Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

More Bits Of A. B. Simpson

Quill Pen And Ink

Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) was born in Canada to Scottish parents. He became a Presbyterian minister and pastored several churches in Ontario before accepting the call to pastor the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, KY.  During a revival meeting at that church, he experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Author of 70 books on vibrant Christian living, he founded the The Christian and Missionary Alliance.  This was a man who had a heart for bringing the gospel to nations.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus.

God does not so much want us to do things as to let people see what He can do.

 I would rather play with forked lightning, or take in my hand living wires with their fiery current, than speak a reckless word against any servant of Christ, or idly repeat the slanderous darts which thousands of Christian are hurling on others.

As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.

We must learn to live on the heavenly side and look at things from above. To contemplate all things as God sees them, as Christ beholds them, overcomes sin, defies Satan, dissolves perplexities, lifts us above trials, separates us from the world and conquers fear of death.

Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within.

We may not preach a crucified Saviour without being also crucified men and women. It is not enough to wear an ornamental cross as a pretty decoration. The cross that Paul speaks about was burned into his very flesh, was branded into his being, and only the Holy Spirit can burn the true cross into our innermost life.

One of the special marks of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic Church was the spirit of boldness.

God is not looking for extraordinary characters as His instruments, but He is looking for humble instruments through whom He can be honored throughout the ages.

Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but we always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united.

There is no harm whatever in having money, houses, lands, friends and children if you do not value these things or ones for themselves.

Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited.

There is no wonder more supernatural and divine in the life of a believer than the mystery and ministry of prayer…the hand of the child touching the arm of the Father and moving the wheel of the universe.

Like a chain which depends upon its weakest link, if God’s Word is not absolutely and completely true, it is too weak a cable to fix our anchorage and guarantee our eternal peace.

There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of divine grace.

You will have no test of faith that will not fit you to be a blessing if you are obedient to the Lord. I never had a trial but when I got out of the deep river I found some poor pilgrim on the bank that I was able to help by that very experience.

 

Original Content: Copyright© 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

 

 

Bits Of A. B. Simpson

Last Light--Photobucket

Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) was born in Canada to Scottish parents. He became a Presbyterian minister and pastored several churches in Ontario before accepting the call to pastor the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, KY.  During a revival meeting at that church, he experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Author of 70 books on vibrant Christian living, he founded the The Christian and Missionary Alliance.  This was a man who had a heart for bringing the gospel to nations.

We begin life with the natural, next we come into the spiritual; but then, when we have truly received the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the natural is added to the spiritual, and we are able to receive the gifts of His providence and the blessings of life without becoming centered in them or allowing them to separate us from Him.

One touch of Christ is worth a lifetime of struggling.

We must never forget that Christ did not suffer just during His three years of public ministry or the last few days of His life when He was crucified. No, He suffered throughout His life on earth. He who was without sin lived daily with the corruption and sinfulness of lost humanity.

Christ is not a reservoir but a spring. His life is continual, active and ever passing on with an outflow as necessary as its inflow. If we do not perpetually draw the fresh supply from the living Fountain, we shall either grow stagnant or empty, It is, therefore, not so much a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling.

Aggressive Christianity is the world’s greatest need.

Perils as well as privileges attend the higher Christian life. The nearer we come to God, the thicker the hosts of darkness in heavenly places.

The sanctified body is one whose hands are clean. The stain of dishonesty is not on them, the withering blight of ill-gotten gain has not blistered them, the mark of violence is not found upon them. They have been separated from every occupation that could displease God or injure a fellow-man.

God means every Christian to be effective, to make a difference in the actual records and results of Christian work. God put each of us here to be a power. There is not one of us but is an essential wheel of the machinery and can accomplish all that God calls us to.

The Christian that is bound by his own horizon, the church that lives simply for itself, is bound to die a spiritual death and sink into stagnancy and corruption. We never can thank God enough for giving us not only a whole Gospel to believe, but a whole world to give it to.

The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God, give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!

When you become satisfied with God, however, everything else so loses its charm that He can give it to you without harm.

The human body has been called the microcosm of the universe, a little world of wonders and a monument of divine wisdom and power, sufficient to convince the most incredulous mind of the existence of the Great Designer.

God is preparing His heroes. And when the opportunity comes, He can fit them into their places in a moment. And the world will wonder where they came from.

Original Content: Copyright © 2014 Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

More Bits Of Andrew Murray

Pipe Organ In Church by Petr KratochvilAndrew Murray (1828-1917) was born in South Africa to missionary parents. Educated in Scotland, he returned to South Africa as a pastor and teacher. He was a prolific writer having authored over 240 books and was instrumental in the South African Revival of 1860. Below are just a few examples of his wisdom and evidence of his passionate faith.

“The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest.”

“God has no more precious gift to a church or an age than a man who lives as an embodiment of His will, and inspires those around him with the faith of what grace can do.”

“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.”

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.”

“If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural.”

“We have within us a self that has its poison from Satan–from hell–and yet we cherish and nourish it. What do we not do to please self and nourish self–and we make the devil within us strong. . . Look at your own life. What are the works of hell? They are chiefly these three: self-will, self-trust, and self-exaltation.”

“Abide in Jesus, the sinless One – which means, give up all of self and its life, and dwell in God’s will and rest in His strength. This is what brings the power that does not commit sin.”

“Do not confound work and fruit. There may be a good deal of work for Christ that is not the fruit of the heavenly Vine.”

“The world asks, ‘What does a man own?’ Christ asks, ‘How does he use it?'”

“Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in.”

Original Content: Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

Prayer Of The Intercessor

Clouds Stormy and Bright by Bobbi Jones Jones--Public Domain Pictures

“Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” Isaiah 59:15b-17 (NKJV)

Intercession-n. [L. intercessio an intervention, a becoming surety: cf. F. intercession. See Intercede.]

The act of interceding; mediation; interposition between parties at variance, with a view to reconciliation; prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of, or (less often) against, another or others.
But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered. Rom. viii. 26.
(Webster’s 1828 Dictionary-1913 definition)

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV)

During a recent conversation with my daughter, we talked much about prayer–how God answers and how God moves. Both of us have had a number of experiences with intercessory prayer and results which didn’t always turn out as anticipated.

We talked about one incident where the Holy Spirit moved on me to intercede in prayer for someone we both knew. He was going through a particularly difficult time and was struggling to hold on to the victory he knew was in Christ for that situation. I remember that day so vividly. I was standing in my kitchen ironing and praying about the situation (along with a few other issues). For some reason God seems to speak to me while I am doing the mundane things of life: ironing, vacuuming, washing dishes, taking a shower. This day was no different. God and I were having one of our “conversations,” when prayer rose from deep within my spirit. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew this was a prayer which had transacted business in the spiritual realm. Sure enough, about three months later, that prayer came to pass, although not exactly in the way I had expected.

I have had this kind of experience before: so many years, so many prayers, but only a handful like the one mentioned above. God works in profound ways as a result of intercessory prayer; the Old and New Testaments full of examples of men and women who understood the power of prayer. Why is prayer like this not more frequent for us as believers today?

Do we just pray perfunctorily so we can check one more item off our Christian “to do” list?

Do we actually pray like we believe prayer has power and is heard in the very throne room of heaven?

How seriously do we take our commitment to intercede when we are asked to pray for others or see an obvious need?

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us on the cross at Calvary. He knew what it would cost and yet His great love moved Him to pay that price anyway. He now acts as our continuous intercessor.

It is an honor and privilege for us to follow His example, laying down our lives by loving others enough to intercede in prayer,

No matter what the cost,

No matter what the result.

“But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” Hebrews 7:24-28 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

What Lurks In The Shadows?

Dark Forest by Ha--Photobucket

“What’s inside? What squashed hopes, unfulfilled dreams, thwarted longings, long-held grudges, impassioned jealousies, and gripping fears might turn into terrible beasts and leap out at me from the shadows?”

We all have “dark places.” One of God’s greatest desires is to get into the deepest recesses of our hearts, dispelling the darkness that resides there. And when He sweeps those nasty, dank places clean with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are clean indeed.

