Archive for April, 2009

The patience of unanswered prayer

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The patience to be learned through unanswered prayer is most valuable. Each one of us is born entirely depraved, unable to think of anything but our own personal needs. As we grow older we become more and more able to attend to the concerns of others, yet apart from the work of Christ in our hearts the concerns of others must always take a back seat to our own. When we are born again we don’t entirely lose this old nature but there is a new nature imparted which battles the old one. Learning the patience of unanswered prayer is one of the tools the Lord gives us in this battle.


You see, our old nature must have what it wants, when it wants it. Impatient creatures that we are, waiting on the Lord is not something that comes naturally. We live in a world of fast cars, fast food, fast service, fast communication, fast lifestyles, basically everything is designed to be as fast as possible. Why? Because our carnal nature must be served, it demands it! Along with helping to align our wills with the will of God, denying this service is the role of unanswered prayer.


Early on in our Christian walk there is still much of the old man residing in us, and much that we pray for is not for the good of our soul. We ought to be more thankful than discouraged that these prayers are not answered, for if they were they would do us more eternal harm than good. Most prayer for the new believer is carnal, addressing physical wants more than spiritual needs, and many a person (especially the lost) will pray when the flesh is seeking out its own service. Why do they pray? Simply to get what they want. They haven’t learned to submit their will to the will of God. Surprising enough, many of these carnal prayers of the lost and the newborn are answered, sometimes the purpose is to teach them that what they had prayed for is not what they needed, other times it is to teach them to seek out the Lord, and still other times it is to allow them to fall deeper into the pit which they are in.


Those who are mature in Christ have had their wills more aligned with the will of God; they have learned to subdue the wants of self and have had their hearts readily prepared to receive the will of God in their life, come what may. They have learned the denial of self the Lord teaches through unanswered prayer, and are ready to move on. Prayer to them is not to some magic genie in a bottle to give them everything they want, prayer to them is sustenance to their soul, it is communion with God, it is the very lifeblood of their being. These people, having learned the patience of unanswered prayer have moved on in Christian growth to the fullness of supply to a thirsty soul in much answered prayer.


Ps 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The wine of heaven

Monday, April 20th, 2009

In contrast to both “The wine of the world” and “The worry of the world” we have “The wine of heaven”. Unlike the wine of the world, the wine of heaven is not intoxicating but is entirely satisfying and leaves no hangover nor regret the following day. What it does leave is a taste for more! With it being supplied as a simple taste of heaven to those on their way there, this wine when poured out without mixture has none of the defects of a fallen world, and all of the perfectness of a glorious heaven. However because we still live in a fallen world, until we reach heaven there will be but sips for those who will receive it, compared to the spiritual feast when we get there.


The wine of heaven is simply defined as sweet communion with God in and through Christ. This wine is the new wine that floweth from the very side of Christ, it is His supply, and His only to supply. When we look at John 19:34 we see that the blood came first and then the water, and when we look at John 2:7-9 we find it is Christ who turns the water into wine. The redemption of men required the blood of Christ to flow first, followed by the living water of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39) which Christ alone then turns into wine. The Holy Spirit floweth forth as a rush of living water into the soul of regenerate man, but it is Christ who turns this water into wine of the most pleasant kind.


The wine of heaven has all the characteristics of water in that it sustains life and satisfies thirst, yet along with these it has the sweetness of wine that causes those who have tasted it to desire it all the more. I must admit however, that with the senses of the natural man not being accustomed to it, the taste may appear strange at first (Luke 5:39), but to those who have tasted and drunk well from it (John 2:10), the new wine of heaven far surpasses the wine of this world in every respect.  Drinking well of it is not natural to the carnal man, the reason that these have come to drink well of it is that their bottle has been made new in regeneration (Luke 5:37) and is therefore ready to receive it, for the wine of heaven being so glorious in nature it will cause an old bottle to break. When a man has been humbled he will realize this and must go to Christ for a new bottle to carry the new wine (Luke 5:38). This new bottle is a new heart (Eze 36:26), regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).


In being both the bread and the wine of heaven, it is Christ who supplies all that is needed for sustenance of the hungry spirit and soul of man, which sustenance is typified in the Lord’s supper. There isn’t a drop of the wine of this world that ultimately satisfies, nor is there a drop of the wine of heaven that ever disappoints a thirsty soul. Have you tasted of this wine of heaven, this sweet communion with God sent forth in the Son? If not, will you?

The worry of the world

Monday, April 13th, 2009

In opposition to ‘the wine of the world’ is ‘the worry of the world’. For if one has neither the wine of the world nor the heavenly wine all they are left with is the worry of the world. The state of worry is defined as being without either faith or drunkenness. This may seem too simple a definition, but frail creatures that we are with no power over tomorrow, if we have neither faith nor one of the various forms of drunkenness we simply must worry. Some understand this and attempt to place their faith in other things, like their own abilities or a myriad of other things, only to find out that these things fail them in times of crucial need. As we read in a previous post, “…the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God.” Therefore try as they might, those who trust in things that have not been proven to deliver will be left to worry whether these things will fail, and ultimately wonder what good these things will do for them as they prepare to pass into eternity. The most difficult part is that those in this condition often get by better in the world than the following group but have the most difficulty of ever coming to a saving knowledge of Christ.


