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Showing posts from April, 2016

Broken Dreams

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As children bring their broken toys
  With tears for us to mend,
  I brought my broken dreams to God
  Because He was my friend.

  But then instead of leaving Him
  In peace to work alone,
  I hung around and tried to help
  With ways that were my own.

   At last I snatched them back and cried,
  "How could you be so slow"
  "My child," He said, "What could I do?
  You never did let go."
  - Author Unknown

Build a Little Fence of Trust Around Today

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I referred to the following experience in my book, Filled Up, Poured Out: How God's Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose.  It holds deep meaning for me.

 One day, after making a hospital visit in Duluth, Minnesota, I was drawn by the spire of the old First Presbyterian Church. A kind secretary opened up the sanctuary for me to sit and pray for a while.

 Gazing around, my eyes fell upon a beautiful stained glass window. It was the picture of a gravestone with dark purple and black hues overshadowing it. But at the top of the window, squarely in the center of a black night, shone a bright golden star -- which seemed to exude hope and light. The star was the focal point of the window.

 At the bottom, the following words were inscribed: In memory of Sarah Agnes Graff  1853-1889  Build a little fence of trust around today.  Fill the space with loving work and therein stay.  Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow.  God will help thee bear whatever comes, of joy or sorrow.
I…

That I May Know Him

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“ That I may know Him," -- Father grant the longing that burns within me as a quenchless fire: For in these words what wondrous depths lie hidden, embracing all I need or can desire.
  “That I may know Him" -- this is life eternal, not to possess a gift apart from One who is the fount from which all true life springs, and whom to know is heaven on earth begun.
  “That I may know Him" -- not in name or theory, This brings no         power to stand amid earth’s strife. No; I will know Him as my living Savior,  the very strength and center of my life. 
-- Freda Hanbury Allen, from  That I May Know Him, a beautiful collection of spiritual poems published in 1904.

The Devil Doesn't Mind This Kind of Christian Work

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"Satan is not necessarily opposed to all Christian work. He cares little how zealously we busy ourselves at good things so long as we do not work in the power of the Holy Spirit. He is often pleased if we work so hard and so long that we begin to fret and worry. He is happy if we undertake more work than we can saturate with prayer. He would not seriously oppose if every Christian were a tireless worker -- so long as he worked only in his human energy and was not empowered and anointed by the Spirit of God."  -- Wesley L. Duewel

A Daily Dose of Peace

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The following is taped in the inside cover of my Bible, and I have found it to be quite helpful throughout my life.    Particularly in times of stress, trouble, and hardship, the following daily verses are like inspiration pills for the soul.

  Monday -- Peace, I give unto you. . . let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:27)
  Tuesday -- You will keep me in perfect peace, when my mind is fixed on you. (Isaiah 26:3)
  Wednesday --  Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, and do not fret.   (Psalm 37:7)
  Thursday --  My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.  (Exodus 33:14)
  Friday --  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  (Matthew 11:28)
  Saturday --  Let the peace of God rule in your heart, since you were called to peace. . . and be thankful.  (Colossians 3:15)
  Sunday -- He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23:2-3)
  Also -- the F.A.C.T.S. of Prayer
  F -- Faith…

Don't Ask for It -- Ask for Him

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This morning, I was inspired by something beautiful. The basic idea is from an old evangelist from 100 years ago named S. A. Keen.

When we our lack becomes evident -- and we realize we need more than we can possibly offer in order to make it through (rest, assurance, cleansing or power) our natural tendency is to ask for "it."  "God, please give me strength. . . God, please give peace. . ." But, often, those prayers only bring little trickles of help.

Instead of asking for "it", try asking for HIM.
"Lord, I don't need 'it' nearly as much as I need You. Please come, and fill my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength, my memories, my moments -- with YOU!  
If we ask for "it", we may or may not get it. But if we ask for HIM, He will come and bring it with Him!  He, alone, is our secret source of soul refreshment. 
The next time you pray, just say, "Lord, give me your Holy Spirit that I may know I am your child.  You will d…

Seven Myths of Repentance

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1.  Repentance equals sorrow.  (No -- repentance means more than feeling sorry.  It means turning from sin to Jesus.)

 2.  Repentance and self-defense can exist together.  (If I am justifying, excusing, and defending myself, I'm not repenting.)

 3.  Repentance can be selective; one can pick and choose.  (It's not a' la carte)

4.  Repentance is purely personal -- to feel better.  (All sin is against God, and hurts others, even if you can't see it right away.)

 5.  Repentance is about a deed I've done.  (It's deep matter of the heart.)

 6.  Repentance is about self-preservation.

 7.  Repentance is a single act.  (There is a huge difference between having repented, and being repentant.)

 --  Richard Owen Roberts

All Rivers Run Into the Sea

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A clapboard congregation
 sings heartfelt doxologies
 hammered out on an
 untuned upright piano
 with thirteen missing keys.

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

 Haunting canticles
 in a cavernous cathedral.
 Echoes of praise
 ring from pipes
 when songs have ceased.

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

 An orchestrated blend of rock and blues.
 A collection of redeemed sinners
 who've tasted grace.
 Ancient lyrics dance upon the screen,
 electrified.

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

 And which is true worship?
 Which is good and right?
 Which is met with heaven's smile?
 In which does God delight?
 ALL!

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

A Daily Dose of Peace

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The following is taped in the inside cover of my Bible, and I have found it to be quite helpful throughout my life.  Particularly in times of stress, trouble, and hardship, the following daily verses are like inspiration pills for the soul.

Monday -- Peace, I give unto you. . . let not your heart be troubled.  (John 14:27)
Tuesday -- You will keep me in perfect peace, when my mind is fixed on you. (Isaiah 26:3)
Wednesday --  Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, and do not fret.   (Psalm 37:7)
Thursday --  My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.  (Exodus 33:14)
Friday --  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  (Matthew 11:28)
Saturday --  Let the peace of God rule in your heart, since you were called to peace. . . and be thankful.  (Colossians 3:15)
Sunday -- He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23:2-3)
Also -- the F.A.C.T.S. of Prayer
F -- Faith:  "If you bel…

The Bottom Line Purpose of a Church

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"Whenever the church becomes self-conscious and self-centered, she fails to accomplish her real divine calling.  Her highest glory is to be seen only in the revealing of her Lord."
 -- A. B. Simpson

Marriage Check Up

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“A man and a woman should choose each other for life, said Dr. George Truett, “for the simple reason that a long life is barely enough time for them to understand each other – and to understand is to love.”

Understanding is the key to true love and intimacy.

Although it is a process, you can deepen and develop your relationship along the way. Sometimes, along the path, it’s good to stop and evaluate how you’re doing as a couple.

Good maintenance prevents major breakdowns.  Here are a few reflection questions to help you maintain a healthy marriage:

How can I best serve my partner?
Am I a good listener?
Do I really hear what my partner is saying, or am I busy thinking about how I am going to respond?
Can we disagree agreeably? If not, what it is that causes us to argue?
Do I know what really pleases my partner? Have I pursuing this?
Do I know what things really annoys my partner? Have I been doing them?
What are my dreams and hopes for our marriage?  What are yours?
How do we express our spiritu…

A Solution for His Wife's Temper

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A man went to the doctor, worried about his wife’s temper.

  The doctor asked, “What’s the problem?”

  The man said, “Doctor, I don’t know what to do. Every day my wife seems to lose her temper for no reason. It scares me.”

  The doctor said, “I have a cure for that. When it seems that your wife is getting angry, just take a glass of water and start swishing it in your mouth. Just swish and swish but don’t swallow it until she either leaves the room or calms down.”

  Two weeks later, the man came back to the doctor looking fresh and reborn.

  The man said, “Doctor, that was a brilliant idea! Every time my wife started losing it, I swished with water. I swished and swished, and she calmed right down! How does a glass of water do that?”

  The doctor said, “The water itself does nothing. It’s keeping your mouth shut that does the trick.”
  (Thanks to my brother, Steve, who shared this funny joke with me.)

Blessings in Overwhelming Trials

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Are you encompassed with needs at this very moment, and almost overwhelmed with difficulties, trials, and emergencies?

  These are all divinely provided vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill, and if you but rightly understood their meaning, they would become opportunities for receiving new blessings and deliverances which you can get in no other way.  -- Albert B. Simpson

Secrets for Personal Growth

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Personal growth is the secret to organizational growth. Self leadership is a valuable and necessary art. If you can't lead yourself, you won't be able to lead anybody else.
If you want things to improve in your business, your family, your church or community, the first thing to start improving is yourself!
How can we begin the personal growth journey?
1. Learn something every day. Every experience of life is a learning lab. How sad it is for people to have difficult experiences and fail to learn from them. You can learn from anybody and anything. Keep your thinking cap on at all times. Wisdom is the process of gleaning insight from our daily experiences.
2. Be a reader. Reading is one of the best methods I know for personal growth. If you want to deepen your understanding, read widely and deeply. Don't just read "fluff" - -but find books that challenge you to become a better person.
3. Share new insights with others. As you share what you've been learning, you …

Life on Wings

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"Now, who is going to trust God for the winged life? You can crawl instead if you wish. God will even bless you if you crawl; He will do the best He can for you, but oh how much better to avail ourselves of our wonderful privileges in Christ and to “mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint.”

 O beloved friends, there is a life on wings. I feel the streams of His life fill me and permeate my mortal frame from my head to my feet, until no words are adequate to describe it.
 -- Carrie Judd Montgomery

Breath of Life: Stand Up

Breath of Life: Stand Up:  a great blog post by Luke Wilson

Revival is the Life of Jesus Poured into Human Hearts

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Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.  

 Jesus is always victorious.  In heaven they are praising him all the time for His victory.  Whatever may be our experience of failure and barrenness, He is never defeated.  His power is boundless.  And we, on our part, have only to get into a right relationship with Him, and we shall see His power being demonstrated in our hearts, lives and service and His victorious life will fill us and overflow through us to others.  And that is revival its essence.

 --  Roy Hession in "Brokenness - "The Beginning of Revival" (Herald of His Coming, April 2016)
(Photo by Hannah Wilson)