I needed a blog with low stats to keep me humble.
Actually, that’s not why I started this. You can read the April 1st post to get the 411 on that. It’s hard to believe it’s been a month.
I find posting at Thinking Out Loud to be a breeze compared to this, even though its posts are two to three times longer. On this blog, I wanted to write daily posts that were free of tangents, free of peripherals, free of distractions.
As the month progressed, I realized what I was asking myself to do was keep a record of what God was speaking to me or reminding me of that day.
And it was hard sometimes because I had crowded out God’s voice that day.
But realistically, that shouldn’t have been the case. We should enter each day with a spirit of expectancy. God is trying to communicate all manner of things to us, if we will just listen, if we will just tune our hearts toward Him.
For those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
I was reading the devotional for Wednesday, April 28th at Daily Encouragement when it occurred to me that Jesus was surrounded with people who wanted to become one of his disciples.
The one we call the story of “the rich young ruler” has some parallels to the story of the scribe in Matthew 8: 19 – 20:
19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Most of us know what the “rich young man’s” outcome was, but what about this scribe? Stephen & Brooksyne Weber at Daily Encouragement pick up the story:
Our Lord tests the sincerity of the scribe’s loyalty by warning him that He was so poor that beasts of the fields and birds of the air have nicer accommodations than He Himself had. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
If the popular leader fared so badly, what was the follower to expect? How great was the humiliation of our Lord and King! He had no royal palace, no silken canopy. He who created the universe and provides for the needs of humankind had no family looking for Him at the end of the day with a warm meal sitting on the dining table. No memory foam pillow or select comfort mattress to comfortably lay at bedtime.
Jesus’ statement reveals His poverty from an earthly viewpoint; and yet “we through His poverty are made rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). We are not told if the scribe chose to follow Jesus after this outright disclosure; but the strong implication is that he did not. Perhaps, like the rich young ruler, he found the conditions too rigorous, nothing warm and fuzzy about Jesus’ living conditions. No bonus provided or awards banquet guaranteed if the scribe converted a certain number of souls to the kingdom. No pension fund thrown into the offer.
We who follow Jesus must do so without ulterior motive. The riches, recognition and comforts in this life God never promised. In fact we must be willing to die to selfish ambition and vain conceits if we are to follow Christ in the humility which pleases Him. Are we willing to do so today?
I believe the following is attributed to the advice column Dear Abby:
A church was in need of a Pastor. One of the deacons was interested in knowing what kind of minister they desired. He therefore wrote the following letter, as if it he had received it from an applicant, and read the letter before the pulpit committee.
“Understand your pulpit is vacant. I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications that I think you would appreciate. I have been blessed to preach with power and have had some success as a writer. Some say that I am a good organizer. I have been a leader in most places I’ve gone.
“Some folk, however, have some things against me. I am over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than 3 years at a time. In some places, I have left town, after my work caused riots and disturbances. I have to admit that I have been in jail 3 or 4 times, but not because of any wrong-doing. My health is not good, though I still get a great deal done. I have had to work at my trade to help pay my way. the churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities.
“I have not gotten along too well with the religious leaders in different towns where I have preached. In fact, some of them have threatened me, taken me to court, and even attacked me physically.
“I am not good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you, even if I have to work to help with my support.”
After reading this letter to the committee, he asked if they were interested in the applicant. They replied that he would never do for their church; they were not interested in an unhealthy, contentious, trouble-making, absent-minded jailbird. In fact, they were insulted that his application had even been presented. Then they inquired as to the name of the applicant, whereupon the leader answered:
“The Apostle Paul.”
It’s been a hectic day. I’d like to say that I could do a post each day on this particular blog on things that God has shown me from His Word that day, but sometimes reality sets in. The thing is, I want this to be a blog of substance; a collection of posts which separate it from the crowd, so to speak.
So as I scrolled through my personal bookmarks — which list about 150 or so blogs — I asked myself, “Where do I look today for depth?” That’s when I knew right away I wanted to share something from Kevin Rogers’ blog Orphan Age. This post, although it’s from this week, is a kind of signature post for the blogs title.
God’s eyes are watching loners. He is the shepherd who leaves a flock of ninety-nine in the care of another and travels to find the one-hundredth sheep that wandered away and was lost.
He is the Father who watches and waits for broken rebels to humble themselves and return home to His endearing love and unmerited acceptance.
God is a father to orphans and a new husband to widows. The societal separation, abandonment and sudden loss create a lack of belonging. The loneliness of orphans becomes their new identity. Where will the widow and orphan belong? Who will provide for them? Who will be their protector?
God not only finds loners but calls them to belong to His family. He adopts and marries the ones misunderstood, rejected and divorced from their own family of origin.
His presence in a life can sometimes cause difficulty and separation from your roots. The sins of the fathers affect the family down to the great-grandchildren. But God’s blessing goes further in unlimited potential.
The Christian rock band Servant was formed out of a community, The Highway Missionary Society; a similar relationship that their contemporaries, Resurrection Band, shared with their community, Jesus People USA.
This song, Come Jesus Come is actually the title song from the album, World of Sand. It’s origins lie in a very early “Jesus Music” recording released by the Highway Missionaries that I believe was part of a musical.
…Now as I stand, amidst my shattered dreams
Somehow I think for the first time
Yes I really believe I’m
Ready to accept your love
Come Jesus, come I’m ready
Come Jesus, come and show me
Your way, your truth, your life…
Yes, there were powerful Christians songs long before today’s modern worship.
If you know more of the history, feel free to leave a comment; and if anyone knows an online location of their song Love Never Fails, I’ll post it here sometime as well.
We all experience prayer differently. I think the success of Philip Yancey’s book Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? was that he touched on so many different aspects of it that it resonated with Christ-followers even though their experiences in prayer — and their understanding of prayer — may vary.
I think the success of Philip Yancey’s small-group curriculum on prayer is that those varied experiences are going to contribute to some rather lively, interesting discussion. It’s probably the best discussion-starter curriculum on the market.
The reason is simple: Although it’s never listed in those 7 – 12 “core” doctrinal statements your church, denomination or Christian organization has as part of its charter, prayer is part of the common, shared experienced of all of us.
I’ve never met a Christian who said, “I am a committed follower of Christ, but I don’t believe the practice of prayer needs to be part of that package.”
No way. So why isn’t prayer mentioned in that handful of “core” doctrinal sentences? Is it too self-evident?
My review of the Prayer DVD
When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.
- Lamar Boschman
“This quote has impacted me beyond words. It is so meaningful and deep. The goal with worship (in particular, the outward expression via song or words), is not necessarily the ability one has as an artist. The ultimate goal is that you pour out everything that is in your heart to the audience of one. HE alone is worthy of what you have. It’s better to be left without words than to offer up a lifeless and mediocre gift.”
From the blog Macho Lara on April 9
The posts on this blog tend to be short and to the point. But this time around, I thought I’d post the text from my upcoming Sunday sermon. Currently, I’m only speaking about once every couple of months. I really wrestled with what to do this time around; I started to write an outline only to be driven back to old notes. But then these notes kind of jumped off the page, and with a little reworking, here’s what I’ve got so far:
This Means War!
- Imagine you are one of the people being sworn in as a new citizen
- You correctly answer all the questions about George Washington or Sir John A. MacDonald if you’re in Canada
- You attend a ceremony where you are officially welcomed as a citizen
- You’re then told the country is at war and you are needed to serve
- You’ve been drafted, and you truly didn’t see that coming!
Whenever anyone says, “Remember me/us in prayer” I usually come back with, “What would you like me to pray for?”
Sometimes I think we fail to pray very specifically. Do we really think that saying, “Lord, remember __________ .”
I can just picture God thinking, “Oh right, I’d completely forgotten about them.”
We need to pray specific prayers, but I think that this also opens up the possibility of praying big prayers.
Christine is the husband of a guy I know named Mark. I’ve never met her. She is dealing with cancer issues. I can and do pray for her healing.
But at the same time, I know more details and those details allow me to focus my prayer more directly. Lord, help the new kind of treatment they’re using on Christine to accomplish more than anyone expects. Help her case to be one that defies all the odds.
Asking God just to “remember” her isn’t enough.
Whatever information you’re given opens doors to pray with more insightful. You’ll know if “not praying enough” means “not praying all that you could pray.”
I know many of you have heard this before, but for those who haven’t…
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of good literature.“
We’ve prayed it many times:
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
But how is God’s will done in heaven?
I see two things, but perhaps you can think of others:
(1) There is constant worship. The KJV of Rev. 4:8 says “they rest not.” The NLT reads:
Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty — the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
So if you want to see a bit of the will of God done here on earth, there’s going to be non-stop worship.
(2) There is instant compliance. God simply speaks the word and it happens. “And God said…” is the constant theme of the creation narrative, giving new meaning to the old phrase “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Except the missing middle part wouldn’t be “I believe it;” but something closer to “I’m obeying it.”
Unlike creation, God cannot always simply make things happen unless we’re willing to be used as partners with him; he has chosen in this time and place to work through willing people.
Today’s 201 post is from Pete Wilson’s blog, Without Wax…
I used the following A.W. Tozer quote from The Pursuit of God in Plan B but hadn’t read it in quite some time until last week. It’s been messing with me ever since.
There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant…
They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one root lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.
I’m saddened by how often I fall for the monstrous substitution allowing God’s gifts to take the place of God.
The pitiful reality is…
My crying out.
It’s often not about God at all. It’s about what I want Him to give me.
I don’t want more of God. I want more of what I think He can give me.
A guy I knew locally, Paul Kern, is now pastoring the Highland Park Wesleyan Church in Ottawa, Ontario the capital city of Canada. I decided to see what he was up to by checking the church’s website and got more than I bargained for.
This chart shows their purpose as a church. The third horizontal section is about their particular ministries and won’t make a lot of sense to you and I, but I left it intact, since it shows how a theoretical purpose is played out in practical ways through their weekly programs and special events.
Our purpose at Highland Park Wesleyan Church is simple: We want to be disciples who go out and make disciples.
Many people are at different places on their spiritual journey and the design of our ministry is to meet your spiritual needs where you are and help you along on your Christian path. We believe God wants us to be consistent in our growth and maturity as Christians.
Our plan is similar to many good churches, and is taken directly from the journey Jesus invites us to in the Bible. These are the milestones of our Christian Journey that Highland Park endeavors to help us through as we hear Christ inviting us to:
We continue our weekend theme: Looking at the early posts on other devotional blogs. This is the very first post from The Well.
“So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”
In a time of famine, Isaac didn’t run, didn’t seek for greener pastures, didn’t do the natural thing — he stood firm and trusted God.
He worshipped — he built an altar
He prayed — he called on the name of the Lord
He found a well — he unstopped it, dug it up
He drew from the well — he prospered in that place!
The springing up from below, in contrast to the outpouring from above, is associated with private encounters with God where you alone are the sole recipient of His attention. This “inner baptism” involves the digging out of plugged up wells and the breaking down of emotional dams that block the flow of the underground springs of the Spirit that every believer has been granted .
As we may go anywhere with comfort when God’s blessing goes with us, so we may stay anywhere contentedly if that blessing rests upon us
(Genesis 26:25) (unknown) (Matthew Henry)
Can’t remember where I found this one:
Collapse in the Christian life is rarely caused by a blowout. It is usually the result of a slow leak.