Odds & Ends: January 2018
R.C. Sproul quotes:
- We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because He holds tightly to us.
- We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.
- When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God. It’s with me.
- No matter how much injustice I have suffered from the hands of other people, I have never suffered the slightest injustice from the hand of God.
- God doesn’t want me to play with religion. He doesn’t want me to dabble in church. He wants me—body and soul.
- The grounds of your justification are the perfect works of Jesus Christ. We’re saved by works, but they’re not our own.
- We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.
The power of weakness
In Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom describes traveling to Russia during the Cold War — when Christians were being persecuted — to thank an old woman who’d been secretly translating Christian books (including ten Boom’s). Ravaged by multiple sclerosis, the woman could move only an index finger. Yet with it she typed constantly, translating words while praying for people who would eventually read them.
Ten Boom’s reaction was, “Oh Lord, why don’t you heal her?” But the woman’s husband said God had a purpose in his wife’s suffering. Although the secret police closely watched other Christians, they left this woman alone, assuming she couldn’t accomplish anything.
Jesus works through our weaknesses, making his power perfect in them (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). He doesn’t ask if we’re capable — only if we’re willing.
Someone who cares
It’s easy to become discouraged when we pause to consider the needs all around us. So many worthy causes and pressing concerns require action. What can one person with limited resources accomplish?
Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) said: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
We’re most effective and fulfilled when we put our God-given talents and resources into areas he has uniquely shaped our hearts to be passionate for. Passion is the key. If you want to make a difference, find something you care a “whole awful lot” about and then dive in.
“A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works; indeed, he certainly won’t know how it works until he’s accepted it.”
A penguin “parable”
During storms, emperor penguins huddle for warmth, taking turns at the center and on the perimeter of the group. While incubating eggs, up to 6,000 male penguins have been observed clustering for shelter against the harsh Antarctic winter. Partially grown chicks gather in protective “crèches” (French for “cribs”); often surrounded by a colony of adults, these groupings ward off predators and cold.
In stormy times, humans also need supportive groups; we can’t survive alone. A church family allows us to take turns giving and receiving care. Amid social upheaval, injustice, illness, natural disaster and any loss or crisis, God invites us to gather for protection and warmth. In the church community, we support and strengthen one another and are empowered to go out again into the less-sheltered world.
He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day.