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

Monday, September 16, 2013

I have nothing to offer but Christ

I have nothing, apart from Christ.
I have no love, apart from Christ.
I have no joy, apart from Christ.
I have no peace, apart from Christ.
I have no patience, apart from Christ.
I have no kindness, apart from Christ.
I have no goodness, apart from Christ.
I have no faithfulness, apart from Christ.
I have no gentleness, apart from Christ.
I have no self-control, apart from Christ.

Apart from Christ, I have nothing to offer you.
Apart from Christ, I have no love of my own to give you, for my love will grow cold.
Apart from Christ, I have no joy to brighten you with, for my own joy will fade into darkness.
Apart from Christ, I have no peace to bring you, for my own peace will turn into war.
Apart from Christ, I have no patience to bear you with, for my own patience will collapse in its short-temper.
Apart from Christ, I have no kindness to bless you with, for my own kindness will become selfish.
Apart from Christ, I have no goodness to display for you, for my own goodness is self-righteousness and pride.
Apart from Christ, I have no faithfulness to promise you, for my own faithfulness, in time, will betray you.
Apart from Christ, I have no gentleness to comfort you with, for my own gentleness will eventually harden and fail you.
Apart from Christ, I have no self-control, for my own self-control will be overtaken by lust.
My hands are empty. I am a sinner. Yes, I have been saved by God's grace through faith, but I am still a sinner yet saved by His grace. I have absolutely nothing to offer you except for Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Christ is offering you everything. Take His everything.
Christ is offering you love. Take His love.
Christ is offering you joy. Take His joy.
Christ is offering you peace. Take His peace.
Christ is offering you patience. Take His patience.
Christ is offering you kindness. Take His kindness.
Christ is offering you goodness. Take His goodness.
Christ is offering you faithfulness. Take His faithfulness.
Christ is offering you gentleness. Take His gentleness.
Christ is offering you self-control. Take His self-control.

Do not need me, need Christ. Do not follow me, follow Christ. Do not lift me up, lift up Christ. Do not look at me, look at Christ.

Together, let us need Him and Him alone! Together, let us follow Him and Him alone! Together, let us lift Him up and Him alone! Together, let us see Him and Him alone!

Oh, to be found in Him.

"God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.'"
1 Corinthians 1:27-31

Sunday, September 15, 2013

East to West

Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in Your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
 I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight

I know You've cast my sin as far as the east if from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been, come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been, come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your Word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been, come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

From one scarred hand to the other

-Bernie Herms & John Mark Hall

Psalm 103:12

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


"It is much more difficult to live Christ than it is to learn Christ. It is much more difficult to hear Christ than it is to speak Christ. It is much more difficult to remember Christ than it is to forget Him. 

To live Christ is beyond any human being…it is impossible to encapsulate the vast goodness of His character in our weak, earthly bodies. We utterly fail, time and time again. We are literally brought to our knees by the sheer weight of the task at hand, if we are in any way attempting to be like Him. 

And although we may sustain our noble efforts at first, ultimately the house that is not built upon Christ will fall. The house that doesn't allow Christ to dwell deep within will collapse; the innermost room of that house, if not locked with the word of God, if not adorned with the beautiful characteristics of Christ, if not supported by the endurance of His strength, will fall. And if that house is to be tested, it must be tested beyond its limits, or else it is no test at all. 

That being said, the strength of our “house” is determined by the strength of the storm to which it is being subjected. You may build yourself a castle, ironclad with the word of God, strengthened with His fortitude, and seemingly impervious to the naked eye, but if the storm to which it is being subjected knows how to rust iron, knows how to weaken the strongest of people, and knows how to penetrate to the deepest part of a person’s soul – this house too will fall. Our enemy is not a mindless, lifeless storm, and our test is not delivered from a foolish creature; Satan is capable of finding the cracks which will bring our house to ruin. 

So what is left for the hopeless, for the weak, for the strong, for the clever, for the wise? Our times are not in our hands. Our limits are set by God; by His word, by His grace, and by His command, are we saved. He provides escape when the test is too great to bear and prevents the ruin that so tauntingly hangs above our heads. 

All admiration goes to God. All glory goes to the One who is capable of fighting the battle, to the One who knows the tactics of the enemy and counters them, and to the One who owns the armor that protects the weakness of those who follow after Him. 

Humility brings us to our knees, and wisdom keeps us kneeling; there is no other stature that is more acquainted with victory."
-R. E. Harris, "The Nature of Victory"

In the midst of this spiritual warfare we are all fighting, I say a sorrowful yet hopeful AMEN. My hope, our hope, is in Christ alone. I am looking to Christ in each of my brothers and sisters, as that is where my hope and prayers lie: that HE will overcome in each of us and take the victory every day and in every battle.

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world...For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."
1 John 4:4; 5:4

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Stood a Mendicant of God

For those who know Steve Saint, (the son of Nate Saint, the missionary in Ecuador who, along with 4 other men - Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, & Roger Youderian, died for the sake of bringing the Gospel to lost souls in the farthest reaches of Ecuador), know that he recently had an accident that left him partially paralyzed from the neck down. In the wisdom of God's purpose for Steve Saint, He has been healing him and has miraculously given him the ability to walk again. To Him be all the glory. This story has touched the deepest part of my heart...

"I stood, a mendicant of God, before His royal throne and begged Him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own. I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart I cried, 'But Lord, this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart. This is a strange and hurtful gift which Thou hast given me.' He said, 'My child, I give good gifts. I gave My best to thee.' I took it home. And though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore, as long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more. I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace: He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face."
The Thorn by Martha Snell Nicholson

I don't pretend to think I understand suffering, because I know I've never truly suffered before. Why this is so, I'm not sure. More often than not, I have looked at my life and wondered why the Lord has been so good to me, of all people. Often times I've felt that, as with Job, the Lord has placed a hedge around me. This doesn't mean life hasn't been without trials and tribulations, because it has, but those are the very things that have drawn me in closer to the Lord, so I don't regret them at all. In terms of earthly possessions, my riches are not great at all, but in terms of heavenly possessions, my riches are overflowing in Christ! In terms of my earthly career being a success, I have nothing to speak of, but in terms of living this life for the Lord, it has been a long struggle to learn how to quietly deny my will and, instead, submit to the will of my gentle Master and loving Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, and willingly follow His lead wherever He takes me. 

Suffering, however, has never been a part of that. I have not known suffering. Suffering is one of those mysteries to me. People speak of the Trinity, or the Church, or eternity as a mystery, and although there may be an element of the unknown with those things, I can fully embrace them in faith because of the One I KNOW, the Lord Jesus Christ, but why is it that most people, even some Christians, consider suffering that has fallen upon a person to be equal to a curse? Would the Lord really give a curse to one of His children?  To me, the mystery in suffering is when a follower of Christ considers the awful pain that has fallen upon them as ultimately being a good thing. It is a mystery to me when they have lost so much, and yet claim to have gained infinitely more. All of this goes against everything that comes naturally to a human. The mystery lies in the fact that the very things we deem as bad, God deems as good and necessary, because He USES those very things to not only bring His servants intimately closer to Himself, but to also accomplish His beautiful work through us. That is a place I long to be in, no matter what the cost.

I've only begun to truly grasp this by seeing a living example of it through a friend and brother in Christ, David Hanson, (read his story here), and his lovely wife, Rachel. David survived a 50+ ft fall accident, and against all odds, he has been progressing since. Shortly after his fall, Rachel found out that they would be having their first child, and now they have a beautiful little baby girl! I've never seen a person go through so much suffering as David has. You might think it would make him an angry and bitter person towards God, but he has been the most extreme opposite of that. One day Rachel noted about David, "He's seemed real happy the last few days, smiling a lot," and she asked him, "Would you be content if you were in this condition the rest of your life and God chose not to give you any more healing?" and he answered "Yes" without hesitation. 

I've often wondered how that is possible for a person who has gone through what he has gone through to say that? It is so out of this world, there is no other explanation than that God Himself is dwelling in David's heart, which I already know is true, but have been freshly in awe of lately. I have no doubt that David is knowing God right now in a beautiful, wonderful, intimate way that he has never known God before, and in a way that most of us have never known God. Something that was so horrible, God has used for so much good, that David is even willing to live like this for the rest of his life. Not only that, Rachel is not a person who is defined by sorrow for her injured husband, but joy is what defines her! Joy for the deep and ever-growing love she has for her husband, joy for the overwhelming love she has for her little baby girl, and joy for the love of Christ she is sweetly abiding in. In the midst of this tragic accident, both David and Rachel's joy is full, which has challenged and humbled me more than I know how to say. It is LOVE that they dwell on, because it is Christ's LOVE that they abide in; not doubt, not anger, not bitterness, not resentment, not questioning, but the very love of God. It is the "joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess 1:6) that fills them.

