Take heed to yourselves…

I just want to share to you this portion which really nourished me these days while going though a certain situation. This is sent to me by an FTTA sister name Emily.

-“In our Full Ministry of Christ class, I appreciated that every situation is arranged to sink us into our spirit. At midnight, Paul and Silas were in prison and instead of murmuring and reasoning, they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God (Acts 16:25). When we are in our situations and circumstances, we need to realize that they are arranged by the Lord to sink us into our spirit. Instead of murmuring and reasoning, we should pray and sing.

This week, I enjoyed just singing, praying, praising, and thanking. It’s not easy all the time to turn from your situation(s) and turn to your spirit, but when you’re desperate to get out of your situation, you’ll do anything to touch the Lord.

I was really touched and exposed in our young people’s fellowship on Wednesday. The brothers were sharing with us about how to rely on the Lord especially durning this time of the term when you’re tired and your self effort has almost run out.

Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” It doesn’t say take care of the flock then yourselves. It’s important to take care of yourself first. In our service, the most important thing is our person. It’s not what we do or how we do it, but how your person is doing.

It was nice to be reminded that the training is designed to break down your person. The training is not to make you suffer but for you to be terminated. I know this may sound bad or strange or totally contrary to what the world teaches us, but when you realize who you are, you also realize that you need another life (Gal. 2:20).

When you are in the training, you may be able to fake it for a period of time (I’ve gotten pretty good at this), but who you are eventually gets exposed. “Take heed to yourselves…” Take care of your personal contact with the Lord first. Before contacting anyone, contact the Lord first. Come to the Lord again and again. Never graduate from coming to the Lord. Come to the Lord as a source of supply.

How do we take care of our contact with the Lord? We must be persons of prayer. As persons who serve the Lord, we first need to learn and exercise not to be serving ones of prayer but persons of prayer.

To pray is to contact and absorb God. The longer you serve, the easier it is not to depend on the Lord because you know what to do; you get settled into a routine. You know how to lead the singing, read the Bible with the young people, explain ministry to the young people, etc. These are all good things, but what is the source? Are you the source or is the Lord Himself the source? Sometimes we are burning, but our fuel is our capacity and disposition. If you are a person of prayer, contacting and absorbing God, the source will be God Himself.

You may be the model serving one, but if you are the source, sooner or later, you will burn out. How do you serve the Lord year after year? You have to come to the Lord as the source of supply. The time will come when you have to rely on the Lord.

Another problem is that we know too much. To pray is also to say that He is and we are not. We often know so much that the source of what we do is us.

We need to be persons who have a prayer life. That means that when we pray, He is and we are not. Whatever we are means nothing. 1 Tim. 2:1 says that we need to first of all, pray…The main prerequisite to taking care of the flock is to pray. Do you feel like you are useful if all you could do was pray? Don’t you think brother Nee was useful when he was praying? Dont you think many of those prayers touched the throne and were answered? We need to spend time with the Lord in prayer.

The most crucial time with the Lord is in the morning. Every morning, we need to have a solid, personal contact with the Lord. How do we come to the Lord to spend time with Him? When we come to the Lord, we should come to Him without any persons, concerns, or situations. Just come to Him.

Many times your service becomes your “source of supply.” Just come to Him because you want Him. If you don’t contact the Lord on a daily basis, it will be very hard to continue. All of us will have many years to serve the Lord, but we need to become Him in order to be the right kind of person to serve Him. You need to become Christ in life and in nature. The only way to do this is to contact Him day by day.

Towards the end, I was really exposed when brother Peter said that we need to learn to be weak. We don’t like to be weak. We like to be sufficient and strong. We defend ourselves and justify ourselves. In 2 Cor. 12:4-8, there is a suffering that Paul is going through with a thorn in his flesh. But in verse 9, he says that the Lord’s power is perfected in weakness. The footnote says that our weakness is needed. We are just too strong, capable, and faithful. We need a healthy dose of weakness. Often times we dont pray because we are too strong.
When I came to the training, I thought I was a weak person. But in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that I am stronger in my self than I realize. This also touched on some things sister Ann Buntain had touched on in our fellowship times as well. Eventually, if the training does what it is supposed to do (if I cooperate and allow it to do what it is supposed to do), I will be brought to the point where I am weak in my self and my source is only Christ.

With all this being said, I’ve been practicing coming to the Lord in the morning in prayer without anyone or anything on my mind. Although I’m still quite concerned for some of my friends, family, yp, etc..my goal in the morning is not for those things, but to contact and absorb the One who needs to be my source of supply. I’ve even been skipping a few breakfasts just so I can spend at least 40 minutes or so with the Lord. This has really been a supply to me this week and I recommend doing it.

“Our experiences are experiences that we wouldn’t buy for a penny but wouldn’t sell for a million dollars.”-Brother Peter Harvey

Hymn #671:
Deep down into the depths of this Thy Name,
My God, I sink and dwell in calm delight;
Thou art enough however long the day,
Thou art enough however dark the night.

Thou art my God — the All-Sufficient One,
Thou canst create for me whate’er I lack;
Thy mighty hand has strewn the lonely track
With miracles of love and tender care.

