Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thoughts on Waiting from Elisabeth Elliot

I began to learn to wait.  Patient waiting does not come naturally to most of us, but a great deal is said about it in the Bible.  It is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust.

I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the hear to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts.

Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all.  But the things that we feel most deeply we ought to learn to be silent about, at least until we have talked them over thoroughly with God.

S. D. Gordon, in his Quiet Talks on Prayer, describes waiting.  It means:

Steadfastness, that is holding on;
patience, that is holding back;
expectancy, that is holding one's self in readiness to go or do;
listening, that is holding quiet and still so as to hear.

How long, Lord, must I wait?
Never mind, child.  Trust me.

~ taken from Elisabeth Elliot's book, Passion and Purity


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Serenity Prayer

The Full Original Copy of the Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


* serenity - A disposition free from stress or emotion
                   The absence of mental stress or anxiety

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Losing to Gain

"If through losing what this world prizes we are enabled to gain what it despises - treasure in heaven, invisible and incorruptible - isn't it worth any kind of suffering?  What is it worth to us to learn a little bit more of what the Cross means - life out of death, the transformation of earth's losses and heartbreaks and tragedies?
Poverty has not been my experience, but God has allowed in the lives of each of us some sort of loss, the withdrawal of something we valued, in order that we may learn to offer ourselves a little more willingly, to allow the touch of death on one more thing we have clutched so tightly, and thus know fullness and freedom and joy that much sooner.  We're not naturally inclined to love God and seek His Kingdom.  Trouble may help to incline us - that is, it may tip us over, put some pressure on us, lean us in the right direction."
~ Elisabeth Elliot

Our pastor, Pastor Chris Pappas, often speaks of us needing to break our sword in surrender to Christ's lordship over our lives.  This verbiage came into my mind the other day as I was praying:  May He break our flesh that we would break our sword!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Learning to Trust the Father's Love

When my brother Dave was very small, we spent a week at the seaside in Belmar, New Jersey.  In vain my father tried to persuade the little boy to come into the waves with him and jump, promising to hold him safely and not allow the waves to sweep over his head.  He took me (only a year older) into the ocean and showed Dave how much fun it would be.  Nothing doing.  The ocean was terrifying.  Dave was sure it would mean certain disaster, and he could not trust his father.  On the last day of our vacation he gave in.  He was not swept away, his father held him as promised, and he had far more fun than he could have imagined, whereupon he burst into tears and wailed, "Why didn't you make me go in?"
An early lesson in prayer often comes through an ordeal of fear.  We face impending adversity and we doubt the love, wisdom and power of our Father in heaven.
When the people of Israel were encamped in Pi-hahiroth and saw the Egyptians coming after them, they felt they were looking death in the face and it was all Moses' fault - "as if there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to die!"
"Don't be afaid," said Moses.  "Stand by.  The Lord will fight for you if you'll just be quiet."
You know the story of deliverance.  The song of victory Moses and Israel sang reveals their recognition not only of the strength, majesty and wonder-working of the Lord, but of His loving-kindness, immeasurably  beyond anything they had dared to hope.
Poor Dave!  His father could have forced him to come into the water, but he could not have forced him to relax and enjoy it.  As long as the child insisted on protecting himself, saving the life he was sure he would lose, he could not trust the strong love of his father.  He refused to surrender.  In this simple story we hear echoes of the most ancient story, of the two who, distrusting the word of their Father, fearing that obedience to Him would ultimately bar them from happiness, chose to repudiate their dependence on Him.  Sin, death, destruction for the whole race were the result.
Learning to pray is learning to trust the wisdom, the power, and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams.  He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads.  Things we feel sure we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin.  Things we think will ruin us (the chariots of Egypt, the waters of the sea, or the little waves in Belmar!), if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into His strong arms, bring us deliverance and joy.
The only escape from self-love is self-surrender.  "Whoever loses his life for Me will find it" (Matthew 16:25, NIV).  "Dwell in my love.  If you heed my commands, you will dwell in my love, as I have heeded my Father's commands and dwell in His love.  I have spoken thus to you, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete" (John 15:9-11, NEB).  My father knew far better than his small, fearful, stubborn son what would give him joy.  So does our Heavenly Father.  Whenever I have resisted Him, I have cheated myself, as my little brother did.  Whenever I have yielded, I have found joy.
- taken from Elisabeth Elliot's book, Keep a Quiet Heart

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dealing with the Harder Things of Life ~ Faith, Hope, Trust, Purpose, Peace, and Joy

These are just a few things that I've read recently that have been an encouragement to me.  I hope they will be to some of you as well.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Romans 8: 18, 24-26, 27b, 28, 31, 37b

“Today as I sit in my lonely room, this passage of God's Word flies in like a white dove through the window, "And now men see not the sun which is in the clouds; but the wind passes and clears them." Job 37:21. To my weak vision, dimmed with tears, the cloud is exceeding dark, but through it stream some rays from the infinite love which fills the Throne with an exceeding and eternal brightness of glory. By-and-by we may get above and behind that cloud—into the overwhelming light. We shall not need comfort then; but we do need it now. And for our present consolation, God lets through the clouds some clear, strong, distinct rays of love and gladness.
One truth which beams in through the vapors is this—God not only reigns, but He governs His world by a most beautiful law of compensations. He sets one thing over against another. Faith loves to study the illustrations of this law, notes them in her diary, and rears her pillars of praise for every fresh discovery. I have noticed that the deaf often have an unusual quickness of eyesight; the blind are often gifted with an increased capacity for hearing; and sometimes when the eye is darkened and the ear is closed, the sense of touch becomes so exquisite that we are able to converse with the sufferer through that sense alone.
This law explains why God put so many of His people under a sharp regimen of hardship and burden-bearing in order that they may be sinewed into strength; why a Joseph must be shut into a prison in order that he may be trained for a palace and for the premiership of the kingdom.”
Theodore Cuyler

"Those who dive into the sea of affliction, bring up rare pearls!"
Charles Spurgeon

"Afflictions tend to wean us from the world--and to fix our affections on things above."
John Angell James
Do you ever wonder what Paul’s thorn in his side was (2 Corinthians 12:8)?
I wonder all the time. Did he have this thorn before he was a believer? And, if so, how long had he had it? Or, did his thorn enter his life after it changed forever on the road to Damascus?
All I know is that Paul does not say what his thorn was. How mysterious of him!
I think we all have thorns that we’ve wished we could pray away. I know I’m guilty of it.
How many times I’ve come before the Lord and asked him why he’s allowed certain things to happen in my life.
While God is more than capable of erasing history, He doesn’t.  Why doesn’t He make exceptions…?
I think it’s because He calls us to be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:9) He knows that we have His strength to handle whatever life throws our way, even if we don’t think we’re strong enough.
The Courage to Trust
We need to trust His strength, because God wouldn’t have allowed us to endure this pain otherwise. We can stand tall and be courageous…because it takes courage to trust.
While we may not have been given the ability to change our history and rid ourselves of our thorns, we have been given the power to embrace them…which is hard (I know).
It is possible to make lemonade out of those flying life-lemons.
It begins with the trusting choice of saying, “This will not defeat me.” Christ has already won the biggest battle of our lives (Romans 8:37), but the deceiver will do anything he can to convince us that we don’t have the strength to win the smaller ones.
But quite the opposite is true. God is in the business of making beautiful things . . . and every rose has its thorn.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Teaching Sons

A dear family friend shared the article below with us years ago and we were very blessed by the help that it gave to us with our oldest son at that time.  I am enjoying my little "Tiger" more and more every day and am so thankful for him.  In our family, we have found boys to be a bit more challenging to train, but those little guys are so special.  I pray daily for our two boys that they will love God and be fully surrendered to be used by Him.  May we never grow weary in this most important ministry of pointing our children to Christ.  I hope this article will be an encouragement and blessing to you as it has been to us over the years.  ~Karen

Teaching Sons to “Take Hold” of a Task
instilling a heart for excellence and diligence in service
Do you ever get frustrated and angry when your son doesn’t follow instructions completely? Recently, this is something I have struggled with. My angry responses to my young sons’ mistakes dampened the joy in our home, and I knew that something needed to change.
There is something rare and wonderful about a young man who knows how to attack a job and bring it to completion. It is something that can be learned, but it is not common at all. I have heard it referred to as “taking hold” of a task or project. Taking hold of tasks usually does not come naturally to a young man. Boys tend to indulge in folly and to be slothful. They need instruction, supervision, accountability, encouragement, prayer, affirmation, love, and interest. They especially need positive, joyful examples.
Rather than being remembered by my sons as a demanding, harping, negative, angry dad who is never pleased with them, I came up with a plan. This plan allows us to learn, worship, and work together. As a father, I want my sons to remember me as a dad who helped them develop the skill of taking hold of tasks with diligence and excellence.
Helping a Son Learn to Take Hold
To help my sons develop this important skill, I am teaching them to follow these simple steps when given a task. I have referenced character qualities and a command from Christ’s teaching that can provide further inspiration and direction for following these steps.
1. Listen
Carefully listen to the instructions your authority gives, and write them down so you will not forget them.
Character Qualities: Attentiveness
Command of Christ: Hear God’s Voice. (See Matthew 11:15.)
2. Repeat
Repeat the instructions aloud so your authority knows you understand and has a chance to clarify the directions if necessary.
Character Qualities: Orderliness, Responsibility, and Diligence
Command of Christ: “Take my yoke” (Matthew 11:29).
3. Execute
Follow all the instructions joyfully, wholeheartedly, as unto the Lord. Learn to take initiative to do the things that obviously need to be done in order to fulfill the goals of the one who is in authority. For example, if you are told to empty the trash, go beyond that and replace the liner. You can also include spare liners beneath the primary liner for later use.
Character Qualities: Thoroughness, Diligence, Initiative, Joyfulness, and Obedience
Command of Christ: Be a servant. (See Matthew 20:26–27.)
4. Exceed
Always do a little something more than what is expected. The second mile is where the witness of genuine love and the ministry of service begin. Jesus once said to his followers, “What do ye more than others?” (Matthew 5:47).
Character Qualities: Alertness, Enthusiasm, Determination, and Availability
Command of Christ: Go the second mile. (See Matthew 5:39–41.)
5. Report
Go back to your authority, report what you did, and ask if there is anything more that you can do. You need to learn to submit to the accountability of others. We are told that every man must give an account of himself to God, and it is God who delegates authority to those who are over you, so you want to learn to be thorough in your accountability to them. We are to live and work in such a way as to earn the praise of “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” at the end of the task. (See Matthew 25:21.)
Character Qualities: Accountability, Humility, Obedience, and Punctuality
Command of Christ: Await My return. (See Matthew 24:42–44.)
Getting Started
Teaching boys isn’t easy. It requires love and patience, because they will make mistakes and it will take time. To get started, I suggest you begin by having a special meeting with your son to explain the new idea. Have him write down the steps and memorize them. As he gets started, take time to role-play and practice with him. Repeatedly coach him to repeat the steps. Have him practice by following these steps for someone else (his mom, a widow, a neighbor, or a friend). Always find ways to praise him for following any part of the instructions.
Review the steps, and bless him by saying, “You did a great job. You repeated the instructions back, you followed through with all the details, and you did something extra. Now when you report back and ask if there is anything more to do, you will be doing what only a small percentage of young men your age in the world would do. When you get that down, your services will be in demand. Bosses love guys who report back and ask if there is anything else they can do. You have a very bright future.”
The Importance of Our Role
Once a young man came to a business that I was managing. He wore a dirty, wrinkled black trench coat. His hair was dirty and disheveled. He had body piercings and tattoos. His opening line was, “You hirin’?”
I felt bad for the young man. I could foresee that his job prospects were dim, so to help him I said, “No, we are not looking for help right now, but would you be interested in some ideas that will help you get a job?”
Without looking directly at me he said, “No, man. I just did a job program, so I already know that stuff. I’m just tryin’ to find somebody who’s hirin’. It’s like there’s no work anywhere around here.”
He had a point. In our town, jobs were scarce. But I also knew many of the business leaders in town, and I knew they would say that clean-cut, hard-working, bright young men were even more rare. There were jobs to be had for young men like that.
My heart went out to the young man, and I remembered looking for a job one afternoon when I was his age. My Dad coached me on grooming, how to shake hands, and what to say. Before we left, he even led me through a little role-play so I would be comfortable with the wording. He taught me how to get a meeting with the one in charge of making hiring decisions. He then drove me from place to place and waited in the car while I went from business to business seeking a job. Years later, I learned that his heart went out to me when he saw the disappointment on my face as business after business turned me down. He wept and prayed that the Lord would bless me with work. Within a few days, I had two job offers.
I was pretty sure this young man had no one coaching him, waiting for him in the car, or weeping and praying for him.
There are a lot of things I cannot give my sons, but one thing I want to do is teach them how to take hold of a task. If I can teach my sons to be the kind of young men who attack a job and follow through on a task, I think they will be better equipped to make their way in the world. They will always be able to put bread on the table. They will have a platform from which to reach higher. Others will impart knowledge and skills to them. Older men with valuable skills will consider them worthy of their time and training, and they will have the heritage of my own example of setting aside frustration and taking the time to train them in the way they should go.
—by Ken Pierpont
Used by permission.
January 2007

Ken Pierpont’s desire is to inspire others and build strong families by communicating the truth about Jesus Christ in his life and family. He leads his family in ministry at churches, retreats, conferences, and other events. Ken is a husband to Lois and the father of eight children. Learn more about Ken at