Vol. 33, No. 3 March, 2009
By Dr. George Mills
Volume 33, No 3, means that this Publication is now at age 33 years. Praise God for His faithfulness, for His sustaining Grace. When I wrote the volume number at the heading of this issue of the WILDERNESS, I could not help but recall the wonderful promise of God to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
I also recall hearing the testimony of Dr. Jack Hudson (now with the Lord). Dr. Hudson was Pastor of a Church in North Carolina. Dr. Hudson stated that Jeremiah 33:3 was his favorite Bible verse. Dr. Hudson and the Church family decided to relocate their Church to some property near the Interstate. The new Church building was built on a service road next to the interstate. Dr. Hudson asked the city council if the service road had a name. He was advised that the road had not been named. Dr. Hudson asked that the road be named Jeremiah Boulevard. The
name was approved. Dr. Hudson then asked that the street number of their new location be number 333. This was also approved. The Church’s new address is 333 Jeremiah Blvd. When the new building was almost complete, the new steeple for the Church arrived. Before the steeple was installed, Dr. Hudson inscribed on the steeple, “Jeremiah 33:3.” He wanted everyone to know that he gave God the Glory for answered prayer. All of the wonderful new building and facilities were the result of Prayer and a Man of God claiming a promise of God; “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
There is no way of telling what Prayer has done, and what prayer will do. Let me take a few moments of your time to encourage each of us in our Prayer life. It has been said that “Nothing of eternal value is ever accomplished apart from prayer.”
1. In DARKNESS, Pray. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas, at Philippi were arrested, and beaten, and cast into the inner prison, all because of their testimony for Christ. These men had won Lydia and her family to Christ, and a demon possessed
slave girl had also been won to Christ. Her masters who made a living off her magic and fortune telling were upset because they could no longer use her, and had the Apostles arrested.
In DARKNESS, at MIDNIGHT the Apostles Sang and Prayed, and God answered their prayer and delivered them. He is able to give “Songs in the night.”
2. In DAYLIGHT, Pray. “Evening, and at morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” (Ps. 55:17). I think of Daniel in captivity. Darius had intended to set Daniel above all the presidents of the land. The jealous presidents thought of some way to bring Daniel down. Daniel was faithful neither was there any error or fault found in him. “If we find any occasion against Daniel we will find it concerning the Law of his God.” The presidents lied to Darius when they said “ALL the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counselors, and the captains have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and make a firm decree that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee O king, shall be cast into a den of lions.”
“Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.” “Now when Daniel knew the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Dan 6:7-10). Of course, Daniel’s prayer to his God was reported to king Darius and Daniel was cast into the den of lions. Daniel prayed in the DAYLIGHT, and God delivered him, overnight.
3. In DESPERATION, Pray. I think of the Disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had sent them across while He went to the mountain to pray. (Mk.14:22-33). Jesus sent His Disciples into a storm. He saw them in that storm. Their ship was tossed in the waves for the wind was contrary. Jesus came to them in that storm. He was walking on the sea. The Disciples were troubled, they were DESPERATE. They cried out for fear. “Be of good cheer, It is I, be not afraid.”
The Disciples worshipped Him saying “Of a truth, thou art the Son of God.” Countless, countless times have men and women cried out in desperation for His help, and in answer to our cries, He came to our rescue. “And call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Ps 50:15).
4. In DOUBT, Pray. Don’t pray in doubt, Pray in belief. But when doubts come, when there seems to be nothing but doubt. When everything about your situation says “doubt,” PRAY! Keep on praying. Never give up on your prayer life. In Mark 11 there is the story of the fig tree dried up from the roots. The Disciples questioned the Lord about the incident and Christ answered “Whosoever shall say to this mountain, be thou removed, and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.” “When ye Pray, Believe.”
Doubt sees only fear and fright.
Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the long, long night,
Faith sees the day.
5. In DELAY, Pray. Delayed answer is no sign that prayer is not heard. It is recorded in Luke 1:5-13 that Zacharias prayed for years. The angel said to him, (v13), “Thy prayer is heard.” Sometimes, for various reasons, there may be a delay in an answer. This does not mean that prayer is not heard, but only delayed.
(A) Some prayers are better unanswered. “Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss.”(Ja 4:3). I have to thank God for some prayers of mine He did not answer.
I haven’t had an answer,
To every prayer I pray.
But I have had enough answered,
To keep praying every day.
(B) Some answers are unrecognized. In Acts 12, the Apostle Peter was in prison, continually guarded by four soldiers. The Church was praying without ceasing for him. The angel of the Lord entered that prison and rescued Peter. Peter went to the home of Mary where the church was praying for him. Peter knocked on the door and a young girl by the name of Rhoda answered the door and recognized Peter’s voice. She left Peter standing at the door and ran to tell the others. They said;” Thou art mad.” “It is his angel.” Were they praying in unbelief? Were they looking for some great miracle, or sign, or wonder? Sometimes we fail to see that God answered prayer, because He did not answer in the way we wanted him to answer.
