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"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night." — Psalm 91:5
Posted Apr-21-2011 7:07pm by Doug

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of the broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we? God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; He is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without His direction, for even hell itself is under His control. Darkness is not dark to Him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around His people—and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up His tender mercies, it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.

"Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from Thee;
Thou art He, who, never weary,
Watchest where Thy people be."

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Wesley's Prayer
Posted Feb-11-2011 9:44am by Doug

An old prayer from one of my favorites, John Wesley. I have spent much
time meditating on this little verse and strive to let it's truths shape the way I live.
 

"I am no longer my own, but Yours.
Put me to what you will; rank me with whom You will.
Put me to doing; put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You.
Let me be full; let me be empty.
Let me have all things; let me have nothing...
I truly and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal."

John Wesley, 1780

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Notes on Wisdom
Posted Jan-18-2011 9:58am by Teresa

A few months ago, I decided to do a word study on "Wisdom" throughout the Bible, using Strong's concordance as a guide.  Someone recently expressed a desire to see my study notes, so I thought it might be nice to type them up and post them online. Since I have already accumulated several months of notes, I have decided to type them up a few at a time, in chronological order.

Although I have prayerfully approached each passage asking God for insight and guidance, these are really just my own thoughts and observations.  I have no illusions of being a theologian and my understanding of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek are limited to the translation help provided by Biblos.com.

9-8-2010
~ 1 Kings 10:4,5 "When the queen of Sheba perceived all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the attendance of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his stairway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her."

These verses indicate that Solomon's great wisdom was blatantly apparent in the way that he built his palace, seated his officials, dressed his servants, and brought sacrifices to God.  Even though the queen of Sheba was very wealthy, she was still overwhelmed by what she saw.  So it was more than just the splendor of wealth that impressed her; it was also the way that things were arranged and implemented, revealing Solomon's ingenuity and aesthetic talent.  These are both intrinsic elements of wisdom.

~ 1 Kings 10:8
"How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!"

It truly is a pleasure and a privilege to be under the leadership of someone who is wise!  And, although this is a rare experience for must of us in the natural world, we must remember that we are all ultimately under the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is our pleasure and privilege to serve Him, to continually stand before Him and hear His wisdom.

9-7-2010

~ 1 Kings 5:12 "The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as He had promised him.  There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty."

It was by wisdom that Solomon was able to establish and maintain a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship with Hiram, King of Tyre.

~ 1 Kings 7:14 "...He was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass."

Huram, a craftsman from Tyre, was hired by Solomon to create items of bronze for the Lord's temple.  Wisdom can be "specialized" - someone can have exceptional wisdom in one specific area.

9-6-2010
~ 1 Kings 4:29 "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore."

Many translations of this verse interpret "breadth of understanding" to be "largeness of heart."  Wesley's notes state, "Largeness of heart - Vastness of understanding, a most comprehensive knowledge of all things both Divine and human." The wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon encapsulated great intelligence and capacity for knowledge.  He studied and was able to understand the natural world around him, including plants, birds, animals, insects, and fish.  He truly was a "super genius!"

~ 1 Kings 4:30, 31
"Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater that all the wisdom of Egypt.  He was wiser than any other man..."
~ 1 Kings 4:34 "Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom."

These verses indicate to me that wisdom is apportioned by God, and that even people of ungodly nations such as Egypt, still received their wisdom from God, even though they did not serve HIm.  Solomon's wisdom also included the ability to teach.  He communicated his vast wisdom through 3,000 proverbs, and was famous throughout the world.

The example of Solomon is an encouragement to me because Solomon was already well into adulthood when God blessed him with this extraordinary wisdom.  We tend to think that we are limited to only the gifts and talents that we were born with, and that true success must be achieved early in life.  But these limits are meaningless to God.  He can endow us with new gifts, skills and talents at any time in our life.

9-3-2010

~ 1 Kings 3:28 "When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice."

After Solomon's famous discernment of the true mother of the disputed child in 1 Kings 3:16-27, all Israel stood in awe of him.  The word that is translated here as "awe," conveys a feeling much greater than mere admiration or amazement, it connotes a fearful reverence.  The people recognized that Solomon possessed discernment that surpassed human capability.  This is not surprising, for the Lord had promised Solomon that He would give him such a wise and discerning heart that there will never have been anyone like him, nor will there ever be (1 Kings 3:12). 

9-2-2010
~ 1 Kings 2:6 "Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace." (re: Joab)
~ 1 Kings 2:9 "But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him." (re: Shimei)

David wanted Solomon to tie up some "loose ends" regarding Joab and Shimei who, for complex reasons, had escaped justice during his reign.  David was able to rely upon Solomon's good judgment because he recognized that his son possessed godly wisdom, even though this was prior to the famous outpouring of wisdom that God would later bestow upon Solomon.

9-1-2010
~ 2 Samuel 20:22 "Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom.  And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab."

This is another example of Joab being assisted by a "wise woman," but in this case it is the woman who takes the initiative to offer her assistance.  She sees that it would be in the best interest of her city to offer the fugitive Sheba to Joab, rather than be besieged by his troops.  On the face of things, this solution seems to be a "no-brainer," but sometimes people are hesitant to seek the most obvious solution to a problem due to personal bias or emotional involvement.  It was wisdom that enabled this woman to assess the situation objectively, and it was her reputation of wisdom that compelled the people of the city to listen to her advice, bringing about a solution that was agreeable to everyone except, of course, to Sheba!

8-31-2010

~ 2 Samuel 14:20 "My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God - he knows everything that happens in the land."

These are words spoken by a wise woman of Tekoa to King David, after he rightfully discerned that Joab had coached her to petition him regarding the banishment of David's son, Absalom.  This verse has no real significance to my study, other than to confirm the divine nature of wisdom, for she goes on to say of David, "He knows everything that happens in the land."  This, of course, was not true of David, but it is true of God.

In 2 Samuel 19:27, Mephibosheth says something similar to David, "My lord the king is like an angel of God, so do whatever pleases you."  Although David did not possess the great reputation for wisdom that Solomon had, it is apparent that he still had a reputation for being full of the wisdom of God.  Godly wisdom is something that is recognizable in others.

8-30-2010

~ Deuteronomy 4:6 "Observe them carefu

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Pain
Posted Dec-08-2010 9:00am by Teresa

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Pain can be a thief that robs us of our present happiness.

Pain can be a deceiver that blinds us to our own possessions.

Pain can be a veil that shrouds our future expectations.

And,

Pain can be an arrow that pierces through our mundane preoccupations.

Pain can be a lens that brings our heart's desires into focus.

Pain can be a vehicle that carries us before the very throne of God, where we can break bread with One who is so very well acquainted with our pain.

How sweet is the bread of sorrow when shared with One who loves us like no other.  How strangely delightful is the taste of joy refined by suffering.

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Busking in Burbank - update July 2009
Posted Mar-02-2010 1:11pm by Doug

I have been busking in Burbank now for 72 weeks. It has been one of the great learning experiences of my life – a weekly adventurer that has opened my eyes to the world around me and re-defined who I am as a follower of Jesus Christ.

After finally listening to God and being obedient, I made a kind of half-hearted “deal” with Him. “If you’re really in this Lord and if you will go with me, I will give it a year”. I’m not sure where that came from but a year seamed right in proportion to what He was saying to me at the time. A year to learn, listen and do whatever He asked of me.

Gods grace and presence have filled us in that place and I have tasted the Joy of hearing his sweet voice and proclaiming His great love. Like the hymn says:

I have found the joy no tongue can tell
how its waves of glory roll
it is like a great o’er flowing well
springing up within my soul
it is joy unspeakable and full of glory
oh the half has never yet been told

One recent highlight happened several weeks ago when my wife Teresa joined us one night along with my son Scott and my buddy Jessie. (Like a dream come true for me!) The 4 of us played and sang with all our hearts and attracted some interest but although Teresa enjoyed the evening, she does not feel that this kind of thing is for her. I’m proud of her for at least trying it on and I’m OK with it really, especially since she has found a renewed place in prayer like I have never known. So for now it’s like this – I play on the beach in the sand and the waves while she swims out a bit and dives deep… Later, we lie on the sand in the warm sun together… It’s all good.

Strangely over the last several weeks folks have been unusually disinterested and distant. My year has past and I’m beginning to feel in my heart that my time of busking in Burbank is winding down. I hesitate to move… Perhaps I am wrong? I must admit to some disappointment at the idea. My daily prayer is for fresh vision and direction and the deepest longing of my heart is to know His heart and be used by Him. To hear his voice and do what he says.

Overwhelmingly loved,
Doug

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"Busking" in Burbank - God, give me a sign?
Posted Mar-02-2010 1:08pm by Doug

 7PM Friday 11/21/2008

Last Friday night my son and I hit Burbank. I had been praying all week for a new way to engage people in conversation. So here’s our “pitch” (an old busking term) We set up three chairs. One for my son, one for me and my guitar and one between us with a sign. We start singing.

The small 8×5 sign says;

NO $ PLEASE

FREE

PRAYER

Let us PRAY for you

NO STRINGS NOTHING WEIRD

(We get a lot of people trying to give us $) When people ask about the sign, I tell them that if they will give me their first name and something I can pray for, I will then pray every day this week for them. If they want I will pray for them right there or I will write it down. I then ask them if they have a relationship with God and go from there.

Here’s our report…

1) A young man said he wanted us to pray for him and his family because they are continuing to struggle with the death of his younger brother a year ago. He claimed faith in “God” but had trouble articulating what he believed. Right away a guy steps right between us and tries to get my son Scott to contribute to some charity. When he finally moves we start up again and another guy stops to listen. Then this other guy interrupts and says he’s a Christian and then starts to talk really loud with the young man. I smiled at him, extended my hand and asked him his name. He started to back away and I told him that I would like to pray for him. He backed up some more and than said something I couldn’t understand and then a swear word and ran away. (Really weird…) anyway I tried to salvage the conversation and the young man asked if we would be here next week and than said he would be back. I told him that we would definitely pray for him and look for him next week.

Another song and then three young girls stop and ask about the sign. I explained. They told me their names. The first couldn’t think of anything. The second asked if I would pray that she lose weight. (I explained that I would not because God had already answered her prayer) The third asked me to pray that her boyfriend and her would stay together. I asked if he was a respectable young man and she said yes and added that he was a real gentleman, so I agreed.

I than asked if they had a relationship with God. They were unsure. So I asked if they felt that they were good people and again they weren’t sure so I offered to give them a test (the good test) About half way through one said “help me out her you’re making me nervous” I promised her that I had good news for her but continued. In the end, when I asked the final question the young girl in the middle looked me in the eye and quietly said “were going to hell…” and the others agreed. We just stood there for a moment. Than I shared about the cross and a loving, merciful God who came to die and take our punishment, about trusting Christ alone and what it meant to repent – they really got it. It was one of those rare moments when time kind of stands still and none of us seemed aware of anything around us, almost like the 4 of us were in a bubble. I encouraged them and told them I would be praying for them. As they walked away one said, ” Oh, I think we missed our movie” and another “said that’s ok”.

Another couple songs and than a rather nice looking clean cut woman in a suit stops and asks about the sign. She was a true believer who was here from Canada to teach a woman’s seminar and really needed the power of God to move through her. We were able to encourage her in the Lord and committed to pray for her and the meetings.

A young boy stopped and listened to a song and than asked about the sign. He wanted us to pray for a test he had taken that day. He had been studying hard and was hoping for a good grade. We wrote down his name and request and I told him I would pray for him and then his dad came and said they had to go.

A homeless guy named Leroy, who I have shared with several times before, wanted prayer for a trip he was making to Detroit to be re-united with his wife. We laid hands on him right there and prayed for that and also that he would truly come to know Christ as savior and find in Him the strength to overcome his addictions. He hugged and thanked us and went his way.

Like the old song says, “it is joy unspeakable and full of glory” and to think I could have spent the evening at home watching TV. God help us all

8:45 My son gets tired (long day at work) We pack up

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