Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scorched Places

I love how God reveals things; I found this the other day and thought it contributed very nicely to the “Waiting in the Desert” theme:

Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.

And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

-Isaiah 58:2, 11; LOVE.IT.

Let us seek God and delight in His ways.
Let us delight being near God.
Let us allow the Lord to be our Guide.
Let us allow Him to satisfy us in our scorched places.
Let us allow Him to fill us with unfailing, living water.

And a reminder for all of us for tomorrow: let us keep the Sabbath holy, and to not delight in ourselves, but in the Lord, and who He is.

If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
-Isaiah 58:13-14
Let us honor God’s holy day, so that we may rest in Him.
Let us not seek pleasure in things of the world, but of the Lord.
He is the Living Water in our scorched places.

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
-Psalm 27:8

The ocean always reminds me of the Lord's goodness; the Living Water.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Faith's Check Book Fridays

Ok so I know it's not Friday, but I missed sending out Spurgeon's insights this past Friday so I thought I'd catch up now. Here's some more Spurgeon thoughts that I hope will encourage you throughout the week! Planning on posting more (on time, this time) on Friday!

September 8: Broken and Smoking
Isaiah 42:3

I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised—sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises!

My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. Lord, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.

September 9: Fear Has Its Place
Proverbs 28:14

He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness…Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle, which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world.

September 10: Coming In, Going Out
Deuteronomy 28:6

This day I will come in to my house without fear of evil tidings, and I will come in to my closet expecting to hear good news from my Lord. I will not be afraid to come in unto myself by self-examination, nor to come in to my affairs by a diligent inspection of my business. I have a good deal of work to do indoors, within my own soul; oh, for a blessing upon it all, the blessing of the Lord Jesus, who has promised to abide with me.

I must also go out. Timidity makes me wish that I could stay within doors and never go into the sinful world again. But I must go out in my calling, and I must go out that I may be helpful to my brethren and useful to the ungodly. I must be a defender of the faith and an assailant of evil. Oh, for a blessing upon my going out this day! Lord, let me go where Thou leadest, on Thy errands, under Thy command, and in the power of Thy Spirit.

September 11: Sufferers Make Strong Believers
Lamentations 3:27

The yoke of affliction, disappointment, and excessive labor is by no means to be sought for; but when the Lord lays it on us in our youth, it frequently develops a character which glorifies God and blesses the church.

 September 12: What of My House?
Acts 16:31

This gospel for a man with a sword at his throat is the gospel for me. This would suit me if I were dying, and it is all that I need while I am living. I look away from self, and sin, and all idea of personal merit, and I trust the Lord Jesus as the Savior whom God has given. I believe in Him, I rest on Him, I accept Him to be my all in all. Lord, I am saved, and I shall be saved to all eternity, for I believe in Jesus. Blessed be Thy name for this. May I daily prove by my life that I am saved from selfishness, and worldliness, and every form of evil…I would go over in my prayer every day the names of all my brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, relatives, servants, and give Thee no rest till that word is fulfilled, "and thy house."

September 13: The Dew of Heaven
Deuteronomy 33:28

What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace. How greatly do I need it! Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing. I droop, I fade, I die. How sweetly does this dew refresh me! When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated. I want nothing more. The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires. All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of Communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me. But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

September 14: Mark of Divine Approval
James 1:12

When the test is over, then comes the hallmark of divine approval—"the crown of life." As if the Lord said, "Let him live; he has been weighed in the balances, and he is not found wanting." Life is the reward: not mere being, but holy, happy, true existence, the realization of the divine purpose concerning us. Already a higher form of spiritual life and enjoyment crowns those who have safely passed through fiercest trials of faith and love.

Have a wonderful week, everybody! God bless!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"The Work of His Hands": God's Faithfulness

I couldn’t have had a more perfect Saturday morning. I spent the first bit joining with some kids from school in doing some community service (which always feels good) and then spent the next few hours having fellowship with a dear friend over some iced Chai (YUM) at Starbucks.

A little side note: cherish your friends who are in love with the Lord; this friend of mine definitely is. She has that “gentle and quiet spirit” talked about in 1 Peter 3:4, and every time we get together, we have sweet moments of relishing in God’s goodness. She’s a doll, and I’m above and beyond grateful for her.

Anyway, we were talking about how neither of us- or anyone else we knew at school- had had a pleasant week. It was just very rocky for all of us, with various stresses smacking us during the week.

And that’s where God entered the conversation. And I’m very glad He did.

I told my friend how I had noticed that throughout the week, every single morning and every single evening, there was a beautiful sunrise and an even more beautiful sunset. I can’t remember the last time that happened- where every single day, there was a beauty awaiting me, whether I was driving to school or driving home. Even the clouds blew me away.

And that’s where God whispered, “That was all Me. I am constant. I am never-changing. I am everlasting. Though your week was full of stress, doubt, and wavering emotions- I stayed the same. I never left your side, and I never will. I displayed My faithfulness through the work of My hands: through the skies.”

When I shared this with my friend, for a few moments we couldn’t contain our smiles- God had been so faithful, and it was so joyous to recognize it. We didn’t just savor in what He had done, but in who He is.

The Lord is faithful.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
–Psalm 19:1
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.
-Nahum 1:3
They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. –Psalm 65:8
Taken at around 8am today. So lovely to start the day with.

This is actually from last year, but still- look at that!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Testimony

I don’t remember every word that was said, or the clothes I was wearing, or the exact time it happened, but I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of peace. With tears in her eyes, my wonderful mom told me at six-years old how Jesus had taken my punishment and I gained His righteousness, and how He loved me more than I could ever understand. I wanted a relationship with this Jesus, and I confessed with my mouth that I believed Jesus died for me and was raised from the dead (Rom.10:9), took the punishment and wrath I deserved, and that I would be made alive in Him. I repented of my sin, and received the free gift of salvation and grace. That day, I became a daughter of the King.

Little did I know how much that day would change my life.

It’s been eleven years since that day. There’s this misconception that once you become a Christian, your life becomes easy. This is not true. Granted, my life has been significantly easier than most people’s, but there still have been hard times. Even though I haven’t experienced a lot of suffering, I have witnessed it, and it’s difficult to watch. The Christian life is not a care-free stroll in the park. It’s not an easy life, but it’s definitely a rewarding one. But the more I dig into the infallible, soul-comforting, heart-piercing Word of God (Heb. 4:12) the more I see God’s love, sovereignty, and faithfulness. And that’s what makes life so rewarding- watching God work not only in other people’s lives, but in your own. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

On the bad days and on the good days, I can have peace. Why? Because God holds the universe in His hands (Col.1:17), He is the victor, and He has overcome the world.

I am not the same as I was when I took Christ’s free gift of salvation at six years old. And good thing, too ‘cause…that’d be weird. Many things are different: my fears, my priorities, my ambitions…But when I prayed to receive Christ that day on that bench outside of my school, I had no idea how much God would use that shy little girl to make a difference. This realization of how much God had worked in me hit me on my second mission trip to El Salvador this past summer. We were helping a new church in the middle of a community called Versailles. On that Tuesday and Wednesday, we visited some schools around the area and then during the afternoon we came back to Versailles, performed a drama and shared the Gospel to the neighborhood kids in the park, and then went back to the church that night. On Tuesday one of the girls from my team shared her testimony and then my youth pastor preached. On Wednesday, I shared my testimony.

That night, the Lord showed up. As I was telling these people what God had been teaching me the last few years, the Lord whispered in my heart, “Look where you are right now.”

I looked upon those sweet and kind faces, faces of people who either came to worship their God or came to learn about Him for the first time. And it hit me. God used that same little girl, who used to walk in the room backwards because she was so shy, now to share her faith among a group of people at a brand new church, in El Salvador. It blew my mind! As I came to this realization, tears filled my eyes, and I told the little congregation that on that day on the bench outside of my school when I prayed to become a child of God, I had no idea that eleven years later I would be sharing my testimony with this group. But God knew. If you had told me at six years old that I was going to speak to this group in El Salvador when I was just seventeen, I either would’ve cried or started laughing. I would’ve thought you were crazy. But God didn’t think it was so crazy. Why? Because He was going to give me the power to do it. And that blew my mind: God’s power. When you pick up your cross and follow Jesus, He will use you in ways you never could’ve imagined (Eph.3:20).

God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary.

The more God uses me in extraordinary ways as He did that night, the more I want to help expand His kingdom. Those people who are enemies of God- I want them to become His children. I want to be a light in the darkness. I want to make a difference. “But apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Another huge part of my testimony is learning humility. It’s something I still struggle with it today. Humility is a hard thing for man to grasp because of our sinful nature. We are gravitated toward this idea of going it alone, being an individual, doing amazing things by ourselves and getting the glory for it. This is not who we were meant to be. We were created in the image of God, to be humble servants for Him, trusting in His power alone. We plant, and we water, but God causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7).

We do our part, step back, and watch. And we become amazed.
Another part of humility is recognizing that your way is not the best way. This is something of which I have had to be reminded just this week. His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). And even though this fact sometimes brings momentary frustration, in the end it brings eternal gratitude. Gratitude that the Lord didn’t go with your desires, but that He chose the best way- His way.
My life is radically changed and constantly marked with streaks of thankfulness because of the beautiful, unconditionally loving deed my Savior did on the cross. Just as He defeated death itself when He rose again on the third day, so sin is defeated because we have ultimate victory in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
I was once dead, but now I am alive. And I couldn’t be happier.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Faith's Check Book Fridays

So grateful for Spurgeon's wisdom and love for the Savior...May the Lord use us for future generations as He has used Spurgeon!

September 1: Abiding in Obedience and Love
John 15:10

These things cannot be parted—abiding in obedience and abiding in the love of Jesus. A life under the rule of Christ can alone prove that we are the objects of our Lord's delight. We must keep our Lord's command if we would bask in His love. If we live in sin we cannot live in the love of Christ. Without the holiness which pleases God we cannot please Jesus. He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus.

September 2: Follow to Know
Hosea 6:3

Our duty is to keep to our main topic and follow on to know, not this peculiar doctrine nor that, but Jehovah Himself. To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, this is life eternal. let us keep to this, for in this way we shall gain complete instruction. By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after smiting, and life after death. Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the trackway of the almighty Lord.

My soul, keep thou close to Jesus, follow on to know God in Jesus, and so shalt thou come to the knowledge of Christ, which is the most excellent of all the sciences. The Holy Ghost will lead thee into all truth. Is not this His gracious office? Rely upon Him to fulfill it.

September 3: Out of Spiritual Death
Ezekiel 37:13

This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo—to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life. None could work this but the living God, the Lord and giver of life…Glory be to God for the stirring which that word of faith caused among the dry bones. More blessed still was that heavenly breath from the four winds which made me live! Now know I the quickening Spirit of the ever-living Jehovah, Truly Jehovah is the living God, for He made me live. My new life even in its pinings and sorrowings is clear proof to me that the Lord can kill and make alive. He is the only God. He is all that is great, gracious, and glorious, and my quickened soul adores Him as the great I AM.

September 4: Victory Without Battle
Hosea 1:7

Precious word. Jehovah Himself will deliver His people in the greatness of His mercy, but He will not do it by the ordinary means, Men are slow to render to God the glory due unto His name. If they go to battle with sword and bow and win the victory, they ought to praise their God; yet they do not, but begin to magnify their own right arm and glory in their horses and horsemen. For this reason our Jehovah often determines to save His people without second means, that all the honor may be to Himself alone.

Look, then, my heart, to the Lord alone and not to man. Expect to see God all the more clearly when there is no one else to look to. If I have no friend, no adviser, no one at my back, let me be none the less confident if I can feel that the Lord Himself is on my side; yea, let me be glad if He gives victory without battle, as the text seems to imply. Why do I ask for horses and horsemen if Jehovah Himself has mercy upon me and lifts up His arm for my defense! Why need I bow or sword if God will save? Let me trust and not be afraid from this day forth and for evermore. Amen.

September 5: With Me Wherever I Am
2 Chronicles 20:17

This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a great multitude had come out against him; and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom. If the Lord be with me, it matters little who may desert me. If the Lord be with me, I shall conquer in the battle of life, and the greater my trials the more glorious will be my victory. How can I be sure that the Lord is with me?

For certain He is with me if I am with Him. If I trust in His faithfulness, believe His words, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me. If I am on Satan's side, God is against me and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God, I may be sure that He will honor me.

I am quite sure that God is with me if Jesus is my sole and only Savior. If I have placed my soul in the hands of God's only-begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth all His power to preserve me, that His Son may not be dishonored.

Oh, for faith to take hold upon the short but sweet text for today! O Lord, fulfill this word to Thy servant! Be with me in the house, in the street, in the field, in the shop, in company, and alone. Be Thou also with all Thy people.

September 6: A Strong Heart
Psalm 27:14

Wait! Wait! Let your waiting be on the Lord! He is worth waiting for. He never disappoints the waiting soul.

While waiting keep up your spirits, Expect a great deliverance, and be ready to praise God for it.

The promise which should cheer you is in the middle of the verse—"He shall strengthen thine heart." This goes at once to the place where you need help. If the heart be sound, all the rest of the system will work well. The heart wants calming and cheering, and both of these will come if it be strengthened.

He alone who made it can make it strong. God is full of strength, and, therefore, He can impart it to those who need it. Oh, be brave; for the Lord will impart His strength to you, and you shall be calm in tempest and glad in sorrow.

September 7: The Reach of Almighty Grace
Hosea 1:10

Some of us were so decidedly ungodly that the Lord's Word most truly said to our conscience and heart, "Ye are not my people." In the house of God and in our own homes, when we read the Bible, this was the voice of God's Spirit in our soul, "Ye are not my people." Truly a sad, condemning voice it was. But now, in the same places, from the same ministry and Scripture, we hear a voice, which saith, "Ye are the sons of the living God." Can we be grateful enough for this? Is it not wonderful? Does it not give us hope for others? Who is beyond the reach of almighty grace? How can we despair of any, since the Lord has wrought so marvelous a change in us?

He who has kept this one great promise will keep every other; wherefore, let us go forward with songs of adoration and confidence.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Enjoying the Small Things

I don't know about all of you, but it's been a roller coaster of a week for me. The transition into the school year has been a bit harder for me this year than it has been in the past, and so this week was a bit stressful. Still lots of laughs and good times, but…stressful. But I had to keep reminding myself, that any stress I have, I have placed it on myself. It’s my own doing. Sometimes that's hard for me to fully understand. When I step back and look at the thing I'm so stressed about, it's really not that bad. And if I’m really trusting in the Lord like I claim to, then why do I get stressed out? I think that’s something all Christians struggle with. Completely surrendering your worries and cares and just letting God take care of them in His own sovereign way. God is sovereign. That’s such an encouragement.

Anyways, this isn’t a deep post or anything, I just felt led to encourage anyone who reads this to trust in the Lord, don’t stress, and enjoy the small things. When I got home from school, I desperately wanted to isolate myself and get alone with God. I haven’t spent a lot of time with Him this week, and, honestly, I was missing Him (even though I know He’s always there with me, even if I don’t feel like He is). I wanted to sit on the swing outside that’s on our porch, but no one has used it in a very long time, so it was covered in cobwebs and…well…who knows what else. But before I went back inside to relocate, I noticed that the flowers by our mailbox had bloomed very nicely. The sun was bright, and visually it was just really nice. As I looked at these tiny glimpses of God’s creativity and glory, I was reminded of how God puts these small things in our path, so that we might see them, enjoy them, and recognize them as a gift – a piece of Himself. Just a glimpse of how sweet and beautiful He is. Rejoice in the Creator of the small things.

Philippians 4:4-7

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Who Do You Say That I Am?"

Journal entry from August 1, 2012:

“Do you really believe in My power? I have been teaching you what it means to ask in faith…do you ask things from Me in faith? Do you really believe I can change the world? Do you really believe I can use you to change the world? Do you really believe that I have the power to bring a revival to your school? My child…who do you say that I am?”

I’m a bit overwhelmed. Not in a bad way…in a convicting way. This morning I have heard God so clearly… The Lord started convicting me about my school, specifically the high school and my senior class. For years, my mom and I have been praying for a revival- but while praying for a revival, have I asked for it in faith? Do really believe in faith that God can do it? And then BOOM, I felt like Peter in Matthew 16:15, as the Lord asked me, “Who do you say that I am?” Not, “who have your parents told you to say that I am?” or “who have your church and school leaders trained you to say that I am?” Who do I say God is? I found my answer to this question from three years ago, on a Freshman NT Survey test:

“Who is God? He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later, John 1:14 says that the Word (God) became flesh and dwelled among us, which means that God is also Jesus. Therefore, God is triune. Romans 3:3-4 also says how God is faithful and true. Through sending His Son as a Sacrifice to rightfully punish our sin, one can see that God is also just. John 3:31 says “The One who comes from above is above all” therefore God is ruler and higher than anyone. The Creator of all things- Genesis 1 says God is that, too. He is the Father of Christians and the judge for non-Christians (Jude 1:15). God is magnificent.”

I still believe this today, now not because that’s what everyone else has told me, but because I have read it in God’s Word, and I have experienced His truth firsthand many times… Lord, continue to challenge and convict me. Thank You that You convict and don’t condemn Your children (Rom. 8:1). Thank You for Your forgiveness and thank You for Your Words, for “You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

One month later has passed since I wrote that entry, and now having been a believer for eleven years, the Lord still probes my mind with this question. “My child…who do you say that I am?” It’s so easy to respond the way we were taught from years of Sunday school and Bible classes, and while it’s important to answer in truth, it is also important to live the truth. This week I heard a wise man ask, “If every spiritual leader in your life were to fall away from the Lord, would you still stay strong in your faith, because your faith is your own?” Do I live in faith? Do I live in my own faith, not in the faith of people I look up to? Do I live believing that God is sovereign, has complete control of every event in my life, and holds the balance of the universe in His hands (Col. 1:17)? Do I believe that the things of this world will never satisfy me, but that my thirst can only be quenched by the Living Water (John 4:14)? And a question I wrestled with a lot this summer is, do I live like I believe in God’s power? Do I live like I believe that He has the power to save the lost? The power to bring revival to the communities I am involved with? The power to take the hearts of my senior class and “knit them together in love”? The power to radically change my own life? Who do I say God is? Who do you say God is? And more importantly, do we actually live out our answer?

I just finished reading through 1 Corinthians, and the ending really grabbed my attention. Before Paul gives his final greetings, he discusses the victory we have in Jesus. The first time I read this passage, I got chills. Reading about God’s power will do that to you.

 50 Now I say this, brethren , that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed….54 “Death is swallowed up in victory, 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
-1 Corinthians 15:50-58

I read this passage after I came home from a mission trip to El Salvador, and God used it to comfort me. Coming home from the trip, I was, as the rest of the team I’m sure, exhausted; physically, emotionally, but mostly spiritually. It was an incredible trip, but it didn’t go without some trials and serious doubts. On the trip, I continually struggled with my, I guess you could say, “eloquence” in communicating the Gospel and sharing my testimony to the children we witnessed to. I felt as if my efforts to obey the Great Commission were failing miserably, and for a few days, I would try to speak one-on-one with children, telling them about the free gift of Jesus, only to have them either be completely distracted, just awkwardly sit in silence, or ask questions I didn’t know the answer to. I was beginning to feel very discouraged. I was relying on my own power, which is never a good idea. It was as if, without realizing it, I had told God, “Watch me obey Your commands! Watch me go! I’m going to single-handedly save the day, bringing dozens of children into Your family all by myself!” And by the time Day 3 or 4 rolled around, I was in my room at my host home, furiously journaling a prayer to God, asking “Why do I feel as if I’m coming up short? Why do I feel as though I am failing?” And the Lord faithfully answered me with His truth, and pointed me to 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 which says,

