John Piper said, “We were made to live with God as the all-satisfying center of our lives, with everything else in good, godly, happy orbit. Instead, we have a solar system with competing gravitational centers, and nothing else flying in its right orbit.”
In Psalm 16:11 David wrote, “In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Lasting joy and guilt-free pleasure are found in God’s presence. If He is the “sun” of our universe, everything else stays in its proper “orbit.” How do we make sure God is our sun? The first phrase in Psalm 16:11 is the key: “You make known to me the path of life.”
Did you catch that? Not only is God the sun-center of our universe, but He tells us when our sun-center has become (or is becoming) something other than Himself. That’s why David also prayed, “Search me, O God,” and why Paul told us to regularly examine ourselves.
Christian, are you ready to do spiritual battle? You need to make sure you are properly equipped with all the armor God has for you. Check out my review of William Gurnall’s The Christian In Complete Armour by clicking here, and then enjoy this first set of quotes.
“Christ’s blood is the only wine which gladdens God’s heart and satisfies His justice at the same time. … No grape of our own harvest is pressed into this sweet cup. It is as if Christ says, ‘When [God] comes to comfort you with the forgiveness of your sins, He will take of mine, not anything of yours. I purchased your peace with God with My blood, not by your tears of repentance or morning for your sins.’”
“Unbelief is a sin-making sin. … It is a sin which holds out last on the battlefield, the one which the sinner is least aware of, and which the saint ordinarily conquers last. It is one of the chief fortresses to which the devil retreats when other sins are routed.”
“Do you take pleasure in choosing Christ? Do you go to Him not only for safety but also for delight? As the lover said of her bridegroom, ‘I sat down under his shadow with great delight’ (Song of Solomon 2:3). This must be a deliberate choice, wherein the soul seriously weighs the covenant Christ offers and then chooses Him.”
“Faith puts forth an assisting act in prayer. … It assist the soul with persistence. Faith is the wrestling grace. It comes up close to God, reaches out to Him, and will not easily take a denial. … Never before could the Christian know what to do with a promise in prayer until faith teaches him to press in to God with it, humbly yet boldly. … Prayer is the very breath of faith.”
“If a group of men and children were to wade through a brook no deeper than a man’s head, the men would have a definite advantage over the children. But if they tried to cross the ocean, the men as well as the children would need a ship to carry them. And only the insane would try to wade through without the help of a ship just because they are a little taller than the rest.”
“Beware of opposing the Spirit. Does He beam light from His Word into your understanding? Be careful what you do with this candle of the Lord that lights your mind; do not pride yourself in this new insight, or it may be snuffed out in an instant. If the Holy Spirit confirms the light in your understanding so that it sets your conscience on fire with the awareness of sin, do not resist Him. … satan longs for you to quench the Spirit by trying to calm your own conscience.”
“Christian, there are many delights which saints traveling to heaven meet on their way there, besides what God has for them at the journey‘s end. It is the Christian whose faith is strong enough to act upon the promise who finds and possesses these pleasures.”
“A person should no more sit down and be content in his unresolved doubt than one who thinks he smells fire in his house would go to bed and sleep. He will look in every room and corner until he is satisfied that everything is safe. … In spite of his doubts the true believer leans on and desires still to cling to Christ. While Peter’s feet were faltering beneath the water he was lifting up prayer to Christ.”
“Have you ever freely given yourself up to Christ? Everybody professes this, but the presumptuous soul, like Ananias, lies to the Holy Ghost by keeping back the most important part of what he promised to lay at Christ’s feet. The enjoyment of lust is entwined about his heart and he cannot persuade himself to deliver it up to God’s justice. His life is bound up in it, and if God will have it from him He must take it by force; there is no hope of gaining his consent. Is this the picture of your faith? If it is, you have blessed yourself in an idol; you have mistaken a bold face for a believing heart.”
“Faith strips away the veil from the Christian’s eyes so he can see sin in its nakedness before satan disguises it with flattering costumes. Faith enables the soul to recognize not only the nature of sin void of all true pleasure, but also the temporal quality of its frivolous elation. Faith persuades us not to give up God’s sure mercies for satan’s transient thrills.”
I will be sharing more quotes from this book soon. To be notified as soon as those quotes are posted, be sure to subscribe to my blog. In the meantime, every day I share inspiring quotes on Twitter and Tumblr, so make sure you follow me there too!
“There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person—if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.” —C.S. Lewis
“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. …You must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” —C.S. Lewis
“On the contrary, those who are seriously attempting chastity are more conscious, and soon know a great deal more about their own sexuality than anyone else. They come to know their desires as Wellington knew Napoleon, or as Sherlock Holmes knew Moriarty; as a rat-catcher knows rats or a plumber knows about leaky pipes. Virtue—even attempted virtue—brings light; indulgence brings fog.” —C.S. Lewis
“For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.” —C.S. Lewis
“A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it, from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless he is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor. But that would not be forgiveness at all. Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that we can always have from God if we ask for it.” —C.S. Lewis
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” —C.S. Lewis
“The human lives in time but our enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” —C.S. Lewis
“War creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it.” —C.S. Lewis
“The rescue of drowning men is, then, a duty worth dying for, but not worth living for.” —C.S. Lewis
“Christianity does not simply replace our natural life and substitute a new one; it is rather a new organization which exploits, to its own supernatural ends, these natural materials.” —C.S. Lewis
“O Lord, keep me strong in the sense of Thy call.” —Thomas Boston, Scottish Presbyterian pastor
“You have remained true to God under the great tests, now be alert over the least things.” —Oswald Chambers
“Mighty events turn on a straw.” —Thomas Carlyle
“God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon
“Pleasures demean, disappoint, and destroy us when they are merely fleeting, fleshly, and foolish. The pleasure we ultimately seek, and for which we were created, can only be found in one place, in fellowship and communion with the Lord of heaven and earth.” —T.M. Moore
John Piper has some very insightful words in the wake of the tragedy in Paris—France: A Fabric Torn.
Jim Cymbala reminds us, “There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat satan.” Read more in No Hocus-Pocus.
Parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will appreciate this counsel from Tim Elmore: 5 ways to cure the “cool kid” curse.
[VIDEO] What does the Quran teach about Jesus?—
[VIDEO] Pastor Dave Barringer is in Israel, and this real-time observation is quite eye-opening—
“Paul says ‘whatever you do’—even down to such everyday things as taking a meal—do it in order to glorify God [1 Corinthians 10:31]. Apparently there are ways of using culture—our table manners, language, style of dress, way of working, how we drive our car and care for our homes, the use we make of TV and films, the emails we write, the phone calls in which we become involved, and all the rest of our culture—there are ways of using such everyday things that will allow us to signal to the world around us that we are aware of an obligation in such cultural activities that extends beyond our own puny selfish interests. We seek the glory of God in our use of culture.” —T.M. Moore
“To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God Who died and rose for us, can make that possible. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed [John 8:31-32].” —John Piper
Here is what is sad to me, many people buy into what George Lord Byron wrote, speaking of Socrates: “Well didst thou speak, Athena’s wisest son, ‘All we know is nothing can be known.’” We can know through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.” —C.S. Lewis
“Pleasure is not a quick fix, it can be a thief, it will undermine happiness. Eventually, pleasure loses its pleasure and becomes a prison.” —Andy Stanley
If you have ever been hurt by your church, first of all: my heart breaks with yours … that should never have happened. But if it did, this post may help you in overcoming your hurt.
We must be in prayer! Every five minutes, a Christian is martyred for their faith somewhere in the world.
[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace, a cold case detective, talks about how he uses his investigative skills to explain the origin of life from non-life—
Earlier today I posted a recap of the message I delivered Sunday morning at Calvary Assembly of God addressing the question on why we have to go through suffering. Here are a few quotes I found during my study time last week.
“By nature, we evaluate nearly every situation according to its immediate impact on our desires, and we make our choices accordingly. Consequently, we often sacrifice that which would bring infinite eternal benefit in exchange for temporary gratification.” —Stephen K. Scott
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —Jesus Christ
“Wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely way, there God is hewing out the pillars for His temple.” —Phillips Brooks
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” —Thomas Moore
“Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy.” —Robert Pollok
“Joys are our wings, sorrows our spurs.” —Jean Paul Richter
“Sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning on all the thrones of the universe, and the crown of all crowns has been one of thorns. There have been many books that treat of the sympathy of sorrow, but only one that bids us glory in tribulations, and count it all joy when we fall into divers afflictions, that so we may be associated with that great fellowship of suffering of which the incarnate Son of God is the head, and through which He is carrying a redemptive conflict to the glorious victory over evil. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe
Today is pi day (3.1415), and Seth Godin has a great look at this day in his post Magical and Irrational.
Sadly, religious persecution is alive and well … IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?!? This Navy chaplain has been removed from his unit for―gasp!―preaching from the Bible!
Some very good pro-life news. Scientists have called on their peers to agree not to modify human embryos — even for research. Just because scientists can do something doesn’t mean it should be done.
“Cancer research disagrees with the assumptions of beneficial mutations, millions of years, and junk DNA.” Read more in Cancer Research Inadvertently Refutes Evolution.
“Yes, I know one doesn’t even want to be cured of one’s pride because it gives pleasure. But the pleasure of pride is like the pleasure of scratching. If there is an itch one does want to scratch: but it is much nicer to have neither the itch nor the scratch. As long as we have the itch of self-regard we shall want the pleasure of self-approval; but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither, but have everything else (God, our fellow-humans, animals, the garden and the sky) instead.” ―C.S. Lewis
Who Needs Sex? An insightful post from Pastor Dave Barringer.
Jim Cymbala asks, “Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until He opens the heavens and shows Himself powerful.” Read more in Prayer Revival.
“Let me say that for comfort, there is no thought more full of sweetness than that of an eternal God engaged in Christ Jesus to His people; to love, and bless, and save them all. One Who has made them the distinguished objects of His discriminating regard from all eternity, it is the eternal God.” —Charles Spurgeon
“There are nine requisites for contented living:
* The quote is from Wolfgang Goethe, but I added the Scripture references.
I know a lot of people who want to please others. This pursuit, however, can get you into hot water. For instance, when you need to confront a friend on their poor behavior. Or when someone doesn’t properly express their appreciation to you for appreciating them.
The Bible gives us a better way to be a people pleaser.
Paul wrote: “So we make it our goal to please [God]…” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Instead of goal, the King James Version says, “we labor.” If it is labor, then it truly is a labor of love: work that is challenging, but rewarding. In fact, the rewards are so overwhelming, that the sweat of labor is quickly forgotten.
The Greek word for labor/goal means work that is activated by love of honor, and so it brings forth our very best effort.
I desire to honor God and please Him, and I desire to be honored by God and find my full pleasure in Him. After all, as the Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
So my labor of love is activated first by my love for God; and secondarily by my love for others. Isn’t this what Jesus gave us as the Great Commandment (see Luke 10:27)?
It is God Who has made us for this very purpose [to enjoy Him forever] and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come [honor and eternal pleasure]. (2 Corinthians 5:5)
The Holy Spirit helps activate and direct my labor of love. The Spirit uses my labor of love to draw others to Christ; the Spirit assures me that my labor of love is bringing honor and pleasure to the Father. And in that knowledge I find my pleasure to continue to labor in love.
So if I want to please people, my goal must be a labor in love that pleases God. Out of the knowledge of His pleasure and honor, I am better prepared to present a labor of love to others.
The better we please God, the better we’ll please people. What do you think about this?