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The Rev. Frank Bartleman was a leader in the 1907 visitation of the Holy Spirit on Azusa Street in L.A. He said, "Men love the spectacular. What we do not understand is ’wonderful.’ God’s fire falls on sacrifice, as in Elijah’s case.
The greater the sacrifice, consecration, the more fire. God’s fire falls only on sacrifice. An empty altar receives no fire."
"It is not the man who can build the biggest brush heap, but the one who can set his heap on fire that will light up the country.
"The devil has no conscience, and the flesh has no sense. Many have never learned submission, courtesy, nor anything else, even in the way of common manners. A spirit of self-importance is one of the most disgusting things in the world.
"The oil (the Holy Ghost) ceases to flow, as in Elijah’s time, when there are no more empty vessels to be filled. People do not sense their need of God. But wherever there is a hungry heart, God will fill it. ’The rich (full) He has sent empty away.’"
GOD ANOINTS MEN OF PRAYER
E. M. Bounds says in his classic book, The Power of Prayer:
"Men are God's method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men...What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use--men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men--men of prayer."
I used to have a principle named Mr. Duchovich. He was a monster of a man. Not in Character, but in stature. When in trouble in Jr. High school, the students feared for their lives. I remember one day having another student at the school bet me that I couldn’t kick a clock that was 7.5 feet off of the ground and sticking out of the wall. Being the intelligent kid that I was I took the challenge, jumped and kicked with all of my might. I connected, and pieces of the clock, unintentionally, went flying through the air. One face landed in the doorway of Mr. Anderson’s Math class, and he immediately came to the door to see what all the commotion was about. My first inclination was to run, but realizing that there was no escape from this one I decided to stick it out. When Mr. Anderson reached for the office intercom, my second inclination was to run, but again common sense, what little there was of it, restrained me. Not moments later, Mr. Duchovich immerged from the far end of the hall. It felt like forever was passing by, and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, like it wanted to get out and run away. Then my third inclination was to run, but it was too late, I was busted. I watched as Mr. D lurched his way down the hallway, within moments he was standing over me. Let me take this moment to describe him to you. He was close to 7 feet tall, and you could have fit 4 of me (a little jr. High Student) into a pair of His pants. He had deep brown eyes, and dark black curly hair. His hands were the size of my head. When I say that he was standing over me, it was no word of a lie. I could see the hair in his nostrils as I strained to look up at him. He assessed the situation with his eyes, saw the face of the clock on the ground, then he reached down, and I almost had a mild coronary, but then he passed me, and picked up the clock by the face with one hand, like he was palming a basketball. I must have been white as a ghost, and he put the face of the clock back on. Without saying a word, but merely peering right through me, He had accomplished his punishment. He turned around, thanked Mr. Anderson, then chuckled an amused chuckle and disappeared down the hall. My life was spared, I didn’t know what to say. The monster of a man that I feared with all of my being was really a gentle giant. I had a new respect for Him, I stood in awe of him, I feared him.
Bible teacher F.B. Meyer once had a firewood factory that employed prisoners.
Meyer would give them a job to do, good wages, a place to live, and, when possible, spiritual encouragement.
In exchange, he expected them to render good employment.
They didn’t, and he lost money.
Finally he fired them all and purchased a circular saw powered by a gas engine.
In one hour, it turned out more work than the combined efforts of all the men covered in the course of a whole day.
One day, Meyer had a little conversation with his saw.
“How can you turn out so much work?” he asked.
“Are you sharper than the saws my men were using? No? Is your blade shinier? No? What then? Better oil or lubrication against the wood?”
The saw’s answer, could it speak, would have been, “I think there is a stronger driving power behind me. Something is working through me with a new force. It is not I, it is the power behind.”
Meyer later observe...
GOD WORKS IN THREE’S (foundations of grace) death, burial, resurrection; (the kingdom of God) righteousness, peace, Holy Ghost ;( the greatness of God) was, is, is to come ;( three manifestations of God) Father, Son, Holy Ghost ;( in him we) live, move, have our being ;( now abideth these) faith, hope, love
The third of the threes are always sovereign ….the first two are always humanistic
Malcolm Muggeridge explained with the speculation of the scenario of Christ’s birth in our post-modern world, “.....in our day, with family-planning clinics offering convenient ways to correct “mistakes” that might disgrace a family name, “It is, in point of fact, extremely improbable, under existing conditions, that Jesus would have been permitted to be born at all. Mary’s pregnancy, in poor circumstances, and with the father unknown, would have been an obvious case for an abortion; and her talk of having conceived as a result of the intervention of the Holy Ghost would have pointed to the need for psychiatric treatment, and made the case for terminating her pregnancy even stronger.”
“He led them up the steep slope out of the river valley and then slightly to the right apparently by the very same route which they had used that afternoon in coming from the hill of the stone table.
On and on he lead them into dark shadows out into pale moonlight. Getting their feet wet with the heavy dew he looked somehow different from the Aslan they knew. His tail and his head hung low and he walked slowly as if he were very, very tired. Then when they were crossing a wide open place where there were no shadows for them to hide in he stopped and looked around. It was no good trying to run away so they came towards him. When they were closer he said,
“Oh children, children why are you following me?” “We couldn’t sleep,” said Lucy. And then felt sure that she say no more and that Aslan knew all they had been thinking.
“Please may we come with you wherever you’re going,” asked Susan. “Well-” said Alsan and seemed to be thinking. Then he said, “I should be glad of company to-night. Yes, you may come, if you will promise to stop when I tell you, and after that leave me to go alone.”
“Oh thank you, thank you” and “We will,” said the two girls.
Forward they went again and one of the girls walked on each side of the Lion. But how slowly he walked! And his great, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touched the grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan.
“Aslan! Dear Aslan! SaidLucy, “what is wrong? Can’t you tell us?
“Are you ill, dear Aslan?” asked Susan.
“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so I can feel you are there and let us walk like that.”
And so the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission, but hat they had longed to do ever since they first saw him- buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fir and stroked it and, in so doing, walked with him. And presently they saw that they were going with him up the slope of the hill on which the stone table stood. They went up at the side where the trees came furthest up, and when they got to the last tree (it was one that had some bushes about it) Alsan stopped and said,
“Oh children, children. Here you must stop. And whatever happens, do not let yourselves be seen. Fairwell.”
A great crowd of people where standing all around the stone table. And though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monsterous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants; and other creatures who I won’t describe because if I did the grown-ups would probably not let your read this book- Cruels and Hags and Incubuses, and Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites, Orknies, Wooses and Ettins. In fact here were all those who were on the witches side and whom the Wolf had summoned at her command. And right in the middle, standing by the table, was the Witch herself.
A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing towards them, and for a moment even the Witch seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild fierce laugh.
“The fool, she cried. The fool has come. Bind him fast.”
Lucy and Susan held their breath waiting for Aslan’s roar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came. Four hags, grinning at leering, yet also (at first) hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, had approached him. “Bind him, I say!” repeated the White Witch. The hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then others- evil dwarfs and apes- rushed in to help them and between them they rolled the huge Lion round on his back and tied all his four paws together. Shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been death of them all. But he made no noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh. Then they began to drag him towards the Stone Table.
“Stop,” said the witch, “Let him first be shaved.”
Another roar of mean laughter went up from her followers as an ogre with a pair of shears came forward and squatted down by Aslan’s head. Snip-snip-snip went the shears and masses of curling glod began to fall to the ground. Then the ogre stood back and the children watching from their hiding-place, could see the face of Aslan looking all small and different without his mane. The enemies saw the difference.
“Why he is only a great cat after all!” cried one.
Is that what we were afraid of?” said another
And they surged around him jeering at him. Saying things like “Puss Puss! Pour pussy,” and “How many mice have you caught today, Cat? And would you like a saucer of milk Pussums?”
“Oh how can they?” said Lucy, tears streaming down her cheeks. “The brutes, the brutes!” For now that the first shock was over, the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.
“Muzzle him!” said the Witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two of three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find thire courage, and for a few minutes the two girls coud not even see him- so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, and spitting on him jeering at him.
At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him on to the surface of it. Then there was more tying and tightening of cords.
“The cowards! The cowards!” sobbed Susan. Are they still afraid of him even now?”
When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four hags holding four torches, stood at the corners of Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. The she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone not steel and it was of a strange evil shape.
At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan’s head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,
“And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you and instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him our of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.”
The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn’t bear to look and had covered their eyes.
The story doesn’t end there just as the Christmas story is only the beginning of the Christ story.
(From chapter 15):
As soon as the wood was silent again Susan crept out into the open hill-top. The moon was getting low and the thin clouds were passing across it, but still they could see the shape of the lion laying dead in his bonds. And down they both knelt and kissed his cold face and stroked his beautiful fir, what was left of it and cried till the could cry no more. And then they looked at each other and held each others hands for lonliness and cried again. And then again were silent. At last Lucy said,
“I can’t bear to look at that horrible muzzle. I wonder if I could take it off?”
So they tried. And after a lot of working at it, (for their fingers were cold and it was now the darkest part of the night) they succeeded. And when they saw his face without it they burst out crying again and kissed it and fondled it and wiped away the blood and foam as well as they could. And it was all the more lonely and hopeless and horrid than I know how to describe.
“I wonder, could we untie him as well? Said Susan presently. But the enemies out pure spitefulness had drawn the cords so tight that the girls could make nothing of the knots.
I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been- if you’ve been up all night, and cried til you have no more tears left in you- you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again. At any rate that was how it felt to these two. Hours and hours seemed to go by in this dead clam, and they hardly noticed that they were getting colder and colder. But at last Lucy noticed two other things. One was that the sky on the East side of the hill was a little less dark than it had been an hour ago. The other was some tiny movement going on in the grass at her feet. At first she took no interest in this. What did it matter? Nothing mattered now! But at last she saw what whatever-it-was that had begun to move up the upright stones of the Stone Table. And now whatever-they-were were moving about on Aslan’s body. She peered closer. They were little grey things.
“Ugh!” said Susan from the other side of the table. “How beastly! They are horrid little mice crawling all over him. Go away you little beasts!” And she raised her hand to frighten them away. “Wait!” said Lucy who had been looking at them more closely still, can you see what they are doing?”
Both girls bent down and stared.
“I do believe!” said Susan. “But how queer! They ’re nibbling away at the cords.”
“That’s what I thought,” said Lucy. “I think they’re friendly mice. Poor little things- they don’t realize he’s dead. They think it’ll do some good untying him.”
It was quite definitely lighter by now. Each of the girls noticed for the first time the white face of the other. They could see the mice nibbling away; dozens and dozens, even hundreds of little field mice. And at last, one by one, the ropes were all gnawed through.
The sky in the East was whitish by now and the stars were getting fainter- all except the very big one low down on the eastern horizon. They felt colder than they had been all night. The mice crept away again.
The girls cleared away the remains of gnawed ropes. Aslan looked more like himself without them. Every moment his dead faced looked nobler, as the light grew and they could see it better.
In the wood behind them a bird gave a chuckling sound. It had been so still for hours and hours that it startled them. Then another bird answered it. Soon there were birds singing all over the place.
It was quite definitely early morning now, not late night.
“I am so cold,” said Lucy.
“So am I said Susan. Let’s walk about a bit.”
“What’s that? Said Lucy clutching Susan’s arm.
“I – I feel afraid to turn around,” said Susan something awful is happening.
“They’re doing something worse to him,” said Lucy. “Come on!” And she turned pulling Susan around with her.
The rising of the sun had made everything looked so different- all the colors and shadows were changed- that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the tow girls rushing back to the table.
“Oh, it’s too bad, sobbed Lucy; “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who has done it?” Susan cried. “What does it mean? Is it magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked around. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad.
“Aren’t you dead then,” said Lucy.
“Not now,” said Aslan.
“You not- not a-? asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say the word ghost.
Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forhead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
“Oh you’re real, you’re real Oh Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were something calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic there’s magic deeper still that she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back into stillness darkenss before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
A man stood on the side of the road hitch hiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. The night was rolling and no cars passed. The storm was so strong, he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly he saw a car come towards him and stop.
The guy, without thinking about it, got in the car and closed the door to realize that nobody was behind the wheel. The car started slowly. The guy looked at the road and saw a curve coming his way.
Scared, he started praying, and begged for his life. He hadn’t come out of shock, when just before he hit the curve, a hand appeared through the window and moved the wheel. The guy, paralyzed in terror, watched how the hand appeared every time before a curve.
The guy gathered strength, got out of the car and ran to the nearest town. Wet and in shock, he ran into a cantina and asked for two shots of tequila, and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he went through. A silence enveloped everybody...
Dead Poets Society is, I think, one of the best films of all time. In his first lesson with
his senior class, the rather eccentric but very inspiring English teacher John Keating,
played by Robin Williams, takes the boys into the foyer outside the classroom where
he asks one lad by the name of Pitts (a rather unfortunate name, Keating muses) to
read out a poem. In an uncertain voice, Pitts reads,
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."
’Carpe deum’, Keating says to them, ’Seize the day’. Every single one of us is just
food for worms. You may be destined for great things, but you need to take the
opportunity now. Then he leads his class up to the cabinet on the side of the foyer,
filed with old, black and white photos of old boys . What do all these boys, your
illustrious predecessors, have in common?, asks Keating. They’re all fertilising
daffodils. They’re all dead. They were boys with high expectations, high ideals, just
like you. They felt they were invincible, thought that the world was their oyster, just
like you. But did they manage to fulfil even a tiny bit of their potential? Keating
gathers his charges close around the cabinet, telling them to listen to the legacy the
old boys have for them. He whispers from behind them, imitating the ghosts of the
past. "Carpe deum. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."
This teacher, while he might have been inspiring, while he might have been
funny, had all his priorities out of order. He thought that success in this life was the
most important thing to pursue. He thought that everything ended when we all
became "food for worms", when we all began a new job as daffodil fertilisers. Yet,
despite his problems, one part of John Keating’s message echoes the thoughts of Paul
in 2 Corinthians 6. Seize the day, says Keating, make your lives extraordinary. Seize
the day, says Paul, be reconciled to God.
Video Illustration: Ghost – Toward the end of the movie Sam the departed soul battles his friend who is trying to kill his wife. The man ends up killing himself in the battle and discovers he has made a wrong choice and he is hauled away into torment and darkness by demonic spirits. Sam tells his love when the Light of Heaven appears that the Love inside is what you take with you when you go to Heaven. This scene paints the picture that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers.