It is... of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no one expects us to be 'as gods'. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.
God has a profound way of provoking us in all the necessary ways. If we’re not getting triggered, bothered or provoked in our journey towards God, then most likely we’ve stopped growing. God cares more about our growth than our comfort.
I remember hearing a preacher once claim the miracle of a good parking spot. As in, she taught a church full of people how to pray for a good parking spot, how to claim it, and how to rejoice when it came. My side eye at this cannot be overestimated. If your greatest notion of suffering is having to walk a few more rows to the Target, then I think we can safely say you've lost the plot.
Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow) I see a glory in the stable grow Which, with the ox's dullness might at length Give me an ox's strength.
Among the asses (stubborn I as they) I see my Saviour where I looked for hay; So may my beast like folly learn at least The patience of a beast.
Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed) I watch the manger where my Lord is laid; Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence Some woolly innocence!
Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.
A "successful" life has become a violent enterprise. We make war on our own bodies, pushing them beyond their limits; war on our children, because we cannot find enough time to be with them when they are hurt and afraid and need our company; war on our spirit, because we are too preoccupied to listen to the quiet voices that seek to nourish and refresh us; war on our communities, because we are fearfully protecting what we have, and do not feel safe enough to be kind and generous; war on the earth, because we cannot take the time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessings and give thanks.
What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence… I can forgive a man for a bad sermon, I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul, if he gives me the sense that, though he is inadequate himself, he is handling something which is very great and very glorious, if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and the glory of God, the love of Christ my Saviour, and the magnificence of the Gospel. If he does that I am his debtor, and I am profoundly grateful to him.
Living in the assurance of his blessings over us is never to be mistaken as taking those blessings for granted. His gifts are never a sign that we earned them. After all, a gift is a gift and not a reward. Celebrate his extravagance today by telling someone about the great things he has done in your life.
These – and many other words – are used to describe God’s great communication skills. He answers, asks, assures, calls, commands, declares, directs, explains, instructs, mentions, orders, promises, replies, responds, reveals, says, speaks, swears, tells, warns, etc. All told, God’s great ability to communicate is mentioned nearly 3000 times in the Bible! No one communicates more abundantly than God. But are we listening? Are our radios tuned in? Do we need to posture ourselves, like Samuel, to hear with a servant’s heart?