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What could make suffering seem small?

20 Sep

If you want an idea of how good heaven will be, think of how sad life can be.

After all, Paul says that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed to us.

Imagine!

Heaven will have to be so good if it can possibly make the suffering we are experiencing seem small.*

(HT: Alan Lester)

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What the Psalms Principally Teach Us

19 Sep

“…although The Psalms are replete with all the precepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness, yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross; and the bearing of the cross is a genuine proof of our obedience, since by doing this, we renounce the guidance of our own affections and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving him to govern us, and to dispose of our life according to his will, so that the afflictions which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature, become sweet to us, because they proceed from him. In one word, not only will we here find general commendations of the goodness of God, which may teach men to repose themselves in him alone, and to seek all their happiness solely in him; and which are intended to teach true believers with their whole hearts confidently to look to him for help in all their necessities; but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconciles God towards us and procures for us settled peace with him, is so set forth and magnified, as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of  eternal salvation.”

John Calvin

A Passage Into Glory

16 Sep

“If we consider death simply in itself as an enemy to nature, there is nothing in it for which we should desire it: but if we consider it as a medium, or passage into glory, yea, the only ordinary way through which all saints must pass out of this into a better state; so it will appear not only tolerable, but desirable to prepared souls. Were there not a shore of glory on the other side of these black waters of death, for my own part, I should rather choose to live meanly than to die easily. If both parts (body and soul) were to perish at death, there were no reason to persuade one to be willing to deliver up the other; it were a madness for the soul to desire to be dissolved, that it should have no being at all. But Christians, let me tell you, death is so far from being a bar, that it is a bridge in your way to glory, and you are never likely to get there, but by passing over it: except, therefore, you will look beyond it, you will never see any desirableness in it…To be with death is sad, but to be with Christ is sweet; to endure the pains of death is doleful, but to see the face of Christ is joyful, to part with your pleasant habitations is irksome, but to be lodged in the heavenly mansions is most delightful, a parting hour with dear relations is cutting, but a meeting hour with Jesus Christ is transporting, to be rid of your own bodies is not pleasing, but to be rid of sin, and that forever, what can be more pleasing to a gracious soul?”

John Flavel

Man by nature

5 Sep

“Man is by nature unable to want God to be God. Indeed, he himself wants to be God, and does not want God to be God”

Martin Luther

Heartily received and ruthlessly persecuted…

4 Sep

“It is the nature of the divine word to be heartily received by few, but to be persecuted ruthlessly by many.” Martin Luther

A Mack Family Update

29 Aug

It is such a privilege to be a child of God.

We are very grateful for the opportunity He has given us to serve Him here in South Africa and we thought we could share with you some of the ways He has been at work in our lives over the past several months.

You can click here:

And you will find more information and pictures about church planting efforts, missions trips, the Muphamuzi Baby Home, counseling training, the African Bible Training Centre, and family news.

We appreciate your loving concern for us. We know God’s using your support and prayers to enable us to serve Him here and we are so thankful. We just want to keep doing more and serving Him better!

Every blessing,

Josh and Marda Mack

 

But One Way…

25 Aug

“Yet the great part of people are most unworthy to be helped if they be judged by their own merit. But here Scripture helps in the best way when it teaches that we are not to consider that men merit of themselves but to look upon the image of God in all men, to which we owe all honor and love…there is but one way in which to achieve what is not merely difficult but utterly against human nature, to love those who hate us, to repay their evil deeds with benefits, to return blessings for reproaches. It is that we remember not to consider men’s evil intention but to look upon the image of God in them, which cancels and effaces their transgressions, and with its beauty and dignity allures us to love and embrace them.”

John Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion (Philadelphia, Pa.: The Westminster Press, 1960), 1:696.