Saturday, January 5, 2013
If I desire the salvation of anyone I ought to tell him as best as I can what his condition is, and what the way of salvation is, and how he may find rest. All men are approachable at some time or in some way. It is very imprudent to rush at everybody as soon as you see them, without thought or ordinary prudence, for you may disgust those whom you wish to win: but those who earnestly plead for others, and bestir themselves to seek them, are generally taught of God, and so they are made wise as to time, manner, and subject. A man who wishes to shoot birds will, after a while, become expert in the sport, because he will give his mind to it: he will after a little practice become a noted marksman and know all about guns and dogs. A man who wants to catch salmon has his heart set upon his angling, and becomes absorbed in the pursuit. He soon learns how to use his rod and how to manage his fish. So he who longs to win souls, and puts his heart into it, finds out the knack of it by some means, and the Lord gives him success.
I could not teach it to you, you must practice in order to find out; but this I will say, no man is clear of his fellows’ blood simply because he has prayed to be so. Supposed we had around this parish of Newington a number of people who were dying of hunger, and we were to have a prayer meeting that God would relive their wants: would it not be hypocrisy worthy to be ridiculed and help up to reprobation if, after having prayed for these people, we all went home and ate our own dinners and did not give them a farthing’s worth of bread? The truly benevolent man puts his hand in his pocket and says, “What can I do that my prayer may be answered?” I have heard of one who prayed in New York for a certain number of very poor families that he had visited, and he asked the Lord that they might be fed and clothed. His little sons said, “Father, if I were God I should tell you to answer your own prayer, for you have plenty of money.” Thus the Lord might well say to us when we have been interceding, “Go and answer your own prayer by telling your friends of my Son.” Do you sing, “Fly abroad, thou mighty Gospel”? Then give it wings covered with silver. Do you sing, “Waft, waft, ye winds, his story”? Then spend your breath for it.
There is a power in your gifts; there is a power in your speech; use these powers. If you cannot personally do much, you can do a great deal by helping another to preach Christ: but chief and first you ought to do somewhat by your own hand, heart, and tongue. Go and teach the good and right way, and then shall your prayers be heard.
"Go ahead and teach the good and right way and then shall your prayers be heard." A powerful challenge to respond to God's heart for the lost and see God respond to your heart.
Friday, December 14, 2012
It is part of our human nature to ask the question, why? When faced with the reality of unspeakable tragedy our initial response is to determine who can be held responsible... we want answers. All too often there are none.
I was challenged today by the comments of a good friend:
We look to blame. When the dust settles, democrats will blame republicans; republicans will blame democrats. Somebody will say we don’t have enough gun control. Somebody will say we have too much gun control. Somebody will blame Obama. Somebody will blame Bush. Somebody will blame the violence in our culture. Somebody will blame video games.
Already some of my well-meaning Christian friends have used this tragedy to soap-box about election results, taking prayer out of schools and America turning her back on God, etc. etc.
PLEASE just shut up.
Now is not the time for preaching and condemnation. Now is the time for sadness, mourning, love, grace. Somebody said a few moments ago on the news that this is a sign that it’s time for America to go running back to God. I completely disagree.
There is a time for repentance and I believe America needs to repent, BUT the beauty of Christmas is that God comes to US. God is not sitting in heaven waiting for America to run back to Him today. God is running toward Newtown, Connecticut. His heart is grieved by evil. Just as we have all seen those parents and grandparents running to reunite with their children and grandchildren today, God is running toward His kids.
God hold us all in your loving arms.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A conversation earlier today reminded me of a blog entry I posted several years ago, and after reviewing it I thought I would repost it:
In my personal reading this morning there was a thought that spoke volumes to me: "Nothing in your past guarantees that you will continue growing toward your potential in the future--not positions attained degrees earned, experience gained, awards received or fortunes acquired." It echoes the old Irish proverb, "You've got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather is." It is all too easy for us to allow our past victories or failures to define us, and to live in past pain or former glory. No matter where we come from in our journey, where we go from here is our choice.
Moving forward requires a willingness to grow and an acceptance of change. Most people fight against change, especially when it affects them personally. Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." The ironic thing is, change is inevitable. Everyone has to deal with change, yet the growth change offers is optional. You can chose to grow through life's changes or you can fight it. If we are unwilling to change or grow we will never reach our full potential.
My prayer for you is that God will place within you a willingness to grow and change in whatever ways necessary to reach your full potential in Christ... because He has great things in store for you.
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I have a confession to make. I hate the ice cream man. He takes a nice content moment and turns it into cravings for something my children don’t need and can’t afford – and turns contentment into discontentment. But there’s an awful lot of ice cream trucks out there, aren’t there? They don’t all go around with children’s music piping out of their speakers – but they can make us feel discontent no matter what we have.
For me they are things like “For sale” signs in front of homes we can’t quite afford, classified ads for cars that are nicer and newer than what I drive, going to people’s homes where they have much nicer furniture or really cool home stereo systems. Just as worry and anxiety can steal our joy and keep us from living a fulfilled life, discontentment can do just the same thing. If we want to be joyful, somehow we’ll have to discover a way to find contentment in our present situation.
Want some good news? No matter what is happening in your life, you can know contentment. God’s word tells us how to do it:
First, He tell us that Contentment is a Learned State. Contentment is not something that comes naturally. Paul said that he had to“learn to be content”
Secondly, Contentment is Not Found in Possessions or Circumstances!
“ know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Scripture declares that regardless of our circumstances, whether we have money or not, whether we have abundance or are in a very strained circumstances, we can still have contentment because the secret is something other than what we do or do not possess. Paul tells Timothy that we start with nothing and we end with nothing. So contentment is not about what we accumulate, it is about living with satisfaction one day after another. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have….”
Third, Contentment Comes From Learning To Appreciate What We Have in Jesus Christ.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” True contentment comes from living life understanding that everything pales in comparison to knowing Christ.
Consider this: US News and World Report did a study on the American Dream. The story said that for Americans with household incomes of under $25,000, polls showed these people believed it would take $54,000 to fulfill the American dream in their lives. The same survey also showed that for those who make $100,000, they’d like to make about $192,000 for their version of the American dream.
In other words, the American Dream usually lies nearly twice the distance away, at least financially.
So if the secret to being content is not in amassing personal wealth or getting everything you want, how can we know contentment?
What is the secret? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Paul echoes the teaching of Jesus, when he said "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
It doesn’t get much clearer, does it? Apart from Christ we can do nothing of lasting value in our lives, but we can do everything through Christ who gives us strength. One of those “everythings” is finding contentment in all situations.
Whether we are experiencing plenty or want in our life right now – the secret to being content is staying connected to Jesus. It is HIS strength that will provide the contentment we need. It is HIS power that will help us find hope even when the cupboards are bare.
When we spend time on a regular basis praying to Jesus, studying God’s Word, and surrendering our life to the power of the Holy Spirit, we discover that no matter what else is going on in our life – we feel more content. Why? Because when we’re living our life connected to Jesus Christ, we come to understand that nothing happens to us without His knowledge. Nothing that happens, either good or bad, can take us away from God’s love, and He has our final destination in mind!