Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Why Should You Die?" - a poem

Why Should You Die?
By Sadie Daniels [by help from on high]
November 17, 2012

In your heart you know that you've sinned
You know you're deserving of death
And yet you deny it and chase down the wind
When all the while God's giving you breath

He has not dealt with you according to your sins
He has not punished you as you deserve
He withholds judgement as He holds out His hands
Bidding you to come and to live

For why should you die; why be destroyed
Why run from God--as if you could
Nowhere can you escape to that will not betray you
Hiding will do you no good

For everything hidden will surely be known
And what's done in a corner will be told in the street
So come to Him, now, while mercy is shown
Come, with your Adversary, make peace

Dear sinner, do you not know the reason He came
Or why He gave up His life on a tree
He came so He could seek and save what was lost--
And that means you and me

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"By Help From On High": A happy accident

The name of this blog has a happy origin--in the old sense of the word.  It just sort of happened.  And yet, looking back at it, I can see God's hand in it, because it just fits so beautifully; it has to be a God-thing.

When I first named this blog, I looked for a Latin name.  I had a blog or username once called credo certe (to believe with certainty) and I wanted this one to follow the same lines, but I think the title I wanted was unavailable at the time.  So I looked for another.  I found auxilio ab alto (by help from on high).  I liked it, as it had a Christian flavour to it.  However, what pleased me better was the Latin.  Truthfully, I was a bit of a snob in those days, and I liked the sound of the old Latin phrase, even if my readers had no clue what it meant.

As God was working on me, He taught me that it was more important that I wrote for my audience, and not just for myself; otherwise, why write?  So I got rid of the Latin and exchanged it for its English translation: By Help From On High.

The beauty of it is...this is my life.

Without knowing it, I came upon a phrase that sums up the course of my life: by help from on high.  It is only by God's help that I live the life that I do.  It is only by God's enabling grace that 1) I am saved, 2) I breathe, 3) I serve, and 4) I grow and mature in faith.  It is only by God's help.

What a happy 'accident' that I stumbled upon the one phrase that expresses the sum of my life so well!  Yet, even that was by help from on high.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson

If you have never read The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson, I highly encourage you to do so.  It is a beautiful poem--one of my personal favourites.  C.S. Lewis alluded to it in a letter to an atheist friend who had questions about Christianity: "I will write no more," he said. "For it is clear that the Hound of Heaven is after you.  It is only a matter of time."

Read the poem HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

God gives the increase...

I often struggle with knowing the will of God.  Especially for any new ministry I want to start.  Certainly ministry ought to be bathed in prayer.  And we ought to walk humbly, knowing that God does not need us to accomplish His purposes, but also knowing that He will use us if we are available to Him.

I want to embrace the calling to be a writer in God's service.  Will God bless such a ministry?  I do not know.  That is up to Him.  Jeremiah was a faithful prophet who never had one convert.  Jonah was unfaithful and an entire city repented at his preaching.  Results are up to God.  I just desire to honour Him and serve Him.  Let Him bring the increase.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, NKJV)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's All Because of Jesus

Recently, God has been re-teaching me about the work of Jesus Christ on my behalf.  It is all because of Jesus that I am alive!  It is all because of Him that I am able to praise God!  It's all because of Him that I'm even able to write this blog!  Apart from the work of Jesus Christ--what He did at Calvary--I could only receive the just condemnation of God.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. - John 3:18


There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:1

Apart from Christ?  Condemnation!


That's something to celebrate!  Oh how much we have to be thankful for in Jesus!

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. - Galatians 2:20

Thank You, Jesus!

Friday, October 5, 2012

"The Hosea Love Story": Go watch it!

If you have not seen "The Hosea Love Story"--a modern portrayal of the Book of Hosea--then I highly recommend that you do so.  The story comes in a 6-part series of short 3-4min videos which can all be viewed HERE.

The Book of Hosea is a beautiful, and often rather painful, description of God's unrelenting love towards an unfaithful people.

Most would call Hosea (and God) a shmuk for loving an unfaithful woman--especially for taking her back time and time again and allowing her to have another man's baby.  But that's the AWESOME LOVE OF GOD!

Think about it: the God of all the universe, the one true God, the living God whose Name is Great and Terrible...who is fiercely jealous for His Name and zealous for His reputation...the same God pursues the unfaithful...even to His own hurt!  Just look at the cross!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chosen by God

God hand-picked a bride for Isaac the patriarch.

In the same way, He has chosen a Bride for His beloved Son Jesus.

Do you not believe that you are as much beloved by the Father in His Son Jesus Christ as Isaac was?

Do we not believe that He is still ready and willing to hand-pick spouses for us as well?

Let's leave it in His capable hands.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1st Corinthians 7: The single's least-favorite Scripture?

I know it used to be one of my least favourite passages.  But that was because I didn't understand it and I didn't understand my position before God.  I hadn't truly been humbled before Him.  I hadn't yet said, "Not my will, but Thy will be done."

You may remember Chapter 7 of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians.  It's the chapter in which he states, among other things:

"...I wish that all men were even as I myself [that is, unmarried]." - v7a

"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am..." - v8

"Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." - v20

"Are you bound to a wife?  Do not seek to be loosed.  Are you loosed from a wife?  Do not seek a wife." - v27

"There is a difference between a wife and a virgin.  The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.  But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband." - v34

Now, while many will point out the historical significance of the text--how there was terrible persecution coming against the Church and so it was very wise counsel to the unmarried people in this church not to get married--in an effort to explain Paul's words in an historical context, rather than as having significance for us at this time, this tends to ignore his very clear statement that unmarried people are free to care completely about the things of the Lord.  They can give themselves without reserve in a way that married people cannot.

This is not in any way to condemn marriage or those who choose to marry.  As a very wise pastor once said: Singleness is not more spiritual than marriage and marriage is not more spiritual than singleness.  Rather, it is an encouragement to the single Christian.  Why the melancholy?  Why the long, sad face?  Have you not been given all things in Christ?  You are free!  Free to serve and live for Christ!  And what else is the reason for your life but to live for and serve Him?

