James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
There are two things that jump out at me in this verse. First, the Lord hears and responds to the prayer of the righteous. So that has to be answered first, am I a righteous person that the Lord responds to? This goes to the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How is a person considered righteous by God? This is the very foundation of the message of the Apostle Paul. A man is considered righteous not by his own efforts but simply by his faith in Christ. Righteousness is a gift that I receive the moment I put my trust in the Lord. That brings us to the second part, prayer is supernatural and has great power when it is released in us. Again, I have to walk by faith and actually allow the Lord to pray His effective, fervent prayers in and through me. We enter this life by faith and then we begin to walk it out by faith. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on this verse.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. The words δεησις ενεργουμενη signify energetic supplication, or such a prayer as is suggested to the soul and wrought in it by a Divine energy. When God designs to do some particular work in his Church he pours out on his followers the spirit of grace and supplication; and this he does sometimes when he is about to do some especial work for an individual. When such a power of prayer is granted, faith should be immediately called into exercise, that the blessing may be given: the spirit of prayer is the proof that the power of God is present to heal.”
I love that explanation, “the spirit of prayer is the proof that the power of God is present to heal”. Getting my eyes off of my own worthiness and on His worthiness is the key to righteousness. Getting my eyes on His sufficiency and off of my insufficiency is the key to answered prayer. The Lord is not looking for perfect vessels, He is looking for yielded vessels. Like it says in the Passion Translation, ‘for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer’.
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS:
Ro 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”.
There is nothing like having the faith of God. F.F. Bruce says, ”Faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order”.
The Greek word here for faith is Pistis. Faith is like the strong man that comes to lift anything out of the equation that stands in your way. Even when we are faithless he is faithful, are you joyless? He gives the joy! Faith is a gift that comes from God when our faith runs empty. It is never something that we can produce on our own by any human effort or set of religious works. When we bask in his word daily it will prepare the soil of our hearts for the supernatural! Strong’s word studies calls it; “GODS DIVINE PERSUASION” and goes onto to say, “for the Lord continually births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers.” As a believer we learn to pray according to His will for Jesus never did anything outside of the Father’s will. Strongs continues with , “Faith is God’s warranty, certifying that the revelation He in-birthed in us will come to pass. The Lord offers to in-birth faith in each scene of life – so that each matters equally in eternity . . . no matter how insignificant they seem.” I love that!
My friend, do you find yourself discouraged? Praying the same old prayers and feeling like it is cast into the wind? You can be Divinely persuaded by God himself to “stand still and see the salvation of God over your circumstances. He is the one giving you the ability to pray those prayers even though you are tired and weary. They come from above and move men by the holy ghost to believe for the impossible. Is your heart filled with promises? Christ births those promises in our hearts over the years and seals it with his guarantee! Keep burning the midnight oil, keep your lamps trimmed and burning. Everyday he brings his Divine Persuasion into our lives to get up and keep it a going. Yield to him today!
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Rom.6:13
Throughout most of my life as a Christian I have had plenty of opportunities to walk in offense. I’ve also seen a lot of Christians lose their way when they refuse to let go of their offenses. It’s easy to tell when we are all offended, for our minds are consumed with an ongoing argument of “our rights and their wrongs”. It can be downright exhausting. No matter how right we think we are; we end up being very wrong. We need to drink of the river of the love of God. Losing another day to anger is just not worth it.
McLaren says; “Yielding yourselves to God is the talismanic secret of all righteousness. I hallow my heart if its love twines round His heart. I hallow my thoughts if I take His truth for my guide, and ever seek to be led thereby in practice and in belief. I hallow my will when it bows and says, ‘Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth!’ I hallow my senses when I use them as from Him, with recognition of Him and for Him. In fact, there are two ways of living in the world; and, narrow as it sounds, I venture to say there are only two. Either God is my centre, and that is holiness; or self is my centre, in more or less subtle forms, and that is sin.”
Christ comes to us to take over. Period. It matters not what your neighbor, boss, best friend or spouse just did, said or didn’t do. People are fallible and will be fallible all of their lives and we remain fallible ourselves. It’s in these situations we grow when we learn to yield.
McLaren again says, “My yielding of myself to Him can only be the echo of His giving of Himself to me. He must be the first to love. You cannot argue a man into loving God, any more than you can hammer a rosebud open. If you do you spoil its petals. But He can love us into loving Him, and the sunshine, falling on the closed flower, will expand it, and it will grow by its reception of the light, and grow sunlike in its measure and according to its nature.”
So where do you find yourself this Monday morning? Let it all go in the name of Jesus! Whatever happened it just isn’t worth the hassle. Allow the Son-shine to fall on the closed up flower (you!) and you just might come out “smelling like a rose”! Praise Him!
Psa. 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
If you haven’t figured it out yet we have a huge heart problem. The tendency with most humans is that they have a basic concept of what they deem as right and wrong, somehow they have created in their own image. Even at that, there is no ability to follow through. Somehow, we always gravitate to the violation of even our own moral code. That is why we desperately need the gospel. The power of the gospel is not only the power to forgive us from our sins, it also has the ability to deal with the root of all of our problems; our will. In this verse David nails it, he said that God’s people would be ‘willing’ in the day of His power. That is the power of the gospel, the power touching the very nature of the human heart. Not only do we become willing to follow the Lord; it actually becomes our will and our pleasure to follow the Lord. Here is how John Pulsford said it in the 1800’s.
“Thy people shall be willing. Willing to do what? They shall be willing while others are unwilling. The simple term “willing, “is very expressive. It denotes the beautiful condition of creatures who suffer themselves to be wrought upon, and moved, according to the will of God. They suffer God to work in them to will and to do. They are willing to die unto all sin, they are willing to crucify the old man, or self, in order that the new man, or Christ, may be formed in them. They are willing to be weaned from their own thoughts and purposes, that the thoughts and purposes of God may be fulfilled in them. They are willing to be transferred from nature’s steps of human descent to God’s steps of human ascent. Or, to abide by the simplicity of our text, God is Will, and they are “willing.” God will beautify them with salvation, because there is nothing in them to hinder his working. They will be wise, they will be good, they will be lovely, they will be like God, for they are “willing”; and there proceeds from God a mighty spirit, the whole tendency of which is to make his creatures like himself.”
What a radical plan; the Lord’s intention is to make us like Him. He does this by coming at the source of our problem, the human will. That is the most amazing thing about the Lord, now we want to live for Him. We have found Him and following Him has become the source of all pleasure.
Rom. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about the last days. Just the mention of this topic stirs up thoughts of wars, famines, earthquakes, and the mark of the beast. Sometimes we tend to overlook the greatest sign of the end times which Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost. Peter said that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all mankind in the last of days. Today, the Holy Spirit is being poured out on regions of the globe for the first time. From China to the Ukraine, from Viet Nam to Romania, God is pouring out His Spirit.
When we receive the Holy Spirit a magnificent change begins to happen in our lives. Instead of making our own decisions in life, the Holy Spirit wants to lead us in every arena. Paul said that this was the proof that we are sons, that we are led by the Spirit. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s verse.
“All that are Christ’s are taken into the relation of Children to God, v. 14. Their property: They are led by the Spirit of God, as a scholar in his learning is led by his tutor, as a traveller in his journey is led by his guide, as a soldier in his engagements is led by his captain; not driven as beasts, but led as rational creatures, drawn with the cords of a man and the bands of love. It is the undoubted character of all true believers that they are led by the Spirit of God. Having submitted themselves in believing to his guidance, they do in their obedience follow that guidance, and are sweetly led into all truth and all duty.”
Just think for a moment. What if our whole city was infiltrated by people actually being led by the Holy Spirit? Just think how that would change our world. How could something like that happen? Well, it starts with one person. It starts when you yield or I yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Rather than striving in our own wisdom and strength we yield to the Holy Spirit. It is a much easier, less complicated life. So how do we know we are sons? “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.Psalm 51:15
I went to a Bible School near Fresno, California back in the 1970’s. Part of the curriculum at the school was evangelism. Each week there would be an evangelism assignment as part of the course requirements. There were some really unusual assignments designed to get the students out of the arena of fear, some of them were quite bizarre. One of my assignments was to go to a certain bar in Fresno with a tambourine. I was to get everyone’s attention by banging the tambourine and after I got everyone’s attention, sing “What Can Wash Away My Sin”. Actually the event turned out better than I could have imagined. All eyes were on me in the bar that day the moment I began to play the tambourine. After I finished singing the song they all stared at me as if to say “And so…”. I was able to preach just about everything I knew that night. All I can remember was the empty eyes and empty hearts staring out to me at the bar. Overcoming the fear of man is important when it comes to public worship. Check out what Luther had to say about the danger of worship.
