Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
(Read Romans 7:7-25)
In the previous devotion, obedience and heeding Jesus' words to keep his commandments were explored. Now we will swing the pendulum to the other side of this paradox-the war between the flesh and the spirit. Paul talked about this life long struggle, and described the battle waged within himself, and that we all share with him.
In the verses in Romans ch. 7:7-25, Paul details the conflict within us, after our salvation.
Verse 18 sums us our dilemma-In my body, our flesh-there dwells no good thing.
When we were unsaved, we had no understanding or consciousness of this conflict; we were part of the world, and enjoyed the pleasures of sin. But, when salvation opens the eyes of the newly repentant believer-the Holy Spirit begins the work of revealing ourselves to us, as we really are. We are shown by the light of the law shown on us in God's word, our inability to keep it, our powerlessness to do right-even though now, after salvation, the desire is there to obey God.
An excerpt from Biblical Illustrator helps make this clearer)
"No man this side of heaven is out of the reach of sin and out of the danger of temptation. Opportunity acting upon sinful inclination may lead the best of men to fall into sin.
Then we have an evil world. This world which is ever about us, in our families, relationships, business; the world with all its show and pride, tempting some with its pleasures, baiting the hook for others with its riches, how tempting a world it is—when the Christian would do good it is present with him.
And when the believer would do good, the evil spirit is present with him. Satan with his emissaries is trying to hinder, harass, and destroy.
1. Does not this teach us that we have constantly to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation? If you have not looked upon your Christian life as a conflict, you have not taken a right view of it.
2. And then, is there not in all this an encouragement to go continually to Him in whom we have righteousness and strength? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father,” etc. (Canon Stowell.)"
An excerpt from David Guzik adds to this:
"Paul describes his sense of helplessness.
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
a. For what I am doing, I do not understand: Paul’s problem isn’t desire - he wants to do what is right (what I will to do, that I do not practice). His problem isn’t knowledge - he knows what the right thing is. His problem is a lack of power: how to perform what is good I do not find. He lacks power because the law gives no power.
i. The law says: “Here are the rules and you had better keep them.” But it gives us no power for keeping the law.
b. It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me: Is Paul denying his responsibility as a sinner? No. He recognizes that as he sins, he acts against his nature as a new man in Jesus Christ. A Christian must own up to his sin, yet realize that the impulse to sin does not come from who we really are in Jesus Christ.
i. “To be saved from sin, a man must at the same time own it and disown it; it is this practical paradox which is reflected in this verse. A true saint may say it in a moment of passion, but a sinner had better not make it a principle.” (Wuest)"
In my own life this warfare, and struggle continues, to this day. If it weren't for the mercy, forgiveness, patience and longsuffering of Jesus in my life-I wouldn't have a chance. The only good thing that may ever be accomplished in this body, is what the Holy Spirit is able to do through me-and there are many times, I'm very aware that I hinder Him and grieve Him.
The word of God cuts through our facades, our egos, our pride, and it reads us-as we read it, if we allow it to. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin-I am glad, and don't waste time making excuses-I get on my face, and repent. I want God's correction, I want Him to show me where I'm getting into a ditch, where I'm displeasing Him, and doing wrong. I want His hand of correction, and His covering over my life. When He corrects me, I know I belong to Him-this is worth all the gold in the world.
When we work for the Lord is His service, there are times when the spiritual battles can become very hard, and the trials will come in waves, and we may become battle weary. Our souls will stumble under the exhaustion of the onslaught, and we may say or do something that comes from our flesh-even when we know it's wrong. Satan knows just how to go about bringing you to this place, and if you stumble and fall, he then goes into gear with the other angle of attack-the accuser of the brethren; and he'll use anybody who he can get, to accomplish your ruin, if he can.
I've learned, as I've stated above-go right to the Father, get on my face-and repent-and get into the word of God, and let God speak to me, on what I need to do, to come clean again with Him. I don't care if it takes all night, all day, or many days. Whatever it takes, to allow the Holy Spirit to wash me of my sins, restore me, and cover me again, with the blood of Jesus. Satan hates it when you do this-it's the only solution-and he knows it.
If you've stumbled, fallen into a sin, from weariness, temptation, trials, or all of these; just go to Jesus-admit what you've done wrong-and allow Him to apply His blood to your soul, once again. His precious cleansing flow is never ending. When you've opened your heart, and come clean with Him again-get back up, put your armor back on, and walk on with Jesus, and stand again in victory.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. Joh 14:15
This short verse sums up a great deal, and could take volumes to break down. But in this devotion, I'm going to only focus on the importance of this verse, in regards to the intercessor. It is the most vital, and distinct statement from Jesus that reveals how we can know, and check ourselves-in the realm of obtaining answers to prayer.
Jesus told the disciples, and us-if you love me, keep my commandments. A direct, clear statement which doesn't leave any confusion. But, it cuts to the heart, where every individual will stand, in regards to receiving answers to the petitions they present to the Throne. The longer an intercessor serves God in this realm, the more he/she will come to understand how important this short statement is-and how precise is it's ability to reveal to us-where we really stand under the all-knowing gaze of God the Father, and Christ our Redeemer.
The measure of our love, and obedience gauges how much of the power of the Holy Spirit we will be able to receive, and have access to, in our walk with the Lord. The amount of persecutions, or hardships won't help us discern our place in God-the disciples many tortures, abuses, and persecutions, and their deaths tell us this. What shows us quicker than anything else whether we are abiding in Christ or not; is whether we are getting our prayers answered, or not.
When disobedience sets down roots in us-it closes the door to heaven, and our prayers are as brass-hitting the ceiling, and dropping to the ground. No amount of faith is going to do any good. David found this out, when he sinned with Bathsheba. It took Nathan confronting him, to bring him to repentance before David was restored. Gods ways have not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
This doesn't mean always getting a "yes" for an answer either. If the answer comes as a "no", "not now", or "not as your asking"-we have no need to be dismayed. God uses untold numbers of ways to guide us, steer us away from dangers, or move us in a direction He wishes us to go. But, the aspect of our free will is also something the Lord is always dealing with. Our relationship with Him has so many levels, and there are so many outside forces, from unbelieving people, the demonic realm, and our own flesh, that makes walking in obedience to God like going through a landmine-and God takes all of this into consideration. In heaven, we will be shown much that we haven't discerned or understood here.
But, through the trials, the warfare, the battles we wage, if we are walking and abiding in Christ, we will have a solid peace. The Holy Spirit will guide, and give answers to our inquiries.
When praying for nations, communities, leaders-specific information will be revealed to us, as God wills it to be so. This is not to be broadcast to the world, unless the Lord specifically says so. Many intercessors and prophetic leaders today talk far too much, and do a lot of damage in the cause of Christ. A true intercessor, or one being used in the prophetic will only reveal 5-10% of what God shows, and says to them in a lifetime-and only after a lot of prayer first. And, when they do, they'll be as sure as anyone can be, that they've heard from God-and be willing to take the consequences of a wicked world, and die for it, if necessary. I'd ask some today who are very loose and easy with their prophecies-are you willing to die for what your saying?
When we walk in righteousness-this does not mean we will never make a mistake, and never sin. But, we don't live in a pattern of sin. When we do sin, we repent immediately, and ask for the Holy Spirits help, to cleanse our hearts, and for the blood of Christ to cover us. When the Lord sees a heart that seeks Him out of sincere love, he treasures that individual, and I can say from experience-he watches over you, with jealous love.
In closing-when reading and cross referencing this short verse-the intercessor will come away with a good understanding of how vital Jesus' words are.
If your prayers aren't being answered-if the door of heaven is shut, this is the place to start. By spending quality time searching your heart and soul before the Lord-with this verse in focus.
THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
Some added wisdom from F.B. Meyer
There is no adequate translation for the word Paraclete. It may be rendered “interpreter,” “comforter,” “advocate,” but no one word suffices. The Greek means “one whom you call to your side in the battle or law-court.” His advent depends upon the praying Christ (I will pray the Father), and upon the praying Church (ye shall ask). The Holy Spirit must be a person, or He could not be compared as “another” to Christ. It is characteristic of this dispensation that He shall be in us, and His indwelling brings with it that of the Father and the Son.
“We will… make our abode.” That word abode is the same Greek word as is rendered mansions in the former part of this chapter. God prepares a mansion for those who believe in Christ, and asks in return that we shall prepare our hearts as guest chambers for Him to dwell in. As He enters the loving, cleansed, and believing heart, we hear Him say: “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it,” Psa_132:14. And what a word is that, my Father will love him. That He should love the world is wonderful, but that He should love us would be incredible, were He not infinite, and did He not see us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
If the Dead Could Speak
by John Jansen
If all the dead could speak
Just what do you suppose
Would usher from their lips
As shivers touch your toes
Would they speak words of peace
Would comfort be proclaimed
Would hearts be set at ease
Would fear of death be tamed
Or is it possible
Our ears would hear the sound
Of things we've heard before
Of old truths still profound
Perhaps the recent dead
Would tell us the account
Of two men rich and poor
Whose lives had both run out
The poor man reaped rewards
Of comfort, rest and peace
The rich man suffered sore
But could not find release
In suffering he begged
To send a warning of
The torment of this place
To everyone he loved
The answer echoed back
They will not heed the dead
If they won't heed God's Word
Believing what it said
Though we don't hear a voice
The dead still speak aloud
They ask "Are you prepared,
To meet your Maker now?"
