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November 23, 2008

If I want my own way rather than God’s, it is quite obvious that I shall want my own way rather than the other man’s. A man does not assert his independence of God to surrender it to a fellow man, if he can help it.

-Roy Hession

November 22, 2008

Our confidence in evangelism comes from God’s freedom to have mercy on whomever he wills (Rom 9:18).

Tell the Preacher

November 9, 2008

There was a man of God who had been a very distinguished preacher, and when he lay dying he was much troubled in his mind. He had been greatly admired, and much followed. He was a fine preacher of the classical sort, and one said to him, “Well, my dear sir, you must look back upon your ministry with great comfort.” “Oh, dear!” said he, “I cannot; I cannot. If I knew that even one soul had been led to Christ and eternal life by my preaching I should feel far happier; but I have never heard of one.” What a sad, sad thing for a dying preacher! He died, and was buried, and there was a goodly company of people at the grave, for he was highly respected, and deservedly so. One who heard him make that statement was standing at the grave, and he noticed a gentleman in mourning, looking into the tomb, and sobbing with deep emotion. He said to him, “Did you know this gentleman who has been buried?” He replied, “I never spoke to him in my life.” “Then what is it that so affects you?” He said, “Sir, I owe my eternal salvation to him.” He had never told the minister this cheering news, and the good man’s death-bed was rendered dark by the silence of a soul that he had blessed. This was not right. A great many more may have found the Lord by his means, but he did not know of them, and was therefore in sore trouble. Do tell us when God blesses our word to you. Give all the glory to God, but give us the comfort of it. The Holy Spirit does the work, but if we are the means in his hands, do let us know it, and we will promise not to be proud.

Your poor little boy!

November 3, 2008

July 4, 1777.
My dear Sir,
Your poor little boy! It is mercy indeed, that he recovered from such a severe burn. The Lord wounded–and the Lord healed. I ascribe what the world calls accidents–to Him, and believe, that without His permission, for wise and good ends–a child can no more pull a bowl of boiling water on itself–than it could pull the moon out of its orbit!

Why does God permit such things? He does these things–to remind us of the uncertainty of life and all creature-comforts; to make us afraid of cleaving too close to pretty toys, which are so precarious, that often while we look at them–they vanish; to lead us to a more entire dependence upon Himself; that we might never judge ourselves or our concerns safe from outward appearances only–but that the Lord is our keeper, and were not His eye upon us–a thousand dangers, and painful changes, which we can neither foresee nor prevent–are lurking about us every step, ready to break in upon us every hour!

“Men are but children of a larger growth.” How many are laboring and planning in the pursuit of things, the outcome of which, if they obtain them, will be but like pulling scalding water upon their own heads! They must have the bowl by all means–but they are not aware what is in it–until they feel it!

From the letters of John Newton

Theological controversies and disputes

I am not to expect others to see with my eyes! I am deeply convinced of the truth of John the Baptist’s aphorism in John 3:27, “A man can receive nothing–except it be given him from Heaven.” I well know, that the little measure of knowledge I have obtained in the things of God–has not been owing to my own wisdom and teachableness, but to God’s goodness. Nor did I learn everything all at once–God has been pleased to exercise much patience towards me, for the past twenty-seven years–since He first gave me a desire of learning from Himself. He has graciously accommodated Himself to my weakness, borne with my mistakes, and helped me through innumerable prejudices, which, but for His mercy, would have been insuperable hindrances! I have therefore no right to be angry, impatient, or censorious to others, especially as I have still much to learn, and am so poorly influenced by what I seem to know!

I am weary of theological controversies and disputes, and desire to choose for myself, and to point out to others, Mary’s part–to sit at Jesus’ feet, and to hear His words. I cannot, I must not, I dare not–be contentious! Only, as a witness for God, I am ready to bear my simple testimony to what I have known of His truth, whenever I am properly called to it.