My 2008 Highlight

December 31, 2008

My highlight of 2008 actually started in 2007.

 

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When I look over beyond the line and beyond death, to the laughing side of the world, I triumph, and ride upon the high places of Jacob: howbeit, otherways I am a faint, dead-hearted, cowardly man, oft borne down and hungry in waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb. Nevertheless, I think it is the Lord’s wise love that feeds us with hunger, and makes us fat with wants and desertion.  

(Samuel Rutherford, Loveliness of Christ, 15)

Rutherford’s words are sweet to me. I am so much a coward that I, too, must bank my hope on that day. To be fed with that hunger!

Come, Lord Jesus!

 

We shouldn’t be suprised…

December 17, 2008

None of you know David, my brother graced to love Jesus and the peoples of the world. He would rather be on the field, the frontlines of missional living (eating the soup of covert ingredients). But instead he currently leads orphanages in Africa, homeless shelters in Europe, and medical missions in Asia… from the headquarters of his suburban rental home.

Let us not forget that those in heaven who will probably have the greatest rewards will be those of whom we have never heard.

And I must not fail to note that although the Taylors, and Careys, and Judsons are a pleasure to study… they are not my heroes. They are men to learn from and of whom, because of God’s grace, we should gratefully marvel, but these men are not my heroes.

My hero is Joel. And the Joel’s of the Kingdom. The men in my class who enthusiastically plod through doctrine and syntax with a people in mind, a culture, a language, a hope of the nations worshiping Jesus Christ. The men and women whose name will probably never make it into a church history book, and who, for that matter, do not care.

I will teach my children of Taylor and Carey, but I will point them to Joel. And there I will encourage them to marvel at God’s grace. Not only will we read about the Carey’s, but more so I will tell them stories of living with a brother who played his guitar and sung songs with tears in his eyes for a people who need the gospel… who studies and prays and hikes and speaks for God’s glory in Jesus Christ to be  displayed in the hard places.

I want them to learn about Taylor and Carey, but I really want them to be like Joel.

Hudson Taylor

December 15, 2008

And this man too, even greater than his beard was his love for Jesus Christ

Hudson Taylor

It is great that the content of my exam today consists in part of the information regarding this man’s life.

Even greater than his beard was his love for Jesus Christ and his heart for China.

“… My will is without power of decision or resolution. My heart is without affection, and full of leaks. My memory has no retention, so I forget easily the lessons learned, and thy truths seep away.

Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace” (Valley of Vision, 129).

 

Only a broken heart can nourish the abounding waters of grace in God becoming a man. Father, please give me a broken heart to enjoy Christmas. Amen.

Are we more blessed than the virgin Mary?… Luke 11:27-28

Jonathan Edwards writes:

“The hearing and keeping the word of God brings the happiness of a spiritual union and communion with God. ‘Tis a greater blessedness to have spiritual communion with God and to have a saving intercourse with him by the instances of his Spirit and by the exercise of true devotion than it is to converse with God externally, to see the visible representation and manifestations of his presence and glory, and to hear his voice with the bodily ears as Moses did. For in this spiritual intercourse the soul is nigh unto and hath more a particular portion than in any external intercourse.

‘Tis more blessed to be spiritually related to Jesus Christ–to be his disciples, his brethren and the members–than to stand in the nearest temporal relation, than to be his brother or his mother.”

“That Hearing and Keeping the Word of God Renders a Person More Blessed Than Any Other Privilege That Ever God Bestowed on Any of the Children of Men” Unpublished Sermons, ed. McMullen, in Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, ed. Nancy Guthrie.

This is the word of the prophet: “Unto to us a child is born, unto to us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6). This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that he is the son of the virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours. That is where we wilt, but he who feels it has become another man. Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness should lie in him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast. This must be our daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. The will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assault.

Martin Luther in his Christmas Book

in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, ed. Nancy Guthrie, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 26-27.

Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not;

     The Master praises: what are men?

                                              

                                                  – Horatius Bonar, ‘Go, Labour On’