Afterthoughts

Only personal ideas about general things, spiritual or secular. A keepsake of some realizations I especially encountered in my student-life.


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What the Life-Study says on “schedule”

As I searched the term “schedule” in the book by book exposition of the Bible by Witness Lee, the Life-Study of the Bible, here are some of the passages that I found.

 

The Lord has a way to fulfill His purpose. Regardless of the instigation of Satan and the rebellion of man, God is still God. He is sovereign. God seemed to say, “All right, I will let go of the Adamic race.” But, under His sovereignty, He selected one to be the head of a new race. This selection, this choice, was made before the foundation of the world. God planned it this way and worked it according to schedule. God has a schedule. In His schedule, He dropped the Adamic race and called out Abraham to be the head of a new race.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 36, Section 6)

 

By reading Jacob’s story, I have become fully convinced regarding God’s dealing hand. After I began to comprehend this, I realized that everything that happens between others and myself is a dealing for me. The elders, the brothers and sisters, my wife, and my children are not to blame. Everything is under God’s sovereign hand as a dealing for my profit. I have needed it all. Perhaps tomorrow I shall need another dealing. The Lord knows what kind of wife, husband, children, in-laws, and grandchildren we need. Nothing is accidental. Everything has been prearranged and happens according to God’s plan and schedule. Nothing is either too late or too early. Everything occurs on time. Eventually, we shall say, “Father, thank You for Your sovereign hand. Thank You for Your dealing, for Your prearrangement, and for everything You have done. Now I know that everything has been under Your sovereignty. I am just a chosen Jacob under Your hand.”
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 67, Section 3)

 

There is a need in the Lord’s recovery today for those with the highest education. Young people, you must endeavor to gain the best education. Arrange your daily schedule in this way: seven and a half hours for sleep, one and a half hours for eating, one hour for exercise, eight hours for study, and six hours for spiritual things. If you expend your energy in this way, by the time you are thirty you will be able to begin your ministry like the Lord Jesus did (Luke 3:23). Continue your studies until you are thirty. If many take this way, we shall have no shortage of pillar makers.

Do not get married too soon. I do not like to see the brothers getting married before the age of twenty-five. Do not be burdened down too soon with marriage and children. Rather, use your time and energy for studying. The age of twenty-six is soon enough for brothers to begin having children. Furthermore, I do not like to see the sisters getting married before the age of twenty-two. If the sisters marry too early and have children too soon, they may be overburdened and even spoiled. Follow the schedule I recommend until you are twenty-five years old and see what will be the issue. This surely is good for God’s recovery.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 85, Section 6)

With this as the background, we come to the problem of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Did God firstly harden Pharaoh’s heart, or did Pharaoh take the first step to harden his own heart? As a help in answering this question, consider your experience in believing in the Lord Jesus. Was this initiated by you or by God? Surely it was initiated by God. However, you did the believing. Before I was saved, I had no thought of God. My believing in Christ was neither planned nor initiated by me. I have the full assurance that the source of this was God Himself. He planned it, initiated it, and scheduled it. Before I was saved, I was not willing to believe in Christ. However, one day I spontaneously became willing. According to my experience and yours as well, God took the first step to cause us to believe in Christ.

God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are both involved in our spiritual seeking. All proper spiritual seeking is planned and scheduled by God. But we are still responsible to seek the Lord. When we seek Him, we should not be proud. Rather, we should humble ourselves and confess that our seeking of the Lord is according to His sovereignty. At the same time, we fulfill our responsibility. If we are indifferent toward the Lord, we are in danger of not fulfilling our responsibility. But if we are zealous in pursuing the Lord, we must be careful not to boast of our spiritual seeking. Once again we see that we need to humble ourselves under God’s sovereignty and, at the same time, carry out our responsibility. If we are conscious of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, we are truly favored by God.
(Life-Study of Exodus, Chapter 21, Section 2)

 

In the years 1969 to 1971 many of the saints in Elden Hall in Los Angeles practiced singing and praising the Lord in their daily life. In those days many families lived near the meeting hall, and often the sounds of singing, pray-reading, and praising could be heard coming from the dwellings of the saints. This singing and praising carried over into the meetings. Long before the scheduled time, the meetings would begin. Many times a meeting began on the street with the singing and praising of the saints as they walked to the meeting hall. Actually, the meetings began early in the day, as the saints contacted the Lord by singing, pray-reading, and praising. In recent years our tendency has been to drift back toward the habits of traditional religion. We may read the Word and pray at certain times and then come to the meeting at the scheduled time, but we lack a spontaneous daily life in spirit. But in those years in Elden Hall the saints had such a daily life.
(Life-Study of Exodus, Chapter 58, Section 1)

Our concern in the Lord’s recovery should not be with numbers or with the outward spreading of the work. That is not the Lord’s way. His way is to create Adam and then fill the earth by reproduction and multiplication in life. Out of the life of one man, Adam, billions of human beings have come into existence. This is God’s way to replenish the earth. Adam did not form a mission board, and he did not have plans, programs, and schedules for the carrying out of a work. Adam simply lived and produced children. As a result, the earth is filled with people.

We may think that the way of reproduction in life is slow. Today many Christians take the way of work, programs, organizations, and schedules. But that is not the way of life. I urge you to be faithful to what the Lord has shown us and live according to it. If we see the vision and live according to it, the recovery will spread and will replenish the earth.
(Life-Study of Exodus, Chapter 124, Section 2)

 

The power for responsibility is also an element in the compound Spirit. I can testify that when I walk in the all-inclusive Spirit, I have the power to bear responsibility. Recently it was necessary for me to spend twenty-one hours in fellowship with certain brothers. We had six long meetings. I could not merely sit in these meetings, but I had the responsibility to lead the fellowship and direct it. My wife was very concerned that I would be exhausted. Knowing that a large conference was scheduled very soon, she encouraged me not to tire myself out. Nevertheless, I can testify that in those days I experienced the all-inclusive Spirit with the element of power for bearing responsibility.
(Life-Study of Exodus, Chapter 164, Section 2)

 

The Lord said to them, “Go and tell this fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I am perfected” (v. 32). The Greek words translated, “I am perfected” may also be rendered “end My course” or “reach My goal.” The Lord’s response indicates that He had a set schedule to carry out His ministry, to end His course, and to reach His goal, through His death and resurrection, and that no one, especially not Herod, could stop Him from accomplishing it.

Here the Lord seems to be saying, “I shall reach My goal. I shall accomplish what I intend to do. I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow and then on the third day, in resurrection, I will be perfected and reach My goal. Don’t bother Me or threaten Me. I am the sovereign One, and you can do nothing. Who is Herod? He is a fox. You may be afraid of him, but I am not, because he is under Me. Tell him that I have My schedule. According to this schedule, I will finish My work, reach My goal, and be perfected.”
(Life-Study of Luke, Chapter 31, Section 4)

Another important point in Philip’s preaching of the gospel was that all his activity was under the direction, leading, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In 8:29 “the Spirit said to Philip, Approach and join this chariot.” The Spirit here, as in verse 39; 10:19; 13:2; and 16:6-7, indicates that the Lord’s move in spreading His kingdom through the preaching of the gospel in Acts was by the Spirit’s leading and direction, not by man’s device and schedule. Hence, it was not the act of man but of the Spirit.

We all should learn from this pattern to pray and to keep ourselves in fellowship with the Lord. If we maintain our fellowship with the Lord, we shall be able to sense His leading at any time. Then our move and our preaching of the gospel will be according to the Spirit’s direction. We need to follow the Spirit’s guidance, not our opinion, plan, and schedule. May we learn to have all our activity in preaching the gospel always under the direction and guidance of the Spirit.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 24, Section 1)

 

We are not told for what Cornelius and Peter were praying. The record does indicate, however, that they set aside certain times for prayer, that they prayed according to a schedule. Acts 10:3 says that Cornelius was praying at the ninth hour, at three o’clock in the afternoon, and 10:9 says that Peter was praying at the sixth hour, at twelve o’clock noon. From this we see that they had a prayer life and even prayed at scheduled times. If we in the Lord’s recovery have such a prayer life according to set times, we shall be used by Him in opening the way for the spread of His recovery.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 29, Section 2)

This major step had nothing to do with the church in Jerusalem organizationally, and it was not under the authority and direction of Peter and the other eleven apostles in Jerusalem. It was begun solely and purely from a Gentile center, far away from the atmosphere and influence of any Judaic background and practice, and even from the practice and influence of the church in Jerusalem. It was absolutely a move by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and with the Spirit through the coordination of the faithful and seeking members of the Body on earth with the Head in the heavens. This was not a religious movement with a human schedule. From Antioch the Lord’s move on the earth for God’s New Testament economy had an entirely new start. Although the flow of the Lord’s move began from Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and later came to Antioch and went on from Antioch to the Gentile world, it had a purified start by the Spirit at its turn in Antioch.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 36, Section 1)

Acts 16:6 says, “And they passed through the country of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” The move of the apostle Paul and his co-workers for the spread of the gospel was not according to their decision and preference, nor according to any schedule made by human council, but by the Holy Spirit according to God’s counsel, as in the mission of Philip (8:29, 39). They intended to speak the word in Asia, but the Holy Spirit forbade them. Forbidding is also a part of the Holy Spirit’s leading.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 44, Section 1)

 

In reading Acts 16 it is easy to consider the matter of the leading of the Spirit in a general way. As we have seen, Paul did not carry out his work for the spread of the gospel according to his decision, preference, and schedule but by the Spirit. This understanding is also general. We need the heavenly vision to see what is implied by the two divine titles the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus. In order to understand these titles we need to dig into the depths of the Bible concerning the Spirit. We need to study the Spirit throughout the Scriptures, considering the Spirit of God in Genesis and the Spirit of Jehovah elsewhere in the Old Testament. Then we need to see why the term the Holy Spirit is not used until it was time for God to become incarnated. When we see this, we shall realize that the title “the Holy Spirit” is involved with God’s New Testament economy. In particular, this title indicates God’s coming into man to be one with man in incarnation. In the New Testament the title the Holy Spirit indicates that God is now mingling Himself with man.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 44, Section 3)

 

If we do not watch unto our prayer life, we shall lose time. Here and there throughout the day, our time will be wasted. We may lose time because our time is neither scheduled nor controlled. When we are at work, our time may be closely regulated. But when it comes to prayer, many do not schedule their time. As a result, much time which could be devoted to prayer is lost. If we do not redeem our time and grasp every available opportunity, much time will be needlessly lost. Although you may be very busy, do not use this as an excuse for not praying. If you place a high value on your prayer life, you will watch unto it and arrange time for it. No matter how busy you may be, you will still have time to pray.
(Life-Study of Ephesians, Chapter 66, Section 2)