Thursday, May 25, 2017
I think this is the most insightful little 'maxim' post I've seen. And I think it is the rarest journey in Christendom, because we are simply unaware and discount anything that we haven't experienced. Most stop at the wall, and it is many years before Christ leads us on, so we remain in the shallows of loving.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
"May we not safely say, there is no book of the Bible which has not some reference to trial, while many parts are full of reference to the subject. In the book of Psalms for example, out of one hundred and fifty Psalms, it is reckoned that in ninety of them there is some allusion made to suffering. There is no saint in the Bible, of whose history we have any lengthened record, who was not called to endure trouble in some form; and very frequently the most eminent saints were most tried. Those who were called to important services, were generally trained in the school of affliction.
Charles H. Spurgeon was criticized relentlessly in his beginnings. But his personal influence was very great and his genuine love for souls and his earnest piety is apparent in all his work. He built his great Metropolitan Tabernacle, personally collecting the funds for it. The same is true of his college and orphanage. He has written many books, edited a magazine, besides publishing more sermons than any living preacher, which are scattered in palace and cottage. It may encourage some of us to hear this wonderful man say, "The bane of my life is to keep myself steady at work. I often get discouraged, and think I should have done better at something else."
Saturday, May 13, 2017
"Without your wounds, where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering of this earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In loves service, only wounded soldiers can serve." Thornton Wilder.
Thursday, May 04, 2017
Three weeks ago I decided to preach on chastity and sexual purity. Now I will confess this is a challenging subject in our culture and in the jail it seems almost like an archaic subject, and I know going in, there are no virgin men or women there and so I have avoided it until now. Not entirely, but I haven't given a sermon on just that topic. Needless to say there were many questions, and it was a spirited night as I laid out God's best plans for a happy and lasting marriage, and how entering marriage as a virgin allows us bond to one person, and not be filled with memories of past lovers, bonds and affections, where we compare and have diluted our ability to bond to a single person.
One lady, in her forties, and what I would call a "rough cut;" to understate it, simply said, with a bewildered look, "Now you know none of us in here are virgins, so how is this relevant to us and what hope do we have?"
I sensed her hopelessness, but I also sensed the message of hope and new life bursting within me and I launched into the cleansing blood of Christ to make us new, and wash us from all sin and begin a new page, a white page, and in His eyes when we surrender and dedicate our sexuality to Him, we are seen as virgins in His eyes - call us, "recycled virgins."
One never knows how a message of complete surrender; loving God more than mother, father, husband or wife and losing our life for His sake, will go over, it is so extreme in our culture.
Fast-forward to last night, where I preached about how, "God made darkness his hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of water, thick clouds of the skies." And how God pierces the darkest night and enters that darkness in search of us.
After the service, the lady above: who had the questions about purity said to me, "I want that for my life, what you talked about, I want to be sexually pure, I want a life of beauty like you talked about."
I was taken back and began to clumsily encourage her to seek the Lord, when she stopped me and said she already had, and He is giving her so much hope; and how the church service she went to on Sunday, had a message, which was as though it was written just for her, and those bewildered eyes I saw a few weeks ago, were filled with light, and lips of testimony.
It makes me well up now as I am continually amazed at the love and power of Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, even darkness.
Friday, April 28, 2017
"It is confessed by the anxieties of many good minds, that are ashamed of the slow fires and faint light of their faith and love; that they can spur their will, more easily than kindle their affections; and wish they were called upon only to do, and not also to feel. They cast about the vaguest and vainest efforts after deeper impressions of things holy and sublime: they wonder at the apathy with which they dwell amid the infinitude of God: they convince themselves how untrue is the state of mind which treats the "seen and temporal" as if there were no "unseen and eternal;" they assure themselves how terrible must be the disorder of that soul, whose springs of pure emotion are thus locked in death. But with all this they cannot shame, or reason, or terrify themselves into any nobler glow: the avenues of intellect, and judgment, and fear, are not those by which a new feeling is permitted to visit and refresh the heart. The ice cannot thaw itself; but must ask the warmer gales of heaven to blow, and the sun aloft to send more piercing beams. There is nothing vainer or more hopeless than the direct struggles of the mind to transform its own affections, to change by a fiat of volition the order of its tastes, and the intensity of its love. Self-inspiration is a contradiction: and to suspend, by upheaving’s of the will, the force of habitual desire, is no less impossible than by writhing’s of the muscles, to annihilate our own weight."
The inner spirit of the mind, which all outward action should express, is not naturally inflexible and habitual: but rather, it drifts away from its old anchorages, and gets afloat upon new tides of thought; as experience deepens, existence ceases to be the same, and the proportions in which things lie within our affections are materially changed; as the ascent of time is made, life is seen from a higher point, and fresh fields of truth and duty spread before our view. Now Habit is conservative, but faith and feeling are progressive, and unless their mutual relation is constantly re-adjusted by meditation, they will cease to correspond, and will become miserably divergent. Bare moral principle, unless it holds something more divine, has but an unsafe tenure of the wisdom and strength of life." James Martineau.
Monday, April 24, 2017
"I say your words --- I could say other words of yours,
For none of all your words have been more lost than
sweet verbena, which, being brushed against, will hold you three hours after by the smell, In spite of long walks on the windy hill."
The influence of some people I know make such an influence on me, that I carry it in my soul for hours, sometimes days. This is one of the many graces of God's signature on a soul that inspires me to continue to know more of God and this penetrating love.