Saturday, January 29, 2011

You ask then how I knew He was present...

You ask then how I knew He was present, when His ways can in no way be traced? He is life and power, and as soon as He enters in, He awakens my slumbering soul; He stirs and soothes and pierces my heart, for before it was hard as stone, and diseased. ...Bernard of Clairvaux photo

When in His mercy God leads a soul...

When in His mercy God leads a soul in the higher path of sanctification, He begins by stripping it of all self-confidence, and to this end He allows our own schemes to fail, our judgment to mislead us. We grope and totter and make countless mistakes until we learn wholly to mistrust ourselves and put all our confidence in Him. ...Jean Nicolas Grou photo

What are you afraid of? Let God act...

What are you afraid of? Let God act. Abandon yourself to Him. You will suffer, but you will suffer with love, peace and consolation. You will fight, but you can carry off the victory, and God Himself, after having fought with you, will crown you with His own hand. You will weep, but your tears will be sweet, and God Himself will come with satisfaction to dry them. You will not be free any longer to give yourself up to your tyrannic passions, but you will sacrifice your liberty freely, and you will enter into a new liberty unknown to the world, in which you will do nothing except for love. ...Francois Fenelon image

You cannot spend day after day in the world...

You cannot spend day after day in the world without its affecting your mind and will and heart. It doesn’t take long to become disoriented to the ways of God. The world has a dulling effect on your spiritual sensibilities. God established the Sabbath so His people could take an entire day to refocus on Him and His will for them after spending six days in the world.

How do you prepare for your times of worship? What fills your mind the night before? Often the last thing you put into your mind at night is still on your mind the next morning. Genuine worship requires spiritual preparation. Your experiences of worship reflect your spiritual preparation. Prepare yourself now for your next encounter with God.  ...Henry Blackaby
 image by O Palsson

Friday, January 28, 2011

This way of seeing our Father in everything...

This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable. Some one says, "God's will on earth is always joy, always tranquility." And since He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of inward rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of inward refreshment is the soul led that learns this secret. If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom. He who sides with God cannot fail to win in every encounter; and, whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in the Apostle's shout of victory, "Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" ...Hannah Whitall Smith photo

In all moods and in all seasons...

In all moods and in all seasons pour out the soul in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and if the Spirit groans in intercession do not be afraid of the agony of prayer. There are blessings of the Kingdom that are only yielded to the violence of the vehement soul. ...Bruce Wilkinson

For the power Thou hast given me...

For the power Thou hast given me
to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give Thee thanks, O God.
For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus Christ
I give Thee thanks, O God.
John Baillie photo

As white snowflakes fall quietly...

As white snowflakes fall quietly and thickly on a winter day, answers to prayer will settle down upon you at every step you take, even to your dying day. The story of your life will be the story of prayer and answers to prayer. ...O. Hallesby photo

99 Balloons

My sister-in-law's niece had a trisomy 18 baby who now is in the arms of the Lord. It was a time of great sadness, but O the love that Abbie's short, sweet life inspired in all of us!

There's a great website called CaringBridge where we all connected for prayer and updates for Abbie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I want neither a blood'n'guts religion...

I want neither a blood'n'guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst. ...Brennan Manning image

The God on whom we rely...

The God on whom we rely knows what suffering is all about, not merely in the way that God knows everything, but by experience. In the darkest night of the soul Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God's love, they cannot escape the cross. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32) … When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery. Will there also be faith? Yes, if our attention is focused more on the cross, and on the God of the cross, than on the suffering itself. ...D. A. Carson image

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Bless Your Name-Brooklyn Tabernacle

The Opposite of Presence

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Jill Carattini

Though many would like to say that the majority of our lives have been spent searching for God, perhaps it is more accurate to say that we have been sought. Even so, like the children in Levertov's poem, time and again I know I find myself bereft of his presence. Sometimes it just feels like I am sitting in the dark.

One of my seminary professors once told me that God's presence is not the opposite of God's absence. At first glance this didn't seem the least bit encouraging. And yet, maybe I have seen this notion lived out after all. For even when I am most stirred by God's nearness—when God's presence seems an undeniable truth—am I not also simultaneously stung by the ache of longing to be nearer or the reality of not quite yet being at home? In our best encounters with God, presence and absence remain intertwined. What might this then mean for the moments when I am feeling tormented by God's absence?

The Christian Scriptures seem to suggest of the dark what children learn of their parents. Namely, the dark does not imply the absence of a caring person. "Though an army besiege me," says David, "my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident" (Psalm 27:3). David's confidence was not in the absence of darkness, but in the character of the one who watched over him in the dark. "I am still confident of this," he concludes. "I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living" (v. 13).

Though we struggle when God seems far off, perhaps it need not be without hope. When the land was dark with the death of Christ weighing on its shoulders, God exhaustively sought despairing hearts in the thick of that darkness. And the risen Christ is still today the certainty of God's nearness and the promise of his care in the dark. "Thus," writes Os Guinness, "Christians do not say to God, 'I do not understand you at all, but I trust you anyway.' That would be suicidal. Rather, they say, 'Father, I do not understand you, but I trust you'—or more accurately, 'I do not understand you in this situation, but I understand why I trust you anyway.' It is therefore reasonable to trust even when we do not understand. We may be in the dark about what God is doing, but we are not in the dark about God."(2)

Full Essay-lovely!
image by milena mihaynova

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Prayer projects faith on God...

Prayer projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. In His cursing of the fig-tree our Lord demonstrated His power. Following that, He proceeded to declare, that large powers were committed to faith and prayer, not in order to kill but to make alive, not to blast but to bless. ...EM Bounds photo

Why is the Lord so attracted to the lowly?

Why is the Lord so attracted to the lowly? He knows the weaker His servant, the more genuinely he will give glory to God. So the Lord kept Moses weak, and maintained his weakness throughout the wilderness. Forget Hollywood's version of Moses, God never healed the stammer... Who would not be tempted to plead: Hurry Lord - heal his stutter! Yet, the Red Sea parted. God was never troubled by His servant's flawed oratory skills. This is the glory of the cross: self is crucified by it so that Christ may be revealed in power. ...Francis Frangipane image

Giving thanks always for all things unto God....

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (Eph. 5:20).

No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God for everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything a blessing.

We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below."

There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work! --C. H. P.

"Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?"

Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. --C.H.Spurgeon
Link photo

If we could only see the heart of the Father...

If we could only see the heart of the Father, we would be drawn into praise and thanksgiving more often. It is easy for us to think that God is so majestic and so highly exalted that our adoration makes no difference to him. Our God is not made of stone. His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God. God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude. ...Richard J. Foster the rest

Cultivate peace...

Cultivate peace; be deaf to your too prolific imagination; its great activity not only injures the health of your body, but introduces aridity into your soul. You consume yourself to no purpose; peace and interior sweetness are destroyed by your restlessness. Think you God can speak in those soft and tender accents that melt the soul, in the midst of such a tumult as you excite by your incessant hurry of thought? Be quiet, and He will soon be heard. Indulge but a single scruple; to be scrupulously obedient. ...Francois Fenelon photo

Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, and Evangelicals

The evangelist says he "sometimes crossed the line" in politics, "old age can be a lonely time," and warns evangelicals of being "victims of our own success."
Interview by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Even through he struggles with his hearing, sight, and other health issues in his ninth decade, Billy Graham continued to do what he's done with every American President since Harry Truman. Last year, he met and prayed with President Obama and in December, he met again with former President George W. Bush. But if he could go back and do anything over again, he told Christianity Today, he would have steered clear of politics.

Since his wife's death nearly four years ago, he spends most of his time in his home in Montreat with around-the-clock care. Although he rarely appears in public, his son Franklin Graham said his father would like to preach again on video, but a date is not confirmed. CT submitted brief questions for Billy Graham to his staff by e-mail for an update on his health and a reflection on his years in ministry.
the rest image

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be Still my Soul

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897

It is not the distance of the earth from the sun...

It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun’s withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee. ...John Owen image-NASA

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Isn't it strange that Princes and Kings....

Isn't it strange that Princes and Kings
and Clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people like you and me,
are builders for eternity?

Each is given a bag of tools,
a shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
and each must be e'er life is flown,
a stumbling block, or a stepping stone.
... RL Sharpe image

Monday, January 17, 2011

Certainly I will be with thee...

And he said, Certainly I will be with thee. Exodus 3:12

Of course, if the Lord sent Moses on an errand, He would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve and the great power it would require would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence He says, "Certainly I will be with thee," as if it were out of the question that He would send him alone.

In my case, also, the same rule will hold good. If I go upon the Lord's errand with a simple reliance upon His power and a single eye to His glory, it is certain that He will be with me. His sending me binds Him to back me up. Is not this enough? What more can I want? If all the angels and arch-angels were with me. I might fail; but if He is with me, I must succeed. Only let me take care that I act worthily toward this promise. Let me not go timidly, halfheartedly, carelessly, presumptuously. What manner of person ought he to be who has God with him! In such company it behoveth me to play the man and, like Moses, go in unto Pharaoh without fear.
...CH Spurgeon image

Friday, January 7, 2011

How vast are the possibilities of prayer!

"How vast are the possibilities of prayer! How wide is its reach! What great things are accomplished by this divinely appointed means of grace! It lays its hand on Almighty God and moves Him to do what He would not otherwise do if prayer was not offered. It brings things to pass which would never otherwise occur. The story of prayer is the story of great achievements. Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. Prayer reaches to everything, takes in all things great and small which are promised by God to the children of men. The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and His ability to fulfill those promises. 'Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'" ...EM Bounds image by Jim Trodel

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We Christians must simplify our lives...

sunday solitude
We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. ...AW Tozer image

The pilgrim's progress

January 15, 2011
Andrée Seu

Three wishes and ways for moving forward in the new year

The pilgrim is meant to make progress. This is a great joy for many of us. But perhaps it has to be contended for in our day. In Bunyan's tale, our protagonist puts miles between himself and the City of Destruction on his journey heavenward. But in real life one sees uncertainty as to how much progress can be made on this side of the Jordan's icy flow...

C.S. Lewis, critiquing his book The Pilgrim's Regress 10 years later, said it suffered from "needless obscurity." (He was right.) Here are three simple wishes for your new year:

-Pray to have friends (at least one) who have more faith than you do...

-So my next wish for you is to get rid of everything doubtful in your life this year, since the unclean may not pass by that highway...

-My third wish for you is mastery of the tongue.

Full essay here image

Monday, January 3, 2011

I have resolved to pray more and pray always...

I have resolved to pray more and pray always, to pray in all places where quietness inviteth, in the house, on the highway, and on the street; and to know no street or passage in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God. ...Sir Thomas Browne image by Jason Rogers

Sunday, January 2, 2011

O burning Mountain...

O burning Mountain,
O chosen Sun,
O perfect Moon,
O fathomless Well,
O unattainable Height,
O Clearness beyond measure,
O Wisdom without end,
O Mercy without limit;
O Strength beyond resistance,
O Crown beyond all majesty:
The humblest thing you created sings your praise.
...Mechtild of Magdeburg
image by Carl Osbourne

Beth Moore: Control Your Mind, Focus on 'One Thing'

Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Jan. 02 2011

ATLANTA – Popular speaker and author Beth Moore said she wished someone had told her when she was younger about the importance of controlling one’s mind.

That’s why she decided to pass on this wisdom to the 22,000 young adults attending the Passion Conference this week.

God created humans to have a mind that is unlike any other creature in its capacity to think and create, said Moore during the Sunday morning session. But people have free will and can choose to use their mind to think either constructive or destructive thoughts.

This choice to think what we want is seen when people repent, which is a process where people decide to change their mind.
the rest

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity...

I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference. Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation. ...AW Tozer image by Stig Nygaard

Happy New Year 2011!

"The God of Israel will be your rereward." Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. "God requireth that which is past." At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God's grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for To-morrow. "For the Lord will go before you." This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God's hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

Security for To-day. "For ye shall not go out with haste." As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him. ...Oswald Chambers image