an individualistic experience of solitude, defined by the amount of time spent
in protracted periods of communion alone with God, but an active obedience to God's commands that
practically demonstrates love to others and is integrally involved in Jesus's
mission to the world. Christian
spirituality, properly understood is a spirituality of engagement, not
withdrawal…There is nothing inherently spiritual about the study of Scripture
if that study does not lead to obedient, active application.
How could Hudson Taylor have imagined, for example, that the robbery that left him in such distress upon this journey was to result in the deliverance of the entire mission he was yet to found, during a period of financial danger? How could he suppose that the upset of all his plans and the severance of a partnership in service more precious than any he had ever known was to prove the crowning blessing of his life on the human side, bringing him into association and at last union with the one of all others most suited both to him and his work?
But so it is God leads. His hand is on the helm. We are being guided even when we feel it least. The closed door is as much His providence as the open, and equally for our good and the accomplishment of His own great ends. And one learns at last that it is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessing so much as what He is doing through us when we least expect it.
- Dr. and Mrs Howard Taylor
Quote from their book:
The Growth of a Soul: Hudson Taylor in the Early Years
...Yes, that is how it
ever has been, ever must be with the people of God. Until we are carried quite out of our depth,
beyond all our own wisdom and resources, we are not more than beginners in the
school of faith. Only as everything
fails us and we fail ourselves, finding out how poor and weak we really are,
how ignorant and helpless, do we begin to draw upon abiding strength. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in
Thee," not partly in Thee and partly in himself. The devil often makes men strong, strong in
themselves to do evil…. The Lord on the contrary makes His servant weak, puts
him in circumstances that will show him his own nothingness, that he may lean
upon the strength that is unfailing. It
is a long lesson for most of us, but it cannot be passed over until deeply
learned. And God Himself thinks no
trouble too great, no care too costly to teach us this.
It is certainly to be deplored that error and
fanaticism have been so often mingled with prophetic studies. God has been thereby dishonored, and his word
profaned. The lips of scoffers have been
opened in taunt and derision, while timid believers have kept silence, as if
unable to reply.
We need not keep silence. Let us admit the fact on which the mockery is
founded, and there let it rest. It will
humble us; it will inspire caution; it will teach us wisdom, but it will do no
more. It will not deter us from such
studies, nor will it lead us to impeach the Word of God for consequences in
which man alone is the delinquent. It
will not lead us to join in the fears of the over-prudent respecting the
perilous nature of these investigations, nor to relinquish the field as either
impracticable, or barren, or injurious.
Because visions of futurity, drawn professedly from Scripture, have,
with unholy fire, kindled some burning fancies into the wildness of a frenzied
enthusiasm……are we, therefore, to shut up the prophetic record, and turn away
our eyes from pages tamped so broadly with the seal, and encircled so brightly
with the blessing of God? Are the
prophets to be treated as if belonging to the kindred of the sybils, and their
books to be buried out of sight? Nothing more profane has ever been uttered
against Scripture, than that the study of any part of it is fitted to unhinge
the mind, or raise its temperature beyond the point of calm and solemn
inquiry. No Romanist ever promulgated an
idea so indefensible as that any region of Scripture is unfruitful or forbidden
ground, to be employed merely as a field out of which a casual text may be
culled as taste or fancy may incline; that whole chapters and books of
Scripture are wrapt in such studied mystery that the very endeavor to
understand them betokens rashness and folly.
"Secret things belong to God," says
an objector. Most certainly; and whoever
insists on prying into God's secrets will only proclaim his own pride and
plunge himself into profounder ignorance.
But prophecy is no secret thing; it is a thing revealed. It is not truth over which God has drawn the
veil. It is just the opposite. It is truth from which God has withdrawn the
veil, on purpose that we may know it and profit by it.……We hear much of the
difference between things essential and things non-essential; but who will
undertake to draw the dividing line? Or
who will venture to affirm that the prophetic portions of the Word are its
non-essentials? Do not such truths as
the advent, the resurrection, the judgment, form some of the chief scenes of
prophecy; and are these non-essentials?
Strange, truly strange, that man should make such a division of the Word
of God! Stranger still, that he should
make it for the purpose of excusing himself for the neglect of so large and
precious a portion of revelation. Is not
the fact of its being revealed enough to show us that God thought it essential;
or if not essential absolutely and with reference to salvation, at least
essential relatively and as pertaining to holiness? If a man will persist in calling it
non-essential, surely he will not irreverently pronounce it unimportant? And if it be admitted to be important, then
surely all farther argument is at end.
It must be studied. We dare not
overlook or postpone the duty.
Satan has now
transformed himself into an angel of light, and under this fair disguise he is
working with marvelous success. He is
teaching us to build the tombs of our fathers, that we may rest content with
the mere approbation of their principles without any imitation of their
practice. He leads some astray into
fatal error under the pretext of candor and love of truth; others he saturates
with the orthodoxy of the head, that they may become Indifferent to the state
of their heart before God. Some he
persuades to deny the Bible; to others he lauds it, that he may make it a
substitute for the God of the Bible. He
cries up faith, that he may set it as a substitute for the object of
faith. With some he denies the
possibility of assurance, that he may keep them from peace with God; with
others he maintains the necessity of it, only in order that he may lead them to
make a god of it, and substitute their being sure of salvation for believing in
the Savior. He cries down the
Arminianism of making works our Savior, that he may lead us into the more
subtle delusion of making a Savior of our faith. He allows us a wide range of religious
feeling and sentiment, if he can only succeed in making them a substitute for
God. He hinders not our being serious,
earnest, solemn, if he can thereby feed the cravings of a restless, empty soul
with something which may prevent us from seeking the bread of life. He permits us to denounce the world's vanity
and hollow pleasures - to be weary of its unsatisfying round of folly, that he
may delude us into the idea that this dissatisfaction with the world is a proof
that we are religious, and thereby cause us to sit down contented when yet a
great way off from our Father's house.
He tolerates the circulation of useful, nay, of religious knowledge,
that we may rest satisfied with something short of the fullness of God
himself. He may countenance, too, the
routine of religious societies or Church courts, and the false excitement of
crowded assemblies, eloquent speeches, glowing reports, that he may administer
thereby that opiate to the soul by which it may be kept in a delusive
day-dream, which seems so like the "sober certainty of waking bliss,"
that we cannot think of breaking the luxury of the pleasant spell. He inculcates the necessity of providing for
our children what is called a liberal education, that he may make that a
substitute for a father's blessing and a mother's prayers. He urges the obligation of Christian
liberality, the necessity of large funds, that he may bring men to rest
religious enterprise upon funds, not upon faith, - upon prudence, not on
These outward things
may be in themselves right and good, but what are they without the indwelling
Spirit? What is truth without the True
One? What is the perfection of Church order
without the vital power from above? -
The body is there, but the living spirit has fled; the alter and the sacrifice
are there, but the fire from heaven descends not; the temple is perfect and the
worshippers are thronging its courts, but the glory is departed, Jehovah has
left his shrine!
I am consistently struck during my travels how a bond is immediately created with other believers, regardless of the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences between us. In many respects, this bond is stronger than the biological bonds that exist between father and son, or mother and daughter. In face, Jesus plainly says that his advent will break such biological bonds, and if we are not willing to forsake these natural relationships when necessary, we have no business seeking a supernatural relationship with Christ. - Victor Kuligin
Freedom from sin is only granted to Christians. Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells believers that they have not been seized by any temptation that cannot be overcome. He is not talking to non-Christians, who Paul establishes elsewhere are controlled by the sinful flesh and cannot do anything spiritually pleasing to God (Rom. 8:7-8)...."...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh..."(Gal 5:16-17). Again, this command is to Christians. Unbelievers cannot "walk by the Spirit." However, believers walking by the Spirit have the ability to "not gratify the desires of the flesh ." If this is true, that no temptation has ever come across a Christian that is not common to all, and that sin is nothing more than a Christian yielding to his fleshly desires, then how can addiction as commonly understood (i.e., uncontrollable urges and impulses) actually exist for believers? ......Granted, sin can certainly feel irresistible, but perhaps it feels that way because we capitulate to it far too readily. We have not built up the essential perseverance to repel it. We have repeatedly said yes, and like muscles that have atrophied from disuse, our spirit has become weak because we have not exercised the fortitude to resist temptation as we ought.
- Victor Kuligin
Quote from his book:
The Language of Salvation: Discovering the Riches of What it Means to Be Saved
As long as we treat
sin as a minor category, we will always question the atoning death of the
God-man to solve our problem. Show me a
person who questions the incarnation and you have shown me a person who takes
the categories of sin and God's holiness rather lightly…..The second step is to
belittle God. The biblical picture of
God banishing Adam and Eve from Eden for eating a piece of forbidden fruit is
replaced with a God who will basically put up with anything. He is a God more interested in sincerity than
holiness, content to tolerate anything we do because he has a love affair with
human free will.
….Once we have
neutered God of the attribute of his holy wrath and toned down talk of sin by
minimizing its dastardly effects - fashioning ourselves as good people who
occasionally err - we have effectively removed the requirement for atonement. It is then a short step to questioning the
incarnation. Why insist on God becoming
human and solving a problem we are quite capable of solving ourselves? The modern propensity to downplay the divinity of Jesus is tied to a
watered-down version of what constitutes sin, and a wishy-washy portrayal of a
God too tolerant and friendly to worry about it.