5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

Though I felt as though my own power was failing- and it was- God had never stopped working. My team and I merely planted and watered- we had to leave the growing to God. God had given us this opportunity. We had to seize it as humble servants, merely being obedient and letting God do all the work. Then after the trip, God graciously showed me 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Jesus is victorious over sin, even the sin and spiritual battle we fought against in El Salvador that week. Jesus is victorious, and our “toil is not in vain in the Lord.” Though sin and death may faze us, their “sting” has no power over our Warrior. Do I live like I believe that? That despite my unfaithfulness, the Lord was, is, and always will be faithful? That even if I feel as if my efforts to obey fail, the Lord never ceases to move? I love Audrey Assad’s lyrics in her song, “The Way You Move”


All my pride, you know it doesn't
stand a chance against the way
you move you're tearing up my
roots & breaking down
walls and I don't stand a
chance at all against the way
you move...

Despite all of my pride, thinking I can handle life and living the Christian life on my own, thinking I can bring dozens of people to Christ by myself, I really don’t stand a chance. Though I’m blessed to be a part of it, God’s plan involves so much more than just me. He is so much bigger than just me. Do I live like I believe that? Do I live like I believe that life is all about bringing glory to God’s name and not my own? Do I live like I believe that pride in myself and my own power is a dangerous thing? Do I live like I believe that without Jesus, I can do nothing (John 15:4-5)? The past year or so, humility has been a major struggle for me – but I guess it is for most Christians. And that’s really what this post is about- humility. Stepping back and looking at the big picture- realizing that I desperately need the Lord to examine and test my heart and mind (Ps. 26:2), so that I may come to know Him better, and live in a way that believes in His power.

I’ve also been asking God to teach me what it means to ask in faith- it’s a hard thing for me. As Christians, I think we have absolutely no problem asking for things from God, at least I know I don’t. This summer, I was challenged to pray for the student body by some leaders at my school. I began to consistently write prayers in my prayer journal every day until school started. (Side note: I highly recommend getting yourself a prayer journal. If you’re anything like me, and zone out when you are just sitting there trying to talk to God, you need to write your prayers down. It’s also been really cool for me to go back through my prayer journal and see all of the prayers the Lord answered.) My fellow classmates became a burden on my heart, and were a constant topic I was thinking about throughout the day (they still are). I found myself asking God over and over again to radically change the hearts of my classmates, but I found that I wasn’t necessarily asking in faith. I was asking for a movement of God, but not always expecting one. I’m grateful that the Lord revealed this concept to me, because the more the Lord teaches me about it, the more I feel like it’s a vital concept for Christians to understand. Do we live our lives not only believing in the Lord’s power, but expecting it? When we go to church on Sunday morning, do we just mindlessly walk in the door, sing songs, because that’s what we always do, listen to the sermon, jot down a few notes, remark to yourself or a friend what a great message it was, and then just walk out the door, going back to our normal routine? Or do we come as the church, ready with eagerness to see what the Lord has in store, and expect the Lord to move in our hearts and teach us something new about Himself?

So all of that to say, I ask you and me this: who do we say God is? Do we believe He can save the lost? Do we believe His words are “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12)? Do we believe He is faithful, and will grow what we helped plant? Talking mostly to myself for this one: Do we believe that He can use those who feel they are not eloquent in speech in mighty ways, just as He used Moses- who felt very unqualified- to lead the Israelites out from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh (Ex. 4)? Do we not only believe all of these things, but expect God to move in mightily, using us in ways we could never even imagine (Eph. 3:20)?

Ultimately it all comes down to one question: “Who do you say that I am?” –God.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Faith's Check Book Fridays

Ok, so it’s not Friday. But since I didn’t have time to write a post yesterday, I’m writing it today. I’m going through an everyday-devotional book by Charles Spurgeon called “Faith’s Check Book”. I highly recommend it! Spurgeon’s writing is always so rich and continually draws attention not to himself but to his King. God has used this book to continually remind me of His goodness, so I wanted to share it with you. Every Friday, I’m going to post excerpts from entries I read that week that really stuck out to me- Lord willing they will stick out to you, too. If you want to read the rest of the entries from this amazing devotional, you can find it here:

August 23: “Love and Seek True Wisdom”
Proverbs 8:17

What is true of wisdom in general is specially true of wisdom embodied in our Lord Jesus. Him we are to love and to seek, and in return we shall enjoy His love and find Himself… The blessing is that He will be found. He reveals Himself more and more clearly to our search. He gives Himself up more fully to our fellowship. Happy men who seek One who, when He is found, remains with them forever, a treasure growingly precious to their hearts and understandings. Lord Jesus, I have found Thee; be found of me to an unutterable degree of joyous satisfaction.
August 24: God above Human Philosophy
1 Corinthians 1:19

The old gospel is not extinct yet, nor will it be while the Lord liveth. If it could have been exterminated, it would have perished from off the earth long ago.
August 25: Food and Rest
Ezekiel 34:15

Under the divine shepherdry saints are fed to the full. Theirs is not a windy, unsatisfying mess of mere human "thought," but the Lord feeds them upon the solid, substantial truth of divine revelation. There is real nutriment for the soul in Scripture brought home to the heart by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is the true life-sustaining Food of believers. Here our Great Shepherd promises that such sacred nourishment shall be given us by His own self. If, on the Lord's Day, our earthly shepherd is empty-handed, the Lord is not.

When filled with holy truth the mind rests. Those whom Jehovah feeds are at peace. No dog shall worry them, no wolf shall devour them, no restless propensities shall disturb them. They shall lie down and digest the food which they have enjoyed. The doctrines of grace are not only sustaining but consoling: in them we have the means for building up and lying down. If preachers do not give us rest, let us look to the Lord for it.
This day may the Lord cause us to feed in the pastures of the Word and make us to lie down in them. May no folly and no worry but meditation and peace mark this day

August 27: Choice Men
Isaiah 48:10

We choose the furnace, since God chooses us in it.

We are chosen as an afflicted people and not as a prosperous people, chosen not in the palace but in the furnace. In the furnace beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed, and yet here eternal love reveals its secrets and declares its choice. So has it been in our case. In times of severest trial God has made to us our calling and election plain, and we have made it sure: then have we chosen the Lord to be our God, and He has shown that we are assuredly His chosen. Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.

August 28: Out of Any Circumstance
Psalm 55:16

The Lord and no one else shall save me. I desire no other helper and would not trust in an arm of flesh even if I could. I will cry to Him evening, and morning, and noon, and I will cry to no one else, for He is All-sufficient.

August 29: Plentiful Refreshment
Jeremiah 31:12

Oh, to have one's soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the Lord! Enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one's favored soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the Lord.

Oh, to have one's soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly—every part of the garden having its own stream; plentifully—a sufficient refreshment coming to every tree and herb, however thirsty by nature it may be; continually—each hour bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; wisely—each plant receiving just what it needs. In a garden you can see by the verdure where the water flows, and you can soon perceive when the Spirit of God comes.

O Lord, water me this day and cause me to yield Thee a full reward for Jesus' sake. Amen.

August 31: Divine, Ever-living, Unchanging
1 Peter 1:25

All human teaching and, indeed, all human beings shall pass away as the grass of the meadow; but we are here assured that the Word of the Lord is of a very different character, for it shall endure forever.

We have here a divine gospel; for what word can endure forever but that which is spoken by the eternal God?

We have here an ever-living gospel, as full of vitality as when it first came from the lips of God; as strong to convince and convert, to regenerate and console, to sustain and sanctify as ever it was in its first days of wonder-working.

We have an unchanging gospel which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change than the God who uttered it.

Here, then, we have a gospel to rejoice in, a word of the Lord upon which we may lean all our weight. "For ever" includes life, death, judgment, and eternity. Glory be to God in Christ Jesus for everlasting consolation. Feed on the word today and all the days of thy life.
I hope you enjoyed some insight from Spurgeon and have a lovely Saturday! May we continue to seek the Lord and His goodness in everything we do! More posts to come :)