Dusty Faith

Here are more great quotes I’ve come across in recent months.

O God, when my faith gets overladen with dust, blow it clean with the wind of your Spirit.  When my habits of obedience get stiff and rusty, anoint them with the oil of your Spirit.  Restore the enthusiasm of my first love for you.  –Eugene H. Peterson

When the Ark of God was carried to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, three men were given the honor of directing the choir for the festivities:  Asaph, who wrote many psalms; Heman, who wrote Psalm 88; and Ethan, who wrote today’s psalm [Psalm 89].  In Psalm 88 Heman holds a dour view of life–basically, “Life’s a mess and then you die…”  But Psalm 89 starts by singing the mercies of God.  We get three-quarters of the way through Ethan’s song before we realize anything’s wrong…”Oh, the kingdom of Israel is falling apart,” Ethan says, “but God is good.  His unfailing love will last forever.”  Ethan’s name means “steady, rock-solid,” and you can tell that his perspective keeps him steady through the storms of life.  No matter what happens, he sees God’s great mercy, and he sings about it.  You should also know that Ethan later changed his name to Jeduthun, meaning “the Lord is steady.”  Because of the Lord’s steadiness, we can live with a solid confidence, whatever our circumstances might be.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/14

I love that!  It isn’t enough to have a name that means you’re steady.  We aren’t steady and calm, but God is!  We can trust Him when everything else is falling apart.

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Buckets

Here are the final quotes this week.  Aren’t they great?

God fills heaven and earth, just as the ocean fills a bucket that has been submerged a mile down.  The bucket is full of the ocean, but the ocean surrounds the bucket in all directions.  So when God says, “I fill heaven and earth,” He does, and heaven and earth is submerged in God as well.  He further says that the heaven of heavens cannot contain God.  You see, God is not contained; God contains, and there is a difference.  In Him, we live and move and have our being.  We have this habit of trying to put God into our life.  We have our own boundaries, and we think God should fit into them.  That is contrary to the very nature of God.  Nobody can control God; and therefore, God does not do the bidding of any person.  God is busy performing His purpose and will.  –A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 207

Regarding Exodus 17:8-13:

Whenever Moses raised his staff, the Israelite army succeeded.  Whenever he lowered it they started losing.  Moses’ arms grew too tired to hold the staff, however, so Aaron and another man held his arms steady.  In the original Hebrew, the word for “steady” in that story is the same word that appears in Psalm 89:8 as “faithfulness.”  This word also appears as “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4, where the prophet denounces the proud people of his day:  “They trust in themselves and their lives are crooked; but the righteous will live by their faith.”  This psalm recognizes that faithfulness is at the very core of God’s character.  And it’s not just that he will try to do what he promises–he is mighty enough to do it.  His arms are strong enough by themselves; the doesn’t need helpers to hold them up!  The psalmist tosses around other characteristics of the Lord:  righteousness and justice, unfailing love and truth.  All of this combines to paint a portrait of a God you can count on–even when everything else in your life seems to be falling apart.  As we steadily trust in God’s steadiness and faithfulness, we find life, even when the powers of death surround us.  He holds us up in his mighty arms and he will not let us down.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/15

Sparrows

I have some more great quotes from my journal for you this week.

Pain, sorrow, and disappointment are transmutable; we may climb the rainbow through the rain.  Our pilgrimage should be a continuous triumph in and over our circumstances.  –W. Graham Scroggie

If God cares so much for sparrows, won’t he care for you, too?  You are worth more to God than a whole flock of those birds.  Jesus wasn’t saying that the sparrows would never fall, and he wasn’t saying that his followers would never suffer physical harm.  But he was saying that God watches over us and cares for us.  Sometimes God rescues his people from their predicaments, and sometimes he allows them to suffer and even die–but he never lets them out of his sight.  They remain in his presence eternally.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/5

Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders.  –F.W. Faber

When irritated by interruptions, remember you’re not in charge of your day.  God is.  –Charles R. Swindoll

 

Words of a Song

Often the words of a song are exactly what the heart needs to hear.  When I was still hurting from a bike accident three weeks later, these words of a chorus were wonderful to hear:

He knows my name.

He knows my every thought.

He sees each tear that falls

And hears me when I call.

–Francesca Battistelli

There are so many great choruses and hymns.  I’ve been writing many of the individual lyrics into my journals this year:

O God, our Help in ages past,

Our Hope for years to come.

Be Thou my Guide while life shall last

And our eternal Home

–Isaac Watts

What have I to dread?  What have I to fear?

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

–Elisha A. Hoffman

Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art.

Dear, desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

–Charles Wesley

 

Encouragement

Here are more of the quotes that encouraged me while recovering from a bike accident this summer.  Sometimes encouragement comes from a book, from something a family member shares, or from a post on Facebook.  These quotes were just what I needed to hear:

He gives the best, and brings sweetness out of that which is harsh, forbidding, and wholly unpromising.  –Derek Kidner

Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel.  Faith is living out and believing what truth is despite what you feel.  –Timothy Keller

To avoid facing our low sense of worth, we try to compensate by building self-esteem.  Self-esteem is a way to be in control of our image in order to protect our sense of something missing within our hearts.  Through self-esteem, achievements are a way of creating hope.  Esteem for self rises and falls based upon the grade of our last performance.  Sadly, we forget that our value is inherent at birth.  –Chip Dodd, The Voice of the Heart, pg. 29

Never stop believing.  Miracles happen every day. –Unknown

 

Purpose

My final quote in this series of Great Quotes is this next one, straight out of the Bible.  How amazing is it to know that, no matter your situation or struggles, talents or insecurities, failures or successes, you don’t have to “measure up” or “finally arrive” at some expected place of “being good enough.”  It’s all about our Savior, not about us.

I do not consider myself to have “arrived,” spiritually, nor to I consider myself already perfect.  But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me.  My brothers, I do concentrate on this:  I leave the past behind and with hands out-stretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal–my reward he honor of my high calling by God in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are spiritually adult should set ourselves this sort of ambition, and if at present you cannot see this, yet you will find that this is the attitude which God is leading you to adopt.  It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have ourselves attained to…But we are citizens of Heaven; our outlook goes beyond this world to the hopeful expectation of the Savior who will come from Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change these wretched bodies of ours so that they resemble his own glorious body, by that power of his which makes him the master of everything that is.  — Philippians 3:12-21 (PHI)

Regeneration

Here is a word we don’t hear often–“regeneration.”  I was surprised to come across it in my devotions. I saw it in the writings of A. W. Tozer (1897-1963).  The book I’m reading is called My Daily Pursuit.  The forward is by Ravi Zacharias, and he says this about Tozer:

The profound realization that God could be known personally drew me, with sincerity and determination, to plumb the depths of that claim…A few short years later, I encountered, through the writings, the distinctive pastoral voice of A. W. Tozer, who expounded on the grandest of all themes to which the human mind could ascend and the heart could embrace:  the study of God Himself.  Tozer’s voice was unique in his era, and I read and reread many of his books.  Works such as The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy opened up vistas that were life-transforming.  Those truths were timely for me and timeless for anyone hungry to know God.  So, his words still speak with power and tenderness today, leaving me with the twin passions of fulfillment and legitimate hunger…Tozer gives us the right kind of pause to learn the value of deep reflection on noble truths.  –Ravi Zacharias, quoted in A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 7-8

So now let’s look at this word “regeneration” that is heard so seldom today.  I think there are great truths to be considered here and this first quote is very touching to consider:

A new father goes to the hospital to see his first baby.  He goes to the window to look at all of the babies, but what he is looking for is one that looks like him.  The babies may be cute, but he has no interest in any of them except his own.  When he sees his own baby, what he is looking for is himself.  The little baby has his ears, his nose, his eyes and so forth.  The thing that drove him to that little baby is his own image in that baby.  The thing to draw God to us is His image in us.  Sin has destroyed it.  Regeneration puts it back in.  Now that man in Christ can have communion and fellowship with the Father of whose image he is.  –A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 188

Now, if the word “regeneration” isn’t enough of an unfamiliar word, take a look now at “compatibility,” “communion,” “congruity,” “atonement,” and a word that I think Tozer made up–“feelingly!”  It all makes complete sense when you put them together and understand his point:

One of the great Bible truths we should revel in is that the newest convert born again today, has a degree of moral likeness to God, which gives him a measure of compatibility.  Heaven is a place of complete compatibility.  Sin introduced an incompatibility between God and the sinner.  Sin disrupts the communion between God and man.  Sin introduces that quality which throws men and God out of accord with each other.  As it is, there is no accord, no congruity.  But when that sinner believes in the blood atonement, which is trust in Christ, and is justified in heaven and regenerated on earth, there is complete compatibility and communion…That compatibility allows God to draw feelingly near to the man or women, and it makes communion morally consistent.  –A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 186

Abba Father, through regeneration I have come back to the place where Thee can see in me Thy blessed divine image.  How I praise Thee through Jesus Christ my Savior!  Amen.  –A. W. Tozer,  My Daily Pursuit, pg. 188