A word of encouragement from a sojourner for Truth

Archive for February, 2011

Hope that sustains

Romans  5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 
Remember how that trials exercise our patience which gives us experience? That experience gives us hope to persevere through trials we will face. However that can become tiresome if all we have is experience. Hope that is confidently placed in a holy God and his eternal promises finds a perseverance that will endure to the end.

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Faith for the journey

Romans 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Yesterday I shared with you that trials stretch or exercise our patience. These two give us experience at handling trials producing hope. That hope is strengthened because we can see the end of the trial. That’s obvious. However underlying this testing is the qualities we learn about Gods character and love. These form the foundation of our hope. May God strengthen your foundation of hope. May you persevere to the end faithful to God and all that is good.

The testing of patience

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
We all need more patience. Or at least we all need our patience stretched and enlarged so we can apply it where it is needed. Isn’t it ironic that we have enough patience for the things we want. Trials enlarge, stretch and test our patience. Trials do not give you patience. Trials expose the patience that is already there, exercising it, strengthing it so you develop endurance.

This too shall end

The fact that we hurt when we suffer the painful moments in life shows we are alive. However true that is it does not help us when we hurt. However with every storm there is an end. At the moment David wrote this psalm he was suffering. The hope he experienced at the end of his storm came in verse 22 where David remembered that God does not forget the afflicted and he helps them in their time of suffering.
Psalms 22:14
My strength drains away like water; all my bones are dislocated; my heart is like wax; it melts away inside me.

Be the initiator

Reconciliation cost God his Son and Christ his life. What is it costing u? Are u following his example? Remember it is not if we offend but when we offend. We need to remember salvation begins a journey. He is reconciling us to God whom our sins have offended. We need to follow his example. He initiated, paid the price, and spoke the first word of reconciliation. Take a chance on faith. Be the initiator. We have been given the word and ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.

Berry Picking Wisdom

(Pro 8:19) My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

Berry Pickin….

Berry pickin runs deep in my family history. As a boy growing up, I used to get up early in the spring before the sun was up and go with my family up into the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains near broken bow, Oklahoma hunting the elusive dew berry. Much larger than its diminutive cousin that grows in many yards across east texas, Dew Berries known primarily for their size are also sought out for their mixture of sweet and tart juices that give cobblers and jellies their divine flavor.

As the sun would begin breaking the eastern sky I remember how Breakfast wove its way into our nostrils and the aroma broke over us with waves of bacon and gravy, fresh biscuits, and jam. Hurriedly we ate and got ready for the mornings work. Heading out to the car we carried those five gallon white paint buckets, plenty of mosquito spray and some lunch.

Out in the hills the berry patches were just where God and the birds planted them. They made up mounds of brambles sometimes has high as your waste and other times they spread out across the ground like clover. A dew berry is an interesting berry. It comes in early just behind the frost. Some years the frost catches it but most years God makes sure enough exists to feed his birds and creatures along with a few adventurous souls.

Now the Berry vines only produce berries on the second year’s flouricanes. This means that amidst the 2nd year berry vines there will be many old vines woven intricately throughout the mounds. Once some berries are found the problem then becomes one of safety and access. Though not as thorny as the raspberry, the black berry variety of dew berry has its share of thorns and problems. You have to be careful cuz snakes; varmints and the irritable yellow jacket want the berries as much as you do.. Regularly I have intruded on the breakfast of some yellow jackets or red wasps. Even my dad once reached into the thicket, and thinking the stings on his hand were berry thorns he continued to pick berries. Finally when he brought out his hand…there sat three yellow jackets hammering at his now swollen wrist like jack hammers on highway construction.

Other issues make these large berries an elusive prize. The berries are on the vines intermittently intertwined with last year’s brambles since no gardener is there to trim those dead ones back. Furthermore the best of the berries are hidden from view. In order for you to find them you must reach into the berry thicket weaving your arm through it like a snake and pull back the thorny arms of the brambles always scouring them for berries. These berries remain hidden, missed by God’s creatures and must be discovered in order to be picked. The largest, most succulent berries are often found in an area after it has already been picked over.

The berries hide under leaves, old vines and dust. Sometimes in the early fog of morning, a red berry looks ripe but instead it’s just covered with dust. Once a berry is spotted it has to be picked. You may miss it when looking at it from other angles. It may be hidden from another view or the other side of the hill.

Like berries wisdom is an elusive jewel that is worth pursuing. It hides under the leaves of knowledge and understanding. Frequently false wisdom is clothed in wisdom’s berry ripeness but in the end it is nothing more than sour fruit covered in dust. In proverbs Solomon sets forth a number of his own maxims as well as the writings of a few other authors that he collated. This work can be seen as a training manual for national leaders of his day. He contrasts the great woman of Godly wisdom with the wanton woman of earthy substitutes. He includes the famous rendition of King Lemuel’s mother in Proverbs 31 depicting a woman who had attained and practiced wisdom.

Solomon here is teaching young leaders the importance and great value of true wisdom. He knew that information is not enough to aid a leader in leading a nation. He also knew that understanding is greater than information but it neither is enough to lead. Information has to migrate through knowledge and be sifted with the spirit and experience to gain understanding. And even though understanding is valuable in the classroom and testing times it is not sufficient to meet the level of wisdom. Wisdom begins with the reverence of God and knowing that one does not know everything. Wisdom comes through the activity of application of knowledge. Though wisdom cries in the streets it seems nowadays people lack wisdom and even plain old common sense.

So where are you now…Are you seeking wisdom…it is a prize worth more than financial gain. She cries in the streets and yet too many are attracted to the wanton woman of earthy substitutes. Great leadership requires great humility and wisdom. These are only found in God…Pray for wisdom James says God will give it liberally…seek the counsel of God and read the book of proverbs. Like the pearl of great price let us avail ourselves of seeking the prize in spite of the winsome call of earthly substitutes…Let us reach deep into the word and let it dwell richly in our minds and hearts. And may our actions show that we too, have spent time with Him.

When No one Seems to Care

… Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night? (Job 35:10)
Charles Weigle was born into a German Luther home, in Indianna ca 1871, just when Purdue University was 2 years old. He was used to hearing the bible read and music in their home and at the age of 12 he came under conviction he was lost and needed salvation. He had been a rough boy, knifed a friend, beat other boys up, knocked a boy down with a bat and nearly killed him. He knew he was hopeless with out Christ. That night at that little church revival he trusted Christ as his savior. He spent his life as an itinerant minister. Along with his ministry he wrote hymns of faith. However as with all great hymns there must needs be a travail of the soul in order to give birth to a great masterpiece. [The Victorious Life]It is not difficult to sing when all is going well but it is when times are tough. Remember Paul and Silas sang at Midnight after being beaten and thrown into jail. Often God gives a special song to one of his hurting children during the night times of their life. Believers find new joys in their nights of sorrow and despair, and they discover a greater closeness with their Lord during times of deep need. The apostle John wrote the book of Revelation while on the barren island of Patmos; John Bunyan completed the classic Pilgrim’s Progress while in the Bedford jail; Beethoven composed his immortal 9th Symphony while totally deaf; and Fanny Crosby once remarked, “If I had not lost my sight, I could never have written all the hymns God gave me.” (Hymns of Faith)Out of such a dark time Charles wrote one of his best loved hymns. After preaching a long stint of revivals Charles returned home as always to his faithful wife. He, upon entering his home, found a note from his wife. The note said she had had enough of an evangelist’s life. She was leaving him. Weigle later said that he became so despondent during the next several years that there were even times when he contemplated suicide. There was the terrible despair that no one really cared for him anymore. Gradually his spiritual faith was restored, and he once again became active in the Christian ministry. Soon he felt compelled to write a song that would be a summary of his past tragic experience. From a heart that had been broken came these choice words that God gave to Charles Weigle:
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus since I found in Him a friend so strong and true; I would tell you how He chang’d my life completely—He did something that no other friend could do.All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me; all my heart was full of misery and woe; Jesus placed His strong and loving arms around me, and He led me in the way I ought to go.Ev’ry day He comes to me with new assurance, more and more I understand His words of love; but I’ll never know just why He came to save me, till some day I see His blessed face above.Chorus: No one ever cared for me like Jesus; there’s no other friend so kind as He; no one else could take the sin and darkness from me—O how much He cared for me!

[Amazing Grace Hymn stories]
How is your life…Has it taken a turn for the worst….the best that can be had many times is tough….Someone once said when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I believe the greatest people in history are people who have learned how to do that. C.S. Lewis stated that God’s best teacher was suffering. Tell your story to me…I will glady cry with you and pray with you and learn with you..Pastor Tom June 30, 2010