These are the eleven POINTS. I trust that God has made them live to you, and used them, as I have told them to you, to bring you closer to himself and into a position to have THE MIRACLE WORKING POWER OF GOD in your own life.
No doubt you have wondered many times, what were those two things which were so personal. This chapter will deal with this matter of "Personal Things". I cannot tell you what they were, for deep in my heart, I feel the Lord would not have me to do so. But as you read this book, read the Bible, and wait before the Lord in prayer, I am sure that you, too, will find some "Personal Things".
I pray that you may have been inspired to PRESS TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ." Phil. 3:14. To keep on pressing, until God is working in your life in Miracle Working Power. To strive earnestly for perfection in the sight of God, and to be in his perfect will.
"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect be thus minded; and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, GOD SHALL REVEAL EVEN THIS UNTO YOU." Phil. 3:15.
This is his promise. You need never know what were those things which God pointed out to me as being my OWN, PERSONAL, pet sins, which had to be pointed out by name. But you do need to recognize your own pet sins, which keep you from having the power God wants you to have!
I have found in my travels as an evangelist, as well as in experiences gained in pastorates, that most people have a pet sin which they have pampered and petted, and developed, for years. Paul terms it, "The sin which doth so easily beset us." (Heb. 12:1.), your "besetting sin". He also says it must be LAID ASIDE if we are to gain the prize at the end of the race. "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
Many good people, who COULD HAVE BEEN effective Christian workers have become so discouraged by the excess weights which they have failed to lay aside, that they have long ago dropped out of the race, and have become skeptics, even questioning the words of Jesus, concerning "signs following", and the power which God promised to the believer, that he should do the works which Christ did. Many over the land today are even now on the verge of giving up all hope of ever knowing God in the fullness of His power. DO NOT GIVE UP. Get alone with God. Seek him earnestly, whatever the cost may be, until he has revealed to you YOUR PET SIN. Until he has shown you what in your life needs cleansing before you can experience the power of God.
A rich young ruler once came to Jesus, anxious to know what was wrong with his religious experience. He was so anxious that he literally came RUNNING, and FELL DOWN at the master's feet. When he inquired, 'What must I do --?" Jesus replied, "one thing thou lackest --." Christ then put his finger upon the young man's pet sin, and instructed him how to get rid of it. (See Mk. 10:21.) As you seek the Lord, remember that he is always faithful to put his finger on your pet sin, as he did for the rich young ruler. Failure to place that sin upon the altar will cause you, too, to go away GRIEVED, just as he did. When God speaks to you, no matter how small the voice, OBEY! Get rid of that PET SIN and go on with God!
Your pet sin is the sin that you do not want the preacher to preach about.
It is the sin for which you are always ready to make an excuse.
It is the sin which, although you would not admit that it is sin, you prefer to do it when you think no one is going to find out.
It is the sin which leads you captive most easily.
It is the sin which you are always ready to defend.
It is the sin which causes the clouds of doubt and remorse to cross your spiritual sky, whenever you really feel the need to contact God.
It is the sin which you are most unwilling to give up.
It is the sin which you think is so small that God should scarcely be able to see it, yet so large that you are sure you could never live without it.
Yet it is the sin which must be FLUNG (Weymouth) aside or else you must drop out of the race.
And, last, it is the sin you are continually trying to make yourself believe is an infirmity. Be honest with yourself, and call it SIN! Do not call jealousy, watchfulness. If you are covetous, don't call yourself economical. If you are guilty of the sin of pride, don't dress it up as self respect. If you are one of those who constantly exaggerates (stretches the truth), you may as well admit that that which is not the truth is a LIE! Are you bound by a perverse (stubbornly wrong) demon? Be careful, or you will pride yourself in being very firm. If your besetting sin is lust, don't excuse yourself that you are just oversexed by nature. Don't call criticizing, the gift of discernment, nor claim to be a good judge of human nature. Are you fretful, and complaining? Satan will tell you that you are nervous, and in your condition, this fretfulness can't be helped.
Come on, friend. Be honest with yourself and God. Call it exactly what it is. If it is sin, call it sin, and get down before God and ask him to set you free and make you an overcomer.
No doubt many excuse themselves for their many "little" sins by pointing out, "Why everyone does that! Remember, you can't pattern your life after other people's mistakes. How do you know that God has not spoken to them many times about this very thing? Don't be as guilty of disobedience as they.
And what if he didn't speak to them about it? Remember the exhortation of Jesus to Peter when he enquired what would be required of another disciple. "What is that to thee? FOLLOW THOU ME." John 21:22.
Consecration has much to do with personal things. It is the putting off, out of our lives, the hundred and one little things that in themselves may not be sin, but which if they are allowed to remain, take the place that Christ should take. As an example, many professing Christians admit that they do not read their Bible as much as they should. They declare that they are so busy, they just don't have time to read it. Yet these same people have time to read all the daily and Sunday comic strips, many magazines and stories. There is but one conclusion. These comics, magazines, and stories are more important to them than the word of God. They have crowded out Christ from his rightful place in these people's lives. Some of this reading might be of such a nature as to be actually sinful in itself, but much of it is rather harmless, except for the fact that it HAS CROWDED OUT CHRIST. Thousands of those who profess to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ today would have more power in their lives if the time they spend in listening to the ball games and "soap operas", and "perpetual emotion dramas" were spent listening to the voice of God, alone in the closet of prayer. These are some of the "little foxes tht spoil the vines", destroying the tender grapes and robbing God's people of fruitfulness.
How much more powerful would be the lives of many, if the time they spend in front of their television sets (of course, they wouldn't go to a theater!) watching the wrestling matches were spent down upon their knees wrestling against satan -- against the principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12).
It isn't always the harsh, gross sins that stand between man and God. In fact, the sins which seem to keep most people from the best that God has for them, are the things that "everybody does". I'd go a little slow in saying "everybody". Those who are carrying a burden for this lost, sin sick, Christ-rejecting, hell-bound world, those who are doing the works which Christ promised them they should do, who have the signs following their ministry, and who are bringing deliverance to the needy, have long ago laid those things aside. You may be right in saying, "NEARLY everyone in my church does it." But don't forget that while they are doing these things, they, too, are wondering why they do not have the MIRACLE WORKING POWER OF GOD, and do not exercise the gifts of the spirit. Many of the same crowd wonder if they are ready for the rapture! Many times I have made altar calls after preaching on the coming of the Lord, for those who do not know that they are ready for the coming of Christ. At such times I have been surprised at the great number of people who raised their hands WHO PROFESSED TO BE SAVED, AND EVEN SPIRIT FILLED, PEOPLE! It is evident that many so called saints today are not even living a sufficiently victorious life to know they are ready for the rapture. These CANNOT HAVE CONSISTENT MIRACLE WORKING POWER! They may have a prayer answered now and then, but the times in which we live, and the condition of the world about us demand more than that. YOU CANNOT PATTERN YOUR LIFE AFTER THIS CROWD. There is one whose life is worthy to be a pattern for ours. That one is JESUS.
Some may be unwilling to accept the teachings of holiness found in this book. I have no apology to make, if you do not. I quote Jesus all the way through the book. If you disagree with him, it is time you had better take stock of yourself, and begin to agree with God. "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3. If you expect to walk with God, and to have power in your life to work the works of God, IT IS TIME TO AGREE WITH GOD. When you fully agree with God, this will put you in disagreement with some others. It is better to agree with God, even if in doing so one must disagree with others whose opinions he formerly honored and valued. Too many today are living to please others, and self, rather than the Lord.
There comes a time in the life of every person when he is at the fork in the road. Men of God and of Power throughout the ages have come to this fork in the road, and have chosen the way that seemed hard and that brought persecution, suffering and POWER because of God's approval. Others have come to the fork in the road, and have chosen the way that seemed more attractive, and have found that it led to prosperity, popularity, and destruction. Picture Lot of old, as he pondered the best course to take. There was the watered valley, with the prosperous city of Sodom at its center. Surely this was an easier way than to turn to the lonely rough hills. He felt sure he could go among those people in the valley, mind his own affairs, and not partake of their sins. And even at the end, God still accounted him as a "righteous man", but he had no power for God. Not even so much as to be able to rescue his own married daughters from the destruction of Sodom, for he seemed to them as one that mocked. (Gen. 19;14).
This way is still open to those who choose it. But thank God for the better way. It is open too. It is marked by the feet of such men as Moses, who "By faith -- when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Heb. 11;24,25.
And of Joseph, who when he came to this same fork in the road, chose to keep himself pure, although it meant spending years in an Oriental dungeon, with no assurance (except in his soul) that he would ever be released. And of Daniel, who as a slave boy, declined to drink the king's wine, and who later kept his appointment with God, although it meant a trip to the lion's den.