Others have tried the wine of this world and found that it does not deliver what it has promised. These people are led into despair, for worry is an overcoming sin that destroys all in its wake. It leaves a person without hope, and apart from turning to Christ it leaves one with nowhere to turn for real deliverance. Since natural man is born opposed to Christ many will reject trusting Christ at this point and choose one of the more base forms of drunkenness, until sooner or later they are destroyed by it. The sooner this path is made manifest for the evil it intends to the man the better. This is a rather sorrowful bunch for whom the power of the blood of Christ can be made most manifest, which is why many who have later trusted Christ have first come to this condition.


The destructive nature of the worry of the world causes such great anxiety it forces a person to look somewhere for relief. Either the person will look to the wine of this world for contentment in the various forms of drunkenness offered, or they will look to the new wine that cometh from heaven through the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. So many choose the former, so few choose the latter!


1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

The wine of the world

Friday, April 10th, 2009

A line from the old hymn “Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.”


The hymn writer has left us  much to think on in that one little phrase. To begin with we must understand that wine is the representative substance of the luxuries/pleasures/ease of this world; and by using wine as the standard substitute for these things, the writer has done well to remind us of the intoxicating nature of all of them. Like wine, though these things may seem pleasant to the natural senses of man in the beginning, yet if unchecked will proceed to hearts that forget the Lord because they are ‘drunk with the wine of the world’.


Intoxicating wine definitely has a purpose, and according to Prov 31:6-7 its purpose is to dull the senses of those who are ready to perish without hope, or those in misery. The soothing effect of the wine provides the help needed for fallen man to forget their own eternal misery; in this way the pleasures of the world mimic the wine.


Say what you will about them, the pleasures of this world are definitely intoxicating. They cause us to want more/bigger/better ones in hopes of preventing the hangover in between, while at the same time causing a growing addiction to them. Like any intoxicating substance, not only do they cause us to focus on that which is toxic for our satisfaction, they also cause us to neglect more important things. Some people are able to make a near lifelong drunk of the pleasures of the world, with never a thought or care of what comes after this world is over. Few indeed are those that take a break from the drunkenness on the pleasures of the world to see just how fleeting and meaningless they actually are. It is these people who are in the condition required to think about more endurable and eternal things such as a Redeemer.


Could I ask you to take a break today from the pleasures of this world that have your attention, and think on eternal things? Think of how long eternity is, think of heaven, think of hell, think of the redemption that is found in Christ, think of a crucified Saviour who shed His own blood on the cross for His people. Think on these things! One taste of that heavenly wine poured out by the Lord Jesus Christ and you will never go back. If you haven’t, will you seek Him out today?

The God who delivers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jonah 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god…


Every man has a god of some kind that he places his hope in for deliverance in time of trouble. Deny as they might, even those who claim they don’t believe in God or gods have at least one ultimate authority they hope to turn to for deliverance. This would be their god, this will be that to which they cry out to for deliverance in time of trouble.


Powerless creatures that we are, it is normal and natural that every man in time of trouble seek to call upon his god or gods. Sometimes a man’s god goes by the name of science or medicine, other times his god goes by the name of education, or self, or money, or church attendance or outward religion; and still other times this god is some unknown vain and powerless idol made up in the minds of men. The men on the ship were not your average stock of men, they were mariners, who as a group are not terribly prone to the fears of the sea. Even these men knew they were facing death, and all called upon their gods but none were able to deliver, save the God of Jonah.


We find that the lack of response didn’t stop them from calling upon their gods, nor did their crying receive an answer. But as Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “…call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.” In essence, let He who is actually fully able to perform that which He promises be God. When you find yourself on your deathbed, about to cross the river into eternity, other gods like science, medicine, or even years devoted to religion will offer very little comfort. There you will find that there is comfort and assurance only in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who having overcome the grave is fully able to perform and provide that which He has promised.



Going forth

Sunday, April 5th, 2009
It is a most interesting job to go forth with the gospel. One is sent out under the direction to cause people to do/be something which they have no power to cause them to do/be. Have you ever tried to cause someone to love something they by nature despise, or to cause them to hate something they by nature love? Try it and you will soon find out the impossibility of the matter; yet this is precisely the position the Christian is in when they bear testimony of a Saviour to the world. The world by nature hates the Christ of the Bible and loves sin, but the Christian goes forth in an attempt to cause people to love Christ and hate sin, having no power in and of themselves to bring about this great change in anyone. We cannot even bring forth this great change in ourselves, it is simply a work of the Holy Spirit.
Being that the motive force required to cause someone to love a Saviour they were born hating is more than a mere man can bring about, how on earth should the Christian go forward? The simple answer is that they must go forward in faith, trusting God for the increase. This is easily said, but hard to do. The reason is that even regenerate man retains his fallen nature and sometimes wants to think he is in charge of the salvation of souls, rather than just a courier boy with a simple message from the King. The message of the King sent out by a mere courier boy carries with it the power of salvation, and is the means the King prefers to use for the salvation of men. When the Christian realizes that they are just a courier boy in the King’s court, it is then that the King is honoured and blesses the message with power from on high. Nothing short of this, is the power required to change the heart of man to love something he now hates, and hate something he  now loves. 

And so it begins….

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Today I begin a blog intended for the benefit of the invisible church of the Lord Jesus Christ, wherever you may be. May the Lord make it a blessing to you.