Monday, October 31, 2016

True Humility


"Basically humility is the attitude of one who stands constantly under the judgment of God. It is the attitude of one who is like the soil. Humility comes from the Latin word humus, fertile ground. The fertile ground is there, unnoticed, taken for granted, always there to be trodden upon. It is silent, inconspicuous, dark and yet it is always ready to receive any seed, ready to give its substance and life. The more lowly, the more fruitful, because it becomes really fertile when it accepts all the refuse of the earth. It is so low that nothing can soil it, abase it, humiliate it; it has accepted the last place and cannot go any lower. In that position nothing can shatter the souls serenity, its peace and joy."

    - from Living Prayer by Anthony Bloom as quoted in A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants

Monday, October 24, 2016

Repetition



“The (spiritual) writer makes no apology for the repetition of truths to which he is personally committed that are said time and again in the literature of spirituality.  Part of his mission, as the messenger of the Sacred, is to say these truths again…”
               -Susan Annette Muto in Steps Along the Way
“…supposing you could loosen his chains by means of your prayers?”
               -Teresa of Avila in The Interior Castle
“Withdraw your heart from the love of things visible and turn yourself to things invisible.”
               -Thomas รก Kempis in The Imitation of Christ
“…the Christian faith contends that God has chosen to reveal himself and truth about himself through Scripture and supremely in Christ...”
               -James Emery White in A Mind for God
My God, I cannot explain this faith you’ve given me.  This desire, this need to be in Southeast Asia among these people who don’t know you.  These souls who have no way of knowing you unless we who have you in our hearts, who have been given the revelation, are obedient to your call to go out into the harvest fields and “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
I thank you, God, for revealing your mystery to me and for my call to be here sharing this mystery (see Ephesians 3:1-13).  I thank you for this great cloud of witnesses who have gone before me hearing and repeating these same revelations.  
I have no empirical evidence that my efforts are making any difference but I am compelled to do it still.  However, I do have deep, abiding experiential knowledge of how prayer effected my salvation.  I believe, in faith, that you can and will do the same in these lives all around me now.
I will declare wise sayings;
I will speak mysteries from the past—
things we have heard and known
and that our fathers have passed down to us.
               -Psalm 78:2-3

Friday, October 7, 2016

God's Nonuse



Last evening while reading Robert Mulholland’s book Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation I was struck by his statement, “We simply offer it (our spiritual discipline–Bible reading, prayer, service, church attendance, silence, missions, etc.) for God’s use or nonuse.”

In this section of the book he is explaining that for a spiritual discipline to truly be a spiritual discipline requires our “unconditional release of the discipline to God…  We offer (it) up to God for God’s use or nonuse.”

The Holy Spirit spoke so powerfully into my heart through these words that I had to put the book down and walk outside to ponder them for a while.  

Can I truly be satisfied to offer all of my actions and activities, my very life to God for his nonuse?  Can I devote my life to prayer for and among the unreached for God’s use or nonuse?  Can I continue to write and share these things the Holy Spirit reveals to me for God’s use or nonuse?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”  Then the author of Hebrews continues with a litany of Old Testament saints and their lives of faith.  He concludes with, “All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised…”  They continued in their spiritual disciplines for decades, some even for centuries, without receiving what was promised, without knowing what God would do.

They simply offered their spiritual disciplines, their faith, their very lives to God for his use or nonuse.