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wayne oswalt

Experimental Preaching - 0 views

  • n experience is the teaching of God in the soul—and the effects which this produces. Those effects may be, broadly, summed up in two words—pain and pleasure, sorrow and gladness, mourning and rejoicing. The natural world illustrates the spiritual world—as there is a continual alternation between spring and autumn, summer and winter—so there is, in the history of the soul. He who gives rain and sunshine, also sends droughts and biting frosts; likewise does He grant fresh supplies of grace—and then withhold the same; and also sends grievous afflictions and sore tribulations. Herein is His high sovereignty conspicuously displayed; as there are some lands which enjoy far more sunshine than others—so some of His elect experience more of joy than sorrow. And as there are parts of the earth where there is far more cold than heat
  • Christ
  • the genuineness of conversion is not to be determined by its suddenness or drastic character—but rather by its lasting effects and fruits.
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  • so there are some of God's children who are called on to suffer more of adversity—both inward and outward—than of prosperity. Unless this is clearly recognized, we shall be without the principle key which unlocks the profoundest mysteries of life.
  • At conversion, sin is only stunned, and not killed
  • This presents a painful problem to the babe in Christ, for unless he has been previously instructed, he naturally thought he was completely done with sin when he gave himself to the Lord. It was his sincere and deep desire to henceforth live a holy life, and the sight he now obtains of his corruptions, his weakness in the face of temptations, the sad falls he encounters, awaken serious doubts in his heart, and Satan promptly assures him that he has been deceived, that his conversion was not a genuine one after all.
  • Many of God's people are greatly harassed with temptations, frequently buffeted by Satan, and deeply exercised over the workings of sin in their hearts; and for them to learn that this is the common experience of the regenerate, strengthens their hope and moves them to renew their struggles against their spiritual foes. It means much to a sorely tried and deeply perplexed Christian, to learn that his minister is "also his brother and companion in tribulation" (Rev. 1:9).
  • There are some godly ministers who have failed to express themselves consistently with their own actual experience and with that of other holy persons, and thereby the faith and hope of gracious souls are weakened and dismayed, and occasion is given unto unbelief to more completely prevail over them. Perhaps some ministers are fearful that if they speak too plainly and freely about their own failures and falls, the impression will be conveyed that Divine grace is an empty expression, rather than a powerful deterrent to sin
  • The mere quoting of Scripture in the pulpit is not sufficient—people can become familiar with the letter of the Word by reading it at home; it is the expounding of it which is so much needed today. "And Paul, as his manner was . . . reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead" (Acts 17:2, 3).
  • But to "open" the Scriptures helpfully to the saints, requires more than a young man who has had a few months' training in some "Bible Institute", or a year or two in a theological seminary. None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience, are qualified to so "open" up the Word that Divine light has cast upon the perplexing experiences of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture. "The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips" (Proverbs 16:23), and that "learning" cannot be acquired in any of man's schools.
  • There are two ways of learning of Divine things—true alike for the preacher and hearer—the one is to acquire a letter knowledge of them from the Bible, the other is to be given an actual experience of them in the soul under the Spirit's teaching. So many today suppose that by spending a few minutes on a good concordance they can discover what humility is, that by studying certain passages of Scriptures they may obtain an increase of faith, or that by reading and re-reading a certain chapter they may secure more love. But that is not the way those graces are experimentally developed. Humility is learned by a daily smarting under the plague of the heart, and having its innumerable abominations exposed to our view. Repentance is learned by feeling the load of guilt and the heavy burden of conscious defilement bowing down the soul. Faith is learned by increasing discoveries of unbelief and infidelity. Love is learned by a personal sense of the undeserved goodness of God to the vilest of the vile. It is thus with all the spiritual graces of the Christian. Patience cannot be learned from books—it is acquired in the furnace of affliction! "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3, 4).
  • Singing cheerful songs to a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing someone's jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in a wound" (Proverbs 25:20).
  • It is not within the Christian's power to call forth his faith into action—when he has a mind to. In this, as in all things, God keeps us entirely dependent upon Himself.
  • The all-important matter in connection with faith, is not the quantity—but the quality of it. An intellectual assent to the Divine Authorship and veracity of the Scriptures produces no spiritual fruits
  • Then let him be informed that a mere assent to the letter of Truth never yet melted the soul into godly sorrow for sin. If any of our readers have a "faith" which is not dampened and chilled by the ragings of indwelling sin—they are welcome to it!
  • As we have previously pointed out, Christian experience alternates between pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy—pain arising from a sense of our sinfulness, from manifold temptations, and the hidings of God's face; pleasure from a sense of pardon, promises applied by the Spirit, communion with Christ. It is only by degrees that believers are "established," and even then that does not prevent them from being severely tried and grievously assaulted by their spiritual enemies.
  • ive a little encouragement from the Word, then he seeks to stir up afresh their corruptions, and renews their fears and doubtings. The most advanced Christian often experiences a sore conflict from his lusts; those who enjoy the most intimate communion with God are frequently attacked by Satan. If the Apostle Paul had to cry out "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" (Romans 7:24), we must not be surprised if we have cause to do the same.
  • Professing Christians are to be frequently exhorted to diligently examine the work of the Spirit in them, and compare the same with what is recorded of the saints in Scripture
  • While the minister is to be much on his guard against building up the hope of empty professors, he must ever seek to encourage and comfort the mourners in Zion, urging them to continue by "the pool" (the means of grace), waiting for the moving of the waters; assuring them that if they do, sooner or later there will be a breaking in of the light of God's countenance, dispelling the darkness of the mind and melting the hard heart.
Cody Lorance

The ESV Bible and Three Scripture Reading Plans - 0 views

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    It's high time you began a disciplined approach to reading Scripture, don't you think? Here is a review of the ESV Daily Reading Bible and three ideas for how you can move through the Scripture in a systematic and helpful way.
Cody Lorance

Reading the Bible Chronologically - 4 views

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    The following is a reading plan that I developed for some newer disciples / followers of Jesus to help them get a good picture of what is going on in Scripture from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. Our English Bibles do not follow a clear chronological order (particularly in the Old Testament), so many people who read the Bible straight through aren't able to, say, summarize the Biblical narrative as a whole. This is a bit of a problem as I believe that a developing healthy understanding of the Bible's story (and my/your place in it) is an essential component of discipleship.
wayne oswalt

The Valley of Baca - www.gracegems.org - Readability - 0 views

  • How have you found the road? Very easy to your feet? A green, grassy, flowery garden? a smooth meadow, with primroses and violets in the hedges, and you every now and then sitting on a stile, inhaling the breath of the May morn? or sometimes reclining on the grass, listening to the nightingale? This is not the way to heaven; you have mistaken the road. The way to heaven is through "the valley of Baca!" the valley of tears—a dry, parched, and burnt up valley, with thorns lacerating the traveler's feet; the wild beasts lurking in the dens; and Satan and his host, as armed prowlers, seeking to destroy. Depend upon it, if we find the way very smooth, very easy, very pleasing, and very agreeable, we have made a great mistake; we have not got into the right road yet. God bring those in the road who are his people, that have at present mistaken it! But you, traveler and pilgrim Zionward, have you not found it a valley of tears, have you not had cutting things in providence, heavy trials, harassing temptations, fiery darts, persecutions, sufferings from men, and above all from yourselves?
  • But David was debarred from going up to the house of the Lord. He was sitting solitary, and mourning,
  • Now while he was thus solitarily musing upon these pilgrims going upward to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in his earthly courts in Zion, his soul seems to have fallen into a train of holy and spiritual meditation. This earthly pilgrimage foreshadowed to him the pilgrimage of a saint heavenward; and thus, viewing all the circumstances of their journey, his thoughts turned upon what this pilgrimage spiritually typified; and he breaks out into this blessing upon God's worshiping people —"Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they will still be praising you."
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  • Blessed is the man," he further adds, "in whose heart," that is, in whose experience, through divine teaching and divine testimony, "are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well."
  • In considering the words of the text this evening, I shall view them as the Holy Spirit has given us the spiritual clue to their import. There is a true spiritualization of God's word, and there is a false spiritualization of it
  • But we cannot build up a spiritual interpretation except the Holy Spirit has laid a foundation, nor track out a path unless he has given us a clue. But as the blessed Spirit, by the mouth and pen of David, has here given us a spiritual clue, we may follow these pilgrims in their journey up to the earthly Jerusalem, and see in it a lively representation of the true pilgrims journeying to heaven, their happy home.
  • "Blessed is the man whose strength is in you."
  • But where shall we find that man? Where are we to look for him? In what corner does he dwell? I am bold to say, that no man ever had his strength in God until he had lost all his own.
  • I am bold to say, from Scripture and from experience, that no man ever felt or ever knew, spiritually and experimentally, what it was to put his trust and confidence in God, who had not been thoroughly weaned and emptied from putting all trust and confidence in himself
  • Therefore, when David pronounces this spiritual blessing, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in you," his eye was fixed upon a certain gracious character, one who had been deeply emptied, one whose strength had been turned into weakness, his wisdom into folly, and his loveliness into corruption.
  • How are you, how am I, to put our trust in an invisible God? Can I see him? And can I put my trust in an invisible being? It is impossible, unless I have faith to see God, who is invisible.
  • Two distinct things must therefore meet in my heart, under the Spirit's secret operations, before I can come in for any share of this blessing
  • I must, first, by a work of grace upon my soul be weakened; as we read, "He weakened my strength in the way." "He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help." I must be weakened by being experimentally taught that all my natural strength in divine things is but impotency and helplessness. And how can I learn this, but through a series of trials? I must have temptations; and find my strength against these temptations utterly powerless. I must have trials; and find these trials so great, that my own strength is insufficient to bear them. I must have a discovery of God's majesty, purity, and holiness, that all my strength may wither at the glance of the eye of God in my conscience. I must sink down into creature ruin, hopelessness, and helplessness, before I can ever give up the fancied idea of strength in myself
  • an is born an independent creature. It is the very breath of a natural man. "Independence" was once my boasted motto. It suits the proud heart to rest upon itself. And our rebellious nature will always rest upon self, until self has received its death-blow from the slaughter-weapon that the man clothed with linen carries in his hand. (Ezek. 9.)
  • Now this in most cases will take a series of trials to produce. We are not stripped in a day; we are not emptied in a day; we are not ruined and brought to beggary and rags in a day. Many of the Lord's people are years learning that they have nothing and are nothing. They have to pass through trial after trial, temptation after temptation, affliction after affliction, before they learn the secret of creature weakness, creature helplessness, and creature hopelessness.
  • But there is another requisite. It is not sufficient for me to know my poverty, my ruin, my wretchedness; I must have something more than this revealed in my heart. I must have another lesson unfolded to my soul by the power of God the Spirit. I must learn this sacred truth, "I have laid help upon One that is mighty." I must be taught to say, "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." I must know what the Lord Jesus so sweetly unfolded to the Apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9.)
  • Have you found out these two things in your heart? How many years have some here made a profession, have come to hear the truth preached, have approved of the testimony of God's servants, and have read the writings of gracious men! But have you learned these two lessons yet? first, creature weakness, helplessness, and hopelessness; to sink down into your miserable self; to be filled with confusion; to have nothing in yourselves but rags and ruin? And then, has the Spirit opened up, brought down into your heart, and unfolded to your soul that precious Mediator between God and man, "the Hope of Israel," the blessed Jesus,
  • whose strength is made perfect in weakness, that on him you may lean, in him you may trust, and upon whom you may rely to bring you safely through all? If you have learned experimentally in your conscience those two lessons—creature weakness and Creator might—the helplessness of man and the power of God—then you come in for the blessing,
  • Blessed is the man whose strength is in you."
  • I. "In whose heart are the ways of them, who passes through the valley of Baca, make it a well." David casts a glimpse here at those pilgrims who were traveling their upward journey to worship God in Zion. He marks their road, and takes occasion to spiritualize it; for he says, "in whose heart," in whose experience, in whose soul, "are the ways" of these pilgrims Zionward.
  • What are these "ways?" It is this, that "passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a well." This valley of Baca appears to have been a very perilous pass, through which pilgrims journeyed toward Jerusalem—and on account of the difficulties, dangers, and sufferings that they met with, it was named "the valley of Baca," or 'the valley of weeping,' 'the valley of tears.'
