Category Archives: Wisdom

“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow” by Alexander Maclaren

“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant.

Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us.

Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God.

If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.”

–Alexander Maclaren, as quoted in Record of Christian Work, Volume 29 (East Northfield, MA: W.R. Moody, 1910), 29: 338.

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“Technology in its proper place” by Andy Crouch

“Figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula. Even the ten commitments in this book are meant to be starting points for discussion– and as you will read, they are ones my own family has kept fitfully at best.

But almost anything is better than letting technology overwhelm us with its default settings, taking over our lives and stunting our growth in the ways that really matter. And I think there are some things that are true at every stage of life:

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us bond with the real people we have been given to love. It’s out of its proper place when we end up bonding with people at a distance, like celebrities, whom we will never meet.

Technology is in its proper place when it starts great conversations. It’s out of its proper place when it prevents us from talking with and listening to one another.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us take care of the fragile bodies we inhabit. It’s out of its proper place when it promises to help us escape the limits and vulnerabilities of those bodies altogether.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us acquire skill and mastery of domains that are the glory of human culture (sports, music, the arts, cooking, writing, accounting; the list could go on and on). When we let technology replace the development of skill with passive consumption, something has gone wrong.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us cultivate awe for the created world we are part of and responsible for stewarding (our family spent some joyful and awefilled hours when our children were ill middle school watching the beautifully produced BBC series Planet Earth). It’s out of its proper place when it keeps us from engaging the wild and wonderful natural world with all our senses.

Technology is in its proper place only when we use it with intention and care. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about technology, it’s that it doesn’t stay in its proper place on its own; much like my children’s toys and stuffed creatures and minor treasures, it finds its way underfoot all over the house and all over our lives. If we aren’t intentional and careful, we’ll end up with a quite extraordinary mess.”

–Andy Crouch, The Tech-Wise Family (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017), 19-21.

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“Where the lamb may wade and the elephant may swim” by John Owen

“We look on the Scripture and receive it not as the word of men, but as it is indeed, the word of the living God… In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God where the lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Everything in the Scripture is so plain as that the meanest believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it.”

–John Owen, “The Causes, Ways and Means of Understanding the Mind of God,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 4: The Work of the Spirit (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1678/2004), 4: 193.

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“To whom will you flee for help?” by Jonathan Edwards

“‘Whither will you go?‘ You who will not receive Christ: where do you propose to go?

Where do you think to find anyone else that hath the words of eternal life?

To whom will you flee for help?

Where do poor, cheated souls think to find another Savior?

Is there ever another God that delivers you from the wrath of this God, who is Jehovah?

Is there ever another mighty Savior that you think will do as well as Christ?

Is there ever another captain that you intend to enlist under that can by his almighty power deliver you from all evil, that can conquer all your enemies and bestow an eternal crown and kingdom upon you?

Do you expect to find another Savior, of another kind, that will indulge you and let you go on in sin as much as you please?

Where is this other Savior that you are going to and trust in?

Who is he?

In what part of the world does he dwell? Let us know.

This other Savior will be found to be only that old serpent, the devil. It will come to this at last.

Well, and what do you expect of the devil?

Is he able to save you?

Is he able to fight against God and overcome him?

Will he ever bestow eternal life upon you?

Has he the words of eternal life?

Has he got a heaven, too, that you expect to enjoy a better heaven than the heaven into which Christ is ascended?

What is it that you think to receive of him?

Don’t you think that he intends to ruin and destroy, and forever to torment you when he has once got you in his power?

Why, then, do you follow after him so diligently, as if he could give you eternal life?

Or is there anyone else that has the words of eternal life?

Is it riches and pleasure and worldly prosperity?

Can you suck eternal life out of them, or to whom will you go?

Certainly you expect eternal life, or something as good as eternal life, from some being or other. Who is it?

Consider and see who it is.

If you don’t come to Christ, consider what you intend to do. Something must be done or you are miserable forever.

Now what is that thing that you have thought?

Will you let yourself alone and be unconcerned about eternal life, and let yourself go down into hell as fast as the devil and your lusts can carry you?

If you don’t intend so to neglect yourself, but intend to do something, what is it except you come to Jesus Christ?

Will you put trust in your own performances?

Will you give your goods to the poor or do some very good deed and so depend upon that, and think that God is obliged to you for it, or that you make amends for your sins by it?

Will you be much in prayer and reading the Scriptures, and the duties of divine worship, and think by them to procure everlasting life?

This will not do.

You can’t do more in duties than what is duty, and whatsoever is done therein that is not your indispensable duty is sin.

What other project yet have you in your minds?

All projects and contrivances are vain and senseless but only that way which infinite wisdom has contrived, and none but infinite wisdom could project, even the dying Son of God.

If there is any cheaper way of getting to heaven than the blood of the Son of God, that you can think of, doubtless God would have thought of it before you, and so Christ’s blood might have been spared.

Wherefore, stand no longer, for if ever you get to heaven any other way than by faith in Christ, it will be because you are wiser than God.

Come, therefore, to this rock at last.

For hitherto you have been wandering about like Noah’s dove and have found no rest for the sole of your foot, nor never will till you return to this ark.

Come, therefore, and trust in Him, and yield yourself to Him, sweetly reposing yourself on Him.

For He hath the words of eternal life.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Life Through Christ Alone” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 528-530. You can read this sermon on John 6:68 in its entirety here.

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“The church is the orchestra” by John Calvin

“The whole world is a theatre for the display of God’s goodness, wisdom, justice and power, but the church is the orchestra.”

–John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009),619. Calvin is commenting on Psalm 135:13-14.

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“Ten diagnostic questions” by Tony Reinke

“As in every age, God calls His children to stop, study what captures their attention in this world, weigh the consequences, and fight for undistracted hearts before Him. To that end, here are ten diagnostic questions we can ask ourselves in the digital age:

1. Do my smartphone habits expose an underlying addiction to untimely amusements?
2. Do my smartphone habits reveal a compulsive desire to be seen and affirmed?
3. Do my smartphone habits distract me from genuine communion with God?
4. Do my smartphone habits provide an easy escape from sobered thinking about my death, the return of Christ, and eternal realities?
5. Do my smartphone habits preoccupy me with the pursuit of worldly success?
6. Do my smartphone habits mute the sporadic leading of God’s Spirit in my life?
7. Do my smartphone habits preoccupy me with dating and romance?
8. Do my smartphone habits build up Christians and my local church?
9. Do my smartphone habits center on what is necessary to me and beneficial to others?
10. Do my smartphone habits disengage me from the needs of the neighbors God has placed right in front of me?

Let’s be honest: our digital addictions (if we can call them that) are welcomed addictions. The key is to move from being distracted on purpose to being less and less distracted with an eternal purpose.

The questions sting, and they touch every area of life—God, spouse, family, friends, work, leisure, and self-projection. But this sting can lead us to make healthy changes.”

Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 51-53.

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“The riddles of God” by G.K. Chesterton

“In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, the right method is to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.

This, I say, is the first fact touching the speech (i.e. Job 38-42); the fine inspiration by which God comes in at the end, not to answer riddles, but to propound them. The other great fact which, taken together with this one, makes the world work religious instead of merely philosophical, is that other great surprise which makes Job suddenly satisfied with the mere presentation of something impenetrable.

Verbally speaking the enigmas of Jehovah seem darker and more desolate than the enigmas of Job; yet Job was comfortless before the speech of Jehovah and is comforted after it. He has been told nothing, but feels the terrible and tingling atmosphere of something which is too good to be told.

The refusal of God to explain His design is itself a burning hint of His design. The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

–G.K. Chesterton, “The Book of Job,” in On Lying in Bed and Other Essays, Ed. Alberto Manguel (Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2000), 176.

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