If

I’d like to share a few quotes from Missionary Amy Carmichael‘s book entitled If. It is based on 1 Corinthians 13, often called the love chapter in the Bible.

If you aren’t familiar with Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), I encourage you to click on her name and read the very brief biography at that link. There really have been very few women like her.

“If I myself dominate myself,
if my thoughts revolve round myself,
if I am so occupied with myself I rarely

have a heart at leisure from itself,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If the praise of others elates me
and their blame depresses me;
if I cannot rest under misunderstanding
without defending myself;
if I love to be loved more than to love,
to be served more than to serve,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success,
so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does,
is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If my interest in the work of others is cool;
if I think in terms of my own special work;
if the burdens of others are not my burdens too,
and their joys mine,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Amy Carmichael

“If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it,
because the spirit of discernment is not in me,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Amy Carmichael

I have been thinking lately how much I underestimate God’s expectations of me. When I consider the life this woman, how she served and sacrificed for Christ and others, I am horrified by my laziness, failure, and complacency. Do I know nothing of Calvary’s love? Lately, I wonder.

Waiting Room

I think God builds waiting into His plan for our life. I think it might even be one of the holiest experiences we can have on earth.

  • I think of Moses waiting at the shore of the Red Sea for God to make a way.
  • I think of Ruth waiting to glean discards in the field.
  • I think of David waiting for his son to be healed.
  • I think of Esther waiting for the to appointed hour to enter the king’s chamber.
  • I think of Joshua waiting for the walls to fall.
  • I think of Hannah pleading with God, as she waited for a miracle.
  • I think of Elijah waiting for fire from Heaven.
  • I think of Sarah plotting her own way, instead of waiting for God’s promise.
  • I think of Daniel waiting for the lions to fall asleep.
  • I think of Mary suffering scorn, as she awaited her Savior’s birth.

At those times when we are given room to wait,  let’s be sure not squander them. Let’s not regret that we have a waiting room to occupy, but let’s use it. Don’t plead with the Lord to end it, but recognize what a rare gift it is to be invited to wait on Him.

To wait with Him.

It is an exclusive opportunity that in one instant will end. The waiting will be over.

Until then, let’s attune our ear to His voice. Learn to listen. Learn His ways. Practice trusting Him.

Trust Him more.

Instead of filling our waiting room with busy work or mindlessness—entertainment, diversions, speculation—let’s spend it wisely. Rest on His promises. Trust in His presence. Pray. Worship. Seek.  Practice patience; remain faithful. Learn His comms.

Waiting on the Lord is never, ever in vain. 

❤ 

Psalm130_5

 

What Hea-Woo Did in Prison

This is the story of Hea-Woo.

Hea-Woo is from North Korea.

One day, she escaped across a river to China.

While she was in China, someone witnessed to her about Jesus Christ. Hea-Woo came to know Christ as Lord and Savior, and and began learning about her new faith.

It was not long, though, before she was captured by the secret police and returned to North Korea. There, she was sentenced to a prison camp.

At that prison camp, she made a few important decisions. She decided to:

  1. Tell her fellow prisoners about Jesus.
  2. Witness to her fellow prisoners by helping them (sharing her rice with the sick, helping others wash their clothes, etc.).
  3. Begin a secret church. They met in the prison bathroom.

Her church really captured my interest.

  • Her church met on Sundays and on Christmas.
  • Without access to a Bible, she could only from what she remembered learning in China. Whatever songs or Bible verses she remembered, she would teach her tiny congregation.
  • Their singing had to be as quiet as possible to avoid detection. It was almost imperceptible.

Hea-Woo ultimately was released from the prison camp, and later escaped to South Korea.

During her time in the North Korean prison camp, she lead five people to salvation. She says, “They were on the edge of death, and I could give them the message of hope.”

When God Takes the Hard Road

Someone shared a dumb meme on Instagram that said God takes the harder route on purpose, to show us He’s so powerful.

Give me a break!

We are not dolls in God’s toy house. He doesn’t use us like some benevolent giant, creating horrific challenges for us to face just so He can be our Hero. Yuck!

That is not the character of God.

God LOVES you! He doesn’t bring trouble to show His power. Trouble comes, because we breathe. We sin. We have an Enemy who hates us. God is not our Enemy. He is our Friend. Would a friend sneak over and slash your tires, just so they could come to your aid and win BFF points?

NO!

That is not love!

Who would ever love a person they knew had intentionally hurt them, just so they could save them?

If it seems like God is taking you on the long and hard road to victory (instead of the short and easy one you imagine exists), guess what?

It’s because that’s the only way out!

God loves us. He desires good for us. His promises to us are for our benefit! Over and over He reassures us in His Word that He’s got our back. He’s on our side!

So, if the road ahead looks long and hard, rejoice in knowing God will walk every step with you—if you will put your faith and trust in Him. And, I tell you what, on that long and hard road He has already sent His angels ahead to prepare oases along the way, places to rest and be invigorated. He has already sent angels to post warning signs for every trap and field mine the Devil has laid down. He has already prepared His own to be there for you when you need a hand to hold, a listening ear, and a praying friend.

Folks, if you choose to trust God, trust Him. All the way. And, you know, here’s the truth: we cannot trust our own eyes. Sometimes, things look a lot worse from our perspective, and the Devil tempts us away from God’s sure path with the false image of quick fix. Don’t let your heart deceive you. Trust God! His way is the only way out.

God bless you today! ❤️

“Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just one hath upheld thee.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

My Prayer for Hunter

Hunter Biden is a troubled man.

I cannot bear looking at his pictures. They are images of a dead man. They make me sad, and my heart hurts for him.

Don’t get me wrong. Criminal behavior must be prosecuted. Justice is always the right thing.

HOWEVER, this man’s need for Jesus is clear.

As I have been reading the news, I found an article that excerpted an email he wrote himself in 2018. He reminisces about going to mass as a child, and then talks about what happened at the mass for his brother.

He writes: “For the first time in my life [I] prayed to [not] just my dead mother and my dead sister but also to my dead brother. And for the first time in my [life, I] prayed for me-and I asked please let me be with you please let me know you love me please let me forget please let me come.”

I don’t know what was behind this email, and it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that this guy is not really any different than most of the men we’ve met through New Brothers Fellowship. He has a much higher profile, and much bigger budget than anyone I’ve ever met in our out of jail, but money and fame don’t make a bit of difference when it comes to Eternity. One day Hunter will stand before God. He will either be washed by the blood of Jesus, or not. The sin he has committed in this life will either be remembered no more, his record expunged, or it will be the evidence that seals his conviction and condemns him to eternal death.

So, I am going to pray for Hunter to be saved. I feel very sad for him. I am very angry at what he and his father have done, but that doesn’t keep me from being so sorry for him and caring for his spiritual need.

Below is my prayer for Hunter. Will you pray with me for him—at least this one time?

Dear Heavenly Father:
I am coming to You today on behalf of Hunter Biden. My heart is troubled for him, Lord, and that has to be because of You. So, I will lift him up and intercede on his behalf, because I know that You love him.

Lord, my first request is that You please protect this man from harm at the hand of others or himself. Please, protect him.

I also pray that somehow You would make a way for him to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lord, I don’t think he is seeking redemption, but an escape. I pray instead he would have a divine encounter with truth. I pray he would be saved and delivered.

Lord, I cannot begin to understand his choices. I don’t want to know the things that have been done to him, or the things he has done to others. I don’t want to know the debauchery that has defined his life. He’s excelled at every sin on the list! He’s a perfect specimen of a life lived for self.

Yet, I know that his sin is not so different than mine, in that all sin separates us from You. We are who grade our sins against some imaginary scale, but all sin is equal at the Cross. All sin can be covered by Your precious blood. So, I pray for Hunter what I have prayed for many other men these past 16 years: please, stop him. Put an end to his running. Sit him a jail cell next to a New Brother, Lord. Let him be humbled, that pride broken, so that he will recognize his need for You. God, please, forgive him for what he has done. Bring him to justice, and bring him to salvation.

Oh, Lord. Please, give him one more chance to know You as his Lord and Savior.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

You Play A Part

You may look at some people in your life and wonder what they’re doing there.

[They may not matter much to you.]

Yet, the truth is you have no idea how important they may be to your future.

[Or, how important you might be to theirs.]

God is not random. He has a Big Plan, and it has to do with people.

The people…
…who always seems to show up;
…you can’t seem to lose;
…who rub you the wrong way;
…you see everyday, yet they are strangers to you;
…you wish you could know more.

All those people. 

So, don’t ignore them.
Consider them.
Reconsider your relationship with them.
Give them your respect.
Treat them with gentleness.
Help them, encourage them, and bless them.
Look for the opportunity to love them.
Pray God’s will for their lives, lift them up when they are down.
A little time and compassion matter.

And, always remember that no matter what you might think about their life right now, or the choices they’ve made so far, God has always had a plan and a purpose for their lives.

Maybe,
just maybe,
He’s been waiting for you to play your part.  

14 August 2011

The Believer’s Deadline

For some time now, I have been thinking about the absence of the fear of the Lord amongst Believers.

I think it’s a core issue that has caused many to compromise, embrace false doctrine, and fall away from right standing with God.

I believe we have made God into our own image; someone we can understand. Someone who’s thoughts are like our thoughts, and who’s ways are like our ways. We even think our thoughts are His thoughts, sometimes. Without seeking His Word, we go forward. It seems right to us, so let’s do it.

