When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God.
Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God.
Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour.
We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters.
Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us.
(J.I. Packer via Justin Taylor)
Posts from the ‘quotes’ Category
Among the top five most influential books in my life is J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. I read it during college 15-ish years ago. Among many other things, it gave me a deeper understanding of who God is, especially His sovereign care, and gospel light to the morbid introspection that would regularly spiral me into a dark depression.
When I heard he passed away today, I went downstairs to our little library and searched the shelves, feeling like I went 15 years back as I handled my worn, much-underlined copy of Knowing God. It was like greeting an old friend, and I found some gems that I underlined in years past:
“The width of our knowledge about him is no gauge of the depth of our knowledge of him.” (p. 39)
“His love for me is utterly realistic, based at every point in prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me…and quench his determination to bless me.” (p. 42)
“In God boundless wisdom and endless power are united, and this makes him utterly worthy of our fullest trust.” (p. 91)
“‘He knows the way he taketh,’ even if for the moment we do not.” (p. 98)
“God makes not only the wrath of man to turn to his praise but the misadventures of Christians too.” (p. 241)
“Think of what you know of God through the gospel, says Paul, and apply it. Think against your feelings; argue yourself out of the gloom they have spread; unmask the unbelief they have nourished; take yourself in hand, talk to yourself, make yourself look up from your problems to the God of the gospel; let evangelical thinking correct emotional thinking.” (p. 260)
“For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open. He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus’ sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final.” (p. 273)
“Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” (p. 275)
I trust God held him fast as both physical blindness and faith finally became glorious sight in the face of his Savior.
“No rest for the weary, when you feel like it all rests on you.” (Tim Keller)
“Eventually, when we returned to the town,” Ron continued, “we saw that the entire mission station, including the house we built for our family and the aircraft hangars and maintenance facility that we built by hand, were all destroyed.”
…Emotional and on the verge of tears, he told me, “It was a deep, deep hurt for me to realize that [what took] generations of missions effort to build was all destroyed. We lost the whole thing, but not the privilege of being able to put it on the altar for Christ.”
(From the most recent VOM magazine)
They lost everything but not the privilege to lay all their costly losses on the altar for a worthy Christ.
So if our losses permit us to do nothing else … they permit us to do this …
Then on the third at break of dawn,
The Son of heaven rose again.
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King
Sang these words at our Good Friday service last night and choked up. O trampled death where is your sting? The angels roar for Christ the King.
Adoniram Judson, one of the first American missionaries to Burma, after the death of his wife, writing to console a sister and colaborer in the faith who just lost her husband:
You are now drinking the bitter cup whose dregs I am somewhat acquainted with…I can assure you that months and months of heartrending anguish are before you…I can only advise you to take the cup with both hands, and sit down quietly to the bitter repast which God has appointed for your sanctification…Take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom.. You will find it the sweetest cup that you ever tasted in all your life. You will find heaven coming near to you…
(Sharon James, My Heart in His Hands: Ann Judson of Burma, p. 199)
In Christ, there is sweetness at the bottom of every bitter cup appointed to us.
“When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.”
It’s easier to say no to the leeks and meat pots of slavery
after I’ve drunk of living water and had my fill
of the bread of life.
From a place of fullness, not
a place of hunger, do You bid me say,
“I shall not want.”
From Nik Ripken’s The Insanity of God, pp. 286-287:
“I have even been wiling to die for Jesus,” he pleaded. “But do you know what I fear? When I go to bed at night, what keeps me awake, and what actually terrifies me, is the thought that God might ask of my wife and my children what I have already willingly given Him.”
“How can He ask it? Tell me! How could God ask that of my wife and children?”
I paused for a few moments and prayed that the Lord would guide my words as I responded … Finally I told him, “I personally cannot answer your question. But I would ask you another question that I have had to ask myself: ‘Is Jesus worth it? Is He worth your life? Is He worth the lives of your wife and your children?’”
He was undoubtedly the toughest man I ever met. He began to sob. He wrapped his arms around me, buried his face in my shoulder and wept …
Then he looked me in the eyes again, nodded, and declared, “Jesus is worth it. He is worth my life, my wife’s life, and He is worth the lives of my children! …”
In fact, that’s how worth it He is. Not that there is no cost. I cannot think of a greater cost than my husband or sons. But there is no cost that compares to His worth.
Jesus Christ is worthy not only of my life but all our lives. Except the upside down thing is that He laid down His infinitely precious life for us. So what is the temporal giving of this life? Like Amy Carmichael said, certainly count the cost … but take your slate to the foot of the Cross and count the cost there.
From Vaneetha Rendall Risner:
Those two simple words have taken the fear out of life. Replacing “what if” with “even if” is one of the most liberating exchanges we can ever make. We trade our irrational fears of an uncertain future for the loving assurance of an unchanging God.We see that even if the worst happens, God will carry us. He will still be good. And he will never leave us.
From John Piper:
The greatest danger a missionary faces is not death but to distrust the mercy of God. If that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their sting…
Remember this Advent that Christmas is a model for missions. As I, so you. And that mission means danger. And the greatest danger is distrusting God’s mercy. Succumb to this and all is lost. Conquer here and nothing can harm you for a million ages.
From Marwan Aboul-Zelof, a church planter in Beirut, writing on The Gospel Coalition today:
Most of the unreached in our world remain unreached because they live in hard places: whether they’re in closed communities, hard-to-access villages, or other dangerous places. The biblical call to go to them is not void because of these challenges.
If anything, this ought to be a more urgent matter for the church. Christ calls us to take the gospel to hard places. And the gospel will always conflict and confront; the setting or location is irrelevant.
… There are so many unknowns in this part of the world, especially now. It’s quite possible we could wake up tomorrow and learn that Lebanon has been pulled into war. What’s been taking place in Syria for the past six years could be our next six years. And the cost weighs even more heavily when you have responsibility for a family.
But while the list of unknowns is much too long, we can’t live in a way that puts too much weight on temporal things. God’s promises in Christ are eternal and sure, and in Christ and his finished work we anchor our hope and trust.
… We pray and hope for peace in Lebanon, but in the meantime we have a commission from our King.