You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 23, 2009.
this is a song by Brother Yun that appears in the book The Heavenly Man. it shows the “fate” or the sacrifice of the first disciples, how they lived and served and died for the Lord. it is really the Acts 29 chapter….
From the time the early church appeared on the day of Pentecost,
followers of the Lord all willingly sacrificed themselves.
Tens of thousands have sacrificed their lives that the Gospel might prosper.
As such they have obtained the crown of life.
Those apostles who loved the Lord to the end,
Willingly followed the Lord down the path of suffering.
was exiled to the lonely isle of Patmos.
Stephen was crushed to death with stones by the crowd.
Matthew was cut to death in Persia by the people.
died as his two legs were pulled apart by horses.
Doctor Luke was cruelly hanged.
Peter, Philip and Simon were crucified on a cross.
Bartholomew was skinned alive by the heathen,
Thomas died in India as five horses pulled apart his body,
The apostle James was beheaded by King Herod,
Little James was cut up by a sharp saw.
James the brother of the Lord was stoned to death,
Judas was bound to a pillar and died by arrows,
Matthias had his head cut off in Jerusalem.
Paul was a martyr under Emperor Nero.
l am willing to take up the cross and go forward,
To follow the apostles down the road of sacrifice.
That tens of thousands of precious souls can be saved,
l am willing to leave all and be a martyr for the Lord.
To be a martyr for the Lord, to be a martyr for the Lord,
l am willing to die gloriously for the Lord.
i want to know God…
i believe we can know God – that he reveals himself to us – in the Word, through Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit alive in us.
i believe that God is not far away, but he is near to us.
i believe that as we draw near to him, making intentional decisions and choices and actions that he draws nearer to us. (james 4:8)
i believe he rewards those who seek for him (hebrews 11:6)
i believe we can know God (1 corinthians 2:9-10) and because of this i live my life to know him and make him known.
i make intentional choices to seek him and i make time in my day and week to do that.
i pray. i read the bible. i obey. i worship. i listen. i talk.
who do you think God is?
how do you see him?
do you see him as near or afar?
personal or indifferent?
real or just existing?
do you see how what you believe will affect how you relate to God???
“My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us, and will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us as we trust in Him.” Billy Graham
”God’s wisdom burns away all the impurities in a person for one purpose: to leave them fit for divine union.
The fire that consumes us – utterly – is His highest wisdom.
This fire gradually consumes all that is earthly; it takes out all foreign matter and separates these things from the gold. The fire must melt and dissolve this dross by force so that it can rid the gold of every alien particle. Over and over again, the gold must be cast into the furnace until it has lost every trace of pollution. Oh, how many times the gold is plunged back into the fire – far, far more times than seem necessary. Yet you can be sure the Forger sees impurities no one else can see. The gold must return to the fire again and again until positive proof has been established that it can be no further purified.
Now the gold is fit for the most exquisite workmanship. In the future, if the gold should get dirty and seem to lose its beauty, it is nothing more than an accidental impurity which touches only the surface. This foreign particle which attaches itself to the surface is a far cry from having corruption deep within the hidden nature of the gold.”
Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place
This is my last day of the chapter of collection of passages in 100 Days In The Secret Place dedicated to “The Way Of The Cross.” Reading this book has been a real transformer, a challenge to change, a magnifying glass on my heart, where I have felt naked, exposed, weak and stretched. I have felt that I have been in the furnace of God as he has exposed weaknesses and strongholds and fears and frustrations. Fingers crossed (aka praying!) that by reading this book I will be a “newer” and “nicer” person – that I will be more like Jesus. It has been a process. But worth it.
This process of transformation for me can been summed up by these passages in the bible:
John 15:1-8 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Matthew16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
In all of our lives there are things that God is working on and transforming in our lives.
There are things we need to lay down and surrender.
There are things we need to obey.
There are things we need to deny ourselves about.
All and all for the glory of God and the transformation of ourselves for the service of God.
God refines us and purifies us.
He uses people and circumstances to transform us and shape us. We often laugh about praying for the fruit of Patience, and then come across all the bad slow drivers, slow checkout operators and people “sent to try us”. But in a way that is exactly what happens!
In these situations we must keep our eyes upon Jesus, the author and PERFECTOR of our faith. we must continue to trust Him. we can be honest, because sometimes it does hurt. we must try not to hold back, but to open wide to his grace, mercy and fire. holding back restrains the hand of God, but an open heart gives God full permission to hurt and heal and bring transformation.
2 Timothy 2:20-22 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace
I’ve never said it would be easy.
God doesn’t say it would be easy.
He does promise to be WITH us through the flames and floods.
And that is good news.
That gives me the courage to walk on in life.
today, if you’re feeling the pressure of life and are stressed and going through hard times try and get God’s perspective on what is going on. is he teaching us something? is he training us? is he shaping us? is he refining us? is he drawing us closer? is he transforming us? is he correcting us? is he comforting us?
remember Jesus calls us to come to him and find rest. he calls us to cast our cares upon him because he cares for us. he calls us to abide in him and hide in him.
in the hard times you will find hope and peace and strength with Jesus.
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free
i am free… free from my past and all that chains me… free from all that shames me… free…
i am free to belong… and be me… and to love… and to shine…
and this freedom
i now live in
was not something i fought hard for myself
or something i won
but something i am given
something won for me
and this freedom
i now live in
is something to share and give and demonstrate from the mountain tops
jesus has set me free
and i am free indeed
freedom is something we have been given by God. freedom to know him and be his child. our freedom is something you can feel on the inside. its real. tangible.
Matthew 20:28 The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.
i love this verse.
love it love it love it.
not just because it is a great bunch of words strung together in a sentence but because of the REALITY it spells out… because of the reality of what they mean.
Jesus did not come to crack the whip and shape us up or ship us out or to knock sense into us but to save us and rescue us and give his life for us and from there to love us and teach us and walk with us and grow us and transform us.
Jesus is tough, totally. he isnt a wimp. but he did not come to be a slave master but to be the ransom by which we are saved.
Jesus gave his life that i wil have life, life eternal and life knowing God.
Jesus gave his life that i will have peace.
Jesus gave his life that i will know God.
Jesus gave his life that i will be loved.
Jesus gave his life that i will be accepted.
Jesus chose to come and be a slave to give his life to ransom us.
Philippians 2:6- 8
Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
Christ was humble.
He obeyed God
and even died
on a cross.
Somewhere within each of us is the distinct cry to do something with our lives, to make our mark. We search to find meaning in life and to find our place in this world. This isn’t caused by teenage angst, a midlife crisis or any random combination of hormones and brain buzzes…. It is the call of God placed within our heart, stirring us to indeed find where we fit and can contribute.
Do you want God to use you? If you heart is to know God then of course your answer is yes. Great! Sometimes however discovering WHAT you “want to be when you grow up” (no matter what age or life accomplishment you are) can feel like a stressful, drawn out process of twists, reversals and contention! The good news is the call of God and being used by God isn’t an elusive over the rainbow thing.
Be encouraged – God calls us partners in the job of reaching the lost and establishing his church. He created us to be useable. The call of God is NOW thing. It is a DOING thing. It is for today right where you are.
If you’re breathing your can contribute and can serve God. You are placed in a workplace, school, family, circle of friends, sports group, coffee group – not by accident but by purpose by God. You can shine and demonstrate the love and grace of God right where you are in the very normality of your life. You don’t have to go to the depths of India to be used by God, you are a totally useable person. Just breathe and be yourself.
In some ways it is more of the WHO we are that makes the real difference rather than the WHAT we do. In God’s culture it is the people factor, the who we are and who we touch for his glory than the monuments and achievements we make. The title or job description we have isn’t what demonstrates God to others, it is the who we are and how we relate to others and how we react to situations that allows people to see God within us and through us. It is in conversation not corporate porfolios that the gospel is shared.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 describes a house with objects used for common and special useage.
2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. Therefore if anyone purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honor, sanctified and useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Just because we have a dream and just because God DOES use people it doesn’t mean it comes on a platter. We can prepare. This doesn’t mean we need to leave our job and go to Bible College in order to serve God (unless he leads us there of course!), it means we need to personally prepare ourselves before the Lord. We must take responsibility to develop our relationship with God, to know His word, to know His ways. We must discipline ourselves to be obedient followers, surrendering and under construction. Preparation takes a lifetime. Till our last breath we are undergoing preparation – God would also call it transformation. The true fulfillment of the call of God is an accurate representation of Jesus.
What resonates with the beat of your heart? What is the thing you dream about? What is the thing you MUST do and will strive to do at every godly cost? What is the gift God has placed in your life? Pursue it. Pray and talk to God about it. Prepare. Don’t wait however to step out into a glorious future of fulfillment and doing. Do it now. Demonstrate God now to those around you. It doesn’t take a job description or a position on church staff to be like Jesus. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy or unpreparedness rule you out.
Jeremiah was young man whom God used to speak to a nation. Timothy likewise, yet God called him to lead a church. Amos was a common shepherd with no family history of spiritual leadership. Nehemiah was a cupbearer in the kings court in exile. David was a shepherd. Lydia, in retail. Matthew was a despised tax collector. What are you doing today? What mark are you making today? How is God using you – today???