The Local Church

If you neglect the church, you neglect your soul. Your attitude towards the priority of a local church reveals much about the condition of your soul and whether you are really part of the body of Christ. One of the first signs of backsliding toward apostasy is neglecting meeting with the brethren faithfully. If you don’t love the church that Christ died for, then it’s an evidence that you’re probably unregenerate. You cannot be connected to the Vine without being among the branches.

Can you say honestly with your heart: “I need my church?” If you have access to a Biblical church, you are without excuse if you neglect it.

– Mack Tomlinson

An Answer to Prayer

I received this testimony today from a man who attended the Wyoming Mountain Rancher’s Camp Meeting where I was preaching July 6-11.

From Peter Skelley

Dear Mack,

I was at the Rancher’s Camp Meeting and came to you about a sleeping problem and you prayed with me. Well, that night there was no change, but the next seven nights is a row, I have been able to sleep with out sleep aids, which is a real answer to prayer. I wanted you to know how God answered our prayer. I feel it was a real miracle, after using a sleep aid for 30 day in a row. Thank you for taking time to pray with me that night. God bless you and your family in Jesus Holy name.

In my Lord and Savior, Peter Skelley

My reply
Thanks, Peter, very much for letting me know about this; it is very encouraging and I am thankful that the Lord had mercy on you for this need; it is obviously a direct answer to prayer and is an encouragement to us all, that we should always go to the Lord about ALL things that pertain to our life, no matter how “small” it might seem; nothing is small in our lives, as far as the Lord is concerned; I praise God with you, dear brother;

Yours warmly in Him,

The Kingdom of God is at Hand

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand–repent and believe the gospel.” – Mark 1:15

“Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.” – Luke 10:11

“But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” – Luke 11:20

It is striking to see how often Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God. It was a primary and central subject in His teaching and ministry. Why did he speak so often about it? Because He WAS the kingdom in full embodiment. When He came, the kingdom had shown up in fullness. Jesus was not speaking eschatologically when he spoke about the kingdom; he was not talking about the end times, a future kingdom, or some earthly millennial reign men often think will come. He was talking about Himself having come.

The Savior is speaking of the spiritual reality of God drawing near–his presence and reign by the Holy Spirit. Paul says that the kingdom of God is “not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) The kingdom is the reality of God’s presence coming near, to establish the rule and reign of the King in the hearts of true kingdom residents.

So when Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15) or “has come near” (Luke 10:11) or “has come upon you” (Luke 11:20), he is speaking of the presence and reality of God Himself in the person of the man Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:15 – Jesus shows up: The Kingdom is Here

God had come to the souls of men when the Lord Jesus showed up on earth. So in Mark 1:15, when our Lord says, “the time is fulfilled, kingdom of God is at hand”, he is saying, “It’s time to receive the King; I’m here; God has come; he is here in ME; you are now confronted with the very presence of the Almighty; so there is only one response–repent and turn to Me and believe the good news.

Luke 10:11 – Perfect Truth is Spoken: The Kingdom is Here

In Luke 10, when Jesus says the kingdom has come near, he was speaking about the proclamation of truth concerning him and the gospel. The context shows that the Lord had sent out the seventy to preach and heal. Those seventy anonymous persons went preaching in his name and by his authority. They were specially appointed by the Lord to go in his name. (10:1) They were told to heal the sick and were specifically told to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

How had the kingdom come near to those who heard the seventy? It had come as divine truth that was preached in His authority. It was truth preached that brought the kingdom near to them. It was the message of the King, which was synonymous with the kingdom being near. The King was revealing Himself through the truth that was preached. When those folks heard the message of the seventy and saw the healing power of God through them, the kingdom had indeed come to those people. They did not need anything else. They were confronted with the reality of God in the message itself and the healing power of Christ.

Luke 11:20 – The Power of God is the Nearness of the Kingdom

In Luke 11, some were saying that Jesus was casting out demons through the power of Satan, the most dangerous thing anyone could ever say. The Lord goes on to expose their error and says to them, “If I by the finger (power) of God cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

When people see the power of Jesus that is authentic and real, they are immediately confronted with God Himself–the kingdom of God has then come near them, indeed, even upon them. They cannot deny the reality of the power of Christ and the gospel. They are without excuse. When men are confronted with God’s power in Christ, the kingdom has come to them. They had better receive it and bow to the King of the kingdom, or else they will never be in the kingdom.

When the Lord Jesus spoke about the kingdom coming near, He did not have in mind a future millennium or some eschatological gibberish. He was saying that the kingdom of God is present where Jesus the King reigns, where He comes and has rule and reign; When anyone hears the real truth about Jesus Christ, the kingdom is then manifested to them; when anyone see the reality of the power of Christ, the kingdom has drawn near- they should bow to him and receive the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.

When God speaks, moves, and draws near by His Spirit through His Word, the kingdom of God has come and we ought to take heed.

– Mack T.

The Problem of Living in this World

The problem of living in this world is to pass through life’s changes without being harmed by them, then growing in a more and more radiant and beautiful Christly life, whatever our circumstances and experiences may be.

It is in this phase of our living that we need Christ most of all. We cannot escape meeting temptation; but we are to meet it, yet not be hurt by it, coming from it rather with new strength and new radiancy of soul.

We cannot find a path in which no sorrow shall come into our life, but we are to pass through sorrow without having our life marred by it.

None but Christ can keep us thus unhurt–amid the manifold perils through which we must move continually. It is only by committing our life into the hands of Christ, that there ever can be absolute safety in this world so full of evil, or that our life ever can reach its holiest possibilities.

– J. R. Miller

What a Promise!

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the
righteous to be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

How could we not believe what God has promised? Let us not be slow to believe the exceedingly great and precious promises He has given us.

Come Now and Pray

“Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

It is in the time of trouble that we learn to pray with new power. We become more thoroughly acquainted with the divine nature and the omnipotent energy of prayer. We learn what our resources, as the true sons of Israel, are. Many are then led to pray who never prayed before. “Lord, in trouble have they visited You, they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.”

Then it is the proud spirit that yields; the knee, that never bent before, bends now, and the terrified soul cries out unto Him whose chastening is upon it. The slumbering Christian, too, is awakened to call upon God. Then it is he finds at what a distance he had been living from God. Then he discovers his true position- the real state of his soul- touching prayer. Thus aroused, like the slumbering prophet, by a voice, and startled by a rebuke issuing from a quarter he would least have suspected- “What meanest you, O sleeper? arise and call upon your God!”- he awakes, and finds himself in a storm, threatening instant destruction.

To what does he then betake himself? David shall answer: “I give myself unto prayer.” And oh, how, eloquent is then the voice of the wrestling believer! Never did the fugitive prophet “pray unto the Lord his God” as when walking in the midst of trouble. “I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and You heard my voice. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto You, into Your holy temple.”

In this way the Lord revives the spirit of prayer within us. And oh, what words can describe the blessedness of prayer in trial!- the preciousness of the privilege of having a God to go to, a Father to flee to in trouble! To bring you more deeply and personally into the experience of this, dear tried Christian, the Lord your God is dealing with you now.

O beloved, betake yourself unto prayer! You shall indeed find it the outlet of all sorrow, and the inlet of all joy. Welcome the trouble that thus revives you. Receive with meekness of spirit, yes, with gladness of heart, the discipline, however humbling, that throws you upon God- yes, that severs you from all creatures, and that shuts you up to Him alone. That discipline, painful as it is, springs from love. In love that trouble is sent, in love that cross is permitted, in love that cup is given, in love that rod is used- it is to set you upon the work of prayer.

What are these frowns of your Father, what these hidings of your Savior, what these withholdings of the Spirit, but to allure you within the holiest, there to find the throne of grace? “I will go,” says the Lord, “and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face; in their affliction they will seek me early.”

– Octavius Winslow

Valley of Vision: O Great God

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power.

Let no voice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Thine forever more.

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys.

Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace.

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face.

You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O, great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your name through me.