True Faith Is Active, Not Passive

June 30, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight From A. W. Tozer – True Faith Is Active, Not Passive

 A Christian is one who believes on Jesus Christ as Lord. With this statement every evangelical agrees. Indeed there would appear to be nothing else to do, since the New Testament is crystal clear about the matter.

This first acknowledgement of Christ as Lord and Saviour is usually followed by baptism and membership in a Protestant church….A few Christians shy away from organized religion, but the vast majority, while they recognize the imperfections of the churches, nevertheless feel that they can serve their Lord better in the church than out of it.

There is, however, one serious flaw in all this: it is that many – would I overstate the case if I said the majority? – of those who confess their faith in Christ and enter into association with the community of believers have little joy in their hearts, no peace in their minds, and from all external appearances are no better morally than the ordinary educated citizen who take no interest whatever in religion and, of course, who makes no profession of Christianity. Why is this?

I believe it is the result of an inadequate concept of Christianity and an imperfect understanding of the revolutionary character of Christian discipleship.

……….True faith brings a spiritual and moral transformation and an inward witness that cannot be mistaken. These come when we stop believing in belief and start believing in the Lord Jesus Christ indeed.

True faith is not passive but active. It requires that we meet certain conditions, that we allow the teachings of Christ to dominate our total lives from the moment we believe. The man of saving faith must be willing to be different from others. The effort to enjoy the benefits of redemption while enmeshed in the world is futile. We must choose one or the other; and faith quickly makes its choice, one from which there is no retreat.

………The regenerated soul feels no more at home in the world than Abraham felt when he left Ur of the Chaldees and set out for the land of promise.

……..Suddenly, or slowly but surely, he will develop a new pattern of life. Old things will pass away and behold, all things will become new, first inwardly and then outwardly; for the change within him will soon begin to express itself by corresponding changes in his manner of living.

The transformation will show itself in many ways and his former friends will begin to worry about him…………….

 The genuinely renewed man will have a new life center………Things he once held to be of value may suddenly lose all their attraction for him and he may even hate some things he formerly loved.

The man who recoils from this revolutionary kind of Christianity is retreating before the cross. But thousands do so retreat, and they try to make things right by seeking baptism and church membership. No wonder they are dissatisfied. – Take from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 60-63, Christian Publications: Harrisburg, PA 1966.

This was published three years after Tozer’s death. Does it make you think about the way we disciple new believers in our churches today? I would suggest that you compare Tozer’s thoughts about discipleship and living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ with Jonathan Edwards and his “Resolutions.” How do we live as growing, sanctified believers who are in the world, but not of the world?

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18

Wait On God

June 29, 2010 at 9:40 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall – Wait On God

You might search all over the field and still not discover the treasure hidden there. The only way we can “know the things that are freely given to us of God” is by God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12). He lives in God’s ordinances as a governor works in his graces – evidences for heaven – sealed to our consciences.

Go to God’s Spirit and wait. The fact that you are at the right door is comforting in itself. Even if you knock for a long time but do not hear anyone coming, you should not feel ashamed. Eglon’s servants waited for a dead man (Judges 3:25), but you are waiting for the living God, who hears your prayers and sees your tears. And even if He seems like a stranger, as Joseph appeared to his brothers, He is so big with mercy that He will soon fall on your neck and ease His heart by acknowledging and accepting you, and His grace in you.

Lift up your head, then – but remember, you cannot set times for God Almighty. The sun rises at its own hour, no matter what time you decide it should come up. Sometimes God comes to you in an ordinance and His heavenly light radiates into your innermost being while He quickens His Word to you. But have you not spent other nights on your face wrestling with God, wondering why He did not satisfy your soul? When someone brings a candle into the dark room we stir around and look for the thing we have lost and soon find what we had groped for in the darkness for hours. We can gauge more of our spiritual condition in a moment of His revelation than in days or weeks of His withdrawal.

Carefully watch for the seasons when God comes to you; take advantage of them. But even if God chooses to hide the treasure from your sight, comfort yourself. He knows your sincerity is real whether you see it or not. – take from The Christian In Complete Armour, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare (June 28) by William Gurnall; edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers, 1994.

I hope you were encouraged and that you are helped to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever, amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

Coffee Review – Higher Ground Roasters Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

June 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | 2 Comments
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This Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Higher Ground Roasters (www.highergroundroasters.com) is a dark roasted whole bean coffee. It is described as being highly aromatic with a perfect balance of acidity, wine like subtleties, hints of wild berries and a smooth finish. It is also shade grown and preserves the habit. Higher Ground is an environmentally friendly coffee roaster.

I decided to use the auto-drip as our first brewer and instead of preparing it before going to bed I made the coffee first thing in the morning. I still like squeezing the bag and smelling the aroma of the coffee beans then looking into the bag and seeing the beans themselves. That doesn’t get old to me. The coffee gives off an earthy, fruity aroma. It has a light feel in the mouth and a tangy berrylike aftertaste. Two thumbs up.

The French Press was the second brewer choice and it makes the coffee a bit stronger, but no bitterness in at all. The body feels a little heavier but still medium. You can taste berry and there is a moderate acidity. Kim thought it paired well with cinnamon sugar graham crackers. Two thumbs up again.

The Chemex coffee brewer was our third style. Here you get a light to medium body and clean taste with berry and citrus flavors. It has more of a complex flavor here, almost like it starts out one way and then changes. It makes you think about what you are drinking in a good way. It seems to be a fragrant, vibrant coffee. Two thumbs up.

If you have never tried an Ethiopian coffee you can’t go wrong starting with this one. It gave us a good coffee drinking experience. If you are looking for a coffee roaster that is environmentally friendly and produces good coffee Higher Grounds Roasters is what you are looking for. Until next time, enjoy the coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Pray for Pastors

June 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Posted in pray, Quotes | Leave a comment
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I wanted to remind my readers to pray for their pastors and their ministries for this Sunday. I believe that there is a specific call from God to the individual man to pastoral ministry. I also think that there is a devaluing of pastoral ministry today. There is great spiritual warfare in and around the lives of pastors and their families.  Please take the time to pray for your pastor.  Pray that:

1. He will be diligent in his studies.

2. He will preach God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. He will lead the local church to worship God in the beauty of holiness.

4. The people will experience the presence of God at the church.

5. The pastor will grow in the skills needed to be an effective pastor/shepherd, preacher and leader.

6. His family will be protected spiritually, physically and emotionally.

7. His wife will have the joy of the Lord in her heart and mind.

8. The local church will make a Kingdom impact on their community, region and world.

I want to thank you for praying for your pastor. Even if he never knows, God does and your prayers will make a difference. Keep on praying!

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen”

 (1 Timothy 1:17)

_____________________

“Prayer, and more prayer adds to the fighting qualities and the more certain victories of God’s soldiers…”

— E. M. Bounds

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“He who lives without prayer, he who lives with little prayer, he who seldom reads the Word, and he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high — he will be a man whose heart will become dry and barren.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

 (Romans 15:13; Ephesians 3:7-13, 4:11-13)

Thursday’s Hymn – The Saviour Can Solve Every Problem

June 24, 2010 at 9:39 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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This hymn can also be found on page six in The Work God Blesses Oswald J. Smith. It is a pretty good book on pastoral leadership. I hope you are encouraged today.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Jeremiah 32:17, 27, 33:3

The Saviour Can Solve Every Problem

by Rev. Oswald J. Smith; music by B.D. Ackley (1932)

1.      The Saviour can lift every burden, The heavy as well as the light;

His strength is made perfect in weakness, In Him there is power and might.

(Refrain) The Saviour can solve every problem, the tangles of life can undo;

There is nothing too hard for Jesus, There is nothing that He cannot do.

2.     The Saviour can bear every sorrow, In Him there is comfort and rest;

No matter how great the affliction, he only permits what is best.

(Refrain)

3.      The Saviour can strengthen the weary, His grace is sufficient for all;

He know every step of the pathway, And listens to hear when we call.

(Refrain)

4.      The Saviour can break sin’s dominion, The victory He won long ago;

In Him there is freedom from bondage, He’s able to conquer the foe.

(Refrain)

5.      The Saviour can satisfy fully, The heart that the world cannot fill;

His presence will sanctify wholly, The soul that is yielded and still.

(Refrain)

Insight from A. W. Tozer – God Must Be Loved for Himself

June 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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“God being Who He is must always be sought for Himself, never as a means toward something else.

Whoever seeks other objects and not God is on his own; he may obtain those objects if he is able, but he will never have God. God is never found accidently. ‘Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:13).

Whoever seeds God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. The mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing. God will not be used. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in their selfish striving after personal gain. He will not help men to attain ends which, when attained, usurp the place He by every right should hold in their interest and affection.

Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world. The God of the poor has become the God of an affluent society. Christ no longer refuses to be a judge or a divider between money hungry brothers. He can now be persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of the brother who has not…………..

The teaching of the Bible is that God is Himself the end for which man was created. ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee?’ cried the psalmist, ‘and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee’ (Psalm 73:25). The first and greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being. Where love like that exists there can be no place for a second object. If we love God as much as we should surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain.

Bernard of Clairvaux begins his radiant little treatise on the love of God with a question and an answer. The question, Why should we love God? The answer, Because He is God. He develops the idea further, but for the enlightened heart little more need be said. We should love God because He is God. Beyond this the angels cannot think.

Being who He is, God is to be loved for His own sake. He is the reason for our loving Him, just as He is the reason for His loving us and for every other act He has performed, is performing and will perform world without end. God’s primary reason for everything is His own good pleasure. The search for secondary reasons is gratuitous and mostly futile.” – Taken from Man: the Dwelling Place of God, pages 56-59.

There is much more in this short chapter. Hopefully this excerpt will lead us to some deep thinking about God and our relationship with Him and to some practical servant living.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-servant)

Romans 15:13; Isaiah 66:1-2

Walk in View of God’s Care

June 22, 2010 at 9:10 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall – Walk in View of God’s Care

God strengthened Abraham’s faith when He told him to be upright: “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). He was saying, “Act for Me and I will take care of you.” Once we begin to doubt God’s protection, then our sincerity will soon falter. Hypocrisy hides in distrust. The unbelieving Jews, for instance, stored up manna overnight against God’s explicit instruction because they did not have faith to trust Him for the next meal. And we do the same thing – first we doubt His care and then we start to lean son our own understanding.

This is the same old weapon Satan has always used to cheat Christians out of sincerity. “Curse God and die,” he taunted Job through his wife (Job 2:9). Her words ran with bitter distrust; “Why are you still holding the castle of your sincerity for God to live in? You have been besieged long enough with sorrows on every hand. And to this day you have not gotten any news from heaven that God cares anything about you. Why do you not just curse Him and die?”

Jesus Himself faced Satan’s identical tactic when he tempted the Son of God to turn stones into bread. We see, the, why it is so important for us to strengthen our faith in the caring heart and hands of God. This is the very reason He has made such abundant provision to shut out all doubt and fear from the hearts of His people. God has placed His promises like safe harbors, so if a storm sweeps the sea or an enemy chases us through the darkest night, we can tie up in one of them and know the comfort of full protection.

“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them,” or to unite with them “whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). God does not depend on others to keep watch; His own eyes do it. He watches over us in the same way a mother takes care of her own child. – from The Christian In Complete Armour, edited by James S. Bell, Jr., Moody Publishers.

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For no matter how many promise God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Coffee Brewer Review – AeroPress

June 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Coffee Brewer Reviews | 2 Comments
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We received the AeroPress Brewing System (www.aerobie.com) a couple of weeks ago and we were looking forward to trying it. It is described as a 1-4 cup Coffee and Espresso Maker. It comes with everything that you need to make coffee except for the coffee and a cup. It even comes with pretty clear directions on how to grind and brew the coffee. It was designed by a Stanford University engineering lecturer and sports product inventor. To say that this brewer is interesting is an understatement. But the proof is in the taste of the brewed coffee.

In the letter that accompanies the brewer they tell you that you may need a couple of pressings to feel comfortable with the press. I would say that is an accurate statement. It almost reminds me of a big syringe or a science experiment. I will admit that I was a little skeptical that the coffee would taste good because it seems to be brewed too fast. So we tried it a couple of times with both regular https://takecourage.net/2010/06/19/coffee-review-higher-ground-roasters-mexican-chiapas and decaf coffees.

If you read the directions, and I did, it really is easy to use. You just have to get over thinking that this thing is weird looking and wondering if the coffee is really going to taste good. You grind your beans fine and put a paper filter in the cap and connect the cap to the chamber. Then you put the chamber over your cup. It even comes with a funnel if you want to use a smaller cup. Next put two scoops of ground coffee into the chamber and add hot water. Add your hot water to the number two on the chamber and use the paddle that comes with the kit to stir the coffee for ten seconds. Then wet the rubber seal on the plunger and slowly press down for 20 – 30 seconds.

You have just made a double espresso! Yes, it does taste good. If you want American style coffee had more hot water to taste and stir. Yes, it tastes good too. It really is that easy to make a good tasting cup of coffee with the AeroPress. Clean up is just as easy. I might be using the word “easy” too much but this AeroPress is easy to use and easy to clean up. Both regular and decaf https://takecourage.net/2010/06/12/coffee-review-brazil-daterra-decaf taste good brewed in this press.

We like using this brewer and drinking the coffee it makes. We are glad to be adding it to our array of brewers for coffee reviews and for when we just want one cup of coffee. It is unique looking and will lead to some good conversations with family and friends. Whether you want something to brew just one cup of coffee or want to try a new brewing system, this could be the right choice for you. We received this AeroPress for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time, remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and the conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Let Nothing Get Between You and Christ

June 21, 2010 at 5:10 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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This quote is pretty good and will make you think about your relationship with the Lord. Is your walk with the Lord growing? Are you disciplining your time and doing what is necessary to grow in your knowledge of Him. You might want to read 2 Peter 3:18 also.

Be growing in GRACE and knowledge,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6

This quote is from www.jcrylequotes.com and you can find more good quotes there.

“A true Christian will strive to do his duty in whatever station or position he finds himself, and to do it well. Whether statesman, or merchant, or banker, or lawyer, or doctor, or tradesman, or farmer, he will try to do his work so that no one can find occasion for fault in him. But he will not allow it to get between him and Christ. If he finds his business beginning to eat up his Sundays, his Bible-reading, his private prayer time, and to bring clouds between him and heaven, he will say, “Stand back! There is a limit. This is as far as you can go, and no further. I cannot sell my soul for position, fame, or gold.” Like Daniel, he will make time for communion with God, whatever the cost may be. He will deny himself anything rather than lose his Bible-reading and his prayers. In all this he will find he stands almost alone. Many will laugh at him, and tell him they get along just fine without being so strict and particular. He will not listen. He will resolutely hold the world at arms length, whatever present loss or sacrifice it may seem to entail. He will choose rather to be less rich and prosperous in this world, than not to prosper about his soul. To stand alone in this way, to run counter to the ways of others, requires immense self-denial. But this is genuine Scriptural separation.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Practical Religion, “The World”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 297, 298.

Coffee Review – Higher Ground Roasters, Mexican Chiapas

June 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | 1 Comment
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We tried coffee from Higher Ground (www.highergroundroasters.com) once before when we visited The Hub Coffee Shop. We were looking forward to brewing and tasting this Mexican Chiapas. It is grown in the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is described as being a complex and balanced cup with overtones of spices and fruit. It has a light to medium body with mild acidity. It is a Fair Trade organic coffee also.

We don’t usually drink light roasts but I was immediately impressed with the aroma when I opened the bag. I was reminded of peanut butter. It has a very nutty aroma which seemed to be enhanced after it was ground. The auto-drip was up for use first and this light coffee gives off a good aroma. It does have a sweet, bright taste which hits the tip of your tongue and then moves over the tongue. The body is light and the taste is good. Two thumbs up.

The next brewer we used was the French Press. Both of us liked the mildly stronger taste here. The body is still light and there seemed to be a tangy aftertaste. For breakfast Kim had organic Jewish Rye bread toasted with peanut butter and orange marmalade. She thought the rye flavor, nuttiness and citrus sweetness were enhanced by the coffee. I just thought it tasted good. Two thumbs up again.

Then we brewed the Chiapas in the Chemex coffeemaker. I must say I like the smell of these beans. I like peanut butter and that is what the aroma reminds me of. It seems when we use the Chemex that I talk about what a clean cup of coffee we get. The body is light and the taste is slightly nutty and sweet. No sweetener or cream is needed with this coffee. Two thumbs up.

Then Kim tried the coffee brewed in an AeroPress brewer. All the flavors we liked were there and the coffee was much stronger and not bitter at all. She thought it paired nicely with an Asian dish she made and that it made the pickled radish stand out.

Overall we were surprised at how much we liked this light roast Mexican Chiapas. We tend to go for darker roasts but the aroma, taste and feel of this coffee makes for a good tasting experience. If you like light roasts or want to try one you can’t go wrong here. We recieved this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Remember to stop and enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

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