Archive by Author

Living Sacrifice (Part 3)

26 Apr

A few weeks ago we looked at chapter 1 in  Living Sacrifice.  In that chapter Dr. Roseveare was sharing with us what it meant for her to love God with all of her heart. This week, as we move in to chapter 2 (finally), she explores what it has meant in her life to love God with all of her soul. Just a side note though before I begin. I don’t think the bible means for such clear distinctions between loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Essentially we are being told to love God with all that we are. I don’t know that Dr. Roseveare is implying that there are such clear distinctions…it may just be her cleaver way of dividing up the chapters!

At one point in her ministry Dr. Roseveare shares that she had the desire to be married. Her reason being that she didn’t want to perform surgery. She thought that if she married a surgeon, that problem would be solved! This seemed to create a season in her life where everything she did and all the decisions she made revolved around her goal to be married…to a surgeon. This pursuit led her away from the mission she was serving and resulted in what she saw as blatant disobedience to things that God was telling her to do – and this grieved her. It grieved her so much that she decided she needed to punish herself, listen to her own words:

I had deliberately chosen not to love God first….And I knew I had done this with my eyes open. It seemed too easy just to come to Him for forgiveness. My “feelings” took over and directed my reasoning. I felt that I did not deserve an easy forgiveness. I had known what I was doing and acted wilfully and deliberately. I felt I had to pay a price, and prove the reality of my sorrow and repentance. I felt I had no right to seek, or to ask for, or expect any relationship with God during this period. I chose to shut the door into God’s presence, and to remain outside. So for four years, I was living in Africa as a missionary, doing the right things, saying the right things….I taught others, yet I found no peace for my own tortured heart. I would not allow myself to belive there was still hope for me. Though I was teaching the truth and only the truth, I had sacrificed my right to its blessing by my own wilful behavior and disobedience to his commandments. (65)

What God desired to teach her in the end was that at no point did she ever deserve her salvation. There was never a point in her life when her obedience or faith made her worthy of God’s love…never. The Lord led her through a season of suffering at the hands of rebel soldiers to teach her this lesson, but that is where she finally heard his voice. A voice which told her that He knew her through and through, and yet still loved her (66-67).

And that is true of those who are in Christ. God knows us through and through, and yet he still loves us and grants us access to Himself through Christ.  I find this a difficult truth to believe at times, do you? What we all need is a healthy dose of God’s truth to lead us out of our sin of unbelief and into the gospel of God’s grace.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:20-21)


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Ready or Not?

12 Apr

So, I tired writing my post last night…and fell asleep. Then I was determined to write it this morning…and didn’t wake up in time. Now at this point, things have the potential of getting very ugly. I start to panic, feel like I have failed, and the pressure to write becomes too much to bear. I was definitely headed down that path, until it hit me – I am supposed to enjoy this! That simple thought allowed me the freedom to do this: post a link!! It is not what I intended to do, but it is what I am doing…and now that I feel the freedom to, I am doing it with great delight.

So here you are. I found this on Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog and have watched it several times over. It is called Ready or Not? and it is spoken word/theatre portraying Christ and His Bride. Enjoy…

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2011/11/24/ready-or-not/

Musical Interlude

5 Apr

I will return to my post on Helen Roseveare next week, but I have been really blessed by a couple of songs this week. One is this rendition of the hymn Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah which was written by William Williams in the 18th century, have a listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Odk49ZvD4&feature=autoplay&list=PL92111C83A031DA27&lf=mh_lolz&playnext=1

The other is a rendition of Anne Steels hymn Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul, which was also written in the 18th century (I wonder if they knew each other?). Have a listen to that one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIwRiDym3Xc&feature=autoplay&list=PL92111C83A031DA27&lf=mh_lolz&playnext=2

Enjoy!

Living Sacrifice (Part 2)

29 Mar

The prologue (which we went through last week), ends with Dr. Roseveare reflecting of Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus reminds us of what the greatest commandments are:

“…’Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment than these.”

The rest of the book is essentially a more detailed reflection on what it will actually cost us to love God in this way, the first chapter dealing with what it means to love God with all of our heart. Again, the chapter is packed with stories, beginning with her arrival in the Congo. She was thrilled to be there and “couldn’t wait to become one with the people,” no matter what the cultural or dietary barriers were (30).  And those never seem to be a problem for her (she attributes that to her upbringing during WWII). In each and every situation Dr. Roseveare draws our attention to the reality that the problem was primarily with her heart. I will share one story with you in this post (though it is really hard to choose…she draws such amazing lessons from them all!).

She recalls the time when she felt God was re-emphasizing a particular lesson in her life – a lesson in dying to self. She was ill with Malaria and Jaundice (and probably just mere physical and emotional exhaustion), but was informed that another missionary was now in need of her medical services (I believe she promised them her services at a previous time, before she was very ill). The woman in need was about to deliver a baby, and because their only vehicle was not working and because of past complications, they needed her to come to them as soon as possible. Dr. Roseveare responded to them with a letter explaining that she would come as soon as she was able to travel and suggested that they try to make their way to a nearby hospital. The couple received the letter, but in an abrupt almost annoyed response “practically demanded” that she go immediately. She agreed to go, but was angry. Her leader at that time saw what she was going through and attempted to counsel her by reminding her of the couple’s situation – alone in the forest with no readily available transportation about to give birth in very dangerous circumstances, circumstances which could result in the death of both mother and child. They were not thinking of her sickness, and if they were, it paled in comparison to their needs at that moment. Dr. Roseveare heard what he was saying, but was “nursing [her] own grievance, and [her] right to be hurt by their apparent selfishness.” (39) Assuring her that he respected her decision to go and help them, her leader then asks her to do something remarkable (I think), and to do it for Christ’s sake:

…Just die to yourself, Helen, and the Lord will bless you….You are going there to help them. Don’t waste your time justifying your delay, or underlining your virtue in going at all. You are going as Christ’s servant. You’ll only regret anything you say in hast or in anger: and most probably it would only be in self-defense or self-justification. Can you no trust God with all that? The Lord, when he was reviled, reviled not in return, but He trusted Him who judges rightly (1 Pet. 2:21-24). If you can accept that to these two your delay has cause distress and anxiety, God will help you to go to them in humility and to ask their forgiveness for it. (40)

Can you imagine! Being asked in that situation to humble yourself and be the one to ask for forgiveness. I know what a struggle it would be for me. But Dr. Roseveare looks back on that situation and sees how God was teaching her…and she was “slowly learning.” Learning that to love God with all of her heart meant that she would have to forgo her rights in some situations so that, as she saw it, God could love others through her. It was a higher goal that she found herself dimly groping towards (41).

I feel challenged when I read this story and Dr. Roseveare’s subsequent reflection on it. Am I willing to love others this way? Am I willing to hand my heart over to God in this way? It seems so painful and counterintuitive. But perhaps this is the way of the Christian life. I hear often that we are to do what at times feels like death, and I think that is a very helpful thought. It may feel right to defend yourself and stand up for your rights (and sometimes it is). But what will come of it? Who will get the glory? Whose name are you really concerned about? It is not our feelings that should guide us, but rather a commitment to give ourselves over to one who gave himself for us, even if it means death.

Living Sacrifice (Part 1)

22 Mar

I learned in the forward of this book, that Dr. Roseveare was asked to write this book for students. Her comments in this section also capture the spirit of the book when she says,

...the word sacrifice could only truly be employed in direct reference to our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered “death upon the cross for our redemption….” We, God’s children by adoption, have the privilege to respond, in overwhelming gratitude and love, by rendering to Him “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” (1 Pet. 2:5). (Pg 6)

Did you notice that word  privilege show up again. It is everywhere in her writing. As you read through the book you will notice how willing she is to give of her entire self to serve the one who died in her place. Talk about applying the gospel to all of you life! It is such a simple and life altering truth – give all of yourself to the one who gave himself for you. Simple, but not easy. At times, as we see in the life of Dr. Roseveare, giving of yourself comes at a great cost. And God has the right to demand those great costs from us, right? I won’t answer that question for you, but I would encourage you to read the prologue to this book entitled ‘His Right to Demand’ (I guess we know what her answer would be!).

There are several stories in the prologue that will capture your attention. One in particular, which I won’t share much of, is about a little boy name Paul who was willing to endure beatings from rebel solider in light of what Christ did for him. What I will share as I close this post is the analogy Dr. Roseveare uses to drive home her point that we are to be willing sacrifices in the hands of God, or as she puts it in her subtitle, that we should be willing to be whittled as an arrow. The story basically goes that there were these birds in the village they lived in that were causing major issues, so they paid the kids in the village to shot them down! They used arrows to shoot them, and to make the arrows they needed to pull the branches off of some of the most beautiful trees in the village (the trees did not serve any other purpose, other than being beautiful and attracting tourists). “This wanton act of destruction might seem a senseless waste of God-givien beauty” says Dr. Roseveare, but listen to the way she applies to God’s work in her life in the midst of some very difficult circumstances,

Could I see that God wanted to transform my life from a somewhat ugly, useless branch (once all the flowers and leaves were ripped off!) to an arrow, a tool usable in His hands, for the furtherance of His purposes?…To be thus transformed, was I willing – am I still willing – for the whittling, sandpapering, stripping process necessary in my Christian life? The ruthless pulling off of leaves and flowers mights include doing without a television set or washing machine, remaining single in order to see a job done, re-evaluating the worthiness of the ambition to be a “good” doctor….The snapping off of thorns might include drastic dealing with hidden jealousies and unknown pride, giving up prized rights in leadership and administration. The final stripping of the bark might include lessons to be learned regarding death to self – self-defence, self-pity, self-justification, self-vindication, self-sufficiency, all the mechanisms of preventing the hurt of too-deep involvement. Am I prepared for the pain, which at times may seem like sacrifice, in order to be made a tool in His service? My willingness will be a measure of the sincerity of my desire to express my heartfelt gratitude to Him for His so-great salvation. (Pg 26-27)

An arrow in the hand of an Almighty God. It is a glorious thought, but as we shall continue to see in the life of Dr. Roseveare (and in our own lives), it comes at a cost. Are we willing?

Postponded

15 Mar

I was attempting a play on words with my title (post-poned…get it?). Whatever the case, my post will have to wait until next week due to a sick child (throwing up all night) and no sleep.

Until then, here is a link to an interview with Noel Piper who gives us a very brief sketch of her life (I think Noel Piper is alluding to the same quote I gave you last week!)

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drZ28MYS5OE

Yet Another…

8 Mar

So I am the last to introduce myself to you all. I will start with the basics: My name is Georgie, I just turned 30 (yikes) and I’ve been married to Paul McDonald since October 2009. I have a 15 month old son named Caleb and one more on the way (due in July). I am a homemaker, a lover of Jesus Christ and a member of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills.

I found Maja’s “proposition” very intriguing and, like Amy, could not pass up the opportunity to blog with all these lovely women! It’ll be a new experience for me to try to write a post every week, but one that I’m very excited about. My plan is to write about things that are of interest to me and hopefully beneficial to those who’ll read this blog. Some of those things would include theology, parenting, philosophy, books that I am reading, other posts that I have found to be a blessing or just entertaining…I think the only things I will stay away from are sports (that’s your job Amy), and cooking (I cannot content with the other cooks on this blog!!).

I am reading through a really great book by Dr. Helen Roseveare right now. It has been such a blessing to read about her life and learn from her incredible example of godliness. I anticipate that the next few posts will be related to that…so I hope you are looking forward to it! Here is a taste of her writing, just to wet your appetite. She explains how God met with her when she was beaten by rebel soldiers during her time serving in the Congo:

“In the darkness and loneliness, He met with me. He was right there, a great, wonderful, almighty God. His love enveloped me. Suddenly the “Why?” dropped away from me, and an unbelievable peace flowed in, even in the midst of the wickedness. And He breathed a word into my troubled mind: the word privilege.” (Living Sacrifice, 22)

I am really looking forward to blogging with you all (writers and readers!!).