Showing posts from 2013

Ann Hasseltine Judson's Letters...


My Life in His Hands by Ann Judson of Burma

“…my dear sister Mary, a little sacrifice for the cause of Christ is not worth naming; and I feel it a privilege, of which I am entirely undeserving, to have had it in my power to sacrifice my all for hims who hesitated not to lay down his life for sinners. I rejoice that I had a pleasant home, dear friends, and flattering prospects to relinquish, and that once in my life I had an opportunity of manifesting my little attachment to the cause of Christ. I know you often wish to know certainly, whether I still approve of the first step I took in the missionary cause; and whether, if I had the choice again to make, with my present knowledge and views of the subject, I should make the same. Well, I frankly acknowledge that I should do just the same, with this exception; that I should commence such a life, with much more fear and trembling upon account of my unfitness; and should almost hesitate whether one so vile, so poorly qualified, ought to occupy a sphere of so much usefulness. I do, …


Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee,acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love. When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin's tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself. When…

2 Timothy 2:24...

John Calvin claimed that... No one gives himself freely and willingly to God's service unless, having tasted His Fatherly love, he [the Christian] is drawn to love and worship Him in return."
Freedom in Christ is not the right to do as one pleases but the power to please God by doing what is right -- this is the power His bond-servants possess. Stated another way, we become really "free" only by subjecting our own will to the will of another, One Who is always the perfect Master.
"Child of God"

Purpose in Adversity

"...he made me into a polished arrow"

I was reading in Streams in the Desert recently, and the entry for that day was this portion of Isaiah 49:2. It got me to thinking about the adversities of life and God’s purposes in them.

The goal for many of us is to get through life as unscathed and trouble free as possible, when that is not God’s intention or plan at all for His children. Think of all of God we would miss without adversity, without hardship, and without persecution.

Our faith and trust in God grows deep in times of trial. The roots of our belief and understanding grow deep and strong into our hearts and create anchors that are immovable Some of the best times of growth in my spiritual life have been when life has been at its worst. When times were tough and I was completely uncertain of everything in this life and how it would unfold is when the “Who” of God became real.

Do you know what I mean by the “Who of God?” Until we have cause to grab hold of all we have lea…

I Am My Posession

Identity in Physical Things

Let's face it: physical things are seductive precisely because they are physical. We can feel their texture, see their shape and beauty, and smell their aroma. Biblically, we know that the most important things in life are unseen, yet physical things are stiff competition when it comes to what gets our attention and shapes our living. It's very tempting for all of us to define ourselves by the size of our pile of stuff.

We may not even realize the extent to which we define ourselves by the pleasures of the physical world. The three big ones here are food, sex, and leisure. Some of us are always trolling for the next best restaurant, continually being seduced by the "more and different" draw of sexual temptation, or willing to spend far too much time and money planning and buying a vacation.

Physical appearance can also control and define us. We live in a culture that has institutionalized the practice of being defined by our appearance. Is…

I Am My Righteousness

The past two weeks we've been looking replacement identities. We either tend to put our identity in our achievement, or we seek to put our identity in our relationships. But there's a third area where we're at risk:

Identity in Performance

In the early days of his faith, Joe was overwhelmed by the desperateness of his need for God's grace. He was seeing his sin everywhere, and he was constantly thankful for the daily mercy and patience of the Redeemer. Joe was also patient with the people around him who were struggling. He knew that they were essentially no different from him, and that he was only kept by God's grace.

As Joe continued to grow, however, something began to change in his heart. He began to feel as though he deserved to belong in the community of God's children. He was proud of his theological knowledge and had little patience for Christians who were "just too lazy" to really know their faith. He looked down on brothers and sisters who str…

I Am My Relationships

Last week I wrote you about identity in achievement. While God calls us to be fruitful and productive, could it be that you've looked to your success to provide identity, meaning, and purpose? Achievement alone is not an evil thing, but once that false identity begins to define who you are, you're in danger of compromising who God has called you to be.

Here's a second area where we might find a replacement identity:

Identity in Acceptance

God created us to be social beings. His plan, from day one, was for us to live in meaningful community with one another. Our relationships are so important to God that He positioned the command for us to love one another as second only to the call to love Him (Matthew 22:37-39). Those relationships must be a very high priority as we make our daily decisions.

Yet, in our sin, many of us look to other people to do the one thing they were never designed to do - give us identity. If we're parents, we tend to try to get our identity from ou…

I Am My Success

When I was in junior high, I became obsessed with cars. I found a Whitney auto parts catalog, and I was amazed with its size. Page after page was filled with replacement parts for nearly any car on the road.

Just like that catalog, our fallen world offers an endless catalog of identity replacements. None of us are free from their seduction. Each of us will turn a page in life and find one that's attractive to us.

I've found in my years of counseling that these identity replacements tend to fall into four major clusters. We'll look at the first one this week.

1. Identity in Achievement

God calls us to be fruitful and productive. We should be concerned about our harvest and the return on our investments. But the minute we take on our achievements as an identity, we become slaves to a never-ending stream of potential success.

This is the profile of a workaholic. He (or she) gets purpose from the next notch on his belt, so he's unable to say no and unable to slow down. Tak…

Philippians 1:6