Sunday, May 31, 2009

Behold the Lamb of God

In the realm of Christian music videos there are those that are pointless and others that are powerful. Thankfully, today's selection is from the latter category. If you have a heart for the lost of this world, this one will probably make you cry. So sit back with a box of Kleenex and explore the heart of the Lamb of God, our savior.

--David Phelps - Behold the Lamb


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Held Through the Storm

When everything comes crashing down around us, as Christians we have an amazing hope and promise: We will be held, comforted, and ultimately carried through the storm by our Savior.

--Natalie Grant - Held


Friday, May 29, 2009

A Warrior's Weakness

"For my strength is made perfect in weakness."

2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God's work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God's warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, "I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory," defeat is not far distant.

God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for "it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace.

Those who serve God must serve him in his own way, and in his strength, or he will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth he casteth away; he will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before he will put his own into thee; he will first clean out thy granaries before he will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which he himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

"When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song."

--from Morning and Evening by Charles Haddon Spurgeon


--photo by Ceridwen on Wikipedia Commons. Official License

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giving It Up

It is not hard to give up our rights. They are often eternal. The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. The more difficult thing still is not to seek things for ourselves at all. After we have sought them, bought them, won them, deserved them, we have taken the cream off them for ourselves already. Little cross then to give them up. But not to seek them, to look every man not on his own things, but on the things of others--that is the difficulty. "Seekest thou great things for thyself?" said the prophet; "seek them not." Why? Because there is no greatness in things. Things cannot be great. The only greatness is unselfish love. Even self-denial in itself is nothing, is almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or a mightier love can justify the waste.

--from The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Facing Your Fears

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

--Psalm 27:1 (NIV)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rush Job

Soul Strokes presents:

Bad Rhyming for a Good Reason

Rush Job

In the daily rush
and mind-numbing
of your busy life,

don't forget
to make sure
you've met

with the One
who can soothe
and completely smooth

out all those

Don't be a clod,
spend time
with God.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Music for Memorial Day

I usually don't post a video on Mondays, reserving them mainly for the weekends. However, it is Memorial Day in the United States, and this clip is a good reminder of what this day represents in this country. So for Michael W. Smith fans, here is the second of back-to-back tear-jerkers. Have a blessed and safe day.

--Michael W. Smith - There She Stands


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saying Goodbye

In many parts of the world these next two months are a time of great transition: Children are graduating from school and moving out; Daughters and sons are getting married; and some parents are preparing for that stage of life called the empty nest. The stress can sometimes cause us to die a bit inside, but our strength in these times must come from our faith in Christ's love for us and our own enduring love for those we may be "losing" in some manner. Change is inevitable in families, but thankfully love is eternal.

--Michael W. Smith - How To Say Goodbye


Saturday, May 23, 2009

All That Matters

In the swelling ranks of pointless music videos, the following clip rises to the top. However, the words of the song are excellent. Therefore, I recommend you start the video, immediately minimize it, and then listen for the message the song has to share. I doubt you will be disappointed.

--Addison Road - All That Matters


Friday, May 22, 2009


Why does the alarm clock go off when we are finally in our most comfortable position of the night? Cuddled under the blankets, the temperature is just right, we're completely relaxed, and the thought of venturing forth from our warm nest is repugnant. Yet, the adventures of the new day await, and who knows what new opportunities may come our way after we get out of that bed.

Beds aren't the only cozy places we have trouble leaving. Most of us cling to the sides of our comfort zones like oysters, having to be pried open and forcibly removed. However, unlike the hapless oyster, our exposure to the world outside our nests isn't always unpleasant. Often, God has something amazing in store for us if we will just trust His guiding hand in those unknown regions.

For example, I remember an incident several years ago where God asked me to do something that was way out of the box to my way of thinking. I tend to be very relational when it comes to personal witnessing. Oh, I can preach the Gospel to strangers from the pulpit or a blog easily enough, but in a one-on-one situation I like to know the person well before broaching the subject of Christ in order to best know how to approach them. Of course, God loves to shake my ways up now and then.

I was walking across the campus of Dakar Academy in Senegal, West Africa, when I passed a Chinese teenager sitting on a bench. As a teacher at the school, I knew of this student yet had never taught him or even spoken to him. As I passed him, though, God distinctly spoke to me to turn around and ask "Li" if he was a Christian.

What would you do in that situation? Would you rationalize that you were imagining things? After all, there were lots of people around. You might look foolish. Worse still, he might think you were pressuring him in public, possibly turning him even further away from Christ due to the embarrassment.

Thankfully, I didn't pause long enough to think too much about it. I find that when I try to analyze God's leadings I sometimes tend to talk my way out of doing something that might threaten my comfort. So, in this case I did an immediate u-turn and asked him straight out about his beliefs.

To this day I remember his exact words when asked if he was a Christian. "No," he said looking up, "but I would like to be."

That afternoon I sat on a bench with a young man I had just met and prayed with him to accept Christ as his savior. Over the next year or so we studied the Bible together. Our two families got to meet and socialize some. And then I almost drowned him baptizing him in the ocean. The last thing I heard about "Li" was that he was attending a famous Christian university in the States. He was studying to be a missionary with plans to return to mainland China to lead his own people to Christ.

God can do amazing things with us anywhere, but He often prefers it when we are out of our comfort zones and completely trusting Him with both process and results.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Before God's Throne


When with these eyes, closed now by Thee,

But then restored,

The great and white throne I shall see

Of my dread LORD;

And lowly kneeling--for the most

Stiff, then must kneel,--

Shall look on Him, at Whose high cost

--Unseen--such joys I feel:--

Whatever arguments or skill

Wise heads shall use,

Tears only and my blushes still

I will produce.

And should those speechless beggars fail,

Which oft have won,

Then taught by Thee I will prevail,

And say, Thy will be done!

--from Silex Scintillans by Henry Vaughan


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

True-Vine Life

Let man choose Life; let him daily nourish his soul; let him forever starve the old life; let him abide continuously as a living branch in the Vine, and the True-Vine Life will flow into his soul, assimilating, renewing, conforming to Type, till Christ, pledged by His own law, be formed in him.

--from Beautiful Thoughts by Henry Drummond


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stormy Seas

"Beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me."

Matthew 14:30

Sinking times are praying times with the Lord's servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry though late was not too late. In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox hies to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy seat for safety.

Heaven's great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with all sail. Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter.

Our extremities are the Lord's opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us the ear of Jesus hears, and with him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but his swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Saviour, and we may rest assured that he will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing Jesus can do all things; let us enlist his powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.

--from Morning and Evening by Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Monday, May 18, 2009

Source of Security

Sure, times are tough,
but are you really going to depend
on your money or government
to save you?

There is only one, true
source of security in life:

Jesus Christ


Sunday, May 17, 2009

He Takes Us Back

It's no secret; we mess up a lot in our Christian walk. Bad attitudes, unkind words, hurtful actions, and even deliberate sins all mar our witness and our relationship with God. Yet despite our imperfections, the wonderful truth is that when we come to Him in confession and repentance He still takes us back.

--Jeremy Camp - I'll Take You Back


Saturday, May 16, 2009

We Will Rise

Despite all of the problems we face daily in this world, what a comfort it is to know that one day we will rise and see our Redeemer face to face.

--Chris Tomlin - I Will Rise


Friday, May 15, 2009

Under His Banner

Condemned to be Shot

There was a man came from Europe to this country a year or two ago, and he became dissatisfied and went to Cuba in 1867 when they had that great civil war there. Finally he was arrested for a spy, court-martialed, and condemned to be shot. He sent for the American Consul and the English Consul, and went on to prove to them that he was no spy.

These two men were thoroughly convinced that the man was no spy, and they went to one of the Spanish officers and said, "This man you have condemned to be shot is an innocent man."

"Well," the Spanish officer says, "the man has been legally tried by our laws and condemned, and the law must take its course and the man must die."

And the next morning the man was led out; the grave was already dug for him, and the black cap was put on him, and the soldiers were there ready to receive the order, "Fire," and in a few moments the man would be shot and put in that grave and covered up, when who should rise up but the American Consul, who took the American flag and wrapped it around him, and the English Consul took the English flag and wrapped it around him; and they said to those soldiers, "Fire on those flags if you dare!" Not a man dared; there were two great governments behind those flags.

And so God says, "Come under my banner, come under the banner of love, come under the banner of heaven." God will take care of all that will come under His banner.

--from Anecdotes and Illustrations by Dwight L. Moody

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Called to Love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

--John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The God Who Speaks Today

That God is here and that He is speaking--these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.

--from The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God in Nature

Heaven, Earth, Sea, and Air
by Joachim Neander

Lo, heaven and earth, and sea and air,

Their Maker's glory all declare;

And thou, my soul, awake and sing,

To Him Thy praises also bring.

Through Him the glorious Source of Day

Drives all the clouds of night away;

The pomp of stars, the moon's soft light,

Praise Him through all the silent night.

Behold, how He hath everywhere

Made earth so wondrous rich and fair;

The forest dark, the fruitful land,

All living things do show His hand.

Behold, how through the boundless sky

The happy birds all swiftly fly!

And fire and wind and storm are still

The ready servants of His will.

Behold the waters' ceaseless flow,

For ever circling to and fro;

The mighty sea, the bubbling well,

Alike their Maker's glory tell.

My God, how wondrously dost Thou

Unfold Thyself to us e'en now!

O grave it deeply on my heart

What I am, Lord, and what Thou art!

--from The Chorale Book for England translated by Catherine Winkworth


Monday, May 11, 2009

Life's Voyage


All of us are on a voyage,
And sometimes the seas are rough.
At other times the water, so calm,
We cry out for a breath of breeze
To fill our sails and push us onward.

Some of us follow nature,
Stars and tides direct our course.
But the wisest of us choose
To follow the Heavenly Navigator
And let Him guide us home.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Voice of God

One of the most frequent questions I get when people ask me about my call to ministry is about how God speaks to me. In my case I have been blessed to have actually "heard" words in my spirit, been guided by God's word, the godly counsel of others, etc. The method seems to vary with the situation. Others have had similar or even radically different experiences from mine. The only common factors I can find in these is the assurance that you feel when God speaks that it is definitely from Him and the confirmation you get when in hindsight you see what God has done through your obedience to His will.

This Sunday's video is a beautiful addition to the topic.

--Mandisa - God Speaking


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Freedom From Perfectionism

Good music has the ability to touch our souls like almost no other medium can. When I first heard this song several months ago God used it to speak to an area of my life I have always struggled with: perfectionism. It took several listens over a period of weeks before I could get through the whole song without choking up. I have been waiting for an official video version to come out before embedding it here, and so I am happy to announce the wait is over. I recommend that you first listen to it once through with your eyes closed, though, to catch the words and avoid being distracted by the images. If the video doesn't start immediately, try hitting the play button a couple more times as sometimes Yahoo has an advertisement in front that isn't working correctly. Enjoy.

--Francesca Battistelli - Free To Be Me


Friday, May 8, 2009

Wake-up Call

I really should know better. I have been a Christian for over four decades. In that time I have had some amazing encounters with God. Promptings from the Holy Spirit that I have followed have led to people coming to Christ, successful ministries started, rescue from what would have been bad situations, etc. He has proven himself trustworthy time and time again, yet I still blow it far too many times when it comes to listening and obeying.

Case in point: I woke up suddenly this morning at 5:56 with the thought that my wife's alarm was not set for 6:30. No problem, I rationalized (big mistake!); if the alarm wasn't set I would just ask God to wake me up in another thirty minutes. Surely He would do such a little thing for me. After all, he loves us, and that way I wouldn't have to get out of bed and check the clock.

You can probably guess what happened. At 7:06 my wife sat bolt upright in bed and realized she was running late. And I, her supposedly loving husband, realized that by ignoring the Holy Spirit's quiet reminder that I was as responsible for her predicament as she was. Yes, she had neglected to set the alarm, but I had ignored my own wake-up call from God to help her out. So rather than having the satisfaction of knowing I had obeyed and ministered to my wife, instead I found myself apologizing both to her and to God. Aaargh!

As Christians we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural link to the all-knowing Father. If that is not mind-blowing enough, the fact that He cares for us so much that He will prompt our hearts in the day-to-day little things as well as the larger issues should really cause our jaws to drop. He wants to lead us in the path that is best for us, every step of the way; we just have to be willing to listen and then follow.

So what is the moral of today's post? I guess it might be that in life you might not always remember details like setting your alarm clock, but you better not forget to pay close attention to God's wake-up calls.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Transformed Heart

We love others, we love everybody, we love our enemies, because He first loved us. . . And that is how the love of God melts down the unlovely heart in man, and begets in him the new creature, who is patient and humble and gentle and unselfish.

--from The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Puzzle Pieces

Puzzle Pieces

All of us have a part to play.
We're each a piece to the puzzle
In God's holy plan.

Glimpses of blue sky
In a dark, dirty world,
We show His love to all.

But are we fitting into His purpose,
His divine call on our lives,
Or are we perhaps hanging out...

Where we don't belong?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Like Little Children

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

--Luke 18:15-17 (NIV)


Monday, May 4, 2009

Loving the Rose's Thorns


How many souls on earth there are,

Who vainly seek for peace and rest!

With me, tis otherwise by far;

Joy dwells forever in my breast.

No fading blossom is this flower,

Of its decay no fear have I;

Like fragrant rose in springtime's bower

So fair it is, yet shall not die.

Well nigh too great my gladness is,

All things I wish are mine to-day.

How can I help but show my bliss,

Who am so light at heart, so gay?

My joy I find in pain and loss,

I love the thorns that guard the rose;

With joy I kiss each heavy cross,

And smile with every tear that flows.

When clouds the sunny skies o'ercast,

And weary grows my heart the while,

My joy it is that joy is past,

And gone my Lord's consoling smile.

My peace is hid in Jesus' breast, --

May His sweet will alone be done!

What fear can mar my perfect rest,

Who love the shadow as the sun?

My peace,'tis like a child to be,

That doth not plan, nor understand;

So, when I fall, Christ raiseth me,

And leads me gently by the hand.

My childish love I manifest,

And for His grace alone implore;

Then, if He hide, my love to test,

I only love Him all the more.

My peace, it is to hide my tears,

Nor ever show my bitter pain.

What joy to suffer through the years;

To veil with flowers each galling chain!

To suffer, yet make no complaint,

Since this, my Jesus, pleases Thee!

Could any trial make me faint?

'Tis Thy sweet cross is laid on me.

My peace,-- it is with God to plead,

In prayers and tears, by day and night;

For many souls to intercede,

And say to Him, my heart's Delight:

"O Little Brother, Heavenly King!

For Thee the cross I gladly bear.

My only joy is suffering,

Since thus Thy earthly lot I share."

I long would live an exile here,

If that be Thy dear will for me;

Or soon would flee from exile drear,

If thou shouldst call me unto Thee.

Since Love's divine, celestial breath

Is all I need, my heart to bless,

What matters life, what matters death?

Love is my peace, my happiness!

January 21, 1897

--from Poems of Sr. Therese by Therese of Lisieux


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Imagining Heaven

What will Heaven be like? What will we do when we first gaze on the face and open arms of our savior welcoming us home? None of us know; we can only imagine it.

--MercyMe - I Can Only Imagine


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Only Going Through The Motions

How long do we have left on this earth? Wouldn't it be sad to get to the end of our sojourn here only to find that our faith was lukewarm at best? Do we only go through the motions in our Christianity or are we living in a way that may bring a smile to Christ's lips when we finally come home?

--Matthew West - The Motions


Friday, May 1, 2009

Pressure Point

My mini-van astonished the mechanic. Actually, only one of the tires did, but I'm sure my vehicle was playing another of its famous jokes on him. It's sneaky that way.

Think I'm crazy? Why then will the overdrive light come on randomly when I have never touched the switch? How come the fuse cover on the driver's side will act like it has snapped back into place and then pop off for no reason? Why does the CD player act like my disc is scratched when it's really blemish free? I tell you, my car has a naughty streak.

The prank my Mazda pulled on the mechanic went like this. I mentioned that my right, front tire had only about 30 pounds of pressure according to the gauge I had used and refused to take more. The tires are rated at 32 PSI, and since my other tires were a bit higher than that he lowered them down before moving to the last one. He also noted that for some reason they all tended to look a little low even with the recommended amount. When he went to put air in the right, front one, though, he jumped back. The tire already had at least 50 PSI of air pressure in it! With that much pressure on a tire with a much lower rating I'm thankful it didn't blow in all my traveling.

Of course, I don't really believe my mini-van has a mischievous nature. Like all mechanical objects it just has a few quirks. But I do think the incident with the tire has a spiritual application.

Our daily lives are full of stressful situations that tend to build up within us an internal pressure. Sometimes we are aware of the strain and find a way to "let off steam" as the saying goes. Yet many of us, myself included, get so wrapped up in our ministries or careers that we are clueless of how high the pressure level inside us is getting. On the outside we might seem normal, and in some cases a bit low or even lethargic, until the right button is accidentally pushed. Suddenly, we blow, and often the victims of the blast are our family, friends, or co-workers.

So what's the solution? What I've discovered is that when I find myself too busy to spend time with God that that is a pretty accurate gauge that I'm carrying around too much pressure. Spending time in Bible study, meditation on His ways and truths, and prayer on a daily basis tends to reduce that pressure to acceptable levels. Am I completely stress and strain free? Hardly. But maintaining my quiet time with God helps keep a balance and provides the perspective I need to not allow internal pressures to rise too high.

Is my mini-van really out to get me? No, but the stresses of the world will unless I turn them over to God daily and let Him balance me out.


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