Wednesday, November 29, 2006
2 Cor 12:9 (NRSV) but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Psa 28:7 (NRSV) The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psa 138:3 (NRSV) On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.
Psa 46:1 (NRSV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Eph 6:10 (NRSV) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
1 Pet 4:11 (NRSV) Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen."O Lord, in the morning I will direct my prayer to You."
"My strength is made perfect in weakness."—2 Cor. 12:9
O high and mighty God, inhabiting eternity, draw near to a poor unworthy sinner, who ventures anew this morning to approach the footstool of Your throne. Give me now the gracious aids of Your gracious Spirit, that out of much weakness I may be made strong. It is Your own gracious assurance, that "those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." I would rely on the faithfulness of a promising God. May my own utter emptiness drive me to all fullness. May my own conscious weakness wean me from all earthly props, and confidences, and refuges, to "abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
Lord, I confess this day with shame and confusion of face my many infirmities, my coldness and lukewarmness, my distrust of Your providence, my insensibility to Your Love, my murmuring at Your dealings, my tampering with sin, my resisting of Your grace. How often, like the slender reed, have I bent before the blast of temptation, my best resolutions proving "as the morning cloud and the early dew!"
And yet gracious Father, You have not broken "the bruised reed"—You have not "quenched the smoking flax." I am here this morning a marvel to myself that You are still sparing me. "Your ways are not as man's ways." Had it been so, You would long since have grown weary. But it is the prerogative of the everlasting God that "He faints not, neither is weary." You are this morning giving me fresh grants of mercy, renewed proofs and tokens of unmerited love. I am receiving "at the Lord's hand double for all my sins."
I rejoice to know, blessed Jesus, it is Your burdened ones You have specially promised "gently to lead." You will conduct me by no rougher road than is necessary. "Undertake for me." May the wilderness journey be this day resumed and renewed with a more simple, and childlike, and habitual leaning on You. Put this new song into my mouth, "The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust." Say to me, in the midst of my weakness, "Fear not, you worm Jacob." With the pillar of Your presence ever before me, "I will go from strength to strength."
Keep me this day from sin. May no evil thoughts, or vain imaginings, or deceitful lusts, obtrude on my walk with God. May an affecting sense of how frail I am, keep me near the atoning sacrifice. May the "horns of the altar" ever be in sight. Blessed Jesus, my helpless soul would hang, every moment upon You.
Look down in Your kindness on all connected with me by ties of earthly kindred. May the blessing of the God of Bethel rest on every heart and household I love. May we all be journeying Zionwards, and be so weaned from earth as to feel that Zionwards is homewards. If pursuing different paths, and separated, it may be, far from one another, may the journey have one blessed and happy termination. May we meet in glory, and meet with You. And all I ask is for the Redeemer's sake. Amen.
"Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust."
By John MacDuff, 1852.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"Absolute Predestination"(Jerome Zanchius, 1516-1590)
Without a due sense of predestination, we shall lack the surest and the most powerful inducement to patience, resignation and dependence on God under every spiritual and temporal affliction. How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer! (1) There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God.(2) He has given me in times past, and is giving me at present (if I had but eyes to see it), many and signal intimations of His love to me--both in a way of providence and grace. (3) This love of His is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it. (4) Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His will from everlasting, consequently(5) my afflictions were a part of His original plan, and are all ordered in number, weight and measure. (6) The very hairs of my head are (every one) counted by Him, nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His determination. Hence (7) my distresses are not the result of chance, accident or a fortuitous combination of circumstances, but (8) the providential accomplishment of God's purpose, and (9) designed to answer some wise and gracious ends, nor (10) shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees fit. (11) He who brought me to it, has promised to support me under it, and to carry me through it. (12) All shall, most assuredly, work together for His glory and my good, therefore (13) "The cup which my heavenly Father has given me to drink, shall I not drink it?" Yes, I will, in the strength He imparts, even rejoice in tribulation. I will commit myself and the event to Him, whose purpose cannot be overthrown, whose plan cannot be disconcerted; and who, whether I am resigned or not, will still go on to work all things after the counsel of His own will.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
"O Lord, in the morning I will direct my prayer to You."
