Sunday, 31 October 2010


'Fear and anger can be the same words spoken with a different attitude.'
Edward T Welch, Running Scared, p.34.


'Worries come to us covered in sticky paper; they aren't shaken off easily.'
Edward T Welch, Running Scared, p.23.


'Look at children, see all humanity. Whereas adults cover up and hide, children are unadorned and open. They lack sophisticated facades and cultural trappings that quietly add layer upon layer to our adult experience. With children you get the real thing.'
Edward T Welch, Running Scared, p.15.


'...the reading, writing and arithmetic of the Christian life - Bible reading, prayer and fellowship...'
Edward T Welch, Running Scared: fear, worry, and the God of rest, p.10.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


'Is not some of the pain and sorrow in this world used in God's providential hand to make us homesick for heaven, to detach us from this world, to prepare us for heaven, to draw our attention to himself, and away from the world of merely physical things?'
DA Carson in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.116.


'Whatever the church does, it should prepare its members to face death and meet God. You cannot live faithfully in this life unless you are ready for the next. You can't preserve morality or spirituality or doctrinal purity or faithfulness unless you are living in the light of eternity.'
DA Carson in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.115.


'For many years in my own pilgrimage of seeking to come to a place of trusting God at all times - I am still far from the end of that journey - I was a prisoner to my feelings. I mistakenly thought I could not trust God unless I felt like trusting him (which I almost never did during times of adversity). Now I am learning that trusting God is first of all a matter of the will, and it is not dependent on my feelings. I choose to trust God and my feelings eventually follow.'
Jerry Bridges in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.110.


'It seems to me that doubt is worse than trial. I had sooner suffer any affliction than be left to question the gospel or my own interest in it.'
Charles Spurgeon in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.104.


'Wherefore, though good and bad men suffer alike, we must not suppose that there is no difference between the men themselves, because there is no difference in what they both suffer. For even in the likeness of the sufferings, there remains an unlikeness in the sufferers; and though exposed to the same anguish, virtue and vice are not the same thing. For as the same fire causes gold to glow brightly, and chaff to smoke; and under the same flail the straw is beaten small, while the grain is cleansed; and as the lees are not mixed with the oil, though squeezed out of the vat by the same pressure, so the violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked. And thus it is that in the same affliction the wicked deterst God and blaspheme, while the good pray and praise. So material a difference does it make, not what ills are suffered, but what kind of man suffers them. For, stirred up with the same movement, mud exhales a horrible stench, and ointment emits a fragrant odor.'
Augustine of Hippo in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.100.

Friday, 22 October 2010


'In Proverbs we see God identifying with the poor symbolically. But in the incarnation and death of Jesus we see God identifying with the poor and marginal literally. Jesus was born in a feed trough. When his parents had him circumcised the offering they made - two pigeons - was that prescribed for the poorest class of people in society. He lived among the poor and the marginalized, who were drawn to him even as the respectable were repulsed by him. We see the kind of life he led when he said. "Foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). At the end of his life he rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, spent his last evening in a borrowed room, and when he died he was laid in a borrowed tomb. They cast lots for his only possession, his robe, for there on the cross he was stripped of everything. He died naked and penniless. He had little the world valued and the little he had was taken. He was discarded - thown away. But only because of Him do we have any hope.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.185.


'In general, to "do justice" means to live in a way that generates a strong community where human beings can flourish. Specifically, however, to "do justice" means to go to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of society are falling through the fabric, and repair it. This happens when we concentrate on and meet the needs of people.
How can we do that? the only way to reweave and strengthen the fabric is by weaving yourself into it. Human beings are like those threads thrown together onto a table. If we keep our money, time, and power to ourselves, for ourselves, instead of sending them out into our neighbors' lives, then we may be literally on top of one another, but we are not interwoven socially, relationally, financially, and emotionally. Reweaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace, and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.177.


'Many believe that the job of the church is not to do justice at all, but to preach the Word, to evangelize and build up believers. But if it is true that justice and mercy to the poor are the inevitable signs of justifying faith, it is hard to believe that the church is not to reflect this duty corporately in some way. As soon as you get involved in the lives of people - in evangelism as well as spiritual nuture - you will come upon people with practical needs. You can't love people in word only (cf.1 John 3:16-17) and therefore you can't love people as you are doing evangelism and discipleship without meeting practical and material needs through deeds.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.135.


'You or your church should begin by discovering the needs of your locale. Are there disadvantaged children (abused and neglected, physically or mentally disabled, failing in school) who could use help? Are there elderly, disabled, single parents, chronically ill, or new immigrants who need aid? Are there poor families around that are invisible to you? To learn about these needs, Christians and churches need to do much more sustained listening to their community's leaders than they are used to doing...
Another thing that your church can do is to make a connection to churches and ministries that are resident and effective in poorer neighbourhoods and poorer countries. Ask them what they need from you, and likely the answer will be volunteers, pro bono work from professionals, funding, and perhaps even some of your church's best leaders coming and living and working with them in the communities of need. But let them tell you.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.134.


'We tend to try to develop a social conscience in Christians the same way the world does - through guilt. We tell them that they have so much and don't they see that they need to share with those who have so little. This doesn't work, because we have built-in defense mechanisms against such appeals. Almost no-one feels all that wealthy. Even the well-off don't feel rich compared to the others with whom they live and work.
I believe, however, when justice for the poor is connected not to guilt but to grace and the gospel, this "pushes the button" down deep in believers' souls, and they begin to wake up.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.107.


'My experience as a pastor has been that those who are middle-class is spirit tend to be indifferent to the poor, but people who come to grasp the gospel of grace and become spiritually poor find their hearts gravitating toward the materially poor. To the degree that the gospel shapes your self-image, you will identify with those in need.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.102.


'...justification by faith. Many religions teach that if you live as you ought, then God will accept and bless you. But Paul taught that if you receive God's acceptance and blessing as a free gift through Jesus Christ, then you can and will live as you ought.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.97.


'...the righteous...are willing to disadvantage themsleves to advantage the community; the wicked are willing to disadvantage the community to advantage themselves.'
Bruce Waltke in Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.90.


'The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the "image of God," is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has the capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God's keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every men. That is why we must fight segregation with all of our nonviolent might.'
Martin Luther King Jr. in Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.86.


'...all human beings have an irreducible glory and significance to them, because God loves them, indeed he "loves all that he has made" (Psalms 145:9,17). He loves even those who turn away from him (Ezekiel 33:11; John 3:16). This bestows a worth on them. Nicholas Wolterstorff gives us an example of how this works. He imagines some foreigner, knowing nothing about U.S. history, becoming perplexed to find that the Mount Vernon estate in Virginia is preserved as a national monument and treated as an object of such great worth. After all, she might observe, there are quite a number of old Virginia plantation houses of much greater architectural merit and beauty than Mount Vernon. We would respond that this was the house of George Washington, the founder of our country, and that exaplins it. The internal merits and quality of the house are irrelevant. Because we treasure the owner, we honor his house. Because it was precious to him, and we revere him, it is precious to us. So we must treasure each and every human being as a way of showing due respect for the majesty of their owner and Creator.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.84.


'There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. It is immortals whom we joke with, marry, snub, and exploit...'
CS Lewis in Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.83.


'We, in many cases, may, by the rule of the gospel, be obliged to give to others when we can't without suffering ourselves...If our neighbor's difficulties and necessities are much greater than ours and we see that they are not like to be relieved, we should be willing to suffer with them and to take part of their burden upon ourselves. Or else how is that rule fulfilled of bearing one another's burdens? If we are never obliged to relieve others' burdens but only when we can do it without burdening ourselves, then how do we bear our neighbour's burdens, when we bear no burden at all?'
Jonathan Edwards in Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.70.


'The disposition of one's possessions signifies the disposition of one's heart.'
Joel Green in Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p.51.


'...there is a direct relationship between a person's grasp and experience of God's grace, and his or her heart for justice and the poor.'
Timothy Keller, Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes us Just, p.xix.


' be brilliant is not enough. There are plenty of brilliant people screwing up the world. Sound judgment and integrity are also required...'
Chris Mullin, Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005-2010, p.33.


'...mark my words, wherever there is trouble in the world there is a clergyman behind it.'
10th Duke of Devonshire in Deborah Devonshire, Wait for Me! Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister, p.143.

Monday, 18 October 2010


'Strange as it may sound, it is yet true that much of the suffering we are called upon to endure on the highway of holiness is an inward suffering for which scarcely an external cause can be found. For our journey is an inward journey, and our real foes are invisible to the eyes of men. Attacks of darkness, of despondency, of acute self-depreciation, may be endured without any change in our outward circumstances. Only the enemy and God and the hard-pressed Christian know what has taken place. The inward suffering has been great and a mighty work of purification has been accomplished, but the heart knoweth its own sorrow and no-one else can share it. God has cleansed his child in the only way he can...'
AW Tozer in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.89.


'We tend to think of Christianity as a painless sytem by which we can escape the penalty of past sins and attain to heaven at last. The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and sit down around the table with sages, sainst and martyrs...But for most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have the scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.'
AW Tozer in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.88.

Friday, 15 October 2010


'...accountability is not about being a private detective, trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit, being someone's else's conscience, forcing someone to obey, chasing someone who is running, or looking for someone who is hiding. Accountability provides loving structure, guidance, encouragment, and warning to someone who is fully committed to the change God is working in his life. The person who makes accountability work is always the person being held accountable.'
Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, p.269.


'When for the first time in our life the cross with its full weight is laid upon our shoulders, the first effect is that it makes us numb and dazed and causes all knowledge of God to be lost.'
Abraham Kuyper in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.76.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


'It is, at best, a sign that a man hath not well digested the matter himself, if he is not able to deliver it plainly to others.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.116.


'The Holy Ghost makes men bishops and overseers of the Church in three several respects: By qualifying them for the office; by directing the ordainers to discern their qualifications, and know the fittest men; and by directing them, the people and themselves, for the affixing them to a particular charge.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.129.


'Others are glad of the leisure of the Lord's day, and now and then of an hour besides, when they can lay hold upon it. But we may keep a continual Sabbath. We may do almost nothing else, but study and talk of God and glory, and engage in acts of prayer and praise, and drink in his sacred, saving truths. Our employment is high and spiritual. Whether we be alone, or in company, our business is for another world. O that our hearts were but more tuned to this work! What a blessed, joyful life should we then live! How sweet would our study be to us! How pleasant the pulpit! And what delight would our conference about spiritual and eternal things afford us! To live among such excellent helps as our libraries afford, to have so many silent wise companions whenever we please - all these, and many other similar privileges of the ministry, bespeak our unwearied dilligence in the work.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.128.


'Our whole work must be carried on under a deep sense of our own insufficiency, and of our entire dependence on Christ. We must go for light, and life, and strength to him who sends us on the work. And when we feel our own faith weak, and our hearts dull, and unsuitable to such a great work as we have to do, we must have recourse to him, and say, "Lord, wilt thou send me with such an unbelieving heart to persuade others to believe? Must I daily plead with sinners about everlasting life and everlasting death, and have no more belief and feeling of these weighty things myself? O, send me not naked and unprovided for to the work; but, as thou commandest me to do it, furnish me with a spirit suitable thereto." Prayer must carry on our work as well as preaching: he preacheth not heartily to his people, that prayeth not earnestly for them.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.123.


'Most men judge of the counsel, as they judge of the affection of him that gives it: at least, so far as to give it a fair hearing. Oh, therefore, see that you feel a tender love to your people in your breasts, and let them perceive it in your speeches, and see it in your conduct. Let them see that you spend, and are spent, for their sakes; and that all you do is for them, and not for any private ends of your own.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.118.


'All our teaching must be as plain and simple as possible. This doth best suit a teacher's ends. He that would be understood must speak to the capacity of his hearers. Truth loves the light, and is most beautiful when most naked.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.115.


'I confess I think NECESSITY should be the great disposer of a minister's course of study and labour. If we were sufficient for everything, we might attempt everything, and take in order the whole Encyclopaedia: but life is short, and we are dull, and eternal things are necessary, and the souls that depend on our teaching are precious. I confess, necessity hath been the conductor of my studies and life. It chooseth what book I shall read, and tells me when, and how long. It chooseth my text, and makes my sermon, both for matter and manner, so far as I can keep out my own corruption.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.113.


'Hard studies, much knowledge, and excellent preaching, if the ends be not right, is but more glorious hypocritical sinning.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.111.


'Things must go, not according to your understanding but above your understanding. Submerge yourself in lack of understanding, and I will give you my understanding. Lack of understanding is a real understanding; not knowing where you are going is really knowing where you are going. My understanding makes you without understanding. Thus Abraham went out from his homeland and did not know where he was going (Gen.12:1). He yielded and abandoned his own knowledge; and by the right way he reached the right goal. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it, but I must lead you like a blind man. Therefore not you, not a man, not a creature, but I through my Spirit and my Word, will teach you the way you must go. You must not follow the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but that which comes to you against your choice, thoughts, and desires. There I call; there you must be a pupil; there it is the time; there your Master has come.'
Witte quoted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.67.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


'If I crave happiness, I will receive misery. If I crave to be loved, I will receive rejection. If I crave significance, I receive futility. If I crave control, I will receive chaos. If I crave reputation, I will receive humiliation. But if I long for God and his wisdom and mercy, I will receive God and wisdom and mercy. Along the way, sooner or later, I will also receive happiness, love, meaning, order, and glory.'
David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes, p.161.


'Many counseling systems are obsessed with locating the reasons for current problems in the distant past. The Bible's worldview is much more straightforward. Sin emerges from within the person. The fact that a pattern of craving became established many years before - even that it was forged in a particular context, perhaps influenced by bad models or by experience of being sinned against - only describes what happened. For example, past rejections do not cause a craving to be accepted by others any more than current rejections cause that craving. The occasions of a lust are never its cause. Temptations and suffering do push our buttons, but they don't create those buttons. That brings huge hope for change in the present by the grace of God.'
David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes, p.155.


'Human motivation is not a theoretical mystery; there is no need to engage in introspective archaeological digs. Evil desires produce bad fruits that can be seen, heard, and felt (James 1:15; 3:16). For example a father who wants his child to grow up to become a Christian reveals the status of that desire by whether he is a good father or a manipulative, fearful, angry, suspicious father. In a good father, the desire is subordinate to God's will that he will love his child. In a sinful father, the desire rules and produces moral and emotional chaos. Similarly, a wife who wants to be loved reveals the status of that desire by whether or not she loves and respects her husband. Visible fruit reveals whether God rules or lust rules.
It is a serious mistake to engage in introspective "idol hunts," attempting to dig out and weigh every kink in the human soul. The Bible calls for a more straightforward form of self-examination: an outburst of anger invites reflection on what craving rules the heart that our repentance might be intelligent. The Bible's purposes are "extrospective," not introspective: to move toward God in repentant faith (James 4:6-10) and then to move toward the one wronged by anger, making peace in repentance, humility, and love.'
David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes, p.153.


'The simplest way to discover why a person does, says, thinks, or feels certain things is to ask, "What do you want? What desires made him do that? What yearning led her to say that? What longings animate me when I follow that train of thought and fantasy? What did they fear when they felt so anxious?"'
David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes, p. 145.


