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Philippians 2:13. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I Peter 4:7. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Daniel 9:3. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.
Sometimes people seek the Lord, and they make all the plans, and they have all the ideas. When I was a beginner in the ministry, before I came to Brooklyn, I used to try to get a week now, or two weeks then, to wait upon the Lord. And one time, I found out that a brother-in-law of mine and his family were going away on a vacation, and so I asked him whether I couldn’t be in his house for those two weeks. So he allowed me to if I would take care of his chickens. Well, they were all dead by the time he came back two week later. And his little girl said to me, “You died them, didn’t you?” Well, no. They died by themselves. I didn’t have to do anything about it.
But at any rate, when I had made that plan, some ministers got after me, and they thought it was a waste of time. They tried to persuade me that that was a waste of time, that I ought to be out preaching. So, I went to the Lord. In those days, we had the privilege of going to some of the so-called “vessels” and ask them to pray. And I said, “Well, it seems to me that it makes a lot of difference.” And the Lord said, “Why, certainly! Two weeks out of your life? Two weeks?” I found out that those two weeks were controlling weeks. They changed my whole life. The course of my whole life was changed.
You know that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” looking for somebody “whose heart is perfect toward Him.” What is God looking for? Can’t he find hearts? Very, very few whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
Where are the hearts? “I’ve found a man after My own heart, who shall do all My will.” Oh, no wonder Billy Sunday says, “God stopped making worlds when He found a man like that.” They were so few and so far between that if God can find one in a generation He’s doing pretty well. But shouldn’t He find our hearts like that, when we know all this?
Dr. Gray was here. We discussed this thing, and he said, “You know, Pentecost has lost its objective. It doesn’t have an objective anymore.” One time, we had an objective when we sought the baptism according to Acts 2:4. We knew that God would fill us with the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:4, and so we sought Him earnestly until He baptized us according to Acts 2:4.
I’ve seen people, as soon as they stammered a few words in tongues, get up from prayer; and they never again show themselves at the altar. They had obtained their objective. That’s what they were after: speaking in tongues. They have it. Oh, there’s a multitude of Pentecostal people like that. Why, they’ve got it now. And there’s a multitude of preachers that teach that too.
The reason we stop seeking is because we don’t understand the process. You seek a while and God empties you. You wanted to get filled with good feelings, and you don’t get them. The fight starts. Prayer is a fight, and unless your heart is perfect toward God, and you view the objective, and you see the promise afar off, and you’re persuaded of it, and you’re going to set your faith unto the Lord your God to have the promise, you’re most likely going to quit. That’s why He tells us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Oh, for a prayer meeting like that, where every heart fears to miss—fears to miss God’s best! How many have missed it, and God never saw fit to return to them.
Would you like to be “rooted and grounded in love”? Well, then, you can’t be a snob anymore. You can’t judge people anymore like you have been doing. You can’t show the cold shoulder to anybody. You cannot exercise your own opinions anymore. Oh, these views, these opinions! How quickly we judge somebody else, and we’re satisfied to do that and to keep a heart that is divided toward God! But to let Jesus Christ reign is a very different matter. I ought to see to it with fear and trembling that Jesus takes “his great power and reigns.”
I was interested in a word the Lord spoke some time ago. He said, “Oh, if Jesus could only find people that are willing to be alone with Him all the time. There would be wonderful sights, wonderful sights!” Do you know that’s what we need: sights by the Holy Ghost? It doesn’t come intellectually, else “the princes of this world” would have known it. But they didn’t know Him.
“Enter into your closet”—that means your own heart—“and shut the door.” “Alone with God, the world forbidden, Alone with God…” Have you ever been alone with God? Oh, tell me. Oh, yes, we get alone with God, and then the telephone rings, and then some duty presses upon us, and then some friend calls, and then the flesh gets into power. And, oh, God has to say, “Their god is their belly. I am not their God.”
Think of His appearing. It ought to fill our hearts with a wholesome fear, shouldn’t it? People talk glibly about the coming of the Lord, and are not getting ready at all—are not doing anything at all. Beloved, I can’t do anything about it but give myself to God so that He can “work in me to will and to do.” And He proposed to do that. It’s very different when God works the will. That’s conviction. That’s conviction that sticks. When God “works in you to will,” it’s because He has chosen you to be a “son of God, without rebuke.” And He’s not going to let you get by with a superficial experience, or a vain profession. He won’t.
When you’re young, you have pep; you’ve got energy. That energy ought to be given to God. Oh, how blessed it is to hear the voice of God: “Give Me, My son, thy heart.” “Seek now the Lord thy creator in the days of thy youth.” That’s the time to seek the Lord. But most young people think that’s the time to have a good time. They can always seek the Lord. One day passes, another day passes, a week, a month, a year passes. “Well, we’re still young.” That’s not having “a heart perfect toward God.”
An illustration of a minister who taught complacency. “…But the minister didn’t like it. He went and shut her up. He says, ‘Now, you must be still. You got it now.’ Very strange. ‘You’ve purchased an automobile, now put it in the garage. You got it now. Don’t use it.’ That’s the wisdom of the flesh.” (from 7:33)
The example of Joseph Wannenmacher. “People were proud of being at the Faith Home, and hearing from heaven. They told me what wonderful people they were. One minister told me what a wonderful man he was, what a wonderful call he had… The Lord had spoken to him about it, and spoken to him by the hour about it. And then he spoke deridingly about Joseph. But the difference was this: that Joseph didn’t think of being a great man, but he took the message and he went to seeking the Lord.” (from 20:22)
The Sabbath Year
by Gerhard Tersteegen (translated by Frances Bevan)
Oft comes to me a blessed hour,
A wondrous hour and still—
With empty hands I lay me down,
No more to work or will.
An hour when weary thought has ceased,
The eyes are closed in rest;
And, hushed in Heaven’s untroubled peace,
I lie upon Thy breast.
Erewile I reasoned of Thy truth,
I searched with toil and care;
From morn to night I tilled my field,
And yet my field was bare.
Now, fed with corn from fields of Heaven
The fruit of Hands Divine,
I pray no prayer, for all is given,
The Bread of God is mine.
There lie my books—for all I sought
My heart possesses now.
The words are sweet that tell Thy love,
The love itself art Thou.
One line I read—and then no more—
I close the book to see
No more the symbol and the sign,
But Christ revealed to me.
And thus my worship is, delight—
My work, to see His Face,
With folded hands and silent lips
Within His Holy place.
Thus oft to busy men I seem
A cumberer of the soil;
The dreamer of an empty dream,
Whilst others delve and toil.
O brothers! in these silent hours
God’s miracles are wrought;
He giveth His beloved in sleep
A treasure all unsought.
I sit an infant at His feet
Where moments teach me more
Than all the toil, and all the books
Of all the ages hoar.
I sought the truth, and found but doubt—
I wandered far abroad;
I hail the truth already found
Within the heart of God.
Alone with God, a hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr.