Friday, January 23, 2009

All is well

Divine tranquillity grows from the life of God in the soul, which is the same as the life of pure love.

Why should a soul be otherwise than tranquil, which seeks for nothing but what comes in the providence of God; and which, forgetful of self, has nothing to do but to love?

It has an innate conviction, strong as the everlasting foundations, that, if there is a God above us, all is well, all must be well.
Thomas C. Upham

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When "good" is withheld...

"If you are going through a trial where you are simply waiting for an answer, He is there. If you find yourself painfully thrust into the refiners fire over and over again as you pray for an end to the hurt, He is there. If you find yourself in a vast and lonely ocean, fighting waves of despair and hopelessness, as you use all your strength just to keep your head above the water, no matter the trial no matter the pain, our Saviour is still there.

"He stands quietly with us feeling our present pain, understanding our present yearning, and our seeing our present need and He stands there with two quarters in His pocket. As our Lord passes with us through the fire and water, remember He also stands there with us in our future deliverance, our future healing, and our future blessing; and knowing all and seeing all, His hand remains where it rests and He lovingly and with omniscience withholds the “good” so that He can eventually give us of His best.

"He who withheld not the most precious gift He possessed, His only and beloved son, will not withhold anything of lesser value. Why settle for just quarters when we can own the entire bank!

"Are you willing to let go of the quarters and allow Him to give you of His best, when and where He deems it best?"
Read the rest of Jodi's challenging post here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The true test of faith

Isn't the true test of faith continuing your faith in the face of its failure? If we are only faithful in things which require no faith, what faith is that?

When we can have faith in God's promise while God marches us up the hill to sacrifice our Isaac, then we demonstrate the faith of Abraham, the faith that makes all things possible.
~Carl Olson

Friday, January 9, 2009

Still Will We Trust

Within the space of two years, William Henry Burleigh (1812-1871) buried his father, wife, eldest daughter, and eldest son. In a letter to a friend he said: "It is not without strong wrestlings that doubt and murmurings are put under my feet and I am enabled to struggle up into the purer atmosphere of faith." God used Mr. Burleigh's trials to bless all of us in the form of this hymn, "Still Will We Trust."

This hymn was God's gift of encouragement to me today: I'd stumbled across one stanza quoted in an Elisabeth Elliot book, not realizing it was a hymn until a quick Google search revealed the rest of the lyrics. Then God nudged me to look it up in our hymnbooks, though I didn't remember seeing it before. But there it was in the very first one I opened...and I played through it several dozen times, learning the beautiful melody and singing the words to God as a prayer. He has not forgotten me - or you.
Still will we trust, though earth seem dark and dreary,
And the heart faint beneath His chastening rod;
Though rough and steep our pathway, worn and weary,
Still will we trust in God!

Our eyes see dimly till by faith anointed,
And our blind choosing brings us grief and pain;
Through Him alone Who hath our way appointed,
We find our peace again.

Choose for us, God! Nor let our weak preferring
Cheat our poor souls of good Thou has designed;
Choose for us, God! Thy wisdom is unerring,
And we are fools and blind.

So from our sky the night shall furl her shadows,
And day pour gladness through his golden gates,
Our rough path lead to flower-enameled meadows,
Where joy our coming waits.

Let us press on, in patient self denial,
Accept the hardship, shrink not from the loss;
Our portion lies beyond the hour of trial,
Our crown beyond the cross.

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Not for nothing!"

I clearly remember one late-night discussion with my sisters some months ago. I'd received some difficult news and was feeling particularly discouraged. As I shared this with my sisters, one of them wisely reminded me that it is those who have suffered the most that God is able to use the most. My difficulties at that moment (and those I face today) were not allowed by God just to torture me, nor were they the random happenings of a life left up to chance - they were specifically allowed into my life by my loving Father to qualify me for a wider sphere of service for His glory.

That bit of wisdom was exactly what I needed to hear that night, and it has come often to mind since, giving me hope and fresh strength to press on. Everything in our lives has a purpose - it is "not for nothing," as Elisabeth Elliot so succintly phrased it. If we truly believe this, we will be able to "count it all joy," as this quote reminds us (thanks to Emilie for sharing it!):
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
~James 1:2~

"What kind of Christian will God use?" is the great question. That is not difficult to answer. He will use the same kind He has always used.

Just turn through the Bible and see whom He used in times past. Look at Joseph in the Old Testament. Who was tried more than this son of Jacob? He was abused by his brethren, sold into slavery, imprisoned on false charges, but he was patient and forbearing. It was Joseph who saved the Jewish race in that terrible famine. It was Joseph who won the favor of a pagan king and thereby obtained a home for his father and brethren. He could say, "Count it all joy when you fall into divers trials." The way to face every trial and every temptation is with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake."

Trial lets down a blazing torch into the human nature and helps one to see many things which he little expected to see. One of the marvels of modern science is the use of electric light by divers at the bottom of the sea to take pictures of sea life. It is this biological conception that James has in mind in order to reveal spiritual truth. What do we learn by trials and temptations? We learn patience. Patience is the product of trial. Happiness is found also by enduring ill for the sake of Jesus.
~C.E. Matthews

Saturday, January 3, 2009

You seek God.

William Booth wrote, "Don't instill, or allow anybody else to instill into the hearts of your children the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don't be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across. Women and men should marry when it is plainly the will of God for their lives, NOT because they 'can't minister' otherwise, or because of social pressure."

...The desire for a companion, for love, and for marriage is a God given desire. There is nothing wrong with that. I think that it is a desire that is tucked away in the heart of most, if they will admit it.
But, what do you do with that desire?

You seek God.
Read the rest of Gina's excellent post here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Children of tomorrow

We must face today as children of tomorrow. We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.

~A. W. Tozer