Friday, January 20, 2012


This lesson was developed from the writings of Madam Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ.

Is the soul active when it lives within the Sabbath-rest of God? Yes! But the activity is so exalted, so natural, so peaceful, and so spontaneous that it will seem to you that your soul is making no effort at all!

When the soul is at rest in God, its activity is instinctively spiritual and very exalted. Nonetheless, the soul is engaging in no effort. Since it no longer needs to work out anything through human effort, it experiences a peace that transcends all understanding. We are not promoting the idea that the soul should be lazy or inactive. We are encouraging the highest activity the soul can engage in: total dependence on the omnipotent Spirit of God. God’s supernatural work cannot truly begin until the disciple has first entered God’s Sabbath-rest and ceased from their own self-directed works. “Wait...until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Acts 24:29) We are so complex; our souls are capable of so much diverse activity. We must leave these self-directed ways so that we will be free---free to enter the simplicity and the unity of God. The Spirit never stops communicating the Lord’s life and His work when we are within the Sabbath-rest of God. We are to live in the life of the One who wants to provide us with His spiritual image!

Your Lord once declared that He alone has life. His eternal life, which must fill our inner being, also carries with it His divine nature. This is the unique life which He desires to give you. He wishes to give you divine life. The only way you can make room for His life, where God is to dwell in you and to live in you, is by losing your old Adam life and denying the activity of the self. But, and I repeat, the only way this becomes a practical experience to you is by dying to yourself and to all your own activity so that the activity of God can be substituted in its place. God cannot manifest His life and His perfect will through anyone who is still living according to their own will.

You will recall that Martha was doing something which was very correct in her service to the Lord, and yet the Lord rebuked her! Why? Because what she was doing, she was doing in her own strength according to her own will. Martha lacked the one thing needful---the life and nature of the Lord. Since Martha was living by human effort, she continued to be “worried and upset about many things.” You must realize, dear reader, that the soul of the carnal man is naturally restless and turbulent. Your willful soul accomplishes nothing of eternal value even though it always appears busy.

If the Spirit is fully able to care for all your needs and do all the work of the Lord, why should you burden yourself with unnecessary cares? Why weary yourself with so much activity, never stopping to enter into the Sabbath-rest of God? The only work that will count in eternity is the work that you permit the Lord to do through you under the control and power of His Spirit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The following lesson was developed from the writings of Steve Bray- “The Faith that Prays.”)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Christ has both the power and the authority to make us partakers with Himself in His prayer-life. We know He lives as the Great High Priest and He is always interceding for others. When He comes as the Great High Priest to share His endless life with us, included in the blessings found in Him are His prayer-life. “There arises another Priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.” (Heb. 7:15-16)

The dead letter of the law does not supply the power needed to fulfill God’s requirement to “pray without ceasing.” But when we choose to exchange our old form of life for His life we can begin looking to Him to share with us in a nature that is always praying to the Father. We can then do by nature what He requires.

He {the Spirit} will bring glory to me {the Son} by taking from what is mine {including the life of intercessory prayer} and making it known to you. (John 16:14 NIV)

No one can pray without ceasing in their own strength. We actually need to lose our life, including our self-sufficiency, before we can share with Christ in the power of His endless life. “For whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25) Then, and only then, is it possible to truly obey His command: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” (1 Thess. 5:6)

For we are the circumcision {who have had the strength of the flesh-life cut off}, who worship God in the Spirit {live through the Spirit}, rejoice in Christ Jesus {for what He is doing}, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phil. 3:3)

The child of God who has lost all confidence in the flesh begins to learn that only what is from God can truly glorify Him. We begin to know more than ever that “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” (John 3:27) The whole life begins looking up, with a cry from the innermost heart, for God to prove His power and love, and to reveal His glory. Listen closely to what F. J. Huegel has said on this matter:

The reason why many are finding prayer so unsatisfactory and the life of prayer so unattractive, is because they have attempted to enter into the celestial realms of prayer in the strength of the “old-man”. The “old-man” can no more wield these weapons which “are not carnal but mighty through God” than he can “love his enemies,” or “rejoice always,” or “have the mind which was in Christ Jesus,” or fulfill any other Christian grace. He (the old-man) may imitate these graces, but actually posses them, never. They are “the fruit of the Spirit.” They come from above. They are the out-workings of the Christ-nature imparted to the believer and incorporated in his being on the basis of the Cross.

True prayer can only be inaugurated on the basis of “co-crucifixion.” This is the prime condition. “If ye abide in Me and I in you, ye shall ask whatsoever ye will and it shall be done unto you.” We must be “in Christ.” But we cannot be in Christ in the fullest sense, without first committing to death, in the power of the Savior’s death, the “old-life” [the old self-sufficiency that has its source in the flesh].

It is when we realize our oneness with Christ in death [where we have died to the natural strength of the flesh] and in resurrection [where there is a real sense of living by His Spirit], that prayer becomes the marvelous force that we find it was in the life of the Savior… It is then that our spirits, liberated by the power of the Cross from the fleshly and the soulish entanglements, “mount up on wings as eagles.”… It is then that the injunction: “Pray without ceasing,” ceases to be an unintelligible command… It is then that prayer, energized by the Spirit of the living God, which it cannot be until it is freed from all selfish ingredients, becomes at times a groaning which is unutterable, and which does not fail to move mountains, and achieve the impossible. It is then that prayer becomes a working out of the will of God, and therefore, must prevail, be the difficulties what they may, however staggering the problem, however great the need. It is then that the great disparity between what the Master said that prayer could accomplish, and the miserable caricature that it is in the actual practice of millions, is removed, and prayer blossoms out in all the glory of its true nature.

We need to begin to see how everything in the life of the Son is ours and is given to us when we give ourselves completely to Him. To abide in Him implies looking to Him alone to be the source of the fruit that comes out of us. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He merely asks that we continually come to our loving Father as dependent little children looking to share with Him in the power of His endless prayer-life. Our whole life is to be given up to this walk of faith where we expect everything of significance to take place through the working of His power.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. (Gal. 2:20)

Because we are all creatures of time and subject to the law of growth, it takes time for our prayer-life to develop and become effective. But we should also realize that not one single prayer of faith is ever lost. There is sometimes a need for accumulating our prayers before the answer can be granted. This is where patience will need to have its perfect work. We must permit the Spirit to bring us into that place of rest where our faith is in God, rather than in our fleshly works, before we will truly find ourselves “lacking nothing.” (Jam. 1:4)

Throughout history God’s children have thought there were difficulties in the heavenly world to overcome before their prayers could be answered. They pleaded with God for the removal of the unknown obstacles. But this has not always been the real problem. The Spirit has led some of these earnest souls to begin searching their own lives. This self-examination has brought them to a state of brokenness and a real sense of helplessness. It was there, when they had lost all confidence in the flesh and had become nothing in themselves, that God was able to exalt them to a place of great power in the Spirit. With their hope and faith in God alone, they could begin to take hold of Him and His promises. The hindrance, which really had its source in their own independence and self-sufficiency, was suddenly overcome. Once God had fully conquered them, they could be raised spiritually and begin working in the resurrection power of Christ’s Spirit.

Yes, to the world that thrives on the activity of the flesh this way of the Spirit will appear to be a complete mystery. They will think we are foolish when we follow God’s instruction to enter His rest of faith where everyone ceases from their own works. (Heb. 4:10) But this is the way that Jesus walked and it is how we will walk when we are living through Him. May we all learn this secret as it has been so aptly expressed by Armin Gesswein.

Our generation has yet to see prayer as a ministry, and to take God at His Word on this subject. It is while we pray that God works… Our idea is, “Let us pray, and then get on with the work.” But prayer is our real work. We so often think of prayer as a prefix or a suffix to an otherwise busy round. But God’s works are wrought as we pray, and while we pray.

It brings a revolution to any minister or Christian, once he believes God’s Word on this point. His works are done through prayer, for He always works out from His throne by intercession. It is not only His intercession, but ours too: for, by His Spirit, He not only prays for us, but in us. He gives us of His own great praying…

We are not just to imitate His praying, but to enter into it, receive it, and have it enter into us. That is how we enter into His works, become “laborers together with God”, and learn to cease from our own works. We learn in this way to work with Him, instead of for Him. Sons, and no longer slaves.

Then after we have prayed, we walk with the Lord Jesus into the works He has wrought in answer to prayer. Prayer is our real work. Working is drudgery. Even working for the Lord is dreary. But working with Him is a delight. In His Kingdom [where He is the source of everything], it is those whom He ministers within who minister. The conquered conquer, and the followers of Christ lead others.

This, then, is the secret to succeeding in our work. As God prevails over us, and we are perfected in the way of faith, we find that we begin to prevail with God. Because He becomes the source of everything we do, we naturally rejoice in Him. To Him be the power and honor and glory!

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:21 NIV)

Monday, January 02, 2012

"The Lord's Prayer"

Matthew 6:9-15 - (9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

In the above scripture the Lord showed us the “manner” or the way in which we should pray and an example of the things we need to pray for.  Volumes of books could be written on the truth that can be found in this one short prayer.  Jesus was showing us the heart of the father and His will in redeeming us in this prayer.    

But religion today has turned the Lord’s instructions in prayer into the very thing the Lord said NOT to do in Matthew 6:7.  They have turned this prayer into a mere tradition with “vain repetitions” often quoting it in public settings with no true meaning or understanding of what is being said.  In doing so they have missed the awesome treasure the Lord was showing us.  Without revelation from the Holy Spirit the Scriptures become just words and laws to follow, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”.     

Jesus gave us this teaching on prayer in the middle of what is called “The Sermon on the Mount” which is found in Matthew 5 through 7.  In these chapters are recorded the amazing teachings of our Lord where He sets a standard that no human on their own could ever fulfill.  Those that heard Him were “astonished”, they had never heard of such teachings before and saw that He “spoke with great authority”.  I am sure that there were more things spoken on that mountain that is still not completely understood by the majority.  Even the disciples, His closest followers could not grasp all until the Spirit of Truth (John 16) came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and began to teach them the things they could not receive before.  

Sandwiched between an impossible picture of what true holiness and righteousness is, we find our answer…a prayer, the will of the father.  What is impossible with man is possible with God, but it will take the Holy Spirit to open it up to us.

John 16:13-14 (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The words the Lord spoke on the mountain that day were Spirit and Life (John 6:63) and can only be understood by the Spirit.  His words, that we have a record of in scripture today can be Life to us if He speaks them again into our hearts.  When He spoke these words to the disciples they couldn’t understand them yet, but He brought them back to their remembrance through the power of the Holy Spirit, i.e. the Spirit of Truth.  He opened up their understanding and they began to teach others.   

Gifted writers by the power of the Holy Spirit, have been writing about the truth the Lord has shown them for the last 2,000 years, Andrew Murray, among others comes to mind.  But, it will always come back to the Holy Spirit making the truths alive in us.  Try as we might, we cannot “impart” to another, what the Holy Spirit has given us apart from the revealing power of the Holy Spirit i.e. the Spirit of Truth.

1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV - (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

When the Holy Spirit reveals something to our spirit, it may take only seconds to understand it, for in an instant we can know the truth He is showing us…but, because it is Spirit and He cannot be contained in mere words, it can take books to try to convey the truth He revealed to us in a moments time.  In the first century, many began to write about these truths by the power of the Holy Spirit to explain the things the Lord was showing them and they wrote letters to one another to help guide each other in these truths.  Some of these writing became what we know today as the New Testament.  The Lord is still using them today and we are so blessed to have them available to us, but it will take the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth to make them alive to us.

Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

In addition to the disciples/apostles preaching of the kingdom of God, Paul also wrote of the kingdom of God throughout his writings because it is the “Gospel” i.e. the Good news of the Kingdom.  It is the same “kingdom” Jesus mentioned in what is called “The Lord’s Prayer” saying “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  A couple of examples of Paul’s references to the kingdom are found in Romans 14:17. ”For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” And in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”.  Jesus also said in Luke 17:21 “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 

Because men and their religions cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, they are still looking for an earthly kingdom as the Jews did in Jesus’ time.  In America and other so called “Christian” nations, they try to vote in kingdom rule with “Godly” leaders and making “Godly” laws.  Even going to war and killing the “ungodly” that would dare to rise up against them, trying to bring in “thy will on earth” by human effort, forgetting we are told to “turn the other cheek” and do good to our enemies and bless them that would curse us and do us evil.      

The Kingdom of God is within us…it is God’s rule in our lives, causing us to do His will, not by our might, nor by our power, but by His spirit. (re: Zechariah 4:6)

Read the wonderful promises of this kingdom rule in our lives in Ezekiel.

(11:19) “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:  

(36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

There is so much truth that can be revealed by the Holy Spirit through the teachings and the prayer the Lord gave us on that mountain 2,000 years ago.  I don’t suppose the world could contain all the books it would take to hold it, but by the Holy Spirit, He can reveal them to us…precept upon precept, line upon line, from glory to glory.

One such truth the Lord has made real to me is the line in verse 13 that says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”.   James 1:14 says we are tempted when we are “drawn away of his own lust, and enticed”.  So it is this “evil” that must be done away with.  This evil or “evil one” is the old nature we are born with…that heart of stone that wants to live for its own pleasure and have its own way.  It’s the old nature that produces pride, self will, anger and all the other attributes of “self”.  While we can try to control the “fruit” of the “evil one”, it takes God to deliver us from the evil nature and replace it with His own.   

The prayer Jesus gave us shows us the heart of the father, that He is able and willing to deliver us if we turn to Him, trusting Him to fulfill His desires for us.  Jesus gave us this prayer so we know we will be praying according to His will…and He will deliver us.  We have learned this is a process, the killing of flesh.  As we are brought through many trials and tribulations, and the temptations arise in us, if we turn to the Lord and ask Him to deliver us, He will do it.  No sense in asking us to pray for something that He has no intention of doing.                 

I would encourage any to prayerfully read the words of Jesus in Matthew 5-7 and ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to lead us into the truth and to free us from the ways of the world and its desires, to seek the kingdom of God with all that is within us and learn to rest in the Lord for ALL our needs, both spiritual and physical. 

Let His kingdom rule in our hearts today. Amen.