Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Times of Refreshing

"How will we know it's for real?" they asked and I replied, "When there is confession and repentance; when there is brokenness and not before." *
Have you ever found a verse, one that you have probably read hundreds of times before, but all of a sudden because of the circumstances of life, it takes on a whole new meaning, maybe even a life of its own? That's what happened a couple of days ago when I stumbled over Acts 3 verse 19: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the LORD..."
I don't know about you, but I desperately long for "times of refreshing," but there is a cost. There is a condition and that condition is this, I must live a life of repentance. I must turn to my God at all times. (For me, that kind of means I am "in His face" moment-by-moment.)
I want my sins wiped out...covered...buried. And so lately, I have found myself, many times a day it seems, saying, "I am so sorry, please forgive me," in one way or another. I find myself consciously guarding my words, my thoughts, my actions. Acutely aware of how easy it is to step on other's toes, to wound without even knowing it, to offend or be offended and I don't want to live like that. Hurting others, holding grudges, judging... I don't want to be a "hurt people hurt people" person.
Set me free, LORD! Give me Your filters. Help me to see and perceive others as You do. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness. And thank You, bless You for the times of refreshing and the privilege of turning to You!
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Beauty of Mathematics

Even if you are like me and numbers are just "not your thing" you may find this totally amazing! I have no idea who came up with these formulas (other than the Great I AM) but it sure wasn't me!

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111 
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111 
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111 
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111 
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111 

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888 
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888 
9876 x + 4 = 88888 
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888 
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888 
9876543 x + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888 

Brilliant, isn't it?
And look at this symmetry: 

1 x 1 = 
11 x 11 = 
111 x 111 = 
1111 x 1111 = 
11111 x 11111 = 
111111 x 111111 = 
1111111 x 1111111 = 
11111111 x 11111111 =
111111111 x 111111111 =

Mind Boggling...   
Now, take a look at this... 
From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:
What Equals
What does it mean to give MORE than
Ever wonder about those people who say they
Are giving more than
We have all been in situations where someone wants you to
GIVE OVER 100%... 
How about
What equals
 100% in life? 
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help
Answer these questions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26. 


H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K 

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E 

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%
A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E 

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100% 

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you: 

L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D 

12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:
 Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and 
Attitude will Get you there, 
It's the Love of God that will put you over the top! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Love these Puritan prayers that so speak my heart...

Under the conviction of thy spirit I learn that
the more I do, the worse I am,
the more I know, the less I know,
the more holiness I have, the more sinful I am,
the more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!

O Lord,
I have a wild heart,
and cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!

I neglect prayer,
by thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
by knowing thou has saved my soul.

Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
who sins more safely because grace abounds,
who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,
who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for he is saved,
who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives unholily.

My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding,
no desire for the Lord’s Day,
ever learning but never reaching the truth,
always at the gospel-well but never holding water.

My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
with nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.

My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily the lesson learned,
and thy truths seep away.
Give me broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

Puritan's Prayer

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Disciple's Renewal

O my Saviour,
help me.
I am so slow to learn, 

so prone to forget, 
so weak to climb;
I am in the foothills when 

I should be on the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John upon thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be
more decision in my character,
more vigor in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervor in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature
what can be found only in the Creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou king of kings and lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.

A Puritan's Prayer

A Conciliator's Prayer

Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries 
prays this prayer as a conciliator. 
This is the prayer of my heart as a pastor, as well 

Today I am called to be a peacemaker, 

but I am unfit for the task.  
By nature I am a peace-faker and a peace-breaker, 
so I myself need help.
Others ask me to understand and guide them, 
but my ears are dull, 
my eyes are dim, 
and I lack the wisdom they need. 
But you, Lord, have all they need, 
so I come to you for supply.
Make me fit for your purposes, 
so I might serve them and honor you.
Cleanse me from my own sin 
so I will not add to their problems;
take the logs from my eyes, 
so I can remove the specks from theirs.
Fill me with your Spirit so they may benefit from your fruit:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Give me wisdom from above so 
I might be pure and peace-loving,
considerate and submissive, 
full of mercy and good fruit, 
impartial and sincere.
Open Your Word to my eyes and to my heart,
so I will have a steady lamp to light our path.
Strip me of my own agenda and desires, 
so I might look only to others' good
and be absolutely worthy of their trust.
Help me to model everything I teach, 
so others can see the way.
Give me humility to admit my weaknesses 
and confess my wrongs,
so others might do the same.
Draw me again and again into prayer, 
where you can strengthen and correct me.
Make me submissive -- 
help me to show that I myself am under authority.
Help me to treat others as I want to be treated, 
so they may see the essence of your Law.
Make me creative, versatile, and adaptable 
so I can adjust to the surprises ahead.
Help me to accept others as you have accepted me,
 and thus bring praise to your name.
Give me faith and perseverance
 so I will not doubt your provision
or abandon your principles, 
even when others fight against them.
Grant me the gift of encouragement, 
to give others hope and help them believe
that our labor is not in vain.
Help me to model your forgiveness 
so relationships are healed
and your Gospel is revealed.
Grant me discernment 
so that I may read 
the deep waters of others' hearts,
sort fiction from fact, 
and know when it's time to act.
Give me boldness and courage, 
tempered with kindness, 
to confront others in love
so they might see their errors and 
find their way back to you.
Help me to prepare thoroughly 
and not presume upon your grace.
Make me just and fair, 
so that even if people disagree
with my counsel they will believe 
that I treated them well.
In short, Father,
please give me the Spirit of Christ 
so that I might walk in His steps and guide 
Your people Into the path of Your peace.

Afraid? Of What?

Jack Vinson was a missionary to China. In 1931 he was taken hostage by bandits. Eventually they were surrounded by government troops and the bandits tried to shoot their way out. Many died in the process; Vinson was shot and beheaded by his captors. BUT, before he died this conversation, between Vinson and one of the bandits, was overheard by another hostage.

It went like this...
"I'm going to kill you. Aren't you afraid?" said the bandit.
"Kill me, if you wish. I will go straight to God." Vinson replied.

After hearing of his friend's courage EH Hamilton wrote this poem for others facing troubled and difficult times. 
Afraid? Of What?
To feel the spirit's glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid--of that?

Afraid--Of What?
Afraid to see the Savior's face
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid--of that?

Afraid? Of What?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O Heaven's art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid--of that?

Afraid? Of What?
To do by death what life could not--
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid--of that?

~E. H. Hamilton  By Their Blood

The Valley of VISION

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
That the way down is the way up,
That to be low is to be high,
That the broken heart is the healed heart,
That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
That the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
That to have nothing is to posses all,
That to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
That to give is to receive,
That the valley is the place of vision.
LORD, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.

Written by Puritans