July 2012

Monthly Archive

God’s Voice, George Washington Carver, and the Peanut

Posted by on 24 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Hearing God, Prayer

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.

Psalm 5:1-2 NLT

Prayer is an ongoing dialogue-a real and intimate conversation-between God, our Father, and us, his beloved children. Since prayer is a conversation between us and God, we can expect to be heard by the Holy Spirit and to be spoken to by God. Our conversation with God involves sharing, asking questions, clarifying, and responding. Prayer opens our hearts to God’s presence, our ears to his direction, our minds to his will, and our spirit to his great love. Prayer makes us great receivers of God’s most gracious grace. Prayer provides insights into our struggles, alignment with God’s will, and wisdom for life’s problems.

George Washington Carver wanted to help Southern sharecroppers: their soil was exhausted from years and years of growing cotton and the boil weevil had destroyed thousands of acres of new crops. Mr. Carver needed to find alternative crops to restore the soil and create new markets. Carver, the President of Tuskegee Institute, turned to the Lord for help:

George Washington Carver was one of our great scientists, and he often prayed, addressing God as “Mr. Creator.” One night he walked out into the woods and prayed, “Mr. Creator, why did you make the universe?” He listened, and this is what he heard: “Little man, that question is too big for you. Try another!” The next night he walked into the woods and prayed, “Mr. Creator, why did you make man [meaning, the human race]?” He listened and he heard this: “Little man, that question is still too big for you. Try another!”

The third night he went into the woods and prayed, “Mr. Creator, why did you make the peanut?” This is what he heard: “Little man, that question is just your size. You listen and I will teach you.” And you may know that George Washington Carver invented some three hundred ways to use the peanut.

Richard J. Foster, Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer (Kindle Locations 578-583), Kindle Edition.

The Peace of Christ

Posted by on 21 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Oswald Chambers

 

 

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 NLT

The Peace of Christ is a rest and repose of the heart that knocks out all disturbing and disruptive forces which would steal our fulfillment in Christ. Peace is an deep, inner sense of contentment supplied by God that transcends our everyday troubles.

Christ’s peace pervades our beings when we hold steady trusting the faithfulness of our heavenly Father. Peace is the fruit of faith: the serenity of heart that comes in trusting God irrespective of struggles and temptations of this life. The world, the flesh, and devil are our soul’s enemies trying to steal our contentment in Christ, but Christ is greater.

We can receive Christ’s peace for he is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) into the deepest recesses of our spirits. We have peace with God through faith in his shed blood (Rom. 5:1), which establishes peace with others (Eph. 2:14), while freeing us to trust his peace (Isa. 26:3), and as a result, we can now walk in peace in the midst of our greatest needs (Phil. 4:7).

In all the rush of life, in working for our living, in all conditions of bodily life, wherever God engineers our circumstances—“My peace”; the imperturbable, inviolable peace of Jesus imparted to us in every detail of our lives. “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” Have we allowed the wonder of it to enwrap us round and soak us through until we begin to realise the ample room there is to grow there? “The secret place of the Most High,” absolutely secure and safe.

Oswald Chambers, Our Brilliant Heritage (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1965).

 

 

We Are Graven on the Palms of His Hands

Posted by on 19 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: God's Love, J. I. Packer

 

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.

John 10:28-29 NLT

Security is something we all long for in our in our relationships, especially in our relationship with God. We want to know that God will not turn his back on us in our greatest hour of need. We want to know that God the Father will be there when we fail. We want to know that God’s love for us is not dependent on the quality of our prayer lives or the perfection of our walk.

Jesus gave his disciples a word about their security in him and that word is for us as well (Isa. 49:15-16). Jesus said that he knows us personally and intimately in that he calls us by our individual names (John 10:3). Jesus grants us eternal life, not a finite experience, or temporary thrill, or a fickle fate, but a life lived in the presence of God, secure in his love forever (John 10:28). Jesus promises us that we will never perish, we need not worry about being cast off (John 6:37) or abandoned to Satan’s devices (John 10:28).

We are secure, we are engraved in Jesus’ palm (10:28) and we are held in the Father’s hand (John 10:29). We are a gift of the Father to the Son, the Father does not take back his gifts (10:29). Jesus and the Father are in complete unity of being, purpose, and goal: no conflict between them over their determined love for us (John 10:30).

If God would commit to rebellious, stiff-necked Israel his covenant love (Isa.49:15-16, 54:10), how much more are we secure in the work of the cross, the power of the resurrection, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the promises of the new covenant.

What matters supremely is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind.

All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is not a moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.

This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.

J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 41–42, emphasis added.

HT: Desiring God 

 

Truth Obeyed Will Heal

Posted by on 13 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: J. I. Packer, Puritans

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

John 7:17 ESV

Obedience is truth obeyed. Obedience is synonymous with the idea of surrender: we choose to yield our wills, desires, and goals to the control and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Obedience is driven by the desire to please our Heavenly Father through our attitude and actions. We value the leading, guiding and directing of the Holy Spirit more than our personal preferences and opinions. Obedience not only involves acquiescing to the direction of our Father, but also involves delighting in his purposes for us. We acknowledge that God’s Word is true and always trumps our our selfish wants and wishes.

Healing is made effective in our lives not by navel gazing, but by obeying the will of God. Often we wait for some great supernatural experience to take away our hurt, but God challenges us to abide in him, to love him, and serve others. Obedience, not self-centeredness, brings a deep inner healing of the heart. At times our inner pain is great, but God’s grace received through obeying his word brings deep and abiding healing.

