Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Beauty in Singleness

Marriage is a good thing. I would never deny that. Singleness can also be a good thing. Many would deny that.

I can testify that for a life lived in Christ, there is an untouched beauty in singleness. The core and embodiment of all your affection, your love, your emotions, your joy, your hopes, your future, your time, your mind, and your very heart, is the very person of the living Lord Jesus Christ. 

He is my everything, my absolute, my all-in-all. He is my friend, my companion, my comforter, my strong tower, my defender, my security, my go-to person, my listening ear, my One whom will never leave me nor forsake me. When I am weak, He is strong. When I fall, He picks me up. When I laugh, His joy flows around me. When I cry, His comfort surrounds and soothes me. When I am scared, He fills me with His peace that passes all human understanding. When I make a mistake, He doesn't look down on me and make me feel stupid, but He lovingly forgives me and raises me up our of a place of shame. When I do something that deserves punishment, He shows me mercy. He shows me grace over and over and over again. When He chastises me, He does it so endearingly that I don't even recognize it as a chastisement until after the pain has passed and I am enveloped in His love. He cares for me. He provides for me. He fulfills me. He makes me content. He exhorts, challenges, inspires, and encourages me constantly. What cuts my heart the most is that I know He loves me...unconditionally, even though I am the least deserving to receive such rich love as this. He holds an untouchable place in my heart of being my first love.

"There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband." -1 Corinthians 7:34

Oh, my dear sisters in Christ who long for marriage more than you do for Christ, there is so much love awaiting you, right at your fingertips, if you would just see and partake of the Lord's love for you, you would be full, even overflowing, with the purest and happiest love this world has to offer! Oh, how singleness is a beautiful season of life when your heart can be undistractedly the Lord's. The Lord said that there is a season for everything, a time for every purpose, and that "He has made everything beautiful in its time." Marriage will come, and that will have an untouched beauty of its own, but please don't miss out on the beauty of singleness while you wait for marriage. I believe that if, while you are unmarried, you care singularly about the things of the Lord, keeping both your body and spirit pure and holy for the Lord, it will be for your own joy, delight, peace, contentment, and quality of life. What a wonderful Father and protector He is to His daughters, and with what deep love does He care for us!

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...He has made everything beautiful in its time."  -Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11

There is nothing shameful in being single. You belong to the Lord - He bought you at a high price, which means you are very precious to Him. He cares for you, He loves you, and He cherishes you more than you will ever comprehend, so if He is keeping you for Himself for Him...and enjoy this gift of being singularly His right now. Have you ever considered that He might desire to use your season of singleness for the furtherance of the Gospel, His glory, your happiness, and the building up of His beloved Church whom He laid down His life for? I don't know much about why the Lord does the things He does, but this I do know - He is more than trustworthy - and I utterly trust Him, and I know that you can trust Him, too, and be free to be happy in Him during this season of singleness.

"Many crowd the Savior's Kingdom,
Few receive His Cross,
Many seek His consolation,
Few will suffer loss
For the dear sake of the Master,
Counting all but dross.

"Many sit at Jesus' table,
Few will fast with Him
When the sorrow-cup of anguish
Trembles to the brim,
Few watch with Him in the garden
Who have sung the hymn.

"Many will confess His wisdom.
Few embrace His shame,
Many, should He smile upon them,
Will His praise proclaim;
Then, if for a while He leave them,
They desert His Name.

"But the souls who love Him truly
In woe or in sweet bliss,
These will count their truest heart's blood
Not their own, but His;
Savior, Thou Who thus hast loved me,
Give me love like this."

-Amy Carmichael

Monday, April 13, 2015

Take Time To Be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always and feed on His Word. Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak; Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushed on; Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone, by looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide, and run not before Him, whatever be tide; In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord, and looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul; Each thought and each motive beneath His control; Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be lifted for service above.

-William D. Longstaff

Monday, December 22, 2014

In Loving Memory of Aubrey Andrews 1994-2014

Aubrey was a friend and sister in Christ to me. I first met Aubrey when she and Eddy started coming to our church a few years ago. She was a fairly new Christian and was eager to learn about the Bible and grow in her relationship with the Lord. She was a beautiful young woman who was full of life. She said the turning point in her life was when she believed in and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. Even though she had a difficult upbringing herself, she overcame it, and wanted nothing more than to give her own son a better life. He was her absolute pride and joy of life. She was a wonderful mother, and she loved children, loved to learn, and was working towards the goal of being a Pediatrician. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction in her life and she was hopeful for the future of herself and her little family she wanted to build with her husband, Eddy. 
Like all of us, life was not without it's trials for her. She had her difficulties and faults, but from what I knew of her, she really did have the purest and most sincere desire to want to try to become a better person and wife, and she strove to be that person through her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She prayed faithfully for her husband and family. I remember once after a prayer meeting that she started crying and was saying how incredibly happy she was to have the Lord in her life and just how wonderful He was and how she couldn't imagine how she ever lived her life before without Him. She said it was when she drifted away from the Lord and stopped spending daily time with Him in prayer and reading her Bible, that life really got difficult and hard to bear. When she was close to the Lord, it was evident how genuinely happy she was. She loved telling others about the Lord, and when we did a Gospel outreach in Napa, she was the one who was the most excited out of all of us to share the Gospel and her testimony with complete strangers, and she was just beaming with joy afterwards because she got to share her newfound faith with so many people that day. The Aubrey I knew was a lovely young lady who was genuine, open, and honest.
Though it has been a year since we have seen Aubrey, this was the Aubrey I was honored to know while she was coming to our church. Though she has gone through some difficult trials this past year, I know that now she and her baby are with the Lord, where He will "wipe away every tear" (Rev 21:4). She is at peace with the Lord now. She and her baby are by His side, and I'm sure she must be full of inexpressible joy because she is finally face to face with the One she put her faith in while here on earth. She is home. Words cannot express the hurt and sorrow we feel at her passing, but we take comfort in knowing that one day we will see her again. Thank you for touching our lives with your sweet presence, Aubrey...I will see you again.
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
-Jesus (John 14:27)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lovely Day For A Hike

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
-John Muir
. .
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."
-Psalm 100

Monday, July 28, 2014

Be still and know that He is God

We may never know why the Lord does the things He does, or why He allows certain things to happen, but one thing we can always be sure of: He is God. He will never change. He is in control. He is love. He is compassionate. He is faithful. He is kind. He is longsuffering. He is sympathetic. He is strong. He will uphold us. He will protect us. He will defend us. He is caring. He is peace. He is safe. He is the epitome and very source of love and sometimes we are the most keenly aware of it in the midst of a tragedy. There are moments in life when storms of darkness come in and enclose around us, and as scary as it may be, sometimes we just need to be still and know that He is God and rest in the knowledge and comfort of His embrace, knowing that somehow, in all the chaos, He is lovingly in control and has a distinct purpose and plan for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Today I got heartbreaking news that a dear sister in Christ has untreatable liver cancer. It is in times like these that I don't know what to say, except, please pray for her, and please pray for her family. This I do know: She loves Jesus more than life itself and lovingly and cheerfully lives according to all His beautiful purposes.
"Be still, and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Discipline of Heeding

"Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops."
Matthew 10:27
"At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God's hand until we learn to hear Him. "What I tell you in darkness" - watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don't talk to other people about it; don't read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
"After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation - What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.

"We do not consciously disobey God, we simply do not heed Him. God has given us His commands; there they are, but we do not pay any attention to them, not because of willful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him. "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments." When once we realize that we have been "disrespecting" God all the time, we are covered with shame and humiliation because we have not heeded Him.
"Speak thou with us . . . but let not God speak with us." We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. If it is only the servant's voice we hear, we feel it is not imperative, we can say, "Well, that is simply your own idea, though I don't deny it is probably God's truth."
"Am I putting God in the humiliating position of having treated me as a child of His whilst all the time I have been ignoring Him? When I do hear Him, the humiliation I have put on Him comes back on me - "Lord, why was I so dull and so obstinate?" This is always the result when once we do hear God. The real delight of hearing Him is tempered with shame in having been so long in hearing Him."

-Oswald Chambers

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How Do You Read Your Bible?

"The Book of God is a store of manna for God's pilgrim children; and we ought to see to it that the soul get not sick and loathe the manna. The great cause of neglecting the Scriptures is not want of time, but want of heart, some idol taking the place of Christ. Satan has been marvellously wise to entice away God's people from the Scriptures. A child of God who neglects the Scriptures cannot make it his business to please the Lord of Glory; cannot make Him Lord of the conscience; ruler of the heart; the joy, portion, and treasure of the soul.
"If the Word of Christ dwell in me richly, it will teach me to do everything and to look at everything in relation to God. And remember this, if the Bible be used aright by anyone, it will be to him the most pleasant book in the world. If I serve it well it will serve me well. The children will say: 'What a lovely book the Bible is!' And they will not want anything to please and interest them in comparison with the Scriptures, when handled by one whose heart is full of the love of God. Beloved, remember it is one thing to read the Bible, choosing something that suits me (as is shamefully said), and another thing to search it that I may become acquainted with God in Christ; that I may be fashioned like unto Christ; that I may first of all please God by my affections to Him; that I may find in Him my deepest joy; and that He may find His banqueting-room in my heart. If I read the Bible with this end in view, the Spirit of God will always make it to me better than thousands of gold and silver, and sweeter than honey and the honey-comb (Psa. xix. 10). But supposing I do not, then I turn the Gospel of Christ into the law of Moses without knowing it, and, instead of paths of pleasantness and peace, the Gospel of Christ becomes bands of iron."

-Robert C. Chapman, "Robert Cleaver Chapman of Barnstaple"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rescue Shop Within a Yard of Hell

A plea written by missionary to China, India, and Africa, Mr. C.T. Studd, at the age of 55 before leaving for his last missionary journey to Africa, where he would eventually die in 1931 at the age of 70...

     Christ's call is to feed the hungry, not the full; to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; not to call the scoffers, but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers and artistic musical performances, but to raise living churches of souls among the destitute, to capture men from the devil's clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus, and make them into an almighty Army of God. But this can only be accomplished by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Ghost religion, where neither Church nor State, neither man nor traditions are worshiped or preached, but only Christ and Him crucified. Not to confess Christ by fancy collars, clothes, silver croziers or gold watch-chain crosses, church steeples or richly embroidered altar clothes, but by reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches.
     When in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter; one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Spirit. It's experience, not preaching, that hurts the devil and confounds the world, because unanswerable; the training is not that of the schools, but of the market; it's the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ's service.
     I am more than ever determined that no ring nor limit shall be placed around us, other than that of our Lord Himself: "To the uttermost parts," "To every creature." I belong and will ever belong to "The Great God" party. I will have nought to do with "The Little God" party.
     The difficulty is to believe that He can deign to use such scallywags as us, but of course He wants faith and fools rather than talents and culture. All God wants is a heart; any old turnip will do for a head. So long as we are empty, all is well, for then He fills with the Holy Spirit.
     The fiery baptism of the Holy Ghost will change soft, sleek Christians into hot, lively heroes for Christ, who will advance and fight and die, but not mark time. Let us race to heaven; an accident means dashing into the arms of Jesus - such accidents are God's choicest blessings. Don't be a luggage train.
     Fools would "cut" the devil, pretending they do not see him; others erect a tablet over his supposed grave. Be wise; don't cut nor bury him; kill him with the bayonet of evangelism.
     Hugh Latimer was an inextinguishable candle; the devil lit him, and ever since has been kicking himself for his folly. Won't someone else tempt the devil to make a fool of himself again?
     Nail the colors to the mast! This is the right thing to do, and, therefore, that is what we must do, and do it now. What colors? The colors of Christ, the work He has given us to do - the evangelization of all the unevangelized. Christ wants not nibblers of the possible but grabbers of the impossible, by faith in the omnipotence, fidelity and wisdom of the Almighty Savior who gave the command. Is there a wall in our path? By our God we will leap over it! Are there lions and scorpions in our way? We will trample them under our feet! Does a mountain bar our progress? Saying, "Be thou removed and cast into the sea," we will march on. Soldiers of Jesus, never surrender! Nail the colors to the mast!
     Such as look to Jesus become grasshoppers in their own sight, but giants in the estimation of the devil.
     "Follow Me," says Jesus. "I will," we reply, yet somehow forget that Christ pleased not Himself, deliberately made Himself poor to save others and became the first foreign missionary. We all pray to be like Jesus, yet refuse to pay the price. How can Dives be like Jesus?
     The crumbs of Dives are not a dainty dish to set before King Jesus. Try "cake" for a change, and don't forget to put all you've got into it.
     "But what if C.T. dies?" This frequent and foolish question must have its answer. Here it is from C.T. himself: "We will all shout 'Hallelujah.' The world will have lost its biggest fool, and with one fool less to handicap Him, God will do greater wonders still. There shall be no funeral, no wreaths, crape, nor tears, not even the Dead March. Congratulations all around will take place. 'And I, if I be offered up, rejoice and congratulate you; do ye also rejoice and congratulate me.' - Phil. 2:17 and 18. The Wedding March, by special request. Our God will still be alive and nothing else matters. The first Heart of Africa Mission funeral will take place when God dies, but as that will not be until after eternity, cheer up all. Forward! Every man straight before him. Hallelujah! 'To die is gain.'"

                                  Some wish to live within the sound
                                  Of Church or Chapel bell,
                                  I want to run a Rescue Shop
                                  Within a yard of hell. 
-C.T. Studd
  "C.T. Studd, Cricketer & Pioneer" by Norman Grubb

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Makes You Feel Warm Inside :)