Whatever a Man Trusts In

I have been knocked off my feet by the Valley of Vision in recent weeks and months. I try to read aloud one prayer per day, normally just after lunch. Today’s was convoluted, but from within it shined this jewel.

Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.

Valley of Vision

How true are those words? That whatever I find to be trustworthy is the very same thing I look to for fulfillment and happiness. May it always be the Lord foremost, for it is the only place where I shall never be let down.

The Beauty of Grace

I read this this afternoon and was again reminded of the magnitude of not only my sin but also the grace that covers it.

There is no treasure so wonderful
as that continuous experience of thy grace
toward me which alone can subdue
the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.

My heart is wretched — as all hearts are wretched — and but for the goodness of Jesus Christ, I would simply go on sinning deeper still, even though it may not always look (externally) like I am sinning at all.

Reproofs of Discipline

Part of the reason I read the Bible daily is because sometimes verses or clauses pop when they didn’t pop before. Maybe this is the Holy Spirit, maybe it’s something else, but this in Proverbs 6:23 jumped off the page at me today.

For the commandment is a lamp and
the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the
way of life.

The reproofs of discipline are the way of life. How good is that?! The definition of a reproof is “an expression of blame or disapproval,” thus it seems as if this means that the sin or wrong living that discipline unearths and corrects is good for our souls. The only way to live.

I know this in my own life to be true, even if I hate it in the moment.

Resting in Endurance

These are words that don’t normally go together, but thankfully for Christians they do go together.

We are incapable of enduring on our own. How often must we be reminded of that through the lives of those around us, through our own lives? But the good news is that we know who is capable of enduring, and all we’re called to do is to run to him.

Why is this so important to understand? Because your endurance will be spotty at best. There will be moments when you forget who you are and live as a grace amnesiac. There will be times when you get discouraged and for a while quit doing the good things God calls you to do. There will be moments, big and small, when you willingly rebel.

Perfect endurance demands just that—perfection—and since none of us is there yet, we must look outside ourselves for hope. Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s.

Paul David Tripp

A Mundane Joy

I, too, am never quite thankful enough for regular, boring, routine, rote, consistent, Christ-centered days with neighbors, kids, friends and family. They are so often a delight and often contain — if you look hard enough — the full breadth of emotion and fullness we all want from life.

The Miracle of Babies

This one is so short it feels like I’m just copy-pasting an entire post (I’m not). This site was started, however, as a collection of my favorite quotes, thoughts, art and words that I see throughout my days online.

I loved it, and I believe it to be true.

Yet in all your stellar journeys you would never see anything equal to the birth and wonder of a human being. For a tiny baby girl or boy is the apex of God’s creation!

But the greatest wonder of all is that the child is created in the image of God, the Imago Dei. The child once was not; now, as a created soul, he or she is eternal. He or she will exist forever. When the stars of the universe fade away, that soul shall still live.

Challies

Thy Grace Sufficient

One of my new favorite reads is the Valley of Vision prayer book which includes classic “Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations.” The language may not be modern, but I find the words connecting with my heart often. Today’s afternoon prayer hit me especially hard (I feel like I say this to myself every day).

Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all.
May I find thy grace sufficient
for all my needs.

The older I get and the more life I live, the deeper my realization (and hopefully understanding!) is of just how badly I need thy grace sufficient.

On Suffering (and Pre-Suffering)

I wrote this in May 2014 …

What do we do with this?

I also loved this from a more recent blog post on suffering. Jonathan Parnell wrote the post but the quote is attributed to The Pipes.

Suffering is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment — reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc.

When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.

The part that is crushing, to me, is that little two-word phrase at the end of the parentheses.

By choice.

I’m not sure if I’d rather adopt this attitude and thus, lifestyle, or be able to write like Rutherford (The Great King keeps his wine there…!) but there was a whole host of destruction in the depths of my heart when I encountered these words.

I hope there was in yours, too.

On Leadership

I feel confident that I am good at a handful of things. I do not feel confident that leadership is one of them. This list of 16 lessons learned in leadership was an eye-opener to me, and all of them are great.

Probably 5-6 really popped though, and maybe none more than this one.

Limitations force leaders to make choices. Whether you lead a team of two or 2,000, you cannot, and should not, do everything. Refer to your vision, values, and strategy. What is central to the mission? Memorize and protect those things. Don’t let the good eat the great. Rehearse and guard your priorities. [TGC]

I have struggled not just to point to our mission in the sphere of places where I lead but sometimes to even know what that mission is. Same for vision, values and strategy. Something I want to get better at as I lead into the future.

On Growing Platforms

I saw this — ironically? — on Twitter this week, and I thought it was really true and also really encouraging. Something I certainly need to be more wary of in my own life. And I think I’m talking more about the studying another’s excellencies than studying my own infirmities.