You see, when we get the focus off of ourselves and thoughts of: When will I get married?  I'd sure like to be married.  Is Paul saying that I shouldn't ever get married?  What if my future husband reads this chapter?  When we stop thinking that way and start thinking: How may I serve God?  How may I know Him better?  How may I love others and show them Christ?  When shall I get to Heaven?  Lord, will You please save the lost?  When we get the focus off of ourselves and onto God and His agenda, then we will truly be content and at peace with Scripture--even 1 Corinthians 7--and we will be useful for God's work.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Free Indeed: Slaves of righteousness; free from sin

And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man [Paul] could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” - Acts 26:32, ESV

Upon first reading this verse, I thought the situation rather tragic. Paul did not have to go to Rome--which proved to be the death of him. He could have gone free. Why did he have to appeal to Caesar? It seemed senseless and unfair. But, later, when God's Spirit was bringing me into obedience and submission to Himself, I realized that Paul could not have gone free, because he was not free in the sense that Agrippa and Festus believed he could and should have been. For Paul said:

"I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem..." (Acts 20:22)

Paul was a slave of Christ. He was bound and compelled by the Spirit of God. He knew that he was not his own, but that he was bought at a price. He knew that he was a slave of righteousness. He had no will of his own--only God's will. And it was God's will that Paul testify before Caesar. God even confirmed this to Paul by saying in Acts 23:11, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

Who does this remind you of? The Man who prayed, "Not My will, but Thy will!" The God-Man Jesus Christ!

Paul himself declares, "Follow me as I follow Christ!" (1 Corinthians 11:1)

The Lord Jesus is Paul's example--the One who was co-equal with God the Father, and yet did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a SLAVE...He emptied Himself of glory and came to serve rather than be served! Jesus Christ never even spoke a word that the Father did not tell Him to speak! He was not free in the sense that we understand freedom--doing what is right in our own eyes. No; He was free in God's definition of the word: COMPLETELY FREE FROM SIN! Not under bondage to sin and free to do that which is right--free to follow God in ALL things!

He offers that same freedom to us: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!" And "he who the Son sets free is free indeed!"

In the same way, you and I, if we have submitted our lives to Christ, have said, "Not my will, but Thine." We have no right to ourselves. We have no right to call the shots in our life. If we have submitted ourselves as a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service, then God calls the shots in our lives, and we humbly obey.

The beauty of it is that God is no cruel task-master! "At His right-hand are pleasures forevermore" and "no good thing does He withhold". God desires that we be satisfied in Him.

As C.S. Lewis once said, "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." Let us accept the gift of His grace and be satisfied with all that He is!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Living in Victory: When I don't feel victorious

What about days (like today) when I don't feel victorious? I feel defeated!
What about days (like today) when I'm clearly living in sin? The sin of sloth / laziness / loafing! And fear!
What do I do when prayer and Bible reading are so painful I'd rather have my teeth removed without anaesthetic?
What do I do on such a day?

First, we must diagnose our condition (biblically). If we can't endure reading our Bibles, then we'll have to rely on what little we have stored away in our hearts. What does the Bible say about our present state? Remember Paul's words to the Galatians? "Having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" This sounds a lot like where I am now. I'm looking at myself--my flesh. I'm trying to muster up the courage, the strength, the industrialness--the goodness--to pull myself up by my own bootstraps. But everything in Scripture testifies to the fact that I can't...but God can. "For I can do all things..." by myself? No! "through Christ..." If I find that I have not the power to do what it is that I am called to, then it is because I'm exactly right, I don't have the power. But Jesus does! And He is ready and willing to supply me with that same power, so that I have all I need for life and godliness!

"Abide in Me...for apart from Me, you can do nothing," said Jesus to His disciples. Am I not a branch, empty and useless without the sap supplied by the Vine? If I refuse the Vine's sap, and go on in my own strength, I shouldn't be surprised if I shrivel and die and produce nothing.

So there is my condition: Trying to do in my own strength that which I have not strength to do.

Second, we must prescribe a (biblical) remedy. If we cannot bear the thought of speaking to God in prayer--we don't know what we'd say to Him; we're tired of failing Him all the time; we figure we ought not have been so foolish as to fall into the traps of the devil again--then time may be well-spent considering the character of God. Here, again, one's knowledge of Scripture will be of huge help.

God told the wayward Israelites multiple times, that if they would but turn back to Him--He did not care how often they had strayed before or that He knew they'd stray again--He would receive them with open arms. They were the sheep of His pasture. We, too--as the spiritual Israel--are likened to sheep. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We may wander, we may stray, we may be weak and stupid creatures, but Jesus has compassion on us. He cares for the sheep, feeds the sheep, loves the sheep, and ultimately lays down His life for the sheep.

My soul, accept the fact that you are a sheep and Jesus Christ is your Shepherd! Allow Him to lead you home!

So in the end, we can come back to the Bible and back to prayer if we acknowledge that we are but poor humble sheep and Christ is our kind, Good Shepherd. Prayer and Bible reading will no longer be dreadful, but blessed to us, if we look to Jesus to safely guide us back into the heavenly fold of His grace and bring us to the Father.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Unmarried Christian: Real advantages

There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. - 1 Corinthians 7:34, NKJV
The apostle Paul tells us that the unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, but the married woman cares about the things of the world.  This does not mean that the married woman does not care about the things of God or cannot care about the things of God.  Paul is merely pointing out the real advantages of being single.  A married woman cannot devote herself entirely to the work of the Lord; she has a family to care for.  She can't leave at the drop of a hat and become a missionary in a far-off country.  She can't spend an entire day in prayer and fasting; she has duties at home.  She can't give all of her money to the church; she has a family to feed.  A single woman has real advantages in doing the work of God over a married woman.  And as single women, we have the opportunity to be thankful for these advantages and not resentful that God has not yet given us a husband.

We Will Not Tremble: Response to trouble

So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" - Hebrews 13:6, NKJV
With the anniversary of September 11, 2001 and attacks on US embassies this past Tuesday, there are plenty of baits for fear.  As a single woman, it is easy to begin wishing that there were a strong man around for protection and guidance in precarious situations.

However, as a Christian, the Lord God is my Helper!  And I am to fear no one but Him.  After all, what can man do to me?  Man can only kill the body and afterward, nothing; God is infinitely more powerful than that.  He needn't take my life; He need only cease to give me breath.  He also has full authority over the destination of my soul.  Jesus said to "fear Him who can cast both soul and body into Hell." (Matthew 10:28)

No man is my refuge!  God is my refuge!  He is my ever present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

But don't start thinking that I'm perfect.  Far from it!  I still find myself at times gripped with terror--whenever I fail to remember how big, how mighty, just how awesome my God is.  Because if we remember, and truly believe in the God who saved us from eternal destruction, the heavens and earth may dissolve right before our eyes, and we will not tremble.

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?

Join me in praying for the safety of US diplomats all around the world tonight; particularly those in hostile territory.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Esteeming and Yielding: How should I think about marriage?

Christ yielded Himself completely to the will of the Father, and in so doing gave us an example of perfect humanity--that is, how we ought to and must submit ourselves to the will of God.

As single women, that means submitting ourselves to the will of God that we should be single at this time.  Though we desire a husband--our will dictates that we ought to be married now--we are required as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to do as He did, deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.  We, too, are to submit ourselves unequivocally to the will of God, just as Christ submitted Himself to the will of the Father.  After all, we are in Christ--in Him we were crucified and in His resurrection, we have new life.  In Christ, we are conformed to the character of Christ, and Christ yielded Himself completely to the will of the Father.  Therefore, we yield ourselves completely to the will of God for us--His will that we should be single at this time.

This is a difficult thing.  One is tempted to have a bad attitude and/or to console oneself with thoughts that marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.  There are many problems with this type of thinking. Not least of which is that this is contrary to the design of God.  Marriage is a beautiful thing.  Indeed, marriage is honourable among all and the marriage bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4).  Children are a gift, and they are produced from the marriage union.  Therefore, if we are to have the mind of Christ--the mind of God--on the matter of marriage, we must reverence and esteem marriage, even while God withholds earthly marriage from us.

God is good, marriage is good, His will for us is good.  By humbling ourselves before Him and accepting everything He gives us, and realizing that He will work all things for our good to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ; by believing our God, we give Him honour and glory even when we seem to have a good thing withheld from us.

Dear sister, God does you no wrong by not giving you an earthly husband.  If you have been set free from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ on your behalf, then you have had your greatest need met--salvation from the wrath of Almighty God against your sin--and you have Jesus Christ Himself as your Heavenly Bridegroom.  Rejoice and be exceeding glad!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More Than Words: Experiencing the Living God

Today, I seriously considered deleting this blog.

Why?  Because I don't just want to talk about Christianity.  I want to live it out.

Too often I find myself writing about the Christian experience and I have to ask myself: Is that what I'm experiencing?  I know all the right answers, but have I experienced God?

I mean, I don't want to be chasing a feeling.  Feelings come and they go.  That's their nature.  In the same way, I don't want to be chasing a subjective "experience".

However, the Bible teaches that God is personal.  His name?  The Eternal Ever-Existent One: The Great I AM.  He is pure, untainted personality, and you know something miraculous?  He wants us to know Him intimately!

"Seek Me!" He says.

"Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."
- Isaiah 45:22

Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. - Isaiah 55:6

One can have a real, objective experience of a person!  Indeed, such an experience is IMPERATIVE to saving faith!

Paul Washer says it this way:
Let’s imagine that I show up late and I run up here on the platform, and all the leaders are angry with me and say, “Brother Paul, don’t you appreciate the fact you’re given an opportunity to speak here and you come late?” 
And I’d say, “Brothers, you have to forgive me.” 
“Well, why?” 
“Well, I was out here on the highway, and I was driving and I had a flat tire and I got out to change the tire, and when I was changing the tire, the lug nut fell off, and I wasn’t paying attention that I was on the highway and I ran out and I grabbed the lug nut, and as soon as I picked it up in the middle of the highway, I stood up and there was a 30-ton logging truck going 120 miles an hour about ten yards in front of me, and it ran me over and that’s why I’m late.” 
Now, there would only be two...logical conclusions. One, I’m a liar or, two, I’m a madman. You would say, “Brother Paul, it’s absolutely absurd. It is impossible, Brother Paul, to have an encounter with something as large as a logging truck and not be changed.” 
And then my question would be to you–What is larger? A logging truck or God? 
How is it that so many people today profess to have had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and, yet, they are not permanently changed?

Christianity IS an encounter with--an experience of--the living God!  I must ask myself: Have I had such an experience?  Have you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sermon Jam: Ian Thomas "A Grain of Wheat"

[Video by Job29guy.  View more at]

An excerpt from Major Ian Thomas' sermon "A Grain of Wheat".

What must a grain of wheat do?  According to Jesus, it must die, that it might produce fruit.  So must we.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24, ESV)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8, ESV)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Feed the Spirit, Starve the Flesh

An appetite that you feed will grow.
An appetite that you starve will die.

I have seen this principle at work in my life.  The appetites that I have fed, grow.  The appetites that I have starved, die.  It doesn't matter whether the appetite is itself good or bad.  The principle is the same.

A bad appetite: let's say a physical appetite that is unlawful because I am unmarried.  If that appetite is fed, it grows.  If it is starved, it dies.

Even a good appetite: an appetite for the Word of God.  If I starve myself of the Word, my appetite shrinks and eventually dies.  If I feed my appetite for the Word, my appetite for the Word grows.

Therefore, we must know which appetites we are currently feeding, which we are starving, which we ought to be starving, and which we ought to be feeding.

Dear single sister, which appetites are you feeding?

Your physical appetite?  What are you watching?  How often are you around men?  What is your manner towards them?  What are you listening to?  What are you reading?  All of these things will feed your appetite.

Which appetites are you letting die?

Your appetite for prayer?  Your appetite for Bible reading?  If you feed these, they will grow.  If you starve them, do not be surprised when they die.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13, ESV)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"It'll never happen to me...": A girl's pro-life convictions challenged

I have not written very often on the topic of abortion or rape; especially in this blog.  But this story came to me today as I was meditating on the worth of human life.  Perhaps God will use it to save someone.  For His glory!  Amen.

DISCLAIMER: This story is in no way meant to be based on actual people, places, or events. It is entirely a work of fiction, meant merely to provoke thought and stir emotions in the hope of awaking many to come to the defense of unborn children and the women who carry them.

I was in my twenty-second year. I was going to a good school and had a bright future ahead of me. I had no time for parties; if I spent a late night out anywhere it was usually in the library. I was a "good" girl. I never went anywhere I shouldn't; never did anything I shouldn't; didn't hang around folks who did. But that didn't save me in the end.

One night, walking back to my apartment alone, I was attacked. A man knocked me to the ground, raped me, and left me for dead. I was bleeding where I'd hit my head on the pavement, and I had a mild concussion, but I came to before anyone found me. I stumbled the rest of the way home and passed out on the living room floor. When I awoke the next day, I felt "better" so I dressed the cut on my forehead and went to class. I had an exam that morning. I don't remember how I did. I must not have done well, because I couldn't concentrate; I kept thinking about the attack. I kept wondering if I was... you know... pregnant... and if it turned out that I was, would it look... you know... like him... ?

Of course it's going to look like him, I thought, you've taken Biology.

Although I'd always believed firmly that conception was a gift from God, that life began in the womb, and that taking the life of an unborn child was murder, I found the rubber meeting the road. Now that I was being asked to live out this difficult "choice", I didn't know anymore whether I could go through with it. I couldn't help crying; saying things like It's not fair; why should I bear this burden? Doesn't my future matter? Don't I have a say? Do I have to carry this...this...? I didn't ask for it and I don't want it. I was going to get an education and be a responsible contributor to society.

I didn't even know if I was pregnant yet; still, these were the thoughts running through my mind, as I cried. It didn't take very long to confirm my fears, however. I was indeed pregnant...with my rapist's child. Now it fell on me and me alone as to what I would do about it.

Against my better judgement, I chose to abort. I couldn't go through with keeping this baby. I had to get rid of it. The trouble was that it took several months of tears and pain to convince me I couldn't keep it. And by that time, my good friend ___ knew about it; actually, she'd known about it since the day after when I came to class looking half-drunk. She knew something was up, but like any decent friend, she waited until study break to get me alone and pry the truth out of me.

She was dead against abortion. And I think she's the reason I was able to keep the child for so long. But one day, I broke down, and in a fit of sobs I ran to the nearest clinic, filled out the paperwork, paid the fee with my loan money, and laid down on the operating table, weeping the entire time, praying for God and the child to forgive me.

But the procedure didn't go as planned. I went into labor just before the doctor was going to start cutting, and I gave birth right there to a premature, yet healthy baby boy. A boy! If anything was ever going to remind me of the pain and humiliation that I'd endured, it would be a boy that looked just like his father!

I couldn't bear the cruel twist of fate.

"Oh why? Can't you take him away?"

"We can't, miss. That's against the law."

So they wrapped him up, put him in my arms, and pushed me out the door. The baby lived. He was my problem now.

I just held him in my arms, sobbing. I couldn't bare to look at him. I knew he'd look like him. I just wept all the way home.

My friend ___ found me. She'd obviously come from Theater; she carried a stage pistol in her hand.

"Is that your baby?" she asked.

"He's not my baby," I said.

She didn't correct me.  She just said, "You went to the clinic, didn't you?"

"How did you know?"

"It doesn't matter. May I see him?"

"Go ahead. Take him. I don't want him."

I pushed the little bundle into her arms and made as if to walk away. Then just when I'd turned my back on ___, I heard a shot.

"Noooo!" I screamed.

I turned around to see ___ holding my sweet little baby boy in her arms, the stage pistol smoking in her hand. My baby was crying. The noise had frightened him.

"Why would you do that?" I sobbed, tearing my child away from her.

"Why would you think it was ok to kill your baby?" she said.

My eyes filled with tears. "God forgive me, I was desperate. Not in my right mind."

My friend put her arm around me. "God forgives you, ___. And your son forgives you, too."

My son? I glanced down at the helpless little bundle, and for the first time, I looked at him. And as I stared into the face of my little boy, I saw something there I didn't expect to see--not just the face of my attacker--but another face, my face.

Then I realized: We're both victims. And this little life isn't to be hated because of my pain. It isn't his fault that he's the product of cruelty. I've been given this child to love, and as a comfort in my distress. I was a fool to think he was a punishment--a life sentence. He is a gift. I'm thankful to a wise friend for helping me see that; and thankful to You, God, for this, Your mercy.

Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus Christ, Your Son, that when I was helpless in my sins, He bore the penalty for me, so that I might go free.  Thank You for the mercy You have shown me--thank You for Your grace; Your love covers over a multitude of sins--may I be a conduit of that same mercy, grace, and love to others.


DISCLAIMER: This story is in no way meant to be based on actual people, places, or events. It is entirely a work of fiction, meant merely to provoke thought and stir emotions in the hope of awaking many to come to the defense of unborn children and the women who carry them.

Sadie Daniels, 2012

If you are or know of any women who are pregnant and in need, please direct them here:

And regardless of how you might feel about abortion, please watch this video:
[DISCLAIMER: Disturbing Holocaust footage!]

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Pressing Through": Until prayer is a joy

Pray until you can honestly say with that hymn writer: Sweet hour of prayer. - Paul Washer

I like to call this "pressing through".

If you are like me, you have often set your knee to pray and felt almost as if your prayers fluttered above your head but weren't reaching heaven--they kinda hit the ceiling and fell back down.  This, of course, is our own sinful unbelief getting in the way, because God has promised to hear us (Psalm 65:2); it is our job to believe what He says.

So, what is going to break through that barrier created by our unbelief?

Let me just say, that God is at all times present everywhere (Psalm 139:7), but the unbelieving eye does not have the power to see Him (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Just as a blind man can stand in the same room with an elephant and say there is no elephant there, an unbelieving man will always deny the thing right in front of his face because he does not have spiritual eyes to see it.

There is willful unbelief and there is unbelief that is not willful, like that of the father who came to Jesus on behalf of his child who said: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).  Like that man, we are all tempted to doubt, but we need to recognize it as the sin that it is and not play games with it.  We have to act decisively against it and kill it where we find it (Romans 8:13); even so, God does not condemn those in Christ (Romans 8:1).  We are safe from condemnation; instead, He chastens us as sons and daughters (Hebrews 12:6).

Yet, knowing that your unbelief (your doubts) make your prayers cold and dead (just as James says: a man who doubts in prayer must not think he'll receive anything from God - James 1:7-8) ought to stir within you the desire to kill that unbelief so that you can pray to the God of mercy.  You should want to "press through" beyond the deadness to that place where prayer is sweet and communion with God is real and unbroken.

When I set to "pressing through" I like to sit alone in my room at night with all the lights out so that there's nothing to distract me, sit or kneel on the floor, and just talk to God out loud.  I pray until my prayers are a joy again and I don't want to stop.  I pray until I know I'm talking to my Best Friend--I'm communing with the Lover of my soul.  I pray until I know I'm speaking with a loving Father who cares for me and the people around me.  Then my prayers are sweet and easy and it's not so hard to imagine staying up all night like Jesus talking to the Father.  [No; I haven't stayed up all night in prayer yet, but it would be sweet; I hope to be able to do that some day.]

What an honour and a privilege it is to pray.

Friday, August 17, 2012

When Bible-reading Becomes Futile: A Warning

This post comes in a series of posts on prayer; scroll down to see a list of links to the rest of the posts in this series.

This post is specifically written in connection with "When Bible-reading Becomes Futile".  If you read that post and were thinking, Well, I really don't pray enough; I think I'll stop reading my Bible until I can pray more... don't be embarrassed; it's what I did ...then this post is for you.

Yes, it can be a futile pursuit to read your Bible and then not obey the direct commands you read in it.  However, if it is your sincere desire to grow in those areas where you see you are not yet giving full obedience, then be patient and call on God and He will help you.

But DO NOT cut out Bible reading all together until you can "pray more" or "pray better".  You'll be cutting off the legs on which you stand.

The Word of God is our source of growth.  It's our spiritual sustenance.  It's better than bread (Matthew 4:4) and it's like pure milk that helps us grow (1 Peter 2:2).  We need it!

And who needs milk more than the growing--the infants; those who have not yet learned how to fully obey everything that they read in Scripture?

As we read the Word, the Spirit of God convicts us--about sin; about areas where we need to grow in obedience.  It is folly to ignore that conviction--and if you harden your heart, then your reading has indeed become futile; you'll never obey, no matter how much you read--but it is also folly to say, Well, I'm just not going to read anymore until that area of my life is perfect.  What sort of pride is this?  [And I must confess I am guilty of it!]  We're never going to be perfect this side of Heaven.  There's always going to be more for us to learn.  We NEED the Word of God in our lives to teach us, to guide us, and to sanctify us in the truth.

And no one needs this reminder worse than I do!

Other posts in this series:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Said It: Andrew Murray on Christ as our Teacher in the school of Prayer

Perhaps you have been following my recent posts on prayer and you agree that 1) we ought to pray as a spiritual discipline and 2) we can pray boldly because Jesus bought that right with His blood.

But you now have the question: How do I pray?

I recently returned to reading a classic Christian book by Andrew Murray entitled With Christ in the School of Prayer.  In the first chapter, he begins by saying that we need to ask Jesus like His disciples did: "Lord, teach us to pray."

From the book, here is some encouragement that if we ask, Christ will be faithful to teach us:

"Lord, teach us to pray." Yes, we feel the need now of being taught to pray. At first there is no work that appears so simple; later on, none that is more difficult. And the confession is forced from us: We do not know how to pray as we should. It is true we have God's Word with its clear and sure promises, but sin has so darkened our mind that we don't always know how to apply the Word. In spiritual matters we do not always seek the most important things. In temporal matters we are still less able to use the wonderful liberty our Father has given us to ask for what we need. 
Even when we know what to ask for, so much is still needed to make prayer acceptable. It must be to the glory of God, in full surrender to His will, in full assurance of faith, in the Name of Jesus, and with a perseverance that, if need be, refuses to be denied. All this must be learned. It can only be learned in the school of much prayer, for practice makes perfect. 
Amid the painful consciousness of ignorance and unworthiness, in the struggle between believing and doubting, the heavenly art of effective prayer is learned. There is One--the Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer--Who watches over our praying and sees to it that in all who trust Him for it, education in the school of prayer is carried on to perfection. Let the deep undertone of all our prayer be the teachableness that comes from faith in Him as a perfect Teacher, and we can be sure that we will be taught. We will learn to pray in power. Yes, we can depend on His teaching us to pray.

[From With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray, Whitaker House, public domain]

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Bible-reading Becomes Futile

Bible-reading without prayer can be a futile pursuit.

I will not deny that Scripture has power in and of itself.  Scripture is very powerful--it is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

However, if we hear plainly the commands of Scripture to pray, and do not do it, we are living in disobedience to the Word--we are no longer doers of the Word, but hearers only, and we have deceived ourselves (James 1:22).

Here are some clear commands in Scripture to pray:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, ESV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13a, ESV)

pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV)

There are many more than these.  Scripture is filled with exhortations to pray.  If we do not follow the clear teaching of Scripture, and the clear teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ (who spent many a night in solitary prayer), to be in much private prayer, then we are not being obedient to the truth we've been given.

Believe me, no one needs this exhortation more than I do, but I am going to resolve anew to pray and read my Bible daily.  I strongly encourage you to do the same, and then ask God to help you--we cannot live as we ought to on our own; we need His help.  But God has also given us each other to help along the way; you can encourage me and I can encourage you as we grow together into the fullness of Jesus Christ.

Please resolve to spend time with God daily, praying and reading your Bible, and then guard your time with God jealously!  These disciplines will be the means God uses to make you holy and transform you into the image of Jesus Christ and draw you into closer, sweeter communion with Him.

EDITED August 17, 2012 at 3:43PM

A warning to those of you like me who thought after this post: Well, now I have to stop reading my Bible until I'm able to pray more.  That is folly!  If you do that, you'll be cutting off the legs on which you stand.  Sure, resolve right now to obey what you read in Scripture, but even if that obedience is very imperfect (as we are imperfect) don't stop reading.  Scripture will help you to grow up into the fullness of Christ.  Don't harden your hearts to it--then it really will be futile to read it--but don't stop reading if your obedience is less than it ought to be.  Read more about this here: "When Bible-reading Becomes Futile: A Warning"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Church without Jesus?

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6, NKJV)
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, NKJV)
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV)

If your church is not pointing you to Jesus Christ, you have a BIG problem!  Christ must be the whole reason you're a Christ-ian and Christ must be the whole reason we do church!

Remember that the Church is the Bride of Christ!  If the Bride forgets her Bridegroom or neglects Him, what would that say of their relationship?  What would that say to a watching world?

Remember that the Church is the Body of Christ!  If the Body forgets the Head or neglects Him, will it not quickly and utterly die?

Remember that we are the Branch and Christ is the Vine!  If the Branch ceases to be in the Vine, will it live?  And what if we become puffed-up, thinking that we do not need the Vine?  Will not the Vinedresser chasten us for our pride? [Indeed, the Apostle Paul says that the Vinedresser is able to cut us off completely from the Vine, should we become too proud. ref Romans 11:20-21]

Jesus Christ must be everything to you!  He must be everything to me!  He did, after-all, save us from the wrath of God!  Let's remember that this Sabbath!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

They Said It: Andrew Murray on Obedience

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African missionary and pastor.  He wrote many books about walking intimately with God in devotion and prayer.

Ye are My friends, if ye do the things which I command you. - John 15:14 
... This truth, of the imperative necessity of obedience, doing all that Christ commands us, has not the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to have.  We have given far higher place to privilege than to duty.  We have not considered implicit obedience as a condition of true discipleship.  The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, and a subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power.  The whole relation to Christ has become clouded and lowered, the waiting on His teaching, the power to hear and obey His voice, and through obedience to enjoy His love and friendship, have been enfeebled by the terrible mistake.  Do let us try to return to the true position, take Christ's words as most literally true, and make nothing less the law of our life: "Ye are my friends, if ye do the things that I command you."  Surely our Lord asks nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say: "Yea, Lord, what Thou dost command, that will I do." ...

[From The True Vine by Andrew Murray, Moody Press, public domain]

Friday, August 3, 2012

"I want to be like Mary...": a poem

To read the biblical account of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany, click HERE and HERE.

I want to be like Mary...

Oh I want to be like Mary
She broke her alabaster flask
Poured its oil out on Jesus
He didn't even have to ask

Mary do you love Me?
Will you do this thing for Me?
Do you trust Me with what's precious?
Would you give it all for Me?

Jesus, You are worthy
Of this and so much more
My blood instead of oil
I'd even gladly pour

But no one else understood
The beat of Mary's heart
They said it was a waste
--it surely wasn't smart

Why, that oil could be sold
The money given to the poor
Why'd she spend it all on Jesus
What did she do that for?

But Jesus did not rebuke her
Nor scorn the gift she gave
She's wrought a good work for Me, He said
And come to prepare Me for the grave

And where'er the Gospel's preached
Her deed will be told of, too
As a memorial to her
[And as a reminder to you]

Don't fear to be like Mary
To love Christ more than self
True, the world will mock you
And relegate you to the shelf

By the world you'll be forgotten
They won't even know your name
But where the Gospel of love is preached
Your love, too, will be proclaimed

Oh, I want to be like Mary
Who broke her alabaster flask
She poured its oil out on Jesus
He didn't even have to ask

Sadie Daniels, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drawing Near: Sabotaging ourselves

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8a, NKJV)
With whom is the responsibility to draw near?  With us.  We are to draw near to God.  Then He will draw near to us.  Not the other way around.  It lies with us to make the first move.  We have to repent and seek God.  (Of course, no one can come unless the Father first draws him, but that's a lesson for another time. ref John 6:44)

The responsibility lies with us to draw near to God.  And we've learned that we draw near to God by purifying ourselves from sin and by making God our Master.

Do you know that we can sabotage ourselves in our pursuit of God?  Yes; we can.  By downplaying the significance of self and rebellion in our lives.  By denying that we have sin and by accepting the reign of the flesh instead of the reign of Christ in us.

I find that every time I say something like: What's the big deal anyway? about something the Holy Spirit is convicting me of, it is as if I am myself putting up a barrier between me and God.

There's nowhere I can go to get away from God (see Psalm 139), but there is a sense in which I can cease to draw near to God, in relationship, by refusing to acknowledge and put away sin.

By not acknowledging the gravity of sin, and by not denying self and putting it to death so that the Spirit of Christ might reign in me, I sabotage my walk with God and make it impossible to draw near to Him.

Let us this day resolve to deal seriously with sin, and not down-play it as being "not so bad".  Let us remember that because of sin, the perfect Lamb of God--Jesus Christ Himself--had to die a death He did not deserve.  Let us, therefore, treat sin with all of the violence and contempt that it deserves, and put it to a quick and decisive death so that we can draw near to God and experience all of the joy and beauty that is available to us in His presence.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Drawing Near: "Try some new venture with God..."

Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you want more of God? Would you like to re-kindle your relationship?

James 4:8 (NKJV) says:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
If we draw near to God, then just like any other relationship, our relationship with God will be strengthened by our efforts.  But unlike our other relationships, God is holy!  We cannot make peace with sin in our lives and expect to be on good terms with God!

