Wednesday, 26 February 2014


'What matters, supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it - the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him, because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted form me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. 
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort - the sort of comfort that energises, be it said, not enervates - in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and can quench his determination to bless me.' 
JI Packer, Knowing God, p.45. 


'The question is not whether we are good at theology, or "balanced" (horrible, self-conscious word!) in our approach to problems of Christian living; the question is, can we say, simply, honestly, not because we feel that as evangelicals we ought to, but because it is plain matter of fact, that we have known God, and because we have known God the unpleasantness we have had, or the pleasantness we have not had, through being Christians does not matter to us? If we really knew God, this is what we would be saying, and if we are not saying it, that is a sign that we need to face ourselves more sharply with the difference between knowing God and merely knowing about him.' 
JI Packer, Knowing God, p.27. 


'...meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is clear one's mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let his truth make its full and proper impact on one's mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God's power and grace.' 
JI Packer, Knowing God, p.22. 


'...if we pursue theological truth for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject-matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate, and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, "knowledge puffs up...the man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know" (I Cor.8: If.). To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it.'
JI Packer, Knowing God, p.20.  

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


'All religion is in effect love. Faith is thankful acceptance, and thankfulness is an expression of love. Repentance is love mourning, Yearning for holiness is love seeking. Obedience is love pleasing. Self-denial is the mortification of self-love. Sobriety is the curtailing of carnal love....The affections of man cannot be idle; if they do not go out to God, they leak out to worldly things. When our love for God decreases, the love of the world grows in our soul.' 
AW Pink in Mark Dever, The Message of the Old Testament, p.689. 


'We are essentially and ultimately desiring animals, which is simply to say that we are essentially and ultimately lovers. To be human is to love, and it is what we love that defines who we are. Our (ultimate) love is constitutive of our identity.' 
James KA Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, p.50. 

Monday, 24 February 2014


'Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into your head in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it's a matter of being the right kind of person who loves  rightly - who loves God and neighbor and is orientated to the world by the primacy of that love.'
James KA Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, p.32. 


'When I was fourteen of fifteen I was an odious little snob, but no worse than other boys of my own age and class. I suppose there is no place in the world where snobbery is quite so over-present or where it is cultivated in such refined and subtle forms as in an English public school. Here at least one cannot say that English "education" fails to do its job. You forget your Latin and Greek, within a few months of leaving school - I studied Greek for eight or ten year, and now, at thirty-three, I cannot even repeat the Greek alphabet - but your snobbishness, unless you persistently root it out like the bind wed it is, sticks by you until your grave.' 
George Orwell in James KA Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, p.30. 


'An a constellation of practices, ritual;s, and routines that inculcates a particular vision of the good life by inscribing or infusing that vision into the heart (the gut) by means of material, embodied practices.' 
James KA Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation, p.26. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014


'...the biblical story lifts up before us a vision of God as our Lover. The gospel is not an imperialistic human philosophy making overrated universal claims; the gospel sounds the voice of our Husband who has proved his love for us and who calls for our undivided love in return. The gospel reveals that, as we look out into the universe, ultimate reality is not cold, dark, blank space; ultimate reality is romance. There is a God above with love in his eyes for us and infinite joy to offer us, and he has set himself upon winning our hearts for himself alone. The gospel tells the story of God's pursuing, faithful, wounded, angry, overruling, transforming, triumphant love.
Raymond C Ortlund Jr., Whoredom, p.173. 


'Marriage is not just another mutation of human social evolution, like democracy. It is a divine creation, intended to reveal the ultimate romance guiding all of time and eternity. This is the real reason why premarital sex is wrong; it toys with biblical mystery. The moral imperative is concerned with more than the folly of risking a sexually transmitted disease. God offers a theological rationale in Christ. This is why extramarital sex is wrong; it violates the mystery. This is why same-sex marriages are wrong; they pervert the mystery. And this is why every faithful and loving marriage is precious to God; it shines with the light of Christ's love for his people, and of their devotion to him, in the darkness of this present evil age.' 
Raymond C Ortlund Jr, Whoredom, p.173. 


'Covenant faithfulness, then, is a deeply felt personal preference for the favour of God, at whatever the social cost. Spiritual adultery consists in the lingering wish to retain the world's favour even as one also wishes to enjoy the benefits of redemption.' 
Raymond C Ortlund Jr., Whoredom, p.143. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


'What was it I had been told? You need to look for what shouldn't be there.' 
Robert Macfarlane, The Old Way, p.141. 


'It's a piece of weakness and folly merely to value things because of their distance from the place where we are born, thus men have traveled far enough in the search of foreign plants and animals, and yet continue strangers to those produced in their own natural climate.' 
Martin Martin in Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways,  p.78. 


'Paths are the habits of a landscape. They are acts of consensual making. It's hard to create a footpath on your own...
Paths are consensual, too, because without common care and common practice they disappear: overgrown by vegetation, ploughed up or built over...' 
Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways:A Journey on Foot, p.17. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


'The cross is an offence because it proclaims the weakness, the ungodliness and the inability of human beings to please God. It calls upon us to place all our hope for righteousness in Christ, and such a message is a great scandal for all who worship themselves and are entranced with their ability. Perseverance, then, is nothing other than grasping the scandal of the cross until the day we die.' 
Thomas R Schreiner, Run to Win the Prize: Perseverance in the New Testament, p.78. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


'The eager readiness of the human heart to welcome affirmation is exceeded only by its quick weariness with sustained confrontation. It is a universal mark of our natural moral imbalance.'
Raymond C Ortlund Jr., Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife in Biblical Theology, p.101. 

Friday, 7 February 2014


'Standing above the coffin in which Dick's body lay in his Sunday clothes in its stillness and Aunt Sarah Jane who sat in the black dress of her sorrow nearby, the preacher gestured broadly with his opened hands, all the while looking at the people, as if to see if they knew already what he was going to say. He said:

This ain't him.
He ain't here. 
This ain't no more our brother,
our beloved. For he
ain't here. Where he is
all is well.
All is well with Dick Watson.
All is well.
He has come to a door 
to a mansion
didn't have to knock
to get in. He had heard 
that voice. 
He has heard, O Lord,
thy voice.
 "Brother Watson, come in.
Well done
Well done, thou good
and faithful servant.
Well done. Enter
into the joy of thy Lord."


Blessed are the poor
in spirit, for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven 
Blessed are they that mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
don't cry no more. 
Sister Sarah Jane,
don't cry no more.
Our brother,
where he is,
he don't hear no crying.
For his burden is lifted.
For freedom
has come to him 
and rest. 
For where he is
ain't no crying there.
Not a sigh.
Not a tear.' 

Wendell Berry, 'Not a Tear' in A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership, p.114.