Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting in Vain

Photo credit: pfv.

"Watch and pray" (Matthew 26:41)

We need to watch for prayers as well as for the answers to our prayers. It needs as much wisdom to pray rightly as it does faith to receive the answers to our prayers.

We met a friend the other day, who had been in years of darkness because God had failed to answer certain prayers, and the result had been a state bordering on infidelity.

A very few moments were sufficient to convince this friend that these prayers had been entirely unauthorized, and that God had never promised to answer such prayers, and they were for things which this friend should have accomplished himself, in the exercise of ordinary wisdom.

The result was deliverance from a cloud of unbelief which was almost wrecking a Christian life. There are some things about which we do not need to pray, as much as to take the light which God has already given. Many persons are asking God to give them peculiar signs, tokens and supernatural intimations of His will. Our business is to use the light He has given, and then He will give whatever more we need.

--from Days of Heaven Upon Earth by A.B. Simpson


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Floating Faith

Photo credit: Evie.E

"I will cause you to walk in My statutes" (Ezekiel 36:27)

The highest spiritual condition is one where life is spontaneous and flows without effort, like the deep floods of Ezekiel's river, where the struggles of the swimmer ceased, and he was borne by the current's resistless force.

So God leads us into spiritual conditions and habits which become the spontaneous impulses of our being, and we live and move in the fullness of the divine life.

But these spiritual habits are not the outcome of some transitory impulse, but are often slowly acquired and established. They begin, like every true habit, in a definite act of will, and they are confirmed by the repetition of that act until it becomes a habit. The first stages always involve effort and choice. We have to take a stand and hold it steadily, and after we have done so a certain time, it becomes second nature, and carries us by its own force.

The Holy Spirit is willing to form such habits in every direction of our Christian life, and if we will but obey Him in the first steppings of faith, we will soon become established in the attitude of obedience, and duty will be delight.

--from Days of Heaven Upon Earth - A.B. Simpson


Monday, September 28, 2009

Timely Advice

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds

"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16).

Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated ton kairon in the revised version, "Buying up for yourselves the opportunity."

The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity. They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away.

It is intimated that there are not many such moments of opportunity, because the days are evil; like a barren desert, in which, here and there, you find a flower, pluck it while you can; like a business opportunity which comes a few times in a life-time; buy it up while you have the chance. Be spiritually alert; be not unwise, but understanding what the will of God is. "Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, buying up for yourselves the opportunity."

Sometimes it is a moment of time to be saved; sometimes a soul to be led to Christ; sometimes it is an occasion for love; sometimes for patience: sometimes for victory over temptation and sin. Let us redeem it.

--from Days of Heaven Here Upon Earth by A.B. Simpson


Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Forever Friend

Where do you go in the dark and lonely times? Unfortunately, we frequently run to temporary fixes for comfort rather than relying on the One who has been with us all our lives. Perhaps we need a video like this every so often to jog our memories to the fact that we are never truly alone when we have God.

--Meredith Andrews - You're Not Alone


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Living Right

The key to contentment? Peace with God, peace with yourself, and living in a way that will be full of good memories and few regrets. This Saturday's music video reminds us about pursuing life's proper priorities.

--Point of Grace - How You Live


Friday, September 25, 2009

When Mourning Comes

For our final post in this work week's series on pointed Christian videos, we have a sobering reminder of how to help those who are grieving. May the clip provide food for thought, and may you also have a wonderful weekend in the Lord.

--The Skit Guys - Mourning Booth


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who Call the Shots?

So, when push comes to shove, who is really in the driver's seat of your life, you or Christ? Be thinking about your answer as you watch this clip.

--OneTimeBlind - The Stool


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Words or Deeds?

Do our children follow our examples too closely? This funny yet pointed clip is, sadly, often true of families today.

--The Skit Guys - Do As We Say


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Eyes

Every parent, especially dads, need to see this one. What an excellent reminder of the heavy influence we are having on our children.

--Floodgate Productions - I'm Watching You, Dad


Monday, September 21, 2009

God's Masterpieces

One of the chief goals of Soul Strokes is to offer readers of this blog a wide variety of "voices" to encourage believers in their walk with God. This is why only a small percentage of the posts are written just by me. There is a wealth of wisdom out there from both ancient and modern sources that many of us have never had access to, and if through this blog I can bring to light a poet, a theologian, or even a modern speaker or musician that can speak truth to a reader's heart in a way they need to hear it then I have done my job well.

With this said, I want to offer you something we haven't had before on Soul Strokes: pointed Christian videos. May these often humorous yet insightful clips give your spirits a boost this week.

--The Skit Guys - God's Chisel


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Hip-Hop Reminder

Sometimes Christian music videos are just fun. That's the case with today's selection from one of today's more engaging Gospel Fusion artists, Israel Houghton. The lyrics of the song are simple, but the message they contain is profound. Enjoy.

--Israel Houghton - Just Wanna Say


Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Surrender Most...

God asks us to surrender all to him, but often we choose to do so on our own terms. We may give most to God when asked but still hold back from full surrender. Why? Maybe it's because on a heart level we do not as yet completely trust Him to take care of us. Today's video is an interesting look at this all-too-common mindset.

--Seventh Day Slumber - Surrender


Friday, September 18, 2009

Gifts From Heaven

"So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures."

--James 1:16-18 (The Message)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Test Day

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life."

--James 1:12 (The Message)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wild Flower Logic

"Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing."

--James 1:10-11 (The Message)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wind-Whipped Believers

Photo credit: ronnibobs

"If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open."

--James 1:5-8 (The Message)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Under Pressure

Another Monday has rolled around with its demands. Take a few minutes before you tackle it with some truth from God's Word found in the book of James.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors."

--James 1:2-3 (The Message)


Sunday, September 13, 2009

More of You, Less of Me

Here's day two of a double-header of videos by Jeremy Camp. Ironically, we can only be fully complete when we are emptied of self. Only then can we have more of Jesus.

--Jeremy Camp - Empty Me


Saturday, September 12, 2009

No Room For Compromise

We live in a perpetual state of choice. We can either hold fast and stay true to our faith and our God, or we can compromise on both. Sadly, too many times we slip. This video is a reminder that someone is always watching, and He wants us to remain purely and wholly his.

--Jeremy Camp - Tonight


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Wanderer

Photo credit: Nemo.H


"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." -- Isaiah 30:15.

With a heart full of anxious request,

Which my Father in heaven bestowed,

I wandered alone, and distressed,

In search of a quiet abode.

Astray and distracted I cried, --

Lord, where would'st Thou have me to be?

And the voice of the Lamb that had died

Said, Come, my beloved, to ME.

I went -- for He mightily wins

Weary souls to His peaceful retreat --

And He gave me forgiveness of sins,

And songs that I love to repeat;

And oft as my enemies came,

My views of His glory to dim,

He taught me to trust in His name,

And to triumph by leaning on Him.

Made pure by the blood that He shed,

My heart in His presence was free;

I was hungry and thirsty -- He fed;

I was sick, and he comforted me;

He gave me the blessing complete --

The hope that is with me today,

And a quiet abode at his feet,

That shall not be taken away.

--from Hymns and Meditations by Ann L. Waring


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Streams From Zion

Photo credit: BamaWester


"I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." -- Isaiah 44:8.

Source of my spirit's deep desire

For living joys that shall not perish,

The patient hope Thy words inspire,

Still let Thy tender mercy cherish.

On Thee my humbled soul would wait,

Her utmost weakness calmly learning,

And see Thy grace its way create,

Through thorns and briers which Thou art burning.

Gladly my inmost heart would know

The love that now it faintly traces,

And see the streams from Zion flow

O'er all its waste and desert places.

And still I hope -- O not in vain!

I know, this holy seed possessing,

Thou wilt come down like gentle rain,

And make the barren ground a blessing.

--from Hymns and Meditations by Anna L. Waring


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

His Embrace in Solitude

Photo credit: AgniMax


"I, even I, am He that comforteth you." -- Isaiah 2:12

Sweet is the solace of Thy love,

My Heavenly Friend, to me,

While through the hidden way of faith

I journey home with Thee,

Learning by quiet thankfulness

As a dear child to be.

