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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Andre Seu Peterson, of WORLD, has some very good thoughts on optimism and thankfulness.

Your mother once told you about the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise won the race because he was an optimist. People say it’s because he was persistent, but he wouldn’t have been persistent if he hadn’t been optimistic first. Optimism precedes perseverance. The Apostle Paul observes that dynamic when saying that we have faith and love “because of the hope” (Colossians 1:5). No hope, no reason to get out of bed.

The pessimist’s problem is all in his eye. His eye is defective. He sees everything the same shade of blah, like the Dwarfs in The Last Battle. “Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn’t much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn’t taste it properly. They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a stable. One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he had got a bit of an old turnip.”

“The eye is the lamp of the body.” That is, all experience is filtered through it. “So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23).

Christians who are not by nature optimists may have to work a little at becoming so. Here is how you do that—by a conscious, constant cultivation of thanksgiving. This works magic in changing a bad “eye” to a clear eye, and you will be astounded at how much better the world looks. Try it and you will sit before a blank sheet of paper and complain that you have nothing good to put on your list, and then you will come up with 25.

When you get better at it, you will not only have the good things on your thanksgiving list but the bad things and disappointments too. For you will start to see how these bad things were the very ones God used to mature you. I hate to think of what my life would be now if I had been cursed with only pleasant things.

George Müller (1805-1898) is one of the biggest optimists I know of. That crazy guy decided to distribute tracts and to witness among the Jews in London, and he reports, “I had the honor of being reproached and ill-treated for the name of Jesus” (The Autobiography of George Müller). Must be a blessing in there somewhere, right? That’s like the Apostle Paul saying, “I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

Come again? If there are “many adversaries,” how does he see it as a “wide door for effective work”?

That’s how an optimist sees.

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Repentance and faith are not the same thing, but they’re linked together and can’t be separated.

In Scripture, the gospel is the objective good news of salvation. It is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. That message is declared to mankind in a way that summons us all to do two things—repent and believe. This repentance and belief are all the same fundamental and entirely fluid motion. Repentance is turning away from all that is not Christ, and belief is turning toward all that is. Repentance turns away from sin, and faith embraces Christ. This is the way it is by definition, and so it is not possible to turn to Christ actually without turning away from not Christ actually. This means true and real repentance.

To be given an opportunity to do this is good news indeed. However, there are two kinds of good news. One kind is the “out of the blue” sort. You get word that you have inherited millions from a distant relative you never even knew about. The other kind of good news is the kind that presupposes some awareness of antecedent bad news. The governor signed the pardon and you won’t be executed in the morning. A further review of the tests shows us that you do not have cancer. This is the kind of good news that shows us how turning away and turning toward can essentially be the same thing. This is good news that displaces the bad news.

Douglas Wilson, “Gospel for Snowflakes” blog post at Blog and Mablog (Dec. 20, 2017).

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Jesus is the final prophet, obey His word.

Jesus is the ultimate priest, trust His intercession.

Jesus is the final lamb, trust His sacrifice.

Jesus is the good shepherd, follow His lead.

Jesus is the conquering lion, fear His roar.

Jesus is the eternal King, bow before Him.

(Garrett Kell)

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The Winner Is... card isolated on white background

In the Quote of the Year competition, we have a winner!

The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.

Cornelius Van Til

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John-MacArthur1

This is material that didn’t quite make it into my sermon on Philippians 1:9-11.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment (Phil. 1:9).

Commenting on this verse, John MacArthur wrote in Reckless Faith,

Those who think of faith as the abandonment of reason cannot be truly discerning. Irrationality and discernment are polar opposites. When Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” emphasis added), he was affirming the rationality of true faith. He also meant to suggest that knowledge and discernment necessarily go hand in hand with genuine spiritual growth.

Biblical faith, therefore is rational. It is reasonable. It is intelligent. It makes good sense. And spiritual truth is meant to be rationally contemplated, examined logically, studied, analyzed, and employed as the only reliable basis for making wise judgments. That process is precisely what Scripture discernment.

Steven Cole, in his sermon on the same passage – after he quoted MacArthur – wrote,

The mood today is that if you are critical of anyone’s doctrinal or personal life, no matter how unbiblical they may be, you are not loving and you are arrogant to judge this person. Jesus’ words, “Judge not, lest you be judged” (Matt. 7:1) are wrenched out of context and misapplied. If people would just keep reading, Jesus goes on to say, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6). How can you determine if someone is a dog or a swine if you don’t make discerning judgments? A few verses later He warns us to beware of false prophets who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). It takes a discerning sheep to see that this isn’t a fellow-sheep whom we need to embrace, but a ravenous wolf we need to avoid!

 

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In his book, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, K. Scott Oliphant writes,

Jesus is teaching them something that every Christian must learn. He is telling them, as Paul later reminded the Philippians, that they were to be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6). Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord. To be worrisome is to think that we are ultimately in control, that we can alter our own circumstances, ultimately by our own power.

The disciples are not to think this way. Jesus knows the kind of suffering that they will be called on to endure. He knows that the Christian road will be rocky and ultimately deadly for them. He knows that they will suffer martyrdom for their faith (see, for example Matt. 20:23; Mark 10:39). To be worried about how their Christian faith will fare in a hostile world would take their minds off of the task at hand. It would distract them from the defense of and preaching of the gospel. Worse still, it would betray a heart that is not resting in Christ and His authority (Matt. 28:18-20).

(p. 204)

“Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord.” I need to remember that.

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A Prayer

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“Almighty God and Father, grant unto us, because we have to go through much strife on this earth, the strength of Thy Holy Spirit, in order that we may courageously go through the fire, and through the water, and that we may put ourselves under thy rule that we may go to meet death in full confidence of thy assistance and without fear.

Grant us also that we may bear all hatred and enmity of mankind, until we have gained the last victory, and that we may at last come to that blessed rest which thy only begotten Son has acquired for us through his blood. Amen”

John Calvin

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