Read short inspirational articles by Olive Tree staff members.
A couple of Olive Tree employees have been hard at work crafting a year-long devotional using excerpts from the writings of great preachers like John Wesley, Andrew Murray and Charles Spurgeon. This selection below comes from the writings of Charles Spurgeon, an English pastor in the 19th century who is said to have preached to 10 million people in his lifetime. May his words give you encouragement today!
Isaiah 3:10: “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.”
It is well with the righteous always. If Isaiah 3:10 had said, “Tell the righteous that it is well with him in his wealth,” we should have been thankful for so great a help. Wealth is dangerous, and it is a gift from heaven to be secured from its snares. If it had been written, “It is well with him when persecuted,” we should have been thankful for so sustaining an assurance, because persecution is hard to bear. But when no time is mentioned, all time is included.
God’s “shall” must be understood always in the largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it shall be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better. He is well-fed, because he feeds on the body and blood of Jesus; he is well-clothed, because he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well-housed, because he dwells in God; he is well-married, because his soul is in union with Christ; he is well-provided for, because the Lord is his Shepherd and heaven is his inheritance.
Beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand demons may declare it to be ill, but we laugh at them all. Blessed be God for a faith that enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict Him. The Word says it is at all times well with you, righteous one. Believe it on divine authority more confidently than if your eyes and your feelings told it to you. Whom God blesses is blessed indeed, and what He declares is truth most sure and steadfast.
Keep an eye out for the Olive Tree daily devotional, it should be available on OliveTree.com very soon!
I recently wrote about how standing in line is made better by reading my Bible and devotionals on the Bible Study app. The comments I received from readers reminded me of this verse:
Isaiah spoke these words to the exiled Israelites as he proclaimed the good news that there would be an end to their plight, that the their “warfare is ended and iniquity is pardoned,” and that the “glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” (Isaiah 40:1-5)
Peter repeats these words and exhorts the early Christians to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)
A good reminder, especially as we debate over politics, gawk at the latest gadgets, and go about our busy days. In the end all of it will fade, but God’s Word remains forever.
Last week we heard about author Andrea Palpant Dilley’s struggles with faith and doubt that eventually led her to leave the church in her twenties. Through God’s grace and the faithfulness of friends and family, Andrea returned to the church and recognized that doubt has a place even and perhaps especially inside the walls of the church.
Today, Andrea gives insight into how individuals and churches can help those who doubt and explains how doubt has enriched her life. Catch the first part of the interview here.
Throughout the process of your leaving and returning to the church, what role did your family and close friends play? How can those with a close friend or family member struggling with doubt be helpful?
During my own faith crisis, people gave me space to pray that “prayer of unbelief.” My dad sat on the couch and talked with me about my doubts. College professors took me out to coffee. Friends listened to my questions without giving cheap, easy answers. They modeled the church at its best – a place of stark honesty and shared pilgrimage.
For those of you who have a close friend or family member struggling with doubt, here are a few thoughts:
- Spend time listening. Take their questions seriously. Pilgrim with them. Feel free to share your opposing views, but do so in a gracious, peaceful (rather than antagonistic) spirit. (more…)
The great part about living in the town where I completed my undergraduate studies is that I get e-mails from the university about cultural and academic events. When I heard about the chance to sit again in the auditorium where I once learned about Aristotle and Descartes to listen to an author read from her new book Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, I jumped at the opportunity.
Author Andrea Palpant Dilley read several passages from her book that evening and answered audience questions in the same engaging, personable style that marks her book. Andrea’s book chronicles her struggles with doubt that led her to both leave and return to the church. I had a chance to ask Andrea questions about her journey of faith and how her experience can help churches and individuals lovingly guide fellow Christians who are also struggling with doubt.
NOTE: Check back on Tuesday, October 16 for Andrea’s advice to churches and Christian individuals about dealing with doubt.
Elizabeth: For those who haven’t read your book, give a little background to the narrative. What were the main questions you were asking of God and the other Christians around you?
Andrea: In the book, I tell a story about walking into an Episcopal cathedral in San Francisco one Sunday morning while I was in the middle of my faith crisis. I didn’t know a soul. I sat at the back of the church. When communion started, I went forward, knelt at the altar, took the sacrament, and then watched the priest stretch out his hand to bless me on my head. In that moment, I felt a strong sense of longing for God at the very same time that I felt frustrated with church and ambivalent about faith. I was struggling with a number of questions:
At church, my pastor is preaching through a series of Bible passages that all have to do with roads, drawing an analogy to the life of Christian discipleship. So far we’ve learned about the journey of the Magi in Matthew 2 and the narrow gateway to God’s Kingdom in Matthew 7. Yesterday, my pastor preached about the blind beggar in Mark 10:46-52. Here’s the passage:
46“Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!”
48“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. (more…)
I think they should call these ‘Stormy Sea‘ clouds, but Undulatus Asperatus sounds cool too.
What a way to show your appreciation for your pastor: The Caper.
We’re proud to call the PNW home and think you can see why in this Stunning Time Lapse Video.
The iPhone 5 maps app debacle prompts an apology from CEO Tim Cook.
Maybe you can’t pull off a huge caper, but here are some tips for Praying for Your Pastor.
Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.