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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Blackaby’

V.  Today’s post are my preaching notes for my sermon at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you are at Kishwaukee today, you may follow these notes as I preach.  If you are not at Kishwaukee today, click here to go to our  website on Monday and follow the links to hear the sermon. You can then follow these notes as you listen to the sermon.

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How We Hear God Speaking to Us, Part 3

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I.  Listening and Looking for God in Daily Life

A.  God speaking to us regularly

Scripture, Prayer, Worship, Dreams, Visions, Theophany’s

Circumstances

B.  Parents hearing Children

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II.  Hearing and Seeing God

A. Seeing God’s work to be done vs Seeking God’s will

We obsess if this is God’s will,

rather than if it is His work for me to do.

B.  Determining if God has work for me to do

always comes before

the conviction that this is/was God’s will for me.

C.  I often do not clearly see God’s will

Until after getting to work and

After seeing Him equip me.

D.  This is not to minimize seeking God’s will

But if His will is unclear

Do the work God has placed before you

E.  Have I misread God’s will before

Absolutely, but instead of fretting over misread

Do His work and trust God to work out His purposes

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III.  The Work God Tells Us To Do

A.  Rely on Holy Spirit to guide you

B.  Remember the 4 boundaries

Consistent with scripture

Word from scripture

Confirmation through the body

Calls you to act

C.  God does not send where I want or where I don’t want

just because that is my wish

Usually when I stake out these claims

God sends me to prove who is in charge

D.  Let God initiate giving direction

You do not need to dream up work to do for God

At worse may need to discern which work to do

E.  Jesus trusted God to reveal work to be done – John 5:19-20

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.

F.  Look at Jesus ministry

Healing of sick – they came to Him

Feeding of 5000 – Jesus did not say assemble hungry people

Calming the Storm – Jesus did not pray for storm

Raising Jarius’ daughter from illness

Raising Lazarus from the Tomb

God brought the work to Jesus

Work for Jesus to do while fulfilling God’s Will for salvation

G.  Seek short-term clarity of direction rather than long-term discernment

Ask God what do You want me to do today

Instead of asking God what do you want me to be doing in 10 years

If we tend to the little picture

God will tend to the big picture

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IV.  Mistakes, Regrets, and Difficulties

A.  You will make mistakes, mis-steps in discernment

Regardless of prayer, discernment

Because of that little problem called sin and living in the flesh

B.  Mistake when pushed ahead

Worship experiment at PC

I knew we made the wrong decision

We pushed for a long-term goal

C.  Regret leaving denomination at the time we did

Lawsuit pending, oral arguments April 17

A ministry at a standstill

What has happened to us since then

has not been kind or fair much less Christian behavior.

It broke me,but I did not think I needed to be broken

My biggest regret is the pain it caused my family.

However God still using me!

Never let past regrets or present difficulties to lead you to question God’s will. There are actions which seemed to be 100% God’s direction which I later regretted, because of the hurt and pain. BUT, I cannot say, that what I did was not God’s will.

God sends us into the frying pan

because He needs someone there

D.  When following God’s will ==> regret, difficulty, hurt

You need God’s perspective

to understand your circumstances …

That perspective may not come

Until God shows how He is using you

Again, this is why I only seek short term clarity

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V.  Story of Joseph

A.  His life a roller coaster

Vision of greatness

Dad’s favorite

Brother’s sell into slavery

Special in Pharaoh’s house

Falsely accused for spurning advances

Years in prison

Finally opportunity to interpret dreams

High place in Pharaoh’s government

Brothers come hungry

Opportunity to save God’s people from starvation

B.  Where on the roller coaster do we stop

to measure God’s will and blessing

C.  Genesis 50:20-21

What you meant for evil against me, God used for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.”  Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

D.  Joseph did not return the evil

Joseph remembered God’s work, will

E.  Blackaby quote

During his difficulties Joseph needed God’s perspective to understand his circumstances.  … When Joseph’s life was placed in the context of God’s eternal purposes, every major experience in his life—both good and bad—could be seen to have a purpose and to result in good.

F.  We can only see circumstances with clarity

We cannot see God’s will with clarity

This is why work faithfully in the present

If not you will have a misunderstanding of God’s will

and miss His grace in your circumstances

G.  Blackaby, again

What should you do instead? First, ask God to show you His perspective on what’s happening. Look back at your situation from what you already know about God. When you face a troublesome time, the Holy Spirit will take the Word of God and help you understand the event from God’s perspective. He will reveal to you the truth of your circumstances.

H.  Always remember

God’s love for you never changes, has not changed

Never try to understand what God is like in the middle of difficult circumstances

God is sovereign depend on His sustaining grace

I.  Blackaby quote

There are some things that happen in our lives we may never understand until they are revealed in heaven.

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VI.  Conversion of Saul to Paul

A.  Most dramatic

To everyone’s amazement

==> Questions

Why Him?

Why not earlier?

Answers never forthcoming, except

This was clearly an act of God

B.  Jewish prosecutor became builder of Christian Church

Good reminder

Whether God speaks clearly, dramatically

Or quietly in an everyday pedestrian way

He is speaking to us

Always for His will and purpose

Always for our good and blessing

C.  You do not need long-term vision or understanding

Simply eyes and ears attentive to God

In scripture, prayer, and worship

Perhaps in dreams, visions, and theophanies

Always in circumstances in front of you right now

D.  Remember the boundaries

Consistent with scripture – to serve Jesus

A word of scripture – Great Commission

Confirmed within body – bystanders and  Ananias

Call to go – Saul to city, Ananias to lay on hands

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Today’s post are my preaching notes for my sermon at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you are at Kishwaukee today, you may follow these notes as I preach.  If you are not at Kishwaukee today, click here to go to our  website on Monday and follow the links to hear the sermon. You can then follow these notes as you listen to the sermon.

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How We Hear God Speaking to Us, Part 1

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I.  Blackaby’s Assertion

When you became a Christian, God gave you spiritual sight and hearing so you could begin experiencing His presence and activity all around you. The Holy Spirit helps you to develop these spiritual senses as you walk with Him. Spiritual sensitivity to God is a gift that must be accepted and exercised.  There is a radical difference between seeing your surroundings from a human perspective and seeing life through spiritual eyes.

@ to Blackaby, Hearing God speak to you,

should be a common experience to all Christians

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Most of us would say,

Not!

Has never happened

Not sure God has ever spoken to me

Only for super-religious

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While Bible is filled with instances

We believe these are special and unique

Isaiah – drama in The Temple

John – vision at the shore

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II.  The first time God spoke to me and I heard Him

I was 22

Already had a sense of “call”

But more of a longing, desire

Could not say “God was calling me”

Visiting seminaries

Nice, good, interesting

No sense of “This is the place”

Princeton Visit …

My reoccurring dream from childhood

Ages 8-12

A specific place

Dining space

At Princeton walked into the Dining Hall with friends

Bam that was the room of my reoccurring dream

Scary …

God first spoke when I was 12

I heard at 22

Finally the confirmation of Call

==> keeping me in parish ministry

You are thinking

Wow

Good for you

Not a commonplace event

Hearing God speak to me

is now a commonplace

Almost everyday event

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III.  Why do so many not hear God speaking

EG Small Group Leaders

Most significant question/issue

God has never spoken to me

I am having a hard time with this concept

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This is a tough issue for us because

  1. Unfamiliar territory for most – for me a common experience
  2. Spirit driven – we prefer certainty and precision – never vague
  3. Abuse by others for personal gain

This will be an extended topic for next few sermons

Because it is unfamiliar, spooky, and undefined

I will not give you a formula

=> God speaking to you and you hearing

I wish it was this easy, but it is not

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Three Areas which I will cover

  1. How God Speaks
  2. How to Hear God
  3. How to confirm it was God speaking

Begin by briefly addressing the 3rd part first,

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IV.  How to confirm God spoke and I heard correctly

This will establish some boundaries and a comfort zone

To our conversation and your grand adventure with God

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When God speaks to you, count on 4 things to confirm His Word to you

These 4 things establish boundaries for experience

Consider them four side of a fenced in area

You are free to play and roam within the boundaries

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The four boundaries are:

Whenever God speaks to you, what you hear will be:

    1. Consistent with scripture
    2. Confirmed with a specific scripture – Genesis 12:1 “Go to the land I will show you.”
    3. Confirmed through someone else or the body
    4. Requires you to change plans

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V.  How God Speaks to You – Through Scripture

Reformed theology – The Bible IS THE WORD OF GOD

If you will simply read scripture regularly

You will hear God speaking to you

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A.  Scripture will tell you:

  1. God’s will
  2. God’s general will for you
  3. God’s specific will for you

The Bible is not a history book

It is the revelation of God’s heart

It tells you everything you need to know about God

It tells you all you need to know to be faithful

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Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; 

the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 

the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; 

the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 

More to be desired are God’s Words than gold; 

sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 

Moreover, by them is your servant warned; 

in keeping them there is great reward.

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B.  How to read scripture?

  • Regularly
  • Deliberately

Choose a book

Read 1 or 2 devotionals guides

=> giving Word and reflection

Why I am writing Daily Devotionals for you

My 1st step is to read, study, reflect

through 11 different devotional guides, daily

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C.  God will speak to you

  • Give you a Word
  • Give you a Word for another
  • Confirm Spirit’s Word to you
  • Encourage you
  • Warn you
  • Guide you

If you tell me, “God does not speak to me!”

Then I know that you are not reading the Bible

Regularly, devotionally, reflectively, prayerfully

Yes, dry spots or seasons,

But never for long or forever.

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Psalm 1

Blessed is the man 

whose delight is in the law of the Lord, 

and on his law he meditates day and night. 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water 

that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. 

In all that he does, he prospers.

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Today’s post is a copy of my preaching notes for today’s worship at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you would like to listen to the sermon in full, go to www.kishonline.org and click on the link to listen to Rus Howard’s Sermon.  The sermon will be available on-line on Monday, Feb. 13.

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Experiencing God, 3: God at Work In You

Preaching Notes

 John 5:17, 19-20, John 6:25–29, Romans 15:17–19, Philippians 2:12–13

  

I.  Introduction

Story of God reach lifers in prison in Tennessee

II. In Bible God accomplishes His purposes through His people. 

  • God did not create the world and then abandon it to function on its own.
  • God is working in His world to bring about the redemption of those who are alienated from Him and facing imminent judgment and destruction.
  • He has chosen to accomplish His work through His people.

III. We must move away from egocentric Christianity

     What is God doing for me

How God makes me successful

How God can give you your best life now

At the time God was about to deliver the children of Israel, the overriding concern was God’s will for Israel, not God’s will for Moses.

(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 42-43)

IV. God is always at work reconciling a world to Himself

Blackaby story of church about to close in inner city, before closing chose to study, to watch, and to pray

At the close of the thirteen-week study, instead of disbanding, the church, now revitalized, began to minister powerfully to its community. Rather than remaining discouraged, the people realized they were in the center of God’s activity. He had been working in their neighborhood all along. 

(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 53)

V. My Question at Kish

     “What is God doing in the middle of a corn field?”

     God gathers and then disperses us

He has work out there and he places us where He wants us to work

  • Plant managers
  • Truck drivers
  • School bus drivers
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Engineers

     Our church in the middle of corn fields is a refueling post

Yes, there is work to be done in here, but most of our work is out there

VI. God is orchestrating history. 

He is present and in the middle of human activity.

Listen to what Jesus said in John 5:17, 19-20

“My Father is working until now, and I am working.” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”

In John 5, Jesus teaches God’s model:

  • The Father has been working all along.
  • Now the Father has Me working.
  • I do nothing on My own initiative.
  • I watch to see what the Father is doing.
  • I do what I see the Father is doing.
  • The Father shows Me everything that He, Himself, is doing.

 3 Attributes

  1. Affirmation – God is at work
  2. Confirmation – I see God at work
  3. Trust – God will show me

Important reminder

God is at work, even when I do not see the fruit, even when I doubt my efforts, even when I have failed, even when …

VII.  We should look for where God is working 

When we know where God is working

we know where and what God wants us to work

we can find our assignments

This is better than

Looking for what we can/want to do

Then asking God to bless it

God does not assign us tasks which cannot be accomplished

           God assigns a task then gives the gift, not in reverse …

When God gives us a task and we obey,

God will carry out what He intended through our lives

VIII. Joshua entering the Promised Land

The land was promisED – work had to be done

Joshua 3:13

As soon as the priests . . . set foot in the Jordan, its waters . . . will be cut off.

We must learn to take God at His word and walk straight ahead

  • Even when we can see no way to go forward.
  • Because we are easily sidetracked by difficulties
  • We expect to see barriers removed before we even try

 Faith that goes forward triumphs. (Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E.  Streams in the Desert: (p. 71). Zondervan.)

Focusing on identifying gifts instead of determining what God’s assignment is can also be severely limiting for believers who base their future usefulness for God only on their past effectiveness. (Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 59)

We often say:

I am not gifted,  I cannot … because…  I do not have experience, but that does not mean God does not, cannot, and will not use you

All of us make the mistake of embracing this false assumption.

Moses was certain he was unqualified for this assignment, so he argued with God

  • Who am I
  • Who are you
  • Who will believe me
  1. Staff to serpent to staff
  2. Hand to leporous to cured
  3. Water to blood
  • I cannot speak well

VIII. Cheney’s “God is no Fool”

Moses said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m a terrible speaker. They’d never listen to me.” 

And God said, “Oh, for crying out loud! O.K., I’ll use your brother to help with the speaking.” 

And Moses led God’s people out of disintegration. 

Jonah said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m not the type.” 

And after a rather unexpected vacation in a fish, just thinking things over, he talked to God’s people, and led them God’s way. 

And Zacharias said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! My wife and I are too old to have any kids.” 

And God said, “Oh shut up!” And he did shut up—for nine months. And John was born, and the way for the Christ opened up. 

And I heard a child say, “I can’t serve God, I’m too young.” 

And I heard a boy say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not good enough.” 

And I heard a woman say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not skilled enough.” 

I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.

Cheney, Lois A.  God is No Fool (p. 154). Autism Today.

IX.  Here is the pattern we see in the Old Testament: 

  1. God gave an assignment to a person.
  2. The Holy Spirit equipped that person to perform the assignment.
  3. The person was able to complete the assignment effectively.  (Blackaby, Experiencing God p. 61)

Moses’ success did not depend on his skills, abilities, likes, preferences, or past successes.

     Stop assuming God only calls you or will only work through you where you are gifted.

X.  My call into Hospice ministry

Lois Cheney’s question is poignant  “I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.”

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 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.

 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God,

so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Hebrews 11:1 and 3

There is never a reason to remain downcast, for everything may be brought to God “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). “Put your hope in God” (Ps. 43:5). There is never a time when we cannot hope in God.  Our hope will not be in vain, and in the Lord’s own timing help will come.  Our work is to lay our petitions before the Lord, and in childlike simplicity to pour out our hearts before Him.  “For I will yet praise him” (Ps. 43:5). More prayer, more exercising of our faith, and more patient waiting leads to blessings, abundant blessings.

George Mueller

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 

that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 

1 John 5:14

What if my heart is cold and I feel that I lack faith? John says, “Here is the remedy, ask and pray. He will hear you.”   Your best course of action is to rely on God and pray “Lord, give me faith.”

Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 38). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Keeping Faith

Whenever God reveals something, He expects us to believe Him and adjust our lives accordingly. What does this mean?

It means we trust Him implicitly for all of our needs because He says He will provide (Phil. 4:19).

It means we approach crises with the assurance that God will bring good from them (Rom. 8:28).

It means that, despite what happens in our lives, we will never doubt God’s love because He has told us that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).

At times we try to justify our lack of faith! We know what God has promised, but we doubt that He will make a practical difference in our life.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 39). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Faith is letting God reign within us

Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.

Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

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What, then, shall we say in response to this? 

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

I am with you and for you. You face nothing alone—nothing!

When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world and leaving Me out of the picture. The remedy is simple: Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (Kindle Locations 1240-1241). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The only fear that God encourages is the fear of God

Fear of people does not come from God. The problem is that many Christians fear people more than they fear God. Their fear hinders them from pleasing God because they waste their efforts appeasing other people.

Most fear is fear of the unknown. We do not know what lies ahead of us, so we become apprehensive. Our imaginations can magnify problems until they seem insurmountable. We need a sound mind to see things in proper perspective. That is why God gave us His Holy Spirit, to enable us to see things as God sees them.

Fear will enslave you, but Christ has come to set you free.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 34). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Lean on God, not Yourself

The early Apostles all sinned, not out of ignorance or malice, but out of fear of the Jewish leaders. These leaders had blinded their hearts so much they didn’t even know they were sinning. It’s truly astonishing that great men, such as Peter, Barnabas, and others, were so easily tripped up.

If God isn’t with us, we are nothing at all, no matter how great our gifts may be. If he removes his hand from us, our wisdom and our knowledge are nothing. If he doesn’t constantly uphold us, the greatest amount of knowledge will be useless, even if we are experts in theology.

Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

After Blessings Comes the Battle

Aren’t your times of deepest depression the moments that immediately follow your loftiest highs? Just yesterday you were soaring high in the heavens and singing in the radiance of the morning. Today, however, your wings are folded and your song is silent. At noon you were basking in the sunshine of the Father’s smile, but by evening you were saying from the wilderness, “My way is hidden from the Lord” (Isa. 40:27).

Have you considered why the change comes so soon after the blessing? Simply to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines His light on you to make you fit for life’s deserts. He lifts you to new heights to strengthen you so that you may go deeper still. He illuminates you so He may send you into the night, making you a help to the helpless.

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 60). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

Seek first the Kingdom of God

If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 39). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 


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The service of Christ is the business of my life.

The will of Christ is the law of my life.

The presence of Christ is the joy of my life.

The glory of Christ is the crown of my life.

Samuel G. Hardman and Dwight Lyman Moody,

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

(Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998).

The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. … Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell upon John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “But Lord, what about this man?” Peter asked. … How natural to compare his assignment with that of the others! This is the great temptation of God’s servants: to compare our situation with that of others. … Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk two different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01).

Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 31).

B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When faithful people are happy and when they sing, “The LORD is my strength and my song” (Psalm 118:14), the devil stays far away from them.  But as soon as we stop praising God, miserable, lonely, sad thoughts return.  This is how the devil works. When the water becomes troubled, he likes to fish. He uses these opportunities to tempt people to abandon their faith and give up in despair.

Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19).

Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 31).

Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I am your strength and your shield. I plan out each day and have it ready for you, long before you arise from bed. I also provide the strength you need each step of the way. Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what’s on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with Me.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12).

Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 32).

Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

He gives quietness in the midst of the raging storm.  He gives quietness even in the midst of losing our inner strength and comforts. Sometimes He removes these because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joys, pleasures, passions, or our dreams, with too much self-satisfaction.

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02).

Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 55).

Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version

(Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. … Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

Oswald Chambers,

My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year

(Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” … On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Charles H. Spurgeon,

Morning and Evening : Daily Readings

(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

In our fast-paced daily life, how easy it is to get caught up in the “things of earth” so that eternal values become blurred and almost forgotten. … Remember these words from the chorus of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, … “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.”

Kenneth W. Osbeck,

Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), 40.

This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.  (For further reflection on this quote click here)

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17).

A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 36).

Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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Do you recognize the folly of a servant of God attempting to minister without eating of the heavenly manna? Neither is it sufficient to have spiritual nourishment only occasionally. Every day you must receive the “renewal by the Holy Spirit.” You know the difference between your whole being pulsating with the energy and freshness of God’s divine life or feeling worn-out and weary. Quietness and stillness bring the dew  Wait before God until you feel saturated with His presence.  Dew will never appear while there is either heat or wind. The temperature must fall, the wind cease, and the air come to a point of coolness and rest—absolute rest—before the invisible particles of moisture will become dew to dampen any plant or flower. And the grace of God does not come forth to bring rest and renewal to our soul until we completely reach the point of stillness before Him.

From Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 54-55). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd.  Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.

From Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 27). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam—he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts.

From Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 29). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all—and more amusing.

From Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 30). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

“He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15–16). God’s plan for Paul, revealed through a vision, involved both testifying before kings and suffering persecution. Paul was to enjoy the thrill of performing miracles, preaching to large crowds, and starting churches. But Paul was also to be stoned, shipwrecked, whipped, mocked, conspired against, and imprisoned (2 Cor. 11:23–28).

From Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 30). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When children are old enough to begin grasping the concepts of faith, they should make a habit of bringing home verses of Scripture from church. They should recite these verses to their parents at mealtime. Then they should write the verses down and put them in little pouches or pockets.

From Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 30). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

As it is now, people go to hear a sermon and leave again unchanged. They act like a sermon is only worth the time it takes to hear it. No one thinks about learning anything from it or remembering it. Some people listen to sermons for three or four years and still don’t learn enough to respond to a single question about faith. More than enough has been written in books, but not nearly enough has been driven into our hearts.

From Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 30). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Whatever occupies your mind the most becomes your god.

From Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 31). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

God never gives us a call without its being a privilege, and He never gives us the privilege to come up higher without stretching out to us His hand to lift us up.

Samuel G. Hardman and Dwight Lyman Moody, Thoughts for the Quiet Hour (Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998).


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