(C) Sometimes the conditions for answers are unmet.
We must pray in Faith. James 1:6-8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. One day we have faith, the next day, or the next hour, doubt replaces faith. That’s being double minded. “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.”
6. In DELIVERANCE, Pray. So many of the Psalms are praises for deliverance. When God answers, are we grateful? Do we stop everything; raise our hands in praise to God for His deliverance? “I waited patiently for the LORD, and He inclined unto me, and HEARD MY CRY. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And hath put a new song in my mouth..” (Psa 40: 1-3). This great wonder happened to me almost 50 years ago. I praise Him daily, and I will never stop praising Him for my deliverance from the PENALTY and POWER of sin.
What a wonderful prayer promise in that one verse of Scripture, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
What a testimony the preacher, Dr. Hudson, left behind. One verse of scripture captured his heart and he acted on the promise. May a prayer promise capture my heart, your heart, and let us together see “Great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
The greatest answer to prayer is the cry of the sinner’s repentant heart; “Lord, I believe that Jesus died for my sin, that He was buried, and that He arose the third day. I confess Him as Lord, and I trust Him as my own personal Saviour.”
Is that true in your life? If not, why not, right now, believe, and trust what the Bible says. Receive Him today. Begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
WHEN TEMPTATIONS COME
By Pastor George mills
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but GOD IS FAITHFUL who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor. 10:13).
It is common for people to ask, “Do other people have this problem? Am I the only one who is bothered with this thing?” Whatever the case may be.
Salvation is not a “cure-all” I know, Salvation makes us ready for eternity, but in the mean time, we have problems. We begin our Christian life as “New born babes.” We are to grow from Spiritual childhood to adulthood. Some seem to be able to grasp that, while others have a hard time. God wants you to enjoy your Christian life.
1. Temptation is a reality.
2. There IS a tempter.
3. There IS an escape.
1. TEMPTATION IS A REALITY. You are not alone. Temptation is real.
“For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye,
the pride of life
is not of the Father, but is of the world. Today, let us learn just a few things about temptation.
In Genesis 3:1-6 we find Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden called Eden. In that garden, they had everything that they could ever desire. God had said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17). Satan came to Eve with a question concerning the Word of God, (He never changes). “Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve answered, “The fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” The serpent (satan) said, “Have you read the latest, updated commentary on that verse? A careful look at the Hebrew verbs and tenses clearly show that the word “NOT” was not in the “original.” Of course, Eve ate of the tree and gave to her husband and “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” That single act of disobeying the Word of God plunged the world into SIN. Everything that is wrong with mankind is directly tied to that one act. Adam and Eve faced a three-fold temptation and they failed the test.
Christ came to this earth, on time, to buy back that which Adam lost. In order for Christ to be our perfect Saviour, He had to face the identical, same three-fold temptations and testings Adam and Eve faced.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the Wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterwards an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:1-4).
This first temptation was PHYSICAL. “Use your power to supply your physical need.” Was Satan’s test. Christ’s answer was, “The source of bread (God) was more important than bread itself.” Adam missed that fact.
“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city and sitteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
The second test was PSYCHOLOGICAL. “Make a dramatic show of yourself. Advertise yourself. Call attention to yourself.” Christ answered and pointed to the totality of the Scripture. Satan used only two verses. “You say that you live by every Word that came from the mouth of God. Well, I just gave you two verses. Go ahead, use these verses. Make a show of yourself.” Christ answered in quoting from the incident at Massah, (Ex 17:1-7, Dt. 6:16). “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Such an incident would not be an act of faith as the incident at Massah proved. When we seek recognition, or the spectacular or “look at me, I’m someone special.” That’s PHYSCHOGICAL temptation. Adam missed that fact.
“Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, And said unto Him, all these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
This third temptation is RELIGIOUS. The issue here is “Who is Lord?” Jesus did not question Satan’s ownership of these kingdoms. Satan is known as “The god of this world,” and “the prince of the power of the air.” Satan is offering Christ that which will belong to Him in due time. (Psa 2:7-8). He offered Christ control in exchange for worship. “It is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thy serve.”
Adam and Eve faced these temptations, Physical, Psychological, and Religious, and failed.
Christ, the last Adam passed each test.
CHRIST IS THE VICTOR. His victory is our victory!
2. THERE IS A TEMPTER. We face the same tempter that Adam faced, and Jesus faced. Time, times, and situations have changed, but the Tempter has not changed. He is still active, and he has a lot of help. When Satan fell from his lofty position, he did not fall alone (Isa. 14:12-18, Rev. 12:1-4). Unseen satanic forces are alive and active. People do not like to believe that, but it is true. There are too many warnings in the Bible for us to overlook. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8) “And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Cor. 11:14-15).
There are THREE AVENUES of temptation;
1. The lust of the flesh.
2. The lust of the eye.
3. The pride of life. (1Jn. 2:15-16).
Along these three avenues, there are three points of temptation…
For anyone to conclude that temptation is only fleshly lusts is wrong. I know that this is where the most damage to lives is more visible. Man is a triune being. We are made in the image of God. What affects the Physical, affects the Psychological and the spiritual, etc.
This all seems to be far greater than we can really cope with, AND IT IS!
3. THERE IS AN ESCAPE. The verse at the heading of this message, (1Cor. 10:13) tells us that God has made a way for us. As there are three Avenues of temptation, three points of temptation, there are THREE ESCAPES in temptation. I offer you nothing new. I offer the same things that saints of God have used since they were pinned down for us.
1. THE POWER OF THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT. He came in when you trusted Christ as your Saviour. He works in our lives within the perimeters of the finished work of Christ. He answers to the PSYCHOLOGICAL, to the mental being, to our very inward thoughts. “Greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1Jn 4:4) Paul told us that we can bring our thought life under control. After all, temptations begin there. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor 10:5). When our thought life takes us down the wrong avenue, right then, when the Holy Spirit says, “This is wrong” confess that to God and ask for His help. When we faithfully do this, we are gaining the victory. These “four points” or “twelve step” programs to victory will never do what the indwelling Holy Spirit will do in our lives.
2. THE POWER OF PRAYER. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee.” “We have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find Grace to help IN TIME OF NEED.” (Heb 4:15-16).
Our meaningful PRAYER LIFE, our minding the impulses of the Holy Spirit are our escape and shelter in temptation.
3. THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD. (KJB). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.” Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The Word of God is like manna. As Manna sustained Israel in the wilderness, so will the Word of God sustain His own through this wilderness. Jesus said, “The WORDS that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” (Jn 6:30-71).
There is so much more, but my space here is about gone.
Be practical…you are not alone in temptation. We are all made out of the same clay.
If your temptation is on Avenue A, don’t go on Avenue A, or B, or C, whatever the case may be. If your temptation is on TV, or the computer, then don’t turn the thing on. If your mind wanders, stop it, talk to God about it. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” God wants us to enjoy our Christian life. He does not want us to be burdened down because of some infirmity that plagues us. If you fail, get up! Confess your failure and ask God for help. The victory of Christ is our victory. He did for us what we could never do. He bore our weaknesses that we might have His strength.
“Looking unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.” “Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb 12:1-4).
God bless you, and me, that we might be strong vessels, meet for the Master’s use.
THINK ABOUT IT…The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The shortest distance between the Christian and temptation is the Prayer of Faith in the Name of Christ.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things. Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2Tim 1:12).
The key to the great life of the Apostle Paul is in that word “COMMITTED.” Paul knew Who, When, Where, and Why he believed and COMMITTED his life to Christ, and the rest is history. Paul literally shook kingdoms for Christ, and took the Gospel of Grace to the world in his day. I want these days to be the most fruitful days of my life. I believe this text holds the key; COMMITTED.”
We are living in troublesome times. Promises mean very little today. Families are torn apart. Marriages end so very easy. Lives are hurting, and (Continued after poem below)
BUT FOR HIS GRACE
By Pastor George Mills
“But where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound.” (Ro. 5:20).
But for His Grace, when sin did abound,
And that great chasm, so wide.
Grace came from above,
The Great Gift of God’s Love,
And built a bridge to the other side.
But for His Grace, I did not know,
The sin of my own heart.
But Grace came so near,
Grace calmed every fear,
Much Grace did the Saviour impart.
Where would I be, but for his Grace,
When lo, He found me, that day.
And with warm embrace,
All my sin did erase,
And every burden and fear rolled away
But for His Grace, and no one to care,
To rescue from Adam’s great fall.
Oh to look in His Face,
And to Thank Him for Grace,
That moment on Him I did call.
But for His Grace, at the enemy’s test,
Temptations and trials surround,
Through faith in His Word,
That two-edged Sword
His Grace did much more abound.
When life here is o’er, safe on that shore
When all work and all labor is done.
At the close of life’s race,
To thank Him for Grace,
And thank God for the Gift of His Son.
So, to labor awhile, with joy, and a smile
To tell to all Adam’s race.
Just to say that I found,
That where sin did abound,
To all, BUT FOR HIS GRACE.
some have been destroyed because of so many shallow promises. Sometime ago I assisted in the funeral of a man who was in his mid eighties, when the Lord called him home. As I spoke to the family members in that service that day, I saw his widow in the family section. I thought about their marriage. It had lasted over 63 years. Just what made this couple stay together for 63 years? After all, they had their share of problems through those years. The answer is simple. They were COMMITTED to one another, and COMMITMENT weathered the storms they faced.
COMMITMENT will cause us to be faithful to Christ during these troublesome times, and through the good times, as we WANDER THROUGH THIS WILDERNESS.
THINK ABOUT IT…The Lord is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, and the Horn of my Salvation, and my High Tower. Christ and His Cross has withstood every attack of the enemy. This Tower will never fall. The Foundation of God stands sure.