The Spiritual Index

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Matthew 7:9

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?

The illustration of prayer that Our Lord uses here is that of a good child asking for a good thing. We talk about prayer as if God heard us irrespective of the fact of our relationship to Him (cf. Matthew 5:45).

Never say it is not God’s will to give you what you ask, don’t sit down and fret, but find out the reason, turn up the index. Are you rightly related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, to your fellow students– are you a “good child” there?  “O Lord, I have been irritable and cross, but I do want spiritual blessing.”

You cannot have it, you will have to do without until you come into the attitude of a good child.

We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God for abandonment. We will not look at the index. Have I been asking God to give me money I want when there is something I have not paid for? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? I have not forgiven someone his trespasses; I have not been kind to him; I have not been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends (v 12).

I am a child of God only by regeneration, and as a child of God I am good only as I walk in the light.

Prayer with most of us in turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communication with God. Spiritually we are good at producing fogs. If we turn up the index, we will see very clearly what is wrong– that friendship, that debt, that temper of mind.

It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God.

Then Jesus says… “Everyone that asketh receiveth.”

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Agapelove Is The Reason…

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Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
When a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37, 39).


What an overwhelming assignment!

In our own strength, none of us can live up to this obligation, but the Lord has provided a way for Christians to do the impossible.

The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce His fruit in us, and first on the list is love (Gal. 5:22). In fact, the other eight qualities are really just descriptions of its expression.

Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, we see the Lord’s love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn’t deserve such pleasant treatment.

This fruit is not produced by trying harder to muster good will toward someone who is irritating or hard to get along with.

Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grape-vine. The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to Him and others.

Agapelove is the reason we are able to care for someone who mistreats us—it’s God’s doing, not ours.

Even the adoration we offer the Lord is not something that we can produce in our own heart apart from His assistance. Though the command to love is enormous,God’s grace makes it possible.

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If God’s Not In It, Don’t Expect To Win It…

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Taking The Initiative For God.

2 Peter 1:5

“Add to your faith virtue…”

(“Furnish your faith with resolution,” MOFFAT)

“Add” means there is something we have to do. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do.

We cannot save ourselves nor sanctify ourselves. God does that; but God will not give us good habits. He will not give us character. He will not make us walk straight froward.  We have to do all of that ourselves… we have to take the initiative.

We have to work out the salvation that God has already worked in….

“Add” means to get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages it is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning, to instruct yourself in the way you have to go.

Beware of the tendency of asking the way when you know it perfectly well.

Take the initiative, stop hesitating and take the first step. Be resolute when God speaks, act in faith immediately on what He says, and never revise your decisions.

If you hesitate when God tells you to do a thing, you endanger your standing in grace. Take the initiative, take it yourself, take the step with your will now, make it impossible to go back.

Burn the bridges of sin behind you…  Make your decisions purposeful and inevitable.

We have to get into the habit of hearkening to God about everything, to form the habit of finding out what God has to say about things… We have to come to the realization that if God’s not in it, we shouldn’t expect to win it…

If when a crisis comes, we have to become so in tune with God that we instantaneously turn to Him… that’s when we know that the proper habit has been formed.

We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we are not or where we want to be…

Psalm 62:1 (KJV)
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

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No Emotion More Important Than Love…

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1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me

There is no emotion of greater importance than love.

Paul’s incomparable treatise on this subject in 1 Corinthians 13 is sandwiched between two chapters that deal with spiritual gifts. The Corinthians focused too much on their display of such gifts, so the apostle showed them the “more excellent way” of love (1 Cor. 12:31).

Interestingly, he made no attempt to define love but instead described its importance and expression.

The type of love which Paul is talking about is not human in origin, but rather a love coming from God—a part of His verynature.

It’s unselfish, sacrificial love which acts on behalf of someone else.

Since the Lord wants to transform our character into the image of His Son, this priority makes perfect sense, because whenever we display such selfless care for one another, that’s when we are the most like Christ.

The first three verses of this chapter issue us a warning.

Without the motivation of love, all our good deeds—even service for the Lord—will profit us nothing.

In God’s eyes, a loving spirit is more important than all our impressive words, knowledge, faith,generosity, and self-sacrifice. When we stand before Christ to be judged for our good works, those deeds done for selfish reasons will not be worthy of reward.

We are all blinded to some degree when it comes to our motives, so discerning why we serve God or do good deeds can be difficult.

Pray to know your heart’s hidden intentions, and replace any self-centered motivations with His “more excellent way” of love.

Then your works will be of eternal value.

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In The Shadow Of Thy Wings…

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Psalm 63:7-8 (KJV)

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

Live by the day— aye, by the hour. Put not trust in frame and feeling. Care more for a grain of faith than a ion of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help.

Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world.

Never count upon immutability in a man: inconstancy you may rekon upon without fear or disappointment.

The disciples of Jesus Christ forsook Him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they were not your all when they were with you, all is not gone from you with their departure.

Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret.

Be content to be nothing, for this is what you are.

When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord.

Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible results are before you.

Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her great Guide.

Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head.

In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watchtower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of his wings.

Author:  Charles Spurgeon

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Re-Created, From The Inside Out…

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(2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJ)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The very moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we instantly become a new creation!

Our spirits are made alive in Him and the old passes away. His peace fills our hearts.

Now, everything in your life doesn’t change instantly. Some things do, but God will do some things in your life over time as you grow in your relationship with Him.

The key is to keep moving forward in your spiritual journey one step at a time.

As you abide in Him by spending time with Him in prayer and worship, and as you study His Word and connect with other believers in a Bible-based church, He will continue to transform you and renew you from the inside out!

Today, remember, God is at work in your life.

You may not be where you want to be. You may have made some mistakes or had some setbacks. Know that in Him, you are the righteousness of God.

In Him, you are new. In Him is everything you need to have victory in every area of your life!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Father God, thank You for making me new!
Thank You for ordering and directing my steps.
I trust that You are at work in my life transforming me into Your image.
Keep me close to You as I put You first in everything I do.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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The Path Of Understandable Mistakes…

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Psalms 51:6 (KJV)
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

REPENTANT people realize that inexcusable wrong can either be judged or forgiven, never understood and overlooked, and so they beg for forgiveness with no thought of deserving it.

Truly repentant people are the ones who begin to grasp God’s amazing grace, the ones who know that they need only confess to experience the forgiveness that is always in infinite supply.

Whether we are adulterers or thoughtless mental thieves, the problem with all of us is that we stubbornly regard our interpersonal failures not as inexcusable self choices, but as understandable mistakes.

The things our friends and loved ones do to us seem more like the former whereas the things we do to them seem more like the latter.

Excuse-making has been a natural tendency in people ever since Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake. Without some means of self-justification, we would be forced to face ourselves squarely as we really are… corrupt by God’s standards and deserving punishment.

And seeing ourselves as we are would mean taking our place as condemned sinners, worthy of judgment, powerless to improve ourselves, bumbled that our very best deeds provide no defense to our behavior and thoughts, and we would utterly be at the mercy of a rightworthy angry Judge.

However, this doesn’t sound like much fun to most of us… so we begin to justify…

Surely the path to the top would never begin with a descent this steep! How can joy emerge from such misery and self examination!

Perhaps the hardest thing to get through our brain-damaged heads (this damage probably going back to when Adam fell, he must have fallen on his head) is that this painful point of nakedness and humility is not only where life begins, but also where joyful spiritual growth germinates, blossoms and thrives.

It is through this humbleness that we begin to take a true inventory of our lives… including who we “really are” and understand that God has a greater plan for us and if we follow the plan the fruits of His words are bountiful and precious.

Psalm 51:1-4 (KJV)

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving  kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest

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Rest In Hope And Rejoice…

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Acts 2:26-27 (KJV)

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope; Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Where have you pitched your tent today?

In other words, what are you expecting to happen in your life this year?

What kind of attitude do you have?

If your thoughts are stuck and you’re focusing on what’s wrong or what’s not working, then it’s time to dig up your tent stakes! It’s time to pack up your belongings and move out of the land of discouragement.

It’s time to move out of the “Not-going-to-happen” subdivision and move out of “Can’t-do-it-ville.

It’s time to pack your bags and move into the land of hope, faith and expectation!

Every time you catch a negative thought and choose to dwell on God’s promises, it’s like you are packing your bags.

Every time you declare God’s faithfulness, you are taking a step in the right direction.

The Bible says that those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. As you turn your focus toward Him, you are pitching your tent in the Land of Hope — a land where His peace, blessing and victory reign forever more.

TODAY’S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank You for ordering and directing my steps.
Thank You for taking me to the land of hope!
I choose to set my mind on You, knowing that You are faithful.
I release the past and invite You to fill me with Your peace, blessing and victory today and always.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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