Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mrs. Charles Cowan’

“Isn’t it glorious to know that no matter how unjust something may be, even when it seems to have come from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God’s will for us and will ultimately work to our good?” (1)

 

How would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was God’s will for you?

 

Everything?  

 

Yes, everything!

 

It’s a question that gives me long pause and few words.

 

Anytime someone glibly says, “It is God’s will” in the face of tragedy or disaster, I cringe.  

 

When bad things happen, questions flood my heart: 

Would God? 

Could God? 

Did God? 

Why God?

 

If it was God’s will and He would, could, and did, how would your life change?

 

I’d turn to God.

 

I’d cry out to Him?  

 

I’d stand with Habakkuk and wait for God to answer me. (See Habakkuk 1:1-2:4)

 

I’d cling to these scriptures:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” 

 

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” 

 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2)

 

On the other hand, how would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was NOT God’s will for you?

 

In the center of the circle of the will of God I stand: 

There can come no second causes, all must come from His dear hand.

God is Love, and God is faithful, so in perfect Peace I rest. (1)

 

+ + +

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L. B. E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 311). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, John 3:16, Romans 8:28, and Romans 8:38-39.
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Oh, how slow grief is to come to understanding! 

Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn. (1)

.

Grief is 100% pure emotion!

There is nothing in grief which is rational.

Grief can only be felt!

There are no words which can soothe and comfort the heart aching in grief.

Grief will not be denied!

.

Parents ask me, “How do I explain this to the kids?”

My answer is, “You can’t, so don’t!  Just love them.  Be with them in their grieving!”

They then ask, “Isn’t there something in the Bible I can tell them?”

.

In Psalm 23, David says,

“God was with me when I walked through the valley of the shadow of death … His presence comforted me!” (2)

In Matthew, Jesus says,

“Come to me all you who are overburdened …you will find rest for your souls … I am with you always!” (3)

.

God and Jesus are short on words, but long on presence and compassion.

They do not offer an explanation.

Instead they offer their hearts.

They know what they are doing.

Thanks be to God!

+ + +

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 169). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Psalm 23:4
  3. Matthew 11:28 and 29 and 20:28

Read Full Post »

It is better to walk in the dark with God 

than to walk alone in the light. (1)

.

How can you be in the dark with God when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world and whoever follows with me walks in the light.”  (John 8:12)

God’s light dispels the darkness of the world!  The world’s light seems bright when it stands alone, yet it is a nothing more than a dim shadow at dusk when compared to God’s light.

Light and dark are antonymic symbols representative of goodness and evil, hope and despair, God and godlessness.

To walk in darkness means we are living in despair, trepidation, and fear in the presence of  evil.  We have all lived through seasons of darkness frightened and alone longing for God’s companionship.

To cope we often will flea the presence of God under the false impression that living in the dim light of the world’s way and wisdom if the better place to be.

The world’s wisdom is a false-positive.  It looks like the answer.  Others will tout its powers to us as the way of truth and light.  Yet, in time the world’s way only leas us into deeper darkness.

The world’s light is temporal and leads us downward into greater darkness, rather than upwards to Him who is the light of the world.

Children cling to parents when they are afraid.  They instinctively know that is is better to remain with the one who loves you when in difficulty.  The one who loves you will protect you from all evil.

It is only when we remain with God during difficulties that we realize the blessed truth of Psalm 23:4-5

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

I will fear no evil, for God is with me; 

His rod and His staff, they comfort me. 

He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 

He anoints my head with oil; my cup overflows.

+ + +

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 135). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Read Full Post »

Go into the streets and alleys of the town …

Go out to the roads and country lanes …

Like 14: 21 and 23

Linsanity is sweeping the nation.

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has released a new ice cream flavor in honor of Jeremy Lin, the out-of-the-blue star point guard for the New York Knicks.

My advice for Jeremy Lin is to remain humble and ordinary.  He will be of greater use to God once his 15 minutes of fame has expired.

One of my dreams in to publish a book.  The fear accompanying my dream is that 3 months after the book is published no one will buy it, even after Barnes and Noble puts it on the Sidewalk Sale Table, listed at 99% off.

Do you dream about being famous, but know you never will be?

Perhaps you are very dissatisfied with yourself. You are not a genius, have no distinctive gifts, and are inconspicuous when it comes to having any special abilities. Mediocrity seems to be the measure of your existence. None of your days are noteworthy, except for their sameness and lack of zest. (1)

Do not let your lack of fame bother you.

God likes ordinary people.  No one in the Bible was every famous before God used them for His purposes.

Ordinary people are the ones who do great things for God.  Even if the world does not notice you, God does.

George Matheson had the right attitude:

“For my part, I will be satisfied not to have some great tombstone over my grave but just to know that common people will gather there once I am gone and say, ‘He was a good man, he told me about Jesus.’” (1)

It is better to stand in the shadow of Jesus, than for Jesus to stand in your shadow.

Jesus is the light of the world, let Him cast your shadow.

+++

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 87). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Read Full Post »

Every branch that does bear fruit God prunes 

so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:2

The church had a hedge wrapped around the whole outside of the building.  Every year the men of the church trimmed the hedge.  Each year the hedge looked older and more tired than the year previous.

One member constantly complained about the hedge and the volunteers who care for it.  He told me frequently, “It is an ugly hedge because no one knows how to care for it!”

So I dared him, “Why don’t you take care of it?”

He accepted my dare, promising to trim the hedge the Saturday before Easter.  I  was thrilled, “The church grounds will look great for Easter!”

When I arrived for the Easter Sunrise Service, I noticed that the whole hedge had been cut down to a row of 5” stumps.  I was livid.  The hedge and the church yard looked awful.  But, by September, the hedge and the church grounds looked fantastic.

All of us are convinced that a life without suffering, without loss, without heart-ache is the best life.  God knows better.

Even though it hurts, God prunes us because He wants us to have a more fruitful life.  He cuts away parts of our lives that we love because He wants us to have a better life.   He knows that a life without the pain and suffering of pruning is worthless.  Jesus’ wisdom in John 15:2 describes the nature of God’s love.

When you are pondering WHY you are suffering, reflect on these words:

“Remember the vineyard and learn from it.  The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort would yield no profit.  In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you want God to stop pruning your life?  Shall God leave you alone?” (1)

God knows the pruning hurts.  He knows that pain and suffering cut your heart and cause you to cry out to Him.

But He also knows that to give you a pain-free life is to give you a useless life.

“To exclude suffering from your life

means you will exclude life itself.”

C. S. Lewis (2)

+++

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. Streams in the Desert (p. 81). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Lewis, C. S. A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 55). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Read Full Post »

“We must understand the difference between

what is priceless and what is cheap,

what is important and what is trivial.” (1)

Who said this and when?

Based on the success of MasterCard’s ad campaign, I suspect many would guess that these famous words were pinned by a savvy copy-writer for a New York Ad Agency.  Instead, these words were penned by Martin Luther in the 1520’s.

Luther was discussing how we are saved by God’s grace, as opposed to our good works.  Luther considered God’s grace as priceless, more valuable than anything we can earn, do, or purchase.

It is God’s priceless grace, rather than our good works which save us.

Most Christians drive themselves to frenzied exhaustion trying to make sure that they have done just enough good things in their life to secure the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life.  Luther drove himself into this frenzy before he understood that we are only saved by grace.  It was then that he learned that the priceless life comes when we live from God’s grace, rather than for His grace.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, in Isaiah 55:1-2, God extended this priceless invitation to us:

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;

and you who have no money,come, buy and eat!

Buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  

Why spend money on what is not bread, 

and your labor on what does not satisfy? 

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,

and you will delight in the richest of fare.” (2)

If you align yourself with God, you can sort out what is important and what is not. It is then, and only then, that you can live a priceless life.

In writing about the Apostle’s Paul joy in his service for God, Margaret Bottome wrote, “To Paul doing Christ’s work was his earthly pay, but gaining Christ’s smile was heaven.”  (3)

Luther, Isaiah, and Paul knew what was priceless.

Do you?

(1) Luther, Martin. Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 41). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
(2) The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011)
(3) Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E.. Streams in the Desert (p. 69). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Read Full Post »

He Silently Plans for You

Be anxious for nothing.  Philippians 4:6

Surely I am with you always. Matthew 28:20

Never look ahead to the changes and challenges of this life in fear. Instead, as they arise look at them with the full assurance that God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. Hasn’t He kept you safe up to now?

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 66). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I am a good Boy Scout.  As an obsessive-compulsive Type A individual, I work hard to be prepared.  I possess the admirable traits of looking and planning ahead seeking to be ready for any and every contingency.

This natural tendency has evolved into worrying ahead.  Because of this, I rarely rest in peace.  In the middle of the night I wrestle with the unknowns of the future despite the fact that time and time again God has brought me through times of trouble.

“Live with the full assurance that God will deliver you” is wisdom which I must repeat to myself time and time again.

Not only does God have a plan for others, He has a plan for you.  God’s plan for you includes climbing mountains and cascading into valleys …  wading through still waters and fighting through rough seas.

Jeremiah reminds us “God loves you with an everlasting love.” (31:3)

Dr. George Mathewson  wrote in the opening line of his great hymn “O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul on Thee.”

Yes, He is with me always.  This is my peace!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: