The Heavenly Man: Revival in China . . . and Iran

I first posted this piece in February of 2010. Update on it below!

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I’ve been reading The Heavenly Man to my two teenagers at lunchtime. This book, which deeply influenced me three years ago, is about the great revival that took place in China in the 1970s and 1980s, in the very midst of the spirit-numbing Cultural Revolution. When people heard about the salvation of Jesus Christ and embraced Him, then giving their lives for Him seemed like a reasonable sacrifice. It was a no-brainer.

Over and over again, while I’m reading, I stop, with tears in my eyes Continue reading

Waging warfare through Psalm 18

It seemed like a normal day. I was going about my ordinary household tasks, for the most part on automatic. But during the course of the day I became aware of where my heart was going. I realized that I was continuing to be bombarded by temptations in my thoughts, and that I was coyly flirting with the enemy, even though it was only barely at the level of consciousness. Because, after all, I was still washing clothes and cleaning the kitchen and doing school and answering emails and carrying on with life.

Under this bombardment of wrong desires, anxiety, and wrong attitudes, Continue reading

Is Satan really a defeated foe in my everyday life?

I was reading a little booklet about how Satan is a defeated foe. The text said something like, “So why is Satan so powerful in the world today? Because Christians haven’t believed that he is powerless.”

I’m sorry, but this makes no logical sense. If you don’t believe he has no power then he has power? Just believe that he is already defeated, and then he will be defeated? Continue reading

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

Writing about triumph like Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens loved England. Because of this love, he felt a deep sense of urgency to help his homeland change in important ways. He wanted people to care about the poor, to care about orphans, and to arise from their complacency.

While his contemporary George Mueller worked for change by trusting God and starting an orphanage, Charles Dickens worked for change by writing books. Continue reading

Reflections on my fifty-second birthday

In honor of my fifty-second birthday season this past week, I re-read some old journals (always an instructive venture). I went back to 2003, as far back as they go on my current computer.

I found the entire year, with the rare exception of an occasional glimmer of peace, to be filled with anxiety, teeth-gritting, knots in the stomach, frustrations, barely-contained impatience. I was worried and stressed about money (not enough), stuff (too much), scheduling (too much to do), homeschooling (too Continue reading