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Expecting the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

I think that many times in the past I prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit — but without a clear expectation in my mind that I would have it in the course of the day.

But, I have learned to expect the Spirit’s guidance — if, indeed, I have prayed for it.

F. B. Meyer (1847–1929)

F. B. Meyer (1847–1929)

The great preacher F. B. Meyer expresses it well:

Expect the Holy Ghost to work in, with and for you. When a man is right with God, God will freely use him. There will rise up within him impulses and inspirations, strong strivings, strange resolves. These must be tested by Scripture and prayer, and if evidently of God they must be obeyed. But there is this perennial source of comfort: God’s commands are enablings. He will never give us a work to do without showing exactly how and when to do it, and He will give the precise strength and wisdom we need. Do not dread to enter this life because you fear that God will ask you to do something you cannot do. He will never do that. If He lays aught on your heart, He will do so uninvited; as you pray about it the impression will continue to grow, so that presently, as you look up to know what He wills you to say or do, the way will suddenly open, and you will probably have said the word or done the deed almost unconsciously. Rely on the Holy Ghost to go before you to make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. Do not bring the legal spirit of ‘must’ into God’s free service. ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.’ Let your life be as effortless as theirs, because your faith shall constantly hand over all difficulties and responsibilities to your ever-present Lord. There is no effort to the branch in putting forth the swelling clusters of grapes — the effort would be to keep them back.

— F. B. Meyer, quoted by Daniel Steele here: TESTINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (more…)

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A Brief History of Mother’s Day

[But be warned: this story does not have a happy ending.]

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1. Early American Forerunners to Mother’s Day.

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)

In the USA, Julia Ward Howe suggested the idea of Mother’s Day in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic, saw Mother’s Day as being dedicated to peace. You can read more about the original proclamation of Mother’s Peace Day in 1870, including Julia Ward Howe’s powerful sentiments on the subject here: Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870. Here is how it begins:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:

“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
(more…)

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To the Saints – Colossians 1:2

paul-iconIn the simple, stock opening with which this letter begins, we already gain insight into Paul’s sense of calling and vocation. We see his conception of who he is, and what he knows his task in life to be.

As he turns to the next part of his greeting — again nothing unusual here at all — he expresses his view of who the Colossian Christians are.

(Colossians 1:2)
τοῖς ἐν Κολοσσαῖς ἁγίοις καὶ πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν.
“…to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (NASB).

They are: “saints (who are) in Colossae” and “faithful brothers in Christ.” (more…)

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Sanctification and Fanaticism

Thomas_Cogswell_Upham-c

Thomas C. Upham

The other day I posted this on the Hidden Life blog:

In proportion as the heart becomes sanctified, there is a diminished tendency to enthusiasm and fanaticism. And this is undoubtedly one of the leading tests of sanctification. One of the marks of an enthusiastic and fanatical state of mind, is a fiery and unrestrained impetuosity of feeling; a rushing on, sometimes very blindly, as if the world were in danger, or as if the great Creator were not at the helm. It is not only feeling without a due degree of judgment, but, what is the corrupting and fatal trait, it is feeling without a due degree of confidence in God. True holiness reflects the image of  God in this respect as well as in others, that it is calm, thoughtful, deliberate, immutable. And how  can it be otherwise, since, rejecting its own wisdom and strength, it incorporates into itself the wisdom and strength of the Almighty.

Religious Maxims (1846) XII.

And I still like this quote, in part, because it seems at first so counter-intuitive. Isn’t fanaticism too much religion? Here Upham says just the opposite: it is the result of having not enough religion: or, more properly, not having enough sanctification. (more…)

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