I was sitting at my desk in my office snacking on some health-food snack called ‘Almond Granola Energy Blend’. I was enjoying the mix of nuts, raisins and chocolate granola, when I received an email from a fellow pastor in Ohio who wanted my opinion of fasting. Suddenly this swell of pride I had for eating healthy vanished in a cloud of guilt. The sticker on the snack package said it all: ‘Simple Indulgence’! Yes, I was convicted.
We Americans do get ourselves so much into comforting our bodies that we starve the spiritual, when we know better. If we want pleasures of this world, there are plenty. Food, thrills, sex, this world has it all. But if we want a spiritual connection with the powers of heaven, we’ve got to look beyond this ‘Simple Indulgence’, and toward something other-worldly.
Fasting helps to take us into that level of discipline that moves us upward beyond worldly indulgence into spiritual connectedness. I want more of God; how about you?
What are you hungry for?
Tags: conviction, fasting
One more illustration from Dwight L. Moody (remember, this was from the days before X-ray machines):
When a man has a broken arm, the surgeon must find out the exact spot where the fracture is. He feels along and presses gently with his fingers. “Is it there?” “No.”
“Is it there?” “No.”
Presently, when the surgeon touches another spot, “Ouch!” says the man. He has found the broken part, and it hurts.
It is one thing to hear a man preach down other people’s sins. Men will say, “That is splendid,” and will want all their friends to go and hear the preacher. But, let him touch on their individual sin, and declare, as Nathan did to David, “Thou art the man,” and they say, “I do not like that.” The preacher has touched a sore place.
You can always recognize the broken area of your life, because it hurts when the Word of God touches it.
Tags: broken, conviction, guilt, Moody, sin
Evangelist G. F. Pentecost told of a man who came to see him at a meeting because he was under deep conviction of sin. His conscience was continually condemning him. He was very angry with Pentecost, and with D. L Moody, who had preached the previous week.
“I wish you and Moody had never come to this city!” he shouted. “Before you came, I wasn’t troubled about my sins. You talk of peace and joy, but you have turned my soul into a living hell. I can’t stay away from the meetings, and to come to them only makes me feel worse. You promise salvation, but all I find is torment. I wish you would leave, then I’d get back my old peace.”
His old peace! If God would leave us alone, we would have no guilt. But, because He loves us, He doesn’t leave us alone. He convicts of sin so we can change and find His peace. Our peace is only temporary anyway.
Tags: conviction, peace
In 1853 Commodore Perry of the US Navy was commissioned to develop a trade relationship with Japan. The Japanese culture was to not trust anyone who was not Japanese. After several failed attempts to meet with the emperor,the emperor arranged a cautious meeting with Perry on a Sunday morning. Perry responded that he could not meet with him on Sunday morning because he must attend Sunday worship service, which upset some of his aides, who knew how easily offended the emperor could become.
The emperor postponed the meeting until the next day and said that Perry could be trusted because he was faithful to his God. This trust opened the door to the Orient for the United States. What are we saying to Muslim nations when we, as a nation, attempt to secularize our country? Can anyone trust a people who have no God to guide our values. I’m afraid that in a feable attempt to tell the Muslims that we are not in a holy war with them, we have declared ourselves infidels for having no spiritual values at all.
Do you think our nation should declare its religious roots or should America continue to be secularized? What say ye?
Tags: Commodore Perry, conviction, faithfulness
H. C. Morrison was the founder of Asbury Theological Seminary. Morrison came to Christ as a farm worker, plowing in a field one day, when he saw an old Methodist preacher coming by on his horse. Morrison knew the elderly gentleman to be a gracious, godly man. As he watched the old saint go by, a great sense of conviction of sin came over Morrison and he dropped to his knees. There between the furrows in his field, alone, he gave his life to God.
Reflecting on this testimony, Billy Graham earnestly prayed, “Oh, God, make me a holy man.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ordinary people could so dedicate our lives to Christ, that when we walked or drove past people would come under conviction by the Holy Spirit within us. That’s my goal and desire.
“If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
Tags: conviction, holiness, righteousness, witness
A father and son were driving down a country road and saw a watermelon patch a little way off the highway. The father said to the boy, “Keep a lookout here while I go get us a melon.” He snuck into the patch, lifted a choice melon from the vine, and then called to the boy, “Is anyone coming? Look both ways.” The little fellow wisely responded, “But Daddy, shouldn’t we look up too?”
Why do people think they can get away with something just because they hid it from others? Aren’t we forgetting that there is One who sees and hears all we do and say? Perhaps we really aren’t thinking the right way.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You…are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Psalm 139:1-4).
Meditate on this today.