Thoughts on Grace – Humility

grace

Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six. The quotes in this series come from her book.
“The baby Christian and the maturing believer know that they ought to be humble… the grown-up in Christ, however, IS truly humble. He habitually looks back on the way God has faithfully led him and can see the innumerable times that God has given him good in return for his evil.”
I think I fall somewhere in between the maturing and grown-up Christian. I am still learning a lot of lessons in being humble. Hard lessons sometimes. I found I thought too much of myself, my credentials, my experience. It is all for nothing without Christ.

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33

Thoughts on Grace – Look to Jesus

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Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six. The quotes in this series come from her book.
“When we are standing tall and strong we do not tend to look at Christ – we don’t need Him. But when we fall flat on our faces, overcome with sin and weakness, there is nowhere else for us to look but to the One who has died our death and lived the life we should have lived.”
How many times have you found this to be true? Yes, I praise and thank Him when the big, obvious answers to prayer are seen. I am joyful when an unexpected blessing comes and I give Him the glory.
But what about every day, when it’s the same thing you did the day before? I think I sometimes forget to go to God when everything is going smoothly. I forget to be grateful when everything is going as it should.
Seems some of us go from blessing God to begging Him. What would your friends think if that was the way you treated your friendship? Don’t you think your friend wants to just hang out with you sometimes?

My prayer is that I go to God every day, not just when I’ve messed up big time. Because, really, I mess up every day.

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Thoughts on the words of J. Gresham Machen – The Secret Signature of the Soul

J. Gresham Machen lived from 1881-1937. He was a Presbyterian churchman, a New Testament scholar, a Princeton Theological Seminary professor, founder of the Westminster Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Machen is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. The quotes in this series come from his book, “Christianity and Liberalism”.

 

“…the secret signature of each soul…. This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul.”

3rd choice

April – 2017

What a profound and wonderful statement. We are all wonderfully made and we are all different. We are not sprung up randomly , we don’t come into our families by chance. God knows us, he knows what is written on our souls.

Worldview

by Jonathan Pie

By Jonathan Pie

 

“It is our way of looking at life, our interpretation of the universe, our orientation to reality. “ – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken

Whenever we bump into the world, our worldview has a way of spilling out. It comes out in what we think and love, say and do, praise and choose. – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken

Read that again and let it sink in. … what we think and love….praise and choose… . Much of what I think no one will ever know. But I will, and I must live with it. What I love? I’m afraid what I really love shows in what I write about and talk about. My love for Christ often fades into the background, and that is truly telling. And shaming. My worldview shows in what I choose to do with my time.

I’m beginning to think my worldview needs a little adjustment.

My Thoughts on a Millennial Rant

 

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So, I really got sidetracked today after reading an article  reposted by someone I love but  who really didn’t grow up in church. I feel like someone from the outside looking in, reading this article, could really find justification for despising the “church” as they understand it. Here I will briefly address each point the author makes with my insight, however flawed.

  1. Nobody’s listening to us “…millennials value voice and receptivity above all else”
    This seems kind of sad that this is valued above all else.
  2. We’re sick of hearing about values & mission statements
    I can agree here. Get back to the Gospel.
  3. Helping the poor Isn’t a priority
    The author talks about connecting people with similar passions – meeting and brainstorming. Individual Christians need to be serving the people where they are – it’s not always necessary to CONNECT and brainstorm.
  4. We’re tired of you blaming the culture
    True, perhaps, We need to call sin sin. I agree, we need to see how our lives should differ from the culture.
  5. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” affect  – The author speaks of “…authentic community with a shared purpose centered around service”.
    We need to be centered around worship. All the rest will then fall into place. He also says to “..create and train a team of CONNECT people…” This seems like just another program. We are called as Christians to do this regardless.
  6. Distrust and misallocation of resources “…millennials don’t trust institutions.” The misallocations of funds is true in many churches, especially the Mega-churches. But, many of these are just religious institutions, not a true body of believers.
  7. We want to mentored, not preached at
    I understand craving relationship and I believe it can be found within the church. The New Testament shows us this example in Paul and Timothy. But, this does not mean to disregard preaching. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Romans 10:17
  8. We want to feel valued. “Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve.” (yet later the author says the church is “… a smattering of mostly older people) I agree with his point about relying on young people – this isn’t in keeping with the pattern set out for us in scripture. The author goes on to say, “We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are.” This is completely false. None of us are “enough” – only in Christ are we worthy. Many millennials have been given trophies and told they could do anything they dreamed of, only to find out not everyone will be a NFL star or a grammy winner.
  9. We want you to talk to us about controversial issues  – “We need someone consistently speaking truth…”
    This goes back to #1 – sound preaching. He says to “Create a young adults program…” A program isn’t necessarily the answer. Sound preaching and teaching from home is. I will be the first to admit I fell down on the job on that one.
  10. The public perception – “It’s time to change the public perception of the church.” The perception may change when the church is worshiping and serving as scripture teaches. But, just remember the public perception of Jesus when He was on earth was pretty low. Why should it be different for us?
  11. Stop talking about us (unless you’re going to do something) I say this goes both ways.
  12. You’re failing to adapt. Here the author quotes Bill Clinton, and I’m thinking there is something wrong with that picture. Then he says, “You’re complacent, irrelevant, and approaching extinction.” I guess “stop talking about us” doesn’t apply here.

 

“The truth is, church, it’s your move.”
If the author is a Christian, he IS the church. If he’s not, all of this is moot.

Prayer

 

Dear Father… You are patient and gracious far beyond our deserving. Let us hope for your forgiveness when we can find no way to forgive ourselves. You bless our lives even when we have shown ourselves to be utterly ungrateful and unworthy. May we be strengthened and renewed, to make us less unworthy of blessing, through these your gifts of sustenance, of friendship and family.” – prayed by Jack in Home by Marilynne Robinson

You would have to read the book to understand how beautiful and sad this prayer is.  Jack, the “black sheep” of the family prays here and it nearly broke my heart. This is the prayer I need to pray. Every. Single. Day. I identify with the ‘no way to forgive ourselves’ sentiment. And the being blessed even while ungrateful and unworthy.

Prayer doesn’t change things, but prayer lays hold of God who changes things and Who, in prayer, changes you. And sometimes in the midst of it all He gives you the assurance that your plea has been granted. – from The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

I like that part about how God changes us in prayer. And gives us assurance.

Little Snippets

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In my day-to-day life as a substitute teacher, there are little snippets here and there that give hope. It may be seeing a kind child who does something nice for a fellow student without being prompted or acknowledged. It may be the words of appreciation given me when I am able to help with a math problem or give away a pencil.

Even, on a rare occasion, I find a gem in a textbook. The eighth grade World History book gave me some things to think about recently. The kids were in the section on ancient Israel and I came across these words about David (King David) :

“…David was admired for his military skills and as a poet…”

Now, David certainly had military skill, no doubt about that. He was also a great poet – just read any Psalm in the Old Testament that he wrote. Yet, I wonder if any kids who had no background knowledge of David would wonder at the combination of military skill and poetry. And, if those who did have some background knowledge would remember all the other aspects of David’s life. Did any of them know that he was in the lineage of Jesus?

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Acts 2:11

Or that he is described as a “man after God’s own heart?”

… He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ – Acts 13:22

Another excerpt spoke of Ruth, also in the line of Christ.

“…Ruth, who left her people to care for her mother-in-law, was seen as a model of devotion to one’s family”

Yes, Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. – Ruth 1:16

Snippets, little snippets. I keep looking for them.