Archive for June, 2016


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The Great Exchange

“Becoming Son of man with us, he has made us sons of God with him; that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that, by receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself, he has clothed us with his righteousness.”
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
-John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV.xvii.2.

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Left Forever Unsaid

If all that we say in a single day,
With never a word left out.
Were printed each night
in clear black and white
‘Twould prove strange reading, no doubt.
And then, just suppose,
‘ere our eyes we could close,
We must read the whole record through;
Then wouldn’t we sigh,
and wouldn’t we try
A great deal less talking to do?
And I more than half think
That many a kink
Would be smoother in life’s tangled thread.
If half that we say in a single day
Were left forever unsaid.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
–Author Unknown

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What does it mean to love one another “earnestly from a pure heart”? (1 Peter 1:22)

“I suspect that one of the reasons why there are so many exhortations in the New Testament for Christians to love other Christians is because this is not an easy thing to do. Many fellow Christians will appear to be, at least initially or to the immature, “little enemies.” To put the matter differently, if Christians love Christians, it is not exactly the same thing as what Jesus has in mind when he speaks rather dismissively of tax collectors loving tax collectors and pagans loving pagans. What he means in these latter cases is that most people have their own little circle of “in” people, their own list of compatible people, their friends. Christian love…must go beyond that to include people outside the group. The objects of our love must include those who are not “in”: it must include enemies.
Ideally, however, the church itself is not made up of natural “friends.” It is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything of the sort. Christians come together, not because they form a natural collocation, but because they have been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance. In the light of this common allegiance, in light of the fact that they have all been loved by Jesus himself, they commit themselves to doing what he says – and he commands them to love one another. In this light, they are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.”
-D.A. Carson

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Marriage, compost piles, and cow pies

“Picture your marriage as a grassy field. You enter it at the beginning full of hope and joy. You look out into the future and you see beautiful flowers and trees and rolling hills. And that beauty is what you see in each other. Your relationship is the field and flowers and the rolling hills. But before long, you begin to step in cow pies. Some seasons of your marriage they may seem to be everywhere. Late at night they are especially prevalent. These are the sins and flaws and idiosyncrasies and weaknesses and annoying habits in you and your spouse. You try to forgive them and endure them with grace.
But they have a way of dominating the relationship. It may not even be true, but it feels like that’s all there is — cow pies. I think the combination of forbearance and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13) leads to the creation of a compost pile. And here you begin to shovel the cow pies. You both look at each other and simply admit that there are a lot of cow pies. But you say to each other: You know, there is more to this relationship than cow pies. And we are losing sight of that because we keep focusing on these cow pies. Let’s throw them all in the compost pile. When we have to, we will go there and smell it and feel bad and deal with it the best we can. And then, we are going to walk away from that pile and set our eyes on the rest of field. We will pick some favorite paths and hills that we know are not strewn with cow pies. And we will be thankful for the part of field that is sweet.
Our hands may be dirty. And our backs make ache from all the shoveling. But one thing we know: We will not pitch our tent by the compost pile. We will only go there when we must. This is the gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again — because we are chosen and holy and loved in Christ (Colossians 3:12).”
-John Piper

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Grumble, Grumble

“Our own complaints are not caused by our outward circumstances; rather, they reveal the inward condition of our hearts…
We need to be honest about the fact that all of our dissatisfaction is discontentment with God. Usually we take out our frustrations on someone else. But God knows that when we grumble, we are finding fault with him. A complaining spirit indicates a problem in our relationship with God.”
-Phil Ryken