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Showing posts from March, 2009

I Will Accept You

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening are sent to me every day via email. This is tonight's devotion--a must read:
The merits of our great Redeemer are as sweet savour to the Most High. Whether we speak of the active or passive righteousness of Christ, there is an equal fragrance. There was a sweet savour in His active life by which He honoured the law of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel in the pure setting of His own person. Such, too, was His passive obedience, when He endured with unmurmuring submission, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened to the cruel wood, that He might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf. These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of His doing and His dying, His substitutionary sufferings and His vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts us. What a prec…

Semper Reformanda (Always Changing)

At the end of The Final Battle, the last of The Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace, Jill, Poggin and Tirian are urged to go further up and further in. This is seen as the great adventure awaiting those who are loyal to Aslan, the Christ figure in the story. But this journey doesn't start after this life is over. We are called to go further up and further in starting now. It's otherwise called growing up or maturing. This process isn't painless. It involves change and change never comes easy. Some of us hate it. Sue Cameron writes:
Remember what it was like being born? You don't recall the bright lights, the screaming? The whole process would be much nicer without the stage known as transition. It's the most intense, demanding and productive part. Hard? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. New life will not emerge without transition.
What's true during our initial entry into daylight continues as we mature: Times of transition are some of the most difficult and challenging peri…

Knowing God and Knowing Ourselves

Everyone needs something that keeps them going--a drive that presses them on. For some it is their families. For others it is their job. Still others have a hobby or love of sports that keeps them motivated. All these things have an important place in my life, but the greater motivation is described in the Bible in several ways: "Christ in you the hope of glory" "to know you and the power of the resurrection" "crucified in Christ...therefore Christ now lives in me" "you shall be my people and I will be your God." All of these Biblical phrases can be summed up by saying that my greatest motivation in life is knowing God. But to know God, I must know myself. And to know myself rightly I must know God. This is what Calvin says at the beginning of his Institutes. Blaise Pascal shows how Christ is central to this knowing God and knowing ourselves:

“Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness
makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness
without kno…

All His Children

This has been a trying time for our family. Like many across the country, I've been "downsized." We're having to do with less--not a bad discipline. I hope we can remember the lessons we are learning when things take a turn for the better.

At the same time, some of my friends are enjoying tremendous opportunities for ministry, and I'm not a part of it. Do I despair? Give way to bitterness? Doubt God's providence? No. We are to know "how to abound and how to be in want." Contentment is hard to learn, but very rewarding.

I found the following devotional from C. H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening very encouraging in light of our current circumstances. It is based on Galatian 3:26: "You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

The fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, "Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I…

Suffering and Glory

There was a report tonight on the news about 'Survival Jobs.' It dealt with those who lost their high paying jobs and are now not unemployed, but are working for much less than they previously made. I fit in that category. We're getting by--for now.

Many are much less fortunate, I realize. Hardship has hit everyone in some way--some more severely than others. Before all this economic mayhem is over, everyone will be affected.

I'm reminded tonight that desperation always precedes deliverance, as my friend Tullian often says. The cross always comes before the crown. I found these words from my "Amma," Elisabeth Elliot encouraging and pass them onto you.

Over and over in the Bible we are told that there is a correlation between suffering and glory. The reason lies deep in the mystery of evil, for of course there could be no suffering for creation, for beasts or men, or for the Son of Man, had not evil entered the world. But the story does not end with suffering.

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Christianity Brings Transformation

In these drastically dire times, it's hard to find good news. I was recently alerted to an article in The London Times entitled, "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God," written by Matthew Parris. He concludes, "Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem." Notice what he says about the difference Christians are making:
...I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
Thanks to Bob Osborne, Executive Director of World Harvest Mission, for calling attention to this article. You can read the entire article by going to whm.org/goodnews and clicking on "As an atheist, I truly …