Slow Down!

I just came from two days away from home for business and visiting a good old friend. Much driving, stress driving in Toronto, sleeping away from home is never the same. This morning I am rather tired. During my Quiet Time this morning I came across a very timely devotion written by John G Butler. The title caught my attention “Slow Down”.

 

God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all – yourself – right now!

In a few minutes, I am having breakfast with a business executive who is experiencing recurring health problems (heart attack 5 years ago). Unabated work pressure, frequent travel, and little time for himself are taking their toll on his life. Perhaps slowing down is at least part of the solution. Six pointers:

  • Allow yourself some time to be lazy and unproductive. Rest isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.‘” (Mark 6:31)

  • Once in a while, turn down the lights and the volume. Turn down the throttle, and the invitations. Less really can be more.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet lifeBetter one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11a; Ecclesiastes 4:6)

  • Create a place in your home — At your work… in your heart… where you can go for quiet and recollection.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence foreverIn quietness and trust is your strength… ” (Isaiah 32:17; 30:15a)

  • Take time just to think — Action is good and necessary, but it’s fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.

Watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

Dont live carelessly, unthinkingly… ” (Ephesians 5:15, 17b – The Message)

  • Talk and play with children – It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.

Jesus said, ‘… Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes meLet the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:5, 14)

  • Take time to wonder — Without wonder, life is merely existence.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)

How Lasting Are Your Investments?

 

I normally try to be original, to write my own blog, but honestly, I am so touched by the writing of John G Butler that it seems a good idea to let you benefit as well. Money is always a sensitive topic, we think we always need a bit more in case of bad days. And there is wisdom in that way of thinking; yet, we also have to look at life with an eternal view. Here is what Butler have to say about investment.

As an old man, Solomon agonized over the futility of his investments:

When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sunSo I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to meA chasing after the wind… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17)

Do your investments parallel Solomon’s? Or are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity? If you want:

A one year return on your investment, plant grain.

A ten year return on your investment, plant a tree.

An eternal return on your investment, plant people.

It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass awayand the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Can we, therefore, grasp the fact that only God, His Word, and people are eternal?

God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (2 Peter 3:8) (See Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:21)

His Word: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) (See Psalm 119:152, 160; Matthew 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)

People: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (See Matthew 25:46; Romans 2:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)

Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.

QUESTIONS: As you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them? Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your predetermined schedule?

I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.

Discipleship

This is a very good meditation from John G Butler on Discipleship.

Several Resolutions For Those Who Are Serious About Their Calling


William Law (1686-1761 A. D.) in his classic work, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life” puts forth some thought-provoking ideas for the committed follower of Jesus Christ:

The devout… are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God. Such people consider God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.”

“[The Savior and His apostles] teach us:

To renounce the world and be different in our attitudes and ways of life (Ephesians 4:17-24)

To renounce all its goods (Luke 14:26-33; 18:22, 23; Philippians 3:7, 8)

To fear none of its evils… (Luke 12:32; John 14:1, 27; 16:33; Hebrews 13:5, 6))

To have no value for its happiness (Psalm 37:1, 2, 7; 73:2-20; Proverbs 3:31; 24:1)

To be as newborn babes who are born into a new state of things (1 Peter 2:2, 3)

To live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 1:15-17)

To take up our cross daily, to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23, 24; John 12:25, 26)

To profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3, 4)

To forsake the pride and vanity of riches… (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; Proverbs 23:4)

To live in the most profound state of humility (Jeremiah 45:5; Matthew 18:2-4; Romans 12:3, 16; Galatians 6:14)

To rejoice in worldly sufferings (Acts 5:41; Matthew 5:10-12)

To reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17; Colossians 3:1, 2)

To bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies… (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36; Romans12:14-21)

To give up our whole hearts and affections to God (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13; 1 John 5:2-4)

To strive to enter through the straight gate into a life of eternal glory.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

Prayerful Meditation on The Scriptures

I personally enjoy Prayerful meditation on the Scriptures. The rewards are very real. It’s a channel used by the Holy Spirit to teach us deep lesson. Dwight Hill in his book ‘Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals’. offer five suggestions.

  1. Meditation on the Scriptures should not be viewed as a method or system, but as an attitude: Faith, openness, reverence, expectation, and supplication.

This people draw near to me with their wordsbut they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for me consists of traditions learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13 nasb)

  1. Meditation can actually be quite difficult at times. Thus, we should not judge its value on how

Let me understand the teachings of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.” (Psalm 119:27)

  1. It is only if we have a heart fixed on obeying God without reservation that a little effort goes a long way. When we are resisting Him through disobedience or compromise, no amount of effort can produce the desired result.

I have more understandingfor I obey your precepts.” (Psalm 119:100)

  1. In our pride, we don’t want to be beginners. In truth, we will never be anything but beginners. Given the challenge in learning to effectively utilize meditation for spiritual growth, we would do well to recognize the need for a mature mentor.

Whatever you have learned or receivedfrom me, or seen in me – put into practice.” (Philippians 4:9)

  1. Often, what first seemed easy and rewarding suddenly becomes utterly impossible. We struggle with inner confusion, coldness, and lack of confidence. We find concentration difficult. Our imagination and emotions wander – or run wild. We often feel dry and desolate. Repugnant fantasies buried deep within us take over. We totally lose interest in spiritual matters.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I doFor what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15, 19)

So don’t give up, because God promises you that “the path of righteous people is like the light of dawn that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday...” (Proverbs 4:18) (GW)

 

 

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 does one learn to trust God?

How does one learn to trust God?
When a little child takes a walk with his dad, his small hand willingly slips into the larger hand being offered. The little boy’s hand is soft and tiny, perfectly formed, and holds the promise of a robust and skilled man. Does the child worry about the obstacles to overcome along the way? No; in fact due to his short stature, the child is not even aware of the upcoming curb or the busy roadway beyond. But Dad, seeing all from his higher viewpoint, grips his son’s hand tighter and merely lifts him over the curb.
The Christian life is like this child’s example.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” Coming to know and trust God happens the same way that we come to know another person deeply. Intimacy occurs when we spend extended time quietly conversing with another. As we sit and talk, we become comfortable and begin to describe what is really in our heart: our feelings, our desires, and the way we view things. And as we come closer together, we can almost predict what the other person is thinking before he says it. Similarly, when we love God wholly, making our heart’s focus Him alone, we become more and more willing to submit to Him for anything He plans. That willingness frees Him to bring people into our lives that He wants to love through us. God intensely wants this kind of relationship with each of us.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
“God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God” (Psalm 53:2).
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13).
This call to and promise of relationship was repeated by Jesus Christ:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14).
In his book “Experiencing God”, Henry Blackaby explained the process this way, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” “Stand there,” Blackaby wrote it is this quiet getting to know God, by prayer and His Word, that develops our relationship with Him, our trust of Him, and our usefulness for Him Continue reading

Moral Enthusiasm.

At what level would you evaluate your level of moral enthusiasm?

What words describe it best: “Inward fire” or “Chronic spiritual lassitude”? It has to fall between those two poles.  The Scripture says “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18). Tozer penned “When the Spirit presents Christ to our inner vision it has an exhilarating effect on the soul, much as wine has on the body.” A good New Testament illustration would be the two from Emmaus, after meeting the Lord Jesus they mention that they felt an “inward fire”.

Dante, on his imaginary journey through hell, came upon a group of lost souls who sighed and moaned continually as they whirled about aimlessly in the dusky air. Virgil, his guide, explained that these were the “wretched people,” the “nearly soulless,” who while they lived on earth had not moral energy enough to be either good or evil. They had earned neither praise nor blame. And with them and sharing in their punishment were those angels who would take sides neither with God nor Satan. The doom of all of the weak and irresolute crew was to be suspended forever between a hell that despised them and a heaven that would not receive their defiled presence. Not even their names were to be mentioned again in heaven or earth or hell. “Look,” said the guide, “and pass on.”[1]

Jesus told about the church of Laodicea: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot.” Let Him heat up your heart today! I need to add that Dante Divine Comedy is only a piece of literature, it is not inspire like the Bible. In Hebrews 9:27 God says that “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”


[1] Aiden Wilson Tozer, The Best of A.W. Tozer Book One (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007), 141.