"He gives grace to the humble."—1 Pet. 5:5
O God, You are "the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity." There is no being truly great but You. All other excellence and glory is derived—Yours is underived. All else is finite—Yours is infinite. The burning seraph nearest Your throne is the humblest of all Your creatures, because he gets the nearest view of the majesty of Your glory.
Lord, fill my soul this morning with suitable views of Your greatness, and a humbling estimate of my own nothingness. I would lie low at Your feet—in wonder and amazement that dust and ashes should be permitted to approach that Being whom angels worship with folded wings, and in whose sight the very "heavens are not clean." Repress every proud, self-glorifying imagination.
Let me feel I cannot abase myself enough in Your presence. "Lord, I am vile; what can I answer You?" My best thoughts, how polluted!—my best services, how imperfect!—my best affections, how lukewarm!—my best prayers how cold!—my best hours, were I judged by them, how would I be condemned!
I desire to take refuge at the cross of a crucified Savior. Here, Lord, give me that grace You have promised to the lowly. Self-renouncing and sin-renouncing, I would seek to be exalted only in Jesus, crying out, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" In broken-heartedness of soul, I mourn the past. Distrustful of the future, I look only to You. Full of my own unworthiness, I turn to the infinitely worthy One. I seek to be washed in His blood—sanctified by His Spirit—guided by His counsel—depending on Him for every supply of grace—and feeling that without Him I must perish.
May I take the humility and gentleness of Jesus as my pattern. Like Him, may I be meek and lowly in heart. Give me grace to avoid ostentation and pride, haughtiness and vanity, envy and uncharitableness. "In lowliness of mind may I esteem others better than myself." Let me realize every moment that I am a pensioner on Divine bounty—that I am alike "for temporals and spirituals" dependent on You—and that it well becomes me to be "clothed with humility." Oh, let me meekly and submissively lose my own will in Yours, in childlike teachableness, saying—"What will You have me to do?" May no murmur escape my lips at Your dealings. May this lowliness of spirit lead me rather to wonder at Your sparing mercy, that the great and holy Being I have provoked so long by my rebellion has not "cut me down."
Bless all connected to me by endearing bonds. May nature's ties be made doubly strong by those of covenant grace. Bless Your cause and kingdom in the world. May Your Spirit descend "like rain upon the mown grass, and showers that water the earth."
I commit myself to You, and to the word of Your grace. Guide me this day by Your counsel. May I spend it as if it were to be my last. And when my last day does arrive, may it be to me the eve of a happy eternity. And all I ask is for Jesus' sake. Amen.
"Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust."
Saturday, November 18, 2006
"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
"Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever!"
Philippians 4:11-13, 19-20
We should be content with what God has given us, but if we are content in our lifestye that does not please God, we should question it. True contentment is found in Christ and Christ alone. We should not be content in this world because it is not our home.
Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.
If I am a son of God, nothing but God will satisfy my soul; no amount of comfort, no amount of ease, no amount of pleasure,will give me peace or rest. If I had the full cup of all the world's joys held up to me, and could drain it to the dregs, I should still remain thirsty if I had not God.... G. A. Studdert Kennedy
Spurgeon said, "He that deserves nothing should be content with anything," and he is so right. we deserve nothing but hell.
In September I did a blog on being a "SERVANT" and I shared a story of a Chinese man. When I think back about his story, I see a man that was content with where the Lord had him. It humbles me to think I complain in my situations at times when I am not content. In humility we can find contentment.
Here is his story that is worth sharing again...
A few years ago my husband had the privilege to preach on the subject of "Humility". He shared a story of a Chinese man that was put in jail because of his faith in Christ. He was put in the hole to work. Every day he would have to shovel the excrements all day long. He did this daily for all the time he spent in prison without complaint. A few years after he was released from this hell hole, he ran into one the guards from the prison. The guard asked him in bewilderment "How is it you spent all that time in that slop and come out of there everyday with a content look on your face and never complained?" The man answered, " Every morning when the machines were turned on, it would be the time I would be able to recite verses from the Bible out loud and sing the hymns I had learned and fellowship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." "It was those times while I was in prision I cherished the most!"What a servant of Christ! He worked in such a lowely job and found joy in it! Jesus was a fine example of Servant hood.
1TI 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
When we serve God we will feel contenment because it is Him that will get the glory and praise.
Instead of complaining at his lot, a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. Instead of greedily desiring something more than the supply of his present need, he rejoices that God still cares for him. Such an one is "content" with such as he has (Heb. 13:5).
—Arthur W. Pink
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
Before we are regenerated, our whole being is left to itself. But at regeneration, the life of Jesus comes into our spirit. Now there is a new source for our being. At the same time, our weak flesh is still present. We feel its rumblings. We feel its weakness. We feel its tendencies, its inclinations, its downward moves. In the past, when we felt it, we went to repair it. We went to cope with it. We went to do other things to make up for the void and the lack within that flesh. But those things did not work. We just went from one thing to another, from one misery to another, until one day we discovered our spirit. We still have the same weaknesses in our flesh. The flesh has not changed. But the difference is that now there is another source for our being. That source is as close as saying "Jesus." Calling on the name of Jesus instantly ushers us into a participation in the life that is in our spirit, our new source. To say "Jesus" is to instantly drink of the supply of His very life and nature that has overcome the flesh, that has dealt with it already. Now there is a new realm in which we live, and that is the realm of our spirit. So when we feel our flesh, when we feel our weaknesses, we know what to do. James says, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." This means that our life is a life of interacting with the Lord in our spirit—the source that was established from the first day of our new birth. We know that we have received Christ and that our destiny has changed. We will not perish but have eternal life. Nevertheless, for years we may still depend upon the source of the flesh to live this life, rather than discovering that we have another source in us. Learn to pray. Learn to call "Jesus." Learn to sing to Him. Learn to fellowship. Learn to bypass all the activity in your flesh and go straight to Jesus. Go directly to your spirit. Do not do anything else. Do not solve. Do not handle. Learn to do one thing—Draw near to God. He will draw near to you.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
So it was me alone to see our baby being born. The epurderal had stopped working so I felt the pain I heard so much about but it was quick. Danielle was ready and there was no stopping her! I watched in the mirror as she entered our world and she was so beautiful! They brought her to me and as I held her in my arms, my heart was filled with a love only a parent can feel. A love Our Father feels for us! I laid there looking down into these big beautful eyes and fell in love with tiny little babe. As I was holding her a doctor, so It seemed, came over beside me and bent down and had his face so close to mine I had to back up wondering what is he up to?? Here it was Jim behind the mask, we both laughed. I presented him his daughter, he did not know the sex of the baby, but I did. He was so thrilled.
Over the next 19 years we have watched our daughter grow and mature into a lovely young lady who loves the Lord.
She is the one child in our family that was, and is full of energy, yes and head strong at times. The Lord has been good through her 19 years. Danielle has always had to keep busy doing something, and the Lord has kept her busy with things in church, being involved in Youth for Christ Ministry, working with street kids. In High School you had to put in 25 volunteer hours, Danielle put in over 500 hours from working at the school, Youth for Christ, working in the Malls at Christmas time ringing the bells for donations, working in Summer camps etc etc etc. She has always been busy.
One thing about our daughter which has made us proud is that she was never afraid of proclaiming Christ to all around her. She's had people at school call her a bible thumper and other cruel names but that never stopped her. She would just smile and continue proclaiming Christ. Her friends knew were she stood and most respected her for it. The Lord was good in her later years and found her a church were she met some of her closest friends. The one friend that shares her love for serving Christ is Leigh-anne. When Danielle was 16 her and other teens traveled San Paulos for 3 weeks on a short term missions trip. This was a time she will never ever forget.
Also, when Danielle was 16 she met a lovely young man, Rick. They fell in love. Rick went to bible college to become a pastor. Rick and Danielle had plans to marry after college but sadly the Lord took Rick home at the young age of 19. So at 17 years old, Daneille had to deal witha great loss and I know Lord helped her through this time with her friend Leigh-ann and family and other friends helps also. Danielle is now finally dating a young man that Jim and I both like very much. Greg is a kind hearted, loving young man. He has grown to love our Danielle very much and she has grown to love him back.
I just want to tell you my Dani-Girl, we love you so much and we are so proud of you. You have come a long way in these past 19 years and you have a life time ahead of you! Here is a verse to think on my darling. This is a goal for a christian women to reach for....
Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." (KJV)
We love you Dani-girl!!
The right manner of growth is to grow less in one's own eyes.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Are we willing to be persecuted in the name of Christ, are willing to be a martyr for Christ? I listened to a message just a while ago and it spoke of people thinking they were martyrs for Christ because they had a t-shirt that had a picture of Christ on the cross and a bible verse on it. They felt persecution when someone said something ugly about it. They do not know nothing of persecution!! When you look at a Muslim that converts to christianity and is burned to death because he proclaims Christ, when you look at a missionary that dies at the hands of those that hate Jesus, that is persecution, when you look at how some of the Disciples died then you see persecution...
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you....
"If they persecuted Me they will persecute you... for they do not know the One who sent Me."
The World is going to hate us because we love Jesus. When we are persecuted, it is because they hate Jesus and because we love Him, they hate us too. If we are not walking with Christ and there is no pesecution in our lives, maybe we are not standing up for Christ? Maybe we need to examine our walk and ask God for forgiveness and ask Him for the strength to be bold. If people do not see Christ in us, how are we going to present Him to those that we love that do not know Him?
I think sometime we are afraid of the answers we are going to get from those around us when we present Christ to them? I ask you how much do these people mean to you? No one knows what tomorrow will bring? We may wake up tomorrow and find out that a loved one has died and we had many chances to present Christ to them. Be Bold for Christ, that person's eternal life may be in your hands, God may have given you many chances to present the gospel to that person, don't wait!! Today is the day of salvation for those that do not know Christ as their Savior. Even if they do not get saved we need to at least try to show them the path to Christ, isn't that what Christ would want? Are we not here for that reason?
Mat 5:10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Do we sometimes think it is wrong that we are not treated nicely by the lost? The Word of God says:
1 Pet 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.
1 Tim 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1 Pet 4:16 But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter.
Lord make me more bold, help me proclaim your work on the cross to those around me. When the opportunity presents itself, no matter the response Lord may I be bold and not back down even if it means persecution. When I look at what you did on the cross, the pain you suffered how can I not be steadfast.
God hath work to do in this world; and to desert it because of its difficulties and entanglements, is to cast off His authority. It is not enough that we be just, that we be righteous, and walk with God in holiness; but we must also serve our generation, as David did before he fell asleep. God hath a work to do; and not to help Him is to oppose Him.-- John Owen
Saturday, November 04, 2006
When I think of strength I think of David. Here was a man who was pursued by King Saul, he barely escaped attempts on his life, he had to hide in the wilderness many times, his whole family was kidnapped once, his friends turned on him and were ready to murder him, he felt the shame of being an adulter and for murder, he had the knowledge of his own son raping his daughter Tamar, his other son Absalom murdered Amnon and lead a revolt against David and in the end his son Absalon was killed and yet when you look at 1 Samuel 30:6 David encouraged himself in the Lord. He found strength in all his troubles and pain, in the Lord. We can be encouraged by this verse and so many others in the Bible that in the turbulence that enters or lives there is strength that we can find in Jesus.
There are times we leave God completely out of the picture.We do this when we forget to praise Him, when we forget to pray to Him daily and when we don't go to church every week, where we can find edification and to whorship Him. When we lean on ourselves where do we find the strength? We are but weak vessels that need the strength only found in Jesus. I am often amazed to think that God uses us, a weak vessel, to bring ultimate Glory to Him. It is when He strengthens us through our trust in Him, then and then alone can we give Him all the Glory, not by our strength but by His strength.
1 Peter 5: 6-7 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;
7 casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds
If we really take a good look at it, God does not help those that help themselves, God helps those who put their trust with all their heart in Him and that dont lean on their own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
In times of trouble we need to look to God for our strength, Trust Him and remember to always praise Him, don't forget to communicate with Him through prayer. I know I fail Him in these areas so I am speaking to myself too. I have a quote that is one of my favorites.( I have 2 real favorites and this is one of them) It speaks to me about finding my strength in Him and drawing strength from Him.
"In times of trouble say,
First: He brought me here ; it is by His will I am in this strait place: In that I will rest.
Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last: In His good time He can bring me out again - how and when He knows. Say: I am here
(1) by God's appointment
(2) in His keeping
(3) under His training
(4) for His time."
- Andrew Murray
Let me encourage you to draw near each moment to our Lord Jesus Christ the one that Loves us most in spite of ourselves.