  • And is not this very emblematical and figurative of the valley of tears through which God's people journey in their course heavenward? There are many circumstances which draw tears from their weeping eyes. Depend upon it, if, in the course of your profession, you have never known anything of this valley of Baca, you have mistaken the road; you are not traveling through the true valley to reach Zion; you are taking another route which leads not heavenward, but to eternal destruction.
  • Many are the circumstances in providence that draw tears from the eyes, and cause poignant sorrow to be felt in the heart of the true child of God. Men naturally have many sorrows in their course through life. But the Lord's people seem to have a double portion allotted to them
  • They have the cares of life like their fellow-mortals; they have sources of temporal sorrow in common with their fellow-sinners. But, in addition to these providential afflictions, they have that which is peculiar to themselves—spiritual grief, burdens, and sorrows.
  • Some of the Lord's people are deeply sunk in poverty; others, have an almost daily cross from a suffering and weakly tabernacle; others, have to endure persecutions, and to receive many severe blows from sinners and severer from saints; others, have family afflictions; others are mourning over their blighted schemes, and the disappointment of all their temporal expectations.
  • But, added to these temporal trials that the Lord's people have to pass through in common with their fellow-men, they have spiritual trials that far outweigh any of a temporal nature.
  • Sharp and cutting temptations;
  • the workings of a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; the hidings of the Lord's countenance; the doubts and alarms that work in their minds whether their feet are upon the rock; the fear of death, and the prospect of eternity; the harassing darts of the Wicked One; inward guilt and grief on account of an idolatrous, adulterous, and backsliding nature
  • these are but a small portion of those sorrows that draw tears from the true pilgrim's eye. It is indeed a valley of tears for the Lord's family, a "valley of Baca," which they have to pass through to reach the heavenly Zion.
  • But the Psalmist says, "Blessed is the man in whose heart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well." Here is the distinctive character of the true pilgrim. Not that he is journeying merely through the "valley of Baca;" not that his eyes are drowned in tears; not that his heart is filled with sorrows; not that his soul is cut with temptations; not that his mind is tried by suffering. But this is his distinctive feature—he "makes it a well.
  • Have we not sometimes sat at the table of the Lord, and blasphemous thoughts, filthy imaginations, horrible workings filled our minds? Have we not felt carnality, deadness, bondage, darkness?
  • There are sometimes heavenly manifestations, diving refreshments, and breakings in of the Lord's presence and favor;
  • this is the rain filling the pools. And when the rain fills the pools, then it is, and then only, that they afford any life or feeling to our souls.
  • "They go from strength to strength." It is in the margin, "from company to company." I rather think, that the meaning implied is, "they go from resting place to resting place
IN Too

Three Steps to Freedom « Reflections in the WORD - 0 views

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    A Believer becomes new creation at the point of salvation, but that new man does not automatically have control over the old, but still present, sin-nature. Sanctification is the process of putting to death that old sin nature so that Christ can reign in us… a Believer with God's Word incorporated his/her heart is Word-driven and Spiritually centered, free from the power of sin.
IN Too

True Teachers Teach with Authority « Reflections in the WORD - 0 views

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    Believers do not have to be victims of false teachers with false teachings. Every Believer CAN know the Word of God for himself/herself, BECAUSE we have the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts!
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