Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vague Prayers

It is good thing to be specific in prayer.  For one thing, it requires thought.  What we pray about we should think about.  For another, it links the temporal to the eternal---the long list of seemingly impossible tasks to be done or people to be helped is brought before the God of all the Universe.  In His presence the needs are seen in a different light.  For yet a third reason, we are more apt to expect answers when we ask for definite things. 
Often however, we simply do not know what to ask.  Someone’s name is brought to the memory with great insistence, a situation looks hopeless and we cannot imagine what even God could do about it----at such times it is a great comfort to know that even the unspecific (even the vague) prayers of an attentive heart are accepted.  And the Holy Spirit “within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which never find words”  (Romans 8:26, PHILLIPS)

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unimaginable Solutions

Spectators at the cross of Calvary imagined a dramatic escape or rescue as the proof of Jesus’ kingship.  God had an infinitely greater demonstration in mind.  The Son would not manage to escape from the hands of His captors or from the nails and wood that held Him, nor would someone else come to His rescue.  He would go through the last extremity of what it means to be human, and by that very means, by death itself, would destroy the power of death.  He would become, by His obedient dying , the “Death of Death” and “Hell’s Destruction.”
When we, in our "lesser miseries,"  plead for escape or rescue, what unimaginable "solutions" God has stored up for us!  But often, in response to our pleadings, the word is Trust Me.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Unconditional Self-Abandonment

The glory of the Resurrection followed the shame of the Crucifixion.  Christ abandoned Himself, became subject to death, went to Gehenna, for love of us.  Therefore He was raised in power, death could not hold Him, and He opened Paradise for us.  We can enter only as He entered – the road to glory is always the road of self-abandonment.  When we see this as a mere theory we are not even close to living as Christians.  It is in the opportunities of every day, with real people (i.e., real sinners) that we (sinners, too) are called to His companionship:  “Give up your rights, abandon yourself, follow me – follow me to the place where death cannot possibly hold you, where animosities and offenses are vanquished, and Life springs victorious.”

What do we long for above all else?  Is it not Life?  Jesus came so that we could have it – but the only life He can give us is resurrection life.  That kind comes as the result of unconditional self-abandonment.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too Strong To Be Crucified

Jesus Christ, we are told, was “crucified in weakness.”  When we approach the table of the Lord in Holy Communion, or when in any way at all we identify ourselves as Christians, we are letting Christ take us, with our purposes, and offer us, as He did His own body, up to His Father. 

The greater our consciousness of weakness, sinfulness, and abject need, the more perfectly we can let Christ take us for that offering.
The man or woman who claims some autonomy, some right to himself, some independence, some existence of his won, is too strong.  Too strong to need a Savior, too strong to flee to His cross for refuge, too strong to be crucified with Christ.  How then shall he live in Christ, how shall Christ live in him?

When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count by loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Isaac Watts

Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Too Rich to Follow Him

In the forests of Ecuador I soon learned that there were journeys I could not make if I wanted to carry baggage. Traveling narrow, muddy, and often steep trails on foot was impossible if I was heavily loaded.

So it is with the spiritual journey. We cannot make it if we insist on taking along everything we think indispensable. A rich young man was attracted to Jesus and contemplated joining His company, but Jesus spoke plainly of the necessary condition: Sell all you have first.

If he had not had much, perhaps he would have laid it down readily. But he was too rich to follow Jesus. He turned away, sorrowful.

We may be willing to part with almost everything God is asking us to relinquish, but perhaps we are clutching one thing tightly—“all but this, Lord.” “Lay it down,” Jesus says. “Let it go.” If we refuse, too rich to follow Him, we have chosen a greater poverty in the end.

Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot