Tag Archives: Wisdom

“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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“A minister needs to be a jack of all trades” by John Newton

“Give my love to Mr. ****. He has desired a good work; may the Lord give him the desires of his heart.

May he give him the wisdom of Daniel, the meekness of Moses, the courage of Joshua, the zeal of Paul, and that self-abasement and humility which Job and Isaiah felt when they not only had heard of Him by the hearing of the ear, but saw His glory, and abhorred themselves in dust and ashes.

May he be taught of God, (none teacheth like Him,) and come forth an able minister of the New Testament, well instructed rightly to divide and faithfully to distribute the word of truth.

In the school of Christ, (especially if the Lord designs him to be a teacher of others,) he will be put to learn some lessons not very pleasant to flesh and blood: he must learn to run, to fight, to wrestle, and many other exercises, some of which will try his strength, and others his patience.

You know the common expression of a jack of all trades. I am sure a minister had need be such an one: a soldier, a watchman, a shepherd, a husbandman, a builder, a planter, a physician, and a nurse.

But let him not be discouraged. He has a wonderful and a gracious Master, who can not only give instructions, but power, and engages that His grace shall be sufficient, at all times and in all circumstances, for those who simply give themselves up to His teaching and His service.

I am sincerely yours’s,

John Newton”

–John Newton, “Letter XVIII (August 13, 1773)” in The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6. Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6:102–103.

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“Almighty wisdom” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us notice, secondly, in these verses, how all things in our Lord’s passion happened according to God’s word. His own address to those who took Him, exhibits this in a striking manner: ‘the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’

There was no accident or chance in any part of the close of our Lord’s earthly ministry. The steps in which He walked from Gethsemane to Calvary, were all marked out hundreds of years before.

The twenty-second Psalm, and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, were literally fulfilled. The wrath of His enemies,—His rejection by His own people,—His being dealt with as a malefactor,—His being condemned by the assembly of the wicked,—all had been foreknown, and all foretold.

All that took place was only the working out of God’s great design to provide an atonement for a world’s sin. The armed men whom Judas brought to lay hands on Jesus, were, like Nebuchadnezzar and Sennacherib, unconscious instruments in carrying God’s purposes into effect.

Let us rest our souls on the thought, that all around us is ordered and overruled by God’s almighty wisdom. The course of this world may often be contrary to our wishes.

The position of the Church may often be very, unlike what we desire. The wickedness of worldly men, and the inconsistencies of believers, may often afflict our souls.

But there is a hand above us, moving the vast machine of this universe, and making all things work together for His glory. The Scriptures are being yearly fulfilled.

Not one jot or tittle in them shall ever fail to be accomplished. The kings of the earth may take counsel together, and the rulers of the nations may set themselves against Christ. (Psal. 2:2.)

But the resurrection morning shall prove that, even at the darkest time, all things were being done according to the will of God.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (London: William Hunt, 1859), 322–323. Ryle is commenting on Mark 14:43-52.

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“A piece of advice” by C.S. Lewis

“Oh–I’d nearly forgotten–I have one other piece of advice. Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do.

(1) Things we ought to do

(2) Things we’ve got to do

(3) Things we like doing.

I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them.

Things you ought to do are things like doing one’s school work or being nice to people. Things one has got to do are things like dressing and undressing, or household shopping.

Things one likes doing–but of course I don’t know what you like. Perhaps you’ll write and tell me one day.

Of course I always mention you in my prayers and will most especially on Saturday. Do the same for me.

Your affectionate godfather,

C.S. Lewis

Magdalen College
Oxford
April 3, 1949″

–C.S. Lewis, “To Sarah” in C.S. Lewis: Letters to Children, (New York: Touchstone, 1985), 27.

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“Christ is the almighty Builder” by J.C. Ryle

“Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church! All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in its right place.

Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing.

But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning.

He works by a perfect, unalterable, and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo and Wren, are mere trifling and child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.

Great is the condescension and mercy which Christ exhibits in building His Church! He often chooses the most unlikely and roughest stones, and fits them into a most excellent work.

He despises none, and rejects none, on account of former sins and past transgressions. He often makes Pharisees and Publicans become pillars of His house. He delights to show mercy.

He often takes the most thoughtless and ungodly, and transforms them into polished corners of His spiritual temple.

Great is the power which Christ displays in building His Church! He carries on His work in spite of opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

In storm, in tempest, through troublous times, silently, quietly, without noise, without stir, without excitement, the building progresses, like Solomon’s temple. ‘I will work,’ He declares, ‘and who shall let it?’ (Isaiah 43:13.)

We ought to feel deeply thankful that the building of the true Church is laid on the shoulders of One that is mighty. If the work depended on man, it would soon stand still.

But, blessed be God, the work is in the hands of a Builder who never fails to accomplish His designs! Christ is the almighty Builder. He will carry on His work, though nations and visible Churches may not know their duty.

Christ will never fail. That which He has undertaken He will certainly accomplish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 312-312.

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“The monument of God’s wisdom” by Sinclair B. Ferguson

“The Church is the imperfect, visible form of God’s heavenly Kingdom. In it the barriers we have erected in our sin are broken down, because Christ dwells in each member of His Church (cf. Colossians 3:11). The same Christ dwells in you who dwells in me!

How then can we erect barriers between each other? Further, in the Church Jesus Christ is all to all in the fellowship. We all trust Him, we all love Him, we all worship Him, and we all want to serve Him. One common goal dominates everything we do– to please Jesus Christ.

When that happens, everything else is of secondary importance– wealth, background, education, class, race, nationality, all are given a secondary place. Out of the chaos of the differences among men, God weaves a glorious tapestry for His glory, a multi-colored landscape of His wisdom.

This is one of the great joys of belonging to a living Christian church: to be able to look around during church gatherings, and marvel at the way in which God has brought us by different paths to the same Christ– some rich, some poor, some wise, some simple, some with the one accent, some with another, yet all members of the same family.

Not only so, but as we look around, we see some who have suffered, some who have shown great faith, some who have been restored from their backsliding, some who have great gifts, some who have shown us Christ’s love in a special way.

The church, as a living fellowship, is the multi-colored monument that God has erected of His wisdom (cf. Ephesians 3:13). There we can see– if only we will look– how marvellous His wisdom is. We can see in what He has done on the larger canvas of human history that all He does is perfectly wise.

We can see, too, on the smaller canvas of the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that He does everything wisely, and works everything together for good for those who love Him and have been called into His purpose (Romans 8:28).”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart For God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 77-78.

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