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 Re:

Quote:

crsschk wrote:
Quote:

Hi Gary, had the same difficulty, apologize for all this mixing things up here. The quote you have in red there was from the other thread;

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=18808&forum=45&start=10&viewmode=flat&order=1]The Word of God and Prayer ~ Chadwick[/url]

And was from Samuel Chadwick, look under the subheading [b]Aids To Devotion[/b], the last paragraph in that section is that which you have quoted. Would have to go back and take it all in as to the context there.

So it was not edited or anything, just made a bit more confusing since we went from Chadwick to Sparks and the decision to move the Sparks chapters over to this thread on prayer. My apologies once again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To this matter at hand ... namely this book and these chapters, I am finding even my earlier thoughts about [i]not[/i] making this a must read ill-advised.

This may be the most important thing any of us could get down into the marrow of our being. It is [i]still[/i] difficult to start where I had mind to earlier this morning and that was due to finding myself right smack in the very battle of chapter 3. Much could be said and am short on time, but what a time it has been this very morning, precisely the assault and tactics, things I have known before and experienced but here it is now 6:30am my time and to think this all started somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:00am ... It could have been a half hour for all I know or so it seemed, strange way of putting it, but my what an incredible thing, the sheer audacity sometimes ...
/quote]

moe_mac reply:

[size=small][color=0000FF]Thanks for the reply and comments on the mix up. After your post I followed the link you provided and failed once again to locate the article by Samuel Chadwick, look under the subheading [b] Aids To Devotion [/b] to no avail and with no success to locate the article and especially the part I replied to or my orginal post with the letters in red.
No problem though, I was only a bit curious as to why the move and rearrangement, but in the reading of your reply, you told me all you knew to tell me about the move. It seems that it is so complicated and due to the loss of sleep, you are having a difficult time explaining it to me. I have been there myself.
As I said no problem, don’t worry about the article relocation or the mix up, or even whether I can find the original post or not, it all really doesn’t matter. A week from now, maybe sooner, we will never know the difference. I am confident that when we read prayer 102 it all really is not that important at all. Have a great day.[/color][/size]

 2007/8/20 10:42
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[i]Submission is not merely the suppression of desire, but the bringing of desire into line with the Divine will, and, if needs be, changing desire. Desire may be a very strong thing, a mighty propelling force, but a propelling force ought to be so much under control that it can be switched into the direction of an arresting force. To propel a train, a tremendous amount of power and force is required, but a modern train is so arranged that the mighty propelling force which carries it forward can in a moment be switched to its brakes to pull it to a halt. In prayer, where submission is in view, that is very often what has to be done. That strength of desire has to be arrested in one direction and brought into another direction, perhaps from propelling us forward to bringing us to a standstill in the will of God. That is submission. You see, submission is an active thing, a positive thing.[/i]


"in a moment
be switched to its brakes
to pull it to a halt."

"In prayer, where submission is in view, that is very often what has to be done."

"That strength of desire has to be arrested in one direction and brought into another direction..."

Find this quite often. There is no doubt that often times due to absorbing so much from reading things here and either musing on them or even in making them matters of prayer that I can find myself couching things in a matter of response. Reasoning them out and with a mind to that specifically. That may not be inherently wrong except for the very things mentioned above.

It in effect blows by the train station without stopping to ask, what is the Lord's mind on this? And just as often when their is the halt find that the whole panoply needs to be just rejected, not stated;

[i]"That strength of desire has to be arrested in one direction and brought into another direction..."[/i]

How does this apply to dynamics of this forum? And specifically in the idea of 'praying before posting?'

Not an insinuation, if it were it would be as one speaking from experience and failure. As this goes on I cannot help but finding much that applies directly to matters of discussion and the very things that pit one against another as Brethren far too often.


_________________
Mike Balog

 2007/8/21 9:34Profile









 Re:

crsschk wrote
To this matter at hand ... namely this book and these chapters, I am finding even my earlier thoughts about not making this a must read ill-advised.

This may be the most important thing any of us could get down into the marrow of our being. It is still difficult to start where I had mind to earlier this morning and that was due to finding myself right smack in the very battle of chapter 3. Much could be said and am short on time, but what a time it has been this very morning, precisely the assault and tactics, things I have known before and experienced but here it is now 6:30am my time and to think this all started somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:00am ... It could have been a half hour for all I know or so it seemed, strange way of putting it, but my what an incredible thing, the sheer audacity sometimes ...




moe_mac wrote:
Actually this was the thread I could not find. As you said it is in the last paragragh. Thanks


article posted and combined prayer 101 threads:
http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic_id=18808&forum=45&start=0&viewmode=flat&order=0
Under Aids to devotions in the last paragraph as you said. Sorry for the mixed up and any problem I caused.

 2007/8/22 1:09
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[b]Chapter 2 - Prayer as Warfare[/b]

[i]Reading[/i]: Nehemiah 4:9,17,20. Ephesians 6:18.

The Christian life has very often been likened to a warfare, and the appeal has been made to 'come and join the ranks and enter into the battle of the Lord.' But there is an irregularity about such an appeal, because, while it is true that there is such a warfare and such a militant company, the real consciousness of the fight, the battle, the warfare, does not exist until we are saved and are 'on the Lord's side.' The unconverted do not know anything about this battle. For them it is something merely reported and spoken about, something objective - outside of themselves and something about which they have altogether confused and wrong ideas. It is not until we are really in Christ that we either know the reality of the battle or understand its true nature.

But it is not just the warfare of the Christian life in the general and ordinary sense with which we are concerned here at this time. It is that warfare which is especially connected with, and related to, the full testimony of the Lord Jesus. The general conception of Christian warfare is that which has to do with evils, wrongs, vices, the things in this world, and human conditions which ought to be otherwise, and it is there that the mistaken apprehension of unconverted men and women is found. They think that to enter into the Christian army means to go out to battle with the evils, the wrongs, and the vices which abound in this world. But when you really come into touch with the full testimony of the Lord Jesus you very soon develop another consciousness: that it is not merely evils, wrongs and sins that you are having to deal with, but spiritual forces - intelligent, cunning, artful, venomous, malicious forces - which are at the back of everything else. It is that warfare with which we are concerned just now, that which is related to the full testimony of the Lord Jesus, to His absolute and perfect sovereignty and lordship in this universe, and that warfare is not with things but with spiritual persons, headed by a great spiritual personage, the evil one.

[b]Spiritual Conflict Implies a Spiritual Position[/b]

This warfare is related to a position. It is a consciousness which only comes to us in a certain realm. You may be a Christian, and as a Christian you may realize that you are up against adversities, difficulties, oppositions, and things which make the Christian life strenuous and full of conflict, calling out all the militant features of life, and yet you may not have entered into the ultimate things of the testimony of the Lord Jesus and the ultimate realm of the battle of the saints. But if you come as a believer to a revelation of the fullness of Christ in His personal sovereignty and lordship, in the greatness of the work of His cross in every realm, and then into the light of the Church which is His Body, you enter immediately into a new realm of conflict, the battle changes its character, and you begin to develop a consciousness, or a consciousness begins to grow in you, that you are up against something far more sinister, far more intelligently evil than those wrongs that abound in the world. You become increasingly conscious that it is with the devil, directly and nakedly, and with his forces that you are having to do.

But that consciousness is bound up with a specific position, and the experience of believers is that as they go on with the Lord (which means going upward, away from the earthlies to the heavenlies, more and more away from the old creation to the new creation life, and more and more away from the flesh to the spirit) the more closely do they come into contact with the ultimate spiritual forces of the universe, and the conflict assumes new forms and the warfare takes a new character. It is a warfare linked up with a specific position to which the believer comes, and with the consciousness which comes in only in a certain realm. It is in a fuller measure a spiritual warfare, and being that, it pre-supposes a spiritual state on the part of the believer.

To put that in another way: the more spiritual we become, the more spiritual does the warfare become; and the more spiritual the warfare is in our consciousness and in our knowledge, so we may realize that we have become more spiritual. When we are carnal our warfare is carnal, and I refer to believers and not to unbelievers. The unbeliever is not spoken of as carnal. He is natural. When we are carnal as believers, our warfare and our weapons are carnal. That is, we meet men on their own level and answer back their challenge with that with which they challenge us. If they come out in argument we counter with argument; if they come out with reason we meet them with reason; if they come out with fierce temper we meet them in the heat of the flesh; and if they come out to us with criticism, well, we give them what they give us and try to go one better, meeting them always on their own level.

That is carnal warfare, using carnal weapons. When we cease to be carnal and leave all carnal ground, becoming wholly spiritual, we find ourselves in a new realm at the back of men, dealing with spiritual forces directly and not with merely carnal forces. We have come into touch with something at the back of carnal man, and the carnal man is utterly helpless in the presence of a spiritual man for the simple reason that he cannot get the spiritual man to come down to his level. Therefore he is disarmed, and sooner or later he will have to recognize that that spiritual man is his superior. But the superiority is not just in that the spiritual man is on a new level. It is that he is meeting not the man naturally, but the forces behind the man. It is spiritual warfare now. We cease to fight after the flesh; we cease to fight man; we cease to battle with flesh; our warfare is in another realm altogether. That represents spiritual advance, spiritual growth, and it represents spirituality. And when we come into real spiritual warfare a spiritual state is pre-supposed. In that realm the natural man's resources are utterly useless. They are ruled out, because for that warfare only spiritual equipment is either permissible or effective. The warfare then is with spiritual weapons, spiritual resources and spiritual equipment. So Ephesians 6 finds us in the heavenlies, battling, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, but we are equipped with a spiritual armour, the armour of God.

[b]The Prayer-life - the Objective of the Enemy[/b]

That is all preliminary. What we are coming to immediately as the thing of basic importance for us, having seen the nature of our warfare, is that the battlefield of this warfare is prayer. When the Apostle Paul has shown us the whole panoply of God, the armour in all its parts, and exhorted us to take it up and to stand, and withstand, he, as it were, spreads the ground under our feet and says: "With all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." The battleground of this warfare is prayer. What I mean is this: that this battle is won on the ground of prayer, these forces are dealt with and defeated on the ground of prayer, and, that being so, the chief objective of the enemy is the prayer-life of the believer. That is the focal point of all the enemy's attention and strategy.

Now if we said no more than that, that is the supreme thing for our grasping and for our recognition. We have said the most important thing that can be said in this connection. The focal point of all the enemy's attention and strategy is the prayer-life of the believer. If he can destroy that by any means he has gained the day, defeated the saints and frustrated the ends of God. The enemy fights prayer persistently, energetically, violently and cunningly, and he fights the prayer-life of the believer. He fights it in various ways. First of all, he fights it along preventive lines, in the direction of prevention, and there has to be a tremendous battle and conflict to get prayer - not only to pray, but to have prayer, get prayer - and there is nothing in all the range of his wit, his cunning, his craftiness, his ingenuity and his resourcefulness that the enemy will not employ to prevent real spiritual prayer. I think it will probably be enough for us if we concentrate upon that just now.

[i]cont.[/i]


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Mike Balog

 2007/8/22 16:08Profile
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 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

Quote:
To put that in another way: the more spiritual we become, the more spiritual does the warfare become; and the more spiritual the warfare is in our consciousness and in our knowledge, so we may realize that we have become more spiritual. When we are carnal our warfare is carnal, and I refer to believers and not to unbelievers. The unbeliever is not spoken of as carnal. He is natural. When we are carnal as believers, our warfare and our weapons are carnal. That is, we meet men on their own level and answer back their challenge with that with which they challenge us. If they come out in argument we counter with argument; if they come out with reason we meet them with reason; if they come out with fierce temper we meet them in the heat of the flesh; and if they come out to us with criticism, well, we give them what they give us and try to go one better, meeting them always on their own level.

That is carnal warfare, using carnal weapons. When we cease to be carnal and leave all carnal ground, becoming wholly spiritual, we find ourselves in a new realm at the back of men, dealing with spiritual forces directly and not with merely carnal forces. We have come into touch with something at the back of carnal man, and the carnal man is utterly helpless in the presence of a spiritual man for the simple reason that he cannot get the spiritual man to come down to his level. Therefore he is disarmed, and sooner or later he will have to recognize that that spiritual man is his superior. But the superiority is not just in that the spiritual man is on a new level. It is that he is meeting not the man naturally, but the forces behind the man. It is spiritual warfare now. We cease to fight after the flesh; we cease to fight man; we cease to battle with flesh; our warfare is in another realm altogether. That represents spiritual advance, spiritual growth, and it represents spirituality. And when we come into real spiritual warfare a spiritual state is pre-supposed. In that realm the natural man's resources are utterly useless. They are ruled out, because for that warfare only spiritual equipment is either permissible or effective. The warfare then is with spiritual weapons, spiritual resources and spiritual equipment. So Ephesians 6 finds us in the heavenlies, battling, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, but we are equipped with a spiritual armour, the armour of God.




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Mike Balog

 2007/8/23 15:27Profile
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 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[b]The Battle for Prayer[/b]

I am quite sure that I have the agreement of most of the Lord's people when I say that one of the most difficult things, if not the most difficult thing, is to be able to get to prayer and give ourselves to prayer. When we contemplate prayer we meet a host of unsuspected and unforeseen difficulties which suddenly rise up as ambush forces breaking out upon us. Anything to prevent prayer! I am not saying something that you do not know, but I am saying it in order that you may recognize it clearly, definitely and deliberately, and face the fact that it is not just ordinary circumstances, but a designed, well-laid scheme of the enemy to prevent prayer. The enemy, instead of objecting, will promote occupation with a thousand and one things for the Lord if thereby he can crowd out prayer. He does not mind how busy we are in the Lord's work, nor how often we are found preaching, conducting meetings, and doing the many-sided work of the Lord, as we may call it. He knows quite well that all the work for the Lord which is not founded upon triumphant spiritual prayer will count for little or nothing in the long run and will break down. I say that he does not mind you working. Work for the Lord as hard as you can, but if you leave out prayer you will not accomplish very much. One of the subtleties of the enemy is to get us so busy, so occupied, so much on the go and on the rush with - as we think - things for the Lord and the work of the Lord that our prayer is cramped and pushed up into a corner and limited, if not almost entirely ruled out; and the Lord will never accept the excuse: 'Lord, I am too much engaged in Your interests to pray.' The Lord never favours an attitude like that.

You will remember that when the children of Israel began to talk about and contemplate their exodus from Egypt, the enemy's reaction was to double their labours, that is, to get them so much more deeply occupied with work that there would be no more time for contemplating an exodus. Immediately you begin to contemplate or purpose a fuller prayer-life, the enemy launches a new scheme for keeping you more busy and occupied, heaping up the work and crowding in demands so that you will have no time or opportunity for prayer.

I think that we must face this quite definitely. Of course, there are all the arguments about duty, obligation and responsibility, and it does sometimes look as though to put some things aside for prayer would be neglecting duty, or failing in obligation, or breaking down in responsibility, but there is a place where we have to cast those matters upon the Lord, and pray.

Now, of course, it is very difficult to apply that. There are always dangers about saying a thing like that, because there are always people who are more than ready to let go of their responsibilities, or who do not take their responsibilities seriously. They would be only too ready and glad to hand over their domestic affairs to someone else while they cultivate a devotional life. The Lord must safeguard this word. But we must recognize this: that the enemy will construct his best arguments about responsibility, duty and conscience to stop us praying, and there is a place where, if we see prayer is utterly ruled out, or brought down to such a limited place that it is completely inadequate for a life of spiritual ascendancy and victory, we have to say: 'Lord, I am going to trust the responsibility with You while I pray, that You will not allow my breaking away for this time to have detrimental results, and that You will protect this prayer-time - which I seek for Your glory - from the inroads of the enemy.'

The principle of the tithe does work, even in this realm. Give God His portion, His place, and you will find that when you have given the Lord His one-tenth, you are able to do more with the nine-tenths than you could do with ten-tenths. That principle works. But there is a battle for prayer, and the necessity is for a strong, a mighty, a deliberate and a determined stand in Christ, by the victory of His cross, to get prayer, to bring in the full weight and the value of the victory of the cross of the Lord Jesus to secure prayer and to drive the enemy off the ground of prayer so that that ground may be held for prayer. It is like Shammah of old, when he stood in the lentil patch with his sword in his hand and, singlehanded, fought the Philistines and preserved that lentil patch, and the Lord wrought a great victory. The lentil patch may represent our prayer-ground, which has to be defended against the enemy in the fullness of Calvary's victory. There is a fight to get prayer and a battle for prayer. We have, I am afraid, too often accepted the situation that it is not possible to pray just now, or things are such as to make it quite out of the question to pray. Yes, they will be if the devil has his way; they will be always such as to make prayer out of the question. That is one of his tactics. We have to clear the ground for prayer in the victory of His Name and of His Cross. The Cross is just as effectual in securing time for prayer, if we will apply it and use it, as it is in any other realm.

But we have to approach prayer on victory-ground. We have to take up this attitude, and we shall find it more and more necessary to do so: 'Now prayer must be. Everything makes it impossible on the human side, but, Lord, I claim in the victory of Calvary a time of prayer, a clear space for prayer.' We have to stand in that victory, and it may mean standing before we get through. It is not only the many things that may press in upon us along the line of external circumstances and happenings, to leave no room for a time of prayer. How true it is that when we are actually down on our knees prayer is withstood! It may be nothing on the outside. There may be no doorbells ringing, no telephone going, nor callers coming. We may be shut up in the silence of our own room and be actually on our knees, and then a mighty interfering activity commences. It may be physical. We may suddenly develop a physical consciousness that was not there a little while before, and it will threaten the whole of our prayer-time, so that we find that bodily we have to take up a tremendous burden, a deadweight. We may even develop positive symptoms of illness of which we were unconscious before. These are facts. And then mental conditions may come in just at that time which were not there before. Oh, immediately, what an inrush of a thousand and one things which have not bothered us up till that moment! The mind becomes occupied by way of reflection and with things we must not forget which have not troubled us until that moment. And what about that sense of numbness, coldness, distance and unreality that descends upon you at such times? If you pray audibly your voice sounds strange and far away, and you seem to be talking into the air. All these things, and many others, come when we purpose prayer. They come on the very threshold, and for a time we meet all manner of discouragements and set-backs to prayer, and if we take the first five, ten or even fifteen minutes as our criterion, we will give it up, close down, get up and get on with something else.

Yes, the enemy is out to prevent prayer, and there is a phase of the battle which has to be gone through in order to get prayer. Again I say, this is nothing strange or foreign to you - unless, of course, you have not had a prayer-life at all, or are one who has never seriously taken up the business of prayer. But I am not saying all this to inform you. I am saying it to you and to myself in order that we may recognize that this is a thing which calls us into battle. It is the warfare of the saints to get to prayer, and not only to pray through. There is this aspect of the enemy's activity which is to prevent prayer, and to obtain it is a battle. There has to be a standing, a taking up of a position, and a withstanding in prayer for prayer.

I trust that the saying of all this which is so true to your experiences will nevertheless have the desired effect of making you recognize that in the future your prayer-life is not going to develop if the enemy can prevent it, and if you are going to have it and it is going to develop, then you will have to stand for it. It will not just come. You will not find that you just drift into it. You will never find that you drift into a mighty prayer-life, or that you walk with ease into such a thing. You will find that there is some making and breaking, some conflict and some battle to get it, that every realm of things will be taken hold of by the enemy to prevent it, and all that he has at his command of supernature will be used. You and I, dear friends, have to fight for our prayer-life, and the more we advance with the Lord spiritually, the more we shall find that to be so. It is not that the enemy is out to stop you and me from having a personal prayer-life. That is not what he is against. It is the testimony of the Lord Jesus which is so closely bound up with the prayer-life of the Lord's people that he is out to destroy. You and I, as individuals, as human beings, do not mean anything to the enemy. It is that which is bound up with us, and with which we are bound up in Christ - His sovereignty and His glory.

[b]What Is Involved in Prayer[/b]

Now does it occur to you, or even strike you with considerable force, that this resistance to prayer-life on the part of the enemy implies - or more than that, it positively declares and proclaims - that the Lord's glory and honour, His Name and His testimony are preeminently secured by prayer? If that is the focal point of the enemy's activity, then it means that the Lord's highest interests are served by prayer. That puts prayer in the first place. That, again, is not new to you, and yet it is a further emphasis upon the fact that the enemy is always trying to get prayer into the last place. He will try to get anything else in relation to the Lord before prayer, and get prayer in the last place. And it does not matter how you put it, or what you say to Christian people about this, you cannot get it home to them. 'Oh, it is only the prayer meeting tonight!' On Sunday night, when there is ministry of the Word and preaching, you will have a large gathering, but on prayer meeting night you go into a side hall which will be perhaps a little more than half full. And yet on Sunday night you have said that our main ministry is prayer and everything goes if our prayer-life fails! You may say anything you like along that line, emphasize it and stress it, but it does not make any difference. I must confess that I am often bewildered by the fact that so many really spiritual people - for so I give them credit for being - will crowd to preaching meetings and conferences, but they are rarely seen at a prayer meeting and leave so few to do the praying in the corporate prayer-life of the assembly.

Yes, it is just like that, as though listening to an address were the first and primary thing, and as though getting Bible teaching and truth were more than anything else. No, dear friends! Not at all! All that can only become vital, living and effective in so far as our prayer-life, individually and corporately, is maintained in strength and given the first place. So suffer whatever there might be of correction in the word, for it is true, is it not? Oh, we have all been guilty. We all have to say to ourselves: 'Thou art the man!' We do need so much to get the Lord's estimate of the value of prayer, and if you go through the Word you will find that He estimates prayer at a higher value than anything else in His people. Look at His own life! Oh, amazement of amazement, that One such as the Son of God, in all that He was, should yet maintain such a prayer-life! "A great while before day," or "continued all night." Yes, He prayed!

And has it occurred to you that some of the most glorious unveilings of truth that we have in the Bible came in prayers? Read those prayers of Paul in Ephesians and Colossians! "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father...", and then he goes on and gives you his prayer, and in that prayer you have a revelation which is matchless. It has come in prayer, so that your teaching is based upon the prayer-life of a man. Your light, in its true value, comes out of prayer, and there is no light of real value that is not born of prayer. All the value of truth depends upon the prayer which is behind it, so that our conferences, our meetings, our addresses, and all the truth that comes just remain so much negative matter if there is not a commensurate prayer-life on our part in relation to it. We have to pray it in and pray it out, and I feel that after a conference the thing to do is to get to prayer more than ever on the ground of what has been said, and take that up before the Lord. If we did that, how much more fruit there would be from our conferences! Instead of having truth in our notebooks we would have it in our lives. Instead of so much more truth that we have now become acquainted with, we would be entering into the working power of that truth if we came back with it to the Lord in prayer. No one is more conscious of the need of having things said to him on this matter than I am at this time, but we are speaking together of these things and I trust that we are all taking them to heart. Oh, for the day when, not for the sake of numbers (for it is not a matter of counting heads) but because of the recognition of the pre-eminent place of prayer, the prayer meeting will be as crowded as any conference gathering! It only needs the apprehension of God's estimate of prayer, and we shall regard it as at least as important as any conference meeting with a theme and an address. [i]The Lord burn that into our hearts, for that is the preeminent work - prayer.[/i]

It is not a great deal that has been said, but it is very important, and let us remember the word in connection with the enemy's determination to prevent prayer. We shall go on to show you that if he cannot prevent it, he will try to interrupt it; and if he cannot interrupt it, he will try to destroy it afterwards. There are other aspects of this thing, but we have perhaps seen enough to get us into some very definite place in relation to our prayer-life in facing it in the Name of the Lord.


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Mike Balog

 2007/8/25 23:23Profile
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 Re:

THis has been my story this last week. Anyone say prayer is easy, I am not sure about that. It hard and lots of work. It take all me at time. If I really give my whole heart. Oh let us really battle, let us battle in prayer

Blessing , thank you brother
Charlene


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charlene

 2007/8/25 23:49Profile
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Posts: 9192
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 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[b]Chapter 3 - Prayer as Warfare (continued)[/b]

[i]Reading[/i]: 1 Kings 18:30-32, 36-38, 42-45. James 5:17-18. Ephesians 6:18.

We note that what is true of the enemy's activity along the line of prevention of prayer is also true along the line of interruption of prayer. I do not only mean that while you are praying you have interruptions, but he has a subtle way of interfering with the continuity of a prayer-life. You may triumphantly secure seasons of prayer for perhaps a week, or more, and then something is introduced which breaks into that continuity so that you lose it, and you find that after a time a tremendous battle has to be fought to recover that prayer-life. For many of us our history is that of a spasmodic prayer-life which comes in patches, a history fraught with the necessity for every now and then recovering lost ground through having a setback - the interruption of the enemy. So we have to set a watch there, and watch especially against reactions from intensive periods of prayer, slackening off and feeling that now, after that strenuous time, we can take a spiritual holiday. There is always a very great peril there, as David proved. At a time when kings went out to battle, he went up on to the housetop. Then what the enemy cannot prevent or interrupt, he will seek to destroy afterwards. That is, he will direct his attention to spoiling the prayer-life afterwards. We may have a strong time, or a series of strong times, but if he cannot directly attack our prayer-life, the enemy is always out to spoil it through another angle which does not seem immediately to be related to it, but by which indirectly we are crippled. Our prayer-life may be very strong, good and consistent, but something happens in some other department of our life, perhaps in a relationship somewhere else, and when we come to prayer we find that that thing represents a direct blow at our prayer-life and we cannot go on until that thing has been dealt with.

We must recognize that all these things are just the enemy's efforts, and are a highly organized scheme to destroy, either directly or indirectly, our prayer-life, or to interfere with it. Thus we shall find that our prayer-life is the focal point of everything.

It is when we come really to pray, to the real business of prayer, that we shall discover exactly where we are in all the relationships of our life. The iniquity which we regard in our hearts may not have anything to do directly with our prayer-life, but it comes indirectly as a terrific blow upon us. Things which may be side-shows bear right down upon our prayer-life. The enemy is always putting up these things all round to destroy our prayer-life. We register the state of things when we come to prayer. We may not recognize for the moment what a certain thing means, whatever that thing may be. It may be an interrupted fellowship, a strained relationship, a cross-purpose, or a breach somewhere, and we may not recognize exactly what it does mean until we come to take up our strong prayer-life. Then we find that that thing has struck at the very vitals of prayer and we cannot get on. That thing is out there, and so we are held up here; and then we discover that there has been a subtle working on the circumference of our lives which strikes at the very centre. The enemy would destroy our prayer-life, would, so to speak, throw things at it from the outside to make it impossible. I think you are able to follow what I mean, for experience bears it out.

[b]The Universality of Prayer[/b]

Now we come to widen out a little in this spiritual conflict. These passages which we have read present us with a very comprehensive position. In 1 Kings 18 the account of the battle of Elijah on Carmel is undoubtedly an Old Testament illustration of the New Testament truth, especially of Ephesians 6. These two things go together as type and antitype, as part and counterpart, and what is common to them both is that the sphere of the conflict is the heavenlies. What James says directs the whole of this matter to the heavens: the opening and closing of the heavens, the government of the heavens, the ruling of the heavens. The heavens are the main object in view here, and this conflict relates to the heavens and the heavenlies: "Our wrestling is... in the heavenlies." Elijah's conflict was in a very real way a conflict in the heavens where heavenly forces were involved. That, I think, is patent, and that is a common feature in these two portions of the Word.

This particular spiritual conflict in which you and I are found when we have come into God's full purpose and testimony in Christ is, in its ultimate issue, related to the government of the heavens. Who is going to govern in the heavens? There are the principalities, the powers, the world-rulers of this darkness and the spiritual hosts of wickedness who have assumed the place of government. They are in a usurped place, for that is not the eternal thought of God, nor is it His will. Christ is Head, and His Church as His members are, in the intention of God, called to rule in the heavens, to govern as from the heavens. It is a question of what the heavens are in this matter, whether they are to be satanic, or whether they are to be the expression of the absolute lordship of the Lord Jesus in and through the Church, which is His Body. It is the heavenlies, the ruling realities, which are involved, and it is there that our conflict is. That is the sphere of this warfare, and our prayer-life has to do with that. It is not merely to do with the incidents of our lives here on the earth. Oh, that the Lord's people would recognize the immensity of this, for so often the generality of our prayer is in the realm of merely trivial things, and a great deal of time is taken up with telling the Lord all about the little things of our ordinary earthly life which, while they may be important to us and may count in an earthly life, do not touch the ultimate things in God's purpose.

There is such a difference between praying down there and praying against the immense forces of the universe and getting the heavenly things through. The Lord's people want to be lifted in prayer to where the mighty, heavenly, eternal and universal are affected, touched and brought through. There is a great need for us to be brought into our heavenly place in the matter of prayer, where real spiritual matters lying behind the other are touched. Very often the Lord never allows our prayers to be effective in the merely earthly details of our lives because He wants us to see that there is something behind those things which matters a great deal more. You sometimes pray for a thing to happen, a change to take place, or an event to come off, but nothing happens. The Lord seeks - after you have extended yourself as fully as you can on the matter - to show you that there is a spiritual key to that situation, and He cannot do just the earthly thing for you because that would not in any way be to your spiritual increase of intelligence, understanding, knowledge or value, and would only be doing things because you asked Him. He is trying to instruct and teach you so that you come into possession of spiritual situations.

Well, it is the heavens which are the sphere of this conflict.

[b]The Church - the Occasion of the Conflict[/b]

What is the occasion of the conflict? What is it for? Well, from the context in both these passages, 1 Kings 18 and Ephesians 6, you see that the occasion of the conflict is the Church. The Church is the immediate object in view. In 1 Kings 18, of course, it is the people of God, and the issue of Elijah's prayer is that their hearts should be turned back. The Lord's people are in view and his prayer is for this people, so he brings them all near and involves them in this issue, and associates them with it, because it is their issue. We know that the thing which is in view right through the letter to the Ephesians is the Church which is His Body, and this is the occasion of the conflict. It is a battle in the heavenlies in relation to the Church, the Body of Christ.

There are two things to be said about that. One, that it is not merely a personal matter, but a collective, corporate matter. This conflict relates to the whole Body of Christ, and the conflict of every individual is a related conflict, relating to all the rest of the saints, so that there is that spiritual relativity which means that if one member is defeated the whole Body suffers spiritually. It may not know why, nor be conscious of its particular suffering, but, registered in the Head and the consciousness of the Head, there is a loss to the whole Body when even one member falls into defeat. The conflict is a related one; and so the enemy seeks to isolate individual members of the Body and bring such pressure upon them as to crush them down, because he knows - not just the value of an isolated member - but the relativity of every member. It is because of this that there is so much spiritual emphasis from the intelligence of the Holy Spirit upon the necessity for praying for all saints, for the fellowship prayer, the corporate prayer of the Lord's people. There is loss to Christ, the Head, if there is not that prayer for all saints.

[b]Christ in Glory - the Object of the Conflict[/b]

The other thing to be said about this is that it is not even the Church as the Body which is the ultimate thing, although it is the immediate occasion. We must not put the Church, the Body of Christ, in the pre-eminent place. It is an occasion, but it is not the final thing. The Church, the Body of Christ, is His instrument, His vessel for His testimony. His testimony is deposited in the Body. It was so in His resurrection, and at Pentecost the testimony of His victory, the testimony of His exaltation, the testimony of His glorification and the testimony of His universal authority in heaven and in earth was deposited in the Church. As the temple in the Old Testament was the shrine of the glory of God, so the Body of Christ in the New Testament is the shrine of His glory, His testimony and His Name, and it is ultimately to strike at that glory, that Name, and that exaltation that the enemy directs his attention to the elect vessel, the Church, the Body of Christ. And so the Church becomes the occasion of the conflict, although not the end, but the enemy gets at the Christ, at the Name and at the glory through the Body. We know that that was true in the Old Testament.

When Israel was in a state of declension the Lord's glory and honour, His Name, and His majesty were over-shadowed, beclouded, and lost to view. When Israel's spiritual life was in the ascendant, then Jehovah's testimony was maintained in full strength. In the New Testament, and in our own time in this New Testament age, the enemy's way of dishonouring the Lord is by destroying the spiritual life of the Lord's people, or by breaking up the fellowship of the saints.

So the Church, the Body, becomes the occasion of the conflict because of what it is in its divinely-appointed vocation, purpose and object. The enemy's bitter hatred and violent opposition are directed against the corporate life of the Lord's people. He will seek by any means to destroy that, to break up the fellowship of the saints, to set the Lord's people against one another, and to introduce disintegrating things - but, oh, how subtle are his ways in this!


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Mike Balog

 2007/8/27 0:20Profile
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 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[i]The Church, the Body of Christ, is His instrument, His vessel for His testimony. His testimony is deposited in the Body. It was so in His resurrection, and at Pentecost the testimony of His victory, the testimony of His exaltation, the testimony of His glorification and the testimony of His universal authority in heaven and in earth was deposited in the Church.[/i]

[b]The Church - the Occasion of the Conflict
Christ in Glory - the Object of the Conflict[/b]


[i]It is a consciousness which only comes to us in a certain realm. You may be a Christian, and as a Christian you may realize that you are up against adversities, difficulties, oppositions, and things which make the Christian life strenuous and full of conflict, calling out all the militant features of life, and yet you may not have entered into the ultimate things of the testimony of the Lord Jesus and the ultimate realm of the battle of the saints.[/i]

[i]It is not that the enemy is out to stop you and me from having a personal prayer-life. That is not what he is against. [b]It is the testimony of the Lord Jesus[/b] which is so closely bound up with the prayer-life of the Lord's people that he is out to destroy. You and I, as individuals, as human beings, do not mean anything to the enemy. It is that which is bound up with us, and with which we are bound up in Christ - His sovereignty and His glory.[/i]



[i]The Lords Testimony[/i]


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Mike Balog

 2007/8/27 9:41Profile
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 Re: In Touch with the Throne ~ Sparks

[b]The Strategic Value of Watchfulness[/b]

Here I do feel, dear friends, that you and I will have to do what Nehemiah did, and what the Apostle in this very portion exhorts us to do: "Set a watch"; "watching thereunto," because, as you notice in both connections, it is the wiles of the devil which are in view. They are the subtle activities of the enemy, and to set a watch against the wiles of the devil in practical outworking will, at least in one direction, mean this: that we make quite sure that the rumours which we hear and the reports that come to us are absolutely trustworthy. We must make quite sure - "prove all things". We can be divided by a rumour, and split up by a report. We can be set at variance or apart by a mere insinuation. In these days, when the atmosphere is surcharged with fear and suspicion, you have only to hint at the possibility of someone being 'unsound' and a spiritual breach of fellowship is created and a gap made. If only we set a watch and made sure, we would find that a great deal of that was unnecessary and unwarranted, and represented a great loss to the Lord Himself and to His people, for when we get really to close grips and sift these things we find there is nothing in them, or, if there is anything in them, they have an explanation and we cannot fail, in all honesty of heart, to accept that as being right. That is very often how it works out.

But, oh! to set a watch against these wiles of the devil! His methods of breaking up the corporate life of the Lord's people are beyond our power to enumerate, and that is where prayer and watching are necessary. Prayer should result in intelligence about the wiles of the enemy, and 'watching unto prayer' is watching and praying that you might discover in prayer what it is the enemy is after and how he is working.

We do not want to be obsessed with the enemy, always to have our eyes on him, but we must recognize the facts as they are, and those facts are that throughout these almost two millenniums the enemy has made it his great business unceasingly to destroy the fellowship of the people of God. Is that true? Is that history? If it is true, what does it signify? That you can never have something that really in any measure represents what is precious to the Lord, something of a spiritual character, embodying some precious element of His testimony, but what it is the object of satanic malignity and cunning which has the one intention of splitting that thing, breaking it up, and getting schism and division there somehow, by truth or by lies. That is history, and surely it gives the whole game away, that a Church in fellowship, a Body rightly adjusted and related, moving together in the will of God, is the greatest menace to the spiritual rule of principalities and powers that there is in the universe.

So it is that to which we should work and direct our attention. Let us lay ourselves out for spiritual fellowship! That does not mean compromising with things which are contrary to the Word of God, and must not mean coming down from any spiritual position to which the Lord has, through cost, brought us. We must be where Nehemiah was when his enemies said, 'Come down and let us discuss this matter. We must confer about this.' Nehemiah said: "I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down." There must be no coming down to discuss things that are beyond the point of discussion as to spiritual necessity. But, dear friends, any spiritual position arrived at through cost and the deep in-working of the cross must be held only in relation to all the saints. It must not be held out of relation to the saints, nor must those who have it and hold it be made something apart from the rest. No! Whatever may be the difference of spiritual position so far as degree is concerned, fellowship with all saints must be striven after and maintained as far as possible, and it must be reached out for. I do want to urge that upon you more and more, as it is urged upon my own heart, because the Lord's end in giving light and truth may be defeated if the reception of it and the holding of it constitutes those who have it as being something apart from the rest of the saints. He has given it for the Body; if it is held apart, then the end for which He gave it has been missed. Lay that to heart very definitely!

So the occasion of the conflict is the Church, by reason of its heavenly calling and vocation. This is no personal thing, nor local thing: it is universal. The Body of Christ is a universal reality.

[b]The Basis of Victory[/b]

Just a word or two with regard to the basis of victory in this conflict. The basis of victory here in 1 Kings 18 was undoubtedly the altar, and in Ephesians it is the same. Before you reach your position in the heavenlies for heavenly conflict and triumph, you have to pass through the earlier chapters of Ephesians and recognize that a death has taken place, that an altar was there, and that, having died, you have been 'quickened and raised together.' All the features of the cross, the altar, are implied at the beginning of the letter to the Ephesians, so that both in the representation and in that which is represented the basis of victory is the cross, the altar. Elijah took twelve stones, and the constitution of the altar with twelve stones immediately brings in the administrative feature in relation to the altar, for twelve is the number of administration. The altar comprised of twelve stones becomes the administrative instrument, the governmental principle, in this conflict in the hands of God. The government is in the cross, and by the cross, for by His cross He triumphed, and in His cross He stripped off principalities and powers and 'made a show of them openly.' I wonder if, in reading those fragments of 1 Kings 18 you were struck with the terms: "...according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name." What is that? Well, Israel means 'a prince with God,' so in that verse 31 we have sons of a prince with God represented in the altar, in the cross.

Symbolically that speaks to us very clearly of that basis of our coming into our Prince, our governmental position in Christ, Who is the Prince with God. He is greater than Israel, for He is the Prince with God, and we are sons in Him and partake of His princeliness. That brings us up into a place of governmental authority in Christ in the heavenlies, but it is all bound up with the altar, the cross. The cross is the basis of victory, and that is borne out again, not only by the testimony of heaven, the Word of God, but by the testimony of hell. Satan is an unwonted, unwilling - and I sometimes wonder whether he is an unconscious - witness to the truth in this way, for it is perfectly clear that he hated the cross, and he tried in the first place to keep the Lord Jesus from it: "...this shall not be unto Thee. But He turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan." This is Satan trying to keep the Lord Jesus from the cross, and then, having failed to keep Him from it, he tried to bring Him off the cross: "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." Those subtle suggestions! "...let Him now come down from the cross and we will believe Him." To be believed in by the world was what He had come for, but, no, the second method of the enemy did not succeed.

The enemy having failed along those lines, and the cross having been accomplished in spite of him, he will seek now to change and alter the preaching of the cross in order to make it of non-effect. He will get people to preach it, and in their very preaching of it make it void. That is extraordinarily subtle! It is as well to recognize how far the enemy will go. He will promote the preaching of the cross, and the cross preached by his instigation and under his influence is made non-effective. The Apostle tells us that in his first letter to the Corinthians, that the cross preached in the wisdom of men makes it of non-effect, or void. Men preaching the cross in their wisdom are simply taking the true meaning and power out of the cross. Oh, yes, you hear plenty about the way of the cross, but it is not His way of the cross. The very power of the cross is in its registration against the enemy and all his works, against sin as a principle, and against evil as a state, a nature. The power of the cross is taken out when you speak about the heroics of the cross, and about the way of the cross as, well, any man who denies himself and lays down his life for his country is in the same category as Jesus Christ, Who, after all, only laid down His life as any soldier has done. That is the cross in modernism.

Another thing which the enemy seeks to do in relation to the cross is to keep Christians in ignorance of its full meaning. It is a great day for the Lord, and a terrible day for the enemy, when a Christian breaks through into the revelation of the full meaning of Calvary. That day marks a new bit of history in the realm of conflict. You may meet a certain kind of opposition on the ground of the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus, but, believe me, you will meet ten times more when you come on to the ground of the representative work of the Lord Jesus, and when you take up your place in identification with Christ in death, burial and resurrection in a spiritual way. Then begins a new history of conflict, of battle, and of satanic antagonism, but you have entered into a new realm and a new place, and you have new powers at your command. The enemy has lost his ground. Multitudes believe in the substitutionary work and rejoice in it, but they are still going on in the energy of the natural man, even as Christians. They do not represent a menace to the enemy in those higher ranges, but when the cross has been so accepted and planted in our lives that the natural life is set aside - "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me"- then there is a new realm of meaning to the Lord and of meaning to the enemy, and therefore a new realm of conflict. The enemy is out to keep that side of the cross from Christians, and we have said before, and it is true, that very often you meet your opposition on that line more from Christians than from any others. It is a strange thing. Immediately you go on with the Lord into all the fullness of the meaning of Calvary you find your chief difficulty is in the realm of Christians, and, as a rule, 'official' Christians. Leaders will not have it, and you find that your way is made infinitely more difficult. It is true that the enemy does hate the fullness of the cross, and he will seek by any means to destroy its value for believers, to hide its meaning from them, and if possible to get them to forsake the position and come down from it, or to persuade them not to accept it.

Well, surely that is his testimony to its value! He is a witness to its meaning. The cross, then, is the basis of victory, and the enemy knows it very well.

I am not going further than that now. We must take this, think about it and apply it, but remember this grand, conclusive thing: Satan is a defeated foe for all who are truly one with the cross of the Lord Jesus, because Calvary does represent his defeat, and, as we are planted into the death of Christ, so we stand with Him in that defeat of the enemy, in that victory of the Lord Jesus. So, however he may rage, storm, fight, afflict, press, worry, and harass, the fact remains that for those who are one with Christ in His cross, Satan is a defeated foe.




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Mike Balog

 2007/8/29 9:57Profile





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