Learn How to Live a Victorious Christian Life and Seek the Heart of God
Victorious Christian Living Newsletter – July 2014
This issue includes:
1 Article From Me
Something to Think About
Interesting Bible Facts
A Powerful Story
Favorite Article from My Blog
Links to My Other Sites
The neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church.
Many churches have very little spiritual power because prayer is not a priority in their services.
We love to talk about prayer and are quick to give prayer requests, but many times all we do is give a sentence prayer thrown up to God while we are in between tasks.
In my Baptist denomination we set aside one night during the week for what we call “prayer meeting.” For much of my life, though, we have had a Bible study, then everyone was asked for their prayer requests, and at the very end of the service we had a prayer time that lasted from a few sentences to a few minutes of time – depending on who or how many people prayed, or even worse, how much time was left before the designated hour was up.
Intense prayer requires us to focus our whole energy and thinking on God and requires total concentration for however long He has placed a burden on us to pray. Most of us can watch a movie, sports program, or read a good book for hours and not get bored, but when it comes to being disciplined enough to concentrate on something intense like prayer, we have trouble concentrating for more than a few minutes. Of course, Satan will try everything he can to get your mind off prayer.
The church as a whole is in a perilous state today and prayer is the only answer. Many churches are dying or only a short time from having to close their doors. We talk about prayer all the time but we don’t practice it nearly as often as we should.
When we decide to get focused and disciplined enough to pray for a certain thing, it changes our lives. We see the power of God at work and decide to continue to make our prayer time a priority.
BUT that is the time that Satan steps up his warfare and makes it his personal agenda to throw several things upon us at once to keep us busy. These things might not be important, but he makes us feel as though they are. He knows that if he can keep us overly busy for awhile we will forget to read our Bible and pray. Then it will be easy to get out of the habit completely. He might even have the audacity to keep us busy doing good and Godly things. Satan will do absolutely anything to keep you from walking in God’s power. He knows that miracles occur frequently in the life of someone who reads the Bible, applies what it says, and is a prayer warrior.
Yes, it does take discipline to become a person of prayer, but your life will change dramatically when you start to see prayers answered and lives changed.
The early church had much strength and power because they were sold out to God completely and wanted to do whatever it took to advance His Kingdom. That was their first priority because they had realized it was the most important thing they could ever do. Their zeal about this new relationship with Christ enabled them to be a force for radical change in the people around them.
There have been several revivals that have been recorded in history as being so awesome that whole towns were so changed that bars had to close because they had no patrons.
Each of those revivals came about because of prolonged and intense prayer. I think Satan has very slyly and quietly convinced us that those were great revivals, but something like that absolutely could not happen now. He desires to keep us so busy doing menial things that we won’t stop to realize that we have gotten our priorities all mixed up.
In robbing us of the priority and urgency of prayer, Satan knows that we won’t have the ability to be used by God in a mighty way. We can’t do supernatural things if we have no supernatural power.
If there has ever been a time we Christians need to be real and walk in the power of a supernatural God it is now.
The world around us is hungry, thirsty and seeking for something real by looking in all the wrong places; we have that “real thing” and there is no substitute for it anywhere else.
If your prayer life is not what it used to be or not what you would like it to be, ask the Holy Spirit to help you make prayer a priority in your everyday life. Let God make you a willing vessel that He can use in a mighty way to carry forth His work here on earth!
Something To Think About
How God Used A Little Gypsy Boy To Become
One Of The Most Remarkable Preachers Of The 20th Century
Rodney (Gipsy) Smith (1860 – 1947) was one of the most remarkable and entertaining preachers of the 20th Century. He was also called to preach from almost the moment of his conversion.
He and his family were gypsies in England, virtually homeless, but his father had experienced an unusual conversion. Shortly afterward, on November 17, 1876, Rodney attended a Primitive Methodist chapel and went forward following the sermon of Rev. George Warner.
He heard someone whisper, “Oh, it’s only a gypsy boy.”
Rushing home, he told his father he had been converted. Though illiterate, he began carrying around a Bible, English dictionary and Bible dictionary, trying to learn to read them. People laughed at him, but he said, “Never you mind. One day I’ll be able to read them, and I’m going to preach too. God has called me to preach.”
As he worked on his reading, he began to practice preaching, going out into the fields and preaching to the turnips. At age 17, he stood on a small corner near his gypsy wagon and gave a brief testimony. It was his first attempt at preaching.
But it wasn’t his last. He became a worldwide evangelist, preaching to thousands at a time, and carrying on his phenomenal ministry for 70 years, until his death at age 87.
Interesting Bible Facts
The harp was the national instrument of the Hebrews, and was well known throughout Asia. Moses assigns its invention to Jubal during the antediluvian period. ( Genesis 4:21 ) Josephus records that the harp had ten strings, and that it was played on with the plectrum. Sometimes it was smaller having only eight strings, and was usually played with the fingers.
The Hebrews do not appear to have regarded a covering for the head as an essential article of dress. Hats were unknown. The earliest notice we have of such a thing is in connection with the sacerdotal vestments. ( Exodus 28:40 ) The tsaniph (something like a turban) is noticed as being worn by nobles, ( Job 29:14 ) ladies, ( Isaiah 3:23 ) and kings, ( Isaiah 62:3 ) while the peer was an article of holiday dress, ( Isaiah 61:3 ) Authorized Version “beauty;” ( Ezekiel 24:17Ezekiel 24:23 ) and was worn at weddings. ( Isaiah 61:10 )
The ordinary head-dress of the Bedouin consists of the keffieh , a square handkerchief, generally of red and yellow cotton or cotton and silk, folded so that three of the corners hang down over the back and shoulders, leaving the face exposed, and bound round the head by a cord. It is not improbable that a similar covering was used by the Hebrews on certain occasions. The Assyrian head-dress is described in Ezekiel 23:15 under the terms “exceeding in dyed attire.” The word rendered “hats” in Daniel 3:21 properly applies to a cloak.
Hospitality was regarded by most nations of the ancient world as one of the chief virtues. The Jewish laws respecting strangers ( Leviticus 19:33Leviticus 19:34 ) and the poor, ( Leviticus 23:14 ) seq. Deuteronomy 15:7 and concerning redemption ( Leviticus 25:23 ) seq., etc. are framed in accordance with the spirit of hospitality.
In the law compassion to strangers is constantly enforced by the words “for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” ( Leviticus 19:34 ) And before the law, Abrahams entertainment of the angels, ( Genesis 18:1 ) seq., and Lots, ( Genesis 19:1 ) are in exact agreement with its precepts, and with modern usage. Comp. ( Exodus 2:20 ; Judges 13:15 ; Judges 19:17Judges 19:20Judges 19:21 )
In the New Testament hospitality is yet more markedly enjoined; and in the more civilized state of society which then prevailed, its exercise became more a social virtue than a necessity of patriarchal life. The good Samaritan stands for all ages as an example of Christian hospitality. The neglect of Christ is symbolized by inhospitality to our neighbors. ( Matthew 25:43 ) The apostles urged the Church to “follow after hospitality,” ( Romans 12:13 ) cf. 1Tim 5:10 to remember Abrahams example, ( Hebrews 13:2 ) to “use hospitality one to another without grudging,” ( 1 Peter 4:9 ) while a bishop must be a “lover of hospitality ( Titus 1:8 ) cf. 1Tim 3:2
The practice of the early Christians was in accord with these precepts. They had all things in common, and their hospitality was a characteristic of their belief. In the patriarchal ages we may take Abrahams example as the most fitting, as we have of it the fullest account. “The account,” says Mr. Lane, “of Abrahams entertaining the three angels related in the Bible, presents a perfect picture of the manner in which a modern Bedawee sheikh receives travellers arriving at his encampment.” The Oriental respect for the covenant of bread and salt, or salt alone, certainly sprang from the high regard in which hospitality was held.
(Taken from Smith’s Bible Dictionary)
A Powerful Story
How Charles Fuller Was Called Into The Ministry
Charles Fuller (1887 – 1968) pioneered Christian radio work, preaching each week for nearly 30 years to 20 million people on the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour,” broadcast live from Long Beach Auditorium in California.
In 1919, Fuller was working in the orange grove of Southern California as manager of a fruit packing house. For some time, he had been restless, increasingly convinced that God wanted him to resign and go to the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (Biola) to train for ministry.
He began to view his work in the packing house as “just a continuous whirligig and year-round race… and when it was all said and done, not much was accomplished for eternity. It was just a matter of getting the best prices.”
One morning in April as Charles Fuller sat in his office in the packing house, the conviction that he should go into full-time service became so powerful that he had to leave his desk and find someplace where he could be alone to pray.
He went downstairs, through the packing house where men and women were working, and back to a storage room where the makings of orange boxes were stored. He knelt behind a stack of these.
He struggled with the fear that he didn’t have the fluency and speaking ability needed for preaching, and he worried about the financial ramifications of leaving his job, especially as he had recently made down payment on a 20-acre orange grove of his own.
At first these obstacles seemed too great, and he rose to go back to his desk, but God’s hand was so heavy upon him that he sank to his knees again and said, “Oh, Lord, I will walk in your path. I will even try to preach. I will resign my position and trust you to supply our needs as I prepare for ministry.”
Peace came to his soul, and he soon notified the board members of the packing house that by the fall of that year he would be resigning so he could study at Biola.
They took the news sadly, one even going so far as to say, “Charlie, you’re too good a man for the ministry. You should stay here. Why, a minister only has to work one day a week – Sunday when he preaches. Furthermore, I don’t think you’re qualified for the ministry. You might well starve.”
But for Charles Fuller there was no turning back. From that day on he felt like Paul who said, “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.”
My Favorite Blog Post For The Month
Strong Consolation Is Definitely Not An Easy Thing
Strong consolation is that which is not dependent upon the excitement of public services and Christian fellowship. Ministries are blessed, but oh! we must live on surer bread than ministries if we would have the highest form of life.
We must use the means so long as God gives us the means, but we must have a spiritual life that could live even if means were denied us; in fact, a grace that would become the fountain of the means of grace to others if we were banished to any distant land. May we have such a consolation.
-Charles Spurgeon, September 26, 1869-
WOW! That is a hard place to be, but it is also an awesome place to be. To be a fountain of grace to others when we ourselves only have God to go to for our strength would mean that we have a relationship with Him that most people will never achieve.
It is in this place that God’s Power will be able to work through you just like it did in the people that made up the early church. God was able to use them to impact the heathen world around them in a mighty way.
The biggest thing that holds most of us back is the fact that we have grown comfortable in our surroundings and don’t wish to be moved. Stepping out into the “unknown” is a scary thing if you haven’t come to the realization that even though YOU don’t know where you are going, GOD DOES. He not only wants you to learn to trust Him, but to trust Him without worrying about what the outcome will be. That is real faith!
I don’t know about you, but I rather like being in a good church where I can listen to a great sermon each Sunday and feel like I am being fed spiritually. I also love the fellowship of my Christian friends whom I can count on to encourage me and lift me up when I am down.
My flesh definitely does not want to think about being cut off from all the good things above to be thrown out into the cold with nothing but my relationship with God to “keep me warm.” I know from God’s perspective that will always be ENOUGH, but I like to have REAL people to talk to and get advice from.
I also know that what my flesh wants isn’t always the best thing for me because I can’t see into the future and certainly can’t see the plans God has for my life. My flesh generally likes to choose the easiest and least complicated way out of any situation, so taking the time to get to know the Character of God and learn His biblical truths for living will take discipline, control, and walking in obedience to His Will.
For much of my life I preferred to have someone else tell me what my best option would be to solve a problem, or the right direction I needed to go. I always chose people whom I thought were mature Christians, but I never took the time to study the Bible much myself. After all, that takes time and discipline.
Sometimes God has to take the easy option away so that you will be forced to consider His way. When God looks at you, He thinks what a powerful and awesome Christian you could be for His Kingdom if you could only get rid of everything that is holding you back. Then He sets out to give you a (sometimes not-so-gentle) nudge in the right direction by taking some things away that are causing you to lose focus and steering you in the wrong direction.
From your point of view it might be tough, but from God’s point of view He is just getting your life to the point that He can use you. That is much more awesome than you could ever imagine.
Here is one example of how God has shown me very specifically how I need to act when the following situation arises:
The Holy Spirit has made it very clear to me that when I encounter some kind of problem that makes me really want to get in the flesh (or bash another person for what they have done or said); I am to pour all my problems out to God and Him alone. I am to do this in the initial stages of my hurt or anger. I am not saying that you should never have another person you can talk to, but get your initial counsel from God. He always knows the answer and you will never have to worry about Him taking your side and telling you only what you want to hear. He can be very blunt when He needs to get your attention.
Unfortunately I realized that when I went to my friends first, I always seemed to choose the ones who would sympathize with me and make me feel justified in my hurt. As I look back, I see that did me absolutely no good in the long run. It just made me cling to my hurt and anger much longer than I needed to.
Since the Holy Spirit has given me this directive, I try to get by myself and pour everything out to God, tell Him how hurt I am, and what I would like to tell the other person. Naturally my flesh wants to hurt them as much as they have hurt me and make sure that they suffer as much as I have. But when I pour out my anger and frustrations to God alone, He starts to heal my hurt and give me the healing I need to get past whatever happened.
God already knows what is in my heart anyway, and He is an awesome listener who will reveal truth to me even if it hurts. He knows situations where I need to change.
The Holy Spirit has always given me good counsel so that God is honored in whatever happens. I don’t have to feel bad for having done something in the flesh that I know is wrong and apologize for words said out of anger that were intentionally meant to hurt the other person.
The same directive applies in a situation where I feel all alone with no one who understands what I am going through. God has never failed to give me encouragement and comfort when I needed it most. He knows me better than any other person ever could, and knows exactly what I need for comfort and reassurance (and that might likely come from another person whom He has sent to help me.) After I made the choice to pour out all my hurt to Him a few times, I found that it really was much better than going to another person immediately.
God wants you to come to Him first with every problem you face, whether large or small. If you will go to Him with the smallest of problems, it will seem easy to go to Him first when something huge comes your way.
It is an awesome thing to have Christian friends who will always be there for you when you need them, just don’t let them take the place of going to God FIRST. Try it the next time and see the awesome way He handles your problem.
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That’s it for this newsletter. May God bless you as you strive to live for Him and walk in obedience to what He desires!