Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

This is my acknowledgment that I am not only human but sinful and in need of cleansing.  Evelyn Underhill says our trespasses are our "voluntary share in the world's sinfulness."  My shortcomings and excesses, debts and trespasses, my meanness and fear and envy, my selfishness of whatever sort --all these have their deleterious effect on those I love, those I live or work with, and on the world in general. 

It seems that God must often delay the answer to our prayers for special guidance because we have already chosen a path of disobedience in that or some other matter.  It is not reasonable to expect to be shown the right way when we deliberately continue in what we know is the wrong one.  We must repent, which means to turn around.  Go back to the point of departure.  Then pray to be shown the path of God's will.

God's Guidance by Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

God's Guidance

I was reading Elisabeth Elliot's book God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light today.  I can certainly testify in my own experiences that she is correct.  God guides us but He wants us to ask Him to guide us, to give our full attention to Him, so that we can see and experience His promises.  I have to remind you that this is a slow process because it is in God's timing and He knows all the specifics of our situation in our life at the moment we are in it.  But the good news is if we have faith in Him and follow Him, His promises to us are "certain," just like Elisabeth Elliot says in her book.  She is so wise because she herself is guided by God.

I have read her books since I was in High School.  My first book I read of hers was Let Me Be A Woman and it got me through High School!  I could not have done it without her and my mother, with their words of wisdom to guide me, as God has guided them.  God put both of these older, wise with experience, women in my life to guide me through His wisdom, for they are the women that God describes in Titus 2.  They are...

"to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor 
enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good 
so that they may encourage the young women 
to love their husbands, to love their childrento be sensible, pure
workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands,  
so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
I want to share some of Elisabeth Elliot's wisdom and life experiences she shares in her books.  I hope to hear that you already have read some of her books.  But if you have never read her books, check out my post below, and if you, are like me, and can't put her books down, get yourself a copy of her book today!  

God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light - Part 1
Sometimes we come to God as adventurers and we think, we are well-informed and well-equipped.  But it has occurred to us that with all our accumulation of stuff, something is missing. There is just one thing we will have to ask God for, and we hope he will not find it necessary to sort through the other things.  There's nothing there that we're willing to do without.  We know what we need --yes or no answer, please, to a simple question.  Or perhaps a road sign.  Something quick and easy to point the way.

What we really ought to have is the Guide himself.  Maps, road signs, a few useful phrases are good things, but infinitely better is someone who has been there before and knows the way.

Is there someone?

The Lord is my Shepherd ( Psalm 23:1).  He can see to everything if we are willing to turn it all over (even the equipment, even the route), but we will not do this unless we believe He means what He says.  Can His word be trusted?  He has made countless promises.  Is He going to fulfill them?

To say yes to these questions is to have faith.  It is to start following.  The sheep, trusting the shepherd, trots after him down the trail.

But the picture of the Eastern shepherd with his robes and staff, the flock of sheep, the stony path through the ravine, the dark valley, and the grassy place with the quiet pool are so remote from our lives as to seem no more than a romantic painting from another country and another age.  We live in towns and cities and suburbs.  Our days are full of perplexities far removed from the things that bother rams and ewes and lambs.  We muddle along through the thousand decisions of an ordinary day.  When we are aware of the need for help in one of them, it is not one relating to good pasturage or a water supply.  Time and money fill our minds:  how to get them, how to use them, how to save them.  Where shall I set the thermostat today?  The price of fuel has gone up so frighteningly.  And for breakfast -- have I time to make pancakes?  Can we afford bacon?  Should children take their lunches to school (it takes time to make a lunch) or should they buy them (it costs two dollars)?  Shall I take the freeway to work today and pay a bridge toll, or shall I save the money and spend the time to go the long way?  Silly things, trivialities, but we cannot escape them.

Then there are the serious things.  A student has to decide where to go to college, what to major in, whom to marry, what job to prepare for, where to find that job.  After college he must decide where to live, how to pay for the house, the car, the furniture, the things that seem so much  more indispensable than green pastures.

But the God of the pastures is, let us not forget, the God of everywhere else.  He knows just as much about suburbia or the inner city.  He is not at a loss to know what to do with us, no matter where we are or what we are anxious about.  Every last thing that enters our heads is known to him.

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.”
Isaiah 42:16

But the "guidance of God" --is it reasonable to expect such a thing in this day and age?  Has he ever made any promises that I can get hold of?  Is there anything that applies to my needs this Tuesday?  Are the promises (to use a badly overworked word) relevant?  Might not the advice of a trained guidance expert be more likely to help me?

When the question of relevancy is raised, the next question ought to be:  relevant to what?  As C.S. Lewis said, "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date. (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (NY; Harcourt, Brace, 1960, p.188)."   The Bible is relevant --more relevant, I am convinced, more accurate, more trustworthy, more totally applicable to my "case" as a human being than anything a man, no matter how well-trained, can tell me.  It is the place to begin.  It is the foundation, the only sure one.  What I learn from other sources may help me a great deal, as stones to be laid on the foundation, and it would be foolish of me to brush aside other kinds of help that might be available to me.  They are good gifts, and gifts of whatever kind come to us, we are told, from the Father of lights (James 1:17).  But we can start with the Bible.  

This is God's promise to us!

God's Guidance, A Slow & Certain Light by Elisabeth Elliot, 1973, 1992 

I highly recommend all of you to read this book.  To read this subject in its entirety, please purchase her book  ( ).  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Open Hands - Relinquishment - Part 4

Relinquishment is always a part of the process of maturing.   When Christian parents have done all that can be done to shape their children for God, the time comes when the hands must let go.  The child, now a responsible adult, must be released.  For any parent this is painful, even when the child is moving in the direction the parents prayed for.  The child's continued development, and the spiritual health of the parents as well, depend on the willingness to accept this next stage of the cycle -- hands off, ready to part without a struggle, giving up authority and control, entrusting that child to God.

When, on the other hand, the child has obviously rejected what the parents have taught, the severing is painful in the extreme.  All has been done that could be done and all has been done in vain.  Nevertheless the time comes to let go, as it came for the father of the prodigal when he turned his wayward son over to God.  He must have foreseen the direction he would take, but he prayed for him and waited every day for his return.  God cared for that young man as the father could never have done, brought him to bankruptcy (another severe mercy), and returned him to his father, repentant and willing even to be a mere servant. 

It is merciful Father who strips us when we need to be stripped, as the tree needs to be stripped of its blossoms.  He is not finished with us yet, whatever the loss we suffer, for as we loose our hold on visible things, the invisible become more precious --where our treasure is, there will our hearts be.

He may be asking us to sell a much-loved house, to part with material things we no longer need (someone else may need them), to retire from a position in which we feel ourselves irreplaceable, to turn over to Him fears which hold us in bondage, forms of self-improvement or recreation or social life which hinder obedience. 

"Does all this seem hard?" asks Lilias Trotter, "Does any soul, young in physical or in spiritual life, shrink back and say, 'I would rather remain in the springtime -- I do not want to reach utnot he things that are before if it means all this matter of pain and dying.'

"To such comes the Master's voice, 'Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer' (Rv 2:10,).  You are right to be glad in His April days while He gives them.  Every stage of the heavenly growth in us is lovely to Him; He is the God of the daisies and the lambs and the merry child hearts!"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Open Hands - Part 3

We are not told that we must go out looking for suffering.  It will come in God's time, int eh measure He meets out.  We must hear the call (He calls His sheep by name) and we must answer, even if it means taking a solitary way, misunderstood and even scorned by others of the same flock.  We will then find our chance to know Him, to reproduce the pattern as He relinquished His hold on all that was His, emptied Himself to share our lives, came to earth where even His own did not receive Him, and was finally obedient even to the point of death.

Why this waste ---of His perfectly pure life?

