Wednesday, September 19, 2018

An Exhilarating Life

Yesterday I shared a quote by Major Ian Thomas. I was
impressed with what I read about him and what he acom-
plished in his lifetime--and how it has been passed down
to the next generation. Here is part of his testimony:

"By the age of 19, every moment of my day was packed
tight with doing things. Thus by the age of 19, I had been
reduced to a state of complete spiritual exhaustion, until
I felt that there was no going on..."

"In my despair I discovered that the Lord Jesus Christ
gave Himself FOR me, so that risen from the dead, He 
might give Himself TO me, He who IS the Christian life. 
I learned to say, 'Lord Jesus, I can't, You never said  
could, but You can, and always you said you would. 
That is all I know.'  From that moment life became the 
adventure that God always intended it to be."

You can read his whole testimony by clicking into the
website and then scrolling down to "Learn more about 
Major W Ian Thomas." Today I looked more deeply into
the website and visited some of the 25 camps. It seems
that Major combined the Christian life with adventures
outside and he had a great love for young people.

https://torchbearers.org/who-we-are/history/

He and his wife gathered Christian men and women at
the end of the WW 2 and shared the truth that Christ is 
Life. That He, the resurrected Lord lives within and that
He desires to be our power. It had an amazing impact on
the young people who named the experience as becoming
"Torchbearers" of His light. It is interesting to me that all
four of his son's and their wives joined the ministry which
continues to this day. Thomas died in 2007 at 92 but his
wife is still alive.

Reader, it was in 2005 that I came across the truth that
there is another way to live the Christian life that is not
connected to "oughts." I had plenty of intellectual know-
ledge but it seemed disconnected from my heart and I
was desperately dry. In the process I came across the
books of men like, T Austen-Sparks, Andrew Murray,
Watchman Nee, Oswald Chambers and others who under-
stood that we--
"have been crucified with Christ. (past tense.)
And now it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in 
me..."

Are you terribly dry and tired of trying to be a Christian?



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Letter

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts,
known and read by everybody. You show that you
are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living
God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human
hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2,3

The Christian life can only be explained in terms of
Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still
be explained in terms of you--your personality, your
will-power, your gift, your talent, your money, your
courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacri-
fice, or your anything--then although you may have
the Christian life, you are not yet living it!

If the way you live your life as a Christian can be ex-
plained in terms of you, what have you to offer to the
man who lives next door? The way he lives his life
can be explained in terms of him, and so far as he is
concerned, you happen to be "religious"--but he is
not! Christianity may be your hobby, but it is not his,
and there is nothing about the way you practice it
which strikes him as at all remarkable. There is 
nothing about you which leaves him guessing, and 
nothing commendable of which he does not feel him-
self equally capable without the inconvenience of 
becoming a Christian.

It is only when your quality of life baffles the neigh-
bors that you are likely to impress them. It has to to 
be patently obvious to others that the kind of life you 
are living is not only highly commendable, but that it 
is beyond all human explanation. That it is beyond the 
consequences of man's capacity to imitate, and how-
ever little they may understand this, clearly the conse-
quence only of God's capacity to reproduce Himself 
in you.

In a nutshell, this means your fellow-men must become
convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ of whom you 
speak, is essentially Himself the ingredient of the Life 
you live. Major Ian Thomas  191402007

Reader, this is a tough one. Only God can show me
how I am living my life. He wants me to tap into His
power in the inner man, So, when I realize that I am
functioning out of myself instead of from Him, I confess
it, and then give Him back the freedom to be the motor
within. So much more restful that way...

I have dug into the life of Major Ian Thomas and found
enough things to make this blog into two. Below is a
short video of part of a sermon which tugged at my heart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekghF0lQyds

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Law

...the strength of sin is the law. 
       1 Corinthians 15:56B

You can have Christian law just as much as much as
you can have Mosaic Law; you can be in bondage in
Christianity just as much as men were in Judaism.
Christianity can be made into an imposed system just
as much as Mosaic law was, and there are many Christ-
ians today who live under fear of the "Thou shalt" and
the "Thou shalt not" of a legalistic conception of the
Christian life.

You can take the Bible as God's standard for your life
and try to fulfill it and yet be burdened with a sense
of constant failure. It is God's standard, and it is a very
exhaustive one which leaves no part of the practical
life untouched, but those who make the effort to try to
live up to it only end in disillusion.

No, it is not just a matter of a Book, but of a Person, 
the Person who did live up to that standard, absolutely
 fulfilling every least demand and with the most perfect 
success, so satisfying God to the full. By His death He 
has delivered us from the bondage of legal demands. 
This same Person now lives in us by His Holy Spirit, 
seeking to work out that perfect will of God not on the 
basis of some binding instructions from without but as 
a living force within. We have the law written in our 
hearts. 

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new
spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone
from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I
will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk 
in my statutes...Ezekiel 36:26, 27

To be in Christ is a matter of life and not of legalism.
T. Austin Sparks  1888-1971

Reader, I was so far into legalism that whatever I was
doing was not quite right and there was no freedom in
my relationship with God. About 13 years ago, God
began to lead me into the scriptures which painted a
picture of all that is IN CHRIST including that big word
"sanctification." It is His Life in me that brings Life to
all I am doing. What freedom!  What joy!

T. Austin Sparks life:
http://reformedperspectives.org/search.asp/au/ta_sparks/scat//kw//st//


Monday, August 20, 2018

Fretting

After a week of fretting about this and that I read
Psalm 37 and found this encouragement:

Do not fret because of evil doers.
   Trust in the Lord and do good
    Feed on faithfulness
    Delight yourself in the Lord
    Commit your way to Him
                      HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS
    Do not fret
    Forsake wrath
    Do not fret--it only causes harm

Wait on the Lord
And keep His way.

Why?

The steps of a good man are
    ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be
    utterly cast down.
For the Lord upholds him
    with His hand.

Reader, we leave Tuesday for Europe and we
will be there for three weeks so I thought that
I would give you something to ponder while
we are away. Please pray for us.
Thank you! (We will be visiting our daughter's
family. How wonderful is that!)
PS Plans were thwarted today and there was
a way around them. God is in the mix. He is
our sovereign God! Did not fret because of
words in the above Psalm:
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the 
Lord, and He delights in his way..."

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Sweetest Rose

We must go through hardships to enter the kingdom
of God. Acts 14:22

The best things in life are the result of being wounded.
Wheat must be crushed before becoming bread, and
the incense must be burned by fire before its fragrance
is set free. The earth must be broken with a sharp plow
before being ready to receive the see. And it is a bro-
ken heart that pleases God.

Yes, the sweetest joys of life are the fruits of sorrow.
Human nature seems to need suffering to make it fit
to be a blessing to the world.

"Beside my cottage door it grows,
The loveliest, daintiest flower that blows,
A sweetbrier rose.

At dewy morn or twilight's close,
The rarest perfume from it flows,
This strange wild rose.

But when the raindrops on it beat,
Ah, then, its odors grow more sweet,
About my feet.

Often with loving tenderness,
Its soft green leaves I gently press,
In sweet caress.

A still more wondrous fragrance flows
The more my fingers close
And crush the rose.

Dear Lord, Oh, lit my life be so
Its perfume when strong winds blow,
The sweeter flow.

And should it be Your blessed will,
With crushing grief my soul to fill,
Press harder still.

And while its dying fragrance flows
I'll whisper low, "He loves and knows
His crushed brier rose."

If you aspire to be a person of consolation, if you want
to share the priestly gift of sympathy, if you desire to
go beyond giving commonplace comfort to a heart that
is tempted, and if you long to go through the daily ex-
changes of life with the kind of tact that never inflicts
pain, then you must be prepared to pay the price for a
costly education--for like Christ, you must suffer.
Frederick William Robertson.

Reader, it is not what I want to hear. I don't like the
negatives dropping into my life, but it is comforting
to know that God is in the midst of it all for my good
and His glory. I find that in these times everyday be-
comes a challenge in some way or another.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Walk It Out

They that wait upon the Lord...shall walk and not 
faint.  Isaiah 40:31

There is no thrill in walking; it is the test of the stable 
qualities. To "walk and not faint" is the highest reach 
possible for strength. The word "walk" is used in the 
Bible to express character--John looking on Jesus as 
He walked, said, "Behold the Lamb of God." There is 
never anything abstract in the Bible, it is always vivid 
and real. God does not say--Be spiritual, but--"Walk 
before Me."

When we are in an unhealthy state physically or emo-
tionally, we always want thrills. In the physical do-
main this will lead to counterfeiting the Holy Ghost; 
in the emotional life it leads to inordinate affection 
and the destruction of morality; and in the spiritual 
domain if we insist on getting thrills, on mounting up 
with wings, it will end in the destruction of spirituality.

The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any 
place, but only dependent upon the determination to 
set the Lord always before us. Our problems come 
when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. 
The experience the Psalmist speaks of--"Therefore we 
will not fear, though..." will be ours when once we are 
based on Reality, not the consciousness of God's pre-
sence but the reality of it--Why, He has been there all 
the time!

At critical moments it is necessary to ask guidance, 
but it ought to be unnecessary to be saying always--
"O Lord, direct me here and there." Of course He 
will if our common-sense decisions are not His order, 
He will press through them and check; then we must 
be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.

Reader--"must be quiet" is quite a fete these days! The
word "wait" might has almost been removed from our
vocabulary. It is difficult to get quiet in a culture that
worships sound, but it is very worthwhile...

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Story

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
1 Corinthians 15:57

A pickpocket once strolled into a rescue mission and
was converted. He saw in Christ pardon for sins and
power against them. Rejoicing in a new life he went
on his way planning for the future. "In my unregener-
ate days," said he to himself, "I used to pick twenty
pockets a day. But now I am a Christian man, and I
know that to pick pockets is a sin. So I must give it
up--gradually, of course. Tomorrow I'll make a start
and for the rest of this month I shall pick only ten
pockets a day: next month by striving and struggling
against this sin, I'll cut down to five a day--for I am
a Christian man now. By the end of the year by con-
stant endeavor (and the help of God) I hope to give
up picking pockets altogether."

Do you believe that story? The writer does not. But
have we not been guilty of this very thing in our deal-
ing with bad temper, pride, irritability, jealousy, un-
loved? We expect a pickpocket, or a drunkard, or a 
gambler to give up his sin once and for all--the very
moment of his conversion. We tell him--and tell him
truly--that Christ is able to give him complete and
instant victory. Is God unable to give us a similar vic-
tory over what we deem to be lesser sins? He is able
to make us "more than conquerors."

Victory is a gift of God and not a growth. Paul recog-
sized this. He did not say, "Thanks be to God who 
gives us a gradual victory," but "gives us the victory
through Jesus Christ our Lord."

There is no such thing as a gradual victory over sin--
although we may think there is. God's gifs are perfect.
the fact is, He gives us Jesus Christ Himself to dwell
in our hearts by faith. And Jesus Christ keeps us.
Can we trust Christ to do it?   
An unknown Christian

Reader, I came across this story some time ago and
it caught my attention--after I thought about it for
awhile. May you find him adequate to deliver you
out of every dominating sin. He really is our victory!