Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

From “Streams in the Desert” by Charles E. Cowman

Don’t Be Offended

“Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Luke 7:23).

It is sometimes very difficult not to be offended in Jesus Christ. The offenses may be circumstantial. I find myself in a prison-house–a narrow sphere, a sick chamber, an unpopular position–when I had hoped for wide opportunities. Yes, but He knows what is best for me. My environment is of His determining. He means it to intensify my faith, to draw me into nearer communion with Himself, to ripen my power. In the dungeon my soul should prosper.

The offense may be mental. I am haunted by perplexities, questions, which I cannot solve. I had hoped that, when I gave myself to Him, my sky would always be clear; but often it is overspread by mist and cloud. Yet let me believe that, if difficulties remain, it is that I may learn to trust Him all the more implicitly–to trust and not be afraid. Yes, and by my intellectual conflicts, I am trained to be a tutor to other storm-driven men.

The offense may be spiritual. I had fancied that within His fold I should never feel the biting winds of temptation; but it is best as it is. His grace is magnified. My own character is matured. His Heaven is sweeter at the close of the day. There I shall look back on the turnings and trials of the way, and shall sing the praises of my Guide. So, let come what will come, His will is welcome; and I shall refuse to be offended in my loving Lord. –Alexander Smellie

Blessed is he whose faith is not offended,
When all around his way
The power of God is working out deliverance
For others day by day;

Though in some prison drear his own soul languish,
Till life itself be spent,
Yet still can trust his Father’s love and purpose,
And rest therein content.

Blessed is he, who through long years of suffering,
Cut off from active toil,
Still shares by prayer and praise the work of others,
And thus “divides the spoil.”

Blessed are thou, O child of God, who sufferest,
And canst not understand
The reason for thy pain, yet gladly leavest
Thy life in His blest Hand.

Yea, blessed art thou whose faith is “not offended”
By trials unexplained,
By mysteries unsolved, past understanding,
Until the goal is gained. –Freda Hanbury Allen

 

 

From “Streams in the Desert” by Charles E. Cowman

Unanswered?

 

“Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:6, 7).

 

God’s seasons are not at your beck. If the first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike again. God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations. Hence the need of perseverance and importunity in supplication.

 

In the days of flint and steel and brimstone matches we had to strike and strike again, dozens of times, before we could get a spark to live in the tinder; and we were thankful enough if we succeeded at last.

 

Shall we not be as persevering and hopeful as to heavenly things? We have more certainty of success in this business than we had with our flint and steel, for we have God’s promises at our back.

 

Never let us despair. God’s time for mercy will come; yea, it has come, if our time for believing has arrived. Ask in faith nothing wavering; but never cease from petitioning because the King delays to reply. Strike the steel again. Make the sparks fly and have your tinder ready; you will get a light before long.

 

–C. H. Spurgeon

 

I do not believe that there is such a thing in the history of God’s kingdom as a right prayer offered in a right spirit that is forever left unanswered. –Theodore L. Cuyler

 

 

 

A Thought on Tim Tebow and Who Am I, A Winning Combination.

     I just finished watching the last five minutes of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets football game.  The first fifty-five minutes weren’t anything special, but those last five minutes were spectacular, but as good as they were, it was the after the game review that just blew me away.  The quarterback for the Broncos is Tim Tebow, and he draws a lot of criticism.  People either love him or hate him, but the funny thing is I don’t think it’s him.  I think it’s who he represents.  Tim always gives all the credit to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to his teammates and his coaches.  He says very little about himself. 
     Here he was sitting in the midst of a group of legends in the realm of NFL football, and yet he talked and showed his faith in God, in his teammates, and in his coaches.  I’m sure to the dischantment of a lot of people the men he was sitting in the middle of found themselves talking more about his faith, and who he was, than about football.  His witness was so beautiful, so touching, it made me cry, and thank my God and praise Him for working through this kid. 
     This is the kind of Christian who makes a difference, who turns the world in which he lives on its head simply by showing people what they haven’t seen before.  Tim Tebow isn’t perfect, and I’m not placing him on a pedstal, but I’ll tell you this.  He’s the kind of person we should want our children to know about, and to want to be like.  In a world that lives to destroy people like Tim Tebow, we as christians should pray daily for him, and for the many, many people who do the same kinds of things he does on a daily basis without fanfare, but with a sincere and loving heart.  Sometimes we forget that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are.  Let’s pray for and support each other, and show our love one to another.  It’s our love for each other, and for our Lord that will draw the lost to our Lord.  Let us not forget it.
     The following is a video clip of a great song that gives a powerful message, and puts things in perspective for me.  Perhaps it will for you as well.

From “Light and Truth” by Horatius Bonar

     This is a geat word.  Well worth reading.

 

The Charity Of The Lord Jesus.

 

“Neither cold nor hot.”- Rev_3:16.

 

“He that is not with me is against me.”- Mat_12:30.

 

“He that is not against us is on our part.”- Mar_9:40.

The first of these texts proclaims as a ruinous sin what many regard as a misfortune which cannot be helped,- lukewarmness. To be neither cold nor hot is an abomination in the sight of Christ, awakening disgust, and leading to entire casting away. It is not lukewarmness occasioned by the cold passing gradually into heat, but that produced by the heat passing into the cold. Once there was warmth; now that warmth and glow are giving way, and the hateful medium condition is coming on. Church of the living God, beware of letting your temperature sink even one single degree. Christian man or woman, watch! Mark your spiritual thermometer; take alarm when it begins to go down, though but a hairbreadth. See that it rises, and rises from day to day. How loathsome to the great Master is the tasteless, tepid, vapid Christianity of multitudes in our day! One can hardly tell what it is, or whither it is tending. Neither cold nor hot! Making the best of both worlds; mixing up heaven and earth; a compound of zeal and indifference; a dilution of genuine religion, to such an extent, that the original element has almost disappeared. Alternate folly and wisdom; levity and seriousness; the ball and the prayer-meeting; the concert and the communion; the opera and the committee; the gay evening party and the mother’s meeting or the Sabbath school; the cup of the Lord and the cup of Belial mixed together;-such is the condition of things among multitudes who name the name of Christ.

The second text points not so much to the lukewarm and half-hearted, as to the deliberately undecided,-those who, from prejudice, or fear of man, or love of ease, willfully stand aloof from Christ, while yet not openly joining with His foes. Their conscience says, ‘Join Christ; follow Him.’ But there is a lion in the way: they must take up their cross, and deny self; they must incur loss, or hatred, or shame. So they shrink back, all the while defending their indecision, and soothing their consciences with the thought that they do not oppose Christ or His cause. Of such Christ here says, he that is not with us is against us. He that stands aloof,-afraid, perhaps, of being called a saint or a bigot, unwilling to commit himself to a life of decided religion, reluctant to come wholly out from the world, or set himself against its opinions and ways,- is as if he were an enemy. For no man can serve two masters, or follow two religions. Why halt ye between two opinions? is God’s appeal to such; and Balaam stands in history as the awful specimen of the double-hearted.

The third text speaks to a very different class from either of these. If Laodicea, with her lukewarmness, is the representative of the first, Philadelphia is the representative of this last: ‘Thou has little strength, yet hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name’. How cheering and gracious to the feeble-hearted the Master’s words, ‘He that is not against us is on our side!’ How like him who breaks not the bruised reed, nor quenches the smoking flax! How encouraging are His words, in circumstances in which we might have expected rebuke and sternness! He thus comforts the feeble-minded, supports the weak, and shows His patience toward all men. He accepts the will for the deed; the weak effort for the accomplished fact. If the spirit be willing, he overlooks the weakness of the flesh.

There is one Old Testament character which seems to illustrate this affirmation of our Lord,-Abijah, the son of Jeroboam,-who is evidently reckoned upon the Lord’s side, and yet all that can be said of him is that there was found in him some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel. We may conclude the same respecting the seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal. They had not come out openly; they had been so timid that even Elijah did not know of their existence; yet in silence they had cleaved to Jehovah, and He owns them. They had not been against Him, and He proclaims them as with Him. How gently the Lord deals with fearful ones! How tender and charitable His judgments! He beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. He heeds the faintest breath that goes up to Him; He despises no petitioner, even the most troubled and timorous. There are two New Testament characters whose history brings out this,-Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. They are for more than three years very timid witnesses for Christ. One can hardly call them disciples. They do not follow Him; and even when the council plots against Him, all the length they go is, ‘Doth our law condemn a man before he is heard?’ Yet they are owned of the Master, and are examples of the gracious truth, ”He that is not against me is for me.” And then what a reward they get! What an honour is put upon them even for this weak protest! They are filled with boldness, and stand forward in behalf of Christ when all others have shrunk back. ‘The last becomes the first, and the first last.’

What grace is this! What tender love and condescension! What a charitable construction our Master puts on all we say or do! He makes the best of everything in our behalf. He puts the kindest possible interpretation on every effort, however faint, put forth for Him; on every word, however feeble, spoken for Him. And even when we speak now words, and do no deeds, if we do not deny Him, He says, ‘He that is not against me is for me.’

What encouragement is this to those who are cast down about their acceptance! They afflict themselves; they write bitter things against themselves; for they fear they are not the Lord’s. O sorrowful doubter, O weary, troubled spirit, hear the Master’s gentle, loving words, ‘He that is not against me is for me!’ He owns your feeble faith, and does not cast you off. And what encouragement to those who are depressed because of their poor, poor work for Him! He thinks more of your work than you do. He is well pleased with that cup of water which you gave to one of His brethren. He owns it now; He will own it hereafter.