Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: March 2012 (page 1 of 2)

That I may know Christ

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him … that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death …” (Philippians 3:8-10)

“I was alone for ten days. I felt so close with God in solitary confinement that I spent the time in praise and worship. Such close communion with God! I talked with Him. He comforted me. It was a spiritual feast for me. During this time, I received new strength, though my body was wasted away to nothing. Tears of joy ran down my face. Here, in the DS prison, alone and with nothing, I had everything—Christ. Stripped of everything, without any worldly distractions, I found a deep and beautiful communion with God. Joy and peace flooded my soul. My body ached with starvation but my spirit has never been closer to God. Lying starved, alone and too weak to move, I felt I could reach out to God and be taken into His arms.” (Haralan Popov, Tortured for His Faith, p.45)

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

In his classic work entitled simply Prayer O. Hallesby reflects upon this command of Christ:

“As far as I am able to understand the Word of God, and as far as I can learn from the history of the kingdom of God, no prayer-task is more important than this. If the right people get into the right places, there is almost no end to what they can do. … John the Baptist is introduced in the Bible in the following words, ‘There came a man, sent from God’ (John 1:6). Then something always happens, regardless of whether the person concerned is highly gifted or not.” (p.73, emphasis added)

It is Finished!

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30)

 

“It was, in fact, the shout of a conqueror. Finished the long list of prophecies, which closed, like gates, behind Him. Finished the types and shadows of the Jewish ritual. Finished the work which the Father had given Him to do. Finished the matchless beauty of a perfect life. Finished the work of man’s redemption. Through the eternal Spirit, He had offered Himself without spot to God; and by that one sacrifice for sin, once for all and forever, He had perfected them that are being sanctified. He had done all that was required to reconcile the world unto God, and to make an end of sin.

Finished! Let the words roll in volumes of melody through all the spheres! There is nothing now left for man to do but enter on the results of Christ’s finished work. As the Creator finished on the evening of the sixth day all the work which He had made, so did the Redeemer cease on the sixth day from the work of Atonement; and, lo! it was very good.”

F.B. Meyer, The Life of Love (p.377)

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“At the center of ‘sin’ is that proud, perpendicular pronoun ‘I’! There it is, unbent and unbowed, the assertion of self in rebellion and revolt against a holy God.” — David L. Larsen (“The Transformation of a Terrorist,” p.33, The Voice From the Cross)

Ah, but there is good news!

  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19)
  • We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6)
  • But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

More Thoughts on Reading

 

Here’ s a little follow up to my previous post on reading. Now some thoughts on choosing what to read …

1. Read a few things you know you will agree with.

Read these things for reinforcement and reminder. But realize, if that’s all you read, you’ll never grow! We ought to perhaps re-read a select few books.

2. Read mostly things you don’t yet know if you agree entirely with.

A.W. Tozer said, “The best book is not one that informs merely, but one that stirs the reader up to inform himself.” Oswald Chambers said, “The author who benefits you the most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.” (Dec. 15, My Utmost for His Highest).

Read things that will stretch you, not just romance, historical or sensational novels. Read things that stretch your mind, heart and thinking. Realize that surfing the web or searching the Internet is not the same as reading. It requires reading, but it is not the same.

Read for variety. I have to make myself read a novel every once in a while! Often it is like a breath of fresh air! And here was a huge breakthrough for me: Give yourself permission not to finish a book!

3. Read a few things you know you don’t agree with.

The writer of Hebrews wrote, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (5:14). It hardly qualifies as “practice” if you never disagree with anything. Francis Bacon said, “Read, not to contradict or confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” Muriel Ormrod said, “We should always aim to read something different—not only the writers with whom we agree, but those with whom we are ready to do battle. And let us not condemn them out of hand because they do not agree with us; their point of view challenges us to examine the truth and to test their views against Scripture.” (quoted on p.100, Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders)

So what should we conclude about reading? Perhaps the best conclusion was that of Mark Twain:

“He who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read at all.”

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