Archive for April, 2015

workers for God >

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
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Christian service is not our work; loyalty to Jesus is our work.

Whenever success is made the motive of service, infidelity to our Lord is the inevitable result. (Luke 10:20)

The curse of much modern Christian work is its determination to preserve itself.

Beware of the temptation to compromise with the world, to put their interests, their needs, first – “they have kindly become interested in our Christian work, given so much time to it, now let us winsomely draw them in” they will winsomely draw you away from God.

If my life as a worker is right with God I am not concerned about my public pose – using discreet terms that will impress people; my one concern in public and private is to worship God.

Never interfere with God’s providential dealings with other souls. Be true to God yourself and watch.

Beware of Christian activities instead of Christian being. The reason workers come to stupendous collapses is that their work is the evidence of a heart that evades facing the truth of God for itself – “I have no time for prayer, for Bible study, I must always be at it”.

We constantly ask “am I of any use?”. If you think you are it is questionable whether you are being used by the Holy Spirit at all. It is the things that you pay no attention to that the Holy Spirit uses.

Your dead set determination to be of use never means half so much as the times you have not been thinking of being used, a casual conversation, an ordinary word, while your life was “hid with Christ in God”.

Nothing hoodwinks us more quickly than the idea we are serving God.

How do I deal with a sinful soul? Do I remember who I am, or do I deal with him as if I was God?

OC

thinking >

Friday, April 17th, 2015
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Don’t shut up any avenue of your nature, let God come into every avenue, every relationship, and you will find the nightmare curse of “secular and sacred” will go.

With regard to other men’s minds, take all you can get, whether those minds are in flesh-and-blood editions or in books, but remember, the best you get from another mind is not the mind’s verdict, but its standpoint. Note the writers that provoke you to do the best mentally.

We have no business to limit God’s revelations to the bias of the human mind.

Truth is discerned by moral obedience. There are points in our thinking which remain obscure until a crisis arises in personal life where we ought to obey, immediately we obey the intellectual difficulty alters. Whenever we have to obey it is always in something immensely practical.

The first thing to go when you begin to think is your theology. If you stick too long to a theological point of view you become stagnant, without vitality.

Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong, it may be a sign he is thinking.

A logical position is satisfying to the intellect, but it can never be true to life. Logic is simply the method man’s intellect follows in making things definable to himself, but you can’t define what is greater than yourself.

Don’t run away with the idea that everything that runs contrary to your complacent scheme of things is of the devil.

Obedience is the basis of Christian thinking. Never be surprised if there are whole areas of thinking that are not clear, they never will be until you obey.

It takes a long time to get rid of atheism in thinking.

OC

thoughts on study >

Friday, April 10th, 2015
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Study to begin with can never be easy; the determination to form systematic mental habits is the only secret. Don’t begin anything with reluctance.

Beware of any cleverness that keeps you from working. No one is born a worker; men are born poets and artists, but we have to make ourselves “laborers”.

The discipline of our mind is the one domain God has put in our keeping. It is impossible to be of any use to God if we are lazy. God won’t cure laziness, we have to cure it.

More danger arises from physical laziness than almost any other thing.

Inspiration won’t come irrespective of study, but only because of it. Don’t trust to inspiration, use your own “axe” (Psalm 74:5). Work! Think! Don’t luxuriate on the mount!

The demand for inspiration is the measure of our laziness. Do the things that don’t come by inspiration.

It is difficult to get yourself under control to do work you are not used to, the time spent seems wasted at first, but get at it again. The thing that hinders control is impulse.

Your mind can never be under your control unless you bring it there; there is no gift for control. You may pray till Doomsday but your brain will never concentrate if you don’t make it concentrate.

In the most superficial matters put yourself under control, your own control. Be as scrupulously punctual in your private habits as you would be in Government office.

Don’t insult God by telling Him He forgot to give you any brains when you were born. We all have brains, what we need is work.

OC

Jan Van Eyck Crucifixion and Last Judgement

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
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The two panels may have been the wings of a triptych, but there is no certainty about that. In the 19th century the paintings were transferred from panel to canvas.

Three parts can be distinguished in the Crucifixion. The foreground shows weeping women. Under the crosses Van Eyck created a vivid scene with soldiers and others. In the top part the three crucified men are shown, with Jesus Christ in the center.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Crucifixion is the astonishing depth of the landscape behind the crosses. Van Eyck applied a splendid spatial perspective.

A vertical axis is the key to the composition of the Last Judgment: Christ as judge at the top, and archangel Michael controlling the underworld.

Next to Jesus are the virgin Mary and John the Baptist. They seem to float above the chosen, the dead that were allowed into Heaven.

No daylight enters the underworld where the doomed dwell for ever. It looks as if the dead enter Hell through the skeleton of Death. (copyright Art & Bible)

note: As we celebrate Christs triumph over death, I find the underworld reminder a somber reality often overlooked, but edifying nonetheless. Please click on the image to enlarge
Jan_van_Eyck_-_Diptych_left_panelJan_van_Eyck_right_panel