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Archive for June 22nd, 2011

Puritan Pastor, Matthew Henry, having thoughtfully considered his having been robbed of his wallet wrote the following words in his diary:

I thank Thee

first because I was never robbed before;

second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life;

third, because although they took my all, it was not much;

and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.

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Contentment is a disposition of the heart that freely and joyfully submits to God’s will, whatever that will may be. (p.28)

Contentment and idolatry don’t mix well. Putting off idolatrous is the first step toward contentment. It’s impossible to be content in God and worship something other than God at the same time. It just can’t happen. And so the first step in finding joy is to kill the things that are killing you. It’s never easy and is usually excruciating. But the sweet fruit of contentment can only blossom after you have ripped out the weeds. (p.44)

You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you.            source: Augustine’s Confessions

In the gospel we have full, free, open access to God. This isn’t “come once a year, kill a lamb, and hope you don’t die” access to God. We don’t need to whip ourselves into a twirling religious frenzy or to light sticks of incense. There’s no need to walk ten miles with broken glass in our shoes or wash ourselves clean in a sacred river. We can come into the presence of God at all times and at all places.

This is the greatest benefit of the gospel. Forgiveness of sins, a new heart, and eternal life are only a means to this magnificent end. Jesus Christ ushers us into the presence of God, and it’s in the presence of God that we find our soul’s deepest satisfaction. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

A speedboat, job promotion, or beautiful, loving spouse who likes long walks on the beach can’t bring fullness of joy. Eternal pleasures can’t be purchased with a platinum credit card. Full, overflowing, eternal joy and pleasure are found only in the presence of God, and in the gospel we have access to his joyful presence. …

If we want contentment we need to spend time, much time, lingering in the presence of God. We need to go to the place where contentment is found, to regularly drink from the fountain of joy. We need to let our eyes pour over the pages of sacred Scripture and to listen closely as God speaks to our hearts. … If we’re not consistently spending time in the presence of God, we won’t be content. Period. (pp.65-66)

When we complain, we’re loudly saying that the blessings of the gospel aren’t enough. We’re saying that the death of Christ isn’t enough.  We’re saying that eternal fellowship with God, purchased at great cost to God, isn’t enough to satisfy our souls. … The only way to cut the nerve of complaining is to regularly and actively remember and savor and apply the gospel. (p.72)

Contentment happens when I realize that I have so much more than I deserve. (p.112)

Contentment happens when, through faith, you see the treasure waiting for you. (p.126)

Your futile house projects are a reminder that you’re not home yet. Your constant battle with depression is a reminder that soon the gloom will lift. You’re frustration with your job is a reminder that soon you’ll be able to enjoy work as you were always meant to do. … We can be content now because we know that very soon all our longings will be satisfied. (pp.137-138)

 

Source: Stephen Altrogge, The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence (Crossway, 2011)

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The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both; for he who is deeply skilled in it will be able both to govern those who are teachable, and to refute the enemies of the truth.

Source: John Calvin on Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ”

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