pink roses

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions (Day 4)

What was it that made the "Spiritual Giants" great?
Lord Jesus, they were normal people who gave themselves completely to You. Cannot I do that too?!!
Open my eyes to see what you would have changed in me.
Show me what things you would have me strive for in the coming year.
Teach me to live the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth!

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Excerpts from Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret:

"Do you know, I now think that this striving, longing, hoping for better days to come is not the true way to holiness, happiness or usefulness. It is better, no doubt, far better than being satisfied with poor attainments, but not the best way after all.""The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete."

"He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work . . ."

". . . . To let my loving Savior work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking unto Him; trusting Him for present power; . . . resting in the love of an Almighty Savior, in the joy of a complete salvation, "from all sin"––this is not new, and yet 'tis new to me . . . . Christ literally all seems to me, now, the power, the only power for service, the only ground for unchanging joy. "

"How then to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all He is for us: His life, His death, His work, He Himself as revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not a striving to have faith . . . but a looking to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and eternity."

. . . . I looked to Jesus, and when I saw––oh, how joy flowed!

"It was resting in Jesus now, and letting Him do the work––which makes all the difference."

 Whenever he spoke in meetings after that, a new power seemed to flow from him, and in the practical things of life a new peace possessed him. Troubles did not worry him as before. He cast everything on God in a new way, and gave more time to prayer. It was the exchanged life that had come to him––the life that is indeed "No longer I." . . . It was a blessed reality "Christ liveth in me." And how great the difference!––instead of bondage, liberty; instead of failure, quiet victories within; instead of fear and weakness, a restful sense of sufficiency in Another.

"Perhaps I may make myself more clear if I go back a little. . . . I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation––but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness sin oppressed me.
I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, bad thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not.
Then came the questions, is there no rescue? Must it be thus to the end––constant conflict, and too often defeat? . . . . Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin; and no longer, for faith and even hope were getting low. I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no strength against it. I felt I was a child of God. His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all, "Abba, Father." But to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless. . . . . I knew I was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength. Sometimes I almost believed that He wold keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening––alas! There was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God.
. . . . And yet, never did Christ seem more precious; a Savior who could and would save such a sinner! . . . And sometimes there were seasons not only of peace but of joy in the Lord; but they were transitory, and at best there was a sad lack of power.
All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was––how to get it out. He was rich truly, but I was poor; He was strong, but I weak. I knew full well that there was in the root, the stem, abundant fatness, but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question. As gradually light dawned, I saw that faith was the only requisite––was the hand to lay hold on His fullness and make it mine. But I had not this faith.

I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word. . . . I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do? When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before.

"But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."
As I read, I saw it all! "If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed)! That He had said, "I will never leave thee."
"Ah, there is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me––never to leave me, never to fail me?" And, . . . He never will."

"The sweetest part, . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. . . . So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trials, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.
And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! . . . I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ––Ay, and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

". . . . Do not let us consider Him as far off, when God has made us one with Him, members of His very body. Nor should we look upon this experience, these truths, as for the few. They are the birthright of every child of God, and no one can dispense with them without dishonoring our Lord. The only power for deliverance from sin or for true service is Christ.
And it is all so simple and practical!"

I change, He changes not;
The Christ can never die:
His truth, not mine, the resting place;
His love, not mine, the tie.


Saturday, December 29, 2012


"For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
 James 4:14 

"Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4: 7-10

How can I use the 'vapour' of time that God has given me before He calls me Home, or this even shorter 'vapour' of time that I have here in my father's house to make others give Him glory? 

God uses little things to encourage us, sometimes a letter, a glimpse of something beautiful, a smile from a stranger, a wisp of a song, a this brought me encouragement :

Calvary Love

by Amy Carmichael

~If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my ~friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

Amy Carmichael, "Calvary Love," from If, by Dohnavur Fellowship. Fort WashingtonPA: CLC Ministries, n.d. Used by permission.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Resolutions [DAY2]

Eric Ludy's 10 Resolutions:

  1. Live always for the Glory of God
  2. Offer body and blood for Jesus Christ
  3. Be the first to suffer wrong
  4. Proclaim Jesus Christ in very moment
  5. Let the vulnerable claim your strength
  6. Agree to God's tasks for you before He assigns them to you
  7. Never shrink from the challenge but rise up to meet it
  8. Never dilute the Gospel method
  9. Never heed the 'old man's' fuss
  10. Never capitulate to the devil

    Eric Ludy explains what he means by each of these resolutions in this message. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012


The wind blows cold through the window as Becca-Ellen and I sit together with wrapped shoulders and stocking feet.

It is time to pray. 
Pray about the coming year.
Pray about the year we have finished. 
Pray about the resolutions we made.
Pray about the resolutions we are making.

What does He want us to press towards in the coming year?
Did we do as He would have us in the last one?
Did we fulfill the resolutions we made?
How can we strive to do better?

As we pray through sheets of handwritten paper, we are inspired by others who have struggled through the same issues. One of our inspirations is Jonathan Edwards, the greatest Protestant thinker and theologian America has ever produced. Most people don't know that he was not only God's kindling for the Great Awakening, but also its most penetrating analyst and critic. 
 As a 19 year-old, Jonathan Edwards began writing his "Resolutions" in his journal and added slowly to them throughout the rest of his life. To keep them, Edwards re-read over them at least once a week for the rest of his life so they would stay fresh and alive in the forefront of his mind. 

I encourage you as you ready yourself to begin fresh in this coming year to read slowly over each of these resolutions. Let them test you as you are today. Let them challenge you to excel. Let them encourage you to go forward.

I challenge you
Think through them.


1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God' s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him. (Resolutions 1 through 21 were written in one sitting in New Haven in 1722)

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God' s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before. 

(To be continued)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Lesson in James

Where is the help God promised?
Where is the strength?
Where is the change in life?
Where is the ability to live this impossible Christian holiness in actions, in words, in thoughts, in motives?
Why are Pastors giving up on the possibility that God can change lives?
Why are Christians failing? Falling?
Where is the Christianity of the Bible?
Some say it is lost and gone forever. 'It was a new testament thing.'
Others say 'It never existed in the first place.'

White lace curtains are blowing in the biting wind and flapping over my balcony.
Leaves float lazily by and lay sprinkling the ground. The sun is beginning to rise out beyond the field and the lacy, cold mist is beginning to burn off, and the day promises to be blue and beautiful.
It is beautiful, bracing.
Why is my heart so heavy? Where, America, are your true Christians? And why are there so few?

The elephant in the room is this: Is God a liar?
Or are all the promises of the Bible to be 're-interpreted'  to 'align with our experience and culture'?
No! No No!!
"May God be true and every man a liar!!!" (Romans 3:4)

So I have to ask myself, openly and honestly, three questions:

1.) Who am I calling "God" ? What am I hunting for?
Is my God the God of the Bible? Does my god give me what I ask for, and do what I tell him to do? Do I really know who God is? Have I studied Him? His likes and dislikes? what He says and does in certain situations? Do I know His heart? The things He loves? Have I seen Him work? If I do not know who God really is, if I believe a lie, if I do not see Him as the Bible shows Him, then I am not seeking God. How can I ask to see Him, how can I ask why He is not here, when if I am not seeking Him, I probably truly don't want Him. I am the one who is woefully lost, not God. I want help. Real help. That help only comes from Someone who is in control of everything, stronger than anything, knows everything, and has a standard and holds me to it.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 
James 2:19

2.) What Gospel am I believing?
Could it be that the treasure that I'm looking for (the Kingdom of Heaven) is not lost or non-existent? Could it be that we, in our churches and culture, have tampered so much with the 'jots and tittles,' the Map, the Gospel message, that we can't find the treasure any more?
Does the Bible preach the 'over easy' soft, health wealth and prosperity gospel?
Does the Bible teach a grey, gothic legalistic gospel?
No? Well, why do I find myself giving it as 'the easy version' to a three-year-old? Why are we giving it to the struggling college student in the parking lot?
The Gospel I read says a lot about 'sin' 'sin nature' 'hell' 'holiness' 'repentance' and 'humility' and 'obedience' that our culture has taken right out of the pages of Scripture. So, am I using a map smeared with human reasoning, scribbled over with 'tolerance', and with the 'offensive' parts ripped off? If so, I think we've ripped of the 'X' folks!

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

3.) Am I forfeiting the promise in scripture because I am not fulfilling my part?
Am I honestly DOing what He has asked me to do?

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:22, 25

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:14, 17 

4.) Am I asking? Not, "Lord Jesus, help me today," and wondering why I failed, but "Lord Jesus, keep my tongue from saying anything negative, sharp, or hurtful, and use my tongue to make other people joy, strength to continue, and bring glory to You." As you pray for specific needs, are you watching expectantly for His help? Are you praying silently throughout the day and leaning on Him to make those conscious decisions to 'do it His way'?

2[b]Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.James 4:2[b]-3

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. James 1:6-7

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18

God, shape me into a true Christian!!!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Lord Will Provide


(Genesis, xxii.14)

 The saints should never be dismay'd,
Nor sink in hopeless fear; 
For when they least expect His aid, 
The Saviour will appear.
This Abraham found: he raised the knife; 
God saw, and said, "Forbear! 
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life; 
Behold the victim there." 
Once David seem'd Saul's certain prey;
 But hark! the foe's at hand; 
Saul turns his arms another way, 
To save the invaded land. 
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave, 
He thought to rise no more;
 But God prepared a fish to save, 
And bear him to the shore. 
Blest proofs of power and grace divine, 
That meet us in His word! 
May every deep-felt care of mine 
Be trusted with the Lord. 
Wait for His seasonable aid, 
And though it tarry, wait: 
The promise may be long delay'd, 
But cannot come too late. 

William Cowper, Olney Hymns

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm Thankful for...... [DAY1]

The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouth of wonderful men!

But deep in a walled-up woman's heart --
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part --
Lo, there is the battlefield!

No marshaling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long --
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town --
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.

Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and praise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.
-- Joaquin Miller (1839-1913) 

She fought upon her knees for me,
Then carefully chose each word she'd say.
My mother, girded, stood to fight-- 
My war against my flesh today. 

When conquered, seeking to do wrong, 
her wandering child she found--  
She drew her sword and in my place--
She stood upon my battle ground. 

As she fought she also taught, 
And slowly, I too learned to stand-- 
And face the enemy of my soul, 
My Sword held in my hand.

Glory to God for mothers who--
Sound forth their faithful battle cry,
Rallied 'round the cross of Christ--
Pray'n "save my child or let me die."
--Bethmarie 2012

Thank you God for Mothers!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[Guest Speaker] Darlene Diebler tells her story

A month or so ago, I mentioned an ordinary girl named Darlene Diebler Rose, who handed her life to Christ to use, and received a couple queries as to who she was, and how God used her. I can't post her whole autobiography, but this is a video of her telling 'the short version' of what God did with the life she gave to Him.

She is one of my heroes.

I always finish reading (or listening) wondering:
If I were to be put in her shoes, would I be as ready? 
The shear mass of scripture she has committed to memory has driven me on, over and over.
Would I be as faithful?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Pineapple Story

Take a few minutes to listen to this missionary.
As you listen and laugh through the story, don't forget to listen to the heart call;
What am I holding back from my Savior?
What am I not willing to give?
What is holding me back from usefulness for my Saviour?

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Am The Lord That Healeth Thee

(Exodus, xv.26) 

Heal us, Emmanuel! here we are, 
Waiting to feel Thy touch: 
Deep-wounded souls to Thee repair 
And, Saviour, we are such. 
Our faith is feeble, we confess, 
We faintly trust Thy Word; 
But wilt Thou pity us the less? 
Be that far from Thee, Lord! 
Remember him who once applied, 
With trembling, for relief; 
"Lord, I believe," with tears he cried, 
"Oh, help my unbelief!" 
She too, who touch'd Thee in the press, 
And healing virtue stole, 
Was answer'd, "Daughter, go in peace, 
Thy faith hath made thee whole." 
Conceal'd amid the gathering throng, 
She would have shunn'd Thy view; 
And if her faith was firm and strong, 
Had strong misgivings too. 
Like her, with hopes and fears we come, 
To touch Thee, if we may; 
Oh! send us not despairing home, 
Send none unheal'd away!

William Cowper, Olney Hymns

Thursday, November 1, 2012

[Guest Speaker] The Secret Place

I am re-posting this again today, because no one watched the video. 
This is not posted lightly. 
Listen hard.
Listen open.

Meet David Gibbs:
An unrelated 'Something' : 
As the year comes to a rapid close, Becca-Ellen and I would like to set a precedent for the up coming year. We want to introduce you to people and places that have changed our thinking and shoved us a couple steps forward in our walk with the Lord. As we introduce these people to you, we want you to research them, their life, their words. Listen to their videos. Read their books. Meet them. Talk to them. Write to them.
These are not just people. These are Christians who are closely following in the steps of the Lord Jesus.

So far, you have met:

Voddie Baucham
Eric Ludy

K.P. Yohannan
Micah Currado
Ray Comfort
Doug Philips

From the Past:
Amy Carmichael
Andrew Murray

Faithful Christian Women:
Anna Sofia and Elisabeth Botkin
Leslie Ludy
Jasmine Baucham
 Lady Lydia
An we can't wait to introduce you to hundreds more from the past and present!

Don't just skim the post as it lands in your inbox!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

[Guest Post] Persevering Prayer

Andrew Murray

And the Lord said, "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

There was in a city a judge, a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"(Luke 18:1-8)

Of all the mysteries of the prayer world the need of persevering prayer is one of the greatest. That the Lord, who is so loving and longing to bless, should have to be asked, time after time, sometimes year after year, before the answer comes, we cannot easily understand. It is also one of the greatest practical difficulties in the exercise of believing prayer. When, after persevering pleading, our prayer remains unanswered, it is often easiest for our lazy flesh, and it has all the appearance of pious submission, to think that we must now cease praying, because God may have His secret reason for withholding His answer to our request.It is by faith alone that the difficulty is overcome. When once faith has taken its stand on God's word and the Name of Jesus, and has yielded itself to the leading of the Spirit to seek God's will and honor alone in its prayer, it need not be discouraged by delay. It knows from Scripture that the power of believing prayer is simply irresistible; real faith can never be disappointed. It knows that just as water, to exercise the irresistible power it can have, must be gathered up and accumulated until the stream can come down in full force, so there must often be a heaping up of prayer until God sees that the measure is full, when the answer comes. It knows that just as the peasant farmer has to take his ten thousand steps to sow his tens of thousands seeds, each one a part of the preparation for the final harvest, so there is a need for often repeated persevering prayer, all working out some desired blessing. It knows for certain that not a single believing prayer can fail of its effect in heaven, but has its influence, and is treasured up to work out an answer in due time to him who perseveres to the end. It knows that it has to do, not with human thoughts or possibilities, but with the word of the living God. And so, even as Abraham through so many years 
"who against hope believed in hope" (Romans 4:18), and then "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."(Hebrews 6:12)

To enable us, when the answer to our prayer does not come at once, to combine quiet patience and joyful confidence in our persevering prayer, we must especially try to understand the words in which our Lord sets forth the character and conduct, not of the unjust judge, but of our God and Father, toward those whom He allows to cry day and night to Him: 
"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily." (Luke 18:8)

He will avenge them quickly, the Master says. The blessing is all prepared; He is not only willing, but most anxious, to give them what they ask; everlasting love burns with the longing desire to reveal itself fully to its beloved and to satisfy their needs. God will not delay one moment longer than is absolutely necessary; He will do all in His power to expedite and rush the answer.

But why, if this is true and His power is infinite, does it often take so long for the answer to prayer to come? And why must God's own elect so often, in the middle of suffering and conflict, cry day and night? He is waiting patiently while He listens to them. 
"Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." (James 5:7) The farmer does, indeed, long for his harvest, but knows that it must have its full amount of sunshine and rain, and he has long patience. A child so often wants to pick the half-ripe fruit; the farmer knows how to wait until the proper time. Man, in his spiritual nature too, is under the law of gradual growth that reigns in all created life. It is only in the path of development that he can reach his divine destiny. And it is the Father, in whose hand are the times and seasons, who knows the moment when the soul or the Church is ripened to that fullness of faith in which it can really take and keep the blessing. Like a father who longs to have his only child home from school, and yet waits patiently until the time of training is completed, so it is with God and His children: He is the patient One, and answers quickly.

The insight into this truth leads the believer to cultivate the corresponding dispositions: patience and faith, waiting and anticipating, are the secret of his perseverance. By faith in the promise of God, we know that we have the petitions we have asked of Him. Faith takes and holds the answer in the promise as an unseen spiritual possession, rejoices in it, and praises for it. But there is a difference between the faith that thus holds the word and knows that it has the answer and the clearer, fuller, riper faith that obtains the promise as a present experience. It is in persevering, not unbelieving, but confident and praising prayer, that the soul grows up into that full union with its Lord in which it can enter upon the possession of the blessing in Him. There may be in these around us, there may be in that great system of being of which we are part, there may be in God's government, things that have to be put right through our prayer before the answer can fully come: the faith that has, according to the command, believed that it has received, can allow God to take His time; it knows it has prevailed and must prevail. In quiet, persistent, and determined perseverance it continues in prayer and thanksgiving until the blessing comes. And so we see combined what at first sight appears contradictory--the faith that rejoices in the answer of the unseen God as a present possession and the patience that cries day and night until it be revealed. The quickness of God's patience is met by the triumphant but patient faith of His waiting child.

Our great danger, in this school of the answer delayed, is the temptation to think that, after all, it may not be God's will to give us what we ask. If our prayer be according to God's word, and under the leading of the Spirit, let us not give way to these fears. Let us learn to give God time. God needs time with us. If only we give Him time, that is, time in the daily fellowship with Himself, for Him to exercise the full influence of His presence on us, and time, day by day, in the course of our being kept waiting, for faith to prove its reality and to fill our whole being, He Himself will lead us from faith to vision; we shall see the glory of God. Let no delay shake our faith. Of faith it holds good: first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Each believing prayer brings a step nearer the final victory. Each believing prayer helps to ripen the fruit and bring us nearer to it; it fills up the measure of prayer and faith known to God alone; it conquers the hindrances in the unseen world; it hastens the end. Child of God, give the Father time. He is patiently listening to you. He wants the blessing to be rich, and full, and sure; give Him time, while you cry day and night. Only remember the word: 
"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily." (Luke 18:8)

The blessing of such persevering prayer is unspeakable. There is nothing so heart-searching as the prayer of faith. It teaches you to discover and confess, and to give up everything that hinders the coming of the blessing, everything there may not be in accordance with the Father's will. It leads to closer fellowship with Him who alone can teach us to pray, to a more entire surrender to draw near under no covering but that of the blood and the Spirit. It calls for a closer and more simple abiding in Christ alone. Christian, give God time. He will perfect that which concerns you.

Let it be thus whether you pray for yourself or for others. All labor, bodily or mental, needs time and effort: we must give up ourselves up to it. Nature discovers her secrets and yields her treasures only to diligent and thoughtful labor. However little we can understand it, in the spiritual farming it is the same: the seed we sow in the soil of heaven, the efforts we put forth, and the influence we seek to exert in the world above, need our whole being: we must give ourselves to prayer. But let us hold firm the great confidence that in due season we will reap if we don't give up.

And let us especially learn the lesson as we pray for the Christ's Church. She is, indeed, like the poor widow, in the absence of her Lord, apparently at the mercy of her adversary, helpless to obtain restitution. Let us, when we pray for His Church or any portion of it, under the power of the world, asking Him to visit her with the mighty workings of His Spirit and to prepare her for His coming-- let us pray in the assured faith: prayer does help, praying always and not stopping will bring the answer. Only give God time. And then keep crying out day and night. "And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?" (Luke 18:6-7)