Thursday, March 31, 2011

The decision behind every decision...

The decision behind every decision must always be "Jesus is Lord! I will try to be faithful to Him as Lord in this set of circumstances." When we have difficult decisions to make and are not sure what is right, we start by conciously deciding again that we belong to Him and are called to be responsible to Him...Jesus is the norm, by which everyone and everything in life is measured. ...William P. Barker
image by Surian Soosay

Too many Christians become bitter and angry in the conflict...

Too many Christians become bitter and angry in the conflict. If we descend into hatefulness, we have already lost the battle ... We must cooperate with God in turning what was meant for evil into a greater good within us. This is why we bless those who would curse us: It is not only for their sakes but to preserve our own soul from its natural response toward hatred. ...Francis Frangipane image

This is the blessed life...

"This is the blessed life--not anxious to see far in front, nor eager to choose the path, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time. The Shepherd was always out in front of the sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread, God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before they can get to us." ...F. B. Meyer image

The most eloquent prayer...

The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless. ...Billy Graham image

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Consider the Lilies

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Jill Carattini

Wendell Berry has written a poem that haunts me frequently. As a creative writer, the act of paying attention is both a spiritual and professional discipline. But far too often my aspirations for paying quality attention to everything dissolves into something more like attention deficit disorder. As it turns out, it is quite possible to see and not really see, to hear and not really hear. And this is all the more ironic when my very attempts to capture what I am seeing and hearing are the thing that prevent me from truly being present. Berry's poem is about a man on holiday, who, trying to seize the sights and sounds of his vacation by video camera, manages to miss the entire thing.

...he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.(1)

I sometimes wonder if one of the most quoted sayings of Jesus is not often employed with a similar irony. "Consider the lilies," Jesus said, "how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field...will he not much more clothe you? Therefore, do not worry" (Matthew 6:28-31). Typically, Jesus is quoted here as giving a helpful word against worry. And he is. But worry is not the only command he articulates. Consider the lilies, he said. We hear the first instruction peripherally, hurriedly, as mere set up for the final instruction of the saying. And in so doing, we miss something great, perhaps even something vital, both in the means and in the end. With our rationalistic sensibilities, we gloss over consideration of the lilies; ironically, in an attempt to consider the real work Jesus is asking us to do.

But what if considering the lilies is the work, the antidote to anxious, preoccupied lives? What if attending to beauty, to the ephemeral, to the fleeting details of a distracted world is a command Jesus wants us to take seriously in and of itself? the rest image by Li-Ji

The man to whom God has given grace...

He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Isaiah 33:16

The man to whom God has given grace to be of blameless life dwells in perfect security.

He dwells on high, above the world, Out of gunshot of the enemy, and near to heaven. He has high aims and motives, and he finds high comforts and company. He rejoices in the mountains of eternal love, wherein he has his abode.

He is defended by munitions of stupendous rock. The firmest things in the universe are the promises and purposes of the unchanging God, and these are the safeguard of the obedient believer.

He is provided for by this great promise: "Bread shall be given him." As the enemy cannot climb the fort, nor break down the rampart, so the fortress cannot be captured by siege and famine.

The Lord, who rained manna in the wilderness, will keep His people in good store even when they are surrounded by those who would starve them.

But what if water should fail? That cannot be. "His waters shall be sure." There is a never-failing well within the impregnable fortress. The Lord sees that nothing is wanting. None can touch the citizen of the true Zion. However fierce the enemy, the Lord will preserve His chosen. ...CH Spurgeon image

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The more praying there is in the world...

The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice which goes into God's ear, and it lives as long as God's ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God's heart is alive to holy things. God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God's heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world. That man is the most immortal who has done the most and the best praying. They are God heroes, God's saints , God's servants, God's viceregents. A man can pray better because of the prayers of the past; a man can live holier because of the prayers of the past; the man of many and acceptable prayers has done the truest and greatest service to the incoming generation. The prayers of God's saints strengthen the unborn generation against the desolating waves of sin and evil. ...EM Bounds photo

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives...

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. God's love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.
...Eric Liddell photo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross...

Lord, never was a magnet so powerful to draw to itself the hard steel, as Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross, art powerful to draw unto Thee the hearts of men. 0 beloved Lord, draw me through joy and sorrow, from all that is in the world to Thee and to Thy cross; form me, and shape me into Thine image here below, that I may enjoy Thee eternally in the glory whither Thou art gone. ...Henry Suso image by Rennet Stowe

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One alone is constant...

Life passes, riches fly away, popularity is fickle, the senses decay, the world changes, friends die. One alone is constant; One alone is true to us; One alone can be true; One alone can be all things to us; One alone can supply our needs; One alone can train us up to our full perfection; One alone can give a meaning to our complex and intricate nature; One alone can give us tune and harmony; One alone can form and possess us. ...John Henry Newman image

Doth He not know what is best for us...

Doth He not know what is best for us, and what conduceth most unto His own glory? So it is to live in the exercise of faith that if God calls us unto any of those things which are peculiarly dreadful unto our natures, He will give us such supplies of spiritual strength and patience as shall enable us to undergo them, if not with ease and joy, yet with peace and quietness beyond our expectation. ...John Owen Dave's pics

If a child is in its father's arms...

If a child is in its father's arms, nothing can touch it without that father's consent, unless he is too weak to prevent it. And even if this should be the case, he suffers the harm first in his own person before he allows it to reach his child. If an earthly parent would thus care for his little helpless one, how much more will our heavenly Father, whose love is infinitely greater and whose strength and wisdom can never be baffled, care for us! He, who counts the very hairs of our heads and suffers not a sparrow to fall without him, takes note of the minutest matters that can affect the lives of his children, and regulates them all according to his perfect will, let their origin be what they may. ...Hannah Whitall Smith photo

Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do...

Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art. ...Streams in the Desert photo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It is often during nights of trouble...

It is often during nights of trouble that the brightest lamps of believers are set ablaze. ...JR Macduff image

Gratitude...

Gratitude... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. ...Henri J. M. Nouwen photo

God has brought us into this time...

God has brought us into this time; He, and not ourselves or some dark demon. If we are not fit to cope with that which He has prepared for us, we would have been utterly unfit for any condition that we imagine for ourselves. We are to live and wrestle in this time, and in no other. Let us humbly, tremblingly, manfully look at it, and we shall not wish that the sun could go back its ten degrees, or that we could go back with it. If easy times are departed, it is that the difficult times may make us more in earnest; that they may teach us not to depend on ourselves. If easy belief is impossible, it is that we may learn what belief is, and in whom it is to be placed. ...Frederick Denison Maurice image

Friday, March 25, 2011

Annunciation

The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and laud and magnify,
Whose might they own, Whose praise they tell,
In Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
The world's Creator, Lord divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Once deigned, as in His ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
Blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the great Desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
... For­tu­na­tus
image

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beautiful by MercyMe

The Common Cross

Jill Carattini

"The cross," someone once said, "has become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore." The thought struck me as I walked through a shop with items to buy stashed in every crevice: frog-shaped garden statues, multi-colored curios, inventive d├ęcor made from soda cans, beach glass, and refurbished car parts. Occasionally surfacing through blanketed floors and ornamented walls were cross-shaped or cross-adorned objects, so ordinary in a shop so out-of-the-ordinary, they were almost hard to notice at all. The cross has become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore. The thought altered the remainder of my browsing. How can this be true? How can an image once shameful enough to bow the proudest heads become ordinary? Could the gallows ever be innocuous? Would the death sentence of someone near us ever fail to get our attention, much less blend in beside earthenware and figurines?

Theodore Prescott is a sculptor who has spent a great deal of time thinking about the cross. In the 1980's he began working on a series of crosses using different materials, forms, and processes hoping to reconstitute the cultural and scriptural imagery of the Roman cross. In a sense, Prescott attempts to portray the incongruous. The Roman cross was a loathsome manner of execution that inflicted an anguished death; the Cross of Christ held a man who went willingly—and without guilt. Though a reflection of beauty and sacrifice, the cross is also an image of physical torture, inseparable from flesh and blood. There was a body on these beams. Its image bears both startling realities—the presence of outstretched limbs and the mystery of a now vacant cross. These contrasts alone are replete with a peculiar depth. Yet, our daily intake of the cross "precludes contemplation," notes Prescott. The cross has indeed become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore.

Maybe he is right. But if the cross has become merely a symbol of Christianity, an emblem of one religion in a sea of others, it is still a symbol that stands secluded from the others. Even as an image among many or an image buried in bric-a-brac, it remains conspicuously on its own. The symbol of the cross is an instrument of death. Far from ordinary, it suggests, at the very least, a love quite beyond us. Perhaps it is we who have become ordinary, our senses dulled to unconsciousness by the daily matters we give precedence. Even in his own time, the apostle Paul lamented such a blurring of the cross, calling the world to a greater vision: As I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.  the rest
 image by Dainis Matisons

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The cross is laid on every Christian...

The cross is laid on every Christian.... When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time - death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call. Jesus' summons to the rich young man was calling him to die, because only the man who is dead to his own will can follow Christ. In fact, every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and his call are necessarily our death as well as our life....Dietrich Bonhoeffer image 

Watch the morning watch...

Watch the morning watch. Do not see the face of man until you have seen the face of God. Before you enter on the day with its temptations, look up into His face and hide His Word in your heart. ...FB Meyer photo

Habits...

Habits are first cobwebs, then cables. The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. ...Samuel Johnson image

The holy and most glorious God invites us to come to Him...

The holy and most glorious God invites us to come to Him, to converse with Him, to ask from Him such things as we need, and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him. He has created us in His own image and has redeemed us by His own Son, so that in prayer with Him we might find our highest glory and salvation. ...Andrew Murray art

Those who think themselves as little people...

Those who think themselves as little people in little places, if committed to Christ and living His Lordship in the whole of life, may by God's grace, change the flow of our generation. ...Francis A. Schaeffer photo

Friday, March 18, 2011

No amount of money, genius, or culture...

No amount of money, genius, or culture can move things for God. Holiness energizing the soul, the whole man aflame with love, with desire for more faith, more prayer, more zeal, more consecration -- this is the secret of power. These we need and must have, and men must be the incarnation of this God-inflamed devotedness. God's advance has been stayed, his cause crippled: his name dishonored for their lack. Genius (though the loftiest and most gifted), education (though the most learned and refined), position, dignity, place, honored names, high ecclesiastics cannot move this chariot of our God...It is a fiery one, and fiery forces only can move it.  ...EM Bounds image

Twelve marks of spiritual health in our communion with God

Twelve marks of spiritual health in our communion with God:

(1) God’s children ought to walk in constant amazement of spirit as to God, His nature, and works.
(2) The glorifying of God is the great work of God’s children.
(3) Delightful privacy with God argues strong affection.
(4) Frequent prayer an argument of much of God’s Spirit; True prayer is the pouring out of the heart to God; God’s children are most in private with God; The prayers of God’s people most respect spiritual mercies; God’s people wait for and rest in God’s answer.
(5) God’s people are sensible of their unworthiness.
(6) God Himself is regarded as the portion of His people.
(7) Ready obedience to God.
(8) The patience of God’s children under God’s hand.
(9) The mournful confession of God’s people.
(10) God’s people long after God in an open profession of His ordinances.
(11) Their hearts are ready and prepared.
(12) God’s people’s sense of their own insufficiencies.
...Roger Williams (1603?-1683) image

When darkness long has veil'd my mind...

When darkness long has veil'd my mind,
And smiling day once more appears;
Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.

Oh! let me then at length be taught
Why I am still so slow to learn;
That God is love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.

Sweet truth, and easy to repeat!
But when my faith is sharply try'd;
I find myself a learner yet,
Unskilful, weak, and apt to slide.

But, O my Lord, one look from thee
Subdues the disobedient will;
Drives doubt and discontent away,
And thy rebellious worm is still.
...William Cowper

The life of prayer...

The life of prayer is just love to God,
and the custom of being ever with Him.
... St. Teresa of Avila photo

No matter how lofty the doctrine preached...

No matter how lofty the doctrine preached, or polished the rhetoric, or sublime the style in which the preaching is clothed, the profit does not ordinarily increase because of these means in themselves; it comes from the spirit of the preacher...We frequently see, insofar as it is possible to judge here below, that the better the life of the preacher the more abundant the fruit, no matter how lowly his style, poor his rhetoric, and plain the doctrine. For the living spirit enkindles fire. But when this spirit is wanting, the gain is small, however sublime the style and doctrine. Although it is true that good style, gestures, sublime doctrine, and well-chosen words are more moving and productive of effect when accompanied by this good spirit, yet, without it, even though delightful and pleasing to the senses and the intellect, the sermon imparts little or no devotion to the will. For the will in this case will ordinarily be left as weak and remiss as before, even though wonderful things were admirably spoken; and the sermon merely delights the sense of hearing, like a musical concert or sounding bells. But the spirit, as I said, will not leave its natural ties any more than previously, since the voice does not possess the power to raise a dead man from his sepulcher. ... St. John of the Cross art

Amazing Grace-My Chains Gone

Thursday, March 17, 2011

He is with us on our journeys...

He is with us on our journeys. He is there when we are home. He sits with us at our table. He knows about funerals and weddings and commencements and hospitals and jails and unemployment and labour and laughter and rest and tears. He knows because He is with us - He comes to us again and again - until we can say, It's You! It's You! ...Bob Benson image

O that you could dwell in the knowledge...

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

O that you could dwell in the knowledge and sense of this: the Lord sees your sufferings with an eye of pity and also is able to achieve some good through them. He is able to bring life and wisdom to you through your trials. He will one day give you dominion over that which grieves and afflicts you.

Therefore, do not be grieved at your situation or be discontented. Do not look at the difficulty of your condition, but instead, when the storm rages against you, look up to Him who can give you patience and can lift you head over it all and cause you to grow. If the Lord did not help us with His mighty arm, how often would we fall! If God helps you in proportion to your problems, you should have no reason to complain, but rather, to bless his name.

...Isaac Penington photo

When I walk by the wayside...

When I walk by the wayside, He is along with me. When I enter into company amid all my forgetfulness of Him, He never forgets me. In the silent watches of the night, when my eyelids are closed and my spirit has sunk into unconsciousness, the observant eye of Him who never slumbers is upon me. ...Thomas Chalmers photo

My soul waits for the Lord
more than those
who watch for the morning,
more than those
who watch for the morning.

Call: Out of the depths I have cried to You.
Response: O Lord, hear my voice.
Call: With my whole heart I want to praise You.
Response: O Lord, hear my voice.
Call: If you, Lord, should mark iniquities:
Response: Who could stand? who could stand?

I will wait for the Lord.
My soul waits,
and in His word
do I hope.

God has still His hidden secrets

"Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was"
Exodus 20:21

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you.

...Streams In The Desert photo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reverse My Thinking About God

This Long Night


 Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Arun Andrews

My wife and I were returning home one evening in October. As we drove, we were both concerned about the five year-old son of our dear friends. Over a 24 hour period, Noah had become quite sick. Even as we were praying silently, we received word that the doctor had ordered a brain scan. In that one moment our hearts swung from concern to anxiety. Yes, we have been told by the Lord we cannot add a single hour to our lives by worrying. But that evening the Lord Jesus graciously bore with our limitations for he knew in his heart that we were indeed very worried.

What would your cry be at such a moment? What if you were in the place of these parents? How would you get through this long night?

When Abraham left Haran he was 75 years old. At this point, God had already promised to make him into a great nation. But his son Isaac would not arrive until after a quarter century of waiting! Years later, Genesis 22 depicts the Lord asking Abraham for that very son as a sacrifice. In verse two the Lord makes his asking known. Verse three begins by stating, "Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac." What is it that transpired between verse two and verse three? The answer is short and simple: a night. But the agony was neither short nor simple. If King Darius could neither eat nor sleep on the night when Daniel was put into the lion's den, how much more was the agony of Abraham? This was arguably Abraham's longest night ever. The night has its unique way of amplifying fears and anxieties. There in the long night, the shadows seem longer, the lights seem dimmer, and the enemy seems bigger. The psalmist spoke of one such night when he wrote, "I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears."

If you are facing your long night it may help to remember that you are not alone. Abraham went through his. Many of the prophets went through theirs. Most importantly, Jesus went through his at Gethsemane. In such moments we do well to remember that the night may be long, but it cannot be forever and that long nights have a unique way of unraveling treasures from the heart of God. As the psalmist wrote, "At night his song is with me." Jeremiah, too, wrote in his Lamentations, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." By the ordinance of a loving God even the longest night of agony must make way for a new morning of hope. Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (cf. Psalm 30:5).  the rest image

Monday, March 14, 2011

Look at the candle...

Look at the candle. What is it used for? It is not for giving light? If it is to give light, it must burn and make itself less and less. But if the candle were to protest and say, "I will not burn and become less and less; I cannot suffer hurt, neither can my form be changed," then what would be its value? In the same way, those who determine not to put self to death will never see the will of God fulfilled in their lives. Those who ought to become the light of the world must necessarily burn and become less and less. By denying self, we are able to win others.
 ...Sadhu Sundar Singh photo

The breaking of the alabaster box...

The breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered; been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savour of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. ...Watchman Nee art

Like the eye which sees everything in front of it


Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves -- blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. ... A. W. Tozer art

Oh! blessed Jesus, reveal yourself to my heart...

Oh! blessed Jesus, reveal yourself to my heart; soften, melt, and renew it. Consume all the dross which it contains, and transform it, wholly, after your image; that, while surrounded by evils of every name, and sorrows of every kind, which abound in this rebellious, dying world, I may enjoy the light of your countenance, and the purifying influence of your love. Fill me with your love; satiate my soul with your goodness; and make me an everlasting trophy of your grace. ...Thomas Reade photo

While there is left in you...

While there is left in you a trace of ill-temper, or of vanity, of pride, or of selfishness; while there is left in you a single sin, or germ of sin, you must not rest from the battle. God does not require from you to be sinless when you come before Him, but He does require you to be unceasing in your perseverance. He does not require that you shall never have fallen; but He does require unwearied efforts. He does not require you to win, but He does require you to fight.
...Frederick Temple image by Kevin Cole

Friday, March 11, 2011

If God allowed us to live on the "mountaintop...

"The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: "You have dwelt long enough at this mountain." "Deuteronomy 1:6

"If God allowed us to live on the "mountaintop,"
we would not experience trials, but neither would we achieve any victories. The Israelites had gathered at the foot of Mount Horeb while God spoke to them and gave them His law. It was a breathtaking experience! Fire and smoke covered that awesome mountain; lightning flashed, and loud trumpet sounds pierced the air in a deafening crescendo! The ground at the foot of the mountain shook, and the people trembled in fear (Exod. 19:16-25).

As important as it was for God's people to have this inspiring encounter with Him, their Lord had not rescued them from Egypt in order for them to settle around a mountain in the wilderness. God delivered them so that they could conquer the Promised Land. God wanted to demonstrate His power to the Israelites so that they would trust Him in their conquest of Canaan. Finally, God announced that they had been long enough at the mountain; it was time to go to battle.

The mountain is an enticing place to set up camp. Peter, James, and John were prepared to reside on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, but their Lord knew that a demon-possessed boy needed their assistance down below (Matt. 17:4, 14-18). At times God will graciously provide you a mountaintop experience. These times come in many settings: during your time alone with Him, at a Christian conference, by reading a Christian book, or at a prayer meeting.

You may wish you could spend the rest of your life basking in the glow of your encounter with God. But remember, these mountaintop encounters are God's way of preparing you for the battles that await you." ...
Henry Blackaby image

Great grief prays with great earnestness...

Great grief prays with great earnestness. Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul. What is love if it be not fiery? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers...The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul.
...Samuel Chadwick image

But prayer is the link that connects us with God...

But prayer" Acts 12:5

But prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need. How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the apostle's blood, and everything else against it. "But prayer was made unto God without ceasing." And what was the sequel? The prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word of God rolling on in greater victory.

Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer! ...AB Simpson
art

Prayer for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami

God is our hope and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.

There is a river, the streams whereof make glad
 the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. ...Psalm 46: 1-4

For Times of Fear
Almighty God, the Refuge of all that are distressed, grant unto us that, in all trouble of this our mortal life, we may flee to the knowledge of Thy lovingkindness and tender mercy; that so, sheltering ourselves therein, the storms of life may pass over us, and not shake the peace of God that is within us. Whatsoever this life may bring us, grant that it may never take from us the full faith that Thou art our Father. Grant us Thy light, that we may have life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ...George Dawson

Prayer for Trust in Jesus
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
...St. Ignatius of Loyola

Compassionate God,
you are ever mindful of your children
and hear our prayers when we cry out to you.
We are faced with a disaster,
a disaster that rattles our bones
and sets our nerves on edge.
We truly have nowhere to turn
but to your loving and provident arms.
Listen to our prayers for the victims
of the earthquake and tsumani
who are in desperate need for assurance
of your presence in their lives at this moment.
Inspired by your mercy, may we reach out
through acts of kindness and compassion.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Found here
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose...

O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
Confusions multiplied;
From crowding things of sense I flee, and in Thee hide,
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord,
And bless with peace.
..Amy Carmichael photo

I have seen the Face of Jesus...

I have seen the Face of Jesus—
Tell me not of aught beside;
I have heard the Voice of Jesus—
All my soul is satisfied.
In the radiance of the glory
First I saw His blessed Face,
And for ever shall that glory
Be my home, my dwelling-place.
...G. Tersteegen image

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do..."

"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14

Christ's life and work, His suffering and death-it was all prayer, all dependence on God, trust in God, receiving from God, surrender to God. Thy redemption, O believer, is a redemption wrought out by prayer and intercession: thy Christ is a praying Christ; the life He lived for thee, the life He lives in thee, is a praying life that delights to wait on God and receive all from Him. To pray in His Name is to pray as He prayed. Christ is our only example because He is our Head, our Savior, and our Life. In virtue of His Deity and of His Spirit He can live in us: we can pray in His Name, because we abide in Him and He in us. ...
Andrew Murray art

Wherever thou shalt be...

Wherever... thou shalt be, pray secretly within thyself. If thou shalt be far from a house of prayer, give not thyself trouble to seek for one, for thou thyself art a sanctuary designed for prayer. If thou shalt be in bed, or in any other place, pray there; thy temple is there.
...Bernard of Clairvaux photo

THE RELINQUISHED LIFE..

"I am crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20

No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God's consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
Oswald Chambers Photo

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eleven marks of spiritual health

Eleven marks of spiritual health [in] matters concerning ourselves:

(1) Brokenness of spirit.
(2) Spiritual battles.
(3) Godly loathing for sin.
(4) True self-denial.
(5) Willingness to stay in hard and difficult service.
(6) Spiritual contentment in God’s will.
(7) Joy in sorrow.
(8) Christians weaned from this world’s comforts.
(9) God glorified in all earthly businesses.
(10) The true watch of God’s people over their tongue.
(11) God’s people shun the appearance of sin.
...Roger Williams image

The Hymns That Keep on Going


The 27 worship songs that have made the hymnal cut time and again.
Robert T. Coote
3/07/2011

There are many ways to identify the most lasting or best loved hymns among American Protestants. But what would we find by looking at all 28 hymnals published by mainline Protestant denominations from the late 1800s to the present? Out of almost 5,000 hymns, how many would appear in all 28 hymnals?

Why limit this analysis to mainline Protestant denominations? For one thing, a comparable series of hymnals from evangelical denominations from the late 1800s does not exist. And the hymnals most widely used by evangelical denominations in the past 40 years have been produced by independent publishers and therefore lack clear precedents.

The hymnals of mainline denominations have much to tell us. The denominations are home to many evangelicals—over one-third of Christianity Today's readers belong to mainline churches. And for most of their histories, mainline denominations were the bearers of orthodox Christianity in the U.S. Finally, though some of the denominations have taken a liberal turn on theological issues over the past century, hymnody by its nature is conservative ballast.
 the rest

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thou sweet beloved will of God...

Thou sweet beloved will of God,
My anchor ground, my fortress hill -
My spirit's silent, fair abode -
In thee I hide me, and am still.

O Will, that willest good alone,
Lead thou the way, thou guidest best;
A silent child, I follow on,
And trusting lean upon thy breast.

And if in gloom I see thee not,
I lean upon thy love unknown;
In me thy blessed will is wrought,
If I will nothing of my own.
...Gerhard Tersteegen
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To love at all is to be vulnerable...

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoiding all entanglements; lock it up safe in the coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket; safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. ...CS Lewis image