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Archive for May 3rd, 2010

Godly sorrow is a gift from God. No hand but a divine hand can make the heart soft and tender under the sight and sense of sin.

Source: Thomas Brooks

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I do not say for a moment that holiness shuts out the presence of indwelling sin… But it is the excellence of a holy man that he is not a peace with indwelling sin, as others are. He hates it, mourns over it, and longs to be free from its company.

source: J.C. Ryle

In December of 1662, as he lay dying, Scottish Puritan David Dickson said: “

I have taken all my good deeds and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace!”

source: unknown

To cut off the sinner from all reliance upon himself, his merits and his powers; and throw him, naked and helpless, into the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ in faith; should be the one great aim of the ministry.”

source: Ichabod S. Spencer

Providence has a voice, if we had an ear. Mercies should draw, afflictions drive. Now when neither fair means nor foul do us good, but we are impenitent under both; this is to wrestle against God with both hands.

source: William Gurnall

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This morning we were watching a children’s TV show about the five senses. In the context of touch they mentioned how our skin feels pleasure and also pain. Pain was introduced as a good thing because the sensation of pain prevents serious injury or even loss of life. (They illustrated by discussing what would happen if you didn’t know the hot water pouring on your hands was hot).

‘Coincidently’ last night when reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to the children we read of Naaman "who had leprosy , which is a nasty thing that stops you from feeling anything. Bits of you fall off without you noticing, like bashed fingers and squished toes."

So between last night and this morning I was providentially reminded once again that pain is not to be seen solely as a bad thing but rather something God uses to save our lives or express his love (as the writer of Hebrews says pain may be discipline and evidence that God loves us as sons and daughters).

This afternoon we watched Little House on the Prairie. Mary and Adam are blind and lost in the wilderness. A fire starts very close to where Mary is injured. Mary screams and her life in endangered. Tragedy seems a certainty. But it is the smoke from the fire that enables her father Charles to find her and save the day. What appears bad is not necessarily so in God’s wise, gracious and good providence.

Yesterday I was thinking about how I expect God to act in a certain way. Tonight we were again reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. It was the story of Ezra and Nehemiah and how as Ezra read from the law the people wept over their sin.

"We’ve blown it," they cried. "Now God will punish us!"
They thought they knew what God was going to do.
But they didn’t.

Last night at church the Bible talk was on how theology ought to move us to doxology. I hope this is where I am headed.

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This analogy is set in an ancient Middle Eastern context of shepherding and does not reflect contemporary shepherding practices. I cannot provide any evidence of this being an actual historical shepherding practice. However as an illustration of who a loving sovereign God may choose to ordain suffering into the lives of his people I think it is helpful. Perhaps it offers one reason why one may rejoice in suffering.

A sheep who will not follow the shepherd’s voice is in grave danger. Wandering will lead to death whether from predators, stumbling over a cliff or exposure to the elements.

A shepherd who is gracious might break a sheep’s leg to save the sheep’s life.

The shepherd will then bind up the broken leg, carry the sheep upon his shoulders and hand feed the sheep. In this way the sheep learns dependence and trust in the shepherd and learns to respond to his voice.

Some might regard the shepherd’s actions in bringing suffering into the sheep’s life as cruel. But the shepherd’s action in facts saves the sheep.

The reality is that the shepherd is good. The shepherd brings suffering into the sheep’s life in order to preserve the sheep’s life.

This is the same shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.

 

A supporting verse for this concept would be Isaiah 19:22

And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.

cross references: Psa 51:8;Deu 32:39; Job 5:18; Hos 6:1-2; Heb 12:11

 

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"Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration."

source: John Calvin

Did the world come into existence apart from the work of the Holy Spirit? If His work was essential in the creation of the world, what good reason do we have to believe that His work is not needed in the recreation of sinners?

"Though it be said that faith cometh by hearing, yet it is the Spirit that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else they are not profited by hearing."

source: John Bunyan

 

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"Christ’s resurrection is the ground-work of our hope. And the new birth is our title or evidence of our interest in it."

source: John Flavel

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I thought this was very good …

The Scriptures speak of eternal life in the metaphor of a river that causes the waters to teem with life, with many kind of fish, and vegetation thriving on the banks (Ezek. 47:9-12).

This is why one aspect of Jesus’ kingship is to make the waters teem with fish, right in the presence of his commercial fishermen disciples (John 21:3-8).

And this is why the Scriptures consider it an apocalypse when the waters are poisoned, and the sea-life is gone (Rev. 8:8-9).

 

Source: http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/05/01/the-gulf-of-mexico-and-the-care-of-creation/

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