Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eye of the Needle

A husband and wife came seeking counsel for their marriage.  As they told their story, fear and pride were revealed as the root causes of strife.  The healing of that fear and the renunciation of that pride seemed utter impossibilities----just as impossible as for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, weighed down as he is with much baggage.  This man and woman are weighed down too, yet wanting very much to rescue their home, to do God’s will, to enter the Kingdom.  It is, quite simply, impossible---“with men.”  But it is possible with God.  He who calls us higher, beckons us in the direction of holiness and joy, is able to restore us, able to save, able to do more than we can ask or think, able to make even a camel go through the eye of a needle.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Cross....Day After Day

Lord, could you possibly let me off the hook for a weekend or so?” is what an energetic old woman I knew sometimes felt like saying to her Master.  I, too, get tired of obeying.  He asks me then, “Do you want to be My disciple?”
“Yes, Lord, You know all things ---You know I want to.”
“The conditions have not changed.  Leave self behind.  Day after day take up your cross.”  (See Luke 9:23.)
“Does this mean the same rigorous routine every day of my life?”
“It means the cross I give you.  It means unhesitating obedience to whatever I ask on any given day, at any moment.  Remember that, for the disciples, following Me meant coming apart from the ‘routines’ at times to rest and pray, and learn of Me.  Trust Me to provide respite when respite is needed.”

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Such Cowards

There is much emphasis today on empathizing with others’ feelings, and on the candid confession or expression of those feelings.  Jesus was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb 4:15).  He was not a high priest, “unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb 4:15).  But we need to be reminded of what His responses were to people’s feelings.  For example, when the disciples panicked because a storm was sending waves right over the boat they were in, Jesus’ first response to their desperate, “Save us, Lord, we’re sinking!” was, “Why are you such cowards?”  Cowardliness reveals faithlessness.  “Why is it that you have no faith?” was Jesus’ next question.

Medical science has discovered many connections between psychological stress and physical maladies.  Fear is perhaps one of the most destructive emotions.  The knowledge that Jesus is in the boat with us ought to put us at rest – even if waves are breaking right over us.  Let’s not be such cowards!  Let’s trust Him.  He’s got the whole world and even the wind, even the waves, even my problems –in His hand!

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Strength For Anything

Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi about his prison experience, but without any descriptive detail.  He might have dwelt on how dreadful the place was and how uncomfortable to be in stocks or chained to two guards.  His letter is filled with joy, with loving concern, with gratitude.  He cheers those who were probably trying to think of ways to cheer him.  He has been “very thoroughly initiated into the human lot with all its ups and downs” (Phil 4:12), and assures his friends, “I have strength for anything through him who gives me power” (v.13). 

Think of those words!  Strength for anything.  They are for us today.  Something, perhaps, looms ominously in our imagination.  “I’ll never be able to do that,”  “What will we do if….,”  “She won’t be able to stand it if…,”  “I can’t take it.”   For any such threat, remember who it was who gave Paul strength.  He stood by him in his cell.  He stands by you today.  He will give you strength for anything ---if you ask Him for it.  Don’t be afraid.  It is always possible to do God’s will.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Something Much Smaller

Has it ever happened with you that you have asked God to show you what He wants done about a certain matter, and His answer seems to be, “I am concerned now with something much smaller”?  He sometimes shows me that the thing that looms large in importance to me is not nearly so important to God just now.  He would rather I please Him in some “minor” thing.  This is the thing that matters at the moment.

A husband or wife may be thinking of some special occasion when he or she can demonstrate love, but what the other longs for is something much smaller----some word or touch or look of tenderness.  The big occasion, the expensive gift, may appear empty of meaning unless the love is evident in little ways day by day. 
The life of Christ, if it is not be lived daily, is lived out in love.  This love will manifest in our desire to offer up every least thing to Him, to do the smallest task faithfully, confess the “little” sins quickly, be strict with our minutes as well as our hours.
          “Do your love me?”  Jesus asks.
          “Why, of course, Lord ---look what I did for you last Sunday at church!”
          “But child ---I am looking for something much smaller.”

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot