Nothing makes God more supreme and more central in worship than when a people are utterly persuaded that nothing - not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends - nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their sinful, guilty, aching hearts besides God.
Suffering in the path of Christian obedience, with joy - because the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3) - is the clearest display of the worth of God in our lives. Therefore, faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship. When we are most satisfied with God in suffering, he will be most glorified in us in worship. Our problem is not styles of music. Our problem is styles of life. When we embrace more affliction for the worth of Christ, there will be more fruit in the worship of... Read more »
What is sin? It is the glory of God not honored. The holiness of God not reverenced. The greatness of God not admired. The power of God not praised. The truth of God not sought. The wisdom of God not esteemed. The beauty of God not treasured. The goodness of God not savored. The faithfulness of God not trusted. The commandments of God not obeyed. The justice of God not respected. The wrath of God not feared. The grace of God not cherished. The presence of God not prized. The person of God not loved. That is sin.
A woman who fears the Lord will not run away from God to satisfy her longings and relieve her anxieties. She will wait for the Lord. She will hope in God. She will stay close to the heart of God and trust in his promises. The prospect of departing into the way of sin will be too fearful to pursue; and the benefits of abiding in the shadow of the Almighty too glorious to forsake.
Life and death! They seem like complete opposites-at great enmity with each other. But for Paul-and for all who share his faith-there is a unity, because the same great passion is fulfilled in both-namely, that Christ be magnified in this body-our bodies-whether by life or by death.
I've never heard anyone say the really deep lessons of life have come in times of ease and comfort. But, I have heard many saints say every significant advance I've ever made in grasping in the depth of God's love and growing deep with Him, have come through suffering.
My take on tithing in America is that it's a middle-class way of robbing God. Tithing to the church and spending the rest on your family is not a Christian goal. It's a diversion. The real issue is: How shall we use God's trust fund-namely, all we have-for His glory? In a world with so much misery, what lifestyle should we call our people to live? What example are we setting?
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.