Fireside

Be Still

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Be still and know that I am God….  Psalms 46:10 (NIV)

Being “still” resonates in different ways with different people. Many perceive it to be a waste of time or unproductive. While this may seem true to the mind’s reasoning, the spirit’s understanding would beg to differ.

Jesus remained forty days in the desert. Most would agree that He probably didn’t have much to do to keep himself busy during that time. However, Jesus knew all too well that in the spirit realm, things were busier than ever! He knew that the way was being opened for God’s ultimate plan to come to pass – that He, the greatest sacrifice of love ever known to man, would conquer death, sin, and reconcile all of mankind to the heavenly Father by giving eternal life to whomever would believe. That is quite a feat for staying put forty days in no man’s land!

Stillness is a precious time in which we can lean on our Heavenly Father and experience the calm and peace of his wonderful healing presence. Know this, that while you are resting in the arms of the One who never sleeps or slumbers, heaven is getting busy on your behalf and accomplishing more for your life than you could ever dream or imagine for yourself.

…“Peace, be still!”    Jesus Christ.

By Kim Feeney

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The World to Come

AW-Tozer

 

It has been cited as a flaw in Christianity that it is more concerned with the world to come than with the world that now is, and some timid souls have been fluttering about trying to defend the faith of Christ against this accusation as a mother hen defends her chicks from the hawk.

Both the attack and the defense are wasted. No one who knows what the New Testament is about will worry over the charge that Christianity is otherworldly. Of course it is, and that is precisely where its power lies.

Christianity, which is faith in Christ, trust in His promises and obedience to His commandments, rests down squarely upon the Person of Christ. What He is, what He did and what He is doing — these provide a full guarantee that the Christian’s hopes are valid. Christianity is what Christ says it is. His power becomes operative toward us as we accept His words as final and yield our souls to believe and obey.

Christ is not on trial; He needs no character witnesses to establish His trustworthiness. He came as the Eternal God in time’s low tabernacle. He stands before no human tribunal, but all men stand before Him now and shall stand for judgment at the last. Let any man bring the faith of Christ to the bar of man’s opinion, let him try to prove that the teachings of Christ are in harmony with this philosophy or that religion, and he is in fact rejecting Christ while seeking to defend Him. lpse dixit, He has said it, is sufficient answer to all criticisms of Christ’s claims.

Christianity has over the last half century been badly shaken by the criticisms of certain social philosophers. These gentlemen have assumed the basic soundness of the present world system. With a few improvements here and there a prosperous, healthy and peaceful society could be established right here on this earth, and to do this, say they, is the whole duty of man.

These men were observant enough to see that their concept of a permanently peaceful world was contrary to the teachings of the New Testament, so they quite naturally turned impatiently from them. Unfortunately many influential Christian leaders were not astute enough to notice the contradiction between the ipse dixits of Christ and the doctrines of the social dreamers and, smarting under the charges hurled at them by the one-world thinkers, they retreated from their Christian position and ran after the social philosophers, crying  “Me too, me too,” in a frantic effort to prove that the world had misunderstood Christianity all along. In doing this they, of course surrendered all that is unique in the faith of Christ and adopted an emaciated Christianity which is little more than a ghost of the faith once delivered.

Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to some. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere of human thought of experience. When Christ arose from death and ascended into heaven and established forever three important facts: namely, that this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution, that the human spirit persists beyond the grave and that there is indeed a world to come.

Taken from the book ‘Of God and Men’ by AW Tozer

Published by Gospel Literature Service.

 

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Counterfeit Coins

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Many people are deceived in India by counterfeit coins. Those who make or possess counterfeit coins mix them up with genuine coins while buying things from the market. New and inexperienced shopkeepers are deceived, and take counterfeit coins with the genuine. But merchants and shopkeepers who are experienced pick out such counterfeit coins immediately and refuse to accept them. Not only so, they quickly hand over such deceivers to the police. The Devil subtly and crookedly has raised up his agents, false Christians, side by side with real Christians throughout the world. These false Christians are members of the churches, pray in the name of Christ, sing Christian hymns, attend the Sunday meetings, celebrate Christmas, Good Friday and Easter and do many social works in the name d Christ. But, as the tares when eaten are found bitter in taste, so are the practical lives of these so-called Christians found to be full of pollution, corruption and wickedness. As the experienced merchants and shopkeepers discover counterfeit coins mixed up with genuine coins, so false Christians, who are deceivers mixed up with real Christians, will one day be exposed, judged and condemned for ever. As the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall the false and deceiving Christians, “the children of the wicked one”, who do iniquity, be cast into the lake of fire. (Matt. 13:40-42).

Taken from the book ‘In Christianity or In Christ’ by Jordan C. Khan.

Published by GLS Publishing

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Providence

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“Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear  not, therefore: Ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12 7).

