Sunday, 18 October 2009

Absolute Surrender

I can across this section of Andrew Murray's book this evening and it really struck a chord with me. He was able to put into words exactly what has been going through my mind.

"What is it that keeps us from trusting Him perfectly? Many say, 'I believe what you say, but there is one difficulty. If my trust were perfect, all would be right, for I know God will honor trust. But how am I to get that trust?' Through death to self. The great hindrance to trust is self-effort. As long as you have your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God. But when God breaks you down, when everything begins to grow dim before your eyes and you see that you understand nothing, then God is near. If you will wait upon God, He will become all you need. As long as we are something, God cannot be all, and His omnipotence cannot do its full work. That is the beginning of faith-utter despair of self and dependence on God alone."

Saturday, 29 August 2009



1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love suffers long and is kind;

  • Suffer long—to be patient; to be lenient; have a long enduring temper; forbearing; to patiently endure
  • Kind—serviceable; good; to show oneself useful; to act benevolently; better; easy; gracious
    • Not being quick to point the finger and pick out faults, but to serve, to be gracious, and to put up with anything without losing your temper

Love does not envy;

  • Envy—to have warmth of feeling against; fervent mind; indignation; jealousy
    • It stews inside of you

Love does not parade itself,

  • Parade itself––to brag; to boast; vainglory
    • Not thinking more highly of oneself than one ought to think; not putting eyes on yourself and your accomplishments or your humility

Is not puffed up;

  • Puffed up—arrogant; inflated; to make proud; haughty
    • Does not think they know what is best or their way is the only right way; does not think they are better than another

Does not behave rudely,

  • Rudely—unbecomingly; shapeless, unseemly; inelegant; uncomely
    • Behaves properly; fits in the right shape and isn’t bent out of shape; it’s attractive

Does not seek its own,

  • Seek––demanding, inquire, looking for, made efforts, search, striving, trying to obtain; plot; be about, desire, endeavour, enquire for
  • Own—of himself, herself, itself; possessive
    • Doesn’t demand it’s own way; it’s striving to be put first; this is not what love is about, it’s not part of the job description at all

Is not provoked,

  • Provoke—to sharpen, stimulate; exasperate
    • Is not sharpening it’s knife to cut someone with; is not stimulated into action; is not exasperated with the object of affection; love makes no provision to strike out against someone

Thinks no evil;

  • Take into account (thinks)—to reckon, to consider; maintain; mind dwell, number, regard; to take an inventory or estimate; conclude; despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think on
  • Evil—bad, evil; intrinsically worthless, injurious; harm, ill, noisome, wicked
    • Does not take an inventory or impute any worthless or injurious thing to anyone’s account; does not think about anything that causes harm or ill to someone.

Does not rejoice in iniquity,

  • Rejoice—to be cheerful or calmly happy; be glad
  • Iniquity—injustice; unrighteousness; wickedness; wrongfulness of character, life, or act
    • Does not find pleasure or happiness in unrighteousness; is not secretly glad about the wrongful acts of others or done by yourself

But rejoices in the truth;

  • Rejoices—to sympathize in gladness, congratulate, rejoice in/with
  • Truth—truth, not concealing; real; right
    • It rejoices together with what is real; it can rejoice with another when the matter is no longer concealed; it’s a joy in the exposure of truth rather than an inward smirking at wickedness

Bears all things,

  • Bears––to roof over, to cover with silence; endure patiently; forbear, suffer; to cover closely so as to keep water out
  • All things––all, any, every, the whole; always, anyone, daily, forever, everyone, everyway, as many as there are, thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever
    • Covers what does not need to be exposed every time and with everyone; endures patiently anything and everything, daily and forever

Believes all things,

  • Believes––to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), credit; to entrust; commit to trust, put in trust with
    • To have faith in that person and entrust them with all things; to commit to trusting them in everything

Hopes all things,

  • Hope—to anticipate, expect, hope; to confide; to anticipate with pleasure; to have confidence
    • Expects the best from everyone and out of everything; has confidence in the object of your love

Endures all things.

  • Endures—to stay behind, to await, to endure; perseveres, remains; abide; to undergo, bear trials, have fortitude, take patiently, suffer, tarry behind
    • It can be tried and it perseveres; it can stay behind and wait for the right time; love sucks it up and suffers patiently and silently, not through some, but through all things

Love never fails.

  • Never—never; not ever; cannot; not even at any time; never at all
  • Fails—to fall; fall down
    • Love cannot at any time, ever, fall down. It doesn’t break under the weight or crack under pressure; it doesn’t get hurt or pull out of the race.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Be a Winner

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Olympic athletes live their life in such a way that they are always in training for the next competition. They want to be in the best physical shape and have the most endurance so that they can have the victory. They are conscious of their diets and exercise programs and do not stray from their strict regiments in order to achieve their goal and obtain the prize.

This is how we should be as Christians. We should live this life as if we were Olympic athletes competing to be the best. This world is not our home; it’s not the time to relax and kick back, but now is the time for training. If we strive to be like Paul and at the end of our life say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” then throughout this life we cannot afford to be distracted with the things in this world. Our flesh will have its appetites that seem appealing and harmless if only indulged in “just this once,” but similar to an athlete eating a piece of chocolate cake, it ruins their diet and has great effect upon their training.

Paul points out in this passage that these athletes compete for a perishable crown. They are striving to win something that will one day fade in glory. However, we are competing in this world to obtain an imperishable crown, one that will last throughout eternity. If this is our goal, we should be even more diligent in our training knowing that our benefit will last forever. So why are we so lackadaisical in our lives here? Why do we not fight the good fight of faith? Why do we settle into complacency and get desensitized by the sin around us? Instead, we should be disciplined in our daily lives, physically and spiritually, so that we too can have this mindset: to run with certainty. We cannot afford to run half-heartedly, gazing at the scenery around us or the birds flying in the sky. We need to run hard and press forward in the midst of adversity, face first into the wind. We need to know what we’re fighting against, or more precisely who. We are not fighting against people, but spiritual forces around us and our flesh within us. We need to fight hard against our enemy because he will do everything he can to keep us from running and from fighting. He doesn’t have to come first in the race, he just has to keep us from completing it.

So what are we to do? Discipline our bodies and bring them into subjection so that we are not disqualified from the race. We need to not indulge in the desires of the flesh, but keep our eyes fixed on the prize. Our prize is Jesus. We receive the imperishable crown and are able to cast it at the feet of Jesus for His glory. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the prize and should be the motivation for our race.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Our mistakes

I had a random thought today, when I heard someone with an accent say “mistake”. It sounded more defined: “miss take”. And I thought…that’s it. What is a mistake? It’s mis-taking something. Maybe it’s taking something that’s not yours, taking something that belongs to someone else, taking something that’s reserved for someone else. Making a mistake is grabbing for something that the Lord has not appointed for you to have, or grabbing for something at the wrong time. When you think of the mistakes in your life, is this not that case? It seems to be in my life anyway, that when I make a mistake it’s because I’ve acted out before the Lord and taken the forbidden fruit. “I just made a mistake,” you say, then put back what you have taken and take the hand of Jesus instead. When your hands are in His, you won’t have room to hold anything else.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Look To Jesus

I graduated from Bible College in December. For the previous 2 years, I had been in England, getting rocked by the Lord and His Holy Spirit as I studied through the Bible and rebuilt the foundations of my Christian faith. There were so many ways that I had strayed from following the Lord and attempted to live life in my own strength, only to see everything crumble before my eyes. I knew that I could no longer do it on my own…if I was going to continue living, I needed to surrender it all to the Lord.

Since graduating and returning to southern California, I have once again been tested as I try to apply all that I’ve learned over the past 2 years (and it was A LOT!). There have been times of great victory and times of utter defeat, yet through it all I keep coming back to this one thing: JESUS. All the lessons I’ve been learning are centered around Jesus. It’s been the simple (yet not easy) task of simplifying my faith and simply looking to Jesus. I don’t need grand new revelations from His Word. I don’t need a huge vision of His life plan for me. All I need is Jesus.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

When I have Jesus, I have everything…everything I could ever need or want. Only He will satisfy every desire and only He can fill my deepest need. Only He will never leave me and only He can save me. When I get caught up focusing on other things, whether it be financial worries, my future career, missionary adventures, loneliness, marriage, I must stop myself and realize that the Lord has it all taken care of. He has my life written out already and I have nothing to fear. When I have Jesus, I need nothing else. An old hymn rings in my head as I remember this fact:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

I write this blog mostly for myself, to remind me of the good things the Lord has done for me. However to anyone else who reads this and needs a bit of encouragement, may I offer this solution: Look to Jesus. He knows…He cares…and He can handle it, no matter what it is…so look to Him and nowhere else.