Category Archives: God’s sovereignty

Empires come and go

Challenging words for American believers from Paul Proctor:

….As if our declining economy and currency weren’t enough to bear, we Americans are losing our country as well, along with all the rights, freedoms, privileges and responsibilities that came with being a citizen. In fact, it would appear the United States no longer belongs to its citizens. Even the word “citizen” has lost its meaning here. No, our country belongs to men of great wealth, power and privilege who rule from the shadows, recognize no borders and fear little in life but the light of truth.

From the pew to the pulpit – from Main Street to Wall Street and from the voting booth to Capitol Hill – it’s mostly a charade now – driven by “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1st John 2:16)

Should we be surprised? After all, this isn’t the Garden of Eden – nor is it the Promised Land. That means we have no eternal guarantee from God that He’ll sustain us as a nation indefinitely though He did give warning long ago about the hell that awaits nations that forget Him. But, as great and powerful as America once was, I have yet to find any mention of it in scripture. That ought to be humbling and a little disquieting for professing Christians here.

You see, empires come and go. History has taught us that their “15 minutes of fame” is a little over two hundred years which means America has statistically run its course.

So, what do we do now?

Do we take up the sword and our own perceived morality to exact vengeance on those we believe are to blame for the fall of our kingdom or do we take up our cross and follow Jesus to His?

(http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor189.htm)

The challenge, as I see it, is to face the brutality of reality with an unwavering faith in God and great expectations for eternity – to find joy and gratitude even in our sorrow and grief – not as orphans without a home, but as adopted children of the King, knowing our Father in Heaven still lives and reigns with or without the America we grew up in.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor191.htm

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Christians, buck up!

Bamboo- the more you cut it, the more it grows.

As I have traveled and talked with a lot of people in the first of my worlds during the last couple of months, many have expressed concern over the way things are going in this country, not just politically and economically but more specifically they find a growing intolerance of the Christian faith. Many feel fearful thinking about what may lie ahead. But today I was challenged that we need to buck up, because we serve a mighty God who is perfectly capable of providing for His own.

Today in Sunday school there was a guy from China speaking. He was apparently raised as an atheist as most Chinese are now days. He said he enjoyed reading western literature (for college?). He noticed there were a lot of quotes from the Bible and references to Jesus in the  literature he was reading. He became curious about the Bible and wanted to get a copy to read. But they had been destroyed during the cultural revolution of 1967-77 and he couldn’t even find a copy in the library. Eventually he did get ahold of an old beat up Bible from a friend, one which had survived the cultural revolution. He read it and began to wonder if maybe there really was a God. He then came in contact with some Christians in one of the Three-Selves church (the gov’t official church) and he became a Christian. A few years later he went to seminary, a Three Selves (3S) church seminary in Nanjing and also studied abroad. Later he became a professor at a seminary and taught for nearly a decade.

There are two kinds of churches in China, the official government sponsored 3S Church (about 15 million people) and the house churches (about 60-70 million). The 3S stands for Self-governing, Self-supporting, Self-propagating. It sounds good but the problem is that it is controlled by communism.

He said that on the surface the 3S church may look to Amerian tourists to be “free” and very similar to American churches with choirs, etc. But the difference is that the 3S churches are government controlled. The government decides who can attend seminary and who can be ordained and even who can be baptized. He said that in the 1990’s came what is called the “reconstruction of theology” movement in the 3S seminaries. It basically changed two things 1) justification by faith and 2) authority of Scripture.

According to this movement, all religions must be compatible with socialist society, and must not be exclusive. So instead of preaching that mankind is sinners and needs to be justified by faith they must preach that the important thing is to be nice to other people. In essence they created a new doctrine: man is justified by love.

The other thing is that they would teach that the Bible is just human words. They are not allowed to preach from Revelation or about the judgment, and not too much about sin.

Anything sounding familiar? It struck me as he talked that perhaps that is where this country is also going – to a centrally controlled or government controlled church, dictating what can and cannot be preached, moving towards a theology of justification by “love” with ridicule, harassment and possibly even persecution for those who do not conform or who believe the Bible is God’s authoratative Word.

He said that he realized that teaching went against the clear teaching of the Bible and eventually he decided that he had to stay true to Scripture and leave the 3S church, and his job. He began meeting in his house with 4 other believers. Eventually they were cramming 60-70 people into their small living room! They divided and became two and those two also eventually divided until now there are 13. He said they focus on Bible training, worship and prayer. They don’t have buildings and they don’t have complex structure.

He also told me later that because of his Hebrew and Greek background he is helping with the new Chinese Standard Bible translation that is being done in simplified Mandarin. The New Testament is now available and the Old Testament is in process.

He didn’t say much about persecution other than to say that it seems less now than it had been in the recent past. When questioned, he said that yes they are monitored, their phones and emails are monitored. He said small groups may stay under the wire as long as they stay small but once a group gets to 100 people or more it gets a lot of attention from the authorities.

One of his companions told me that he doesn’t like to speak about his own persecution, he doesn’t like to think of it as a big deal. But she said he had spent time in prison because he started writing articles against the reconstruction of theology movement. He was also a leader of a group of home churches. When he leaves home he has to always be prepared to possibly not be able to come back. She said he did not call his family on this trip because their phone will be monitored. (I think he will be speaking at a conference next week in Chicago). But his attitude is that he will not be fearful because the God of the universe takes care of him. He will not fear the authorities because he is on the right side and they are the ones in danger.

It is a real encouragement to me to hear Chinese believers like him telling of their ministry and their desire to continue to follow the Lord despite the harassment, and even threat of persecution and imprisonment. I find it humbling and at the same time immensely encouraging and challenging. They have survived communist persecution and thrived. So come on, folks, let’s buck up! Our brothers witness that God is taking care of His children in China. And that same God can certainly take care of His children in this country too, no matter what happens!

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God’s immense and unfailing grace

Here is a wonderful story of God’s immense and unfailing grace as He takes one born cursed and makes them blessed.

Ruth the Moabitess

Anton Bosch

The history of the Moabites is filled with immorality, seduction, lust and incest.

The nation was born out of the incestuous relationship between Lot’s oldest daughter and himself after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). Lot’s descendants would not be known by his name, but as the Moabites and the Ammonites. These two nations had a similar birth and history and are often mentioned together as the cause of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Lord.

It was Balak, king of Moab, who hired Balaam to curse the people of God. And when that did not work, Balaam instructed the Moabite women to seduce the men of Israel, lead them to worship their idols and so bring God’s judgment on the people of Israel (Revelation 2:14). Because of this, twenty-four thousand Israelites were killed by the plague (Numbers 25:9) and the Moabites were forever banned from the assembly of the Lord’s people.

A few hundred years later Solomon would marry, amongst others, Moabite women (1Kings 11:2). Once again, these women would seduce Solomon to worship their false gods and to erect high places for them (1Kings 11:7). Solomon’s relationship with the descendants of Lot and his subsequent worship of their idols would lead directly to the division of the Kingdom into the northern (Israel) and the southern (Judah) tribes (1Kings 11.32-34).

Once again a liaison with the descendants of Lot would prove to be the downfall of Israel. And once again Moab would use the same seduction of Lot’s daughters and Balaam to lead Israel to worship idols and to incur the wrath of God. No wonder the Lord banned them from the congregation for ever.

In the book of Nehemiah we come across Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite (Nehemiah 2:10). A Horonite is a native of Horoniam, a city of Moab (Jeremiah 48:3-4). Yet again, the Moabites and the Ammonites would seek the downfall of the people of Israel. Sanballat used every trick in the book to discourage Nehemiah in his work and when mocking, attacks and blackmail did not work they resorted to their old and proven trickery.

Sanballat tried to lure Nehemiah into an unholy alliance, just as Moab had done on previous occasions (Nehemiah 6:2). Fortunately, Nehemiah saw through his scheme and would not even meet with the enemy. When this did not work the Moabites tried to tempt Nehemiah to sin by entering the Temple (Nehemiah 6:13), in the hope that the Lord would judge Nehemiah, as he had the people of Israel. This too did not work.

But just when it appeared that Moab would fail in his seduction, we read that quite a few Israelites had married Moabites and Ammonites (Nehemiah 13:3, 23). Once again this mixed multitude would degrade the values of the Lord’s people so that many of their children could not speak the language of Judah but had adopted the language and customs of the infiltrators (Nehemiah 13:24).

Even worse, the High Priest’s son married Sanballat’s (the Moabite) daughter. Over and over, Moab would find every opportunity to infiltrate the people of God and to draw them away from serving Yahweh. Fortunately, Nehemiah was ever alert and dealt appropriately with each occurrence of the corruption: “So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. “Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” (Nehemiah 13:25-27).

However, when Nehemiah turned his back, the High Priest went as far as to vacate a room in the temple for Tobiah the Ammonite. The High Priest had brought one of the leaders of Ammon and an enemy of Israel right into the temple when they were not even allowed amongst the Lord’s people, let alone live in the Lord’s house! (Nehemiah 13:4-9).

Can you see how the flesh and the enemy will find every opportunity to infiltrate the church and the life of the believer? We cannot allow these things the least opportunity to get a foothold in our lives – they only have one agenda – the destruction of the people of God.

The history of Moab seeking the destruction of Israel and Judah spans the entire history of Israel in the Land, from the exodus, to Israel’s zenith, and finally to the return from captivity. The seduction, schemes and infiltration is unceasing.

But right in the middle of the story we find this woman “Ruth the Moabitess” (Ruth 2:2). Not only does she come to live in Israel, but she marries a prominent Hebrew. And as if that is not enough, she becomes the great-grandmother of David the King and an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Why did God allow this when He Himself banished all Moabites from the congregation? Surely Ruth posed the same danger to the welfare of the People as every other Moabite and surely she should have been condemned with the rest of them?ruth-glean

No. Once again we have an illustration of God’s immense and unfailing grace. Ruth had forsaken her people and her gods and had unconditionally clung to the Lord and His people (Ruth 2:16,17). Once Ruth turned to the Lord, He graciously received her, forgave her past and removed the curse that had hung over her. Not only did the Lord accept her, but He included her and used her as though she had always been an Israelite. It was as though her past and ancestry did not exist.

In the same way the Lord still receives each one who genuinely turns to him and who turns their backs on their idols and their past. He receives us unreservedly, wipes away our past and removes the curse that hung over us. Just like Ruth, He not only allows us to participate in the blessings of His people, but He even uses us and incorporates us fully in His work and His plan. He treats us as though we were always His children and as though there never was a time when we were His enemies and banished from His presence.

Oh what marvelous grace! Ruth is no longer the Moabitess, but she is the ancestor of the Lord Jesus! Likewise you need no longer be known as the sinner, addict, abuser, or whatever you were before, and you can bear His name – Christian.

From: http://www.antonbosch.com/Articles/English%202008Ruth%20the%20Moabitess.html

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Lessons from Job

Recapping the story, Satan saw Job, the righteous man. In fact it was God who brought it up “Have you considered my servant Job? There’s nobody like him on earth. He’s blamess, upright, fears Me and turns away from evil.”

Satan said, “Of course he does, because You have blessed him and made him rich and prosperous. Try taking that away and see how faithful he is!”

God gives him permission to do so but with limitations, ie he can’t harm Job himself. So in the course of a day Job loses all his livestock (his wealth) and all his children. Of course he is in shock and sorrow but he still acknowledges God as sovereign and the source of all, and worships Him.

God again pointsjob-boils out to Satan that Job remains faithful and righteous despite undeserved misfortune. Satan asks to touch him physically, sure that he will curse God. God again grants permission, with limits – he cannot take Job’s life. So Job gets covered with boils.

Lesson 1: God puts limits on what Satan can do to us.

Lesson 2: Suffering is not just about us. There is a cosmic aspect to it.

I once had a large twin boil in a place where those who need to sit a lot can least afford it. I can testify to the exquisite pain. But to have them from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head????!!! Job is in such a state that his wife advises him to curse God and die. Yet Job says we should accept all that God gives us, not only blessing but also adversity.

Lesson 3: All that happens, good and bad, is allowed by God.

Job’s  three friends come to comfort him but they are so appalled at his condition that they weep and tear their robes and throw dust in the air. They sit there in silence for a week. Then in chapter 3 Job begins to speak. He is in despair, in pain, despairing of life itself. His friends begin to answer him one by one. At first they gently remind him of God’s justice and how He punished evil. Job answers that he is innocent.

They come back a bit stronger and say that God knows all and is just and He blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. Job agrees that God is just but still declares his innocence and wants to defend his case before God.

The friends get more annoyed at his protestations of innocence and come back accusing him of wrong doing and saying he needs to repent. Job again protests that he is innocent and goes over how good his life was before and how he lived upright before God and men and how humiliating it is now. He again longs to be able to present his case before God.

So Job’s three friends were no help. Their answer was that God punishes evil. Therefore Job must have done evil and should repent of it.

Lesson 4: Man thinks suffering is punishment from God. (but that’s not the whole picture – see below.)

There was also a fourth guy present, Elihu, who seemed not so well known by Job and his friends. So he waits patiently until the others have had their say. Elihu gives a long rebuke to Job and his friends. He says that it is wrong to blame God for being unjust. God is compassionate. In fact He uses pain and suffering to warn men, to keep them back from the pit. He chastens men with pain, He reminds men what is right.

Lesson 5: God is just. He is also compassionate. He uses suffering  to warn us and to remind us of what is right so that we will not go to eternal destruction.

And the God speaks. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? … Are you able to command the lightening? … Are you able to lead the constellations in space?”

Who can answer back to God? Who can instruct Him? Can we tell HIm a better way to run things? His ways are unsearchable. His knowledge beyond our ability to grasp.

Lesson 6: God is totally and absolutely beyond what man can comprehend. “Sovereign” does not begin to cover it!

Lesson 7: We are to trust in WHO God is, and not trust in blessings or experiences – nor are we to trust in our own perspective of things.

Job repents.

Lesson 8: Even when you think you are innocent, you don’t have the whole picture. Remember that before accusing God of wrong-doing!

God restores Job’s fortunes – doubled them in fact.

Lesson 9: God is good. God is just.

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When God says "no"

April 25

We had a devotional this morning about asking God for wisdom and believing, not being doubtful. Some of us were sitting around at coffee break talking about how God works. We were talking about how sometimes it seems God has said “no” to something we prayed for. And yet we find out later that He had a better plan. He knows more than we do and so sometimes though it seems to be “no”, it is really a big “yes” in a way we couldn’t have imagined.

For example, last month my househelper’s sister was involved in a motorcycle accident and had a bad bang to the head. She was knocked out momentarily and had a huge lump on her head. Two weeks later she had an excruciating headache, was fainting, dizzy, and vomiting. They were in a panic because of the recent head injury took her to a doctor in the nearby town and he told them she probably needed surgery. Her husband started running around trying to hock the family farm to get money for surgery. So they were asking people to pray that they would be able to find somebody willing to loan the money.

Then we had them bring her to the city to see a neurologist. He examined her and told them while he could be wrong, he didn’t think she was bleeding in her head (he didn’t do x-ray) but that her blood pressure was really high and he thought that was the cause of her symptoms. So he put her on blood pressure medicine.

The husband wasn’t able to find anybody to hock the farm – and it seems now, 3 weeks later, that the blood pressure was indeed the problem.

So here was a case where the prayer was to be able to find someone to rent the farm and the answer seemed to be “no”. Yet, after all, God knew there was no need to rent it out.

A colleague of mine has stomach cancer that had already spread to the liver and lymph nodes when diagnosed a year ago. He’s not doing too well right now and he had wanted a good friend of theirs from here (a pastor) to come and see him. So they were able to arrange an emergency interview at the US embassy in the capital city for him this morning to get a visa. But we just heard that the visa was denied. It is such a disappointment. Yet in the context of our devotional and discussion this morning, we have to believe that God has a better plan.

This later addition (4-28): my friend died Sunday night before the pastor had a chance to reapply at the embassy. So the unneeded trip was avoided.

Can we too trust Him even when the answer seems to be “no”?

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Thoughts on God’s sovereignty

God’s Sovereignty

I have been pondering the sovereignty of God lately. I was listening to a sermon where the peacher was saying how we so often think God has a “perfect will” for our lives in big things like who we marry, where we go to school, what job we take, what house we buy etc. and we agonize over these decisions and later always wonder if somehow we missed it. Yet we tend to think that the little things of life are less of a big deal. Yet, time and time again, it is those little things that determine the course of history. Like, the cry of a baby long ago from the rushes at the side of the Nile River. That baby’s cry led to the finding of Moses, and from there the world was changed. Last month a bridge fell. Amazingly few people were killed in what could have been SO much worse. Many people who were on the bridge or who might ordinarily have been on the bridge at that time commented on the little things that happened that day – a colleague running late picking them up. Working a little late to get a computer virus off a machine. Getting sick and having to call in sick for work that evening. Heavy traffic causing them to get stuck up waiting a second time at a red light. An impulsive decison to take a different route. A bus load of children stopping a very few feet from the edge of the break, not crashing into the burning truck next to it nor going off the edge on the other side.

I have been reading through the book of Isaiah recently. If there is one message there, it is of the sovereignty of God. God Himself is directly quoted in much of the book. His message is loud and clear – He hates sin and will punish it. He is holy. Yet He also determined that a way of salvation would be available for the whole world. He is loving, compassionate, and merciful. He is the Creator and has the power and authority to do as He wants to. His plans from long ago cannot be thwarted and will happen. He will even raise up people to accomplish His will who do not know Him. He will punish, yet restore. “that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,” (Is 45:6) “And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Is 49:26b)

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It doesn’t say that all things are good. But all things works together for good. And Who else could coordinate all the little things in all the people’s lives in all of history?

A friend recently shared some hard truths about her marriage. Their adult children confronted them, told them bluntly that their relationship to each other, which is admittedly full of conflict, has been hard on them as children, is hard on other people and does not honor God. Have they considered just getting a divorce. The husband/father responded, “But I promised I would never divorce her.” To which their son-in-law in tears responded, “But is that what you should promise? Or should it be that you promised to love her and cherish her no matter what, even to the point of sacrificing yourself?” Ouch. She sadly commented to me that she and her husband have not even talked to each other about that meeting with their kids.

It is true, my friend’s relationship with her husband is stormy, many public outbursts that are embarassing indeed for others around them. From a human perspective, especially from a 21st century Western perspective, why keep it up? The kids are grown and on their own, why keep up the charade? But yet, from God’s perspective, all things work together for good. It doesn’t mean all things are good. They are not. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything is easy – it most assuredly is not. Yet, is it possible that in this stormy relationship, God is fulfilling His good purposes? Is it possible that the friction over money is God’s way of trying to point out to the one his irresponsibility in caring for those God put in his care? Is He trying to point out to the other that her trust should be in Him and not in earthly security? Is it possible God is trying to show the one his laziness and self-centeredness and the other her manipulative ways and self-centeredness? Is it possible He is trying to teach the one to look honestly at himself and his own sins and see himself as God sees him, rather than always justifying himself and blaming others for everything? Is He trying to teach the other to forgive and to not hold grudges in the same way that He has forgiven her and is not holding grudges? And is He possibly also teaching lessons to their children, and to us their friends and colleagues?

Does God put each of us in the crucible best suited to separating the dross from the gold?

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All men are like grass

I just returned from a 2-week study tour in Israel. It was a very busy time, we travelled from Dan to Beersheba and my head is stuffed to overflowing with information! We were given a 4 inch thick notebook as well which was crammed with maps, illustrations and more information. I have not had much time yet to reflect on it all but one impression that definitely stood out was this: the place is not important, what is important is the message.

In Israel, one era is built right on top of another. You can have today’s town standing over ruins of the Ottman Turks which in turn are standing over the ruins of an earlier Muslim era which in turn are standing over Byzantine ruins, which in turn stand over Roman ruins, which may be standing over Hasmonean or Hellenistic ruins, which may be standing over ruins from the Israelite monarchy era which may in turn be standing over the ruins from David’s time which may be standing over ruins from the time of the patriarchs, and sometimes those ruins are on top of even earlier ruins.

Today all of those kingdoms have crumbled into dust.

You think of Jesus being able to see the great Roman sites of Herodium from the Mount of Olives, or Sepphoris which is walking distance from Nazareth or Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. He could see those monuments to Roman greatness and power. Yet He didn’t seem to be bothered by them or even much concerned with them, His teaching was beyond them, a universal message to all people of all ages. We saw the remains of the magnificant Roman cities of Caesarea and Beth-shan (Scythopolis), the campsites of the Roman legions which besieged Masada. Ancient Egyptian and Canaanite military outposts.

Sobering indeed to reflect on the probable fate of today’s kingdoms!

What has survived all those great kingdoms is the Word of God. In Qumran near the Dead Sea we saw caves where precious texts were hidden in jars. A very large number of them have survived nearly 2000 years and today witness to the preservation of God’s Word.

“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord
stands forever.”

1 Peter 1:24-25a

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Down from His Glory

Song written by William E. Booth-Clibborn, grandson of William Booth.

Down from His glory, ever living story,
My God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name;
Born in a manger to His own a stranger,
A man of sorrows, tears and agony!
Chorus:Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!
What condescension, bringing us redemption,
That in the dead of night, not one faint hope in sight,
God gracious, tender laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul!
Chorus: Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!
Without reluctance, flesh and blood His substance,
He took the form of man, revealed the hidden plan;
O glorious myst’ry sacrifice of Calv’ry!
And now I know He is the great “I AM”!
Chorus: Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!

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Are you grateful?

Here’s article challenging us to consider how much God does answer prayer. We all have those things we have prayed for time and again, maybe even for years and it seems that God doesn’t answer or maybe is saying “no”. We tend to remember the things not answered. But we tend to forget all the times He does say “yes”.

……What I am saying is that we characteristically forget that every critical, crying Not-yet is floating on a vast, billowing sea of Yes and Yes and Yes. If you are a Christian, reading this, God has said Yes to you far more often than He has said No; and you have every reason to believe that every No conceals a because I have a better idea. Behind our every prayer, our great Mediator, our Savior, our great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ, pleads for us before the throne (Hebrews 7:25), adding His intercession to that of the blessed Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).

I am saying that we all, on occasion, make the most spoiled-rotten brat look like a Model Child, through our bursting, thunderous ingratitude. At the very least, I am saying that for myself.

Indeed, what I’m trying to say has already been said better than I could ever phrase it:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

Weighing God’s Yes and No
by Dan Phillips
January 26, 2007
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/01/weighing-gods-yes-and-no.html

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Difficult times

This quote from Charles Spurgeon is for those Christians going through difficult times in their lives.

Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.”
Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action. You cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”
Precipitancy cries, “Do someting; stir yourself. To stand still and wait is sheer idleness.”
Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.”

But faith listens neither to Presumption nor to Despair nor to Cowardice nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.”

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