Me: I do like apples so you will not have to force me to eat one.
This is from the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians? What lies behind that question is partly something very reasonable and partly something that is not reasonable at all. The reasonable part is this. If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions–if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before–then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary; and after one’s original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better; just as in an illness ‘feeling better’ is not much good if the thermeter shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
If it has been years and closer to a decade and there has been no change in your behavior, thoughts and attitudes. I suggest taking a closer look. The conversion may not have been of faith but only religion. Also there may be a idol or sin that is blocking you if there is a conversion. I think we get wrapped up in sin is murder, rape and stealing. We can have a idol of money or laziness. We can put that before obedience. So I pray that you go to God this minute and ask Him to expose what is going on with your spirit. The Lord will show you.
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Prodigal: Very true, and how God’s loves will shine to others as well.
This is from A.W. Tozer The Pursuit of God
I have hinted before in these chapters that the cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other. For whatever else the Fall may have been, it was most certainly a sharp change in man’s relation to his Creator. He adopted toward God an altered attitude, and by so doing destroyed the proper Creator-Creature relation in which, unknown to him, his true happiness lay. Essentially, salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-Creature relation.
Often my gaze is focused on the shiny objects of the world. They may be store items or people. They may even be an experience this weekend. What God calls is not to let this focus wonder to far with out turning back to Him. O Lord we need to see through your eyes and understand with your heart. Lord allow us to hear from you today and allow our spirits to feel the truth of your Word.
I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
This is from the book Sister Freaks by Rebecca St. James
Dana learned early of God’s love for her and never doubted that He was real. In her simple understanding, He was her friend. Dana continued to grow in her trust in Him and His extravagant love. On her ninth birthday she made it official and went to the altar, asking Him to be her Lord.
The crossroads of her existence came when at twenty-five years old she felt God ask if she’d be willing to move across the world to care for little children in Africa. She had doubts. But she felt so full of His love, she couldn’t imagine keeping it to herself. After lots of prayer, her answer was s resounding yes! It was a decision that would uproot all Dana knew about God.
After many hours of travel, the young woman arrived in Mozambique, a country located on the dry, dusty, eastern border of Africa. Dana’s new home was in an orphanage, which housed at that time approximately four hundred children, most of them abandoned, some deathly ill, and all broken and hurting. A wild mix of intense emotions arrived with Dana, but she had ministered in some pretty rough areas of other countries and in inner-city situations, so she was confident God had adequately prepared her to handle that too.
Dana adored the dark-skinned people of Mozambique, soon loving them as if she’d grown up with their soil under her feet. Otencia, a little girl eight years old, was one of Dana’s shadows at the orphanage. She visited Dana daily, sometimes bringing bread and tea in the morning for breakfast. Each week she insisted on helping Dana hand-wash her clothes and sweep her room. Dana couldn’t believe how responsible she was for one so young.
The conditions were shocking, but Dana’s faith was sure. God wanted to demonstrate His love and care to those children. She and her team had many trials to overcome, one being that Dana became very ill with malaria, a disease passed through mosquitoes. Still, she considered that merely a part of the sacrifice–a cross she would gladly bear for Jesus.
A few months after Dana’s arrival, an outbreak of cholera, a very deadly disease from contaminated water, hit her orphanage. For almost two weeks, Dana spent days and nights transporting the children who were most ill to a tent hospital. There, under the tattered canvas, she lay them on rough wooden table, the only hospital “beds” available. Each trip, Dana saw them getting worse, not better. All she could do was watch as the life drained out of several of those precious ones, their bodies growing limp, their breathing slowing, their skin cooling. It was actually a tent of death, and each visit there dented Dana’s faith a little more. But she held on, doing what needed to be done.
Then Otencia became ill. It was cholera, and as her energy and strength faded, Dana faced the unthinkable task. It was part of her service, part of her mission, so she carried the young girl through the night, Otencia’s soft face held to Dana’s mixing their tears all the way to the tent.
Dana tried to speak words of comfort, but could Otencia understand? Leaving her there with those fawn eyes looking back at her–eyes filled with fear when Dana peeled Otencia’s hands from her arms, leaving her to lie on the table. Dana turned and walked away. Would Otencia make it? She could only hope.
But as Otencia’s cries faded into the darkness behind Dana, she found there was no hope left inside. Her soul collapsed in on itself, sucking what was left on her heart into a dark hole of doubt and questions about the goodness of God in the face of such anguish.
Back at the orphanage, death continued to take others. Apart from the cholera epidemic, AIDS, pneumonia, and untreated disease but claimed three more lives. The team had to continue on, but Dana cried day and night, “Where are You in the midst of this, God?” She endured weeks of questioning and bitterness against this God whom she had loved and trusted since she was a little girl. How can I ever trust Him again?
For weeks, the Lord remained silent. No answers came. No comfort was given. And then, in the middle of a worship service for the missionaries, He broke the silence in clear, unmistakable terms. Dana was down on her knees, on the concrete floor, when one of the leaders began to read from John 12:24: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
As she heard these words, Dana felt her spirit began to groan deep within her. Before she knew exactly what was happening, she had fallen on her face and was crying out, “Kill Me! God, just kill me!” Dana was dying. She was dying to all that she had known before and all that she thought God was…and wasn’t. Dying to her need to know why; dying a beautiful, hard death. And in exchange for Dana’s death, the Lord breathed into her new life–and with this life came these words: “Dana, my goodness is never determined by your circumstances.”
In the midst of all the darkness, a new light of understanding began to grow. God’s goodness is one of those absolutes in this world of suffering. It is goodness that passes beyond all suffering, all death, and all brokenness. In His goodness, there in Mozambique, He brought Dana into a death of her own.
She realized that somewhere along the way, she had become convinced that the Lord was only as good as the events in her life. When life was all right, God seemed loving and close. When things felt as if they were crashing down around her, Dana questioned His motives, forgetting that He was the one who never changed. That’s why she had to die. Dana had to die to herself and all her expectations, so she could see Him for who He really was.
And as Dana died, she began to live in a new way, letting the Lord show her His heart even in the midst of such a distorted and painful world. He showed that while suffering and death had so overwhelmed her, it was His goodness that met those precious little ones at the gates of eternity. It was His voice that ushered them into the land of eternal living–free from the bondage of earth. It was His perfect love that kept many more from death and suffering during those critical days and weeks.
It was certainly His goodness that brought Dana to a place of spiritual death, she saw, allowing her to be raised to new life in Him. Heaven now fills her thoughts. She says, “How can I describe the abundant life waiting for us who are willing to die to ourselves and find real life hidden with Christ in God?”
Dana is willing to work and believe.
Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2-3)
Me: I hope she did, we have a choice today to find out who Jesus is.
This is from the book Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore
“Show me Your handiwork,” I had prayed moments before. My heart danced at the thought of walking alongside God Almighty, anticipating the wonders of His handiwork. I expected Him to show me faces. I would look into the eyes of each person, seeing them as He sees them. I’d see how special they are and be inspired to pray for these magnificent displays fo His handiwork.
And that’s when I saw it. The dingy bus lumbered past me from where I stood on the sidewalk. Not a seat was left unfilled, and the eyes of each prisoner seemed to gaze vacantly at me through the windows. These were the faces of those condemned. Their guilt was indisputable and their sentences issues–punishment by death.
On that bus rumbling away was God’s handiwork. Each passenger was lovingly knit together by His hands. Did they even know where they were headed? They seemed to simply resign themselves to the journey ahead. They didn’t know that they had a choice. They didn’t know that there is One who wants to free them. If only they’d call on His name….
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? (Roman. 10:14).
It was the first time I’d seen them, but now I know they are all around me. How is it that I hadn’t noticed them before? Maybe I had never taken the time to look.
–A worker in Central and Eastern Europe
Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal lie and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Prodigal: It will be interesting to see what I find.
This is from the book Exceeding Gratitude for the Creator’s Plan by James P. Gills, M.D.
Hen Gee, the chief science writer for Nature, was quite candid in talking about this problem: “The intervals of time that separate fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent. Each fossil is an isolated point, with no knowable connection to any other given fossil, and all float around in an overwhelming sea of gaps.”
Gee admitted that all the fossil evidence for human evolution between ten and five million years ago–several thousand generations of living creatures–can be fitted into a small box. He concluded that the conventional picture of human evolution is a “completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices.”
Listen carefully how people will try to take information and fit it to their story. The truth stands firm and can stand alone. The truth cannot be buried so easily, and will not go away so easily.
1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
When people gladly sacrifice their time or comfort or home, it is obvious that they trust in the promises of God. Why is it that the story of someone who has actually done what Jesus commands resonates deeply with us, but we then assume we could never do anything so radical or intense? Or why do we call it radical when, to Jesus, it is simply the way it is? The way it should be?
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