Saturday, 31 January 2015

Pleasing God

BIOY on John 6:29...

"Do you realise that you can give God pleasure? Jesus says, ‘I always do what pleases him’ (v.29). This should be our aim in life – to please God."

So easy to forget that our main aim is to please God, not just tick all the boxes on the to-do list. It should be our delight to please God.

Friday, 30 January 2015

James Fraser on the Holy Spirit

"In earlier years, he had emphasised that regeneration was the work of God alone. This proved true in the new situation. No challenge, rebuke, persuasion, or comforting on his part alone made any difference to anyone, even if it seemed to at first. Only God's direct work would produce lasting fruit."

"Although he had been in China ten years and had considerable experience with both the Chinese and the Lisu, he realised he could do little or nothing apart from God's going before and working among them."

"James had a strong sense, borne out by events, that he was merely assisting in a work done wholly by God Himself."

From Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

As holy as he wants

"Hudson Taylor observed that there is no possibility of power in a life which is easygoing and which shrinks from the Cross. This truth came home to James during these months. It would be costly to maintain a close walk with God, a deep and continual cost every day of his life ... 
     This led him on to an allied truth.
     'Everyone,' as A.W. Tozer, is just as holy as he wants to be.'

p154, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

James Fraser on discouragement

"I have given way to discouragement, dark discouragement far too much in the past. Now I know rather better, and thoroughly agree with the assertion, 'all discouragement is of the devil.'
      'Discouragement is to be resisted just like sin,' he continued. 'To give way to one is just as bad and weakens us as much as to give way to the other."

p81-82, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

James Fraser on the effectiveness of love

"You can hardly understand until you come into touch with them what simple, warm-hearted people the Shan and other Christians are. Sam Bwa told me that I could be of help to them even if I could say nothing ... the mere fact of your coming to see them, showing yourself genuinely pleased to sit with them in their houses, attend their services, share their food and generally make yourself one with them is enough to endear you to them ... If they see that you love them and like to be with them, they love you in return."

p41, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

This feels like a definite hint on how to reach into the lives of people we meet everyday — just enjoy being with them.

James Fraser on prayer

"He was feeling more and more that the prayers of God's people were what called down blessing on the work. It didn't matter whether those people were directly engaged in the work or not."

"Because of this, James saw that Christians at home could do as much for foreign mission as those actually on the field. 'I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home.'"

"He had come to see that in past years he had wasted much time praying prayers that were not effective at all. Praying without faith was 'like trying to cut with a blunt knife — much labour is expended to little purpose.' The work accomplished by labour in prayer depended on faith. 'According to your faith,' not labour, 'be it unto you.'"

'The wonderful promise of John 15:7 is prefixed by a far-reaching 'if'. I wonder if that verse might not be paraphrased; "If ye abide NOT in Me and My words abide NOT in you; DO NOT ask whatsoever ye will for it shall NOT be done unto you."'

"Over and over again James was to realise the uselessness of human effort on its own. He could work himself into the ground and have no effect on the people."

"I use to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel that prayer should have the first, second and third place and teaching the fourth."

Doing God's work

James wrote: 'It has come home to me very forcibly of late that it matters little what the work in which we are engaged: so long as God has put it into our hands.'

James believed it was no more necessary to be faithful in preaching the Gospel than in doing something like washing up the dishes in the kitchen. 'I am no more doing the Lord's work in giving the Word of God to the Chinese,' he wrote, 'than you are, for example, in wrapping up a parcel to send to a tailor. It is not for us ... to chose our work. And if God has chosen it for us, hadn't we better go straight ahead and do it, without waiting for anything greater, better or 'nobler'?'

'Have we any right,' he asked, 'to be dissatisfied with our present condition, which God has ordained for us, that we hanker after something in the future?'

p18-19, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

Faith and Provision

"After gaining his degree, James applied to the China Inland Mission. Everything about this society answered a chord in his heart. For one thing they never asked anyone for money, nor even seemed to mention it. No collections, no appeals, no needs advertised, yet within forty years they supported over a thousand members! The general director and the newest recruit had equal allowances. All their needs had been supplied. 'God means just what he says,' Hudson Taylor said, 'and He will do all that He has promised.'"

p10, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Earlier loves eclipsed

A description of James Fraser's desires being turned upside down by the Holy Spirit as a young man:

"There is no record that he felt he had renounced anything. He had quite simply found earlier loves eclipsed by a new passion. 'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him' (1 John 2:15)"

p7, Mountain Rain, The Biography of James O. Fraser

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Words from a booklet

Words from a booklet that was instrumental in redirecting the life of James Fraser towards missionary work:

"If our Master returned today to find millions of people unevangelized, and looked, as of course He would look, to us for and explanation, I cannot imagine what explanation we should have to give.
      Of one thing I am certain — that most of the excuses we are accustomed to make with such good conscience now, we shall be wholly ashamed of then."

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Background Noise

I realised yesterday how easy it is to be frustrated with God, but not really acknowledge it. I've been frustrated over a particular issue for a number of years (related to sickness / suffering). But it occurred to me yesterday that I was in fact holding it against God, for allowing it to happen and not intervening. Subtle thoughts can run deep in your subconscious, which you dismiss and bury because they're not "text book", but somehow they won't go away.

Had to acknowledge and repent of it, which felt really good. Felt a new freedom with my relationship with God. Feels like a real weights been lifted.

It occurred to me that a very dangerous type of anger is the one you feel but don't acknowledge. Because then it just seethes under the surface and you don't deal with it.


"All concepts of reality that ignore Jesus Christ are abstractions"
Bonhoeffer, p469

Wheels of Sorrow

A friend made me laugh when he came out with the following quote:

"Money will never make you happy, but it does help to oil the wheels of sorrow".

Life and Peace

A verse I've been chewing over these last couple of days:

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace."
Romans 8:5-6

This verse has really spoken to me as I definitely feel the weight of conviction that I'm more caught up in the physical world (the flesh) than I should be. Preoccupied with material possessions, benefits, pursuits and pleasures, the Spirit is so often shoved into second place.

And this verse says that is death.


That's not good. And the truth is you can feel a death within you when you get preoccupied with the physical. Because it doesn't satisfy, at all. When time with God gets squeezed out you feel very hollow.

These last few days I've reprioritised a few things and it's been really liberating. Setting my mind on the Spirit has been very refreshing. Physical, material things fall out of focus. All of a sudden, they're not so important. Your weight, fitness, bank balance and leisure time — when you set your mind on the Spirit you remember they're just temporary things. This physical world is all passing away.

"but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" — how awesome is that promise! Life and peace are two things that everybody craves. To be alive spiritually and at peace with God is very, very good. There's an eternal ring to that phrase.