I got posted online! NOTE: This is a follow-up to my blog post of December 9, 2017.
While scrolling my Facebook timeline, an article link caught my eye from one of the groups I follow. It was an article about single women and how they could enjoy the Christmas holiday. It was a good article with some great suggestions, but the nagging question I had after reading it was, "What about single men?"
|All of us, to some extent, borrow from others, from the culture around us. Ideas are in the air, and we may appropriate, often without realizing, the phrases and language of the times. We borrow language itself; we did not invent it. We found it, we grew up into it, though we may use it, interpret it, in very individual ways. What is at issue is not the fact of “borrowing” or “imitating,” of being “derivative,” being “influenced,” but what one does with what is borrowed or imitated or derived; how deeply one assimilates it, takes it into oneself, compounds it with one’s own experiences and thoughts and feelings, places it in relation to oneself, and expresses it in a new way, one’s own.|
-- Oliver Sacks, The River of Conciousness
"Death is not the end of the road; it is only a bend in the road. The road winds only through those paths through which Christ Himself has gone. This Travel Agent does not expect us to discover the trail for ourselves. Often we say that Christ will meet us on the other side. That is true, of course, but misleading. Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening. We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here. The tomb is not an entrance to death, but to life. The sepulcher is not an empty vault, but the doorway to heaven. When we die, nothing in God dies, and His faithfulness endures. Little wonder the pagans said of the early church that they carried their dead as if in triumph!"
Lutzer, Erwin W. (2015-04-17). One Minute After You Die (p. 78). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
500 years ago today, Martin Luther decided to proclaim his beliefs about how the church of his day was wrong concerning Biblical truth.
Eric Metaxas explains why Luther's stand was so historically important.
Pastor Erwin Lutzer has written a wonderful book entitled One Minute After You Die. Short, to the point, and very enlightening. Get it and read it.
But here's an overview of the topic that is just as good...
Warren Wiersbe commenting on Luke 10: 25-37:
We may read this passage and think only of “the high cost of caring,” but it is far more costly not to care. The priest and the Levite lost far more by their neglect than the Samaritan did by his concern. They lost the opportunity to become better men and good stewards of what God had given them. They could have been a good influence in a bad world, but they chose to be a bad influence. The Samaritan’s one deed of mercy has inspired sacrificial ministry all over the world. Never say that such ministry is wasted! God sees to it that no act of loving service in Christ’s name is ever lost. It all depends on your outlook. To the thieves, this traveling Jew was a victim to exploit, so they attacked him. To the priest and Levite, he was a nuisance to avoid, so they ignored him. But to the Samaritan, he was a neighbor to love and help, so he took care of him. What Jesus said to the lawyer, He says to us: “Go and keep on doing it likewise” (literal translation).
- Wiersbe, Warren W. (2010-06-01). Be Compassionate (Luke 1-13): Let the World Know That Jesus Cares (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 138). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
We often look forward with anxiety to the time of old age, forgetting that at evening time it shall be light. To many saints, old age is the choicest season in their lives. A warmer breeze fans the sailor's face as he nears the shore of immortality; fewer waves ruffle his sea; quiet reigns, deep, still and solemn. From the altar of age the flashes of the fire of youth are gone, but the deepening flame of sincere feeling remains. The pilgrims have reached the promised land, the happy country, whose days are as the days of heaven upon earth. Angels visit it, celestial gales blow over it, flowers of paradise grow in it, and the air is filled with heavenly music. Some live here for years, and others arrive only a few hours before their departure, but it is an Eden on earth.
- from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
- Robert Frost
"[As a believer], you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?
Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: 'Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.' (Exodus 14:13) For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity."
- Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon (updated by Alistair Begg)
- Seneca, Letters to a Stoic
The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.
But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.
'Tis a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.
- Hellen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
This earnest longing after Jesus has a blessing attending it: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6) and therefore, supremely blessed are those who thirst for the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God. If I do not experience the blessedness of being filled, I will come again in my emptiness and eagerness until I am filled with Christ. If I do not yet feed on Jesus, I will continue to hunger and thirst after Him. There is hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. These hungry ones "shall be satisfied" with what they desire. If in this way Christ causes us to long after Him, He will certainly satisfy those longings; and when He does come to us, as come He will, how sweet it will be!
- Alaister Begg, Truth for Life
Our circumstances are what we make them.
Our song of praise can never be checked unless we rejoice in Circumstances, and in things around us more than in God Himself.
It is to our shame that we are easily wrought upon by shifting Circumstances. How good for us that we have an unchangeable God to rest in!
The natural man is the slave of Circumstances.
Never let me be compelled to say, “I have driven my stakes so deep into the earth that I cannot pull them up; but rather let me so pitch my tent that in a moment I may strike it at the bidding of the Lord. (Numbers 9: 15-23)
All things are working together for good to them that love God; albeit sometimes in the way of chastening and judgment.
If we honor God in the little matters of our daily life, He will prepare great occasions for our faith, and so put honor on the obedience that was little know to any but Himself. Abraham had so dealt with God about all the daily little matters of tent and household, that when the great occasion comes (Genesis 22) the man of faith shines forth.
God orders our steps in our natural state (the guilt of our sins our own) to further us in His service after regeneration. (Galatians 1:15)
It matters little what our Circumstances, if in the spirit of our mind we be before God offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him by Jesus Christ. To faith all Circumstances are opportunities of pleasing God and serving Christ.
- Robert Chapman, Choice Sayings
"The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.
The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.
He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else."
—A. W. Tozer