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Sunday, October 18, 2020

With Christ in the school of prayer, by Andrew Murray, 55

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Prayer is no form or show. The Lord Jesus was Himself the truth; everything He spake was the deepest truth. It was when [Matthew 9:36] ‘He saw the multitude, and was moved with compassion on them, because they were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd,’ that He called on the disciples to pray for labourers to be sent among them. He did so because He really believed that their prayer was needed, and would help. The veil which so hides the invisible world from us was wonderfully transparent to the holy human soul of Jesus. He had looked long and deep and far into the hidden connection of cause and effect in the spirit world. He had marked in God’s Word how, when God called men like Abraham and Moses, Joshua and Samuel and Daniel, and given them authority over men in His name, He had at the same time given them authority and right to call in the powers of heaven to their aid as they needed them. He knew that as to these men of old, and to Himself for a time, here upon earth, the work of God had been entrusted, so it was now about to pass over into the hands of His disciples. He knew that when this work should be given in charge to them, it would not be a mere matter of form or show, but that on them, and their being faithful or unfaithful, the success of the work would actually depend. As a single individual, within the limitations of a human body and a human life, Jesus feels how little a short visit can accomplish among these wandering sheep He sees around Him, and He longs for help to have them properly cared for. And so He tells His disciples now to begin and pray, and, when they have taken over the work from Him on earth, to make this one of the chief petitions in their prayer: That the Lord of the harvest Himself would send forth labourers into His harvest. The God who entrusted them with the work, and made it to so large extent dependent on them, gives them authority to apply to Him for labourers to help, and makes the supply dependent on their prayer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sunspots 802

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: A Christianity Today writer argues that telling churches to close, because of COVID, is not persecution..

Ethics: The Daily Mail reports that one of the medications administered to President Trump was developed from an aborted fetus. The company does not consider the product to be from an aborted fetus. ScienceMag, an important scientific journal explains further, and says that aborted fetal cells were not used. Gizmodo discusses the situation. It's complicated.

Health: Gizmodo reports on studies about how long the COVID virus lasts, on device screens. Too long.

Politics: The Washington Post has what appears to be an accurate and unbiased page on where Trump and Biden stand on several issues.

FiveThirtyEight reports that nobody really knows why crime becomes more, or less, common.

FiveThirtyEight also discusses how the reputation of the Supreme Court has dropped in recent years.

Science: Gizmodo reports that a couple of dozen planets, orbiting other stars, seem to be well suited for life.

Gizmodo also reports on a water-loving species of mouse from Africa.

Gizmodo also reports that the US Department of Agriculture killed over a million wild animals last year.

Gizmodo also reports on a poisonous caterpillar, found in Virginia.

And Gizmodo reports on tool use by ants.

Science Alert reports on evidence that the artery structure in our arms is evolving.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.

Thanks for looking!

 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 54

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.


‘Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.’—Matt. ix. 37-38.


THE Lord frequently taught His disciples
that they must pray, and how; but seldom what to pray. This he left to their sense of need, and the leading of the Spirit. But here we have one thing He expressly enjoins them to remember: in view of the plenteous harvest, and the need of reapers, they must cry to the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers. Just as in the parable of the friend at midnight, He would have them understand that prayer is not to be selfish; so here it is the power through which blessing can come to others. The Father is Lord of the harvest; when we pray for the Holy Spirit, we must pray for Him to prepare and send forth labourers for the work.


Strange, is it not, that He should ask His disciples to pray for this? And could He not pray Himself? And would not one prayer of His avail more than a thousand of theirs? And God, the Lord of the harvest, did He not see the need? And would not He, in His own good time, send forth labourers without their prayer? Such questions lead us up to the deepest mysteries of prayer, and its power in the Kingdom of God. The answer to such questions will convince us that prayer is indeed a power, on which the ingathering of the harvest and the coming of the Kingdom do in very truth depend.

 

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Sunspots 801

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else: 


Christianity: (and Politics) J. D. Greear, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, has strongly denounced white supremacy, and urged all Christians to do the same, according to Relevant.

Computing: NPR discusses claims that Facebook is biased against conservative content.

Environment: Tasmanian devils are being re-introduced to Australia.

Food: Gizmodo reports that the Irish Supreme Court has ruled that what Subway calls "bread" can't be called bread.

Listverse reports on 10 fruits that have changed a lot over the centuries.

Health: NPR on what temperature readings at the doors of various establishments do, and don't do.

Politics: FiveThirtyEight on why hatred came to dominate US politics.

Science: The Scientist reports that there may be a few bodies of water underneath the surface of Mars.

Gizmodo reports on a study that indicates that bird brain size is related to longevity.

Asian Giant hornets, aka murder hornets, are still a threat in Washington State and British Columbia, according to Gizmodo.


The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, October 05, 2020

The ABCD plan of salvation

 You have probably heard of the ABC plan of salvation, which goes something like this:

Ask forgiveness for sin

Believe that you are forgiven

Confess your sins, and/or confess your belief in Christ’s power to forgive them.

D should be added: be Discipled. Salvation is not a one-and-done matter. It’s a process. I need to read and hear the good news repeated and explained. I need to expose myself to virtuous followers of Christ, and become more like the Christ that they follow. I haven’t taken Christ as savior and Lord unless I progress toward being more like Him, unless I am being discipled.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 53

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

O my Blessed Lord and Teacher!  I must come to Thee in prayer.  Thy teaching is so glorious, and yet too high for me to grasp.  I must confess that my heart is too little to take in these thoughts of the wonderful boldness I may use with Thy Father as my Friend.  Lord Jesus!  I trust Thee to give me Thy Spirit with Thy Word, and to make the Word quick and powerful in my heart.  I desire to keep Thy Word of this day:  ‘Because of his importunity he will give him as many as he needeth.’

Lord!  teach me more to know the power of persevering prayer.  I know that in it the Father suits Himself to our need of time for the inner life to attain its growth and ripeness, so that His grace may indeed be assimilated and made our very own.  I know that He would fain thus train us to the exercise of that strong faith that does not let Him go even in the face of seeming disappointment.  I know He wants to lift us to that wonderful liberty, in which we understand how really He has made the dispensing of His gift dependent on our prayer.  Lord!  I know this:  O teach me to see it in spirit and truth.

And may it now be the joy of my life to become the almoner of my Rich Friend in heaven, to care for all the hungry and perishing, even at midnight, because I know MY FRIEND, who always gives to him who perseveres, because of his importunity, as many as he needeth.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Some thoughts on the upcoming election

A couple of thoughts on the upcoming Presidential election, from thinkers of times past:

There is joy in heaven, we are told, over the conversions that take place on earth. In Luke xv, 7, we read: “I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons which need no repentance.” When an election for president of the United States is approaching, there is tremendous excitement – a great commotion. Probably most newspapers from Maine to California would have something on nearly every page about the candidate. The whole country is excited, but I doubt it would be noticed in heaven. – Heaven: The Place We Long For, by D. L. Moody (public domain)

Psalm 118:9 It is better to take refuge in Yahweh, than to put confidence in princes. (World English Bible, public domain) 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 52

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Let each child of God who is seeking to work the work of love in his Father’s service take courage.  The parent with his child, the teacher with his class, the visitor with his district, the Bible reader with his circle, the preacher with his hearers, each one who, in his little circle, has accepted and is bearing the burden of hungry, perishing souls,—let them all take courage.  Nothing is at first so strange to us as that God should really require persevering prayer, that there should be a real spiritual needs-be for importunity.  To teach it us, the Master uses this almost strange parable. [About the man who asks a neighbor for some food for a guest, after bedtime.]  If the unfriendliness of a selfish earthly friend can be conquered by importunity, how much more will it avail with the heavenly Friend, who does so love to give, but is held back by our spiritual unfitness, our incapacity to possess what He has to give.  O let us thank Him that in delaying His answer He is educating us up to our true position and the exercise of all our power with Him, training us to live with Him in the fellowship of undoubting faith and trust, to be indeed the friends of God.  And let us hold fast the threefold cord that cannot be broken:  the hungry friend needing the help, and the praying friend seeking the help, and the Mighty Friend, loving to give as much as he needeth.

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sunspots 799

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Relevant reports on a Barna study, which indicates that white Christians are less motivated to do something about racial injustice than they were a year ago.

Christianity Today tells us how we might commit one of the seven deadly sins in this political season.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware recommends two bridge-building games, for iOS and Android.

Education: Grammarphobia tells us about the history and usage of "status quo."

Environment: Gizmodo reports that international plans to cut plastic pollution of the oceans just aren't good enough.

Gizmodo also reports on how the Trump administration is threatening wildlife, and indigenous peoples, across the US border.

Ethics: Gizmodo tells us how captive tigers are mistreated, and how most of them are  not really contributing to tiger conservation.

NPR interviews the author of a book on the finances of President Trump.

History: (and ornithology) Gizmodo reports on reflections on the life of John  James Audubon, who wasn't exactly a role model, scientifically, and in other ways.

Politics: (or something) Listverse tells us about the 10 safest large cities in the US.

FiveThirtyEight analyzes the Supreme Court situation, after Ginsburg's death.

FiveThirtyEight also analyzes the rural skew of the US Senate.

Science: Gizmodo reports that giraffes may be vulnerable to lightning strikes.

(or something) The Fall Foliage prediction map.

ListVerse has an essay on 10 gross things about the human body.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 51

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

... The one thing by which man can honour and enjoy his God is faith.  Intercession is part of faith’s training-school.  There our friendship with men and with God is tested.  There it is seen whether my friendship with the needy is so real, that I will take time and sacrifice my rest, will go even at midnight and not cease until I have obtained for them what I need.  There it is seen whether my friendship with God is so clear,that I can depend on Him not to turn me away and therefore pray on until He gives.

