>Mark Batterson (I’ve commented before on his book “Wild Goose Chase” also has a blog, evotional.com, that I also highly, highly recommend. Here’s one that is even better than usual:
A few years ago I came across a little two-word phrase in Scripture that got into my spirit: one day. I think I first encountered it in I Samuel 14:1. It’s the story of Jonathan climbing the cliff with his armor bearer and engaging the Philistines. That is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. One act of courage saves a nation. But have you ever noticed how the passage starts out with that little two-word phrase? One day. It’s almost the Bible equivalent to the classic movie line: once upon a time.
It’s hard to put into words, but I live my life with a profound sense of destiny. God orders my footsteps. If I believe anything, I believe that. And that fills me with holy anticipation. At any given moment, God can invade the reality of our lives and change everything.
So I’m reading through Acts right now and there is that little two-word phrase again: “One day about three o’clock in the afternoon, Cornelius had a vision.”
You never know when. You never know where. You never know how.
But one day, God can invade the reality of your life and change everything. That is what happens to Cornelius. Of course, it doesn’t just change his life. Those of us who are not Jewish trace our spiritual lineage back to this vision on this day. If it weren’t for this vision at three o’clock one day, the message of the gospel would have remained a Jewish thing. This vision at this time on this day bridged the racial divide. Whosoever will may come!
Today could be that one day! It might not be. But it could be. May you be filled with holy anticipation knowing that at any given moment God can invade the reality of your life and change everything.
>From A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God:
O God, I have tasted Your goodness,
and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God,
I want to want You;
I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Your glory, I pray,
so I may know You indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me…
Give me grace to rise and follow You up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
But the hard truth is that most Christians don’t pray very much. They pray at meals—unless they’re still stuck in the adolescent stage of calling good habits legalism. They whisper prayers before tough meetings. They say something brief as they crawl into bed. But very few set aside set times to pray alone—and fewer still think it is worth it to meet with others to pray. And we wonder why our faith is weak. And our hope is feeble. And our passion for Christ is small.
And meanwhile the devil is whispering all over this room: “The pastor is getting legalistic now. He’s starting to use guilt now. He’s getting out the law now.” To which I say, “To hell with the devil and all of his destructive lies. Be free!” Is it true that intentional, regular, disciplined, earnest, Christ-dependent, God-glorifying, joyful prayer is a duty? . . . Is it a discipline?
You can call it that.
* It’s a duty the way it’s the duty of a scuba diver to put on his air tank before he goes underwater.
* It’s a duty the way pilots listen to air traffic controllers.
* It’s a duty the way soldiers in combat clean their rifles and load their guns.
* It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food.
* It’s a duty the way thirsty people drink water.
* It’s a duty the way a deaf man puts in his hearing aid.
* It’s a duty the way a diabetic takes his insulin.
* It’s a duty the way Pooh Bear looks for honey.
* It’s a duty the way pirates look for gold.
I hate the devil, and the way he is killing some of you by persuading you it is legalistic to be as regular in your prayers as you are in your eating and sleeping and Internet use. Do you not see what a sucker he his making out of you? He is laughing up his sleeve at how easy it is to deceive Christians about the importance of prayer.
God has given us means of grace. If we do not use them to their fullest advantage, our complaints against him will not stick. If we don’t eat, we starve. If we don’t drink, we get dehydrated. If we don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies. If we don’t breathe, we suffocate. And just as there are physical means of life, there spiritual are means of grace. Resist the lies of the devil in 2009, and get a bigger breakthrough in prayer than you’ve ever had.
There hath not one tear dropped from thy tender eye against thy lusts, the love of this world, or for more communion with Jesus Christ, but as it is now in the bottle of God; so then it shall bring forth such plenty of reward, that it shall return upon thee with abundance of increase. “Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21)
that won on the cross
and wins the world
is a love that is
and defined by
It is a love that flows out of the heart of a God who is
infinite in righteousness,
who loves justices as much as He loves goodness;
who blazes with a
love for Himself above all things.
He is Creator,
Beginning and End.
He is robed in a splendor
and eternal purity
that is blinding.
then bends down to whisper loves songs to His creatures.
-Timothy J. Stoner, The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith (NavPress, 2008 ) p. 30.
>It is worth the click to see this proof that “many a truth is said in jest”:
>“Because we see the law and love of God fulfilled, we become both humble and bold because we know we are His by grace. This is unique. Without the gospel, humility and boldness can only increase at each other’s expense.”
– Timothy Keller, Church Planter Manual
>We’ve been in our new home for just-under three months.
Jane has done a marvelous job decorating, situating (a bit of re-situating!), painting and more to put her distinct touches on it. It is those that transform a “house” into a “home.”
We have yet to find a home church. Have visited several, no “red flags,” but neither any ringing bells to signify “this is it”!
Connecting with new people has not happened as quickly as we’d like…and we recognize that takes that difficult, four-letter word – “time.” And, yeah, it also takes “work.”
There is a mixture of missing dear-friends in New York; and the anticipation of what the Lord has in store here, as well as gratitude for the people with whom we get to work, and the folks we’ve met.
“He opens doors that no man can shut…” applies to ministry and relationships.
So we pray, trust, wait. The latter is the most difficult thing.
>“If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen— nothing else matters.”
—Among the last words of Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006)