Month: June 2012
A couple of days ago, a good friend passed this along to me. He had heard the quote recently and assumed correctly that I would be blessed by it! Hope it stirs your heart as it did mine and his!
“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed-up in one thing — and that one thing is to please God.
Whether he lives — or whether he dies;
…whether he has health — or whether he has sickness;
…whether he is rich — or whether he is poor;
…whether he pleases man — or whether he gives offence;
…whether he is thought wise — or whether he is thought foolish;
…whether he gets blame — or whether he gets praise;
…whether he gets honor, or whether he gets shame —
…for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing — and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory.
If he is consumed in the very burning — he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn, and if consumed in burning — he has but done the work for which God appointed him.”
(J.C. Ryle, from a book he wrote in 1883 called Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the
Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers and Privileges of Professing Christians, pages 184-185)
“…Walk as children of light…trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:8, 10)
Jennifer Nettles and John Glosson are competing in a new ABC television show called “Duets.” The competition pits a duet consisting of a professional musician with an amateur.
The amateur was given the choice of song on Thursday evening and John Glosson chose “How Great Thou Art.” You be the judge of how it turned out!
Ken Boa — “When we view our circumstances in light of God’s character instead of God’s character in light of our circumstances, we come to see that God is never indifferent to us and that he uses suffering for our good so that we might be more fully united to Christ.” (Conformed to His Image, Zondervan, 2001, p. 453)
Thanks Ken, for this concise expression of what it means to take a good look at life from the perspective of one whose eyes have been trained by the presence of a Sovereign Lord. Too many folks struggle by trying to make God fit their situations instead of allowing Him to be Lord over their situation.
As our small group enjoyed our last session last night, this sweet truth guided our discussion and shaped our last thoughts together as a group. What a great time with some amazing couples! We hated to see it come to an end but were all blessed by the insights and encouragement each person brought over the course of these past nine months!
If you have never sought the Lord together in community with a small group of believers, you are missing one of the greatest resources God has provided for the body of Christ. See God’s hand work among folks who have become very dear to you. Pray for one another as life brings challenges and blessings. Share truth and insights into the Scriptures with one another and watch your hearts expand with an even greater capacity to receive all that Christ has for you!
Since our earliest days as a church, we have seen the great value small groups ministry brings to the life of the congregation. Take the initiative and either start one (we can help you!), or plug into one of the 75+ groups currently meeting. Then watch the Lord build a growing passion for Him and for others!
On my first trip to Zimbabwe back in the 1980’s, I read the following affirmation for the first time. It was framed and hanging on the wall of a pastor friend. Although I did not know it then, I would run into it again and again over the years as the Lord would remind me of what passion for Him looks like in words.
Recently I learned that even though it is often just attributed to an “unknown author,” the most recent information I read suggested that it was penned by a young African pastor and was discovered in his papers after he was martyred for his faith. No, I cannot confirm that to be true but it lines up with the resolve articulated here in such a moving way.
Before the Lord’s Supper at Providence on Sunday, I invited the congregation to read these words together as an indication of our common commitment to Christ as we approached the table of the Lord together. Perhaps you have seen this several times. Perhaps this will be your first reading. Either way, let this affirmation be yours as you join your voice with others in the “fellowship of the unashamed.”
I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.
My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.
I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!