Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Advice On School

Do get on with your studies. Remember you are now forming the character of you future ministry in great measure, if God spare you. If you acquire slovenly or sleepy habits of study now, you will never get the better of it. Do everything in its own time. Do everything in earnest; if it is worth doing, then do it in all your might. Above all, keep much in the presence of God. Never see the face of man till you have seen his face who is our life, our all. Pray for others; pray for your teachers, fellow-students, etc.

Beware of the atmosphere of the classics. It is pernicious indeed; and you need much of the south wind breathing over the Scriptures to counteract it. True, we ought to know them; but only as chemists handle poisons – to discover their qualities, not to infect their blood with them.

Pray that the Holy Spirit would not only make you a believing and holy lad, but make you wise in your studies also. A ray of divine light in the soul sometimes clears up a mathematical problem wonderfully. The smile of God calms the spirit, and the left hand of Jesus holds up the fainting head, and his Holy Spirit quickens the affection, so that even natural studies go on a million times more easily and comfortably.

As Moses found himself able to use the jewels of the Egyptians in the service of Christ, endeavor to do the same.

A few miscellaneous quotes I loved:

Lord put me into thy service when and where Thy pleasest. In thy hand all my qualities will be put to their appropriate end.

It has always been my aim, and it is my prayer, to have no plans with regard to myself, well assured as I am, that the place where the Savior sees meet to place me must ever be the best place for me.

I don’t worry about what lies ahead – for Your mantle covers me, Your lordship is my head

It’s funny how so many people go to Bible College just to get married. But it’s sad when one trades in relationship with God for a relationship with a human. Because as I’ve learned,  you ridiculously shortchange yourself.

Before setting out to Bible school, I was very honest with God about relationships. I told him that I knew that there would be men who were seeking God there. And all my life, above all else, I had been praying for a man who feared the Lord. I tried to make it real easy for the Lord to understand what I was implying.

But when I arrived, there was something heavier on my heart then relationships. I knew that I didn’t love God and this troubled me the most. I remember sitting at the dinner table with some fellow students and staff, and almost desperately pounding the table saying “I know I don’t love Him. I don’t know what to do.” And I remember later on realizing “How in the world can I love an imperfect man if I can’t love a perfect God?”

So the very first week God challenged me. Throughout my life, I’d easily given up all the “men” that were, what I’d dubbed “bad eggs.” They were easy to give up because I knew what kind of man I was waiting for. Throughout my lifetime, I’d whittled my list down to three things:

  1. In hot pursuit of Jesus
  2. A leader that was kind towards everyone, especially the unnoticed
  3. Witty sense of humor

So now I was an environment that was filled with men who were all that and more! What was a girl to do I wondered. And God calmly answered. “Give up the good ones too.”

I pouted. Seriously. I argued. I pleaded.

And then I remembered a quote from Oswald Chambers: “The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.”

My good is the enemy of God’s best.

So I relinquished all the good ones. All the possibilities. The ones, I came to realize, that weren’t even mine to start with, I relinquished with great gravity and seriousness.

“See God? Those guys that aren’t even mine? Well I finally agree – they’re not mine.”

What a ninny I am.

And I proceeded to have the best 9 weeks of my life – falling head over heels in love with not a man of flesh and blood, but the man Jesus Christ. Oh as the Shulamite writes in Ecclesiastes, “My beloved is the fairest of ten thousand.”

It’s one thing to say and pretend to agree with, and then another to have praise spring forth from a heart of contentment.

I came to realize this:

One day God may add to my life the love of a man. But that love will not make me more complete. I am fully complete in Christ. I am fully happy in Christ. I am not half of a person that will be made whole on my wedding day. My husband is not my other half until we become one. If God wanted me to make room in my life for a husband, He’d send one along. I’m tired of reserving the seat at the head of the table of my life for someone who isn’t even there. I want God to fill it and own it, and when my husband comes – He comes in submission to and under God’s headship just as I come under his headship. And a life walking in submission to God will never violate anything reserved for a future husband. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt 6:33). Seeking the kingdom of God first is the path that sets the right direction for your life. You will never go wrong in doing this.

I’ve also been reading where the Israelites come to Samuel and ask him for a king over Israel. And God tells Samuel “They haven’t rejected you, they’ve rejected ME.” A question came to me – do I ask God for a husband, a “king”, in my life because I am rejecting God as my husband, my leader, my king? Is God’s leadership sufficient in my life? Or am I rebelling against it by asking for a man who’d be easier to manipulate and cajole? This is serious stuff!!

I may not marry or I may marry and I may lose my husband – wedding vows do not make people immortal. Are you aware of that? Are you ready for that? Do you have open hands with the understanding the Lord gives and takes away? Will you still bless His name? Or a third option, I may marry and have a long happy life. Regardless of all three, I cannot base my identity and hope in my husband. He is not mine – he is God’s first. He cannot be an idol in my life, especially before he even gets here!!

Submission is key. Submitting to God’s will. Submitting to God’s plan. Which teaches you to submit to the man that God one day brings. So the real question is: Do you trust God?

Remember, the handiwork of His hands is beautiful. It’s good. Oh how beautiful is everything that bears His mark.

The mark of my handiwork is, more often than not, brokenness, messes, chaos, and pain.

It’s really not a toss-up between the two. At least for me. :)

Here’s a little poem I put together throughout this time:

“What have I to boast of? Everything good you have given me. Grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy.

For this is my story, this is my song – Praising my savior all the day long!

You hold my future in your hands –To you alone do I commit all of my plans.

I don’t worry about the past –for at the foot of the cross all my burdens I have cast.

I don’t worry about what lies ahead – for your mantle covers me, your lordship is my head.

I don’t care about finding love in earthly men– for I have found the one my soul loves and delights in.

My example, my love, my knight in shining armor – who laid down His life for me without a murmur.

He’s given me everything necessary for life and godliness – the ultimate provider.

He’s tenderhearted and abundant in loving kindness – the ultimate lover.

He’s created galaxies and stars to show himself to me – the ultimate teacher.

He never leaves and constantly upholds and lifts up– the ultimate companion.

Every tear He’s caught before it falls and every wound He’s healed – the ultimate Father.

Every desire He understands and every plea He hears – the ultimate benefactor.

Every day He shares His heart and cares for mine – the ultimate best friend. “

He has Never Forsaken You Yet

“What must you do when you make a mistake? Must you cut it out or start from the beginning?” And the student said, “No, our teacher is such a great artist that when we make a mistake he uses that mistake to improve the beauty of the pattern.” And that is what the Lord does. We must just tell the Lord our blunder, and you never know what He does with your blunder. – Corrie Ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord

Jesus heard when you prayed last night.
He talked with God about you.
Jesus was there when you fought your fight.
He is going to bring you through.
Jesus knew when you shed those tears so you did not weep alone.
For burden you thought too heavy to bear, He made it His very own.
Jesus Himself was touched by the trial which you could not understand.
Jesus stood by as you almost fell and lovingly grasped your hand.
Jesus cared when you bore that pain. Indeed, He bore it too.
He felt each pang, each ache in your heart because of His love for you.
Jesus was grieved when you doubted His love, but He gave you grace to go on.
Jesus rejoiced as you trusted Him, the most trustworthy One.
His presence shall ever be with you, no need to be anxious or fret.
Wonderful Lord, He was there all the time. He has never forsaken you yet

Jesus, My Everything

What have I to boast of? Everything good you have given me. Grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy.

For this is my story, this is my song – Praising my savior all the day long!

You hold my future in your hands –To you alone do I relinquish all of my plans.

I don’t worry about the past –for at the foot of the cross all my burdens I have cast.

I don’t worry about what lies ahead – for your mantle covers me, your lordship is my head.

I don’t care about finding love in earthly men– for I have found the one my soul loves and delights in.

My example, my love, my knight in shining armor – who laid down His life for me without a murmur.

He’s given me everything necessary for life and godliness – the ultimate provider.

He’s tenderhearted and abundant in loving kindness – the ultimate lover.

He’s created galaxies and stars to show himself to me – the ultimate teacher.

He never leaves and constantly upholds and lifts up– the ultimate companion.

Every tear He’s caught before it falls and every wound He’s healed – the ultimate Father.

Every desire He understands and every plea He hears – the ultimate benefactor.

Every day He shares His heart and cares for mine – the ultimate best friend.

 

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19

 

 

Awaiting in Eager Expectation

It was dark when I first awoke,

The light of day shrouded in night’s cloak.

I lay deadly still and heard the song

Nature has played since all went wrong.

And in me, this melody stirred strong desire,

To take myself away, somewhere higher,

Above this sad, pathetic existence,

Which we all live with such great resistance.

To go to a place where there is love for life

Love for the orphan and the drunk man’s wife.

Love for the used bodies who cry for better,

but cannot get free of their iron fetters.

Can such a place be? I cried to the depths

And You whispered back “It starts with death to oneself!

Then with guarded heart and gaze fastened to me

Show the world that for freedom I have set you free!”

Love for the bums who roam the streets,

hungry and defeated, with wandering feet.

Love for the silent who are ruled by fear

Careful lest any other try draw near.

Love for the rebel who wants to come home,

rest his head, and forget alleys he roamed.

Love for the veteran, scarred by war

cheated by his country who promised him more.

Can such a place be? I cried to the depths

And You whispered back “It starts with death to oneself!

Then with guarded heart and gaze fastened to me

Show the world that for freedom I have set you free!”

Jesus died on the cross for each every one

So those with sight may see and run

To freedom He offers from bondage of sin

And proclaim the victory Christ truly did win!

So now He watches, and now He seeks

For willing hands and beautiful feet

To live out this life with gaze fastened to Him

And shine the Light that will never grow dim.

Declare Me Innocent

“Joseph is gone, will you take Benjamin too? “

My flesh cries, struggling against the boundaries

That you calmly set in place.

“You’ve taken my entertainment

My sweets

My pleasure

Most of my time

And now you want to take away that which I consider good?! “

You put me in a place I didn’t want to go

In a job I don’t remember wanting

With people I don’t recall loving

In a home where I don’t feel like belonging.

“You drip with greed” I cry out

“Haven’t I given enough?

Why do you want all of it?

Why won’t you be satisfied with all that I’ve given you?

Why aren’t you satisfied with my halfhearted attempts to please you?!”

Even though they’re just in place to make you go away…

You circumvent every single obstacle

That keeps people from

Coming too close, digging too deep.

I’m terrified

To be known completely.

Because on the deepest level

I finally see – I love sin. I love myself. I love darkness.

A child of wrath.

Empty but hell bent to forget, Drunk on life’s highs

Straining to maintain a deadening stupor

Where nothing matters anymore.

Like a dragon writhing in ecstasy through its mounds of gold

I luxuriate in the malignancy of sin disguised as petty little vices.

So closely we’re entangled,

That together we morph into one.

And unnoticed, shackles snake around my wrists,around my ankles

Binding me,

helpless

And I become a sacrifice on an altar to Satan.

And I become the soldier pounding the nails into your hands, whipping your back, spewing hatred towards you.

Help Lord! Rescue me Abba!

I cry with trembling lips.

Death permeates through my pores for

I’ve been carrying the carcass of my dead man for so long

I don’t know where the new man begins.

I can’t distinguish

Soiled dead maggoty flesh from pulsating soft skin,

As the sin sinks its teeth into me,

Sucking life away like a slimy black leech.

Engorging as it steals my blood, my life.

I moan, twistt and turn,

Shaking my head, fighting lewd thoughts

Enticing desires

I’ve no peace. Sleep won’t come.

But I obey.

I surrender again,

Uncurling my fists,

And raising them in surrender.

I plead for you to step in.

I am but dust.

You are fire and lightening,

Strength and wind

Pouring spring rains and fresh green grasses.

Rescue me Abba!

For he seeks to destroy my life

To rip away everything pure and good

Every blessing

Either he will have everything

Or you will.

Please take it Abba,

I’m not to be trusted

With the life you’ve given me

Save me and take it all.

“Declare me innocent from hidden faults

Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins

Let them not have any dominion over me!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,

Oh Lord my rock and my redeemer. ”

 

 

 

 

How to Build Healthy Relationships

Relationships. The bane of many our existences. And also one of life’s greatest blessings.

At the most simplistic level, it’s literally us picking another human and deciding to do and share things with them.

As a Christian, I believe that God brings people into our lives for a purpose. I love this quote:

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either they will change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs. ”

Now this does not mean that you’re walking around with a hammer and chisel just waiting for the opportunity to fix somebody.

I heard that most men wish their woman would stay the same as she was when they first met and most women wish their men would change. And oddly enough, it’s the men that end up staying the same and the women who end up changing. Now I haven’t lived long enough to verify or deny that statement. But I can say this with certainty – both will change.

In a good relationship, both will grow and flourish. I’ve noticed that when a woman feels safe, she becomes a wellspring of creativity and joy, nurturing those around her. And when a man trusts a woman, he becomes steadier, stronger, and more confident in his work and beliefs.

In a bad relationship, women become crafty and manipulative – which I believe to be a self-preservation instinct that rears its head when she believes her man to be untrustworthy. Men are less likely to share his success or struggle with her and more likely to pick up hobbies and buddies far from home.

The first step to a good relationship is the acceptance of the other person for who they are. Not with the intent of changing them. Not with the hope that they’ll change one day. For the person they are now. A buddy of mine was getting married and my friend asked him an ingenious question when he was starting to get cold feet. He said “Can you love her for the person she is today? Not the person she’ll become one day and not the person she was before. If she never changes from who she is today, can you love her for the rest of your life?”

This question applies to all of us. Every good relationship starts with a resounding intentional yes. This answer is never easy to give and you need have counted the cost and be willing to commit.

The next step would be to get rid of our preconceived notions of what this relationship should look like. Obviously there need to be set boundaries that both need to agree to but I find that the fastest way to kill a relationships is to have set expectations of what it is supposed to look like and not letting it develop naturally. In all our ideas of relationships, we always approach it from one perspective – our perspective. It takes two for a relationship, so you have a collision of two different sets of expectations. And then life gets into the mix.

For example, if you cling to the idea that your man should be able to fix everything that breaks in the house and the guy is just not a handyman – he becomes less of a man in your eyes for not being something he never was. Our expectations tend to blind us to reality in the moment now and then cause disillusionment and disappointment later down the road.  Another brilliant quote goes like this:

Have your eyes wide open before you commit to a relationships and then half closed once you’re in it.

and

Love covers a multitude of wrongs.

Again I am speaking about the unrealistic expectations right now. An expectation of loyalty and faithfulness is not unrealistic. An expectation of support and love is not unrealistic. But even on those, you both need to verbalize and agree on them. Unspoken expectations are detrimental because how in the world is the other person supposed to know?

So my advice?

Do you have a particular idea of what relationships are supposed to look like? About how they are supposed to play out? Yes? Okay – throw that all out.

Now identify with what kind of people you will not under any circumstances build any sort of relationship.

For example, I will not build a relationship with someone who is a victim of the world and everyone they interact with. These people are leeches who drain the relationship of everything and then accuse you of hurting them when you’ve only given and given to them. These relationships sour quickly and tend to even poison the relationships that have nothing to do with them.

Another kind of people I will not build relationships with are people who cannot accept me for who I am (while expecting, nay even demanding acceptance in return). These will either belittle me or try to change my beliefs or me into someone they like better i.e. the ones for whom you are never enough. I give these people a wide berth and good wishes for a life in a part of a world that will never intersect with my own.

But also, please don’t count people who are simply different from you out immediately. Different is not always wrong!

Have you identified those people for you?

Okay, now everyone who does not fit that profile should be fair game for a potential good relationship. Go out, meet people, let them be who they are, and allow a unique relationship to develop. Don’t try force a relationship that’s just not happening to happen. And don’t try to fit whatever relationship that is developing into a specific mold or idea you have. Take all of that energy and put it towards making that relationship work for both of you.

Some of these relationships will peter out, others will stay mediocre, and others will blossom into these spectacular vibrant powerhouses that will change both of your lives. Not every relationship will last and none of them will without commitment. Choose wisely, and when you’re in, be all in. The blessings you will reap are incalculable and worth a million time more than the effort you need to put in.

Note all of this is to be done in the parameters set by God and His Holy Word. God created us and tells us plenty about relationships in the Bible. We are to conform to those standards and what we need to get rid of is not what God has predetermined relationships to be, but what WE have predetermined them to be.