During World War ll, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was in the Air Force. On one of the missions across the Pacific, his plane went down, and along with his crew he scrambled into a life raft and remained floating for days on the rough waters. Eventually, their food and water ran out. They had a prayer together that afternoon pleading to the Almighty to do a miracle for them. Ed, exhausted, leaned on the raft for a nap, pulling his military cap over his nose.  After sometime, Ed felt something landing on the top of his cap. It was a sea-gull; he caught the bird. Wringing its neck he dressed it and the raw meat was their frugal meal. The intestines of the bird they used as bait for catching fish and hence, more food. The offal of the fishes they used for additional bait. Thus they drifted on the sea for days until they were found and rescued.
Ed lived many years after this ordeal and never forgot the miracle of the sea-gull immediately after their united prayer.  PS. 57:1; 15. 15:4; 1Kin. 17:6, 16; 2Kin. 3:20;  7 8.

Taken from the book ‘Light for the soul’ by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj

Published by GLS Publishing

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The Finest Substance

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“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives…so the lamps may be kept burning” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).

Olive oil is a very precious commodity to many countries. Many centuries ago, a very important lifeline was given to the people of Israel: the oil produced from their olive trees.

My husband David and I had traveled with a tour group to Israel. On a few acres of ground near Nazareth, we were shown a reproduction of a village-like setting that depicted how people lived in Jesus’ day so that visitors could connect the biblical stories and visualize the shepherd’s life.

The olive press they displayed was indispensable for living in former times. We were told that they would press ripe olives three times. The first expressed oil yielded the finest substance. God’s temple received the first and best oil for its lamps and other religious purposes.

The finest oil was reserved for where God’s presence dwelt. After the exodus from Egypt and while they were still tramping in the desert, Moses gave this command. “This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).

God requires the first oil from us. That would consist of the first of our strength, the first of our day to seek Him, or the best of our abilities and talents. If we give Him our first, we will find that He will provide the rest.

By  Florence Simmons

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A Spectacular Ministry

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Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. (2 Corinthians 5:12 NLT).

The Apostle Paul had many critics in his day, both inside and outside the Church.  From his statement above, we can ascertain that it is possible to have a spectacular ministry without a sincere heart.

By the sheer power of personality, it is possible to do significant things, even while using the name of Christ.  When the Bible speaks of a sincere heart, it is not just about right actions, but about right motives.  To glorify Christ always has to be our chief motivation. How can we recoginse that our motivation may be flawed?  It’s when we have to build ourselves up and tear others down, such as Paul’s  detractors were doing.  We start doing things that will impress man rather than God.  Impressive things, as the world sees them, based on selfish motives, are always destined to fall. What is a sincere heart?  It’s one that seeks first to glorify God and not ourselves.  Paul’s answer to his critics was that they were trying to have prominent ministries without Christ being foremost in their hearts.  They were doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Remember, it not the height or even the breadth of your ministry, but the depth of your love for Christ that motivates you, that impresses God.  It is not possible to be a man pleaser and a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10 NLT). There is nothing wrong with having a spectacular ministry, as long as a sincere heart accompanies it.

 By Ken Barnes

 

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The church must be holy

Jesus is victor

The true church understands that it must live a disciplined life. Although our High Priest loves us in spite of our weaknesses and failures, He encourages us to be a holy people because He is a holy God. Holiness may be an unpopular subject in some churches, but holiness in the Christian life is a precious treasure in God’s sight.

What I say here may hurt, but I say it anyhow. We have lived with unholiness so long that we are almost incapable of recognizing true holiness. The people of God in the churches of Jesus Christ ought to be a holy people. But ministers have largely given up preaching Bible-centered sermons on holiness. Maybe they would not know what to do with hearers who fell under the convicting power of God’s Word. Preachers today would rather give their congregations tranquilizers.

 L preach to my congregation week after week. And I pray that l may be able to preach with such convicting power that my people will sweat! I do not want them to leave my services feeling good. The last thing I want to do is to give them some kind of religious tranquilizer– and let them go to hell in their relaxation.

The Christian church was designed to make sinners sweat. I have always believed that, and I still believe it.
The messages preached in our churches should make backslidden Christians sweat. And if I achieve that objective when I preach, I thank God with all of my heart, no matter what people think of me.

Our Lord is a holy Lord, and His eyes are as a flame of fire. His X-ray eyes can see right through everything! We can hide nothing from God. He sees all and knows all. But apparently we have a hard time with that fact – preachers and lay people alike. We seem to think our respectability should be accepted by our Lord as spirituality. That is the same tragic mistake the self-righteous Pharisees made in Jesus’ day. We like to imagine we are important, and we like to hear people talking about our importance. But every one of us is going to die one of these days. There will be a funeral service and then we will be buried, just like everybody else.

Taken from the book ‘Jesus is Victor’ by A.W. Tozer published by GLS Publishing.

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