Saturday, February 23, 2008

Forgiven

A passionate preacher was asked where his spiritual secret lay. Relentlessly, the questions came, those asking trying to find a quick answer to their quest for a deeper walk with God.

"Tell me what verse motivated you to seek the Lord in such a way?"

"What experience did you have that gave you such a hunger for Him?"

"How do you pray the way you do?"

"What is the source of your never ceasing pursuit after God?"

With tears coursing down his cheeks, and voice shaking uncontrollably, the young preacher replied with this answer. 

"I have no other answer than this. I was the chief of sinners and Christ saved me. I woke up in an apartment in a pool of vomit after nearly drinking myself to death, and God had mercy on me, and saved my soul. I was the most wretched among men, and God looked down and pulled me from the miry pit of my own making. Jesus is the source of the life I now live, and oh how I love Him!"

As I reflected on this answer, and the preaching of his I have soaked in the last couple weeks, the response of Jesus came to mind when he was speaking of the women who anointed his feet with perfume.

"...her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." Luke 7:47

My mind started whirling as I pondered my own conversion experience. I was no drunk. I've been raised in a God-fearing home, and much of my life prior to salvation conformed to what most churches would consider righteous. How could I say I was the chief of sinners? Was my rebellion against God really that big of deal? Was the extent of my sin really enough to experience the same depth of love for Jesus that this man had?

I listened on to the message, and traced in my mind the pathway this man's wife took in her quest after God. Raised in a God-fearing home, "praying the prayer" as a young teenager, going to Bible College as a young adult, marrying a man who spent his life for the salvation of souls - she seemed to have it all together. Her externals looked good. She was the wife of this godly man, and yet, as time went on, she realized something, rather Someone was missing in her life.

The light came on one evening during a service in which her husband was preaching in an open tent outdoors. She caught a glimpse of a prostitute across the street, and at that moment, God spoke to her and said that except for external appearance and job, she was no different than that women. Her heart was just as black and lost as the women across the street who she deemed so filthy and degraded. That deep realization was the first step to her conversion.

Sometimes I have to wonder if I really comprehend and grasp the immensity of this thing called salvation. I know that just one glimpse of my sin from God's perspective would change my life forever. To catch just a glance of His holiness would forever stop my mouth from even entertaining the slightest thought that one man's sin is greater than my own.

It's my perspective that needs to change. When I start seeing myself as God sees me, the first step has been made towards comprehending the amount I've been forgiven. The timeless truth echoes down through the centuries, "...she who has been forgiven much, loves much." A deeper love and passion for the Lord starts right here. It starts in my heart. 

Dear Master, Thine the glory
Of each recovered soul,
Ah! who can tell the story
Of love that made us whole?
Not ours, not ours, the merit:
Be Thine alone the praise
And ours a thankful spirit
To serve Thee all our days.
-Henry Baker

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ONLY Christ!

"He must increase, but I must decrease." 
John 3:30
All our teaching about consecration will be in vain, unless it come to that - God must be all. What is the meaning of our talk about giving ourselves as a living sacrifice? It cannot be, unless it is actually true that in our life God is all. What is the reason of so much complaint of feebleness, or failure, of lost blessing, or walking in the dark? It is nothing but this: God does not get his place amongst us.
-Andrew Murray

Not I, But Christ

NOT I, but Christ, be honored, loved exalted;
NOT I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard;
NOT I, but Christ, in every look and action;
NOT I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

NOT I, but Christ, in lowly, silent labor;
NOT I, but Christ, in humble earnest toil;
Christ, ONLY Christ, no show, no ostentation;
Christ, NONE BUT Christ, the gatherer of the spoil.

Christ, ONLY Christ, ere long will fill my vision;
Glory excelling, soon, full soon, I'll see --
Christ, only Christ, my every wish fulfilling --
Christ, only Christ, my ALL in ALL to be.
-Mrs. A. A. Whiddington

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The True Measure of a Saint


"Spiritual growth and maturity is not measured by how much better and more faithfully we can walk in the footsteps of Jesus, but by a deeper and deeper realization of our utter worthlessness and sin-bent ways, and our complete inability in and of ourselves to be Christlike. Sanctification is a process in which we learn to live less and less in and through self, and more and more in the grace and strength Jesus Christ alone can give. It is the putting down of self and a lifting-up of Jesus Christ alone that measures the spiritual depth of a saint..."

Thoughts gleaned from a sermon by Paul Washer....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

On Waiting....

"And now, Lord, what wait I for?" Psalms 39:7

"How often does our heart echo King David's question. What is it that we are waiting for?

God does not always choose to tell us what we wait for. Often, we must wait while He seems silent. We think we are waiting for our life to begin, but if we only could understand, that it already has.

Waiting isn't easy. The road that we must take on this journey of waiting is often a lonely one. But it is a beautiful one, too.

For all its questions, for all its uncertainty, for all its pain, waiting can be one of the most beautiful times of our life, for while we learn to wait on Him, while we learn to take our trust a step deeper every day, God is doing some of His greater work in our lives, we just can't see it yet."
This is just a sampling of the gem you will find in this complete article on waiting. I know many of you read ylcf, and I risk being redundant in quoting this, but it truly blessed me too much to keep from passing on.
"Waiting, much like anything else in life, is what we make it. It can be filled with beauty and joy, or it can be the most bitter and miserable time of our lives. Its not where we are, so much as where we put our focus.

God doesn't want us to just wait, He wants us to wait joyfully for the fulfilling of His plan in us. He wants us to learn to see the beauty in this journey. He wants us to learn to sing, even when our hearts are heavy. He wants us to know, in a way we could never understand if we never had to wait, of His power to save, and even more so of the depth of His unfailing love."
While going through an extremely faith-stretching season of waiting myself, encouragements like this never seem to come too often. Neither can Elizabeth Elliot's wisdom gleaned from years of uncertain waiting be read too often.

"The flesh looks at the smooth road and thinks it would be easier if I were made to forget (my desires) completely, or were given an answer soon. Psalm 57 "...In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.... God that performeth all things for me... My heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise."

If the yearnings went away, what would we have to offer up to the Lord? Aren't they given to us to offer? It is the control of passion, not it's eradication, that is needed. How would we learn to submit to the authority of Christ if we had nothing to submit?"
-Elizabeth Elliot
"My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from him." Psalm 62:5

Monday, February 04, 2008

"He Maketh No Mistake...


My Father’s way may twist and turn,
my heart may throb and ache.
But in my soul I’m glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
my hopes may fade away,
but still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
for He doth know the way.

Tho’night be dark and it may seem
that day will never break;
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
my eyesight’s far too dim;
but come what may, I’ll simply trust
and leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
and plain it all He’ll make.
Through all the way, tho’dark to me,
He made not one mistake.
-Adrian Miller


Thanks to Kaylene for posting this poem. Also, a special thanks to Abigail Paul for the graphics! Check out here wonderful site here.