Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

October 14, 2003

Tuesday, and a fine crisp morning in Maine. Just got an email from C., who loves the blog. Hey, a reader! Thanks for your kind words, C.

Funny, but for about five days running last week God seemed to be speaking the same message to me again and again. Simply this: He is in control. Just as I told R. last week, feeling that the words seemed woefully inadequate, and yet God continued to reinforce the message from day to day, and finally on Sunday morning Pastor M. preached from Luke 8, the story of Jesus calming the storm. Yes, He is in control.

Anyway, there was a particular point that M. wanted to make, and it was something I hadn't thought about. It was this: The disciples put out on the lake at the suggestion of Jesus. Was not this whole business about the storm and then Jesus rebuking the waves etc. a piece of divine orchestration? Was it not in Jesus' mind to prove something to His friends, something that would stay with them and strengthen them in their times of trial? You will recall the words of Peter, many years later, who wrote about the way that trials are used by God for the strengthening and perfecting of our faith. (1Peter 1:6,7) Isn't that how Jesus used the "trial" of the storm on the Sea of Galilee? Not that god sends us trials and temptations, but that God who is after all in control is able to turn what the devil had intended for harm and discouragement into something that would strengthen and purify. And this is what He did in this case. He strengthened the faith of His disciples by allowing them to endure temptation and then demonstrating His absolute sovereignty.

Well, enough of that. There is much more that can be said about suffering of course. Lord, I want to be able to say, in my time of temptation, "No, I will trust in Jesus in this matter. He will be my strength, my Rock, my strong tower."

But enough. In a couple of days our small group meets again, and I want to be able to bring them a word of encouragement that comes straight from the Lord. Please pray for me to be able to do that.

Todays quote comes from the introduction to John Piper's new book, Don't Waste Your Life:
"The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, 'Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.' In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy."

Oh, and by the way, if you want to read more (lots more) of John Piper's stuff, click here.


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