Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow Down! Are you in too big of a hurry?

We received this email the other day.  Our world is far too fast-paced.  What do we miss by rushing around so?  Maybe this will help you realize how much we should slow down and pay attention.  If so many people are missing this much, how much are we as the people of God missing His voice?

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.
About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time.  This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.
At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.
After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever   
written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
This is a true story.  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
This experiment raised several questions:
        *In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive  beauty?
        *If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
        *Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of
the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
Enjoy LIFE now....... it has an expiration date.
(Much more than this, if you waste the time you have selfishly, you will have the rest of your life to regret it.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Is Your Hour and the Power of Darkness

(This is a devotion by my husband, Bro. Mike Miller.  It was a great blessing to me and I hope that you enjoy it as well.  God's Blessings!)

This Is Your Hour And the Power of Darkness

…but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Luke 22:53

Jesus said this to the soldiers who had come to arrest him and take him away to be crucified. Puny sinful men with their swords and their staves exercising authority against the Creator of the Universe himself. Step back and look at the scene from God's point of view and if it were not for the seriousness of what was transpiring that night it would seem absurd and almost laughable. They could have no power at all against him unless God had allowed it. (John 19:11)

This is your hour …
This is to serve notice on all the wicked that your time is limited. Do not think that you will be able to continue to exercise this power you are enjoying right now forever, because God has only given you a short time. It may seem like the wicked are going to prevail in the world right now, but their time in the limelight will end at the very moment appointed by God.
Then there is another hour coming:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28-29

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Rev. 19:11-13

The wicked will have no power in that hour. It will not be their hour then.

…and the power of darkness.
Darkness has no power of its own. It is nothing. It is the absence of light. Darkness vanishes at the simple appearance of light. It takes no brute force, no power of nature, no violence at all to make darkness disappear. Nothing could be more gentle than the shining of a light, and that is all it takes to remove the power of darkness. Those who walk in darkness seem to think they possess some kind of power, and walk about arrogantly abusing others and blaspheming God. But their pitiful, puny power is so easily extinguished that they are very easily revealed to be fools.

So in this dark generation in which we live the true children of God can take heart and be encouraged. As we watch the world plunge deeper and deeper into evil we can be assured of two things: it will not last long, and it will vanish with the light. And the light is coming! The night these soldiers came and took Jesus it looked like they were the victors and that the power of darkness was the real power. When they beat him and spit in his face, and mocked him, and crucified him it seemed that darkness had prevailed, but three days later it was a different story, and it has been ever since. God who rules the universe is righteous and as long as He sits upon his throne you can be assured that righteousness will prevail in the end. Jesus told us these days were coming and this was his command in Matthew 24:6 concerning how we should deal with it:

… see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

So woe, woe, woe unto the wicked who forsake God and walk after this world in its rebellion against him, their day is coming, and it is coming soon! If you are among them you better escape while there is time.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Rev. 22:17

Come to Jesus and trade in your uniform of a rebel for a robe of righteousness and get on the winning side!

Mike Miller
January 26, 2012

Do you have a question or comment? Email me!
Our church web site: Straight Paths Bible Church

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The White Funeral

Catchy title, isn't it?  I really like this devotion and wanted to share it with you.  This is from "My Utmost for His Highest", Jan. 15th. 


Buried with Him . . . that . . . even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a "white funeral" - the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crisis of death, sanctification is nothing more than a vision. There must be a "white funeral," - a death that has only one resurrection - a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can upset such a life, it is one with God for one purpose, to be a witness to Him.

Have you come to your last days really? You have come to them often in sentiment, but have you come to them really? You cannot go to your funeral in excitement, or die in excitement. Death means you stop being. Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go to death. It is not striving to go to death, it is dying - "baptized into His death."

Have you had your "white funeral," or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul? Is there a place in your life marked as the last day, a place to which the memory goes back with a chastened and extraordinarily grateful remembrance - "Yes, it was then, at that 'white funeral,' that I made an agreement with God." (September '06!  Can you fill in your date?)
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification." When you realize what the will of God is, you will enter into sanctification as naturally as can be. Are you willing to go through that "white funeral" now? Do you agree with Him that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends upon you.

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Straight Paths Bible Church

Monday, January 9, 2012

Miniature Providences

What man, upon seeing the suffering of another, would not wish to ease them, to lift their burden and help them through the trial through which they are passing? But do we always know what would be the right thing to do and say? Does our help at times seem to only make things worse? Does not the Word of God state that this unique work is exclusive to the Lord? (Hebrews 2:17-18) Even Peter, when he rebuked the Lord for saying he was going to be killed, was rebuked by Jesus. Why? Please read the following story and maybe you will understand a little better.

"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."
Romans 8:18

I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is as entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibers having taken place. The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all–and it never is without great labor and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.

I happened to witness the first efforts of my prisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. Very probably the confining fibers were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo! immediately, and with perfect ease, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shriveled wings. In vain I watched to see that marvelous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of diverse colors which were all there in miniature, I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain. My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings. I have thought of it often, often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress; and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared? The farsighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Our Father’s love is too true to be weak. Because He loves His children, He chastises (trains through trials) them that they may be partakers of His holiness. With this glorious end in view, He spares not their crying. Made perfect through sufferings, as the Elder Brother was, the sons of God are trained up to obedience and brought to glory through much tribulation. (From "Streams In The Desert")

No one wants to suffer anymore. You who are reading may agree, "Who would?" But there are sufferings that a person must go through to soften the heart to the things that God has prepared for them. When we deny the Holy Spirit the chance to do in our hearts what is necessary for us to come to know Christ, we hinder His work and doom our own soul. To avoid suffering and get the encouragement that we seem to need, instead of looking to the one Comforter Who knows and understands our suffering, we look to others. We seek those who would sympathize with us in our pain and sorrow, those who will tell us how brave we are and how spiritual. This kind of help only leaves us with a spiritual haughtiness that only makes it harder for the Lord to reach us again. So instead of helping someone who is going through this plowing of the heart, we lift the plow and the field of their heart is left fallow and hard. So what should we say or do for someone who is going through a hard time? The less you say is best, but to point them to the source of their help would be better than patting them on the back for the good job they are doing in enduring this terrible trial.

I have seen this happen. The encouragement given during a terrible trial only made the one going through it more obstinately sure of their own goodness, while the truth is their worldliness and self-righteousness is more deeply embedded than before. God’s blessed plow that was sent to break up the hard surface of their heart was only allowed to scratch the surface. Now the heart is scarred, but harder still. The ones who sought to help only caused the one in the trial to look to them instead of finding their true help in the Comforter of Souls.

Beware what encouragement you give to those who are going through a "hard time". Point them to the One Who is their ONLY help. Building them up in themselves will only cause spiritual hardness. Do not try to lift their load lest you be accused before God of being their miniature providence.

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Straight Paths Bible Church

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Quote To Remember

“Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with him.”
– Hudson Taylor
(Sent to me by Nora Shepherd)