Truth obeyed, said the Puritans, will heal. The word fits, because we are all spiritually sick — sick through sin, which is a wasting and killing disease of the heart. The unconverted are sick unto death; those who have come to know Christ and have been born again continue sick, but they are gradually getting better as the work of grace goes on in their lives.

The church, however, is a hospital in which nobody is completely well, and anyone can relapse at any time. Pastors no less than others are weakened by pressure from the world, the flesh, and the devil, with their lures of profit, pleasure, and pride, and, as we shall see more fully in a moment, pastors must acknowledge that they the healers remain sick and wounded and therefore need to apply the medicines of Scripture to themselves as well as to the sheep whom they tend in Christ’s name.

All Christians need Scripture truth as medicine for their souls at every stage, and the making and accepting of applications is the administering and swallowing of it.

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, 1990, reprint (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 65, paragraphing added.

HT: Justin Taylor

Pray on. Fight On. Sing On.

Posted by on 11 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: A. W. Tozer, Prayer

 

I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.

Joel 2:28 NLT

We are a passive generation, we are easily discouraged and depressed by our circumstances. In the following quote, A. W. Tozer calls on us to be spiritually determined to press into God. He encourages us to get past our difficulties and thank the Lord in the midst of our trials. Tozer reminds that as we seek God in the pressures of life, we will experience a fresh and ever deeper revelations of God.

Pray on, fight on, sing on. Do not underrate anything God may have done for you heretofore. Thank God for everything up to this point, but do not stop here. Press on into the deep things of God. Insist upon tasting the profounder mysteries of redemption. Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment. If you thus “follow after,” heaven will surely be opened to you and you will, with Ezekiel, see visions of God.

A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, Chapter 15.

Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church Beliefs

Posted by on 07 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, Theology

So that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Tim. 3:15 NLT

Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church is a Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-immersed group of believers eagerly yearning for more of Christ in our lives and the presence of God in our community. We are men and women of faith drawn together by the Holy Spirit from various denominational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

We desire to be a complete expression of the early church: our worship is Biblical and historic, liturgical and Spirit-filled, ancient and contemporary, holy and joyful. We are a church that is submitted to the authority of Scripture as interpreted by the continuing witness of the ancient church. Lamb of God Church is committed to advancing the Kingdom of God by proclaiming the gospel to the least, lost, lonely and last.

Lamb of God Is Fully Sacramental and Liturgical:

At the center of Lamb of God’s worship is the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper where we believe resides the presence of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is precious for it is an encounter with the living resurrected Jesus. Grace poured forth, faith renewed, sins forgiven, spirits encouraged, healing released, and hope restored, all found at the table of the Lord. At the Lord’s table, the resurrected Christ meets the people of God as the heart of God makes known the love of God in bread and wine. Through baptism and the partaking of Christ’s body and blood, we are brought into living union with Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Evangelical:

Lamb of God Church believes that we are saved by grace alone, justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Christ who is our Lord and Savior is calling all men and women to a personal relationship with Him. We believe the gospel which is the good news that God in Christ has come into the world and by his life, death, and resurrection has conquered our greatest foes: the world, flesh, sin, death, and the devil. The gospel is the proclamation that our sins are forgiven and we are under the condemnation of judgment no more. This precious gospel calls forth from each of us a response of faith and repentance.

Lamb of God Church holds to a high view of Holy Scriptures both the Old and New Testaments, believing them to contain all things necessary to salvation; nothing can be taught as necessary for salvation that is not found in the Scriptures. We are committed to the preaching of the Gospel to fulfill the great commission for salvation is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Charismatic:

We are a church that participates in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We believe that through the baptism of the Holy Spirit all believers are can partake in the fullness of the Spirit and are given power for Christian ministry. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases in the believer both the fruit and gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the church and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Lamb of God Is Consensus Government:

We are a church governed by Christ through bishops in apostolic succession who are humbly submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and to one another. Our desire is to be a house of prayer, yearning to hear and obey the voice of God. Decisions are made by our elders upon coming to consensus with our bishop under the Lordship of Christ.

The Saint and God’s Goodness

Posted by on 07 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: A. W. Tozer, E. Stanley Jones, Saints

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.

Nahum 1:7 NLT

What does it means for God to be good? It means in him, there is nothing deceptive, misleading, evil, or impure. All of God’s motives are honest, loving, grace-filled, and kind. In him, we can trust and find a place of security, rest and peace. As we place all of all reliance on him, he is pleased and he responds in sympathy, mercy, provision, and blessing. A saint is not one who has achieved great spiritual heights, but one who trusts in the simple goodness of God even in the darkest of nights.

That God is good is taught and implied on every page of the Bible and must be received as an article of faith as impregnable as the throne of God. It is a foundation stone for all sound thought about God and is necessary to moral sanity.

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 88.

The saint is not one who tries hard to be good, but one who surrenders to [God’s] Goodness.

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1980)

A Balm for Every Wound

Posted by on 04 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Charles Spurgeon, Jesus Christ

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jer. 8:22 KJV

Life takes its toil: loss of a loved one, chronic pain and sickness, broken relationships, and financial struggles. Yet during all this confusion, hurt, and disappointment, every believer has the balm of Gilead, the healer of our souls: Jesus Christ. In prayer and worship, the Holy Spirit comes and makes Christ known to us in all his grace and glory. Jesus Christ loves, heals, soothes, and renews us in the midst of the toils and struggles of this life. Jesus’ cross carries our sorrows, his resurrection lifts up out of the pit, and the Spirit’s presence takes away our loneliness.

Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose yourself in sorrow? Would you drown in your cares?

Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from the couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the billowing of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

Charles Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” January 7, 1855, quoted in J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 14.