Your Heavenly Father Knows

In 1866, Hudson Taylor and his family were about to leave England and head back to China for fresh labor. Some said it was foolish business.

“You will be forgotten,” was the chief concern of some. “With no committee to represent you at home, you will be lost sight of in that distant land. Claims are many nowadays. Before long you may find yourselves without even the necessities of life!”

“I am taking my children with me,” was Mr. Taylor’s reply, “and I notice that it is not difficult for me to remember that the little ones need breakfast in the morning, dinner at midday, and something before they go to bed at night. Indeed, I could not forget it. And I find it impossible to suppose that our heavenly Father is less tender or mindful that I.”

– Hudson Taylor

Lady Jane Grey: Teenage Martyr

February 10, 1554: It is two days before Lady Jane Grey climbs the scaffold. The Catholic chaplain John Feckenham enters Jane’s cell in the Tower of London in the hopes of saving her soul. Or so he thinks. Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”) had already signed her cousin Jane’s death warrant, but she sent her seasoned chaplain to see if he could woo Jane back to Rome before her execution. Jane is about seventeen years old.

A charged debate follows — Feckenham the Catholic apologist and Jane the Reformed teenager. He presses that justification comes by faith and works; she stands her ground on sola fide. He asserts that the Eucharistic bread and wine are the very body and blood of Christ; she maintains that the elements symbolize Jesus’s saving work. He affirms the Catholic Church’s authority alongside Scripture; she insists that the church sits underneath the piercing gaze of God’s word.

“I am sure we two shall never meet [again],” Feckenham finally tells Jane, implying her damnation. But Jane turns the

warning back on him: “Truth it is that we shall never meet again, unless God turn your heart.”
Lady Jane’s Sovereign God

From one angle, Jane’s life is a story of manipulation, of powerful people using a teenager girl as a social and political prop. Her parents forced a severe education regimen upon her in the hopes that she could marry the heir to England’s throne. When that opportunity passed, the Greys colluded with the king’s chief minister to wed Jane to Guildford Dudley, a man she despised. And then, at the king’s passing, a group of political conspirers handed her the crown that would cost Jane her head.

A true angle as far as it goes, but it belongs to Ecclesiastes — it’s the under-the-sun perspective on Lady Jane. Through the lens of God’s providence, a different Jane appears. A Jane who used her Greek and Hebrew to study the Scriptures in their original tongue. A Jane sent to Henry VIII’s court for grooming, only to meet Jesus through the Christian witness of Queen Katherine Parr. And, finally, a Jane who faces trial, imprisonment, and beheading with God’s very words on her lips.

This second perspective is no attempt at hero worship. The accounts tell us Jane could be stubborn as a weed. The perspective simply acknowledges that the God of Joseph still threads redemption through conniving relatives and lonely jail cells. “You meant to use me for your own ends,” Jane might have told any number of people, “but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
The Tower Cell

Lady Jane reluctantly took the throne on July 10, 1553, and willingly left it on July 19, 1553, when Mary gathered an army to depose her cousin queen. So Jane is often remembered by a number: the Nine-Days’ Queen.

On February 7, 1554, Mary signed the death warrant that would lead Jane to the scaffold just five days later. In addition to sparring with Feckenham, Jane spent her final days preparing a brief speech for her execution and sending some last remarks. On the inside of her Greek New Testament, she wrote to her younger sister, Katharine,

This is the book, dear sister, of the Law of the Lord. It is his testament and last will, which he bequeathed unto us wretches, which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy.… And as touching my death, rejoice as I do, good sister, that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption. For I am assured that I shall for losing of a mortal life, win an immortal life.

On the Scaffold
The morning of February 12 brought Jane to the wall of the central White Tower, where a small crowd and an executioner awaited her arrival. Turning to the onlookers, Jane announced, “I do look to be saved by no other mean, but only by the mercy of God, in the blood of his only Son Jesus Christ.” She then knelt and recited Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, O God. . . .”

Once blindfolded, Jane groped her way to the execution block and laid her head in its groove. The last sound the crowd heard before the axe thudded into the block was a prayer from Jane’s seventeen-year-old voice: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” So ended the life of Lady Jane Grey, the teenage martyr.

– Scott Hubbard

Samuel Rutherford’s Love of Truth, Pt 2

My needs are my best riches, for I have these supplied by Christ.

I hope to over-hope and over-believe my troubles.

There is no sweeter fellowship with Christ than when we bring our wounds and sores to Him.

O, grief forevermore, that there should be such a one as Christ Jesus–so boundless, bottomless, so incomparable in infinite excellence and sweetness, and yet so few who take Him! They lose their love miserably who will not bestow it upon this lovely One, Jesus.

You will not get to steal quietly to heaven without conflict and a cross.

I have little, little of Christ, yet I long for more.

Let Him make anything out of me, as long as He is glorified through my salvation, for I know I am made for Him.

Every day we may see some new thing in Christ. His love has neither edge or bottom.

I find that our needs qualify us for Christ.

I urge upon you a nearer and growing communion with Christ. There are so many new unfolding and levels in His love; therefore, dig deep, sweat and labor, and take pains for Him; He will be won by labor.

– Samuel Rutherford

Samuel Rutherford’s Love for Truth, Pt 1

Believe God’s Word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your seas.

Whenever I find myself in the cellar of affliction, I always look for the wine.

Do not focus your thoughts among the confused wheels of secondary causes, as -‘O, if this had been, then this had not followed!’ Look up to the master motion of the first wheel. In building, we see hewn stones and timbers under hammers and axes, yet the house in this beauty we do not see at the present, but it is in the mind of the builder. Even so we do not presently see the outcome of God’s decrees with his blessed purpose. It is hard to believe when his purpose is hidden and under the ground. Providence has a thousand keys to deliver His own, even when all hope is gone. Let us be faithful and care for our own part, which is to do and suffer for Him, and lay Christ’s part on Himself and leave it there; duties are ours and all events are the Lord’s.

Faint not; the miles to heaven are but few and short.

If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid of suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ’s side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord, please cut, carve, and wound; Lord, do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God.

O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night’s welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. “Have courage, I am your salvation!” Welcome, welcome Jesus!”

Your heart is not the compass that God steers by.

What fools are we who, like new-born princes weeping in the cradle, know not that there is a kingdom before them; then let our Lord’s sweet hand square us, hammer us and strike off the knots of pride, self-love, world-worship and infidelity, that He may make us stones and pillars in His Father’s house.

— Samuel Rutherford

The Wisdom of Elizabeth Elliot, Pt 4

There is nothing worth living for unless it is worth dying for.

Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.

The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.

I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts. It’s easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence – easier sometimes than to wait patiently.

Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.

Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.

If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to allow it to be used as God means it to be used, then we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily “ours”, but only ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinguish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, and many letting goes.

To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice, and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact.

– Elizabeth Elliot

The Wisdom of Elizabeth Elliot, Pt 2

Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty and to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.

Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying God in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now and you will be shown what to do next.

Maturity starts with the willingness to give oneself.

God is God, and because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, which is unspeakably beyond my highest views of what He is up to.

This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift and a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.

Often a Christian man or woman falls prey to that cruel and defeated spirit, wondering how to find marriage– who, when, and where? It is on GOD that we should wait, as a waiter waits–not for but on the customer–alert, watchful, attentive, with no agenda of his own, ready to do whatever is wanted. ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.’ (Ps. 62:5) In Him alone lie our security, our confidence, and our trust. A spirit of restlessness and resistance can never wait, but one who believes he is loved with an everlasting love and knows that underneath are the everlasting arms, will find strength and peace.

– Elizabeth Elliot

Redeeming the Home

Two years ago, 26 year old me was sitting in her favorite booth in Panera when she journaled the following prayer:

Lord, I really want my own house. I want to make a home and get to know my neighbors and have get togethers to reach them with love and the Gospel. I want to have a library and a cute kitchen and slumber parties with my small group girls. I want my home to be a place where people are well loved, well fed, and well treasured. A place where people feel safe, accepted, welcomed, and warm. Where they receive cookies, gratitude, encouragement, love, and the Gospel. Where they can come to relax, to be quiet, to talk, to praise, to read, to cry, to laugh, to sing.

I want a home.
A home not just for me but for my girls,
other women,
our church,
visiting missionaries,
the community.

Lord, in Your time, would You give me a home? A semi-nice one, not for luxury but so more people can squeeze in and be squeezed by Love?

Update: I still don’t have my own place. But my dream for a home to be used for God’s glory remains.

According to Scripture, we do not have anything that hasn’t been given to us from the Lord, and from His Word we know His gifts were not intended to find their eternal home with us. It is clear we have received all we have in order to leverage all we have for the joy of all people and the worship of our Savior (1 Peter 4:10-11).

If our lives, lips, talents, and gifts are to be used for God’s honor, why should our living situation be any different?

How can we use our homes to make God famous? How can we strategically use our dorms, apartments, houses, and yards in such a way as to make God look as good as He is?

The goals of my (future) home are simple. I pray it will be a place of refuge for people to gather, celebrate, weep, struggle, pray, and feast on good food and the Gospel.

What are the goals of your home? Do they line up with the Gospel message? Are they in line with Jesus’ mission? How can we redeem the home from self-itis (selfishness, self-gratification, and all things “mine”) and instead glorify the One who has given us a spiritual and earthly home?


1. Remember the Gospel

When we remember the Gospel, we see the truth in vibrant color: we are not our own, we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In light of that glorious reality, we now live to glorify the One who redeemed us from the curse of sin by employing every resource we have for His exaltation.

Our homes should be a refuge for our own souls but it doesn’t stop there. Because of the Gospel, we see this life is not about us. Therefore, counter-culturally, our homes are not just for us. Do you see your living space as an instrument entrusted to you by God for the purpose of loving Him and loving others?

Because Jesus has paid our debt, we now exist for His glory and the joy of everyone around us, so we are driven to unlock our hearts, doors, and lives to others, ready and eager to share with them the storehouses of God’s grace and kindness.

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. -1 Thessalonians 2:8

Do we extend the Gospel with our lips and lives?

2. Don’t be a Christian hoarder

“Be a pipeline not a puddle.”
“Be a fountain not a drain.”
Be a giver of God’s goodness not just a receiver.

Do not hoard the gifts of the Savior as if they were intended for you alone. If God is anything, He is a divine multi-tasker who has given us what we have to be a blessing for others.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. -1 Timothy 6:17-19

Because I was bought with a price, what I once claimed as “mine” has been laid down before the King who saved me and therefore I am at His disposal to do with as He chooses (as are all my resources). The way my life and home are stewarded should reflect that.

Are we stingy with what we own or do we recognize the gift of the Gospel that reveals the way we have been undeservedly loved and, as a result, equipped to love others and live in the surplus of the Gospel?

3. Don’t try to impress

Living to impress others is like walking into a prison cell, locking the door, and asking the guard to burn the keys. You’re enslaving yourself.

Love doesn’t seek to impress. Love lays itself bare and serves another, come what may. As Dustin Willis said in Life in Community,

The Gospel says the pressure is off. You’re freed to love people because there’s no need to impress them. You don’t have to give people Disney World every time you open the doors of your home. Give them you.

People don’t need to see the illusion of perfection. That includes the illusion of a perfect soul, personality, or home. You are not Chip and Joanna Gaines. You do not have to give your guests a Magnolia-worthy atmosphere. They don’t need your “perfect” aesthetics. They need Jesus.

No one benefits from seeing perfection unless they are seeing the perfection of Christ. In the Gospel, we have been freed from any lingering pressure to self-promote or appear better than we are. People need to see real, raw, honest faith that repents quickly and welcomes all into the lavish generosity of the Gospel.

Are you laboring with the people God has placed around you? Are you serving and inviting them to your table as a way to glorify the One who invited us to the greatest table of all time?

4. Speak the truth in love

In a world of words that slice and dice, strive to represent the Word by creating a space where ours are used only to build up, heal, and edify.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. –Ephesians 4:29

We serve a God who speaks and in whose words contain the power of eternal life. Do our words reflect and point to the Word made flesh?


Making much of the Lord and having open doors can happen regardless of the size of your apartment, dorm, or home. Upon examination, one may realize the one-two punch combo command to “show hospitality without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8) and to “make disciples ‘as we go’” (Matthew 28:19) is not contingent on a luxurious environment.

Our home is a tool, not a trophy. –Jani Ortlund

Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are to reject any inclination toward selfishness and instead use our homes as catalysts for ministry, creating spaces for retreat and refuge for others to receive the Gospel demonstrated in real life.

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The Wisdom of Elizabeth Elliot, Pt 1

The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.

Faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.

I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.

I have realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray, ‘Thy will be done’.

God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.

We women are women, and my plea is, ‘Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is’.

– Elizabeth Elliot

The Sweetness of the Gospel

If God has paid for all my sins, every one of them, and the work is finished by the one-time death of the Son of God, then this and this alone is the sweetest and best news that could ever be heard.
– Mack Tomlinson

The gospel does so much more than rescue us from hell and save us for heaven. It also takes possession of our lives and remakes them into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. This is God’s ultimate purpose for every one of his blood-bought and dearly loved children.
– Ian Hamilton

The blood of the God-Man is the mystery of godliness. The Cross was the breaking of God’s alabaster box, the fragrance of which has filled heaven and earth. Judge God’s love only by His unspeakable gift, not by your condition, feelings, or thoughts.
– Andrew Bonar

William Cowper on Prayer

What various hindrances we meet,
In coming to the mercy seat!
Yet who that knows the worth of prayer,
Wishes to be often there?

Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw,
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw,
Gives exercise to faith and love,
Brings every blessing from above.

Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christian’s armor bright;
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.

While Moses stood with arms spread
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when, through weariness, they failed,
That moment Amalek prevailed.

Have you no words? Ah! think again;
Words flow easily when you complain,
And fill your fellow creature’s ear,
With the sad tale of all your care.

Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
To heaven in supplication sent,
Your cheerful song would oftener be,
‘Hear what the Lord has done for me’.

– William Cowper