Saturday, November 20, 2010

"From the delectable orchard of the Leonine prison."

Before we go through deep waters we may have many fears, says John Flavel.  How sweet, then to hear the testimony of those who have gone through very deep waters and have found them much shallower than they feared.
Flavel tells of Pomponius Algerius who, while in the stinking prison of Lyons in France, wrote, "I shall utter that which scarce any will believe, I have found a nest of honey in the entrails of a lion, a paradise of pleasure in a deep dark dungeon, in a place of sorrow and death, tranquillity of hope and life."  Each letter he wrote, he signed "From the delectable orchard of the Leonine prison."
Thank you Lord, for this testimony.    Forgive my carnal fear.  Give me courage.

Expectations reveal our hearts.

J.I.Packer says that the Puritans allowed the Word of God to rip their consciences --  and we should do so more than we do.

Recently I read a verse in Zephaniah that ripped my conscience.
God says, "At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.'"

It is a sin not to take God's wrath against sin seriously.   But it is also sin not to expect GOOD from God when we are seeking him with all of our heart.   Too often I have hard thoughts of God --speaking in my heart what the servant in the parable said after burying his talent: "I knew you were a hard master..."  

Lord, help me to take every thought captive to your Word so that I may live in expectation of your grace and favor.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great Thoughts from Bonhoeffer's mother

In a new book on Bonhoeffer Ferdinand Schlingensiepen says of Paula, Bonhoeffer's mother, :
"...the mother spent a great deal of time with her eight children.  She was a trained teacher and gave the older five children their first schooling herself, along with some of the neighbour' children.  In her view, if at all possible,one should not turn one's children over to strangers during their early years, which are so important for the development of imagination and character."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Revenge of the Cradle

Well doth David call children "arrows"; for if they be well bred, they shoot at their parents' enemies; and if they be evil bred, they shoot at their parents.

Henry Smith

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"What is Meditation?"

J.I.Packer says, "Well may we ask: for meditation is a lost art today, and Christan people suffer grievously from their  ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of  God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one's mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one's mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God's power and grace. Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God's greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us-'comfort' us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word-as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Practically speaking, what would that plowing look like? Do we do it?

Today my friend Sylvia sent me this great quote:
"We are told men ought not to preach without preparation.  Granted.  But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation.  Which, do you think, needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground?  I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in.  It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher."
                                                                                    ~ C. H. Spurgeon

If you want to know what preparing to listen looks like,  Sylvia recommends Expository Listening: Handbook for Hearing and Doing God's Word.