Final Thoughts from Me on the 30 Days of Prayer
To my Newday Family:
What an honor it has been to begin a new season of prayer with you. As we have sought God’s wisdom and asked him to reveal to us more of his will, I hope you have found a deeper walk with him. If I have had a theme for this time of focused prayer (and going forward as a sort of mission when it comes to the ministry of prayer coordinator), it’s more of Jesus and less of me.
After all, if our ministry as a church is a parallel to John the Baptist as he was the forerunner for the first advent, we should strive for the same mission leading up to the second advent, shouldn’t we? It was said of him he was “A voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.’”
And finally when his mission was winding down and his sincere disciples asked, he said simply, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
More of Jesus, less of me.
Combining those two thoughts, we are left with seeking more of Jesus in order to make a straighter path to him. I must ask on a regular basis for God to remove anything that is a barrier to others seeing and finding Jesus. It’s different for everyone and as the quote from Christ’s Object Lessons says, “It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward.”
While the focused 30 days of prayer is coming to an end, may this only be a new beginning for Newday with more committed, Spirit-led and mission-focused Christ-followers to better serve our community with the gospel.
To finish out this last blog post, I’d like to share from both places mentioned in my email, Christ’s Object Lessons and Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7. Both offer powerful council on our personal work to allow God to more fully show himself to a world in such desperate need of gospel light.
The paragraphs below from Christ’s Object Lessons are from the chapter, “To Meet the Bridegroom” and the italicized parts are added my me. I cannot recommend enough to read the chapter for yourself. The whole book is a wonderful study on Jesus’ parables, and this chapter finishes the volume.
Christ’s Object Lessons, pp 418-19
The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God's strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome.
But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God.
In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven's resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit.
It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour's love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.
Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.
The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others.
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, pp 29-33, “Extending the Triumphs of the Cross” Italics are added by me.
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32.
As this wonderful, priceless Gift was bestowed, the whole heavenly universe was mightily stirred in an effort to understand God's unfathomable love, stirred to awaken in human hearts a gratitude proportionate to the value of the Gift. Shall we, for whom Christ has given His life, halt between two opinions? Shall we return to God only a mite of the capabilities and powers lent us by Him? How can we do this while we know that He who was Commander of all heaven laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and, realizing the helplessness of the fallen race, came to this earth in human nature to make it possible for us to unite our humanity to His divinity? He became poor that we might come into possession of the heavenly treasure, “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. To rescue us He descended from one humiliation to another until He, the divine-human, suffering Christ, was uplifted on the cross to draw all men to Himself. The Son of God could not have shown greater condescension than He did; He could not have stooped lower.
This is the mystery of godliness, the mystery that has inspired heavenly agencies so to minister through fallen humanity that in the world an intense interest will be aroused in the plan of salvation. This is the mystery that has stirred all heaven to unite with man in carrying out God's great plan for the salvation of a ruined world.
The Work of the Church
To human agencies is committed the work of extending the triumphs of the cross from point to point. As the Head of the church, Christ is authoritatively calling upon everyone who claims to believe on Him to follow His example of self-denial and self-sacrifice in working for the conversion of those whom Satan and his vast army are exerting every power to destroy. God's people are called upon to rally without delay under the bloodstained banner of Christ Jesus. Unceasingly they are to continue their warfare against the enemy, pressing the battle even to the gates. And everyone who is added to the ranks by conversion is to be assigned his post of duty. Everyone should be willing to be or to do anything in this warfare. When church members put forth earnest efforts to advance the message, they will live in the joy of the Lord and will meet with success. Triumph always follows decided effort.
The Holy Spirit our Efficiency
Christ, in His mediatorial capacity, gives to His servants the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the efficiency of the Spirit that enables human agencies to be representatives of the Redeemer in the work of soul saving. That we may unite with Christ in this work we should place ourselves under the molding influence of His Spirit. Through the power thus imparted we may co-operate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with Him in the salvation of souls. To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results. [Let that one sink in!]
The Lord God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to everyone who is sanctified through obedience to the truth. Christ, to whom is given all power in heaven and on earth, co-operates in sympathy with His instrumentalities—the earnest souls who day by day partake of the living bread, “which cometh down from heaven.” John 6:50. The church on earth, united with the church in heaven, can accomplish all things.
Power Given the Apostles
On the Day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed Himself in power to the church. By His Holy Spirit He descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit's power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed: “Herein is love.” 1 John 4:10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.
The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth testifying: God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to add to the church of such as should be saved. They called on the believers to arouse and do their part, that all nations might hear the truth and the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.
The Same Power to be Revealed Today
By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with Him. They sat together with Him in heavenly places. They realized the greatness of their debt to Him. By earnest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labors many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.
Shall we be less earnest than were the apostles? Shall we not by living faith claim the promises that moved them to the depths of their being to call upon the Lord Jesus for the fulfillment of His word: “Ask, and ye shall receive”? John 16:24. Is not the Spirit of God to come today in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power? Is not God saying today to His praying, trusting, believing workers, who are opening the Scriptures to those ignorant of the precious truth they contain: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”? Matthew 28:20. Why, then, is the church so weak and spiritless?
As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God's servants are to go forth today. Filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief, we are to take up the Lord's work. He gives us our part to do in co-operation with Him, and He will also move on the hearts of unbelievers to carry forward His work in the regions beyond. Already many are receiving the Holy Spirit, and no longer will the way be blocked by listless indifference.
Why has the history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord's people today are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for Him? What the Lord did for His people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that He do for His people today. All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do. And we are to work with as much more fervor, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.
Everyone on whom is shining the light of present truth is to be stirred with compassion for those who are in darkness. From all believers, light is to be reflected in clear, distinct rays. A work similar to that which the Lord did through His delegated messengers after the Day of Pentecost He is waiting to do today. At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, should not the zeal of the church exceed even that of the early church? Zeal for the glory of God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a longing to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and Him crucified? Should not the power of God be even more mightily revealed today than in the time of the apostles?
Praying, serving and humbly seeking God’s will together,