Friday, July 28, 2017

July Quotes

When something does not go your way, remember faithful prayer accomplishes far more than your frustrated protests.
-James McDonald

It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call because then you are not bothered by what God requires, common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad, you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis. 
-Oswald Chambers

What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.
-John Bunyan 

The world provides no cheerleaders on the pathway to godliness. 
-Kevin DeYoung

A sound theology must be a theology where grace is central to it. 
-R. C. Sproul

Ministry is simply the footprints we leave behind as we run toward Jesus.

The Bible is not only a book of divine revelation; it is also a book of literary grandeur, sublime influence, human interest, amazing accuracy, perfect unity, and everlasting challenge. 
-J. Edwin Orr

Until we discover God’s purpose, there will always be a hole in our soul. And if we let God’s vision die, part of us will die as well.
-Georgia Shaffer

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Quotes

Expecting perfection from ourselves or others is not what holiness is about.
-Kevin DeYoung

Where reason can only wade, faith swims.
-Thomas Watson

No creature that deserved redemption would need to be redeemed. 
-C. S. Lewis

If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what he has done for us, and what he is doing now, we cannot love him much; but the more we know him, the more we shall love him.

Those who are born again are as secure as God is faithful. 
-John Piper

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. . . . [These] are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the ocean.
-Jonathan Edwards

As in paradise, God walks in the Holy Scriptures, seeking man. 

If you are more distressed over the sin of the people near you than you are of the sin that is inside you, you won't cry out for grace.
-Paul Tripp

Oral or written testimony of human observers, no matter how trustworthy they may be, is still subject to human error and not “inerrant” in the same way as Scripture. Christians must always remember that the written Word of God is more certain than personal memories or impressions. The experiences we have must never be viewed as validating God’s Word. Rather, God’s Word validates our experiences.
-John D. Morris

The great basis of Christian assurance is not how much our hearts are set on God, but how unshakably his heart is set on us.
-Tim Keller

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Two Messages, Two Men, and One Savior

I read through Acts earlier this month, and as I was reading I noted some similarities in Peter's sermon and Stephen's defense (before he was killed). However, after a bit more study, I realized that, while they indeed had several similarities, they had more differences--not in theological content, but in the setting, content, and response of the message.

Acts 2 is known for the incredible experience of the Holy Spirit. The disciples are gathered in Jerusalem after the resurrection of Christ, and as the Lord promised, He sends the Comforter to remain with them always. Peter gives this sermon by the power of the Spirit with the other eleven disciples around him along with "devout men from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5, ESV). In response to the overflowing living Spirit in him, Peter stands and proclaims

Stephen's defense in Acts 7 falls under much difference circumstances. These are literally Stephen's last words, as he will be stoned after this message. He stands amond the people, elders, scribes, his false accusers, and the Jewish council. This message is his defense against those who claimed that he spoke against the holy place and the Jewish law. Those who behold Stephen's face marvel that it appears like an angel's.

In response to the overflowing living Spirit in him, Peter boldly stands and proclaims the words of Joel, calling the Jews back to their heritage, and ancient promises given to them by the God of Israel. Basing his message on the fact that "everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved", Peter gives a short summary of Jesus' life, beginning with David's testimony. He points out that his hearers are the ones who crucified the Messiah, but though they rejected the One that David proclaimed would rise from the dead, there was hope for them in that Savior still.

Stephen's defense is much longer than Peter's sermon, but he gives a similar message. He begins at the very beginning when God first called Abraham to seek out a land that would be his descendants inheritance. Moving along into the patriarchal history, Stephen recalls the story of Joseph and his brothers and the Egyptian famine. Then comes Moses, the child found beautiful in God's sight, who was to be called of I AM to lead the Israelites to the land promised to Abraham's descendants. Stephen recounts how Moses was directed to create a tent in the wilderness in which to worship God. Then David took up the call and desire to fund the building project for a temple. Though he did not see the project begin or end, he paved the way for his Solomon who was designated to build the temple during a time of peace. Stephen, like Peter also quotes one of the Old Testament prophets, however, he quotes Isaiah, not Joel. Concluding with the quote from Isaiah stating that "heaven is [God's] throng, and the earth is [His] footstool", Stephen places a strong rebuke on the Jewish leaders for their continued rejection of Christ. As their forefathers did, these Jews were stiff-necked, uncircumcised, murderers, and betrayers. They slew the One who gave them their law.

Perhaps the biggest contrast between Stephen and Peter's messages is the response. While they have many differences, both quote prophets, both recount the Jewish history, both describe the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, both offer salvation, and both are spoken to large groups of people through the power of the Spirit.

Peter's message, though shorter than Stephen's, falls on ready ears, and about three thousand believers were added to the church. There was fellowshipping and praying and communion among these people and they gave to the needy and praised the Lord inthe temple together every day. The Lord added to their numbers and they continued to grow.

Stephen's message produced a response of rage in resistant hearts and actions. He was cast out of the city and stoned. Yet in the midst of the physical and spiritual pain, there was glory. Stephen was given a vision of Christ seated at the right hand of God, and though he died for this bold message and rebuke, his words were not in vain. Two chapters later, the man who permitted and condoned Stephen's death would also see the glory of God and become one of the leading writers and spiritual figures in our New Testament--the apostle Paul.

Two men with two messages, yet each pointed to the same Savior.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May Quotes

In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words - than words without a heart.
-John Bunyan

What wings are to a bird, what fruit is to the tree, what the rose is to the thorn, that is praise to a child of God.

In true Christianity, there are no short-term commitments and no escape clauses. 
-John Blanchard

In order to receive grace, you must accept Jesus. Not the idea of Jesus, but the actual Jesus; the One who calls you to leave everything behind. The One who says that you must carry your cross, the One who spoke truth in the face of deceit. The Christ who clung unto a world that had let go long ago, Jesus who calls us beloved. If grace is an ocean, you must jump in! 
-T.B. LaBerge

A great white throne: Great, because of the causes that will be decided there ... white, because of its immaculate purity ... a throne, because a King will sit there. 
-F. B. Meyer

Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace. 
-John Piper

Circumstances don't create character; they reveal character. 
-David Jeremiah

Only men who ken their weakness, find their strength in Christ alone. 
-John Knox

God's plans reach from an eternity past to an eternity to come. Let Him take His own time.
-William S. Plumer

The burden God places on each of us is to become who we are meant to be. We are most fully ourselves when Christ most fully lives in us and through us. The mother shines brightest with her child in her arms, the father when he forgives his wandering son, and the artist when he or she is drawing attention to grace, by showing the pinprick of light overcoming the darkness in the painting, or the story, or the song. The world knows darkness. Christ came into the world to show us light. I have seen it, have been blinded by it, invaded by it. I will tell its story.
-Andrew Peterson