BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Man's Applaud

Okay, let me just say that I love Elizabeth Prentiss!

This past year I read her biography, by Sharon James (which I highly recommend), and now I am enjoying her book, Stepping Heavenward! Elizabeth is an incrediably gifted and honest writer. I just recently read and marveled at the following journal entry from her book:
It is high time to stop and think. I have been like one running a race, and am stopping to take a breath. I do not like the way things have been going lately. I feel restless and ill at ease. I see that if I would be happy in God, I must give Him all. And there is a wicked reluctance to do that. I want Him - but I want to have my own way, too. I want to walk humbly and softly before Him, and I want to go where I shall be admired and applauded. To whom shall I yield? To God? Or to myself? The issue must be settled once and for all.
Why do I love this wretchedly honest statement? Because it exposes the very struggle of my heart! I find myself wanting to do God's will, yet finding much satisfaction and security in being "admired and applauded". I long for approval and high esteem. Why? Because I have not truly died to self. Because I want the glory that is due to Christ alone.

To whom shall I yield?

Do I yield to the flesh? Do I keep seeking my worth in man? The applaud and praise of man only leaves me empty and boastful of self. Is this what I truly desire as a Christ follower? What do I want others to see in my life? Self or a soul redeemed and glorified in Christ!

Do I yield to God? Only in Him can I find true satisfaction and rest for my soul. He is the protector and sustainer of my life. I deny Him when I boast in self. I deny His power, mercy and grace. I want God to receive all praise and honor . . . Yet self is always there - hungry for attention - crying for admiration - screaming for a standing ovation.

Father, give me a heart that is satisfied in You alone. Give me a heart that is humble like our gentle Savior, Christ Jesus. Give me a heart that proclaims Your fame, Your goodness, Your wisdom and Your abundant grace. Forgive me, Father, for the "wicked reluctance" I have in holding my self in such high esteem.

May all glory, power and honor be Yours.

Praise be to God alone through Christ Jesus our Lord!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Susannah Spurgeon

BJ just recently purchased for me the book, FREE GRACE AND DYING LOVE - Morning Devotions by Susannah Spurgeon (which also includes The Life of Susannah Spurgeon - by Charles Ray). Excellent read!! I finished the biography section and have been slowly making my way through her devotionals. I have much to glean from her quiet wisdom and unwavering faith.

I would like to share with you one of her devotionals entitled -
The Loveliness of God's Will: (from Matthew 6:10)

When my soul is tossed on the rough waves of the troubled sea of this life, if I can but cast out the anchor of hope into the depths of God's blessed will, it holds fast at once, and the winds and the waves are rebuked.

Dear Father, I thank You that You have made Your will so dear and precious to me! Once, in the midst of darkness and unutterable sorrow, You enabled me to say, "He hath done all things well'; and now, though the days are calmer, the fast-revolving years bring round the time of sad memories, and I look back, and say it still, 'He hath done all things well!'

'Thy will be done.' This resting in the will of God is one of the most comforting and blessed experiences of the Christian life. To say, 'Thy will be done' - not in a reluctant or compulsory way, as if we were shrinking from some inevitable pain, but with a sincere and glad conviction that our dear Father is really doing for us what is best and most loving, although it may not look so to our dull eyes - this is glorifying to Him, and supremely consoling to us.

God's plans and purposes for me, and for you, dear reader, were all made and determined on from the beginning; and as they are worked out day by day in our lives, how wise should we be if, with joyful certainty, we accepted each unfolding of His will as a proof of His faithfulness and love! When once I, as a believer, can say from my heart, 'This is the will of God concerning me', it matters not what the 'this' is - whether it be a small domestic worry, or the severance of the dearest earthly ties - the fact that it is His most blessed will, takes all the fierce sting out of the trouble, and leaves it powerless to hurt or hinder the peace of my soul. There is all the difference between the murderous blows of an enemy, and the needful chastisement of a loving father's hand! The Lord may make us sore, but He will bind us up. He may wound, but His hands make whole. How often has the Lord to break a heart before He can enter into it, and fill it with His love; but how precious and fragrant is the balm which , from that very moment, flows out of that heart to others! Dear Father, how many of your children can truly say, "Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept thy word'!
Simply beautiful, I must say!
I pray that I can truthfully say, "He hath done all things well"!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

When Do I Stop Reading My Bible?

So, how long do we read the Word?
How long must we be reminded of who we are?

One of my MOST FAVORITE quotes comes from Don Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. He addresses these very questions.
Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these. Often you will feel very, very small, because increasingly the God of the Bible will become to you wonderfully great. So go on reading it until you can read no longer, and then you will not need the Bible any more, because when your eyes close for the last time in death, and never again read the Word of God in Scripture you will open them to the Word of God in the flesh, that same Jesus of the Bible whom you have known for so long, standing before you to take you for ever to His eternal home.
Amen. What a glorious truth!

Longing to open my eyes and see the Word of God in flesh,

Friday, September 15, 2006

How Should Believers Comfort One Another?

Something to ponder, perhaps?

Below is an excerpt (again) from the book, Let Go, by Fenelon. (You can read the BLOG, Death to Self, to gain further information on this author.) Fenelon continues to address the idea of suffering and in this specific letter, he addresses a believer who is dissatisfied with God's will:
I think you know what God requires of you. The question is, will you do it? You understand that your love of self is causing the struggle you are having with the will of God. So now what you must decide is this: are you going to allow pride and selfish ambitions to keep you from doing what God in His mercy wants you to do? . . . Is this continued resistance due to the fact that He has not given you what you want in a way that will flatter your ego? You need to understand that you are being influenced by selfish pride when you reject the gifts of God, just because they do not come in a shape that suits your taste
Can you please step off of my toes for just a minute?
He then goes on further to comfort his friend:
Though it sounds strange to say it I am rejoicing that God has reduced you to a state of weakness. Your ego can neither be convinced nor forced into submission by any other means: it is always finding secret lines of supply from your own courage; it is always discovering impenetrable retreats in your own cleverness . . . I would rather have you consider me as a means of death to your love of self. For just as surgical instruments would fail in fulfilling their purpose if they did not minister to life, so an instrument of death would be falsely named if, instead of slaying, it kept alive. For the time being, I would be that instrument of death. If I seem to be hard,unfeeling, indifferent, pitiless, wearied, annoyed, and contemptous, God knows how far it is from the truth. But He permits me to seem this way. And I shall be much more serviceable to you in this false and imaginery character than were I to show my real feelings and very human desire to help. You see, the point is not how you are to be sustained and kept alive, but how you are to give up and die.
How quick are we to offer comfort in the midst of suffering? What should Christian comfort look like?

In II Corinthians 1:3-5, it reads:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
Therefore, I guess the question should rather be, how does God comfort us? It is that comfort that we could be emulating. How quick are we to embrace the good from God and not the bad (Job 2:10)? How often do we want to take away the pain and suffering of dear brothers and sisters, forgetting that the testing of our faith (i.e. suffering) results in praise, glory and honor of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7).

So, how should a believer comfort someone who is suffering? With the TRUTH of God's Word! We mourn when they mourn. We dance when they dance. We encourage the fainthearted and help the weak. We bear one another's burdens. But most importantly, we point them to Christ Jesus. Not to their self!

We do not question why some strange and terrible thing is happening. Nor do we convince them how undeserving they are to suffer. But we remind them that it is our joy to suffer with Christ. Why? Because it is through suffering that we attain perseverance, proven character, and a hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).

Let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). For our struggle is not FOR the FLESH, but FOR the GLORY of God through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Death to Self

Recently, a dear sister in Christ, Heather Pflasterer, gave me a book entitled, “Let Go”. It is written by by Francios de Salignac de La Mothe Fénelon, archbishop of Cambrai, France, during the 17th century. He was also a spiritual advisor to the court of Louis the 14th. (However, King Louis developed a dislike for Fénelon, whose spirituality grated upon his materialism, and he was banished from his courts.) Fénelon was a Roman Catholic theologian that we (Protestants and Catholics alike) can still glean much from today.

It has been a GREAT read for me. God is GOOD to bring His Word and truths to light just when we need to hear and embrace them! The entries that I have read recently have dealt with suffering and peace, and in light of my last BLOG (Blessing our Enemies), I have been reminded over and over again that self must die. Below is a quote from Fénelon’s book:

Even now my soul is suffering, but I am aware that it is life of self which causes us pain; that which is dead does not suffer. If we were really dead, and our life hid with Christ in God, we would no longer struggle with those pains in spirit that now afflict us . . . We can add to our God-given cross by agitated resistance and an unwillingness to suffer. This is simply an evidence of the remaining life of self . . . A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self . . . May the Lord deliver us from falling into that state of soul in which crosses are of no benefit to us.

That which is dead does not suffer.
I desire a life free of “self”, but I find that the stinch of my flesh permeates every area of my life. What happens when “crosses are of no benefit” to me? What happens when I cease to rejoice in suffering and forget to love my enemies? Until we
are fully glorified in Christ, we will deal with suffering. We will continually deal with the effects of sin.

So, why is it that I know truth yet so often find myself swimming in a mire of doubt and disobedience? I am reminded of Paul in Romans 7:18-19, 24-25 – “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want . . . Wretched [woman] that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Christ has set us free from the law of sin and of death! “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) So, how do I suffer? I set my mind on the Spirit and “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

Abba! Father! Continually teach me to die to self and help me to embrace the cross.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blessing Our Enemies

Let love be without hypocrisy . . . Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse . . . Never pay back evil for evil to anyone . . . If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, " says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21

Such a profound and often difficult truth, isn't it?

The Lord has been continually bringing this scripture to mind as I have been praying for wisdom in dealing with "enemies" - people that hurt me. Instead of praying for repentance, love, grace and perhaps even vengence upon those hurting me, the Lord has graciously changed my heart to start praying for spectacular blessings upon their life.

How can I do this?
Through Christ and the power of the Spirit!
Why would I want to do this?
Because Christ said it is GOOD to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). And he goes on further, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)

In my endless quest for godly wisdom, God has proven Himself quite marvelous once again. Wisdom . . . perhaps it is, indeed, the continual death of self (Colossians 3:3) and
the magnificent glorification of God through His children.

Bless my enemies, Lord . . . Truly overwhelm them with Your loving kindness. Help me to love without hypocrisy and to pray for them without ceasing. Transform me more and more into the image of my elder brother, Christ Jesus. Give me a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. May the PEACE and WORD of Christ rule in my heart.

Thank you, dear Father, for setting Your affection and blessings upon me, an (former) enemy of the cross.