THINKING OF OTHERS 2

Is my religion as obvious as a black eye just waiting to be asked about?

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-save life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it” (1 Cor 9:19-23 MSG)!

“When have you resisted helping people in trouble, saying they brought it on themselves? Have you shunned those who are ungodly or cut off those who are ungrateful? [L]et us be challenged by Christ’s teaching to extend love to anyone in need” John Calvin (ref#164, June 15th).

“[N]o one gives grace better than a person who is deeply convinced of his own need of it” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 19th).

“[C]ontend for the faith. [C]ontend means, to strive, to fight, to labour fervently. Lukewarmness neither pleases our Captain, nor prevails over our adversary. Everyone must give account for his idle words, and for his idle silence” Willian Jenkyn (ref#225, April 16th).

“Reprove seriously. Reprove compassionately. Soft words and hard arguments go well together. Passion will heat the sinner’s blood, but compassion will heal his conscience. Our reprimanding may be sharp, but our spirits must be meek. The reprover should have a lion’s stout heart, or he will not be faithful, and a lady’s soft hand, or he is not likely to be successful” George Swinnock (ref#225, Sept 26th).

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 ESV).

PLACING OURSELVES IN THE WILL OF GOD

“[I]t is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13 ESV).

“[T]he Lord allows us to succeed, when we in good faith discharge our duty and shun nothing that he commands. How many times have we abandoned our duties because we thought that success could only come through disobedience” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 10th)?

“Behold on what sure foundation his happiness is built whose soul is possessed with divine love, whose will is transformed into the will of God, and whose greatest desire is, that his Maker should be pleased! Oh! the peace, the rest, the satisfaction that attendeth such a temper of mind” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p78)!

“[W]hoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. [W]hoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:5-6 ESV).

“[L]et people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14 ESV).

“[H]oliness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life. [A]s we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of life, He reveals to us our need in another area” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p10).

“We are not our own, therefore neither our reason nor our will should guide us in our thoughts and actions. We should not seek what is expedient to the flesh. [L]et us forget ourselves and our own interests as far as possible. [L]et his wisdom and will dominate all our actions” John Calvin (ref#313, p21).

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not so much take the Christian out of the world as take the world out of the Christian. [I]f the world is not in them, the world outside them will not be able to affect them” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 20th).

EMULATE GOD

“We can serve God freely and boldly, even though our consciences accuse us and we know we are full of sin. God accepts our works, even though much is wrong with them. Picture a child who is seeking to obey his father. When the father asks the child to do something, he will accept what the child does, even though the child may not understand what he is doing. The child may even break something in the process, yet the father will not fret about the broken object when he sees his child’s affection and willingness to obey” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 9th).

“O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul” (Isa 26:8 ESV).

“O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (Isa 26:12 ESV).

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Eph 5:1-2 MSG).

“God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next” (Rom 15:3-6 MSG).

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually” (Ps 105:4 ESV)!

PUTTING ON THE NEW SELF

“We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Feb 4th).

“Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood that flows in the head flows in the hand, and the same life that quickens Christ quickens His people, for ‘Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God’ (Col 3:3). As if this were not enough, we are married to Christ. He has betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 16th AM).

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Pet 1:3-4 ESV).

“To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world. It is to live a life characterized by the ‘[putting] off of your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and [putting] on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Ephesians 4:22, 24)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p16).

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1 ESV).

By calling it a living sacrifice we are to be continually sacrificed to the Lord so that our former life will be destroyed in us. [O]ur work is pleasing and acceptable to God when we devote ourselves to purity and holiness” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 6th).

“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life” (Jude 1:20-21 MSG)!

“[What] pleases him is not our work for him but our need of him” John Piper (ref#220, p215-216).

“The good news of salvation is that as believers in Jesus Christ, and by God’s grace, we are no longer sinners in Adam, we are now righteous in Christ” Denny Johnson (ref#385).

SHATTERED PRIDE

“As we grow in the Christian life we face increasing danger of spiritual pride” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p72).

“To humble the pride of the flesh, God determined to take away from men any reason for confidence or boasting” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 9th).

“It is a very common for God’s people, after they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. It is as if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 21st PM).

“Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience! The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on what they have by the accident of heredity” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 30th).

“Weakness is not the big danger to be avoided. What you need to avoid is your delusions of strength” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 17th).

“Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work. If you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Mar 2nd PM).

“To be truly in Christ is to stand accepted in His righteousness, to be justified by Him freely from all things; it is to be brought to the knowledge of our own vileness, insufficiency, and guilt; to be made to cast aside all self-dependence and works of human merit, and to come as the thief on the cross came, without any confidence in anything of self, but as a poor, helpless, ruined, condemned sinner, whose hope of pardon and acceptance is only through the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 1st).

“[W]e must die if we are ever going to live. So grace is out to kill us. But in presiding over our deaths, grace gives us life” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 19th).

“[T]rust the Lord, surrender, and go habitually trusting through all the changes, knowing that his love, purpose, and promise are unchangeable” John Newton (ref#322, p191).

HUMBLE WAITING

“[I]f all things are in his hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient;–then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue” John Newton (ref#322, p137).

