Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mottos for Christian book-lovers

Learning is for living
Learning is for loving

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Encouragements to persevere

Several readings from John Piper's meditations in A Godward Life have been a great encouragement recently. Here are some quotes and reflections from one.

Talking to Your Tears (on Psalm 126:5-6)
"May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." (RSV)

There is nothing inherently sorrowful about sowing seed, says Piper. The point is rather that sowing is a task that must be performed whatever the circumstances or ones spiritual and emotional state. No sowing - no harvest, it's as simple as that.

This, then, is an encouraging to keep going, to persevere, to keep working even when it's the last thing we feel like doing.

The crops won't wait while we finish our grief or solve our problems. If we
are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed
whether we are crying or not.

This psalm teaches the tough truth that there is work to be done whether I am emotionally up for it or not, and it is
good for me to do it.

So here's the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done,
and you are full of sadness and the tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do
the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: "Tears, I feel you. You
make me want to quit life, but there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed,
a car to be fixed, a sermon to be written). I know you will wet my face several
times today, but I have work to do and you will just have to go with me. I
intend to take the bag of seeds and sow. If you come along, then you will just
have to wet the rows."

[And] if you do that, the promise of this psalm is that you will "reap with
shouts of joy"... not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping,
but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping. We need to remember this even
when our tears tempt us to give up sowing.

Source: John Piper (1998) A Godward Life: Meditations on the supremacy of God in all of life (Eastbourne: Kingsway), pp.89-90

PS thanks to J-D & Kellee who gave us this book as a wedding present 6+ years ago

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blackbird in our garden 2

Rosemary helpfully pointed (here) out that the blackbird in my previous post wasn't actually in our garden. True. Happily, it returned a few days later and did alight on our lawn. Hooray!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Which shall I read first?

Titles are from IVP's Contours of Christian Theology series.

Christless leisure

I've already added this quote to
Underlined Bits, but thought it was worth putting here too.

Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from him into Christless leisure
makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on
prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, prayerlessness,
vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and
a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.

John Piper (1997) A Godward Life, in ch.34 "Setting Our Minds on Things Above in Summer"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Notes on a few websites

  • This week is China week at the Times (here). You can download lesson podcasts in basic conversational Mandarin. Very exciting!
  • Mark has begun a new blog. Underlined bits is simply a space where contributors can share "thought-provoking and inspiring quotations from evangelical writings"
  • Oak Hill Theological College has just appointed a new principal, to start when David Peterson returns to Australia in the summer. If you want to know who he is, click here.
  • I couldn't resist adding in an old favourite. At Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers, you can see what birds have been seen around Notts recently. See similar sites for Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.
  • I also recommend The Pension Service and HM Revenue and Customs. Helpful information about pensions, taxes etc.

Blackbird in our garden!