They warn us while alive
Our options total two
Repentance through God's Son
Or pay all that you're due
In Jesus we find life
With the eternal blessed
Without Him pain and loss
Without Him second death
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught .... And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their
net brake — Luk_5:4-6
Christ Singles Out an Individual's Disappointment
It was not easy for Jesus Christ to be alone, men were so eager and so curious about Him. Not only did they crowd round Him in the villages, where at any moment there might be a work of healing, but they also watched Him as He stole away into retirement, among the hills, or by the seashore. Our lesson opens, then, with Jesus at the seaside, and there, as in Capernaum, there is a great crowd round Him, eager to listen to the Word of God. Then Jesus steps into one of the fishing boats and preaches there—note the many and strange pulpits in which Christ preached. And when the sermon was over, and Jesus was doubtless weary—what did He do? Did He ask for a drink of water? He immediately turned to Peter, in whose boat He was, and said to him, "Launch out into the deep." He had seen the disappointed look in Peter's face. He had detected that the night's fishing was a failure. All the excitement of the thronging crowd, and all the effort of telling them God's news, had not made Him careless of one man's disappointment. So may we learn to trust Christ's individual care, though we be only atoms in a countless multitude. Then follows the miracle, and the call to discipleship, and so this brief but exquisite lesson closes.
It Was in Deep Waters that the Draught Was Got
Now, note that it was in deep waters that the draught was got. The first word of Jesus was, "Launch out into the deep." if the nets were to be filled with fish that morning, the first requirement was to leave the shallows. Now, every miracle is but an acted parable; there are meanings in it that all life may interpret, and to us today, no less than to Simon Peter, Jesus is saying, "Launch out into the deep." We must come right out for God if we are ever to enjoy Him. We must unfasten the cable that binds us to the shore. It is when we launch out into the deeps of trust, that we find how mysteriously the nets are filling. For the harvest of life's sea is joy and peace, and growing insight, and increasing love, and these are beyond the reach of every fisherman, save of him who dares to launch into the deep. Then, too, as experience increases, we learn the meaning of the expression "deep waters." We learn that sorrow and care, and suffering and loss are the deep waters of the human heart. And when we find what a harvest these may bring, and how men may be blessed and purified and made unworldly by them, we understand the need of the deep waters, if the nets are ever to be filled.
God's Gifts May Cause Some Disorder at the First
Note again that God's gifts may cause some disorder at the first. When Peter at Christ's command let down the net, it enclosed a great multitude of fishes. We may be sure that the net was a good one if it was Peter's making, yet for all its goodness it began to break. Now nets are very precious to a fisherman; the loss of them is sometimes irreparable. So in a moment we see Peter and Andrew beckoning to their neighbor's boat, and like the man of Macedonia, crying, "Come over and help us." They came at once, and both of the boats were filled, and filled so full that they began to sink. And the point I wish you to note is that the first results of the kindness of the Savior were—breaking nets and sinking ships! You see, then, that when Jesus enters a life as He entered Andrew's and Simon's boat that morning, it is always possible that at the first there may be some distress and confusion and disorder. We find abundant records of it in the early Church, and every minister has seen it in his converts. Let no one be distressed, then, if when Christ steps on board it is not all joy and singing from the start. All that will come, in the good time of God, for the promise is there shall be no more sea. Meantime, just because Christ is good, and charges the empty night into such morning fulness, the nets (that are so precious to us) may seem on the point of breaking, and the waves come lapping to the gunwale of the ship.
The Nearness of Jesus Shows Us Our Unworthiness
Once more, it is the nearness of Jesus that shows us our unworthiness. One day, when Jesus was across the lake in Gadar, the Gadarenes came to Him with a strange petition: they came and begged Him to depart out of their coasts. Jesus had cured the Gadarene demoniac; He had interfered with the local trade of swine keeping; and so incensed were the people at this interference, and so dead were they to the glory of their Visitor, that they begged Him to depart, and He departed. How different is the cry of Peter here, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man." It was not because he was dead in trespasses and sins, it was because he was wakened to his own unworthiness, that Peter was overpowered by the Lord's presence. And so, while Jesus departed from the Gadarenes, the next word that He spoke to Peter was "Fear not" (Luk_5:10). Sometimes, when we gather a bunch of flowers, they seem to us very sweet and beautiful; and so they may be, for they are God's creatures, and He has made everything beautiful in its time. But if we take a pure white rose and set it in the midst of them, it is strange how garish and coarse some of the others appear. They are God's creatures, but they seem less worthy now, in the near presence of that pure and perfect whiteness. Just so when Jesus Christ is far away, we may be very well contented with ourselves. But when He enters our boat, and shows us His love and power, like Peter we too would say—"I am a sinful man."
They Followed Christ When Things Were Brightest with Them
Then, lastly, these men followed Christ when things were brightest with them. They had never had such a fishing in their lives. It was not in the weary morning after a useless night that they forsook all and followed Jesus. It was when they were the envy of the neighborhood for the huge haul of fishes they had got. Will the children act as Simon and Andrew acted? Will they follow Jesus when life is at its brightest? It is better to come late than not at all. It is better to come in old age than to die Christless. But it is best to come when all the nets are full, when life is golden, and the heart is young; best, and not only best, but surest, for "they that seek Me early, shall find Me."
In this page there will be devotions/poems
music and inspirational material
The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
But this is that which was spoken by the
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: