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Millennium Cross on a top of the Vodno mountain hill above Skopje, Macedonia
Sep 25, 2014

Ask Me Lord

 

Ask Me Lord
by Paul Anderson

I told the Lord I was ready to do something so great
For this call from Him I would prepare, pray, and diligently wait.

I said it could be anything big that He wanted to see accomplished and done.
Unlike Jonah on the way to Ninevah, I would never turn and frightfully run.

If like Moses He wanted or needed me to lead others from bondage, I was sitting on ready.
Or as Joseph, I would bide my time and gain true power by being patient and steady.

Oh, if he needed a modern day Gideon, I would assemble the choice and lead them into battle.
Yes, anytime God wanted a knight on a white charger I would be tall in the saddle.

Maybe our Lord desired a twentieth century Paul, so I volunteered to go to foreign kingdoms and share the Word.
But even if it were a new Samson required, I could show real strength from this call I had heard.

Waiting for God’s call, I found a young boy who had only streets on which to roam.
I figured while I was preparing to do something great I could provide for him a home.

Then there were others, youth with the same need who constantly came to search for me.
Now the years flew by but God never gave the fine vision I was longing to see.

This is how it has been as my dreams were invaded by hundreds of young lives through the years.
They have kept me occupied providing for their needs and drying their lonesome, bitter tears.

Then I asked God why he had not given me some great task as I viewed my aging face in the mirror one day.
The answer then thundered back loud and clear, “I did when I sent that first angry rebellious boy by your way.


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Young Child's Hands Praying On Holy Bible
Sep 25, 2014

Child Martyrs

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them were given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been were complete. Revelation 6:9-11


Yes, they were children, and yes, they were asked if they would deny Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and become a Muslim. As missionary and Christian aid workers reported, children were beheaded in front of their parents. This took place in the city of Qaragosh as ISIS advanced throughout Iraq. Going from house to house, as Crisis Relief International (CRI) team members reported, ISIS demanded of the children of Christian parents to deny their faith in Jesus and they refused, and were then martyred as a consequence of their stalwart faith. Yes, this is taking place in our world in the 21st Century as the Book of Revelation continues to be fulfilled before the eyes of the world as the Day of the Lord draws ever nearer.
If these were your children what would they do in the face of such demands? Is there a greater test of the responsibility and work of a Christian parent to faithfully and lovingly evangelize and disciple their children than this; to present them back to God who placed them in their care in the first place? The very fact that the savage and evil ISIS murderers were not moved to tears and repentance by the faith of these children exposes the iron fisted control which Satan has on their hardened hearts; every bit as hardened as the heart of the Pharaoh of Moses’ day.
As a Christian parent it would behoove you in the face of such stalwart testimony to discuss the seriousness of faith in Jesus as a family, examining the kind of faith which was tested and found genuine in these children’s hearts and minds. It would also be a warranted, God-directed exercise to examine the state of your parenting of your children to the present. How does it stand up to the test of what is happening today in the world like this example from Iraq? How will your parenting stand the test of the persecution promised in the days before Jesus returns? It is of utmost seriousness that we personally revisit our Lord’s own question: “However, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?(Luke 18:8) God has given numerous promises to parents concerning their children’s spiritual future if parents will but take those promises to heart and act with faith and discipline in the face of myriad distractions which turn you from what should be your highest goal as a parent.
Study together as a family Hebrews 11, this Hall of Fame chapter of faith, which speaks so powerfully to living out faith in Jesus Christ in the face of fierce persecution, the schemes of Satan the great masquerader, and the sword of the enemy who hates the person of the Sovereign Lord and all, young and old, who pledge their allegiance to Him. If these children in Iraq can understand their faith where they are willing to lose their lives for Jesus, your children can as well. Never underestimate the power and knowledge of faith in the heart and mind of a child. It is not something reserved for their adult life; it is a power and a matter of life and death in their experience as a child. Do not restrict their access to life in Jesus because you are unwilling or too lazy to invest spiritual truth into them from the earliest age onward.
These present day examples, not unlike what we can read today at the end of Hebrews 11, are filtering out to us in the West from faithful missionaries who will not run in the face of bloody persecution. We must pray for our brothers and sisters, and take to heart their faith that our own might be strengthened, and that we may give our all to the responsibility we have as parents. Train up your children in the way they should go as followers of the Lamb; even when they are faced with persecution they will not depart from their faith. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!


“Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, but the King’s own army none can overthrow: round his standard ranging, victory is secure; for his truth unchanging makes the triumph sure. Joyfully enlisting, by thy grace divine, we are on the Lord’s side, Savior we are thine.
(4th verse of Frances Havergal’s hymn, “Who Is On the Lord’s Side?, 1877)


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Sep 18, 2014

The Trouble With Normal

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:14-15


You do not live in constant crisis, though you might think so at times. For you are not designed to live in crisis every moment of every day and survive it; in actual fact most of your life is made up of “normal. Normal for some people in some environments may be truly crisis for other people who have the privilege of living in nations in relative peace. However, crises of one type or another penetrate all societies in this sinful world. Crises can have a beneficial impact on many lives; they push you to seek relief from the crisis, and if the current crisis pushes you to earnestly seek God, it is a providential life-saver that comes from God’s loving hand. On the other hand, “normal lulls you into spiritual sleep. Spiritual lethargy is the disease that arises from a fallen nature that is prone to sin rather than pursue righteousness or consistent obedience.
A good analogy of how your fallen nature subtly works in you is thinking of yourself floating through life with the natural current of a river that moves inexorably downstream. You cannot stop your aging process, or the movement of time, any more than the direction of your flesh if you are unwilling to exercise faith in your God and Savior. As in the words of Isaac Watts’ rendition of Psalm 90, “Time like an ever rolling stream bears all its sons away. You must intentionally exercise personal and, with others, corporate faith and paddle or swim against the current. No one floats or glides into the rewards of heaven simply by going with the flow in this world. You must as Paul says, “Kick against the goads which prod you in the direction of the current in which you live. Your “normal life can be a sleeping pill necessitating God to use crisis or crises to get your attention on what is truly paramount in your life now for eternity’s sake.
As I was reading the Bible to my 97 year old father, who expressed eagerness when I asked him beside his bed if I could read God’s Word to him, he fell asleep within the first few verses. Soon after, he awakened to my silence and asked why I wasn’t still reading. I began anew, and he again fell asleep. It is not as though the Word was new or unfamiliar to him; he spent a lifetime in its study. But it caused me to think how much we “fall asleep or allow our minds to wander when we are in worship, hearing the Word preached, or drift off in personal prayer, meditation, or private worship. My almost century old father has good reason at his age to drift into sleep; those of us of much younger age have little excuse, and are really just proving the point of the nature of our flesh. The truth of Ecclesiastes 12 comes home to us in this, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come (particularly, as the passage continues, concerning the “trouble of old age when the capacity of the body cannot keep us awake or alert to spiritual food). It needs to be “packed in now, fixed in the heart and mind before the days when “the grinders are few…….and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Old age isn’t for sissies any more than a fool-hardy approach to life should result in your youth being squandered with regard to your spiritual growth. The wisest of scholars emphatically advises that you take every advantage in the energy and alertness of youth to pursue God and His wisdom! Anathema to procrastination!
If God did not invade your normal you would be of all men most pitied; if He should not get your attention in the only way that seems to waken you to the horrors of your lethargy, He would not love you. Love drives Him to not leave you alone as the Hound of Heaven who pursues you relentlessly. It is true love which shakes your soul awake through circumstances of pain before you go headlong over the cliff of destruction. Stop complaining of God’s apparent silence in your circumstances and prayers to relieve you of their pain, or His not protecting you from hardship when you need to be seeking why and to what end He has brought whatever it is about. And if you are thinking “Been there, done that, do I need to do this again? think on this truth from C. S. Lewis with regard to your learning dependence on God each new day: “As you say, the thing is to rely ONLY on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to this dependence. Meanwhile (don’t I know) the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done. (Letters of C. S. Lewis)
Do not allow your normal to be a sedative, putting to sleep your growth in Christ. It will unless with intentional faith you swim against the current of your fallen nature in your normal life. Do not succumb to “What I want to do, I do not do. Paul asks the question you should be asking daily in response to this very real dilemma in your normal life: “Who will rescue me from this body of death? that is, this sinful nature which dwells in my flesh and thrives if I let it. The answer? “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! This is a very real and effectual answer to your embattled NORMAL life.