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV):
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
You cannot draw near to God while giving your heart away to sin.  This is idolatry, and it is considered spiritual adultery in the eyes of God.  It is important to note that we will never be completely without sin this side of Heaven (though Jesus sets us free, we still make mistakes), but what God is looking for is our attitude towards it.  He looks for the struggle.  Are we at peace with sin or are we fighting it?  Are we making sin our master?  Or do we hate our sin and seek its eradication in our lives?

That being said, if you truly desire to draw closer to God, then why not start right away?  As John Piper says, "Try some new venture with God."

So, decide right now: What am I going to do this week to draw closer to God?

I would love to hear your ideas and their results.  Comment below or email me:

Let us take time this very day to rethink our priorities and how prayer fits in. Make some new resolve. Try some new venture with God. Set a time. Set a place. Choose a portion of Scripture to guide you. Don’t be tyrannized by the press of busy days. We all need midcourse corrections. Make this a day of turning to prayer—for the glory of God and for the fullness of your joy. - John Piper

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Purchased Possession: When the Lord calls for what is His own

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)

As Christians, when we receive a command from God in Scripture, it is our job to obey it without question.  We do whatever God tells us to do.  We make our lives available to Him because He purchased them on the cross.  Whatever He wants from us, we give unreservedly.  This is what it means to lay down your life and deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ--you die so that Christ can live through the one He purchased.

So our response to any request He makes is: Yes, Lord.  Whatever You say.  That, I will do.

That's our first response.  It comes before any thought of reward.  Do it.

After we have determined and willed to do what God has said, then a second consideration must be made: God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  Those who seek Him love Him and keep His commandments.  Therefore, the one who keeps His commandments will be rewarded.

Are we motivated by the reward?  Yes and no.

We gauge our motivation by asking the question: Would I still obey if there was no reward?

The Christian who knows she has been bought with the blood of Jesus and she is not her own says: Yes.  Even if there was no reward, I would still obey.  For He is worthy of my obedience.

Yet, our God is SUPER-gracious!  There is a reward!  And it is a GREAT reward!

It says of Jesus in Hebrews 12 that: For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross...

We can know the same joy as Jesus!  He wants to give it to us!  Therefore, we do God honour by believing Him when He says we will be rewarded, and by striving for the reward that He gives and not for the rewards of men.

We obey God from the heart, because He is worthy; but we are also commanded to look to the reward and treasure that.

When you truly treasure the favour of God, you will be set free from the desperate need to have the approval of men.  People can overlook your work, take credit for it, belittle and abuse you, and it will not matter to you--you will be free--because your reward is with God.

Also, never forget love.  Remember that Paul says that we can have all things, yet lack love, and thus have nothing.  But what is love?  It is the very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ indwelling us.  Therefore, if we have the heart and mind of Jesus, then we will love as He loved, we will work as He worked, we will obey as He obeyed, and we will please the Father as He did.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning Surrender: a poem

It seemed like I had planned out my way
I knew every step; no need to pray
For hadn't God planted the thoughts of my heart?
Did I not just have to do my part?

But I'm learning

That dreams don't come true
Unless they first die
Nothing can live
That's not sacrificed
So I lay it all down
And take up my knife
Kill it so God
Can raise it to life

Not my will, but God's will be done
I submit myself as did Jesus, God's Son
I'm dead to myself--now, as I live
Yes, I've surrendered, but there's still more to give

I'm learning

Because I've surrendered
My plans and my will
Now it's my pleasure
My cup to fill
With all of God's bountiful
Mercy and grace
To pour out on others
Let none go to waste

For I'm dead to myself--now, as I live
Yes, I've surrendered, so there's plenty to give

Sadie Daniels, 2012

God is God: Need He say more?

First Samuel 15 verse 3 states: "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.  But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."

God is speaking through the prophet Samuel to King Saul, telling him to utterly destroy the Amalekites because they wickedly pursued the weakest of the Israelites as they were coming up from Egypt.  But He offers no further explanation.  Though we'd really like one.

Why kill the children, too?  Seems a bit extreme...

But God offers no explanation.  Even though it means that His actions and intentions will be misunderstood and misrepresented.  He says nothing more than needs to be said.  The expectation is that King Saul will obey the voice of God.  King Saul, however, fears the people more than he fears God, and so he does not fully obey God--but that's another story.

The long and short of it is that God doesn't owe us an explanation for His actions.

You will notice in the Scriptures He rarely gives one.  Especially where we'd most like one.  I think He does that intentionally, because we can often forget who is God--He is; not us.  Explanations belong to Him, and we as creatures are really on a need-to-know basis.  There are things that will always be hidden to our knowledge, and we need to accept that and believe in faith that God is good, He is much wiser than we are, and we are bound to follow and obey Him; whether He gives us any explanation or not is His business.

However, a truly beautiful reality is that God does care about us!  He does not give us explanations often because it's our human pride that wants one.  But He often gives us explanations as a loving Father to a beloved child.  He is a merciful God.  And He promises not to break the one who is already bruised.  If you are humbled by affliction and trial and pain, turn to God and not away from Him, and He will comfort you.  But He will not give explanations to satisfy the proud and intellectually curious.  He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sanctified by the Word: The importance of daily Bible reading

[Jesus prayed,] "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." (John 17:17, NKJV)

If you were to ask me what one discipline has been most instrumental in bringing me to where I am now in my walk in Christ, I would have to say it is daily Bible reading.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for believers to be always reading the Word of God AND doing what it says (remember James says that he who hears the Word and does not do it deceives himself).

Why is it so important to read my Bible daily? you ask.

Well, it's how you are sanctified--that is, it's how God makes you more like Jesus.  Jesus Christ Himself prayed to the Father the night He was betrayed that the Father would sanctify His disciples by His truth--by His Word.

But the Bible wasn't written when Jesus prayed that prayer, was it?

In Jesus' day, He would have been referring to what we call the Old Testament--often referred to by Jesus as "Moses and the prophets".  These chronicled divinely inspired historical events--as well as prophecies--that all taught about Jesus Christ, as Jesus Himself demonstrated to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

So, does that mean the Old Testament has power to sanctify me?

Yes; that's exactly what it means.

What about the New Testament?

The New Testament seems tricky only because it wasn't around when Jesus was walking the earth; it was written after His death, resurrection, and ascension, so we wonder sometimes what makes it valid--or we wonder how we can be sure that it is valid.

But Jesus promised to His disciples to send the Helper to them who would remind them of everything that He taught them.  And Jesus only ever taught what the Father told Him.  Therefore, if we trust Jesus that He was telling the truth, then the New Testament is also the Word of the Father.  Therefore, it also has the same sanctifying power.

Well, I probably should read my Bible, then.  Are there any good Bible reading plans out there?

There sure are!  Something I am very grateful to Compass Bible Church for is that during my time there, they impressed upon me the importance of daily Bible reading.  They have an easy daily reading plan to get you started.  It's all online, too, which is very handy.  Just visit this link for today's reading: Daily Bible Reading.

If you want a different reading plan better suited to your personal needs, check out the reading plans available at (Reading Plans).

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Response of Faith

God is good!

We don't often have trouble saying that God is good when good things happen to us; it's when bad things happen that we often struggle to say, "God is good."

We wonder how a good God could let such bad things happen.  Can God really be "good" if He'd allow this...  He could have stopped it... Why didn't He...

These are not uncommon questions to ask in bad situations.

Years ago, when I read the Book of Job for the first time, I was puzzled by Job's declaration, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:35)

I thought, "That's a rather odd thing to say about God.  I've never known anyone to say that.  Why would Job say, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him'?"

It didn't make sense to me.  I thought we trusted in God because He brought good things into our lives. I had no idea that Job's response was actually the response of faith.

It was the response of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed that the cup of His suffering be taken from Him and the Father said, "No," and Jesus yielded Himself to the Father's will; even though it meant that the Father really would slay Him.  [For it was the Father's will to crush Him - Isaiah 53:10]

It's the response of countless martyrs throughout the ages who went to their deaths praising God--convinced of His goodness.

It's the response of faith.  We hold on to the conviction that God is good--because we know He is--no matter what happens to us; because the fact that God is good is unaffected by our circumstances; it is fact and like God, does not change.

Hold on to the goodness of God!  And even though He slay you, trust in Him!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The privilege of being a Levite: No burden

Jesus said: [My] commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

But we don't believe Him.  They sure sound like a burden to us.  You mean I have to love God and love people?  That's hard!  You mean I have to pray and read my Bible to cultivate a relationship with God?  That's hard!  I'd much rather play a game, watch a movie, make money, phone a friend, read a book... etc.  I've gotta have my "me" time!  God doesn't want me to neglect myself, does He?

Actually, He does, in a sense.  He wants us to forget about ourselves and be lost in Him.  He wants us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24).  He wants us to put sin and self to death so that the Spirit of Christ might live in us (Colossians 3:5)!

Sounds scary, doesn't it?  But it's so good!

Because you know what else God wants?  He wants to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32)!  He wants to give us the Son (John 3:16)!  He wants to give us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)!  He wants to freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)!  He wants to give us treasures that won't rust or decay (Matthew 6:19)!  He wants to give us everlasting life!  He wants to give us Himself!

And still, we say it's not enough.  It seems poor and paltry.  We want the world.  We want to be free.  We don't want to be bound to Christ.  We want to do what we want to do.

Do you know that the Levites--the priests who ministered before God in His holy tabernacle in ancient Israel--did not receive an inheritance like the other tribes?  Instead, God said that He would be their inheritance (Deuteronomy 18:2).  And with that word, God made the Levites the richest among His people, because the one who has God for an inheritance has all things!

God is our inheritance if we follow Him--Paul said he counted all things rubbish that he may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).  If we then, by keeping the commandments of Christ, get more of Him in return, His commandments are not a burden but a joy!  They are an avenue of immense blessing to God's people!

Of course, it is not as the world gives that Christ gives to His people (John 14:27).  So if we look on it with worldly eyes, then it won't look like much.  We need the heart and mind of Christ!  Christ made it His food to do the Father's will, it was so satisfying to Him!  I have bread you know not of, He said (John 4:32).  And as He was sent by the Father, He sends us also!  As the Father sent Me, so send I you, He said (John 20:21).  His food can be our food!

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  Nor, dare I say, does a man live on the pleasures of this world.  They only kill and destroy in the end.  Our real pleasure, our real joy, our real happiness and peace are in Christ!  We must believe this!

His commandments are not a burden!  They are our great deliverance!

A man or woman enslaved to sin (Romans 6:20) has a cruel master--Satan--but those enslaved to righteousness (Romans 6:18) have the perfect Master--Jesus!  And the freest person in all the world is the one who makes himself a slave to the perfect Master!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The heart of the matter...

I have a question for you, Christian sister: Do you look on the outward appearance or do you look at the heart?

In 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) it says...

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

If we are to be like Christ, we are to have the eyes of God.  We are not to look on people as the world does.

God is not partial as men are:

For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11, ESV)

God calls rich men poor and poor men rich.  He turns our prejudices on their heads and tells us that the royalty are the oppressed and forgotten--the poor, the weak, the frail--those who have no advocate.

Sister, do you have the eyes of Christ?  If you're like me, you struggle to treat the least as if they were something.  You struggle to see beauty in brokenness.  You struggle to be content in squalor when there are riches to be enjoyed.

It is so important, then, to have the mind of Christ and to go low as He did, making Himself of no reputation but becoming the slave of all.  Can you imagine it?  He was and is God, and yet He came as a child in a manger--He slept His first sleep in a stable; imagine the smell!!

He went low in love.  He calls us to do the same.

We are nothing.  He is everything.  Let us give ourselves for others as He gave Himself for us!

Today I went to Forever 21 with friends.  We wanted to teach some younger girls about modest dress, but I have to admit it was a struggle for me.  So many pretty things.  Shopping malls are such a temptation to worldliness.  And they're designed that way.  They can be a snare, so I caution my sisters to be careful and aware.  Cherish Christ and walk closely with Him, denying the flesh and living in the Spirit.  Remember the body is more than clothes, and our Father in heaven knows all we need!  Be blessed!