Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Reveiw: Answers to Prayer by George Mueller

A friend and I have been reading this book.  I highly recommend it.  It’s not long but it’s full of the testimony of a man who saw God work in response to prayer.  My faith has grown by reading it.  Also, I’ve learned a few ways to pray about various situations just by reading his prayers.  I’m going to share a passage with you out of Answers to Prayer that really touched my heart.  

“Oct. 9. – This morning Luke vii came in the course of my reading before breakfast.  While reading the account about the Centurion and the raising from death the widow’s son at Nain, I lifted up my heart to the Lord Jesus thus: ‘Lord Jesus, Thou hast the same power now.  Thou canst provide me with means for Thy work in my hands.  Be pleased to do so.’ About half an hour afterwards I received L30 15s. 
The joy which such answers to prayer afford, cannot be described.  I was determined to wait upon God only, and not to work an unscriptural deliverance for myself.  I have thousands of pounds for the Building Fun; but I would not take of this sum because it was once set apart for that object.  There is also a legacy of L100 for the Orphans two months overdue, in the prospect of the payment of which the heart might be naturally inclined to use some money of the Building Fund, to be replaced by the legacy money, when it comes in; but I would not thus step out of God’s way of obtaining help.  At the very time when this donation arrived, I had packed up L100 which I happened to have in hand; received for the Building Fund, in order to take it to the Bank, as I was determined not to touch it, but to wait upon God.  My soul does magnify the Lord for His goodness.” 

Dear reader (that’s a George Mueller thing, he often addresses his readers as such in his book), I’m praying this for you and for me “Lord, set our hearts to wait upon You only and not to work an unscriptural deliverance for ourselves.”  Mueller’s trial was the financial provision for hundreds of orphans.  My trial is different than that.  Your trial is probably different too.  We’re all tempted to take matters into our own hands; to work and manipulate our circumstances to get us out of the trial faster.  Let us all determine in our hearts to wait upon God only, and not to work an unscriptural deliverance for ourselves.  And Lord, enlighten our minds as we read your Word to understand what you want of us. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What did you do for Labor Day weekend?

We spent Labor Day weekend at Camp Comeca near Cozad, Nebraska.  It was nice; more like being in a hotel than camping.  On Sunday morning we sung a new-to-me hymn.  One of the lyrics really touched my heart: “Be still my soul; the waves and the wind still know the Christ who ruled them while He dwelt below.”
What a poetic reminder!  The forces behind the trials in our lives are subject to the Lord just as the wind and waves were in Mark 4:35-41.  I’m going to tuck that lyric into my bag of tricks for when I am freaking out.  Be still my soul; the wind and waves still obey Him.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

One of these things is not like the others . . .

Peculiar, different, distinct, unique, set apart

How do you feel about these words?  Being different from the rest of a group isn’t always fun.  Did you know these words are used to describe both New Testament believers and Ancient Israelites?  In 1 Peter 2:9 KJV, we are called a “peculiar people.”  When the Lord called the Nation of Israel to be His own unique possession in Exodus 19:5, He gave them laws to make them distinct from the surrounding nations.  Some laws, like Exodus 23:19 and Deuteronomy 12:23, guarded the Jews against the idolatrous practices of the surrounding nations.  Some regulations, like Leviticus 14 and 19:7, protected public health.  Some precepts, like Deuteronomy 24:19-21, instructed them in how to show kindness to each other.  But they all helped to create a unique cultural thumbprint from the Jews.  Can you imagine the conversations around ancient water coolers (or those hand-dug wells)?
    “Why don’t you wear garments of wool and flax blended together?” asks a shepherd.
    “Because our God commanded us not to.” responds an Israelite.
    “Why follow a God who restricts you?” inquires a companion of the first shepherd.
     “Let me tell you about our God.  He divided the Red Sea so our people could safely pass.  He fed us in    the barren desert for forty years on mostly manna.  He kept our sandals from wearing out that whole time.  We serve a good and living God.  Would you like to join us?” asks the Israelite. 

I think the same is true of Christians today.  If we follow Christ, we will be a little different than the other people around us.  We aren’t just different to fulfill some need for a unique identity.  We’re a little different to draw attention to who God is. 

But sometimes it’s lonely being different.  You won’t participate in certain activities that almost everyone else is doing.  Other people may not understand your motivation.  They might call you names like ‘weird’ or ‘stuck-up’.  You’re never truly alone because God is always with you, but you might feel lonely.  I’ve found that it’s easier to be different if you’re not doing it alone.  If you are endeavoring to grow as a follower of Christ, let me encourage you to become involved in a fellowship of other believers. It’s more fun when you’re not alone.