We Are Pilgrims

Abraham’s life goes against our own culture today. Our dominant ideology today yearns for settlement, security, and placement. Everything around us tells us to hunker down, save everything, hedge ourselves about with every protection. Our natural desires are for more comforts. Our culture celebrates home and dynastic families. But God’s word says otherwise, instructing us to seek things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Talk to Your Tear

When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears, “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”

—John Piper

Capacity for Greatness

The best kind of life that you could ever have is not in the hoarding of money and in rising to the highest position in your company or in getting prestige for a job well done. They are all good but they are not the greatest. The greatest, according to the Bible, is knowing Christ and living according to his will. So build your life on Christ. This is the only kind of life that has the capacity for real greatness.

—Baccalaureate Address for UE Caloocan

Weakness is the Way

For some reason God always chooses to display his power against the backdrop of human weakness. His remarkable works in the Bible and in history are performed using weak human vessels. I believe he does this on purpose so that we would know that the work of the Lord, the ministries and jobs he gave us, are meant to be accomplished using his power, not ours.  J.I. Packer is right. Weakness is the way.

Continue reading Weakness is the Way

As Christ Loves the Church

Ephesians 5:22-33.

Paul tied the love-relationship between husbands and wives to the greater theology of Christ’s relationship with the church. You can’t attack the institution of marriage without attacking the theology of the universal church of Christ. And you can’t claim to be a growing disciple of Christ in the church if your marriage do not bear the resemblance of the relationship between Christ and the church.

Where Were You?

John Stott:

Herod and Pilate, Gentiles and Jews had together conspired against Jesus (Acts 4:27). More important still, we ourselves are also guilty. If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. Indeed, we have done it. For whenever we turn away from Christ, we are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace (Heb 6:6). We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, ‘Yes, we were there.’ Not as spectators only but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood in our hands. Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Indeed, ‘only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross’, wrote Canon Peter Green, ‘may claim his share in its grace’.

Black-market Relationships

Ray Ortlund on Proverbs 1:8-19:

Have you ever felt that envy and resentment deep inside? It is where violence begins. Your heart is lying in wait for blood. When this rage pops up to the surface, observe yourself carefully. You will probably recruit others to your cause. Sin tends to recruit. Watch those thoughts and feelings creeping into conversations with other people. You will want to get others on your side.

Look at [Proverbs 1:14]: “Throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse.” A cause, even a negative cause, provides a group to belong to. It is one way we nurse our grudges, and it feels good. But whenever we gather around grievance rather than Jesus, that is counterfeit community, black-market relationships, and that negativity is in collision with reality. It cannot succeed long-term.

An Unholy Delusion

Joseph Loconte on the Great War:

For the intellectual class as well as the ordinary man on the street, the Great War had defamed the values of the Old World, along with the religious doctrines that helped to underwrite them. Moral advancement, even the idea of morality itself, seemed an illusion. . . . [T]he war to make the world safe for democracy, the holy war to advance Christian ideals, was an unholy delusion.

We Confuse Prayers with Wishes

Lord, teach us to pray!

That request sounds odd to our modern ears. Why would anyone need instruction in prayer?

Ahh, but that question betrays our misunderstanding. Most often, we confuse prayer with wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, and pouring out of feelings. No. Prayer is different. Prayer is finding a way to talk to God. For that to happen, we need Christ, the Christ of the Bible.

Where Do You Find Broad Wings?

Charles H. Spurgeon:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”

These words, from the mouth of any other man, would be ridiculous, and even blasphemous. Take the greatest poet, the greatest teacher of philosophy, or the greatest king, and anyone with the biggest soul, who among them would dare to say to all the laboring and heavy laden ones in the whole human race. “Come to me, and I will give you rest”?

Where do you find wings broad enough to spread over every sorrowing soul, except the wings of Christ? Where do you find a harbor big enough to hold all the navies of the world, to give refuge to every storm-worn vessel that ever crossed the sea; —where, but in the haven of the soul of Christ, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead; and, therefore, in whom there is room enough and to spare for all the troubled children of men?