How Having to Wait for a Blessing Can Be A Blessing

22 May

Waiting for an answer from God doesn’t always seem so long if it is not your prayer request.

But when you are really looking for God’s blessing and you believe you have sincere reasons for doing so, the time in between your prayers and seeing God’s answer can feel a little like forever.

We sometimes feel that way when it comes to looking for a space for our church to meet and minister in our community. Our situation just seems so tenuous and there are just so many great opportunities to serve that are much more difficult for us to use without a regular place for us to meet throughout the week.

And we have been praying! Not enough, but praying!

In a sermon on God’s blessing, Jonathan Edwards reminds us of several reasons why God sometimes takes time to answer our prayers for things like this:

1. To help us know our need of God’s blessing:

“Tis very suitable and becoming that before men have the blessing they should this way show their sense of their need of it & of the value of it.”

2. To help us remember we don’t deserve God’s blessing:

“God’s seeming to deny Persons the blessing for a while when they seek tends to Lead Persons to Reflect on their unworthiness of the blessing.”

3. To prove to us that God is the source of our blessing:

“Tis suitable  before G. bestows the blessing upon a person  that he should this way Acknowledge to be author of the blessing.”

4. To get our hearts ready to actually enjoy the blessing:

“The Person by such a seeking of the blessing is Prepared for it he is put into a suitable disposition to Recieve it, to Entertain it Joyfully & thankfully & to make much of it when it is Obtained & to Give G. the Glory of it.”

God’s always doing us good even when it might not look or feel like He’s doing us good!

Investing in Learning the Bible Well

20 May

If I know the basics, why should I work hard at understanding the rest of what the Bible teaches?

Ken Berding writes,

“Knowing the gospel and communicating it to others is great. But let me give you four reasons why you should invest time in learning the Bible well:

  1. The Bible itself clearly instructs us to go beyond just the “milk” of the Word and to progress to the “meat” (Hebrews 6:11-7:3; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
  2. It is impossible to obey the Bible’s command to “meditate” on the Word of God without memorizing it, since memorization was presupposed in an oral cultural setting where people did not personally own biblical scrolls.
  3. You will never learn how to think “Christianly” about life, purpose, problems, decisions—or anything for that matter—unless you are filling your mind with the words God inspired to teach about himself and his ways.
  4. You will be unable to recognize false teaching when it comes into the church, whether from cults (like Jehovah’s Witnesses), false religions (like Islam), or notions popular among secular postmoderns (such as “all truth is relative”) unless you really know the Bible and what it teaches.”

Making the World a Little More Like Heaven

19 May

“Consider that great part of your happiness in heaven, to all eternity, will consist in this: in praising of God, for his free and glorious grace in redeeming you; and if you would spend more time about it on earth, you would find this world would be much more of a heaven to you than it is. Wherefore do nothing while you are alive, but speak and think and live God’s praises.”

Jonathan Edwards

Talking Edwards

18 May

I am always looking for helps learning more about Edwards and his theology.

I recently found this podcast that is extremely helpful and I thought some of you might enjoy.

It’s called East of Eden:

“East of Eden devotes each episode to a work of Jonathan Edwards’. Several Edwards experts discuss the key features of the work in order to draw out Edwards rich biblical and systematic theology.”

A Glory that Baffles Description

14 May

Martyn Lloyd Jones on Jonathan Edwards greatest emphasis:

“But above all, let all of us, preachers and listeners, having read this man, try to capture and to lay hold upon his greatest emphasis of all – the glory of God. Let us not stop at any benefit we may have had, and not even with the highest experiences we may have enjoyed. Let us seek to know more and more of the glory of God. That is what leads always to a true experience. We need to know the majesty of God, the sovereignty of God, and to feel a sense of awe, and of wonder. Do we know this? Is there in our churches a sense of wonder and of amazement? This is the impression Jonathan Edwards always conveys and creates. He teaches that these things are possible for the humblest Christian. He was preaching and ministering to most ordinary people, and yet he tells them that these things are possible to all of them. Then, beyond all, and at a time of crisis and uncertainty like the present, I know nothing more wonderful than his emphasis on the ‘blessed hope’. Read the sermon which he preached at the funeral of David Brainerd. It is an account of heaven and of the glory that awaits us as God’s children. In a collapsing world with everything dissolving before our eyes, is it not time that we lifted up our heads and our eyes, and looked to the glory that is coming. Let the financial position of this country collapse, let everything collapse, God’s purposes are sure and certain. Nothing ‘can make Him His purpose forego'; and there is a glory awaiting us which baffles description. It has been prepared for us, and there it awaits all who truly look to these things, and ‘the blessed appearing of our great God and Savior’.

Dying is Gain

13 May

It is normal to be scared of death. But as believers, we must fight fear with truth and the truth is, for those whose life is Christ, dying is gain. One way to see how good dying is for us is by remembering what dying means for us.

For the Christian death means,

1.  No more suffering, only joy.

2.  No more pain, only comfort.

3.  No more temptation, only truth.

4.  No more sinning, only holiness.

5.  No more conflict, only love.

6.  No more disappointment, only satisfaction.

7.  No more shame, only glory.

8.  No more poverty, only pleasure.

9.  No more dying, only life.

Climbing Mount Everest

13 May

I have been asked to speak on Jonathan Edwards and ‘what he has to say to Africa’ later this year. To be honest, this is quite an intimidating task and I was tempted to turn it down as being too difficult for me. Yet the chance to think about and study and learn from Jonathan Edwards is just too good for me to miss.

As I was thinking about how difficult this message will be, I was reminded of what Martyn Lloyd Jones once said in a lecture he delivered regarding Jonathan Edwards:

“I confess freely that this is one of the most difficult tasks I have ever attempted. The theme is almost impossible, and very largely for the reason that I have already given, namely the influence of Edwards upon me. I am afraid, and I say it with much regret, that I have to put him ahead even of Daniel Rowland and George Whitefield. Indeed I am tempted, perhaps foolishly, to compare the Puritans to the Alps, Luther and Calvin to the Himalayas, and Jonathan Edwards to Mount Everest! He has always seemed to me to be the man most like the apostle Paul. Of course, Whitefield was a great and mighty preacher as was Daniel Rowland but so was Edwards. Neither of them had the mind, neither of them had the intellect, neither of them had the grasp of theology that Edwards had; neither of them was the philosopher he was. He stands out, it seems to me, quite on his own amongst men. So the task confronting me, if I may follow my analogy of Mount Everest, is to decide whether to approach him by the south Col or by the north Col. There are so many approaches to this great summit; but not only so, the atmosphere is so spiritually rarefied, and there is this blazing whiteness of the holiness of the man himself, and his great emphasis upon the holiness and the glory of God; and above all the weakness of the little climber as he faces this great peak pointing up to heaven. All I can hope to do is to give some glimpses of this man and his life, and what he did, with the ultimate end and object of persuading every one to buy these two volumes of his works, and to read them!”

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