Saturday, November 18, 2017
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...and they loved not their lives unto death. Rev. 12:11
When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request, but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.
Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things- those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week, and month in your life. The hardest things are not those the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is the a little trial that you dare not mention, that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it.
It matters not how the battle goes,
The fight how long;
Faint not! Fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.
- from Streams in the Desert
I read that devotional in my quiet time the other morning and found it spiritually and mentally invigorating. Everyday I have this flesh to fight against..this flesh that wars against the Spirit within me; this flesh that finds it hard to get up and give a piece of my morning to God who gave me another day to live, breathe, and enjoy; this flesh that hates to come into subjection to the Word of God; this flesh that loves itself and likes to fight for its own rights; this flesh that is quick to criticize, blame, gossip, belittle, or make smart remarks; this flesh that does not want to take thoughts captive, that is easily provoked, that murmurs and complains, that is puffed up, and hates to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong;" this flesh that wants to do its own thing, have its own way and its own opinions. But truth is, every time I give in to this flesh, not only do I become spiritually weaker, I am also surrendering to the enemy. It's been said that Satan laughs when we fall. Shall we give him such delight? Think then how frustratingly mad he must also get when he comes upon a man or woman whom he can't keep down in the everyday wear and tear of life, who is always gaining victory,and who stands strong in the Lord, in the power of His might, and has done all to stand! And when he does fall, he gets back up.
What joy in triumph would there be if the battle wasn't difficult to fight; the foe not hard to conquer, and the flesh easily overcome? Oswald Chambers has said 'The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in - it stirs us up to overcome."
May we be named among the overcomers in that great day of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Through the years, I have always looked up to my dad. He has always been the best! Of course, I could be a bit prejudice! :) In the past year though, I have come to an even deeper love, respect, and appreciation for my dad as I've gotten to understand his heart and know his love in a much deeper way. So, today being his birthday, I thought I'd share what makes him so special to me.
My dad is the most Christ-like example I know. His whole life is about the Lord Jesus and others, and the way He lives is a reflection of the One he loves and serves. I know he is human and isn't perfect, but that is one of the things that makes him so great through my eyes: he has the same feelings, struggles, temptations, hurts, and shortcomings as anyone of us. But what I've come to love and admire in Dad is his heart for the Lord, to know Him and understand Him, and to put Him first in all things: and that is something he strives to pass down to each of us.
My dad is a lover of truth! Truth is the most important thing to him. And because he is a lover of truth, he is a lover of the Word. He gets in the Word and let's the Word get in him. And he seeks to hear that still small voice of the Lord to guide his way. My favorite time of day is when our family gathers around the breakfast table each morning and Dad pulls out the Daily Light and expounds on the Scriptures for that day. Nuggets of gold are opened up as we meditate on it. He has a way of pulling out rich truths for us to take and apply to our daily lives.
Dad is not a big authoritarian. He leads with gentleness and by example (whether it be work around the place or spiritually speaking). He is a servant leader, never asking from any of us what he himself would not do. He will come up and work alongside everyone of us. He is not one to press or control. Neither does he criticize. He guides with love, wisdom, praise, and encouragment, giving each of us room to grow in character and in our own standing before the Lord.
He is a man of patience. Ask any of us children and we will tell you, he is PATIENT!! We have all recounted times we were sure we had done something that was sure to provoke his anger but instead were met with grace! His patience and forbearance seem to have no tire!
His other marked attribute is his selflessness. I honestly don't know another man who is so selfless. He has always put our needs and desires before his own. I honestly cannot think off hand when the last time dad went out and bought something just for him that was not a necessity. He is a giver, and his life is about others. He may have a 101 things pressing in upon him that needs done before the snow flies, but if the neighbor needs help, he'll lay aside what he's doing and lend a hand.
He has a heart for people. It doesn't matter who they are, where they've been, what they've done; he cares. He cares about their needs and even more so, their souls, and seeks every opportunity to share the Lord with the ones God brings across his way.
He strives to be a man of faith. I've seen him trust God through some very difficult seasons of life. I've seen him bear trial, pain, frustration, disappiontment, and deep heartache. I've seen pain in his eyes and I've heard it in his voice. But I've seen him turn those things over to the Lord and instead of becoming hard and bitter, I've seen the love, grace and forgiveness of the Lord flow out of his life.
Dad is not one to be found idle. There is always something to do, and he will often times be out well after dark, and sometimes into the late hours of night, working on the endless to-do list. I still remember the time he instilled in me the importance of putting my heart into my work, of learning the sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done.
He is a man of humility. He is not one to boast of his fine workmanship or accomplishments. He's not one to seek the lime light and he's never too proud to admit his faults or be seen at the alter. His humility speaks volumes.
He is a man of strength. Not just physically, but spiritually as well. It's been said that it takes a stronger man to live for God than it does to live for the devil, and this is where his true strength lies: he is a man who strives to walk after the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
Dad is a family man. His family is everything to him, and his love and values for us are demonstrated in his everday life through his selfless living, his gentle leadership, and his desire to see us grow in the Lord. It is seen and felt in his hugs, his compassion, his support, his prayers, and his encouragment.
He is more than just a man of virtue and integrity: he is a man of God. He doesn't just know about God: he knows God because he takes deliberate pursuit to seek His heart to know Him, to hear from Him and to please Him. Jesus is not just his salvation or his free ticket to heaven: Jesus is everything to him.
There is not another man I have come to respect so much, because in his eyes we have seen God's love; in his words, we have heard God's wisdom; and through his life, we have experienced God's grace.
I am immensely blessed! My dad's guidance and leadership have taught me living faith. All through life, whatever circumstances and struggles our family has ever gone through, he has always been at the lead directing us to the heart of God, and that is something I wouldn't trade in for all the world. I would not be the person I am, my faith would not be what it is today without this special man I'm proud to call Dad!
This is the echo of each of us children's hearts.
We love you, Dad! Happy Birthday!
...and the glory of the children are their fathers. Proverbs 17:6
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The Lord trieth the righteous... Ps.11:5
It seems like God has been teaching me some deep, hard lessons lately. I have come to see that God will take every child of His through dark valleys and trials of fire that will test our faith in deep and painful ways. He does this in love to try our hearts and to purify us of all dross in our lives. He wants to know without a doubt that He is first in our hearts. Through this refining process I have come to see so many areas in my in own heart that have needed deep purging and cleansing. If we are His children, we must expect this refining process in our lives.
If He is not Lord of all, than He is not Lord at all.
As young people, we all have desires, ambitions, and aspirations for what we want our future to be and to look like. We are always looking ahead to what God has for us next, a greater place of purpose and work for us to do. Our desires and ambitions tho must be in accordance to what the Lord would have for us, and we must be able to hold them out with an open hand before Him. If we are looking to find fulfillment in something other than Christ, we will never be satisfied. We must be satisfied in Him first, or we will be sorely disappointed when any earthly desire or place of service is attained. In life we find that things don't go as planned, and that God doesn't always give us what we want when we want. And if those desires or ambitions are not surrendered to Him, we become discontent, antsy, and frustrated. We feel that the circumstances around us or the people in our lives are hindering us from being the person we want to be or living the life we want to live, and when things don't go according to our time frame, we try finding our own way instead of waiting on God. What we don't recognize is that it is God's hand dealing with us. He has placed those people and even the most trying circumstances in our lives for one purpose only - to break us of our will and to get a hold of our very being. The place God has us may seem insignificant, and maybe we can't see much purpose in it at all. But He has us there because He's trying to do a work in our hearts that needs to be done before He can move us on to greater things. He allows all the hurt, and pain, and frustration and tears in our lives to bring us to that one place He wanted all along, and that is a yielded heart to say, 'Not my will, but Thine be done.' Only until He has our will can He move us on. We can try to run and escape this working, but life only gets harder and more bitter when we do, for God does not give up easily on His children. In love He will send more heartache and disappointment, and frustration until we learn to love the Hand, and kiss the Hand that deals with us. For some of us, it takes years to learn this lesson.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26
One of the ways God uses to try the hearts of us young people and bring us to an area of brokenness is in the area of authority, especially with our parents. The authority God placed in our lives is for our good and protection. We may not always understand our parents and their reasoning for things, but they have wisdom we sometimes know nothing about. God made no mistake when He gave us the parents He did. Throughout Proverbs we are told to hear the instruction of a father, forsake not the law of thy mother, and attend to know understanding, but he that refuseth the instruction despiseth his own soul and he that refuseth reproof erreth. Give your heart to your father! I really believe this is a major key that will give way to huge blessings in your life! It is something I have failed miserably at and it has caused for many bitter tears. Our parents may not be perfect, and they may not do everything how we think is right, but that's ok. God is using them and their imperfections in our lives. Let's remember that none of us are perfect. We all fail. I have failed my parents a thousand times over, and yet they still love me and have abundant grace for me. May we love our parents, and have grace for them, honour them, and obey them, as Scripture tells us. May we be humble and teachable, receive correction from them. Listen to their counsel and instruction, even in the smallest matters, and seek to understand their viewpoint. It is for our good, even when we can't see it. God has placed them over our lives not to hinder us in the way, but help guide and point us in the right direction. If we think we know better than them and we try at all to take our own way without their blessing, it will be a bitter end, believe me when I say I know. I really believe that as we learn these deep lessons, we'll experience the fullness of God's blessing and goodness in our lives.
One can go wrong in many ways, but right in only one. -Aristotle
We only get to live this life once, and something I have learned is that the decisions and choices I made yesterday, last month or a year ago from seemingly small and insignificant ones to some on a larger scale, affect my life today; and the choices I make today will affect my tomorrows. Not only do those choices affect ourselves, but they affect those around us, too. Because I tried escaping the Hand that was trying to break me, and didn't give my heart to my dad, I made poor decisions, and now I must live with the consequences them. I am thankful that I have a merciful and gracious Father, who has also blessed me with parents that extend the same mercy and grace in my life. But if I had things to redo, I would. These have been deep lessons God has been teaching me lately. Let's not try to get away from the Lord's dealings in our lives. It's not worth it. One thing I am learning is that God wants to move us on in life, He wants to do good things for His children. He has work He wants us to do, but He cannot until His first work of brokenness and surrender is accomplished in us. How we respond to His work of being broken determines how long the refining process will take, and when He'll move us on to other things, for God will not stop short of His perfect work. He wants to bring us to a place of humility and absolute dependence on Him, emptying us of all our pride, arrogance and self-will. He will go to all lengths to make Himself a vessel of honor and beauty, one that glorifies Him in all things!
If you, like me, find yourself surrounded in darkness and being tested, trust God, and let Him have His way with you. Wait on Him and use this time to grow in Him. His work and timing in your life is good and perfect, because God is always good.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
What a contrast the feminist ideal of womanhood is to that of Biblical femininity and virtuous womanhood as set forth in Proverbs 31, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 3, and many other examples in Scripture. In trying to be "something" or "someone," women have lost the whole meaning and purpose it is to really be a woman. In believing the lie that has gained momentum since the days of Karl Marx, that women have been suppressed, and are equal in every way to man, our whole society is now in shambles.
As women boast of their success in business and their equal or better performance than men, they fail to recognize that their own homes and families, which is the foundation of any culture, is in a crisis. With every fight to be as men, they break down their homes brick by brick.
I just wonder how long this will go on before women and our society will look back, and in tears and anguish, regret the push of gender equality. There is a misperception that to be a lady is weak, and she who tends the home and raises children lacks ambition. It is this mindset that now creates the push for women to join the draft.
We shake our heads at the downward spiral our culture has been on, but fail to recognize where we have gone wrong. The future rests on the children who come forth out of our homes. Are we to complain that they do not share our beliefs, morals, convictions and worldview if we send them out to be trained and taught by those who do not believe or think the way we do? Do we complain that men are not men anymore when women have done nothing but knock them down, and compete for their position?
Our God-given roles of men and women do not make either of us any less or any more of a person. Each is unique and perfect in their own way, and to try to change that, to be something God didn't intend, only causes turmoil. Ladies, if you want purpose, embrace the role God gave you! Be women so men can be men! That doesn't mean you're dumb, it doesn't mean you have to be pristine, or that you're weak. It means you have a beautiful opportunity to glorify God every day and do a far greater work than you ever could by running a business, holding a degree, or trying to be one of the men!
Bless the wives and mothers who have stood against the feminist movement, who have put their families and their God-given role above making a name for themselves. Who have stood against the mocking and jeers of the world to be women of God!
Friday, March 4, 2016
Is there not a more beautiful or more powerful testimony we bear of our Lord than when we demonstrate His love and grace to the world around us? Among the religions of this world, ours is the only one whose God is a God of love, and teaches His children to walk in love, to extend grace, forgive, to bear in mind that there is none without sin among us, to bear eachother's burdens, to serve one another, to esteem others better than ourselves, to remember the poor, turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and do good to those who hate us and pray for them that despitefully use us, to bless and curse not! This is the way we win the world to Jesus, to walk as He walked! This is what makes real the Gospel message!!
In a cold and cruel world, the warmth of God's love and grace can soften the hardest of hearts, lift a down cast spirit, turn someone's world around and set a man on a whole new life!
Monday, February 15, 2016
Friday, January 29, 2016
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Have I brought all the tithes into the storehouse? Not just of the profits I earn in the day, but what about the tithes of my heart? My love, my joy, my hopes, my ambitions, my dreams, my reputation, all that I desire and hope for? Have I given them over to God? He's not looking for just our silver and gold; He's looking for the deep part of who we are, the passion that drives us and the heart to trust Him unreservedly. What a challenge to my heart to trust Him, to try Him, to open my hands and let Him have all that I have clasped onto, the things that are near and dear to my heart. To let Him have His way in my life.
It's a journey of faith and it might mean laying aside my own logic and reasoning, and simply believing His way to be much richer and better than my own. All I can do is trust and obey as He leads each step of the way.
Is there a "tithe" He is asking of you? Have you brought everything into His storehouse? Do you know that He wants to bless? He wants to pour out a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it! But we must be emptied, emptied of ourselves, of all that we have. Emptied of our pride and reputation. Emptied of all our own endeavors. Emptied of this world's delights and amusements. He wants to be our all in all. And when he receives all the tithes, just wait and see the blessing He's promised to pour out!
God is good! And He has good things in store for those who trust Him!
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9