Odds & Ends: February 2018
Charles Spurgeon Quotes:
- I have a great need for Christ: I have a great Christ for my need.
- We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.
- If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.
- It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of heart; if you have the heart to pray, you will find the time.
How to View Death
For the believer, the time of death becomes far less daunting a factor when seen in the light of eternity. Although death remains an enemy, an outrage, a sign of judgment, a reminder of sin and a formidable opponent, it is, from another perspective, the portal through which we pass to consummated life. We pass through death, and death dies. And the more a Christian lives in the consciousness of God’s presence here, the easier it is to anticipate the unqualified delight that will be experienced in God’s presence there.
A Heavenly Focus
“Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven?” asks 17th-century pastor and author Richard Baxter. Focusing on heaven stirs our faith, guards against temptation, eases suffering and makes us an encouragement to others, Baxter says. He urges: “Bend thy soul to study eternity, busy thyself about the life to come … and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thyself in heaven’s delights.”
The Touch of Christ
Disability advocate Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic since a 1967 diving accident, is also a cancer survivor. Breast cancer “was a bruising of a blessing,” she says, “because it helped us face our own mortality.”
The “us” refers to Ken Tada, her husband of 30+ years. In Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story (Zondervan), the couple shares how physical challenges have brought them closer to God and one another. During the “worst of all nights,” when pneumonia ravaged Joni’s chemotherapy-weakened body, she asked God to help her sense his presence.
As Joni summoned Ken for the third time that night, her prayers were answered. She “could feel the touch of Christ” while her husband ministered to her needs and offered encouraging words.
Spouses — and, indeed, all Christians — are called to be Jesus to one another. He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV).
Actions Speak Loudly
Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
God's Perfect Timing
After serving as a missionary with her husband for 20 years, L.B. Cowman compiled the widely read devotional Streams in the Desert. Below are two insights from Cowman about the need for patience:
"God is never an instant too late. He may keep us from the knowledge of what he is going to do; but he always has his perfect plans successfully made. All we need to do is to put ourselves wholly in his hands, ask his guidance, follow his leadings and count confidently upon his blessings.”
When I cannot understand my Father’s leading,
And it seems to be but hard and cruel fate,
Still I hear that gentle whisper ever pleading,
God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT.