Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Romans 7

For I delight in the Law of God, in my inner being (verse 22)

Like all people, the Apostle Paul struggled with sin. He found himself doing things he didn’t want to, and ignoring the things he did want to do. His victory over sin was not complete until his death.

What made Paul so great was not, therefore, his victory over sin. It was not his relative perfection. It was his delight in the Law and the things of God.

How much do I delight in the Law of God, in my inner being? How much do I meditate upon Scripture, memorise Scripture, read Scripture? How much time do I spend in worship, in prayer?

It is not enough to compare myself to my failing peers, those who pray for five minutes before sleep. I need to be comparing myself to the great Saints of the past, to people like the Apostle Paul and Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael. I need to see where I need to improve.

The fact is, my delight is not sufficiently on God. I am still too easily distracted from Him and turn my own way. I follow after the ways of the world.

This needs to change, and God alone can (and will, and is) change(ing) me.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

John Piper

Christians who spend time in prayer do it because they see that God is a great Giver and that Christ is wise and merciful and powerful beyond measure. And therefore their prayer glorifies Christ and honors His Father. The chief end of man is to glorify God. Therefore, when we become what God created us to be we become people of prayer… Prayer is the very heart of Christian Hedonism. God gets the glory; we get the delight. He gets the glory precisely because He shows Himself full and strong to deliver us into joy. And we attain fullness of joy precisely because He is the all-glorious source and goal of life. Here is a great discovery. We do not glorify God by providing His needs, but by praying that He would provide ours – and trusting Him to answer.
From Desiring God.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Romans 6

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its natural end, eternal life (verse 22).

We are no longer slaves to sin, but have become slaves to God. Yet how little we seek to follow Him, to obey His every word. We spend valuable time chasing after our old master – maybe not in the same way as before, but we chase after sin nonetheless. How little we spend our time truly chasing after God and His kingdom! Think on how much time has been wasted on trivial pursuits this past week, and compare it to the time spent in His Word, or in prayer, or in service to the Saints or the needy of this world. I know that I am spending far too much time on matters that will have no eternal significance.

Yet the more I chase after the things of God the more fruit I see in my life. I want ot see the fruit of the Spirit in my life; to see a growing degree of piety, of love for God, of selflessness. In order to grow this fruit as well as possible, I need to be nourishing it with Godly things, and above all, by offering my life as a sacrifice to His glory.

I am no longer a slave to sin. I am a slave to righteousness, to my Lord Jesus Christ. I am to obey Him, and no other master.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


There is a massive giveaway happening over at Generation Cedar! She is giving away $600 of Vision Forum gift certificates. In case you don't realise, Vision Forum sells some pretty cool Christian books, DVDs, and audio books.

Hop on over to this post at Generation Cedar and find out how to enter!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Romans 5

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (verse 8)

Christ died for us, and He died for us while we were still sinners. He did not wait for us to “clean up our act” enough for us to love Him – we could never clean up our act enough for that. Instead, He came and died for us while we were filthy, diseased, wretched sinners, rebels against His rule, and He rescued us, reconciling us to God the Father by His death.

It is so tempting to attempt to get to God by our own works – after all, that is what the religions of the world are based on: do enough good works, make enough sacrifices at the altar, and maybe, just maybe, God will accept us.

But Christianity is different. Christianity is not us reaching up to God, it is Him reaching down to us. It is us being saved to do good works for God’s glory, not being saved by our works for our glory. God is first and foremost in the world, and one of the ways that He shows this is by dying for us, showing that only His perfect death can turn away His wrath from us unrighteous sinners, and make us pure and blameless in His sight.

Oh LORD, thank You that You died on the cross for me, while I was a sinner, that You did not expect me to fix my life first, but that You came down and rescued me. I thank and praise You in Jesus’ name.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Nate Saint

And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Review: Don't Waste Your Life

Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper is such a fundamental book that I think everyone should read it at least once. As the title states, it is about not wasting your life, but instead pouring it out for the glory of God.

Beginning with an analysis of what a wasted life is, and how so many people both inside and outside the church waste large proportions of their lives, this book is a wake up call to test us to see if we are truly using our lives for the advancement of God's kingdom.

Here is a quote from inside:
The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full… Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life about Christ is a tragedy.

Missions is obviously one of the most important ways that we can lose our lives for Christ's sake. Reaching all the world is the last command that Christ gave before He ascended to heaven. How many hear the call to the mission field, either for the short term or the long term, but refuse to follow God's call in order to have more of the dross that the world has to offer?

This book is available for FREE at Desiring God.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Randy Alcorn

As thunder follows lightning, giving follows grace. We give because he first gave to us. If your life doesn’t resound with the thunder of giving, doesn’t that suggest that you’ve not been struck by the lightning of God’s grace.

From his chapter in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Are We Commanded to Be Good Stewards?

I have been reading a lot of criticism of different expressions of Christianity, and it’s interesting how often one comment comes up about any type of Christianity that really seeks after God’s will in a counter-cultural way… they all get told how God really couldn’t have meant xyz, because He wants us to be “good stewards”.

It seems so right. It seems so reasonable. You shouldn’t have more children than you can afford. You shouldn’t have to tithe. You shouldn’t give to missions. You shouldn’t dedicate your life to staying home with your family, or helping others when you can have a well-paying job. You shouldn’t use your spare time in a way that helps others without making sure you receive adequate remuneration. Because those things are not being a “good steward” of the gifts that God has given to you.

The thing is, God actually doesn’t ask us to be good stewards. That command is nowhere in Scripture. The command to give up all we have and follow Him – that makes it in there… several times. We need to give all that we have in order to follow Christ more closely.

In many cases, this is going to look like “wasting” things to the world. It is going to look like the opposite of good stewardship. It’s going to be having more children than you can afford to give soccer and ballet classes to. It’s going to be giving more than you think you can afford to missions. It means turning down a job that pays better so that you have more time to invest in God’s kingdom. It means going yourself when it would be cheaper to get someone else to.

It means giving our all to God.

I don’t want to be a good steward. I want to live recklessly for Christ. He is my treasure, not anything in this world. And when that makes me look foolish in the eyes of the world, then I will remind myself that the wisdom of God is beyond that of man. And I will continue to follow Him with all I am.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Gladys Aylward

I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China…I don't know who it was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…And God said - "Well, she's willing."

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Book Review: Mama Jude

This (Mama Jude by Judy Steel) is probably the most secular missions book that will be reviewed – indeed, I didn’t even realise that it had a Christian perspective until I started reading it. It’s marketed as a general “person helps third world people” kind of book. I started it because it’s on the country that I’m about to go to… Uganda! Hence the review.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It is very honest about the different difficulties facing those who go into missions work (specifically in medical fields), both culturally, in terms of lack of finances, and the just plain obstacles that most people in these countries face, such as diseases, weather, etc.

It was especially interesting to me because she mentions the people I am going to stay with several times – Judy Steel even stayed with them twice. Which had me praying half-way through the book when she mentioned that they were temporarily living in pretty bad conditions with one of the most terrifying creatures known to man… rats. (Mice also rate). They have indeed moved (I did know this – but rats have been known to cause apprehension on my part).

One of the things I really liked about this book was that it made everything seem possible – Judy Steel is of retirement age (and was even the first time she went to Uganda), and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and continued to go back.

Another aspect that was really great was how she mentioned that her previous experiences on a farm in Australia came in useful when starting a mirco-loan scheme and helping the women involved start piggeries. It’s important as Christians to realise that God uses things in our background that we never thought would have a use.

The downside to this book is it is pretty secular. God is her reason for going to Uganda, and she mentions how He sustains her while there a few times, but He doesn’t appear much throughout.

Aside from this point, it was a great read (one of the best written missionary autobiographies I’ve read), and would be a wonderful book to interest seekers or baby Christians in missions, or to gather more information on what it can be like in the mission field.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

William Booth

"Not called!" did you say? "Not heard the call," I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Friday, 18 November 2011

What Does the Romance Novel Say About the Failure of Feminism?

Disclaimer: Please don’t take this as a statement that you should read romance novels. It’s not. They’re badly written, and can stir up desires that aren’t positive or godly. But it is interesting to see what the continued success of the romance novel says about the ultimate failure of feminism.

Apparently, in the early days of feminism, feminists claimed that the romance novel would die out, as women had their horizons broadened, and no longer had their lives “constrained” to that of finding a husband and raising children.

It hasn’t happened. Romance novels sell just as well as ever, making large sums of money for their writers. Yet to a large degree, the world the feminists wanted has come about, in the sense that no women (in the west at least) are forced into marriage as their only career option in life. We’re all told we can be lawyers, doctors, anything we want. Yet women keep buying and reading romance novels.

What does this say about women? I mean, men don’t read romance novels. So what do they say about being a woman that feminism just didn’t take into account? How does the romance novel demonstrate the failure of feminism?

1. Sex is better with someone you love. Feminists, especially in the 60’s, wanted women to be as “free” with their body as they perceived males had been in the past. To a large degree, this has worked. The number of sexual partners most people have had is larger than the past. Yet romance novels hold this notion up to the ridicule it deserves. Even in novels where the female has had previous partners, none of them compare to the one she is in love with. Sex is best (especially for females, but for males too) when within a committed relationship (such as marriage). This is one of the ideals the romance novel holds to.

2. Women want a husband and children. Even without the first or third point, this alone demonstrates the failure of feminism to truly capture the heart of women. Women, as a general rule, WANT to be married. They WANT children. I’ve never seen a boy cry because he wants a baby, and it “just isn’t the right time” – but I’ve seen lots of girls in that position. I’m not saying males don’t want children, but for women, children are an urge that God has placed within us, and it is an urge that feminism has not been able to truly squash out of us. The romance novel demonstrates this

3. Women want the man to be the provider. I’ve never read, seen adapted, or heard of a romance novel where the male had less money than the female. I suppose there would be a few “struggling artist” ones out there, but I rather expect by the end of the novel, he has become famous and is making the millions he always should have. We all know in real life that most men are not as “successful” as these men – there is a limit to the billionaire and millionaire class. But the dream – an articulated in most women – is to have a man who will provide for her, allowing her to be able to care for him and to raise their children as well as she can.

The romance novel demonstrates to me that even in the secular world, feminism hasn’t won. It may have the bodies of women going off to work every day, providing for themselves and living lives that are far from God’s ideal for them. But they know this. They know they have been cheated of something, and they turn to the place they think they can find it – the pages of a novel.

Thankfully we know where we can truly turn – to the arms of the living God. But pray for those who do not know Him; that they may see the darkness they are seeking in a small way to escape, and turn to Jesus in all His glorious light.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sometime, by May Riley Smith

Sometime, when all life’s lessons have been learned,
And sun and stars forevermore have set,
The things which our weak judgements here have spurned,
The things so’er which we grieved with lashes wet,
Will flash before us out of life’s dark night,
As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue;
And we shall see how all God’s plans are right,
And how what seemed reproof was love most true.

And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,
God’s plans go on as best for you and me;
How, when we called, He heeded not our cry,
Because His wisdom to the end could see.
And e’en as prudent parents disallow,
Too much of sweet to craving babyhood,
So God, perhaps, is keeping from us now
Life’s sweetest things, because it seemeth good.

And if, sometimes, commingled with life’s wine,
We find the wormwood, and rebel and shrink,
Be sure a wiser hand than yours or mine,
Pours out the potion for our lips to drink;
And if some friend you love is lying low,
Where human kisses cannot reach his face,
Oh, do not blame the loving Father so,
But wear your sorrow with obedient grace!

And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath
Is not the sweetest gift God sends His friends,
And that, sometimes, the sable pull of death
Conceals the fairest boon His love can send;
If we could push ajar the gates of life,
And stand within, and all God’s workings see,
We could interpret all this doubt and strife,
And for each mystery could find a key.

But not today. Then be content, poor heart;
God’s plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold;
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,—
Time will reveal the chalices of gold.
And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
When we shall clearly see and understand,
I think we will say, God knew the best.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Praying as the Church

It struck me recently just how little praying we do as the church. I’m not just talking about how the prayer meeting is small, with mostly the same people showing each week. I’m talking about praying AS the church, and not just FOR the church.

Prayer meetings, whether for small groups, for the local church, or even for more than one local church, tend to be self-focused. We pray for the person giving the sermon, for the people to have attentive ears, for the worship to touch our hearts. These are not bad things. But the prayer seems to stop there so often. When we pray for those outside the service/group it is usually for those who are sick within our church/group, or for the salvation of those who are attending but aren’t saved. Even prayer for the loved ones of those who are members of the church or small group is rare. One friend has referred to this as the church having “her eyes rolled back into her head”, always looking inwards.

We were not created for this! We were created to be able to change earth through our prayer! In order to do this we need to pray for those outside ourselves – for the success of missions to unreached people groups, for the strengthening of the persecuted church in countries like China and the Middle East, and for the ending of social ills such as abortion and slavery (which has more people in its grip than ever before in history).

We need to be praying AS the church, as salt and light, and not just for the church.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

John Piper

The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?

From God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself

Monday, 14 November 2011

Romans 1

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world (verse 8).

The Roman Christians made great sacrifices for their faith. Many suffered persecution. They gave what they could (and often more than they could afford) to aid the spread of the gospel. They took such food care of those around them that the pagans commented. Their faith was proclaimed throughout all the world.

Is my faith? Do people who know Christians now days as those who are prepared to give their all to honour Christ? Do they even know me (those who know me) as someone prepared to give my all in order to follow Him? I can honestly say no to both, and while this concerns me greatly about the whole church, it concerns me more about myself. How little is the love I have for Christ if I am not willing to sacrifice all for His sake. Some say that He hasn’t directly said to them (or me) to, but we have His Word, wherein He has said that those who will not abandon all they have for His sake cannot be His disciples. And here I am, clinging to the rubbish I have collected along the way. Lord, forgive my terrible witness!

I want to be known by those around me as being someone who happily gives her all for Christ, who sacrifices joyfully to make Him known throughout the nations.

Lord, help me to be such a follower of You!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Acts 28

…for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against. (From verse 22)

The Roman Jews did not know much about the Way, and all they had hear was bad. That was fine with them – the Jews, especially in places like Rome, were used to having their way of life, their families, and their God maligned. They knew a bad report could be the slandering of God’s true work, just as it had been in the times of the Prophets, and more recently, the Maccabees.

Today, that is still the case with true Christianity. People laugh at those who “waste” their Sunday mornings at church or their time in prayer. They mock those who attempt to do good (I never realised until recently how hated Mother Teresa is/was, and precisely for the reasons she is so known, not her dodgy theology or her long-time hidden doubts). Christians are made fun of in a way that just isn’t acceptable for in regards to any other religion.

Yet these things are not bad things in God’s plan. People are interested in the ‘weirdness’ of true Christianity, and for some of them, their interest will develop into faith. We must never be ashamed of the gospel, in spite of those who appear to be arrayed against us, for the gospel is the power of God to save the souls of those who are yet to believe.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Church and Proverbs 31 (Part 8)

Her husband is known in the gates… (Proverbs 31:23)

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)

How much of what we do really demonstrates that Christ is our supreme treasure? Even when we are being the kind of bride that Christ wants us to be, how often is that reflecting back to Christ?

Are we making our Heavenly Husband known throughout the land?

It is important to teach the next generation the ways of God. It is important to care for the needy. It is vital that we use every opportunity to bless others. But if we aren’t doing these things to extend God’s kingdom, then ultimately, they will come to nought.

As that old saying goes: Tis one life, that’ll soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.

Are we making our Husband known?

I know I don’t as much as I should. It’s easier to talk about caring for the poor than to talk about how Jesus wants us to use our money. It’s easier to talk about bringing up our children to be “good kids” rather than to make it known – to them and the world – that we are nurturing them in the faith. It’s easier to pretend to trust in God for the salvation of our loved ones than it is to open up our mouths and actually talk to them about Him.

But if we are not doing everything in faith, doing everything to make Him known, then we are sinning. Even if we are doing all the right things, even with unselfish motives. If we are not giving the glory to God, and to God alone, then we are sinning.

Church, join me with making our Jesus known, at home, abroad, everywhere we go. Let us bring to our Husband a small portion of the acclaim He deserves, that He might be known throughout all the earth.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

From Erik Weir

• Fight slothfulness. Work as unto the Lord.
• Set your own deadlines, many people do not appreciate the significance of timeliness.
• Allow your sons to fail. Failure is necessary to succeed. It’s hard to watch, but failure definitely shapes a person, as long as failure is viewed as a lesson and not a destination.
• Get up early. Leaders should be the first out of bed and spend time with God, reading the Bible and in prayer before anyone else in the house is up. Early AM hours set the tempo for the day.
• Create a mandate for the day. Start each day thoughtfully attacking your biggest problems after spending time in prayer.
• At the end of each day, evaluate the day. Make corrections, and move ahead boldly. Dominion is not gained from a recliner. It’s gained from a broken and contrite spirit crying out to God for help and direction.
• Fall on your face as a broken man, and cry out to God, “I need you.” Fulfilling Deuteronomy 6 as a dad (in the flesh) is impossible. With God, He can take our mistakes and make them blessings.
• If you take the easy way out or listen to the radio to check out, you can create a multi-generational mess. There are no idle thoughts, words, or deeds.
• There is no effort without error.
• Hunger and thirst for righteousness.
• Everything counts. Choose not to settle.
• Define reality by God’s Word.
From this post Scott Brown Online. So many of these are relevant for me (even as a single female!)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Church and Proverbs 31 (Part 7)

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her (Proverbs 31:28)

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)

Part 6 was focused on the child’s voice. This part is focused on the husband’s voice.

There are few things that we as Christians want to hear more when we see God face to face than, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” We want to hear the praises of our heavenly husband. Yet how little we do is focused on actually going about and completing what He wants us to do. How little effort we dedicate to the Great Commission, or to the Dominion Mandate, or even to helping those around us. We are too busy entertaining ourselves, in some cases, literally to death, as we grow more and more obese, and get diseases that were virtually unknown even a short time ago.

If we want to have the praise, we need to be doing something for it. God doesn’t hold to the self-esteem movement, where He tells you how wonderful you are, even when there is nothing right about you or your behaviour. His praise when we see Him is not based on nothing; it’s based on the fruit we produced.

I shudder to think how much we will realise we missed the mark when we reach heaven. How much I missed the mark! My goodness, I fail so often to put God first, and to care for others as myself. But I long to hear that sought after phrase when I see Him face to face for the first time. I long to have Him praise me for the way I have lived my life. I long to have Him show me the difference I made on earth.

His praise is better than anything, better than life itself.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Clement of Rome

Lord, we beseech you to help and defend us. Deliver the oppressed, pity the poor, uplift those who have fallen, be the portion of those in need, return to your care those who have gone astray, feed the hungry, strengthen the weak, and break the chains of the prisoners. May all people come to know that you only are God, that Jesus Christ is your child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.
From Prayers of the Martyrs, collected by Duane W.H. Arnold

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Church and Proverbs 31 (Part 6)

Her children rise up and call her blessed; (Proverbs 31:28)

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)

How many children brought up in the church really give thanks for it? Not that many really. Not even those who remain in the church rarely do. Are we really doing all we can to help the next generation, especially the next generation of believers?

To put it bluntly, we aren’t. For those who have read Already Gone by Ken Ham, you will know that a staggering number of children leave the church. The statistics vary depending on what organisation asks the questions, but it’s around ¾. Three quarters of young people brought up in the church leave it, and most never return. Those who return are typically not “believers”, they are people who want good moral values taught to their own children.

There are a variety of responses to the problem of young people walking away from the faith. But we need to change this. If you are a parent, then you need to look at your own children and ask if they are going to continue. Will you see them in heaven? And what are you doing to make sure that they have every possible opportunity to see the light of the gospel?

Will your children rise up and call you blessed on the day of judgement? Will the children in your care, those in your church, or school, or community, rise up and call you blessed? Or will their response be somewhat other, on that last day?

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I have GONE... to Uganda!

I am back on the 27th...

But because I have so many readers (the whole 3 of you) I have scheduled posts for this time.

Please pray for me at this time.

Psalm 67
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—[b]
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Genesius of Rome

There is but one king that I know; it is he that I love and worship. If I were to be killed a thousand times for my loyalty to him, I would still be his servant. Christ is on my lips, Christ is in my heart; no amount of suffering will take him from me.
From Prayers of the Martyrs, collected by Duane W.H. Arnold

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Church and Proverbs 31 (Part 5)

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:25)

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)

This is one verse that is so far away from what the modern Western church is like. We are terrified of the time to come. We have little to no trust in what God can do for us, whether it be in having children, in missions, in praying for the lost (especially lost loved ones), or even in terms of the end of days. We do not laugh at the future. We are too busy worrying about it.

I’m going overseas on November 5th. It’s interesting to see how different people react to the idea. Some people think it’s exciting. Others think it’s terrifying. One person I know tells me every time we talk about it how terribly brave I am, and how he could never do it, on and on until I want to smack the poor fellow. He’s not the only one who feels that way – not even the only Christian who feels that way. The thing is, they can’t trust that no matter what, God will take care of me. Sure, it may not always be the way I want to be taken care of, but the care is there all the same.

Wealth has not been good for the church. We worry too much about losing it. I know I worry all the time about how little money I have in my bank account now that I’ve paid for my air fare. And when all this worry from every church member is combined it can become paralysing. We need to go back to not worrying about how things will turn out. We know the ending anyway. God wins. And because He wins, we can laugh at the future, as individuals, and as a church.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Michael Cavanaugh

God doesn’t look at the magnitude of the gift. He looks at the giver’s ability to give. He doesn’t look at the size of the offering but the amount left in a person’s pocket. He doesn’t look at how much ministry a person does, only how much is held back. God is not concerned with how much you do but that you do what you can with what you have.
From God’s Call to the Single Adult

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Church and Proverbs 31 (Part 4)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26)

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)

The church is not known for its great teaching. Even the more “intellectual” churches are seen as being shallow in thought and out of touch with reality. Brothers and sisters, this should NOT be what the church is known for!

God’s Word is wisdom, it is light, it is life. That is what we need to be teaching. It is what we need to be preaching. We should not be teaching a shallow, watered-down version of the world’s teachings, the gospel mixed with plenty of rubbish to get the world involved. We need to be teaching the Word, God’s pure wisdom.

How much of what you speak is God’s Word? How much is even related to God’s Word? If you are anything like me, then the vast majority of what you say is nothing more than man’s thinking. Sure, I say the occasional thing that happens to gel with the Bible, but how much of my thinking is truly, truly based on that and on nothing else?

As for the law of kindness… let’s just say the church is not exactly known for its kindness. This was not always the case. Once everyone was welcome. Jesus dined with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other unsavoury types. Today we are barely civil to those who swear a little. We have become snobs, the elites that Jesus detested. We need God to guard our tongues, that we might speak more sweetly to those around us, that they might see the goodness of Jesus, in spite of the at times terrible way His bride behaves.