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Showing posts from 2007

Thinking: Elisabeth Elliot

Last night I watched about five minutes of a "news" program on Fox. In that brief viewing, I listened to three people talk over each other to spew what they thought happened at the zoo where a tiger attack took place. None of the shows participants were present at the zoo, none worked for the zoo, but all three experts has plenty to say about what they thought. I can't watch that blather. Is blather a word?

Anyway, when I read Elisabeth Elliot's thoughts on the subject, I couldn't sum it up any better. It's a long post, but worth the reading.

"Question-and-answer is a vanishing art. We are so drowned and smothered and deafened by panels, dialogues, rap sessions, discussions, talk shows, and other such exercises in the pooling of ignorance that, far from developing the art of asking questions and giving answers, we have very nearly lost it altogether. The time allotted for a program must, it seems, be filled--it doesn't much matter with what.

When…

Time

I have been running around these last two weeks like a maniac. Really, like an actual maniac, someone in constant, yet disorganized motion. About every ten minutes an alarm goes off in my head that says “Don’t forget to….. (Fill in the blank). My response every eleven minutes is “I have to make time for that.”

So yesterday morning right after that alarm went off for the gazillionth time, I finally conceded that I can’t make time for one more thing. As I sat there feeling defeated, I had one of those thoughts that aren’t mine. The thought the Lord gave me was this: “Of course you can’t make time for this. You can’t make time for anything. You can’t make time, I already did.”

Okay, I was stunned at the truth in that statement. Duh, God made time. Every day has twenty four hours, and the Bible says the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, so the steps I should take in those twenty four hours already exist as a plan. My part isn’t to make time. I don’t make time. I use time.

Prayed a…

Bearing Crosses Made by Ourselves by Mary Wilder Tileston

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. ISAIAH 30:21

The ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them. HOSEA 14:9

"Let us remember that it is not God who makes many of the crosses that we find in our way, such as we commonly call "crosses." Our Heavenly Father makes "straight paths for our feet," and, if we would go in His way, if we would straighten our wills to His will, and lay them side by side, there would be no crosses. But when the path that God points out goes north and south, and our stubborn wills lead us east and west, the consequence is "a cross"--a cross of our own making, not that which our Master bids us "take up and carry after Him," and of which it has been well said, "He always carries the heaviest end Himself."

Intercessory Prayer

I'm sure you've noticed that everyday the newspaper and local newscasts are featuring stories that shed light on the practical needs in our area. These stories are often heartrending, and rightfully so. I read this morning about a local group that tries to provide a safe place for homeless teens in our area. They currently cannot provide a place for the kids to stay over night, so these kids are vulnerable to not only being victimized by a local gang trying to force them into prostitution, but pedophiles who prey on them for the purpose of finding participants for their on-line pornography.

So I read all this at 6:00 a.m, yet another day started with another plea for money and resources for people who clearly need it. I've got to tell you, it made me a little weary. Recently I heard that many charities are suffering from a lack of support, partly because of the economy but also from "disaster fatigue". People are just overwhelmed by the need in this world.

I…

Why We Have Hope

From "Daily Light", English Standard Version “No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.—The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.—We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and…

"The Temple of the Holy Spirit"

From "My Utmost for His Highest"

"only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you —"
Genesis 41:40

I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not "set aside the grace of God"— make it ineffective ( Galatians 2:21 ). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To "work out [my] own salvation" ( Philippians 2:12 ) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection . . ." ( 1 Corinthians 9:27 ). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibili…

Listen

Listen: to give attention with the ear; to make an effort to hear something. To pay attention; heed; obey. (dictionary.com)

Two weeks ago I was looking at Thanksgiving clearance items in Stuff-Mart when I noticed that Christmas carols were playing overhead. I was struck by the fact that Thanksgiving was still a week away and the pressure was on-get this stuff out of here because the next season is just around the corner!

Is there a more pressure-filled season than Christmas? As a Christian I feel a new kind of pressure, the pressure not to fall to the pressure. After all, do I not know the real reason for the season? Do I not have different perspective on the whole month of December, from Advent to the glorious day when we celebrate the birth of the way of salvation for mankind? Do you?

Let’s just stop right there. Listen. Does any of that sound like the voice of the Shepherd? Today is the day to listen to something else.

I play guitar, and do some worship leading. This isn’t a particular…

On Reading

"If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads but what he rereads.” Francois Mauriac

I know people who will only read a book one time. I have certainly read my fair share of books that didn’t deserve to be read even once, but there are some that deserve a second, third or even annual read.

Warren Wiersbe was the person who introduced me to the concept of planned recurring reading. He mentions it in his book “Living with the Giants: The Lives of Great Men of Faith”, a must-read compilation of influential Christians. In it he gives suggestions for reading the material penned by his subjects, and he mentions several titles he reads either yearly or every few years.

This has proven to be a profitable practice for me. I have several books that I try to read every year or so, and each time I am amazed to discover something new, be convicted by something neglected, and refreshed by something familiar. I’ve blogged about the benefit that I have received by using “My Ut…

The Authority of Truth

From "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you —James 4:8

It is essential that you give people the opportunity to act on the truth of God. The responsibility must be left with the individual— you cannot act for him. It must be his own deliberate act, but the evangelical message should always lead him to action. Refusing to act leaves a person paralyzed, exactly where he was previously. But once he acts, he is never the same. It is the apparent folly of the truth that stands in the way of hundreds who have been convicted by the Spirit of God. Once I press myself into action, I immediately begin to live. Anything less is merely existing. The moments I truly live are the moments when I act with my entire will.

When a truth of God is brought home to your soul, never allow it to pass without acting on it internally in your will, not necessarily externally in your physical life. Record it with ink and with blood— work it into your li…

Contentment 101

I know there are people out there who believe that they are the biggest control freaks in the world. They should be relieved to know that they are wrong. While I would like to crown someone else with this dubious honor, I must accept the title as my own.

Being a control freak would be great if it actually produced the results you were trying to achieve. But alas, it only brings frustration and discontentment, as does all self centered pursuits. So how does a control freak find contentment?

For the Christian, choosing to remember the fact that we gave control over our lives to Jesus needs to become like breathing. In bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Cor 10:5) our perspective becomes His perspective. It is then we experience that amazing work of being “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:2) Every thought of “What should I do?” should be replaced with the thought …

Obtaining God's Help

From Ray Stedman....
READ: Psalm 77:11-13

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds (Psalm 77:11-12).

The crucial words in these verses are "I will." They indicate that the psalmist has caught hold of himself. He is no longer the victim of his feelings, and that is the point. The control of his life shifts from his heart to his head, and that is the way God intended it to be. He sees that the place to begin is not with himself, as he has been doing, or with his circumstances, but with God. And the proper order is not with prayer and then meditation, but the reverse: to begin with meditating about God, which leads to petition based on an understanding of who God is.

That is the way out, and it points up the trouble this man has had before. He began his prayer with himself at the center. You can see that in his words. This problem that has brought him to God occupies h…

Remember Who You're Talking To

“Listen, my beloved brethren…..” James 2:5

James is writing to believers that have been scattered to different areas by the persecution of the church. I love the book of James. It has been called the book of Proverbs in the New Testament, filled with practical instruction and correction. Since I need ample and regular doses of both, I read a chapter of Proverbs daily and James a couple times a year.

Verse five of chapter two comes on the heels of James exposing something that happens often in church: preferential treatment of people considered more desirable than others. While James is talking about the rich, well dressed people, there are several groups we may be tempted to give preference to in our churches. Maybe they are big donors, very generous with their financial resources. Maybe they are the ones filled with good words for us, compliments and encouragements that can border on insincere flattery. Maybe they are just the ones who don’t cause any trouble, don’t need much from us a…

Satan's Tools

From "Streams In The Desert"

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and, let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress. One of the worst of these is despondency. The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.

The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring, or, as the text in Numbers literally puts it, "as it were murmured." Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin. Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever.

We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid a…

Patterns

While I was at a pastors wives retreat this past week, I discovered a new word in my Bible. I don’t know if that happens to you, but it happens to me pretty frequently. I’m reading along in a section of scripture that I’ve read a many times before (the retreat theme was Titus 2:7) and suddenly a word or phrase strikes me in such a way it is as if it was not there the last time I read that section. I used to think I was just thick, but now I recognize the Spirit calling my attention to something significant I’m to learn. This is one of the ways the Word is demonstrated as being “living and powerful” as described in Hebrews.

This time, the Spirit was showing me the word “pattern”. When I came home from the retreat, I looked it up to see where else pattern was used in scripture. In the NKJV, this word is used a dozen times. In the Old Testament, it is used regarding things that are to be made. Every use has to do with the pattern given for the tabernacle, its furnishings, an altar or the …

From "Streams In The Desert"

"I will give myself unto prayer" (Ps. 109:4).

We are often in a religious hurry in our devotions. How much time do we spend in them daily? Can it not be easily reckoned in minutes? Who ever knew an eminently holy man who did not spend much of his time in prayer? Did ever a man exhibit much of the spirit of prayer, who did not devote much time in his closet?

Whitefield says, "Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground, in silent or vocal prayer." "Fall upon your knees and grow there," is the language of another, who knew whereof he affirmed.

It has been said that no great work in literature or science was ever wrought by a man who did not love solitude. We may lay it down as an elemental principle of religion, that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often, and long, alone with God.

Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revial

Over on Reviveourhearts.com, Nancy Leigh DeMoss is doing a twelve week series on Revival. Revival is a popular topic, and one most of us would agree is necessary. But what is biblical revival? How does it happen and to whom? I would encourage you to check out Nancy’s site where you can listen to or read the past studies and purchase the companion study guide “Seeking Him”.

I did the Seeking Him study in a small group a few years ago. It was a sweet and very fruitful time for all of us, and each one of us came away changed by examining ourselves in light of God’s Word. Alone or in a group, this is one study that is well worth the investment of your time and attention. No simple exercise of looking up scripture to fill in the blanks, Seeking Him is a great balance of instructive commentary on scripture combined with questions designed to produce understanding and personal application.

As with all of the authors’ written work, the style is uncluttered, direct in its instruction a…

The Simplicity Of Christ

This is from Ray Stedman's site.....

READ: 2 Corinthians 11:3-15

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV).

"The main thing about being a Christian is to see that the main thing remains the main thing." That is what Paul is saying. The "main thing" is that at the heart and center of your life is the "simplicity that is in Christ," a simple thing. I have noticed over many years of observation that when religion becomes complicated, it is always a sign that it is drifting away from the realities and centralities of faith. The world around us is getting increasingly complex, and it is because it is drifting farther and farther from God. Look around at the world of nature, and you can see the simplicity of God's design everywhere. He builds the year around four seasons that repeat themselves and never fail. Yet that simp…

The God of all grace.

This is from "Daily Light" by Samuel Bagster. All scripture today is from the English Standard Version.

“I . . . will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.”—“He is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom.’”—Are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.—Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.—Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.—Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.—As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.—He gives …

Arguments or Obedience

Oswald Chambers is on a roll...more from "My Utmost For His Highest"

. . . the simplicity that is in Christ —2 Corinthians 11:3


Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly until a long time passes, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. If there is something in your life upon which God has put His pressure, then obey Him in that matter. Bring all your "arguments and . . . every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you ( 2 Corinthians 10:5 ). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see no…

After Surrender— Then What?

From "My Utmost For His Highest"

I have finished the work which You have given Me to do —John 17:4

True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person’s will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.

Surrender for Deliverance. "Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest" ( Matthew 11:28 ). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— "Come to Me." And it is a voluntary coming.

Surrender for Devotion. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . . " (Matthew 16:24). The surrender here is o…

Justified

For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9.


I know that I have saved, justified, by grace through faith, not by works. I could never do enough to be declared righteous and earn a place in God’s favor by my good deeds to others and being a moral person. No human could, that is the whole point of the concept of a savior. If we could save ourselves we wouldn’t need someone’s help, but clearly, we find throughout our lives that we need a savior.

I remember the old Saturday Night Live sketch performed by Al Franken, who declared in a mirror “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and doggone it, people like me!” When we contemplate even the most basic idea of success in this life, let alone eternal life, we run from the fact that we aren’t smart enough, good enough and who cares if people like us? So we affirm ourselves with positive self talk, we give back in an attempt to undo wha…

"I Am With You"

I was up sick for a good part of the night. The day is half gone, and I haven’t left my bed. I have not dedicated the down time to devotional time in the Word, intercessory prayer or profitable reading. I’ve just been sitting here. Yet, there is peace in the clear presence of God.

I told a friend that I am fond of bumper sticker theology, that some of my most profound moments of insight and practical application came from something on the back of someone’s car. The particular wisdom I shared with her came from a sticker that read, “I’m Not In Your Hurry.” Her situation has nothing to do with traffic on the road, but traffic across the desks of her coworker and herself. It’s hard to learn the distinction between reacting, which is usually in the flesh, and responding, which should be in the Spirit. That is fodder for another post. Anyway, my big word of wisdom to her was this bumper sticker-“I’m Not In Your Hurry”.

I don’t have some big God-Bomb revelation to impart today. Simply this, t…

When We Are Ready by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

More on God's timing from "Streams in the Desert"

"Blessed are all they that wait for him" (Isa 30:18).

We hear a great deal about waiting on God. There is, however, another side. When we wait on God, He is waiting till we are ready; when we wait for God, we are waiting till He is ready.

There are some people who say, and many more who believe, that as soon as we meet all the conditions, God will answer our prayers. They say that God lives in an eternal now; with Him there is no past nor future; and that if we could fulfill all that He requires in the way of obedience to His will, immediately our needs would be supplied, our desires fulfilled, our prayers answered.

There is much truth in this belief, and yet it expresses only one side of the truth. While God lives in an eternal now, yet He works out His purposes in time. A petition presented before God is like a seed dropped in the ground. Forces above and beyond our control must work upon it, till the true fruiti…

Fight the Good Fight

I was once asked "How do I surrender something that I don't know I'm holding on to?" The issue was victory, why they didn't have it and how they could get it. I initially empathized with their struggle, until I realized two lines of faulty thinking.

1) Victory should be according to my definition. Victory in the life of a believer is defined and directed by God. I think it's a lack of trials, God's definition is that it's my growth into Christ likeness because of the trials. I think it's when I'm ready for it, God knows every thing that needs to be accomplished to bring me to the end of my own understanding and trust in Him.

2)Victory feels like victory. We think we have attained victory when we feel strong, when we feel like winners, when we feel like we think a good Christian feels. It should be effortless, a mighty work of God and I should feel like it happened. But while it sounds like a plaque on the wall, faith is not feelings.

John MacArth…

Divine, Ever-Living, Unchanging

From Charles Spurgeon's "Faith's Checkbook"

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:25)

All human teaching and, indeed, all human beings shall pass away as the grass of the meadow; but we are here assured that the Word of the Lord is of a very different character, for it shall endure forever.

We have here a divine gospel; for what word can endure forever but that which is spoken by the eternal God?

We have here an ever-living gospel, as full of vitality as when it first came from the lips of God; as strong to convince and convert, to regenerate and console, to sustain and sanctify as ever it was in its first days of wonder-working.

We have an unchanging gospel which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change than the God who uttered it.

Here, then, we have a gospel to rejoice i…

Phillip Keller on Psalm 23:6

From “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23”. This classic book is a must read for all Christians, and especially for those in ministry. Whether you are a truck driver, pastor, (or his wife), a children’s ministry teacher, home group leader or housewife, you will learn much about ministry and the Christian life from this excellent book. I excerpted this from chapter eleven, bear with the long post, it’s worth it.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

This to me is the supreme portrait of my Shepherd. Continually there flows out to me His goodness and His mercy, which, even though I do not deserve them, come unremittingly from their source of supply-His own great heart of love.

Herein is the essence of all that has gone before in this Psalm. All the care, all the work, all the alert watchfulness, all the skill, all the concern, all the self sacrifice are born of His love-the love of One who loves His sheep, loves Hi…

The True Sabbath Rest

I'm on vacation (?) this week, got a little spankin' from Ray Stedman today!


In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath, Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day (Nehemiah 13:15).

Nehemiah was concerned by this disregard for the Law. He is trying to correct the difficulties that had caused problems for Israel in the past. So he orders the gates to be closed at sunset on Friday. He requires the Levites to cleanse themselves and to guard the gates so that no one violates the Sabbath.

Should we also keep the Sabbath by refraining from work and travel? As we have seen throughout this book, these regulations imposed upon Israel were what the New Testament calls "shadows," pictures of something even more important that God wants observed. You observe the Sabbath w…

Are You Ever Troubled?

From "My Utmost For His Highest"

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you . . . —John 14:27

There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always "spirit, and they are life" ( John 6:63 ). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? ". . . My peace I give to you. . ."— a peace that comes from looking into His face and fully understanding and receiving His quiet contentment.

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Refl…

Faith

From "Streams In The Desert"

"He went out, not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:9).

It is faith without sight. When we can see, it is not faith, but reasoning. In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith. We saw no path upon the sea, nor sign of the shore. And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea. And when we came within twenty miles of land, we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles ahead.

How had we measured and marked our course? Day by day our captain had taken his instruments and, looking up to the sky, had fixed his course by the sun. He was sailing by the heavenly, not the earthly lights.

So faith looks up and sails on, by God's great Sun, not seeing one shore line or earthly lighthouse or path upon the way. Often its steps seem to lead into utter uncertainty, and even darkness and disaster; but He opens the wa…

Evangelism: Too Easily Converted

My good friends father told her last week that he had asked Jesus to be his savior. This came after eighteen years of my friend sharing with him, including some years in which they were estranged. Despite the difficulties of their relationship, she put aside her own hurts for the sake of her fathers eternal fate. Once he told her, "I just need to think about it some more, because I know if I do it (choose Christ)I have to really mean it." Her father took seriously the message his daughter shared with him, thought it through, looked at the evidence and reckoned God real, Jesus His Son, and himself in need of a savior.

His conversion is real, she says he is truly a different person. One woman shared with her that she had prayed for and shared with her dad for forty two years before he came to know the Lord at eighty. My husband and I once sold a car to an eighty year old buddhist whose late wife shared the gospel with him for over forty years. My husband led him to Jesus in our…

Joshua & the Word:

I read this book once a year.

From Christ Indwelling and Enthroned, J. Oswald Sanders on God’s command to Joshua:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night….for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8 & 9

The written Word of God was henceforth to be his hand-book, his manual of instruction in warfare. Obedience to it would constitute the secret of his success. This, not the might of his sword, was Joshua’s only equipment, even as it was Christ’s in His conflict in the Wilderness. If he did not literally soak himself in the Word, his strength and courage would ooze out of his fingertips when he came to meet the foe. In it he was to find his marching-orders, the science of warfare and the plan of his campaign.

Had Joshua lived in our day, he would not, like so many professing Christians today, have saturated himself in magazines and tasty novels, but in the Word of God, of whi…

Wastelands

From Elisabeth Elliot:


There are dry, fruitless, lonely places in each of our lives, where we seem to travel alone, sometimes feeling as though we must surely have lost the way. What am I doing here? How did this happen? Lord, get me out of this!

He does not get us out. Not when we ask for it, at any rate, because it was He all along who brought us to this place. He has been here before--it is no wilderness to Him, and He walks with us. There are things to be seen and learned in these apparent wastelands which cannot be seen and learned in the "city"--in places of comfort, convenience, and company.

God does not intend to make it no wasteland. He intends rather to keep us--to hold us with his strength, to sustain us with his sure words--in a place where there is nothing else we can count on.

"God did not guide them by the road towards the Philistines, although that was the shortest...God made them go round by way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea" (Ex 13:17,18 NEB).

Evangelism: Man-centered Christianity

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all." --1 Chronicles 29:11

Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show. Man: The Dwelling Place o…

The Three Sieves

From “Edges of His Ways “by Amy Carmichael.


Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

All of us who have tried to remember these three sieves, and have used them, know what a help they are. We are sorry when we ever forget them, and we are very grateful when we are reminded of them in time to keep us from saying something untrue, unkind or unnecessary.

Sometimes when I listen to hymn-singing I think of the words about the fig tree and the vine and the fountain. (James 3:12) “Can the fig tree….bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” Can the lips which have sung these beautiful, loving words speak those other words? But they sometimes do.

Perhaps these three sieves will help to keep some words from being spoken that would grieve the Spirit of love and hurt someone whom our Lord loves.

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

You Cannot Weary My Love

From "Come Away My Beloved" by Frances J. Roberts.

"He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

Lift your eyes, and look upon Me. For though you have forgotten Me, I have not forgotten you. While you have busied yourselves with your daily occupations, I have still been occupied with you. When your mind has been captured by the affairs of life, My thoughts have been of you.

My little children, you cannot weary My loved. You may grieve My heart, but My love is changeless, infinite. I long for you to turn to Me. My hands are full of blessings that I desire to give you. I long to hear your voice. You speak much with others-O speak to Me! I have so much to tell you.

"Touch Me and handle Me," I told Thomas (see John 20:27. To you I say: Cast yourself upon Me; pour out your love to Me. You will discover that I am as tangible to you as I wa…

Be Strong!

"Do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle." --Phillips Brooks.

I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Elisabeth Elliot

Have you read an Elisabeth Elliot book this year? Only five months left!

The disciple who means to compel every one of his thoughts to surrender in obedience to Christ would do well to test himself by asking:
1) Whose glory do I seek?
2) Is this for or against the knowledge of God?
3) Am I giving mind to wholesome precepts?
4) Am I morbidly keen on mere verbal questions and quibbles?
5) Is it more important for me to understand than to obey?
6) Is it more important for me to know than to believe?
7) Will one side of the question inconvenience me?
8) Do I reject a particular truth because it will inconvenience me?

(Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Revell, 1982)

Testimony Time Part Two

So what do people need to know? Leaving room for the Holy Spirit to insert things He knows need to be said in each unique situation, a basic outline to help keep you on track is a good thing to get on paper. Not to be used as a script, but to help you hone in on the most important points you want to share with someone, so they come away knowing who you were, who Jesus is, and what He’s done in your life. Here’s some suggestions for what they need to know:

1)That you realized you needed a Savior: Spare them every detail; we can glorify the slime as much as the Savior sometimes. But make it clear that you realized that you needed something you could not do for yourself, and no one but Jesus could.
2)That the Bible revealed to you who that Savior was: The impersonal part of our testimony. When our testimony focuses solely on our circumstances, it is easy for those who hear it to discount our conversion as something only we needed. The Scripture says all have sinned and fallen shor…

Testimony Time Part One

Today in a ministry meeting we had a time of testimony. It was cool, just a bunch a chicks sharing what Jesus had done in their lives, a group of gals I trust with my dirtiest laundry, although I’m sure they are grateful that I didn’t trot it all out to be aired.

I taught a study on 2 Peter chapter 2 a few months back, and my senior pastors wife asked me to share part of my testimony in the study, since the text deals with false teachers in the church. As a backslidden believer, I had immersed myself in every wind of doctrine, some of the worst not coming from the new age teaching I dabbled in trying to heal myself of chronic illness, but from the highly visible, best seller Christian teachers. It was a destructive season of life. However, as only God can through the forgiveness we have from the Cross, He not only redeemed my Christian walk but called me to the ministry of “having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather exposing them.” (Ephesians 5:11).���…

The Teaching of Disillusionment

I know, Chamber's again, but this is huge.....

Jesus did not commit Himself to them . . . , for He knew what was in man —John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.

Refusing to be disillusioned is…

God’s Purpose or Mine?

From "My Utmost For His Highest"

He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . —Mark 6:45

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in m…

More than Mere Words

From Charles Spurgeon's "Faith's Checkbook"


I wilt give you the sure mercies of David. (Acts 13:34)

Nothing of man is sure; but everything of God is so. Especially are covenant mercies sure mercies, even as David said "an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure."

We are sure that the Lord meant His mercy. He did not speak mere words: there is substance and truth in every one of His promises. His mercies are mercies indeed. Even if a promise seems as if it must drop through by reason of death, yet it never shall, for the good Lord will make good His word.

We are sure that the Lord will bestow promised mercies on all His covenanted ones. They shall come in due course to all the chosen of the Lord. They are sure to all the seed, from the least of them unto the greatest of them. We are sure that the Lord will continue His mercies to His own people. He does not give and take. What He has granted us is the token of much more. That which we have not yet …

Roller Coaster Faith

From "Streams In The Desert"

"Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel; but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul" (Ps. 106:12-15).

We read of Moses, that "he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel in this record. They endured only when the circumstances were favorable; they were largely governed by the things that appealed to their senses, in place of resting in the invisible and eternal God.

In the present day there are those who live intermittent Christian lives because they have become occupied with the outward, and center in circumstances, in place of centering in God. God wants us more and more to see Him in everything, and to call nothing small if it bears us His message.

Here we read of the children of Israel, "Then they be…

My Utmost for His Highest: Sanctification

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us . . . sanctification . . . —1 Corinthians 1:30

The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He "became for [me] . . . sanctification . . . ." Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life.

The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is "Christ in you . . ." ( Colossians 1:27 ). It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His Word?

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of…