Poem – Only a Branch

ONLY A BRANCH  

"I am the vine, ye are the branches." -John 15:5

 

Poem – Only a Branch

 

"Tis only a little Branch,

A thing so fragile and weak,

But that little Branch hath a message true

To give, could it only speak.

 

"I’m only a little Branch,

I live by a life not mine,

For the sap that flows through my tendrils small

Is the life-blood of the Vine.

 

"No power indeed have I

The fruit of myself to bear,

But since I’m part of the living Vine,

Its fruitfulness I share.

 

"Dost thou ask how I abide?

How this life I can maintain?-

I am bound to the Vine by life’s strong band,

And I only need remain.

 

"Where first my life was given,

In the spot where I am set,

Upborne and upheld as the days go by,

By the stem which bears me yet.

 

"I fear not the days to come,

I dwell not upon the past,

As moment by moment I draw a life,

Which for evermore shall last.

 

"I bask in the sun’s bright beams,

Which with sweetness fills my fruit,

Yet I own not the clusters hanging there,

For they all come from the root."

 

A life which is not my own,

But another’s life in me:

This, this is the message the Branch would speak,

A message to thee and me.

 

Oh, struggle not to "abide,"

Nor labor to "bring forth fruit,"

But let Jesus unite thee to Himself,

As the Vine Branch to the root.

 

 So simple, so deep, so strong

That union with Him shall be:

His life shall forever replace thine own,

And His love shall flow through thee.

 

For His Spirit’s fruit is love,

And love shall thy life become,

And for evermore on His heart of love

Thy spirit shall have her home.

 

Freda Hanbury

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JUST CHECKING IN

JUST CHECKING IN

   

A minister passing through his church

in the middle of the day,

Decided to pause by the altar

and see who had come to pray.

     

Just then the back door opened,

a man came down the aisle,

The minister frowned as he saw

the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

     

His shirt was kinda shabby

and his coat was worn and frayed,

the man knelt, he bowed his head,

Then rose and walked away.

     

In the days that followed,

each noon time came this chap,

each time he knelt just for a moment,

A lunch pail in his lap.

     

Well, the minister’s suspicions grew,

with robbery a main fear,

He decided to stop the man and ask him,

What are you doing here?

     

The old man said, he worked down the road.

Lunch was half an hour

Lunchtime was his prayer time,

For finding strength and power.

     

I stay only moments, see,

because the factory is so far away;

as I kneel here talking to the Lord,

This is kinda what I say:

     

I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD,

HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN,

SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP

AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

 

DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,

BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.

SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM

CHECKING IN TODAY.

     

The minister feeling foolish,

told Jim, that was fine.

He told the man he was welcome

To come and pray just anytime.

     

Time to go, Jim smiled, said Thanks.

He hurried to the door.

The minister knelt at the altar,

he’d never done it before.

     

His cold heart melted, warmed with love,

and met with Jesus there.

As the tears flowed, in his heart,

he repeated old Jim’s prayer:

     

I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD,

HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN,

SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP

AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

 

I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,

BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.

SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME

CHECKING IN TODAY.

     

Past noon one day, the minister noticed

that old Jim hadn’t come.

As more days passed without Jim,

he began to worry some.

     

At the factory, he asked about him,

learning he was ill.

The hospital staff was worried,

But he’d given them a thrill.

     

The week that Jim was with them,

Brought changes in the ward.

His smiles, a joy contagious.

Changed people, were his reward.

     

The head nurse couldn’t understand

why Jim was so glad,

when no flowers, calls or cards came,

Not a visitor he had.

     

The minister stayed by his bed,

He voiced the nurse’s concern:

No friends came to show they cared.

He had nowhere to turn.

     

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up

and with a winsome smile;

the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know,

that in here all the while everyday at noon

 

He’s here,

a dear friend of mine, you see,

He sits right down, takes my hand,

Leans over and says to me:

     

I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM,

HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,

SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP,

AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.

 

ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,

I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY,

AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS

CHECKING IN TODAY.

New High-Precision Strategic Missile Systems

The Kremlin hopes new weapons systems, including a sea-launched
intercontinental ballistic missile successfully tested on Tuesday,
will help restore Russia’s geopolitical prominence.

"We are developing and will provide the army with new high-precision
strategic missile systems that are unique and unlikely to appear
earlier in any other country," he said.

Last fall, Russia said it planned to develop nuclear weapons which
other nuclear powers did not yet have and were unlikely to develop.

Putin described the new missiles as "hypersonic and capable of
changing course and height during flight." They would have "no
rivals" and be "practically invulnerable," he added.

Moscow has long stressed that it has the capability to overwhelm a
U.S. missile defense umbrella due to the size of its ballistic
missile arsenal.

(CNSNews 9/30)

“OIL SHOCKS in the USA?”

"OIL SHOCKS in the USA?"
-by Andrew Strom.

On Monday I returned from a third-world country named
Southern Mississippi. -At least, that is how it felt down there – like
a 3rd world country had come to America. It gave a chilling preview
of what life here could be like if just a few of the luxuries we take
for granted were disrupted. -The primary one of course being OIL
or GASOLINE. The United States is terribly vulnerable to any kind
of severe Oil Shock. And I want to describe to you what happens
when even a rich state loses its access to basics like electricity,
transport and gas.

I believe that these two hurricanes have played out before our
eyes the fragility of a system that is so utterly reliant on oil. Those
semi-trucks that we see roaring down the highways everyday – they
are like a lifeline to this country. If they stop delivering supplies
to
the stores and supermarkets for even a few days or a week, then
the whole system will fall over. It is the same with the electrical
grid. It too is heavily reliant on oil for power generation. And all of
our communications, computers, lights, businesses, appliances,
TVs, radios, etc – all need electricity to run. It gives me the chills
to see how easily America could be shut down. A civilized nation
at the height of her powers – utterly reliant on a black liquid, mostly
imported from the volatile Middle East. -Unbelievable.

What happens when the gas stations run dry? -We saw this in
Texas. People are trapped. They get stuck on the highways,
unable to get out. And when basic transportation fails, then
business fails also. Without regular supplies by truck, most
businesses would fall apart within a week. All it took was ONE
emergency, and the system could not cope. What happens if
there are MANY emergencies all over the nation?

When I first got to Southern Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane
Katrina, it did not take me long to realize what a basic issue this
was down there. I remember talking to a lady who was working
gutting out ruined homes. She told me that she was UNABLE
to leave the area – even though she wanted to. Her car had filled
with water during the storm – and would never run again. Her
bank (if she had any money in it) was closed – in fact, no businesses
were open at all in the entire area. All the gas stations were either
wrecked or shut down. She was working so she could save up
some money to get out. -And there were MANY people in this
kind of situation. A neighbor up the road from our base lost THREE
CARS that are now parked useless across the street – they had
been submerged and would not run. And thus, people get TRAPPED.

When people lose "civilized" transport, they have only one option.
-They turn to "Third World" transportation. You see them walking
everywhere on foot, or riding bicycles. And this is exactly what
happened.

It is the same with electrical appliances. Our home base in
Mississippi had been flooded with water 5 feet deep. There is still
a 5-foot water-mark in all the rooms. The place was full of mud
when we arrived. There was water sloshing around in the oven.
The washing machine made funny "sparking" noises – full of
water. The electricity was off and the generator was little help.
So what do you do? -You return to "Third World" ways. You
wash your clothes by hand in the tub or in a bucket. You cook
with a portable gas stove. You sit around at night talking in the
dark – or with some kind of lantern. There are no televisions, no
DVD’s or stereos (blessed peace!) There is no hot water, no air
conditioning, nothing. It is just like being in a 3rd world country.
There is little of "modern civilization" left.

In fact, like a lot of people we even slept outdoors for awhile. Many
people slept in tents because their house was unliveable. We slept
in a park across the street – joining some others that we had met
there. The mosquitoes were terrible, but it was OK.

So let me summarize this "Third World" American scenario for you.
Without gasoline, electricity or transportation, you lose just about
everything. I can tell you this for a fact, because I have seen it.
You return to the status of a peasant with a bicycle. None of
your modern conveniences will work. Nothing at all. If the gasoline
is gone, you cannot even charge your cellphone in the car. And
notice that all it takes to make this scenario happen is LOSING
THE OIL. Every one of our modern conveniences is ultimately
reliant on that one commodity. Makes you think, does it not?

So are you ready for your REAL "Oil Shock", America?

I am convinced that God was bringing a wake-up call to this
nation through the recent hurricanes. You will notice that BOTH
hurricanes targeted three basic things. Sin and hedonism had
everything to do with it. In both hurricanes, the CASINOS and also
"SIN CITY" itself – New Orleans – took a major hit. (Katrina wiped
out the Casinos on one side and Rita wiped out those on the other).
Surely this cannot be mere coincidence? And both hurricanes filled
New Orleans with water. It really was staggering. Surely God was
saying something through this?

But the third thing we have to take note of is that both hurricanes
targeted the OIL – and showed up the terrible fragility that the
United States has in this area. It does not bode well for the future
if America fails to heed these wake-up calls. She is terribly
vulnerable in this area – far more fragile than we have seen in the
past. And God is looking for this nation to REPENT of her
hedonism, her materialism and her "worship of pleasures" before
much worse comes upon her. This was clearly the message of
the hurricanes, to my mind. God was showing how easily America
can be "taken out". Do you think this message will be heeded?

 

In His Service, 
 
Marie

The Strange Death of Anna Lindh

Look at this first: http://judicial-inc.biz/Anna_Lindh.htm then read this:
 

Take note of the date of attack 9-10-3

and the date she died 9-11-3

Paul Pilgrim
 

 

 

The Strange Death of Anna Lindh

Christopher Bollyn – American Free Press 26 Sept. 2003

DID MOSSAD ASSASSINATE ANNA LINDH?

Sweden’s popular foreign minister Anna Lindh is the third high-ranking Swedish political opponent of Zionism to have been murdered since 1948, which raises the question: Was Lindh assassinated because of her outspoken opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestine?

When Sweden’s foreign minister Anna Lindh was brutally stabbed by an unknown assailant while shopping in an upscale Stockholm department store, it marked the third murder in 55 years of a high-level Swedish opponent of Zionist aggression in Palestine.

