The Reason for my Long Absence

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Daniel’s Story

September 22nd I was with my family attending a benefit auction for a friend of ours and sometime during the evening I was talking to a girl that I had previously been acquainted with and had not seen in some time. She and I have similar interests so I was showing pictures of my horses and talking about things related. When I was finished my mom came up to me and said, “I see you were talking to Emily” in the motherly way that says “let’s get moving boy!” She had been giving me indication for some time that she was wondering about my normalcy. I had, up to this time, always knew that I wanted God to, by His Spirit, lead me in all areas including marriage. So when she made that comment I immediately started praying and considering the possibility that now might be the time to seek a wife. I was very uncomfortable with the idea, largely because I didn’t trust myself to make the right choice, (because I liked girls of all types) and also because I knew that God had his best for me and I didn’t want to miss it. It continued to plague me for the rest that weekend and into Monday.

Monday, the 24th, I was on the job site with one other guy remodeling a basement. Around noon I walked out in the parking lot and said “Lord, this is too much for me. I’m going to give it back to you no names and faces attached, you will have to show me the right person at the right time. I commit it to you.” At that time His peace washed all over me, and I wouldn’t have cared if I’d be a bachelor for another ten years. Little did I know what He had in store for me that afternoon! As we were working, my friend who had teased me about every girl I had come in contact with throughout the whole year, said “You aught to meet Lydia Fairlamb, I think she’d work for you” I replied with my usual “Whatever” rolling his suggestion off the same way I had all year. At that very moment the Spirit spoke to my heart and said “That’s her”. Up to this time, I had never seen her or her family and knew very little about them. I was shocked and bewildered, and after rebuking Satan and inspecting my own motives, was quickly convinced that it was the voice of the Lord. The Lord had been preparing me over a period of time for this by proving Himself faithful in my life gently preparing me through His leading and my obedience in all matter big and small. This was not the first time that He has spoken to me in this manner, and it did not take long for me to accept it as His leading. By the end of that day, I was convinced as I am today that Lydia was to be my wife.

The next day I went home to tell my parents who encouraged me to be sure of the Lord’s leading while moving forward. I began to think that I would go to the church where she attended and observe her without revealing my intentions or identity. As I asked the Lord as to whether this would be the next step, He told me “You don’t need to meet her, you need to call her dad”. So after getting his number from a friend I called him on Thursday the 27th and told him that the Lord had something He wanted me to talk to him about. We agree on meeting the coming Saturday at a job site where he was putting in a counter top. I met him at the appointed time and as we worked I shared with him the whole story. He told me that he would talk to his wife and get back with me later. Before two days were up I was wondering what was going on so the following Friday I gave him a call. He said that he would like to meet my parents so we set up a time that evening when I and my parents met with Mr. and Mrs. Fairlamb. After going through the list of questions that every young man expects to be asked he invited me to start attending their church services. The next five weeks I came for midweek services, avoiding all eye contact with Lydia, afraid that she might read my intentions which her father did not want revealed until he was confident that I was the one.

 As the weeks dragged by, and my love for her grew I became more and more impatient, dying for the day when I would be able to speak to her. I had never been comfortable before in my life talking to girls because I was confident of the Lord’s leading in my life every step of the way I had no fear in meeting her or telling her why I was here. So on November 10th, after their family came down to the gym for volleyball, by which time he had told her of my intentions. I called her dad up and said “I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but I am dying to talk with her”. I proceeded to tell him that I wasn’t trying to be pushy, just telling him how I felt. He said that he understood and I said “Ok. As long as you know!” The next day, while I was under a car fixing the muffler, he called me and said that he had talked to Lydia and she was ready to talk to me. That night they came to open gym with a bunch of church friends and we talked for two and half hours. She was so beautiful, looking at me and smiling nearly the entire time. I tried to be methodical and not too shocking but regardless of my best efforts I succeeded to relay to her that she was to be my wife and now was the time. Monday I went to her parent’s house and we talked for two hours. We had a precious time of talking about our love for the Lord and our desire to grow deeper in Him. The next day we talked over the phone for four hours, committing ourselves to each other in the Lord. The day following, which would have been the 14th of November, we met for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse where I proposed to her and gave her the ring. I am so proud of her for trusting God, enabling her to commit to marriage without allowing common sense to interfere with her faith. He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him and my desire is to see Him glorified through our relationship from now ‘till forever. My love for her is an outpouring of Christ’s love for me – without Him I could do nothing.

Lydia’s Story

When people ask of our story, I tell them it’s Daniel’s story – they have to hear from him. It’s not in any way because I feel like it’s one sided, not at all, it’s simply that my story could be written with one word – trust. The absolute, only thing I did was trust. I was not let in on the deal until five weeks after God had told Daniel and he had talked to Daddy. Now yes, I had plenty of suspicions, but no different than normal, I left everything in God’s hands and didn’t try to do in figuring or reckoning of my own.

When Daddy and Mama met with Daniel and his parents a week after Daniel had talked to Daddy, I knew something was going on and that they were up to something. I came home from taking care of my elderly lady and Mama asked if I could take care of the kids because she and Daddy wanted to go on a date. That was nothing unusual. Their dates aren’t frequent, but that’s how they usually take them – spur of the moment, “this would be fun!” sort of thing. I said “Yes” I would take care of the kids and one of the kids asked where they were going to go. “O you know us!” Mom said, “no telling!” All the kids started stating their conclusions of, to the lake, to the Ice Shanty, to wherever they had been known to go before, and everything just faded out in the usual manner. Daddy and Mama left and we proceeded with our evening. I could tell that Mama had something up her sleeve when she wouldn’t give any idea as to where they were going, but generally if she didn’t tell the kids for whatever reasons, she would tell me the next time we talked and our usual time of talking is if she comes up to my room right before bed. So that night, they took entirely way too long of a time to spend by themselves in Bear Lake and when Mama came up to my room that night, she just briefly asked how things went and then began to walk out of my room. She was wearing an expression of “I want to say something, but can’t” and the words were on the tip of my tongue to catch her before she closed the door, “Mom! Where did y’all go tonight?” When inside of me God’s voice said “Let her be. This time you don’t need to know”. I was puzzled. “What’s wrong with me asking?” I questioned. “I always ask them where they went, or else they tell me!” But I knew that it wasn’t a big deal, and I wasn’t supposed to know.

 A little over a week later, I’m standing in Church and a young man walks in. “O, that’s that Siefka guy” I thought. “I wonder why he’s here”. The only reason I recognized him and knew his name was because I had heard about them several times from some friends, and after the most recent time I decided to look them up on the internet and see if they had a family blog or something. I came across an old blog of theirs from ‘08-‘09 that kept everyone updated on the healing of the oldest son who had been burned from the waist up, after a gas can in his hand had caught fire. I knew that “Daniel” was the name of the oldest because one of my friends from the family who goes to their church was never ceasing to sing his praises! So when he walked into church I knew that he was a Siefka and that his name was Daniel, but what I didn’t know, but wanted to know, was “Why is he here?”. My grandparents were up from New Mexico, so I kept my mind occupied with them, and just watched the visitor with my careful observation. He showed up the next Thursday night (midweek service) and the next, and the next.

Shortly after he began showing up at church once a week, he left a comment on an old post on my blog. He commented under an anonymous name, but as an administrator of the blog I had access to his email which included his full name. However, I didn’t know if he knew that I knew who he was! Did he just not like using his real name over the internet? Did he not want everyone on my blog to know who he was? Was he trying to be anonymous to me? I didn’t know, so I decided not to care. Everyone knows that I can’t let a good discussion go by, so I started nit picking and asking questions and pretty soon we had a good long forum going. In my head things were beginning to add up. This young man was coming to church, he was always talking to Daddy during fellowship, and now he was on my blog and that constantly! (I knew from the stats) I had suspicions. But suspicions are suspicions and not based on fact.

 And then came the twister. He made a comment on an even older post (now I knew he was going way back through the archives) concerning young people and marriage, and in his comment he made reference to the fact that “it wasn’t until I fell in love with God and gave everything over to him that He told me who I was to marry”. Hola, Hola, Ho! This doesn’t add up! So this guy already has someone who God told him to marry? Why then is he coming to church, always talking to dad, the most active visitor on my blog, and reading all the way back through my blog archives? Sorry! Something’s wrong! “What if you’re the one he’s speaking of?” My mind was going to play tricks on me. “Impossible!” you don’t just observe a girl for 3 weeks (not like he was observing because I only saw him look at me once!), without ever talking to her, only speaking to her father, and decide that she’s the one with affirmation from God. Yes, I’ll admit – it was my mistake. He said God told him, not he told God! But I even thought of that – what if God told him it was me? “Impossible!” came the cry again, “that’s not the way it works!” So when my mind becomes confused I usually think “You idiot! What are you trying to do anyway? You don’t know anything. Let God handle it, and keep your nose out!” And this case was no different. I knew I had no business even thinking up such preposterous ideas like this handsome young man wanted to marry me, or God had told him to do so, or even that he just liked our church and my blog and had someone else that God had picked as his wife. He was none of my business, and unless he became some of my business, he was not going to be any of my business! That was that!

 However, in between this and the comment that threw me off, Mama came up to my room (we know what that means, right?) and began asking rather personal questions concerning this active commenter on my blog. I knew what she was getting at (I thought) – “You’d better be careful. Men like thinking women.” “You’d better be careful what all you say, you never know what intentions young men have.” “You’d better be careful…” I can’t remember everything Mama said, but in the course of the conversation, I got the idea that Mama really liked this guy, and wasn’t so concerned about our discussion! Finally she asked, “Do you think he’s interested in you?” A flood of mixed thoughts, feelings, and emotions ran over me. As I remembered “it is none of my business” I stated “No”. Mama had this funny smile on her face and she asked “Why?” “He has no reason to” I replied. “Ok” was all she said. Throughout the last few years Mama’s and my relationship has grown really close, and I can read her almost as well as myself. I knew something was up. It was also in this conversation that she told me that Daniel had met with Daddy and had given him a print out of our discussion, as well as the book he had referred me to. Although I didn’t let on, that pretty much did it in for me.

It was only confirmed when they both at separate times asked my approval for meeting Daniel’s family. The very first thought when Mama asked me was “Why on earth are you asking me about it?” and then I thought “O yeah, I get it…” I knew Daddy well enough to know that the only reason he would ask for my approval in such a situation was if it concerned me. I was settled, but somehow not. I knew it all, yet I forced myself to not give it any thought since I didn’t have direct and clear evidence – I was waiting for Daddy to talk to me. Earlier this past spring, a young man had tried to come after me, but Daddy and I quickly decided that he was not the one. I told Daddy at that time that I trusted his judgment for my husband, and that he didn’t need to feel obligated to consult me about anyone unless they first had his full approval. Little did I know that he would take me up on the offer! So after that first night of volleyball, Daddy told me that Daniel was interested in me. I told him “I figured”. After the next Saturday night, when Daniel called Daddy and asked for a decision, he asked me if I was willing to let Daniel pursue me. “Sure thing!” (No, I really didn’t say that though I thought it!) I said yes, and he said he would call him the next day.

 Sunday at church, Daddy and I were discussing the definition and details of our “relationship” and I told him “Daddy, I’m ready to marry him.” He was a little surprised and asked me why. I told him that when it came down to it, I trusted God in that He had given me the peace that this was true and right, I trusted him(Daddy) in his evaluation of Daniel, and I trusted Daniel that he had heard from the Lord. Daddy said that though Daniel was ready for marriage, he wanted us to start at courtship and then it was up to me as to where the progression lay. So, a few hours later Daddy called Daniel and told him, and then that evening during open gym volleyball, we found a corner to ourselves (or not so “to ourselves”!) and talked for 2 ½ hours. I should say he talked for 2 ½ hours! No, I talked a little, but mostly listened to him tell his story, and found out more about who he is. The next evening he came over on his way home from work and we spoke for another two hours, this time delving into our relationship with Christ. Tuesday I was a wreck – there was no way that God would give Daniel someone like me! I was not fit, I was not prepared, I was not capable of being a help meet for him. God showed me that it was the perfect picture of Christ and His bride – an unconditional love bestowed upon us aside from any merit of our own to which we respond by giving the whole of ourselves and laying all at his feet. We committed to each other that night, and Wednesday he gave me the ring as a token of his commitment to me.  

It’s incredible, it’s beautiful, and it’s a miracle. All because of the God we serve!

                Though many people question the start of our story, our hastiness, and maybe even some decisions, it all goes back to the founder of our faith – the Lord Jesus Christ. From the start to the finish He has, is, and will be the center, source, and author of every detail of our lives. Entering into this relationship with so firm a foundation as God, the Word, and the Spirit, we have nothing to hold back. Because it was and is not based on feelings, desires, emotions, preferences, tastes, etc. nothing of the kind, by the power of God we can boldly move forwards in the faith, love, and hope that comes only from God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is amazing though, at how careful, complete, and even meticulous Christ was in choosing and preparing the other! I stand amazed! I never in my life would have dreamed that God would give me everything I desired and so much more in my husband! I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I had tried choosing my mate. Talk about, “in for tragedy”! But no, what God does always has been and always will be pronounced as “good”. I am confident.

Since I had entirely placed this era of my life in God’s hands many years before, when this time came it was simply a matter of trusting Him that this was it. That this was His man, His story, and His will. When you truly trust Christ, when you have absolute faith in Him, when you believe and know of a surety that He will help your unbelief, the results are absolutely and entirely astounding! Some people question why hard-headed, stubborn, perceptual little me would “wing it” and lay my all at a stranger’s feet committing my life, my love, and my future to him with no reservation and there’s only one thing I can say, and that it is “I know whom I have believed and persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day”.

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Just Passin’ Through

Some people you just don’t know how you can live with, others you don’t know how you can live without. Both are in our lives for a reason, both we would not be the same without.

Every week, he met us at the door smiling from ear to ear. He was a little man, and all the cuter for it. Never did we pass across that threshold without giving him a good squeeze of a hug, and never did we leave without him walking us to the door and watching us out the drive way. Quarter after eleven, every time that we cleaned, he’d go buy three lunches – one for Hannah, one for me, and one for him and his wife to share. This was always the highlight. No need to rush, we would take our time with lunch. The Mrs. did most of the talking, but he had all the little quips and funnies – he was always cracking jokes. Whenever there was a pause in the conversation, he would tell us how thankful they were for us; he could never stop saying “We love you girls so much!” and even right now I can see him saying it – the smile on his face, the squeeze of his hand, and the sound of his voice. Desert was always chocolates which he’d get from the drawer and would give us a couple and then “a few more for the way”.

Absolutely everything about that man was for the betterment of others. Every word he said was to encourage the hearer, every deed done was to the benefit of another – he was entirely selfless. And, this is where I believe I found the key to a happy marriage. I had begged everywhere, trying to find an answer as to how older couples had made it so long together – I’d seen enough divorce within the younger generation to know that for the most part they couldn’t make it together, but I knew several elderly couples, that although they were together, they were constantly bickering. I got scared – I declared I would not even think about marriage until I found a solution that guaranteed me a happy marriage from the start to the finish – no wearing out, no working off, no diminishing in anything; from the wedding day to the very last breath either breathed, I wanted us to adore each other. And here I found a living example that it could be done. But what more? I found out how it could be done.

The Mrs. had cancer and had been undergoing treatment for a long while. She didn’t like going out or socializing and thus was very content to stay at home, but he had his certain club dinner that he thoroughly enjoyed and in the past they had always attended together. He wanted her with him, she didn’t want to go, but each wanted the other’s wishes over their own. He would tell her that he didn’t want her to come if she didn’t feel up to it, so she would miraculously make herself feel up to it. As I cowered in shame of my own life, I marveled at theirs.

Time passed, we hadn’t cleaned in a while, when suddenly we got the news – the Mrs. had passed on to glory. It was an unexpected and hard blow. Although joyful that she was in glory and free of all earthly suffering, everyone knew that a slow and torturous ending had begun for the beloved man she had left behind. Truly when Christ said “they twain shall be one”, they are one. Though one may go quickly, the other goes with them, however slowly they may follow. Within weeks he was in an assisted living facility being unable to cope without the other part of him that he had enjoyed so long. His mind began to leave him – gradually at first, more quickly towards the latter end. But it wasn’t just his mind. His will had gone long before and now it was only his spirit left. I hoped it too would leave…soon.

I had studied late into the night. As I began wrapping it up and cleaning up my scattered books and papers, my mind wandered to the next day and everything it held. Suddenly I was fatigued. My headache became worse and I felt sick, like I had come down with some kind of illness. I did not, for any reason want to go to work. I began hoping that I was coming down with something and almost prayed that I would when I took into consideration everything it would effect. I chose not to, but still I was trying to think of anything that I could do to get out of work. I’ve never just not showed up, never called in sick, never asked off without fore-warning and none of that was going to change now. So I decided I would make myself go to work, and I did. Not long after I got in, my boss came rushing into the room where I was working with tears in her eyes and grief written on her face. She informed me that this little man had just hours to live and his daughter needed someone in the room as a companion. I called Hannah and then headed for the room with mixed emotions, dread, and apprehensiveness.

He was everything I expected, but his daughters surprised me. I knew both of them were strong Christians, but I had no idea what I’d run into when I entered the room. Though the tears were plentiful, the eyes were joyous. “Dad, you’re finally going home! It’s what you’ve always wanted. You’re going to see Mom and be with her. You’ve waited for this time for so long!” With quiet music in the background, they talked to their father of the glory that lay ahead for his spirit when soon it would leave his unresponsive body. Soon Hannah arrived and we reminisced of the years gone by. Tears were joined by laughter as memories were recalled and stories rehearsed – most of them funny, a few sad. The daughters shared their one desire for his celebration of life, and that was that Christ would be shown through the legacy that their father left behind.

At 6:00pm he went home.

Soon we will celebrate his life.

We’ll miss you Mr. Hopkins, but we’re happy for you!

The Election is Over…

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so now I can talk politics!

As a Christian American, this has been one of the hardest fought battles that I’ve encountered within my own heart and mind and by no means does it rest only in whether or not it is right and lawful to vote for the lesser of two evils, but rather in the whole of God and country – what the tie is and how strong, if one at all. I’ll save the broader of the question for discussion at another time, but for now I want to present the opposing sides of the issue of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Following is a copy of my sister’s FB post, presenting the stance that every Christian must vote for God’s candidate (yes it’s termed loosely, but let’s not get nit picky).

Do I dare suggest that a Christian is responsible before God for how they vote in the matter of civil and governmental authorities? God will not be caught by surprise, nor does He need our help to accomplish His purpose. He does however, require of us actions that honor Him in all.

I have heard many Christians say that if a person were not to vote for the lesser of two evils they are “throwing their vote away”. Pray tell me how you can stand as a Christian and cast your vote before God for a man who is wishy-washy at best and makes no pretense of standing for the one true God or His divine priciples and law? A man who openly supports murder in “certain cases”, and a man who does not even believe in the true Christ?

Tell me that a decisive choice for that man is honoring to my God! Americans, and especially those who name the name of Christ have become so brainwashed that they do not even understand their duty before God in this matter. How will America ever turn back to her God unless Christians are willing to do their duty before Him even though it may come at a cost to them?

Yes, doing the right thing always comes at a cost; but it will be worth it when we hear those words “well done thou good and faithful servant”. Anything and everything worthwhile comes at a price; often a great price. I personally am willing to pay that price!      

You may say that so-and-so has a, say 70% vote rating by Right to Life. And you want me to believe that you are doing a good thing by voting for someone who voted for murder 30% of the time? What has our duty before God come down to?

And then from a fellow blogger whom I highly respect:

In a previous post, I stated flatly that I would not be voting for Romney, but instead would be voting for the Constitution Party candidate because that is who more closely represents my beliefs. The question that guided my decision was to ask myself what is the RIGHT thing to do. As you read through the replies – including my own replies – I moved from that position to saying that I WILL be voting for Romney. This post is where I try to put into words how that decision came about.

Early in our history, or perhaps it was an illusion all along, we voted for candidates based on their stated position, their background, and other criteria. While those are still the terms in which we discuss elections, it is only a mask for what is really happening.America has divided into two very distinct groups. Two diametrically opposed groups with ideas that are completely incompatible, with no room for true compromise. One will be in power and the other will actively oppose anything done by the group in power. The candidate names and the party names are just convenient labels. The two major parties have completely switched roles over the last 150 years, so the only constant is the struggle between the guiding principles of these two groups.

• One group believes that the individual is responsible for his own material destiny, and that government exists to protect individuals from force or fraud and to provide a basic framework for a civilized society. The same applies on the family level but no further. This group is identified by the labels: conservative, The Right, Republican, libertarian, etc.

• The other group believes that government exists to ensure fairness and equality. It is an egalitarian system that believes all people have equal talent and ability and drive, and that if results are unequal then it must be because the system is unfair and it is government’s role to make it “fair”. This group believes it is the role of government to redistribute wealth to ensure equal results. This group is identified by the labels: liberal, The Left, Democrat, socialist, etc.

Since the objective of these two groups is to win a majority of the votes, there is a self-leveling mechanism involved in the party platforms. The Left will move just far enough to the right to try to win a majority, while the Right will move just far enough to the left to try to do the same. If one side won’t move toward the center, then the other side captures those votes and gains power. While the line between the two sides is constantly shifting, it is still a line drawn down the middle resulting in a close election. Landslides are the result of one side failing to read the mood of the country and not adjusting their position accordingly.

To really understand the difference between these two groups, I look as closely at the people who support them as I do the actual candidates. The liberal side is coarse, crude, vulgar, immoral, and aggressively attacks my most basic beliefs taught by The Bible. They are sometimes referred to as the “Free Stuff Army” and the “Gimme-Dats”. As I imagine my grandchildren living in a world controlled by the liberals, it chills me to the bone. I have a duty to do what I can to keep that from happening. Protecting future generations is one of the most basic obligations of the Southern gentleman.

The two basic rules of power in America are: 1) There are only two sides, and they are defined by whether the individual or the government is responsible the individual’s success or failure. 2) We pick the side that we believe is right and vote for that side. The name of the party or the candidate is just a way to identify which side we believe in.So, what is the RIGHT thing to do once one recognizes how this works? My conclusion is that we pick the side we believe is right and vote for that side. That leaves me with only one option – to cast my vote for the conservative side, which in this election is Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan. It is far from a perfect choice, but what in life isn’t?

Christ – the sum of all spiritual things.

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By Watchman Nee

“We have briefly mentioned how all spiritual things are in Christ. God has given Him to us to be all these things. This is a most essential point of understanding in spiritual life. Is our experience mere experience or is it Christ? Is our righteousness simply righteousness or is it Christ? Is our sanctification only sanctification or is it Christ? Is our redemption merely redemption or is it Christ?

Frequently we talk about the way, but that way may not be Christ himself. In like manner, we can speak of truth and of life without necessarily speaking of Christ. In brief, we have many things outside of Christ. This constitutes a formidable spiritual problem to God’s children. We may confess with our mouth that Christ is the center of all things, nevertheless in our lives we have many matters other than Christ, as if these can help us to be Christians. How we need to have our mind renewed so as to understand that aside from Christ God has no intention for us to have many so-called spiritual things. According to God’s arrangement, there are things; only, these things are Christ. For Christ is the sum of all spiritual things. Christ is our righteousness—He has not given us a righteousness. Christ is our sanctification—He has not granted us a thing called power to make us holy. Christ is our redemption—He has not offered us a redemption. Christ is the way—He has not opened to us another way in which to walk. Christ is the truth—He has not presented some truth before us for us to understand. Christ is the life—He has not conferred on us a thing called life.

“Brothers and sisters, as we travel along God’s course, we will discover more and more that of all God’s grace there is only one grace, of all God’s gifts there is only one gift. That grace is Christ, that gift is also Christ. Thank God, day after day He is showing us how Christ is all-inclusive.”

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: : His Strength is Perfect When My Strength is Gone : :

What more can I say? Christ said it all too well when He said – “My strength is perfect”! In those times when you just throw up your hands and say “God, I can’t”, He says “Look here, I can“. When He said His strength was perfect, He meant it. It’s perfect. It’s everything that’s needed, it’s not going to fall short. Now He added “in weakness”, which is the one place and time that we can truly appreciate His strength! His grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect…what more do we need? What more can we ask for? To know that He’ll handle it, to know that He’s got it all under control – just to know that He’s there with us, and has been there and even more, He promised to always be there! He will never leave us nor forsake us. And what more? His grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect. 🙂

: : Drawing Close : :

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Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire; if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into  the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you; if you are not, you will remain dry.

: : Christ: Exclusively : :

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Mark you my brethren: a Christian is one who specializes. He’s an exclusivist. He believes in Jesus Christ exclusively. He believes in Him as Lord exclusively and that excludes all other possible interests, possible saviors — it excludes all other possible hopes. The Christian who truly is born anew and has accepted Christ rightly has accepted Him exclusively so that He is to you what the sun is to the earth: he is that which you revolve around. He is the central sun and you are an orbit moving round Him held by the bonds of His love and lightened by the light of His face. And while you do have other interests, they are minor and they’re secondary and they take their place down the scale: Christ is first! The Lord Jesus Christ is first! And for Him, I surrender everything; to Him I give all to Jesus Christ my Lord and my Savior. He can command me! He’s the head of my wife, He’s the head of my children, He’s the head of my ambitions, He is first and everything else is last! Anything else is not New Testament Christianity, brother and sister; anything else is a compromise and it leaves people half-saved, confused, frustrated, bewildered and in the dark!