“The emphasis on LABOR [in 1 Corinthians 15:10] reminds us that difficulty and cost in Christian work, far from suggesting an absence of GOD’S GRACE, presupposes the gift of such grace to prosecute the work through all obstacles.”—Anthony Thiselton
“The pastor’s task is to guide the believer into a full and complete awareness of these infinite riches that have been bestowed on him by sheer grace, and to present that believer to God in full maturity. It is quite an ambitious spiritual mission, but it should be the mission of every pastor.”Douglas Wilson on pastoral care
On Rilian’s return home and how the Narnians recognized him, and Jill’s joyful perspective on their previous difficulties:
Pale though he was from long imprisonment in the Deep Lands, dressed in black, dusty, disheveled, and weary, there was something in his face and air which no one could mistake. That look is in the face of all true Kings of Narnia, who rule by the will of Aslan and sit at Cair Paravel on the throne of Peter the High King. Instantly every head was bared and every knee was bent; a moment later such cheering and shouting, such jumps and reels of joy, such hand-shakings and kissings and embracings of everybody by everybody else broke out that the tears came into Jill’s eyes. Their quest had been worth all the pains it cost.
–C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
We will soon see the face of our true King, and our joy will be worth all the pains it cost.
Two kinds of pleasing worship to God:
“in active obedience we worship God by doing what pleases God, but by passive obedience we do as well worship God by being pleased with what God does.”
—Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 120
“Just as no one can be a scholar unless he learn his ABC, so you must learn the lesson of self-denial or you can never become a scholar in Christ’s school, and be learned in this mystery of contentment.”
“And the truth is, I know nothing more effective for quieting a Christian soul and getting contentment than this, setting your heart to work in the duties of the immediate circumstances that you are now in, and taking heed of your thoughts about other conditions as a mere temptation.”
—Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 52
“The Lord knows how to order things better than I. The Lord sees further than I do; I only see things at present but the Lord sees a great while from now. And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone.”
—Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 36
Doug Wilson on The Obedience of Cancer:
“this cancer is right where it is because it is being obedient–and we don’t want to be less obedient than the cancer is being. And that means trusting the Lord who does all things well. He assigns a place to everything, and I need to be more concerned about being obedient in my assigned station than I am distraught at the inconvenience created by something else being obedient in its assigned station.”
On the subject of social media, except not really, because it was published in 1835:
“If an American were to be reduced to minding only his own business, he would be deprived of half his existence; he would experience it as a gaping void in his life and would become unbelievably unhappy.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
I highly recommend Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle. Here is a taste of the book where she describes the glory of a woman who gives substance and shape to an idea.
Our job as women—and it’s a phenomenal responsibility—is to enflesh the weighty truths of our faith. If our role is to make truth taste, to make holiness beautiful, then what does that look like in the details?
As a random example of this, take Christmas. Christmas is, of course, when God did ultimately what we women can only shadow. The ultimate enfleshing. At Bethlehem, God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the Consolation of Israel was born of a woman–and that moment was so staggering that even the stars had to come down and see it. And then, every year, we celebrate that moment. We take one of the most difficult theological truths—the Incarnation—and attempt to show that truth through our celebrations. The men can talk about the Incarnation, church fathers can write important treatises about it, pastors can preach about it, theologians can parse and define it…but we women are the ones who make it taste like something. We make it smell good. How crazy is that?
“And for my next trick, I will take Athanasius’ De Incarnatione and I will say it with cookies and wrapping paper and cinnamon and marshmallows and colored lights and tablecloths and shopping trips and frantically-last-minute-late-night-Amazon-orders and ham–and I will do it in such a way that my four-year-old will really get it, and it will send roots deep down into his soul where it will anchor his loves and his loyalties and shape his allegiances well into his nineties.” (175-76, one paragraph that I made into three)
Knocking down dualism is good, but not as good as never letting it be built in the first place. I’m thankful for my wife who helps me get it better, even if late.