had faced the loss of everything at the hands of the Philistines at Ziklag yet he was able to ‘strengthen’ himself in the Lord. What does that mean? Of course it speaks of accessing this presence of God in prayer which was the strength of David’s life. If you are a Christian, especially if you are involved in ministry, you will face continual adversity in this world. It is critical that you learn to strengthen yourself in the Lord by building yourself up in the Holy Spirit . That’s is what today’s verse describes; a spread spiritual table, oil poured on your head, and an overflowing cup in the presence of your enemies. Luther knew from experience the taste of adversity for the sake of the gospel.Listen to his description of how to overcome all of those attacks.
“But such power, joy, and blissful intoxication are manifested in the believers not only when they prosper and have peace, but also when they suffer and die. When the council at Jerusalem, therefore, had the Apostles flogged, they rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Christ. And in Rom. 5:3 St. Paul says: “We also rejoice in our sufferings.” Later on many martyrs, men and women, when to their deaths with happy hearts and laughing mouths as though they were going to a happy festival or dance. They not only boldly and confidently conquered the devil and the world through their deaths, but were also cheerful with all their hearts, just as if they had been drunken with great joy. In our times, too, many have died cheerfully because they have confessed Christ. Similarly we learn that many die in their beds with a fine understanding and faith and say with Simeon, “With peace and joy I now depart,” so that it is a pleasure to behold, as I myself have often beheld it. And all this because, as the prophet says, they are anointed with the oil which the Forty-fifth Psalm calls an oil of gladness and have drunk from the overflowing cup which the Lord has filled.”
The greatest adversity we could face would be martyrdom and the Spirit tempers even the most unthinkable bouts with persecution. I can remember how much I despised reading ‘Fox’s Book of Martyrs’ in Bible School   I felt inferior and afraid as I read the stories of martyrdom in that book. I had no understanding of the power of the anointing and how huge joy was in being able to endure difficulties. What kind of enemies and battles are you facing? Drink His cup and you too will laugh your way through your troubles.

MY OVERFLOWING CUP

Psa. 23:5 ¶ You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
I love that last phrase, ‘my cup overflows’. What do you think David meant by that? Could it be that David was experiencing an overflowing filling of the Holy Spirit even as he penned these words? Absolutely! I think David had learned the art and the importance of living a life full of the Holy Spirit. David was actually a prototype of the New Testament Christian. He basically was used by the Lord to introduce charismatic worship to God’s people. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and the resulting joy in a more consistent fashion than any of the Old Testament prophets. David was all about the overflowing cup. Here is a short thought from Augustine on this phrase.
“My cup runneth over.” Or as it is in the Vulgate: And my inebriating chalice, how excellent it is! With this cup were the martyrs inebriated, when, going forth to their passion, they recognized not those that belonged to them; not their weeping wife, not their children, not their relations; while they gave thanks and said, “I will take the cup of salvation!”
Thou hast gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. “And Thy inebriating cup, how excellent is it!” And Thy cup yielding forgetfulness of former vain delights, how excellent is it.”

Augustine had drunk of David’s inebriating cup. In the world that we live in, we simply won’t survive unless we also drink from this intoxicating cup. Augustine recognized that this was the cup that enabled the martyrs to face unthinkable horrors. It is from drinking the cup of the Holy Spirit that we finally understand that the joy of the Lord is literally our strength to live in difficult times.
Here is a thought from John Trappe on this same phrase.

“My cup runneth over.” He had not only a fulness of abundance, but of redundance (superfluous repetition). Those that have this happiness must carry their cup upright, and see that it overflows into their poor brethren’s emptier vessels.”
Trappe saw two things in this short quote. We are to develop a lifestyle of repetitive drinking. We are also to stay full so we have ‘drink’ to poor out on the hurting of this world. Trappe agreed with David, ministry comes from the overflow of my brimming cup.

DRUNK WITH FULLNESS

Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

It is more and more rare to see passionate lovers of God. It is almost as if a film has coated the hearts of people in this ‘have it now’ culture we are living in. Short services, info-sermons with no heart, perfect music with no fire; no wonder our Christians are listless. The Lord is after our hearts. It is not technicians He seeks, it is lovers. Today’s verse says it best, ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ He is still seeking worshipers. It is in worship that our hearts are finally satisfied. Augustine spoke about a spiritual drunkenness found in the presence of the Lord. 1600 hundred years have passed since Augustine, man’s hunger and need is still the same. Here is how Augustine says it.

Piper/Augustine

“The soul of men shall hope under the shadow of Thy wings; they shall be made drunk with the fullness of Thy house; and of the torrents of Thy pleasures Thou wilt give them to drink; for in Thee is the Fountain of Life, and in Thy Light shall we see the light? Give me a man in love: he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the Eternal country. Give me that sort of man: he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just does not know what I am talking about. . . .”

John Piper describes the relevancy of Augustine’s words in today’s world.

“These words from Augustine should make our hearts burn with renewed longing for God. And they should help us see why it is so difficult to display the glory of the Gospel to so many people. The reason is that so many do not long for anything very much. They are just coasting. They are not passionate about any-thing. They are “cold” not just toward the glory of Christ in the Gospel, but toward everything. Even their sins are picked at rather than swallowed with passion”

So, what does it for you? What do you feel strongly about or are you wandering around with the apathetic throngs? What is the solution? The only solution is pursuing pleasure with all your heart found by drinking of the fullness of the Father’s house.