Wednesday, October 31, 2007
JUST ADD WATER AND SHAKE
'Just Add Water And Shake' But Can The Bubbles Last?
We proclaim him... so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God... attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ... be filled with the Spirit.
Others... produce a crop... even a hundred times what was sown.
(Colossians 1:28; Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:12; Ephesians 3:19, 4:13 and 5:18; Mark 4:20 -- all NIV)
We live in 'a day of the issue' -- smoking, feminism, uranium mining. Good issues: but we can easily be side-tracked from the one quoted in these scriptures. George Bernard Shaw once said, 'A fanatic is one who having forgotten his objectives redoubles his efforts.'
Is Christian maturity forgotten as we are full of overwork rather than overflow7 Our Christian booksellers have all the answers but our Christian counsellors report tragedies in our family and church life, many of which stem from shallow Christian experience. Perhaps we need the 'issue' Paul talked about when he said, 'This one thing I do'(Philippians 3:23).
Every age has its unique conditions which militate against the Christian's reaching his or her full potential. Today, we have an instant society, a paper war, endless demands for seminars and workshops, but rarely do we hear the compulsive call of the Master, 'Be therefore perfect!' So many of us become spiritual dilettantes, avoiding the absoluteness of Christ's demands.
Where then do we start?. 'There is nothing unnatural in an increase of temptations, conflicts and pressures as the Christian goes on with God' (J.l. Packer).
E.M. Bounds says, 'We need an insatiable yearning for the fullness of God.'
A.W. Tozer writes, 'The great god entertainment has taken hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day and life is intolerable without some form of entertainment.'
Os Guinness believes that 'we have a "copy cat" syndrome so that we do not have to think or evaluate seriously. It is all done for us.'
Let us 'gird up the loins of our minds' (1 Peter 1:13, KJV) or in today's idiom 'grasp the nettle'. It is a false dichotomy to separate our devotional life from Christian maturity, but the former must develop into the latter, rather than the former being our daily 'dosage' to meet the current day's 'aches and pains'.
'I wish you wouldn't squeeze so,' said the Doormouse, who was sitting next to her. 'I can hardly breathe.'
'I can't help it,' said Alice very meekly: 'I'm growing.' 'You've no right to grow here,' said the Doormouse.
'Don't talk nonsense,' said Alice more boldly: 'you know you're growing too.'
'Yes, but I grow at a reasonable pace,' said the Doormouse: 'not in that ridiculous fashion.'
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
A rosebud is perfect in its season, with its delicate folds overlapping each other, but when you observe it a little later, another perfection has appeared; a full bloom with a captivating fragrance has replaced the bud.
There is no such thing as a once-for-all fullness; it is a continuous appropriation of a continuous supply from Jesus Christ himself... as I trust him he fills me, so long as I trust him he fills me. The moment I begin to believe that moment I begin to receive.
Chas. Inwood, source unknown
The world belongs to the disciplined.
Although evangelical Christians pay lip service to the principle of the 'quiet time' it seems to be less important in practice in the lives of many than it has been in past years.
Rev. Francis Foulkes, 'In touch with God: The Devotional Life of the Messenger'. An occasional paper.
Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men
Prayer is vital -- our prayers are the measure of our Christianity. To fail in prayer is to fail in everything else.
Professor E.M. Blaiklock, 'Our Lord's Teaching on Prayer'
Above all, George Fox excelled in prayer... the most awful, living reverent frame I ever felt and beheld I must say, was his when in prayer.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mary had a little lamb
It should have become a sheep
It joined a local Bible church
And died of lack of sleep.
Gary Inrig, Life in His Body
If thou could'st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited
Then would he find thee on the ocean shelf
And say 'This is not dead'
And fill thee with himself instead.
But thou art so replete with vanity
And hast such rude activity
That when he comes, he says
'This is enough unto itself
Better to let it be
It is too small, and full;
There is no room for me.'
Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee, and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new...
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
Not merely in the words you say,
Not only in your deeds confessed,
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.
And from your eyes he beckons me
And from your heart his love is shed
Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead!
Father, I thank you for the joy of every new beginning; 'In the beginning God' and so you gave me a life which was absolutely new when I came into the world, and then a new life in Christ when I was born from above.
Father, help me to grow in grace as I have grown in my human life. Let me see the hindrances clearly. Keep me from rationalizing what may grieve you. Give me grace to allow prejudices, narrowness, bigotry, the spirit of the Pharisee, to drop out of my life and enable me to reach out for all the fullness of God. As one of your saints prayed, 'Make me as holy as it is possible for a saved sinner to be.'
May the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good, for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13, NIV).
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages now and forever more. Amen (Jude 24, NIV).
Rowland Croucher, ed., Still Waters, Deep Waters, (Albatross/Lion), chapter 10.