Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: December 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Courtesy Big Stock Photo

As we approach the beginning of 2015 in a little over 24 hours, I thought I would share a few year-end thoughts and quotes.

For those of you looking for a good plan to read through the Bible in 2015, Justin Taylor (blogger for the Gospel Coalition) gives one of the best, most comprehensive lists I’ve come across. I would encourage you to set aside time each day to read through the Bible in 2015.

“When all your favorite preachers are gone, and all their books forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it. Master it.”  (John Piper)

Also, if you want to read an outstanding article that will help you to understand the Bible in a much greater way, I would encourage you to read a recent post by Gavin Ortlund, entitled: What Kind of Thing is the Bible: Six Theses. Every pastor should give his congregation a copy of this article! 

And finally, CBS News put together a video montage of many of the well-known people that died in 2014. Here are a few of the people they mentioned…

Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lauren Bacall, Richard Attenborough, Sid Ceasar, Shirley Temple, Maria von Trapp, Mickey Rooney, Maya Angelou, Casey Kasem, Tommy Ramone, James Garner, Phil Everly, Pete Seeger, David Brenner and Joe Cocker. 

As I watched the video, I was reminded of what Scripture says in James 4:13-15
 
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” (NASB)

As the video montage scrolled through so many well-known people the world admired, I couldn’t help but think about those that didn’t make the “CBS News” list who served Christ faithfully and used their life to influence others for the glory of God.

I was reminded again what matters most in life – living for God’s glory and the good of other people.

“The best use of one’s life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” (Oswald Sanders)
 
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  (Jesus, from Matthew 16:26 ESV)
 
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliot)
 
“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.” (Anonymous)
 
“I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”  (Martin Luther)
 
As you enter 2015, may you remember the promise of God’s “steadfast love”

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)
 
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12 NIV) 
 
“All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists.”  (D.A. Carson)

Finally, one last note – thank you to all of you who have so faithfully prayed for Lisa and I and the ministry of Global Training Network this past year. We are eternally grateful! Please continue to bring us and our staff before God’s throne in 2015. The longer I live, the more I realize how deeply I need the prayers of fellow believers in Christ! Thank you!

Some Uncomfortable Questions

I really enjoy reading pastor and author Kevin DeYoung. He is amazingly insightful, and very articulate. Recently he wrote some brief thoughts on The Gospel Coalition’s website that I found perceptive, as well as convicting.

Much Grace. Enjoy…

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Would you like others to remember your failings as long as you remember theirs?

Do you like it when people assume the worst about you? Put the worst possible construct on your motives? Never give you the benefit of the doubt? Size you up and figure you out 140 characters at a time?

Do you like it when others are quick to speak, quick to anger, and slow to forgive? How does it feel when others speak about you instead of to you?

What if the measure you used with others was the measure used with you? What if everyone else took things personally? What if tearing you down became someone else’s personal mission in life? Have you ever tried to see things their way?

Have you ever been mistaken for a son of encouragement like Barnabas or a great refresher like Onesiphorus?

Are people more surprised when you are outraged and offended or when you are tender and compassionate?

How would I answer these questions? How am I doing? Every “you” in the questions above is also for me.

Have mercy on stupid and sinful people. You and I will be one of them soon enough.

Selah. 

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