Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are we Devoted?

"We're so subnormal, if we ever become normal, we'll think we're abnormal! God help us..."
- Leonard Ravenhill
"I have said since I was 12 years old that I will never, ever lower the standard. Even if it sends me to hell, I will not lower it!"
- Katherine Booth, daughter of William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army
"People invent doctrines 'cause they can't live up to the standard. They have wonderful doctrines that say, 'You can go to heaven, though you live a life of sin, and you don't have to be changed as long as you get "USDA Choice Christian" stamped on the front of your head when you say the sinners prayer!' "
- Keith Green
"It doesn't say any place in the bible that you should go out and witness - it says that you should be a witness, going into all nations and making disciples of men. Perverted Christianity today tries to make everything a deed, a little packaged thing. We have 'Instant Quaker Oats', instant tea, and now we've got 'Instant Christian' - just add prayer and stir! Everything's instant. We've got instant witnessing - you wear your Jesus t-shirt, bumper sticker, belt, you wear your Jesus underwear and use your Jesus toothpaste! It's crazy! A truly devoted person doesn't need paraphernalia to be a witness... He's got the Holy Spirit."
- Keith Green
"...Nothing short of this standard is devotion in you. Bear it in mind that no particular act, or zeal, or gushings of emotion, or resolutions to change, or promises of future obedience constitute devotion.
For devotion is that state of the will in which the mind is swallowed up in God and He is the object of it's supreme affection. In which we not only live and move in God but for God. In other words, devotion is the state of the mind in which the attentions are diverted from self and self seeking and directed towards God. The thoughts, purposes, desires, affections and emotions all hanging upon, and devoted to Him."
- Charles G. Finney

Friday, January 25, 2008

Press Toward the Goal

This is a poem Len Ravenhill quoted. He didn't give the title or author.

My goal is God, Himself, not joy, not peace
Not even blessing, but Himself, my God
Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His
At any cost Lord, by any road

So faith bounds forward to its' goal in God
And love can trust, O Lord, to lead her there
Upheld by Him my soul will follow hard
Til God has last fulfilled my deepest prayer

No matter if the way be sometimes dark
No matter if the cost be often great

He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark
The way that leads to Him must need be straight

One thing I know, I cannot say Him "nay"
One thing I do, I press toward my Lord
My God, my glory here from day to day
And in the glory there my great reward

I couldn't say it any better, and trust me, I've tried.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Way of the Fire

Happy New Year! I know that’s more than just a little late, but it’s relevant to what I want to talk about. If you’re a part of our local body then you’ve prob’ly heard it said many times that this is “The Year of New Beginnings” as well as “The Year of Proclamation”. And I can testify that both have already begun. I think there are new beginnings in my life because I’m being put in a place to proclaim. They’re intertwined, at least in my case.

I took the first step without fear

I didn’t see the danger of what His stream could do

And then I felt the undertow

Of all the things I asked for coming true

It’s the way of the fire

Just one step into the flame

It’s the way of the fire

He starts consuming everything

And it’s all gonna burn

I’m refined and strengthened by

The way of the fire

Now, in reference to the song quoted above. I can’t tell you for how long I’ve prayed for the Lord to burn up the things in me that do not glorify Him. It’s a constant cry of my heart, one that I hope will never cease. Again He has proven Himself faithful to a fault! He will always do what we’ve asked Him to. But I don’t think I really have to tell you that. The light is getting brighter and the fire is growing hotter and spreading in my life.

But instead of pulling away from the heat as I’ve done before I’ve stubbornly dug my heels in to do the work that needs doing. God is teaching me things I should’ve learned a long time ago. I’m learning to be silent when it’s hard. I’m learning how to bear things patiently, quietly. There is a joy that comes through pain and brokenness that is unlike any other! I’m seeing my heart change even though none of my circumstances are changing, which builds my faith! There isn’t always peace in my surroundings, but I have a peace within that no one can take away! I know that sounds like a long list of “Christian clich├ęs”, but I mean it sincerely.

Jesus told the disciples at one point that He would send the comforter – who we know as the Holy Spirit. But Leonard Ravenhill points out that the word “comforter” there doesn’t mean a nursing mother for crying babes, but is translated, “with strength or power”. I thought that was really interesting considering that seems to be exactly what He’s giving to me – comfort in His strength. As many times as I’ve wanted to say, “I can’t handle this anymore!” in the past few weeks, I know that isn’t true. His grace never runs out. That’s something I’ve always known in my head, something I know I’ve told other people in their fiery trials, but never had to walk out in faith... until now.

So anyway, I just wanted to share with y’all what’s been going on in my life lately. I know this is just a vague summary and long overdue, but truth be told I never know quite what to say in the midst of these things!

And for those of you who want a sneak preview of what’s to come, God’s really been speaking to some of us about the true meaning of being a disciple, or discipline. So be expecting to hear from me on that soon!