Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. – Acts 14:22
No other faith of mankind, religious or political, has quite so extensive a record of violent bitter opposition to its growth than the Christian church.
– Kenneth Scott Latourette
It may seem strange that Jesus should pass from peacemaking to persecution, from the work of reconciliation to the experience of hostility. Yet however hard we may try to make peace with some people, they refuse to live at peace with us. Not all attempts at reconciliation succeed. Indeed, some take the initiative to oppose us, and in particular to revile or slander us. This is not because of our foibles or idiosyncrasies, but ‘for righteousness’ sake and ‘on Jesus’ account’, that is, because they find distasteful the righteousness for which we hunger and thirst, and because they have rejected the Christ we seek to follow. Persecution is simply the clash between two irreconcilable value-systems. – John Stott
“Rejoice and be glad!” What can justify such counsel to people in pain? I see two possibilities: either this is the talk of an insensitive, ivory tower theologian who has never known what it is to scream with pain, or this is the talk of one who has seen
something and tasted something and knows something about a reality that most of us have never tasted or glimpsed. – John Piper
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“Teach me to feel another’s woe, To hide the fault I see,
That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me.”
– Alexander Pope English poet (1688-1744)
O Christian, know your condition – the misery and the mercy. And let the horror
from which you have been rescued, and the mercy in which you live, and the
price that Christ paid, make you humble and thankful and patient and kind and
forgiving. You have never been treated by God worse than you deserve. And in
Christ you are treated ten million times better.
– John Piper
“Everybody loves to see justice done…on somebody else.”
– Bruce Cockburn
A Prayer to Pray:
“Lord, enable me this day to slow down and eliminate hurry, that I might remember You and the richness of Your mercy towards me. Today I offer you my hurts, anger, bitterness and disappointments. Enable me to forgive as generously and consistently as You forgive me. Teach me how to appropriately process any anger toward You, others and myself. I wait on You and trust in You, Lord. Show me the way of Your wisdom and love this day. AMEN.
Pete Scazzero© 2005
Center For Emotional Health & Spirituality
New Life Fellowship, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Can anything equal the breath-taking tenderness of Jesus’ final request – “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
– Adapted from William Hendriksen
While he was on his deathbed, the Scottish Reformer John Knox had John 17 read to him every day. In the closing moments of his life, he testified that these verses continued to be a great comfort and a source of strength for him.
– James Montgomery Boice
In truth, Christ cannot lack you. Heaven would be no heaven to him, if you were not there.
You are his crown of beauty (Isaiah 62:4). You are the apple of his eye (Deuteronomy 32:10),
his treasured possession (Exodus 19:5), his portion (Deut. 32:9), and his bride (Rev. 21:9).
– Adapted from Robert Murray M’Cheyne
The Father has eternally enjoyed ‘the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature’ (Hebrews 1:3) in the Person of his Son. Seeing and savoring this glory is the goal of our salvation (John 17:24). To feast on this forever is the aim of our being created
and of our being redeemed.
– John Piper
Take me to you, imprison me, for I, Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
– John Donne
Recently my 18 year-old daughter ask me for a summary of what we call the doctrines of grace. I love the summary below because it is pastoral, practical, God exalting, man humbling, and, most of all, true to Scripture.
Total Depravity: “We all struggle with our total depravity that reminds us that we are not just bad people, but people who are blind to real beauty (Jesus) and, left to ourselves, are dead to the only source of real joy (Jesus alone).
Unconditional Election: In spite of ourselves, the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed.
Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption: What’s even better is that we have the assurance that our indestructible joy in Jesus Christ is absolutely secured for us by the sacrificial death of our Lord.
Irresistible Grace: Furthermore, God is radically committed to making sure that we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures and will surely set us free by the irresistible power of a superior delight in Him.
Perseverance of the Saints: Lastly, God, by His almighty power, will keep us through times of affliction and suffering for the inheritance of pleasures at God’s right hand forever.”
– John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.
Let us pray with boldness the simple prayer of Moses: “LORD, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18).
John Piper writes: “In the church, our view of God is so small instead of huge, so marginal instead of crucial, so vague instead of clear, so impotent instead of all determining, and so uninspiring instead of ravishing that the responsibility to live to the glory of God is a thought without content. The words can come out of our mouths, but ask the average Christian to tell what they know about the glory of this God that they are going to live for, and the answer will not be long.”
One biblical scholar writes that Romans 16 “is one of the most instructive chapters of the New Testament because it encourages personal relationships of love in the church.”
— Emil Brunner
The warmth of Christian friendship evident in these verses (with so many indications of warm affection) reminds us that in a world of fractured families the church is so often the first family where men and women find the warmth for which they long. But they find it not in being passengers but rather by being active servants alongside others.
— Christopher Ash
Every person wants two things in life: Adventure and security.
Only in Christianity do you get both.
— G.K. Chesterton
It is right to risk for the cause of Christ. It is right to engage the enemy and say, “May the LORD do what seems good to him.” It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!” It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world. This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. At the end of every other road – secure and risk-free – we will put our face in our hands and say, “I’ve wasted it!”
— John Piper