Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: faithfulness (page 2 of 3)

To Fight or Not to Fight, That is The Question

Consider this Science of Temptation, part 2.
I was born to be a warrior.
So were you.
Trouble is, most warriors today are in confusion over titles and job descriptions.
If grace and faith are really sufficient, what need have we of war?
–   –   –
–   –   –

I pace the floor of my basement office, from french door to bookshelf and back. 
It’s cold in here. But my mind works best that way.

My finger runs past scores of titles on the shelf–
Past my Greek New Testament, Waggoner’s commentary on Isaiah, 11 journals…
Testimonies to Ministers, Conflict of the Ages, and great Christian classics.
Leather bound, paper bound, hard bound…

I find the one I’m looking for. 

And I pace again, my whole posture insisting on an answer. 

Temptation’s power is utterly insufficient for the man or woman who takes God at His Word, and denies the tempter’s underlying lie:
“I’ve got something better.”  *

End of conversation.

But if the power of temptation is truly thus neutralized, is there no need of war?

Ahh, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

The promises are completely (and exclusively) sufficient to vanquish the enemy. The money is in your pocket already. (Do yourself a favor and depend on it, because no other currency of your own earning will pay the debt, either.)

But we are soldiers. We wrestle.
Oh, but why??

“Conversion. . .does not put new flesh upon the old spirit; but a new Spirit within the old flesh. . . Deliverance and victory are not gained by having the human nature taken away; but by receiving the divine nature to subdue and have dominion over the human.”  **

Paul was surely talking of a wrestling match when he said “I keep under my body…” [better english word order would be, “I keep my body under me“]

Yet he speaks not of wrestling with the tempter… Christ Himself would not do that. ***
The tempter is to be dismissed by the Word.

But to wrestle the flesh is the work of the will.  

To receive the power of the engrafted Word, we must align ourselves (read: obedience) with that Word. 
And there is nothing easy about that.
But if being a soldier were easy, there would be no honor associated with the title.

This room is still cold. 
A mild allergy to gas flame means I awaken more alert with the heat off. 
The flesh hates 50 degrees in the morning. Every morning
But I have only three choices. Stay in bed and lose Gospel battles, turn up the heat, wake up groggy, and lose Gospel steam…

Or get up anyway.

I’ll take the third. 
* * * * *

The book slides back into it’s place on the shelf. 

We must fight. White knuckled and sore armed. Discipline. Sacrifice. Self-control. 

That is our battle.

There is no substitute for obedience.

Fight, soldier. Fight.

–  –  –
–  –  –

*  “The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us.” DA 125.2

** A. T. Jones, Review and Herald, April 18, 1899

*** “Though Jesus recognized Satan from the beginning, He was not provoked to enter into controversy with him. . .He would not parley with temptation. . . Jesus met Satan with the words of Scripture. ‘It is written,’ He said. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the word of God. . .So long as Christ held to this position, the tempter could gain no advantage.” DA 120

Aim Higher

Seems like these days, to be a “Christian” is to try resist temptation (most of the time),

to try to figure out how to be the same while being different,
and to make pilgrimage plans based on the weather report.
I’ve had enough of that.

So I aim to reclaim the name Christian. 
To reclaim a life of perpetual resistance, and perfect obedience.
To realize that to make a mark one must be different… 
And instead of waiting for fair weather, to run into darkness. 
Because that’s where shining makes a difference.
And because that’s what Christians do.

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 
And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land…” (Is 32:1,2 Emphasis added)

Above the timber line: looking down from Arizona’s tallest peak.

“The stars do not change, Monsieur.”

My God is a constant.

Through an incessant flickering of transients too numerous to compute,
from people and places, to promises forgotten–

I see the Lord high and lifted up,
sitting on His throne.

He never changes.

Comforting when that truth is driven home.

Almost overwhelming when it’s driven home by faithful, albeit frail human flesh.

This evening I rejoice in the mercy of just such faithfulness.

My sister’s head resting on my shoulder; from my mouth come words quoted from a cherished tale of Huguenot fidelity:

“‘The stars do not change, Monsieur…'”

and my little sister finishes:

“‘Nor do the angels in Paradise.”

National Geographic

Privileged: Part 2

I’m reminded…

In death, there is life. 

 Though pain, and toil, and sacrifice are the lot of the soldier, 

And though it may appear that for this time he gets no pay,

Remember that God has not asked anyone to serve Him here
without promising him an inheritance hereafter

There has never been a night
that was not followed by the morning…

“With the sovereignty of God is bound up the well-being of man. The glory of God is the joy and the blessing of all created beings. When we seek to promote His glory we are seeking for ourselves the highest good which it is possible for us to receive. . . . God calls for the consecration to His service of every faculty, of every gift you have received from Him. He wants you to say, with David: ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.'” 

