It’s really hard to listen to God when there are really interesting things to think about.
Mark Galli | posted 11/05/2009 10:33AM
When I preach, I often quote the Bible to drive home my point. I think it more persuasive to show that what I’m saying is not merely my opinion but a consistent theme of Scripture. And to avoid the impression that I’m proof-texting or lifting verses out of context, I quote longer passages—anywhere from 2 to 6 verses.
When I did this at one church, a staff member whom I’d asked for feedback between services told me to cut down on the Scripture quotations. “You’ll lose people,” he said.
I understood the reality he was addressing, and so I scratched out the biblical references for the next sermon. But lately I’m beginning to question that move, and wondering, Why have we become so impatient and bored with the Word of God? I ask this not in a scolding tone, but in wonderment, not to point fingers, for I wonder at myself as well.
via Yawning at the Word | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.
Go find your Bible, hold it in your hands, break it open before your eyes, and spend some time immersing yourself in it.
Did you know that your Bible is THE ONLY ETERNAL THING that exists in this world? It is God’s spoken Word to His people, and Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will by no means pass away.”
When you hold the Bible in your hands, you are touching the only concrete piece of eternity in all of creation. Everything else is entirely temporal. Everything else had a beginning and will have an end. But God’s Word has always been, and will always be.
When you hold your Bible you are holding a drop of eternity in your hands! Respect it; cherish it; love it; read it often.
I heard this story about the good book.A high school senior, from a well to do family, showed his dad a picture of the car that he wanted for graduation. He fully expected to receive the car at his graduation party like his siblings before him had. After his graduation ceremony he returned home to his party. In front of his family and friends his father walked up to him and handed him a wrapped gift. He quickly opened it to find a brand new Bible. Furious that he had not received the car, he threw the Bible at his father and walked out.He did not return home until his father had died, years later. As he was going through the items that his father had left for him, he came across the bible his father had given him. As he opened the book for the first time, a cashiers check fell into his lap. It was dated the day of his graduation and was for the exact amount of the car that he had wanted to buy.The moral to the story, is “Sometimes it pays to open the Bible.” Try it today, who knows what kind of treasure you will find. God bless you.
via The Good Book.
Sometimes readers of the Bible see the conditions that God lays down for his blessing and they conclude from these conditions that our action is first and decisive, then God responds to bless us.
That is not right.
There are indeed real conditions that God often commands. We must meet them for the promised blessing to come. But that does not mean that we are left to ourselves to meet the conditions or that our action is first and decisive.
Here is one example to show what I mean.
In Jeremiah 29:13 God says to the exiles in Babylon, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” So there is a condition: When you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me. So we must seek the Lord. That is the condition of finding him.
But does that mean that we are left to ourselves to seek the Lord? Does it mean that our action of seeking him is first and decisive? Does it mean that God only acts after our seeking?
Listen to what God says in Jeremiah 24:7 to those same exiles in Babylon: “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
So the people will meet the condition of returning to God with their whole heart. God will respond by being their God in the fullest blessing. But the reason they returned with their whole heart is that God gave them a heart to know him. His action was first and decisive.
So now connect that with Jeremiah 29:13. The condition there was that they seek the Lord with their whole heart. Then God will be found by them. But now we see that the promise in Jeremiah 24:7 is that God himself will give them such a heart so that they will return to him with their whole heart.
This is one of the most basic things people need to see about the Bible. It is full of conditions we must meet for God’s blessings. But God does not leave us to meet them on our own. The first and decisive work before and in our willing is God’s prior grace. Without this insight, hundreds of conditional statements in the Bible will lead us astray.
Let this be the key to all Biblical conditions and commands: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Yes, we work. But our work is not first or decisive. God’s is. “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.