Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Hunger for God

John Piper, in his book A Hunger for God has some powerful ideas and revelations on fasting - why people did it in the past, why we should be doing it still, some of the misconceptions that we have of fasting... he has a totally different perspective that's really refreshing and encouraging. Fasting is another means of bringing glory to God. It must be done with the right motives; it's not about earning "browny points" to get us closer to God. Rather, it's about seeing Christ's all-sufficient work on the cross. It's "an expression of secure and happy longing for the all-satisfying fullness of Christ.... it looks away from itself to the final payment of Calvary for every blessing it will ever receive.... it is a hunger for God awakened by the taste of God freely given in the gospel." We fast in order to cultivate a hunger for God - whether that hunger is something that we have, or something that we desire to have.

The following quote from this book was very convicting; it's so easy to be carried away by all the things in this world - the 'things' that we have, the 'things' that we 'need', things that we just can't live without, be it a person, possession, dream, ambition, etc.

"The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all theill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a pice of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for thesimple pleasures of eath. for when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable....

..."the pleasures of this life" and "the desires for other things" (Luke 8:14, Mark 4:19) -- these are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffe and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly subsitutes for God."

"[Chrisian fasting] keeps the preferring facutly on alert and sharp. It does not let the issue rest. It forces us to ask repeatedly: do I really hunger for God? Do I miss him? Do I long for Him? Or have I begun to be content with his gifts?"

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 25-26

A Chance to Die

To be transformed in to the image of Christ I must learn his character, love his obedience to the will of the Father, and begin, step by step, to walk the same pathway. For Christ the pathway of obedience began with emptying Himself. I msut begin at the same place.

He "made Himself nothing." (Phil. 2:7 NEB)
"You must arm yourselves with a temper of mind like His." (1Pet. 4:1 NEB)
"If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind." (Matt. 16:24 NEB)

What does this mean? Is it mere words? How can one leave self behind, make himself nothing? The answer will not come in a vacuum. If a man or woman honestly wishes to be a follower, the opportunity will present itself. Christ will say,"Here is your chance. Now, in this situation, you must make your choice. Will it be self? Or will you choose Me?"

An oder missionary said something to Amy Carmichael when she was a young missionary that stayed with her for life. she had spoken of something which was not to her liking. His reply was,"See in it a chance to die."

A Lamp for my Feet, Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, February 20, 2009


The following are selected resolutions from The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards:

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

(I could work on that one!)

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent,- what sin I have committed,-and wherein I have denied myself;-also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye: and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty, and then according to Ephesians 6:6-8, to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man:‹knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.Š June 25 and July 13, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness, of which I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton' s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Watching Quietly, Praying Silently

The man whom Abraham sent to find a wife for his son Isaac had been long in Abraham's service. No doubt he had learned much of trust and obedience through watching his master walk with God. He set out on his mission, confident that God would help him. Beside the Well of Abram of Tow Rivers he halted his camels and was praying silently when a beautiful young woman appeared with her water jar on her shoulder. She responded to his request as he had prayed she would, and he watched quietly to see whether the lord had made his journey successful (Gen. 24:21).

Very possibly we often miss what God wants to show us because we don't take time to pray silently and watch quietly. It was by doing those tow things, along with the obvious practical things (let us not leave those undone) that the servant was able to say, "I have been guided by the Lord" (Gen. 24:27 NEB).

A Lamp for my Feet, Elisabeth Elliot

Invisible Blessings

Being very much of the earth - earthy - we always want tangible, visible things - proofs, demonstrations, something to latch onto. If we always had them, of course, faith would be "struck blind." When Jesus hung on a cross, the challenge was flung at Him: Come down! He stayed nailed, not so that spectators would be satisfied (that miracle, his coming down, would have been a great crowd-pleaser), but that the world might be saved.

Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of Go will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it.

"Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our eyes are fixed, not on the things which are seen, but on the things that are unseen" (2 Cor. 4:17, 18 NEB).

A Lamp for my Feet, Elisabeth Elliot

Leave Him to Me

When there is deep misunderstanding which has led to the erection of barriers between two who once were close, every day brings the strengthening of those barriers if they are not, by God's grace, breached. One prays and finds no way at all to break through. Love seems to "backfire" every time. Explanations become impossible. New accusations arise, it seems, from nowhere (though it is well to recall who is named the Accuser of the brethren). The situation becomes ever more complex and insoluble, and the mind goes around and around, seeking the place where things went wrong, brooding over the words which were like daggers, regretting the failures and mistakes, wondering (most painfully) how it could have been different. Much spiritual and emotional energy is drained in this way - but the Lord wants to teach us to commit, trust, and rest.

"Leave him to me this afternoon," is what his word is. "There is nothing else that I am asking of you this afternoon, but that: leave him to Me. You cannot fathom all that is taking place. You don't need to. I am at work - in you, in him. Leave him to Me. Some day it will come clear - trust Me."

"Humble yourselves under God's mighty hand, and he will lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares on Him, for you [and the other] are his charge" (1Peter 5:7)

A Lamp for my Feet, Elisabeth Elliot