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Unless the Lord builds the house,I was reminded that this is God’s work, not ours. He is the one who brings growth. If I am ever tempted to run too hard and too fast; to lay all my energy and effort on the altar of my ambition; to let pride in my hard work and achievements creep in, as if growth comes through my effort—then may I humble myself deeply in repentance. I am not the Saviour of the world. There is only one Messiah, and that is not me.
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth… According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 3:6-7, 10-11)We may plant or water, but it is God who gives the growth. We are mere servants, our tasks assigned by God. He gives us the privilege of being his fellow-workers, but we work with the grace he supplies. We are nothing; he is everything (1 Cor 3:5-10).
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? ... But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us ... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day … He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me … For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 11:29; 4:7, 16; 12:9-10)I am not strong enough to face today, let alone the next week, or the next month, or the next year. I am aware of that to my aching bones. But God is strong. He promises to give me what I need to keep trusting and serving him, moment by moment, day by day, whatever our circumstances. That’s how I face the future: not anticipating and preparing for every eventuality, but enjoying God’s gifts for today, and trusting him that, whatever he has in store, he will provide what I need to face it.
There is a place for women to serve. It will not always be the perfect place we envision. We might be called to do things we didn’t plan or want to do along the way … But we must indeed serve—with quiet, submissive, prayerful, relentless strength—because we are serving our Lord. We are serving the church he loves, for whom he died. (p. 212)If you’re a pastor or leader of a church or ministry, a woman who ministers to women, or a woman considering pathways for service, I encourage you to read this book. In my opinion, it’s one of the best books for women that’s come out in recent years. I plan to pull this book out and read it again, taking notes this time; that’s how good it is. I warmly commend it to you.
Why could it not be that God allowed evil because it will bring us all to a far greater glory and joy than we would have had otherwise? Isn't it possible that the eventual glory and joy we will know will be infinitely greater than it would have been had there been no evil?
What if that future world will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost? If such is the case, that would truly mean the utter defeat of evil. Evil would not just be an obstacle to our beauty and bliss, but it will have only made it better. Evil would have accomplished the very opposite of what it intended.
How might that come about? At the simplest level, we know that only if there is danger can there be courage. And apart from sin and evil we would never have seen the courage of God, or the astonishing extent of his love, or the glolry of a deity who lays aside his glory and goes to the cross.
For us here in this life, the thought of God's glory is rather remote and abstract. But we must realize that the most rapturous delights you have ever had - in the beauty of a landscape, or in the pleasure of food, or in the fulfillment of a loving embrace - are like dewdrops compared to the bottomless ocean of joy that it will be to see God face-to-face (1 John 3:1-3). That is what we are in for, nothing less.
And according to the Bible, that glorious beauty, and our enjoyment of it, has been immeasurable enhanced by Christ's redemption of us from evil and death ... Because of our fall and redemption, we will achieve a level of intimacy with God that cannot be received any other way ...
And why could it not be that our future glory will actually so "swallow" the evil of the past that in some unimaginable way even the memory of the evil won't darken our hearts but only make us happier? (117-118)
We tried again and miscarried—my fourth miscarriage during six years of marriage. My response during those days was quite different from the first two. I was sobered. I knew I didn’t have control—I couldn’t make a baby be born—and I was surrendered to that fact.Can I encourage you not to be scared of suffering? Yes, it is terrible, and it hurts horribly. But God will be there for you. You may not see it straight away; it may take years for you to see it; but it is true. His will is good. His grace is enough. He walks with us. He shelters us. And nothing and nobody can separate us from his love for us in Jesus. Be at peace.I was also at peace. I had spent the last few years preparing for another trial, and God’s promise stood true:Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4: 6-7).Surrendering to the Lord, crying out for help, and thanking him for what I did have proved to bring me great peace. God also tells us that the mind set on him will be given peace, because that person trusts the Lord (Is. 26:3). The Lord was faithful to fulfill these promises. I was at peace because he had given me peace. I was at peace because Jesus was enough for me.
I want the kids to go to good schools. I want great holidays in exotic places. I want a comfortable retirement for me and the missus. And you know what? I’m making it happen!I must admit I tuned out at that point, but my guess is he was advertising some kind of investment portfolio.
Many of us who wouldn't dream of viewing God's Word in a false or distorted way, think nothing of viewing God's world in a false or distorted way. - David MurrayTo see more links and quotes, click here (Facebook) or here (Twitter).
There is an ultimate harvest, a tree of life whose fruit we will taste on the last day when our waiting finally comes to an end with the return of the bridegroom to claim his bride. On that day, our cold and wandering hearts will finally be transformed and made whole. We shall behold the loveliness of his form with our own eyes. On that day, our joy will be complete. Iaian Duguid
You won't find a shelf labelled "death" at your local Christian bookstore. Have a look, and tell me if I'm wrong. My guess is that you'll find shelves marked "marriage" and "prayer", but probably not a section on dying.
We have considered suffering as a vocation. Dare we think of death as a vocation, too? ... Every one of us is called to die ... Sometimes the call comes suddenly and without warning. Sometimes it comes with advance notification. But it comes to all of us. And it comes from God. ...
Because of Christ, death is not final. It is a passage from one world to the next. ...
The valley of the shadow of death is a valley where the sun's rays often seem to be blotted out. To approach it is to tremble. We would prefer to walk around it, to seek a sage bypass. But men and women of faith can enter that valley without fear ...
God will not send us where He refused to go Himself ...
The valley of the shadow of death is not a box canyon. It is a passageway to a better country ... The goal of the vocation of death is heaven itself. But there is no route to heaven except through that valley.
O for a mind and will that need no more to quiet it than to know what is the will of God and our duty, and in every estate therewith to be content. - Richard BaxterTo see more links and quotes, click here (Facebook) or here (Twitter).
The gospel says, ‘Mourning does not have the final word. Healing does. Joy does.’ - Robert Kelleman
Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to, and delights in, God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.That’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it? Not to want more. Not to complain about our burdens. But to freely and gladly accept what God chooses to give us, at all times and in all places. Now that’s contentment.