Tag Archives: Life

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Then Jesus spoke again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Joh_8:12

Are you, my reader, a searcher of this life? Are you breathing for it, panting after it, seeking it? Then be it known to you, that He who inspired that desire is Himself the life for which you seek. That heaving of your heart, that yearning of your spirit, that “feeling after God, if haply you may find Him,” is the first gentle pulsation of a life that shall never die. Feeble and fluctuating, faint and fluttering, as its throbbings may be, it is yet the life of God, the life of Christ, the life of glory in your soul. It is the seedling, the germ of immortal flower; it is the sunshine dawn of an eternal day. The announcement with which we meet your case-and it is the only one that can meet it-is, “THIS MAN RECEIVES SINNERS.” Oh joyful tidings! Oh blessed words! Yes, he receives sinners-the vilest-the meanest-the most despised! It was for this He relinquished the abodes of heavenly purity and bliss, to mingle amid the sinful and humiliating scenes of earth. For this He quitted His Father’s bosom for a cross. For this He lived and labored, suffered and died. “He receives sinners!” He receives them of every name and condition-of every stature and character and climate. There is no limit to His ability to pardon, as there is none to the sufficiency of His atonement, or to the melting pity of His heart. Flee, then, to Jesus the crucified. To Him repair with your sins, as scarlet and as crimson, and His blood will wash you whiter than snow. What though they may be as clouds for darkness, or as the sand on the sea-shore for multitude; His grace can take them all away. Come with the accusations and tortures of a guilty conscience, come with the sorrow and relentings of a broken heart, come with the grief of the backslider, and with the confession of the prodigal; Jesus still meets you with the hope-inspiring words-“Him that comes unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Then, “return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon you; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon!”

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luk_9:23-24

The life of our adorable Lord was a life of continuous trial. From the moment He entered our world He became leagued with suffering; He identified Himself with it in its almost endless forms. He seemed to have been born with a tear in His eye, with a shade of sadness on His brow. He was prophesied as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And, from the moment He touched the horizon of our earth, from that moment His sufferings commenced. Not a smile lighted up His benign countenance from the time of His advent to His departure. He came not to indulge in a life of tranquility and repose; He came not to quaff the cup of earthly or of Divine sweets-for even this last was denied Him in the hour of His lingering agony on the cross. He came to suffer-He came to bear the curse-He came to drain the deep cup of wrath, to weep, to bleed, to die. Our Savior was a cross-bearing Savior: our Lord was a suffering Lord. And was it to be expected that they who had linked their destinies with His, who had avowed themselves His disciples and followers, should walk in a path diverse from their Lord’s? He Himself speaks of the incongruity of such a division of interests: “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.” There can be no true following of Christ as our example, if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ-a cross-bearing Savior. There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings. In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering: in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must, in some degree tread the path He trod. Here is one reason why He ordained, that along this rugged path His saints should all journey. They must be like their Lord; they are one with Him: and this oneness can only exist where there is mutual sympathy. The church must be a cross- bearing church; it must be an afflicted church. Its great and glorious Head sought not, and found not, repose here: this was not His rest. He turned His back upon the pleasures, the riches, the luxuries, and even the common comforts of this world, preferring a life of obscurity, penury, and suffering. His very submission seemed to impart dignity to suffering, elevation to poverty, and to invest with an air of holy sanctity a life of obscurity, need, and trial.

We have seen, then, that our blessed Lord sanctified, by His own submission, a life of suffering; and that all His followers, if they would resemble Him, must have fellowship with Him in His sufferings. The apostle Paul seems to regard this in the light of a privilege. “For unto you,” he says, “it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” It seems, too, to be regarded as a part of their calling. “For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” Happy will be that afflicted child of God, who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege. To drink of the cup that Christ drank of-to bear any part of the cross that He bore-to tread in any measure the path that He trod, is a privilege indeed. This is a distinction which angels have never attained. They know not the honor of suffering with Christ, of being made conformable to His death. It is peculiar to the believer in Jesus-it is his privilege, his calling.

From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Numbering Our Days

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NASB).

I once heard a comedian say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”

Perhaps you have noticed how the pace of Life has picked up over the past few years; things seem to be moving faster and faster; Time seems to be turning into a blur. It was just yesterday, wasn’t it, that the big Y2K scare had people building bunkers and stocking up with beans and bullets? And here we are now — already pushing to the close of 2008.

With the upgraded pace of Life comes multiple choices of how we will spend our Time — and our lives. What will we do with what has been given to us? How will we steward our talents, resources, and opportunities. What will be the end of all our labors?

Shortly before his death, George Bernard Shaw was asked a most curious question by a eager young reporter. “Mr. Shaw,” he began, “you have visited with some of the world’s most famous people. You’ve known royalty, renowned authors, great artists, brilliant teachers, and admired dignitaries from every part of the world. You have conversed with scientists and celebrities alike. If you could live your life over and be anybody you’ve ever known – who would you choose to be?”

Shaw answered with hardly a hesitation, “I would choose to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been – but never was.”

Shaw died one month later – died as a man bound within the limitations of a life that did not reach its full potential, that did not achieve its highest purpose.

May you so number you days, even in the midst of this blistering pace, so that you have no regrets as your turn the final corner on this thing called Life. May you exit this world and enter the next with a heart of wisdom and a life well-lived.

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

PRAYER (3)

 

“Pray Continually.” 1 Th 5:17 NIV

The Bible says, “Pray continually.”  If you can worry continually, you can pray continually; you just have to change your focus!  Try to picture this:  an enemy army has arrived intent on wiping out Israel.  So Moses says to Joshua, “Take your best soldiers and go fight them. I’m taking two men, climbing the hill that overlooks the plains, raising my hands toward heaven and praying for victory” (See Ex 17:8-9).  As Moses’ hands stretched heavenward, Joshua’s troops prevailed.  But when Moses’s arms grew weary and he dropped them to his side, the tide of battle shifted.  Joshua’s troops were being struck down.  Again Moses stretched his arms toward heaven, bringing the matter before the Lord.  Immediately the battle’s momentum shifted back to Joshua.  Then it struck Moses-He must keep his arms outstretched toward Heaven if he wants to open the door to God’s supernatural intervention here on earth.  There’s a lesson here: if you are willing to invite God to involve Himself in your daily living you’ll experience His power in your home, your relationships, your career, and wherever else it’s needed.  But the other side of the equation is sobering: It’s hard for God to release His power in your life when you just put your hands in your pockets and say, “I can handle this on my own.”  If you do that, don’t be surprised if you get the nagging feeling that the tide of battle has shifted against you and that you’re powerless to do anything about it.  To experience God’s power in your life you must pray continually, pray scripturally, and pray in faith.

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

TAKE CONTROL OF YOU TIME (2)

Gordon MacDonald gives us some of the traits of a disorganized life.  See if you recognize any: “(1) Appointments/messages/deadlines missed.  I know I’m disorganized when there are a series of forgotten appointments, telephone messages to which I have failed to respond, and deadlines which I have begun to miss.  The day becomes filled with broken commitments and lame excuses.  (2) Unproductive tasks.  If I am disorganized I tend to invest my energies in unproductive tasks…There is a tendency to daydreaming, and avoidance of decisions that have to be made, and procrastination.  (3) Lack of intimacy with God.  Disorganized Christians rarely enjoy intimacy with God.  No one has to tell them that time must be set aside for the purpose of Bible study and reflection, for intercession, for worship.  They know all of that.  They simply are not doing it.  They excuse themselves, saying there is no time.  But they know it is more a matter of organization and personal will than anything else.  (4)  Shallow personal relationships. Days pass without a significant  conversation with my son or daughter.  My wife and I will be in contact but our conversations may be shallow.  I may become irritable, resenting any attempt on her part to call attention to things I have left undone or people I appear to have let down.  (5)  Lack of self-esteem.  When we our disorganized in our control of time we just don’t like ourselves, our jobs, or much else about our worlds.  And it is difficult to break the destructive pattern that settles in.  This terrible habit pattern of disorganization must be broken, or our private worlds will quickly fall into total disorder.

My Prayer to the Father, August 8, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come before You, Father
In humble adoration,
In gratefulness of heart,
In praise and worship of
You who are the eternal God
Who has always been
And will always be.
You, who are the Author
Of all things created,
And the Finisher of all things
Begun.

Heavenly Father
I have gladness of heart, Father,
For I know in
Every single cell and fiber
Of my being that You
Love me, and that You call me Yours.
You, who called the heavens
Into existence, and gave every star
A name also made me.
You formed me in the womb;
You made the most wonderful plan
For my life,
And from Your station
You have guided my every step
And have overseen
All that I have encountered.
You who have always been
The Eternal Potter
Have always been the
Master craftsman;
You, have molded me
Shaped me;
Made me all that I am,
And I am Yours,
Yours because of Your decree,
Your election.

Heavenly Father
How can I express my gratitude;
My thankfulness;
How can I describe
What joy I have;
Joy!
Gladness of heart in
The midst of the storm,
No matter the circumstance,
In every and all
Situations
I have Joy!
O, Father what You have done;
You the lover of my soul
Have given me that
Which no one else
Can give me
Purpose.
A need, a desire to do
What You have called me to do
Which I will have
As Your gift to me
Throughout eternity.

Heavenly Father
So many gifts; such love.
How amazing it is
That You have not made
Me wait,
But, You have given them
To me already.
To think that You have
Allowed me to taste
Them here,
That You have granted to
Me the right and privilege
To use them
In service to You
Here.
And, what’s more Father,
You even tell me
To give them away.
O, Lord, God, Almighty
I can not even begin
To imagine all
You must be.
My cup runneth over
For my eternal love
Is always with me.

Heavenly Father
Oh, Father
How I pray You will show
Me how to make known
To others
What I know of You.
Show me how to
Call unto You
Those who live
Beyond the realm of
Who You are
By their own choice;
Their own desires.
O Father, there are so many;
So many who are searching,
Looking for Your light;
Following paths
that yield promise
Only to lead to the edges
Of cliffs
That can not be scaled
Where many lose heart
And perish or
Live the rest of Your
Precious gift of life
In abject misery.

Heavenly Father
To know all that You are
In all Your Holiness,
In all Your purity,
In all Your beauty and perfection
And know that there are
Those who have no knowledge
Of all that You are
And all that You have given.
How can I live?
How can I draw breath
And not want or care
That others should
Know
What I know?

Heavenly Father
Please don’t let me be insensitive
To Your Holy Word, and
O God please don’t let me
Stand by and see people
Grow to be so.
Make me realize that
By being insensitive to You
I’m helping to shut
The gates of heaven
On those who would
Come in
If only I had not made
It so easy by my example
To encourage sin.

Heavenly Father,
Please do not
let me
let a moment, a second,
an hour Pass,
Or anyone who comes near
Without my proclaiming
The name of Jesus
As being my all…
As being all that I hold dear.

In Jesus name, I pray.
Amen.

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

LIVING FOR OTHERS

Jacques Cousteau, the famous French explorer, said, “If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”  Jesus lived that way.  He said, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11 NKJV).  To be like Him, you must live for something greater than your own interests.  In his book Half Time: Changing  Your Game Plan from success to significance, author Bob Buford says, “The first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning.  The second half is more risky because it has to do with living beyond the immediate.”  By that he means living for a cause that is greater than yourself, and for others beyond yourself.  The greater men and women of Scripture were not great because of what they earned and owned; they were great because they gave themselves to people, and causes that lived beyond them.  There dream was to do something that benefited others.  Only a rare minority of people are able to hold closely to their dream to make a difference, and are willing to give up everything to make that dream come true.  Of people like that it will never be said that when they died, it was as though they had never lived.  Their dream lives on after them, because they lived for others.  And it was in living in for others and not for self that they found their greatest joy and fulfillment.  The poet wrote: “Others, Lord, yes others; Let this my motto be.  Help me to live for others, that I may live for Thee.”

My Prayer to the Father, August 5, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come to You, Father in
Humble spirit, in
Worship and praise;
Exalting Your name with
All  my strength, all my love
As I kneel before Your
Eternal throne.

Heavenly Father
Oh, how I love You, how I adore You,
And yet I realize
It’s only a drop of rain
Upon a parched earth
In comparison to the
Love I wish I could give You,
And that only You are
So worthy of.

Heavenly Father,
I come to You so filled
With gratitude, so thankful
For all the many ways
In which You have blessed
My life, and that of
Countless others.

Oh, the manifold blessings
You shower upon us
In the way of love.
You, who have given us countless
Representations of
The image we bear
In who You are
In spirit and truth.

You, who showed in
All creation
What is written upon the
Heart of man to know
Though he do his
Best to deny
And proclaim
That it isn’t so.

You, who have made it
Perfectly clear
In the form of human flesh
While still retaining
All the rights and privileges
You enjoy.
You, who could have at any time
Called down
Your wrath upon a people
In denial
Chose instead to show love.
You, who could have called
Down ten-thousand angels
Chose to go
Through hell on earth
Alone.

Heavenly Father
I Thank you
From the bottom of my heart
For all that You are,
For all that You have done,
For all You have
Given us
In Your Son, Jesus.
Oh, if we could only accept
And acknowledge
All that we possess
At this very moment
Because of the
Nails thrust into
His flesh
And the crown of thorns
Which He wore.

Heavenly Father
I come to You
And I lay my claim
To what I have been given
When I put my faith
And trust,
And all that I am
In Him.
And, Father, I take
Something else
The responsibility that goes
Along with it.
The responsibility
To proclaim You to all
As You are, in all truth
In all Holiness
In all justice
In all of Your loving Perfection;
To spread Your
Decreed word as You deem so
As the only way You provide
To save the soul of man.

Heavenly Father
I come to You with a plea upon
My lips.
You, Father who have all power
You, who can make
The sun to shine,
And the moon to illuminate
The darkness
Can if You so desire
Bring rain upon this earth
So scorched and dry.
Is it, Father, as I believe
A representation of
Your people’s failure
To declare You
As You are
And Your word
As Your ultimate truth?

Heavenly Father,
I beg mercy, I beg compassion;
I plead with You, Father
To give us water and thus life,
Not for myself, and not for
Those who have scorched
That which you have created
And those You love
With their selfishness and hatred,
But so that Your name
Shall be exalted
And the promises You have given us
Will remain true.

Heavenly Father,
You have told us in Your Holy Word
That if we shall obey
And walk in the light of Your truth
That You shall protect us
With Your might arm.
You will keep us in the secret place;
Will hide us in Your pavilion;
Will place us upon the Rock
That can not be moved.

Heavenly Father
I come to You on behalf
Of a country and a people
Who are unworthy and undeserving
Of what You and only You
Can give, water and life.
We have sinned greatly, Father.
We have done that which
Is perverse and abominable
And that which has
Brought dishonor
To Your Holy name.

Heavenly Father,
Please I implore You, I beg You
To remember those who
Have remained faithful
To Your calling,
Who are true,
And who try to follow as You lead
And do as You desire.
Father, remember these,
And for their sake,
And for the sake of Your name
Give witness that You have
Not forgotten;
Nor ignore
The  cries of Your children.

Heavenly Father
I pray that Your will be done,
Above all,
And in truth, and in the Spirit
Of who You are,
I know that all will be as You decree.
You, Father, by Your word
Have told me that if I pray
 And have all faith
You shall give me the
Desires of my heart.

Heavenly Father,
I pray for those who have lost so much;
For those who are in the midst of the storm,
For those who are living in the shadow
Of doubt.
Father, show them Your mercy,
Show them that You can be tender
And compassionate even
In Your Righteous and Holy anger.

In Jesus name, I pray,
Amen.

A Thought on Struggling

As is my usual habit of an evening, I was going through my e-mail, and reading the posts of those I’ve subscribed to.  There’s quite a few.  Tonight there were three that spoke to me.  Let me rephrase there were three that God used in a special way to speak to me.  The order in which I read them is not the order He used in speaking to me through them, but leave it to God to speak to me in a way that got my attention.  The three posts were (not in order) God Sees YouGrace Is The Only Thing That Delivers Human Beings From Evil, and What Does God Got To Do With Me?  All three of them are great, but together, they reveal a message that cannot be given enough as far as I’m concerned.  At least given to me!

As you know, I’ve been trying to write more of my own feelings, and about myself.  Hard to do.  Yet, I’m beginning to understand that it’s something I need to do.  In case you didn’t know I tend to be mule-headed, intensely stubborn, and therefore most of the time the lessons I learn tend to be very painful.  It pains me to say that some of them I’ve had to repeat, but to say or imply that I’ve learned all my lessons the first time around would be a lie, and I try to be honest.

You know that I struggle in my walk with the Lord.  I haven’t made any secret of it.  I don’t know how smart it is to confess to others that my faith is weaker than what I want for it to be, but since I’ve never laid claim to being smart,  I can at least hold my head high in the sense that I’m maintaining my integrity.  If I were to confess a couple of the incredibly stupid things I’ve done over the last couple of weeks you would most certainly shake your head.  Believe me I’ve been shaking mine, and I did them!  I’d tell you what they were, but right now they’re still stinging pretty good, and it’s going to take a little time for me to let them go.  Notice I mentioned “me” letting them go.  I’ve confessed them, and I know that God has already let them go.  Here’s where I make a confession (since it seems I’m in the mood for making one) I have a hard time letting go of mistakes.  I tend to keep punishing myself for them.  I’ve often thought what an insult it is to God that I act as if what He sent His son, Jesus, to do for me isn’t enough.  I do.  I just have to keep reminding myself of it. I’m praying the day will come when I don’t remind myself anymore……

Sometimes, it seems to me, as if I’m full of contradictions!  I’d be lying if I said I never felt like a hypocrite because I have.  There’s an old saying that goes the things you hate most in other people are the things you have inside of yourself.  I can see the truth in those words.  I hate lying, hate it with a passion, hate stealing, lying, cheating, dishonesty in all it’s forms, and yes, I’ve been dishonest in every single way possible.  I don’t say this because I’m proud of it.  I say it because it’s true.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to say that I’m not guilty of even one of those things…… I’m not going to be able to say that, but I’m comforted in the knowledge that I’m going to have someone say it for me.  That is essentially what Jesus did for me, did He not?

The thing that saddens me, grieves my heart, is the fact that to this day, this very day, after having been a Christian many, many years, I still struggle with “Knowing” this in my heart.  There are days when I still “wonder” if I’m a Christian.  I don’t like admitting that but it’s true.  A lot of people believe in God, even the devil does that.  A lot of people acknowledge Jesus Christ…… I know that there are a lot of Christians in this world who have no real sense of peace or assurance that they’re truly a Christian because I’m one of them, well not so much now, but there are still days……

The thing that comforts me is reading my Bible.  I think where people struggle is in that they don’t afford themselves the luxury of knowing God’s Word, of hearing his voice speak to them, of seeing His promises in front of their eyes.  I think it’s a result of not spending enough time with Him in prayer, in talking to Him about the things that truly rend their hearts.  Sometimes we want the quick fix to our problems, and we’re very quick to judge others and their actions and make our own conclusions, but I don’t believe God is quite so quick.  I believe He’s a little more patient with me than I am.  The Christian life is a process, it’s a transformation from what was, to is, to becoming what will be…. Yes, I have my struggles, as we all do, but I’m not giving up on becoming what I know God wants me to be, and I know that He didn’t give up on me.