Thursday, April 30, 2009

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11

Lately I've been reading quite a bit about the lives of saints who suffered for their faith. Some of these sufferings were severe. Currently, I'm three quarters of the way through a book about the life of a brother in China. It's unbelievable the extent of the persecution that this man went through. And today during devotions, I read one of the short daily bio sketches in this book, The One Year Christian History. The glimpse I read today was about a believer in Bulgaria, another one who was tortured for his faith. I encourage you to get this book and read about the many lives, some by their shed blood, who are testimonies of the gospel worldwide. I promise you that you won't be sorry.

Of course, reading about people like Charles Spurgeon and Billy Graham are great encouragements, but I also think its important to reflect on the lives and trials of many who are little known to us. For they certainly are not little known to the God for whom they gave their lives, some literally. Needless to say, they will and should spur us on. Many of us who have it easy don't want things to get too difficult for us. Please don't let living the Christian life cause us too much discomfort or get in the way of us having and doing the things we want. I have a great remedy which I hope will help all of us: Ponder the stripes and chains of those who've gone before. This book will help you to do that.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Following After Abraham

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed" (Heb. 11:8).

If we were to follow in the steps of Abraham, we would follow the Lord's leading even when we don't know the where. This can be especially challenging during the dark times. These thoughts from today's Streams in the Desert should be a reminder that He'll take our hand when the need is greatest:

The day had gone; alone and weak
I groped my way within a bleak
And sunless land.
The path that led into the light
I could not find! In that dark
night God took my hand.

He led me that I might not stray,
And brought me by a new, safe way
I had not known.
By waters still, through pastures green
I followed Him--the path was clean
Of briar and stone.

The heavy darkness lost its strength,
My waiting eyes beheld at length
The streaking dawn.
On, safely on, through sunrise glow
I walked, my hand in His, and lo,
The night had gone.
--Annie Porter Johnson

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In the Garden

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 19:41-42.

I hadn't thought much about the fact that there was a garden there, until this morning's devotions. I was reading in Meditations on the Gospels by George H. Morrison [which book I highly recommend] and he wrote absolutely wonderful thoughts about it. It made me decide to mention this garden on each of my blogs. Then a commenter on Nanna's Reflections made me think of this:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
~C. Austin Miles

Just think. In the place where He was crucified there was a garden. Think about that, friends. His sepulchre was in a garden. So when He rose from the dead, He was in a garden. For me, that's a beautiful thought.

Praying these thoughts will make your holiday just a bit more precious.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Fool

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. . .Psalm 14:1a

"'There is no God,' the fool in secret said:
There is no God that rules or earth or sky.'
Tear off the band that binds the wretch's head,
That God may burst upon his faithless eye!
Is there no God?—The stars in myriads spread,
If he look up, the blasphemy deny;
While his own features, in the mirror read,
Reflect the image of Divinity.
Is there no God?—The streams that silver flows,
The air he breathes, the ground he treads, the trees,
The flowers, the grass, the sands, each wind that blows,
All speak of God; throughout, one voice agrees,
And, eloquent, his dread existence shows:
Blind to thyself, ah, see him, fool, in these!"

Giovanni Cotta.