Adoption, Disciple, Enlistment – A Call to War – 5

August 20, 2014 at 2:22 am (Devotionals, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall. Pages 29-33

2. The Follower’s Call to Service

Directives issued:
The soldier is summoned to a life of active duty, and so is a Follower. The very nature of the calling precludes a life of ease. If you had thought to be a summer soldier, consider your commission carefully. Your spiritual orders are rigorous. Like the apostle, I would not have you be ignorant on this point and will, therefore, list a few of your directives.

I. Renouce Your Bosom Sins
Those sins which have lain nearest your heart must now be trampled under your feet. And what courage and resolution this requires! You think Abraham was tested to the limit when called upon to take Isaac, ‘His only son. .. whom thou lovest,’ (Gen. 22:2), and offer him up with his hands. Yet what was that to this: ‘Soul, take the lust which is the child to your heart, your Isaac, the sin from which you intend to gain the greatest pleasure. Lay hands on it and offer it up, pour out its blood before Me; run the sacrificing knife into the very heart of it – and do it joyfully!’
This is more than the human spirit can bear to hear. Our lust will not lie so patiently on the alter as Isaac, nor the Lamb brought dumb to the slaughter (isa. 53:7). Our flesh will roar and kick and shriek, rending the heart with its hideous cries. Indeed, who can express the conduct, the wrestling, the convulsions of spirit we endure before we can put our heart into such a command? Or who can fully recount the cleverness with which such lusts will plead for itself?
When the Spirit convicts you of sin, Satan will try to convince you, ‘It’s such a little one – spare it.’ Or he will bribe the soul with a vow of secrecy: ‘You can keep me and your good reputation, too. I will not be seen in your company to shame you among your neighbors. You may shut me up in the attic of your heart, out of sight, if only you will let me now and then have the wild embraces of your thoughts and affections in secret.’
If that not be granted, then Satan asks for a stay of execution, well knowing that such reprieved lusts at last obtain their full pardon. *The longer we procrastinate, the harder it becomes too break through the clever coaxing of this silver-tongued defender of sin and death, and actually carry out the execution. Here histories bravest men have shown themselves putty in the enemy’s hands. They return from the field with victory banners flying, and then live and die slaves to a base lust at home. They are like the great Roman who, as he rode triumphantly through the city, never took his eye off a prostitute walking along the street:a man who conquered empires, captured by the glance of a single woman!

II. Conform Your Life to Christ
We are commanded not to be conformed to this world – that is, not to compromise ourselves with the corrupt customs of our day. *The Follower must not be such a compliant tailor as to cut the coat of his profession according to popular fashion. Instead, he must stand fixed to his principles, openly showing he is a citizen of Heaven by clothing himself in the garments of Truth. It takes great courage to disregard the abasement you will surely meet for your nonconformity.  Sadly, there are many who cannot stand the strain. Too often we have seen a self-tailored cloak of pride tossed hurriedly over the heavenly garment of imputed righteousness by one who fears the derision of men if he dares ‘confess Christ openly’, either with their mouth or their life (John 7:13). How many lose heaven because they are ashamed to go there in a “fool’s coat”!
While some will mock, others will persecute to death the Follower who will not conform in principle or practice. This was the trap laid for the the Hebrew children. They must dance to the tune of Nebuchadnezzar’s pipe, or burn (Dan.3:15). Such, too, was the plot laid to ensnare Daniel, who walked so faultlessly that the only charge his enemies could bring against him was his *singlemindedness in his walk with God (Dan.6:5). Now in such a case as this, when the choice means life or death, when a follower must renounce his Lord or become prey to the cruel teeth of bloody men, how many retreats and self-preserving escapes will a cowardly heart invent? *It is a great honor to a Follower when all his enemies can say is, ‘ He will not do as we do.’ The Follower who faces such great opposition must be well locked into the saddle of his profession, or else he will soon be dismounted.

III. Sidestep Stumbling Blocks
There have always been those in the church who, by serious mistakes in judgement and conduct, have laid a stumbling block in the path of professing followers. You will need a Holy resolution to bear up against such discouragements. Strive to be like Joshua. When most of the Israeites revolted and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, Joshua maintained his integrity. He declared that, though not another man would join him, yet he would serve the Lord.

IV. Trust God in Every Circumstance
*There are times when a follower is called to trust in a withdrawing God. ‘Let him that walketh in darkness and hath no light. .. trust in the name of the Lord’ (Isa. 50:10). This requires a bold step of faith (trust) – to venture into Gods presence with the same temerity as Esther into Ahasuerus’s. Even when no smile lights His face, when no golden scepter is extended to summon is to come near, we must press forward with this noble resolution; ‘If I perish, I perish’ (Esther 4:6).
Which leads our faith (trust) one step further: We must trust also in a “killing God”. We must declare with Job, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him’ (Job 13:15). It takes a submissive faith (trust) for a soul to march steadily forward while God seems to fire upon that soul and shoot His frowns like poisoned arrows into it. This is hard work, and will test the Followers mettle. Yet such a spirit we find in the poor woman of Canaan, who caught the bullets Christ shot at her, and with a humble boldness sent them back again in her prayer (Matt.15:22-28).

V. Stay on Course to The End of Your Life
Your work and your life must go off stage together. Persisting to the end will be the burr under your saddle – the torn in your flesh – when the road ahead seems endless and your soul begs an early discharge. It weighs down every other difficultly of your calling. We have known many who have joined the army of Christ and liked being a soldier for a battle or two, but have soon had enough and ended up deserting. The impulsively enlist for Christ’s duties, and are just as easily persuaded to take up a professed religion, and are just as easily persuaded to lay it down. Like the new moon, they shine a little in the first part of the evening, but go down before the night is over.
This persevering is a hard word! Taking up the cross daily, praying always, watching night and day and never laying aside our Armour to indulge ourselves, sends many sorrowful away from Christ. Yet, this is your calling:to make the Followers faith (trust) your daily work, without any vacation from one end of the year to the other. These few examples are enough to show how much courage and determination you need. How to obtain such courage is our next order of business.

– To be continued. .
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– Questions for further digestion

♡ Is lust referred here only related to sexual sin?

♡ How often have I experienced the “feeling” that I don’t belong coming from others because my “coat” would not be tailored to the fashion of the times?

♡ Where do I see my Armor is being repaired or stitched back up by the Spirit after reading this?

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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Adoption, Disciple, Enlistment – A Call to War – 4

August 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm (Devotionals, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall. Pages 27-29

– Sources of The Follower’s Courage –

If you intend to bear up courageously against the opposition on your march to heaven, your principles must be well fixed. Otherwise, your heart will be unstable, and an unstable heart is as weak as a house without girders. The first crosswind will blow it down. Two things are required to fix your principles:

1. An established knowledge of God’s truth.

He who only has a passing acquaintance with the king may easily be persuaded to change his allegiance, or will at least try *to remain neutral in the face of treason. Some professing followers have only a passing acquaintance with the Word of God. They can hardly give account for what they hope for, or whom they hope in. And if they have some principles they take kindly to, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them away, like loose tiles from a housetop.

When Satan buffets and temptation washes over you like a tidal wave, you must cling to God’s truths. They are your shelter in every raging storm. But you must have them on hand, ready to use. Do not wait until it is sinking to patch the boat. A feeble commitment has little hope of safety when caught in a tempest. While that flounders and drowns, holy determination, grounded in the Word, will lift up its head like a rock in the midst of the highest waves.

Scripture promises, ‘the people who know their God will stand firm and prevail.’ (Dan. 11:32). An angel told Daniel which men would stand up and be counted for God when tempted and persecuted by Antiochus. Some would be taken in by the bribery of corrupt men; others would fall victim to intimidation and threats. But a few, who were firmly grounded in the tenets of their faith (trust), would do great things for God. That is to say, to flatteries they would be incorruptible, and to power and force, unconquerable.

2. A Heart Set in the Right Direction.

*Head knowledge of the things of Christ is not enough; this following Christ is primarily a matter of the heart. If your heart is not fixed on its purpose, your principles, as good as they may be, will hang loose and be of no more use in the heat of battle than an ill stringed bow. Half-hearted resolve will not venture much or far for Christ. Nor will the heart with false motives. A hypocrite may show some strength of spirit for the moment, but he will soon give up his profession when he is pinched on the toe where his corn is; in other words, when called to deny that which his evil heart coveted all along.

*If you are a serious soldier, do not flirt with any of your desires that are beneath Christ and heaven. They will play the harlot and steal your heart. Consider Jehu. How courageous and zealous he seemed in the beginning. Why, then, did his resolve fail him before his work was half done? *Because his heart was never set on God alone! The very ambition that stirred up his zeal at first, in the end quenched and killed it. He compromised with evil men to reach his goal. Then when he gained the throne, he dared not put God’s plan into action for fear of provoking those same evil men and thereby losing his kingdom. (2 Kings 10:31). In short his heart was set on the world’s pleasures more than on God’s favor.

– to be continued. ..-
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Questions for further digestion:

♡ Do you spend as much time in the Word of God; as you do in any form of preparation for any other hobby, event, recreational enjoyment, or study for school. .. work?

♡ What are any other desires other than Christ or heaven?

♡ Is it possible for either of these two things to flourish one without the other?

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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Adoption, Disciple, Enlistment – A Call to War – 3

August 18, 2014 at 5:44 am (Devotionals, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall.

Cowardice VS. Courage

This warfare analogy reveals why there are so many who profess Christ and so few who are in fact Followers of Christ; so many who go into the field against Satan, and so few who come out conquerors. All may have a desire to be successful soldiers, but few have the courage and determination to grapple with the difficulties that accost them on the way to victory. All Israel followed Moses joyfully out of Egypt. But when their stomachs were a little pinched with hunger, and their immediate desires deferred, they were ready at once to retreat. They preferred the bondage of Pharaoh to the promised blessings of the Lord.

Men are no different today. How many part with Christ at the crossroad of suffering! Like Oprah, they go a short distance only (Ruth 1:14). They profess the gospel and name themselves heirs to the blessings of those who Follow. But when put to the test, they quickly grow sick of the journey and refuse to endure for Christ. At the first sign of hardship, they kiss and leave the Savior, reluctant to lose heaven, but even more unwilling to buy it at so dear a price. If they must resist so many enemies on the way, they will content themselves with their own stagnant cisterns and leave the Water of Life for others who will venture farther for it. Who among us has not learned from his own experience that it requires another spirit than the world can give to follow Christ fully?

Let this exhort you then, Follower, to petition God for the Holy determination and bravery you must have to follow Christ. Without it you cannot be what you profess. The fearful are those who march for hell (Rev.21:8); the valiant are they who take heaven by force (Matt. 11:12). Cowards never won heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by this heroic spirit: *to dare in spite of men and devils.

You should find great strength and encouragement in the knowledge that your commission is divine. God Himself underwrites your battle and has appointed His own Son ‘the captain of [your] salvation’ (Heb.2:10) He will lead you on to the field of battle with courage, and bring you of with honor. He lived for you and died for you; He will live and die with you. His mercy and tenderness to His soldiers is unmatched. Historians tell us Trajan torn his own clothes to bind up his soldiers’ wounds. The Bible tells us Christ poured out His very blood as a balm to heal His Followers wounds; His flesh was torn to bind them up.

For bravery none compare with our Lord. He never turned His head from danger, not even when hell’s hatred and Heaven’s justice *appeared against Him. Knowing all that was about to happen, Jesus went forth and said, ‘Whom seek ye?’ (John 18:4) Satan could not overcome Him – our Savior never lost a battle, not even when He lost His life. He won the victory, carrying His spoils to heaven in the triumphant chariot of His ascension. There He makes an open show of them, to the unspeakable joy of Followers and Angels.

As part of  Christ’s army, you march in ranks of gallant spirits. Every one of your fellow soldiers is the child of a King. Some, like you, are in the midst of battle, besieged on every side by affliction and temptation. Others, after many assaults, repulses, and rallying of their faith (trust) are already standing upon the wall of Heaven as conquerors. From there they look down and urge you, their comrades on earth, to march up the hill after them. This is their cry, ‘Fight to the death and the City is your own, as now is! For the waging of a few days conflict, , you will be rewarded with heavens glory. One moment of this celestial joy will dry up all your tears, heal all your wounds, and erase the sharpness of the fight with the joy of your permanent victory.’

In a word -God, angels, and those fellow Followers already with the Lord are spectators, watching how you conduct yourself as a child of the Most High.  This crowd of witnesses (Heb.12:1) shouts joyfully from the celestial sidelines every time you defeat a temptation, scale a difficulty, or regain lost ground from your enemies. * And if the fight be too much for you, your dear Savior stands by with reserves for your relief at a moments notice. His very heart leaps within Him to see proof of your love and zeal for Him in all your combats. He will not forget your faithfulness. And when you come off the field, He will receive you as joyfully as the Father received Him upon His return to heaven.

Would you be a valiant soldier? Then take heed to the following discussion that follows.

– to be continued. ..
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Questions for further digestion.

♡What is the difference between what we call suffering and God calls suffering?

♡What does ‘take heaven by force’ mean?

♡When are you the most vulnerable to giving up instead of advancing?

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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Adoption, Disciple, Enlistment – A Call to War – 2

August 16, 2014 at 3:30 am (Devotionals, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The Christian in Complete Armor by William Gurnall – pages 24-25

~ The Follower’s Call to Courage ~

A cowardly spirit is beneath the lowest duty of a Follower of the Messiah. You of all men will need courage and determination if you hope *to obey your heavenly Captain’s orders.  He commands you, ‘Be thou strong and very courageous. ..’ Why? So you can stand in battle against war like nations? So you can make a great name for yourself? No! But ‘. ..that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses, My servant, commanded thee.’ (Josh. 1:7) That is why you need a more courageous spirit to obey God faithfully (in full trust) than to command an army of men; to be a Follower of the Captain than a captain. The challenge exceeds the bravery of the best unless they have help from a source greater than themselves.

Secular reason sees a Follower of Christ on his knees and laughs at the feeble posture God’s child assumes as his enemies descend upon him. *Only divine insight can perceive what mighty preparations are actually taking place. Yet just as an unarmed soldier cannot achieve the military exploits of a well-equipped infantryman, so the carnal follower cannot hope to do the exploits for God which the committed follower can expect through prayer. *Prayer is the main line that leads straight to the throne of God. By it the Follower approaches God with humble boldness of faith (trust), takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him, and will not let Him go until he has His blessing.

Meanwhile, the canal follower, asleep to the dangers of his sinful state, rushes headlong into battle with a foolhardy confidence that soon turns yellow when his conscience wakes up and sounds the alarm that his sins are upon him. Then, unnerved by this surprise attack, he throws down his weapon, flees from the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face.

*Every duty in the Followers whole course of walking with God is lined with many difficulties which shoot at him through hedges on his march toward heaven. He must fight the enemy for every inch of ground along the way. Only those noble-spirited souls who dare take heaven by force are fit for this calling.

《Continued tomorrow》
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–Questions to ponder for further digestion–

♡Being united in the Messiah gives the profound gift of the Spirit which then causes the soul to fight and delight to do all that the Master instructs. Do I fully understand the heavenly view of who to please and why this is so vital as stitching in the garment of my battle attire?

♡Why do we as humans seem to struggle with “seeing” prayer as an inactive action?

♡Do I see that my tendency is always to place my own actions and tactics as the primary power in the exchange between the seen and unseen?

♡How should the opening of my eyes to these new perspectives sharpen my courage, shape my breast-plate, and train my knees for war?

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And that man is only One, His name is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! Who alive and active within many becomes such an army!

Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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Adoption, Disciple, Enlistment – A Call to War – 1

August 15, 2014 at 1:53 am (Devotionals, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The Christian in Complete Armor by William Gurnall. Page 23-24

The Apostle Paul had a discerning heart. In writing to the earlier Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) at Ephesus, he knew he had to prepare them for unprecedented hardship. But first he longed to encourage and comfort them, so he reminded them of the Lords strength:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Eph. 6:10)

It was as if he were thinking, ‘Some of my dear friends must be quaking in their boots to see their enemies so strong and themselves so weak, so numerous while they are so few, so well equipped and expert at arms while they are just a few raw recruits.’ He must have known a fear-wracked soul is too preoccupied with its present distress to listen to advise from anyone, even a well-meaning friend. Fear immobilizes it’s victim – like a distraught soldier who runs trembling to his foxhole at first rumor of an attack and refuses to come out until all threat of danger is past.

So Paul searches for an antidote to their fear and soon finds one. It is a timeless answer to the disabling condition suffered by every Follower since Adam. He tells us, ‘Don’t let your fears overwhelm you. March on with undaunted courage and be strong in the Lord. ..’ And here is the great consolation: *’The outcome of the battle rests on God’s performance, not your skill or strength!’

Surely every trembling soul will breathe a sigh of relief to hear this comforting news. Now the Follower can concentrate on the task at hand, which is to ‘be strong’. It is a frequent scriptural exhortation: ‘be strong and courageous’ (2 Chron. 32:7); ‘Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong’ (Isa. 35:4) In other words, ‘ Marshal all the powers of your soul and muster up your whole force, for you will need all you can get!’

***Continued tomorrow. ..***
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Questions to ponder for further digestion 🙂

♡What does ‘be strong in the Lord‘ mean?

♡How do I distinguish the difference between ‘mustering up my strength and pulling all my will into Gods?

♡How are You teaching me this Lord, right now, in my life, in this time?

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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