Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Straight Line with a Crooked Stick

In talking about the difficult doctrine of God's ordaining and ruling over evil without being sinful himself (as in the preordained murder of his Son) John Piper offers this illustration from the life of Joni Eareckson Tada:

Perhaps some may think that this heady theology... is too high to be practically helpful. Joni Eareckson Tada and her coauthor Steve Estes have found it otherwise.
Joni has been almost completely paralyzed from the neck down from a diving accident when she was 17 years old. During a bleak period of doubt and anger, a friend introduced her to Steve Estes. They began to study the Bible together. 'She came to the classically Reformed belief that her injury was an expression of God's love. To put it simply, Scripture taught Tada that her soul was infinitely more important than her body.'
She explains, 'I was heading down a path of self-destruction [before my accident]... I was checking out a birth-control clinic to get some pills, because I knew I'd be sleeping with my boyfriend in college. Somewhere in that mess of emotions and regrets and falterings and failings, while making a sham of my Christian faith, somewhere in that desperation I said, "God, rescue me." And he did. I believe my accident was a direct answer.
Some people might want to say indirect, but I lean toward the old adage that God draws straight lines with crooked sticks.'

As Piper says, "The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there--God sees to it."

Taken from A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keeping Us Right

Calvin chose two metaphors to describe our need for God’s Word: Scripture functions as a pair of eyeglasses to correct our blurred vision, and as a strong thread to guide us through life’s confusing labyrinth.

“Just as old or bleary-eyed men and those with weak vision can scarcely construe two words [from a beautiful volume] . . . so Scripture, gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, clearly shows us the true God,” Calvin writes. “If we turn aside from the Word we shall never reach the goal. [Returning to God] is for us like an inexplicable labyrinth unless we are conducted by the thread of the Word” (


Monday, February 1, 2010

Becoming A Pure Vessel

Have you ever prayed and asked the Lord to purify your heart--to purify your motives and your secret thoughts and desires? You should! We all should do this, because this is why he chose us... to "purify for himself a people for his own possession"(Titus 2:14). He does this purifying by exposing the secret thoughts and intentions of our hearts by the use of His word--through the Bible! Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Let the word of God do its discerning work, rooting out the impurities and exposing them to yourself; for this to happen you must read it, seeking diligently to learn what is right and true before God, asking him by his Spirit to make you willing to take action on what he shows you (James 1:22, 23). Only in this way can you become one who is zealous for good works, a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.