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The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: triumph (page 2 of 3)

Privileged: The Real Gospel

“The principle of the gospel is this: 
The gospel always brings life to the receiver,
and death to the giver.

If the gospel brought death to Jesus Christ, why would we think that in preaching the gospel it would be any less for us?…

So the mixture of our message is life and death,
And laughter and tears…

And this is voluntary.
This is not a sentence at all…
We’re not sentenced to death.
We’re just privileged to answer His call…”

–Jackie Pullinger
lifelong missionary to Hong Kong

Seventeen – Smiles Against All Odds.

An excursion down memory lane just landed me on some old treasures… A few would probably make you smile, (maybe they’ll have their chance in the near future) but one in particular rivets me this morning…
The year I learned to pray.

I knew something special was going on even back then, but now I really see it. And to this day, that nine-letter word dances on my tongue whenever my friends start talking about the best years of their lives. 
That was a loaded year. A year of transitions… And one of the fullest and toughest of my life. 
But it was pure happiness.
I still remember standing in line to register for classes at a public university… And thinking over and over again on the first day of classes: “What on earth am I doing here?”
But what I remember more is being in that treasured spot in library at the top of the hill, day after day, every time the clock in the bell tower struck 12:00, to keep an appointment…
It didn’t start there, of course. It started months and months earlier on the hillside at home. In fact, it was probably the greatest factor in my finishing 4 years of high school in a year and a half. 
It was “quiet hour.” 
Just me, and my God, and my journal.
And just as I had done all the year through when normal life, well meaning people, interruptions and “important” things tried to eclipse it, I had to fight to keep it. I had quite the time scheduling and re-scheduling 19 credits to keep it free.
Am I ever glad I did…

My life looks a bit different now. 
Instead of 19 credits, it’s the joys and challenges of virtually full-time ministry with books to write, CDs to record, planes to catch, people to love, the gospel to share, and our lives to pour out… (for which we both tremble, and thank our God constantly)
And there are the duties of home to make all of that logistically possible… 2 corporations  soon to be 4, (for myself and my brother) the joys and responsibilities of being family, such as helping to maintain home and property, gardens and a greenhouse, and claiming my share of the honor of taking care of a grandmother with severe dementia…  
But still. Still…
My life is pure happiness.
Even though I am always facing impossible odds.
There’s just nothing in the world like shedding everything for a moment (or an hour) right when it feels like it’s going to kill you, and leaning on Jesus with your head on His knee…
Smiles against all odds… 
I still call 17 the best year of my life. 
But maybe that’s not really fair… For since then, they have only gotten better.

Don’t Even Think of Failure.

This is triumph in three words: 
“exceeding abundantly above” 
(Ephesians 3:20)
Let those words sink in, because this is the Power that makes us strong. 
And there’s nothing higher. 
Think about it. Visualize it. 
If it had been written abundantly high, there could still be a higher. 
Strong could always be outdone by stronger or strongest…
But from above, there’s simply no way to go but down.
We serve a superlative God. 
“But when we give ourselves wholly to God and in our work follow His directions, He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment. He would not have us conjecture as to the success of our honest endeavors. 
Not once should we even think of failure.
COL 363

Against All Odds…

I have just 4 words–

Faith is the Victory.
And Faith is simply Trust, plus Obedience.

Almost Home

Isaiah 66

Victory! At long last…

A fitting finish for the “Old Testament Gospel.” 
The last page closes on a people that shall remain as long as God’s name does… Because His name is written on their hearts and in their foreheads. There is no more death, no more war, no more anguish… 
“For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream… As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
But before you throw down your sword, let me gently remind you that our final chapter has not yet come. We are almost home, but as yet our work is still war and anguish. Our duty is still the laying down of our lives. 
There can be no victory where there is no fight…
Eternal Weight of Glory, 
                           make us strong.

So Little Time

Isaiah 40
“So much to do, so little time…”
That phrase, and others like it, must circle the globe 1,000 times a day.
I feel it, especially this morning. But there’s something about looking out the window to my right and seeing planet earth 5 miles down that shifts my perspective on the subject…
Right here it’s just me and my little iPad, and a long to-do list sitting on a plane on the way to Missouri. Out there, I have a very big God.
Aren’t you glad we can rely on a Power outside of ourselves?
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31


Isaiah 32
Don’t be afraid of the storm.
After all, it’s not in the sunshine that Love’s territory is most radiant… It is in the shadow, when the tempest has decimated everything else. For “though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation,” 
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation.” (v. 19, 18)

I love the trophies of righteousness. Quite possibly the most sought-after commodities in the world– Peace, Quietness, Confidence, Assurance…

So don’t squirm or pray for blue skies next time you hear thunder afar off… Rejoice that through the territory of your heart God has a chance to shine…

Nothing Compares…

Isaiah 31
It’s nice to know our Master stands head and shoulders taller than all of His rivals. (Isaiah 31:3) No other empire compares… 
But perhaps more phenomenal is the fact that our Master’s servants can also stand head and shoulders above their rivals. Because no power compares to that at their disposal. 
And yet, the kingdom of Heaven is likened to a mustard seed. Seems like a humble beginning for the greatest of herbs…
There’s a little lesson there… 
Think about 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…


Isaiah 26
Never, never, never, never stop trusting. 
The strength of Jehovah will never falter, never fail, never end…
And it’s yours. 
Your darkest hour can also be your finest…
Isaiah 26:4

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