“You are to be nothing so that God may be everything. It is for you to fall at His feet, with confusion of face and contrition of heart” Charles Spurgeon (ref#320, p 73).

“[M]y power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9 ESV).

“[A] Christian knows the plague of his own heart and the value of Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 29th).

“[H]umility means ‘a deep sense of our own meanness which is always accompanied with a profound submission to the will of God, and great deadness to the glory of the world, and the applause of men.’” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p11).

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 ESV)?

“[T]he one condition for spiritual progress is that we remain sincere and humble” John Calvin (ref#313, p19).

“[T]he battle is not yours but God’s. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf. Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe and you will succeed. Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever” (2 Chron 20:15,17,20-21 ESV).

RESULTS OF OBEDIENCE

“If Christ is your life, you are free from the desperate quest to find life in situations, locations, and relationships. You don’t need to search for meaning and purpose. You don’t need to search for identity. You don’t need to look for something to give you the inner sense of well-being that every person wants” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 8th).

“And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised” (Deut 26:18 ESV).

“[W]e hold unassailable truth because we feel a divine energy living and breathing in it—an energy by which we are drawn and animated to obey it, willingly indeed, and knowingly, but more vividly and effectually than could be done by human will or knowledge” John Calvin (ref#113, p34).

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trust in You” (Isa 26:3 ESV).

“When we reach that place of deep intimacy with the Lord, we experience a joy and a peace and an overflowing sense of love that cannot be equaled. The joy we know overrides any difficulty, hardship, trial, tribulation, or lack we may have in our lives. His peace and His love fill up every lonely, frustrated, or empty crevice in our being. He deals with us in a way that is infinitely kind and good and faithful and generous and merciful, so that our automatic response to ourselves and to others is one of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, generosity, and mercy” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p68).

HARD LIFE

“[W]e can be in the very center of God’s will, being used by the Lord in a powerful way—and still get into a lot of trouble” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p114). I think of Stephen who was chosen by the Apostles to wait tables but ended up martyred (Acts 6-7).

“Those whom the Lord has chosen and honored with his intercourse must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils; it being the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it toward all his children. (Heb 5:8)” John Calvin (ref#113, p458).

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

“Christ is exceedingly ready to pity us. His arms are open to receive us. He delights to receive distressed souls who come to Him and to protect them. He would gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings; it is a work that He exceedingly rejoices in because He delights in acts of love, and pity, and mercy” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p106).

“So Christ is an ever-flowing fountain. He is continually supplying His people, and the fountain is not spent. They who live upon Christ may have fresh supplies from Him to all eternity; they may have an increase of blessedness that is new, and new still, and which never will come to an end” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p107).

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 1st).

“It would seem as though we were summoned not so much to go out on the field of battle, as on the field of conquest; not so much to combat with the foe, as to gather up the spoils of victory What is each successful conflict with our spiritual adversaries, each mortified corruption, each resisted temptation, each overcome sin, but a display of the great victory already won by the Captain of our salvation” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 5th)?

GOD’S POWER FOR US

“[W]hat the kingdom of Christ bestows upon us raises us even to eternal life, so we can patiently live at present under toil, hunger, cold, contempt, disgrace, and other annoyances. [H]e arms and equips us by his power. [W]e here are clothed with his righteousness, we can bravely surmount al the insults of the world and as he replenishes us liberally with his gifts, so we can in our turn bring forth fruit unto his glory” John Calvin (ref#113, p320).

“His presence gives us the courage to take on evil and win! He enables us to withstand temptation” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p25).

“The fact that we have been saved frees us from guilt and from God’s judgment The fact that we are being saved frees us from bondage to our own self-centeredness. And the fact that we shall be saved frees us from all fear about the future” John Stott (ref#258, p83-84).

“How happy are they who can believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves” John Newton (ref#322, p137)!

“Only be strong and very courageous” (Jos 1:7 ESV).

“Keep listening to the thunder in his voice” (Job 37:2 ESV).

“[B]e strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1 ESV).

PURELY GOD

“It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised” (2 Cor 1:12-14 MSG).

“It is true, we shall still fall short; we shall find, that when we would do good, evil will be present with us. But the attempt is glorious, and shall not be wholly in vain. He that gives us thus to will, will enable us to perform with growing success, and teach us to profit even by our mistakes and imperfections” John Newton (ref#322, p138).

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:4-5 ESV).

“He comes to us at the moment of our salvation, and he comes to us again and again as we journey from the ‘already’ to the ‘not yet.’ He sits down with us, assuring us again of his love, drawing out from us love for him, and sending us on our way to do the work he has chosen us to do. He does not wait for us to come to him; he comes to us. It is the way of grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 24th).

“O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (Isa 26:12 ESV).

“God accepts those gifts which he himself has conferred upon his servants” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 7th).

“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength” (Isa 45:24 ESV).

“What then shall we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom 8:31-32 ESV)?

“We have a Keeper, and our safety is his commitment” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, July 4th).

“[H]e who is the blessed and only Sovereign,, the King of kings and LORD of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Tim 6:15-16 ESV).