March 19, 2017

Trusting in God


I just love this series by Moody Classics, and this one, 'Answers to Prayer' by George Mueller, really inspired and encouraged me to trust the Lord more and more.

It's reminded me to not rush into decisions without prayer and petition. And to trust that He cares for us and that His timing is perfect.

This passage in the book was especially encouraging to me:


                                                 Trust in the Lord Better than Man's Promises

"May 6 (1845). - About six weeks ago intimation was kindly given by a brother that he expected a certain considerable sum of money, and that, if he obtained it, a certain portion of it should be given to the Lord, so that £100 of it should be used for the work in my hands, and the other part for Brother Craik's and my own personal expenses. 

However, day after day passed away, and the money did not come. I did not trust in this money, yet, as during all this time, with scarcely any exception, we were more or less needy, I thought again and again about this brother's promise; though I did not, by the grace of God, trust in the brother who had made it, but in the Lord. Thus week after week passed away, and the money did not come. 

Now this morning it came to my mind, that such promises ought to be valued, in a certain sense, as nothing, i.e., that the mind ought never for a moment to be directed to them, but to the living God, and to the living God only.  I saw that such promises ought not to be of the value of one farthing, so far as it regards thinking about them for help. 

I therefore asked the Lord, when, as usual, I was praying with my beloved wife about the work in my hands that He would be pleased to take this whole matter, about that promise, completely out of my mind, and to help me, not to value it in the least, yea, to treat it as if not worth one farthing, but to keep my eye directed only to Himself. I was enabled to do so. 

We have not yet finished praying when I received the following letter:

May 5, 1845 Beloved Brother,

Are your bankers still Messrs. Stuckey and Co. of Bristol, and are their bankers still Messrs. Robarts and Co. of London? Please do instruct me on this, and if the case should be so, please do regard this as a letter of advice that £70 are paid to Messrs. Robarts and Co., for Messrs. Stuckey and Co., for you. This sum apply as the Lord may give you wisdom. I shall not send to Robarts and Co. until I hear from you.

Ever affectionately yours,

Thus the Lord rewarded at once this determination to endeavor not to look in the least to that promise from a brother, but only to Himself.

But this was not all.

About two o'clock this afternoon I received from the brother, who had more than forty days ago, made that promise, £166 18s., as he this day received the money, on the strength of which he had made that promise. Of this sum £100 are to be used for the work in my hands, and the remainder for brother Craik's and my own personal expenses." 


                     "It is better to trust in the LORD, than to put confidence in man." Psalm 118:8

Trusting God is often hard to do, and impossible without His help. Prayer allows us to let go of our own motives and ideas of how things should be and to surrender to His guidance and help. Taking time to thank Him for who He is and all He has done, always brings me back to reality. That He is good and His plans are good, even if I don't understand.

He is trustworthy always.

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

This book is filled with journal entries from George Mueller on answered prayers through the years of running several orphanages in 19th century England. It's also filled with his wisdom and advice in trusting the Lord for everything in His will.

I highly recommend this short book (140 pages) for all those who want to be encouraged to trust the Lord more.


Buy it HERE on Amazon



March 12, 2017

What Do You Know of Church History?


If you don't know much about church history this is a great book to start with. Each chapter is only a couple of pages long and is focused on each of the centuries since Christianity began.

This book starts off with the apostles then goes onto share about faithful men like these:

Justin Martyr, in the 2nd century 'defended the truth of the Christian gospel by expounding Scripture and refuting false accusations regarding the Christian faith.'

Augustine of Hippo, a bishop from Alexandria in the 4th century

Patrick, who evangelized Ireland in the 4th century

Alopan, a Syrian missionary to China in the 8th century

Cyril and Methodius, brothers from Thessalonia, who spread the gospel in what is now called Russia in the 9th century

Anselm of Canterbury, an intellectual with spiritual and moral courage in the11th century

Peter Waldo of France, who's followers 'objected to the many errors and corrupt practices of the Western church' in the 12th century

Francis of Assisi who in the 13th century, preached... 'a life of simplicity and had a great concern for preaching repentance as the way into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ' 

Also from the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas... 'who is often regarded as one of the church's great scholastic thinkers'

John Wycliffe, who translated the bible from Latin to English in the 14th century because he felt all people would be able to grow in faith and practice from reading the Scriptures.

John Huss, was from Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. He was the rector at the University of Prague in the 15th century. Studying he realized the Church was teaching contrary things to the Scriptures.

Martin Luther, probably the most well-known reformer from the16th century, who nailed his 95 thesis on the church door at Wittenberg, Germany. I highly recommend finding these online and reading through them. The church today has benefited by Martin Luther's courage to do this.

John Calvin, another well known reformer in the 16th century, who has a great influence on all aspects of church and the Christian life.

In the 17th century came the Puritans. Men like, Matthew Henry, John Owen and John Bunyan. I personally love Matthew Henry's commentary on the Bible.

George Whitefield, brothers John and Charles Wesley and Jonathan Edwards were all preachers from the 18th century who preached repentance and saw great revivals of the heart at that time.

The 19th century had great missionaries like Hudson Taylor who went to China and never asked for money, but rather trusted God fully to met his needs as a missionary. He has inspired me personally as well as George Mueller who ran many orphanages in England, at this time, and never solicited money for his cause, but only trusted God to provide, and God provided again and again.

*Note - I'll be writing about George Mueller next week! : )

Billy Graham is most well known for bringing the gospel to masses of people. the simplicity of repentance and faith in Christ was preached thousands of times, all over the world.

It's important to remember these men were flawed and finite. They are not to be worshiped or prayed to, but rather to be inspired by to serve Christ alone, the one who is infinite and perfect.

One of the things that amazes me about church history is how little support these people had in defending the truth, and yet the truth has continued. I see how God's hand has been in each century and how he has used those who love Him to share the gospel truth.

God used each of these men (some who were martyred) to keep the gospel living and moving and He continues to do so through all those who surrender to Him.

I'm so thankful for their courage and determination in standing for truth, so that it could be passed down to us.

I highly recommend getting to know who these men were and what they brought to the Church.


From the tenth century chapter the author writes:

"Today's world is not much different from that of the tenth century. The church continues to be confronted with paganism, as well as with temptations to worldly success. While some denounce the tenth century as 'The Dark Ages,' we must recognize that our contemporary society demonstrates a moral and spiritual darkness, and the church is challenged to respond with the light of the gospel. 

Sometimes the church stands by and lets her witness be muted by worldly concerns. Rather, the church should perpetually increase in the knowledge of God's Word, be strengthened by the worship of God, and give itself to the simplicities of day-to-day devotion to Jesus Christ. By living for Christ and proclaiming His gospel, we can shine a much-needed light in the darkness."

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." Eph. 5:8

This is why I believe contending for the faith, once given to us, is so important...just look at history.

I agree with the author, the time we live in is no different then the dark ages. Paganism, false teachings, and cults infest our world, all reasons to stand for the truth once given to the saints.

We need to hold tight to the truths our Christian forefathers lived and died for. The timeless truths of God's Word.

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."  Jude 1:3

Jesus said: “...when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

Will He find us faithful to the truth once delivered to the saints?

I found this book very brief and left me wanting to know more, which I think was probably the purpose of the book. : )

I have another book on church history called, 'Church History in Plain Language' by Bruce L. Shelley,  which is over 500 pages. I've been a bit intimidated to read it, but after reading 'Church History 101' I'm actually curious to get started.

I highly recommend 'Church History 101' as a starter on Church history!



Buy it HERE on Amazon



 

March 6, 2017

5 books on my future reading list


No Little Women

I really enjoyed Aimee Byrd's previous book, 'Housewife Theologian' and I'm looking forward to diving into this one. I believe this subject, of women and theology, is so important, and I'm happy to see more books about it.

Goodreads says here:

"Why are so many well-intentioned women falling for poor or even false theology? The Devil has been effectively targeting women from the beginning, so why are they often left to fend for themselves in so-called women's ministries?

Strengthening women in the church strengthens the whole church. Cultivating resolved, competent women equips them to fulfill their calling as Christ's disciples and men's essential allies.


Writing to concerned women and church officers, Aimee Byrd pinpoints the problem, especially the commodification of women's ministry. Aimee answers the hot-button issues: How can women grow in discernment? How should pastors preach to women? What are our roles within the church and points us in the direction of a multifaceted solution."



Villette

'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte is one of my all time favorite novels and I've been wanting to read her others books.

I'm looking forward to this novel because I've heard the main character Lucy Snowe is an introvert. As an introvert myself, it's always nice to read novels with a character with a similar deposition.

Amazon describes it here:

"With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette.

There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor Paul Emmanuel.

Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a governess in Brussels, Charlotte Brontë's last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love." 



Church History 101

I've always been interested in church history but a bit intimidated by large books on the subject. I was excited to find this one which is a brief history of the last twenty centuries.

Goodreads says here:

"Church history is important because it shows us how God's faithful dealings with His people in the Bible continue in the ongoing life and work of Christ in our world.

If you have ever wished for a short book highlighting church history's most important events that will enlighten your mind and peak your interest, this is the one you've been waiting for.

Three prolific church historians collaborate their efforts in Church History 101 to present you with a quick read of church history's high points."



Answers to Prayer

I've been wanting to read this one for awhile now. George Mueller is someone who trusted God to provide all his needs while running an orphanage in 19th century England.

Goodreads says here of his book:

"When George Mueller could not get it out of his mind to open a house for orphans in late 1835, he purposed to do so "that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith."

For over sixty years George Mueller wrote down the details of the Lord's provision. Thousands of orphans depended on Mueller, and Mueller, in turn, depended solely on the Lord.


Prayer is an urgent matter that always yields crucial results. Through his narrative account, Mueller reveals how powerful and spiritually rewarding prayer can be in your life."



Hillbilly Elegy

I've seen this memoir around Christian blogging circles and it sounds very interesting. So I'm going to give it a go. I'm just waiting for it to come into my local library. : )

Here's a bit of how Goodreads describes it:

"From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. 

Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream."
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