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Jesu, Juva

Posts Tagged ‘quotation

Encouragement to parents

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John Loftness writes:

Humility . . . drives us away from self-sufficiency to believing in the promises of God.

Diligence alone will never make a good parent. Faith will. Faith in God’s promises. When we see what he’s promised about our children, it will shape how we think, what we expect, and therefore how we act. The only way to pray by faith for our children is to begin with a focused belief in God’s will for them. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).

These are the words that Nancy and I abide in. They shape our prayers and fix our hope:

“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God will all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deut. 30:6)

“All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Is. 54:13).

“‘And as for me, this is my covenant with them,’ says the LORD: ‘My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,’ says the LORD, ‘from this time forth and forever more'” (Is 59:21).

“For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39—read the context, too).

JI Packer quotes Samuel Clark about God’s promises: “A fixed, constant attention to the promises and a firm belief of them, would prevent solicitude and anxiety about the concerns of life” (Knowing God, p. 115). Is there any greater concern than the concerns we carry for our children? Is there any greater comfort and hope than to hear and believe the promises of the one who spoke and worlds came into being? So pray the promises about your children. And see God work, in them and in you.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Ends and beginnings and faith

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 Peter Leithart writes about faith:

Ruth begins with death – the death of the land in famine, the death of exile, the death of Elimelech, the death of Naomi’s sons, the death of Naomi’s future. Naomi goes out full, and comes back empty. Ruth 1 is a perfect tragic story, a story of endings and emptyings.

But it is chapter 1, and the author wants us to realize that this series of deaths is not an end. The end of chapter 1 is a beginning, as Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem “at the beginning of the barley harvest” (v. 22). The author makes his point with a touch so light as to be nearly imperceptible, but the import of that “beginning” is as weighty as anything in Scripture.

“In the beginning” and “once upon a time” make rational sense as the beginning of a story. But recognizing a beginning on the other side of an end is an act of faith.

Mark Dever makes a similar point in his treatment of Ruth. To human eyes, all is despair at the beginning of this book. But the writer of Ruth gives us a glimpse of what a sovereign and good God is planning and working behind the scenes. You can listen to Dever preach on the whole book of Ruth, and also on Ruth chapter 1 specifically.

See also William Cowper’s hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way.

Written by Scott Moonen

February 7, 2008 at 10:01 am

Hospitality

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Peter Leithart writes of hospitality:

Feasting and care for the poor have been polarized in contemporary culture. If you’re a “conservative,” you’re in favor of free trade, consumption without guilt, festivity without concern for those who can’t join you, who probably deserve their poverty anyway. If you’re a “liberal,” you renounce festivity because other people are hungry and how dare you eat when someone else isn’t.

The Biblical prophets combine a promise of festivity with severe denunciation of greed, luxury, and oppression. But they combine the two seamlessly by emphasizing hospitality. The promise is a feast like the feasts of the Pentateuch, where the widow, stranger, and Levite are not forgotten but included as welcome guests.

Against both “conservative” indifference and liberal asceticism, the Bible presents the ideal of the hospitable society.

Better

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“God has better plans for you than an easy life and victories to follow victories.” — Daniel Baker

Sanctification's dying

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Everything worth keeping, it comes through dying.

— Caedmon’s Call, “Ten Thousand Angels,” Overdressed (Limited Edition)

The one thing that is “not good” in the original creation is Adam’s loneliness. And how does God go about addressing that imperfection? He puts Adam into deep sleep, tears out a rib from his side, closes up the flesh, and builds a woman from the rib. The solution to what is “not good” is something like death, and something like resurrection.

That’s always the solution. When God sees that something is “not good” in us, in our life situation, He tends not to ease us into a new stage. He kills us, in order to raise us up again. That has to happen, because it is a universal truth that “unless the seed go into the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit.”

— Peter Leithart, “Radical Solution”

Written by Scott Moonen

October 4, 2007 at 12:27 pm

Luther on changing diapers

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 Gene Veith quotes Luther on the Christian’s view of parenting. Reproducing it in full, including Veith’s parenthetical remarks:

In working on an article about vocation, I was looking for the source of Luther’s famous saying about the holiness of changing diapers. I found his sermon “The Estate of Marriage” (1522) posted online here. A priceless excerpt:

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? O you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works. . . .

Now you tell me, when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool, though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith, my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling, not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith. Those who sneer at him and see only the task but not the faith are ridiculing God with all his creatures, as the biggest fool on earth. Indeed, they are only ridiculing themselves; with all their cleverness they are nothing but devil’s fools.

Notice that in Luther, for all of the late medieval era, it is the FATHER who is dealing with the baby’s diaper.

Leithart on hearing Christ's voice

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When in distress or confusion, literate medieval Christians would sometimes let the Bible drop open, and took guidance and comfort the first passage their eye alighted on.

This could be superstitious, of course. But it could also come from a deeply genuine faith.

Sometimes, we don’t need to hear specific, or even relevant, instructions. Sometimes, in distress, it’s enough if we can hear our Husband’s voice.

— Peter Leithart, His Voice

I often find after reading the Bible that, even if there is no really obvious way I have been directly edified or encouraged, I am still in better spirits. Peter Leithart has articulated one reason why this is true.