Fountain of love

Christ’s heart was a fountain…. A fountain of love.
He took the love that He received and He gave it away. Continually.

His heart was ever touched with the cries of human suffering. He always sought to relieve.
He never sought to turn this fountain off. He lived to love.

“Jesus, precious Jesus. A whole fountain of love was in His soul.” (1MCP 201)

This fountain still flows. From it comes Christ’s love for us; from it we receive love to love another.

He asks us to be fountains, too. Fountains to continually share what He gives us with the world; that receive to give; that never seek to keep things to ourselves; that never seek release from duty.

Stagnant fountains grow polluted quickly. Stagnant lives have no hope of staying pure.

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To live Christianity

Acts 17. I memorized it weeks ago, I wrote this weeks ago, but I’m still contemplating it.

“What shall we do? They who have turned the world UPSIDE DOWN are come here also!”

What consternation and dismay. The rulers of the city were troubled. Things changed when Paul came to town. He had a goal and he lived his mission.

We don’t see this today. I can’t remember a time in my life when one man was known as a world-flipper.

There were just a few of them in comparison to the population of the world and yet, they took the gospel to the world in just a few short years.

We don’t come anywhere close. Sure the world’s population has grown…. But so has the church; so has the amount of people who call themselves Christians.

Why are we not living lives of power like the apostles did?
There is no reason why Christianity cannot encompass every part of us and every area of life. There is no reason why Christianity cannot be who we are instead of what we do.

God has not changed after all.
So what has changed?

We have.

We’ve settled for an average Christianity and an average God.
We’ve compromised with the world and it has weakened us (as compromise always does).
We’ve stopped actively working for souls and expected others to do all the work.
We’ve lost the desire to know God and the zeal to pursue Him.
We’ve become immersed in ourselves instead of the cross.

The church has settled for a lukewarm, mere existence.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In every generation there are a few.
A few who are willing to live lives of true Christianity.
A few who are willing to abandon, surrender, everything to their Creator.
A few who are willing to be despised and scorned because they change the world.

The upside-down world of Paul was really right side up.

And ours? It’s really upside down.

I’m not satisfied with this.
I’m not satisfied with mere existence, with an average Christianity, and with a ‘average God’. Henri Nouwen said that “to live and work for the glory of God cannot remain an idea about which we think once in a while. It must become an interior, unceasing doxology.”

Christianity is not something we do: it’s something we are and it’s what we live.

And it’s what I seek to live.

Nothing Less

I’ve been studying the sanctuary for school lately, and I’m  amazed  at the degree of perfection and exactness that went into everything concerning the sanctuary.

 

It was made exactly according to the pattern given.

The priests did their appointed work perfectly.

There was to be no blemish or spot in the offerings.

The priests had to be completely clean before officiating.

The sanctuary was kept free from all dust and dirt.

Nothing that would defile or mar the sanctuary was to enter there.

 

The exactness, the perfection, the attention to detail is mind-boggling. I find it hard to imagine doing such perfect work.

 

And yet, God expects no less.

He requires no less.

 

We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all the heart, will desire to give Him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will. {PP 352.3}

 

If we are willing and ready to give our best to our friends, our family, our jobs, how much more we should be willing and ready to give God our utter and complete best.

 

He will. not. be pleased with anything less.

 

 

 

Only Serve

November 10, 2012

Isaiah 1:17

“Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

Obviously, no person in this world is not one that we are not to reach out to.

And we’re not to do it in a lazy manner either.
Judge. Vindicate. Defend. Plead. Grapple.
Give until you can give no more. And then give some more.

My life is not my own.
And this life has been given me to pour out. To give to others. To fight for others.

And if I just sit here and let others fight,
Then the purpose for which I was created,
The purpose for which I am redeemed,
Is not being lived.

And purposeless lives cannot fight this war.

Live purposefully.

Someday, Someone

My heart aches, burns, cries within me. I read blog posts, comments; I hear the cries of the missionaries: who will go?

I read the stories. The one man who did the work of five. The ones who can’t go and serve but have already been. The overworked, overburdened ones who call for, ask for, plead for help; while only giving more.

How could my heart not be moved?

I hear the cries. I see the need…

But do I really?

If I really saw wouldn’t I be there already? If I really saw wouldn’t the desire to give more and more overwhelm me? If I really saw the need wouldn’t I refuse to rest until that need was filled?

The souls of men are dying.

They’re dying while we sit here, struggling to find answers for who will go and when they’ll go. They’re dying now and we’re forgetting that they’re not just dying in foreign fields–but they’re dying all around us.

For long years I’ve heard missionaries plead for more workers and I’ve basically been unmoved. I’ve said “maybe someday I’ll go but for now someone else will have to go.” But all that is changing (because knowing God changes everything).

I’ve become too comfortable in my life today.
I’ve become too comfortable saying “yes, yes the need is great and someone should go” while I sit in my comfortable house, unmoving. I’ve becoming too comfortable going to work in ministry each day and I’ve forgotten than ministry isn’t something I do–it’s something I live (or should live, anyway).

Souls die all around me every day. They’re dying in my church, my neighborhood, my home. It’s time for me to stop living the “40-hour-week” version of ministry and really live ministry. It’s time to quit saying “someday, somebody else will do it” and change that someday into today.

Not everyone is called to go to a foreign place to serve God, but that is no reason not to work wholeheartedly here. This whole world is a mission field, and where I am today is my mission field.

“As servants of Christ we should be faithful in the position where God sees that we can render most efficient service. If opportunities of greater usefulness are presented to us, we should accept them at the Master’s bidding, and His approving smile will be upon us. But we should fear to leave our appointed work unless the Lord clearly indicates our duty to serve Him in another field.”*

I look at the work I do each day, each week, and sometimes it seems insignificant compared to those who labor on the front lines on the mission field. But really, it’s not. I have the privilege of working with and for the hearts of young people who can change the world. I have the amazing responsibility of seeking to connect their hearts with Christ. I love my work. This is my appointed task right now. But I wonder if there is more I can do here where I am.

I long for greater usefulness. And while my heart objects that I already have so much to do, so many chains to choose to allow God to release–that doesn’t change the fact that all around me, even in my home, men are dying and God calls me to reach them-to be His hands and feet. And with that calling, He promises strength sufficient.

I don’t ever want to lose sight of the work He has called me to do.
I don’t want to sit comfortably and say “someone else will do it.” There may never be a “someone else”.
I don’t want to just give the minimum, but give until there is nothing left to give.

To share Him I must know Him.
And that’s why this year I’m making seeking Him a priority. To know Him is to love Him, to love Him is to serve Him. And it’s only by knowing Him that I can truly love as He loves.

“That I may know Him…”***

*5T 184
*** Philippians 3:10

Relieve the Oppressed

November 9, 2012

Isaiah 1:17

“Relieve the oppressed,”

Sounds like a pretty good occupation. I mean, relieve the oppressed… who wants to be oppressed anyway. And it goes along with seeking justice. To relieve the oppressed we probably have to seek justice at some point or other.

But let’s look at this a little closer.

Relieve: to be straight (used in the widest sense, especially to be level, right, happy); to go forward, be honest, proper.
Oppressed: violent, a robber. From a root which means: to be pungent, sour in taste, fermented, harsh, dazzling (in color).

OK. Maybe this isn’t such a pretty picture anymore.

We could just say it means exactly what it looks like: relieve the oppressed from their oppressors.

But, looking at the word definitions, I not exactly sure that that’s what is meant here.

But to make happy the oppressor. To cause the oppressor to be straight….
This doesn’t quite make sense. But then again, maybe it does.

The violent are held by chains just as much as the oppressed are.
Different chains, maybe, but held by chains just the same.

And yet, the violent are so often ignored. We focus on healing the broken, but we forget that those who break are broken too.

Healing the broken is important. I would not dream of saying we should ignore them, and neither does Isaiah. But healing those who break is just as important.

But to do this, we must forgive. We must truly be washed clean. We must truly want justice.

Because only then can we go out and rattle those binding chains of those who destroyed us.

Seek Judgment

November 8, 2012

Isaiah 1:17

“Seek Judgment,”

I love how God never does anything halfway.
For once we have been cleansed. Once we have been purified. Once we have learned to do well….

Then He takes it to yet another level.

Don’t just be content with doing well… with being clean…
But seek for, follow after, do not rest until you have found justice [judgment].

I’m not just set free simply to be free.
I’m set free that I might help others find freedom.
I’m set free to seek justice for those who need justice.
I’m set free to serve.

And if I don’t feel qualified… so what.
Because the same God who set me free, who called me to seek justice,
Is the same God who qualifies the called.