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Monthly Archives: January 2013

“There is an old story of a converted miser who had always been known as an exceedingly stingy individual. After his conversion, one of his neighbors sustained a serious loss. When the former miser heard about it, his immediate reaction was, “Well, they need help and food. I will go to my smoke house and get a ham and take it over to them.” But on the way to the smoke house his old nature began to whisper to him, “Why give them a whole ham? Half a ham will be plenty.” And he debated this all the way to the smoke house. Then he remembered what he had learned in the presence of God. He remembered that he had resolved then and there that by God’s grace he would stand against all the evil qualities of his former life whenever they asserted themselves. The tempter kept whispering, “Give him half a ham,” and the old man finally said, “Look Satan, if you don’t pipe down, I’ll give him the whole smoke house.” Now you see, that is adequate grace. Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.”

Ray Stedman:  The Worship of an Honest Heart


Our emotions tell us:  I am frustrated, depressed, and afraid that I might fall short.  Fear or faith?   Believing plus trusting? Fearing and clinging to fear? Voicing what?  Sharing what?

Because my cross looms before me, do I wonder if God loves me?

Do I give doubt a place in me? Or do I instruct my feelings and my perception of things to see joy result from even a predicament of which I may be a cause.   Satan uses this trick to accuse us.  He is the “accuser of the brethren” (1 Timothy 4:13). He loves to highlight our failures.

Jesus loved us and gave himself “to take away our sin:  to ‘save’ us. We do well to seek counselors who always lead to faith in the Savior.

All who lived will have passed this same journey.  The choice of all is either with or against God and the avenues of faith or doubt.

God became provoked with Israel because with stiff necks they chose complaining over trusting. Some will have stood out for the cause of God.

Some believed their journey was too hard, harder than others so they never rose above complaining.

What is the cause of God concerning me? Is not His passion to make of my life a life that wins? Can He do it? The Savior saves, the best thing we can do is to run to Him.

“I can do all things through Christ,” (Philippians 4:13).  He will see to it, or I can live in the solitude; Satan will see to that. Solitude, when accepted, will drive a person to build a case of self-pity, to perfect it with repetition, and to select listeners who lack the courage to insist that faith in God is always the answer.

A good listener is better than a quick responder; but Godly counsel must always lead a person to faith in God. God is near. Seek Him and He will be found.

Faith in the midst of great threat and pending difficulty is a common requirement of those who are commissioned to be in the world and not of it. Jesus paved the way. Jesus is the way. The way, works.

Doubt, it has a place, and does not tell us the good news. The newspapers and televised news are to be observed but not to be trusted in predicting an outcome.  God is at the helm.

It is not the perishing world which should be our resting focus, not our present struggle or fear; it is Him alone of whom it is written, look to Jesus Christ and live. The choice is clear.

Darkness is the convenient agent for making light visible: God is near. “The light shines in darkness” (John 1:5).

Will I ascend above my doubt and dismay? Or, will I be discontent with discontent? Will I grovel in self-pity?

Self-pity must be voiced so as to find company in its misery.

In the end, self-pity may cause us the loneliness of being shunned by others, even the loneliness of clinical depression.

Complaining must be directed to the LORD so that faith can arise. Every human counselor who tenderly leads another to the “God of all hope” as the answer of all pain is very wise. (Romans 15:13)

We’re not home yet. Faith and doubt are our daily choices.

Jesus is not too good for us. He loves us.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear.”    Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886

Hallelujah, what a Savior.”      Phillip P. Bliss, pub. 1875

God is near. He has the helm. His plan is good for the willing. We can completely trust Him.

Are these our predominant thoughts? They can be.  When we choose to trust Him over and over, we become the people of our choices.





“Many were called, few were chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

We know by history and by present conditions, the factuality of this stated Gospel truth.

What is the calling?

  • The calling is to volunteer to join the “Cloud  of witnesses.” (Hebrews Chapter 11)
  • To “receive” the Holy Spirit as Jesus told His disciples.
  • To become witnesses as a result of this outpouring forever given the church since Pentecost.
  • To “walk in the Spirit” and be led by the Spirit.

These are the “A,” “B,” “C’s” of the authentic Christian life.

Many will say in that day of reckoning, “Lord, Lord,” but He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me.”  Few are chosen indeed. These are His words. (Matthew 7:23)

We know Packer fans, Viking fans, those who love the Bears; and we hear their fervor, the exclamations, their anger if their team is derided, their boasting when their team wins.  None of these fans are even really part of the team. They’re hitch-hikers’, they’ve decided to attach themselves, though they can’t.

With Jesus the opposite is true. He sought, and, through the incessant work of the Holy Spirit still seeks the lonely soul.

We are not hitch-hikers’, we are His adopted children, because Jesus saw fit to share His inheritance – without preconditions – to us!

Just as I am I come to Thee; Oh Lamb of God, without one plea

We are called to holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrew 12:14). This cannot be otherwise and this makes it clear that only His righteousness will suffice.

Can you take it in that He exchanged His holiness for our filth?

Please excuse me if I have difficulty being a Packer, Viking or Bears fan, but have no difficulty being a Jesus fan. I can’t help myself.

Please forgive me if I am as an offense. “The preaching of the cross is (always) an offense to those who will perish; but to we who are saved, it is (and it proves itself to those willing to follow their calling) it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Repentance is natural in the wake of the cleansing flood; and being a witness as natural as well-formed bulb lighting when the power source is on. Something is very wrong when the lights go out given the fact that He is the Light of the world.

Think about it, is not the love of Jesus – to you – simply wonderful?

Don’t keep it a secret, whatever you do.