For His Glory

Monday, October 31, 2005

God's Strengthening Presence in Suffering

This is a good article from Randy Alcorn's site.

From Preparing For the Underground Church by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

Note from Randy: The following words from Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of Voice of the Martyrs, could be misunderstood or taken out of context. He was, and I am, a firm believer in the authority of Scripture and its power as theWord of God. That power, however, resides in God's Spirit. An atheist or a demon can memorize and recite Scripture. Only a disciple draws his strength from the God concerning whom Scripture testifies.

How much each one of us can suffer depends on how much he is bound up with a cause, how dear this cause is to him, and how much it means for him. In this respect we have had in Communist countries very big surprises. There have been gifted preachers and writers of Christian books who have become traitors. The composer of the best hymnal of Romania became the composer of the best communist hymnal of Romania. Everything depends on whether we have remained in the sphere of words or if we are merged with the divine realities.

God is the Truth. The Bible is the truth about the Truth. Theology is the truth about the truth about the Truth. A good sermon is the truth about the truth about the truth, about the Truth. It is not the Truth. The Truth is God alone. Around this Truth there is a scaffolding of words, of theologies, and of exposition. None of these is of any help in times of suffering. It is only the
Truth Himself Who is of help, and we have to penetrate through sermons, through theological books, through everything which is 'words,' and be bound up with the reality of God Himself.

I have told in the West how Christians were tied to crosses for four days and four nights. The crosses were put on the floor and other prisoners were tortured and made to fulfill their bodily necessities upon the faces and the bodies of the crucified ones. I have since been asked: "Which Bible verse helped and strengthened you in those circumstances?"My answer is: "NO Bible verse was of any help." It is sheer cant and religious hypocrisy to say, "This Bible verse strengthens me, or that Bible verse helps me." Bible verses alone are not meant to help. We knew Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want...though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."

When you pass through suffering you realize that it was never meant by God that Psalm 23 should strengthen you. It is the Lord who can strengthen you, not the Psalm which speaks of Him so doing. It is not enough to have the Psalm. You must have the One about whom the Psalm speaks. We also knew the verse: "My Grace is sufficient for thee." But the verse is not sufficient. It is the Grace which is sufficient and not the verse.

Pastors and zealous witnesses who are handling the Word as a calling from God are in danger of giving holy words more value than they really have. Holy words are only the means to arrive at the reality expressed by them. If you are united with the Reality, the Lord Almighty, evil loses its power over you; it cannot break the Lord Almighty. If you only have the words of the Lord Almighty you can be very easily broken.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Woman at the well

Just my journal for today. (minus my answers to the questions :)

John 4:7-30

This the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. In this story, Christ speaks of two kinds of water:

1. "This water," which would not satisfy and would not quench thirst. The woman would have to keep coming back again and again to get more of "this water."
2. "The water I give" which would quench thirst eternally.

The first water is physical, while the second is spiritual. The physical water represents the well of the world. This water is what I seek if i am seeking after something other than God. I will never be satisfied with this water.

The Second water represents eternal life. It can also be the word of God. This water is inexaustable and I will always be satisfied with it.

This woman in the passage had 5 different husbands and one "boyfriend" (He wasnt her husband but they lived together). It is very obvious by this that she was finding no permanent satisfaction in these relationships. She kept going back and finding another, and then another, etc.

When I refuse the water that God offers, I make my own cisterns (or idols) of water. The thing is though, my cisterns are broken. Turning to something that isnt of God for satisfaction, it is like drinking water from a jar with holes in it! Jeremiah. 2:13

This reminds me of the now famous quote from John Piper: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

1. Which of the two waters have I been drinking?

2. Has it left me thirsty?

3. Are the cisterns I'm drinking from broken?

4. Are there idols in my heart? And if so, what are they?

5. If yes to 2-4, what can I do to practically change that in my life?