For me Thy trusting one. My God I dare
Once more to fling myself upon Thy breast,
And there adore Thy ways in faith’s deep rest,
And there adore Thy ways in faith’s quiet rest.”

-Emily

PRAYER AND DESIRE

ImagePrayer is an EXPRESSION of our DESIRE before God. The Bible records that many people HAD their prayers ANSWERED. EVERY ONE of them prayed with a DESIRE. Without a DESIRE, there is NO NEED for prayer. If what we pray for TRULY COMES from the BOTTOM of our heart, SURELY the ANSWERS to our prayers will NOT be so FEW. It is because our DESIRE is NOT SINGLE that our prayers become SOUNDING BRASS and CLANGING CYMBALS. The GREATEST DANGER to prayer is attempt to be ORNATE and to pray according to FORMAL RULES. There is MORE danger in PUBLIC prayer than in private prayer. Actually, nine times out of ten the LONG PRAYERS of a “thousand words” are EMPTY prayers. I am afraid such prayers are DIRECTED more toward MEN than towards God. Many times, the CONTENT of a prayer is VERY PLEASANT, the VOICE VERY DESPERATE, and the TONE VERY HARMONIOUS. Yet EVERYTHING is directed toward MAN. God will NOT hear nor answer such a prayer. Prayer that are WITHOUT any DESIRE are MOCKERY to God. In God’s eyes these prayers are DETESTABLE. Even when a person PRAYS alone, is it NOT true that many TERM he uses are FAMILIAR terms that are UTTERED without much thought? Because the words have become familiar, the SAME words may be uttered WITHOUT any RESPONSE from the heart. Such prayers are really a WASTE of time. They are WORSE than USELESS.Those who TRULY understand God and His holiness and majesty will NEVER DO such things. If we come to God with a PURE HEART and realize who He is with whom we have come FACE to FACE, would we ever DARE to be HYPOCRITICAL? Actually, we should NEVER pray BEYOND what the HOLY SPIRIT has PROMPTED us TO PRAY. If we do this, surely it is COUNTERFEIT. Hence, it is BEST to ALLOW the Holy Spirit to PLACE in our spirit the THINGS that we should pray FOR, so that we will NOT OFFEND God. We should LEARN to be HONEST before God. It is BETTER to have SHORT prayers than FALSE prayers. We should PAY ALL the more ATTENTION when we pray for OTHERS. Many SUPPLICATIONS are but a kind of PAYMENT of debts! Thus, there is NO sense of DESIRE, and the whole things is a MERE ROUTINE. Therefore, those who do NOT have a REAL love for OTHERS CANNOT pray for OTHERS. When we FEEL others’ NEED to be OUR OWN, we will pray SINCERELY for them. When we FEEL others’ NEED in the same way they FEEL it themselves, we will make SUPPLICATIONS for them FAITHFULLY. It is because there is NO love for OTHERS that prayers have become mere EMPTY voices. We should SYMPATHIZE with others MORE and should IDENTIFY ourselves with others MORE. May we henceforth pray with our MOUTH and also with our HEART. May our prayers REACH the presence of God like FRAGRANCE.

Based on the book “Twelve Baskets Full” by  Watchman Nee

 

Abiding Through Praying and Thanksgiving

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UNCEASINGLY PRAYING AND IN EVERYTHING GIVING THANKS ENABLING US TO ABIDE IN THE LORD CONTINUOUSLY

The best way to keep the spiritual electricity from being turned off is to install a safety box and lock the switch in. How do you lock it in? The way is to “unceasingly pray and in everything give thanks.” This is not doctrinal but experiential. In doctrine, no one can connect “unceasingly pray and in everything give thanks” with “abiding in the Lord.” There is one book in the New Testament that specifically covers the matter of abiding in the Lord, and that is the first Epistle of John. Yet in such a book there is no mention at all of unceasingly praying and in everything giving thanks. Knowledge is one thing, while experience is another.

Often those with a Ph.D. are inferior to those who are experienced. Therefore, I am not telling you about knowledge or doctrine; I am speaking about experience. The secret, the key, to remaining in the enjoyment of the Lord is prayer and thanksgiving.

“We all can understand what it means to pray and to give thanks. When we pray, we are shining within, but if we also give thanks, we will become enlivened within.”
Prayer may be likened to connecting the wires, and thanksgiving, to shining the light. Sometimes our “wires” have been connected, yet it seems that we do not sense any reaction. The light does not shine if there is only prayer but no thanksgiving.
“Therefore, if we want to have a life that is always shining without flickering, we need to pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything.”
According to our experience, if we pray and also give thanks, even if before we were not abiding in the Lord, we will spontaneously enter into the Lord and abide in Him. If we want to get in and not come out but remain inside all the time, we need to pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything.
A vile sinner needs only to believe and repent, praying to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, I am truly a vile sinner. I pray that You save me.” Immediately the “connection” is made, and Christ enters into him. This sinner, however, still has to say, “Lord Jesus, I really thank You.” Then the light in him will shine, and he will abide in the Lord. Hence, whether we are believers or sinners, we all need to abide in the Lord through prayer and thanksgiving.By: Witness Lee