God’s Amazing Grace, Feb 22
Photo: Joshua Nebblett

Grace is Power…

Just four young adults and a veteran Toyota Corolla sporting new snow tires… 
That was us a few weeks ago. The trip was originally planned for 6, but God had other ideas. 

It was a trip like none other. We sorely missed having our parents along, but even in that I see the hand of Providence. He wanted this trip to be different. and different it was.

Our world is changing. I mean, the world of 4 young people from the edge of nowhere who love to work together, pray together, play together, serve together, sing together… And cry on each other’s shoulders. 

We hear the tread of armies. Constantly.

And we see the gleams of a golden morning…

All at once we are noting in the world around us things that we’ve never perceived before. 

Some things that not that long ago had little or no influence on our personal lives are fast becoming our reasons for living.

I have no way to explain it, other than the fact that we’ve been captivated by Grace.

In all my years I cannot remember another time when the four of us have jumped into the car after a day on the slopes with young friends, pulled off our helmets (hair to the four winds) and had nothing to talk about all the way down the mountain but Jesus… 

He is so irresistible. And every time I turned around, I was looking into the face of another long-time friend and seeing the same thing written there. (for the first time)

I can’t remember another time when one moment, I could be speeding down an icy road on a sled, surrounded by shouts of laughter and high spirits, and the next moment be on my back looking up at the blue sky saying “My Jesus, I love You…” (And the next moment be speeding down the icy hill again.)

I have never seen so much of Jesus in His children… Everywhere I turned, I caught another glimpse of His face. 

Our world is changing…
Or maybe not.
Maybe we’re just tasting more of His grace… And He’s changing the things we love, and the things we live for. Maybe that’s why we don’t pray for happiness, but for usefulness. Why we gladly exchange fun times for the pursuit of His glory…

I never imagined that broken pieces could be this happy… 

Grace is power. 
What it touches, changes. 

Eternal Weight of Glory, serving You is joy unspeakable!
Please keep us in Your hand…


A strange mix of happy and sad I’ve never felt before…
Try loving, and praying, and preaching, and crying for souls… 
And being loved by them, and then saying goodbye knowing there’s a good chance you will never meet again on this side of the gates of pearl. 
Oh, I know.
I’ve done it before too. But this time was different. 
A part of me is still in Australia. 
And that part of me will never come home.
Maybe it was relinquishing claims to those hearts and hands 
to trust them to the grip of One infinitely stronger and wiser…
Or maybe it was just realizing how small I am…
Or maybe it was something else
Whatever the case, it makes my heart burn for Heaven.
Oh, let’s be faithful dear friends…
I want to meet you on the other side.

A New Slogan

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword… (Heb 4:12)

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11) 

It occurs to me that there is only one step between perfect safety and total destruction. There is a line in the sand upon which the “sword bathed in heaven” (Isa 34:5) will fall… Those to one side will be safe, those to the other will be destroyed by their own sins. And those with one foot on either side? Well… They will be the first to feel it.

But those on the right… Tis the truth that has made them free! Tis the very sword that falls in judgment and brings so much destruction, that has cut their chains. I think I’m picking up a pattern here…

I think we need to shift an old slogan into a new strain and make it our own… Something like:

The Word of God–

Live by it.

No Substitute

Isaiah 28-29

There is no substitute for faithfulness.
Even if you are tired of fighting.

Some have tried to trade an alliance with the right for a peace treaty with the wrong. But it doesn’t work. Yes, the former is hard, but the latter is death. (28:15-16)

Some others have tried pledging legal allegiance the right, while harboring internal loyalties to wrong… That doesn’t work either. The world calls it smart, God calls it treason. (29:13)

And then some have thrown all their hearts, and all their weight behind the right… The world calls them weird, God calls them “the work of My hands.” The terrors and scorners that come against them He deals with Himself (29:19-20), and all the while, their joy in the Lord increases…

That works…

Faithful and True

Isaiah 25
Enough bad news.  
At the start of a very full day when a bunch of things seem to have gone “wrong”…
(Like losing my wallet, or my abducted homework, or dealing with deadlines while packing for a 12 day trek to Chicago) …I found the word of the day. 🙂 
Actually, I found “strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow…”

The word is “Faithful and True.”

Let that one go around the world a couple of times!
Isaiah 25 tells me that everything He has ever done has been faithfulness and truth…
And I can see it. I still don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know each day spent with Him is brighter than the last…
I’m thankful. 🙂

Power to do Good…

Isaiah 9
Call it affability, appeal, popularity, or “social power”… God calls it our responsibility.
It goes by the common name– “Influence” —and it’s yours. 
I feel really badly for the elders and prophets who misused it. (v.14-17) Abuse of this gift always comes with a high price…
But here’s some good news: 
“If by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn, they exert the same influence upon others, and they upon still others. Thus by our unconscious influence thousands may be blessed.” (COL 339) 

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