Failure and success

How to win your battle

How to win your battle

A man testifies to being immersed in crisis. He cries out to God so intensely he can hardly talk. At times, all he does is moan. God helps him by keeping his eyelids propped open, and miraculously holding up his hands so they do not become numb and fall. He wonders if God has forgotten him.

But something happens. He decides to start moving beyond his complaints to thinking of all God has done in the past. And the more he thinks about it, the more his spirit revives.

The man’s name is Asaph. His testimony is recorded in the seventy-seventh Psalm. 

The path to kingdom advance

The path to kingdom advance

Whiplash is one way of describing it.

We spent five busy weeks in a very crowded England, where there is never enough space for anything. Driving, parking, shopping, living - you name it, there’s not enough space for it. We spent the last ten days with friends who live not more than a hundred feet from a very busy motorway (interstate). Arriving back at Toronto airport, space suddenly reappeared. Wide roads, stores with acres of parking, space everywhere. And after four brief days at home, we found ourselves in our new accommodations in Michigan. Again we are perched on the edge of a highway. But as we looked out the window in the morning, the first traffic to appear was an Amish buggy.

The path to revival

The path to revival

Every move of God is a sovereign exercise of his will. Let there be no doubt about that. There is nothing we can do to force him to bring the revival that we so desperately want and our culture so desperately needs.

But what we overlook is the significance of our response.

If we examine Isaiah 52 and 53, we see the great redemptive work of Christ, his suffering, his pain, his rejection. But when we look to the beginning of chapter 54, we find that suddenly a completely different note is sounded: “Shout for joy, O barren one... break forth into joyful shouting.”

The crucial step of faith

The crucial step of faith

Every miracle begins with a step of faith. The feeding of the five thousand began when a little boy surrendered his lunch to Jesus. For him, that was a massive step of faith. It left him with nothing to eat all day. But there would have been no miracle without it. Jesus had no problem multiplying the loaves and fishes, but he needed something to work with.

And it’s the same today. We often ask Jesus to come in and solve our problems, but we forget that he needs something to work with. For every miracle, there is a contribution we have to make.

Sometimes that contribution is simply making the decision not to give up, not to get angry, not to despair, but to put the matter in his hands, believing he can do something about it. Many times it involves stepping out of our comfort zone to do something God is calling us to do that we could not do in our own strength.

Time for a test

Time for a test

“Everyone loves a test!”

If that were a true or false question, the correct answer would be easy.

I’ve spent the last few days marking exams for the course on Revelation I’ve been teaching at seminary this summer. It was nice to be on the judging side, rather than the student side. I can’t remember how many hundreds of tests and exams I wrote, but I wish I’d had a party after the last one.