dual personalities

Tag: John Piper

Jesus take the wheel*

Well, I got some hard news last month. I have cancer and will have surgery tomorrow. We have been through this in my family quite recently with the boy and now it is my turn. I hope I can handle it all with as much grace and confidence as he did.

This article from the desiringGod.org website

was very helpful to me and Piper/Powlison even refer to a favorite prayer of mine–what we call in the Episcopal Church, Saint Patrick’s breastplate:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

In the meantime my DP will continue with the blog while I recover, ably supported by daughters #1 and #2 who have pledged to fill in along with DN. So keep checking in!

And keep me in your prayers please.

I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

*Brett James / Gordon Sampson / Hillary Lindsey for Carrie Underwood

Just a reminder

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One of the great causes of sadness in human life is the collision between expectation and what actually happens. The New Testament, therefore, for our joy, is relentlessly helping us to lower our expectations for this life and raise our expectations for the next.⠀

For example, in 1 Peter 4:12, it says, “Don’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal when it comes upon you as though something strange were happening to you.” In other words, get it fixed in your head that it is not strange to have life go bad for you as a Christian. Paul, in Romans 8, said, “Even we who have the Holy Spirit groan inwardly as we wait for our adoption as children, the redemption of our body.” Even those in this life who have the Holy Spirit will experience all the rheumatism and cancer and accidents and horror that the world does. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).⠀

The constant lowering of expectations now is accompanied with a raising of expectations later: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is undefiled, unfading, imperishable, kept in heaven for you who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice” (1 Peter 1:3–6).⠀

Now, we know it’s going to be hard. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but oh, how the New Testament raises higher and higher and higher our expectations of the life to come. Live in hope and embrace what God gives you in this life in love.⠀

–John Piper (Read more at desiringGod.org.)

Yes, God has a plan for you, but that plan is not for you to be happy, fulfilled, rich and famous. His plan is for you to be holy and content. It is easy to lose sight of that.

“Christ never promises peace in the sense of no more struggle and suffering. Instead, he helps us to struggle and suffer as he did, in love, for one another. Christ does not give us security in the sense of something in this world, some cause, some principle, some value, which is forever. Instead, he tells us that there is nothing in this world that is forever, all flesh is grass. He does not promise us unlonely lives. His own life speaks loud of how, in a world where there is little love, love is always lonely. Instead of all these, the answer that he gives, I think, is himself. If we go to him for anything else, he may send us away empty or he may not. But if we go to him for himself, I believe that we go away always with this deepest of all our hungers filled.”
― Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner 

(The painting is by Van Gogh)

Deep thoughts

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I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite — only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next 1000 years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! My extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it — for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.

–Henry David Thoreau, Letter to Harrison Gray Otis Blake (December 1856), as published in The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau (1958)

Thankfulness is an essential guardian of the soul, and therefore we should guard ourselves with gratitude. Evidently we are fair game for the devil when we don’t abound with thanksgiving. Unless the song of thanksgiving is being sung in our hearts the enemy outside will deceive his way into the city of our soul, and the enemy sympathizers within will make his job easy. So for the sake of your own safety, strive to fill your heart with thanksgiving! Guard yourselves with gratitude!

–John Piper

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

–A General Thanksgiving, BCP

(The painting is J. Alden Weir, 1859-1919, American Impressionist painter)