To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting the sun from the sky. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to Him. ...Through the cross we learn that the heavenly Father loves us with a love that is infinite. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14) It is our privilege also to glory in the cross, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then, with the light that streams from Calvary shining in our faces, we may go forth to reveal this light to those in darkness. -- Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles 209, 210
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Authentic: " Not false or copied ; genuine...real"*What does it mean to live authentically? This morning I was reading in Hosea 10 when I came across this sad commentary:
Israel empties his vine;
He brings forth fruit for himself.
According to the multitude of his fruit
He has increased the altars;
According to the bounty of his land
They have embellished his sacred pillars...[but]
...Their heart is divided.
No matter how showy and outwardly religious the appearance, nothing could cover up a divided heart. What looked like worship and praise turned out being false because there was no authenticity.
How can I be an authentic follower of Christ?
According to this verse, the key to authenticity lies in the heart...an undivided heart.
Many times when I am in the middle of a song service, I am suddenly struck by the powerful implications of the words I am singing. At those moments I wonder if my life authentically exemplifies "All to Jesus, I surrender..." or "Take the world but give me Jesus". Do my daily choices shout that God is my "all in all" and that "my soul longeth after" Him?
To be practical, how can I live authentically with an undivided heart? How to live like God is everything, not just a part?
We humans love lists. I could make a list including good principles such as...
1) put God first
2) Honor Him in all decisions.
Both are true. But instead, I think the foundation to authenticity is love. That's right. The most basic of basic principles.
I don't know what it means to love God...REALLY love God, but I want to. My finite idea of love has barely scratched the surface of a boundless reality. Christ lived the most authentic life ever lived. When I choose to pursue Him and make all my choices to love Him better, only then will I be authentic : genuinely authentic.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally... ~~ Ellen White
"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. ~~ Brother Lawrence
Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine. ~~ Andrew Murray
Friday, August 17, 2012
The spiritual walk has become a run. No more "turtle speed" gear. Now is the time of the "galloping rabbit" gear. What to do with this new velocity? There are two options. Hurdle away from or into the heart of God. Decisions and choices have never mattered so much. They control the rudder of life and fix the trajectory. Where will I run?
It is a sobering question. I can either be terrified by the possibility of falling away or be excited by the prospects of rushing headlong into the depths of Christ. I choose the latter. By the grace of God, I purpose to run to Christ, seek His heart with abandon, and steer my life straight into Him.
"Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
Hosea 6: 1-3
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
These are the words of my good friend Minnie. In life she spoke inspirational word to me as I lay sick with malaria or as we walked under the stars. In death her words still inspire me to follow hard after the Lover of my soul.
Except from her Blog:
"I rose up and spent the rest of the night in communion with our LORD. After reading a chapter from Psalms, I proceeded to read in one of the Books of the Gospel. At this time I was reading from Luke 12. Reaching and reading verses 32 and 37, my eyes suddenly well up and tears started flowing down my cheeks. Sobbing and in tears, I couldn’t help but utter these words, “My GOD, why are you so nice to me?”
All my life, I felt that GOD has lavished me with His love, despite my sinfulness, and many times falling and failing as I journeyed along life’s way… And like David, I see myself and say that my sins are ever before me…
This kind of love that I have received and continue to receive from our loving and gracious GOD, I feel I do not deserve… For what good have I done to deserve His love?! Nothing, really… For while I was yet a sinner, He already loved me… and even gave His life for me.
Continuing in life, I keep falling and failing, sometimes submerged and steeped in the mire of sin, and He sends His sweet Spirit to reach out to me, lift me up from my fallen state, and patiently work in my life and my heart that I may be cleansed of all my impurities and defects of mind and character.
Not only that, my LORD is even up there in heaven, interceding continually in my behalf and your behalf before the Father, that we may be reconciled and abide in a loving relationship with our gracious and merciful GOD…
Such love is too awesome, too high and lofty, I cannot comprehend it… And this kind of love breaks my heart of stone, changing it into a heart of flesh that desires to love Him back sincerely, purely and faithfully… and out of sheer gratitude, share His loving acceptance and unconditional love with others met along life’s way…
How much pleasure and joy it gives as hearts respond with the desire to love back, springing with loving gestures and expressions that make up and establish a friendship and loving relationship which I look forward to last till eternity…"
~ Minnie Pardillo, Blog July 6 2012. Died August 5 2012 from cerebral malaria while serving God in Chad, Africa.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Minnie Pardillo. Yet another dedicated missionary who gave the last full measure in the service of the Lord. The world has lost a kind, unselfish and devoted woman of God. Its hard for me to understand why it was her and not me. I have a hard time understanding why God chose not to bring about immediate healing. There are many things I don't understand. Nevertheless God is good. God is faithful.
Job said "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him". Daniels three friends said "...but if not" and meant it. I can't help but look forward to the day when my prayer for immediate healing for Minnie will be answered at Christ's coming.
Friday, August 3, 2012
I have been blessed with many inspirational friends and family in my life. Often I have thought to myself how much I appreciate and admire a certain friend or acquaintance, but keep it to myself. I'm either too busy or preoccupied to put any encouragement on paper or appreciation into action. At times my inner thoughts even go like this, "I should tell him/her sometime if I get a chance". So then I wait for there to be a good time and only hope I remember. But what if that time never comes?
Encouragement is wonderful. A word of appreciation can be like a rain shower for the desert. We seldom know the struggles and challenges others are going through and how welcome a kind word would be. The Bible speaks about the art of encouragement. In Isaiah 50:4 the prophet writes, "The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary". Another version says "The Almighty LORD will teach me what to say, so I will know how to encourage weary people." I have personally experienced the result of a word spoken in season. It is powerful. Uplifting.
There is a friend of mine in Africa. I just heard she is critically ill. Over the year I have known this woman she has been an inspiration of Christian love and unselfish service. When I had malaria she cooked me food, rubbed my back and look after me devotedly. Often I have thought of her kindness and sweet spirit with admiration. She works in a very challenging environment where discouragement, illness and burn-out are common, but I have missed many opportunities to encourage her with an email or text message. Now I am wishing I had taken the 5 minutes to email her every time I thought of it.
Some of the most haunting things in life are words you wished you would have said but didn't. Never again do I want to look back with regret. I want to take every opportunity I have to encourage and appreciate. A word, a card, a text, an email...whatever form it takes, it will make a difference.
photo source: www.sxc.hu