Doctors have given me prescriptions for things that ail me and prescriptions that supplement my lifestyle. I have needed both. So did John. Exiled on Patmos, he was hurting as well as in need of a supplemental spiritual boost. When he began to write the Revelation, he got both and in so doing offered us a prescription for praise. The very mention of the name of Jesus (Rev. 1:5) caused John to offer praise for three attributes of the Lord. John was reminded that Jesus loved him – past, present and future. Because of that love, Jesus had liberated, loosed, freed, washed, John from his sin. Having been loved and liberated, John then discovered that Jesus adopted him into His family and that lineage made him a priest able to communicate directly with God. Having praised the Lord, John had the curtain opened and God showed him what heaven would be like. That should have cured his ailments and supplemented his lifestyle! The Psalmist says God inhabits the praise of his people (Ps. 22:3). God sure inhabited the praise of John! So, take a praise prescription today and enjoy God’s presence inhabiting your life.
In five verses, the Apostle Paul uses the phrase “all things” six times (Col. 1:16-20). You don’t need to have a theological education to know that when one writer uses a phrase that often in that short of a span, he is trying to communicate something about that phrase. In summary, Paul says God put “all things” together in the beginning, God holds “all things” together now, and God will ultimately bring “all things” together. Do you have anything in your life that does not fit in the category of “all things”? If so, you can exclude it from the following application – surrender all things to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who put all things together, holds all things together and will bring all things together and maybe, He will “present you holy, blameless and above approach in His sight (Col. 1:22).”
Some dentists instruct patients to bite down on a tea bag if their gums are bleeding following extraction of a tooth. Other than that, a tea bag is of very little use alone. However, let the tea bag be infused with boiling water and hot tea results. This image is reflected in Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens (infuses) me.” We may not be able to do much with our circumstances, but when we allow our circumstances to be infused with God’s strength, we are strengthened. Need to do anything this week and not sure how to do it? Allow the Lord to infuse you with His strength. Now that’s a truth on which you can bite down.
Something happened to Saul that I fear. I Samuel 16:14 says, “The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.” We Baptists believe strongly that once a person is saved they are always saved – the eternal security of the believer. However once filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, not always filled and controled by the Spirit. One can lay their “all on the alter,” then crawl off. In his wonderful new devotional book, “This Day with the Master”, Dennis Kinlaw writes, “A person who has known intimacy with the Holy Spirit can lose that intimacy. This is why it is never safe to find security in merely talking about the Holy Spirit without obeying him.” Talk about the Holy Spirit? If you dare! Obey the Holy Spirit? Absolutely!
Every year I read Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest. I have worn out several copies. This year when I read the devotion on Feb. 9, I was reminded of the souce of my strength. In late January and early February each year I am responsible for recruiting, training, asssigning to churches, planning travel itineraries for approximately 100 student-preachers who will be preaching revival meetings in 31 states during the Seminary’s spring break in March. So each year about this time I feel exhausted. Then I read Oswald Chambers: “He saved and sancitified you in order to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him.” Amen.