Though from the shadow of Thy peace

My feet would often stray,

Thy mercy follows all my steps,

And will not turn away;

Yea, thou wilt comfort me at last,

As none beneath Thee may.

Oft in a dark and lonely place,

I hush my hastened breath,

To hear the comfortable words

Thy loving Spirit saith;

And feel my safety in Thy hand

From every kind of death.

O there is nothing in the world

To weigh against Thy will;

Even the dark times I dread the most

Thy covenant fulfill;

And when the pleasant morning dawns

I find Thee with me still.

Then in the secret of my soul,

Though hosts my peace invade,

Though through a waste and weary land

My lonely way he made,

Thou, even Thou, wilt comfort me --

I need not be afraid.

Still in the solitary place

I would awhile abide,

Till with the solace of Thy love

My heart is satisfied;

And all my hopes of happiness

Stay calmly at Thy side.

--from Hymns and Meditations by Anna L. Waring


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The One Needful Thing

Photo credit: Grant MacDonald


"If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." -- John 14:14.

My prayer to the promise shall cling --

I will not give heed to a doubt;

For I ask for the one needful thing,

Which I cannot be happy without.

A spirit of lowly repose

In the love of the Lamb that was slain,

A heart to be touched with his woes,

And a care not to grieve Him again --

The peace that my Savior has bought,

The cheerfulness nothing can dim,

The love that can bring every thought

Into perfect obedience to Him --

The wisdom his mercy to own

In the way he directs me to take, --

To glory in Jesus alone,

And to love, and do good for His sake.

All this Thou hast offered to me

In the promise whereon I will rest;

For faith, O my Savior, in Thee,

Is the substance of all my request.

Thy word has commanded my prayer,

Thy Spirit has taught me to pray;

And all my unholy despair

Is ready to vanish away.

Thou wilt not be weary of me,

Thy promise my faith will sustain,

And soon, very soon, I shall see

That I have not been asking in vain.

--from Hymns and Meditations by Anna L. Waring


Monday, September 7, 2009

Source of My Life's Refreshing Springs

Photo credit: hiskinho

Not long ago I discovered the poetry of the shy, Welsh hymn-writer, Anna Waring. Simple yet polished, her poetry has the power to touch hearts in a way that rivals the works of more popular writers. A great sermon could be preached from the truth contained in the last stanza of today's poem alone. May this week's selections from Anna's pen bless you as much as they bless me.


"Thou maintainest my lot." -- Psalm 16:5.

Source of my life's refreshing springs,

Whose presence in my heart sustains me,

Thy love appoints me pleasant things,

Thy mercy orders all that pains me.

If loving hearts were never lonely,

If all they wish might always be,

Accepting what they look for only,

They might be glad, but not in Thee.

Well may Thy own beloved, who see

In all their lot their Father's pleasure,

Bear loss of all they love, save Thee,

Their living, everlasting treasure.

Well may Thy happy children cease

From restless wishes prone to sin,

And, in Thy own exceeding peace,

Yield to Thy daily discipline.

We need as much the cross we bear,

As air we breathe, -- as light we see;

It draws us to Thy side in prayer,

It binds us to our strength in Thee.

--from Hymns and Meditations by Anna L. Waring


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let Us Love One Another

The message of this video is simple but profound. May we approach the truth of these words with prayerful hearts, and may we be changed.

--Chris Tomlin - Love


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Divided Hearts

Divided loyalties. Divided hearts. How often do we reach out to God with one hand and push Him away with the other? Too afraid of change, we prefer to walk the fence in our faith. Today's video seeks a better path.

--Jars of Clay - Two Hands


Friday, September 4, 2009

In the Truth

Photo credit: notashamed

He who loves will rejoice in the Truth, rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this Church's doctrine or in that; not in this issue, or in that issue; but "in the Truth." He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.

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


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Anonymous Triumph

Photo credit: Monkey Magic

Give pleasure. Lose no chance in giving pleasure. For that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit.

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


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Soul Muscle

Photo credit: aknacer

If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber, nor beauty of Spiritual growth.

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


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Life Lessons

Photo credit: chrissuderman

The world is not a play-ground; it is a school-room. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.

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


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