Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Spiritual Secrets from a Missionary

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret is having a profound impact upon me. There is no way to replicate the impact with snippets of the book, but let me try to whet your appetite for more.

As I read this portion of a letter Taylor wrote to his mother, quoted at the end of the chapter entitled Days of Darkness, I was stunned. The sentiment was so close to what I had just poured out to God into my prayer journal. Here are his words:
I cannot tell you how I am buffetted sometimes by temptation. I never knew how bad a heart I have. Yet I do know that I love God and love His work, and desire to serve Him only in all things. And I value above all else that precious Saviour in whom alone I can be accepted. Often I am tempted to think that one so full of sin cannot be a child of God at all. But I try to throw it back, and rejoice all the more in the preciousness of Jesus and in the riches of the grace that has made us "accepted in the beloved."...Pray that the Lord will keep me from sin, will sanctify me wholly, will use me more largely in His service. (p. 153)
But then, after reading a book called Christ is All, Taylor discovered "the exchanged life."
To let my loving Saviour work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for my His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power; ...resting in the love of an almighty Saviour, in the joy of a complete salvation, "from all sin"--this is not new, and yet 'tis new to me....Christ literally all seems to me, now, the power, the only power for service, the only ground for unchanging joy... (p. 156)
And in a letter to his sister he wrote:
As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fulness out of Him! I saw not only that Jesus will never leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine is not the root merely, but all--root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is not that alone--He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for, or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! (p. 161-162)

Then, in 1889, he wrote this about the Great Commission:
How are we going to treat the Lord Jesus Christ [he wrote under deep conviction] with regard to this last command? Shall we definitely drop the title "Lord" as applied to Him? Shall we take the ground that we are quite willing to recognize Him as our Saviour, as far as the penalty of sin is concerned, but are not prepared to own ourselves "bought with a price," or Christ as having claim to our unquestioning obedience?. . .
How few of the Lord's people have practically recognized the truth that Christ is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all! If we can judge God's Word, instead of being judged by it, if we can give God as much or as little as we like, then we are lords and He the indebted one, to be grateful for our dole and obliged by our compliance with His wishes. If on the other hand He is Lord, let us treat Him as such. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (p. 228-229)
Image from Wikipedia

Joash: A Cautionary Tale

The king Ahaziah was dead. His mother, seeing that her son was dead, murdered the entire royal family, aiming to destroy all possible heirs, and took over the throne. Except she had no idea that Ahaziah's half-sister, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, had hidden away Ahaziah's son, little Joash, and his nurse in the house of the Lord.
"And he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land." (2 Chronicles 22:12)
"But in the seventh year Jehoiada took courage and entered into a covenant with the commanders of hundreds..." (2 Chron. 23:1a)
Jehoiada secretly secured the support of the Levites and all of Judah and prepared to crown Joash.
"Then they brought out the king's son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said, 'Long live the king.'" (2 Chron. 23:11)
Athaliah heard the noise, ran to the house of the Lord, and saw the scene. "Treason!" she called, but they dragged her away from the house of the Lord and at the gate of the palace put her to death.
"And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the LORD's people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars...And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest...After this Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD" (2 Chron. 23:16-17; 24:2, 4)
Joash and Jehoiada refurbished the temple and offered regular burnt offerings. The people rejoiced.
"But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died...Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.

Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest... But they conspired against him, and by the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD." (2 Chron. 24:15a, 17-20a, 21)
I read 2 Chron. 23-24 this morning and was sobered. Joash was only faithful as long as his mentor and father-figure, the priest Jehoiada, was alive. Once he lost Jehoiada, he lost his way.

It is great to listen to sermons, podcasts, mentors, and friends. God can use those things to teach us. But what will happen to me when they are all stripped away? Will I be like Joash and forget what I've been taught? Or will I cling to God? Am I a goat or a sheep?
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh...Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son." (2 John 7a, 9)

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:1a, 2)
Written July 21

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Look at the News

Tax Policy
It seems certain Democrats from affluent districts are actually representing their constituents. Their constituents, it turns out, aren't happy with the Democratic tax plans (i.e. raising them). The Obama administration is facing growing resistance to their agenda in Democratic quarters. The White House response? The Wall Street Journal reports:
The White House defends its approach. 'The bottom line is that I think the president believes that the richest 1% of this country has had a pretty good run of it for many, many, many years," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. ("Democrats New Worry: Own Rich Districts," WSJ, Monday, July 20, page one)
That sounds like economic policy based on revenge. Anyone been to an economics class?

"New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is calling on former residents displaced by Hurrican Katrina in 2005 to claim their old city addresses in next year's census, drawing criticism for trying to circumvent rules for winning federal funds...There's one problem: The mayor's plan is illegal, according to the Census Bureau. Federal law requires the Census Bureau to count all U.S. residents where they reside as of April 1, 2010, when the nationwide tally will begin." ("New Orleans Wants Ex-Residents Counted," WSJ, Monday, July 20, A5)
Why not lie for a good cause, right? Or maybe if you left your heart in New Orleans, it isn't really lying?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spiritual Secrets from a Missionary

I'm reading an old classic, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, written by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor (Hudson's son and daughter-in-law) in 1932. (Thank you, April, for urging me to read this!)

I've had this book on the shelf for years and probably even read it as a teen, but it holds new meaning for me now after twenty years of the Spirit's refining work.

Hudson Taylor wrote about his days of preparation in England, "How important to learn, before leaving England, to move man, through God, by prayer alone." (p.32)

Hudson Taylor wrote in a letter to his mother, as he was going through the process of joining a mission society to send him to China, "It is easy to talk of leaving all for Christ, but when it comes to the proof--it is only as we stand "complete in Him" we can go through with it." (p. 47)

Once in China and struggling with some difficult situations, he wrote to his sister, "You ask how I get over my troubles. This is the way...I take them to the Lord. ...Psalm 72 to 74. Read them and see how applicable they are." (p. 57-58)

His dear friend and fellow missionary William Burns, writing in a letter dated January 1856 about an evangelistic trip inland with Hudson Taylor :
"And yet, grace can make a few feeble instruments the means of accomplishing great things--things greater even than we can conceive." (p. 74)

William Burns was described this way by his biographer (quoted in Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret): "His whole life was literally a life of prayer, and his whole ministry a series of battles fought at the mercy seat." (p. 74)

After Burns was captured and imprisoned, but later circumstances showed that this event protected his life, Taylor later saw God's goodness in what had seemed to be horrible news. The authors wrote, "...Hudson Taylor was learning to think of God as The Great Circumstance of Life, and of all lesser, external circumstances as necessarily the kindest, wisest, best, because either ordered or permitted by Him." (p. 78)

(All page numbers from my 1987 edition.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Battling for Victory

Remember this scene from The Miracle Worker? Annie Sullivan struggles mightily to gain the upper hand with Helen, knowing that she must have Helen's obedience before she can teach her anything. Of course Helen's rebellion is complicated by her deafness and blindness, but at its core it is a struggle against authority.

Toby and I just went through a similar struggle today. Although it lasted about 45 minutes, not eight, and perhaps did not rise to the same level of violence (although he nearly bit me!) I felt just as disheveled and exhausted as Annie Sullivan. In the midst of it, I thought of this scene and wished I had an Annie Sullivan to come work miracles in my son's life, so I didn't have to go through that struggle.

As usual when our children oblige us to engage in a power struggle, I really didn't have time for it. We have a houseful of kids today and I was fixing lunch for seven kids. Toby dropped a pile of napkins on the kitchen floor. I asked him to pick them up.

"Yes, Toby, pick them up."
"No! I don't want to."

I didn't understand right away that he was ready for war and so I carried on with lunch prep. But I noticed the napkins again after a minute. Where was Toby? Gone. I went off to find him and set him straight:

"Toby, pick up these napkins. You cannot have your lunch until they are picked up."

You can only believe the calmness that enveloped me if you understand the amazing grace and glory of our Lord Jesus, who has been preparing me for this moment for three days! Toby has been naughty several times recently and I've handled it badly. But this time...

"Toby, I'm sad you are going to miss lunch--"
"--but if you pick up the napkins you can join us."

I sat down with the other six kids to lunch. He screamed and cried. We soldiered on, eating and trying to visit.

Toby tried to grab his lunch plate.
I moved it away.
He screamed some more, crying and angry.
He found the plate and reached again. I physically removed him from the kitchen.

I reminded him of the situation. Pick up the napkins, then eat your lunch. Rather than obeying, he dug in deeper. I took him to his room and an Annie/Helen-style struggle ensued. I held him. He wiggled away, demanding his blanket. I carried him back to his bed and told him that he couldn't have his blanket or Bear or lunch until he picked up those napkins. He kicked and screamed. On and on and on.

"Who's in charge, Toby?"

Finally, in the midst of sobs, sweat, and prayers, he began to calm down a bit. I prayed aloud for him to repent. I prayed God would make Himself known to Toby even when he isn't seeking God (Romans 10:20). I prayed for Toby's submission and my strength. All aloud and near Toby's ear. He raged again, then calmed once more.

At last he quit raging and wanted to snuggle. But I told him he couldn't until he picked up the napkins.
"Who's in charge, Toby?"
"You are."
"And who's in charge of me?"
"And Daddy?"

He slowly walked back to the kitchen and tearfully picked up all the napkins. The six other kids were long gone, the lunch dishes loaded in the dishwasher (Thanks Hope!), but Toby's lunch was saved for him. He sat down at the table and I joined him as he ate.

The words of Sovereign Grace Music's new album "To Be Like Jesus" filled the air. It was "Jesus, You're My Hope."
Jesus, You were tempted
In every way like I am
But You never gave in--no!
You looked to Your Father
And the Spirit's power
For Your strength and self-control

Right at the beginning
When I feel like sinning
Help me look to You alone
Help me to obey, Lord
Follow in Your way, Lord
Jesus, give me self-control
(Mark Altrogge © 2009 Sovereign Grace Praise)

Exactly my prayer. And the reason why this time I didn't respond to my son's sin with more sin. Perhaps there is a better way to handle a three year old's raging rebellion, but the key victory here is that I didn't get angry. I did a few days ago, yelling and giving a meaningless lecture.

Jesus is the miracle worker. The miracle that happened at my house this afternoon is this: I didn't get angry like I did on Saturday. Thank you, Jesus. May I look to You alone when I am tempted and may you prepare me for the next time...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Fun

Last Sunday after church we headed out to the nearby lake for a day on the water. We love to gather out at the lake in the summer with my parents, my sister, and my sister's family. On this trip we (well, my mother and I) had a goal: make the kids comfortable with swimming off the side of the boat in deep water.

This is our third summer with mom and dad's boat, but we essentially have not done any water skiing or tubing. Mostly we have taken boat rides, beached on a shore, picnicked and swam off the shore. Since the kids are getting bigger, we're starting to think about getting them ready to tube and ski.

This picture of Sydney (above, on the right) is priceless for me. It is a moment of triumph! Sydney has never dared to float around in deep water with her life jacket before. The fear has been paralyzing. It wasn't easy, but she finally discovered that she doesn't sink!

The leaky tube couldn't be towed, but the kids had a blast bouncing around on it. We have it tethered to the back of the boat in this picture (but we are not going anywhere). While Sydney remains cautious, Hope throws it to the wind. Here you see her with her cousin trying to stand on the innertube.

We cannot afford to go to the movie theater as a family (and it's just as well), but we were able to go for free on Saturday. There was only one movie that was acceptable to watch: Up in 3D. The last movie our kids saw in the theater was at the discount theaters, so they were amazed at the luxurious 13th Avenue Warren Theater. Up was a charming movie, although the suspense was unbearable for one of our four. "When is he going to go back to the city?! I want him back in the city!"

We've been to the zoo a few times this summer. Our zoo has a new tiger exhibit. In the picture above Lane is face to face with one of the tigers.

The peacock is always wandering around the zoo with his hen, but this time he was showing off.

The Edwards four with a chimpanzee statue.

Independence Day Weekend

Ice cream sundaes at Grandma and Grandpa's house...

...followed by sparklers and fountains and firecrackers at the Edwards's house (or in the street, actually).

The 4th of July was on Saturday this year. On Sunday afternoon we went to the circus. The girls saw the circus as toddlers, so it was a new experience for the whole crew (boys aren't pictured). Hope and Sydney sit on the bleacher with their cousin Haley and two neighbor friends.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hidden Meanings

Lately I seem to see fingerprints of Christ in everything (see my "Slumdog Millionaire" post by way of example). I have the sensation that everything around me in human experience is crying out the truths of God and yet few notice. Given that, I found C. S. Lewis's comments about finding second meanings in literature causing me to laugh at myself. As an amateur in literary analysis, it gives me pause:
Because, as we know, almost anything can be read into any book if you are determined enough. This will be especially impressed on anyone who has written fantastic fiction. He will find reviewers, both favourable and hostile, reading into his stories all manner of allegorical meanings which he never intended. (Some of the allegories thus imposed on my own books have been so ingenious and interesting that I often wish I had thought of them myself.) Apparently it is impossible for the wit of man to devise a narrative in which the wit of some other man cannot, and with some plausibility, find a hidden sense.

In defense of my own tendency to see deep truths of Christ and signs of God's sovereignty oozing out of almost every news story, book or movie, and personal experience, I pray that it might be a sign that I am beginning to "bleed Bible" when pricked. (Remember this?)

The Lewis quote comes from his Reflections on the Psalms, "Second Meanings."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

We finally watched "Slumdog Millionaire" last night. I'm not sure why we are only now getting around to watching this Oscar-winning movie that made such a ripple through our culture about six months ago, except that we rarely go to the theater anymore and our DVD home viewing is split between family viewing and "grown-up movies."

It is not for nothing that this movie won so many awards.

The movie touches deeply on the human experience. We saw in Jamal's slum the despair of poverty and in his brother Salim's later riches the emptiness of wealth.

We saw in Jamal the glorious and relentless pursuit of a lover for his love.

We saw, as Jamal struggled to live a life of integrity, that "they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them," (Romans 2:15).

We saw that even as Salim lived out the "works of the flesh...: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry...enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21) he yearned for forgiveness and sought it on his prayer rug, apparently without satisfaction.

We saw also in Salim's attempt to make right what he had made wrong that humans across all cultures understand the need for redemption.

As we watched the mistreatment of Jamal, Salim, and Latika by religious zealots in holy war, by unjust extreme poverty, and by the thugs that used them, we saw that indeed "judicial sentiment" points to the existence of God. I ran across the idea of "judicial sentiment in our hearts that holds others guilty" for wrongdoing as a proof of God's existence in Desiring God (Piper, p. 60, see the footnote). Piper attributes the idea to Edward John Carnell and quotes from his book Christian Commitment (1957):
Wheras conscience accuses the self the judicial sentiment accuses others. The direction of accusation is the important thing. Conscience monitors ones own moral conduct, while the judicial sentiment monitors the moral conduct of others...An aroused judicial sentiment is merely heaven's warning that the image of God is being outraged. Cultural conditioning may alter the direction of the judicial sentiment, but it does not alter the faculty itself...The voice of judicial sentiment is the voice of God.
Finally, my favorite observation about the movie is the one that prompted me to watch it in the first place. It comes from the blog Paradoxuganda, in a post called "All Things New":
Watched Slum Dog Millionaire (again) this weekend, and this time noticed an unusual scene. At the very end, when Jamal kisses Latika's scar, suddenly there is a rewind-like camera shot of the scene in which she receives the knife cut to her face. We go backwards from the struggle to a moment of expectation and happiness, when the two lovers look at each other unwounded, with joy.

A striking visual of Revelation 21. Tears wiped, death becomes life, the act of love reverses the ravages of hate.
I'm probably the only one around that hadn't seen "Slumdog Millionaire," but in case you haven't yet, "put it on your queue."

Thanks to Chris for linking to Paradoxuganda sometime back. I've been a reader ever since. You really should check out this blog, written by medical missionaries in Uganda a "pair o' docs."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Tweet It Is, II

From @JohnPiper today:

"Prick Bunyan anywhere and he will bleed Bible." Let it not be said of the king's heralds: Prick him and he bleeds movies.
about 2 hours ago from HootSuite

PRAY THIS: May the Name of Jesus be established and magnified forever through my life. (1 Chron. 17:24).
about 2 hours ago from Tweetie

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13), like go hungry, get cancer, be killed and go home.
about 3 hours ago from Tweetie

If you need a reason to Twitter, this should do it.

Thinking about Prayer and Money

This "How to Overspiritualize Everything" comic is hilarious. (Hat tip Chris via Twitter; it comes from this blog.)

You probably think I do that all the time!

This morning my Scripture reading took me to Psalm 7, 2 Kings 5-6, and Matthew 7. What a combination!

Reading about Naaman and Elisha and Gehazi in 2 Kings 5 was especially meaningful because I recently listened to "Remember the Rich Man," a message given by John Piper to his church's 2009 graduates. Can you hold Christ as your treasure while you are gripping money? Is it hard or is it impossible to be rich and enter the Kingdom of God? Are you living like one at war or like one on a luxury cruise? Are you afraid of being rich? I hope you can take time to listen.

At the Children Desiring God conference, I missed a breakout session on prayer that several of my friends attended. Yesterday I listened to the audio recording of "Prayer-Utter Dependance upon God" by Bud Burk. Click here to listen, scroll down and select this session. Listening on my iPod made my housework much more bearable! This session speaks to the heart about prayer and then gives some nitty-gritty practical help.

Speaking of prayer, this quote from George Muller's autobiography helps us to understand how daily Scripture reading intertwines with prayer and meditation. His words describe my own experience as my morning devotions have become as routine as breakfast (or more so):
Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning. Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning.

The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer...

The difference between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer....But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word...And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do in the morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man.
As quoted in John Piper's Desiring God, p. 155-156.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fun at the Lake

We spent Independence Day Eve (July 3rd, that is) at a nearby lake with family and friends. Temperatures soared to 99 degrees, but we still had a marvelous time. My parents, my aunt and uncle, my sister and her kids (my brother-in-law is currently deployed to Afghanistan), and the six of us all played together at the lake, on the boat, on the shore, and at the picnic area for hours and hours. All the family headed back into town for my nephew's t-ball tournament game, but the six of us stayed and were then joined by our friends (and conveniently, neighbors) the B. family. Unfortunately I forgot to pull my camera out for lunch pictures, which is a real bummer because we had a wonderful lunch with family. As Mr. Edwards kindly said to me, "It gets a little hectic when we're eating." (Understatement of the year, right moms?) Most of the pictures you see here are from the evening meal with the B. family and the evening swim the kids took at the swimming beach. The clouds drifted in and the water looks gloomy, but it was still plenty warm.

The kids' cousin, Haley

Hope and Sydney (pink and blue suits) play in the sand with their cousins. They were imagining that they were kings and queens (and servants!) sitting on royal thrones!

Sydney and Hope cozy up on the beach in the evening with their friend Evangelyn.

Toby finishes up a roasted marshmallow and examines his sticky fingers (above).

We all made some life-long memories yesterday. I'm sure my dad wishes he could forget hitting the boat prop on a submersed log, however! Fortunately, the damage seems minimal! The cousins played for hours around the creek that ran by the picnic site, not to mention the time swimming and playing in the sand. After cousins and family left, our kids splashed around in the water by the anchored boat (beached on shore) as Mr. Edwards and I relaxed in the shade of the boat cover. Mr. B. and Mr. Edwards struggled to keep a fire going without much charcoal to cook the dinner, but they managed to get it done! Another evening memory: the B.'s son Matthew bravely asked to join in on a soccer game that was going on down the beach from us. We kept our cameras tucked away so as not to embarrass him, but we were proud of his courage. He ended up playing a few minutes with a group of twentysomething internationals who meet every year at the lake to hang out and play soccer. How fitting, since Matthew is a Liberian-American (and just ten years old)!

Sorry about this diary-dump blog post. Thanks for indulging me as I record our memories for posterity!

Lane, Sydney, Evangelyn, and Hope ride in the bow of Grandpa's boat.

Lane buries Jotham.

Matthew and Toby

Mr. B. and Mr. Edwards and Toby keep close watch on the struggling fire. Next time we'll make sure to bring enough charcoal! (Sharon, this picture of the fire ring is just for you.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lines of Literature: Desiring God and The Weight of Glory

"Once we had no delight in God, and Christ was just a vague historical figure. What we enjoyed was food and friendships and productivity and investments and vacations and hobbies and games and reading and shopping and sex and sports and art and TV and travel...but not God. He was an idea--even a good one--and a topic for discussion; but He was not a treasure of delight.

Then something miraculous happened. It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then the shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever." John Piper, Desiring God, "Conversion" p. 73 (2003 ed.)
You can read Desiring God online for free here.

"In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it is related to how He thinks of us. It is written that we shall "stand before" Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. the promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please be a real ingredient in the divine be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son--it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But it is so." C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.
You can read The Weight of Glory online for free here.
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