Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Tag
This is from the blog DUSTTOGLORY:
“Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12)
Here are two kinds of ground: fallow ground and ground that has been broken up by the plow.
The fallow field is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow. Such a field, as it lies year after year, becomes a familiar landmark to the crow and the blue jay. Had it intelligence, it might take a lot of satisfaction in its reputation: it has stability; nature has adopted it; it can be counted upon to remain always the same, while the fields around it change from brown to green and back to brown again. Safe and undisturbed, it sprawls lazily in the sunshine, the picture of sleepy contentment.
But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility; never does it feel the motions of mounting life, nor see the wonders of bursting seed, nor the beauty of ripening grain. Fruit it can never know, because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.
In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow, and the plow has come as plows always come, practical, cruel, business-like and in a hurry. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken.
But its rewards come hard upon its labors. The seed shoots up into the daylight its miracle of life, curious, exploring the new world above it. All over the field, the hand of God is at work in the age-old and ever renewed service of creation. New things are born, to grow, mature, and consumate the grand prophecy latent in the seed when it entered the ground. Nature’s wonders follow the plow.
There are two kinds of lives also: the fallow and the plowed. For example of the fallow life, we need not go far. They are all too plentiful among us.
The man of fallow life is contented with himself and the fruit he once bore. He does not want to be disturbed. He smiles in tolerant superiority at revivals, fastings, self- searching, and all the travail of fruit bearing and the anguish of advance. The spirit of adventure is dead within him. He is steady, “faithful,” always in his accustomed place (like the old field), conservative, and something of a landmark in the little church. But he is fruitless.
The curse of such a life is that it is fixed, both in size and in content. “To be” has taken the place of “to become.” The worst that can be said of such a man is that he is what he will be. He has fenced himself in, and by the same act he has fenced out God and the miracle.
Broken To Bring Forth Fruit
The plowed life is the life that has, in the act of repentance, thrown down the protecting fences and sent the plow of confession into the soul. The urge of the Spirit, the pressure of circumstances and the distress of fruitless living have combined thoroughly to humble the heart. Such a life has put away defense, and has forsaken the safety of death for the peril of life.
Discontent, yearning, contrition, courageous obedience to the will of God: these have bruised and broken the soil till it is ready again for the seed. And, as always, fruit follows the plow. Life and growth begin as God “rains down righteousness.” Such a one can testify, “And the hand of the Lord was upon me there.” (Ezek. 3:22).
Corresponding to these two kinds of life, religious history shows two phases, the dynamic and the static. The dynamic periods were those heroic times when God’s people stirred themselves to do the Lord’s bidding and went out fearlessly to carry His witness to the world. They exchanged the safe of inaction for the hazards of God- inspired progress. Invariably, the power of God followed such action. The miracle of God went when and where his people went. It stayed when His people stopped.
The static periods were those times when the people of God tired of the struggle and sought a life of peace and security. They busied themselves, trying to conserve the gains made in those more-daring times when the power of God moved among them.
Bible history is replete with examples. Abraham “went out” on his great adventure of faith, and God went with him. Revelations, theophanies, the gift of Palestine, covenants and the promises of rich blessings to come were the result. Then Israel went down into Egypt, and the wonders ceased for four hundred years. At the end of that time, Moses heard the call of God and stepped forth to challenge the oppressor. A whirlwind of power accompanied that challenge, and Israel soon began to march. As long as she dared to march, God sent out His miracles to clear a way for her. Whenever she lay down like a fallow field, God turned off His blessing and waited for her to rise again and command his power.
This is a brief but fair outline of the history of Israel and the Church as well. As long as they “went forth and preached everywhere”, the Lord worked “with them…confirming the Word with signs following” (Mark 16:20). But when they retreated to monasteries or played at building pretty cathedrals, the help of God was withdrawn ’till a Luther or a Wesley arose to challenge hell again. Then, invariably, God poured out His power as before.
In every denomination, missionary society, local church or individual Christian, this law operates. God works as long as His people live daringly: He ceases when they no longer need His aid. As soon as we seek protection out of God, we find it to our own undoing. Let us build a safety- wall of endowments, by-laws, prestige, multiplied agencies for the delegation of our duties, and creeping paralysis sets in at once, a paralysis which can only end in death.
Miracles Follow The Plow
The power of God comes only where it is called out by the plow. It is released into the Church only when she is doing something that demands it. By the word “doing”, I do not mean mere activity. The Church has plenty of “hustle” as it is, but in all her activities, she is very careful to leave her fallow ground mostly untouched. She is careful to confine her hustling within the fear-marked boundaries of complete safety. That is why she is fruitless; she is safe, but fallow.
The only way to power for such a church is to come out of hiding and once more take the danger-encircled path of obedience. Its security is its deadliest foe. The church that fears the plow writes its own epitaph. The church that uses the plow walks in the way of revival.
This is from the blog ColorStorm:
Let’s face it, there is an element of sympathy for a soul who lives ‘on the rails’ as it were; no place to call home, feeding on others leftovers, not owning a pillow, no steady job, an unfortunate identity, a ‘nobody,’ sloppy in appearance, somewhat odorous, no phone, no address, and most sadly of all, no true family.
We like to think we do not know anybody like this, for that would be an indictment of our own lack of ‘love thy neighbor’ but sadly, we do in fact know a hobo or two.
It is easy to confuse a beggar with a hobo, for we mistakenly put them in the category of lazy souls looking for a handout, with no meaningful differences, both being an encroachment to society, but the hobo is a man not afraid to work.
He finds rest on the ‘cow crates,’ those rolling freight cars bringing him to another place, looking for a moment to belong. The search is short, and a meal is traded for a small amount of labor. The hobo does not want a handout, for he has mettle in his soul.
Remember the ‘kid’ nobody wanted on their team, remember the girl who smelled funny, remember the guy who had no friends, remember the strange lad on the bus who everyone thought was from outer space? Well, these kids grew up, and to this day they have no friends.
Their peculiarity grew stronger and they were forced to a life of separation, whose days were fixed by the seeds of neglect. These ‘nobodies’ were made so by the artificial and unfounded opinions of people who looked on ‘outward appearance’ only.
These hobos became weeds of humanity, just ‘in the way’ of others good fortune, and a mere blight on an otherwise good day. Immediate thoughts of ‘get a job,’ ‘mooch,’ or ‘beggar!’ are common when we see these souls.
Perhaps more is revealed about ourselves than we would like to admit when we run into these kind, for our hearts cannot hide from the arrow of honesty; our thoughts have spoken. But the hobo is a step up from the average beggar, for this man travels the world looking for his next adventure with another strange bedroom only to be found in the great outdoors.
What then is not to like about an adventurer? Unplanned, not knowing what, when and where a day will bring, accountable to not a soul, where friendships are rare, and judgments by others are even less. Perhaps the hobo has found a way to go through life hiding from the scrutiny of others, no more fear of being ridiculed for simply waking up.
Maybe the hobo would not exist if it were not for the indifference of the privileged. This ‘bum’ has become a master of the game of ‘hide and seek,’ for hiding is easy and seeking is a necessity. He has crafted a life of unexpected predictability where the day is arranged by a pattern of decisions that always lead down the road.
The hobo is industrious and strange in the best possible way, with manners that exceed most others. He is the lone maverick who does not engage in jealousy; he simply plays the cards he has been dealt, for whatever reasons, he must live this life.
He gets no mail, has no address, does not have a phone, has no place he really must attend, and if he has a friend, that would be the greatest of jewels. Mind you, he knows a lot of other hobos, but long difference friendships with others who also have no means of communication are difficult to maintain.
It would be easy to be jealous for a hobo, in the very best way, for a life of faith is definitely called for. The charm of what city or farmland will he see the setting sun from today, brings a small upward turn of the lips when considered.
Most will find a slur at the life of a hobo, but consider the benefit of such an aloof life. Waking up like a bird and flying as the breeze permits, following the instinctual chirp of safety, feeding, water, and touching base with others. Sharing moments of life before passing on yet again, God knows where.
The hobo is probably an intellectual who never ‘fit in,’ or should I say, was never welcomed in the norm of society by they who paved the way for his solitary life. So while the hobo knows he is considered a piece of trash by some, a ‘nobody’ by most, and thought to be fool by others, yet he knows in his heart of hearts, there is value in trash, for he reads, ‘there is much food in the tillage of the poor.’ Yes, this man is a closet scholar.
Reminds me of Another who lived life without a reputation, a nobody, a person thought to be trash-like by the honorable members of the human race. This man too was homeless, but he did not beg, he had not where to lay his head, unlike foxes who at least have holes.
He was thought to have a devil, and his piercing questions revealed knowledge that was other worldly: ‘How can David’s son be David’s Lord?’ Yes, a hobo as it were, held in disdain by most, doubted by they closest to him, and understood by none. Truly a man without a country, yet strange for he owned all, yet kept under wrap his deserved majesty.
His moral glory however could not be dismissed, for he said ‘which of you convinces me of sin?’ a question for the ages still unanswered. This man was full of character, his yes was yes, and no was no. His word was good. He was okay with being known as a miscreant; he was okay being called a religious fanatic; he was okay sitting in the back of the bus; he was okay not being picked for the team, he was okay sleeping with the animals, and being homeless, well, that was expected.
While a hobo may have impeccable character, he cannot take away your sin. This One who was friend to that devilish Judas Iscariot had every reason not to ‘friend’ him, but the exquisite nature of a good man could not be hidden.
Beggar, hobo, very little difference except in the area of character, but we must guard our hearts when we face such kin. The other man of ‘unfortunate identity,’ well, that’s another story. Yes, some thought he was a hobo, a complete nobody, and in this incorrect assessment, we learn the worth of the Son of God, and if we care to learn even further, we may glimpse into the heart of man, and not enjoy what we see.
He took upon himself ‘no reputation,’ do we get this? A man whose understanding was infinite, a man in whom dwelt ALL the fullness of the Godhead, this man walked with a reputation that was ‘nothing.’ He said nothing when Herod called him a magician, and was mute when Pilate asked Him ‘what is truth?’ Yes, just another hobo.
Yet, this ‘nobody’ took upon himself the righteous wrath of a holy God against sin, something a nobody could not do. If you see a hobo say hello, offer a kind word, a glass of water, a meal, something. Not only is it decent, but you may be entertaining an angel unaware.
The First Time I Rode a Freight Train
The Helena Hobo
William Law (1686-1761)
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
By William Law
Concerning the nature and extent of Christian devotion.
“It is very observable, that there is not one command in all the Gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty that is least insisted upon in Scripture of any other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament. Whereas that religion or devotion which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life is to be found in almost every verse of Scripture. Our blessed Saviour and His Apostles are wholly taken up in doctrines that relate to common life. They call us to renounce the world, and differ in every temper and way of life, from the spirit and the way of the world: to renounce all its goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys, and have no value for its happiness: to be as new-born babes, that are born into a new state of things: to live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life: to take up our daily cross, to deny ourselves, to profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit: to forsake the pride and vanity of riches, to take no thought for the morrow, to live in the profoundest state of humility, to rejoice in worldly sufferings: to reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: to bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies, and to love mankind as God loveth them: to give up our whole hearts and affections to God, and strive to enter through the strait gate into a life of eternal glory.
“This is the common devotion which our blessed Saviour taught, in order to make it the common life of all Christians. Is it not therefore exceeding strange that people should place so much piety in the attendance upon public worship, concerning which there is not one precept of our Lord’s to be found, and yet neglect these common duties of our ordinary life, which are commanded in every page of the Gospel? I call these duties the devotion of our common life, because if they are to be practised, they must be made parts of our common life; they can have no place anywhere else.”
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Apostle: A Possible Postulate
II Timothy 2: 4
This is from the blog wordsoffaithandgooddoctrine:
“In the Western world the enemy has forsworn violence. He comes against us no more with sword and fagot; he now comes smiling, bearing gifts. He raises his eyes to heaven and swears that he too believes in the faith of our fathers, but his real purpose is to destroy that faith, or at least to modify it to such an extent that it is no longer the supernatural thing it once was. He comes in the name of philosophy or psychology or anthropology, and with sweet reasonableness urges us to rethink our historic position, to be less rigid, more tolerant, more broadly understanding.”
– A.W. Tozer
“It is impossible to be a true soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight.”
– J. Gresham Machen
“Spiritual Christians look upon the world not as a playground, but as a battleground.”
– A.W. Tozer
2 Timothy 2: 3-4: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
1 Timothy 6: 12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Ephesians 6: 11-12: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Colossians 2: 8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
1 Timothy 6: 20: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”
2 Corinthians 11: 13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
The Battle of Life
Apostle: A Possible Postulate
A Dream about General George S. Patton
Blacksmiths at Ziklag
Smith Wigglesworth, 1859-1947
Zechariah 4: 6: “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
I Corinthians 4: 20: “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”
I Thessalonians 1: 5: “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”
There is a well-known story about Smith Wigglesworth while he was riding in a passenger train. Wigglesworth was a British evangelist and faith healer in the early and mid 1900s. The train stopped at this station and this man got on board and walked into the train car that Smith Wigglesworth was sitting in. Smith was just sitting there—maybe he was reading something or maybe he was looking out of the window. The man walked near where Smith was sitting, looked at Smith and cried out, “You convict me of sin!” He then ran out of the car. Smith never said a word; it was the Power of the Holy Ghost that convicted that man of sin.
Smith Wigglesworth’s Vision for the UK and Cindy Jacob’s word from the Lord
This is from The Hitchhike Interviews blog:
I wasn’t even trying to hitch when Ray stopped. The last ride had brought me within a few miles of where I was staying, so I started walking. Ray pulled over and waved at me anyway. As with everyone, I asked why he stopped.
“Sunday they told this story in church about a guy who was waiting for a visit from Jesus. A woman came by his house to ask for some help, and he said I’m sorry I’m busy. Later a man came, and he told him the same thing. When he finally got to heaven, he said ‘Jesus I thought you were coming,’ and he said ‘I did I came to you as a woman, as a man… Anyway, I was thinking about that story and I thought I gotta pick that guy up.”
[Grovetown is in Georgia]
Hebrews 11: 21: “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
Excerpts from Tozer’s Whatever Happened To Worship?:
“Did you know that the often-quoted Jean-Paul Sartre describes his turning to philosophy and hopelessness as a turning away from a secularistic church? He says, ‘I did not recognize in the fashionable God who was taught me, Him who was waiting for my soul. I needed a Creator; I was given a businessman!'”
“The strange and wonderful thing about it is that truly winsome and loving saints do not even know about their attractiveness. The great saints of past eras did not know they were great saints. If someone had told them, they would not have believed it, but those around them knew that Jesus was living His life in them.”
“Any untrained, unprepared, unspiritual empty rattletrap of a person can start something religious and find plenty of followers who will listen and pay and promote it. It may become very evident that he or she had never heard from God in the first place.”
“True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.”
“Another kind of unacceptable worship is symbolized by the attitude of the Samaritans in the Bible. The Old Testament history reveals that Jeroboam, the first king of Israel after it became the Northern Kingdom, set up two places of worship. He wanted to be sure his people were weaned from their habit of worshiping at Jerusalem. He installed golden calves to be worshiped at Jerusalem. He installed golden calves to be worshiped in convenient places, Bethel and Dan.
“The heresy of Samaritanism—the practice of picking out what we like to worship and rejecting what we do not like—is widespread.
“Actually, it has opened up a whole new field for applied psychology and humanism under a variety of religious disguises. In this context, men and women set themselves as judges of what the Lord has said. Instead of getting down on their knees and letting the Lord judge them, they stand with pride and judge the Lord.”
“The stark, tragic fact is that the efforts of many people to worship are unacceptable to God. Without an infusion of the Holy Spirit there can be no true worship. This is serious. It is hard for me to rest peacefully at night knowing that millions of cultured, religious people are merely carrying on church traditions and religious customs and they are not actually reaching God at all.”
