If you could see God’s secret counsel

“If you could see how God in his secret counsel has exactly laid the whole plan of your salvation, even to the smallest means and circumstances; could you but discern the admirable harmony of divine dispensations, their mutual relations, together with the general respect they all have to the last end; had you liberty to make your own choice, you would, of all conditions in the world, choose that in which you now are.”

John Flavel, Keeping the Heart.

Which generation are we living for?

“[This kind of training ministry] will be slow, tedious, painful, and probably unnoticed by people at first, but the end result will be glorious, even if we don’t live to see it. Seen this way, though, it becomes a big decision in the ministry. We must decide where we want our ministry to count– in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Really, it is a question of which generation are we living for.”

The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman

We should give the Lord no rest until we see fruit

“It appears to me that believers generally have expected far too little present fruit from their labors among children. They hope that the Lord will some day confirm their instruction and answer the prayers which they offer up on the children’s behalf. The Bible assures us that in everything we do for the Lord, our labor is not in vain. We have to guard against thinking that it does not matter whether we see present fruit or not. On the contrary, we should give the Lord no rest until we see fruit. Therefore, in persevering yet submissive prayer, we should make our requests known to God. I am now looking for many more children to be converted.”

George Muller

John Newton: “Precious Bible”


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Precious Bible! what a treasure

Does the Word of God afford?

All I want for life or pleasure,

Food and med’cine, shield and sword:

Let the world account me poor,

Having this I need no more.

 

Food to which the world’s a stranger,

Here my hungry soul enjoys;

Of excess there is no danger,

Though it fills, it never cloys:

On a dying Christ I feed,

He is meat and drink indeed.

 

When my faith is faint and sickly,

Or when Satan wounds my mind,

Cordials, to revive me quickly,

Healing med’cines here I find:

To the promises I flee,

Each affords a remedy.

 

In the hour of dark temptation

Satan cannot make me yield;

For the Word of consolation

Is to me a mighty shield

While the scripture truths are sure,

From his malice I’m secure.

 

Vain his threats to overcome me,

When I take the Spirits’ sword;

Then with ease I drive him from me.

Satan trembles at the word:

‘Tis a sword for conquest made,

Keen the edge, and strong the blade.

 

Shall I envy then the miser

Doting on his golden store?

Sure I am, or should be, wiser,

I am rich, ’tis he is poor:

Jesus gives me in his word,

Food and med’cine, shield and sword.

Interesting people are interested people

“You can often tell if someone is busy being the star of his own show by the ear buds, which are worn in situations that don’t really call for them. In fact, the only reason someone would be wearing them in that situation is if they needed a soundtrack for their own personal movie, starring them, as they walk down the avenue looking at reflections of themselves in shop windows. This is not the discipline of the effective writer.

Interesting people are interested people. Interesting writers are interested writers.”

Douglas Wilson, Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life

 

Holy– the brink of human language

John Piper, from his sermon Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts:

Sixth, God is holy. “And one called to another, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!’ Remember how Reepicheep, the gallant mouse, at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sailed to the end of the world in his little coracle? Well, the word “holy” is the little boat in which we reach the world’s end in the ocean of language. The possibilities of language to carry the meaning of God eventually run out and spill over the edge of the world into a vast unknown. “Holiness” carries us to the brink, and from there on the experience of God is beyond words.

The most dreadful, the most beautiful

Reading Lewis always awakens in me a sense of awe at the beauty and other-ness of God. Scanning through what Lewis regarded as the favorite of all his works, Till We Have Faces, I came across these paragraphs describing the coming of god to judge the main character, Orual. Lewis’s brilliance in writing these kinds of narratives always makes reality feel more real.

Enjoy.

*  *  *

The voices spoke again; but not loud this time. They were awed and trembled. “He is coming,” they said. “The god is coming into his house. The god comes to judge Orual.”

If Pysche had not held me by the hand I should have sunk down. She had brought me now to the very edge of the pool. The air was growing brighter and brighter about us; as if something had set it on fire. Each breath I drew let into me new terror, joy, overpowering sweetness. I was pierced through and through with the arrows of it. I was being unmade. I was no one. But that’s little to say; rather, Psyche herself was, in a manner, no one. I loved her as I would once have thought it impossible to love, would have died any death for her. And yet, it was not, not now, she that really counted. Or if she counted (and oh, gloriously she did) it was for another’s sake. The earth and stars and sun, all that was or will be, existed for his sake. And he was coming. The most dreadful, the most beautiful, the only dread and beauty there is, was coming. The pillars on the far side of the pool flushed with his approach. I cast down my eyes.

 

 

In defense of street preaching

“For my fellow elder Matt, the [gospel] invitation came from an open-air preacher on his college campus. Many Christians today may cringe at the idea of a street-side, soapbox preacher, and for two years of college, Matt mocked him as well. Then, in a third year, Matt listened, repented, and believed. Today, the Word reverberates through Mat as an elder as well as director of a Christian ministry to other churches.”

Guard yourself from the barrage of eternity-denying entertainment

O, how we need to meditate on the horror of rejecting the gospel. Satan does his best with television and radio to create in us a mind that is so trivial and banal and petty and earthly that we find ourselves incapable of feeling what terrifying truth is in this word anathema. O, how we need to guard ourselves from the barrage of eternity-denying entertainment. We need to cultivate a pure and childlike imagination that hears a word like anathema the way a child hears his first peal of thunder, or feels his first earthquake, or suffers his first storm at sea. The Bible does not reveal to us the eternal curse of God that we may yawn and turn the page. The wrath of God is revealed to shake unbelievers out of their stupor, and to take the swagger out of the Christian’s walk and the cocky twang out of his voice. Don’t skim over verses 8 and 9 quickly. There is much humbling and sobering and sanctifying to be had here. Ponder these things in quietness.

John Piper, “When Not to Believe an Angel,” February 6, 1983:

Unleash the Word of God– then sit back and watch

“A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere.”

C.S. Lewis

Listen to this amazing story of how the Hound of Heaven tracked down another rebel sinner and brought her to Himself.

You’d be amazed how many times something as unlikely as that has happened, always beginning with the Word being preached. There is an account of a woman on her deathbed. She described how she was saved by reading a crumpled, ragged piece of wrapping paper in a package shipped from Australia. Someone had used the printed text of a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon to wrap a package for shipment. The sermon was preached in England, printed in America, shipped to Australia, then sent back to England as wrapping paper, where the woman read it and encountered Jesus Christ. The Word traveled thousands of miles on the cheapest, most crumpled and smeared newsprint. But the truth shone brilliantly through the simplest of media, and God’s Word did not return void.

David Jeremiah, Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World, pg. 149