While the controlled press was quick to point out an unidentified suspect, later released, with alleged ties to “neo-Nazis,” it has virtually ignored the historical precedents that suggest that the killing of Lindh may have been an assassination aimed at silencing an influential political opponent of the Zionist extremists who control the Israeli government and wield great influence in Washington.

Anna Lindh’s Sweden “has had more of an impact on Palestinian history than closer or greater powers throughout the world,” Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian professor and negotiator, wrote after the murder.

The death of Lindh and the late UN representative in Baghdad, Sergio Vieira de Mello, represents the loss of “two voices who called with determination for salvaging the UN’s role in Iraq and for implementing its resolutions in Palestine,” Bouthaina Shaaban, a minister in the new Syrian government, wrote in The Daily Star (Lebanon).

Shaaban noted that Lindh had:-

· Called upon the European Union, on April 3, 2002, to sever ties with Israel in protest against Israeli practices;
· Called on US President George W. Bush to deny Sharon unconditional support, as this would inflame the Middle East;
· Stressed that the only solution in the Middle East rested in ending the Israeli occupation (otherwise everybody would become a hostage to the conflict);
· Played an important role in shaping the EU’s decision to adopt a policy toward Palestinian President Yasser Arafat different from that of the U.S.;
· Confirmed the importance of Arafat as a partner in the peace process, rejecting Washington’s claims that he supported terrorism;
· Stood firmly against the war on Iraq;
· And warned of the dangers of changing another country’s regime without the support of international law.

Regarding weapons of mass destruction, Lindh called for the creation of a Middle East free of such weapons, including Israel. Lindh strongly opposed the Anglo-American aggression and occupation of Iraq.

A GLOBAL LOSS

Sweden’s effect on the Middle East “has been consistently constructive, positive, and human with a deep-seated tradition of fairness, justice, and peaceful intervention,” Ashrawi wrote, “Unfortunately, three such Swedish champions had met with violent and untimely deaths, each a tragedy unto itself, but a national and global loss in the larger scheme of things.”

On the ill-fated day Lindh had gone with a friend to Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) a few blocks from the parliament building on Sept. 10 to buy an outfit for an upcoming televised debate on the European common currency, the Euro. Lindh’s image had appeared on posters in Sweden for the “yes” campaign she supported.

Although there was no recognizable leader for the “no” side, opinion polls before the Sept. 14 referendum showed 53 percent of Swedish women remained opposed to the Euro, with only 29 percent in favor.

When Lindh died on Thursday, Sept. 11, after more than 6 hours of surgery, Sweden’s prime minister called off campaigning for the Sunday referendum on the Euro. With the “no” vote strongly ahead of the “yes” vote there was some speculation and wishful thinking that Lindh’s murder would boost the “yes” side.

SWEDEN REJECTS EURO

The Euro referendum went ahead and with more than 80 percent of the Swedish electorate having cast ballots, the “no” side won by a large margin of 14 percent: 56 percent opposed and 42 percent in favor.

The un-elected president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, clearly at a loss for words in an interview with CNN after the vote, pooh-poohed the very idea of using a referendum to decide whether a nation should adopt the Euro. The Swedish results, Prodi said, were “worse than I expected.”

Charles Hodgson of CNN reminded Prodi that in every nation where the people had decided on the Euro in a referendum, it had been rejected.

Sweden’s rejection of the Euro, however, clearly does not bode well for the Euro in other European nations that have retained their fiscal sovereignty, primarily Great

Britain and Denmark, where similar referenda will be held in the future.

MURDER IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Lindh was shopping without bodyguards at the upscale NK department store, when she was savagely stabbed in the stomach, chest and arm, just before 4 p.m.

Hanna Sundberg, an eyewitness, told The Associated Press that she saw a man chase Lindh up an escalator from the ground floor to the first upper level into a store called Filippa K.

"She fell on the floor and the man was stabbing her in the stomach," she said. "She laid on the floor and it looked as if a tall man, wearing a peaked cap, was hitting her," she told AP. "But when he ran away, he threw away a knife."

Sundberg ran to Lindh, who said: "God, he has stabbed me in the stomach!"

Another witness, Anna Lekander, who had been in the boutique, where there were “only a handful of shoppers at the time,” said she had not noticed that Lindh was there as well.

Lekander said nothing about a man chasing Lindh up the escalator.

Lekander told the BBC that she had learned from others who were present that Lindh had entered the shop together with a friend, seemingly with "no bodyguards or anything.”

Soon after leaving the shop, Lekander heard people shouting from inside, "Catch him, catch him”.

"It happened very quickly, I could see people running and I went back into the shop," Lekander said.

"I could see a person lying on the floor, but I didn’t know it was her,” Lekander said. "There was blood everywhere.”

The attacker fled down the escalator and was able to flee without any resistance from security guards. Police were reported to be searching for a man wearing a camouflage jacket.

Lindh was initially reported to be serious condition but her injuries were said not to be “life-threatening” as she underwent six hours of surgery at the Karolinska Hospital. Doctors said she suffered extensive damage to her liver and had internal bleeding.

A company named Hufvudstaden owns NK, a 100-year-old department store founded by Josef E. Sachs. AFP asked Michael Lorenz, owner of Duty Security, which provides security for NK, about the number and location of guards at the time Lindh was murdered. Lorenz would not say how many guards were on duty or what kind of security detail his firm provided at the exits of NK.

