It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Excerpt from Courageous Living by Michael Catt, Senior Pastor, Sherwood Church, Georgia.
There seems to be a lie that has gained popularity and acceptance in modern Christianity. And that lie is this: that any believer, group or denomination can exist on its own, being totally isolated from other believers, groups or denominations. I cannot trace the origin of this lie. But I know that it’s a lie.
Over the years, many churches, groups and denominations have broken off from their “mother churches”. It seems really plausible to many ministers to form denominations or churches after seemingly getting “fresh light” over some non-biblical practice or unscriptural doctrine present in their churches. What amazes me is how some of these new ministries openly criticize the churches that they once belonged to.
It is well there is One who is ever the same, and who is ever with us. It is well there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. O my soul, set not thine affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures, but set thine heart upon Him who abides for ever faithful to thee. Build not thine house upon the moving quicksands of a deceitful world, but found thy hopes upon this rock, which, amid descending rain and roaring floods, shall stand immovably secure.
My soul, I charge thee, lay up thy treasure in the only secure cabinet; store thy jewels where thou canst never lose them. Put thine all in Christ; set all thine affections on His person, all thy hope in His merit, all thy trust in His efficacious blood, all thy joy in His presence, and so thou mayest laugh at loss, and defy destruction. Remember that all the flowers in the world’s garden fade by turns, and the day cometh when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth. Death’s black extinguisher must soon put out thy candle.
Oh! how sweet to have sunlight when the candle is gone! The dark flood must soon roll between thee and all thou hast; then wed thine heart to Him who will never leave thee; trust thyself with Him who will go with thee through the black and surging current of death’s stream, and who will land thee safely on the celestial shore, and make thee sit with Him in heavenly places for ever. Go, sorrowing son of affliction, tell thy secrets to the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Trust all thy concerns with Him who never can be taken from thee, who will never leave thee, and who will never let thee leave Him, even “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” “Lo, I am with you always,” is enough for my soul to live upon.
Excerpt from Charles Surgeon’s Morning & Evening.
Note: This is the second post on a series in The 21st Century Minister section. To read the first post, click here.
I was excited. I was very excited. I was going to finally see the man that I respected so much. I tried so hard to get my roommates excited. They hadn’t heard of him before, so their expressions had been indifferent each time I chattered endlessly about the teaching ability of this man. I had stumbled upon his teachings the year before and simply fell in love with the way he taught God’s word. He spoke with such calmness that the authority could be detected in his voice. I respected him. My fellowship was finally inviting him, this great icon in my head, to one of our major programs. I was enthusiastic. I was finally going to see him and listen to him live. My heart was open from the very first day of the Conference. I sang and worshipped God with joy in my heart. I was ready to be blessed. I was ready to receive from God’s servant. Even the devil’s most experienced minions weren’t going to take away my blessings. But what I experienced wasn’t what I had been expecting for long. I experienced what my Dad had indirectly told me to expect years before.
I remember the first day she smiled at me
She had tied my heart with strong reins
And I became a willful captive, bound by
The simple thought of my mistress
Her voice became my very bread, I
Would wake up everyday hoping to hear
The voice that made me come alive inside,
The words that could set me on fire