Elisabeth Elliot2This is a hard one, but the last few lines help put it into perspective:

Sometimes our prayers are for deliverance from conditions which are morally indispensable–that is, conditions which are absolutely necessary to our redemption. God does not grant us those requests. He will not because He loves us with a pure and implacable purpose: that Christ be formed in us. If Christ is to live in my heart, if his life is to be lived in me, I will not be able to contain Him. The self, small and hard and resisting as a nut, will have to be ruptured. My own purposes and desires and hopes will have to at times be exploded. The rupture of the self is death, but out of death comes life. The acorn must rupture if an oak tree is to grow.

 It will help us to remember, when we do not receive the answer we hoped for, that it is morally necessary, morally indispensable, that some of our prayers be denied, “that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in these bodies of ours” (2 Cor 4:11 JBP). Then think of this: the agonized prayer of Jesus in the garden went unanswered, too. Why? In order that life–our life–might spring forth from death–his death.

~ Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp For My Feet

 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
John 12:24

To see all the posts in this series, see the bottom of this post.

Laudable Linkage

Here are a few noteworthy reads discovered in the last week or so:

God of Judgment, God of Grace. Rebekah does a great job of showing that these are not aspects of God from two different testaments, but rather they are both all throughout the Bible, and in the midst God’s judgment are some of the most marvelous displays of His grace.

6 Things I Wish I Had Never Told My Children. I don’t know that I agree with every little thing here, especially the last point (though I agree with what is said underneath it), but it is thought-provoking and a reminder that while we love, nurture, and build up our children, we do need to prepare them realistically for the real world.

Why You Can’t Push Your Kids Into the Kingdom.

The Value of a Life. Should we laugh when our country’s enemies are killed?

A look at the 23 UI changes in iOS 9 that you might have missed. I am sure with each upgrade to a new iOS system for the iPhone or iPad, there is much that it will do that I never know about, so a quick look at an article like this is helpful.

What Is Periscope, and How Do I Use It? I had vaguely heard of this and knew it involved watching people’s videos of what they were doing, but that’s about it. This article explains it all clearly and simply.

Here’s How to Clean Up Your G-mail Inbox, You Hoarder.

And this is adorable:

Happy Saturday!

Elisabeth Elliot2

This is another of Elisabeth’s quotes that comes back to me often, especially the last line, especially when my careful plans get disrupted:

I am a list-maker. Every day I make a list of what I must do. I have an engagement calendar and an engagement book. I have a grocery list on the wall beside the refrigerator, last year’s Christmas list in this year’s engagement book (so I won’t duplicate gifts), a master list for packing my suitcase (so I won’t forget anything), a prayer list (a daily one and a special one for each day of the week), and several others.

Recently a wholly unexpected minor operation badly interrupted my list of things to be done that week. But because God is my sovereign Lord, I was not worried. He manages perfectly, day and night, year in and year out, the movements of the stars, the wheeling of the planets, the staggering coordination of events that goes on on the molecular level in order to hold things together. There is no doubt that he can manage the timing of my days and weeks. So I can pray in confidence, Thy list, not mine, be done.

From A Lamp For My Feet

To see all the posts in this series, see the bottom of this post.

Elisabeth Elliot2Today’s quote is short but quite convicting. Yet is is also reassuring as a reminder that God truly does work all things together for our good – little irritations as well as great trials. Elisabeth speaks of other people, but I like to expand this to apply to any kind of irritant or annoyance. As I have written before, I tend to get tripped up by those more often than the big things.

How can this person who so annoys or offends me be God’s messenger? Is God so unkind as to send that sort across my path? Insofar as his treatment of me requires more kindness than I can find in my own heart, demands love of a quality I do not possess, asks of me patience which only the Spirit of God can produce in me, he is God’s messenger. God sends him in order that he may send me running to God for help.

From A Lamp For My Feet

To see all the posts in this series, see the bottom of this post.

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF tamara'sIt’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been another full week starting out with feeling like I was spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere, but thankfully as the week went on I was able to pick up some traction and accomplish something. :) Here are some highlights of the week:

1. Pizza and a movie at home with the family. We enjoyed the new live action version of Cinderella.

2. Cuddling with Timothy. He is so active and exploratory that he is usually on the move, so there is less time to just sit and hold him than there was when he was younger. But every now and then he climbs on the couch and cuddles up next to me or lays his head on my stomach or chest.

3. Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. My husband made this last Sunday and it was wonderful.

4 A super-productive day was wonderful after several of the wheel-spinning ones I mentioned earlier.

5. Some alone time is sometimes hard to come by with our present circumstances, but I thrive on a certain amount of it. God is faithful to provide it just when I need it most, and when some comes up unexpectedly, it’s an extra blessing.

Hope you’re having a good balance between busyness and rest, and solitude and companionship. Happy Friday!

Knowing GodWe’re continuing to read Knowing God by J. I. Packer along with Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together Series. This week we are in chapters 13 and 14.

Chapter 13, “The Grace of God,” and chapter 14, “God the Judge,” would seem at first glance like an odd pairing. In fact, many people seem to think that judgment belongs to the Old Testament and grace to the New, but Packer makes a case for both in both sections.

There is something about the word “judge” that is repellent to us. We don’t want anyone judging us, especially someone who doesn’t truly know us, doesn’t know the circumstances, and is as fallible as we are. But don’t we long in our hearts sometimes for someone to set things right in the world? From our earliest experiences, we appeal to a parent or teacher to judge a situation, do the right thing, and take care of the culprit involved.

God does know all about us and our circumstances and is the only one who can judge perfectly and rightly. We can trust the “judge of all the earth” to “do right” (Genesis 18:25). And when it comes to taking care of the culprit…well, that is all of us at one time or another. Though He would be perfectly justified to dispense with any and all of us, He offers grace. He judged His own Son in our place so we could be made right with Him when we repent and believe on Him. Those who reject His grace will have to face Him as Judge.

Packer does a masterful job showing God’s judgment throughout Scripture, explaining how His judgment is a manifestation of His righteousness, and discerning how Christians will be judged in light of the fact that the Bible says we are not under condemnation: we’re not, as far as our soul’s destiny goes, but we are accountable for what we did with what God gave us, and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 indicates there will be some kind of loss or reward when we face God.

If God is a righteous Judge, why is there so much injustice still in the world? People have wrestled with that for years (see Psalm 73), but the Bible assures us it will be dealt with–“if not here then hereafter) (p. 143).

In the chapter on grace, Packer offers reasons why people have trouble grasping it and then expounds on what it is and what it involves.

“Those who suppose that the doctrine of God’s grace tends to encourage moral laxity…are simply showing that, in the most literal sense, they do not know what they are talking about. For love awakens love in return; and love, once awakened, desires to give pleasure” (p. 137).

Paul refers to the fact that we must all appear before Christ’s judgment seat as “The terror of the Lord” (2 Cor 5:11 KJV), and well he might. Jesus the Lord, like his Father, is holy and pure; we are neither. We live under his eye, he knows our secrets, and on judgment day the whole of our past life will be played back, as it were, before him, and brought under review. If we know ourselves at all, we know we are not fit to face him. What then are we to do? The New Testament answer is this: Call on the coming Judge to be your present Savior. As Judge, he is the law but as Savior he is the gospel. Run from him now, and you will meet him as Judge then- and without hope. Seek him now, and you will find him (for “he that seeketh findeth”), and you will then discover that you are looking forward to that future meeting with joy, knowing that there is now “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1) (pp. 146-147).

Elisabeth Elliot2It might seem odd to start off this series with this quote, but it is one that has ministered to me often. We are all under limitations of some kind: season of life, physical abilities, obligations, etc. And it seems whatever situation we are in, we find ourselves wishing we could do something that we can’t. Sometimes God does reveal His power and grace by overriding whatever the limitations are, or seem to be, as was the case with Moses telling God that he couldn’t speak, so it is important to pray and consider whether the issue is really a limitation or an obstacle God wants to remove. But other times the limitations are from His hand for His purposes.

The following is from Elisabeth’s book A Lamp For My Feet:

Yesterday as I was reading my brother Tom’s book, The Achievement of C.S. Lewis, I was admiring again the scope of his knowledge, his ability to comprehend another’s genius, and his wonderful command of English. By contrast my own limitations seemed severe indeed. They are of many kinds–analytical, critical, articulatory, not to mention educational. But my limitations, placing me in a different category from Tom Howard’s or anyone else’s, become, in the sovereignty of God, gifts. For it is with the equipment that I have been given that I am to glorify God. It is this job, not that one, that He gave me.

For some, the limitations are not intellectual but physical. The same truth applies. Within the context of their suffering, with whatever strength they have, be it ever so small, they are to glorify God. The apostle Paul actually claimed that he “gloried” in infirmities, because it was there that the power of Christ was made known to him.

If we regard each limitation which we are conscious of today as a gift–that is, as one of the terms of our particular service to the Master–we won’t complain or pity or excuse ourselves. We will rather offer up those gifts as a sacrifice, with thanksgiving.

And this is from a section titled “Apportioned Limitations” from the same book:

The God who determined the measurements of the foundations of the earth sets limitations to the scope of our work. It is always tempting to measure ourselves by one another, but this easily leads to boasting or despair. It is our business to find the sphere of service allotted to us, and do all that He has appointed us to do within that sphere, not “commending ourselves.”

Paul said, “We will keep to the limits God has apportioned us” (2 Cor. 10:13 RSV). Jesus did that–willing to become a helpless, newborn baby, to be a growing child, an adolescent, a man, each stage bounded by its peculiar strictures, yet each offering adequate scope in which to glorify his Father.

Lord, glorify yourself through me and in the place You’ve set me. Let me not covet another’s place or work or glory.

Our current circumstances may be temporary or permanent. We need not lament what we can’t do. We can seek God’s will for what to do now. As long as the Lord has left us here on earth, He has some way for us to bless others, perhaps by prayer, perhaps by being willing for others to minister to us. Sometimes we can be dismayed by our limitations, but as Elisabeth said, limitations just define our ministry: “For it is with the equipment that I have been given that I am to glorify God. It is this job, not that one, that He gave me.”

“God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (I Cor. 1:27) and to showcase His strength (II Cor. 12:8-10).


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