“By asking the Lord to open his lips, David showed how difficult it is to offer thanks to God. This is something God demands of us. Talking about the Lord and thanking him publicly require an extreme amount of courage and strength, because the devil is constantly trying to stop us from doing this. If we could see all of Satan’s traps, we would know why David prayed for the Spirit’s strength and asked the Lord himself to open David’s lips. He wanted to tell the devil, the world, kings, princes, and everyone about the Lord. Many things can keep our lips shut: the fear of danger, the hope of gaining something, or even the advice of friends. The devil uses these ways to stop us from offering thanks to God, as I have often experienced in my life. And yet, at important times, when God’s honor was threatened, God stood by me and opened my mouth in spite of the obstacles. The Spirit urges us on—just as Peter says, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard”. The Spirit prays to God for us with many groans. Then the Lord opens our lips to announce his praise.”
So go ahead, stir up the gift of God, you may be amazed at the power of God that comes upon you and fills you up with courage. He will open your lips and fill you with His praise.
“I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” —Jeremiah 33:3
Many Christians have never really tasted the heavenly realm of the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, many aren’t aware that the heavenly experiences are even available to us today. We read about Paul being caught up into the third heaven, John rapt in the Spirit on the Isle of Patmos, or even Peter falling into a trance on Simon the tanner’s roof: and think nothing of it. If anyone claims to have those kinds of experiences today he is shunned as some sort of fanatic. Is it possible that these encounters are possible today and maybe even more common than people realize? I used to be in that skeptical camp. What changed? I was caught up into the heavenly realms for myself. Everything changes when you experience the real power of His presence for yourself. Here are some thoughts by Spurgeon on the power of this heavenly realm.
“There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will show thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers.”
Spurgeon said that one of the portals to these heavenly realms is the blessing of prevailing prayer. Prayer is actually a form of yielding. It is yielding to the power of His Spirit as He takes us into the heavenly places in Christ. So don’t be quick to criticize the experiences of others. Just because something is out of your realm of experience doesn’t mean that it is not real. Open up your heart to the Lord. Ask Him to fill you with another measure of His presence. You don’t have to worry, as Jesus said, “if you ask for an egg He won’t give you a scorpion”.
“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Yield!!! I was in a revival service in 1994 and the preacher kept yelling out ‘YIELD’. Looking back at that season in my life (and the body of Christ for whatever that’s worth) this was a one word prophesy to me; to us. YIELD!!! Yeah, He’s talking to you. Control is one of the biggest issues in all of our lives. Christianity isn’t you becoming a better you, it’s about yielding to the Lord. It is about surrendering control of everything; your heart, your desires, your body, your tongue, your plans. It is about yielding control to our God. But here is the catch (or the blessing depending how you look at it), He changes the very fabric of our being starting with our will or desires. We began to want different things and we begin to love different things. Here is Andrew Murray talking about this change.
“When God’s desire becomes our desire, these words also become our words: to dwell in His house, to gaze upon His beauty, and to seek Him in His temple. The more we realize God’s desire to give rest and peace in our heart, and the more our desire is quickened to dwell with Him and behold His beauty, the more the spirit of intercession will grow upon us to claim all that God has promised in His New Covenant.
We will start thinking more of our church and country, home and school. We will think of saved ones and their need, or the unsaved and the dangers that threaten them. We will think of God’s desire to find His home and His rest in the hearts of men. All thoughts of our weakness and unworthiness will be swallowed up in the wonderful assurance that He gave to His children: “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:14).”
Wow! Actually what Murray is describing is the fruit of salvation. Salvation of the soul is more than forgiveness of sins, it is also regeneration and reformation. Everything is changed. So how can someone join in with David singing,”One thing have I desired of the Lord”. The one thing is gazing on God’s beauty. You have to be saved to notice His beauty, you have to yield to want it.
Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
I will never forget taking my lunch breaks while working at B&C Egg Ranch in my first year as a Christian. I would get my sack lunch and rush to my car in time to hear Kathryn Kuhlman on the radio. “Have you been waiting for me?” That was the way she started every program. People all over the country would plan their day around Miss Kuhlman’s radio program. Each day would start with an interview of someone who had been healed in one of her services. Then Kathryn would minister from the Word and encourage her listeners to believe God. It was as if Jesus was right there in the car with me, I guess it seemed like that because He was. The Lord anointed Miss Kuhlman with a powerful miracle anointing. She loved Jesus and was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. When you heard her talk you just expected something wonderful to happen. Here is an often quoted example of Kathryn’s message.
“I made a consecration of my life that I had never made before, when I saw that it was absolutely possible for me to so yield my life, my body, as a living sacrifice – a sacrifice so consecrated to Him that the name of God Almighty may be glorified through the life of a sinner saved by the grace of God. It is through the Holy Spirit empowering Christ’s body of believers, His Church, with power for service that the Father is glorified again and again. The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels – those who will submit their will to the will of the Father. And the greatest human attainment in all the world is for a life to be so surrendered to Him that the name of God Almighty will be glorified through that life. As you read these words, I pray that this shall be the desire of your heart; and I know that the Father will hear your cry, and honor your prayer…and take your life, using it for His glory through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.” I love that, “The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels”.
All of us tend to focus on our talents or our resources, the Lord focuses on our yielded heart. The Lord worked through Kathryn Kuhlman because of yieldedness. That is all He asks for. The Lord hasn’t changed since Pentecost or even from the days of Miss Kuhlman’s ministry, He is still looking for yielded hearts. He wants to move in our world again, He wants to work through you. Maybe you feel like someone without talent or purpose, you don’t need either. The Lord has all the talent and purpose you will ever need. What can you do? Simply yield your heart. The Lord has a plan and it is more awesome than you can imagine.
SHAPING THE RIVER INTO WORDS
My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words:
(Psalm 45:1 MSG)
What an incredible depiction of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a Christian, our hearts are bursting with the beauty and goodness of God. The next part of this verse is even more amazing, “spilling beauty and goodness”. This explosion of beauty and goodness is not random, it is not just poured out in some confusing aimless way. This verse describes our cooperation, “shaping the river into words”. Actually that is what our life as a believer is about, yielding to the River and shaping it’s flow into the different parts of our lives.
This process starts out as a new Christian, yielding to the Lord, shaping this new life into a life of purity and holiness. The impact of the River on our lives first brings conviction of sin, then forgiveness of sin, and finally freedom from the chains of sin. As we yield to the Lord, we take on the nature of the Holy Spirit. Of course this means that our lifestyle changes, the Holy Spirit is now living His new life in me.
As we continue to yield to the Lord, drinking daily of this River becomes a big part of our lives. When that begins to happen, our heart begins to burst it’s banks and we begin to find out what it really means to shape the River into words. One of the ways this happens is through the devotional prayer language we receive when our heart begins to burst it’s banks. Out of our innermost being begins to flow an unknown language, actually a language of the Spirit. Many times when we spend time in prayer, we will begin to get a sense of the greatness of our God. This experience comes as a result of the Holy Spirit beginning to move upon our lives. What do I do when that happens? I yield myself to the Lord. What do I mean by “yield”? I mean to turn the control of my tongue over to the Spirit, yielding control to the Lord. As I do that, I begin to pray in this beautiful language of mystery.
Have you ever wondered how the disciples knew it was okay when they began to speak in other tongues? After all, they had no precedent, no one had ever been speaking in tongues before that. The way they knew is the same way you will know, the Holy Spirit’s presence is so special and holy, and when He began to come upon them, yielding was no question or no problem. In today’s church, this pentecostal blessing has been ignored, and more often than we want to know, has been resisted and ridiculed. I believe that the Lord is stirring people with a hunger for this dynamic gift of the Holy Spirit. As His people embrace Him, He will begin to shape the River into words using our feeble lives as His vessel.