June 25

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 30
     Psalms 119:73-96
     Isaiah 57
     Matthew 5
''Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." 
(Matthew 5:23-24)
            In His powerful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is setting forth revolutionary principles; in fact, the greatest revolutionary who ever lived was Jesus Christ! In the human realm of a secular culture, the principles set forth in this sermon seem strange. They go against the grain. This one is no exception. Someone has said that modem believers have been sub-normalfor so long that if we ever get back to normal New Testament Christianity, the world will think we are abnormal.That is an absolutely accurate statement.
            The Christian life requires sacrifice and that is sometimes not very appealing to a new Christian. Consider, however, the excitement of these concepts. Think how honored you are that God has chosen to put you in a special army engaged in spiritual revolution. Jesus is saying that if you are making a gift to Him, you need to be very sensitive to the convicting touch of the Holy Spirit. Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You are looking for some big thing to give up while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. If you are a disciple, you must reject the strong hold of obstinacy, give up your rights, and obey Him in the minutest detail. Never object to the intense sensitivity of the Spirit of God in you when He is instructing you down to the smallest detail.
            Now notice the responsibility is not on the other person to come to you. He says for you to go. It is not a matter of
your rights. The true mark of a saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus. So we see in the obedient believer the heroic spirit of self-sacrifice,  the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and then the pause of deep conviction which is followed by conviction to the Word of God. Then there is that wonderful, glad, simple, and unhindered offering of your gift to God. He is waiting to receive your gift, but He is more interested in the giver than the gift.
            One of the most beautiful places I've ever visited is Scotland, especially in the northern part of the country. It is heartbreaking to an evangelist to see the monuments to a great evangelical past and reminders everywhere of the revivals there in ancient days. The heartbreak is that Scotlandhas not experienced great revival in many, many years. Pray that this population of more than 5 million will experience a genuine revival. This is a country that, in times past, has sent out people like David Livingstone, Robert Moffatt, Mary Slessorand Eric Liddell. Pray that God will renew this tradition of sending out great missionaries throughout the world.
''We know the utility of prayer from the efforts of the wicked spirits to distract us during the divine office; and we experience the fruit of prayer in the defeat of our enemies."
John Climacus