Lorenz also refused to answer questions about how an assailant could attack a prominent Swedish politician in broad daylight in a department store with numerous closed-circuit video cameras and security guards and flee without encountering any resistance or security personnel in pursuit.

PALESTINIAN SUPPORTER
Ylva Anna Maria Lindh was a rising star in Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat Party (SDP). At age 46, Lindh was an intelligent and articulate politician with more than 20 years experience in government. An outspoken and attractive foreign minister, Lindh was expected to be Sweden’s next prime minister. She has two young sons, 8 and 13.

As Sweden’s foreign minister since 1998, Lindh’s “main objectives were to encourage dialogue between the rich and the poor worlds, and to support the independence of the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples,” according to Olle Svenning, London correspondent of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet and personal friend of Lindh.

Lindh was an outspoken critic of Israel’s prime minister Ariel Sharon and his brutal policies affecting the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation: "Our stand is firm and clear,” the foreign minister said in an October 2001 interview :-

· "Israeli settlements on the West Bank must go;
· there must be a Palestinian state;
· Israel must vacate occupied areas on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and
· end all extra-territorial executions and attacks on Palestinians.
· This should be done immediately.”

Asked if she expected anything from a dialogue with the Israeli government led by Sharon, whose “record of war crimes” was described as “being without parallel in post-War history,” Lindh replied, “I agree. It makes no sense to have a dialogue with Sharon’s government. There will be no talks with him from our side.”

In June 2002, the youth wing of Lindh’s Social Democrat Party pressed charges against Sharon of war crimes and violation of international law. At the time Lindh said she understood there was "both bitterness and anger because the Israeli government is guilty of violating international law."

"Sometimes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes me so angry that I kick the wastepaper bin in my office or throw things around," Lindh said. She had described Sharon as a “maniac” and said on Swedish television that she would not buy Israeli goods and fruits sold in Swedish markets.

At a meeting of European Union member states in April 2002, Lindh had called for the EU to cut relations with Israel to protest the repressive practices of Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians.

A frequent critic of Sharon, Lindh said in May 2002 that her goal was that "Israeli citizens will turn against the military policies of Sharon."

“Israel’s government,” she said, “has chosen a course of action that risks placing the country outside of the rest of the world community.”

Lindh criticized U.S. President George W. Bush for ignoring the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, saying U.S. policies rewarded “Sharon’s violence.”

“I am very worried about this American debate,” Lindh said on Swedish radio. “I think this discussion equating Arafat with terrorists is both inappropriate and stupid. It is a very dangerous policy.”

“It contradicts the entire peace process… and can only lead to outright war in the Middle East,” she said.

At a gathering of European foreign ministers in Riva del Garda, Italy, days before she was killed, Lindh had blamed the U.S. and Israel for the collapse of the “Roadmap” peace plan and resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Lindh said Abbas had been given “the kiss of death” when the Bush Administration and Israel had decided to deal only with him and sideline Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.

“Of course Arafat’s unwillingness to give Abu Mazen (Abbas) increased power was decisive, but Abu Mazen’s position would have been much stronger if Israel had also contributed to the peace process," Lindh told Swedish radio at the meeting in Italy. Lindh said Israel had continued building illegal Jewish settlements, erecting a wall separating Israel and the Palestinian territories, and assassinating leaders of Hamas.

Lindh’s principled and unequivocal position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was like that of the late Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986, and Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nation’s Mediator on Palestine, who was brutally murdered by a Zionist terror gang near Jerusalem in 1948.

The assassination of Bernadotte, “at the hands of the Israeli terrorist organization… began a lethal Swedish connection with Palestine,” Ashrawi wrote. “Palestine lost its first Swedish champion,” Ashrawi wrote, when Bernadotte “was brutally murdered, shot at point blank, by three Jewish Stern Gang members in Jerusalem.”

In 1986, then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot as he walked home from the cinema with his wife. As Ashrawi noted, Palme had sought recognition for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and a validation for the peaceful resolution of the conflict through ending the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands. Palme’s politics were based on international legality and UN resolutions, and “a deeply-felt commitment to fairness and human decency,” Ashrawi wrote.

Ulf Dahlsten, Palme’s personal secretary in 1986, said that Lindh was the most important Swedish political figure since the late prime minister. In her speeches against the war in Iraq and in support of the Palestinians, Lindh was seen as Palme’s natural heir. There have long been rumors in intelligence circles that Lindh was the daughter of Palme.

American Free Press asked Ninni Jonzon, news editor of Göteborgs-Posten, if there was any discussion in the Swedish media comparing Lindh’s murder with the political assassination of Bernadotte, or the unsolved murder of Palme. “Absolutely not,” Jonzon said. Asked why, she replied, “I don’t know.”

ASSASSINATION OF BERNADOTTE
As UN mediator, Bernadotte had the mandate to "promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in Palestine" and to mediate beyond the terms of the Nov. 29, 1947 Partition Plan, in which the U.N. General Assembly had voted to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

The Partition Plan, which gave the Zionists more than half of Palestine, led to war between Arab and Zionist forces after Israel proclaimed its establishment on May 14, 1948. Bernadotte’s first action had been to arrange a truce, which lasted from June 11 to July 9.

