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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

A friend reminded me about how good Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, is (bold is mine):

The Father can’t think of anything better to give us than his Son. Suffering invites us to join his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. Once you see that, suffering is no longer strange. Peter writes, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Paul Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (Kindle Locations 2976-2978). NavPress. Kindle Edition.

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Last Friday was a very exciting and fun day with some dear friends.  This meant that Saturday, with its normal chores and responsibilities, felt normal and unfun and unexciting.  It didn’t help that Paul needed some extra attention for a job none of us like.  It was fertile ground for complaining.

And God in his kindness used Twitter to help me.  These were five consecutive tweets I read about 9 a.m. that morning:

@TonyReinke: Newton: “Cold as I feel this heart of mine, / Yet since I feel it so, / It yields some hope of life divine.”

@Bloom_Jon:  Soul, Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45). Ask for the Spirit’s illumination of the Word.

@rayortlund:  Whatever you’re facing today, just walk with God. It’s not easy. But not walking with him won’t make anything better.

@BryanPickering: “A person who has lived with rejection can’t neutralize it with happy thoughts….Wishful thinking is ineffective.” Ed Welch @ccef

@JohnPiper: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written. . .” Matt. 26:31 The sin is certain. And the sin is sin.

And since I was working backwards through my twitter feed, I came across this from @PaulTripp:

No need to fear the fallenness of the world you live in. There is grace for every fallen thing that will touch you.

Of course, Twitter can be full of much foolishness and silliness.  But one morning God packaged the tweets of some godly men to land all at the same time, and oriented me in a better direction.  I was and am grateful to God for it.

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“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 ESV)

The promises of man are not sure to be fulfilled.

With the best wishes and intentions, he cannot always keep his word. Disease and death may step in like an armed man, and take away from this world him that promises. War, or pestilence, or famine, or failure of crops, or hurricanes, may strip him of his property, and make it impossible for him to fulfil his engagements.

The promises of God, on the contrary, are certain to be kept. He is Almighty: nothing can prevent His doing what He has said. He never changes: He is always “of one mind”: and with Him there is “no variableness or shadow of turning.” (Job xxiii. 13; James 1. 17.)

He will always keep His word.

J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, p. 246, Kindle Edition.

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His infinitely creative. loving, holy capacities are beyond our comprehension.  And he is for us because of Jesus Christ:

What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He is eternal, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it.

Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.

He is immutable, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.

He is omniscient, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events.

He has no past and He has no future.

He is, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him. Love and mercy and righteousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it.

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pp. 28-29.

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Jesus welcomed one of his own last week, a young mom who lived with cancer for several years until her fight was over last Saturday.

I never met Laura Black, but a friend of mine did know her and pointed me to something she wrote just a couple of weeks ago:  What I Want You To Know: Suffering for the Gospel (as I write this it is on page three; as posts are added you may need to look for it farther back in her CaringBridge journal).

Here is a sample:

Suffering adds to the Kingdom.  Nothing grabs someone’s attention like seeing someone suffer and living out the Christian life during it.  Let’s face it, you can sing the Hallelujah chorus when you just won the lottery, your first grandchild was just born on your birthday, or you just got a huge promotion, but who cares?  I’m not saying it’s not good to praise God for those things. Of course you should praise God for those things and rejoice in them.  But that doesn’t point people to the cross.  When you rejoice and praise Him in the good times, that is expected.  However, when you rejoice and praise God in the middle of the suffering, that points people to the cross.  The fact that our family has gone through five years of cancer and is now watching my body slowly fail and yet we still praise God and rejoice in His plan, that points people to the cross.  There’s no way we could ever do that.  There’s no way we would ever choose to do that.  When people see us do that, they know it’s nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Thank you to Martin Maners for sharing this piece of Laura’s story.  May we all live and die so well.

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And one day I’m going to leave this wheelchair behind. I cannot wait. I may have suffered with Christ on earth, but one day in heaven I’m going to reign with him. I may have tasted the pains of living on this planet, but one day I’m going to eat from the tree of life in the pleasure of heaven, and it’s all going to happen in the twinkling of an eye. The Lord’s overcoming of this world will be the lifting of the curtain on our five senses, and we shall see him and we shall be like him, and we shall see the whole universe in plain sight.

Joni Eareckson Tada from her chapter, Hope. . . the Best of Things in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, p. 202.

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I’m grateful that Pastor John pushes us to go deeper into God’s word to see  and enjoy more of God’s intentions and plans and designs for his glory.  Alistair Begg does the same, like in this accounting of Mephibosheth, who was lame in both of his feet and the grandson of Saul, David’s mortal enemy. He was also the son of David’s greatest friend:

Mephibosheth was not an attractive guest at the royal table; yet he had an open invitation because King David could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may exclaim to the King of Glory, “What is Your servant, that You should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” But still the Lord invites us to share intimately with Him, because He sees in our countenances the remembrance of His dearly-beloved Jesus.

Alistair Begg, Mephibosheth’s Example, May 27 Devotional

When we cling to Jesus, God sees Jesus’ righteousness and we get more of God rather than the punishment we deserve!  We are not turned away but embraced!

Pastor John pointed out that this can work in the other direction as well.  After Mephibosheth had been lied about and David had made a decision to give half of what rightfully belonged to Mephibosheth to the man who had lied about him:

Mephibosheth said to the king, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.” (2 Samuel 19:30)

This is how we should feel about king Jesus. He has come to save us. And he will come a second time to be with us forever. He is our inheritance and our great reward.

Jesus is greater than anything!  It isn’t just to avoid God’s wrath that we should cling to him (as great a gift as that is); if that’s all there is to it, we have really missed the greatest gift of all in being with Jesus forever.

And God chose to use the lame grandson of the enemy of the king to be an example of God’s great mercy and to point us to the center of our joy.  We should never doubt that God is doing something great for his glory and for our joy through disability, even when it is not immediately obvious to us.  Someday, it will be!

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I closed my blog posting at Desiring God this week with these sentences:

I hope you will attend (the Desiring God Disability Conference) to be encouraged in your own faith and to prepare yourself to treasure God in all circumstances.  The day is coming when you, or members of your church, will be given a choice that is not truly ours to make. On that day, the world will know who or what you treasure most.

I’ve been thinking I wasn’t clear enough on what I meant by ‘treasure.’  Pastor John has covered that many times, including in What Jesus Demands from the World (paragraph formatting and emphases in bold are mine):

He did not die to make this life easy for us or prosperous. He died to remove every obstacle to our everlasting joy in making much of him.

And he calls us to follow him in his sufferings because this life of joyful suffering for Jesus’ sake (Matt. 5:12) shows that he is more valuable than all the earthly rewards that the world lives for (Matt. 13:44; 6:19-20).

If you follow Jesus only because he makes life easy now, it will look to the world as though you really love what they love, and Jesus just happens to provide it for you.

But if you suffer with Jesus in the pathway of love because he is your supreme treasure, then it will be apparent to the world that your heart is set on a different fortune than theirs. This is why Jesus demands that we deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him.

John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World, p. 71.

May we treasure Jesus in such a joyous way that it is not just apparent to the world where our heart is set, but they want to set their hearts there as well!

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Paragraph formatting and emphases in bold are mine:

Which things did Jesus create?

He created all things in heaven and on earth. Thrones, dominions, rulers, authorities—all things were made by him. All things were made through him. This harkens back to John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” which in turn harkens back to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

If we read on we find these marvelous words: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).

So who am I?

While our postmodern culture says that I am the result of random processes, Christian theism says I am the crowning glory of the creation of God (cf. Ps. 8:5). Christian theism says he knit me together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13). Christian theism says I am no accident. I am no result of random processes.

Christian theism says that whether I am tall and beautiful or small and not so handsome, whether my body functions perfectly or is severely deformed, I am the crowning glory of the creation of God, and as a result I have inherent dignity, worth, and value.

Christian theism cannot comprehend ideas like racism, classism, or eugenics.

Voddie Baucham, Jr., “Truth and the Supremacy of Christ in the Postmodern World” in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, p. 58.

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Paragraph formatting and emphasis in bold are mine:

It is actually a piece of good news that our experience does not have the lasts word, that even in the face of horrific evils, tragedies, temptations, and doubts, the supposedly obvious deliverances of experience can be mistaken; that God may be actually more present in saving mercies when our experience tells us he is most distant and unconcerned.

This is a key point of the theology of the cross: God is most present precisely when he seems most absent.

Again, this isn’t a general speculation, an easy way of accepting the situation despite all evidence to the contrary; rather, it is grounded in the empirical fact of God’s saving work in Christ. Both our questioning of God’s purposes and confidence in them are provoked by empirical reality. The events that prove God’s faithfulness occur on the same plane of history as those that challenge it.

Therefore, it is the empirical events of the cross and resurrection, not of daily events whose meaning is not revealed to us, that demonstrate the reliability of God’s character.

Michael Horton, A Place for Weakness, pp. 55-56.

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