Friday, August 25, 2006

On Vision and it's Fulfillment

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way…The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Prayer Quotes

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.

Abraham Lincoln


There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.

William Law


The purpose of prayer is not to inform God of our needs, but to invite him to rule our lives.

Charles Bauman


If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this leads us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others.

Richard Foster


Behind every work of God you will always find some kneeling form.

Dwight Moody


For more of the same, visit here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Parable Pine

This last year I have been extremely blessed reading through many of Isobel Kuhn's books. She and her husband were missionaries to the Lisu tribe in China for more than 25 years. I just finished reading Children of the Hills this last week, and was especially challenged by the story of this "parable pine." It reminded me so much of a sermon I heard by Roy Daniel (Keith Daniel's son) a couple months ago about laying our lives down for the brethren. Over and over he brought out the principle that love for each other is the identifying characteristic in the lives of believers. I've been thinking a lot about that concept lately, and thought this story summed it up so well. May you be blessed too!

Tall and splendid among his fellows he stood, but when we first saw him we almost caught our breath and cried out, "Oh, what a shame!" for the magnificent trunk of him had been hacked nearly halfway through by Lisu knives. Straight and scenting the air he stood, but from the huge wound at his heart the sap oozed forth and dropped in long slow tears. And then it seemed as if Parable Pine, with princely grace, stooped to our ignorant pity and spoke.

"Do you weep, friend, for my hurt and lacerated trunk? Turn and cast your eyes on that footpath high up behind you! See how it skirts the steep mountainside; look where it meets with that jutting gray rock which is too unyielding for primitive pick-axes. The trail almost disappears as you go around that crag. You know how you hold your breath when you have to cross it at midday. But what if you had to go over there at night without a light? Lisu cannot afford lamps, you know; all they have are pine chips to light their way home. Think well if one of your beloved Lisu were on that perilous path at a dark hour, how would he find his way over safely without my heart?"


And then we were taught, as in a flash, that for human souls groping their way in the dark over dangerous paths of sin and grief, Christ needs a human heart burning out for Him to light their stumbling steps homeward - and who dare label it "waste"?


In a young man's Bible were found these words:
"Wanted: wicks to burn out for Christ. Oil and light furnished free."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Priorities

This post has been several days in thought, but a long time going from my head to the keyboard due to extreme busyness. Today has been the eleventh day my mom's been sick, and my moments for writing have been few and far between. She's faced lingering health problems for as long as I can remember, and even after many doctor visits nothing has really been found. So, we continue to wait and trust for her healing in His time, and I in the meantime find myself faced with many opportunites to lean on the Lord's grace, and trust His promises for strength to carry on my daily duties as big sister of seven.

Here's just a few snapshots into my life as of late, and some of the many things God's been teaching me through this busy, and sometimes difficult time.

In the few minutes I have between giving one of my 3-4 daily piano lessons and making lunch, I try to quickly print a few things off of the computer that I need for the day. The printer jams, more paper can't be found, the printing format somehow got totally screwed up, and my three minute project turns into 40 minutes of frustrated problem solving.

Later in the day, as I turn to the hymn I painstankingly arranged for a wedding coming up in three weeks I'm dismayed to find out that my carefully created work is forgotten amidst the 101 other things that are filling my mind. I vainly spend half-an-hour trying to re-create what was nearly completed before, and end up leaving the piano with the knowledge that I'll have to start all over again.

As I leave with the resolve to come back and try again later, I glance out the window to see a steady rain falling, all over my almost-dry clothsline full of clothes. Pretty soon a wet brother comes inside, reeking from chasing down our billy goat that had escaped from his fence and was in the garden eating our green beans. After throwing down his manure covered boots and wet coat for me to pick up later, he heads to the the shower, and quickly finds out that the only dry towels are now dripping wet on the clothes line.

Supper now needs to be started, and to my consternation, I find that someone in trying to help, put my carefully softened butter in the fridge. Jars of milk from that morning's milking are still sitting in the used-to-be ice water, and I soon discover that the tub cracked, leaving a stream of water running across our kitchen floor.

A sweet fragrance reminds me of the huge canning job awaiting me over the next several days. Eight bushels of peaches is enough to keep one busy without everything else, and as I glance at my pile of fabric waiting to be sewn, I wonder how I'll ever get it all done!

Now in writing about all of this, I can actually laugh. Admittedly though, I haven't been able to do that the whole way through. There have been times where I've simply needed to put down whatever I'm doing, and take a walk or head out to weed my flower beds just so I can have the peace and quiet to calm my heart. It's at these times, that God has spoken a needed lesson to my heart. It first came in the form of the relieved thought that I'll never, ever, be required to take a jammed up printer to heaven. I'll never have to worry about rain-wet clothes, rotting peaches or smelly billy goats, and I'll never have to worry about sister's running out of clothes due to lack of time for me to sew. Though all these things are needful now, they are not what really matter in eternity. What matters now is my reaction to them because this is in a very definate way going to affect those around me for a lifetime and for eternity. How I respond to these stresses in life, not only affects my joy and peace of heart, but it can change the whole atmosphere of our home. Being the eldest lays a huge responsibility on my shoulders as I constantly have six young lives looking at me for an example of right and wrong.

Though requiring constant grace from the Lord to keep a sweet and loving attitude, He sweetly repays all the extra effort abundantly!! The joy of seeing a sister grasp onto a musical concept for the first time, her delight in finally being able to play the duet together perfectly, and her enthusiasm to get through her books as quickly as possible is something I wouldn't trade for anything. The satisfaction on another sister's face as she finally learns how to hang up towels on the clotheline properly is worth all the time it took to teach her. The approval on two brother's faces as they hand their plates back for seconds at suppertime is completely worth the hardened butter episode, and hearing a knock on my door at 10:00pm and seeing my nightgowned sister slip in for just one more hug before going to bed for the night gives such a sweet ending to a busy day. Priorites - it's where I choose to place them that makes all the difference and gives me the grace to see what really matters. Though not all easy lessons by any means, the rewards are worth it all!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Father's Love Letter

I came across this beautiful compilation this evening at this site. I was blessed and thought I would pass it on. Truly, how deep the Father's love is for us! It is beyond comprehension!


My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
.

Almighty God

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Surrender; An Acceptable Offering - Part 3

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said of a truth, I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God; but she of her punury hath cast in all the living that she had.
At times when reading biographies, or hearing of the ways men and women have been greatly used by God, it's easy to compare my simple life, and wonder if what I'm doing is really worth while. I can look at George Mueller and see the orphanages started through His effort and faith in God, and then look at my small acts of service at home, and despair at how puny and insignificant they seem. I could look at D.L Moody, see the thousands converted under his annointed preaching, and wonder if my testimony to my younger siblings, or small opportunities I have to witness is really worth while. Why do others seem to have so much more to lay at the feet of Christ than myself? It's tempting to think that my two little mites would never be missed in the eternal treasury of heaven.

As I was thinking about this the other evening, I opened my Bible and marveled as God spoke directly to the struggle I was facing. As I pondered the testimony of this poor widow, I realized God was not asking of me great acts of service, He was simply asking for a heart surrendered to His leading and guiding. As I look at the two mites in my hand, I only have to concern myself with making sure it's my all. Is everything surrendered to the Lord, or am I holding back those things that I feel necessary for my well-being and comfort?

I think of "my" time. It's such an easy thing to claim for my own. Am I diligent about making sure every minute of it is spent solely on those things which brings Christ glory and draw my heart closer to Him?

What about my reputation? Personally I find that one such a hard one to give up! Am I willing to obey Christ's voice no matter how much it may lower me in other's eyes?

My heart's affections is another one that's brought to my attention. Do I allow anything else in life, no matter how good it may be, draw my heart away from desiring the Lord first and foremost? Even those Godly desires - are they more important to me than simply Christ Himself?

My future is another mite that needs to be cast in. Learning to trust the Lord unreservedly. Not pushing for my own way, but simply keeping a tender heart to His leading and guiding, trusting that He will not fail to make His way clear!

These are simply some of the personal applications God brought to my heart. I don't just want to give the Lord out of my abundance - just some of the many blessings He has showered me with, but everything, even down to the very last mite I possess. God doesn't care about numbers or statistics like we humans often do - He desires a heart that is fully His own - willing to be spent to the uttermost in the work He has planned for each individual.

O God, what offering shall I give
To Thee, the Lord of earth and skies?
My spirit, soul, and flesh receive,
A holy living sacrifice;
I would forever Thee adore,
Would love Thee, serve Thee more and more.

My Lord and God, Thou hast my soul,
No longer mine, but Thine I am;
Guard Thou Thine own, possess it whole;
Cheer it with hope, with love inflame,
Thou hast my spirit, there display
Thy glory to the perfect day.

Thou hast my body, 'tis Thy shrine
Devoted solely to Thy will;
here let Thy light forever shine;
This house still let Thy presence fill;
O Source of life! live, dwell, and move
In me, that all my life be love.

-Joachim Lange, 1697