Poetry Saturday—The Praise Of God

FullSizeRenderSpeak, lips of mine! 
And tell abroad 
The praises of my God. 
Speak, stammering tongue! 
In gladdest tone, 
Make His high praises known. 
Speak, sea and earth! 
Heaven’s utmost star, 
Speak from your realms afar! 
Take up the note, 
And send it round 
Creation’s farthest bound. 
Speak, heaven of heavens! 
Wherein our God 
Has made His bright abode. 
Speak, angels, speak! 
In songs proclaim 
His everlasting name. 
Speak, son of dust! 
Thy flesh He took 
And heaven for thee forsook. 
Speak, child of death! 
Thy death He died, 
Bless thou the Crucified. —Horatius Bonar

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Religion Rotten?

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.

Is Your Religion Rotten?

      No man can redeem his own soul, or give himself a new heredity; that is the work of the sovereign grace of God. Man has nothing to do with Redemption, it is God’s “bit”; but God cannot give a man a good character, that is not God’s business, nor is it an inevitable thing. God will give us what we cannot give ourselves, a totally new heredity (see Luke 11:13). God will put the disposition of His Son, Holy Spirit, into any man who asks, then on that basis man has to work out a holy character. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you….” [Philippians 2:12]

      If your religion does not make you a better man, it is a rotten religion. The test of true religion is when it touches these four things—food, money, sex and mother earth. These things are the test of a right sane life with God, and the religion that ignores them or abuses them is not right. … A man needs to hold a right attitude to all these things by means of his personal relationship to God.

From Shade Of His Hand

God gives Christians a new heredity—a new way of looking at life through a relationship with Jesus Christ—by placing His Holy Spirit in us. That, as Chambers says, is God’s bit.

What we do with this new heredity—this new way of looking at life—is our bit.

So… how are you doing? Does your relationship with Jesus Christ help you handle food, money, sex and mother earth in God-honoring ways? Is the Holy Spirit able to correct your attitude so it aligns with the biblical viewpoint on these topics?

If you can answer “yes” to those questions, your religion is true. If not, Chambers says you have “a rotten religion.”

Kids In Jesus’ Day

the-bad-habits-of-jesus“Kids in Jesus’ day were to be seen and not heard. Small children (under age 5) were associated with death. All children were associated with dirt, noise, and annoying habits. It went without saying that they shouldn’t bother the rabbi.

“Even Jesus’ disciples thought He wouldn’t want to be interrupted by rambunctious children. Sound familiar? Many of our churches today banish children to distant parts of the building during worship, then bemoan their absence from church when the same kids reach adulthood. Instead of Jesus’ ‘Let the children come unto Me,’ the church says, ‘Let us babysit your kids while we dazzle you adults in worship.’

“Jesus’ idea of children and childhood was radically different from what was normal in His day. Jesus taught a faith that you might call adultproof. Today we childproof our medicine and our faith, making them as hard for children to get into as possible. In contrast, Jesus made faith child friendly and adult averse, meaning Jesus did everything He could to protect children’s faith from adults and to help even the most adultish among us become more childlike so as to get into the Kingdom without messing it up.” —Leonard Sweet, in The Bad Habits Of Jesus

The Resurrection Of Jesus Makes All The Difference

more-than-a-carpenter“When Jesus was crucified, His followers were discouraged and depressed. They no longer had confidence that Jesus had been sent by God, because they believed anyone crucified was accursed by God. They also had been taught that God would not let His Messiah suffer death. So they disbursed. The Jesus movement was all but stopped in its tracks. Then, after a short period of time, we see them abandoning their occupations, regathering, and committing themselves to spread a very specific message—that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of God who died on the Cross, returned to life, and was seen alive by them. And they were willing to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming this, without any payoff from a human point of view. It’s not as though there were a mansion awaiting them on the Mediterranean. They faced a life of hardship. They often went without food, slept exposed to the elements, were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned. And finally, most of them were executed in torturous ways. For what? For good intentions? No, because they were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead. What you can’t explain is how this particular group of men came up with this particular belief without having had an experience of the resurrected Christ. There’s no other adequate explanation.” —J. P. Moreland, quoted in More Than A Carpenter

Poetry Saturday—Begone Unbelief

John NewtonBegone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?

Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?

Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song! —John Newton

Thursdays With Oswald—The Wisdom In Appearing Foolish

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.

The Wisdom In Appearing Foolish

     A man can kill his own wisdom by living a part; he can atrophy his real life by keeping up a certain role. … It takes a tremendous amount of relationship to God for a man to be what he is. … 

     A wise man who has built his life in confidence in God will appear a fool when he is amongst people who are sleek and cunning. … If you stand true to your faith in God, there will be situations in which you will come across extortioners, cunning, crafty people, who use their wits instead of worshiping God, and you will appear a fool. Are you prepared to appear a fool for Christ’s sake? …

     If you are going to be true to God, you will appear a fool amongst those who do not believe in God, and you must lay your account with this. Jesus said, “Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men…,” and it tests a man for all he is worth to confess Jesus Christ. 

From Shade Of His Hand

Oswald Chambers is referencing Solomon’s words—Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart (Ecclesiastes 7:7).

True wisdom comes from a trusting relationship to God as He is revealed in His Word, which to cunning people “who use their wits instead of worshiping God” sounds like pie-in-the-sky foolishness. Much like satan did with Eve, they will ask you, “Did God really say that?” and you are faced with a decision: will you stand true to God’s wisdom and look like a fool in their eyes?

Jesus said it would take the courage that comes from a sold-out relationship to Him to be able to endure the bribes and barbs of the world’s cunning people.

I pray we can all be wise enough to be willing to appear as fools in the world’s eyes!

13 Quotes From “Prevailing Prayer”

prevailing-prayerD.L. Moody challenges all Christians to stick with prayer a little longer. Far too many of us give up too soon, and miss out on the miracle God wants to do. Check out my review of Prevailing Prayer by clicking here.

“The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and Prayer. … If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.”

“The reason we so often fail in moving our fellowmen is that we try to win them without first getting power with God. Jesus was in communion with His Father, and so He could be assured that His prayers were heard.”

“It is not by eloquent sermons that perishing souls are going to be reached; we need the power of God in order that the blessing may come down.”

“Our Master’s prayers were short when offered in public; when He was alone with God that was a different thing, and He could spend the whole night in communion with His Father. My experience is that those who pray most in their closets generally make short prayers in public.”

“In Proverbs 28:9 we read, ‘He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.’ Think of that! It may shock some of us to think that our prayers are an abomination to God, yet if any are living in known sin, this is what God’s Word says about them.” 

“There is a great deal more said in the Bible about praise than prayer; yet how few praise-meetings there are! David, in his Psalms, always mixes praise with prayer. Solomon prevailed much with God in prayer at the dedication of the temple; but it was the voice of praise which brought down the glory that filled the house. … However great our difficulties, or deep even our sorrows, there is room for thankfulness.”

“Even if nothing else called for thankfulness, it would always be an ample cause for it that Jesus Christ loved us, and gave Himself for us.”

“When the church, the pulpit, and the pew get united, and God’s people are all of one mind, Christianity is like a red-hot ball rolling over the earth, and all the hosts of death and hell cannot stand before it.”

“We are not told that Jesus ever taught His disciples how to preach, but He taught them how to pray. He wanted them to have power with God; then He knew they would have power with man.” 

“It is not the most beautiful or the most eloquent language that brings down the answer; it is the cry that goes up from a burdened heart.”

“Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The only way to trouble God is not to come at all. He encourages us to come to Him repeatedly, and press our claims.”

“The Lord delights in hearing His children make their requests known unto Him—telling their troubles all out to Him; and then we should wait for His time.”

“Let our prayer be that God may advance His work, not for our glory—not for our sake—but for the sake of His beloved Son whom He hath sent.”

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