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love...These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." 
John 15:9, 11

This made me realize that the degree of my happiness shouldn't rest on whether or not things go my way or if I get to live out the "ideal life" or not, but whether or not Christ is my absolute center where all my affections, all my love, and all my sight is set on His lovely face. David has taught us that we should not live in fear of what suffering may come upon us, but instead, live life fearlessly for Christ, holding back nothing, and giving our absolute all to Him who first gave us life!!! The more I thought about it, the more I realized it really doesn't matter if the unknown of suffering is a mystery to me or not, because my faith is not in the unknown, but in the One whom I KNOW...and I trust Him. Should suffering come upon me, and I expect it will, I'm not sure how I'll deal with it, but I know this: I serve a loving Father who has showed nothing but kindness, goodness, and faithfulness to me for as long as I have lived, and if He should allow suffering to come upon me, I'm not afraid of it, but I'm open to it, because I know His loving character and I peacefully rest in His promise, "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28).

I guess, in the end, we're all beggars of God, aren't we? For those who don't know Christ, they beg for mercy and forgiveness, and for those who do know Christ, we beg for daily spiritual bread and fountains of living water. The ironic thing, though, is that I think many followers of Christ have forgotten who we really are in Christ and how much access to God has already been given to us through Christ - we don't need to beg, we've only to ask in the name of Christ, and, according to His Word, God has said He will give to us! Though we live in a sinful, dark, and evil world, I know that God will work all things together for good for His beloved children, because He loves us with a love that is so far beyond what even our furthest dreams could imagine is possible. Of all Christians who has suffered, no one stands out in my mind more than the Apostle Paul, and yet, he is the one who proclaimed: "To live is Christ, and to die is gain!" I think Paul told us to imitate him because he merely imitated Christ, and he wants us to experience even a little of what Christ experienced, lest we forget that Christ suffered more than the whole of us, just for the sake of all of us.

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Romans 8:16-18

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Did You Think to Pray?

Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior, did you sue for loving favor, as a shield today?

O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray

When you met with great temptation, did you think to pray?
By His dying love and merit, did you claim the Holy Spirit, as your guide and stay?

When your heart was filled with anger, did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother, that you might forgive another, who had crossed your way?

When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray?
When your soul was bowed in sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow, at the gates of day?

O how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day; 
So when life seems dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray!

by Mary Kidder

Monday, February 25, 2013

A song in my heart!

One Day
Wilbur Chapman, 1908

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin--
Dwelt among men, my example is He!

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He's coming--O glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain,
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He's coming--O glorious day!

One day they left Him alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down over His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He's coming--O glorious day!

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He's coming--O glorious day!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He's coming--O glorious day!

Oh, rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ!!! Such a glorious day that I sing and yearn for!!! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Real Faith

One of the most influential people the Lord has used in my life is George Müller. I don't think I've ever read a more condensed, clear, wise, and encouraging summarization of this man's life of faith than in this article, "Real Faith," written in 1872. He wrote it later in life, after all his years of experience of living by faith and walking with the Lord, which makes it that much more precious to me. As George Müller's wish would be - to God, and God alone, be all the glory!

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Hebrews 11:1,3

"First:  What is faith? In the simplest manner in which I am able to express it, I answer: Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God's Word, this confidence, is faith.

No impressions are to be taken in connection with faith. Impressions have neither one thing nor the other to do with faith. Faith has to do with the Word of God. It is not impressions, strong or weak, which will make any difference. We have to do with the written Word and not ourselves or our impressions.

Probabilities are not to be taken into account. Many people are willing to believe regarding those things that seem probable to them. Faith has nothing to do with probabilities. The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail. A great many of God's children are cast down and lament their want of faith. They write to me and say that they have no impressions, no feeling, they see no probability that the things they wish will come to pass. Appearances are not to be taken into account. The question is--whether God has spoken it in His Word.

And now, my beloved friends, you are in great need to ask yourselves whether you are in the habit of thus confiding, in your inmost soul, in what God has said, and whether you are in earnest in seeking to find whether the thing you want is in accordance with what He has said in His Word.

Secondly:  How faith may be increased. God delights to increase the faith of His children. Our faith, which is feeble at first, is developed and strengthened more and more by use. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. I say--and say it deliberately--trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith. I get letters from so many of God's dear children who say: "Dear Brother Muller: I'm writing this because I am so weak and feeble in faith." Just so surely as we ask to have our faith strengthened, we must feel a willingness to take from God's hand the means for strengthening it. We must allow Him to educate us through trials and bereavements and troubles. It is through trials that faith is exercised and developed more and more. God affectionately permits difficulties, that He may develop unceasingly that which He is willing to do for us, and to this end we should not shrink, but if He gives us sorrow and hindrances and losses and afflictions, we should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.

The Church of God is not aroused to see God as the beautiful and lovable One He is, and hence the littleness of blessedness. Oh, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, seek to learn for yourselves, for I cannot tell you the blessedness! In the darkest moments I am able to confide in Him, for I know what a beautiful and kind and lovable Being He is, and, if it be the will of God to put us in the furnace, let Him do it, that so we may acquaint ourselves with Him as He will reveal Himself, and that we may know Him better. We come then to the conclusion that God is a lovable Being, and we are satisfied with Him, and say: "It is my Father, let Him do as He pleases."

When I first began to allow God to deal with me, relying on Him, taking Him at His word, and set out fifty years ago simply relying on Him for myself, family, taxes, travelling expenses and every other need, I rested on the simple promises I found in the sixth chapter of Matthew. I believed the Word, I rested on it and practiced it. I took God at His Word. A stranger, a foreigner in England, I knew seven languages and might have used them perhaps as a means of remunerative employment, but I had consecrated myself to labor for the Lord, I put my reliance in the God who has promised, and He has acted according to His Word. I've lacked nothing--nothing. I have had my trials and difficulties, and my purse empty, but my receipts have aggregated. I have received thousands and thousands of dollars, while the work has gone on these fifty-one years. Then, with regard to my pastoral work; for the past fifty-one years I have had great difficulties, great trials and perplexities. There will always be difficulties, always trials. But God has sustained me out of them, and the work has gone on.

Now, this is not, as some have said, because I am a man of great mental power, or endowed with energy and perseverance--these are not the reasons. It is because I have confided in God; because I have sought God, and He has cared for the Institution, which, under His direction, has one hundred schools, with masters and mistresses, and other departments of which I have told you before.

I do not carry the burden. And now in my sixty-seventh year, I have physical strength and mental vigor for as much work as when I was a young man in the university, studying and preparing Latin orations. I am just as vigorous as at that time. How comes this? Because in the last half-century of labor I've been able with the simplicity of a child, to rely upon God. I have had my trials, but I have laid hold upon God, and so it has come to pass that I have been sustained. It is not only permission, but positive command that He gives, to cast the burdens upon Him. Oh, let us do it! My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. Day by day I do it. This morning sixty matters in connection with the church of which I am pastor, I brought before the Lord, and thus it is, day by day I do it, and year by year; ten years, thirty years, forty years.

Do not, however, expect to obtain full faith at once. All such things as jumping into full exercise of faith in such things I discountenance. I do not believe in it. I do not believe in it, I do not believe in it, I do not believe in it, and I wish you plainly to understand I do not believe in it. All such things go on in a natural way. The little I did obtain I did not obtain all at once. All this I say particularly, because letters come to me full of questions from those who seek to have their faith strengthened. Begin over again, staying your soul in the Word of God, and you will have an increase of your faith as you exercise it.

One thing more. Some say, "Oh, I shall never have the gift of faith Mr. Muller has got." This is a mistake--it is the greatest error--there is not a particle of truth in it. My faith is the same kind of faith that all God's children have had. It is the same kind that Simon Peter has, and all Christians may obtain the like faith. My faith is their faith, though there may be more of it because my faith has been a little more developed by exercise than theirs; but their faith is precisely the faith I exercise, only, with regard to degree, mine may be more strongly exercised.

Now, my beloved brothers and sisters, begin in a little way. At first, I was able to trust the Lord for ten dollars, then for a hundred dollars, then for a thousand dollars, and now, with the greatest ease, I could trust Him for a million dollars, if there was occasion. But first, I should quietly, carefully, deliberately examine and see whether what I was trusting for, was something in accordance with His promises in His written Word."
-George Müller
Taken from the booklet, "An Hour With George Muller," by Charles R. Parsons, 1872

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I don't think any word could more perfectly summarize the message of the Holy Bible than love. Nor could any word better describe who the living God is to me than love. Love is truly the strongest bond on earth and in heaven.

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."
2 Corinthians 5:14-15

A few months ago I read an article by a pastor who listed some of the "one another" verses in the New Testament as a reason for the importance of being part of a local church. Although I would agree with him, I saw so much more in it than just that. I was utterly humbled to my knees at realizing that  the enormity of the Father's love for us is the reason why He wants us to have an enormity of love for one another. It led me to think of things going on in the Church today; of why so many believers are living in the slums of the world's mediocrity, or why so many are going astray from the Lord, and I became convinced that the ultimate solution to our problems lies in this verse: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.'" Mark 12:30-31.

There is absolutely nothing mediocre about love! Our love is merely an imitation of the love with which we are loved by God, and I think most of the time we don't even realize this. I think it is possible to fall from love, because when we fall from love, we are falling, as sinners, from the glory of God, which is encapsulated with love. Even when unbelievers love, their love is a reflection of our Creator's love, because "He has put eternity in their hearts" Ec 3:11. Apart from God, love does not exist. So then, of all peoples on earth, it should be the Church who shows forth God's love the most. We should be the least judgmental, the most forgiving, the most gracious, the least back-biting, the most kind, the least quarrelsome, the most long-suffering, the least boastful, the most humble, the least selfish, the most giving, the least arrogant, the least envious, the most gentle, and absolutely the most loving. These things will merely be the fruit of the strong bond of love between you and our precious Lord Jesus Christ, for "the fruit of the Spirit is love" Ga 5:22.

There is a time and place for everything, which is why I think there are so many important "one another" verses, but nothing outweighs them more than loving one another, for I've found that love is the foundation of them all; "Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13. If love is sincerely your center, it is unique in that it makes the faults of others just simply melt away. No wonder, then, why Paul said, "Let all that you do be done with love" 1 Co 16:14, and, "Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us" Eph 5:2. When you become "rooted and grounded in love" Eph 3:17, you'll discover the fullness of living life in Christ! It is then, that we can declare with Paul and Timothy that "the love of Christ compels us" to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ! Instead of doing everything backwards in the Christian life, instead we will be driven first by His love to want to do the things that please Him most. His love will compel us to hate sin more and more and love holiness more and more! His love will compel us to love the brotherhood! His love will compel us to tell others about the good news of His great love! We will find that the things we do, as Christians, is done not because we think we "have" to do it, but because we are so driven by His love that nothing could ever possibly hold us back from living our absolute all for Christ. Oh, how the sweet, sweet love of Jesus overflows in me!

So...go fall in the love of Christ today before you do anything else! May we love in the Church the most, so to God "be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever" Eph 3:21. Oh, may the love of Christ compel us to do all these things toward one another!

