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Posts Tagged ‘John MacArthur’

In Scripture the Lord gives believers enough truth to live responsibly, 

but enough mystery to draw them to Him in believing prayer. (1)

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In this simple statement John MacArthur explains with absolute clarity why the Bible is a maddening book to read and study. We cannot fully understand it on our own.

I love to read and study books which challenge me.  I enjoy engaging my heart and mind while reading deep and probing texts, whether fiction, science, theology, philosophy, or the Bible.

I pride myself on being able to understand what the author has written, even if it I must slowly read and re-read the text, stopping to sort out what has been written.

However, the Bible is the only book I cannot read and fully understand on my own.  Even when I consult the experts in exegetical studies and biblical theology, there are passages which I never fully grasp.

The Bible is a mystery book which does not satisfactorily answer all my questions.

As a pastor who teaches from The Bible on a regular basis, this is a frustrating experience.  I hate it when the only response I can honestly give to someone’s biblical question is, “I don’t know!”

My ignorance drives me to prayer!

This is a good thing.  Good for me and for you.  It keeps me humble.  It makes me honor the mysteries of God, of heaven and earth, and of His Word.

My ignorance reminds me that I am a creature.  Even the atheist, the evolutionist, and the naturalist has to acknowledge that they are simple creatures, not The Creator.

Despite my best efforts, I will never possess the full wisdom of God.  In some part, I will always be in the dark.  At every moment in life my knowledge will be incomplete.

This is not be a bad thing when it drives me to Him.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. (2)

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  1. John MacArthur, Truth for Today : A Daily Touch of God’s Grace (Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001), 246.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Proverbs 1:7.
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When it comes to forgiveness, I talk a good game, thanks to my selective memory.

 

Yesterday I shared with others the heroics of my forgiving spirit and how God honored my graciousness in His time.  While I was speaking about what God is able to do when we have a forgiving heart, I spoke too much about my graciousness in light of the hurt I endured.

 

There are other stories I could have told.  

 

I could have rattled on about the times when I harbored deep grudges, nursed wounds beyond their expiration date, and gossiped about how I had been wronged.

 

Jesus handled the betrayals, denials, and physical blows against Him differently than me.  Except for telling Judas to “Do it quickly,” He received the betrayals, denials, and blows against Him in silence.  

 

Jesus never threatened His executioners with impending judgment; instead He forgave them. He accepted His suffering without bitterness. (1)

 

When we chatter on about past hurts and wrongs against us, we cannot boast about having forgiven the offender.  As long we allow the hurt or offense to live in the present, we have not put it into the past.  

 

Forgiveness involves the placing an offense against us into the past.  

 

I remember the tenderness of being wounded by someone who refused to forgive me when I asked for forgiveness.  A close friend tried to console me by saying, “Do not worry, they will forgive you eventually!”

 

It was the eventually which crushed my spirit.

 

How long would I need to wait to be forgiven?  How long would I have to live on edge, teetering between the loving grasp of forgiveness and the rejection of un-forgiveness?  How long would I need to earn brownie points before I could step away from egg-shell living?

 

I expect others to forgive me now and to do so with a grace that does not humble me.

 

As I move closer to Easter I anticipate celebrating God’s amazing, life-giving, death defying grace.  

 

God is anticipating the same from me.

 

Jesus taught me to pray, “Forgive my debts as I forgive the debts of others!” (Matthew 6:12).

 

You cannot grasp the joy of Easter while holding fast to an unforgiving spirit.

 

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  1. John MacArthur, Truth for Today : A Daily Touch of God’s Grace (Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001), 107.

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Everything exists for the purpose of glorifying God.

 What is the chief end and purpose of mankind?

To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.


He cannot bless us unless He has us.

For it is not so much of our time and so much of our attention that God demands; it is not even all our time and all our attention; it is ourselves. For each of us the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.”

He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. … What cannot be admitted, what must exist only as an undefeated but daily resisted enemy, is the idea of something that is “our own,” some area in which we are to be “out of school,” on which God has no claim. For He claims all, because He is love and must bless

C. S. Lewis (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 38). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition

 

The Master never used a more unfit and wretched instrument 

to do His work than when He used me

In fact I know He never did; and I don’t wonder that He has laid me aside. If He needs me He will use me again someday, and meanwhile I trust He will fashion me into a vessel a little better fitted for His service.

Self has a thousand voices that assume the appearance of divine ones, and the heart that has any regard left for it is easily deceived. But let the soul lose absolutely all concern for self; let it be indifferent to its reputation; careless of its honor; inattentive to its ease.

Hannah Smith Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life : The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

 

God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself.

Discipleship has an option with it—“IF any man …”  Paul’s words have to do with being made a servant of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go.

God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated unto the gospel” means to hear the call of God; and when a man begins to overhear that call, then begins agony that is worthy of the name. Every ambition is nipped in the bud, every desire of life quenched, every outlook completely extinguished and blotted out, saving one thing only—“separated unto the gospel.” … Beware of competitors when God does grip you.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

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