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Archive for March, 2009

 

He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition. ~ George MacDonald

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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Just for Giggles

ht: cawleyblog

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I can never resisit excellent stuff from Tim Keller (ht: Denis Haack’s excellent blog,  A Glass Darkly)

There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians. The first is what I will call the moral-performance narrative identity. These are people who in their heart of hearts say, I obey; therefore I am accepted by God. The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity. This basic operating principle is, I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey.

People living their lives on the basis of these two different principles may superficially look alike. They may sit right beside one another in the church pew, both striving to obey the law of God, to pray, to give money generously, to be good family members. But they are doing so out of radically different motives, in radically different spirits, resulting in radically different personal characters.

When persons living in the moral-performance narrative are criticized, they are furious or devastated because they cannot tolerate threats to their self-image of being a “good person.”

But in the gospel our identity is not built on such an image, and we have the emotional ballast to handle criticism without attacking back. When people living in the moral-performance narrative base their self-worth on being hard working or theologically sound, then they must look down on those whom they perceive to be lazy or theologically weak.

But those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.

To read the rest of this article (original source, “The Advent of Humility: Jesus is the reason to stop concentrating on ourselves,” by Tim Keller in Christianity Today, December 2008, pp. 50-53) click here.

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John’s point in 1 John 4, “God is love,” is that those who really do know God come to love that way too.  Doubtless we do not do it very well, but aren’t Christians supposed to love the unlovable-even our enemies?  Because the Gospel has transformed us, our love is to be self-originating, not elicited by the loveliness of the loved.  For that is the way it is with God.  He loves because love is one of His perfections, in perfect harmony with all His other perfections. ~ D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p. 63.

In John 13 the point was that, if an individual Christian does not show love toward other true Christians, the world has a right to judge that he is not a Christian.  Here (in John 17:21) Jesus is stating something else which is much more cutting, much more profound:  We cannot expect the world to believe the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.~ Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian


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