Thank God For The Hammers And Axes

romans-8-28“If you should get up some morning and hear men on your house tearing off the tiles and taking down the roof with hammers and axes, you might think a gang of vicious enemies had come to destroy your home. But as soon as you understand that these workmen have been sent by your father to mend your house, you gladly endure the noise and trouble. Indeed, you thank your father for his care and expense. The very hope of the advantage that will come from the repairs makes you willing to dwell awhile in the inconvenient rubble of the old house.

“The promise [in Romans 8:28] assures the believer that the Heavenly Father intends no harm, only good, as He rebuilds the ruined frame of your soul into a glorious temple. And afflictions have a hand in the work. This insight frees you to pray, ‘Lord, cut and shape me however You will, that at last I may be framed according to the pattern which Your love has drawn for me!’” —William Gurnall (emphasis added)

10 Quotes From “Shaken”

shakenTim Tebow explores what happens when your nice, neat world is shaken by the unexpected. It’s a phenomenally encouraging book! Check out my book review by clicking here. Then enjoy these quotes from Shaken.

“Sure, God loves the world, but He also loves each one of us individually. With billions of people on the planet, I know it can be hard to comprehend His love for us personally. God is infinite and focuses all of His love on you and me. He can’t spread Himself too thin. He cannot exhaust Himself. He cannot overextend Himself. And so every single person on the planet is the object of His love.”

“God can do a lot with what we think is a little. He can take something that can be described as ‘insignificant’ or ‘not enough’ or ‘small’ or ‘meaningless’ and use it to perform a miracle.”

“There will always be people in your life who will underestimate your potential, saying that you’ll never reach your dream or make that goal, or try to hold you back in some way. … Here’s the good news. What God knows about us is more important than what others think.”

“Being normal is safe. And easy. It doesn’t require much work or effort or change on our part. But it always leads to mediocrity. When we strive to be just like everyone else, we never have a chance to be special. When you start to embrace and even celebrate how special and different God made you, you can begin to do extraordinary things. You can begin to see yourself through His eyes. You can begin to live in the uniqueness with which you were created. You can be motivated and inspired to go against the grain. What does that mean? When everyone around you is picking on someone, stand up for that person. When everyone around you is using foul language, say kind things. When you see injustice and everyone else turns a blind eye, try to make it right.”

“Don’t get beat down by the stares, whispers, or obnoxious opinions of others who points out how different you are, look, or act. They don’t know God’s plan for your life. They don’t know how God can use what they may view as a weakness. If you focus on how much you hate those scars or those burns, you might missed the opportunity to encourage or inspire someone else who is going through a similar journey. … When you begin to accept how God purposely created you, you can begin to appreciate your uniqueness and allow Him to use those gifts.”

“While self-confidence is important and we should believe we can achieve great things, there must be a balance. We must be proud of our accomplishments without letting them define us.”

“When is the last time you did something different? Something beyond your comfort zone? Something that wasn’t familiar but could do a world of good in the life of another? When you stay put in your comfort zone, you don’t grow. You don’t stretch. You’re not challenged. You stay the same.”

“The stand you take may not be the biggest deal to the entire world, but it can be a big deal for one person. … A stand doesn’t always mean doing something radical. Sometimes God will use something you’ve always done in a way that’s bigger than you can imagine. Sometimes He’ll use something He puts on your heart, or maybe He’ll use your convictions, your search for the truth, your desire to do the right thing for a greater purpose.”

“We don’t have to feel led into full-time ministry before we can help the homeless or share a message of hope to someone who may need it. The only qualification necessary is willingness. I know not everyone has the opportunity to visit hospitals or prisons or make wishes come true. But there is always something you can do, even when you’re in a busy season in life. Give someone a hug. Send a text with an inspiring quote. Mail someone a heartfelt card. Donate blood. Tell someone how much you appreciate him or her. If we open our eyes, each day presents us with opportunities to do something kind or nice for someone else.”

“Don’t limit what God can do based on how you limit yourself. Be you, and let God be God.”

Horatius Bonar On The Last Days

Horatius Bonar“Evil has not diminished; the human heart has not improved; sin has not been dried up; evil men and seducers wax worse and worse; and the last days are the worst. Errors multiply; infidelity is leavening society, and working its way into the Church of God. The Bible is assailed; the gospel is denied; the Cross is ridiculed; the blood is repudiated; the authority of Christ—Prophet, Priest, and King—is disowned. satan, too, still works death still triumphs; pain and disease are still at large, working woe and havoc in God’s creation. Does not this look like weakness? Does it seem as if evil had got the upper hand entirely? Yet, in spite of all these strange phenomena in Christ’s own history and that of His Church, the apostle declares, ‘He is not weak;’ He is not weak in Himself; He is not weak to us. Whatever may be the cause of these anomalies, it is not weakness, and never has been so. The weakness is only in appearance; and even that appearance is but temporary.

“Yes, says the apostle, He is mighty. Whatever appearances may say; whatever we might be tempted to infer from the power of the world and the weakness of the church; from the prevalence of evil and the scantiness of good; from the depression of His friends, and the elevation of His enemies—He is mighty—mighty in Himself, and in all things pertaining to Him. His Word is mighty; His gospel is mighty; His purposes are mighty; the arm with which He wields the world’s scepter, and holds satan’s bridle, is mighty. He is mighty over the world, and in the world; mighty over the church and in the church, and in behalf of the church; so mighty, that no weapon forged against her, or against one saint, shall prosper; so mighty, that she is entirely safe—secure in the midst of danger, and wiles, and power. All His strength is ours; it belongs to the Church; it belongs also to each member of His body. We are strong in the Lord.” —Horatius Bonar, in Light And Truth: Revelation

Is The Bible Outdated?

A.W. Tozer“Today’s world was entirely unimaginable to the people of those times [those living in Christ’s day]. Have these changes forced God to modify His plans for His church and for mankind? Here is where we have fallen by the wayside. Here is where we need a reformation, a purgation, a removal of the faults, and the restoration again of the faith of Christians to believe in the truth. … ‘Do you think God has been forced to change His mind?’ I do not think anybody would quite have the courage to say yes. Nevertheless, they do say it little by little until they have brainwashed their people. In effect, they say that the Bible must be interpreted in the light of new developments. A Book that was written in the day when people rode donkeys must be reinterpreted to mesh with contemporary society. They say that the prophets and apostles mistook what God intended to do. The Bible is outdated and largely irrelevant. … I challenge the idea that we are any further advanced than they were in the days of Jesus. If we are so advanced, then I want to ask some questions. Why do we kill thousands of human beings each year with automobiles? Because we ride automobiles instead of donkeys, we are advanced? If we are so advanced in our day, why are the penitentiaries packed full and the mental hospitals crowded? If we are so advanced, why is the whole world a powder keg? If we are so advanced, how is it that we have weapons that can annihilate the world? If we are so advanced, why is it that people cannot walk alone in the parks anymore? Why is it that workers who get out at midnight never walk home alone anymore? Why is it in this advanced age that drugs, violence, abortion, and divorce are soaring?

“We have been brainwashed to believe that we cannot read the Bible as we used to. We must now read it through glasses colored by change. We have been hypnotized by the serpent, the devil, into believing that we no longer have a trustworthy Bible.

“Has God changed? Are we going to accept it? Is there a change in the purpose of God? Have the changes in human society startled or shocked God? … We believe that God Almighty has not changed and that Jesus Christ is the same. He is victorious, and we do not have to apologize for Him. We do not have to modify, adjust, edit, or amend. He stands as the glorious Lord, and nobody needs to apologize for Him.” —A.W. Tozer

Poetry Saturday—My Heart Is Still

psalm-46-10I longed to walk along an easy road,
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God;
But Jesus said, “My time has not yet come.” 

I longed to sow the seed in other soil,
To be unfettered in the work, and free,
To join with other laborers in their toil;
But Jesus said, “’Tis not My choice for thee.” 

I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame,
That I might win them; but the Master said,
“I have not called thee, publish here My name.” 

I longed to fight the battles of my King,
Lift high His standards in the thickest strife;
But my great Captain bade me wait and sing
Songs of His conquests in my quiet life. 

I longed to leave the uncongenial sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus bade me guard one lonely gate.

I longed to leave the round of daily toil,
Where no one seemed to understand or care;
But Jesus said, “I choose for thee this soil,
That thou might’st raise for Me some blossoms rare.” 

And now I have no longing but to do
At home, or else afar, His blessed will,
To work amid the many or the few;
Thus, “choosing not to choose,” my heart is still. —Anonymous

Thursdays With Oswald—Are You Self-Made Or God-Made?

Oswald ChambersThis 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.

Are You Self-Made Or God-Made?

     It is possible to be perfectly real to ourselves but not real to God; that is not reality. It is possible to be perfectly real to ourselves and real to other people, but not real in our relationship to God; that is not reality. The only reality is being in harmony with ourselves and other people and God. That is the one great reality towards which God is working, and towards which we are working as we obey Him. … 

     The critical moment in a man or woman’s life is when they realize they are individually separate from other people. When I realize I am separate from everyone else, the danger is that I think I am different from everyone else. Immediately I think that, I become a law to myself; that means I excuse everything I do, but nothing anyone else does. ‘My temptations are peculiar,’ I say; ‘my setting is very strange; no one knows but myself the peculiar forces that are in me.’ … This sense that I know what other people do not know, that I have a special intuition that tells me things, is even more dangerous than the sense of individualism because it leads to spiritual deception in a religious nature and to hard intellectual conceit in a natural nature. … 

     Self-realization naturally cares nothing about God, it does not care whether Jesus lived or died or did anything at all. For ourselves we live and for ourselves we die; that is self-realization that leads to death and despair; it is absolutely and radically opposed to Christ-realization. True self-realization is exhibited in the life of Our Lord, perfect harmony with God and a perfect understanding of man; and He prays “that they may be one, even as We are one.” … 

     God’s purpose is to make us real, that is, to make us perfectly at one with all our own powers and perfectly at one with God, no longer children but understanding in our heads as well as in our hearts the meaning of the Redemption, and slowly maturing until we are a recommendation to the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers says we have a choice: Will we try to be a self-made man or woman, OR will we allow the Holy Spirit to make us a God-made man or woman? Only the second option puts us in touch with ourselves, others, and God.

Poetry Saturday—Is It Raining?

FullSizeRender 12Is it raining, little flower?
     Be glad of rain;
Too much sun would wither one;
     It will shine again.
The clouds are very dark, it’s true;
But just behind them shines the blue.

Are you weary, tender heart?
     Be glad of pain:
In sorrow, sweetest virtues grow,
     As flowers in rain.
God watches, and you will have sun,
When clouds their perfect work have done. —Lucy Larcom
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