This is from the book How Can I Find You, God? by Marjorie Holmes
Dear God, whenever a child comes to me with questions, help me to find the answers; speak through me, don’t let me falter and fail him. And when a child begs, “Come with me!” let me go. And when a child says to me, “It’s so wonderful–I’ve found God!” don’t let me be indifferent or superior or amused; let me rejoice with him, let me share the wonder….And don’t let me call on you only in times of desperate need.
Keep close to me always as I try to raise my children. Be real to me, be real to them. Be a part of my life, and of theirs.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
This is from the book Where Angels Walk by Joan Wester Anderson
From 1923 to 1928, Edman and his wife were young missionaries in the Andes, Ecuador. They lived on the outskirts of the city where they could reach both the Spanish-speaking citizens as well as the shy, suspicious Indians who passed their doorway on the way to market.
But their assignment was difficult. “The people were unfriendly, and some were fanatical in their bitter opposition to our presence in their city, ” Edman recalled. “On occasion, small crowds would gather to hurl insults as well as stones. The Indians from the countryside were especially timid about being friendly with us because of intimidation by the townspeople. As a result, it was often difficult for us to shop for the bare necessities of life–fruit and vegetables, or charcoal for the kitchen stove.”
Perhaps more burdensome than physical hardships was loneliness. The young couple was never fearful, but with a complete lack of a support group-even one encouraging friend in this unfamiliar land-their emotional isolation must have been intense. And because of their awareness that some stranger might harass them or get into their house to steal, they kept the grilled gate on their high iron fence locked at all times, probably adding to their sense of disconnection.
The couple often fed hungry strangers or attempted to buy necessities from passing Indians, and one noon as they ate on their patio at the back of the house, they heard a rattling on the gate. When Edman went out with the key, he saw a barefoot Indian woman standing on the other side of the gate, one hand inside the bars knocking on the chain with the padlock. She wore beads and the large heavy hat of the mountain women, along with a dress of coarse woolen cloth and a brightly colored homemade belt. On her shoulders was a bundle, and a blue shawl, but she did not appear to have merchandise of food to sell. Edman hadn’t seen her before.
As he approached, she began to speak softly in the mixture of Spanish and Quichua typical of the Indians who lived close to town. Pointing to a Gospel verse the Edmans had posted on the porch, she then asked, “Are you the people who have come to tell us about the living God?”
Edman was startled. No one had ever asked him that. “Yes, Mamita (little mother),” he answered. “We are.”
The woman then raised the hand that was still inside the gate and began to pray-for blessings upon the couple’s house, for their courage to follow His guidance, for joy in the task. Finally, she blessed Edman, withdrew her hand, smiled at him, eyes shining, then bowed and turned to go.
He had been taken aback at her friendly support that he was speechless. Then, realizing that it was hot and the Indian woman should be invited inside to eat and rest, he quickly unlocked the gate and stepped through to call her back. In the time elapsed, she could not have gone more than five or ten yards in any direction. But she was not there.
“Where could she have gone so quickly? It was at least fifty yards from our gate to the corner of the street, and there was no opening along that stretch.” Edman ran to the corner–assuming that is she had gotten that far, he could surely see her–but again, no woman, no passages into which she could have slipped. He went to the nearest open gate and asked two men repairing a wheel if an Indian woman had passed or come in.
They both looked up. “No, sir.”
“I mean just now.”
“Sir, we have been here for an hour or more,” one answered,” and no one has entered or left during that time.”
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
This is from the book Psalm 91 by Peggy Ruth and Angelia Schum
The summer that Cullen was five years old, I was swimming with him and his cousins in their pool. One of the adults had said, “Ok, everyone out of the pool.” Everyone else had headed inside the house, when Cullen saw a plastic life raft come floating by. He said, “Hey, James, watch this,” as he stepped off the side of the pool onto the raft like it was a solid piece. It flipped out from under him, and he fell backward into the water, grazing his head on the side of the pool as he fell.
It was deep end of the pool, and I watched Cullen, with his arms and legs outstretched, just start sinking to the bottom. I dove in and grabbed him under the arms, but he is unusually big for his age and weighed more than I did. His dad always said that he felt like a chunk of lead when you tried to lift him, so I wondered if I could get him to the top of the water–especially since he must have been dazed from scraping his head on the concrete.
I knew we were in trouble, so I called on God, and suddenly, I felt someone grab me from behind and begin pushing Cullen and me straight up from the bottom of the pool. (I thought one of the adults had seen us and dove in to help me.) I shot up out of the water with Cullen above me. Then it was like someone pulled Cullen from my arms and laid him on the side of the pool. (I was in water way over my head, so there was no way I could have lifted dead weight out of the pool.) Cullen started crying and coughing, and when I looked around, no one was there–absolutely no one! I knew God had heard me call, and He had sent an angel to answer my call.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
This is from the book Jonathan Edwards by David J. Vaughan
According to Edwards, there were five “distinguishing marks” of a true work of God’s Spirit:
The Holy Spirit always (1) engenders a greater esteem for Jesus; (2) operates against the kingdom of Satan; (3) causes men to have a greater regard for the Holy Scriptures; (4) leads people into truth; and (5) operates as a spirit of love to God and man.
The Holy Spirit is about truth and the Lord. The Holy Spirit is here to guide you and direct you toward the Lord. Do not get confused. Confusion is Satan. Confusion is about the kingdom of Satan. Seeking the Lord is about finding that truth that you need today. This will show you how to love others today. This will allow others to see the love of God today.
1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Me: Your friends are flocked around you like chickens on a june bug.
Prodigal: They sure are!
This is from Charles Spurgeon
The law was given, however, according to the text, “that the offense might abound.” Such was the effect of the law. It did not hinder sin, nor provide a remedy for it; but its actual effect was that the offence abounded. How so?
It was so, first, because it revealed the offense. Man did not in every instance clearly discern what was sin; but when the law came, it pointed out to man that this evil, which he thought little of, was an abomination in the sight of God. Man’s nature and character was like a dark dungeon which knew no ray of light. Yonder prisoner does not perceive the horrible filthiness and corruption of the place wherein he is immured, so long as he is in darkness. When a lamp is brought, or a window is opened and the light of day comes in, he finds out to his dismay the hideous condition of his den. He spies loathsome creatures upon the walls, and marks how others burrow out of sight because the light annoys them. He may, perhaps, have guessed that all was not as it should be, but he had not imagined the abundance of the evils. The light has entered, and the offense abounds.
Law does not make us sinful, but it displays our sinfulness. In the presence of the perfect standard we see our sinfulness. In the presence of the perfect standard we see our shortcomings. The law of God is the looking-glass; but it prompts you to seek the cleansing water. The design of the law is the revealing of our many offenses, that, thereby, we may be driven out of self-righteousness to the Lord Jesus, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This is from the book The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado
“I have everything I need for joy!” Robert Reed said. “Amazing!” I thought.
His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He can’t bathe himself. He can’t feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. His shirts are held together by strips of Velcro. His speech drags like a worn-out audio cassette.
Robert has cerebral palsy.
The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didn’t help him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, from which he graduated with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at a St. Louis junior college or from venturing overseas on five mission trips.
And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.
He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.
Then he stationed himself daily in a park, where he distributed brochures about Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.
I heard Robert speak recently. I watched other men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. I watched them lay a Bible in his lap. I watched his stiff fingers force open the pages. And I watched people in the audience wipe away tears of admiration from their faces. Robert could have asked for sympathy or pity, but he did just the opposite. He held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, “I have everything I need for joy.”
His shirts are held together by Velcro, but his life is held together by joy.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.