..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mysteries of the Abandoned Life

"It is the nature of abandonment always
to lead a mysterious life, and to receive
great and miraculous gifts from God by
means of the most ordinary things, things
that may be natural, accidental, or
that seem to happen by chance, and in which
there seems no other agency than the ordinary
course of the ways of the world, or of the
(Jean-Pierre de Caussade, "Abandonment to Divine

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Devotions From the Heart: Forgiving One Another

by Derek Gitsham

"And blessed is he whosoever shall not be
offended in Me." Luke 7:23

The Lord’s teachings on forgiveness in the
New Testament are the strongest statements
ever recorded on the matter. They leave the
saint in no doubt that much is required of him
if he is to follow the Lord completely and utterly.
The challenges that the saint wiill face on this
matter of forgiveness will, in and of themselves,
be that which molds his life to the Jesus life
more than any other.

There is much resistance in the natural heart,
the heart born in corruption, towards forgivness.
Many are the injustices done to the saint in his
life time: all of them must be completely forgiven
if he is to go on. The Lord, in His ministry,
kept the subject of forgiveness before the disciples.
It was important that they did not get caught in the
trap of offence, which would hinder them in their
walk with God.

John, in his first Epistle, records that ‘He that
loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there
is no occasion of stumbling in him.’ The phrase
occasion of stumbling means scandal or offense.
In other words there is no desire in him to betray
or speak evil of his brother.

Everything goes back to this one thing, whether we
love our brother, and abide in the light. If we love
our brother we will want to forgive him and not hold
anything against him. This is what is meant by abiding
in the light. There are dire consequences for the saint
if he allows himself to remain unforgiving towards his
brother. So much so that he becomes blinded by
darkness and cannot see where he is going because
the darkness of unforgiveness has blinded his eyes
(I John 2:10-11).

Not forgiving someone is another form of standing up
for your own right, and trying to justify yourself in
your own eyes. By not forgiving someone I feel right
in doing so because of the wrong they have done. This
plague of our hearts must be arrested quickly, and our
self rights laid on the altar, lest we become embroiled
in the poison and bitterness that will accompany
unforgivenss. Jesus’ words to forgive are a command.
We have no choice, to fail to do so will cost us dearly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amy Carmichael on Wanting to Be Used by God

If I crave hungrily to be used to
show the way of liberty to a soul in
bondage, instead of caring only that it be
delivered; if I nurse my disappointment
when I fail, instead of asking that to
another the word of release may be given,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK,
1961, p. 52
See the book at http://cqod.com/r/rs115

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Relentless Hope of the Prophet

Prophetic speech, finally, is not an act
of criticism. It is rather an act of
relentless hope that refuses to despair
and that refuses to believe that the world
is closed off in patterns of exploitation
and oppression.

It stands against a closed present tense
that is either excessively complacent about
social relations or excessively despairing
about an unbearable present tense. This speech
knows that such closed-off life inevitably
produces brutality, the child of despair,
either out of strident control or out of
hopelessness. It dares to assert in any
and every circumstance the conviction
known since Abraham and Sarah and Moses
and Aaron, namely, that there is a God
who can and will make all things new,
even in the face of our most closed-down,
self-satisfied present tense.

This is what the text means when it asserts
that God works an impossibility in order that
“all the earth may know that there is a God
in Israel” (1 Sam. 17:46).

"Like Fire in the Bones"
Walter Brueggemann

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Holiness and Revival

Holiness can never be separated from
revival. If some kind of spiritual
experience in an individual, or among
a community, has the label revival pinned
to it, we should always look at the lives
of the Christians and the new converts.

Are they a holy people who fear only God
and sin, and who allow God’s Word to rule
their lives? If not, then we are not looking
at revival.

--from Conviction Of Sin And A Revival Of Holiness,
By Brian H. Edwards

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Disappointment with God: When Your Nest Falls

It has been a rainy few months in New England.
Seems like it rains almost every day. Each
morning I listen for the songs of the birds
that live in our yard. I know most of the
robins. You see, our family has a kind of
affinity with animals. Robins have lived
in our yard for decades. They are nearly
tame ones.

Many years ago, my mother saved a robin
who had come north from her
winter migration much too early. One
of those early spring snowstorms hit
and, my kindly mother, seeing the
hungry robin huddled in the back yard,
threw out some raisin bread for it.

The bird never forgot the kindness and
became sort of a family member. She learned to
trust us, and when she wanted
raisins she would sit on the clothes
line by our kitchen window and
peer steadily and impatiently
into the house. She would almost
eat out of our hands. She taught
her young that we were safe. And
they taught their young, on and on.

So the robins in our yards tend
to feel safe and tend to stick
around. This spring one nesting
season has already gone successfully
by despite that fact that the robin
youngster was not the brightest
bulb in robin-land.

A few days ago the mother robin
started to build another nest.
I heard a noise in the eaves and
looked out the window to see
that she had picked a spot
under the roof overhang and
on top of the downspout to build
her nest.

Really, all things being equal,
it was a good choice:protected
from rain, high off the ground,
and near the food supply.
But all things were not equal.
There was something she didn't
know. I had removed the downspout
pipe to try to clean a clog
from my window rather than
dragging out the 24 foot ladder.
I was able to clean out the clog
but was not able to get the
downspout securely back
into its position. When
it rained hard, it often fell out.

My heart sank as I saw her
happily and busily building
her new nest in this most
precarious place. It looked
secure, but it wasn't.
All day she worked. I half-
heartedly tried to warn her
away, but she was on a mission
and payed me no mind.

I kept thinking about that
nest and imagining her and
her babies plummeting to the
ground. My heart was sad.

Yesterday, we had another
downpour. Serious, heavy
rain. To my relief, I heard
the nest fall to the ground
along with the downspout.

I felt sad but happy!
That storm had really
saved her and her babies
to come.

She came by this morning
just to check on the
nest. I was waiting for
her. She sat on her
familiar perch and looked.
Looked and looked puzzled.
She saw the downed nest.

She saw me looking at her.
I wondered if she thought
that I had wrecked her nest?
I wonder if she understood
that it was the rain?
I could see her disappointment.
But off she went to look
for another place to build.

I thought about this, and thought
about what it teaches us about
life. How often have we built
our nest on something that we
thought looked secure, in
a place that delighted us,
and seemed safe, but was
precariously perched on something
that would give way in the
first storm?

Jesus warned us not to build
our house on the sand but to
build on rock, on a sure foundation.
This story can be translated
into the avian version of that

When that nest fell, it was
actually a blessing. There
were no eggs or little birds
in it yet. No real harm was
done. Just disappointment
and a few hours work.

God's grace was at work,
but did the bird understand?
Did she see me as God and
blame me for its fall?
Did she think that I
knocked it down to
be mean? Did she know
that the rain knocked
it down? Was she thankful
that the eggs were not
in it yet?

How often are we saved
from disaster but can
only see the downed nest
in our situation? We
blame God and accuse Him
of not protecting us, when
He is protecting us from
dangers we do not know of and
problems we cannot see.

How often do we get
comfortable in a situation,
with our nest built,
only to be pushed out
to another location?

Beloved ones, let us see the
hand of God in all this.
Storms may knock our nests
down, but God holds us in
His hands. Sometimes the
storm is our salvation.
Always, God knows what will
happen. If we in our ignorance,
build in a untoward location,
God can still save us.
So let us not be disappointed
in Him, for He is most surely
for us.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Man That Truly Prays

A man that truly prays one prayer
shall after that never be able to
express with his mouth or pen
the unutterable desires, sense,
affection, and longing that went
to God in that prayer." --John Bunyan

On Revelation 5 & 6: John Beheld You Safe

Angels crying "Holy" all around.
Elders at the Lamb's feet falling down.
Ten million and untold thousands more,
casting down their crowns

Behold Him,
worthy to unseal the seven mysteries,
to open and to close the doors of history,

Watch the Worthy Rider wax victorious,
Nothing else could ever be that glorious,

Sons of men are melting as they see You,
Creation groaning, as its hope in Christ
is proved true.

Time becomes eternity,
O true believer, can't you see
it written here:
John beheld you safe
on that Great Day!

Yet, night soon comes and then
no one can work.
An Enemy waiting,
always on the lurk.

Hearts failing from the fear,
Hours, minutes, months or years?

None but God
know what time is left.

Men's awful date with hell
is ours to intercept

So snatch your neighbor's soul
from pending doom,
from empty, eternal horrifying gloom.

Labor in the fields of the Lord,
with sober, joyful hearts and love in one accord,

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord