Monday, June 26, 2006

Preparation and Waiting

Said the good Phillips Brooks, "The highest attitude of any man's life is to stand waiting for God- for what God will choose to make of him. The Holy Spirit is our never-failing Guide, our Leader. There are times when He presses us forward into service, into new experiences, new duties, new claims of faith; but there are times when He arrests us in our activity, rests us under His over-shadowing wing, and quiets us in the secret place of the Most High, teaching us some new lessons, breathing into us some deeper strength, or fullness, and then leaving us again to wait for His bidding. He never sets His children to an impossible task, but standards must be reached in His school. God is never in a hurry, but spends long years with those whom He expects to use greatly, and never thinks the days of preparation too long, or too dull. When He permits delay, He is not inactive. He is getting ready His instruments, ripening their powers; and at the appointed moment they shall arise equal to their task."

'If it be the Lord's will to bring you into His service for the ministry,' writes Spurgeon, 'He has already appointed your place and service, and though you know it not at present, you shall at the proper time.'

"To the individual who asks the question, 'What is the end of life?' there can be but one answer, 'To do the will of God, whatever that may be.' Spurgeon replied to an invitation to preach to an exceptionally large audience, 'I have no ambition to preach to ten-thousand people, but to do the will of God,' and he declined. If we could have no ambition past the will of God, our lives would be successful. If we could say, 'I have no ambition to go to the heathen, I have no ambition to win souls; my ambition is to do the will of God, whatever that may be,' that makes lives equally great or equally small, because the only great thing in life is what of God's will there is in it. The maximum achievement of any man's life after it is all over is to have done the will of God."

Friday, June 23, 2006

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver..."

There was a group of women studying the book of Malachi. When they arrived at the third chapter, they came across the third verse which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." The verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the nature and character of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't say much about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained, "In refining silver, you need to keep the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest so that all the impurities get burned away." The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she recalled the exact words of the verse: that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked, "Do you have to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver is being refined?" "Yes. I have to keep my eyes on it the entire time it's in the fire. Otherwise, if the silver is left even a moment too long in the flames, it will be destroyed." The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked, "How do you know when it is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy. When I see my image in it."

This analogy has encouraged my heart so often. When I'm not in the midst of trials, it's easy to say, "Have Thy way, Lord." But it's when the heat is on that the true test of my faith in God's refining abilities is proved.

Human nature doesn't like this. I've find it almost laughable when I discover myself trying to dictate to God what my circumstances should be so that I can best reflect Him. I think, "If only I had this, my walk with the Lord would be so much closer. If only such and such were different in my life, I wouldn't struggle so much."

And so, I try to rationalize myself out of the very thing God is bringing into my life to purge the dross out. It's often not what I anticipated. My mind imagines up horrible tragedies that FOR SURE would draw me closer to the Lord, while God is asking me to daily lay down my life for my family. I dream up self-sacrificing situations somewhere different than where I am, when God is asking me to simply be faithful where He has put me

Fire, trials? Not like I exactly imagined, but they are the very tools God is using to shape this vessel of clay into one of gold that reflects His likeness. Can I trust Him with the heat of the flames?


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prayer Update

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for Darin. I don't know too many more details, but he is going to make it, Praise the Lord! In fact, rumor has it that he may be released in the next 24 hours. The brain hemorrhaging has stopped and his spleen ended up not being ruptured, only leaking. He's going to be out of commission for quite awhile, though, with the broken ribs, collar-bone, and fractured pelvis. We are still praying the this whole incidence will turn his heart to the Lord! My dad has not yet had opportunity to talk with him, but hopes to soon! Thank you again so very much!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Heart Like Thine

Lord as I read Your word today,
my eyes were lifted high,
To see the beauty of a holy life -
a life which is my heart's cry.

A heart that's burning with love for souls
Is what I daily seek.
A sold-out passionate walk with you;
humble, lowly, and meek.

A servant's heart, lived for my Lord,
for His approval alone;
A heart that's free from prideful thought,
A heart that's all His own.

But introspection sinks me low,
as I view the filth inside.
"Lord how can You use a heart like this?"
Is my pleading, questioning cry.

It's full of selfish goals and whims,
a stinking inward gaze.
It's not at all in love with You;
but blinded by this self-seeking haze.

My faith is weak, this doubting heart
must surely grieve You so;
I fail to trust, I cease to rest,
Your word I do not sow.

Now Satan too joins with a leer,
and scoffs at my yearning heart;
Tainting it's intentions with sinful pride;
painting it a deeper dark.

"You'll never be the saint you desire,
Your goals are far too high.
Why not settle for a lower plain?
It's free from these heart-rending cries!"

"Besides, you see, your heart's too vile
for Him to notice you.
Your goals are vain, you'll never attain,
no matter how hard you pursue."

My inward gaze confirms this speech,
my soul tears with a wrench.
My heart is all he described and more,
full of this awful stench.

"Oh, is there hope for this heart of mine?"
My Lord's I wish it to be!
But flesh rises up wherever I look,
It's frailty is all I can see.

But wait! The tempter has failed to tell
of the Hope that set's hearts free.
He's failed to speak of the yearning heart
driven by love to Calvary.

He will not tell of the heart that broke
with a desire deeper than mine;
To draw His children close to Himself,
His glory in them to shine.

This spotless life so rich and sweet
can change my heart, it's true!
This inward gaze I choose to cease,
and accept His grace anew.

Lord, you alone can take this heart
and fill it with Yourself;
I have no strength to do what's right,
My efforts just end in filth.

Lord, undertake for me, I pray!
My yearning soul please meet.
To You I choose to look in full -
Claiming Your promises sweet.

To You, Oh Lord, my heart I lift,
So full of deep desire;
To have it stamped with You alone,
Your passion, love, and fire.

The keeping of my heart is now
in hands so great and strong;
I daily yield it fresh again,
and walk on with a song.

A.J.H~6-20-06

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Jude 1:24

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perfrom it until the day of Jesus Christ:" Phil. 1:6

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God...whom he did forknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son...and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorifed. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not
freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth...in all these things we are MORE than conquerors through him that loved us." Rom. 8:26, 27, 29-33, 37

Monday, June 19, 2006

Urgent Prayer Request

My dad just returned home from work with some sobering news. He works at a John Deere dealer, and while out in the yard talking to a customer, he observered a co-worker flying by on a four-wheeler that he was testing out. Seconds later, he somehow lost control and rolled the machine over him. The customer he was talking with was an EMT, who rushed over there immediately. My dad quickly followed, saw this man in convulsions and headed right back to the shop to call an ambulance. Darin was air-lifted to Region's hospital in the Twin Cities, and has a few broken ribs, coller-bone, ruptured spleen, and severe head injuries. It appears the four-wheeler came down directly on his head, and it's unsure whether he will pull through this.

Please pray for him, and for my dad as he's hoping to go talk to him at the hospital. Darin is not a Christian, but my dad feels he may be open after this incidence and with death staring him right in the face. Life is so short, and sometimes it takes things like this to wake a soul up to that fact.

Longer post hopefully coming soon. The thoughts are there - they just need to form themselves into words. God bless!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

God's Choice Brings Rest

Never complain of your birth, your training, your employment, your hardships; never fancy that you could be something, if only you had a different lot and sphere assigned you. God understands His own plan, and He knows what you want a great deal better than you do. The very things that you most deprecate as fatal limitations or obstructions, are probably what you most want. What you call hindrances, obstacles, discouragements, are probably God's opportunities; and it is nothing new that the patient should dislike his medicines, or any certain proofs that they are poisons.

No! a truce to all such impatience! Choke that envy which gnaws at your heart because you are not in the same lot with others.

Bring down your soul, or rather, bring it up to receive God's will, and do His work, in your lot, in your sphere, under your cloud of obscurity, against your tempations: and then you shall find that your condition is never opposed to your good, but really consistent with it. -H. Bushnell

"Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off." Ps. 139:2