So that through death he might break the power of him who had death at his command, that is, the devil; and might liberate those who, through fear of death, had all their lifetime been in servitude.  It is not angels, mark you, that he takes to himself, but the sons of Abraham.  And therefore he had to be made like these brothers of his in every way, so that he might be merciful and faithful as their high priest before God, to expiate the sins of the people.  For since he himself has passed through the test of suffering, he is able to help those who are meeting their test now.  (Hebrews 2:14-18).

Whatever today's test may be, through accident, physical disability, our own mistakes or failures or disobedience, perhaps the hostility of others, He is able to help us meet our test.  He was made like us.  He had to be in order to die.  He had to die in order to break death's power.  His was a surrender, not to a fate He could not avoid, but to His Father.  When we open our lives to the will of the Father, we enter into that same mystery.  It is true that Jesus was put into the hands of evil men.  There are times when following Him means just that, as it has in a radical and costly way.... for a numberless others in the history of the church who have been imprisoned or killed for their faith.  It is not the external circumstances themselves that enable us to reproduce the pattern of His death, but our willingness to accept the circumstances for His sake.

Open Hands - Part 2

Joan Andrews is an example of the cost of an utter "unclasping" of one's own rights and privileges.  The call --Will you do this one thing for Me? -- comes to each of us in some form.  The thing required may be severely criticized, as Joan's stance has been.

Often the things which are taking place in the spiritual life are hidden to all but the eye of God, while the outward appearance seems nothing but unnecessary waste.  The judge who imposed Joan Andrews's sentence said, "It's a shame Miss Andrews has chosen to waste her life in prison instead of accomplishing something."  He could not fathom her regarding it as a privilege, as the apostles also did, to suffer shame for the name of Christ.  Paul even called it a happiness.  Joan had not chosen to waste her life but to spend it for her Master -- a very different thing, frequently misinterpreted.  She unclasped her hands utterly, "past all power of closing again," and there she sits in a cell, praying, singing, writing her letters, encouraging and ministering to other prisoners (even in solitary she was able to read her Bible to the girl int he next cell).

This is what it means to be a witness --to live the life of sacrificial love, a life which makes no sense whatsoever if this world is all there is.

Often there seems to be no visible reason for our having to let go.  But life, our spiritual life in Christ, depends on it.  The life-out-of-death cycle must proceed.

There are many voices to advocate escape from suffering through drugs, divorce, abortion, euthanasia, suicide.  "How far we are,"writes a friend of mine, "from saying with St. Paul, 'All I care for is to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection (no problem there) and to share his sufferings, in growing conformity with his death'" (Phil 3:10).

Eternal life means knowing God.  All our life on earth is designed to facilitate that.  But knowing Him must include sharing His sufferings by reproducing the pattern of His death.  Instead of seeking first for escape from suffering, the soul hungry to know Christ will seek in it the means to know Him better.  Our human nature would look first for someone to blame, and focus its responses on that person.  The spiritual mind looks first to God, "Teach me Thy way."  The rest can wait.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Open Hands - Part 1

Open hands should characterize the soul's attitude toward God ---open to receive what He wants to give, open to give back what He wants to take.  Acceptance of the will of God means relinquishment of our own.  If our hands are full of our own plans, there isn't room to receive His.

I have been reading the letters of Joan Andrews, a woman willing literally to renounce her rights and her liberty for the sake of the liberation of others ---those smallest, most helpless and voiceless ones, the preborn.  She serves the pro-life cause by her willingness to be treated as the unborn are treated, rejected as they are rejected.  For her unbreakable passive resistance she was arrested more than one hundred twenty times, and finally sentenced to five years, most of it in solitary confinement.  Her letters describe prison conditions, from the almost continuous screaming and cursing, and the mental breakdowns that occur, to so small a thing as not being allowed to write a letter with a pen.  "Never thought something so little would mean so much, says Joan."

By our love and humility and gentleness this attitude of accepting injustice upon oneself for Christ will shine through to others even while we noncooperate in prison.  We 'noncooperate' in love.  In this way, for purposes of witness, of example, of purification, and thereby far from taking an easier road, we join ourselves more closely to the preborn who are abandoned by society"  (You Reject Them, You Reject Me, edited by Richard Cowden Guido, Trinity Communications, Manassas, Virginia, 1988, pp. 104f).

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spiritual Pruning - Part 3

But oh, the pain of that pruning process!  Yet the hardness is softened as we concentrate on the truth the Lord has given us:

     "If you dwell in me and my words dwell in you, ask what you will, and you shall have it.  this is my Father's glory, that you may bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples...If you heed my commands, you will dwell in my love, as I have heeded my Father's commands and dwell in his love."  

Pruning leads to joy.  "I have spoiken thus to you, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete" (John 15:7-11).

To "abide in the Vine" is to live our lives in Christ, living each event as Christ lived, in the peace of the Father's will.  There is nothing by which death can hold any of His faithful servants, either.  Settle it, once for all --we can never lose what we have offered to Christ.  We live and die in Him, and there is always the resurrection.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
I highly recommend this book!  Get it today and finish this wonderful study!

Spiritual Pruning - Part 2

Vines must be pruned. This looks like a cruel business.  Perfectly good branches have to be lopped off in order for better branches to develop.  It is a necessary business, for only the well-pruned vine bears the best fruit.  The life of the vine is strengthened in one part by another part's being cut away.  The rank growth has to go and then the sun reaches places it could not reach before.  Pruning increases yield. 

When we ask for the correction of our thoughts, and all the rest, we are asking that the life of the Lord Jesus flow freely in us and develop His graces in us.  When it happens, we need to submit humbly, trusting the skill of the Gardener who prunes us with tenderness.

When a man or woman belong to God it is the hand of God at work when the pruning comes.  A life's work --what to us is a perfectly good branch, perhaps the only "important" branch --may be cut off.  The loss seems a terrible thing, a useless waste.  But whose work was it?   Jesus said God is the Gardener, the One who takes care of the vines.  The hand of the Gardener holds the knife.  It is His glory that is at stake when the best grapes are produced, so we need not think he has something personal against us, or has left us wholly to the mercy of His enemy Satan.  He is always and forever for us.

So we let go our hold of things we held very dear.  things that once were counted as gain we now count as loss, and out of what seems emptiness come beauty and richness.  "Those who receive...God's grace, and his gift of righteousness, live and reign through the one man, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).  The branches "live and reign" through the Vine.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
I highly recommend this book!  Get it today and finish this wonderful study!

Spiritual Pruning - Part 1

In God's management of the affairs of men suffering is never senseless.  We can find plenty of good sense in the metaphor of pruning found in the Gospel of John.

When Jesus was about to say farewell to His disciples, He was straightforward with them about what they should expect when He was gone.  They would face much suffering.  They would be hated as He has been.  they would be persecuted.  People would follow their teaching as little as they had followed His.  They would be banned from the synagogues and even killed by those who believed that killing them was a special service to God.

It was for them to continue to work, represent Him on earth, be the very bearers of the divine life when the Word Himself was taken away.  And how would they do this?  They would have to dwell in Him-- abide, remain, make their him in, stay --sharing His life, drawing His strength.  Their relationship to Him was that of branches to a vine.  The life of the vine is the life of the branch.  It has no other life.  As long as the branch remains in the vine it is nourished.  Cut off, it dies.

"Apart from Me you can do nothing."  In the spiritual realm there is no other life but Christ's.  In Him we live.  Without Him we die.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
I highly recommend this book!  Get it today and finish this wonderful study!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The New Leaf

Pride is at the root of all sins, and it is pride that often keeps us from carrying things to God in prayer.  We imagine we can handle things quite well on our own, or we fear that God is likely to tell us to do something we don't want to do.  The whole Christian life is a process of bringing the self-life down to death in order that the life of Jesus may be manifest in us. "As he grows greater, I must grow less, "said John the Baptist (John 3:30).

"Let us remember that it is not God who makes many of the crosses that we find in our way, such as we commonly call 'crosses.'  Our Heavenly Father makes 'straight paths for our feet,' ...But when the path that God points out goes north and south, and our stubborn wills lead us east and west, the consequences is a 'cross' --a cross of our own making, not that which our Master bids us 'take up and carry after Him,' and of which it has been well said, 'He always carries the heaviest end Himself'" (Annie Webb-Peploe, quoted in Mary Tileston:  Joy and Strength, World Wide Publications, Minneapolis 1986, p. 354).

To a heart willing to be shown, God will reveal the self-inflicted causes of trouble.  There are many examples given in Scripture, such as receiving the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:27-30), persistence in sin (1 Pt 4:17), and --this is the reason for prolonged and terrible miseries-- a refusal to forgive (Mt 18:34-35).

In a wrong-filled world we suffer (and cause) many a wrong.  God is there to heal and comfort and forgive.  "It was not you who sent me here but God, "Joseph said to the brothers who had meant to get rid of him altogether.  "You meant to do me harm, but God meant to bring good out of it" (Gn 45:8; 50:20).  Here is consolation for us when someone sins against us:  God sent it, and God meant it --for good.

When we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread,"  an angry retort from someone may be part of the answer, for it may furnish just the occasion we need in which to learn not only longsuffering and forgiveness, but meekness, gentleness, fruits not born in us but borne only by the Spirit in us.  Amy Carmichael wrote, "A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred."

All this is part of the process of separating us form the old life and forming in us the new.  Painful it must be, of course, but look to the purpose!  Look to the glory God has in mind, accept it, and say with the psalmist, "I, thy servant, will study thy statutes.  Thy instruction is my continual delight; I turn to it for counsel....I will run the course set out in thy commandments" (Ps 119:23-24, 32).

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Clean Severance - Part 2

From earliest memory I understood that everybody ought to love Jesus.  Then I began to hear that everybody ought to "receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior."  To the best of my understanding that is what i wanted to do, so I did it -- I asked Him to come into my heart, as I was instructed to do.  It was a once-for-all decision, and I believe He accepted the invitation and came in.  So far so good.  I was told that I was now "saved," saved by grace.  That was a gift, a free gift, from God.  Amazing.  Simply amazing that the Lord of the Universe, the One who is "the ruler over all authorities and the supreme head over all powers" (Col. 2:10), "the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters, the only source of immortality, the One who lives in unapproachable light, the One whom no mortal eye has ever seen or ever can see" (1 Tim 6:15-16) --amazing that the same One bends His ear to the prayer of a child or of a sinner of any age and, if asked, comes in and makes His home with us.  For His name is Immanuel, God with us.

How shall He be at home with us unless our lives are in harmony with His holy life?  Unless He lives His very life in us and we live our lives "in company with Him"?  Salvation means rescue fromt he pit of destruction, from the miry clay of ourselves.

So my decision to receive Him, although made only once, I must affirm in thousands of ways, through thousands of choices, for the rest of my life -- my will or His, my life (the old one) or His (the new one).  It is no to myself and yes to Him.  This continual affirmation is usually made in small things, inconveniences, unselfish giving up of preferences, yielding gracefully to the wishes of others without playing the martyr, learning to close doors quietly.  We may think of them as little "deaths."

Sin no longer holds authority, "exacting obedience to the body's desires.  You must no longer put its several parts at sin's disposal, as implements for doing wrong.  No:  put yourselves at the disposal of God as dead men raised to life; yield your bodes to him as implements for doing right; for sin shall no longer be your master, because you are no longer under law, but under the grace of God" ( Romans 6:12-14).

The further we travel on this pathway to the glory the more glorious it becomes, because we are given to understand that every glad surrender of self is merely a little death.

A Path of Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Clean Severance - Part 1

In Old Testament Times suffering was seen as evil.  In the New Testament, suffering and evil are no longer identical.  Think of the shock the crowds must have felt when Jesus said that those who mourn, those who are poor and persecuted and have nothing are happy!  How could he say such things?  Only in light of another kingdom, another world, another way of seeing this world.  He came to bring life-- another kind of life altogether.  And it is in terms of that life that we must learn to look at our sufferings.  I have found it possible, when I see suffering from that perspective, wholeheartedly to accept it.  But it takes a steady fixing of my gaze on the cross.

If the cross is the place where the worst thing that could happen happened, it is also the place where the best thing that could happen happened.  Ultimate hatred and ultimate love met on those two crosspieces of wood.  Suffering and love were brought into harmony.

It was while we were still powerless to help ourselves that Jesus died for us.  It is a rare thing, as Paul points out, for anybody to die even for a good man, "but Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, and that is God's own proof of his love towards us.  And so, since we have now been justified by Christ's sacrificial death, we shall all the more certainly be saved through him from final retribution" (Romans 5:89).

To be "saved" requires a severance from the former life as clean and sharp as though made by a knife.  There must be a wall of separation between the old life and the new, a radical break.  That means death -- death to the old life, in order for the new to begin.  "We know that the man we once were has been crucified with Christ, for the destruction of the sinful self, so that we may no longer be the slaves of sin, since a dead man is no longer answerable for his sin" (Romans 6:6-7).

This wall of separation, this barrier, is the cross.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Discipline of Darkness, Part 2

Here's part 2 of that wonderful sermon I heard that Adrian Rogers spoke.  These are the words that spoke to me.....

Sometimes in life we come to a time of darkness when the lights go out and nothing seems to make sense. Job was so perplexed, he demanded, “God, you owe me some answers!” Although God never specifically answered Job’s questions, Job came to learn something critically important: that God alone was enough — even without the answers.

Sometimes God may put us into darkness so we’ll learn that even without the answers, He is enough. We may not be able to say that and mean it until He is all that we have.

#3: Some Things Are Seen in the Dark That Cannot Be Seen in the Light
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3

Sometimes the greatest treasures are discovered in the darkness. Darkness is not always the work of the evil one. It’s also one of God’s ways to teach.
Sometimes on the darkest night, the stars seem brightest. In the daylight, we may think the brightest thoughts, but at night we think the deepest thoughts.
#4: It Is Better to Lean on God in Darkness Than to Stand Alone in Man-Made Light
Isaiah 50:11 warns about lighting our own fire.  Man-made enlightenment can be deceptive.

 If we light our own fires and walk in that light, we’ll ultimately lie down in sorrow.
Abraham kindled his own fire after receiving God’s promise of a son. Tired of waiting, he produced Ishmael. Today the children of Abraham are still lying down in sorrow because of their conflict with Ishmael.
Moses received God’s promise but took things into his own hands. He became a murderer and set God’s work back forty years. Moses knew for forty years what it was to lie down in sorrow.
Simon Peter boasted that he would follow Jesus even to death. Then came dark Gethsemane. Peter did not understand and tried to light his own fire, cutting off the high priest’s servant’s ear. What an embarrassment to the cause of Christ! Peterwould lie down in sorrow that terrible night.
In a time of darkness, don’t create you own man-made light.

Adrian Rogers really has shown me how the most learned men of God can so easily fall.  I see that we can be so excited about what the Lord has taught us and shown us that we walk right into our own man-made light.  We must watch out for this and realize that all we have and know is from the Lord....without HIM we have nothing.

#5: If Your Sun Has Set, Be Sure Morning Will Come
Your dark night will come to an end. God will turn every hurt to a hallelujah, every tear into a pearl. Your Calvary will one day be an Easter.

It was a dark night for the disciples when Jesus was nailed to the cross and hung there, three hours of it literal darkness. It all seemed so inky black. His kingdom had shrunk to the narrow dimensions of a grave. But then came that glorious morning.

God sees through the dark.  His eyes are upon you in your darkness.

A little girl’s mother had died. Her first night apart from her mother, she felt alone in the darkness of her bedroom and left it to sleep with her daddy. They tried to sleep, but unable to see her father’s face, the little girl said, “Daddy, it is so dark. Is your face toward me?”

“Yes, darling, my face is toward you.”
“Daddy, you love me through the dark, don’t you?”
“Yes, sweetheart, Daddy loves you through the dark.” The little girl drifted off to sleep.
That strong man slipped out of bed, fell on his knees and prayed, “Heavenly Father, it is so dark. Is Your face toward me?”
The answer came from heaven, “Yes, My child, My face is toward you.” “Father, do You love me through the dark?”
“Yes, My child, I love you through the darkest night.” The father joined his precious daughter in much-needed sleep.
An unknown poet has written:
So I go on, not knowing;
I would not know if I might.
I would rather walk with Christ in the dark
Than to walk alone in the light.

Click Below to Listen!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Discipline of Darkness, Part 1

Thank you for joining me this wonderful Sunday morning!  I listened to a wonderful sermon...  Adrian Rogers, now with His Lord, gave this awesome sermon which reminded me of the importance of suffering.  I hope you will take the time to check it out Part 1 and Part 2!

Here are some important points that really spoke to me and I hope they will speak to you during your time of need or maybe during someone else in your lives that may be of need.

#1: Those of Greatest Devotion May Know the Deepest Darkness
“Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)

Darkness is not unusual for God’s choicest saints. No matter how close we walk to God, it’s not always sweetness and light. Who ever came up with the distorted idea that if we give our lives to Jesus, all will be joy and rose petals?

Job was a saint who went through much suffering.  Remember what he said.....
Job, godly man, wrote, “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and He hath set darkness in my paths” (Job 19:8).

Paul, the great apostle, said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

So if you’re in darkness, you’re in good company.
Notice that Isaiah describes the person in darkness as one who “fears Him and obeys the voice of His servant.” Darkness, therefore, does not mean we have sinned or are out the will of God.

# 2: The Faith That Is Born in the Light Often Grows in the Dark
“We should never doubt in the dark what God has shown us in the light.”

I like this...really let this sink in.  I had not stopped to think about this in this manner.  It seems that at times when we are in suffering its hard for us to really grasp what is going on because we are focused on just surviving...when if we would focus on God...there would be no need for us to do anything.  God has done it all for us!

It is in darkness that we have to trust the Lord and “stay” upon Him. Think carefully: when have you grown the most? In sunny days when everything seemed perfect? Or at midnight when you cried out to God? It was in the darkness that you grew, wasn’t it?

 God wants us to develop a faith that goes beyond our understanding and experience. How you act in the dark is the real test of your character

I like what Adrian Rogers concludes in his sermon....  It makes a lot of sense.

What should you do when the lights suddenly go out in your life?
·  First, look to the Lord. Isaiah 50:10 says “trust in Him.” Just because things don’t make sense to you doesn’t mean they don’t make sense. And just because they don’t make sense now, doesn’t mean they won’t make sense some day. If it doesn’t make sense, nonetheless trust the Lord.

·  Not only trust, but also obey. Don’t stop praying for an unsaved spouse, even if they seem to get worse. Don’t stop giving in a financial reverse. Don’t stop witnessing, even if no one seems to respond. Don’t stop praising, even if you don’t feel like praising.

·  Lean upon the Lord. “Stay” comes from the word for “staff.” Just as a shepherd leans on his staff, lean upon the Lord. David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thouart with me.” (Psalm 23:4) It’s better to be in a dark valley, leaning on Jesus, than on a sunlit mountain without Him.

We may not understand, but relationship is really more important than reason. It may be that we do not know Why in order that we may know Who. In the dark valley, David no longer talks about the Lord (“the Lord is my shepherd”), he now talks to the Lord (“Thou are with me”).

However dark life becomes, you will find Jesus standing somewhere in the shadows.

Awesome!  Jesus is always with us!!!

By Adrian Rogers

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