Monday, August 27, 2012

Trust in the living God alone

At one time or another, we have all been faced with a situation in which we feel helpless. Perhaps some more than others, but regardless of the level of difficulty, we know how it feels to be completely aware that you have absolutely no control over some situations in life. Life is a race where every turn brings about a fresh opportunity to trust in the living God alone. As hard as they may be, there is joy to be found in all of them, for in them is found the knowledge of the Truth.
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" 
1 Timothy 2:3-6
George Muller was a man who walked by faith and not by sight. He lived in England in the 1800's, with his life work being dedicated to raising, feeding, schooling, and caring for thousands of orphans, all without receiving a salary or asking anyone for money. Instead, he set his heart on trusting in the living God to provide for all his temporal needs. When he was 25 years old he stopped receiving a salary from the church for doing God's work, and instead, put up a box where anyone could anonymously put money into it for the Lord's work he was doing. It is to this "box" that he often refers to in this excerpt, of which, I yearn to share with you:

"Jan. 10.   Today, when we had again but a few shillings, five pounds were given to us, which had been taken out of the box. I had, once for all, told the brethren who had the care of these temporal things, to have the kindness to let me have the money every week; but as these beloved brethren either forgot to take it out weekly, or were ashamed to bring it in such small sums, it was generally taken out every three, four, or five weeks. As I had desired to look neither to man nor the box, but to the living God, I thought it not right on my part to remind them of my request to have the money weekly, lest it should hinder the testimony which I wished to give, of trusting in the living God alone. It was on this account that on January 28, when we had again but little money, though I had seen the brethren on January 24 open the box and take out the money, I would not ask the brother, in whose hands it was, to let me have it; but standing in need of it, as our coals were almost gone, I asked the Lord to incline his heart to bring it; and but a little time afterwards it was given to us, even one pound eight shillings and sixpence.
I would here mention, that, since the time I began living in this way, I have been kept from speaking, either directly or indirectly, about my wants at the time I was in need. The only exception is that in a few instances, twenty years or more since, I have at such times spoken to very poor brethren, in the way of encouraging them to trust in the Lord, telling them that I had to do the same, being myself in similar straits; or, in a few instances where it was needful to speak about my own want, lest I should appear unfeeling, in that I did not help at all, in cases of distress, or not as much as might have been expected.
On February 14 we had again very little money, and, whilst praying, I was led to ask the Lord graciously to supply our wants; and the instant that I got up from my knees a brother gave me one pound, which had been taken out of the box.
On March 7, I was again tempted to disbelieve the faithfulness of the Lord, and though I was not miserable, still, I was not so fully resting upon the Lord that I could triumph with joy. It was but one hour after, when the Lord gave me another proof of his faithful love. A Christian lady brought five sovereigns for us, with these words written in the paper: 'I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink,' etc.
April 16.  This morning I found that our money was reduced to three shillings; and I said to myself, I must now go and ask the Lord earnestly for fresh supplies. But before I had prayed, there was sent from Exeter two pounds, as a proof that the Lord hears before we call." (pg. 70, The Life of Trust by George Muller).

Upon reading this, my spirit was so lifted up. I was both convicted and encouraged. It really made me take a closer look at all of the things I have been praying for in my life recently. You know what I noticed? 1) The Lord knew my petitions before I even asked Him, 2) There were times I was tempted to disbelieve the faithfulness of the Lord, 3) I was not fully resting upon the Lord so that I could triumph with joy. What, I asked myself, does it take to walk by faith and not by sight? Not much. In fact, just a mustard seed (Luke 17:5-6). Even though He didn't have to, the Lord has proven to me His faithfulness in extraordinary ways these past few weeks. There is a living God and I trust Him completely, because, even though I don't know what the outcome of my prayer requests will be, He does, and it will be His perfect will; that gives me unbelievable peace. This caused me to stop and simply thank Him, in deep appreciation, for all that He is doing. Two prayer requests specifically came to my mind: healing for David Hanson, and rain in Niger, West Africa; for they are both proof that our living God hears our prayers and has been answering our requests. No other explanation can be given, nor could these situations possibly be traced back to being done by a man, for they are miracles done only by the living God alone - to Him be glory alone. The God who answered George Muller's above requests in 1831, is the same God who has been answering our requests in 2012 (Heb 13:8).

We should have no reason to doubt our God will answer our believing petitions of faith. For in all things He accomplishes His will, delighting to answer our prayers of faith, for His glory, and for the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be magnified upon this earth (Phi 2:9-11). As a dear friend once told me when she was going through a difficult situation: "They say don't put all your eggs in one basket, but I'm putting all my eggs in God's basket!" (She asked, in faith, for something in her life in which she trusted in the living God alone; Praise the Lord, because God not only answered her prayer and gave her what she asked for, but He was also so openly glorified in it!). We have only more of Christ to gain by investing ALL that we have in Him, by laying out before Him all our fears and doubts, and by leaning absolutely, completely, and with full weight, on the Lord Jesus Christ, and then by trusting in Him alone.
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us" Psalm 62:8
As an encouragement, let me just say that David Hanson is doing better! I'm not medically inclined, in the least bit, but from what I understand, David is improving, physically and neurologically, in some very positive ways. He is breathing on his own and is responding positively to commands. It is the living God who has been working in David. The Lord is answering our prayers and working miracles in his life. It is a long road ahead, and there is still much earnest prayer to be had for him. Blessed be the Name of the Lord who is working in David's life! As for Niger, since last fall, many of us have been praying for rain, as 2012 was expected to be the worst famine in 38 years. The week of David's accident, we found out it had been raining non-stop in Niger. The crops were flourishing, which meant people would be saved from severe famine. We came to find out that this is the most it has rained in Niger in the past 90 years, (blessed be the Name of the Lord who answered our prayers), so much so that there has been awful flooding. We got on our knees and asked the Lord to stop the rain. For the past 3 days, there was dark thundering clouds that should have dropped hours and hours of rain, but it didn't; it only dropped about 20 minutes of rain altogether, (blessed be the Name of the Lord who answered our prayers). Again, there is still much earnest prayer to be had for the people of Niger, especially for their souls to come to the knowledge of the Truth, but blessed be the Name of the Lord who is working in Niger! Brothers and sisters, we need not trust in anything or anyone but in the living God alone.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." 
Job 1:21

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, August 13, 2012

Please pray for David and Rachel Hanson

On Tuesday, August 7, our dear brother, David Hanson, got in a bad accident at work, falling approximately 30ft from a power line pole. He is in the hospital right now with many broken bones and a very serious injury to the head. We don't know the extent of his injuries yet, but we thank the Lord that He has preserved David's life. Our hearts are aching for David right now, but we have hope; Hope that the Lord will answer our petitions and restore David to full health. Our heart prayerfully goes out to his new sweet bride, Rachel, and all their family who is suffering through this difficult time. We have been on our knees in prayer and will continue meeting our loving Father on our knees in prayer on behalf of David, for Rachel, and for the family.

David first came to our church a little over a year ago. His work transferred him to CA, so when he came to our church, to him, he was just looking for a church, but to us, he was a direct answer to our prayers. For years, the elders and others in our church were praying for the Lord to send an evangelist to our assembly. In walks David Hanson :) Not only was he passionate to see the Gospel go forth to the lost, he was driven to make it happen. Within months, he was pulling aside young people on Saturday mornings to go door to door to share the Gospel in the neighborhood surrounding our chapel. By winter, together with his new girlfriend, Rachel, we started a Kids Club for the children in that neighborhood. Many seeds have been sown in the hearts of those surrounding our chapel. Please pray for them. The Lord used David to help bring about a revival in the youth in our little assembly this past year, where the youth became more devoted to Christ, more eager to pray, and more passionate to see the Gospel go forth. 

Both David and Rachel have always shown forth a yearning for those who don't know God to know Him by believing in Jesus Christ (John 3:16), because their joy has always been so overflowing in the Lord Jesus Christ that they have only wanted others to know the joyful freedom of salvation that they have always known in Christ Jesus. They have always radiated a desire to see God glorified in their life more than anything else. May we who love Christ, then, glorify God's loving Name through them in this situation.

"Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Psalm 40:5

We know the family, and especially Rachel, is hurting much more deeply right now, so it's hard to imagine exactly what they must be going through, but for us, we have been learning how to trust in God through all of this. God's way may not always be the way we would have chosen, but because we have known the goodness of Him and His ways, we trust Him and trust that His way will always work together for good, (Rom 8:28), especially for His children, David and Rachel, who love Him so dearly. It is through prayer, in faith, that we trust to see God continue to do His wonderful works in David. In a prayer meeting last week some of us were asking questions about the will of God, and one of the elderly men lovingly reminded us of this truth: Our responsibility is to ceaselessly ask, implore, and plead to God in prayer, believing the Lord can answer our petition (David to be healed); but whatever outcome God will deem as best for His servants, David and Rachel, we must lovingly accept, with our hearts echoing the very heart of our beloved Savior and Friend, "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" Mt 6:10. 

I believe David and Rachel would want us all to do this more than anything else. For in praying, we are drawn close to the dear heart of God, and what better place to be brought during this difficult time than close to the heart of God, and what greater joy will David have than knowing his situation brought others near to the heart of God.

 "it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works." Psalm 73:28

Pray that God would do what He does best: make the impossible, possible.
Oh God, You are My God (Psalm 63), by Fernando Ortega

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why those fears? Behold, 'Tis Jesus

Why those fears? Behold, 'tis Jesus
Holds the helm and guides the ship;
Spread the sails, and catch the breezes
Sent to waft us through the deep
To the regions where the mourners cease to weep.

Though the shore we hope to land on
Only by report is known,
Yet we freely all abandon,
Led by that report alone,
And with Jesus through the trackless deep move on.

Led by faith, we brave the ocean;
Led by faith, the storm defy;
Calm amidst tumultuous motion,
Knowing that the Lord is nigh:
Waves obey Him, and the storms before Him fly.

Rendered safe by His protection,
We shall pass the watery waste,
Trusting to His wise direction,
We shall gain the port at last;
And with wonder think on toils and dangers past.

Oh what pleasures there await us!
There the tempests cease to roar:
There it is that those who hate us
Can molest our peace no more:
Trouble ceases on that tranquil, happy shore.

by Thomas Kelly

(Thanks for reminding us, Rachel)