John Calvin On Prayer

John CalvinSome great quotes from John Calvin on prayer…

“Oh Lord, Heavenly Father, in Whom is the fullness of light and wisdom, enlighten our minds by Your Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive Your Word with reverence and humility, without which no one can understand Your truth.” —John Calvin

“O grant that we may learn to rely wholly on Your goodness.” —John Calvin

“Prayer is the spade with which we dig up all the promises in God’s garden.” – John Calvin  

“Whenever men are to pray to God concerning any great matter, it would be expedient to appoint fasting along with prayer. Their sole purpose in this kind of fasting is to render themselves more eager and unencumbered for prayer… with a full stomach our mind is not so lifted up to God.” – John Calvin

Links & Quotes

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Bios has, to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe: but only the sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place, or a statue and a man. A man who changed from having Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.” ―C.S. Lewis

“True faith embraces Christ in whatever ways the Scriptures hold Him out to poor sinners.” —Jonathan Edwards

Going through difficult times might be beneficial for Christians, says Trevin Wax in his post How Social Ostracism Could Increase Our Love.

“Yet while a race remembers and relives its sufferings and wrongs, it is often unwittingly transformed, often into the very image of its oppressor. Moreover, bitterness anchors the mind in the past and takes the heart with it. There is no future and no sense of the possible. There is only the incessant churning. Soon it becomes an excuse, a room into which the heart can run to find justification for failure and wrongs of its own. The end comes after the isolation and the rage have run their course. Bitterness is the second sting of the wound, and its fruit is death.” ―Booker T. Washington

“Progress is impossible if you only attempt to do the things you have always done.” —Mike Krzyzewski

[VIDEO] Is there evidence for a literal Adam and Eve? Does it matter?

Are You Grace-full?

The order that words and phrases are listed in the Scripture is not haphazard nor random; each word is divinely inspired, even the order in which they appear. So look at the order in these verses:

  • But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Do you see it? Grace then truth/knowledge.

FullOur human tendency is to switch this order: we want truth and knowledge first. But the Bible never teaches this, and the One Who delivered the greatest words ever spoken never said this. Our tendency is to want to get the facts, and then choose which ones we’ll embrace because they “fit” with what’s comfortable to us. Then we argue with others over what we claim to be “truth” and get labeled as judgmental and haters.

Bottom line―We cannot know what “truth” is without first having received grace. 

To fix this, we need to pursue grace, not more knowledge. We need to pursue Jesus. Look at the order again: IF you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32).

Why can’t we know what truth is without having first received grace?

  • Jesus said this about the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
  • The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Jesus never talks about grace. Why? Because He IS grace.

For IN Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form giving complete expression of the divine nature. (Colossians 2:9, AMP)

...I am IN My Father, and you are IN Me, and I am IN you … Remain IN Me, and I will remain IN you… (John 14:20; 15:4)

And you are IN Him, made full and having come to fullness of life IN Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature… (Colossians 2:10, AMP)

You grow in grace by growing in Christ. You grow in truth by growing in grace. When you are full of Christ―when He is IN you and you remain IN Him―then you are grace-full, and therefore you can also be truth-full. This is how you can reach full spiritual stature.

So here’s a question for you: How grace-full are you?

If you are around Cedar Springs this coming Sunday, I would love for you to join with us as we continue our series answering your questions with the greatest words ever spoken.

Read The Red Letters

Read the red lettersLet’s see if you can guess what famous person said the following (the answers are below … but no cheating!):

  1. “The phonograph is of no commercial value.”
  2. “I think there is a world market for about five computers.”
  3. “I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the English are bad soldiers; we will settle the matter by lunch time.”
  4. “There will never be a bigger plane built.”
  5. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.”

People get it wrong lots of times. Even really smart, successful people. King Solomon, who was called the wisest of all, wrote a book called Ecclesiastes in which he shared some bad advice he tried to follow. In the closing verses he gave this warning, “My son, be warned. Of making many books there is no end so do not believe everything you read, and much study is the weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).

In the Hebrew world there were three departments of knowledge:

  • Law―words from God to man
  • Prophesy―judgment from God on how man is doing in observing God’s law
  • Wisdom―man’s attempt to live out God’s law based on observation, experience, and reflection (for a great example of all three departments at work, see Luke 10:25-37)

What we need is someone who (1) knows God’s way, (2) lives God’s way, and (3) can teach us how to live out God’s way for ourselves. Someone who is perfect, flawless in every phase. We need the One Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). That One is Jesus.

Can I make a suggestion that will bring you amazing results? Spend some time reading the red letters. That is, go to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and focus on the words of Jesus (which many Bible translations print in a red font). There I am certain you will discover the greatest words ever spoken!

If you can, please join me over the next few Sundays as we will be attempting to discover the greatest words ever spoken on a variety of subjects. Folks have turned in the questions that they would like answered, and we are going to look to the red letters to see what Jesus has to say.

Answers to the quiz:

  1. Thomas Edison, remarking on his own invention 
  2. Thomas Watson, Sr., chairman of IBM
  3. Napoleon Bonaparte, at a breakfast with his generals preceding the Battle of Waterloo
  4. A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that held ten people 
  5. IBM board of directors, to the eventual founders of Xerox

14 Quotes From “Not Knowing Where”

Not Knowing WhereNot Knowing Where is the first Oswald Chambers book I ever read, and I was instantly hooked. I recently re-read this book and found new gems I hadn’t seen before. You can read my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few of the many, many quotes I highlighted this time around.

“To debate with God and trust common sense is moral blasphemy against God. … When God calls us He does not tell us along the line of our natural senses what to expect; God’s call is a command that asks us, that means there is always a possibility of refusal on our part. Faith never knows where it is being led, it knows and loves the One Who is leading.”

“The call of God only becomes clear as we obey, never as we weigh the pros and cons and try to reason it out.”

“God will never allow you to hold a spiritual blessing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others. If you hoard it, it will turn to spiritual dry rot.”

“There is a difference between circumstances and environment. We cannot control our circumstances, but we are the deciders of our own environment. … ‘Circumstances over which I have no control’ is a perfectly true phrase, but it must never be made to mean that we cannot control ourselves in those circumstances.”

“At times it appears as if God has not only forsaken His Word, but has deliberately deceived us. We asked Him for a particular thing, or related ourselves to Him along a certain line, and expected that it would mean the fullness of blessing, and actually it has meant the opposite—upset, trouble and difficulty all around, and we are staggered, until we learn that by this very discipline God is bringing us to the place of entire abandonment to Himself.”

“God holds His children responsible for the way in which they interpret His will. We only discern God’s will by being renewed in the spirit of our minds in every circumstance we are in. We must learn to tell ourselves the truth on the basis of God’s Word.”

“In worship I deliberately give back to God the best He is given me that I may be identified with Him in it.”

“The greatest enemy of the life with God is not sin, but the good that is not good enough. … Many of us do not go on in our spiritual life because we prefer to choose what is our right instead of relying upon God to choose for us.”

“Reality is not found in logic; Reality is a Person.” 

“Spiritual fatigue comes from the unconscious frittering away of God’s time. When you feel weary or are exhausted, don’t ask for hot milk, but get back to God.”

“To say ‘I have got the victory’ is a selfish testimony; the testimony of the Spirit of God is that the Victor has got me.”

“A saint is not an angel and never will be; a saint is the flesh and blood theater in which the decrees of God are carried to successful issues. All of which means that God demands of us the doing of common things while we abide in Him.”

“Self-pity is satanic.”

“There is nothing more heroic than to have faith in God when you see so many better things in which to have faith.”

Links & Quotes

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“Who can tell, dear friends, how much peace you may give by only telling the story of our Savior.” ―Charles Spurgeon

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” ―C.S. Lewis

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that you and I have funded the abortions committed by Planned Parenthood to the tune of $1.5 billion! Our tax dollars are going to murder our fellow citizens … this is unacceptable!

In their excellent investigatory work, Live Action has uncovered how Planned Parenthood allows sex traffickers, pornographers, and pimps to continue to earn a profit of the enslavement of women.

Kudos to Pastor John Lindell for boldly declaring the biblical stance Christians should take against immoral laws. Predictably, people are labeling him as a hater and out-of-touch, but he is absolutely right on the mark.

Seth Godin says, “If it’s worth listening to, it’s worth questioning until you understand it.” Read more of his post Active Listening.

Science shows that encouragement truly does help people get through tough circumstances better.

Harsh Words

Keep it closedThis is an interesting exchange between God and His people―

God says, “You have said harsh things[*] against Me.” 

“What have we said against You,” the people asked. 

“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God…’” (Malachi 3:13-14).

We think we know better than God.

We tell God how we think it should be.

We complain that God is letting some people get away with bad stuff, and He’s not rewarding quickly enough those who are doing good stuff.

We think God doesn’t care if we do things our own way.

We think we can better manage our lives than He can.

We act like we’re in charge.

This is speaking harsh, arrogant, rude, terrible words against God. It’s really saying, “I know better, so I should be God.” This not only removes God’s blessing, but invites His punishment.

Ouch! It’s good to examine our thoughts and words to make sure we aren’t thinking or speaking harsh things against God.

[*] Some other translations say things like “You have spoken arrogantly against Me” and “You have said terrible things about Me” and “You have spoken rude words to Me.”

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