Archive for May, 2009

Communion Journal

I have the thought that I am using earthly wealth to gain a heavenly friend. I am not very shrewd at it. But is he not sufficient to give me help even in this way? It is thus no argument against our lifestyle that we are not very successful or competent at it. That we are so unskilled is all the more reason to do it: that we might thereby improve. Instead of trying to talk us out of it, pray for us, that we might become better at it. It is not our heart to waste, but to use money skillfully towards the kingdom of God.

Communion Journal

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." This was proved true to me again yesterday. It seemed that all things were against me. Yet the very things that seemed against me were God’s gracious means to bring me to repentance and to cause lowness of heart. Then quickly, when I was humbled in his sight, he lifted me up. Will I ever learn this lesson? I seem to be learning it over and over again.

Communion Journal

Had a breakthrough of sorts today. It seems that our character and our story has been questioned a lot since we have been here. Perhaps this is by no intention of those we talk to but only by our own insecurities. Whether or not it is intentional is not the point. The point is that we have felt attacked by the enemy in various ways since we have come here and one particular way is by feeling doubtful whether God really sent us. Glory be God, today we finally realized that we need not defend ourselves from these attacks. Instead we can join with our enemy’s accusations and call ourselves the scum of the earth. Our hope is not in ourselves. Our great hope is that we have died and it is no longer us that lives but Christ. Satan, what will you accuse me of? Would you bring me down to the dust, to the very place of God’s blessing? God, and God alone, will be our mighty defender. In our weakness, he will show himself strong. He is our Go’el: our redeemer kinsman/avenger of blood.

The Faith of George Müller

What did the faith of George Müller look like? Here is a story I found browsing around the internet:

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I went to America some years ago with the captain of a steamer, who was a very devoted Christian. When off the coast of Newfoundland he said to me, “The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which revolutionized the whole of my Christian life. We had George Müller of Bristol on board. I had been on the bridge twenty-four hours and never left it. George Müller came to me, and said, “Captain I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec Saturday afternoon.” “It’s impossible,” I said. “Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement in fifty-seven years. Let us go down into the chart-room and pray.”

I looked at that man of God, and thought to myself, what lunatic asylum can that man have come from? I never heard of such a thing as this. “Mr. Müller,” I said, “do you know how dense the fog is?” “No,” he replied, “my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.”

He knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers, and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder, and told me not to pray. “First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I believe he has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.”

I looked at him, and he said, “Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King. Get up, Captain and open the door, and you will find the fog gone.” I got up, and the fog was indeed gone. On Saturday afternoon, George Müller was in Quebec for his engagement.

Müller dedicated his life to demonstrating God as faithful. What a tragedy it is that history remembers him as a man of mighty faith. Don’t come away from this story with awe of Müller but let Müller point you towards awe of God. Müller’s great faith did not make him mighty, but Müller’s weak faith showed God mighty. Towards such people as would think of Müller as a mighty man, beyond what is normally possible for God’s people, Müller says this:

I affectionately warn against being led away by the device of Satan, to think that these things are peculiar to me, and cannot be enjoyed by all the children of God; for though, as has been stated before, every believer is not called upon to establish Orphan-Houses, Charity Schools, etc., and trust in the Lord for means, yet all believers are called upon, in the simple confidence of faith, to cast all their burdens upon Him, to trust in him for every thing, and not only to make every thing a subject of prayer, but to expect answers to their petitions which they have asked according to His will, and in the name of the Lord Jesus.— Think not, dear reader, that I have the gift of faith, that is, that gift of which we read in 1 Cor. 12:9, and which is mentioned along with ” the gifts of healing,” “the working of miracles,” “prophecy,” and that on that account I am able to trust in the Lord. It is true that the faith, which I am enabled to exercise, is altogether God’s own gift; it is true that He alone supports it, and that He alone can increase it; it is true that, moment by moment, I depend upon Him for it, and that, if I were only one moment left to myself, my faith would utterly fail; but it is not true that my faith is that gift of faith which is spoken of in 1 Cor. 12:9 …

Once more, let not Satan deceive you in making you think that you could not have the same faith, but that it is only for persons who are situated as I am. When I lose such a thing as a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have made an appointment does not come, according to the fixed time, and I begin to be inconvenienced by it, I ask the Lord to be pleased to hasten him to me, and I look for an answer; when I do not understand a passage of the word of God, I lift up my heart to the Lord, that He would be pleased, by His holy Spirit, to instruct me, and I expect to be taught, though I do not fix the time when, and the manner how it should be; when I am going to minister in the Word, I seek help from the Lord, and while I in the consciousness of natural inability as well as utter unworthiness, begin this His service, I am not cast down, but of good cheer, because I look for His assistance, and believe that He, for His dear Son’s sake, will help me. And thus in other of my temporal and spiritual concerns I pray to the Lord, and expect an answer to my requests; and may not you do the same, dear believing reader? Oh! I beseech you, do not think me an extraordinary believer, having privileges above other of God’s dear children, which they cannot have; nor look on my way of acting as something that would not do for other believers. Make but trial! Do but stand still in the hour of trial, and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him.
-George Müller

When you read and hear about Müller. Know that he was a humble, poor, often full-of-doubt sinner. Yet God used him in mighty ways. Why? Because he opened his mouth. Here is Müller looking back over many years at the start of his endeavors towards the orphans:

It is now 68 years ago that my heart was greatly tried, when again and again I saw dear children losing both parents, and there was no one to take a real deep interest in their well-being.

I felt deeply for such bereaved children, and I said again and again to myself, “O I wish I had a little Orphan institution, into which I could take these children.” But the desire remained for years only a desire, though I had much prayer in connection with it. In the November of the year 1835, a particular circumstance occurred, through the instrumentality of which I was made to know how to be able to do some­thing for destitute orphans, and I began to pray more earnestly than ever I had done before that God would be pleased to guide and direct me whether I should make a beginning of a little Orphan institution. Thus I prayed month after month, and at last I came to the decision that I would do something in this way; and though it might have never so small a beginning, I would make a beginning.

Now, just reading through the whole Bible, I came, at that time, to this 81st Psalm and to this 10th verse, “I am Jehovah thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” When I read this verse, I shut the Bible, went to the door of my room and locked it, and then I cast myself on the floor and began to pray. I said to my Heavenly Father, “I have only asked Thee, Heavenly Father, that Thou shouldest show me whether I shall begin the Orphan work or not. Thou hast been pleased to make that plain to me, and now ‘I will open my mouth wide.’ Be pleased to ‘fill it.’ Give me, my Heavenly Father, a suitable house to begin the work; give me suitable helpers to take care of the children; and give me a thousand pounds sterling to make a beginning.

And in all God has been pleased to give me, simply in answer to prayer, £1,416,000 sterling! One million, four hundred and sixteen thousand pounds sterling, without asking a single human being! !

There is none, in this whole city, who can say that I ever asked them for a penny; there is none, in the whole of England, who can say that I ever asked them for a penny; there is none under heaven, in the whole wide world, who can say that I ever asked them for a penny. To God, and to God alone, I went; and I did this because I knew ever since my conversion that one of the greatest necessities for the Church of God at large was an increase of faith. Therefore, I deter­mined to dedicate my whole life to this one great lesson, for the Church of God to learn, and the world at large to learn: real, true, lasting dependence on God.
-George Müller

George Müller opened his mouth, and God filled it to overflowing. He will do the same to you.

Communion Journal

Had almost no sight of God this morning. Finally after prayer, reading, and meditation, was able to call out to God for pity and mercy. Was grateful to have a sense of the depths of my sins before the Almighty. Now, later in the day, I feel like have walked with the Lord to some small extent. Yet, looking back over my own words that I have written from days before I feel very different from the man who is glorifying God in many of those posts.

Communion Journal

Today was our first day back at Trinity and God showed himself wonderful and merciful to us. Especially in the communion we had with him and with each other. God also allowed me to speak to several people briefly about God’s care for his children. They seemed encouraged by it. Also, spent some time today doubting if God exists and if he rewards those that seek him. How he bears with me in all of my doubts. I’m hoping that the only reason these doubts are surfacing is to be purged out. Work wonders in me oh Lord. Thankfully, I have been enabled thus far to take these thoughts captive quickly. Part of me wonders if I should take some time and explore all of my doubts more thoroughly so that I can wage war on them more completely. If so, I don’t think today is the day for that particular battle.

Communion Journal

Was looking at rentals online today in preparation of arriving in the SLO area tomorrow. It seems like every time I look at a big list of possibilities for housing or for a job I get a bit overwhelmed. I think perhaps, it is more conducive to my communion with God to let him take care of this one through some other means than me looking online.

Finding God's Will

Men who follow after God are often asked, “how does God guide you?” Is it by signs and wonders or a still small voice? Perhaps he guides through open and closed doors or through fleeces laid out? Does God bring to mind things from his word or while in prayer? Is there a special peace that accompanies such leadings? Where does godly council fit in?

I may not be very holy, and I have not followed after God for very long or followed him very well, but I have my answer to such questions. It is not a matter of how to follow but a matter if we will follow at all. The leading of God is not dependent upon the skill of the follower but on that of the leader. No one sings songs about how well they follow after God. Instead, we sing, “He leadeth me! He leadeth me! By his own hand he leadeth me!”

This is a wonder too great to express without the aid of the Holy Ghost. Follow after him and he will lead you. Can it really be that simple? Yes! As surely as he led Abraham and Moses across desert lands, so too will he lead you. As trustworthy as he was with Müller and Taylor, so too will he be with you. This promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off. He will be your God, and you will be his people. He will be that voice behind you that says; “Here is the way, walk in it.”

Do not concern yourself with how that voice will sound. You might as well fret over whether the voice will be a tenor or baritone as ask whether it will be a sign or a gentle feeling. More than likely, the leading will come in a completely unexpected way. God delights to blow our socks off, he doesn’t often meet our expectations—he explodes them.

Yet I will answer the question asked. God often leads me by not leading me. He lets me go on in silence, not knowing what I am doing. Then later, he turns my head to look back at what has been accomplished since I last found my bearings and I see something wonderful. I see every step carefully placed in the exact right spot. I see that if I had gone to the left or to the right, some disaster would have befallen, yet God led me perfectly though the treacherous minefield—never letting me misstep. I believe that he does it this way, so that I might have full assurance that it was due to no skill of my own. The amazing thing that God accomplished was never in my head: I never knew about it until after it was already too late for me to impact it. Yet it was through my hand that God worked his might upon the world.

Our God is amazing.

Stop trying to figure him out and start following after him!

A Question

I wrote this to myself. I am generally harsher with myself than with others. Yet it has been enough of a help to me in recent months that I decided to put it up in case it is useful to someone else.

Why don’t you care more about Christ than you do?

Surely you will agree that you ought to care more for him. He is God after all. He did die on account of sins such as yours. Yet what care do you give him in return? Perhaps you read your Bible. Perhaps you go to church and try to follow his laws. Yet I wonder if you really do that for him or if you do that for you. Think about the last time you read your Bible or prayed, did you do it because a deep care for Christ necessitated seeking him or for some other reason?

Why don’t you care more about Christ than you do?

Surely you will agree that Christ has given his Holy Spirit unto Christians so that they might adore Christ beyond what a person is able to do. Is that how you would describe your care for Christ: so great as to supersede the natural order of things? Is it so great that you search in vain for an analogy in nature but none is to be found so you settle on something much less, like love for a child or a spouse? Or do those loves fit pretty well for you? Perhaps those loves are even greater than the love you have for God. Surely this can not be the care that only the might of God is able to produce.

Why don’t you care more about Christ than you do?

The answer I can come up with is because I am a very great sinner. My soul, my heart, my mind, and my strength are given to things that are not God. These things I care for and so little room is left for God. That is why I don’t care more about Christ than I do. Yet he is pushing those things out of my life. Slowly yet steadily they are leaving to make room for me to love him.

Communion Journal

Had trouble believing this morning that God was good enough and powerful enough to save certain people who are close to me. My faith was weak in this regard. God is good and mighty in all he does. Surely I can trust him with the fates of these people. Was lifted up to believing this in Rev. 6:10 where the saints show trust in God’s sovereign goodness. I do not know how to pray, in faith, that God will save specific people. What promise of God do I claim unto that sake?

Communion Journal

Several remarkable things happened yesterday

  1. We were up in the blowing rock area yesterday looking for a swimming hole that I had been to before, but did not know how to get back to. We prayed that God would help us find it. As we were having lunch, we happened to run into someone we knew from town who also happened to be up in the mountains that day. He told us there were some swimming holes in a particular direction out of Boone. The short of the story, is we eventually happened upon the exact spot I had remembered. Truly he denies us no good thing, no matter how trivial.
  2. As we were coming home from swimming, we nearly got side swiped. The truck would have run right into Ellie had we not swerved away. Yet there was a car just a few feet to my left as well that preventing me from swerving very far. By the grace of God, somehow, we threaded that needle and escaped unscathed. Yet, my nerves were shot from the adrenaline and so we pulled over and spent some time in a Christian bookstore that we happened to be close by.
  3. I had, what I think, was an angioma, on my neck, which is a cluster of raised blood vessels. It was about the size of a pea. The dermatologist said it would take up to $600 to remove it. I prayed about it the night before, and yesterday, in a Christian bookstore, Selah grabbed it and ripped it off. There was a good bit of blood involved. After a good bit of pressure, it finally stopped bleeding and now it appears to be gone.
  4. When we got home, we found out some information that might cause us to leave for San Luis Obispo without selling our house.

Communion Journal

Caught a glimpse of God’s glory this morning out of Rev. 1:16. How is it that we ever see glory in anything else after we have seen it in Jesus? It seemed preposterous to me in that moment that I could have my eyes drawn away from him by anything of this world. To persist in moments like this is a great goal. Yet, for now, sin lives on.