Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Vanishing Life" 1/10/2015

"Vanishing Life"

 The year was 1973 or perhaps 1974,  a mother had gone to an Assembly of God Church with a friend where her heart and life was met by a gracious and loving God.  Not many days hence, a Baptist Church near her home had a revival meeting to which she decided to go and took her 14 year old son.  Sometime during the week the Pastors wife came to the back of the church and asked the young lad if he had been saved.

"I didn't know", was his reply, so the Pastor's wife took him to the visiting evangelist to pray for him.  In a small back room of the church the evangelist asked him to pray the sinners prayer to which he agreed.  After they prayed the evangelist asked the young boy if he felt anything, to which he replied very honestly, "no".  The evangelist continued to repeat the process of leading the young lad in the sinners prayer praying a little louder and squeezing his hand a little  stronger each time and again asking if he felt anything.  The young boy was beginning to catch on to the fact he was giving the wrong answer.  So upon the 3rd or 4th repeat he finally answered, "I think so".

He was then instructed after the sermon message was preached and the invitation was given, for him to go up to the alter and tell the preacher he had been saved. The young boy did as he was instructed and to his amazement, after arriving at the alter and while still standing and listening to the preacher speak to call others up, his heart began to melt and tears to flow from his eyes.  Like his Mother, he had met a gracious and loving God.

This marked the young boy's life; the Bible became precious to him.  The attraction of his eyes was to the Word of God, which he consumed until he had read it from Genesis to Revelation.

 On the property where he lived there was an old log barn and well pump house, at times he would find his way to this secluded place with his Bible in hand and preach to the pump house and old barn door.

One might say he was someday going to be a preacher, perhaps it was a hidden desire of his heart, but it was not to be.  Though his heart would never completely leave the gracious hand that saved him and loved him, it would began to grow cold during his late teen years and much of his twenties.

His affection would turn to the attractions of the world, his desire to prove himself and be admired by others would be a distraction for many years.  Feeling inferior with a low self-esteem he was constantly looking to lift himself up in the eyes of others.  He found a particular sport to which through his efforts it seemed to do this for him. So he gave himself to it almost completely, devoting his time to it.    

 This story has not yet ended, this young boy is now a man, and his heart once again, through the Providence of a Gracious God, is beginning to burn afresh for the precious Word of God. His identity is not longer in a sport or achievement, but he rest now in the Grace of God that has been bestowed upon him.   This is just one story of an uncalculated number that could be told, all of them different in the Providence of God, as we each walk out our life and tell our stories.

 This brings me back to last weeks post looking at the short life of Robert Murray McCheyne. In the Providence of God he was not going to have the time the young boy described above was going to have, so God took him another route.  In his life we find so much hope in the Grace of God. It shows us time is not a factor with God.

There was no profound event in McCheyne's life, no great discovery or achievement that one can point to.  He was simply an associate Pastor of a small church for 1 year, then Pastor for 6 years, and that marked with sickness.  So why 168 years later are we reading, studying and being moved by this man's words who only had 7 years to minister?  It is a wonder in the demonstration of the Grace of God to us, it tells us where ever we are in the story of our life, the Grace of God is there to do His marvelous work.  He may be patient and wait with us for many years, then He may take us and do a marvelous work in a short period of time, it is according to His pleasure.  It enables us to rest in Him once we see His glorious life.  Today is the day of mega Churches and Super Stars, they tell us we must be strong in faith and believe God for Great things to glorify Him.  McCheyne's life was a life of weakness, frailty, and brevity.  The great work of God was the work upon the heart of sinful man.  May we take a few moments and hear the words from such a work of God, words that have lasted for 168 years to continue to encourage us and bring us to God.
"Set not your heart on the flowers of this world; for they have all a canker in them. Prize the Rose of Sharon . . . more than all; for he changeth not. Live nearer to Christ than to the saints, so that when they are taken from you, you may have him to lean on still." ~
Robert Murray McCheyne      

"Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely . . . . Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love. And repose in his almighty arms." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"You may read your Bible, and pray over it till you die; you may wait on the preached Word every Sabbath-day, . . . [But] if you are not brought to cleave to him, to look to him, to believe in him, to cry out with inward adoration: "My Lord, and my God"—"How great is his goodness! How great is his beauty!"—then the outward observance of the ordinances is all in vain to you." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"We are often for preaching to awaken others; but we should be more upon praying for it. Prayer is more powerful than preaching. It is prayer that gives preaching all its power. . . . Why, the very hands of Moses would have fallen down, had they not been held up by his faithful people. Come, then, ye wrestlers with God—ye that climb Jacob's ladder—ye that wrestle Jacob's wrestling—strive you with God, that he may fulfill his word." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"Most of God's people are contented to be saved from the hell that is without; they are not so anxious to be saved from the hell that is within." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"It is a sure mark of grace to desire more." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"No one ever came to Christ because they knew themselves to be of the elect. It is quite true that God has of his mere good pleasure elected some to everlasting life, but they never knew it until they came to Christ. Christ nowhere invites the elect to come to Him. The question for you is not, Am I one of the elect? But, Am I one of the human race?" ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.  A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God's Spirit, is worth ten thousand words spoken in unbelief and sin." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of the ocean caves." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"A man who loves you the most is the man who tells you the most truth about yourself." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising above the storm." ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

"I am tempted to think that I am now an established Christian,—that I have overcome this or that lust so long,—that I have got into the habit of the opposite grace,—so that there is no fear; I may venture very near the temptation—nearer than other men. This is a lie of Satan. One might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit of resisting fire, so as not to catch spark. As long as powder is wet, it resists the spark; but when it becomes dry, it is ready to explode at the first touch. As long as the Spirit dwells in my heart, He deadens me to sin, so that, if lawfully called through temptation, I may reckon upon God carrying me through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like dry gunpowder. Oh for a sense of this!" ~ Robert Murry McCheyne.

Picture  From the Home and the Heart:

When my husband asked me several years ago to post a small addition to this blog, I knew that it would need to go in a different direction other than the studies of ancient history.  He's the buff, as far as this is concerned.  (Too many names and dates for my fancy!)
At any rate, there is so much that one needs to know from the study of the Founders, and I am so thankful that it is a burden  given  to hearts, such as my husband's, to do just this.

The peace of resting in the provision of our Sovereign God is beyond explanation.   Knowing that throughout history, He has had His plan unfolding, and the instrumental use of who He would, is awe inspiring.

Just as this week's post expresses the workings of the Lord in a young lad's life, so it seems fitting to share some things from a young girl's life to correspond.  A young lass growing up among three other siblings, and raised on a shoestring budget, once developed such an inferiority complex that in turn produced an avid amount of "over achieving" behavior for years to come.  The driving force of being portrayed as "not quite good enough," would take over this personality to cause a sense of expectancy of certain conditions met, not only in herself, but others as well.  In turn, when these expectations were not met, the failure was a roller coaster ride. 

One only embarks upon  true excellence as the Lord allows, and that only because He is the "Excellent One."  If we belong to the Master, pride will have to crumble.  His glory is not to be shared with any one.  When the Lord delivers those of the disposition of the young lass mentioned from such idiotic behaviors, there should be much rejoicing in His great mercy.  He's so faithful not to leave us to foolish vices which have blinded our understanding of His purpose and plan.

Life in Christ provides a special position for all who know Him.  When we search His Word, we can be sure that we will find that place in Him.  How liberating to know that we needn't pattern ourselves after some self made hero, or popular personality type.  He is the "Author" and "Finisher" of our faith.  May we stay positioned in the hands of the Potter.  The formation of the clay is in the plan of His hands.  What better place to be?
Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;  who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Psalm 8:1 "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  who hast set thy glory above the heavens."

This article is submitted via the guidelines of my precious husband, David,


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