Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Word Spoke in Due Season....

...how good is it!

Never underestimate the power of encouraging words!

Two timely phone calls.

A sweet, "How can I pray for you?"

An uplifting e-mail sent by a dear friend.

An afternoon of help from a friend who just wanted to give a hand.

The care and love of unwavering friendships.

To the giver, they probably seemed like very little. But to my heart, brought low that morning by busyness and a feeling of complete inadequacy for the tasks God had called me to, they brought hope, a smile, and refocusing on the promised grace of God.

Who will you encourage today? It might very well change their whole day.

A word spoke in due season, how good is it!! Proverbs 15:23b

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Strength made perfect in weakness

Until we are carried quite out of our depth, beyond all our own wisdom and resources, we are not more than beginners in the school of faith. Only as everything fails us and we fail ourselves, finding out how poor and weak we really are, how ignorant and helpless, do we begin to draw upon abiding strength.

The devil often makes men strong, strong in themselves to do evil - great conquerors, great acquires of wealth and power.

The Lord on the contrary makes His servant weak, puts him in circumstances that will shew him his own nothingness, that he may lean upon the strength that is unfailing.

It is a long lesson for most of us; but it cannot be passed over until deeply learned. And God Himself thinks no trouble too great, no care too costly to teach us this.
-H. Taylor
'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hudson Taylor

"He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Ps. 126:6

Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success.
-Hudson Taylor

Quotes like this one, recently read in 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul,' bring my heart back to the stark reality of the spiritual warfare we are in. How easy it is to pass off the reasons for unfruitfulness in our lives on those we are ministering too. I often wonder how much I actually know of God's heart. Biographies like this one I'm reading are good for me. They jolt my heart back to the truth of what really matters in life, and grind to dust any frail aspirations I may have of the Christian life.

I had forgotten why I once claimed this two-volume set as my favorite books outside of the Bible. Now I am remembering. Wading through these two hefty treasures is somewhat like trying to take a drink from a waterfall. There is so much there, I usually can only handle a chapter or less a day. Sometimes I chew on that much for several days in a row.

This is not just a simple biography of a famous missionary. This is a deeply intimate story of a man completely sold out to God from the tender age of 15. It is his step by step walk from an intensely earnest, yet stumbling Christian life, into a man who shook China for Christ. It is the diary of God's work upon a soul. It is a glimpse into the ways and workings of our Lord, as He takes a newborn spiritual babe, and transforms him into one who provides bread for countless numbers of others.

One of the reasons these books have impacted me so much, is that I can relate with them. Every page is filled with the honest wrestlings of a man who longs for God to have His way in his life. It's not an easy road. It's filled with many questions. Hard times. Times of growth. Times of spiritual dryness and apathy. Times of regeneration. Times of joy. Times of tears.

This books strips away any romanticism of the Christian life, and leaves one face to face with the claims of Christ upon a soul. It stirs to flame smoldering embers that used to blaze brightly for Christ. It creates a thirst in the soul for a taste of what this man experienced. It causes one to desire God.

Don't let the bulk and price of these books deter you from discovering these things yourself. To a hungry heart, these hardcover, beautifully bound volumes are life-changing. 15 years in the writing, 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Soul' chronicles the schools God brings this man through. 'Hudson Taylor: The Growth of a Work of God' provides an in-depth gaze into how God used this man, now grown into spiritual maturity.

If this review doesn't motivate you, maybe the quotes I will share in the future will! Expect much of Hudson Taylor in the coming days! :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Many Christians...

Many Christians want to get all the religion and happiness they can with as little sacrifice as possible. They do not understand that a man who wants to win first place in a race or climb to the top of his career, must go at it with his whole heart and give his time and strength to it. Religion requires a man to give up everything in order to know God in Christ.
-Andrew Murray

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The True Glamor of Life

Every pioneer must learn that blood and sweat of our own are not in themselves payment enough to redeem souls. No souls are won without them, but they are not in themselves the payment.

Redemption is God's gift.

The glittering peaks of Everest look beautiful in a magazine, with it's dazzling snow crest and the blue, blue sky above. But the climber has to tuck that vision in his heart and climb on when there is no beauty visible, only the bitingly cold blast whipping against him, the slippery ice imperiling his foothold, and only canned food in his stomach.

From dreamy aspiration to laborious doing.

The pioneer has to come to the place where he is willing to go on without thrills. And the drumbeat of the Lord that calls to that monotonous plodding is also challenging prayer partners at home. Can you be faithful to go on interceding for these lost tribes without the thrill of glamorous reports?

I can best explain it by telling you a story from my first days in China. Fraser was taking me somewhere through narrow Chinese alleys at night. Little hovels lay in kindly muffled shadow on either side of the street, and through their poor cracks twinkled little lights. Mr. Fraser said to me,

"Miss Miller, never lose the glamor of your calling! I have been in China some twenty years but I still thrill all over when I tell myself, on nights like this, I am in China for Christ."

The glamor of comradeship with Him outweighs the toil and tears, the disappointments and frustrations, the sickening of hopes deferred, and steadies our life.

-Excerpt from 'Ascent to the Tribes' by Isobel Kuhn

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lake Itasca Family Music Festival

For a wonderful synopsis of our last weekend, complete with video clips, be sure to visit Abigail's blog. She did a tremendous job summing up the enjoyable weekend there. I would do a post myself, but simply don't have the time. She also graciously posted a video clip of our family playing. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Don't Worry, Daddy's Driving

Recently a friend of mine shared this story with me.

One of the younger members of her family had developed a strange feeling of responsibility whenever their family took any sort of a trip together. In his little five-year-old mind, he had come to the conclusion that if he didn't know where they were, or what road to take to get home, they were horribly lost.

In one particular trip to town, the daddy of this family took a different route than usual. This little guy became more and more anxious, and finally broke out into a tearful frenzy. The unfamiliar surroundings and the unknown stretching all around him brought such a terror to his heart that he completely lost his composure.

When first hearing this, I laughed as you probably are now. How silly for such a little person to carry this weight of responsibility that was never meant for him to carry! And yet, how often do I act the same way? Life takes an unexpected turn, and I worry and fret and wonder how it's all going to turn out. The road ahead of me is covered in fog, and I think that I have to figure it out.

It would do me much good to hear the admonition that came from the front seat to that little boy sobbing in the back.

Don't worry. Daddy's driving. He knows the way home......

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Field works holds it's own unique seasons. Greenhouse planting, transplanting, planting into the field, hoeing, weeding, and harvesting are all an important part this particular area of agriculture. July and August have held much of this aforementioned weeding. Being my personal least favorite part of the "season," it's not been all fun, but it has provided time for thought and observation on the effect weeds have on the crop.

Hand weeding a field for seven hours in 95 degree heat forces the mind to stay active. Something has to be concentrated on, or the elements simply drain any resolve to continue on. Familiar looking green things start to take names. Fleabane, Campion, Cinquifoil, Dock, Wild Mustard, and Purslane are no longer just strange words. They start to represent the dreaded foe faced hour after hour - a seemingly endless war against this living force that seeks to take over the acres of wildflower crops.

Patterns start to emerge as the hours tick by. In one field of Tennesee Coneflower I especially noticed it. The weeds were scattered. Heavy in some areas, and quite sparse in others. The plants were also scattered. Brightly blooming pink mounds dotted the landscape where the weeds had not found a foothold yet. Others places were sadly devoid of color, the intense green clearly signifying the presence of hundreds of unconquered weeds. In those areas, several minutes had to spent, just locating the crop so it too wouldn't be pulled up in the excavation of the unwanted species.

While pulling weed after weed, all the while, hands getting sorer and sorer, and blisters breaking out every now and then, it's easy to wonder what the point is. Many of the weeds look harmless!! In fact, some are quite pretty! The blooming cinquifoil always pulls at my heart when I have to pull it up! But it's a weed. It's a weed because it wasn't intended to be grown there. It has no purpose to the farmer, though it's creamy yellow and white blossoms may seek to persuade one otherwise.

Surprisingly, one of the most dreaded weeds is clover. This is a crop to many farmers, but in wildflower fields it is deadly. It's roots and stems entwine itself around the crop, starving it for light and nutrition, and chocking out it's very life. If found when small, it's possible to remove, but once it has got a foothold, it's twiny stems are nearly impossible to untangle from the crop.

Whatever the particular weed, they have all got one thing in common. They stunt the growth of the crop. In the Coneflower field, those plants that were surrounded by weeds never bloomed this year. They remained just a couple inches off the ground, fruitless and stunted, while their undisturbed neighbors rose 2-3 feet, clothed in bright pink flowers. The weeds starved the plant of nutrition and sunlight, leaving them absolutely useless to the farmer who planted them.

Weeds also starve the Christian of growth and light. They may look harmless, they may even be pretty, but they all have the same effect on our walk with the Lord. Caught when small, they are fairly easy to remove, but left go unattended to, they become a vicious monster to deal with.

Busyness is one weed I've had to beware of this summer. Being busy with good things is not a bad thing. In fact, it can produce very beautiful fruit. And yet, if allowed to take the place of the better things, namely my walk with the Lord, it becomes a weed that chokes out my effectiveness in the field God has placed me in.

This busyness is not letting up, in fact, every day seems to be busier than the previous. I'm struggling with priorities and knowing where my time should go. So many opportunities are facing me, and yet if I had 48 hours in a day, I would not be able to pursue all of them. And so, I am being forced to weed things out.

I've considered dropping this blog for some time. In fact, I've come very, very close to doing so several times. Something has held me back though, and at this point, I don't believe it's God's will. At this season in life, my time spent on here is at least going to have to take a backseat. I can't promise or even give you an idea of how much I will be posting anymore. It's all going to depend on the time God allows, and the inspiration He provides. From the beginning, I've wanted this site to be an expression of Him, and if He wants it to continue, He's going to have to organize the details and the contents to post.

Seasons of life definitely hold their peculiarities, but like God's been drilling home to me lately, these circumstances are merely another opportunity to manifest His character. My desire is to always take the circumstances He brings my way, and use them as a springboard to draw closer to Him! God's blessings to each of you as you seek to do the same!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Purposes Of God

"...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them, that love him."
I Cor. 2:9

As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, "I wonder why God allowed this or that?" And we begin to see that the compelling
purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose.
-Oswald Chambers