Checking my motives

If you’re a conscientious Christian, then you’ve done it. In fact, you might do it regularly, maybe even obsessively.

I helped that person, and I really wanted to help him, but I was also sort of hoping that someone from church might see me helping him and think I was a good Christian.

Oh, my heart, my heart, my sinful heart. My motives are always corrupt How can I possibly hope to ever be truly pleasing to God. . . .

Continue reading “Checking my motives”

The Thick Darkness Where God Was

Margaret Powers wrote a poem. It was about a man, but when I remembered it, I saw a woman. She was walking with God, so there were two sets of footprints. But sometimes there was just one, and she didn’t know why. She found out that they were when the Lord had carried her.

Why, I wondered, why didn’t she know the Lord had carried her? Why couldn’t she feel Him? Why couldn’t she see Him? Why couldn’t she hear His voice whispering to her?

But then . . .

. . . it happened to me. Continue reading “The Thick Darkness Where God Was”

Glory, glory, glory

Those Corinthians were recalcitrants. (That’s one of my current favorite words.)

When Paul wrote II Corinthians, he was having trouble in pretty much every conceivable area of his life. The  influential Jewish leaders, who were the self-professed enemies of Christ, were nearly killing him every chance they got. The Christians (those recalcitrant Corinthians) didn’t trust him. Even the weather seemed to be against him.  That’s why at one point he said he was “troubled on every side.” Continue reading “Glory, glory, glory”

That I may know Him . . .

In Philippians 3 Paul expressed his longing to know the treasure that was his Savior. . . .

Few can draw a word picture like that master wordsmith, C.H. Spurgeon. This is only slightly adapted from a sermon of his, painting a word picture of what it means to desire to know Christ.

Imagine that you’re living in the age of the Roman emperors. You’ve been captured by Roman soldiers and dragged from your native country; you’ve been sold for a slave, stripped, whipped, branded, imprisoned, and treated with shameful cruelty. At last you are appointed to die in the amphitheater, to make sport for a tyrant. The populace assemble with delight. There they are, tens of thousands of them, gazing down from the living sides of the capacious Colosseum. You stand alone, armed only with a single dagger—a poor defense against gigantic beasts. A ponderous door rises, and out rushes a huge lion. Continue reading “That I may know Him . . .”

He’s still the Hiding Place

This summer my two teenagers and I had the privilege of spending some evenings listening together to Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place (mending clothes, brushing the dog’s matted fur as we listened) and then watching the video.

It had been maybe a few decades since I had read The Hiding Place, so I was grateful to be impressed again at how suddenly life can take terrible unexpected turns . . . at how important it is to be spiritually ready to face these new circumstances . . . and at how, through it all, God is faithful. Continue reading “He’s still the Hiding Place”

Is praise really a sacrifice?

“By Him, therefore [Jesus, the one who suffered outside the camp], let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, even the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name. . . . For with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

One time in church we were singing the song Blessed Be Your Name, which tends to make me cry. A young friend later said, “That’s really hard to say. It’s hard to say ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ when everything is dark and hard.” Continue reading “Is praise really a sacrifice?”