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.
There are days when I go running so far ahead of God that I think I know what's best for me.
I am so very wrong.
He knows so much better than I.
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.
For devotions, I use the YouVersion application on my cell phone. I usually open it and read the selected devotional reading provided for the given day. The other day, the scripture provided was Isaiah 6:3:
"And one cried to another and said
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory.' "
Find me grateful
Find me thankful
Find me on my knees
Find me dreaming
Find me singing
Find me lost in Your grace
What is it about acoustic music, water, and a quiet paddle on a peaceful creek that is so worshipful?
"[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)
Dr. Stanley Toussaint passed away earlier this week. Dallas Seminary posted one of his messages he shared in chapel. This is a great example of his teaching/preaching.
Another of the great professors I encountered at Dallas Theological Seminary has passed away.
Dr. Toussaint was passionate about the Word of God, but he also deeply cared for the students who sat in his classes. He was firm but fair. He knew the Word and it was a challenge just to hear him speak with such deep familiarity of and love for what God has given me in the pages of my Bible.
I know I shall never attain to levels of spiritual life or Christian influence that men such as Dr. Toussaint achieved. But I am so very glad I had the opportunity to witness real godliness in so many men and women of God - both at Dallas Seminary and at Washington Bible College.
As I was driving home from FCP (the First Church of Panera), the Lord had me consider something.
It's interesting that as the country was dealing with waves of national hatred and an idiotic mindset that considers memorial statues as objects of racism and "white supremacy" (along with associated violence and destruction), God decided to bring about "the storm of a century". In a matter of days, destruction and flooding in one of the nation's largest cities caused the nation to turn from foolishness to a determination of what really matters -- caring for one another.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
I love this song. It always puts a catch in my throat, and One Voice has a masterful blend of voices that makes this song even more memorable.
Even in the darkest of nights and the most depressing of days, God is there to provide what is needed for whatever may come -- all I need to do is keep on believing.
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
Continuing the thoughts I had about seeing the whale at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, this hymn always reminds me of the glory of God's creation. One of my favorites...
"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
The message of this song... Wow!
O my soul, you are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day; He will make a way
Let Him show you how
you can lay this down
'cause you're not alone.
The story behind this song can be found here.
I have enjoyed the ministry of Rich Mullins since the first time I heard his music. He was a uniquely gifted servant of the Lord whose ministry lives on in the music he wrote and recorded. I recently heard Third Day and Brandon Heath's version of Mullin's song "Creed" (done in the style of Mullins) capturing the connection of the Christian life to the foundation of what we believe. (Mullins' original version of the song is also on You Tube.)
I believe what I believe
it makes me who I am
and I did not make
no it is making me
and it's the very truth of God
and not the invention of any man.
I've been trying to tidy up my backyard garden area.
I've been thinking that life is like a garden. It takes constant tending to make it the place it is supposed to be.
There are lots of directions I could go with this theme. The Bible has some amazing verses about gardens and the things that happen in them. They are wonderful places of understanding, of truth, and of guidance.
But this morning, I found myself listening to the words about being "In the Garden" with my Lord -- and how important it is to spend time listening to His voice.
My dad’s old Amish shed sat unopened for many years. During that time, ivy grew up its northern wall and around the ground outside of it. Several holes appeared in its roof allowing rain to invade and rot the interior of the building. A rose planted in one of its raised beds began to resemble the demonic thorn bush Maleficent magically grew to prohibit Prince Philip from reaching the sleeping beauty, Aurora. A flowering shrub was planted to balance the rosebush on the front of the building and grew into a small tree. Groundhogs and rabbits and snakes and spiders and ants took up residence within its walls and beneath its plywood floor. A volunteer tree grew beside the building's south side in seeming sympathy – to keep it company and to shade it from the afternoon sun.