Have fervent love for one another   (1 Pe 4:8)
Pray for one another   (Jas 5:16)
Have peace with one another   (Mr 9:50)
Be kindly affectionate to one another   (Ro 12:10)
Love one another   (1 Jo 3:11)
Have compassion for one another   (1 Pe 3:8)
Forgive one another   (Col 3:13)
Through love serve one another   (Ga 5:13)
Love one another   (2 Jo 1:5)
Greet one another with a holy kiss   (2 Cor 13:12)
Be like-minded toward one another   (Ro 15:5)
Be kind to one another   (Eph 4:32)
Love one another as I have loved you   (Jn 15:12)
Break bread together with one another   (1 Cor 11:33, 23-34)
Edify one another   (1 Th 5:11)
Bear with one another   (Col 3:13)
Abound in love to one another   (1 Th 3:12)
Bear with one another in love   (Eph 4:2)
Greet one another with a holy kiss   (Ro 16:16)
Don’t bite and devour one another   (Ga 5:15)
Have love for one another   (Jn 13:35)
Confess your trespasses to one another   (Jas 5:16)
Give preference to one another in honor   (Ro 12:10)
Don’t envy one another   (Ga 5:26)
Love one another fervently   (1 Pe 1:22)
Speak to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs   (Eph 5:19)
Have fellowship with one another   (1 Jo 1:7)
Receive one another, just as Christ also received us   (Ro 15:7)
Love one another   (Jn 15:17)
Forgive one another   (Eph 4:32)
Greet one another with a kiss of love   (1 Pe 5:14)
Exhort one another daily   (Heb 3:13)
Love one another   (1 Jo 4:11)
Don’t judge one another   (Ro 14:13)
Be hospitable to one another   (1 Pe 4:9)
Don’t lie to one another   (Col 3:9)
Love one another   (1 Th 4:9)
Don’t provoke one another   (Ga 5:26)
Be of the same mind toward one another   (Ro 12:16)
Don’t speak evil of one another   (Jas 4:11)
Love one another   (1 Jo 4:7)
Greet one another with a holy kiss   (1 Cor 16:20)
Submit to one another   (Eph 5:21)
Admonish one another   (Ro 15:14)
Love one another   (Jn 13:34)
Stimulate one another to love and good deeds   (Heb 10:24)
Be submissive to one another   (1 Pe 5:5)
Teach and admonish one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs   (Col 3:16)
Love one another   (1 Jo 3:23)
Don’t grumble against one another   (Jas 5:9)
Have the same care for one another   (1 Cor 12:25)
Wash one another’s feet   (Jn 13:14)
Owe no one anything except to love one another   (Ro 13:8)
Bear one another’s burdens   (Ga 6:2)
Comfort one another   (1 Th 4:18)
Minister your gift to one another   (1 Pe 4:10)
Encourage one another to not forsake assembling together   (Heb 10:25)

"And above all things have fervent love for one another,  for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'"
1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Discipled to Christ

"Let us see that to be the Lord's disciple it cannot be based upon your own strength, it has to come from Him. He is the One who calls and He is the One who will work it out. It does not depend upon yourself. Do not think because you have an iron will you can be His disciple; do not assume because you have natural love you can be His disciple; do not think because you understand you can therefore be His disciple. If you try to be a follower by relying upon yourself you will completely fail. If you try to be absolute with the Lord in and of yourself, let me tell you that you cannot. It is impossible. With man this is utterly impossible. Nevertheless, you need not be afraid. The Lord knows you. The Lord does not expect you to be His disciple on your own basis. For hear again the gracious words of the Lord: 'Fear not, I am with you; I will do it; you are but clay in My hand.'

"...The skill of the Master is shown in transforming the dullest and the most worthless into the wisest and the worthiest. All which is needed of the disciple is a full committal and willingness to learn. And so we see that Peter left everything and followed the Lord. And by such action this discipleship was sealed at last, and from that day onward we find Peter in the school of Christ--full time, totally committed, and following the Master.

"O Lord, show Yourself to us, show us Your glory. Make us to see You and hear You that we may respond to You as we ought. Reveal Yourself to us in all Your beauty, greatness and loveliness that we may be completely abandoned to You. So fill our hearts with Your love, Lord, that we may be constrained to rise up and follow You.

"We do desire that Your image shall be seen through us as Your disciples. Yet Lord, evermore tell us that it does not depend upon ourselves to be a good disciple, but that it depends upon You. May we learn to entrust ourselves into Your hands and let You mold and shape us to be a new vessel for Your glory. We ask that as You do call us, let none of us escape; even so, we cannot escape, for You have attracted us.

"Lord, You know our hearts. Search us. Do not let this day pass by without something very real being done by Your Spirit in each one of us. To those who have not heard Your call, make us hear; to those who are hesitating, make us see You in all Your glory; to those who are afraid and feel unworthy -- oh, overcome us by Your worthiness and by Your strength and obtain in us disciples for Yourself."

-Stephen Kaung, Discipled to Christ, 1976

If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me, [for] whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, [because] you did not choose Me, but I chose you that you should go and bear fruit, [and so] become fishers of men.
-Mt 16:24; Lu 14:27; Jn 15:16; Mr 1:17