Bernadotte put forward a proposal for solving the conflict, which suggested that Jerusalem be placed under Jordanian rule, since all the area around the city was designated for the Palestinian Arab state.

The U.N. partition plan had declared Jerusalem an international city that was to be ruled by neither Arab nor Jew. But Jewish terrorist groups, headed by the Polish immigrants Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, who both later served as Israeli prime ministers, rejected partition and claimed all of Palestine and Jordan for the Jewish state. These Jewish extremists saw Bernadotte as an enemy – an obstacle to their agenda – that had to be removed.

While no one was ever charged for the murders of Palme or Bernadotte, three Zionist terrorists have been named in Israeli and western documents as being behind the planning and murder of Bernadotte. Chief among them is Yitzhak Shamir (born Yezernitsky), who headed a Zionist terrorist organization during the British occupation of Palestine known as LEHI, or the Stern Gang.

New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger reported meeting two of Shamir’s Stern Gang members on July 24, 1948. The Stern Gang terrorists said: "We intend to kill Bernadotte and any other uniformed United Nations observers who come to Jerusalem." Asked why, "They replied that their organization was determined to seize all of Jerusalem for the state of Israel and would brook no interference by any national or international body."

Shamir, also reportedly sent two agents to Egypt to assassinate the British minister Lord Moyne, “because he was an enemy of the Jews and the Zionists.”

Shamir, however, never faced justice for the murder of Bernadotte and went on to serve as Paris bureau chief the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad (1955–65), member of the Israeli parliament (1973–96), and as prime minister of Israel (1983–84 and 1986–92).

According to Michael Collins Piper, author of Final Judgment, Shamir is also suspected of having played a key role in the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy by arranging a French-based hit squad of assassins that killed the president, a foe of Israel’s Ben Gurion and strong opponent of Israel’s nuclear ambitions.

Finis

Courtesy Raja Mattar and Rumor Mill News

PRAYER AND OBEDIENCE

PRAYER AND OBEDIENCE

 

 

"An obedience discovered itself in Fletcher of Madeley, which I wish I could describe or imitate. It produced in him a ready mind to embrace every cross with alacrity and pleasure. He had a singular love for the lambs of the flock, and applied himself with the greatest diligence to their instruction, for which he had a peculiar gift. . . . All his intercourse with me was so mingled with prayer and praise, that every employment, and every meal was, as it were, perfumed therewith." — JOHN WESLEY.

 

UNDER the Mosaic law, obedience was looked upon as being "better than sacrifice, and to harken, than the fat of lambs." In Deuteronomy 5:29, Moses represents Almighty God declaring Himself as to this very quality in a manner which left no doubt as to the importance He laid upon its exercise. Referring to the waywardness of His people He cries:

 

"O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children after them."

 

Unquestionably obedience is a high virtue, a soldier quality. To obey belongs, preeminently, to the soldier. It is his first and last lesson, and he must learn how to practice it all the time, without question, uncomplainingly. Obedience, moreover, is faith in action, and is the outflow as it is the very test of love. "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me."

 

Furthermore: obedience is the conserver and the life of love.

 

"If ye keep My commandments," says Jesus, "ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love."

 

What a marvellous statement of the relationship created and maintained by obedience! The Son of God is held in the bosom of the Father’s love, by virtue of His obedience! And the factor which enables the Son of God to ever abide in His Father’s love is revealed in His own statement, "For I do, always, those things that please Him."

 

The gift of the Holy Spirit in full measure and in richer experience, depends upon loving obedience:

 

"If ye love Me, keep My commandments," is the Master’s word. "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever."

 

Obedience to God is a condition of spiritual thrift, inward satisfaction, stability of heart. "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the fruit of the land." Obedience opens the gates of the Holy City, and gives access to the tree of life.

 

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates, into the city."

 

What is obedience? It is doing God’s will: it is keeping His commandments. How many of the commandments constitute obedience? To keep half of them, and to break the other half — is that real obedience? To keep all the commandments but one — is that obedience? On this point, James the Apostle is most explicit: "Whosoever shall keep the whole law," he declares, "and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

 

The spirit which prompts a man to break one commandment is the spirit which may move him to break them all. God’s commandments are a unit, and to break one strikes at the principle which underlies and runs through the whole. He who hesitates not to break a single commandment, would — it is more than probable — under the same stress, and surrounded by the same circumstances, break them all.

 

Universal obedience of the race is demanded. Nothing short of implicit obedience will satisfy God, and the keeping of all His commandments is the demonstration of it that God requires. But can we keep all of God’s commandments? Can a man receive moral ability such as enables him to obey every one of them? Certainly he can. By every token, man can, through prayer, obtain ability to do this very thing.

 

Does God give commandments which men cannot obey? Is He so arbitrary, so severe, so unloving, as to issue commandments which cannot be obeyed? The answer is that in all the annals of Holy Scripture, not a single instance is recorded of God having commanded any man to do a thing, which was beyond his power. Is God so unjust and so inconsiderate as to require of man that which he is unable to render? Surely not. To infer it, is to slander the character of God.

