Income Tax Season

On a tax forms there is a line for “other income.” Jesus said, ‘Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.’ Life’s best income is not tabulated on adding machines or kept in bank vaults. The good news is that tax collectors are unable to reach that “other income”. The real depressions are not the ones we read about when the stock market crashes. Most mortals live in depression all the time, bankrupt in spirit and destitute within. Most are unaware of their spiritual poverty. Even Christians and churches can, like Laodicea, be “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17), not knowing that they are poor, miserable, blind and naked.

A man really lives only in proportion to his “other income” of the spirit. Can you list any such non-taxable revenues? The goodness of God day by day, good health, the love of dear ones, liberty and life itself! But the best of all is the gift of God, eternal life through His Son and the earnest of the Spirit, the first down-payment of a heavenly income from then on, forever. Can you list that?

A man may draw a financial income for a while, but without revenue from above he will be a pauper in his soul. Do you have another income?

Extract from: Peace in the Valley, by Vance Havner

DISCOURAGMENT vs SELF-ABSORPTION

DISCOURAGMENT vs SELF-ABSORPTION

Let say a person involve in her Christian ministry come to you and say that he thinks he should take a Sabbatical from her ministry because feeling tired or unmotivated any longer.

What would be your answer? The natural answer would be, ‘yes, I understand, you been involved for many years, a little break would not hurt. Unfortunately, rarely did I saw these people getting involved again.

What would be a more Biblical way to answer them?

Lately, I was greatly encouraged by John Piper counsel. He wrote, “We find ourselves not energized for any great cause, but always thinking about the way to maximize our leisure and escape pressure.” The problem is not exhaustion cause by the work, but a person can gradually become so SELF-ABSORPTION that he doesn’t have any resources for God’s work. Isaiah 58: 10-11 mention when people focus on helping others they will be “like a well-watered garden”. Jesus also mentions “rivers of living water that will flow out of the individual life.” God has made us to flourish by being spent for others, not on ourselves. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Pipers add, “My point is that one of the causes of some people’s darkness is a slowly creeping self-absorption and small-mindedness.” [1]

Before you feel like taking a sabbatical take time to examine what motivate you.

[1] John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 227.

How to share the Gospel?

Here is an interesting article explaining how to share the Gospel.

How to Use the Wordless Book to Share the Gospel

Drawn to the Flame: Loving the Dangerous God

From son-in-law pen!

No Longer Be Children

I concluded my previous post with the following interpretation of Proverbs 9:10:

In this world, the most crucial, the most important, the most central, the most vital point to know is this: you must fear God. Why? Because He is dangerous.

Until you know that, you do not know anything in this strange new world of the Bible.

As I had been discussing in that post, this realization comes out of a greatly different view of God that I had been used to holding. It comes out of my long and difficult journey to really understand the Fear of the Lord – and I do not say that I have yet attained to it!

But as true and Biblical as the above statement is, I believe that it has the potential to really shake someone’s faith, and confuse them about God. “Exactly what sort of a God is this? Is…

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Be Patient

Years ago, coming back from a conference on Deeper Life & Prayer, I heard from the first time the song “The God of the mountain is also the God of the valley”. I loved it! Often life is like a ‘roller-coaster’ with Ups and Downs. This morning I came across this meditation from a rather old book, but I felt I should share because it might encourage someone. ‘In Tune with Heaven’ by Vance Havner is not a new nook, this devotion was written August 3, 1930.  Enjoy!

Those of us who have set out to live in the spirit have sometimes felt discouraged because our sense of the unseen rises and falls and does not maintain one regular, unbroken pitch. We are “sometimes up and sometimes down”; now we are upon the mountain of vision, then we drop into the valley of drabness; now we are high and lifted up, and then life grows insipid and dull.

None of us maintains the various Christian graces at one steady level. Peace and joy, courage and nobility, trust and purity—how we wish we could realize them with an even certainty and fullness all day and every day! But we do not; adverse moods, contrary circumstances, and diverting thought crash in upon us and our consciousness of the eternal is fluctuating and irregular.

There is, however, one Christian characteristic we all may know and hold steadily at all times. The Bible calls it “patient continuance.” It means following the Master in season and out, when you feel like and when you don’t, obeying the heavenly vision in sunshine and shadow, weal and woe until the race be run.

We gauge ourselves too much by how we feel. Exalted and inspired we imagine we are going well; if we are depressed or sluggish we think we have fallen from grace. But we may be doing a bigger work for God when we carry on and are loyal while we feel hateful and mean than when we preach great sermons or sing loudly in the ecstasy of high emotion. He that endures to the end is saved, and God values more the plodding soul who stays with it patiently day in and out than the excitable brother who indulges in occasional outbursts of rapture.

Some of the graces are of the mind, some of the feelings. Patient continuance is the grace of the will, and a vital and enduring Christian experience centers there. Our sense of faith, of hope, of peace, of joy may rise and fall. But we can patiently continue. When the day is dull, when God seems unreal and heaven far away, we can keep traveling, remembering Billy Sunday’s injunction: “Don’t throw away your ticket when you reach a tunnel—you’ll come out on the other side!”

The true disciple does not always feel blissful and victorious. He is not always deeply God-conscious, but he no more doubts God when moods dim His presence than he disbelieves in the sun when a cloud hides it. Nor does he study a great deal about that side of it. To measure his real condition by how he feels would be depending upon himself instead of God. He patiently continues.

Dark days come and go. Money is lost, goods are taken, health fades, friends forsake or die. Defeat, trouble, gloom, sorrow, weave into life their somber threads of black and gray. But he who has set his face toward the eternal knows that all that is incidental, not fundamental. He knows the sturdy patience of the will is greater than fine thoughts and high feelings. Instead of seeking mental and emotional delights he builds a rugged loyalty to the Christ that will endure when thoughts and feelings grow stupid and dull.

Enjoy the blessings of mind and emotion but make patient continuance central in your experience and all else marginal. Then if the margin be radiant with lofty vision and rapture—well and good; and when it grows pale or dark, the heart of your life still will be intact and enduring.

August 3, 1930

 

February Blues

Many of us spend our whole lives discontented with our everyday routine. We constantly are told to live ‘in the moment’; nevertheless it seems impossible, especially when this ache for more, for something that’s missing gnaws away at us. It’s a distraction, becoming nearly unbearable to ignore and live ordinarily. Our search for fulfillment isn’t to be found anywhere, not in alcohol or drugs or sex or impulse shopping or speed. And during these long months of winter, it becomes even worse; the ache cannot be forgotten, not even for a moment, driving some people mad. It seems that no cure can be found.

If you’ll allow a brief moment of ‘nerdiness’, we find this same longing in the dwarves, elves, hobbits, and men in Lord of the Rings. The dwarves sing a song of better days and glories past before the fall of their people. We see here their yearning hearts for something long lost, something missing. Yet even in their longing, the inhabitants of Middle-Earth have hope that a day is coming when what is missing will be restored.

We can certainly identify with their ‘yearning hearts’ and with the hope of regaining what was lost. C.S. Lewis explained: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So, as we can see, this discontentment is actually quite natural and I would go so far as to call it a gift, ingrained into us since the first sin. It is a reminder of the goodness we have never known but once existed and will someday be restored. This is the goodness of God that we rejected in our covetous appetite for rebellion. However, this rebellion will not always rule. Our world has been broken but it will not always be so. God’s goodness still rules and our hearts yearn for it. His goodness is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to break the everyday routine, He makes that ache disappear and becomes the moment we live in.

Author Ruth Elizabeth Gaucher