Believe it or not, pain can be a gift.
A terrible gift, to be sure; but a gift nevertheless.
Now it is the sufferer’s task to unravel the mystery of how her pain can be a gift. And if she is not able to do so, to commit herself to the Lord who makes all things beautiful in His time.
Sometimes the Lord sends suffering in order to cure an inward corruption.
The sorrow that suffering produces serves as medicine to dissolve the rage or pride or some other wickedness that dwells in the hardened heart.
It softens the heart and produces compassion within.
In God’s hands suffering is the chisel by which he carves a beautiful saint out of plain marble.
We often blame God for our sufferings, not knowing that by means of the pain he is actually healing our souls and creating a work of art.
I haven’t blogged for around a week now. I’ve either been busy or not feeling well. Anyway, I put off blogging until I sort of lost interest in resuming it.
But then I saw Seth Godin’s latest blog post: it basically only had a title and three short sentences. No categories, no tags, no featured image. This is the guy who suggested that everyone should blog everyday even if no one else reads it. And I think he’s able to blog everyday because he keeps his posts very short and very simple.
That prompted me to write this blog. The important thing is that you start again and gather momentum, because once you lose momentum it’s difficult to regain it.
(Incidentally, henceforth I plan to organise my posts under only three categories: Theology, Law, and Gee, which means everything else.)
The greatest political events take place in the church.
Empires have fallen. Kingdoms have crumbled into dust. Kings and rulers have died and are forgotten. The church of the living God marches on.
Jesus joined no political party, held no political position, and more or less steered away from the political controversies of his day. But he built a kingdom that will never end; and to him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And now he reigns in the hearts of his people who gather to praise his name, to hear his Word, and to obey his law. As a result, true change takes place — change that sweeps across time and space and lasts throughout eternity.
This is the highest and the truest and the most effective politics of all.
Mighty are the events taking place in the church, earth-shattering and world-changing in their consequences: praise, preaching, prayer, repentance, love, and obedience! The world notices it not, but the very configuration of the heavens is being changed as the church kneels down to pray. Multitudes of angelic beings rejoice, filling the heavens with roars of joy and the thunderous noise of relentless clapping, over one sinner who repents at the preaching of the gospel.
No wonder the Enemy does all he can to undermine the church. Be that as it may, the Lord of the church has decisively defeated him.
The church is where the action is!
(This is the manuscript basis of the devotional I gave to the Ikthus East-Bacolod City Men’s group last 02 February 2019. It is part of a series of Bible studies we’re doing on 1st John.)
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life— is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
The Christian life is a battle for our affections. Who will our hearts love: God or the world? Continue reading “Do not love the world”
Here’s the outline of a talk I gave a talk to the leaders of Ikthus East Bacolod City last 26 January 2019 at Beracha Farms, Alangilan, on How a Christian Leader Sets Priorities.
Here’s the outline/manuscript (please note that the actual talk varies from the manuscript, significantly at times):
It’s possible to go to extremes when it comes to spirituality.
One can become so heavenly minded as to be no earthly good. People with this mindset usually divide things into secular and sacred, and consider the former as inferior to the latter. Let’s call this “pie in the sky” spirituality.
On the other hand, some people embrace “worldly spirituality” and fail to discern that some activities, although not be neglected, should not be given more importance than they deserve. For them, everything is sacred as long as it is done for the glory of God. They have a point, but it needs to be qualified, as we will see later.
So balance is necessary. Continue reading “A Balanced Spirituality”
Thus, I say, God deals with his saints in great variety; some shall have all their bones broken, when others shall have only the gentle strokes of the rod. We are in the hand of mercy, and he may deal with us as seems good to him; but for our parts, great sins ought to be attended with expectations of great depths and perplexities.
(John Owen, An Exposition of Psalm CXXX)
God, being merciful, does not deal with us according to what our sins deserve. He remembers that we are but dust. Nevertheless, he does chastise us for our sins. Even so, in his inscrutable wisdom, he treats his children differently. Some who have sinned greatly he rebukes gently and allows them to recover their peace in him without the great difficulty that others have in trying to recover themselves from their backsliding. Others he treats more severely, allowing them to wallow for a long time in the depths of the misery that may justly be considered as the consequence of their sins. This might seem discriminatory, but God has his reasons, and it is not for us to question his wisdom.
At the end of day, however he deals with us, we trust that he disciplines us according to his love and wisdom, and the result of it all is that we shall come forth as gold.
“So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ And he said to him, ‘Go back again, for what have I done to you?’ And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.” (1 Kings 19)
Not everyone is called to be like Elisha. But if you are, the way to go is to burn all your bridges behind you and then come and follow the greater Elijah, Jesus Christ. One who is called to wear the mantle of Elijah has no choice in the matter, for it is no ordinary leader he is called to replace when the time comes. The tasks a leader of such stature is called to accomplish demand of him full concentration. Any accommodation to distraction might mean not only failure for him personally but also disaster for the people he is called to lead and serve.
“Gifts are given to trade withal for God. Opportunities are the market-days for that trade. To napkin the one and to let slip the other will end in trouble and disconsolation. Disquietness and perplexities of heart are worms that will certainly breed in the rust of unexercised gifts. God loseth a revenue of glory and honour by such slothful souls; and he will make them sensible of it.”
(from John Owen’s An Exposition of Psalm CXXX)
Yes, yes, I know I posted yesterday that I will blog daily no more, and that my next post will come out on Monday. But the above quote from John Owen made me change my mind. As applied to blogging, I take him to mean that to neglect opportunities to consistently blog for God’s glory is a failure of stewardship, for which I will be held accountable! So, instead of blogging once a week, I’ll try blogging every
MWF TTh. And in my defence I invoke the platitude “Only fools do not change their minds!”
I tried to follow Seth Godin’s advice and for a couple of weeks I blogged every day except for Sundays.
However I don’t think I will be able to keep this up. I have a lot of obligations to fulfill and the fact is blogging for me is not a top priority.
Still, I think blogging is something worth doing, so I plan to keep on blogging, but on a weekly rather than on a daily basis.
My next blog post will therefore come out on Monday.