My God, my Father, Blissful Name!

Anne Steele’s mother died at age 3, she became an invalid at 19, and at age 21 her husband drowned the day before she was to be married. Many of her hymns were written from learning to depend upon Him in this grief. Only a heart that truly knows peace and rest in Him and not life’s circumstances could have written these words. The blessed assurance that His love is the same whether in loss and grief, or joy and gain.

My God, my Father, blissful Name!
O may I call Thee mine?
May I, with sweet assurance, claim
A portion so divine?

This only can my fears control,
And bid my sorrows fly:
What harm can ever reach my soul,
Beneath my Father’s eye?

Whate’er Thy providence denies,
I calmly would resign;
For Thou art just, and good, and wise;
O bend my will to Thine.

Whate’er Thy sacred will ordains,
O give me strength to bear;
And let me know my Father reigns,
And trust His tender care.

If pain and sickness rend this frame,
And life almost depart,
Is not Thy mercy still the same,
To cheer my drooping heart?

If cares and sorrows surround,
Their power why should I fear?
My inward peace they cannot wound,
If thou, my God, art near.

– Written by Anne Steele

“In acceptance lieth peace…” – Amy Carmichael

“In pain setteth the jewel of His joy.” – Lilias Trotter

1Pe_4:13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

2Co_8:2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.


Never Let Any Man Become Necessary To You

BY A.W. TOZER

To the one who is advance enough to hear it I would say, “Never let anyone become necessary to you.”

Be meek enough to learn from the lowly and wise enough to learn from the enlightened. Be quick to profit by the experiences of others and stay alert to the voice of wisdom from whatever direction it may sound. As the bee soars for nectar where the blossoms are thickest, so you must search for spiritual nectar where it is most likely to be found, which is among those Christians who are the most consecrated, the most prayerful and the most experienced.

But never attach yourself to any man as a parasite. Adopt no man as a guru. Apart from the inspired writers of Holy Scriptures no man is worthy of such confidence. The sweetest saint can be mistaken.

I repeat, never let any man become necessary to you. Christ alone is necessary. Apart from Him we are completely wretched; without Him we cannot live and dare not die. Our need of Him is real and vital and will outlast time and go on into eternity.

That deep and desperate need is met by Christ so completely that when we have Him we need no one else. We may receive help from our fellow Christians as they from us, but our need for them is relative and fleeting. Let anyone become spiritually indispensable to us and we have deserted the Rock to build on shifting sand.

Pioneer

Someone just sent this to me in an email and it was very timely and encouraging. Though the path seems lonely, though many are near, the Father is nearest! And He knows “the path that I take.”

[Chorus]
Pioneer, Pioneer
Keep pressing onwards beyond your fears
And only your Father goes before you to your own frontier
You’re a Pioneer

[Verse 1]
Uncharted wilderness stretches before you
And you thrive on going where no one has gone
Still it gets lonely when darkness deepens
So sing by the fire until the dawn

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]
You travel light and you travel alone
And when you arrive nobody knows
But your Father in heaven, He is glad you can go
Cause those who come after you will need the road

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]
And what you have done, others will do
Bigger and better and faster than you
But you can’t look back, you gotta keep on pressing through
There’s a wilderness pathway and it’s calling you

[Last chorus]
Calling you, calling you clear
Keep pressing onwards, you can’t stay here…
And only your Father goes before you to your own frontier
You’re a Pioneer

Breaking Your Plateau

Today I was thinking about the differences between a plateau and a mountain spiritually. Why do we seem to plateau some times? I have heard people talk about their weight hitting a “plateau.” When we hit a plateau spiritually, how do we overcome that? Well….we don’t…but the Lord does. 🙂 When a flower grows, it has no choice as to when it’s watered or when it receives sunlight, and He even makes the wind to blow and the seasons to change to make it stronger. It is given these things because the God of all creation knows what it needs in order to grow…and when…and how much. He “satisfies”His creation. (Ps. 104:13)

I have never been someone to “deal well” with change. I like things to stay the same, though I like new things and new adventures, I also like when some things stay consistent, but when they change it can throw me off for a little while until I get my grounding again. But why is this? Perhaps I am not rooted and grounded enough, and it is the Lord who is trying to strengthen me. This entry helped me to realize the need for new seasons of life and change in a general sense. The Lord uses these things in order so that we do not hit a plateau but instead work many spiritual muscles to gain strength in our walk with Him. The stronger we are in abounding faith the more we can minister in His grace and “enlarge our tents” and “our hearts” (Is. 54:2, Ps. 119:32)

When I googled “faith Plateau” this person’s blog came up..and I thought they put it very well.

Plateau: verb ( -teaus, -teaued, -teauing) [ intrans. ]
reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress

Anyone who exercises consistently will eventually reach a plateau. In other words, they stop growing after strong initial progress. Our muscles respond to stress by getting stronger. By doing the same exercises over and over our muscles begin to “think” that this is the worst it will get…they get used to the stress and quit growing. Their plateau is evidenced by reaching “a state of little or no change.”

To keep our muscles guessing and growing trainers recommend mixing up the exercises. This keeps the targeted muscles from becoming complacent and helps us to grow.

Our faith is the same. If we are not stretching and creating stress our faith can plateau like our muscles and fitness. We can argue that we are exercising our faith and, in fact, we might be. But, we can reach a state of little or no change if we don’t “mix it up.”  Our spirit lives will become bolder and stronger when we keep it under stress…in other words when we stretch our faith we become stronger!

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch our the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare…lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes!Isaiah 54:2

Exercise your faith daily

Draw near to God and He will Draw near to you…James 4:8

Believe for others as well as for yourself

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…James 5:16

Expect results

…how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11

Pray according to God’s will and read the Bible to find out His will

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Go bold…Go strong

So let us come boldly before the throne room of grace. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

No Pain; No Gain…Sweat produces results

Consider it a gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides…Under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed. James 1:2-4

Stretch your faith by ACTING on your faith

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18
-Written by Jim Crumbley

In the Secret of His Presence by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh

In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.

When my soul is faint and thirsty, ’neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter, and a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me, as we hold communion sweet:
If I tried, I could not utter what He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! and my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me? What a false Friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.

A Bull’s Eye

(Written by Zac Poonen)

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:26 that he had a very definite aim in what he was doing. He didn’t fight or run aimlessly. He ran towards a definite goal. He fired at a definite target.

I remember the days when we cadets were being taught to shoot with rifles in the military academy. We had to lie down on the ground, a few feet apart from each other, with rifles in our hands. Each of us had a target-board some yards in front of us, marked with a number of concentric circles, with a point in the centre called the “bull’s eye”. When we first began shooting, our aim was highly inaccurate. Some of us would be hitting the next person’s target and not our own!! After a while we learnt to hit our own targets.

That’s how it often is with many Christians too. They hit other people’s targets and not their own. They are busybodies in other people’s matters. But if they work out their own salvation, they will gradually learn to hit their own target and finally hit the bull’s eye.Then their aim would have become perfect. Paul’s aim was perfect. He didn’t judge others. He judged himself and subdued his own body. And so he fought a good fight and finished his course (2 Tim.4:7).

Our eyes and our tongue are the two members of our body that we need to discipline the most.

We invite unbelievers to give their hearts to Christ. But the Lord asks us to give Him our bodies (Rom.12:1) – and He asks especially for our eyes and our tongues. If we don’t give Him these, all the time, we cannot expect to be bondslaves or spokesmen of Christ, or to stand approved by God in the final day.

If we don’t keep our eyes under control – at home, in the bus, on the road and in our place of work – we will find that even if we preach like angels, we will be disqualified by God in the final day. Many servants of God through the centuries have fallen because they were not careful with their eyes. They allowed their eyes to wander and look at pretty girls, and soon one thing led to another, and they fell into sin. It is not enough to say that we don’t lust after women. The Bible warns us not even to admire a woman’s BEAUTY, lest it bring us to spiritual poverty (Prov.6:25,26). How careful we must be then.

We have to be careful in the same way with our tongues. God will not use the tongue of a man to preach His Word, if that man allows his tongue to be used by Satan at other times. The Lord told Jeremiah, “If you separate the precious from the worthless (in your conversation), then you will become My spokesman” (Jer.15:19).  We must never speak anything that does not come from a heart of goodness. That’s not easy to do, because we are so weak in this area. We have to be ruthless if we are to discipline our tongues.

I am sure there must have been many young people in our land whom God had called in past days to His service, whom He had planned to make His prophets in India. But they did not become prophets, because they were not careful to discipline their eyes and their tongues. They did not subdue their bodies.

We are called members of the Body of Christ, because that expresses an intimateinward relationship with Christ the Head, just like our bodily members have with our brains in our physical bodies.

Jesus was faithful to keep every part of His body available exclusively for His Father (His Head). It is written in Romans 15:3 that He never pleased Himself. He never sought His own pleasure in the way He used His eyes or His tongue. He did not look at what He wanted to. Nor did He speak what He wanted to. He always sought to do what pleased His Father. Thus He presented His body without any blemish to His Father and became the perfect spokesman of His Father to the world (Heb.9:14). That is how we are to live too, as members of His spiritual Body now.

To be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus is to have a burning desire to present ourselves to God without any blemish.

If we want to build the church as the Body of Christ, we must gather together all those who are eager to present their bodies to God thus, and who are really keen to make their bodies their slaves.

Each time we miss the bull’s eye, we must mourn for our failure. We must mourn when our eyes are not absolutely pure. We must mourn when our tongues have spoken something that was not spoken in absolute goodness.

All-Sided Guidance by Francis R. Havergal

I have been reading a new devotional called ‘My King and His Service’ by Francis R. Havergal. I skipped ahead a little and found this entry. And it touched my heart so.

‘And guided them on every side.’—2 Chron. xxxii. 22.

SEE the completeness of Jehovah’s guidance! It is so different from human guidance. How seldom we feel that a human counsellor has seen our difficulty from every point of view, balanced all its bearings, and given guidance which will meet all contingencies, and be right not only on one side, but ‘on every side.’ But ‘His work is perfect’1 in this as in all other details; He will guide ‘when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Perhaps we have gone about as Ely mas did in his mist and darkness, ‘seeking some to lead him by the hand,” putting confidence in earthly guides,and finding again and again that ‘it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,’* and getting perplexed with one-sided counsels. Let us to-day put our confidence in His every-sided guidance.

Very often, the very recoil from an error lands us in an opposite one; because others, or we ourselves, have gone too far in one direction, we thenceforth

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do not go far enough, or vice versa: excess re-acting in defect, and defect in excess; a received truth overshadowing its equally valuable complementary one; the fear of overstepping the boundary line of the narrow track of truth and right, on the one side, leading us unconsciously to overstep it on the other side. But the promise which we should claim is, that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth, ‘on every side.’1

How intensely restful is this completeness of guidance! There is nothing outside of God’s all inclusive promises about it. ‘I will direct all his ways.” ‘I will direct their work in truth.” Not only the general course, but ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ;’1 and what is less than a single step! Just realize this: every single little step of this coming day ordered by Jehovah! And lest you should sigh, ‘This is not for me, because I am not good,’ He repeats the same assurance still more simply: ‘The Lord directeth his steps.” Now if we really believe these words, need we feel worried because we cannot see the steps ahead which Jehovah is going to direct, if we will let Him ?«

If we will let Him! Yes, this is no fatalistic leading. The guidance is conditional. He says, ‘I will guide thee with Mine eye;” but then we must look up to meet His eye. ‘Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel ;’8 but then we must listen for and listen to His counsel. ‘He shall direct thy paths;”

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but it is when we acknowledge Him in all our ways.2 He does not lead us whether or no!

Suppose a little child is going with its father through an untracked wood. If it walks ever such a little way apart, it will make many a lost step; andthough the father will not let it get out of sight and hearing, will not let it get lost, yet he may let it find out for itself that going just the other side of this tree leads it into a hopeless thicket, and stepping just the other side of this stone leads it into a muddy place, and the little steps have to be retraced again and again, till at last it asks the father to hold its hand, and puts and leaves its hand in his. Then, and not till then, there will be no lost step, for it is guided ‘on every side.’

Need the little child go on a little longer by itself first? Had it not better put its hand into the father’s at once? Will you not do so ‘ from this time ‘?2 from this morning? Give up trying to pick your way; even if the right paths in which He leads you are paths that you have not known, say, ‘Even there shall Thy hand lead me.’3 Let Him teach you His paths,4 and ask Him to make not your way, but ‘Thy way straight before my face. ‘5 So shall you find the completeness and the sweetness of His guidance. For ‘the Lord shall guide thee continually,” ‘by the springs of waters shall He guide’ thee ;T He shall be the guide of your youth, and carry you even unto your old age ;8 He will be your guide even unto death,9 and beyond: for one strain of the

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song of the victorious ones that stand upon the sea of glass mingled with fire shall be, ‘Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy Holy habitation.”

‘I know not the way I am going,

But well do I know my guide;
With a childlike trust I give my hand

To the Mighty Friend at my side:

And the only thing that I say to Him
As He takes it, is: “Hold it fast;

Suffer me not to lose my way,
And lead me home at last.”‘

The godly man’s crosses, losses and sorrows

(Charles Spurgeon, “Treasury of David”)

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season 
and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3

Blessed is the man who has such a promise as this! But we must not always estimate the fulfillment of a promise–by our own eye sight.How often, my brethren, if we judge by feeble sense, may we come to the mournful conclusion of Jacob, “All these things are against me!”For though we know our interest in the promise, yet we are so tried and troubled–that sight sees the very reverse of what that promise foretells. But to the ‘eye of faith’ this word is sure, and by it we perceive that we are prospered, even when everything seems to go against us.

It is not outward prosperity which the Christian most desires and values; it is soul prosperity which he longs for. Even in adversity, there is a true prospering, for it is often for the soul’s health–that we would be poor, afflicted and tried. Our worst things–are often our best things! As there is a curse wrapped up in the wicked man’s mercies–so there is a blessing concealed in the godly man’s crosses, losses and sorrows. The trials of the saint are a divine husbandry, by which he grows and brings forth abundant fruit.

Don’t worry about the package!

(J.R. Miller)

“No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Beyond the River of Sorrow, there is a Promised Land. Just so, no trial for the present seems joyous, yet afterward it leads to blessing. There are rich possibilities for good–beyond every pain and trial. There are green fields–beyond Jordan’s sorrowsOur disappointments are really God’s appointments, and bring rich rewards. God takes our losses–and molds them into gains for us. There is nothing really evil in the experiences of a Christian, for “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Our Father sends us nothing but good. Don’t worry about the package! Be it dull or attractive–it enfolds a ‘gift of love’!

The mark of healthy spiritual life

(J.R. Miller)

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God!” Psalm 42:1-2

Hunger is a mark of health–and the lack of appetite proclaims disease. The cessation of the desire for knowledge, shows that intellectual growth has ended.

Just so in spiritual life–dissatisfaction is the token of health. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Blessed are the unsatisfied. Blessed are those who long for more and more. The mark of healthy spiritual life, is an intense thirst for God, and a deep, passionate yearning for closer, fuller, richer, more satisfying communion with Christ Himself. The ideal Christian life is one of insatiable thirst, of unquenchable yearning, of divine discontent–wooed ever on by visions of an increase in spiritual life, new joy, and new attainments in Christlikeness. The best thing in us, is never what we now are, nor what we have already reached–but the longing for that which is yet higher and holier.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14