O what a deep heavenly mystery this is of persevering prayer. The God who has promised, who longs, whose fixed purpose it is to give the blessing, holds it back.  It is to Him a matter of such deep importance that His friends on earth should know and fully trust their rich Friend in heaven, that He trains them, in the school of answer delayed, to find out how their perseverance really does prevail, and what the mighty power is they can wield in heaven, if they do but set themselves to it.  There is a faith that sees the promise, and embraces it, and yet does not receive it (Heb. xi. 13, 39).  It is when the answer to prayer does not come, and the promise we are most firmly trusting appears to be of none effect, that the trial of faith, more precious than of gold, takes place.  It is in this trial that the faith that has embraced the promise is purified and strengthened and prepared in personal, holy fellowship with the living God, to see the glory of God.  It takes and holds the promise until it has received the fulfilment of what it had claimed in a living truth in the unseen but living God.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sunspots 798

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else: 

Christianity: Relevant has an article on the idolatry of patriotism.

Environment: Gizmodo says that animal extinction is increasing, but that it doesn't have to be that way.

Gizmodo also reports that the city of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of several that are suing oil companies because of increased flooding.

NPR reports on how oil companies knew plastic recycling wouldn't work, but promoted it heavily. It still doesn't work for plastics, and it's still being promoted.

Gizmodo reports that climate change denial is alive and well in Australia, as well as in the US.

Gizmodo also reports that international biodiversity goals have not been met, although there has been some progress. We are "rapidly losing the rainforests that play an important role in protecting us from our own carbon pollution, the bees we depend on to pollinate our food, and the coral reefs that shield millions of people from flooding ..." 

Politics:  FiveThirtyEight on Republican efforts to make it harder to vote (the report says that some Republicans are making it easier to vote).

Relevant reports that there was no child trafficking ring taken down in a raid in Georgia.

FiveThirtyEight on how, and why, white seniors in Florida are less likely to support Trump than in 2016.

Gizmodo reports that conservative media are influencing people to not evacuate when there's a hurricane warning.

It also reports that the Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to alter CDC reports.

Science: Gizmodo reports that new studies indicate that several species of fish can walk on land.

Gizmodo also reports that a molecule produced by living things, and perhaps in no other way, has been discovered in the atmosphere of Venus.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 14, 2020

What if Trump, Biden, or Pelosi refuses to acknowledge the results of the election, or what if there isn't a clear winner?

 


Whatever you may think of Al Gore, he deserves credit for at least one thing. He ran for President, and the results were hotly contested for some time, but he conceded. I don't like to think about what would have happened if he hadn't done so.

It looks like the Presidential election of 2020 may end up in a similar situation. Note the above graphic -- God either wants whatever wil happen, or will allow it.

FiveThirtyEight reports on the work of the Transition Integrity Project. FiveThirtyEight summarize it, and have posted a thorough discussion of possible results, which summary and discussion is entitled "What if Trump Loses and Won't Leave?" They emphasize Trump's possible actions for at least two reasons. First, he has been casting doubt on the election results, in advance, for months. Second, he's the President, and can take a number of actions that Biden can't. FiveThirtyEight discusses some of these actions, and those that Biden might take. It might even be possible for Speaker Pelosi to declare herself President.

But whatever happens, up to even a bloody civil war between partisans, God either allowed it, or wanted it.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 50

This post continues a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

The question might suggest itself, whether the Fatherhood of God does not give such confidence in prayer, that the thought of His Friendship can hardly teach us anything more: a father is more than a friend.  And yet, if we consider it, this pleading the friendship of God opens new wonders to us.  That a child obtains what he asks of his father looks so perfectly natural, we almost count it the father’s duty to give.  But with a friend it is as if the kindness is more free, dependent, not on nature, but on sympathy and character.  And then the relation of a child is more that of perfect dependence; two friends are more nearly on a level.  And so our Lord, in seeking to unfold to us the spiritual mystery of prayer, would fain have us approach God in this relation too, as those whom He has acknowledged as His friends, whose mind and life are in sympathy with His.


But then we must be living as His friends.  I am still a child even when a wanderer; but friendship depends upon the conduct.  ‘Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.’  ‘Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and he was called the friend of God.’ It is the Spirit, ‘the same Spirit,’ that leads us that also bears witness to our acceptance with God; ‘likewise, also,’ the same Spirit helpeth us in prayer.  It is a life as the friend of God that gives the wonderful liberty to say:  I have a friend to whom I can go even at midnight.  And how much more when I go in the very spirit of that friendliness, manifesting myself the very kindness I look for in God, seeking to help my friend as I want God to help me.  When I come to God in prayer, He always looks to what the aim is of my petition.  If it be merely for my own comfort or joy I seek His grace, I do not receive.  But if I can say that it is that He may be glorified in my dispensing His blessings to others, I shall not ask in vain.  Or if I ask for others, but want to wait until God has made me so rich, that it is no sacrifice or act of faith to aid them, I shall not obtain.  But if I can say that I have already undertaken for my needy friend, that in my poverty I have already begun the work of love, because I know I had a friend Who would help me, my prayer will be heard.  Oh, we know not how much the plea avails:  the friendship of earth looking in its need to the friendship of heaven:  ‘He will give him as much as he needeth.’