A Prayer for Refuge and Strength {Quotable William Barclay}

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O God, you are our refuge.

When we are exhausted by life’s efforts;

When we are bewildered by life’s problems;

When we are wounded by life’s sorrows;

We come for refuge to you.

O God, you are our strength.

When our tasks are beyond our powers;

When our temptations are too strong for us;

When duty calls for more than we have to give it;

We come for strength to you.

O God, it is from you that all goodness comes.

It is from you that our ideals come;

It is from you that there comes to us the spur of high desire and the restraint of conscience,

It is from you that there has come the strength to resist temptation,

and to do any good thing.

And now as we pray to you,

Help us to believe in your love,

so that we may be certain that you will hear our prayer;

Help us to believe in your power,

so that we may be certain that you are able to do for us above all that we ask or think;

Help us to believe in your wisdom,

so that we may be certain that you will answer,

not as our ignorance asks,

but as your perfect wisdom knows best.

All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

~William  Barclay, from A Barclay Prayer Book

Are You Disappointed? {Watchman Nee Quotable}

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Disappointment–it is seemingly everywhere. It moves in and out of our lives as a reminder that we’re fallen people living with other fallen people in a fallen world. Yet our hearts long for the ideals; the perfect little life lived to the rhythm of happily ever after.  Disappointment–we can’t escape it; it must be faced. But how?

Suppose we are on a steamer which has a huge anchor. What is the use of the anchor if it stays on the steamer? It is to be cast into the water so as to stabilize the vessel. It is not to stay put on the steamer. Likewise is it with faith. Faith never believes in what is in us; faith casts itself upon the Lord Jesus. It is cast from us to Christ. Let me tell you, should the steamer be loaded with even larger anchors, it will not be steadied unless those anchors are thrown into the water. The more we look at ourselves, the more disappointed we become. But if we cast the anchor of faith onto the cross of the Lord Jesus we shall have peace. ~Watchman Nee

What does this mean to you?

I know in my own life that when I am disappointed I will often turn in on myself, obsessed with my pain, other’s offense, my failure, other’s insensitivity. Back and forth my thinking takes me deeper down into me.

Faith is what pushes us back from the dangerous rocks of self-focus. Our hope is in Christ and it is on Him that we anchor our thoughts. He who knows the disappointment of the cross can most adequately help us in our sadness. He who knows the cross also knows its power; knows there is joy after sorrow, life after death. There is resurrection. God is bigger than our disappointment!

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters with the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~Hebrews 6:19-20.

How have you learned to “cast your anchor of faith onto the cross”? Maybe you are in need of hope today? The comment box below can be used to share both ways you’ve learned to look to Christ in times of disappointment, as well as for sharing how you need hope. Let’s encourage one another.

Peace in Any Mystery {Amy Carmichael Quotable}

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Do you have unanswered prayer? Are you wondering why the hand of God appears still? For all those who are in the cleft of waiting and wondering:

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love. ~Amy Carmichael

Your prayers may be unanswered, but they are not unheard. May the love of Calvary fill up your waiting and wondering with peace and grace. “And he has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness‘” ~2 Corinthians 12:9.

Invocation by St. Augustine {Quotable}

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A PERSONAL INVOCATION

O Love of God, descend into my heart;

Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling,

And scatter there Your cheerful beams.

Dwell in the soul that longs to be Your temple;

Water that barren soil overrun with weeds and briars

And lost for lack of cultivating.

Make it fruitful with Your dew.

Come, dear Refreshment of those who languish;

Come, Star and Guide of those who sail amidst tempests.

You are the Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked.

Come now, Glory and Crown of the living,

As well as the Safeguard of the dying.

Come, Sacred Spirit;

Come, and fit me to receive You.

~St. Augustine (354-430 C.E.)

Chambers on The Relinquished Life {Lent Reflection}

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From The Relinquished Life by Oswald Chambers

It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my natural independence and self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought. It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best. To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God is to bring our soul in the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good. It is the good that hates the best, and the higher up you get in the scale of the natural virtues, the more intense is the opposition to Jesus Christ. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh” (Gal. 5:24). It is going to cost the natural in you everything, not something. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself,” and a person has to realize who Jesus Christ is before he will do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence. 

by Gustave Dore

As we consider the sober realities of Good Friday, may we not forget that discipleship calls us too through the valley of the shadow of death.

C.S. Lewis on Headship {Favorite Quote of the Week}

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We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church–read on–and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is–in her own mere nature–least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other) never despairs… (~C.S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven, p. 169-170)

 

Maybe it sounds self-serving for a woman, who’s a wife, to love this quote. However, I share it because it fills me with gratitude.  Makes me thankful for my husband. He teaches me a lot about Christ’s love for me.

Time Management {Quotable}

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O Lord, in whose hands are life and death, by whose power I am sustained, and by whose mercy I am spared, look down upon me with pity. Forgive me that I have until now so much neglected the duty which Thou has assigned to me, and suffered the days and hours of which I must give account to pass away without any endeavor to accomplish Thy will.  Make me to remember, O God, that every day is Thy gift, and ought to be used according to Thy command. Grant me, therefore, so to repent of my negligence, that I may obtain mercy from Thee, and pass the time which Thou shalt yet allow me in diligent performance of Thy commands, through Jesus Christ. Amen—Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).

What are you doing today?

Trying to Manage God {Quotable}

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Consider the following quote:

“The holy God of Scripture will not be managed by religion: he demands everything from us.  Perhaps the holy could be managed if it were merely a matter of difference and distance.  But the holy God is love.  He will not be satisfied with an occasional sacrifice or prayer.  He will not give in to our request for holy indifferences, for some space to be ourselves, for a little spot of ground to call ‘mine.’  He will not leave us alone.  He will give us no space and no time to experiment with corruption, slavery, injustice, sin, falsehood, and death.  He loves us, and therefore he will not be satisfied with anything but our total, free, receiving, and returning love.  God is holy; God is love; God is holy love–those are terrible and wonderful words.”  (Ron Highfield, Great is the Lord: A Theology for the Praise of God, 2008)

Agree or Disagree?  How does religion–or religious individuals–attempt to manage God?