Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oldie Goldie

While I read contemporary authors, I must confess that I am partial to reading what might be considered the "oldie goldies" of spiritual writings. Or, maybe they should be called vintage writings. What I know is that I am drawn toward the writings and the stories of those who lived, worked, and wrote in other centuries. Spiritual giants like John Wesley, George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Oswald Chambers, and E.M. Bounds seem to have so much to say to my spiritual journey. The fact that their writings are still read by today's believers speaks volumes about what they have written.
Another such writer is Andrew Murray. Murray's dates are 1828-1917. He pastored in South Africa and when he retired at age 78, he entered into an intense season of writing. A compilation of some of his writings is bound together under the title, Andrew Murray on Prayer. On one of the pages of this volume, he speaks of intercessory prayer in an unusual manner: "God regards intercession as the highest expression of His people's readiness to receive and to yield themselves wholly to the working of His almighty power." The common teachings about such prayer often take us in a different direction, one that centers more on getting God to do something we think He needs to do.
However, Murray takes us to a different place. Intercessory prayer is not really so high on the agenda listings of most churches. And aside from noting before God our listing of the sick, it is probably not so high on our personal spiritual agendas. Perhaps, Andrew Murray opens a new window for us to see the reason the church of our day so often muddles around in the mundane. Maybe we are not ready for anything more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Parking Lot Woman

I watched her the other day at Lowes as she moved along in the line ahead of me. While there are not as many now as there used to be, she actually did look older than I am. White haired and a bit frail looking, she was pushing a cart with a couple big bags of garden soil. I wondered how she was going to get her purchase in the car, but lost track of the thought as the clerk started tallying my purchase. Actually, I figured one of the Lowes guys hanging out there in the garden shop would be helping her. When I pushed away from the counter, I looked up and saw her opening her trunk and no helper was in sight. I pushed my stuff to the side and without really thinking went out to where she was pondering what to do. "Let me help you," I offered. She seem happy to have the help and asked, "Do you work for Lowes?" Again, without really thinking about it, I quickly said a kind of out-of-character thing, "No, I work for the Lord." "Well," she said, "He is a good One to work for!"
He is and I do. Even though retirement has changed the way I work for Him, I realize that He has not thrown me away as having no value. Like everyone else who has professed faith in His Son and been touched by those holy waters, I remain on the list of those in active service. A lot of things may change in our lives as we move from one season to another, but God remains the same and He continues to work out His Kingdom plans through us.
Circumstances may change. The nature of the work may change. Our bodies may change. But, He remains the unchangeable One who looks at us and says, "That one is mine." As the woman in the parking lot said, "He is a good One to work for!"