A Tribute to Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot – (1926-2015)  “You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  She lived a life of self-sacrifice, surrender, and abandon to Jesus Christ.  Her passion was Jesus Christ. Her pervasive advice was “about surrendering my desires to God, abandoning myself to His will, and sacrificing my present and my future to His plan; accept the portion and cup that the Lord has assigned to me….because in acceptance lieth peace.”

This was her prayer: (and the prayer of the martyred missionary Betty Scott Stam)

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father,

I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be Yours today and Yours forever.

Give me grace, Lord, to do all that I know of Your holy will.

Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires.

Teach me, in all of today’s work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my life may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, my Master and my all.

Amy Carmichael’s Dohnavur Fellowship:

 

My Vow:

 Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me, by Thy grace,

I will do it.

My Constraint:

Thy love, oh Christ, My Lord.

My Confidence:

Thou art able to keep that which I have committed unto Thee.

My Joy:

To do thy will, Oh God.

My Discipline:

That which I would not choose, but which Thy love appoints.

My Prayer:

Conform my will to Thine.

My Motto:

Love to live, and live to love.

My Portion:

The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.

 Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deserves;

To give and not count the cost;

To fight and not to heed the wounds;

To toil and not to seek for rest;

To labor and not to ask for any reward

save that of knowing that we do thy will,

Oh Lord our God.

 

(A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliot, p241-242

Quote from Amy Carmichael)

Amy Carmichael’s Aim for Her Ministry in India:

  To lead children out of themselves and into the service of others,

“untarnished by earthly thoughts”.

            This meant that Dohnavur workers must be “of one mind” about at least

eight things:

  • following the Crucified  (John 15:18; I John 3:13)
  • loyalty towards one another  (“speak to not about or of”)
  • continuing to be a family, not an institution (Phil. 1:27)
  • being on guard against foes of keenness and spiritual joy  (John :15:11)
  • counting it an honor if they were made a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men
  • asking the Lord to mark His Cross on natural choices (What are natural choices?)
  • unreserved renunciation of everything human beings generally love, and desire for what the Lord Jesus Christ loved.  (die to self)
  • willingness to be “set at nought” (Rev. 4:8-11)

Truth, loyalty, and honor were put first.

“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a very great thing.”

“The great reward was to be trusted with harder, more responsible work.”

 I Cor.1:10…”be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement.”    “Of one mind” need not mean identity of opinion.

The “gold cord” which held the family together was love.

 In this love, three things that she felt they needed to be bound together:

  • the verbal inspiration of scripture ( 11 Tim. 3:16)
  • the power of God to deal with His enemy  (11 Tim. 4:18;  1 John 4:4)
  • loyalty to one another  (James 4:7;  Phil. 2:1-4)

 Her goals then were:

  • to save the children in moral danger
  • to train them to serve others
  • to minister to the desolate and the suffering
  • to do anything that may be shown to be the will of our Heavenly Father, in order to make His love known, especially to the people of India.  (An example of this is that they did not eat beef.  They ate chicken, pork, fish, etc. but not beef, so as not to offend the ones they were trying to win for Christ.)

Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael:  Born in Ireland on Dec. 16th, 1867;  died on Jan.18th, 1951

in Tamil Nadu, India  after 55 years of service there with no furlough.

Amy was from an Irish Protestant (Presbyterian) family, the oldest of 7 children, and was always interested in a challenge.  She led her brothers into challenges….like playing on roofs and sliding down rainspouts.  One day her parents were standing at the bottom of the rainspout.

She learned very young that God hears our prayers, and believed wholeheartedly that he answered prayers.  She did not like her brown eyes, so one night she went to bed, prayed for blue eyes, and believed that when she woke up in the morning she would be blue-eyed.  She ran to the mirror the next morning….and they were still brown.  Years later in India, she went into the Hindu temples to rescue little girls from prostitution, and her blue eyes would have given her away as a foreigner. She came to thank and praise His sovereignty and goodness in giving her brown eyes.

 Seventeen-year-old Amy Carmichael was on her way home from church in Belfast, when she came to a poor old woman carrying a heavy bundle-something she was not accustomed to seeing in Presbyterian Belfast. Amy, along with her two brothers, took the bundle from the woman and helped her along by the arms.

Surrounded by the “respectable people” of the community, Amy could not help but notice her actions were being questioned. She was embarrassed. In her own words Amy described it as “a horrid moment. We were only two boys and a girl, and not at all exalted Christians. We hated doing it.” They plodded on in spite of the blushing and sense of shame for associating publicly with such a woman. The wind and rain blew in their faces. The rags of the old woman pressed against them.

Just as they passed by an ornate Victorian fountain in the street, “this mighty phrase flashed as it were through the gray drizzle: ‘Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble — every man’s work will be made manifest; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide…”

The words were so real, Amy turned to see who had spoken them. She saw nothing but a muddy street, people with surprised looks on their faces, and the fountain. But Amy knew this was the voice of God.

That afternoon, Amy shut the door to her room and closed herself in with God. What happened that day would change the course of her life and profoundly impact her priorities. Amy Carmichael began to understand what it means to die to self.

How did this affect her? She purposed in her heart to follow Him who had no home, no earthly possessions beyond the bare minimum. She would be “dead to the world and its applause, to all its customs, fashions, laws.” Amy had an eye for beauty and it was no small sacrifice to embrace this journey of true discipleship.

Betty Stam:  (China Inland Mission, Martyred 1935 at the age of 26; graduate of Moody Bible Institute)                                                                                         “When we consecrate ourselves to God, we think we are making a great sacrifice, and doing lots for Him, when really we are only letting go some little, bitsie trinkets we have been grabbing, and when our hands are empty, He fills them full of His treasures. –Betty Stam

In 1886, Amy’s father died.  Amy helped with the teaching of younger children, took painting classes, and started various good works, like helping with the YMCA, and inner city missions. She poured herself into this, but it seemed empty to her.  It surely must have seemed impressive to others, but she thouthe of it as wood, hay and stubble.  What was missing?  Her sisters described her with one word during this time…enthusiastic.  By 1889, age 22, Amy longed to live a holy life…how could she live the life she longed for?  The revivals were strong during this time in England and Ireland.  Amy wanted to live “dead to the world…she would follow Him who had no home, no earthly possessions beyond the bare minimum….dead to the world and its applause, to all its customs, fashions, laws,…and relinquish all …for a true life of discipleship.”

Amy began to reach out to the “shawlies” girls who worked in the mills and were too poor to by hats. They used their shawls to cover their heads, which was offensive to the proper church members. Which was worse, Amy bringing these crude “commoners” to the church or Mrs. Carmichael allowing her to go into the slums to fetch them? They couldn’t decide. Amy didn’t care about her reputation. She was dead. Christ was alive in her, loving the shawlies through her. It was a relief to the church folk when the shawlies were coming in such large numbers that Amy needed a separate building for them. This was no small challenge for a now 22 year-old girl. But Amy believed God for both the Land and the building. The invitations were sent out and the grand opening set for January 2, 1889. She invited her minister to dedicate “The Mill and Factory Girls’ Branch of the YMCA.” A banner was hung in the front with words, “That in all things HE might have the preeminence.”

Two students of D.L. Moody led the service.  Amy wasn’t on the platform that night. She wasn’t on the program.  Yes, it was her vision that initiated the ministry and her dream that brought about the building. But she sat inconspicuously in the middle of the audience. Amy Carmichael had died to self.

Amy became aware of Hudson Taylor’s words… “a million a month are dying in China.”

Amy met a man named Mr Wilson during this time of her life…the Carmichael family called him the “Dear Old Man” (DOM).  He owned coal mines in Ireland, but was a widower whose only daughter died when she was just Amy’s age. He lived alone in his estate with two bachelor sons in their late thirties.  The Carmichaels visited him often and it happened that he “adopted” Amy.  He was one of the founders of the Keswick Conventions….with the revivals.  She moved to his estate and she began her new “schooling” (1890). This gave her Quaker, Baptist, and Anglican teachings.  Mr. Robert Wilson eventually became the man who supported her almost fully on the mission field for her personal needs.  She later went on the mission field under the Keswicks.

This is their “Thoughts on Sanctity”:  To be like Christ.  To displace self from the inner throne, and to enthrone Him;  to make not the slightest compromise with the smallest sin.  We aim at nothing less than to walk with God all day long, to abide every hour in Christ and He and His words in us, to love God with all the heart and our neighbor as ourselves…It is possible to cast every care on Him daily, and to be at peace amidst pressure, to see the will of God in everything, to put away all bitterness, and clamor and evil speaking, daily and hourly.  It is possible by unreserved resort to divine power under divine conditions to become strongest through and through at our weakest point.”

One of the cathedrals had these inscriptions on it: (by a carving of roses)…”All that pleases is but for a moment.” ;(by a carving of a cross)…”All that grieves is but for a moment.”; and over the central door…”Nothing is important but that which is eternal.”

On January 13th, 1892, it was clear that she must go to the mission field.  (“Faith does not eliminate questions; but faith knows where to take them.”) (She actually sailed March 3rd,1893.) Amy did not question, though it saddened her to leave her loved ones. On the mission field, God again used Amy’s “mother’s heart” to minister to children. She spent fifty-five years in India setting up orphanages to rescue children from prostitution in Hindu temples and ministering to the people she met.  Amy affected the lives of countless Indians, giving them a hope for a future on earth and in heaven. While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary, She asked Amy, “What is missionary life like?” Amy wrote back saying simply, “Missionary life is a chance to die.”

Amy used expressions like “the Ark of His Presence”. She went to Japan first and then to Ceylon for a short time. When the DOM had a stroke, she came home for a while, and sailed for India in November 1895.

One incident in Japan affected her the rest of her life.  A seasoned missionary, speaking of how missionaries “get along” on the mission field said…”You think all missionaries love one another?”  Well that is what Amy thought precisely!!  Years later when she was running the mission Dohnavur, she made sure the verse 1 Peter 1:22 was implemented…”See that ye love one another fervently”.   One day Amy gave a New Testament to a student, and said it would be a seed.  The seed needed to be watered. On the other side of the world another student heard of this Japanese student and prayed for him. The English student was Paget Wilkes, an undergraduate then, who went to Japan, worked in Matsuye, and led to Christ that student for whom he had prayed.  She prayed for the Japanese converts to burn their idols….she called this “the Calvary side of the work, a thing to be lived through alone with Calvary’s Christ.”   Amy had many converts in Japan, and 14 years later when missionaries came, “the converts from Amy’s ministry were still firmly rooted in the faith.

Loneliness was with her always…. She felt that no part of the cost of being a foreign missionary is greater than the loneliness. Her answer from the Lord – Psalm 34:22…”None of them that trust in me shall be desolate.”  Countless occasions in the field she had to reexamine her motives.  But when she besought her girlfriends at home to consider the call, she said welcome all tests of whatever sort before they crossed the seas, and learn to die to self in any shape or form. Experience had taught her that she could not survive the storms without the anchor of the constraining love of Christ, and what she called the “rock of consciousness” of the promise given her, “He goeth before” (Matt.28:7; Mark  16:7; John 10:4).  On the field in India, she testified that  “to the Glory of His name let me witness that in far away lands, in loneliness, in times of downheartedness and tiredness and sadness, always always HE IS NEAR. He does comfort, if we let Him. Perhaps someone so weak and good-for-nothing as even I am may read this.  Don’t be afraid! Through all circumstances, outside, inside, He can keep me close.  “In His quiver hath He kept me close” (Isa. 49:2).

Her ministry in India……it met up with child marriages, demon worship, widow burning and extreme adherence to the caste system.  She and a small band of converts went out into small villages to speak to people for 7 years. As they went they heardn of the selling of babies and small girls to the temple priests …and could not even believe the stories.  She began praying over that period of time for the burden the Lord had laid on her heart…but how would she stop it?  One day a baby was handed to them that was to be sold to the priests. A temple prostitute was “married to the gods”, whose life was spent in service to the priests and the worshipers.  Never was one converted. No one had ever been allowed to work among them.  This was like a sword in Amy’s missionary soul. The overwhelming desire to save the children became a fire I her bones.

Preena escaped the temple priests in 1901, and Amy became “Amma” the word for Mother.  The little thing walked straight into their hearts, and they felt they would risk anything to keep her.  Amy said she remembered “waking up to the knowledge that there had been a very empty corner somewhere in me that the work had never filled…” which saving the children filled.

A prayer of Jeremy Taylor was always hers too… “Lord, do Thou turn me all into love, and all my love into obedience, and let my obedience be without interruption”.  (His grandfather was married to William Tyndale’s niece and saw Tyndale burned at the stake….which was about the time Martin Luther was printing the Bible in the language of the people.)

A previous missionary to India, Henry Martyn ( 1781-1812), wrote…”I have rightfully no other business each day but to God’s work as a servant, constantly regarding His pleasure.  May I have grace to live above every human motive, simply with God and to God.”  (Martyn translated the NT into three languages in his short life…Persian, Hindustani, & Arabic.)   Mr. Martyn wrote in his journal after he met Wm Carey:  “I have hitherto lived to little purpose; more like a clod than a servant of God. Now let me burn out for God.”  He accomplished more in the six years of translating that many who live a full lifetime.

There was a psychological grid for missionaries to pass through in those days.  There were 25 questions, among them:

  • Do you truly desire to live the crucified life? (This may mean doing very humble things joyfully for His Name’s sake.)
  • Does the thought of hardness draw you or repel you?
  • Do you realize that we are a family, not an institution? Are you willing to do whatever helps most?
  • Apart from the Bible can you name 3 or 4 books which have been of vital help to you?
  • Apart from books, what refreshes you most when you are tired?
  • Have you ever learned any classical or continental language?
  • Have you ever had the opportunity to prove the Lord’s promise to supply temporal as well as spiritual needs?
  • Can you mention any experience you have passed through in your Christian life which brought you into new discovery of your union with the crucified, risen, and enthroned Lord?

Amy wrote:  Do not come unless you can say to your Lord, and to us….”The Cross is the attraction”

Questions and Application:

At one point in her early years Amy said, “Nothing could ever matter again but the things that were eternal.” Nothing? What is your response to that?
As a youngster, Amy rejected the dark brown eyes God had given her, and longed instead for blue eyes. But with her brown eyes, she was later able to go inside the Hindu temples to rescue children.

Is there any unchangeable feature of your own body (God’s design) that you reject? Thank God for it, instead.

Amy demonstrated death to self by praying for money with out telling anyone.

Is there a sum of money for a specific ministry you could ask only God to provide?

One night, Amy led her oxcart driver to Christ. Later, she found out that a prayer group back home had been praying specifically on that date for a convert to be won. Maybe you should pause right now and pray for a missionary.  When the Lord brings a missionary to mind, take it as an opportunity to pray for them, and enter into their ministry from afar.  This is walking in the Spirit.

May we all die to self in this way.
“He must become greater, I must become less”

The things that mattered most to Amy and the Dohnavur Fellowship was:

  • The verbal inspiration of Scripture
  • The power of God to deal with His enemy
  • Loyalty to one another

A book by Amy Carmichael : “Things As They Are – Amy brings out the truth  and reality of the mission work in India.

Missionary Betty Stam

Betty Stam,
China Inland Mission, Martyred 1934
“When we consecrate ourselves to God, we think we are making a great sacrifice, and doing lots for Him, when really we are only letting go some little, bitsie trinkets we have been grabbing, and when our hands are empty, He fills them full of His treasures.” –Betty Stam

“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes,
all my own desires and hopes,
and accept Thy will for my life.
I give up myself, my time, my all,
utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.
Use me as Thou wilt, send my where Thou wilt,
work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost,
now and forever.”

Betty Stam, martyred for Christ

Calvary Love….

Calvary Love….
If, in any way, I belittle those I am called to serve…
….if I talk of their weak points in contrast, perhaps, with what I think of as my stronger points….
….if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting to consider the wisdom of the voice that asks me, inwardly, “Who made you different from the one you are criticizing — and what do you have that you have not been given?”
….if I can easily discuss the shortcomings or the sins of any man or woman…
….if I can speak in an off-hand way, even of a child’s wrongdoing…

then I know nothing of Calvary Love.

If I hold onto choices of any kind, just because they are my choices..
….if I give more room to my private likes and dislikes….
….if I am soft on myself and slide easily and comfortably into the vice of self pity and eliciting sympathy,,,
….if I do not, by the grace of God, build a fortress around my inner man to protect it from my own soulishness…
….if, the very moment I am conscious of the shadow of “self” crossing that inner threshold, I do not shut the door and (in the power of Him who works in us to will and to do) keep that door shut…

then we know nothing of Calvary Love.

(Amy Carmichael, Missionary to China)

Promises of God

Corrie ten Boome survived the concentration camps of the holocaust by trusting in the promises of God.

In Paul Bunyon’s  Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian had a key that was handed to him at the outset of his journey.  It was helpful to get him out of the dungeon of despair.  The key’s name was “promise”.  It is His promises that we must cling to, backed by the very character of God.  He is who He says He is….. the Good, Awesome, Loving, Faithful companion that He says He is, and therefore, His promises are true and trustworthy.

Suffer According to the Will of God

In 1 Peter 4:19 it says, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator.”  Here in the United States, so far, we do not know what it is to suffer as our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in other countries.
The very special truth in this is in the word “commit“. The word here is the same word that Christ used on the cross in Luke 23:46. He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” These are the same word in the Greek.  The word means “to entrust, put in trust with”. Christ entrusted His spirit to the Heavenly Father on the cross, and this is exactly what He asks us to do when we “suffer according to the will of God”.
He asks us to entrust ourselves into the hands of our faithful creator when we suffer according to the will of God. Christ does not ask us to do something that He has not already done.  Do we know what suffering is?  If we suffer, we can commit ourselves into the hands of our Lord the same way Christ did, and know that He is caring for us as He did for Christ.  ( 1 Thes. 5:24 ) “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”  It is easy to “commit ourselves” to our Lord who is faithful.

The next thought may be…..what if I am the one who has gotten myself into this mess?  Am I suffering according to the will of God if I made this mess that I am in?

If we know the Lord Jesus Christ as Our Savior, are a child of His, will He ever desert us?  No.  We are loved with and everlasting love (Jere. 31:3).  If a human parent would not desert their child in need, even more so, the Heavenly Father that only knows perfect love…everlasting love, would never desert us in our need.  He knows all about the situation, and is seeking to mature us, and bring glory to Himself through it.

Elizabeth Elliot says that “it is not the trial that determines the character, but our response to the trial”.  She went through many things that were totally not what she expected God to do in her life.  She had waited five and a half years to marry the man she loved.  She gave thanks to God in her singleness, and then was only married 2 years and three months when she became a widow.  She came to thank God for her widowhood also, because she realized that it was all from the hand of a loving gracious God.   Her response to the trial is what brought her closer to the Lord than ever before.  She saw that she had a depth in her spiritual life that she would not have known if the Lord had not allowed that trial in her life.

We must also remember that our Lord Jesus is the sovereign God of the universe that “by Him were all things created…in earth, visible and invisible…..principalities or powers, all things were created by Him and for Him, and by Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church…that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.  For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” ( Colos. 1:16-19)

Christ is the head of the body, so that everything comes into our lives, He has the pre-eminence in that matter.  We think…”OK, I got myself into this mess….”  No…Christ has pre-eminence in ALL things and is sovereign in all things.  Nothing surprises Him ,,,He knew what you would decide and is in control.

We can trust Him.  He is faithful (Phil 1:6).  May we respond to all things that our Good God allows in our lives in such a way so as to become a reflection of the Word of God, and Jesus Christ Himself to those around us that need to see Him.

Only by His Grace and power living through us.  Praise be to Him.

Susannah Wesley on Raising Children

Susannah Wesley on Raising Children

  • Susannah lived in the early 1700′s, was the mother of 19 children, and dealt with the loss of ten of those children before the age of 2.
  • She was the mother of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Christian denomination
  • She was also the mother of Charles Wesley who is remembered for writing hundreds of Christian hymns

Clearly Susnnah Wesley, as a mother, had her share of joys as well as profound sorrow during her lifetime.  Someone asked her once what was the secret in raising her children.  Many of her guidelines, now 300 years later,  are still good ones to follow (exluding a few of the more obvious ones).

Some of these have great validity for forming good character in our children.

Each should be considered and prayed over to see if these would be a help for the child given to you by the Lord.

Susannah Wesley’s Guidelines for Raising Children

  1. Allow  no eating between meals.
  2. Put all children to bed by 8:00 PM
  3. Require  children to take their medicine without complaining.
  4. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his or her soul.
  5. Teach each child to pray as soon as they can speak.
  6. Require all children to be quiet during family worship.
  7. Give a child nothing that they cry for, and only that which they ask for politely.
  8. To prevent lying, punish no fault that is first confessed and repented of.
  9. Never  allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
  10. Never  punish a child twice for a single offense.
  11. Commend  and reward good behavior.
  12. Commend  any attempt to please, even if poorly performed.
  13. Preserve property rights in even the smallest of matters.
  14. Strictly observe all promises.
  15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
  16. Teach children to fear the rod.

Susannah Wesley’s Defination of Sin

Each of us may have our own definition of sin, but this one from Susannah Wesley to her preacher son is …really amazing.
….whatever weakens your reasoning,
….what ever impairs your tenderness of conscience,

….whatever obscures your sense of the things of God,
….whatever takes away your desire for spiritual things,
In short  ….whatever increases the power and authority of the flesh over the Spirit,

Then, this thing is sin, no matter how innocent it may be in itself.