Quote from his book:
The Language of Salvation: Discovering the Riches of What it Means to Be Saved
The longing to see
Christ that burned in the breasts of those first Christians seems to have
burned itself out. All we have left are
the ashes. It is precisely the
'yearning' and the 'fainting' for the return of Christ that has distinguished
the personal hope from the theological one.
Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine is a poor substitute for Christ
and familiarity with New Testament eschatology will never take the place of a
love-inflamed desire to look on His face.
If the tender
yearning is gone from the advent hope today there must be a reason for it; and
I think I know what it is, or what they are, for there are a number of
them. One is simply that popular
fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the
beauty of the One who died on it. The
saved man's relation to Christ has been made contractual instead of
personal. The 'work' of Christ has been
stressed until it has eclipsed the person of Christ. Substitution has been allowed to supersede
identification. What He did for me
seems to be more important than what He is to me. Redemption is seen as an across-the-counter
transaction which we 'accept,' and the whole thing lacks emotional
content. We must love someone very much
to stay awake and long for his coming, and that may explain the absence of
power in the advent hope even among those who still believe in it.
Another reason for
the absence of real yearning for Christ's return is that Christians are so
comfortable in this world that they have little desire to leave it. For those leaders who set the pace of
religion and determine its content and quality, Christianity has become of late
remarkably lucrative. The streets of
gold do not have too great an appeal for those who find it so easy to pile up
gold and silver in the service of the Lord here on earth. We want to reserve the hope of heaven as a
kind of insurance against the day of death, but as long as, we are healthy and
comfortable, why change a familiar good for something about which we actually
know very little? So reasons the carnal
mind, and so subtly that we are scarcely aware of it.
Again, in these
times religion has become jolly good fun right here in this present world, and
what's the hurry about heaven anyway?
Christianity, contrary to what some had thought is another and higher
form of entertainment. Christ has done
all the suffering. He has shed all the
tears and carried all the crosses; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His
heartbreak in the form of religious pleasures modeled after the world but
carried on in the name of Jesus. So say
the same people who claim to believe in Christ's second coming.
"Snacking (on isolated verses in the Bible) hides things to be sure, but it also distorts the things it does show us. For example, ,the Snacking Bible is not great
news. It has gospel verses, but no gospel, because the gospel is the
announcement of a particular turn of events within an ongoing story. The gospel is not a sentence about
justification by faith or a verse reference on the forgiveness of my sins. The gospel is not the Romans Road. The gospel is not John 3:16. What the apostles Paul and John wrote - what
God's Spirit enkindled in them - was something entirely different than these
boiled-down reductions. Evangelist D. L.
Moody said he could write the gospel on a dime.
Well, Paul and John couldn't, and didn't."
We do have our favorites.
They tend to fall into the general category of Scripture
Encouragement. There are many sacred
words and they say many things, but it’s the Bible Balm that has caught our
eye. With a partitioned Bible preparing
so many options for us, you might think it would be hard to choose. But no.
The people have voted. The
customers know what they want.
· * Jeremiah 29:11
· * John 10:10
· * Philippians 4:13
· * Joshua 1:9
If you didn’t already know, the addresses direct us to
know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
·“I can do
everything through him who gives me strength.”
strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Good, positive verses all.
But the shocking news to most people is that there is a parallel
universe Bible. It is rarely talked
about and almost never explored. In that
other world every positive and negative is reversed. Every verse has its anti-verse. In the parallel universe Bible, the favorite
· * Deuteronomy 28:29
· * 2 Corinthians 2:16
· * Isaiah 49:4
· * Deuteronomy 28:65
What? You don’t know these?
You’ve never seen them on a scenic piece of Christian framed art? OK, well, here’s what they say:
be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and
robbed, with no one to rescue you.”
an aroma that brings death.”
labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all”
will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.”
The real revelation may be that these anti-verses too are in
the Bible (our Bible, in this universe).
They are set apart, numbered and included in the lineup just like all
the rest. It’s just that nobody ever
wants to use them. They aren’t ever
selected. They are more like bombs than
balm. But there they are. Why?
If they are unusable, why are they there? Do we need them for anything at all? (And why do I have a suspicion that anyone being
confronted with these verses will
suddenly develop a strong interest in the original context, so as to nicely
distance themselves from any unpleasant implications?)
- From "Saving the Bible from Ourselves" - By Glen Paauw
didn't treat these interruptions like intrusions, He let needy people elbow
into His life, even when His closest friends tried to block their way. In fact, one could argue that Jesus did much
of His work during moments of interruption.
We often grown annoyed at disruptions, feeling as if life has been put
on hold. When are we missing out on some
of life's holiest moments? - Apply The Word Study Bible