This kind of “faith” actually requires no faith at all.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Somehow, the church got the idea that God was supposed to be approachable, and that seems to be the crux of the problem. He is not approachable, except through Christ. Only through Christ. We must come to Him clothed in the righteousness of Christ, cleansed by the blood. And, Christ is not something we put on and take off when we get to the church door.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

The God of the Old Testament has not changed, and He never will. He required great things of those Saints of old, yet we expect Him to be satisfied with our measly gifts today. We give Him our “extra” time. We yawn and watch the clock. We decide how much we serve according to what we’re already doing, not according to how much there is to be done. We give more time to entertainment, than we do to knowing Him. Sports scores clutter more Facebook statuses than Scripture references. We pollute our minds watching and listening to things that should make us jump up and run out of the room. Why do we want to be a part of glorifying that which nailed our Savior to the Cross?

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Friends, I have not written this to condemn anyone. I am not judging your choices, or prejudiced against your lifestyle. I am only concerned for the Body of Christ. The days are getting short, Brothers and Sisters. Christ is coming soon. That is not an inevitability that we just wait to arrive. “Why think about it? Why preach about it? It’s going to happen anyway.” No. We are missing the point, if that is what we think. Paul described this Christian life as a race to finish (2 Timothy 4:7). What runner ambles around the course, not caring whether or not he reaches the end? The Rapture is a deadline we are supposed to prepare ourselves for, and daily be working towards.

I love you, and I am praying for you. I pray you will allow these words to challenge you to search your heart. ❤

September 13, 2011

The Other Virus

I think this pandemic is the most insidious thing anyone alive today has experienced.

Almost 200 countries have been invaded by an unknown and deadly enemy whose only objective seems to be to infect as many people as possible. It propels itself through the airwaves, where it can be inhaled by any unsuspecting passerby. The remaining droplets fall and settle, unseen and undying, lingering for many hours or several days—surface matters.

Then, once landed or inhaled, it is secretly transported from one victim to another. And, another. And, another.

On, and on, and on it travels, disguising itself as a common cold, or it simply remains hidden. Out of site. Undetectable.  An otherwise perfectly healthy person has no idea they are carrying a time bomb, until it pulls its trigger. Within hours, its victim might be near death.

And, after a death as agonizing as one dares to imagine, it continues to multiply, feeding off its dead host.

If there has ever been any illness or disease with a character more like Satan, I haven’t heard of it. All disease is evil, and a result of evil, but no other disease is as insidious as this virus.

IS ANYTHING WORSE?

There is something worse. It is a sin that works in the heart, mind, and spirit, bringing nothing but death, if allowed to go unchecked.

It is like a spiritual virus, a sin far more dangerous than lust, greed, or hate.

It is spiritually insidious.

It invades our spirit, soul, and body, a deadly enemy whose only objective is our death.

It propels itself through the airwaves, Satan’s domain. It travels on the heels of the unknowing, through innocent words or deeds. The unsuspecting and unperceptive are easily caught in its trap, and quickly absorb its poison. It can affect anyone, of any demographic, potentially lingering forever in the willing.

On, and on, and on it travels, disguising itself as a knowledge or maturity, or it simply remains hidden. Out of site. Undetectable. Indiscernible. An otherwise spiritually sound person has no idea they are carrying a time bomb, until it pulls its trigger. Within hours, its victim might be near spiritual death.

And, after a spiritual death as agonizing as one dares to imagine, it continues to multiply, feeding off its dead host.

THERE IS NO CURE

It’s hard to accept, but there is no cure for this sin-virus. It’s hapless victims can only prepare for death.

A daily death.

Daily denying the flesh; dying to self; and finding new life in Christ. That is, life everlasting.

That is the only treatment. The only hope for Pride’s victim. Not a cure, but a daily application of the identity of Christ: a daily choice to live in Him. 

3/22/20

The Book with a Blessing

This is not a sermon, and not really a teaching. It’s almost a book review, a chapter-by-chapter survey. I thought it was great. Plus, it’s a book that comes with a blessing!

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)

“Revelation,” from Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel.

No reason to be intimidated by this book! ❤️

Living This Out

I know there are a lot of men and women struggling with sin in their lives right now. You are doing everything you know to do, being as faithful to God as you can be, yet there is a struggle inside you for freedom. Something keeps pulling you back into bondage.

Well, if you are willing to give some time to listen—and, you really do need to stop and pay attention, because he packs a lot into every minute—I want to encourage you to check out The Saxophone Player’s video series called Living This Out. He is posting videos about once a week, but you should probably subscribe and turn on the little bell, so you get notifications of his updates. You really don’t want to miss these teachings.

This is his most recent video:

Here is a link to the whole series. Be sure to subscribe and click the bell icon by the subscribe button, if you don’t want to miss a teaching.  LIVING THIS OUT!

Friend, you really can walk in freedom and peace.
God bless you today. ❤