Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The loveliness of the commonplace

The Ministry of the Unnoticed

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not seem to count. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” literally – Blessed are the paupers – an exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of today is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of character – the things that are easily noticed. The phrase we hear so often, “Decide for Christ,” is an emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him – a very different thing.

At the basis of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty. If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition, then Jesus says, “Blessed are you,” because it is through this poverty that I enter His Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman; I can only enter it as a complete pauper.

The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is always priggish and un-Christian. If I say, ‘I wonder if I am any use,’ I instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. “He that believeth in me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water.” If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.

Which are the people who have influenced us the most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In Christian life the implicit is never conscious , if it is conscious it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.


Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest,” (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935), 234.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Simply obey

Altruism that replaces obedience

by Richard Foster

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor." That is our first task: to grip the hands of Jesus with such tenacity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his kingdom. The next step is so simple I am almost embarrassed to mention it, and yet it is so important that I must. Begin now to obey him in every way you can.


Source: Freedom of Simplicity

Bites that bother and bites that kill

Epidemic malarial deaths and environmental dogma

Paul Driessen compares the deaths from bites of malaria-bearing mosquitoes in Africa to the bothersome outbreak of New York City bedbugs. His findings are troubling. It is a case where environmental dogma costs countless lives.

Many don't even want to monitor mosquito and malaria outbreaks or determine actual success in reducing disease and death rates. That would be more difficult and expensive than counting the number of bed nets distributed and would underscore the embarrassing reality that their "comprehensive" (and politically correct) insecticide-free programs achieve only 20 percent to 40 percent reductions in morbidity and mortality. By contrast, as South Africa and other countries have demonstrated, adding insecticides and DDT can bring 95 percent success.

We would never consider 20 percent to 40 percent fewer deaths a "success" for American children. Why should Africa?

Since the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972 - after the United States and Europe had eradicated malaria - billions have been stricken by the vicious disease, and tens of millions have died. That is intolerable.

We need adult supervision and informed debate on pesticide policies, laws and regulations. We can no longer leave those decisions to unaccountable anti-chemical activists in pressure groups and government agencies. These zealots are making decisions that determine the quality of life for millions of Americans, especially poor families - and life itself for billions of malaria-threatened people worldwide

If you're not concerned for the economic and mental health of Americans afflicted by bedbugs - then at least support responsible, ethical policies for Africa's sick, brain-damaged and dying parents and children.

Read it all here.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A repentant heart

All God wants -- a humble heart

by Johann Christoph Blumhardt

People come wanting me to pray for them to come further in their Christianity—they want to become purer, more perfect, and so on. Behind it is the mistaken notion that in order to be accepted by the Savior, one must stock up a pile of positive items, or scrape together as much as possible to hand Him in exchange for what He gives. People want to be able to repay Him, as it were. Yet the Savior gives without payment, and being extra pious won’t help one bit. If you receive His living water, you receive it for nothing. All God wants is a repentant heart.