“In Europe many generations ago, the dear old saint of God, Brother Lawrence, was on his deathbed. Rapidly losing his physical strength, he witnessed to those gathered around him: ‘I am not dying. I am just doing what I have been doing for the past 40 years, and doing what I expect to be doing for all eternity?’
“‘What is that?’ he was asked. He replied quickly, ‘I am worshiping the God I love!'”
“The man whom God will use must be undone. He must be a man who has seen the King in His beauty.”
“How long do you think it will be, if Jesus tarries, before some of the amazing new churches like those in the primitive Baliem Valley of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, will be sending gospel missionaries to Canada and the United States?”
“Through that encounter I realized that unless we arouse ourselves spiritually, unless we are brought back to genuine love and adoration and worship, our candlestick could be removed. We may need missionaries coming to us indeed. We may need them to show us what genuine and vital Christianity is!”
“I am going to say something to you which will sound strange. It even sounds strange to me as I say it, because we are not used to hearing it within our Christian fellowships. We are saved to worship God. All that Christ had done for us in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end.”
“Why should the church of Jesus Christ be a spiritual school where hardly anyone ever graduates from the first grade?”
“The sum total of the deep and eternal wisdom of the age lies in Jesus Christ as a treasure hidden away. There is no kind of true wisdom that cannot be found within Him. All the deep eternal purposes of God reside in Him because His perfect wisdom enables Him to plan far ahead. All history becomes the slow development of His eternal purposes.”
“In relation to Jesus Christ, it has been the uniqueness and the perfection of His moral beauty that has charmed even those who claimed to be His enemies throughout the centuries of history. We do not have any record of Hitler saying anything against the moral perfections of Jesus. One of the great philosophers, Nietzsche, himself an instrument of antichristian forces in this world, died finally beating his forehead on the floor and moaning, ‘That man Jesus I love. I don’t like Paul.’
“Nietzsche objected to Paul’s theology of justification and salvation by faith, but he was strangely moved within by the perfections of moral beauty found in the life and character of Jesus, the Christ, the Lord of all beauty.”
“If you do not know Him and worship Him, if you do not long to reside where He is, if you have never known wonder and ecstasy in your soul because of His crucifixion and resurrection, your claim of Christianity is unfounded. It cannot be related to the true Christian life and experience at all.
“Meanwhile, I believe that we as Christians must become willing to allow every ugly thing in our lives to be crucified. We must indeed worship the Lord of all beauty in spirit and in truth. This is not a popular thing, for so many Christians insist that they must be entertained while they are being edified.”
“We have such smooth, almost secularized ways of talking people into the kingdom of God that we can no longer find men and women willing to seek God through the crisis of encounter. When we bring them into our churches, they have no idea of what it means to love and worship God because, in the route through which we have brought them, there has been no personal encounter, no personal crisis, no need of repentance—only a Bible verse with a promise of forgiveness.”
“I think the prophets of God saw farther into the centuries and into the mysteries of God than we can with our great modern telescopes and electronic means of measuring lights years and planets and galaxies.
“The prophets saw the Lord our God. They saw Him in His beauty, and they tried to describe Him.
“They described Him as radiantly beautiful and fair, a winsome being. They said that he was royal and that He was gracious. They described Him as a majestic being; and yet they noted his meekness. They saw Him as righteous and filled with truth. They tried to describe the manner of His love, with its gladness and joy and fragrance.
“When the prophets try to describe for me the attributes, the graces, the worthiness of the God who appeared to them and dealt with them, I feel that I can kneel down and follow their admonition: ‘He is thy Lord—worship thou Him.'”
“Two of Spurgeon’s greatest sermons were ‘God in The Silence’ and ‘God in The Storm.’ The heart that knows God can find God anywhere. I surely join with Spurgeon in the truth that a person filled with the Spirit of God, a person who has met God in a living encounter can know the joy of worshiping Him, whether in the silences of life or in the storms of life.”