A Poem for Difficult Days

3053Lord, Just today I read
That Paul and Silas were
Stripped and beaten
With wooden whips.
“Again and again the rods
Slashed across their bared backs”
But in their desolate dungeon
Their feet clamped in stocks
They prayed.
They sang.
They praised.
In this musty midnight of my life
Imprisoned in the dungeon of confusion
Bound by chains of anguish
Help me, please help me
To pray
To sing
To praise
Until the foundation shakes
Until the gates fling open
Until the chains fall off
Until I am free
To share the Good News
With other chain-bound prisoners.

—Ruth Harms Calkin,
Tell Me Again, Lord, I Forget

Advertisements

I am a minister.

preacher-black-and-white-silhouetteMy challenge is big.  My vision is clear.  My desire is strong.  My influence is eternal.  My impact is critical.  My values are solid.  My faith is tough.  My mission is urgent.  My purpose is unmistakable.  My direction is forward.  My heart is genuine.  My strength is supernatural.  My reward is promised.

And my God is real.

I refuse to be dismayed, disengaged, disgruntled, discouraged, or distracted.  Neither will I look back, stand back, fall back, go back or sit back.  I do not need applause, flattery, adulation, prestige, stature or veneration.  I have no time for business as usual, mediocre standards, small thinking, normal expectations, average results, ordinary ideas, petty disputes or low vision.  I will not give up, give in, bail out, lie down, turn over, quit or surrender.

I am a minister.  That is what I do.

 Author Unknown

Revelations and Vain Imaginings

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.”  John 14:16

Spurgeon Picture-2Take care never to impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by people — I hope they were insane — who have said that they have had this and that revealed to them.

There has not for some years passed over my head a single week in which I have not been pestered with the ‘revelations’ of hypocrites or maniacs. Semi lunatics are very fond of coming
with messages from the Lord to me, and it may save them some trouble if I tell them once for all
that I will have none of their stupid messages. When my Lord and Master has any message to me he knows where I am, and he will send it to me direct, and not by madmen.

Never dream that events are revealed to you by heaven, or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to the Holy Spirit.

If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense, trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God.

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the word of God already — he adds nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let persons who have revelations of this, that, and the other,
 go to bed and wakeup in their senses. I only wish they would follow the advice, and no longer insult the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at his door.

From Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, “THE PARACLETE” No. 1074

For the time has come indeed…

“Ten Indictments Against the American Church,” by Paul Washer, is a long sermon that was preached on October 22, 2008 at a Conference in Atlanta, GA.  It is  a message that preachers and churches today desperately need to hear. . . again and again.

The Ten Indictments:

1. A practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture.

2. An ignorance of God.

4. An ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.3. A failure to address man’s malady.

5. An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration.

6. An unbiblical gospel invitation.

7. Ignorance regarding the nature of the Church.

8. A lack of loving and compassionate Church discipline.

9. A silence on separation.

10. Lack of children being taught in the home.

May God stir His people with His Word, by His Spirit, because of His Son, for the glory of His name . . .

For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

You can download the free ebook here:

9781300462651_p0_v1_s260x420

Great Questions for Christian Teens

tumblr_mcz50l0COT1ri5mzgo1_500

How would you describe yourself?

1. Are you on fire for God?

2. Are you for the first time realizing that you may not be a Christian?

3. Are you beginning to take your personal relationship with God more seriously?

4. Does your life resemble the values of the world more than the Word?

5. Do you love holiness and hate sin?

6. Do you strive to fight the sin of your heart and not simply address your sinful behaviors?

7. Do you like attending church?

8. Do you appreciate and obey your parents?

9. Do you enjoy reading and studying the Bible?

10. Are you prepared for the new freedoms in your life now that you’re getting older?

11. Do you have strong personal convictions?

12. Are you getting ready to head off to college and move away from your family for the first time in your life?

13. Are you experiencing significant anxiety as you think of the future?

~ Taken from “Growing Up Christian” by Karl Graustein

The Race

MarathonPart 1:
“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!”
They shout out and plead.
“There’s just too much against you now,
This time you can’t succeed!”

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates by being.

Part 2:
A children’s race – young boys, young men
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear;
It wasn’t’ hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope;
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side,
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went,
Young hearts and hopes afire!
To win, to be the hero there,
Was each young boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought
“My dad will be so proud!”

But as he sped down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd,
He fell flat on is face.

But as he fell, his dad stoop up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said,
“Get up and win the race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that’s all –
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than he legs;
He slipped and fell again!

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn’t try to race.”

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face,
That steady look which said again,
“Get up and win the race!”

So he jumped up to try again,
Ten yards behind the last –
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought,
“I’ve got to move real fast.”

Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
“There’s no sense running anymore;
Three strikes, I’m out, why try?”

The will to try had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone,
A loser all the way.

“I’ve lost; so what’s the use,” he thought.
“I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he’d have to face.

“Get up!” an echo sounded low.
“Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race!”

With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said,
“You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is not more than this –
To rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more,
And with new commit,
He resolved that win or lose,
At least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he’d ever been
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling,
Three times he’d rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed first place,
Head high, proud and happy,
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, un-proud,
You would have thought he won the race
Just listening to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said,
“I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said.
“You rose each time you fell!”

(Not sure who wrote this poem.  It has been attributed to different people.  For the sake of this post we’ll just say, “Author Uncertain.” – For our son Jordan, in his second year of Jr. High Cross-country!)