Poetry Saturday—Diary Of An Old Soul

Lord, I have fallen again—a human clod!
Selfish I was, and heedless to offend;
Stood on my rights. Thy own child would not send
Away his shreds of nothing for the whole God! 
Wretched, to Thee Who savest, low I bend:
Give me the power to let my rag-rights go
In the great wind that from Thy gulf doth blow. 

Keep me from wrath, let it seem ever so right:
My wrath will never work Thy righteousness.
Up, up the hill, to the whiter than snow-shine,
Help me to climb, and dwell in pardon’s light.
I must be pure as Thou, or ever less
Than the design of me—therefore incline
My heart to take men’s wrongs as Thou tak’st mine. —George MacDonald
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How To Respond To Bad Pastors

God has ordained that His leaders oversee and administer His ministry. But problems arise in the church when humans change the “His” to “my.”

I read a statistic that 75% of people who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of a problem with their boss. In other words, 3-out-of-4 people didn’t quit their job, they quit their boss. In my personal experience this is equally as true in the church world—Most people don’t quit their church, they quit a bad pastor.

Sadly, those who do quit their church usually do so the wrong way. As a result they become either de-churched (they don’t attend anywhere), or cynical in the next church they do attend.

Who is a bad pastor?

  • One who is no longer effective because he is stuck in an old way of doing things
  • One who is theologically off
  • One who is unwilling to admit an error, ask forgiveness, and make amends
  • One who uses his position to build his kingdom instead of God’s kingdom

We have a great example of how to handle a bad spiritual leader in the story of David and Saul (see 1 Samuel 24). David had done nothing wrong, yet Saul was trying to kill him. At one point David’s men urged David to take matters into his own hands, and he almost did. He got close enough to Saul to cut off a corner of his robe, but quickly discovered that was too close. Immediately after doing so David was conscience-stricken!

Then look how David responded:

  • David rebuked his men as he reminded them that Saul was their “master” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
  • David “bowed down and prostrated himself” before Saul as he apologized.
  • David called him his “master,” “father,” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
  • David said he would leave the matter in God’s hands, allowing God to “judge between you and me.”
  • And twice David declared, “My hand will not touch you!”

This humble reply got Saul’s attention. Saul wept as he said, “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.” Saul then asked David to be kind to his descendants.

Then this conclusion—David gave Saul his oath, and then went away to a safe place.

The New Testament captures these same ideas for today’s Christians. We are told not to lightly entertain an accusation against spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 5:19), but to submit and obey to biblically-correct leaders (Hebrews 13:17).

The Bible gives us only two options for dealing with spiritual leaders…

SUBMIT & OBEY or WALK AWAY

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Responding in an unscriptural way to an unscriptural pastor’s way is just as wrong as what the pastor was doing wrong in the first place!

So give the bad pastor your oath that you will not lay a hand (or a word!) on them, and then remove yourself to a safe place. Submit and obey, or walk away and leave them in God’s capable hands.

11 Quotes From Important Islam Booklets

I recently read four very insightful booklets on how Christians can best prepare themselves to share their faith in Jesus with their Muslim neighbors. You can read my complete review of these booklets by clicking here. Below are just a few quotes that caught my attention.

“‘America’s mosques are loaded with people who grew up in church’ [says Carl Ellis]. Ellis says that many converts to Islam are African-American males who see traditional churches as male unfriendly and as failing to address their real needs.”

“God is bringing thousands of Muslim immigrants to our shores every year. These people are coming from Islamic nations where they could not be evangelized before. Yet here in America, they are free to listen and respond to the Gospel. In this ‘land of the free’ they do not have to fear horrible consequences if they believe the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

“Our hearts should be increasingly burdened not only by the enormous spiritual need of the 1.4 billion Muslims, but also by the apathy of the missionary movement towards them. …  Instead of being evangelized, Muslims are evangelizing. …

“It is reported that Muslims are counting on Europe, the birthplace of the Reformation and the modern missionary movement, to become completely Islamic within the next few decades. In England more than 300 closed churches have been converted into mosques. … Muslims are now a majority in 44 countries of the world.”

“When you are discussing the Bible with the Muslim, it is important that you read the Bible verses in context. The Muslim has developed an intricate system of ‘abrogation’ or substitution of one verse for another, due to the random way the Qur’an is written. He will have a tendency to try to find verses in the Bible that ‘contradict’ each other. Anyone witnessing to a Muslim must know the Scriptures thoroughly and be able to lead the Muslim to understand the meaning of passages in relation to the setting in which they are found.”

“The Muslim will be impressed with a Christian’s words only if he experiences genuine friendship from the Christian and sees him living a consistent moral life. A Christian’s lifestyle must match his testimony.”

“It is better to win the Muslim as a friend than to win an argument and lose his friendship.”

“Christians should be aware that Muslims are people who seek after God!”

“Here, surely, is a key to witnessing to Muslims, both in the United States and around the world: Love them as Jesus loves us. … You must give your SELF to your Muslim friend—not just the gospel!”

“A cardinal rule is: Never become involved in arguments—especially theological ones! Nominal and even irreligious Muslims often become fanatical advocates of their faith when pushed by argument. The truth is: We have argued and debated for hundreds of years without success. Let us now become witnesses—not debaters!”

“No religion on the face of the earth deals with forgiveness of sins except Christianity. … The concept of God as a loving Heavenly Father is completely foreign to a Muslim. … Show him from the Bible how God has provided a way whereby all sins can be forgiven, and every trace of guilt can be completely removed. This is a very powerful tool in witnessing.”

“One way the power of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated is through physical healing. If your Muslim friend or a member of his family is sick, offer to go and pray for him. He will deeply appreciate your concern, and when the person is healed, this demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power will be convincing—often the key to his accepting Christ as Savior and Lord.” 

Some other helpful resources on this topic are two books from Nabeel Qureshi: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad. Also, check out Praying For Muslims.

God Takes Care Of You

“When God pardoned you He gave you His Son. And ‘how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). When a father gives his son the whole orchard, it is absurd for the child to ask for one apple. …

“On the other hand, a wise father may bequeath a huge estate to his child—but not let him control anymore of this inheritance than he can manage properly. In the same way, God gives believers a right to all the comforts of life, but His infinite wisdom proportions out smaller amounts for their actual use according to the needs of each soul. Thus if you should have much less than someone else, this does not mean God loves that person more, but that He cares enough to supply according to your ability to profitably use.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

15 Quotes From “Run Today’s Race”

Oswald Chambers mastered the art of stimulating deep thinking and introspection with just a few short statements. Run Today’s Race is designed to be read each day for a full year. Trust me, the short seed thoughts you read each morning will keep you thinking all day long. Check out my full book review by clicking here.

“It is a great moment when we realize we have the power to trample on certain moods, a tremendous emancipation to get rid of every kind of self-consciousness and heed only one thing: the relationship between God and myself.”

“It is easy to turn our religious life into a cathedral for beautiful memories, but there are feet to be washed, hard flints to be walked over, people to be fed. Very few of us go there, but that is the way the Son of God went.”

“Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says—‘Every one that asketh receiveth.’”

“There is only one purpose for your life, and that is the satisfaction of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“If there is the tiniest grudge in your mind against any one, from that second, your spiritual penetration into the knowledge of God stops.”

“We have judged our fellow men as sinners. If God should judge us like that we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvelous Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

“God delights to put me in a place where He can make me wealthy. ‘Follow Me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.’”

“The more complicated the actual conditions are, the more delightfully joyful it is to see God open up His way through.”

“When we try to reserve our strength it works out in weariness. Spend to the hilt all we have got and God’s recreating power is greater than all the expended power.”

“My personal life may be crowded with small, petty incidents altogether unnoticeable and mean [commonplace], but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God and when I stand and face to face with God I shall discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.”

“Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”

“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”

“As long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor until he does. The mainspring of [the Apostle] Paul’s service is not love for men but love for Jesus Christ.”

“As long as the devil can keep us terrified of thinking, he will always limit the work of God in our souls.”

“By prayer and Bible reading and meditation, the drab life (drab externally) has glorious holiday hours with God in which the soul is restored even in the valley of deep darkness.” 

More quotes coming soon, so stay tuned.

Thursdays With Oswald—Miracle Of Grace

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Miracle Of Grace 

   The miracle of the grace of God is that He can make the past as though it had never been.

From Run Today’s Race

Run Today’s Race contains short statements from Oswald Chambers intended to stimulate Christians to ponder things like:

  • Do I realize how much God’s grace is an undeserved miracle given to me?
  • Am I being held hostage by my past mistakes, or am I allowing grace to forgive and forget those mistakes?
  • Do I extend the same grace to others that God extends to me?

10 Quotes From “#Truth”

Josh McDowell has a book that is perfect for this generation of youth. #Truth is a 365-day devotional that brings biblical truth to bear on the issues today’s students face every day. You can check out my full book review of #Truth by clicking here. Below are a handful of quotes that caught my attention.

“All healthy relationships require a willingness to be known and have things pointed out so that all offenses can be addressed.”

“If a person is unwilling to forgive others, it’s a clear sign he or she hasn’t really experienced God’s mercy and grace. When people refuse to forgive those who wronged them, God knows that any confession of their own sins is less than genuine and sincere. How could anyone who truly experiences God’s amazing grace of forgiveness not also give mercy and grace to others?”

“Jesus died and rose again so that you could be set free from sin and death and enjoy the benefits of spiritual freedom. That freedom is not a license to live however you want to live, but to live as God meant you to live.” 

“Don’t believe the lie that you are alone and no one cares. Since Christ sees you as a member of His body, accept this as your new reality and realize that you are always wanted and very much needed.”

“Jesus too had a totally different view of this world than those around Him. … Because you have accepted Jesus as the Truth and follow Him, you too see the world differently. You see the world through a spiritual lens that makes you sort of like an alien.”

“Jesus’ Kingdom message is a whole new way to see God, yourself, life, and relationships. It is a view of the world defined by Jesus and His Word. … Loving God and making Him the first priority in your life develops a Kingdom mindset that brings everything into perspective—love God and those around you as you love yourself [Matthew 22:37-39].”

“This life is short in comparison to eternity, and God wants your thoughts to include Him and make His Kingdom a priority in your life. … Letting heaven fill your thoughts is about keeping Jesus first in your life.”

“Only those who have been made alive to God and have His Spirit can listen and understand the spiritual insights of Scripture.”

“When you read from the Bible you are reading God’s words as if He were writing them for you. … Scripture is a supernatural book that has come from God Himself.”

“Jesus felt misunderstood. He spent years telling His followers who He was and why He came to earth. ‘But they didn’t understand any of this…and they failed to grasp what He was talking about’ (Luke 18:34). Because Jesus faced misunderstanding He is able to identify with your hurt and give you the help you need when you need it.”

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