The Prayer of a Seventeen Year Old Quaker Girl

Oh my Father! stretch out your all powerful arm in mercy and free me from the bonds of sin and death which hold me fast! You see that I am tired of trying to be good, that I don’t really try to resist the temptations of the evil one with all my might. And you know that my whole nature rebels against following you and serving you. But, oh Father! strengthen my feeble knees, put a new and holy faith in my heart and bring down my haughty nature to the very dust. You are my only refuge; therefore, listen, I pray you, to my prayer.
I am haughty and full of pride. I shrink from the suffering which I know is waiting for me. I look almost with disgust on the narrow, narrow path which I see lying out before me. I feel that I can never consent to become nothing for your name’s sake. But you, Oh Lord! are able to drive away all pride from every heart. Oh won’t you purify and wholly sanctify my heart and make me willing to become the very least of your servants that you may have all the glory and honor and praise for ever and ever world without end!
—Journal, 1849
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Are you “BUSY”?

Satan called his team for a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches, let them have their conservative lifestyles.

“But steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day! How shall we do this shouted the angels? ‘Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,’ he answered. ‘Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 – 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.’

“Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.

Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause. It will work! It will work!”

This Christmas season let’s not forget the essential: enjoying family and friends, but let’s focus on the essential meditating on what God did 2000 years ago.

1 John 3:16 (NLT)
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.

Catch! Live! Impart!

 

Want to change your world for Christ? Then consider this:

CATCH the passion for God and the knowledge of the Holy from extended time alone with Him, or from people who are infected with Jesus Christ. Get around those who are impassioned with being used of God to make a difference in this tired world. Keep in mind that “it is easier to cool down a fanatic than to liven up a corpse.”

You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)

LIVE — Prayerfully delve into the Scriptures with the anticipation and trust of a child at Christmas time. Dare to unconditionally live out the truth God reveals to you from His Word. Respond sensitively to the conviction and leading of the Spirit. Claim and appropriate God’s promises to release you from life’s bondages: The fear of man, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, the desire to impress others; a wounded or embittered spirit; the ruts, the familiar, the safe… perhaps even the traditional. (James 1:22; Romans 8:14; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 8:2; Psalm 34:4; Proverbs 29:25; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 15:8, 9)

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you freeIf the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31b, 32, 36b)

Allow the Spirit to lead you into areas that demand trust and stretching. Be prepared to be surprised by the goodness of God upon your life. That is because God loves to bless those who dare to take Him seriously! (Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Samuel 3:9; Psalm 30:5)

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… ” (2 Chronicles 16:9b)

IMPART — As Biblical truth becomes living reality, pass it on to others. That is fish for men. Engage and infect people’s lives with yours. Take it a step further by making a sustained investment of your life into theirs. Embrace missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s impassioned heart-cry, “Lord, make my life a crossroad in the life of everyone I encounter.” (Matthew 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 16:14)

QUESTION: Today, is your life “business as usual,” or is there a fire burning in your soul? If the fire is flickering close to extinction, ask yourself what root issues need to be reexamined? What changes need to be made? Jesus’ word of encouragement may be timely:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matthew 12:20a)

 

The Next Time You Are Down In The Dumps

The last few days were rather gray days in my mind, I felt like I was down in the valley. On the outside, everything seemed fine to others, but I knew another reality. Then this delightful meditation came along. Hope it will benefit some else and brighten your day.


Struggling with your worth as a person…

Or despairing of life…

Or nursing your wounds over being hurt, shunned, or put down,

Do a reality check as to just who you are in the eyes of God:

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS LOVED YOU – FROM ALL ETERNITY:

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3b) (See Psalm 103:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:18)

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS PLANNED TO CHOSE YOU FOR HIMSELF:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) (See 1 Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 7:6, 7; 14:2)

  • GOD THOUGHT ENOUGH OF YOU TO SPILL HIS SON’S BLOOD TO RESCUE YOU:

You were redeemed from the empty way of lifewith the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18b, 19) (See Psalm 74:2; Hebrews 9:12-14)

  • GOD CONSIDERS YOU HIS SOLE POSSESSION:

(He) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14) (See Acts 15:14; Deuteronomy 4:20; 14:2)

  • GOD HAS INVITED YOU INTO HIS FAMILY TO BE A JOINT-HEIR WITH HIS SON, JESUS:

We areheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17b) (See Luke 12:32; Galatians 3:29; 4:7)

So take heart, my fellow struggler – and heir. True, “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) But take comfort in knowing that Jesus is returning to take you with Him:

They will see the Son of Man comingwith power and great glory. When these things begin to take placelift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27b, 28)

By Dwight Hill, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

Intimacy And Immediacy

INTIMACY – Cultivating the practice of moment-by-moment communion with Christ.  Sensitivity to His prompting, sensitivity to sin, dependency upon Him in the littlest of things, humility, gentleness, perhaps even brokenness.

I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – Phillips)

IMMEDIACY – The antennas are up, aware, utilizing every opportunity to lovingly and graciously share the love of Christ with others. Reflective indeed of Paul’s mind-set:

So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, (evangelism) and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, (discipleship) so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Colossians 1:28, 29 – Phillips)

Perhaps their motto is: “if not you – who? If not now – When?”

Notice the guidelines Paul gives, derived from Colossians 4:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26:

  • Wise. Clever and skilled.
  • Utilizing every opportunity. Immediacy.
  • Gracious: Gentle, meek, humble, mild. Patient, enduring evil or ill-will.
  • Salty: Pointed; not insipid; “an edge of liveliness” (Knox Translation)
  • Correcting: Chastening, educating, teaching and training.
  • Not quarrelsome: Not disputing or striving.

SUGGESTION: Can you take a moment and ask God, “Lord, if I am not walking intimately with you, why? And if I lack a sense of immediacy in getting the Gospel to others, why?

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.