Archive for the ‘Ability to Overcome’ Category

So Much to do Every Day…

Friday, March 17th, 2017

A story is told of an old man who lived long ago. A friend asked him the cause of his struggles, since in the evening he so often had great weariness. “Alas,” answered he, “I have so much to do every day; I have . . .
two falcons to tame,
two hares to keep from running away,
two hawks to manage,
a serpent to confine,
a lion to chain, and
a sick man to tend and wait upon.”

“Why, this is only folly,” said the friend, “no man has all these things to do at once.”

“Yet indeed,” he answered, “it is with me just as I have said.

The two falcons are my two eyes, which I must diligently guard, lest something should please them which may be hurtful to my soul.

The two hares are my feet, which I must hold back, lest they should run after evil objects, and walk in the ways of sin.

The two hawks are my two hands, which I must train and keep to work, in order that I may be able to provide for myself and for my brethren who are in need.

The serpent is my tongue, which I must always keep in with a bridle, lest it should speak anything unfitting.

The lion is my heart, with which I have to maintain a continual fight, in order that vanity and pride may not fill it, but that the grace of God may dwell and work there.

The sick man is my own body, which is ever needing my watchfulness and care. All this daily wears out my strength!”

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him!” James 1:12 

George Everard, “Daily Warfare!” 1866

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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

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

Life’s Surprises and Interruptions

Monday, January 9th, 2017

For if you remain completely silent at this time,
relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place,
but you and your father?s house will perish.
Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)


What a week this has been! On Friday my almost 87-year-old mother (who lives with us) became extremely ill, and I had to call for an ambulance. The next few days were split between going back and forth to the hospital, and trying to put out fires here at home. In the midst of it all, my computer died. When I called my trusty computer guy, he was unable to work on it for a couple of days. (As you can see, it has since been fixed, with no loss of data?thank You, Lord!) And Mom is home from the hospital, a bit weaker from the experience, but doing well.

That’s part of life, isn’t it? Being an “order freak,” I really don’t like surprises or interruptions to my planned-out days. But they happen, and will continue to do so as long as we walk on this earth. The important thing is how we handle those surprises and interruptions, and who gets to call the shots and order our steps throughout those days on earth.

Esther learned that lesson the hard way. Though undoubtedly not by choice, she was queen to a pagan king. As such, she lived in luxury and ease, though not without personal sacrifice. Having been raised by a faithful Jew, her uncle Mordecai, it must have been painful for her to share her life with one who didn’t share her faith; not to mention the fact that she had to keep her Jewish heritage and faith a secret if she wanted to preserve her life and position.

Then came the big interruption. Due to the scheming of the evil Haman, the king ordered that all Jews be killed. Mordecai encouraged Esther to use her position to influence the king to find a way to save the Jewish people, but Esther responded that she could be killed if she went to the king with such a request.

Mordecai wisely told her that if she ignored her duty to try to save her people simply because she didn?t want to lose her own life, she and her family would die anyway, since sooner or later her Jewish heritage would be discovered. Then he made one of the most profound observations ever recorded: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this?”

We Christians like to think we know why we’re here; what our purpose and calling is. Are we writers? Our purpose must be to write. Are we singers? We must sing. Are we teachers? We shall teach. But what if our writing or singing or teaching is interrupted with a chance to do something bigger; something obviously ordered by God and yet which may cost us our very lives?

Missionary Jim Elliot, who was killed in 1956 while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people through efforts known as Operation Auca, once said that he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Esther would have been a fool to try to preserve her own life, rather than risk it in an attempt to save the lives of God?s chosen people. As it turned out, she was successful in saving the Jews, including herself. Why? Because she recognized and responded to the interruption in her life that summarized her reason for having been placed on this earth in the first place.

God created each of us with a purpose, and though we may think we know what that purpose is, in reality we may not have a clue until it sideswipes us, jolting us from our pre-planned, orderly existence with a call to lay down our lives in service to God and others. Will we respond? Or will we be so foolish as to try to hold on to that which cannot be preserved, rather than relinquishing it to gain that which cannot be lost?

Esther understood that great truth, as did Jim Elliot. May we willingly and joyfully walk in it as well?

MaciasCopyright Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com