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Summer 2014 Session 3 part 2

Streams in the Desert
by L B Cowman

October 11
...dying and yet we live on
2 Corinthians 6:9

     Last summer I had a flower bed of asters that nearly covered my garden in the country.  They were planted late in the season, but how beautiful they were!  While the outer portion of the plants were still producing fresh flowers, the tops had gone to seed, and when an early frost came, I fould that the radient beauty of the blossoms had withered.  All I could say at this point was "Oh well, I guess the season has been too much for them, and they have died."  So I wished them a fond farewell.

     After this I no longer enjoyed looking at the flower bed, for it seemed to be only a graveyard for flowers.  Yet several weeks ago one of the gardeners called my attention to the fact that aross the entire garden, asters were now sprouting up in great abundance.  It appeared that every plant I thought the winter had destroyed had replanted fifty to take its place.  What had the frost and the fierce winter wind done?

     They had taken my flowers and destroyed them, casting the to the ground.  they had walked across them with their snowy feet and, once finished with their work, said, 'This is the end of you."  And yet in the spring, for every one destroyed, fifty witnesses arose and said, "It is through 'dying...we live on.'"

     As it is int he plant world, so it is in God's kingdom.  Through death came everlasting life.  Through crucifixion and the tomb came the throne and the palace of the eternal God.  Through apparent defeat came victory.

     So do not be afraid of suffering or defeat.  It is through being "struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Cor. 4:9) and through being broken to pieces and those pieces being torn to shreds, that we become people of strength.  And it is in the endurance of one believer that produces a multitude.

     Others may yield to the appearance of things and follow the world,  They may blossom quickly and find momentary prosperity, but their end will be one of eternal death.  Henry Ward Beecher

Measure your life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth,
For love's strength is found in love's sacrifice, 
And he who suffers most has most to give.


Related Scripture:

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

2 Corinthians 6:9  [We are treated] as unknown and ignored [by the world], and [yet we are] well-known and recognized [by God and His people]; as dying, and yet here we are alive; as chastened by suffering and [yet] not killed;

Summer 2104 Session 3 part 1

Streams in the Desert
by L B Cowman

June 11
The servant of the Lord must....be gentle
2 Timothy 2:24

     When God finally conquers us and chages out unyielding nature, we receive deep insights into the Spirit if Jesus.  Then, as never before, we see His extraordiary gentleness of spirit at work in this dark and unheavenly world.  Yet the gifts of "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22) do not automatically become evident in our lives.   If we are not discerning enough to recognize their availablity to us, to desire them, and then to nourish them in our thoughts, they will never become embedded in our nature or behavior.  Every further step of spiritual growth in God's grace must be preceded by acknowledging our lack of a godly attribute and then be exhibiting a prayerful determination to obtain it. 

     However, very few Christians are willing to endure the suffering through which complete gentleness is obtained.  We must die to ourselves before we are turned into gentleness, and our crucifixion involves suffering.  It will mean experiencing genuine brokeness and crushing of self, which will be used to affict the heart and conquer the mind.

     Today many people are attempting to use their mental capacity and logical thinking to obtain sanctification, yet this is nothing but a religious fabrication.  They believe that if they just mentally put themselves on the alter and believe the alter provides the gift of sanctification, they can then logically conclude they are fully sanctified.  Then they go happily on their way, expressing their flippant, theological babble about the "deep" things of God.

     Yet the heartstrings of their old nature have not been broken, and their unyielding character, which they inherited from Adam, has not been ground to powder.  Their soul has not throbbed with the lonely, gushing groans of Gethsemane.  Having no scars from their death on Calvary, they will exhibit nothing of the soft, sweet, gentle, restful, victorious, overflowing, and triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.   G. D. W.


And much grace was upon them all.  Acts 4:33

Related Scripture:

2 Corinthians 4: 8-10  We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped orcrushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;
We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed;
10 Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [[a]resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies.

1 Peter 1:6&7   [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations,
So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.

Matthew 16: 21-28  21 From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised [a]from death.
22 Then Peter took Him aside [b]to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and [c]charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You!
23 But Jesus turned [d]away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are [e]minding what partakes not of the nature andquality of God, but of men.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[f]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [g]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [h]life [in the kingdom of God]?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.
28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in (into) His kingdom.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7  Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
[So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination [to give you full insight into its meaning].
In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established andmade sure in you
That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment orChristian grace [[a]the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.
17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],
18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathlessand everlasting.

2 Timothy 2:24   And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled andsuitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong.