Howard Mooney - Psalm 100

Would you like to open your Bibles now to Psalm 100. And if you don't mind marking your Bible, maybe you would like to underscore that little word, "His," which occurs quite frequently in these verses. Read Psalm 100. This little pronoun 'His' which occurs eight times in these verses, is just a reminder to us that ALL that we are and ALL that we have, and ALL that makes our life worth living has come down from above. These things were HIS, and He shared them with us.
You remember when Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, in the midst of some of their rejoicing, he endeavored to make this same appeal to them when he asked them that same question, "What maketh thee to differ from another, and what has thou that thou has not received?" This was at a time when these people were rejoicing over the fact that their lives were different from the people around them. And they were rejoicing over the fact that their lives were richer and fuller and sweeter than they had ever been before, and I don't question for a single minute that Paul was rejoicing with them over this wonderful possession. But he wanted them to observe the fact, and be fully aware of the fact that this wonderful possession which is yours today is not because of you, and not because of anything you have done. It is because of what has been shared with you from above.

If you were not in this meeting this morning, you would be in a little fellowship meeting. Gathering together like the New Testament Christians did. And in the center of that room there would be a little table and on the table a white napkin and under the napkin the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. And do you know, folks, why we partake of this week after week, in accordance with the Lord's command? There are several lessons we learn from taking of the Lord's communion. One of the reminders is, that ALL that we are and ALL that we have, and ALL that makes our life worth while has been made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus. We don't want to forget that. God forbid that the time would ever come that we would partake of these emblems and it would be just formality and a routine thing in the meeting. But may they remind us each time of the fact that ALL that I am and ALL that I have and ALL that makes my life so rich and full and complete has been made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Now I find that I can understand this 100th Psalm a little better by dividing it unto five sections. First of all, HIS PRESENCE, and then HIS WORKMANSHIP, and then, HIS CONTROL, and then HIS PROVISION, and then HIS SECURITY. Before we go into these sections of this psalm, I would like to call your attention to HIS NAME, which is mentioned in the closing part of the 4th verse. Because it is through HIS NAME that we receive these things.

I used to wonder what Jesus meant that last night that He was with His disciples when He told them that if they needed anything, "Just ask the Father and I'll give it to you." Just ask the Father "In My Name." I used to wonder why He instructed them to ask the Father in HIS name. I have found that I can understand this a lot better now when I think of that in the same sense that you would think of a credit card. Supposing that the gas tank of the car was dry and you had no money, and no way to do anything about it. And one of your friends would walk up to you and he would say, "Now you take my credit card and you go down to the service station and fill up." So you do it and give them his name. You don't have a credit card. You just give that in his name don't you? Since you haven't a credit card of your own, and no 'where-with-all' to do it for yourself, this wonderful thing that you are getting now has come to you through the name of another. I like to think of the Lord's name being like a credit card. You and I have no credit card that would enable us to go into the PRESENCE of God and ask for anything.
We have nothing with which we can purchase these wonderful things that God has in store for His people. And the Lord knows that. That is why, so-to-speak, He gives us His credit card and says, "Now you go into the PRESENCE of the Father anytime you need anything and give the Father My Name and He will give you anything you need." I don't think it is by coincidence now that HIS PRESENCE, is mentioned first in this Psalm. The farther on we go the more we are aware of the fact that HIS PRESENCE tells the whole story. It is His presence in a meeting that makes a meeting worthwhile for us to come together. If it wasn't for God's presence in our homes, they wouldn't be what they are. We are conscious of the fact that it is HIS PRESENCE that makes the difference.

I feel this morning like Moses did when the Lord was leading him up to the Promised Land. The Lord said to Moses, "My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest." And Moses said, "If your presence doesn't go with us, carry us not hence." In other words, he didn't want to go to the Promised Land even if it would have been a Utopia for him right here on the earth, Unless he was sure that he had the presence of God with him. He would rather stay in the wilderness, and enjoy the presence of God than to go anywhere without it. The Lord said, "My presence shall go with you and I will give thee rest."

Can you understand why the presence of God means so much to His people? It is because only in His presence do you find that rest. The Psalmist said, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy." It is only there that you will find the fullness of joy. On another occasion God said, "I will hide thee in the secret of My presence." This is the protection that you find there. In the book of Isaiah you read of a time when the Lord's people were in dire need, and it says, "The angel of his presence went forth and saved them." Didn't Peter, in the first of the Acts, speak of the REFRESHING that comes from the presence of the Lord?

Aren't we reminded in the book of Hebrews that it is in His presence that intercession is being made for us through the blood of Jesus? Can you understand then folks, why it says in this verse, that we should come before His presence with singing. The Lord's people are a singing people because they are a happy people. We are a happy people because we have access to the presence of God and we enjoy that presence. In it we find things that can be found no place else in all the world. I am glad today that the feeling of my heart is that expressed by Moses when he said, "If Thy presence goes not with us, carry us not up hence." I would not want to go any place, regardless of what the advantages would be, or appear to be, if I couldn't have the presence of God with me. 
And folks, I hope that you will use that as a barometer in your choices. Don't make any choices, don't go any place, don't do anything, unless you can be sure that the presence of God will accompany you there. And if you do that, the song of praise will never leave you. There is no doubt in my mind this morning but what the happiness and the thanksgiving, and the song that rings out from the hearts of God's people, is the beacon light that the world sees. We pray that God will make us a light in the world, and there is no doubt in my mind today but that it is that rejoicing and that satisfaction, and the deep contentment that the Lord's people enjoy, that is the thing that shines forth to all who are dying on every hand. For that reason I hope that this coming year will find us faithfully, day in and day out, in HIS PRESENCE, so that we won't lose that joy, or that singing that is found only when we are there. 
In the 3rd verse, you read of HIS WORKMANSHIP. "Know ye that the Lord He is God. It is He that has made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." Now he is not referring here to the fact that God created man in the beginning. That was a foregone conclusion. But what he is referring to here is, that it is the Lord that has made us what we are now as the people of God. That is the reason why we are able to blend together as sheep in the pasture. We are having perfect fellowship because God has made us all alike. 

We sometimes tell people at gospel meetings that no child of God comes ready made, and we also remind them of the fact that a child of God is not a self made person, and neither are they a man made people. They are a God made people; they always have been. Samuel said, "It has pleased the Lord to make you His people." Do you know why the Lord has reserved this workmanship? IT IS BECAUSE HIS AIM FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO MAKE HIS PEOPLE ONE. And that can never be brought about through any other channel. If the Lord's people were a self made people, we would be different. I would be living up to my ideals, and you would be living up to yours. And the more conscientious we would become, the more different we would become. And there is no fellowship on that basis. If the Lord's people were a man-made people there would be no fellowship. The religions in the world around us have proved that. Men have always set standards that some can attain to and others cannot. And that makes the difference.

Where there is a difference in the picture, friend, there is no fellowship. The reason why God has reserved this workmanship in His hand is because it has been the purpose of God from the dawn of creation to conform every one of his people to the image of His Son. You will read that in Romans 8:28-29. When God takes my life and conforms me to the image of His Son, who is the Lamb of God, and when God takes your life and conforms it to the image of His Son, who is the Lamb of God, then we are able to blend together as one. Just as sheep in the same pasture, aren't we? We have the same nature, the same mind, and the same spirit. And we enjoy the same kind of pasture. We are able to feed together as the flock in his fold.

Whenever you read of sheep in the Bible, it speaks of fellowship. God's people are likened to sheep. The people of the world, the irreligious world are likened to dogs. Not so much contemptuously, but that is just the term that is often used because a dog is just living to gratify his own basic appetites. The religious world, in the Bible, strange to say, was referred to as swine. The reason why was because a swine walks like a sheep. But he doesn't have a sheep nature, does he? If a creature would walk along the road during the night and leave its tracks in the sand, when you saw those tracks the next morning, unless you were a real good farmer, you wouldn't know whether that was a pig or sheep that walked by there. They leave very much the same kind of tracks.
One of the things that has become a curse in the religious world is that they train their people to walk like sheep. Yes, they train them to walk to church instead of to the bar. And they train them to walk to the hospital and visit the sick. They train them to walk on some of the high standards, instead of the lower standards of the world. So one of the curses of false religion is that they train their people to walk like sheep, but they can't give them a sheep nature, and that is why they can't produce fellowship.

You put two or three of them together and the first thing you know is a squeal is going on. There is no possibility of having fellowship under those conditions God's people in the Bible are referred to as sheep, and can you understand in the light of this, why God has reserved this work for himself? It is only the workmanship of God that can conform you or me to the image of His son. That is why the Psalmist said, "It is the Lord that has made us, not we ourselves." In Proverbs 22:2, the rich and poor meet together. The Lord is maker of them all. When the Lord makes the rich man over, and the Lord makes the poor man over, a miracle takes place. Normally they would not have anything in common. But now they can meet together and have fellowship. GOD has conformed them to the image of His Son, the Lamb of God. Man couldn't have done this himself.

Convention is just a wonderful picture of the workmanship of God in this respect. There are people here that would have nothing in common with each other whatever, and yet God has taken each life and He has made it over, and has conformed it to the image of His Son, and that is why we have the most perfect fellowship that human heart could possibly know. There is another thing that I am glad for, as far as the workmanship of God is concerned, and that is the fact that it hasn't changed. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So naturally His workmanship is the same yesterday, today and forever. I wonder, folks, does it thrill you when you stop to realize that we have today the same wonderful things that you read about in the pages of God's word? It thrills me when I read here of the workmanship in the lives of God's people. I will tell you of a greater thrill that I get and that is when I lift my eyes and see the evidence of that same workmanship today. Now I don't think that I am sacrilegious in making this statement that we have people in our fellowship today who are the product of that same sterling workmanship that you read about in the Bible.
You know sometimes it is easier for God to take people out of the false church than to GET THE FALSE LEAVEN OUT OF US. I know for years it was hard for me to get that old leaven out of my life. We had been taught in the false church that these people that you read about in the Bible were super men. They were just way beyond us. It would be utterly impossible to be like that today. It was a great revelation to me when I awakened to the fact that those people were not super men. They were just ordinary people like you and me. Many of them with less privileges than we have today. Yet God took those common ordinary people and made out of them the great men and women that they became in the world. Doesn't it thrill you to see the evidence of the same handy work of God continuing today? We have Pauls in our fellowship today. I have had older companions, and I can see in them everything that I read about in the life of Paul. We have Timothys and Tituses in our fellowship today. Yes, and we thank God for them. Yes, we thank God for the Marys and Phoebes of today. The farther on I go the more I thank God for the ministry of the sister workers. To think that God could take a woman today, when you see the evidence of the type of women that are on every hand in the world today, and, to me, it's nothing less than a compound miracle that God can take women and make out of them the wonderful characters that represent our sister workers. It is a wonderful assurance that the workman hasn't changed. And neither has His workmanship. We were hearing of Pricilla and Aquilla, those wonderful elders. We have elders and their wives today that have everything that Pricilla and Aquilla had, and that others had. It is a thrill to me, and I just can't get over it, to think that these wonderful things that you read about that God by His workmanship worked into these people so many years ago, are being reproduced right before our very eyes in this present generation.

We can thank God for it and it should cause us to come before Him with singing when we realize that we are partakers of such. There is another reason why He has kept this workmanship in His hands. It is so that in every generation He can raise up another generation to take the place of the ones that have gone before. I don't know of a time, friend, and this is not just my own personal feeling as there are some thing I don't say until I talk them over with some of the other older workers to be sure that my enthusiasm doesn't get the best of me.

One of the things that we have been enthused about in different parts of the country is the fact that today God is raising up one of the most wonderful crops of young people that we have ever known in our generation. That again is a miracle. When you think of the juvenile delinquency in the world, and when you realize that the youth problem is the No. 1 problem of the nation, when the average young person of today is going to the dogs, isn't it a marvelous thing to think that right in the midst of this sin and decay, God is able to raise up and establish one of the best crops of young people that we have ever known in our day and generation? That is not only true here in New Mexico and Texas, but every place that we have had the privilege of going to convention this year to see that same wonderful evidence.

Now I wouldn't want to give you the impression that all of our young people are all that they should be. Sometimes our hearts ache when we see some of our young folks having such a glorious privilege and are not making use of it. We would like to think that some of you young people who have come to this convention that haven't been too Christ-like, and haven't been too separated in your life, that the effect of this convention would send you forth, with your sisters looking more like sister workers, and you brothers, with more of a spirit of a brother worker. That is one of the purposes for which we come to convention, is so that God may help us to see the worthwhileness of that taking place.

I have often mentioned to people that I wish that everybody would do what Moses did. When Moses left Egypt, when he got saved, he went to the very backside of the desert. He got just as far away from the world with it's fashions and passions and customs as he could possibly get. It was on the backside of the desert that he had the sweetest fellowship with God that a man could possibly know. He proved that the "Desert bloomed as paradise." This is when God called him into the work. It was there in that remote place God called that young man into the work. There is no doubt in my mind today that if we could encourage our brethren, old and young, and especially the young folks to go to the backside of the desert, and get as far away from Egypt with its fashions and its passions as fast as you can, you will enjoy a joy that is beyond your comprehension. 
It might even be as a result of you being back there that God might even call you into the work. I am not saying that God is going to give that privilege to you. That is a sacred privilege that God does not give everybody. If God, in the coming years, would lay His hand on your young life and make it known to you that He wanted you in the work, don't feel sorry for yourself, and don't rebel against it. Remember, God is giving you a sacred privilege that only a few people know. There is another reason why we would encourage you to go to the backside of the desert, friend, and that is because this world is nothing but a jungle. That is why so many expressions are used in the Bible like that. 

The false prophet is referred to as a ravening wolf. There are already references to the dogs. The devil is referred to as a roaring lion. Peter spoke of some in his day as natural brute beasts. They are not fit to live and are only fit to be destroyed. Do you know why those terms are used in the Bible so frequently? It is just to remind us of the fact that the world that is around us is nothing but a jungle, and it is filled with the most vicious forms of death that a person could possibly imagine, and we would like to plead with you this morning, to beware of the jungle. You BEWARE of the jungle. It looks inviting on the outside, but you haven't any idea of the heartache and death on the inside. I wouldn't want to give you the impression that everybody out in the world is a brute beast, not for a single moment. But I do want to impress on your mind that they are at every turn of the road, and they come to you in sheep's clothing so you haven't the least idea what their motives are when they begin to approach you and take an interest in you. Those people don't care whether you go down and hang your head in disgrace or not. They don't care whether you wreck your health or not. They are natural brute beasts and the world is full of them. There has never been a time when the jungle has been more teeming with beasts, and we would certainly appeal to our young people to stay as far from that jungle as you can. They are not concerned about your soul. They don't care whether you go to hell or not, or whether you spend the rest of your life in shame or not. They are not concerned about anything other than any other brute beast, and that is just satisfying their own natural self.

In the hymn book issued before the one we have now, there was a song that was supposed to have been composed by an Irish singer who came to this country thinking she was finding Utopia, and found herself in amongst brute beasts. When that young woman was breathing her last breath on a premature death bed, with her character and her life wrecked, she composed these words: "BEWARE OF THE JUNGLE." "I stand on the shores of an unknown land, On the brink of eternity. At last, at last I can understand The worth of reality. Earth promised me much, But my end is this; I die unheeded, unknown. I drank with the many the cup of bliss, But the dregs I drink alone. The love that many professed for me Is gone when I need it most, (notice that in particular) The joys of the earth that were lavished free, Full many a tear has cost. And now as I reach eternities brow, Life reads with a meaning new. The REAL separates from the unreal now; The false joys from the TRUE, Too late, too late, no strong loving hands Do I see outstretched for me. Alone on an unknown shore I stand, On the brink of eternity."
That poor young soul thought she had reached Utopia, only to discover too late that it was nothing but a venomous jungle. I would say to you young folks to make a copy of this song, and write on it "Beware of the Jungle." That is one of the reasons why God would like to have you get to the back side of the desert, because he wants to preserve your future. He wants to preserve that precious young life of yours that Christ purchased with the last drop of his precious blood. But while we have some young folks that live too near to the border, we thank God for the multitude of those today that are dwelling on the backside of the desert. I can take you into the homes over the country that I have had the privilege of being in the last while, just young married couples' homes. You know, these young folks are just as godly as any home that you read about in the Bible. The same sanctity, the same zeal, the same Godly sincerity the same wonderful "something" that has always characterized the homes of God's people.

It is wonderful to go everywhere today and find those same kind of homes being reproduced in the world. We thank God for them. Our sister was telling us about the many who have gone into eternity since she was here five years ago. Everywhere you go you find those homes, that have been pillars in the family of God. Homes that have been so sacred to God and to His people, those homes that are fast being closed by death. It would be a sad thing if the older ones were dying off and there were none left to take their place. This is why I thank God from the bottom of my heart as I see the young generation that God is bringing up today, not only the young christians in their homes, but the young workers in the work. To see that God is not only raising up another generation, but He is reproducing in our midst the same genuine sterling workmanship that you read about in the Bible, and we thank God for them as well as those that have gone on before.

I had a young brother with me this year, a young man just starting out in the work. I have never been around a more godly man. I just marveled to see the godly virtues that are already worked into the life of that young man. In fact, one of the saints in the field where we were came to me and said, "Howard, I used to worry about what would happen to this fellowship when the older workers passed away, but just watching that young man, and seeing what God is doing in the life of that young worker, I realize that I don't have anything to worry about." I wonder if you thank God as much as you should for the future that God is mapping out for His people along this line. I would like to think that every one of us who represent the older generation would do everything we can, by prayer, and by precept, and by example to help this younger generation to rise up and be all that God wants them to be in this world.
This is a wonderful picture of his sterling workmanship. In the next verse you read of HIS CONTROL; ENTER INTO HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING AND INTO HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE." One of the things I am most grateful for is the fact that the Lord does control the gates of this fellowship. God has made us watchmen on the walls, as workers and that is a very important place, but I am so glad that God hasn't made us, as workers, watchmen on the gates, because we can't tell what is going on in the hearts of men and we could easily be deceived in the matter. I am so glad that the one who is controlling the gates of this fellowship is the one who knows the hearts of all men. "All THINGS before Him are open."
I don't know if you have read anything about that old city of Babylon, but I have been amazed at the greatness of that old city. According to the historians, that city was l4 miles square. That would make it 56 miles in circumference, and the walls around that city were 87 feet thick and 335 feet high! There were 100 gates of solid brass, 25 gates in each of the four walls. And yet the enemy broke through in a single night! Now this is just history and you can put "some salt on it if you want to." But according to some of the historians, the way that they broke in was they knew that Belshazzar was going to have this great feast, so a few days beforehand they had some of the soldiers go into the city disguised as merchant men. The men at the gates didn't know but what they were just like the others that had come in. The night when the feast was going on and most of the city was reduced to a drunken state of orgy, these men pounced upon those guards and slew them, and then threw open the gates. The mighty army of the Medes and Persians swarmed into the city, and according to the account you read in Daniel this is the time that Belshazzar was slain.
Now there was a real fortress, but it fell in one night because they had human beings keeping the gates. Now do you understand why you and I should be so grateful that God hasn't left the keeping of these gates in the hands of mortal men. The Lord has kept in His hands and that is why He has been able to protect the fellowship inside as He does. Jesus said, "I thank Thee that Thou has kept these things from the wise and prudent and has revealed them unto babes." In other words, "I thank Thee that You are controlling the situation."
The Scripture tells us that it is the ATTITUDE towards the Truth that a person has that determines whether or not God lets them into the gates. Did you ever notice that? I will give you some verses: Isaiah 26:2, and II Thessalonians 2:11. I used to wonder about these verses. Why God would send them a strong delusion. If it had said the devil was doing it, I could understand because it is the work of the devil to delude people and deceive people. But it says that God was doing it. It says they had not a LOVE for Truth. If people haven't a desire for Truth God doesn't want them inside of His city because this city is spoken of as a city of Truth. It is made up of men and women who LOVE the Truth as Jesus lived and taught it.

God was so anxious that men and women would understand what this truth was all about that He sent His Son into the world and for 33 1/2 years to live to show us what TRUTH is. He said to His disciples, "I am the Truth," and to Pilate He said, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." Oh, the Pharisees had a doctrine that they called truth, and the Sadducees had a doctrine they called truth, and others had doctrines that they referred to as truth. This is why the question in the minds of many was the same question that was in the mind of Pilate that day when He said, "What is Truth?"
This is the same question many people are asking today. All of the conglomeration of teachings that we have in the religious world today, with everybody calling their doctrine truth, puts the question in the minds of people, "What is Truth?" Jesus answered this when He said, "To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto Truth." So then today as men and women looking on my life may understand Truth. I must follow the true way for a preacher to preach, the true way to be baptized, and the true way for a person to worship and serve the Father. This is the true way that was lived and taught by Jesus. ATTITUDE is so important.

If you are setting in this meeting as an unsaved person, remember that IT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE TRUTH AS IT WAS LIVED AND TAUGHT BY JESUS that determines what God's attitude toward you will be. If you are willing to BELIEVE Truth and HONOR it, God will throw the gates of the city open to you. "Open ye the gates that the righteous nation that KEEPETH the Truth may enter in." If you aren't willing to obey the truth, and if you have no desire for it, and no love for it, God will send you a strong delusion that will take you a million miles away from it. One of the things that God is very concerned about is that there would be nothing in the world that would be developed that would resemble truth. 
Sometimes people come to us and say, "Which one of the denominations are the closest to Truth?" The answer is as simple as can be, "There is none close to the Truth." God has seen to that. He has put the same difference between His way of Truth and Everything else in the religious world. The same difference as between night and day. God keeps the Truth separate and pure that way. We would like to think that everyone in this meeting would have a love for the Truth, and would desire to obey the Truth. So that you could have a part inside His Gates, and could enjoy the sweetest fellowship that men and women have ever known on the face of the earth.
There is more that I could say about God's control over the GATES, but I want to pass on now to the next section of this Psalm. HIS PROVISION: "Enter into His courts with praise." There were two courts in particular. They were very precious to God's people when this Psalm was written. And are still very precious to God's people today. There was the Court of Prayer and the Court of Fellowship. In the court of prayer, men and women were allowed to enter and to pour out their heart to God. Did you ever notice that there are two sides to prayer? This wonderful privilege that God offers to His people in this court has two sides. They are prayer and supplication. Have you ever wondered why those two were connected together? I did, but learned one day that this word SUPPLICATION in its original meaning meant "to ward off." Then I understood why prayer and supplication were connected. Prayer is the avenue whereby we get from God the things that we can't get along without. Supplication is the avenue whereby we ask God to ward off the things that we just can't possibly face. Now if you would like an example of this you read Esther 4:8. You remember the time that Naaman had the decree issued that all of the Jews were to be put to death, and this got to Mordecai, and he in turn went to the queen, and said, "You must do something about this or we are going to perish, and the whole nation of God's people will be annihilated unless something is done." 
We read in this verse that he encouraged her to go in to the presence of the king and make supplication. She went to the king and asked him to ward off this awful calamity that was hanging over the heads of the Lord's people. She asked him to ward off this thing that would have been too much for them to bear. Prayer and supplication represen
t the two needs of God's people, and that is why they are put together. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your needs, etc." Isn't it wonderful when you and I go into this place of prayer, that Court of Prayer, and we appeal to God through this avenue for the things that we feel so much in need of, and how wonderful to be in the presence of the One that can do something about it? 
God is in a position to supply all of our needs, whatever that spiritual need may be. When we go into that place of prayer and pour out our heart to Him, every need can be met. When we go to pray we go into the presence of the One who can do something for us. Then, there is the other side of the picture. "God is faithful and will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able." In other words, when you go to God in supplication and ask him to ward off the thing you feel would be too much for you to take, He is able to do this. 
Isn't it wonderful, friends, that you can go into the presence of somebody that can do something about it? He is the one that can control the situation and He knows just how much you are able to stand. Keep yourself in the Court of Prayer,  that is a controlled place. Then God will see to it that nothing comes into your experience beyond what you are able to bear. If we had our way about it, we would have nothing but sunshine. And that wouldn't be good for us because they say that continuous sunshine makes a desert. If the devil had his way about it, we would have nothing but storms, and that wouldn't be good for us either because continuous rainfall makes a jungle. 
When God has His way about it, then we have a paradise because God knows when to send the sunshine and when to send the rain. Could you understand then why it is so vitally important for us to very frequently visit this Court of Prayer? It is there that we put ourselves in a controlled atmosphere. God is not only controlling the gates, but He is controlling the situation on the inside. If we keep ourselves in that atmosphere of prayer, we will have that avenue open whereby God can supply each need as they arise. We will find ourselves in the place where we will find a way of escape when we need it. God promises His people, "You will be like the Garden of Eden." He promises this if they will obey the gospel and let Him control their lives, that He will make them like the Garden of Eden. This paradise that was the Garden of Eden was possible because God was controlling the situation there. He knows when to send conditions that bring about right results. When you go forth from this convention, you purpose in your heart that you are going to spend more time than ever in this Court of Prayer. Then God can meet my needs and ward off the things that I couldn't face. Then He can control the situation so that my life can be that fruitful Garden of Eden that He promised He would make out of His yielded people.

There is one thing more that I want to mention about this Court of Prayer, and that is, when you and I go into that place of prayer, and we get down on our knees and pour out our hearts before Him, we get that wonderful relief that is only found in the place of prayer. It wouldn't hurt for us to just stop from time to time and remind ourselves, now this is HIS court. This is His, and when it comes right down to it, I don't have any right to go in there. The only one who has any right to go into the presence of God and make requests is the Son of God, But He sees that my need is so great that He has opened those gates to me. He has given me His credit card and allows me to go into this place of prayer everyday of my life, and gives me these things that really are too wonderful for me. I don't think that we appreciate it as we should, but I hope that we will in the future.
With all my heart I hope that we will appreciate this privilege because it really is too good for us. There is another court that was very precious to God's people, and that is the Court of Fellowship. In Isaiah 62:9 we read, "And they that have gathered it, etc." He is speaking of the fellowship inside the court of Gods holiness. Someone once said that a little fellowship meeting is just like a pot-luck dinner. Everybody brings something and they put it on the table. Then they sit down and eat and they rejoice together. This is what this verse is telling us.

One of the things I marvel at is another evidence of God's control over His people. It's when we do come together for a little meeting, everybody doesn't bring the same thing. Wouldn't it be a great picnic if everybody brought pickles, or everybody had brought sandwiches, and nothing else? That would not be a very balanced diet, would it? Have you ever noticed when you come together and sit down to feed with the Lord's people in the Courts of His Holiness, what a variety there is? To me it is just the wonderful evidence that God is controlling the thoughts and the desires of His people, so that when we come together there is a balanced diet. There is everything there to make glad the hearts of those who have gathered in the meeting. I heard that a sister who was giving her testimony once, said she got a spiritual lesson from a little happening at a Thanksgiving dinner that had taken place the Thursday before. She said that she had the table all set and she took one last look over the table before she called the guests in. The turkey was there, and the gravy was there, and the salad was there, also the rolls along with everything else, when suddenly she noticed there were no pickles. And with such a rich meal as this you need to have something like that. So she went down to the cellar and got a jar of pickles and put it on the table, and then she called in her guests. She said, "I've learned a great lesson from this."

Sometimes I have felt that my testimony wasn't worth very much because the others bring so much more to the meeting than I do, and sometimes I have been discouraged by it. But I got a real encouragement from this. The thought came to me that maybe I can't bring roast turkey that the others bring, or the mince pie, or some of the other things, but I can bring something that will help. Thereby I can contribute to the meeting something that will help to make it what God intended it to be.  Did it ever occur to you that sometimes you have been a meeting in the category of a robber? Had it ever occurred to you that you could go to a little fellowship meeting and before God be a robber? Maybe you feel it wasn't very much that God gave you, but if you don't give it out you could be a robber. If you ever go to a meeting and do not take part, that's what you are. Because you are robbing others of what God intended they should have. Then there is another form of robbery. There are those people who are so wound up that they take up so much time from others that they rob the other person of the time that belongs to them. We bring only a leaf, not the limb or tree. Let us remember that the Lord wants us to give others what He has shared with us, and we are to give others the time they need to give to us what God has shared with them. I hope this year we will give ourselves over to the Lord in the Court of Prayer so that He can control EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR LIVES, and then we will be the happiest people on this earth.