Even though Jacob was made to wander away from his father’s house, he was still within the care and kind Providence of God. It is a comfort to know that no matter how messed up our lives are, we are never beyond the reach of God’s mercy.
The man who attempts Christianity without the church shoots himself in the foot, shoots his children in the leg, and shoots his grandchildren in the heart.
There is no higher compliment that can be paid to a Christian than to call him a godly person. He might be a conscientious parent, a zealous church worker, a dynamic spokesman for Christ, or a talented Christian leader; but none of these things matters if, at the same time, he is not a godly person.
The difference lies in the way we handle adversity. All of us are afforded the same grace in Jesus, the same help in time of need, the same presence of Christ and the same comfort in times of suffering.
But it is in the way we handle the hard times that determines whether we grow or not. People who grow to maturity faster are those who have the habit of going to God when they face adversity. And by that I mean people who accept pain, grief, disloyalty and betrayal as Jesus did. They look to Jesus for the proper response. They frame their reaction by the filter of God’s word, not by the dictates of their raging emotions. They accept opposition and isolation, believing that better things are yet to come. Continue reading Why Some Christians Mature Faster than Others
We must be clear in our minds that whatever further reasons there may be why God exposes us to the joys and sorrows, fulfillments and frustrations, delights and disappointments, hapinesses and hurts, that make up the emotional reality of our lives, all these experiences are part of His curriculum for us in the school of holiness, which is His spiritual gymnasium for our reshaping and rebuilding in the moral likeness of Jesus Christ.
J. I. Packer, A Passion for Holiness
Cultural relevance in preaching is good. I don’t want to preach to yesterday. God has made me responsible to the actual people around me. I like that. I want to get better at it. But there is more. Shouldn’t a message from the King above make people say, “Something altogether unearthly has come to town, something from beyond ourselves, a word from a distant shore. That’s why it’s so helpful”?