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