May 24, 2019

If You Are Thirsty, Come and Drink: Excert from The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis

I saw this wonderful post on the Desiring God Blog and thought I would share it with you. I hope it is an encouragement to you!

C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, on Jill’s thirst and search for water:

C.S. Lewis

The birds had ceased singing and there was perfect silence except for one small, persistent sound, which seemed to come from a good distance away. She listened carefully, and felt almost sure it was the sound of running water.

Jill got up and looked round her very carefully. There was no sign of the lion; but there were so many trees about that it might easily be quite close without her seeing it. . . . But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. . . .

The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone’s throw away from her. But although the sight of water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward to drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned to stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason: Just on this side of the stream lay the Lion. . . .

How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.

“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.” . . .

For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again,

“If you are thirsty, come and drink.” . . .

It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. . . .

“Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. . . . The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. . . .

“Do you eat girls?” she asked fearfully.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

Recommended Reading on/byC.S. Lewis:
C.S. Lewis The Story Teller by Derick Bingham
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis


Four Reasons to Passionately Pursue God by John Piper

John Piper

I saw this very helpful and encouraging post on the Desiring God Blog.  I wanted to share it with you and hope that it is an encouragement to you to “passionately pursue God.”

Pastor John Piper in 1984; Adapted from  Going Hard After the Holy God

Why do I insist that you must go hard after God, or, which is the same thing, why must we go hard after Christ? Here are four reasons:

1. In Order to Know Him

First, we must go hard after Christ in order to know him. Philippians 3:7–8: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul went hard after Christ, forsaking all the things people normally boast about; and he did it in order to know him.

Why? Because knowing Christ is a value that surpasses everything else. The evidence of conversion is whether you become a Christian Hedonist. Christian Hedonists always go hard after the highest value. They sell everything joyfully for the buried treasure and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44–45). We must go hard after Christ, because not to means that we don’t want to know him. And not to want to know Christ is an insult to his value and a sign of spiritual stupor or deadness in us. But when you go hard after Christ, to know him, the reward is your joy and his honor.

2. To Confirm Our Justification

Second, we must go hard after Christ to confirm our justification. Justification refers to the wonderful act of God in which he forgives all our sins and imputes to us his own righteousness through our faith in Christ. Philippians 3:8–9, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

Philippians 3:9 is clear: the righteousness Paul pursues is based on faith. But he is pursuing it! As a Christian he counts all things as loss in order to have this righteousness. The faith which justifies is a faith which forsakes earthly values and pursues Christ. If justification depends on faith, and if forsaking the world as rubbish is necessary for having the benefits of justification, then it is plain: saving faith is not merely a one-time decision for Christ, but is an ongoing preference for Christ over all other values. The pursuit of Christ is the evidence of genuine faith in Christ as our treasure. Therefore, we must go hard after Christ in order to confirm our justification.

3. Because We Are So Imperfect

We must go hard after Christ because we are so imperfect. Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own.” We must go hard after Christ because we are so deficient. A failing student should pursue a special tutor. Nearsighted people should pursue an optometrist. People with strep throat should take antibiotics. Alcoholics should pursue a support group. Young apprentices should follow their master at his work.

Not to go hard after Christ means that either you don’t trust his power and willingness to change your imperfections, or that you want to cling to your imperfections. In either case, Christ is scorned and we are lost.

4. Because He Has Made Us His Own

The final reason why we must go hard after Christ is that he has gone hard after us and, indeed, has by faith made us his own. Philippians 3:12 again: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” This sentence explodes the false logic which says that if Christ has found us, we need no more seek him. If he has laid hold of us, we need not press on to lay hold of him.

Paul reasons exactly opposite to this: I press on in order to gain Christ, because Christ has already gained me. Paul’s conversion was not a cage to hold him back but a catapult into the pursuit of holiness. The irresistible grace of Christ overcoming Paul’s rebellion and saving him from sin did not make Paul passive, it made him powerful!

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolution (1722-1723)

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Jonathan Edwards

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can. [Read more…]

If God is all powerful, then why does he allow suffering?

“Keep in mind that from a biblical perspective, suffering is intrinsically related to the fallenness of this world. There was no suffering prior to sin. The Scriptures  teach that suffering in this world is part of the complex of God’s judgment on the world. You are asking, How can a righteous judge allow a criminal to suffer? How can a just judge allow a violent offender to be punished? The question we should ask is, How can a just judge not allow punishment for those who have committed acts of violence or crimes of any sort? Behind that question always stands the holiness of God and his perfect righteousness. Our understanding of God is rooted and grounded in the teaching of Scripture that he is the just Judge. The Judge of all of the earth always does right.

In the ninth chapter of John, the Pharisees say to Jesus, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his sin or the sins of his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither one.” We can’t come to the conclusion that an individual’s suffering in this world is in direct proportion to that individual’s sin. That was what Job’s friends did when they came to him and tormented him by saying, “Boy, Job, you’re really suffering a lot. This must be an indication that you’re the most miserable sinner of all.” But the Bible says that we can’t use such a formula. The fact is, if there were no sin in the world, there would be no suffering. God allows suffering as part of his judgment, but he also uses it for our redemption—to shape our character and build up our faith.”  ~ R.C. Sproul

Sermon excert from The Subjection of All Things Under the Feet of Jesus by J.C. Philpot

Here is an encouraging quote I found for when we are going through trials and hardships to remember that God is still in control and orchestrates everything in our lives!

J. C. Philpot

There may be circumstances in your earthly lot which at this moment are peculiarly trying. You look around and wonder how this or that circumstance will terminate. At present it looks very dark – clouds and mists hang over it, and you fear lest these clouds may break, not in showers upon your head, but burst forth in the lightning flash and the thunder stroke! But all things are put in subjection under Christ’s feet! That which you dread cannot take place except by His sovereign will – nor can it move any further except by His supreme disposal. Then make yourself quiet. He will not allow you to be harmed. That frowning providence shall only execute His sovereign purposes, and it shall be among those all things which, according to His promise, shall work together for your good. None of our trials come upon us by chance! They are all appointed in weight and measure – are all designed to fulfill a certain end. And however painful they may at present be, yet they are intended for your good.  When the trial comes upon you, what a help it would be for you if you could view it thus, “This trial is sent for my good. It does not spring out of the dust. The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it. It is very painful to bear; but let me believe that He has appointed me this peculiar trial, along with every other circumstance. He will bring about His own will therein, and either remove the trial, or give me patience under it, and submission to it.” -J.C. Philpot

Life in Christ by Lydia Brownback

Hey everyone, I was looking at the blog The Purple Cellar by Lydia Brownback and read this wonderful post. It is convicting and encouraging for me and I hope this is an encouragement to you as well.

Lydia Brownback

Do you know what it means to be “in Christ”?
You haven’t quite grasped it if things go wrong and the first thing you do is anxiously try to dig up some unconfessed sin as the reason.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you miss your quiet time one morning and think you’ll be thrown off course all day as a result.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you think you have to reach some spiritual peak before God will give you a husband or fix your marriage or save your children or give you a job.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you don’t really understand Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–30).

Why is this so hard for us—even as Christians—to grasp? It’s hard in part because Satan doesn’t want us to grasp it. It’s also hard because we are natural legalists at heart. We don’t want the yoke of Christ; we like finding our own way. We naturally bend toward self-righteousness rather than Christ-righteousness. [Read more…]

A People Near Unto Him, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 148:14  A people near unto him.
The dispensation of the old covenant was that of distance. When God appeared even to His servant Moses, He said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet”; and when He manifested Himself upon Mount Sinai, to His own chosen and separated people, one of the first commands was, “Thou shalt set bounds about the mount.” Both in the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent. The mass of the people did not even enter the outer court. Into the inner court none but the priests might dare to intrude; while into the innermost place, or the holy of holies, the high priest entered but once in the year. It was as if the Lord in those early ages would teach man that sin was so utterly loathsome to Him, that He must treat men as lepers put without the camp; and when He came nearest to them, He yet made them feel the width of the separation between a holy God and an impure sinner. When the gospel came, we were placed on quite another footing. The word “Go” was exchanged for “Come”; distance was made to give place to nearness, and we who aforetime were afar off, were made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ. Incarnate Deity has no wall of fire about it. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” is the joyful proclamation of God as He appears in human flesh. Not now does He teach the leper his leprosy by setting him at a distance, but by Himself suffering the penalty of His defilement. What a state of safety and privilege is this nearness to God through Jesus! Do you know it by experience? If you know it, are you living in the power of it? Marvellous is this nearness, yet it is to be followed by a dispensation of greater nearness still, when it shall be said, “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He doth dwell among them.” Hasten it, O Lord.

Related Books

Click to view at WTSbooks

Click to view at WTSbooks

Click to view at WTSbooks

Six Steps to Knowing God’s Will

Need God's Direction

Hey everyone! Check out these six steps to knowing God’s will. I found this while looking at my Dad website that has hundreds and hundreds or articles of anything you could think of! Check it out at: http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/.  I hope this post is beneficial to you!

  1. Begin by prayer for wisdom. Do not doubt that God has a wise course of action for you and will make it known.
  2. Intentionally seek God’s face even more than His answers. “In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
  3. Seek to be willing to take any course that God would have for you. Be thorough in your work on yourself. Often people miss God’s will because they are not fully willing to be submissive to God whatever He leads them to do.
  4. Carefully seek to discover if there are any directives already given in Scripture which could guide you. Are there illustrations, commands, principles, which speak to this issue? Meditate on these and see if Scripture promotes or rules out any action you are considering. Try to find not only what God permits and does not permit, but what God likes, what is dear to His heart. Go directly to any passage which deals with the general subject to see if there is help to be found which you had not discovered before. Always read the Bible in context.
  5. List each possible course of action, and in a prayerful frame of mind write out what are the pros and cons of each option. Put these options before the lens of Scripture one by one to see if God has spoken on these issues in some way. You will find more being said about most issues than you might first believe.
  6. When helpful, seek objective counsel from godly and wise men or women you can trust.
  7. Finally, examine your will again. If you are willing to do anything God might direct and that is certain in your mind, then you are free to pursue what God may be placing in your thinking related to the issue. Is there a long-term righteous desire in you?
  8. Now, act in faith. If God in His perfect cadence intervenes so as to cause everything to turn again, this is His business. For your part, you are required to take action along the lines of the wisest choice you can biblically make. Rejoice and do God’s will!-Jim Elliff, Led by the Spirit

Pilgrims Progress Excert: Faithful’s Encounter with Moses

Hey everyone, I found Pilgrim’s Progress for free on audio online and have been going  through listening to it. I thought I would share an exert  that I have been listening to. It is all good and difficult not to post the entire book, but I’ll give you just this one section.

John Bunyan

“Faithful: When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty, I met with a very aged man, who asked me what I was, and whither bound. I told him that I was a pilgrim, going to the Celestial City. Then said the old man, Thou lookest like an honest fellow; wilt thou be content to dwell with me for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked his name, and where he dwelt? He said his name was Adam the First, and that he dwelt in the town of Deceit. Eph. 4:22. I asked him then what was his work, and what the wages that he would give. He told me that his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his heir at last. I further asked him, what house he kept, and what other servants he had. So he told me that his house was maintained with all the dainties of the world, and that his servants were those of his own begetting. Then I asked how many children he had. He said that he had but three daughters, the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, 1 John, 2:16; and that I should marry them if I would. Then I asked, how long time he would have me live with him; And he told me, as long as he lived himself.

Christian: Well, and what conclusion came the old man and you to at last?

Faithful: Why, at first I found myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, “Put off the old man with his deeds.”

Christian: And how then?

Faithful: Then it came burning hot into my mind, that, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his house. Then he reviled me, and told me that he would send such a one after me that should make my way bitter to my soul. So I turned to go away from him; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh, and give me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself: this made me cry, “O wretched man.” Rom. 7:24. So I went on my way up the hill.

Now, when I had got above half-way up, I looked behind me, and saw one coming after me, swift as the wind; so he overtook me just about the place where the settle stands.

Christian: Just there, said Christian, did I sit down to rest me; but being overcome with sleep, I there lost this roll out of my bosom.

Faithful: But, good brother, hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, it was but a word and a blow; for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again I asked him wherefore he served me so. He said because of my secret inclining to Adam the First. And with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward; so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So when I came to myself again I cried him mercy: but he said, I know not how to show mercy; and with that he knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by and bid him forbear.

Christian: Who was that that bid him forbear?

Faithful: I did not know him at first: but as he went by, I perceived the holes in his hands and in his side: Then I concluded that he was our Lord. So I went up the hill.

Christian: That man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none; neither knoweth he how to shew mercy to those that transgress the law.

Faithful: I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has met with me. ‘Twas he that came to me when I dwelt securely at home, and that told me he would burn my house over my head if I stayed there.”

Wow! A wonderful section Pilgrims Progress! We see from this section as even in our own lives that we can not keep the law and that the law of Moses shows no mercy. Moses came an bead Faithful because he had just an inward thought and desire to follow after “Adam the First.” We see that faithful said that no doubt Moses would have made an end of him had not one come and forbade him. Who was this one? It was the Lord Jesus Christ who because of hi perfect life keeping the law and his death on the cross for sinners makes us acceptable before God. You’ve just got to love Pilgrim’s Progress!!

More from John Bunyan:

Evening and Morning by Charles Spurgeon

Click to view at WTSbooks

Hey everyone, I was flipping through C.H. Spurgeon’s book evening an morning reading different selections and read this one from February 11. It is a great read and should encourage us to Christ likeness. Enjoy!

“And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of him; he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions.” A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus.” Imitate Jesus in his holiness. Was he zealous for his Master? So be you; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted: it is too precious. Was he self-denying, never looking to his own interest? Be the same. Was he devout? Be you fervent in your prayers. Had he deference to his Father’s will? So submit yourselves to him. Was he patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus.”