Monthly Archives: December 2012

Can We Take a Moment

In the days and weeks ahead much of what happened in New Town, Connecticut is going to be analyzed and debated. People in the form of pundits, doctors, politicians, and preachers are going to be trying to use this as a platform to herald their views in an attempt to sway opinion.

Before we do that, before we jump on our bandwagons, take our positions, and make our cases can we take some time, a little time, to just think about the people involved in this horrific tragedy. Can we take some time to extend a loving thought toward those who are just now beginning to come to grips with unspeakable grief.

Can we take a moment to remember that there are many, many people who are suffering, who are experiencing pain on many different levels, and that all people no matter color or creed could benefit from the knowledge that someone cares.

So before we address the issues of evil, suffering, guns, mental illness, and all the rest of it, can we just take a moment to remember that the kindest most loving thing we can do for our fellow Americans and people everywhere is simply to love those we meet, work with, and live among with a love shown through our actions.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: “I have called, and you refused;” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of God-those of mercy and those of judgment-the warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit “call sinners to repentance.” In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. “I have called, and you have refused.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. “Come, let us reason together,” is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinner-that instead of wrath, there should be mercy-instead of cursing, there should be blessing-that, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!”-Oh, who is a God like unto our God? “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”

But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, “I will put my Spirit within them.” Christ says, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.” “The word of God which effectually works in you that believe.” Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone-without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! “What shall I do to be saved?” is his cry: “I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!-and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be.” But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesus-unveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior-and yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaks-oh, did ever music sound so melodious?-“All this I do for you-this cross for you-these sufferings for you-this blood for you-these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest-Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out-Look unto me, and be you saved-only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you-no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die.” “Lord, I believe,” exclaims the poor convinced soul, “Help You mine unbelief.” You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty-I wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace-I have found Him whom my soul loves-and will be His through time, and His through eternity.” Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. “I will work,” says God, “and who shall let it?” (marg. turn it back.)

A Very Short Thought

It’s late so tonight’s post is going to be very short. I’ve been seeing a lot of negativity about our country lately, and it seems to be coming from everywhere. Everywhere I look, a lot of what I read, and hear is all about how bad our country is falling, and how we’re beyond hope, and that we’re doomed. What saddens me is that the majority of people I’m hearing this from are “Christians.”

The thing I want to say is this: what this country needs isn’t more wealth, more democrats, more liberals, more conservatives, more fairness, or more of anything we as people can give ourselves. What this country needs are great people of prayer, people who have a deep-down, soul-stirring, faith and trust in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, who actually believe and live by what the word of God says.

If you’re praying, and you live and act as if what you’re praying for will not happen, then you’re wasting your time, and God’s. Please friends, take a little time, and give this a little thought. Are you a man or woman of great faith and great trust in God. Answering this question will answer this next one: are you a great man or woman of prayer?

A Thought on “Defiant Beauty”

I’ve been reading a book called, “Authentic Faith” by Gary Thomas. In it, he uses a term called “Defiant Beauty,” and the following is a direct quote, “In a world where people live self-centered lives, where ugly things happen, where sin seems to spread unchecked, where daily assaults take their toll, we can point to the defiant beauty of a selfless life, seeking first the kingdom of God, putting others first, and even sacrificing ourselves in the process, if need be-all to proclaim a transcendent truth that is greater than ourselves.” Right before he says this, he writes, “Beauty in the midst of chaos or ugliness is stunning. It’s onstage, and it seizes your attention.”

Within those few words is a truth that lies at the heart of what I’ve often sensed is the biggest hindrance to “Christianity” today, and with, sad to say, too many of us who call ourselves, “Christians.” Could it be that the reason “Christianity” and “Christians” are failing is because we’re failing to be the ” defiant beauty” in the midst of all the ugliness around us?

We live in a world of “ungrace” where practically everyone and everything is in direct opposition to what “grace” is, and what it’s about. We look down on and despise the concepts of “grace, forgiveness and mercy” when Jesus shows us that these are our most powerful weapons.

Jesus calls us to love, and when we do that as He has called us to, then we show the “defiant beauty” that characterized and defined His life here on earth and turned the lives of all those He touched upside down.

A Thought on Passion

Have you ever had so much on your heart and mind that you just didn’t know what to do with it all? When you tried to express what you were thinking and feeling that it just came out all garbled and nonsensical, and the more you tried to be clear the more obvious it became that you were being anything but “clear?” Have you ever been so excited, so filled with enthusiasm that you just couldn’t hardly contain yourself, and you just had to share it? When was the last time you really felt passionate about something. I’m talking about the kind of passion that’s defined as “boundless enthusiasm.”

When you read the word “passion” what comes to mind? A person, an idea, a thing? When was the last time you felt “boundless enthusiasm” for someone or something? Do you still have it? If not, why not?

It’s amazing the variety of things people can be passionate about. You name it, and there’s probably someone somewhere who’s passionate about it. What is it that ignites passion? Why do some things hold our passion for a lifetime, and some only for a little while? Why is it that some passions die? Why is it that some people go from being passionate about one thing to being passionate about something else, and why is it that some people can’t find anything to be passionate about?

Passions can lead people to other people, places, things, and ideas; some of which are good, and some bad. Passion can make all the difference between those who accomplish little and those who accomplish a lot, and often it’s what we’re passionate about that defines who we are, what we become, and most importantly what we do, and why we do it.

It’s easy to recognize passionate people. You can see it written all over them. Passion shows itself. It moves people to action. Passionate people are difference makers, risk takers, go-getters. They’re the kind of people who would pursue their passion in the dark, who would do it regardless of the outcome, who would sacrifice time, money, effort, whatever it took to do it, and not regret a moment spent in their pursuit of it. Passionate people are fighters, and they’re lovers, and they have no idea what the word “quit” means. Passionate people are above all people of determination and perseverance.

So, who or what are you passionate about, and why? And, when you think of people who are passionate who comes to mind? Now, think about this… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”