Friday, 31 August 2012

I Press On

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me —Philippians 3:12

The fiery furnaces are there by God’s direct permission. It is misleading to imagine that we are developed in spite of our circumstances; we are developed because of them. It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over them. (Oswald Chambers, The Love of God—The Message of Invincible Consolation)

We have to live the surface, commonsense life in a commonsense way. Then when God gives us the deeper things, they are obviously separated from the shallow concerns. Never show the depth of your life to anyone but God. We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do. . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Lies I Have Believed

God has bigger things to worry about than you.
God's idea of "good" is unsatisfying.
What God wants to give us is just ideas, not realities that we can touch and know and use.
You just aren't enough.
God will let you down.
Things never change.
God is not who you think he is.
Praying is a waste of time. You need to do something.
You are useless.
Love is weak, and hatred is strong.
God doesn't understand humans.
You are alone.

These are the deep fears that terrify and wrack the human heart. Don't think that because you see their ridiculousness in the light of day that you haven't believed them too.

In the heart's dark night, the Accuser draws near, and he whispers his lies into the empty spaces of your soul. Perhaps you've laughed at his suggestions before, but in the gloom and dim, they aren't just ideas; they become something more. Suddenly, the unthinkable finds resonance amongst the fears you'd hardly dare admit to: dark rustlings that come crawling, like cockroaches, about the weak places in the human heart.

Truth is the only thing that can overcome the dark power of a lie.

...Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1)

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1John 3:16)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9)

...Everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1John 2:16-17)

Here is a trustworthy saying: ...if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (1Timothy 2:11,13)

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (1John 1:1)

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1John 3:19-20)

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord...Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19,21)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1John 4:9-10)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1John 5:14-15)

...Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1John 3:2)   For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (1Corinthians1:25)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. (1John 4:18)

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! (Jude 1:24-25)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Psalm 91:14-15)

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

Friday, 24 August 2012

In Him Will I Trust

If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 
(Psalm 139: 9-12)

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
(Isaiah 50:10)

He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
(Psalm 91: 1-2)

I can't remember when I have felt so little able to get perspective, to understand, to see. I've lost my bearings. Sometimes I feel just like a very small boat on a very large sea. 

But there is One who speaks to me out of the dark; One who holds my hand and draws me forward, despite my small-child fears and my tiredness. He is the One who gently says "No" to my alternate pleading and storming for answers, for perspective, for sight. I want to understand and feel secure and go forward in knowledge, but He bids me hold tight to him and go along without seeing, without knowing, without any governor but Him for my wind-swept emotions.

It is He, the merciful Jesus, to whom I go; before whom I bow; at whose feet I rest. Though I fear what awaits in the darkness; though I am often overwhelmed by the tension in my own heart, he is with me, and I am his, and he loves me.

Dear, gentle Jesus! When will the day come that I will know him as he knows me? When will I love him with a free heart? When will I be fully free of that misguided self-seeking that would deny him; that raises fists against him who loves me best?

Against the darkness; against my longing to know and understand; against the fear that sometimes wraps itself about me, I choose Jesus. I will trust in him. I will trust his love for me.

Whatever comes, Jesus will fill my life with the rich warmth of his light and his love. It is no longer the gifts he gives, but him that I seek. He goes with me. What other good will I look for?