 

Let us ponder this thought, a moment: Do earthly parents require of their children duties which they cannot perform? Where is the father who would think, even, of being so unjust, and so tyrannical? Is God less kind and just than faulty, earthly parents? Are they better and more just than a perfect God? How utterly foolish and untenable a thought!

 

In principle, obedience to God is the same quality as obedience to earthly parents. It implies, in general effect, the giving up of one’s own way, and following that of another; the surrendering of the will to the will of another; the submission of oneself to the authority and requirements of a parent. Commands, either from our heavenly Father or from our earthly father, are love-directing, and all such commands are in the best interests of those who are commanded. God’s commands are issued neither in severity nor tyranny. They are always issued in love and in our interests, and so it behooves us to heed and obey them. In other words, and appraised at its lowest value — God having issued His commands to us, in order to promote our good, it pays, therefore, to be obedient. Obedience brings its own reward. God has ordained it so, and since He has, even human reason can realize that He would never demand that which is out of our power to render.

 

Obedience is love, fulfilling every command, love expressing itself. Obedience, therefore, is not a hard demand made upon us, any more than is the service a husband renders his wife, or a wife renders her husband. Love delights to obey, and please whom it loves. There are no hardships in love. There may be exactions, but no irk. There are no impossible tasks for love.

 

With what simplicity and in what a matter-of-fact way does the Apostle John say: "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in His sight."

 

This is obedience, running ahead of all and every command. It is love, obeying by anticipation. They greatly err, and even sin, who declare that men are bound to commit iniquity, either because of environment, or heredity, or tendency. God’s commands are not grievous. Their ways are ways of pleasantness, and their paths peace. The task which falls to obedience is not a hard one. "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

 

Far be it from our heavenly Father, to demand impossibilities of His children. It is possible to please Him in all things, for He is not hard to please. He is neither a hard master, nor an austere lord, "taking up that which he lays not down, and reaping that which he did not sow." Thank God, it is possible for every child of God, to please his heavenly Father! It is really much easier to please Him than to please men. Moreover, we may know when we please Him. This is the witness of the Spirit — the inward Divine assurance, given to all the children of God that they are doing their Father’s will, and that their ways are well-pleasing in His sight.

 

God’s commandments are righteous and founded in justice and wisdom. "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints." God’s commandments, then, can be obeyed by all who seek supplies of grace which enable them to obey. These commandments must be obeyed. God’s government is at stake. God’s children are under obligation to obey Him; disobedience cannot be permitted. The spirit of rebellion is the very essence of sin. It is repudiation of God’s authority, which God cannot tolerate. He never has done so, and a declaration of His attitude was part of the reason the Son of the Highest was made manifest among men:

 

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

 

If any should complain that humanity, under the fall, is too weak and helpless to obey these high commands of God, the reply is in order that, through the atonement of Christ, man is enabled to obey. The Atonement is God’s Enabling Act. That which God works in us, in regeneration and through the agency of the Holy Spirit, bestows enabling grace sufficient for all that is required of us, under the Atonement. This grace is furnished without measure, in answer to prayer. So that, while God commands, He, at the same time, stands pledged to give us all necessary strength of will and grace of soul to meet His demands. This being true, man is without excuse for his disobedience and eminently censurable for refusing, or failing, to secure requisite grace, whereby he may serve the Lord with reverence, and with godly fear.

 

There is one important consideration those who declare it to be impossible to keep God’s commandments strangely overlook, and that is the vital truth, which declares that through prayer and faith, man’s nature is changed, and made partaker of the Divine nature; that there is taken out of him all reluctance to obey God, and that his natural inability to keep God’s commandments, growing out of his fallen and helpless state, is gloriously removed. By this radical change which is wrought in his moral nature, a man receives power to obey God in every way, and to yield full and glad allegiance. Then he can say, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God." Not only is the rebellion incident to the natural man removed, but a heart which gladly obeys God’s Word, blessedly received.

 

If it be claimed, that the unrenewed man, with all the disabilities of the Fall upon him, cannot obey God, there will be no denial. But to declare that, after one is renewed by the Holy Spirit, has received a new nature, and become a child of the King, he cannot obey God, is to assume a ridiculous attitude, and to display, moreover, a lamentable ignorance of the work and implications of the Atonement.

 

Implicit and perfect obedience is the state to which the man of prayer is called. "Lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting," is the condition of obedient praying. Here inward fidelity and love, together with outward cleanness are put down as concomitants of acceptable praying.

 

John gives the reason for answered prayer in the passage previously quoted: "And whatsoever we ask we receive of Him because we keep His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in His sight."

Seeing that the keeping of God’s commandments is here set forth as the reason why He answers prayer, it is to be reasonably assumed that we can keep God’s commandments, can do those things which are pleasing to Him. Would God make the keeping of His commandments a condition of effectual prayer, think you, if He knew we could not keep His statutes? Surely, surely not!

 

Obedience can ask with boldness at the Throne of grace, and those who exercise it are the only ones who can ask, after that fashion. The disobedient folk are timid in their approach and hesitant in their supplication. They are halted by reason of their wrong-doing. The requesting yet obedient child comes into the presence of his father with confidence and boldness. His very consciousness of obedience gives him courage and frees him from the dread born of disobedience.

 

To do God’s will without demur, is the joy as it is the privilege of the successful praying-man. It is he who has clean hands and a pure heart, that can pray with confidence. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven."

 

To this great deliverance may be added another:

"If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love."

 

"The Christian’s trade," says Luther, "is prayer." But the Christian has another trade to learn, before he proceeds to learn the secrets of the trade of prayer. He must learn well the trade of perfect obedience to the Father’s will. Obedience follows love, and prayer follows obedience. The business of real observance of God’s commandments inseparably accompanies the business of real praying.

 

One who has been disobedient may pray. He may pray for pardoning mercy and the peace of his soul. He may come to God’s footstool with tears, with confession, with penitent heart, and God will hear him and answer his prayer. But this kind of praying does not belong to the child of God, but to the penitent sinner, who has no other way by which to approach God. It is the possession of the unjustified soul, not of him who has been saved and reconciled to God.

 

An obedient life helps prayer. It speeds prayer to the throne. God cannot help hearing the prayer of an obedient child. He always has heard His obedient children when they have prayed. Unquestioning obedience counts much in the sight of God, at the throne of heavenly grace. It acts like the confluent tides of many rivers, and gives volume and fulness of flow as well as power to the prayer chamber. An obedient life is not simply a reformed life. It is not the old life primed and painted anew nor a church-going life, nor a good veneering of activities. Neither is it an external conformation to the dictates of public morality. Far more than all this is combined in a truly obedient Christian, God-fearing life.

 

A life of full obedience; a life settled on the most intimate terms with God; where the will is in full conformity to God’s will; where the outward life shows the fruit of righteousness — such a life offers no bar to the inner chamber but rather, like Aaron and Hur, it lifts up and sustains the hands of prayer.

 

If you have an earnest desire to pray well, you must learn how to obey well. If you have a desire to learn to pray, then you must have an earnest desire to learn how to do God’s will. If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him. If you would have free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle in the nature of sin or disobedience, must be removed. God delights in the prayers of obedient children. Requests coming from the lips of those who delight to do His will, reach His ears with great celerity, and incline Him to answer them with promptitude and abundance. In themselves, tears are not meritorious. Yet they have their uses in prayer. Tears should baptize our place of supplication. He who has never wept concerning his sins, has never really prayed over his sins. Tears, sometimes, is a penitent’s only plea. But tears are for the past, for the sin and the wrongdoing. There is another step and stage, waiting to be taken. It is that of unquestioning obedience, and until it is taken, prayer for blessing and continued sustenance, will be of no avail.

 

Everywhere in Holy Scripture God is represented as disapproving of disobedience and condemning sin, and this is as true in the lives of His elect as it is in the lives of sinners. Nowhere does He countenance sin, or excuse disobedience. Always, God puts the emphasis upon obedience to His commands. Obedience to them brings blessing, disobedience meets with disaster. This is true, in the Word of God, from its beginning to its close. It is because of this, that the men of prayer, in Holy Writ, had such influence with God. Obedient men, always, have been the closest to God. These are they who have prayed well and have received great things from God, who have brought great things to pass.

 

Obedience to God counts tremendously in the realm of prayer. This fact cannot be emphasized too much or too often. To plead for a religious faith which tolerates sinning, is to cut the ground from under the feet of effectual praying. To excuse sinning by the plea that obedience to God is not possible to unregenerate men, is to discount the character of the new birth, and to place men where effective praying is not possible. At one time Jesus broke out with a very pertinent and personal question, striking right to the core of disobedience, when He said: "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?"

 

He who would pray, must obey. He who would get anything out of his prayers, must be in perfect harmony with God. Prayer puts into those who sincerely pray a spirit of obedience, for the spirit of disobedience is not of God and belongs not to God’s praying hosts.

 

An obedient life is a great help to prayer. In fact, an obedient life is a necessity to prayer, to the sort which accomplishes things. The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance, a mere misnomer. A penitent sinner seeks pardon and salvation and has an answer to his prayers even with a life stained and debauched with sin. But God’s royal intercessors come before Him with royal lives. Holy living promotes holy praying. God’s intercessors "lift up holy hands," the symbols of righteous, obedient lives.

 

 

"Many exemplary men have I known, holy in heart and life, within my four score years. But one equal to John Fletcher — one so inwardly and outwardly obedient and devoted to God — I have not known." — JOHN WESLEY.

 

IT is worthy of note that the praying to which such transcendent position is given and from which great results are attributable, is not simply the saying of prayers, but holy praying. It is the "prayers of the saints," the prayers of the holy men of God. Behind such praying, giving to it energy and flame are the men and women who are wholly devoted to God, who are entirely separated from sin, and fully separated unto God. These are they who always give energy, force and strength to praying.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ was preeminent in praying, because He was preeminent in saintliness. An entire dedication to God, a full surrender, which carries with it the whole being, in a flame of holy consecration — all this gives wings to faith and energy to prayer. It opens the door to the throne of grace, and brings strong influence to bear on Almighty God.

 

The "lifting up of holy hands" is essential to Christly praying. It is not, however, a holiness which only dedicates a closet to God, which sets apart merely an hour to Him, but a consecration which takes hold of the entire man, which dedicates the whole life to God.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," had full liberty of approach and ready access to God in prayer. And He had this free and full access because of His unquestioning obedience to His Father. Right through His earthly life His supreme care and desire was to do the will of His Father. And this fact, coupled with another — the consciousness of having so ordered His life — gave Him confidence and assurance, which enabled Him to draw near to the throne of grace with unbounded confidence, born of obedience, and promising acceptance, audience, and answer.

 

Loving obedience puts us where we can "ask anything in His name," with the assurance, that "He will do it." Loving obedience brings us into the prayer realm, and makes us beneficiaries of the wealth of Christ, and of the riches of His grace, through the coming of the Holy Spirit who will abide with us, and be in us. Cheerful obedience to God, qualifies us to pray effectually.

 

This obedience which not only qualifies but fore-runs prayer, must be loving, constant, always doing the Father’s will, and cheerfully following the path of God’s commands.

 

In the instance of King Hezekiah, it was a potent plea which changed God’s decree that he should die and not live. The stricken ruler called upon God to remember how that he had walked before Him in truth, and with a perfect heart. With God, this counted. He hearkened to the petition, and, as a result, death found his approach to Hezekiah barred for fifteen years.

 

Jesus learned obedience in the school of suffering, and, at the same time, He learned prayer in the school of obedience. Just as it is the prayer of a righteous man which availeth much, so it is righteousness which is obedience to God. A righteous man is an obedient man, and he it is, who can pray effectually, who can accomplish great things when he betakes himself to his knees.

 

True praying, be it remembered, is not mere sentiment, nor poetry, nor eloquent utterance. Nor does it consist of saying in honeyed cadences, "Lord, Lord." Prayer is not a mere form of words; it is not just calling upon a Name. Prayer is obedience. It is founded on the adamantine rock of obedience to God. Only those who obey have the right to pray. Behind the praying must be the doing; and it is the constant doing of God’s will in daily life which gives prayer its potency, as our Lord plainly taught:

 

"Not every one which saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name, and in Thy Name have cast out devils? And in Thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that worketh iniquity."

 

No name, however precious and powerful, can protect and give efficiency to prayer which is unaccompanied by the doing of God’s will. Neither can the doing, without the praying, protect from Divine disapproval. If the will of God does not master the life, the praying will be nothing but sickly sentiment. If prayer do not inspire, sanctify and direct our work, then self-will enters, to ruin both work and worker.

 

How great and manifold are the misconceptions of the true elements and functionings of prayer! There are many who earnestly desire to obtain an answer to their prayers but who go unrewarded and unblest. They fix their minds on some promise of God and then endeavour by dint of dogged perseverance, to summon faith sufficient to lay hold upon, and claim it. This fixing of the mind on some great promise may avail in strengthening faith, but, to this holding on to the promise must be added the persistent and importunate prayer that expects, and waits till faith grows exceedingly. And who is there that is able and competent to do such praying save the man who readily, cheerfully and continually, obeys God?

 

Faith, in its highest form, is the attitude as well as the act of a soul surrendered to God, in whom His Word and His Spirit dwells. It is true that faith must exist in some form, or another, in order to prompt praying; but in its strongest form, and in its largest results, faith is the fruit of prayer. That faith increases the ability and the efficiency of prayer is true; but it is likewise true that prayer increases the ability and efficiency of faith. Prayer and faith, work, act and react, one upon the other.

 

Obedience to God helps faith as no other attribute possibly can. When obedience — implicit recognition of the validity, the paramountcy of the Divine commands — faith ceases to be an almost superhuman task. It requires no straining to exercise it. Obedience to God makes it easy to believe and trust God. Where the spirit of obedience fully impregnates the soul; where the will is perfectly surrendered to God; where there is a fixed, unalterable purpose to obey God, faith almost believes itself. Faith then becomes almost involuntary. After obedience it is, naturally, the next step, and it is easily and readily taken. The difficulty in prayer is not with faith, but with obedience, which is faith’s foundation.

 

We must look well to our obedience, to the secret springs of action, to the loyalty of our heart to God, if we would pray well, and desire to get the most out of our praying. Obedience is the groundwork of effectual praying; this it is, which brings us nigh to God.

 

The lack of obedience in our lives breaks down our praying. Quite often, the life is in revolt and this places us where praying is almost impossible, except it be for pardoning mercy. Disobedient living produces mighty poor praying. Disobedience shuts the door of the inner chamber, and bars the way to the Holy of holies. No man can pray — really pray — who does not obey.

 

The will must be surrendered to God as a primary condition of all successful praying. Everything about us gets its colouring from our inmost character. The secret will makes character and controls conduct. The will, therefore, plays an important part in all successful praying. There can be no praying in its richest implication and truest sense, where the will is not wholly and fully surrendered to God. This unswerving loyalty to God is an utterly indispensable condition of the best, the truest, the most effectual praying. We have "simply got to trust and obey; there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus — but to trust, and obey!"

 

(from The Necessity of Prayer by E. M. Bounds)

The Law of Leper as Applicable to Ourselves

"Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague."

Leviticus 13:13

 

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment–it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can’t come too filthy–come just as you are.

C. H. Spurgeon