'...everyone tends to have two worldviews: a confessional, professed worldview and a functional, actual worldview; the one they claim - even to themselves - and the one they really live. We may carry around a well-crafted, theologically precise, and biblically consistent worldview. But against the tug of daily living, that professed worldview does not always exercise the pull it should. At the street level of daily life, the way we actually live reveals what we truly believe.
For example, many Christians who have the sovereignty of God as a principle element of their professed worldview still fret over their circumstances or work too hard to establish control over things. Many Christians say they are sinners, yet stubbornly defend themselves when confronted with an area of sin in their life. Many Christians claim to believe that the most important things in life are unseen, yet they invest their time, energy, and resources in a life-long pursuit of physical pleasure and comfort.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.216.

Monday, 11 October 2010


'...our problem is not that we are dissatisfied, but that we are too easily satisfied. We are easily satisfied with an externalistic and episodic Christianity that lives most fully on Sunday morning. We are easily satisfied with an approach to theological knowledge and biblical literacy that does not reshape and redefine how we live. We are easily satisfied with marriages that are more marital detente than they are pictures of one-flesh unity. We are easily satisfied with raising children who learn to jump through our behavioral hoops, but don't really have hearts for God. We are easily satisfied having casual relationships with neighbours who live in darkness and desperately need to see the Light of Life. We are all too content to lower our standards enough to participate in entertainment that is increasingly perverse in its depiction of life.
We can actually get to the place, in our busyness and selfishness, where we just don't care anymore. We walk each day through a terribly broken world that no longer moves us, whose cries we no longer hear.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.197.


'What is a biblical view of marriage? Let me summarize it for you. Marriage involves a flawed person, in a comprehensive and interdependent love relationship with another flawed person, in the middle of a fallen world, but with a faithful God.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.194.


'...there is no situation, location, or relationship where ministry is not required.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.193.


'...repetition is intentional. You and I are not machines. We are not computers that can instantly do new things and behave in new ways as soon as some fresh code is plugged into our memories. If you and I did not need repetition in order to learn or even to stay on course, we could read the Bible once and instantly come to full spiritual maturity. But that's just not the way it works. We learn things, especially spiritual things, at different depths and levels. Everyone who has been a Christian for more than a short period of time has had the experience of receiving fresh illumination from a passage of Scripture that may have been read dozens or even hundreds of times.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.192.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


'If all religious issues were boiled down to their essence, there would be two inescapable questions: Is God there? And, is God good? Our view of the existence of God and the character of God are the truths that determine all our other answers.'
Os Guiness in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.38.

Friday, 8 October 2010


'The myths of masculinity in our culture have isolated men from each other and impaired their ability to honor and bless one another. Too many men have too few intimate friends. Their friendships run only as deep as the things they do together. By finding male friends to go deeper with, the need for intimacy can be met in nonsexual ways with these male friends. When this happens the intensity of the need for intimacy is not funelled through sexual intercourse with a woman; it can be shared across many relationships. Sexual intimacy may be experienced with one woman, but intimacy can be experienced with others as well. Not all intimacy is genital, so do not feel restricted in your relationships with your brothers in Christ.'
William M Struthers, Wired for Intimacy, p.186.


'Often men look for accountability with their peers, but a man needs a mentor to give him wisdom that his peers cannot. Peers can struggle with the same issues, be unaware of their own flaws, overestimate their knowledge of the problem or not have enough life experience to make sense of it at all. Men who surround themsleves with their peers and proudly refuse to accept the counsel of their elders fall into a locker room mentality. In the locker room mentality, peers go through the motions of accountability; they all know they are lying, but no-one wants to call another out lest he be called out. This accountability has no substance, no bite, and is sign of a shallow relationship. Many of these peer accountability relationships eventually dissolve.
A mentor is someone who has dealt with the trials and challenges and found redemption. Just as a team needs a coach to keep them honest, so should a man have someone he respects and can learn from, walking with them along the path to holiness. When the relationship is deep and life-encompassing, our lives are spent in community. When the relationship is deep enough a mentor can tell when a man is stumbling. He can see that trouble is approaching and warn a man about upcoming battle.'
William M Struthers, Wired for Intimacy, p.185.


'Sexual attraction is relational energy; it pushes us. It is rooted in the relational image of God. The tension we experience when the drive for intimacy kicks in propels us to seek communion with others. Human sexuality allows for the mystery, beauty, diversity, and complexity of human life to be explored and for deepening bonds of intimacy to be formed. We have to move away from thinking that the sole purpose of our sexuality is intercourse.
When the need to be known is met regularly, the sexual drive is decreased. When it is not regularly satisfied, the force of it builds. As the drive increases, we become less able to make wise decisions about how we meet it. A starving man will eat anything that is put before him. An intimacy-neglected man will grasp at any available opportunity to know or be known. The need for intimacy will build without emotional connection, and he will look for this connection in unhealthy and unproductive places (such as pornography, strip clubs or prostitutes). These places and experiences do not truly meet the need for intimacy, so the drive will return quickly. It is only temporarily assuaged by these imposters. This emotional experiences are designed to have relational objects - real people - which anchor them.
The intimacy-starved man is analogous to someone who tries to meet his body's need for food by only eating chocolate. It may taste good, but it doesn't meet the true needs of the body. The body needs a complete diet, not just sugar. It needs vitamins and minerals. A diet of pure sugar makes the body obese, sluggish, underdeveloped and can lead to diabetes. The need for intimacy is like the need for a complete diet. It has many dimensions that are best satisfied through multiple means, not just the sugar of sexual relations.'
William M Struthers, Wired for Intimacy, p.160.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


'Men would sooner believe that the gospel is from heaven, if they saw more such effects of it upon the hearts and lives of those who profess it. The world is better able to read the nature of religion in a man's life than in the Bible.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.98.


'Take heed to all the flock.
It is, you see all the flock, or every individual member of our charge. To this end it is necessary, that we should know every person that belongeth to our charge; for how can we take heed to them, if we do not know them? We must labour to be acquainted, not only with the persons, but with state of all our people, with their inclinations and conversations; what are the sins of which they are most in danger, and what duties they are most apt to neglect, and what temptations they are most liable to; for if we know not their temperament or disease, we are not likely to prove successful physicians.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.90.


'...he who cheriseth sin in his own heart doth never fall upon it in good earnest in others.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.83.


'He beareth the greatest malice to those that are engaged to do him the greatest mischief.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.74.


'I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that the whole offensive comedy of human contradictions wil disapear like a pitiful mirage, a vile concoction of man's Euclidean mind, feeble, and puny as an atom, and that ultimately at the world's finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men.'
Fydor Dostoevsky in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p.22.


'We are the first culture to be surprised by suffering.'
Timothy Keller in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul, p. 15.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


'Because of the way that the male brain is wired, it is prone to pick up on sexually relevant cues. These cues trigger arousal and a series of neurological hormonal and neurochemical events are set in motion. Memories about how to respond to these cues are set off and the psychological, emotional and behavioral response begins. As the pattern of arousal and response continues, it deepens the neurological pathway, making a trough.
The neural system trough, along with neurotransmitters and hormones, are the underlying physical realities of a man's sexual experience. Each time that an unhealthy sexual pattern is repeated, a neurological, emotional and spiritual erosion carves out a channel that will eventually develop into a canyon from which there is no escape.
But if this corrupted pathway can be avoided, a new pathway can be formed. We can establish a healthy sexual pattern where the flow is redirected towards holiness rather than corrupted intimacy. By intentionally redirecting the neurochemical flow, the path toward right thinking becomes the preferred path and is established as the mental habit. The path to recovery relies on the very rules that govern how the wounds were initially created. By deepening the "holiness" pathways, we are freed from deciding to do what is right and good as they become part of our embodied nature. That is part of the process of sanctification.'
William M Sruthers, Wired for Intimacy, p.106.


'"When I was a little girl," I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ."
"Tell me," Father said, "when you take a train trip from Haarlem to Amsterdam, when do I give the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?"
"No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train."
"That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our wise Father in heaven knows when you are going to need things too. Today you do not need the strength to be a martyr; but as soon as you are called upon for the honour of facing death for Jesus, he will supply the strength you need - just in time."'
Corrie ten Boom in Nancy Guthrie (Ed.), Be Still My Soul: Embracing God's purpose & provision in suffering, p.122.


'Sexually acting out in response to pornography creates sexual associations that are stored as hormonal and neurological habits. These associations are seared into the fabric of the brains. These memories can then be pulled up at any time and replayed as private sexual fantasies. In sexual fantasy, the neurological circuit is replayed, further strengthening it. The result is an increase in autonomic sexual arousal, which requires an outlet. These memories and fantasies keep him in bondage and worsen the consequences of the earlier behavior.'
William M Struthers, Wired for Intimacy, p.59.


'Just as food is consumed and digested by the body, pornography is consumed by the senses and digested by the brain. In the digestive process, food is broken down so that it can supply the body with energy. Waste products are excreted to ensure the health of the organism. Similarly, pornography is taken into the brain via our senses primarily through sight and touch. However, there is no process for the "waste" products associated with pornography to be removed. Pornography and our response to it alter our brain in a way that is difficult to undo. Pornography is the consumption of sexual poison that becomes part of the fabric of the mind.'
William M Struthers, Wired for Intimacy: How pornography hijacks the male brain, p.20.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


'From Jesus' statements I make an inference and form a corollary: the whole Old Testament bears witness to Christ; and, the Old Testament does not bear witness only to Christ. Why this corollary? Because I agree with making an extensive inference from Luke 24:27 and 44 but hold that an intensive inference is illegitimate. What on earth does that mean? It means I think Jesus is teaching that all parts of the Old Testament testify of the Messiah in his suffering and glory, but I do not think Jesus is saying that every Old Testamnet passage/text bears witness to him. Jesus referred to the things written about him in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms - he did not say that every passage spoke of him (v.44). Therefore, I do not feel compelled to make every Old Testament (narrative) passage point to Christ in some way because I do not think Christ himself requires it.
Not every Old Testament exposition then must end up speaking directly of Christ, because (1) Jesus does not demand it, and, in addition, (2) such a regimen impoverishes Old Testament exposition. How would the latter happen? Well, if Old Testament exposition must in some way speak of Christ and if the textual theology of an Old Testament passage does not (seem to) do so, will that not be eliminated as unworthy exposition?'
Dale Ralph Davis, The Word became Fresh: How to preach from Old Testament narrative texts, p.134.


'...there is only one thing that clearly is universal: those committed to ruthless honesty consistently overcome their sin and make great strides in holiness. In stark contrast, I have never encountered an individual that overcame sexual struggles if they were unwilling to bring the sin fully into the light, with an ever-increasing number of individuals. Those who refuse this path of ruthless honesty stay stuck in their sin or return to it after a short period of "white-knucked" abstinence.'
David White in Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.121.


'To progress is always to begin again.'
Martin Luther in Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.100.


'If you don't feel worthy in Christ, or you look to yourself for your worth, then you shouldn't lead God's people. Your leadership will be joyless, complaining and oppressive. You'll hide, rather than being vulnerable. You'll fear exposure. You'll minimize sin. You'll condemn others to boost your own self-image. The fruit of your ministry will be other legalists...
But if you do trust in Christ, you will be - as you always were - one sinner pointing other sinners to the source of grace; one hungry beggar telling other hungry beggars about the bread of life.'
Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.88.

Monday, 4 October 2010


'It can be a gift for others. We may use it to promote more understanding. We may use it to encourage someone else. We may use it simply to love and trust someone else with a sexual confession. The list is endless and different for each person and each situation.'
Martin Hallett, 'Homosexuality: Hadicap & Gift' in David Peterson (Ed.), Holiness & Sexuality, p.144.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


'Well, you know how it is when you're in some public spot and a stranger comes in wearing the old school tie. You shove a hasty hand over your own and start to sidle out before the chap can spot it and grab you and start gassing.'
PG Wodehouse, Young Men in Spats, p.37.