“I ask thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied, a mind to blend with outward life, while keeping at thy side, content to fill a little space, if thou be glorified.
(3rd verse of Anna Waring’s hymn, “Father I Know That All My Life, 1850)


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Sep 11, 2014

A Good Name

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1


This was his life verse, and he taught by his life and by his instruction to thousands of youth and others of the principles in life which bring forth “a good name. He entered into his eternal home just after midnight last Monday morning. He spent a life time living out the biblical principles of “a good name and God gave him abundant riches on the side. These he used generously to advance the cause of Christ and His kingdom. He was far more than a tither, which he believed in with earnest commitment. He honored the Lord’s Day and insured that his business did as well; and God has honored S. Truett Cathy and his business, Chick-fil-A, for honoring him (check out Forbes magazine’s latest report of the most profitable businesses in America this last quarter; Chick-fil-A is among the top 3). They thrive more than those who are open seven days of the week, proving again that God is more to be obeyed and honored than the common rules of doing what is thought to bring the greatest money profit.
Perhaps your thoughts immediately run to what you think “a good name means. In other words, a person who has earned respect in the world, one who is trusted by other people, one who can be counted on by the crowd, one who is known to handle his affairs and the affairs of others with honesty and efficiency, a man to whom others turn for an example of living life the right way with integrity. But while this is all well and good, for the Lord says that we should strive for a good reputation before the world, many of us have lived long enough to know that we can be fooled. Many “a good name in human eyes has pulled the wool over the eyes of those who thought them to be “good. It is far more the test of “a good name when God knows YOU “by name. Exodus 33:17:And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’ Truett Cathy understood that it is a good thing for people to think well of you and trust you, but it is a FAR BETTER thing to please God and for Him to know you by name; which is to say that he knows your heart and your character. If the latter is not there, do not count on having a good name simply by the opinion of mortals. A good name consists first and foremost in being known by God and that He is pleased with you because you know what pleases Him. “He knows my name.
Oh, there are a great number of people who could care less about Truett Cathy; there are those who hate him for who he is and for what he stands, and they call him vile names and say evil things about him. But such hatred is irrelevant and worthless, it is a breath of hot air which the wind blows away; what counts is that God knows Truett’s name. He knows his heart, He knows his life, and He knows his character. Truett treasured this more than anything else in life: God knows me! He knows my name! And consequently, Truett could say, “I know Him.
When you read Truett’s life verse and you claim it as well for yourself from God’s Word, focus on this: Does God know my name and is He pleased with me? The right answer to that question means everything. Without an affirmative answer you are to be pitied more than all men. “A good name is to be desired more than great riches! A good name is that God is pleased with you and He knows your name. Last Monday morning God said with a voice that always accomplishes what it says, “Truett, come home!


“O, if there’s only one song I can sing, when in His beauty I see the great King, this shall my song in eternity be, ‘O what a wonder that Jesus loves me.’ I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves even me.
(3rd verse and chorus of Emily Oakey’s hymn, “I Am So Glad that Our Father in Heaven, 1829-1883)


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Sep 04, 2014

Gratitude Is So Rare Yet So Necessary

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18


There is a legend of a man recounted in the classic devotional Springs in the Valley who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart, and on finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When Satan was questioned he reluctantly admitted that there was one place he could never get them to thrive. “And where is that? asked the man. Satan replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful man. GK Chesterton once said, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. Yet gratitude is the rare emotion that is seldom found in the human heart, because at the bottom line men and women really believe they are owed, never that they are absolutely broke, totally empty of deserving anything, bereft of every single right: their sin has left them deserving nothing but death. Even when men and women read these words in Romans 3, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become WORTHLESS; there is no one who does good, not even one, they don’t fully believe it or act as though God is right in his assessment. “After all, I have been saved by God’s grace; doesn’t that count for something? forgetting (Ephesians 2) that grace is not something in which to boast, but something for which you can only be profoundly grateful, in every circumstance in life.
We continually cling to words and thoughts in our minds like fair, right, deserving, and, “why is this injustice happening to me? As Paul writes in Philippians, we think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think! And if this is so, gratitude will never thrive in such an environment of false pretension. In fact, it cannot even get started. We need to understand from what gratitude springs, and what it is that kills it before it gets started. Our very nature as sinful human beings is fertilizer to grievances, offenses, chips on the shoulder, record sheets of what we believe we are owed. If we have been “done to, you can be sure we are going to exact our revenge to the very last penny. Gratitude in America has stumbled in the streets; it barely even exists.
As racial tensions have been pushed by various factions to a boiling point in our land, I am convinced that the genuine emotion of gratitude is what must thrive if we are to live together in harmony. Benjamin Banneker, an African America, son of ex-slaves, and a truly influential and great early American, a friend to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and a self-educated scientist, astronomer, and author said, “I am of the African race, and in the colour which is natural to them of the deepest dye; and it is under a sense of the most profound gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
If such gratitude to God does not thrive in both non-Black and Black communities, racial harmony will never be achieved. To understand that as White or Black, Latino, or Asian, you are deserving of nothing in and of yourself, and that you are to live, if you would live righteously, in gratitude to Almighty God, who created you to be the color and race you are, all of one human blood, knowing that God is not a discriminator of persons; living with no pretension of deserving or grievance or anger from being “done to, but in the humility of acknowledging that you have life from but one source to whom you owe everything. The concept of “white privilege being bantered around currently is antithetical to the biblical concept of gratitude, every bit as much as “black grievance for racial treatment, real or imagined, which can never be “repaid to anyone’s satisfaction prior to the Day of Judgment before the Great and Universal Judge of all. And those who look down on their Black brothers thinking the lighter color of their own skin has advanced them to a privileged status in God’s world, are living in great disillusion without any sense of the fact they deserve nothing, but express gratitude to God in the way they live with their neighbors, loving them as they do themselves. This is gratitude being lived!
If you would live christianly, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you would see God first, and through the lens of His Holy character see yourself, sinful and truly deserving of nada. Genuine gratitude springs from this alone. Whatever God chooses to give you or wherever He places you deserves your thanks, not your grousing! As Paul well said, “In whatever circumstance I find myself I have learned to be content. Begin with living yourself as a grateful-to-God-in-all-things Christian; then your living example will spread to others, because God ingests power where and when His words are obeyed. Live gratefully.


“Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings; it is the Lord who rises with healing in His wings: when comforts are declining, he grants the soul again a season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
“In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue the theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new; set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say, “Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
(1st and 2nd verses of William Cowper’s hymn, “Sometimes a Light Surprises, 1779)


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Sep 03, 2014

How Can You Change A Life

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you try to do good? Do you look at someone’s life and want to help only to find that you have no idea what to do? Well how about some good news: it is easier to help someone than you might think. When you want to make a difference, whether it is in your children or your spouse, or perhaps a friend or co-worker, start by paying attention to how you can invest time in them. A little bit of time can go a long way in changing another’s life.
For some easy tips on spending time with your family, check out these articles:
https://www.payh.org/10-ways-to-build-your-family/
https://www.payh.org/keep-simple-keep-fun/
https://www.payh.org/talking-around-table/
 


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