All posts by flywildbranch

About flywildbranch

A blog to the Glory of God while I journey towards His Kingdom!

“…..The effectial, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 KJV

“And they stoned Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 KJVIn reading above I came across this line by Augustine in a commentary, quoted by Barclay:

“The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen.”

Suddenly, just like that, I was overwhelmed. And I cried. And then Lord, I marvelled.

I cried because Paul witnessed and consented to the death of a righteous man, in violence and hatred. “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.” Acts 22:20 KJV

I cried because in this hatred Jesus showed His great mercy, so precious to a sinner like me, in revealing Himself to Paul, convicting him.

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all re he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” 1 Timothy 1:16 KJV

I cried because this same Paul became the Church’s greatest missionary bringing the gospel of our salvation through Jesus to the Gentiles, to what would be all nations, peoples and tongues—-to you and me. “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16

I cried because our Saviour Jesus is indeed the one Foundation, the chief cornerstone—“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11—and all of us, from the apostles, to Stephen, to Paul and all those that followed and yes, to you and me–are all bricks in Gods impenetrable church.

And then I marvelled because I had a sudden glimpse of the wonder and sovereignty of our Great Father God. I marvelled at His Providence, of how “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Even the death of Stephen, the first martyr of His church. I praise the God who stands and views the whole perspective of time at once and speaks a masterpiece, His word accomplishing His purposes— you, and me, being “one of those purposes.”

In tears and wonder, I echo Paul through the Holy Spirit, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 KJV

In Christ!

K

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“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.” Song of Solomon. 8:13 KJV‭‭

The garden is a gift from God; it shouts His glory, His diversity, His beauty; it invites our stillness as the wind whispers through it, bestowing the fragrance of His peace upon us as we wonder and marvel at His creation and His love.  
I always feel closest to God in the garden. And why not? The two most pivotal events in the history of man happened in the garden. The first lead to defeat, despair and death; the second to victory, joy and life abundant.

“But of 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.” Genesis 3:3 KJV

The first Adam met Satan in the Garden of Eden; by Adam’s fall sin entered the world and our flesh now contended and fought against the spirit of our God.  

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Gensis 3:8 KJV

We willingly gave up the fellowship and wisdom of the Father to be “wise in our own eyes”. We replaced the perfect will of the Father with the will of our own flesh. In selfishly seeking freedom from God’s rightful authority we condemned ourselves to struggle helplessly in chains—chains of sin and striving, of darkness and death.

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he (Jesus) saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.” Mark 14:32 KJV

The second Adam battled the accuser in the garden of Gethsemane. Unlike Adam, Jesus overcame the will of his own humanity for the will of the Father. His obedience and submission silenced the accuser and set us free; free from the power of sin, free from the wearying struggles of the soul, free from judgement and deserved wrath. Jesus’ humble willingness restored our fellowship with our mighty Creator and defeated satan forever. 

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.”  John 19:41 KJV

Finally, having paid the penalty for our sin on the cross, Jesus rose triumphant, in the garden, vanquishing death forever and taking His place at the right hand of God.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. ” John 20:15-16 KJV

Mary was actually more right than she knew. Jesus is our gardener, planting us, pruning us, watering us, growing us, completing a good work in us until the day He returns for us. Because of Him, we can come to the Father without shame; the penalty of our guilt being paid by our perfect Redeemer whose death became our life. 

I will praise my Father God who displays His glory in the garden and in whose grace I grow. 

“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3 KJV

In Christ, 

Kelly Collins

My Perfect Saviour

Dogged bits of despair keep clinging to me lately.   I see my sin and shame in these dark places as a palpable,  insurmountable thing, robbing me of every promise.  The eyes of my soul are stuck on me and not my Lord.

Why do I choose to wallow in my own sin? Is it not forgiven? Am I not free of condemnation? Has He not cast His righteousness upon me? If Christ is for me, who can be against me?  Why do I choose to gaze upon this ocean of darkness within me when there is a glorious sunrise before me? When I take my eyes off Him there is only me to see.

Isaiah 26:3  says, “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee”.

What is perfect peace? If it is perfect, it can only come from the One who is the embodiment of perfection in all things.  Is there anything more glorious “to stay my mind upon” than my perfect Saviour?

Peace, Joy, Gratitude, Love are all gifts to the mind which chooses To look upon Jesus–to celebrate His life and triumph–choosing to forget the old in favour of the One who makes all things new–including me.
Philippians 4:7

7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

This means Lord that I must “think on” You–because only You are all these things–true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous–You, You only, are deserving of all praise.

Thank you, perfect Father God, for giving us your perfect Son to be my Saviour.

Jesus Christ is my Saviour from despair, from death, from hell—-and yes, He even saves me from myself.

 

 

 

 

 

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire…..”Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29

Oh most glorious Father God—

Consume my iniquities with Your living fire; burn up my blasphemies and idolatries; purge me of everything but You; pour my ego out and breathe Your Holy Spirit into the heart of me. 

Let me not hide in the shadows of sin and self-love, but step into Your cleansing fire, no matter how much the pain of Your discipline. I know that as You chide, You comfort; as You convict, You console; as You correct, You cleanse.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his dregs, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into captivity; therefore his taste remained in him and his scent is not changed.” Jeremiah 48 v.11

Oh Father, may I never be as before You saved me!   I rested “at ease” in the worship of my youth and my wanderings; I obeyed only the selfish ambitions of my own desires.  I wallowed in the very worst of myself, in my very dregs!

Grant to me Father the tears of Your purging; pour me out from vessel to vessel,  sluice me and drain me and refine me oh Father so that my taste is no longer bitter but sweet, my scent no longer foul but fragrant; save me from the dregs of my own pride and ego.

I have been to the home of unending want.  It is stagnating to our souls, causing us to “taste and smell the same” as the Moabites did. Sin is a trap that holds us fast in the same dark place; we become fixed in the mire. Praise Your Name Lord that in Romans 5:20 You tell us that “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. By Your grace Lord, my sin became guilt; my guilt became shame; my shame became anguish; and my anguish at the end, became despair.

Oh, what darkness is in those tearless places!  In the great depths, despair has no weeping. It has only the shadows of the things once wanted; vain imaginings of the things once hoped for. Broken dreams are mocking things. At the end, the lament of the despairing is hollow and gray with mourning and grief. 

“Therefore behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, That I shall send him wine workers who will tip him over and empty his vessels and break the bottles”. Jeremiah 48 v. 12

Oh Father, by the atonement of my Lord Jesus Christ, You saved me. You tipped me over; You emptied me of everything I thought I needed;  You broke me. You poured me out so that You could pour Your Son, my precious Lord Jesus, in.

What mercy! What healing! What forgiveness! What grace! 

Jesus paid the penalty of my sin; He purchased me with His blood and His pain and His suffering. He entered into my prison of sin and pulled me out; He replaced my broken heart with His healing spirit and removed my condemnation as “far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  He showed me mercy “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17). 

I praise You God that You love broken vessels; that Your mighty heart loves to release those that are stuck and that Your grace knows no limits to its redemptive love.

I praise You Father for showing me “my dregs”; I praise You Lord for showing me my own despair. I praise You for Your “pouring of vessel to vessel”.  May your consuming fire continue to refine my heart until in  purity and holiness it realizes its singular desire and I am with You Lord for eternity.

 

My prayer for you this morning is that the consuming fire of God brand you with that Name above all Names, sealing you to His courts above. May you truly celebrate His refining fire.

 

In Christ!

 

Darkness you can feel……..

Exodus 10:21 “And the Lord said unto Moses, “Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.”  

Have you ever felt darkness?  The ninth plague upon Egypt, when God lead His people out of captivity, was darkness you could feel.  This was no ordinary darkness. This was blackness that saturated the very soul, a thick, oppressive, ominous shadow of the heart. This was the darkness that Job felt when he thought God had abandoned him…”the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.” (Job 17:13)

The Darkness of “God obscured” to us.

Job knew this gloom like few people will ever know it, the darkness that we sink into when we are no longer in the presence of God, when he has removed himself from our thoughts and our lives and our hearts and our minds. Darkness we can feel. Job found there existed “A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order…” (Job 10:22)  

Without God, there is also no order; no design; no purpose to the human soul, such as before God began His work of creation.  Without light, where order can be seen and built upon, there is chaos in that darkness, in that formidable void.  In Genesis 1:2 this is clear “And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…” In Genesis 1:3 we see the first thing that God created, the very first thing He had to create. “And God said let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Without God, darkness is the black night of the soul that never ends.

In Exodus, the plague of darkness came before the death of the first born, when the angel of death passed over the Israelites who in faith rested in the blood of the lamb upon their door posts. We know this glorious salvation that spared them that night foreshadowed the blood of our own Lamb, Jesus Christ, by “whose stripes we are healed”. 

Jesus expels the darkness of our souls, that darkness we can feel by the great light of His presence within us. Jesus is light, the very light of the world. Isaiah prophesied this “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light…” (Isaiah 9:2)   He is the one who Paul described in Colossians 1:13 as Him “who hath delivered us from the power of darkness….”

There are those who would say that this Jesus was not God incarnate, that He was not God that came and dwelt among us, our Immanuel, God with us, even though He himself told us “I and the Father are one”.  (John 10:30)

Yet we know that Jesus was God by what happened when He died at Calvary.

Matthew 27:45 “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.”

Mark 15:33 “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

Luke 23:44 “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.”

Without God there is nothing but darkness; darkness that can be felt. If you do not have His presence in your life you are walking in darkness.   

God died for you.  God did not die for nameless people. He died for those he foreknew from the foundation of the world, for you, who he formed with His hands and His breath, knowing you so intimately that every hair on your head is numbered. Knowing you and your sin and your own dark heart better than you will ever know it yourself. He died to destroy your heart and soul’s darkness forever.  He shaped your parts and fashioned you and loved you, all the while knowing that tHis great love for you, yes for you, would lead him to send His Son to die for you; to bring you back into the light of His presence. If you have not asked God for forgiveness of your sins, accepting the atonement Jesus offers, then you will be in darkness forever.  “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12)

Please do not wait to accept this gift. Time is slipping away…..the people of this world are seeking more and more the shadows that obscure their sin.

It is fitting that at the very end of this world, the fulfillment of all things, there will be darkness here on earth once more. 

Joel 2:31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”

There will be darkness for those who do not believe because He will remove His presence and give the world up to their sin.

Amos 5:18 “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.”

God  will redeem this fallen world and restore all things.   There will be a new Jerusalem where the light of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, has banished the darkness forever. There will no more be any sorrow or weeping or shame or hurt.  There will be no more darkness.

My prayer for you today is that the One who knows no darkness basks you in the light of Jesus, now and forever.

In Christ!

In praise of the great God of Today….

Job 8:9 …for we are but of yesterday and know nothing, because our days upon the earth are but a shadow….

Oh Father, how cruel of yesterday to remind me of the darkness of my heart; holding the mirror of Your Spirit up to it, showing me how pitted and pockmarked it has become, scarred by sin and demanding.
Yesterday, heartfelt secrets so small, like pebbles first skipping have become like great stones, whose waves have caused a grievous flood, so that “every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” (Revelation 16:20).
Yesterday I ran and hid, like the Amorite kings in terror of Your judgement at the arm of Joshua’s armies, sure I had used my full portion of your grace, like your mercy is meted out with a spoon and not a shovel.
Yesterday, surely, surely, my heart cried, my sin has vexed your loving kindness so that your back has turned to me; my name crossed from Your great book of Life.
How deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) is this heart of my mine. I am afraid of it. The more I cry like David for its cleansing, for the renewal of a right spirit within me, the more I seem trapped by its longings and cross aims.

How will I ever see you without a heart that is pure? How will I be filled if it does not hunger for your righteousness? How can Your heavenly kingdom be mine if my spirit is not poor and humble?
Why do I choose the curse and abhor the blessing? Why do I crave reprobation not redemption? Yesterday I was Peter before the rooster crows, I was Paul railing against the sordid wanting of my fallen will in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
How many yesterdays Father can you forgive?
Your answer this morning, Oh beloved Father, came in the rush of gratitude to my broken heart that “my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).
I know not the infinite but use up my pile of days wastefully; I cannot see the world at once; I have but memory upon memory of my failings.
And yet today, I praise your Holy Name that You have removed my transgressions from me, “as far as the east is to the west” (Psalm 103 v.12)! Oh precious Lord how can you have put them any farther from me? You do not hoard my sins to parade them out again and again, a testament to my continued failings. Today, I see them as a testament to YOUR forgiveness, to YOUR great mercy that is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103 v.17).
Today I know You “have not rewarded me according to my iniquity” (Psalm 103 v. 10)
Today I will Praise Your name “with all my inmost being” (Psalm 103 v 1).
Today, at your morning’s touch, I sing, “draw me after you and let us run together”, “rejoicing in thee” and “extolling your love more than wine” (Song of Solomon, 1:4).
Today, though I know my heart is fickle, I say “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
I hear the forgiveness of Jesus even from the cross, pronouncing to the thief that “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
Father, thank you for Today.

In Christ!

I am convinced Psalm 103 was written for those of us with too many yesterdays. My prayer for you this morning is that you wake up firmly in Today, knowing Yesterday is not just forgiven, but gone. Today may you stand strong on the Rock and turn your back to the waves, praising Him from whom all blessings flow, our great God of today.

 

 

PROVERBS 15:8 “…BUT THE PRAYER OF THE UPRIGHT IS HIS DELIGHT.”

How often do you pray, I mean really pray, in private, on your knees, before your Lord? Would knowing that your prayers are a delight to the Lord change how you pray?  Would it mean you approached this most holy of communions with reverence and anticipation, knowing that you are doing something infinitely pleasing to God?

What if you knew that every word you uttered to the Lord on your knees was remembered and kept before His throne? Does this comfort and gratify you or horrify and shame you? Your answer to that question will speak volumes to the state of your prayer life.

In Acts chapter 10, verse 4, Cornelius who “prayed to God always” is told by the angel of God, “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God”. A memorial is a permanent remembrance, a tribute and a commemoration.   How much do you pray? Is your memorial before God a pebble or a monolith?

Further proof  that each prayer we make is kept in heaven is found in Revelation, chapter 5 where John writes, “Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the  twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp,  and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” We are His saints, those of us sanctified by Christ and reconciled to Him.  Our prayers are like “sweet incense, perpetually before the Lord, a sweet scent to him.”  Psalm 141, verse 2 elaborates, “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

We have been told me that the “prayers of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) . In other words, there is great power to the prayer of a redeemed man, a saint of God. We see this in Revelation as well.

In Revelation chapter 8 verse 3, we read that the incense was offered “with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the alter and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake.  So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”

In this passage we see the power in those prayers as the censer is cast down to earth with “noises, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake” which begin the judgement and fury of God upon those that don’t believe.  How fitting that the praise and petitions of those who have escaped God’s wrath through the blood of His Son, begin His outpouring of judgement, (starting with the seven trumpets) on those who rejected His love and mercy.

Most Holy Father,

Save me Father from the prayer of obligation, the completion of yet another daily task, so that I may move on to the next; from treating Holy time in communion with You as just one more check mark.  May I never profane You this way so that You cover Yourself with a cloud, that my prayer should not pass through (Lamentations 3:44).  Help me to pray knowing that this prayer of mine, from this sinner now sanctified; redeemed through Your Son’s sacrifice on the cross, now “right with God” ,having put on the righteousness of Christ, is a delight to You. Help me to pray Lord, knowing that each word will ever be before Your throne, a tribute and memorial of my love for You.

In Christ!