Two One-liners

*ZING!* ;-)

This is an excerpt from a chat with a friend who is in a tough legal situation.
They are innocent of the charges, but are concerned about the rumor mill and losing friends.

(23:03:18) sja: The opinions of men do not change the truth before God.

(23:03:46) sja: Events like this don’t cause you to lose friends —
(23:03:53) sja: they cause you to see who your true friends are.

RE: Piper on Evangelism

From the previous post:

“…use our discretionary time not by maximizing our fleeting comforts but by devising ways to be a blessing to the lost and suffering.”

Man I love this line!

Read it a few times over and I know you will, too.

Our comforts are so temporary! Yet when they are just beyond our reach, we tend to deceive ourself and think that we’re “suffering” without them.

Sometimes we read lines like this and then respond in error by practicing asceticism. We become legalistic and fear pleasure… and even assign sinful motives to others who are having fun. Jealousy, perhaps? Rejoice with those who rejoice… Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Notice Piper uses the word “maximize” here. He’s not referring to “Enough is as good as a feast”. He’s talking about the attitude of “I’m going to eat until I puke and there better be more for when I’m up to eating again.” Discontentment.

When expectations are not met, we cannot think of anything else. In a sense, they become idols we worship. We’re even willing to sacrifice others upon the alters of these idols to get what we want. “I know ____ is having a hard time, but she’ll have to wait or deal with it by herself. There’s no way I’m calling her back right now. I have an appointment to __________, and if I don’t take time for ME, I’m going to miss my chance!” (How do we know we’ll never have the chance again? We rationalize and make excuses to justify the sacrifice to our comfort-idol.)

But, comforts are blessings. We need to appreciate them in that context — never as things we deserve.

Thinking of comforts as blessings – as a gift for which we can thank the Lord – vs. as a deserved reward for our being a good person – helps to curb selfish, sinful indulgence.

How quick we are to forget that only the blood of Christ can eternally satisfy the discomfort/suffering in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.’

Hebrews 9:14-15 How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Rather than spending time “suffering” because we’re not clicking “Book My Flight!” on an Expedia getaway package so grandiose its unaffordable – and trying to think of what items to eBay in order to pay for the trip – Piper reminds us to redeem our time by thinking about the true suffering (emotional, physical, spiritual) of others and ways “to be a blessing [a COMFORT!] to the lost and suffering” because of Christ.

Eternal comfort vs. fleeting comfort.

When we stop and say, “My temporary happiness is not as important as taking the time to share Christ with _____ by helping her to _____”, we are engaging in comfort that has an eternal value.

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Sharing this treasure with others is true evangelism.

Word study : Verses on “Comfort.”

Piper on Evangelism

Colossians 1:3-8 says “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing – so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”

Excerpt on Evangelism from John Piper (For complete text this sermon entitled “The Fruit of Hope: Love” , click on the link attached to Piper’s name):

Piper writes:

In summary, direct the attention of your mind day and night to the word of God’s promises, seek in all humility the help of the Holy Spirit to see the wonder of what is really there, and, as Peter says, “Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

And by the grace of God the result will be the visible fruit of love. This means:

  • We will be more patient, more kind.
  • We will be less jealous, and boastful and arrogant and rude.
  • We will not just seek our own advancement but will strive to do to others what we would have them do to us.
  • We will not be so irritable.
  • We won’t be so prone to keep an account of wrongs or return evil for evil.
  • We will be inclined to bear all things and endure all things for the sake of our neighbor.
  • We will not speak about our neighbor’s faults without first going to the neighbor ourselves.
  • We will return good for evil, and use our discretionary time not by maximizing our fleeting comforts but by devising ways to be a blessing to the lost and suffering.
  • More and more our whole lives will take on an overflowing and other-directed spirit.

And this love will transform you and your family and the church, and, as Jesus says, the world will see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

There is no better evangelism in all the world than a church whose hope in God is so strong that they gladly deny themselves in order to meet the needs of others.

You Made Me Sin

Hooray for cooler weather!

“Red alert. Put the kettle on!”

Instead of my usual coffee (which can be spiced up by mixing a dash of cinnamon with the grounds before brewing – thanks to my friend Sarah for this tip!), I made a steamy mug of Stash’s Double Spice Chai Black Tea. The flavor of the tea made me want to bake some biscotti! (My own not-so-secret recipe is posted here in the NGoYR archives.)

In my In-Box this morning was a note from Carolyn McCulley. Even though I am happily married, it is important to me to understand and build relationships with women of all ages and stages of life. McCulley, who is unmarried, has a wonderful way of encouraging single (and married!) women in the Lord. She works with Sovereign Grace Ministries and authored “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye:Trusting God with a Hope Deferred.”

I had asked her opinion of Debbie Maken’s book “Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness.” The Canon Press bookstore now carries title, and Nancy’s Wilson’s review can be found here. McCulley is now penning some thoughts on book to be posted on her blog, Solo Femininity. I look forward to reading her review.

Boundless, a Focus on the Family webzine for the college and career crowd, recently published an article by McCulley entitled, “You Made Me Sin”. Continue reading “You Made Me Sin”