The following is from my daughter’s blog, “My Soul Found Rest.” I am grateful for all that God has done and is doing in her life–but most especially for her willingness to let Him do it.

The Hidden Place

“Hello? Is anyone there?” I brushed away the cobwebs from the doorway and peered into the gloom. A chill breeze brushed past me, and I shivered. The thought of venturing into such a forbidding place was unthinkable. I stood in the doorway, teetering with indecision.

Musty rooms, cobwebs, chill breezes: such are the components of a bad horror story. But this is no horror story; it is a vivid picture of what goes on inside me. That doorway is the door to my heart, the deepest place inside me where I fear to tread. “Here there be monsters,” reads the saying, and that’s exactly what it feels like.

What’s inside? What squashed hopes, unfulfilled dreams, thwarted longings, long-held grudges, impassioned jealousies, and gripping fears might turn into terrible beasts and leap out at me from the shadows? What holds me captive and prevents me from accepting the truth that has penetrated only so far as my mind? Do I even want to know?

The truth is that sometimes I don’t. If I’m totally honest, life seems a lot easier when I can cover over and tidy the entrance to the messy places. With a little paint and dim lighting, it looks almost respectable. But when God digs deep within, and the lamp of the Lord lights up my innermost places, then the façade is shown for what is.

I tremble when I hear the “suggestion” of the Lord: “Daughter, let’s go down here. What’s in here?” The question is for my benefit–it’s not as if He doesn’t know. I don’t want to answer His question or follow His suggestion. But messy places require tidying, and permanent cleanness requires God, not my shabby painting skills. Clinging to Him, I follow the light of His lantern through the doorway.

I am willing, Lord, because Yours is the hand that does the tidying…

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.” Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)

By My Soul Found Rest
Copyright © 2012
Used with permission

A Proverbs 31 Woman

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 30: 10-12

It could be said that Proverbs 31 is considered God’s “gold standard” for virtuous womanhood. Most women I know feel this is an impossible goal to reach. I do not believe that Proverbs 31 is so much about what a woman must “do” as it is about what a woman can “be.”  The woman depicted here is not a “shrinking violet” or a “doormat.” This is a woman who walks confidently and boldly in the gifts that God has given her and, as for her husband, she “does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:12). This is a woman who exhibits excellence in what she does, thereby blessing her husband and children in great measure. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.‘ “(Proverbs 31:26-29). This is a woman who has the confidence of her husband and has his blessing as she develops all of her God-given talents and abilities.

You might guess that I am a proponent of strong, competent, and capable women.  These women are resilient; they face life’s many challenges with faith, courage, and strength of character. The women who, with their pioneering husbands, settled our country and expanded its borders, are a perfect example of what I mean. They worked tirelessly along side of their husbands, building a place for their families, and helped to birth our nation. These women were no “hot-house flowers.”

My daughter, Hannah, comes from a long line of competent, capable, and intelligent women: a paternal great-grandmother with a Masters in Education (she wasn’t allowed to get a Masters in Mathematics, her first choice, because it wasn’t considered to be a “woman’s field” at that time); twin paternal great-aunts with Ph.D.’s in English and Literature; a maternal great-grandmother who went to the mission field as a young single woman, not marrying until her mid-thirties; and a maternal grandmother who finished her college education over a ten-year period with three small children, graduating as valedictorian of her class. With the exception of the twin great-aunts who remained single until they died at 104 years of age, the others had strong marriages of long duration and the full support of their husbands. Each one of these women loved the LORD and served Him with their whole heart. This is an incredible spiritual heritage and a testament to what a godly marriage can and should be and speaks highly of their husband’s character as well.

The Beatitudes tell us in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” For me, until recently, meekness has always been equal to “weakness.”  It seems that much of the American church also equates meekness with pacifism. The best example of meekness I have ever heard is that of a horse who is completely “rein trained.”  This horse is so well-trained, and in tune with his rider, that he is waiting for the slightest pressure of the reins on his neck to tell him which direction he is to go. This is true meekness: strength under complete control. This is how God desires to lead us by the Holy Spirit.

By this definition, a “Proverbs 31 woman” should be a “meek” woman. She walks obediently in the ways of her God, fulfilling His call on her life. She does not fear the future because she knows that God is her Protector and her Guide.  She is confident that her contribution is necessary, and is ready and willing to meet the needs of others.  Her heart is generous, and when she speaks, wisdom is evident. She fears the LORD and ministers life to those she meets. She passes down to the next generation a spiritual heritage; her legacy will be evident in the lives of all those that she has touched.

This was eloquently stated in 1852 by Edward Mansfield in “Woman:”

“There is a beautiful parallelism between the condition of woman in her domestic life, and the character of a nation. She is the mother of men, and the former of their minds, at that early age when every word distils upon the heart, like the dew-drop upon the tender grass. There is to that young mind no truth or falsehood in the world but that whose words flow from the mother’s lips. There is no beauty in character, nor glory in action, which has not been concentrated by her praise. There is to that climbing child no path where the mother’s feet has not trod. Her mind is to his the supernatural pillar of fire which illumines his mid-night ignorance, and the silvery cloud which at mid-day precedes him in every highway to the world.

And, even when science has conducted her pupil through the highest walls of knowledge; or when art has polished him into the accomplished citizen; or when power has dignified him with the memorials of office, she still lives in his soul, which she has imbued from her heart’s ‘pictured urn, With thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”

Many women tend to think their professional contribution is more important than their contributions at home. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is easy for us to focus on ever-increasing piles of laundry and dishes or the never-ending housework. It would be easy to overlook those “teachable moments” when our children’s hearts are wide open and ready to receive godly wisdom. The seeds of wisdom we plant in each of those moments bears eternal fruit. And, they will continue to bear fruit for succeeding generations as our children pass down to their children that which we have so carefully taught them.

In a perfect world (alas, I don’t live in one!) I would do all of these things well every day. Of course this doesn’t happen, but each day I can do my best as God enables me. The rest I must leave in God’s hands.  And when I fail, which I regularly do, His grace, mercy, and forgiveness allow me to start the next day with a clean slate.

My husband will tell you that a strong man generally desires a strong woman for his wife. He recognizes that, like two horses in harness, both must be strong or the team will fail to run the race that is set before them. In our culture, we tend to define strong women as bossy, boisterous, and pushy, but God sees a strong woman as one who has been tempered as steel and refined like silver. It is His manifested presence in a woman that makes her strong. It is not a personality trait but a heart issue.

It is the heart of a “Proverbs 31” woman that makes her home a safe haven for her family; a place of peace where they can find rest from the struggles of their lives. It is the quiet strength of her heart that soothes her husband and children when their hearts are filled with pain. It is the godly wisdom in her heart they turn to when confusion fills their minds and they don’t know what to do. It is her heart, completely captivated by the love of her Saviour, that is the conduit of His love for them. It is her heart, where the King of Kings reigns, which gives her the strength to become a “Proverbs 31 woman.”

“Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.  The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.  My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”  Isaiah 32: 16-18 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

More Bits Of A.W. Tozer

More wisdom from A.W. Tozer for us to ponder today.

“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”

“We need a baptism of clear seeing. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist–Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.”

“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.  The first requisite is life, always.”

“Wise leaders should have known that the human heart cannot exist in a vacuum. If Christians are forbidden to enjoy the wine of the Spirit they will turn to the wine of the flesh….Christ died for our hearts and the Holy Spirit wants to come and satisfy them.”

“The neglected heart will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts; the neglected life will soon become a moral chaos; the church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.”

“It is because of the hasty and superficial conversation with God that the sense of sin is so weak and that no motives have power to help you to hate and flee from sin as you should.”

“What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

“An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.”

“God is not silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second person of the Holy Trinity is called “The Word.”

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

“Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.”

“For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who do or teach anything wrong, but it is by all means vital for the lover of truth, regardless of the threat of death, to choose to do and say what is right even before saving his own life.”

“A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.”

Original Content: Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved