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 :)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Faith or Experience?

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

"We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience”! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices!

We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. We can never experience Jesus Christ, or selfishly bind Him in the confines of our own hearts. Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him.

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief."
-Oswald Chambers

Monday, October 21, 2013

Primary Business

May 7, 1841. "The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.

The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.

Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend (although I am unworthy) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God -- not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.

When we pray, we speak to God. This exercise of the soul can be best performed after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God. Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us. We may profitably meditate, with God's blessing, although we are spiritually weak. The weaker we are, the more meditation we need to strengthen our inner man. Meditation on God's Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials. What a difference there is when the soul is refreshed in fellowship with God early in the morning! Without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day can be overwhelming."
-George Muller (The Autobiography of George Muller, pg. 138-140)

"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk, for to You I lift up my soul."
Psalm 143:8

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gospel-Centered Thinking

"I can see in the near future hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of people in my city of Sacramento, CA longing for God, his truth, his love, his gospel, and his mission.

I can see it.

It's beautiful ... it's authentic ... it's bold ... it's real ... it's raw ... it's risky ... it's costly ... it's breathtaking. It's big ... it's humble ... it's ingloriously glorious ... it's more grand than the grand canyon.

I can see people voraciously content to live on a different course of life, and entirely unashamed of the gospel of Jesus.

Could you imagine a group of people standing together in clear, anthemic, powerful, truthful, and truth-filled praise to God just like warriors on a battlefield bursting forth in excitement because of victory over the enemy?

They are not fools. They are not brainwashed. They are not mystics. They are not emotionalized energizer bunnies, mindlessly bouncing around others. They are not arrogant vikings. They are not disillusioned into loving princess bunnies on stages. They are not a clique of cool, hip, wealthy, poor, or anything else that is niche-centric. They are focused, clear, and confident in who they are, who God is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. They are unswayed by tradition, culture, chaos, or comforts. They long to be made alive in Jesus instead of being made alive by music, concert, cool band, or motivational speech.

Could you also imagine that same group of people well beyond a Sunday gathering, on their knees, in quiet, and in their own homes praying fervently for their neighbors, relatives, co-workers, their city, and the nations to know, believe, and follow the Christ of Christianity?

Could you also imagine that same group of people honestly, boldly, and courageously loving each other? Could you also imagine them living not hypocritically but humbly? Could you imagine them covenanting with their spouses in word and deed, committed for the long haul of life, parenting, finances, and conviction of the gospel?

Could you imagine the young growing up in those households and maturing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus? Could you imagine the steadfastness, clarity, and drive of the young trained by gospel-centered parents? Could you imagine the young men raised by the older, gospel-centered, wise men who are willing to give up their life for Jesus?

Could you also image that same group of people standing around a funeral of one of our own who was unashamed of the gospel, and confidently grieve the loss but have deep seeded joy in knowing they are with God the Son Jesus as well as God the Father and God the Spirit?

Could you imagine that same group of people fervently studying scripture individually and corporately in order to love the author of the book and love those who have yet to know about the book of the Bible?

Could you imagine that same group of people unconcerned and unashamed to speak of the gospel? Speaking not in a weird, forced, or contrived way, but speaking sincerely out of love and rhythm of life. Speaking as if something is cooking in the heart ready to be served by the tongue to another.

Could you imagine that group of people unconcerned for the decor of a building, society, or people and able to worship the Lord with their life and not just with their mouth?

Could you also imagine that same group of people unconcerned for publicity or glory?

Could you imagine that same group of people becoming larger and larger because of one primary thing - the gospel?

We want to keep the primary thing the primary thing..."

-Pastor Nathan Gunter
How I long to see us all keep the primary thing - the Gospel - the primary focus of our lives. My prayers, my hope, my heart, is to see the Church, once again, fall in love with the Gospel. How I long to see us love to hear it, love to read it, love to speak it, and love to live it. I long to see us never tire of hearing it, but always hungering to hear it just one more time. I long to see us not being able to contain it within ourselves, but being painfully compelled to plead with the lost to repent and believe in Christ. I long to see it radically transform lives, maintain lives, and drastically turn the lives of Christians upside down. I long to see it drive our prayers and even make us mourners, because our suffering will be the haunting thoughts of the millions of souls who will eternally suffer. Still yet, I long to see it drastically increase our happiness because it will ever draw us into a closer, life-reviving, eternal relationship with Christ. I just long to see souls saved. I long to see the very way we think be entirely Gospel-centered. How I long, how I yearn in my prayers, alongside my friends Nate & Abby, to see this in Sacramento. Oh, to Him be all the glory in the Church forevermore.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." 
Romans 1:16