Christianity 201

July 19, 2016

The Besetting Sin of Worry

Don't Worry - Philippians 4 6Today a return visit to Kim Shay at Out Of The Ordinary. Click the title below to read at source.

He who sits in the heavens

Worry is one of my besetting sins. It can cover a wide range of subjects… I begin to worry because I don’t like unknowns, and I don’t like feeling out of control. To compensate, I often try to keep tabs on all the possible variables that could affect the outcome, deluding flattering myself into thinking that I can at least be mentally prepared for what could occur. But this is cold comfort. There are too many factors beyond my scope, and as I consider what is outside of my control, the needle on the worry meter goes up.

I have a less-than-robust background in the absolute sovereignty of God, so I could use that as an excuse. But even wholeheartedly embracing that doctrine, my thoughts of God are often “too human”1, as if He who sits in the heavens “laughs nervously and wrings His hands in confusion.”

If I dig deeper, there’s a showdown taking a place – a face-off between the Bible’s claims of God’s supremacy versus my fallible thoughts and feelings. Who do I listen to? My worries? Or do I take my soul by the scruff of the neck, so to speak, turn off the news or whatever is feeding my anxiety, and turn back to the Scriptures?  Feelings go up and down. Circumstances change for good or bad. But neither feelings or circumstances are the arbiter of truth. God’s Word is, and here’s what it says about His authority over all things:

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Psalm 2: 4-6

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chron. 29:11-13

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, Ephesians 1:11

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:1-3

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting…Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore. Psalm 93:1-2,5

From A.W. Pink:

The absolute and universal supremacy of God is plainly and positively affirmed in many scriptures… Before Him, presidents and popes, kings and emperors, are less than grasshoppers.3

God’s supremacy over the works of His hands is vividly depicted in Scripture. Inanimate matter, irrational creatures, all perform their Master’s bidding.4

God’s supremacy is also demonstrated in His perfect rule over the wills of men… His own eternal “counsels” are accomplished to their minutest details. 5

I don’t know about you, but this gives me great comfort. This answers my fear of the unknown because there are no unknowns to an omniscient God. He does not react to future events because He has already ordained what will take place by His decrees. We have a foundation that will never shift under any circumstance because we rest on the unchanging character of God Himself.Let every man or, in this case, woman be a liar. The Lord reigns.

Here then is a resting place for the heart. Our lives are neither the product of blind fate nor the result of capricious chance, but every detail of them was ordained from all eternity and is now ordered by the living and reigning God. 6

1. The Attributes of God, Chapter 5 The Supremacy of God, A.W. Pink, Baker, 1975, pg. 28.
2. Thanks to Zack for his open theist “version” of Psalm 2:4.
3. The Attributes of God, Chapter 5 The Supremacy of God, A.W. Pink, Baker, 1975, pg. 29.
4. Ibid. pg. 30.
5. Ibid. pg. 30-31.
6. Ibid. pg. 31.

September 10, 2013

There is a River

I saw this on Brian McLaren’s blog… it’s actually from the devotional blog iDisciple, the author is N. Gordon Cosby and it appeared under the original title Trust The Stream. Water imagery flows (pardon the pun) through scripture, and so we don’t forget, over 70% of the earth’s surface is water. I’ve added a related worship song video (audio only) at the bottom; Psalms Alive is one of my favorite worship song collections.

“There is a river whose streams gladden God’s city…” (Psalm 46:4, CEB).

The stream flowing through our lives is from eternity to eternity. It is artesian. It is totally adequate. Everything we need is borne by that stream. Its origin is the realm beyond, and it carries infinite resources. In this space-time realm, conditioned as we are, the stream can seem to be a trickle. It seems puny against the drugs we’re battling, against the divisions among us or the power of greed that fuels our economy.

When we’re up against all the world’s needs and lacks–the way we perceive life–the stream seems inadequate. But in fact, it is a powerful, surging, cleansing tide that purifies all it touches. It is a grace torrent. It flows irrespective of merit. It carries everything that a human being has ever needed–and could ever want. Whatever we need will flow by at just the opportune moment. Our problem is that we’re not attuned to the stream. We don’t see it. We’re not even looking in the river’s direction.

But when we wait in expectancy, looking at the stream and then recognizing what we need as it floats by, we simply reach out and take the gift. It’s an effortless way of living. Usually we’re not attuned to effortlessness. We’re too busy striving. We’re holding forth and carrying on and trying to reach our goals. The wisdom of the stream is the opposite of this. What I’m talking about is moving from a conceptual awareness of God’s care–the idea of God’s providence–to trusting the flow of that stream that carries everything we need and will bring it at just the opportune moment.

Jesus found it difficult to understand his disciples’ anxiety. He was so in the river, he was so aware that the stream carried everything that was needed, that he couldn’t understand why others were having so much trouble with the idea. What he says is to set our minds on God’s realm, God’s justice, before everything else. Everything else will be given by the stream. This is different than achievement and different than making things happen. Do not be anxious about tomorrow, Jesus says. You’ll have plenty to think about when tomorrow comes. Now the stream is flowing.

Once we get accustomed to noticing the stream, and we spend more time near the stream, taking from it what is being given, there comes another step: actually getting into the water and resting in its flow. Even when the flow is a torrent, we know we are safe. We trust the flow. We become non-resistant. We become receptive. We trust the power of the divine presence, which longs to take our one little life to its divine destination. Even if we’re in deep water, we trust the flow and are not afraid. We simply wait in expectancy to round the next bend, looking in wonder at the view. Always a new view. Effortlessness, expectancy, and wonder are how we live, rather than striving.

Faith, in the biblical sense, is trusting the flow and reveling in the view and being carried beyond all existing boundaries. Faith is being excited about the final destination, even when the destination is a mystery. When Jesus says, “Believe in God, believe also in me,” he is saying, “Get into the stream with us. It’s a stream of pure grace and mercy. Go into its depths and find us there.”

Gordon Cosby, along with his wife, Mary, established Church of the Saviour in Washington D.C. in 1947; Gordon entered into the full presence of God earlier this year, well into his 90s. This meditation is reproduced with permission from

July 1, 2012

Father, You Have Loved Us First

I John 4:19 (Message) We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

Trevin Wax posts classic prayers and poems on a regular basis at his blog Kingdom People. This one was posted today. Read it through at least two times, slowly, prayerfully, one line at a time.

Father in heaven!
You have loved us first,
help us never to forget that You are love
so that this sure conviction
might triumph in our hearts
over the seduction of the world,
over the inquietude of the soul,
over the anxiety for the future,
over the fright of the past,
over the distress of the moment.

But grant also that this conviction
might discipline our soul
so that our heart might remain faithful
and sincere in the love which we bear
to all those whom You have commanded us
to love as we love ourselves.

You have loved us first, O God, alas!

We speak of it in terms of history
as if You have only loved us first but a single time,
rather than that without ceasing
You have loved us first many times
and every day and our whole life through.

When we wake up in the morning
and turn our soul toward You
– You are the first –
You have loved us first;
if I rise at dawn and at the same second
turn my soul toward You in prayer,
You are there ahead of me,
You have loved me first.
When I withdraw from the distractions of the day
and turn my soul toward You,
You are the first and thus forever.
And yet we always speak ungratefully
as if You have loved us first only once.

Soren Kierkegaard

February 1, 2012

Basilea Schlink Quotations

Okay, for this one, I know the first question some of you are asking is, “Who?”

Mother Basilea, born Klara Schlink (October 21, 1904, in Darmstadt, Germany – March 21, 2001, in Darmstadt) was a German religious leader and writer. She was leader of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, which she cofounded, from 1947 to 2001.

Basilea Schlink was a sister of Edmund Schlink, a professor in theology. Her father Wilhelm Schlink was a professor of mechanics. After finishing high school in Braunschweig and Darmstadt, she was educated (from 1923) at the Fröbelseminar in Kassel, from 1924 at the Inner missions girls’ school in Berlin. In 1929 she became a teacher at the Mission House Malche in Bad Freienwalde (Oder) in German, psychology and church history. After matriculation in 1930 she studied psychology, art history and philosophy in Berlin and Hamburg. This study was completed by a religious-psychologic thesis about “Consciousness of Sin in adolescent girls and its significance for their battle of faith.”

Some years later Schlink was living in a badly bombed Germany with few resources, but it was important for her to repent for Germany’s cruel treatment of other nations during the war, especially the Jews. She felt the temptation to marry like other young women did. Instead she gave her mission the first priority, and so she became a Sister of Mary.

On March 30, 1947, she and Erika Madauss founded The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt. In 1948 both the founders and the first seven sisters became nuns. From then on, Dr. Klara Schlink called herself Mutter Basilea and Erika Madaus called herself Mutter Martyria. Today, The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary has 11 subdivisons all over the world, with in total 209 sisters, and about 130 of these are situated in Darmstadt.


Basilea wrote at least six books (that we have in English) Bride of Jesus Christ, My All for Him,  Fragrance of a Life for God,  Father of Comfort, Israel – My Chosen People and Repentance – The Joy-Filled Life

Do not lose yourself in your everyday work and activities. Rather, lose yourself in God. When you are doing work, let your innermost heart be centered on Him. Live in His presence and abide in Him. Then your work will follow you into eternity, and you will reap a rich harvest.

Many people have a personal faith in Jesus Christ and call God their Father. Yet they are unfamiliar with childlike prayer, which God promises to answer. They fail to turn daily from their pride and self-sufficiency, their rebellion against chastening, and their desire for power or prestige. With such an attitude how can they pray in a childlike way and receive God’s gifts as true children of His? God gives grace only to the humble. The prayers of the humble and lowly pierce the clouds. Be willing to bear humbling experiences, so that you become a true child. Then your prayers will have power.

When human reason has exhausted every possibility, the children can go to their Father and receive all they need. … For only when you have become utterly dependent upon prayer and faith, only when all human possibilities have been exhausted, can you begin to reckon that God will intervene and work His miracles.

How different the world would look, how different the state of our nation would be, if there were more sanctified priestly souls! These are souls who have the power to bless, for they intercede with sanctified hearts. They never begin their daily time of intercessory prayer without having first brought to the cross all that is unholy in their lives, so that their old self can be crucified there with Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb.

The heart of the Father is the source of all love. If a person refuses our plea for help, we appeal to his heart, to his sympathy, to his compassion. Who can express what God the Father’s heart is like! Before His love all human love pales. No one calls upon the divine heart of the Father in vain. It overflows with compassion and mercy. Those who appeal to the heart of God in the assurance of His love have never been disappointed.

You are troubled and anxious. Yet you cannot solve your problems and difficulties by yourself. Your own restless thoughts and aspirations are making you weak and incompetent. They clog the channel of your heart through which God wants His help to flow. Leave everything to God. Let all your restless thoughts, worrying and frenetic planning come to rest. Rest in God and in His sovereign rule in the knowledge that He will act. Then you will discover that ‘in quietness and in trust shall be your strength’. So choose this course and you will experience help.  Isaiah 30:15 RSV

God wants His wonder-working power and glory to be revealed before all the world. This happens through people who have faith in Him. He is waiting for this to happen through you too. There is a risk-taking element about faith. Dare to put your confidence in Him in a hopeless situation. Then you will be honouring God, bringing joy to His heart and magnifying His name in the sight of others. This in turn will enrich your life and make you happy, and the miracles you experience will strengthen your faith.

Sources:, Today’s WritingRefined in the Fire,*

*official website of The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary with 365 quotations as daily readings