Archive for the ‘12 Steps’ Category

Surviving the Furnace of Affliction

Monday, March 6th, 2017

“I have tested you in the furnace of affliction!” Isaiah 48:10

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point, and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in a great ship, or building, or bridge. He knew this, because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God’s children. God does not want us to be like fragile vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel–able to bear twisting and stretching and crushing to the uttermost, without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hot-house plants–but storm-beaten oaks. He wants us to be, not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind–but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms! To make us such, He needs to bring us into His testing room of suffering.

Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing room of faith. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds–because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

“When He has tested me–I will come forth as gold!” Job 23:10

(John MacDuff)

We need a lot of chipping!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

“They will be Mine–in the day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17

We need a lot of chipping!” So said a saint as we were talking about the Lord’s gracious dealings with His people. The saying suggested to my mind–the Lord Jesus as the loving Sculptor at work upon the marble of our fallen humanity. There is an angel in the marble–because the pierced hand of the Sculptor has it in His mind, and brings it out by His skill. But there is a “lot of chipping” to be done before the beautiful image of His holy character stands out, displaying the perfection of His work.

The hard stone of unbelief,
the rough points of self-will,
the prominence of worldly ambition,
the sharp angles of pride,
the ugly faults of temper,
the stubborn marks of bad habits,
and the dark veins of selfishness
are some of the things He removes!

“Those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!” Romans 8:29

“God cuts and polishes His jewels in order to make them shine more brightly and beautifully in the crown of His glory in Heaven. All of God’s jewels need polishing!” (Richard Newton)

“God has many sharp-cutting instruments and rough files for the polishing of His jewels. Those He especially loves and means to make the most resplendent–He most often uses His tools upon!” Robert Leighton

~Frederick Marsh

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A Higher End in Life

Monday, February 27th, 2017

“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses.” Luke 12:15

“Implanted within us is a desire for amusement — the entire suppression of which is as injurious, as it is unauthorized. The Christian religion is antagonistic only to that which is hurtful to spiritual life. It is not opposed to wholesome amusements. It does not rob us of any pleasures which are consistent with our eternal welfare.”

“Healthy recreation should be encouraged, with one proviso — that it never be forgotten that there is a higher end in life than to be amused. Care should be taken, not to suppress the desire for amusement — but to moderate and rightly direct it. The limitation which devotion to Christ imposes, must ever be observed, lest pleasure be made the business of life, instead of life’s relaxation.”

“The selection of fitting sources of amusement should not be difficult. There are many such, without tampering with questionable ones, which may prove detrimental and even destructive to spiritual life. The question requiring settlement is: “Am I, by the amusement in which I indulge, being spiritually helped or hindered? Is my soul being lifted up — or more heavily weighted down?”

“The Christian should find pleasure not only in the world’s confectionery — but chiefly in the strong meat of the Word.”

“All things are yours. Take them and use them; but never let them interfere with the higher life which you are called on to lead.”

“A ship is all right in the sea — so long as the sea is not in the ship. In the same way, a Christian is all right in the world — so long as the world is not in the Christian.”

J.C. Pittman, 1917

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Are You Making a Cross for Yourself?

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Luke 22:42

A cross is composed of two pieces of wood. The shorter piece represents your will–and the longer piece represents God’s will. Lay the two pieces side by side–and there is no cross; but lay the shorter piece across the longer one–and you have a cross.

Just so, whenever our will falls across God’s will–there is a cross in our life. We make a cross for ourselves . . .
— every time we do not accept Christ’s way,
— every time we murmur at anything He sends,
— every time we will not do what He commands.

But when we quietly accept what He gives, when we yield in sweet acquiescence to His will, though it shatters our fairest hopes, when we let our will lie alongside His–there are no crosses in our life, and we have found the peace of Christ.

“My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it–may Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

I delight to do Your will, O my God!” Psalm 40:8

God is your refuge – and underneath are the everlasting arms!

Monday, February 6th, 2017

“The eternal God is your refuge — and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27

If we are held in the clasp of the everlasting arms — we need not fear that we shall ever be separated from the enfolding. “Underneath.” They are always underneath us. No matter how low we sink in weakness, in fainting, in pain, in sorrow — we never can sink below these everlasting arms. We can never drop out of their clasp!

God’s love is deeper than human sorrow. Sorrow is very deep, but still and forever, in the greatest grief — these arms of Divine love are underneath the believing sufferer.

God’s love is deeper than death. When every earthly support is gone from beneath us, when every human arm unclasps and every face fades from before our eyes, and we sink away into what seems darkness and the shadow of death — we shall only sink into the everlasting arms!

Drop your plummet into the deepest sea of sorrow, and at the end of your soundings: “Underneath are the everlasting arms!”

What abiding consolation! What all-embracing, never-failing strength!

~J.C. Pittman, 1917

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Be Thankful in All Circumstances

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

One day, Johann Tauler of Strosbourg met a peasant and greeted him, “God give you a good day, my friend!”

The peasant answered briskly, “I thank God that I never have a bad day!”

Tauler, astonished, kept silent for a moment. Tauler then added, “God give you a happy life, my friend.”

The peasant replied composedly, “I thank God that I am never unhappy!”

“Never unhappy!” cried Tauler bewildered, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” came the reply, “When it is sunshine — I thank God; and when it rains — I thank God. When I have plenty — I thank God; and when I am hungry — I thank God. Since God’s will is my will, and whatever pleases God pleases me — I am never unhappy.

Tauler looked upon him with awe. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am a king!” said the peasant.

“A king?” Tauler asked, “Where is your kingdom?”

The peasant smiled and whispered softly, “In my heart!”

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow — are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips — so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

J.C. Pittman, 1917

What is Truly Important?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Over the triple doorways of a European Cathedral, there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches.

Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath is the lettering:
“All which pleases us — is but for a moment.”

Over the other arch is sculptured a cross, and there are the words:
“All which troubles us — is but for a moment.”

But on the great central entrance to the main aisle, is the inscription:
“That alone is important, which is eternal.”

If we always realize these three truths, we would not let small things trouble us; nor would we be so much interested in the passing pageants of the hour. We would live, as we do not now — for the permanent and the eternal.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:18

J.C. Pittman, 1917

Two Wolves

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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Godly Exercise

Monday, January 16th, 2017

“He delighteth not in the strength of the horse:
he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him,
in those that hope in his mercy.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise thy God, O Zion.” Psalm 147: 10-12 KJV

When Jesus says that He takes pleasure in those that fear Him, He is not saying that He wants us to be afraid of Him. Webster’s Dictionary gives us an excellent definition of what fear means in this Scripture verse. One of the definitions for the word fear that applies to this verse in the dictionary is “to have a reverential awe of.” We shouldn’t be afraid of Him. We should treat Him with the respect, honor and dignity that He deserves.

We read in 1 Timothy 4: 8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” There are people who spend hours doing exercises at home and even go to the gym and to health clubs to get exercise. Yet, these same people might spend twenty or thirty minutes a day reading their Bibles. How this must hurt the heart of our loving Heavenly Father.

It is true that we are to take care of our bodies, but if we put physical exercise before godly exercise, then our exercises have become a god to us. Parents think nothing about spending a lot of money to train their children for the Olympics or on uniforms and equipment for different sports activities; however some of these same parents won’t give money to their children so that their children can serve Jesus as a missionary or evangelist.

It is time that we get our priorities in order. How much money are you spending on sports activities for your children and how much money are you spending on things that will help your children for all eternity? Are you teaching your children that godly exercise is more important than physical exercise? You may tell them that godly exercise is more important but if they see you spending a lot of time doing exercises at home and then going to the gym and health clubs to exercise, they are not going to believe you. Let’s set a godly example for our children.

Copyright by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

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You Can’t Finish if You Never Begin

Friday, January 13th, 2017

The sermon topic was “Finish Well” and that’s important, but you can’t finish if you never begin.

Seems like lots of folks are afraid to begin. Some wait to figure out their true calling. Some wait for someone else to tell them what to do. Some wait for permission. Some wait for a sign from God. As I listened to the sermon about crossing the finish line with integrity, I couldn’t help wondering how many folks in the audience were still in the starting blocks.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com