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

BUT...

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!

In Christ?  NO 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.