Friday, December 21, 2012

This Thing is From Me

There are so many times in life when things happen that weren't in your plans or that weren't what you wanted.  And sometimes it's just really hard to accept that all these things come from God.  The other night for devotions, Dad pulled out the following tract and read it.  And it was as though God was speaking right to me, directly to my heart.  And I couldn't help the tears of shame, but also of joy that spilled over.  It was such an encouragement to me.  I hope you'll find some comfort in it as well.

Disappointments of Life

"This Thing is From Me"
..1 Kings 12:24

"The disappointments of life are in reality only the decrees of love. I have a message for thee today, My child.  I will whisper it softly in thine ear, in order that the stormclouds which appear may be gilt with glory, and that the thorns on which thou mayest have to walk be blunted.  The message is but short - a tiny sentence - but allow it to sink into the depths of thine heart, and be to thee as a cushion on which to rest thy weary head: 'This thing is from Me.'
Hast thou never thought that all which concerns  thee, concerns Me also?  He that toucheth thee toucheth the apple of Mine eye (Zech. 2:8).  Thou hast been precious in Mine eyes, that is why I take a special interest in thin upbringing.  When temptation assails thee, and the 'enemy comes in like a flood' I would wish thee to know that 'This thing is from Me.'  I am the God of circumstances.  Thou hast not been placed where thou art by chance, but because it is the place I have chosen for thee. Didst thou not ask to become humble?  Behold, I have placed thee in the very place where this lesson is to be learned.  It is by thy surroundings and thy companions that the working of My will is to come about.
Hast thou money difficulties?  Is it hard to keep within thine income?  'This thing is from Me.'  For I am He that possesseth all things.  I wish thee to draw everything from Me, and that thou depend entirely upon Me.  My riches are illimitable (Phil. 4:19).  Put My promise to the proof, so that it may not be said of thee, 'Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord thy God.'  
Art thou passing through a night of affliction?  'This thing is from Me.'  I am the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3).  I have left thee without human support that in turning to Me thou mightest obtain eternal consolation (2 Thess. 2:16, 17).
Has some friend disappointed thee?  One to whom thou hast opened thine heart?  'This thing is from me.'  I have allowed this disappointment that thou mightest learn that the best Friend is Jesus.  I long to be thy Confidant.
Has someone said false things of thee?  Leave that, and come closer to Me, under My wings, away from the place of wordy dispute, for I will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday (Psa. 37;6).  Have thy plans been all upset?  Art thou crushed and weary?  'This thing is from Me.'  Hast thou made plans and then coming, asked Me to bless them?  I wish to make thy plans for thee.  I will take the responsibility, for it is too heavy for thee, thou couldst not perform it alone (Exo. 18:18).  Thou art but and instrument and not an agent.
Hast thou desired fervently to do some great work for Me?  Instead of that thou hast been laid on one side, on a bed of sickness and suffering.  'This thing is from Me.'  I was unable to attract thine attention while thou wast so active.  I wish to teach thee some of My deep lessons.  It is only those who have learned to wait patiently who can serve Me.  My greatest workers are sometimes those who are laid aside from active service in order that they may learn to wield the weapon of prayer.
Art thou suddenly called to occupy a difficult position full of responsibilities?  Go forward, counting on Me.  I am giving thee the position full of difficulties for the reason that Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thy works and in all the business of thy hands (Deut. 15:18).  This day I place in thy hand a pot of holy oil.  Draw from it freely, My child, that all the circumstances arising along the pathway, each word that gives thee pain, each manifestation of thy feebleness, may be anointed with this oil.  Remember that interruptions are divine instructions.  The sting will go in the measure in which thou seest Me in all things.  Therefore set your heart unto all the works that I testify among you this day.  For it is your life (Deut. 32:46, 47)."

-Found in J.N. Darby's Bible
(Translated from the French)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hast Thou Forgotten?

 A poem I wrote describing how I felt and the encouragement I needed and received on more than one occasion.

Hast thou forgotten, oh hast thou forgotten?
There is a promise for whom Christ died.
'Tis written in the Book, 'tis writ with iron pen.
"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Why dost thou forget, oh why dost thou forget?
 The promise is for you, just look and see!
Do not despair for He hath said,
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

How dost thou forget, oh how dost thou forget?
Canst thou not hear the promise as it rings.
It's rung through ages past and assuredly lives yet,
"He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."

Do not forget, oh do not forget!
The promises are from God and are for you.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you."

Who is it, oh Who is it that thou forgettest?
Recall thy God and sing before Jesus' face, for
"Thou wast predestined to a child by Christ,
To the praise and glory of His grace."

Remember, oh you must remember!
Dwell upon the promises and thou shalt be no worse.
Among the glorious promises, this is one of the number,
"Whoso drinketh of My water shall not thirst."

Awake! Awake my soul and sing to thy Beloved!
Recall that on which thou once relied.
Awake thy slumbering eyes and get off thy bed,
For thou hast in thy agony far too long sighed.

Remember how great the fire that once burned in thee.
Remember the times when thou wast first saved and baptized.
Remember the days when thou wouldst boldly say,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

Oh Remember! Remember!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Father and His Effective Will

Ok, I hope this comes out sensible enough.  I've had this thought in my head for the past week or two and thought I'd pass it along, because it's a very encouraging thought.  However, the thought's only been in my head and I haven't tried to put it into words until just a few days ago.  So it might come out a little muddled, so please, just bear with me.  The thought is: God accomplishes that which He would have us to do.

If God gives us something to do, leads us in one direction, calls us to a certain place, He's not just going to send us out there as sheep with no shepherd.  He's not the kind to tell us how to do something, give us a test on it, and then sit back and watch to see if we get it right.  No, He'll be walking with us the whole way, lending a hand whenever needed, and even carrying us through (probably carrying us most of the way).

Here are some verses that I ran across in the past few weeks that I thought could be applied to the subject.  2 Timothy 1:12, "...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."  2 Thessalonians 3:3, "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil."  Hebrews 6:15, "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise."  Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."  Isaiah 53:4-6, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

 The Lord will keep what we've committed.  Isn't that an amazing thought!  The Lord is faithful unto us even when we are not faithful unto him.  He gives us the promises.  He gives us battle array; He doesn't want us to go headlong into a fight without His protection.  And He has accomplished salvation, our salvation, He's done it for us!

Think on these things.  And whatever you're dealing with at this moment, how can this thought not encourage you?  God accomplishes that which He would have us to do.  Some of us may think that we are so weak, and why would He want us as His children.  Maybe we seem to be failing in everything we do.  But if you are chosen of God, He did it for His glory.  And when we feel especially low or cast down, all we must do is look to Him and He'll be right there, helping us along, casting away our cares.

Whatever Christians do for Christ, it is not them that do it, it is Christ within them accomplishing that which He would.  And this is what every Christian prays for: that others would not see us in our fleshly selves, but that they would see Christ shining bright through us, a light in this dark world.  And if the Lord Jesus Christ is doing a work in you, dear friend, don't fight it, but surrender yourself to Him and His will.  Because He not only accomplishes that which He would have us to do, but He accomplishes what He wills as well (which, actually, they're one and the same).

*Side Note*  I didn't name this post until the last minute and when I was previewing it, part of the title kind of stuck out at me.  The Father has a will.  Now, a lot of the time when you (or at least I) think of someone as having a will (in this sense), you're going to think something along the lines of stubborn-willed.  Think about it, do you ever hear someone say, "Oh, that child has such a sweet will about her"?  No (or at least, I don't), you would hear something like, "He's a stubborn-willed child."  So here I finally get to my thought: God is stubborn.  Plain and simple.  Only, He's righteously stubborn, whereas it is a sin for that little boy to be stubborn.  What He wills, He will have, and there's no changing that.  And that right there is a glorious thought!  Because He willed to have me!  And you, dear reader, if you are His!  He was more stubborn than me in bringing me in and was righteous in His stubbornness.  My stubbornness was just sin.  But Christ paid the debt for my sin, and stubbornly would not share me with the devil.  Praise God!  And you, too, dear reader, praise Him for His goodness and His stubbornness and His righteous will!
(So, yes I know that was a little off subject.  But it was a last minute thought and I thought I'd share it with you, anyway.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keep the Word Close to Your Heart

Sometimes this is hard to do.  If you're in the midst of trial, or having a bad day, or if you're really excited about something; these are times the devil uses to move in and snatch God's Word straight from your heart.  And sometimes, if you're really caught up in these things, you think that you don't want it back.  But if you are a true Christian, this isn't true - deep down you have a burning fire, even if it's a small flame at the moment, that yearns for the food of God's Word.

If you're going through trials, you may think you don't want the Word because God gave you these trials to endure and so you don't really feel like trusting Him right now.  In all reality though, you know that if you turn to God and His Word during these times, He will only lift you up and encourage you.  If you're really excited about something, you may feel like not dwelling on the Word because it will bring a little seriousness to the joy you're experiencing right now.  But really, is it true joy if God has nothing to do with it?

But if you are a true Christian, then you also know that with God's Holy Word in your heart comes the greatest sense of peace, joy, trust, staying power that can ever be experienced.  So, to think of the Lord or to thank Him in your excitement will only bring greater joy, even if it does bring a little seriousness.  And to read the Word and pray to your Heavenly Father during trials or bad days will only help you to trust Him more and give you strength to go on.

A few weeks ago on Sunday after I'd done my morning devotions, I prayed sincerely to God that after the morning service I would keep what was said in my heart and mind and meditate on it, and not turn to thinking of things that would entertain an earthly conversation.  Sadly, the moment we were dismissed, I was caught up in getting ready to go hiking in the mountains: pulling Dad's truck out, changing, packing a lunch...  There was no thought of the sermon or what had been said in my mind until about an hour later, ten minutes into the drive that I had remembered my prayer.  I was ashamed of myself.  How could I have slipped so easily when I had prayed so earnestly?  And that's when I thought of the topic for this post.

The devil makes his move when we are least expecting it, when we put our guard down for one moment.  The only way we can battle him is to run to the Lord as soon as we realize what has happened.  And the Lord will be there for us, and will help us through anything.  Because we are His children.  We belong to Him.  And He is a jealous God, and He wants all our thoughts to be with Him.

Since we as man are totally depraved, tainted by sin in everything we do, it is not the natural thing for us to be heavenly minded.  Our thoughts naturally tend to go in the direction of this world.  But if we are Christians, we work to exercise our minds to think on heavenly things.  And through God's grace we can obtain this.

So dear friend, today let us think on things eternal, heavenly, honoring to God.  And whatever kind of week, month, or year you're having, see if it makes a difference in your attitude, demeanor, actions, and speech.  May the God of Heaven be glorified in all that we do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Free Will of Man vs. The Sovereignty of God

I hear people saying all the time, "God has given you a gift.  All you have to do is accept it.  God's done His part, the rest is up to you."  This is the doctrine of free will.  What I am going to try and say in this post is that this doctrine is a slap to the face of God.

The doctrine of free will much too boldly declares that God is not sovereign in all things and that He has no control over a person's salvation.  It wrongly implies instead that man is sovereign - all we have to do to be saved is to accept God's gift.  And if this be the case (that it's our choice and ours alone, which happens to point to a "works" salvation), why would Jesus have died on the cross for our sins?  And if God wouldn't have sent His son to pay our debt, salvation would be worthless.  Doesn't make much sense, now does it?

In a certain sense, we do have our own part to play, but it's certainly not us by our own little sinful selves that this is accomplished.  If we are the elect of God, He will draw us to Himself through His irresistible grace.  So, it's almost like we do nothing at all, it's all Him.  If He didn't draw us, we wouldn't accept or cry out for forgiveness of sins.

Everything works according to God's will (Romans 8:28).  He didn't choose the elect because He foresaw that they would believe.  If this were the case, God would have no control over who would be saved and who wouldn't, and thus, God's will would not be done in this case.  He chose them because He wanted to; it was His will to predestine some to eternal glory and others to eternal damnation.  If someone is predestined by God to damnation, they can not change this simply by saying that they will believe in Him.

Also, if we have free will and God has no say in the matter, we could choose not to be saved after we've already been saved.  We should be able to choose to do this, according to the doctrine of free will.  But this is not so.  The Bible says in John 10:27-29: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."

I found some short paragraphs by a one Matthew J. Slick online about the 5 points of Calvinism, which, if you're a free will-er, you probably tend not to believe:
"Total Depravity:
      Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.
      The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore God must predestine."
     Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).   

Unconditional Election:
     God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21). 

Limited Atonement:
     Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11,15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bear the sins of many (not all).

Irresistible Grace:
     When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.
Perseverance of the Saints:
     You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return."

But how can these passages be refuted?  If you believe in the free will of man and not the sovereignty of God, how do you explain these verses?  And if you can't, why would you go one believing and preaching that man is more powerful than God?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 
that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: 
and whom he called, them he also justified: 
and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
~Romans 8:28-30

Monday, July 2, 2012

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.  
~Psalm 27:14

It isn't always easy, is it?  Sometimes, if we want something, God chooses to make us wait for an answer.  And that answer might just turn out to be disappointing.  Waiting requires patience, which is something not all of us have a lot of.  Waiting can also give one the sense of not knowing what to do (at least for a time), which can drive a person crazy (not literally of course; at least, I hope not).

And then there's " of good courage..."  It's not always easy to have courage, either; to be strong, especially in the midst of a trial.  Courage actually requires action: it bids one do something that he or she is afraid of.  It calls upon a person to have strength in the face of pain or grief.  Just the meaning of the word sounds hard.  How much harder would it be to put the word into practice.  In other words, it's easier said than done.

So, what should we do?  Waiting is hard, having courage is sometimes harder (not to mention being of good courage).  The easy answer: we wait and we be of good courage.  The difficult answer: we wait and we be of good courage.

I think that waiting is easier or harder for a person, depending on how they approach the matter. If it's approached with an impatient and stubborn spirit it's quite obviously not going to go well.  How do you think God should react if this is the way you look at the trials He gives you to endure?

On the other hand, if you bear this waiting period with meditation, prayer, the reading of God's Word... it will be so much easier than rebelling against God's will for you.

I honestly don't know what else to say, except that if you wait on the Lord, He shall renew your strength; you shall mount up with wings as eagles; you shall run, and not be weary; and you shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

I know it's hard and I know that it's easy to give in to the feeling of wanting to give up, to just quit and not seek the Lord anymore.  The Lord knows this, too.  "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."  (Hebrews 4:15)

O friend, do not give up!  Seek the Lord and His ways with all your heart and don't ever leave off; He will reward you for it.

"...Wait, I say, on the Lord."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sinner's Prayer

We've been reading through "The Pilgrim's Progress" for devotions, and a few nights ago, we came across a prayer that I believe Hopeful prayed.  It goes as follows:

"God be merciful to me a Sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see, that if his Righteousness had not been, or I have not Faith in that Righteousness, I am utterly cast away.  Lord, I have heard that thou art a merciful God, and hast ordained that thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the World; and moreover, that thou are willing to bestow upon such a poor sinner as I am, (and I am a sinner indeed) Lord, take therefore this opportunity, and magnify thy Grace in the Salvation of my soul, through thy Son Jesus Christ.  Amen."

Now, compare the previous prayer with today's Sinner's Prayer:

"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner.  I believe in you and that your word is true.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life.  I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.  I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead.  Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today.  I need you to be my Father and my friend.  I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ."

Do you see a difference???  I think it sticks out big time!  Today's prayer seems to be "all about me": "I" believe, "I" believe, "I" know, "I" believe...on and on and on about what "I've" done.  It feels kinda self-centered, don't you think?  I think so.

But in Hopeful's prayer, he says, "...make me to know and believe...", as though it's something he can't do himself.  And it isn't.  We can not in and of ourselves believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  It's something He must do Himself to draw us to Him.  But once He draws us, His irresistible grace is irresistible, isn't it?  It's an amazing thing.

I don't know, maybe I'm way off here, but I think that if a person is truly convicted of his sin, he will know in his heart what to say and ask for in his own prayer to Christ.  It seems to me that these modern day tracts with the Sinner's Prayer on the back of them lead to, well, misleading.  A certain person tries to lead someone to Christ and the other person feels something and before he can do anything else the certain person says, "Ok, all you have to do is pray this prayer and you'll be right with God."  So the other person repeats the prayer and thinks that he's taken care of and has nothing to worry about anymore.

 It seems kinda like canned food to me.  You take out a can of food, put it in a bowl, pop it in the microwave, and when it's done, you eat it.  But once you're all through with that canned food, you kind of feel like you've missed out on a real good home made dinner.

Salvation isn't something that we can obtain by ourselves.  It's not something someone can lead us to.  It's not something that comes out of a can or on the back of a tract.  Jesus Christ alone will call His chosen ones, and when they hear the call they will be convicted of their sin and they will cry out for mercy in a way that the world can not put down on a piece of paper.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Well, I'm not quite sure how appropriately this post is titled, considering winter will be coming to a close shortly for some of us in the U.S.  However, I did want a winter design before winter was up, so I decided to go ahead and redo my blog, even if it's only for a little while.  Also, the first year we moved to Colorado, winter was really only beginning in February and didn't end until close to the end of May.  We got a lot of snow that year.  Unfortunately it feels like we haven't had much of a winter this season, considering all the nice days and the very small amount of snow we've had. 

My favorite season is spring, so y'all might be wondering why I'm going on about having a short winter.  And while I do really love spring and even summer, I feel liked I've been gypped out of a good winter.  So, I guess we'll see what happens, but I'm rooting for another month or two of winter and for spring to come a little late this year.

What does everyone else want?  Early spring or longer winter?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012! New Year's Resolutions

New Year's is typically the time people start making resolutions to stick to.  I guess it makes sense: you start with a new year, seems like the perfect time to start afresh!  This is the first year I'm making resolutions.  It just didn't seem that important before, but there are some things that could use some switching up in my life.  So, here goes:

  • Read the Bible more.  It seems the more I read God's Word, the closer He draws me to Himself.  So, studying God's Word is at the top of my list.  I pray God helps me to cast all my earthly wants and passions aside so I can fully concentrate on glorifying my heavenly Father.
  • Trust/rest in the Lord.  I want to be content in the Lord: what He has for me, where He puts me.  Because His will is His will; that's why I want to do it.
  • Get a job.  I'd like to get a job aside from teaching piano lessons this year, and start saving my money instead of buying western wear with it.  (This one's gonna be hard!  Especially since I really want another pair of boots!)
  • Act less like a teenager.  I'm turning 20 this year.  It seems so weird!  I'm going to be an old maid! JK.  But even though I don't turn 20 until half the year is up, I'm going to start trying to act how a young lady in the family of  Christ ought to act.
  • Work out at the gym.  This is the first time I've become a member of a club.  The plan is to work out on a steady basis and stay in shape.
  • Finish school.  Now the great thing about being home schooled is that Mom and Dad can throw stuff on you last minute sort of.  So yes, I've completed all of the legal requirements to have finished high school.  Now I'm just working on finishing up the requirements Dad has added.  I plan to be completely done with everything by the beginning of May.
So.  That's what I've got so far.  Hopefully I can stick to it all.  I'll probably have more resolutions throughout the year, but for now, I'll be working with these.

Happy New Year everybody!  May God bless you all with wisdom and understanding.