These men said no to satan that they might say yes to God. Moses weighed the pleasures and treasures of Egypt against the call of God, and decided in favor of the call of God. He knew that the pleasures of sin could only last for a season. He esteemed the reproach of Christ GREATER RICHES! He had a true sense of values. How many today do not. They seem to think the greater riches are those of Egypt -- Hollywood, Broadway, or Wall Street. It is impossible to say yes to God until we have first said no to the things of the world.
Those whose minds are set upon worldly things would quickly have advised Moses that he was making a very unwise choice, giving up so much for so little. But Moses received his reward. He became a FRIEND OF GOD -- one who talked with God face to face. His face shone so with the brightness of the glory of God, that the people could not even bear to look upon his face. And working hand in hand with God, he led three million people out of bondage into liberty, and saw them miraculously delivered time after time, and kept by the hand of God so that "There was not one feeble person in all their tribes." Ps. 105:37; Truly this is the reward which we seek today -- that we might be enabled to bring salvation and deliverance to the people. And God is giving that reward to many today who have heard his voice and obeyed his call! Who have said no to the world and yes to God!
God, in days gone by, "Sought for a man, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before (him) for the land that (He) might not destroy it." Ezek. 22:30-31. God is looking for such men today. God's holiness demands that he send judgement upon a wicked world. Only the presence of the righteous in the world holds back the floods of judgement. Moses stood in the gap for the children of Israel, and their lives were spared. (See Exodus 32:10,11.) Abraham stood in the gap for Lot and his family, when they were in Sodom. And Lot, had he gathered around him a group of righteous people, saved from their sinfulness through his testimony and influence, could have stood in the gap for the entire city of Sodom. (Gen. 18;23, 19:15.)
The generation in which we live is a wicked generation, similar to those among whom Lot lived. It is a sick sin, judgement bound generation. The wrath of God is already pronounced against ALL who partake of the wickedness of the world in such an age as this. But God does not take pleasure in pouring out judgment. Now as in days gone by, he looks for A MAN -- any man, or a woman will do -- who can and will love the people enough to make the sacrifices necessary to stand in the gap -- to hold back the storm of judgment -- to stand with the storm beating upon his back while he raises his voice long and loud, pleading with the people to flee from the wrath to come.
The world is setting the stage for the last great scene of the great story, "The History of Man upon the Earth." Soon the curtain will rise upon that last scene, the terrible tribulation period, when the wrath of God will be poured out without measure upon a wicked world from which the last righteous person has been hastily snatched away. The clouds are gathering, the lightening is flashing, the thunder rolls -- gusts of the wind which precede the storm can be felt with ever increasing frequency and force.
"Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35. As never before, it is URGENT that the servants of God should place the work of the harvest ahead of everything else -- that they should "WORK, for the night COMETH WHEN NO MAN CAN WORK!" It is a time when ALL THE POWER OF GOD PROVIDED needs to be brought into use to save as much as possible of the precious harvest before the storm breaks. This is a time when YOU AND I need to find the gap in which God would have us stand, and STAND THERE, faithful.
How sad it was when God looked, hopefully, for a man to stand in the gap and he had to continue his statement, "I found NONE. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them. I have consumed them ith the fire of My wrath."
God is still looking for MEN TO STAND IN THE GAP! He is still looking for laborers for the harvest. He offers the same wages -- the same rewards -- for those who will come at this last hour, as for those who have borne the heat of the battle. All he asks is a quick response to his call, and faithfulness in carrying it out. Will you say "YES" to this call of God? Will you give him your ALL? Will you accept his BEST -- the MIRACLE WORKING, SOUL SAVING POWER OF GOD, for the deliverance of the lost, the sick and the suffering?
Much has been done for the deliverance of humanity by holy men and women of God, from the time of righteous Abel until now, but, as I look into God's word, and behold the mighty promises of God, and see the miracles which have been wrought on occasions when someone DARED TO BELIEVE, I am persuaded that it REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHAT GOD COULD DO WITH A MAN OR WOMAN WHO WOULD GO ALL THE WAY WITH HIM, and never doubt in their heart! And what immense power would be turned loose against the destroying enemy of mankind -- satan -- if A GREAT ARMY OF MEN AND WOMEN should all together determine to stand upon God's promises, and believe God for HIS MIRACLE WORKING POWER!
You can be that ONE, or ONE OF THAT GREAT ARMY!
When God looks for a MAN, will you volunteer? WILL YOU BE THAT MAN?
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