Howard Guinness Quote

 “Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap, and be faithful even unto death, who will lose their lives for Christ’s, flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in this service? Where are the men of prayer? Where are the men who count God’s Word of more importance to them than their daily food? Where are the men who, like Moses of old, commune with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend? Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?” Howard Guinness

I originally read this here on the Desiring God blog.

Gone

…but not for good. I shall be travelling in North East India for the next two weeks and so there shall be no posts during that time. I would value your prayers for anointing, wisdom, grace, good health and safety during that time – and also for the process to extend my visa here for another two years which is going on at the moment.

Need I say more?

Matthew 7, Luke 3, Isaiah 58, 1 Timothy 6:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them,“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

How effective is your gospel?

Monday morning – as usual I am thinking and trying to set myself on the right path for the week ahead. Consider this: Paul was bold in his faith in, and proclamation of, the Gospel Rom 1:16, 1 Thess 1:4, 5,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…For we know,brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

Most Christians would strongly agree with Paul and yet often do not know the liberating power of this Gospel in their daily living. This is where the questions below (originally seen here) come into play. They are great to ask and see if the Gospel is word or power in your life. As you read ask Holy Spirit to draw alongside you and guide you through each question and answer. Repent where necessary, consider habits or lifestyle actions that need to change, praise God for his grace and favour. Remember to draw near to God and delight in his unfailing love for you – we might fail and need to change in God’s mighty power, but his love is constantly poured out towards you.

  • What do you desire more than anything else?
  • What do you find yourself daydreaming or fantasizing about?
  • What lies do you subtly believe that undermine the truth of the gospel?
  • Are you astonished with the gospel?
  • Where have you made much of yourself and little of God?
  • Is technology interrupting your communion with God?
  • Is work a source of significance? How?
  • Where do your thoughts drift when you enter a social setting?
  • What fears keep you from resting in Christ?
  • What consumes your thoughts when you have alone time?
  • When people see how you spend money, do they conclude that God is a priceless treasure, exceedingly valuable above all worldly goods?
  • When people observe your relationship with others, are they alerted to the power of Christ’s forgiveness of you that alone accounts for your forgiveness of them?
  • If you are complimented for some accomplishment, does the way you receive it drive onlookers to give thanks to the Lord?
  • Is your use of leisure time or devotion to a hobby or how you speak of your spouse the sort that persuades others that your heart is content with what God is for you in Christ?
  • Does your reaction to bad news produce in you doubt or fear, or does it inspire confidence to trust in God’s providence?

Are you just like a non-Christian?

Over breakfast I was discussing with one of my daughters how as Christians we will never feel truly comfortable until we get to heaven. My simple reasoning is that the Spirit of God within us is so antipathetic to the ways and the spirit of the world that we can never feel at home until we are with our Lord. We talked about some moral issues, made up a few scenarios and we worked through the difference in how a Christian and non-Christian might perceive and then act in each. It was fun, stimulating and helpful for her in living out her Christian faith.

My thinking then went back to Saturdays post and the final question I posed:

Apart from going to church, being involved in church activities

is there any difference between you and the world around you?

On the Church and Culture blog I read of this research.

According to research from Essex University in England, British people have become markedly less honest in the last decade.  Coupled with this decline in morality is a growing acceptance of dishonest behavior.

For example, in 2000 70% said that an extramarital affair was never justified.  Now, barely 50% would agree.  Only 33% feel lying on a job application was wrong.

Here is the test they used:

Rate your attitude to each of the following activities with one point if you think it is never justified; two points if you think it is rarely justified; three if you view it as sometimes justified and four if you think it is always justified. Be honest.

A. Avoiding paying the fare on public transport.

B. Cheating on taxes if you have a chance.

C. Driving faster than the speed limit.

D. Keeping money you found in the street.

E. Lying in your own interests.

F. Not reporting accidental damage you have done to a parked car.

G. Throwing away litter in a public place.

H. Driving under the influence of alcohol.

I. Making up a job application.

J. Buying something you know is stolen.

According to the authors, a score below 10 suggests you are very honest, 11 to 15 means you do not mind bending the rules but are more honest than average, 16 to 20 suggests you are relaxed about the rules and anything more than 21 suggests you do not believe in living by the rules.

I really hope you scored well (low) on the “test.”

1 Peter 2:11,

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

Are you an alien, does the world think you are strange? The scary thing is how few Christians seem to have any real difference in actions to their non-Christian neighbour. We might have some different values – but our deeds convict us. Maybe the problem is not the temptation we face but the lack of real discipleship undergirding our response.

Two things I need

Monday morning here in Siliguri and I have to set my heart and thinking right for the week ahead. Here goes.

There are two things I long for in my life: To abide in Christ and to walk in the fear of the Lord.

I pray and seek for these more than anything else.

I would like more power, a greater anointing, more fruitfulness, and a few other things too.

I need God. To abide in him every moment of every day. To walk in godly fear into the paths of righteousness that he has prepared.

Abide in me, and I in you… If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you…Abide in my love…

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…The fear of the LORD prolongs life…The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom

I hope this upsets you

Well maybe I don’t want to upset you but it should make you think about modern evangelism and discipleship. In the video below David Platt, author of the highly acclaimed book Radical (I havent finished reading this yet but to me it seems full of straightforward Biblical truths), has a challenging few things to say,

“Accept Jesus into your heart, invite Jesus into your life – there are no such superstitious prayers in the New Testament…It is modern evangelism built on shifting sand and it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls…It is a dangerous thing to lead people to think that they are a Christian when they have not responded to the Gospel”

It has been said that in many churches we have a lot of half-hearted Christians who are not real disciples of Jesus. People who might have said the, according to Platt, heretical sinners prayer yet have not fully bowed their lives to Jesus Christ. People who want to be blessed more than they want to bless.

Apart from going to church, being involved in church activities – is there any difference between you and the world around you?  Luke 9:23ff,

And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Be not dismayed…

CH Spurgeon often suffered with depression – yet this is his response to it – amazing words originally read here,

“The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience. Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints. Live by the day—aye, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help.

Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man; inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers; as they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret.

Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light; faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.

Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare. Be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to trust under the shadow of his wings.”

Are you satisfied?

I read an interesting post on Tony Morgan Live about job satisfaction. In it he offers 12 questions you can ask about your level of job satisfaction:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment that I need in order to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important?
  9. Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the past six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This past year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

After I had asked them of my work I couldn’t help asking if I could apply them into a few other areas of life – and then looking especially at how I “deliver” in these areas for other people.