Me: Yes, there is nothing like a good sermon filled with meat for the spirit.
Prodigal: I think I need one of those today.
Sermons should have real teaching in them, and their doctrine should be solid, substantial, and abundant. We do not enter the pulpit to talk for talk’s sake; we have instructions to convey important to the last degree, and we cannot afford to utter petty nothings. Our range of subjects is all but boundless, and we cannot, therefore, be excused if our discourses are threadbare and devoid of substance. If we speak as ambassadors for God, we need never complain of want of matter, for our message is full to overflowing. The entire gospel must be presented from the pulpit; the whole faith once delivered to the saints must be proclaimed by us. The truth as it is in Jesus must be instructively declared so that the people may not merely hear, but know, the joyful sound….Nothing can compensate for the absence of teaching.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Me: Well that’s mighty nice of you, to bring others round today.
Prodigal: It is the season to remember service to others.
Me: That is something we can all try to do.
This is from the book Joy in Christ’s Presence by Charles Spurgeon
I suppose that we sometimes get nearer to Christ when we think we are at a distance than we do when we imagine we are near Him, for we are not always exactly the best judges of our own spiritual states. We may be very close to the Master, and yet we may be so anxious to get closer that we feel dissatisfied with the measure of grace that we have already received. To be satisfied with self is not a sign of grace, but to long for more grace is often a far better evidence of the healthy state of the soul.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you (John 15:9)
Mara is found in the bible in Ruth 1:20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. Why was Naomi bitter? Her life did not look like she had imagined it.
At this point in her life, she should have been with her husband and her two sons. She could even imagine the happiness that would fill her heart with waiting for her first grandchild. That was not her life though. She had no husband and no more children.
She was bitter.
Bitterness is feelings of anger or hurt because of a sense of unfair experiences that have happened.
When we get married there is a dream. We often imagine in our mind all the wonderful memories we will make during our life together. We don’t imagine the struggles that will take place in between those memories we make.
You have married a sinner and you are a sinner. Add being together in commitment for 50 years in a sinful world, that will equal your struggles.
One day after one event though you had enough. You were tired of the unfair experiences. Your heart began to keep locked away a part that was bitter.
Now you tell yourself you will deal with that bitter heart, when your spouse deals with his sin. My dear friend the Lord is saying, I deal with each of my children separately. Your bitterness is really against me.
Your bitterness is saying that God did not keep His promise. The promise that you can have joy. That doubt brings whispers when you go to sleep. When you are putting the dishes away. They began sometimes as you are pouring the milk in the glass. The bitterness grows silently, in its tucked away spot. The dark cloud in your heart whispers, is God like those men that I have seen?
Maybe you could be called Mara? Maybe it is difficult to say that? But if that is your name, God already knows.
The Lord answers with a heart of compassion. Come to me my daughter, so I can make you white as snow. He is saying I need to clean you up. You can be clean no matter what sinful behaviors your husband has been participating in this week. You can feel joy because I am loving you.
The Lord can be trusted and cleaning your bitterness is the good that the Lord has for you.
Lord help us. Help us to see bitterness that has taken form in our hearts. Help us to repent. Lord help us to be as white as snow. Bring us that joy that you promised. The promise that can happen in our imperfect lives.
This is from the book Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey
I believe God has a similar goal for all of us, that we become more ourselves by realizing the “selves” God originally intended for us. The Rabbi Zusya concluded, “In the world to come I shall not be asked: “Why were you not Moses?” I shall be asked: “Why were you not Zusya?” Quietly, persistently, the Spirit coaxes me to be neither Moses nor Zusya, but Philip Yancey, a flawed personality in whom God can assist every willing person on earth in that custom process. It begins with trust in God’s best for me, a confidence that God will liberate my true self, not bind it.
Who we are is unique and loved by God. He knew us first! We will see Him in the end. God loves how you are made! Now, it is your turn to love how you are made.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.