Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

Seeing as how it's Reformation Day today, I thought I'd post today with that in mind. I must say that I of course have huge respect for Luther and what he did with the Reformation... it really is amazing what he accomplished. However, it's also important to note that Luther was just a man and therefore not to be idolized. I find that in many Reformed circles Luther tends to be raised to an overly-revered status, but that is not what I'm doing here... I simply want to share a few quotes that I particularly appreciate from Luther. :) So without further ado...

Faith is a living and unshakable confidence, a belief in the grace of God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake.


Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.


Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.


I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.


Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.
You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
If you are interested, here is a link to Luther's 95 Theses.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Stand In Awe

Below is an older song by Sovereign Grace music, from the album with the same title I Stand In Awe...

I Stand In Awe (by Mark Altrogge)

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvellous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen hor heard

Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cutt off that I might enter in

Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

P&PA - Oct. 29

Persecution & Prayer Alert for October 29th is here

Come To The Quiet

I wanted to do a quick entry about “quiet time with the Lord.” I read a great piece about this from Elisabeth Elliot and am going to paraphrase what she said.

First, I couldn’t agree more with Elliot when she said “having a quiet time with the Lord every day is absolutely essential if you expect to grow spiritually.” But so many of us have excuse after excuse as to why we don’t have time to sit and do devotions. A lot of reasons are very valid – but overall, if you really want to spend time with the Lord, you can make time. And this may take actual planning… plan the time and make sure you stick with it. :)
As for just reading the Bible, here are some great ideas of how to make this time a bit deeper and also to really help you focus and glean from it, rather than doing a mere quick read and move on.

Pray: Pray, first, for the Holy Spirit’s teaching.

Questions: After you’ve done your reading, ask yourself some questions about it.

What does this passage teach me about…

  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Myself
  • Sins to confess or avoid
  • Commands to obey
  • What Christian love is

Keep a notebook and write down some of your answers that you’ve found to the above questions, or anything else you learned.

If you really enjoy journaling, here are a few more ideas of things to focus on in your notebook:

Application: Note ways in which you intend to apply what you’ve learned to your life.

Key Verse: Jot down a key verse (or verses) that you may want to memorize.

Quotations: Quotes from your spiritual reading other than the Bible; also, perhaps prayers from the words of hymns that you want to make your own.

Prayer Requests: Write down some of your special prayer requests with the date. Record the answer when it comes.

Thanksgiving: Reasons for thanksgiving.

I really believe that doing these things make for a much deeper and intimate quiet time with the Lord, and I hope if there is anyone struggling in this area, they’ll give these ideas a try!

Also, for anyone who also enjoys reading another book along with their Bible in their devotional time, here are a few that I absolutely love and highly recommend:

And I also recommend any studies by Kay Arthur – for example Speak to My Heart, God or Lord, I Want To Know You.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perpetua and Felicitas

Perpetua and Felicitas

“Think of your mother, your brother, your aunt. Please, Perpetua, think of me, your aging father. But most of all, think of your little baby!”
Perpetua agonized over the pain she was causing her father. She and four others, including her slave girl Felicitas, were in jail in Carthage in North Africa. The charge against them: They were Christians.
It was around the year 200 A.D. The Roman emperor Septimus Severus was cracking down on traitors. And those Christians showed a dangerous lack of loyalty. They wouldn’t offer incense to the Roman gods – even under threat of death.
The Romans really didn’t want martyrs. It was all so simple, as they saw it, only a sacrifice to the official gods, a patriotic gesture, kind of like a salute to the flag. Surely this young woman, from a well-respected family, would see the sense of it and comply. But Perpetua held firm. As a Christian, she felt that offering the required sacrifice was the same as denying that Jesus was the one and only Lord.
Perpetua was about 22 years old and had recently given birth to a son. Apparently, she was a relatively new Christian, too – she was actually baptized while in prison. Felicitas, her slave girl, was like a sister to her. And she too was a new mother, giving birth shortly after her arrest.
Three times Perpetua’s father was allowed in to beg her to change her mind. No decent daughter in this patriarchal society would deny her father’s pleas and cause him to public disgrace.
The resolve of the two young women and their friends was unshakable. To deny Christ was worse than death. To follow him was their first loyalty, no matter what the cost.
When the fatal day came, Perpetua and Felicitas left the prison for the arena “joyfully as though they were on their way to heaven,” as the eyewitness account puts it. Before a raging crowd, the Christians were thrown to the wild beasts. A mad heifer charged the women and tossed them, but Perpetua rose and helped Felicitas to her feet. She was ready, even eager, to die for the Lord.
“You must all stand fast in the faith and love one another,” she called to the other martyrs, “and do not be weakened by what we have gone through!” When the beasts failed to kill the women, soldiers came to finish them off. But the soldier who came to Perpetua was trembling so much that she had to guide the sword to her throat, indicating that she was giving her life willingly.
These two young women, new in the faith, quickly became heroines, examples for Christians everywhere. Even today, we can be inspired by their uncompromising faithfulness to the Lord.

Further Notes:

Pioneer Writer?
Perpetua was an educated woman, fluent in Latin and Greek. Our knowledge of her prison experience comes from a diary that she kept. (Other believers added the details of her execution.) Hers is thought to be the first writing that we have done by a Christian woman.

Still a Lady
After she was thrown to the ground by the heifer, her clothing ripped. Perpetua modestly covered herself and asked if she could have a hairpin. She fixed her hair to avoid an unkempt appearance that might suggest she was in mourning.

What’s in a Name?
Two centuries later, Augustine pointed out the significance of the names of these two martyrs. Joined together, perpetua felicitas means “everlasting happiness,” which is exactly what they received.

What About Now?
Although we think of the first 300 years of the church as a time of extreme persecution, there have actually been more martyrs for Christ in the last 50 years than in the first 300 years of the church.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I came across some more of my favourite quotes and thought I'd share them today:

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."
- C.S. Lewis


"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
- C.S. Lewis


"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
- C.S. Lewis


"To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only Him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


"When the principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then the battle is your calling, and peace has become sin. You must at the price of dearest peace lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy with all the fire of your faith."
– Abraham Kuyper


"The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared to Jesus Christ."
– Oswald Chambers

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Aquariums of Pyongyang

For the year of 2008, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada made a commitment to pray for the political leadership of North Korea – in particular, its Premier Kim Jong Il. Not knowing all that much in particular about North Korea or its Premier I immediately read all of the resources available through VOMC so that I could get a better idea of who and what I was praying for. Then, quite recently, I saw in their resource catalogue a book entitled Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag: The Aquariums of Pyongyang. Intrigued, I ordered it in hopes to learn even more about North Korea. What I learned from it was hard to stomach at times – but it has given me a whole new understanding of North Korea and what its people suffer under Kim Jong Il’s rule.

The Aquariums of Pyongyang is a memoir of the author’s life, giving a detailed testimony of what life is really like in North Korea. Kang Chol-hwan survived imprisonment in a concentration camp while in North Korea under the rule of Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. It is the first account to emerge from North Korea, and Chol-hwan felt compelled to share his story “seeing it as his moral duty to shed light on the horrors of the Pyongyang regime and, above all, its system of concentration camps.” He explains that “North Koreans know about the country’s network of camps. What people don’t know is the number of camps there are, how many people they hold, or what happens to people when they get there.” Through his accounts, we are shown North Korea in a disturbing light… a Nation that has “a particular contempt for human rights,” “the planet’s last Stalinist regime, a regime that incarcerates between 150,000 and 200,000 people in concentration camps,” and “is ubuesque; which is to say grotesque and bloody.”

Chol-hwan’s memoir begins as he recalls his happy childhood in Pyongyang… days when he looked at Kim Il Sung as a god. Coming from a well-to-do and well-liked family, he had nothing but good things to recollect. His grandmother was an active and loyal supporter of the Communist Party and his grandfather gave very generously to the Party. However, that didn’t stop his grandfather from suddenly going missing, and as a result of his grandfather’s arrest, the rest of the family – grandmother, father, uncle, sister and himself – was sent to the notorious labour camp Yodok (a camp described as being “no place for humans”) simply because of their relational ties. At this time Chol-hwan was nine years old, and his sister only seven.
Besides a few rather humorous stories of the children’s revenge on much-despised teachers, the details of goings-on in this camp are horrendous to read. In the beginning, Chol-hwan was forced to go to school for half a day under the “teachings” of brutal men and women who regularly beat and humiliated the children, and he then did manual labour for the rest of the day where the people were “working like animals.” This routine continued until he was 15 (and therefore considered an adult) and was forced to labour all day.
Recalling the hunger, malnourishment, sickness, extreme cold in winter, filth, incalculable death tolls, and the observation of horrific public executions, the reader is given a deep insight into what life was like for Chol-hwan for the ten years he was at Yodok. One of the biggest aspects of a prisoner’s time at Yodok was the emphasis on reeducation, which had the opposite affect intended, as “the propaganda was so grotesque, the teaching method so crude, we were bound to reject it… our disdain spread like gangrene, beginning with the guards, then slowly, inexorably, making its way up to the great leaders.”
After these ten years Chol-hwan and his family were suddenly released… “one day the nightmare was over.” The day that should have given a time of nothing but rejoicing was actually very bittersweet for Chol-hwan. Suddenly being outside of the camp felt like entering a different universe, although it was one where he was still under constant surveillance for years to come, and one in which he was strictly forbidden to make even mention of the camp and what went on there.
In those years following, he was ultimately saved from poverty thanks to gifts received from family in Japan, and then upon threat of being taken back to Yodok, he and a friend made the dangerous decision to escape – first making it to China, where they stayed many months, until they could finally make it into South Korea where they began a new life.
Chol-hwan ends his story telling of his dedication to help “the unfortunate souls attempting to flee repression and famine” and with a plea for others to no longer turn a blind eye to those that are “dying of hunger without the right to utter a word of protest, crushed by a system that walks all over their fundamental human rights.”

Suffice it to say, this book was a huge eye-opener. Although it is not labelled a “Christian” book (though Chol-hwan does mention in the preface that he became a Christian in South Korea, professes that “[his] God is, after all, a living God,” and in the book mentions his baptism and attending a Protestant church), I believe, as a Christian, that it is very valuable to read. Of further note, there is one point in the book where Chol-hwan talks about the fact that there are much tougher camps in North Korea, and in any camp there are those separated from the rest, under much harsher conditions, called “irredeemables” who serve life sentences. Included in the category of “irredeemables” are Christians, whose fates are even worse than others as they face the unimaginable cruelties Chol-hwan described, and on top of that have no hope of ever being freed. In all, Christians or not, the people of North Korea need much prayer – as does its Premier and other leaders.
VOMC has a kit available for those interested in learning about North Korea and Kim Jong Il. It is part of the Praying for a Revelation in North Korea commitment afore mentioned. The online kit provides a complete profile of Kim Jong Il, specific things to pray for, a testimony of a North Korean woman, a detailed map of the Republic of Korea, and an overview of other leaders to pray for as well. I highly recommend downloading this kit, available here – and very highly recommend reading this book, which will give even further understanding and empathy for the people of North Korea.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stepping Heavenward

A few years ago a dear friend of mine recommended a book to me that is her favourite - Stepping Heavenward. I trusted her judgement fully, so went out and bought it. Since then I've read it three times and am always ready to read it again.
I've been doing some book reviews for RHB, where a friend of mine works, and so I thought I'd take the opportunity to review Stepping Heavenward. So, here it is! :)

The name Elizabeth Prentiss is commonly recognized, as she was the daughter of Edward Payson – one of the great revival preachers of the early 19th century – and was the author of the beautiful hymn “More Love to Thee.” She was also a writer with over 20 publications, including perhaps her most well known work - Stepping Heavenward.
In Stepping Heavenward, Prentiss writes about a vivacious and truth-seeking girl – Katherine Mortimer – in a style set forth as though we are reading her journal. Starting on her 16th birthday, we are taken through Katy’s life, seeing all of her ups and downs and ultimately the role of faith throughout.
From her oftentimes-petty adolescent goings-on, to her first engagement, we see Katy as young in her faith as she’s trying to find her way in life. As she grows into womanhood and faces many trials, her faith takes root deeper and deeper until, when faced with the most severe tribulations of her life – including losing her first son, mother and brother – she is wholly able to rest in her faith and stand during wearisome and difficult times with a humble and meek spirit. The example of Katherine Mortimer’s life is wonderful for any woman (or man) – young or old – as Prentiss writes with such honesty and openness of the struggles, questions, and temptations in life and faith. Katy isn’t perfect, and she knows it. But seeing her strive and hold fast in her faith is truly inspiring.
As you read through this book it’s very hard to believe that it’s fiction. Many have been wrongly led to believe this was Prentiss’ actual journal. But although it’s not a real life story of a specific person, there is no doubt that real life experiences and emotions are woven all throughout. Because of its truth and detail of the journey of faith, this is a book that anyone can relate to – men or women. Although women usually flock to it, I’ve known many men who have wholly enjoyed it also.
This story of a 19th century girl was originally published in 1869, and still now – nearly 140 years later – Stepping Heavenward is just as appreciated as if it was written for those of the 21st century. In essence, the story is timeless; and it’s one that I highly recommend to all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Clear Our Vision

In our conversations and interactions with other people, we need to continually bring to mind these words of Jesus: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged… How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1, 4).
The judgement that Jesus forbids in Matthew 7 is the judgement of hypocrites who concern themselves with a speck in their brother’s eye even while they are stumbling around with beams under their own eyelids. They expect perfection from others but are far from perfect themselves. They have an attitude that can only be described as judgemental.
Did you notice the blatant contrast? A log compared to a speck! And remember, Scripture says we will be judged according to the way we judge. The standard of measure we use will be the measure by which we are measured. That’s a sobering thought. Do I expect the same thing from myself that I consistently expect from others? Am I willing to give the kind of mercy I would like to receive? Am I willing to extend the sort of love that grants grace and covers imperfections?
The judging that Jesus calls hypocritical is that which notices specks in the eyes of others and misses our own logs and beams. This is why we need to spend time with God daily, allowing Him to clear our vision.
- Kay Arthur

Thursday, October 23, 2008


“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
- Hebrews 10:23

This has always been one of my favourite verses of the Bible which I turn to regularly in my mind. A while ago I decided to see what different commentaries said about it – how they expressed its meaning, etc. I always love the depth of word “unswervingly” as it is used here and so I was interested to see what others saw in that word.

First off, here’s a definition of the word “unswerving/unswervingly”:
  1. Not veering or turning aside
  2. Constant; steady
  1. In a constant and steadfast manner
  2. Without swerving; in a direct and unswerving manner

So this is how we ought to be holding to our faith/hope, and remembering that keeps me good and focused!
Now into the commentaries…
With the word “hope” Jamieson, Faussett and Brown explain it this way: “‘our hope’; which is indeed faith exercised as to the future inheritance. Hope rests on faith, and at the same time quickens faith, and is the ground of our bold confession.”
Then continuing, looking at the word “unswervingly” (or as some translations have it “without wavering”) this commentary brings in yet another way of saying it: “without declension” (that is, without decline or decrease, no deviation from, etc). I also love the other description they use – “steadfast unto the end.” What a great way to express how we ought to be in our faith!
Thinking of this again, Barton W. Johnson’s commentary says, “the thought is, clinging to the faith professed and the hope in the soul without wavering.” I like this description because of the word “clinging”… what a great way of looking at it, especially when times are rough and that seems to be the only thing we can do.
Last, but not least, I also loved John Gill’s explanation of this verse as he describes it: “a constant and steadfast profession of their faith, to which he animates them by the faithfulness of a promising God, who will never leave nor forsake his people.”

So, with all of that said, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

P&PA - Oct. 22

Here is this week's Persecution & Prayer Alert information... please take the time to read these stories and pray for those who are suffering.

More Love To Thee

The following hymn is yet another one of my favourites. It was written by Elizabeth Prentiss in 1856, and the words are wonderful...

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where There Is Injury

Here is another writing by Elisabeth Elliot that I think is particularly good to think about in honesty:

Where There Is Injury

Have you ever found the taste of revenge sweet? Does there lurk in your heart, as in mine at times, a desire for at least the milder forms of revenge if you have been hurt--a desire to see the person apologize, an urge to remind him that he was nasty to you, or even the temptation to pay him back somehow? It was not God's plan that man should take revenge. That He has reserved for Himself, and when we seize that power we are taking a huge risk. It is, in another form, the risk Adam and Eve took when they ate the forbidden fruit--arrogating to themselves powers, lethal burdens, for which they were never designed.
What if God paid us for our sins? What if He were not Love? His mercy is everlasting and has brought us salvation and forgiveness. Remembering that, and how we ourselves have offended Him times without number, shall we dare to retaliate when someone sins against us? Think of the measure of forgiveness God has offered us. Think of the price. Think what the cross means. Then pray the prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace--
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon....
For it is in forgiving that we are forgiven,
It is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fog of the Future

Here is a quote from Elisabeth Elliot that I really appreciate:

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" -- and the work thereof. The evil is not a part of the yoke Jesus asks us to take. Our work is, and He takes that yoke with us. I will overextend myself if I assume anything more.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Salt of the Earth

Here are some more quotes from Brother Andrew:

“The real calling of God is not to a certain place or career, but to everyday obedience.”

“It’s important that we not despise our own life experiences. We can look back and know that God will use them all for His service.”


“Jesus Christ has given us the awesome responsibility of feeding His church and sharing His message with the world. Unfortunately, I see few Christians who take His challenge seriously. To live as a true member of Christ’s church is not a hobby or something to do in spare time. It is very life!”


“God has called us to make a difference, to be the salt of the earth.”


“Let us focus on backing up our words with the kind of life that others recognize as belonging to Jesus Christ.”


“When we proclaim the lordship of Christ, the forces of evil around us leap into action, and the spiritual battle intensifies. Yet we need not be afraid. Why? Because we already know the outcome of the battle. It was decided two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.”


“We must walk closely with God and stay grounded in His Word.”
“In spite of the intense spiritual warfare – or perhaps because of it – I believe God will give us opportunities to proclaim the good news of Christ to people we never thought would be interested.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Be There

One of my favourite things to read about and study is the Persecuted Church and its servants. Although the stories can be gut-wrenching to read (or see) there is so much inspiration to be found in them. When I think of my brothers and sisters suffering for their faith it makes me really think about my own faith and how I would react in various situations.
There are a lot of organizations and people that really focus on the Persecuted Church. The Voice of the Martyrs is one of them, and I support their work as much as I can, however I can. There's also Open Doors, which was founded by the well-known Brother Andrew.
I've read a lot about Brother Andrew and about the work he has done/does, and I recently started reading yet another book written by him. I thought I'd jot down some of my favourite quotes from it that I found to be particularly special. So I want to share some of them with you today!

“When God calls, or when His people are in need, be there.”


“Today we can look to His written Word to know Him and His will for us. As we saturate ourselves in the Scriptures and in prayer, our relationship with Christ deepens. And through the Bible He will begin to impress upon us just how and where He wants us to share His message.”


“God has given us in Scripture a full revelation of His nature and His character. And He has given us an unmistakably clear mandate to share Him and His Word with those who have not heard. What more do we need? If we focus on obeying Him on a daily basis – wherever we are – He will lead us where He wants us to go and to the people He wants us to reach.”


“God is waiting for us to walk forward in obedience so He can open the door for us to serve Him.”


“Total, absolute dependence on God is the only way we can accomplish anything for Him.”


“Iron, Bamboo, and Sugarcane Curtains, closed borders, dictators, terrorists – these are not the real obstacles that keep us from serving our suffering sisters and brothers. The biggest obstacles lie in our own hearts – fear, doubt, selfishness, and a host of other excuses.”


“When, instead of worrying about the obstacles, we trust God to take care of them, our Christian life becomes much more effective… then, as problems arise, we can view them as part of the process in which God is teaching us to walk in faith.”

Friday, October 17, 2008

October Persecution Report

The Voice of the Martyrs Persecution Report for October: view it here

Light of the World

Here is this week's NOTW "design of the week" :)

"... I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spiritual Warfare

I just heard from a friend of mine whom I correspond with regularly, and she is such an inspiration to me. She was talking about pressing on when going through particularly difficult times... she is so faithful to wearing her armour of God against Satan's attacks, and it made me think of this particular reading, written by Kay Arthur:

As you decide how to respond in the various situations that will arise today, I urge you to remember that you are in a war. Satan’s strategy is to besiege your mind until he wears down your resistance and captures your thoughts. You can expect a barrage of thoughts to constantly hammer away at your defenses. It is spiritual warfare.
From the beginning, Satan has cast doubt on the Word of God. He wants you to question, doubt, distort, alter, embellish, discredit, or ignore the Word of God. Disguised as an angel of light, he will do anything and everything he can to undermine God’s Word.
The devil’s tactic is not only to cause you to doubt, ignore, and disobey God’s Word. It is also to get you to doubt God’s love. To doubt God’s love is to doubt His character. Once the enemy casts doubt in your mind on God’s love, he cuts you off from the only true and sure source of healing – your Jehova-rapha and the Word of God.
Know your God. Know His Word. And live accordingly. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).Remember, the Word of God is all you need in order to be perfect, thoroughly adequate for every work of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Victory is assured as long as you let Jesus be your captain and do what He says.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


A great reading by Kay Arthur:

Many Christians are stumbling through life, unable to see clearly the path of purpose because their spiritual vision is blurred or obstructed by the things of this world. John’s first letter warns, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).
Because our eyes can be an instrument of lust – because they can lead us into the sin of covetousness – it is vital that we keep our eyes healthy. But how? We live in a world filled with all sorts of alluring things. Books, magazines, television, movies, billboards, and computers constantly display treasures belonging to this life and this life only. How then can a child of God keep his vision clear?
As the author of Hebrews says, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Or as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:18, we need to look “not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
It’s all a matter of perspective – eternal perspective. Where is your focus? Is it upon the things of this world? Is it riveted to the treasures of this life that can be consumed by moths and rust and stolen by thieves? Or is it upon heavenly treasures, which have eternal value?

Help me, dear God, to keep my eyes on You and on the things that matter to You. Don’t let me be distracted or drawn away from You by worldly things.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Worthy Is The Lamb

I used to hear about Hillsong's music and think that it was all just a bit too "showy" - big concerts, people screaming... I thought the musicians and singers were just being idolized. It wasn't until I actually watched a video that I realized their music is so God-centered, and that although there's lots of cheering and everything, it's more that they're cheering for God rather than for the "group." Since then, I regularly listen to their music and pop on their DVDs... it makes for a great time of singing/worship! I was very wrong about Hillsong with my first impression. There are countless songs that are SO lyrically beautiful, and I want to post just a few of my favourite parts of some of my favourite songs. :)

You saw me when You took a crown of thorns,
And Your blood washed over me.
You loved me through the nails that You bore,
And Your blood washes over me.


I have nothing more than all You offer me;
There is nothing else that’s of worth to me.
And I love You Lord –
You rescued me.
You are all that I want,
You are all I need.


All to You, God, for all You are to me.
There is nothing like Your love.


Beholding Your beauty is all that I long for.
To worship You, Jesus, is my soul’s desire.
For this very heart you have shaped for your pleasure –
The purpose to lift Your name high.


Worthy is the Lamb, seated on the throne;
Crown You now with many crowns –
You reign victorious!
High and lifted up –
Jesus, Son of God.
The Darling of heaven crucified.
Worthy is the Lamb.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Trust You

Today I want to share just a very simple, but beautiful quote :)

“In love and gratitude I want to say in times of fear and distress, ‘My Father, I do not understand You, but I trust You.’”
- Unknown

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't Forfeit Your Peace

A devotional reading by Elisabeth Elliot:

Don't Forfeit Your Peace

It would not be possible to exaggerate the importance hymns and spiritual songs have played in my spiritual growth. One of the latter, familiar to most of you, has this line: "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer" (Joseph Scriven). Prayerlessness is one of many ways by which we can easily forfeit the peace God wants us to have. I've been thinking of some other ways. Here's a sampling:

  1. Resent God's ways.
  2. Worry as much as possible.
  3. Pray only about things you can't manage by yourself.
  4. Refuse to accept what God gives.
  5. Look for peace elsewhere than in Him.
  6. Try to rule your own life.
  7. Doubt God's word.
  8. Carry all your cares.

If you'd rather not forfeit your peace, here are eight ways to find it (antidotes to the above eight):

  1. "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm 119:165 KJV). "Circumstances are the expression of God's will," wrote Bishop Handley Moule.
  2. "Don't worry about anything whatsoever" (Philippians 4:6, PHILLIPS).
  3. "In everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God... will guard your hearts" (Philippians 4:6,7, NEB).
  4. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me... and you will find rest" (Matthew 11:29, NIV).
  5. "Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give" (John 14 27, NEB).
  6. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15, NIV).
  7. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15:13, KJV).
  8. "Cast all your cares on him for you are his charge" (1 Peter 5:7, NEB).

"Grant, O Lord my God, that I may never fall away in success or in failure; that I may not be prideful in prosperity nor dejected in adversity. Let me rejoice only in what unites us and sorrow only in what separates us. May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself. May I seek always the things that are eternal and never those that are only temporal. May I shun any joy that is without You and never seek any that is beside You. O Lord, may I delight in any work I do for You and tire of any rest that is apart from You. My God, let me direct my heart towards You, and in my failings, always repent with a purpose of amendment."
--St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Times Are In Your Hands

Here is another reading from Kay Arthur:

When God does not seem to answer you or move on your behalf, when you cannot seem to go on, what do you do?
Let me encourage you to meditate on Psalm 31:14-15, which says: “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.”
Your times are in His hands! This truth will sustain you when there seems no relief in sight and when you are weak and weary of fighting the good fight, of running the race with endurance.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 reveals magnificent faith as God’s prophet contented himself with God’s timetable and plan:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation
God does not want compliant resignation. When life is difficult, God wants us to have a faith that trusts and waits. He wants us to have a faith that doesn’t complain while waiting but rejoices because we know our times are in His hands – nail-scarred hands that labour for our highest good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Design of the Week

I very often buy clothing from a company online called - I absolutely love their designs of Christian-based art. The main "brand" there is called NOTW (Not Of This World), and I particularly love their work. So every week I want to post an example of their work... just a pic to show the kind of stuff they offer. :)

I'll start with my favourite:

Looking To Jesus

“It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite. He is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon. You have no faith. You do not repent enough. You will never be able to continue to the end. You do not have the joy of His children. You have such a wavering hold on Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self. He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything.
Remember therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you – it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you – it is Christ’s blood and merits. Therefore, do not look so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ. Do not look to your hope, but to Jesus – the source of your hope. Do not look to your faith, but to Jesus – the founder and perfector of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our deeds, or our feelings. It is what Jesus is – not what we are – that gives rest to the soul. If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by looking to Jesus. Keep your eyes simply on Him.
Let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind. When you waken in the morning, look to Him. When you lie down at night, look to Him. Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus. Follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.”
- C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Christ or Else I Die

The following hymn is taken from the Gadsby Hymnal. It is one of my absolute favourite hymns... I'm really excited to share it today :)

Christ or Else I Die
(Words by William Hammond, 1719 – 1783)

Gracious Lord, incline thy ear;
My requests vouchsafe to hear;
Hear my never-ceasing cry;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Wealth and honor I disdain,
Earthly comforts, Lord are vain;
These can never satisfy:
Give me Christ, or else I die.

All unholy and unclean,
I am nothing else but sin;
On thy mercy I rely;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Thou dost freely save the lost;
In thy grace alone I trust.
With my earnest suit comply;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Thou dost promise to forgive
All who in thy Son believe;
Lord, I know thou canst not lie;
Give me Christ, or else I die.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Everlasting, Unconditional Love

The following is from Kay Arthur's Lord, I Give You This Day...

God loves you with an everlasting, unconditional love. Can you accept that truth and cling to it, no matter what?
When you don’t like who you are or what you’ve done, or when the enemy comes whispering in your ear, knocking at the door of your mind, telling you that you are nothing, agree with your adversary. Then give him the truth. Tell him that apart from Jesus Christ you are nothing and you can do nothing that has eternal worth or value.
Also tell Satan that God loves you when you are nothing, accepts you just the way you are, and loves you with an everlasting, unconditional love that is transforming you into His image. Tell the devil that you are secure in God’s love, that the love of God has been poured out within your heart “through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5), and nothing “will be able to separate [you] from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Martin Luther had it right when he said, “God does not love us because we are valuable, but we are valuable because God loves us.”
If ever you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, think of what He’s already done to demonstrate His commitment. First John makes it clear: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (4:10).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We Need Not See

Why should I bother my head about [something in particular] if I've turned it over to Him? If the Word of the Lord to us is that we are "predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with his purpose" (Ephesians 1:11, NIV), we may apprehend this fact by faith alone. By believing that God means just what He says, and by acting upon the word (faith always requires action), we apprehend it--we take hold of it, we make it our own. We cannot make it our own by mere reason-- "I don't see how such-and-such an incident can possibly have anything to do with any divine 'plan.'"
Why should we see how! Is it not sufficient that we are told that it is so? We need not see. We need only believe and proceed on the basis of that assured fact.

Do you understand what is going on in the invisible realm of your life with God? Do you see how the visible things relate to the hidden Plan and Purpose? Probably not. But you do see at least one thing, maybe a very little thing, that He wants you to do. "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult [other translations say too hard, too wonderful] for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven.... nor is it beyond the sea.... no, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it" (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, NIV).

Let it suffice you, as it sufficed Mary [when she was told she would give birth though she was a virgin], to know that God knows. If it's time to work, get on with your job. If it's time to go to bed, go to sleep in peace. Let the Lord of the Universe do the worrying.

- Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, October 6, 2008

We Must Run Aground

Well, I have my computer back and am hoping to get back into posting on here regularly again! I have a lot of great Elisabeth Elliot quotes/excerpts I would like to share, so I'll start with one of them today:

Nevertheless We Must Run Aground

Have you ever put heart and soul into something, prayed over it, worked at it with a good heart because you believed it to be what God wanted, and finally seen it "run aground"?
The story of Paul's voyage as a prisoner across the Adriatic Sea tells how an angel stood beside him and told him not to be afraid (in spite of winds of hurricane force), for God would spare his life and the lives of all with him on board ship. Paul cheered his guards and fellow passengers with that word, but added, "Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island" (Acts 27:26, NIV).
It would seem that the God who promises to spare all hands might have "done the job right," saved the ship as well, and spared them the ignominy of having to make it to land on the flotsam and jetsam that was left. The fact is He did not, nor does He always spare us.
Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for. "Running aground," then, is not the end of the world. But it helps to make the world a bit less appealing. It may even be God's answer to "Lead us not into temptation"--the temptation complacently to settle for visible things.