Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Power of Fear

God has been convicting me lately of a fear that is paralyzing and not pleasing to Him. I was repenting of it when I randomly (like the arrow that pierced Ahab's armor) picked up Volume III of the works of Puritan John Flavel. What should I find but "A Practical Treatise of Fear."

The Puritans are not simplistic. Flavel does not say "Do not fear" as we might expect. No, he takes us to Isaiah 8 where God tells his quaking people (who await the king of Assyria's merciless onslaught) : "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary." In other words, he gives a greater fear to chase out the lesser.

In the words of Flavel: "If a man do really look to God in a day of trouble and fear as to the Lord of hosts, i.e. one that governs all the creatures, and all their actions; at whose beck and command all the armies of heaven and earth are, and then can rely upon the care and love of this God, as a child in danger of trouble reposes on, and commits himself with greater confidence to the care and protection of his father: O what peace, what rest, what rest, must necessarily follow upon this!"

There is a sinful fear that has the power to paralyze but there is a greater fear that frees us. God used Flavel to quiet my soul.

Do you see now why I love the Puritans? Even a couple of paragraphs is more satisfying than a little pinch of chewing tobacco tucked into the cheek of an old sailor.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The graces without The Giver?

We got Pollyanna on CD out of the library recently and have been listening to it and discussing it. Something stinks. Pollyanna spills over with the Christian graces of thankfulness, kindness, forgiveness, and long suffering. She always assumes the best about others. For example, wealthy Mr. John Pembleton could eat dollar bills if he wanted to but always eats cheap. Pollyanna assumes he is saving his money for the heathen. Yet she possesses these graces naturally without any need for Jesus Christ. There is no evidence that she ever sins. In fact, she herself transforms people's lives as if she were the savior. This is another gospel-- one with men being basically good (with a little bit of encouragement) and the suffering and death of Christ being therefore unnecessary. We can be good without God. A tenant of atheism.
Let us guard the gospel with our lives.

Love the bride of Christ

The church is the bride of Christ. We should love that bride. The most concrete expression of it is the local church. Just like any bride, she sometimes has bad breath and disheveled hair. Let's repent if we don't love her and then press on to love her. Here are some GREAT suggestions on how. They are gritty and practical such as bring fried chicken to the church potluck and greet the young man with tatoos.

Lost: Common Sense on Directing Children in Vocation Choice

Here is a fantastically sensible article by John Rosemont. Somebody needed to say it. YOU CAN'T BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE!! Besides, what about the sovereignty of God and his call on our lives?