Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

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Be encouraged… God is at work around the world!

God is at work around the world in amazing ways. He is faithfully building His Church and expanding His Kingdom.

As I returned from a recent month long international trip I was reminded of the global diversity of the Body of Christ and God’s promise that one day there will be people from every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” standing before His throne worshipping “the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 5)

Here is a short 3-minute video that brings to life in a visual way Revelation 5 and reminds us of what is to come.

Enjoy!

When Breath Becomes Air

On a recent international flight to Asia I read the New York Times bestselling book, When Breath Becomes Air, by the late Neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi. In it, he tells the story of facing his impending death from brain cancer (at a young age – his late 30’s) and his search for meaning – through science and religion. His thoughts below are insightful as they describe what science can and cannot do in terms of explaining some of the phenomena of our daily life experience. He also shares why he eventually came back to the Christian faith of his youth (after abandoning it for atheism in Med School in his 20’s). Enjoy.


Dr. Paul Kalanithi, from his New York Times best selling book, When Breath Becomes Air

“During my sojourn in ironclad atheism, the primary arsenal leveled against Christianity had been its failure on empirical grounds. Surely enlightened reason offered a more coherent cosmos. Surely Occam’s razor cut the faithful free from blind faith. There is no proof of God; therefore, it is unreasonable to believe in God.

“Although I had been raised in a devout Christian family, where prayer and Scripture readings were a nightly ritual, I, like most scientific types, came to believe in the possibility of a material conception of reality, an ultimately scientific worldview that would grant a complete metaphysics, minus outmoded concepts like souls, God, and bearded white men in robes. I spent a good chunk of my twenties trying to build a frame for such an endeavor.

“The problem, however, eventually became evident: to make science the arbiter of metaphysics is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning – to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in. That’s not to say that if you believe in meaning, you must also believe in God. It is to say, though, that if you believe that science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any. In other words, existential claims have no weight; all knowledge is scientific knowledge.

“Yet the paradox is that scientific methodology is the product of human hands and thus cannot reach some permanent truth. We build scientific theories to organize and manipulate the world, to reduce phenomena into manageable units. Science is based on reproducibility and manufactured objectivity. As strong as that makes its ability to generate claims about matter and energy, it also makes scientific knowledge inapplicable to the existential, visceral nature of human life, which is unique and subjective and unpredictable. Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue…

“Yet I returned to the central values of Christianity – sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness – because I found them so compelling. There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is  the thing, and you can never live up to it. The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.”

Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and a BA in human biology. He earned an MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, during which he received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his large, loving family, including his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia. 

10 Things You Should Know About Charles Spurgeon by Michael Reeves

By Michael Reeves (www.crossway.org)

This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series from Crossway.

  1. His ministry began in the year of his conversion as a young man.

Spurgeon was raised in a Christian home, but was converted in 1850 at fifteen years old. Caught in a snowstorm, he took refuge in a small Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester. After about ten minutes, with only twelve to fifteen people present, the preacher fixed his eyes on Spurgeon and spoke to him directly:

“Young man, you look very miserable.” Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.” Spurgeon later wrote, ‘Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.’ 1

The ‘Prince of Preachers’ was tricked into preaching his first sermon that same year. An older man had asked Spurgeon to go to the little village of Teversham the next evening, “for a young man was to preach there who was not much used to services, and very likely would be glad of company.” It was only the next day that he realized the ‘young man’ was himself.2

  1. He was a man of hard work and huge influence.

He went on to preach in person up to thirteen times per week, gathered the largest church of his day, and could make himself heard in a crowd of twenty-three thousand people (without amplification). In print he published some eighteen million words, selling over fifty-six million copies of his sermons in nearly forty languages in his own lifetime.

  1. He was self-consciously a theological and doctrinal preacher.

While Spurgeon is not known as a theologian as such, he was nevertheless a deeply theological thinker and his sermons were rich in doctrine, and dripping with knowledge of historical theology – especially the Puritans.

Some preachers seem to be afraid lest their sermons should be too rich in doctrine, and so injure the spiritual digestions of their hearers. The fear is superfluous. . . . This is not a theological age, and therefore it rails at sound doctrinal teaching, on the principle that ignorance despises wisdom. The glorious giants of the Puritan age fed on something better than the whipped creams and pastries which are now so much in vogue.3

  1. He was pre-eminently a theologian and preacher of the cross.

Spurgeon’s was a cross-centered and cross-shaped theology, for the cross was “the hour” of Christ’s glorification (John 12:23–24), the place where Christ was and is exalted, the only message able to overturn the hearts of men and women otherwise enslaved to sin. Along with Isaiah 45:22, one of Spurgeon’s favorite Bible verses was John 12:32: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

He insisted on celebrating the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, and often broke bread during the week as well. He believed his preaching of the crucified Christ was the only reason why such great crowds were drawn to his church for so many years.

Who can resist his charms? One look of his eyes overpowers us. See with your heart those eyes when they are full of tears for perishing sinners, and you are a willing subject. One look at his blessed person subjected to scourging and spitting for our sakes will give us more idea of his crown rights than anything besides. Look into his pierced heart as it pours out its life-flood for us, and all disputes about his sovereignty are ended in our hearts. We own him Lord because we see how he loved.4

  1. He aimed his ministry and preaching at new birth.

Regeneration was one of the “three Rs” (ruin, redemption, and regeneration) Spurgeon always sought to preach. And regeneration was something he always expected to see as he preached the gospel. A friend of his once came to him, depressed because for three months of ministry he had not seen a single conversion. Spurgeon slyly asked, “Do you expect the Lord to save souls every time you open your mouth?” Embarrassed, the man answered “Oh, no, sir!” “Then,” Spurgeon replied, “that is just the reason why you have not had conversions: ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’”5

Regeneration, he saw, is a work of pure grace—and those the Lord regenerates, he will indwell. And “with such an indweller we need not fear, but that this poor heart of ours will yet become perfect as God is perfect; and our nature through his indwelling shall rise into complete meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.”6

  1. He knew how to enjoy life.

Spurgeon loved life and saw the creation as a blessing from God to be enjoyed. For tired ministers, he recommended:

A day’s breathing of fresh air upon the hills, or a few hours’ ramble in the beech woods’ umbrageous calm,’ which ‘would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive. A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.’7

He couldn’t resist walking outside in thunderstorms (‘I like to hear my Heavenly Father’s voice in the thunder’), he is known for his cigar smoking, and he had a keen interest in botany. Like us all, Spurgeon was uniquely himself. Yet his big-heartedness and joy as he walked through his Father’s creation displays exactly the sort of life that will always grow from the theology he believed.

  1. He was a mischievous, funny man.

‘What a bubbling fountain of humour Mr. Spurgeon had!’ wrote his friend William Williams. ‘I have laughed more, I verily believe, when in his company than during all the rest of my life besides.’8 A whole chapter of Spurgeon’s ‘autobiography’ is entitled ‘Pure Fun,’ and he regularly surprised people who expected the zealous pastor to be dour and intense. Grandiosity, religiosity, and humbug could all expect to be pricked on his wit.

  1. He was serious about joy.

Spurgeon’s humour and jollity were not trivial or frivolous. For him, joy was a theological matter and a manifestation of that happiness and cheer which is found in Christ alone. He refused to take himself—or any other sinner—too seriously, believing that to be alive in Christ means to fight not only the habits and acts of sin but also sin’s temperamental sullenness, ingratitude, bitterness, and despair.

Christ wishes his people to be happy. When they are perfect, as he will make them in due time, they shall also be perfectly happy. As heaven is the place of pure holiness, so is it the place of unalloyed happiness; and in proportion as we get ready for heaven, we shall have some of the joy which belongs to heaven, and it is our Saviour’s will that even now his joy should remain in us, and that our joy should be full.9

  1. He suffered with depression.

Spurgeon was full of life and joy, but also suffered deeply with depression as a result of personal tragedies, illness, and stress. Today he would almost certainly be diagnosed as clinically depressed and treated with medication and therapy. His wife, Susannah, wrote, “My beloved’s anguish was so deep and violent, that reason seemed to totter in her throne, and we sometimes feared that he would never preach again.”10

Spurgeon believed that Christian ministers should expect a special degree of suffering to be given to them as a way of forming them for Christlike, compassionate ministry. Christ himself was made like his weak and tempted brothers in order that he might help those who are tempted (Heb. 2:16–18), and in the same manner, it is weak and suffering people that God has chosen to minister to the weak and suffering.

  1. He was emphatically Christ-centered.

Spurgeon saw theology much like astronomy: as the solar system makes sense only when the sun is central, so systems of theological thought are coherent only when Christ is central. Every doctrine must find its place and meaning in its proper relation to Christ. “Be assured that we cannot be right in the rest, unless we think rightly of HIM. . . . Where is Christ in your theological system?”11

Spurgeon’s view of the Bible, his Calvinism, and his view of the Christian life are all deeply Christocentric–and even that astronomical analogy may be too weak to capture quite how Christ-centered Spurgeon was in his thinking.

For him, Christ is not merely one component—however pivotal—in the bigger machinery of the gospel. Christ himself is the truth we know, the object and reward of our faith, and the light that illumines every part of a true theological system. He wrote, ‘He himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because he is its sum and substance. He sits above the gospel, like a prince on his own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from his lips and embodied in his person. Sermons are valuable in proportion as they speak of him and point to him.’12

Notes:

  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 1 (Chicago: Curts & Jennings, 1898),106.
  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 1 (Chicago: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 200.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865–1891), 125–26.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol. 23, 269.
  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 2:151.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol.18:225.
  • H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1889) vol. 1, 172.
  • William Williams, Personal Reminiscences of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (London: Passmore & Alabaster,
  • 1895),, 17–18.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol. 51:229.
  • Charles Ray, “The Life of Susannah Spurgeon,” in Morning Devotions by Susannah Spurgeon: Free Grace and Dying Love (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2006), 166.
  • H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1900), 364.
  • H. Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, 6 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1860),1:vi.

 

Michael Reeves (PhD, King’s College, London) is president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology in Oxford. He is the author of Delighting in the Trinity, Rejoicing in Christ, and The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation.

Remembering Billy Graham (1918 – 2018)

Years ago, Billy Graham said,

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Justin Taylor compiled a list of TGC’s coverage of Billy Graham’s life and legacy…

A Few New Quotes to Note

“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“It is much harder to look down on the sin of others when you are looking up at Jesus, who took your sin on the cross.” (Garrett Kell)

“Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

“You may not feel like praying. You may be tired and even bored. But God welcomes you just as you are. Spend a few minutes talking with Him. God’s presence is not the same as the feeling of God’s presence and He may be doing most for us when we think He is doing least.” (C.S. Lewis)

“When you pray, four persons are involved. The Father listens. The Spirit helps, and the Son intercedes. A Christian never prays alone.” (Colin Smith)

“Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.” (Samuel Rutherford)

“We must not allow our emotions to hold sway over our minds. Rather, we must seek to let the truth of God rule our minds. Our emotions must become subservient to the truth.” (Jerry Bridges)

When it comes to studying God’s Word, remember… “Raking is easy, but you get only leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds.” (John Piper)

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” (John Stott)

“Every human being—regardless of color, nationality, economic status, or intellect—has been created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect.” (Kevin DeYoung)

“Runners in a distance race… always try to keep something in reserve for a final sprint. And my contention is that, so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out. The final sprint, so I urge, should be a sprint indeed.” (J.I. Packer)

“There are no sunset years for the Christian. Until the day you die, you have a race to run and a ministry to finish. Or, you can waste your life. But it’s better to lose your life than to waste it.” (John Piper)

Loving People: Not as They Deserve, Not as They Love, Not as We Need

A while back, Scotty Smith wrote on the topic of loving others – and how we can fully and freely do so only when Jesus is our sole satisfaction and deepest identity. Scotty wrote this as a prayer, but I’ve reworded it as a brief article. Enjoy.


Of all the pits easy to fall into, being too impacted by how people relate to us is the pit with the deadliest toxins in it. When people have too much power over our hearts, their approval can be as addictive as heroin or money. Their criticism can paralyze and kill us, like the venom of vipers. Their distance can fuel our anxieties and intensify our shame.

All of us want our relationship with Jesus to be the most defining reality in our lives—our greatest peace, joy, and hope.

We need to regularly ask God to restore to us the joy of our salvation; to renew our experience of His delight in us; to refresh our hearts in His everlasting love and unfailing kindness.

Only God’s love is better than life.

We need to be freed to relate to people and love them, “as unto the Lord,” as an act of worship—whether our kindness is acknowledged, reciprocated, or ignored.

We need to ask God to help us break the cycle of letting people be the thermostat in our lives. People will always make lousy saviors. Nobody can be Jesus to us but Jesus; and we dare not take on Jesus’ role in other people’s lives.

We need to be grateful that our heavenly Father doesn’t despise our weaknesses or brokenness, even when we have to confess the same things to Him over and over.

We long for the Day when we will be made perfect in love.

Until that Day, Lord, we ask that you would keep freeing us from our “people idolatries.”

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
(Eph. 6:7 NIV)

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
(Gal. 1:10 NLT)

“The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
(Psalm 118:6 NIV)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
(Jer. 31:3 NIV)

(Bold and italics mine)

Starting is Half Done

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions (or set goals) for this new year?

Two of the most common goals people set are…

1) Attend to my spiritual life more consistently, and

2) Attend to my physical life more consistently (usually meaning exercise and diet).

Whether you are still on track with your goals, or have already fallen behind in the first 10 days of this year (which is more common than most people think), here is one suggestion I’ve found helpful over the years that has helped to increase my consistency in all areas of my life.

Starting is half done

Many times, half the battle is just getting started.

I enjoy long-distance running, but unfortunately, I don’t always feel like doing it on my scheduled days. On the tough days, I’ve found that if I simply tell myself to “change into your running clothes and put your running shoes on… and walk out the door” (I run on a trail in my neighborhood), 99% of the time I actually end up running.

The same could be said about personal devotions.

Make a plandetermine a time, a place (your desk, a comfortable chair, your office, etc.) and what you will do during that time each day.

For example:

  • Bible Reading (15 minutes) (read three chapters in the OT and one chapter in the NT).
  • Prayer (15 minutes) (use the C.T.S. acronym to guide you as you pray – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Make a simple prayer list of things you want to specifically pray and thank God for each day.

Then if you want to add writing in a journal or Scripture memory and meditation (which I highly encourage), you can do so.

This will give you a plan of what to do when you sit down to have your devotions.

Also, as a side note, I would discourage having your digital device(s) on (or even near you) when you have your devotions.

We live in the most distracted culture in history… we need to push against the prevailing winds of “always on technology” in our world today.

If there is ever a time when we should truly “disconnect” digitally, it is when we are seeking to enjoy God’s presence and refocus our heart and mind.

A healthy spiritual life comes as we make small daily decisions to interact with God and His Word and seek to apply what we learn to our lives.

Sit down in your “place,” at your “time” and open your Bible…and start.

Starting, many times, is half done.

Walking with a Limp

I’ve always had an interest in learning what lessons others have gleaned throughout their pastoral ministry – in particular, as they look back upon their years with greater wisdom and insight. I wrote my own series of what I’ve learned over my first 30 years in ministry back in 2010 here.

I share many of my own lessons with pastors all over the world. And what never ceases to amaze me is how the stories and lessons learned are so similar, even across diverse cultures… whether in Africa, Asia or Latin America. We’re all made in the image of God. We’re all broken sinners in need of a Savior… no matter where we live.

A few months ago Kevin DeYoung, Sr. Pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, NC and board chairman of The Gospel Coalition, wrote about what he has learned in his years of ministry.

Here are two of the thoughts he shared…


“I often tell people that when I came to URC I told the search committee that my philosophy of ministry boiled down to three P’s: preach, pray, and be with people. Those are all really good. They’re still what I want to do in ministry.

“But I’ve had to learn a fourth P, and that is patience.

“I know I was naïve in how change happens—how long it takes to address things and how you have to build up trust and confidence.

“I always joke about when I first came there were some particular issues that I told the elders would be taken care of in six months. Then I said, well maybe in another six months. Then I said six years. And now I think, well, maybe in heaven.

“I know I’ve learned about patience…

“There are lots of little things you learn as a pastor, and some of them are simply part of growing up. …

“…And here’s the last thing I’ll mention. It goes back to the Bible story about Jacob wrestling with the angel. You remember, Jacob is touched in the hip socket and starts walking with a limp. It is true: given enough years, everyone ends up walking with a limp.

“It’s not all equal by any means.

“I’ve had less suffering than most other people. But if you live long enough, you’ll find that everyone is hurting.

“You’ll discover people’s marriages aren’t as good as they seem, or their kids are more troubled than they let on, or there’s a miscarriage or infertility, or there’s a parent who’s sick, or someone whose death is still the source of constant sadness, or there is a strained relationship, or there is an addiction, or there is an invisible illness.

“There’s just a lot of pain out there.

“Everyone you talk to is a sinner and a sufferer.

“As a young person filled with good theology, it’s easier to know the sinner part. And we can’t forget this, otherwise we will be poor friends, and I’ll be a poor pastor. Compassion without follow through or correction is not real love. But that’s only one part of the equation.

“You have to remember people are carrying around a lot of hurt, a lot of sadness, a lot of fears. I’ve had to learn that people are not just sinners; they’re sufferers too. And that shapes how you deal with sin and extend mercy. I hope I’ve learned that.”

Click here to read the full article by Kevin DeYoung.

What is your life’s mission statement?

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Almost 30 years ago, I took several days during a vacation to evaluate all that I was doing and to state in one brief sentence what my purpose in life was (my Mission Statement) – i.e. Why do I get out of bed in the morning? What is it that drives me day in and day out?

The statement I wrote back then has been a guiding compass over the last few decades. I still have this statement as part of my daily prayer list to help keep me centered on what is most important.

Here is my life’s mission statement…

When I come to the end of my life and have nothing but death to look forward to and nothing but memories to look back upon, I want to be able to say that I sought to be…

• God’s man (2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Thess. 2:4)
• in God’s place (Acts 20:24)
• doing God’s work (1 Cor. 3:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:58)
• for God’s glory! (1 Cor. 10:31; Phil. 1:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11)

To explain what I mean by those four brief statements:

  • I don’t want to be “my own man” (or as Frank Sinatra said, “I Did It My Way”). I only want to be God’s man.
  • I don’t want to do ministry in someone else’s place; only the place that God has called me… no matter where that is or how small and seemingly insignificant.
  • I don’t want to do anyone else’s work, only the work that God has called me to do (Acts 20:24).
  • And finally, my ultimate reason for living, my reason for breathing air each day, my reason for taking up space on this dust chip called planet earth, is to live for God’s glory. Not my glory. Not some ministry’s glory. Only God’s glory. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

What’s your mission statement? If you haven’t written one, I would encourage you to do so.

Quotes to Note – Fall 2017

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” (Augustine)

“I look in the mirror and say, ‘What is a young man like me doing in an old body like that?’” (Haddon Robinson)

“Two things are said to be rare sights in the world; one is a young man humble, and the other is an old man content.” (J.C. Ryle)

“To be loved but not known is superficial. To be known and not loved is our great fear. But to be known and loved is what will transform us.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“A book I’m reading states that there are 4 kinds of people.
1. Those who make things happen.
2. Those who watch things happen.
3. Those to whom things happen.
4. Those who have no clue what’s happening.
I’m determined to be in the 1st category. How about you?”
(Dr. David Sills)

“You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.” (Anonymous)

“Death and sorrow are merely a middle chapter.” (Scott Sauls)

“Men fall in private long before they fall in public.” (J.C. Ryle)

“If you understand what holiness is, you come to see that real happiness is on the far side of holiness, not the near side.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“But this is what I know: God is who He says He is. In the hurt and the pain and the suffering, God is near, and He is good, even when the ending isn’t. It’s not, ‘They lived happily ever after,’ but, They leaned into an unknown future with a very knowable Father.’” (Ann Voskamp)

“We would be more patient and kind with people and less hurt if we regularly remembered that we all have deep core faults.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“The poet James Allen Francis noted: ‘All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.’”

“Fighting sheep are strange animals, and fighting Christians are self-evident contradictions.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“God sees us as we are, loves us as we are, and accepts us as we are. But by His grace, He does not leave us as we are.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“The weakness of your faith
will not destroy you.
A trembling hand
may receive a golden gift.”
(C.H. Spurgeon)

“Unhealthy leaders, when criticized, will spin, manipulate, and regroup. Healthy leaders, on the other hand, will confess and repent.” (Scott Sauls)

“No man is worse for knowing the worst about himself. If an X-ray reveals a serious break in one of your bones, do you blame the X-ray? Do you break the thermometer if it shows you with a fever of 105? Would you blame a doctor for informing you of a life-threatening situation? In the same way, when God talks about sin, it’s the diagnosis of the very disease He wants to cure. God condemns sin because He redeems from sin! We can’t receive His forgiveness by redefining sin; don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that something the Bible calls sin is normal and not necessarily wrong. God says He condemns it—but only because He can redeem you from it. Are you willing to hear all that He says?”
(Darryl DelHousaye)

“Maturity is always a return to the reality about yourself.”
(Dr. Joseph C. Aldrich)

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” (Jim Ryan)

“It is only an infinite God, and an infinite good, that can fill and satisfy the precious and immortal soul of man.” (Thomas Brooks)

“Christ followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle addictions, and as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.” (Max Lucado, from his new book Fearless)

“Like it or not, each of us is personally at war with the Devil, for the Devil has personally declared war upon each of us.” (J.I. Packer)

“How does Satan accuse us? By causing us to look at our sin rather than our Savior.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“We cannot add time; we can only exercise stewardship over the time we are given.” (Albert Mohler)

“Do not be anxious about what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”
(St. Francis de Sales)

“I used to think of life as a highway with lots of potholes along the way. Now, I see it as a country road with a smooth place every once in a while.” (Haddon Robinson)

“In Jesus, God battles our sin with reassurance not shame, kindness not punishment, mercy not judgment, love not abandonment.” (Scott Sauls)

“I’ve never regretted seeking to understand the best representatives of a position I disagree with. I do regret my hasty, uninformed responses.”
(Scotty Smith)

“I wonder if I’ve ever done anything out of a pure motive. How in the world could I ever hope to have relationship with a righteous God? I find myself thinking that I can’t. So, I live with grace. If you knew me like God knew me, you probably wouldn’t like me. The marvel of the Bible is that God is gracious.” (Haddon Robinson)

“Life is hard. God is good. Glory is coming. Therefore, stand firm in his grace. Rejoice in hope, fill your life with good deeds, and show the world that God is gloriously satisfying.” (John Piper)

“The moment we say don’t give me doctrine, don’t give me all that Bible stuff, just give me Jesus, just strip it down to the basics — is the moment we become culpable of a fallacy. The Bible is the very book on which Jesus based His entire life.” (Scott Sauls)

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