“I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, ‘How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn’t exist?” David Platt, Radical
“And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isa. 6:5).
“It is remarkable to see the prophet identify himself so completely with those whose sins he has been denouncing in the previous chapters. But in the presence of God degrees of sin become irrelevant. It is the holiness of God which reveals to us our true condition, not comparison with others (Webb).”
“Giving thanks is a sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice, by definition, costs us something. What does giving thanks cost us? What do we have to give up in order to be grateful?
- Pride: Sometimes we’re not grateful because we think we deserve something. We feel that we earned it or that it is ours by right. You don’t thank your employer for your paycheck because you earned it. You may be thankful for your job, however, because there are a lot of people just as qualified as you who don’t have jobs. Giving thanks can be a humbling proposition.
- Resentment: There are times when we’re not thankful because we don’t have exactly what we want (or think we want). Someone else has more than we do, or their life seems to be better. And yet, Scripture says that God gives us perfect gifts (James 1:17).
- Priorities: When Jesus healed 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19), only one of them came back to thank him. Jesus even asked, “Where are the other nine?” The Bible doesn’t give us an answer. Wherever they were and whatever they were doing was more important to them than thanking Jesus. For one, however, giving thanks was the most important thing he could think of. And Jesus told him, “ . . . your faith has made you well.”
There may be other things that keep us from developing thankful hearts—from being grateful people. But these are a good place to start. This year, before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and share your list of things you’re thankful for, grab a few minutes alone with God and ask Him to show you what things might be keeping you from being a thankful person.”
–from the Navigators
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29).
It’s easy enough to see that God is in the business of changing his people into the image of his Son. What’s not as readily apparent is the fact that as people are being transformed into likeness of Christ, the church is going to change as well. This is because the church is the people of God. The church is not an institution. It’s people. It’s you and me, and as God transforms our souls–our minds, wills, words, and actions to look more like Jesus, the church as a whole will begin to change. That is to say, the way we as a church think, speak, and act will become more like Jesus. We are being conformed into the image of our Savior. One by one we are changing, and as we change individually, we will also change corporately.
“Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for Your glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honors, and pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness, and merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;
Help me to know continually
that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for the Son whom You love.”
The Valley of Vision
“At times we find that our time in the Word and prayer before God are dull. Use this opportunity to be humbled by our spiritual impotency and lack of love for Christ, but don’t be discouraged. Instead, apply yourself with steadfastness. When a fire goes out, we may kindle it again by blowing on the remaining spark. No fire is ever rekindled by neglect. So too, by constant meditation upon the Word and by the breath of prayer you may revive again the spirit of grace and prayer within you.”
The Christian’s Daily Walk in Holy Security and Peace (1690)
“If you do not think of God, or think otherwise of him than he is, you are serving an idol instead of the true God. If you think of him as merciful, but not just; if you think of him as compassionate, but not holy; if you think of him as loving, but not sovereign, then you are thinking of God differently than he has revealed himself. This is idolatry.”
Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven
“Every reigning lust is an idol, and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. ‘The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.’ These are the three great idols of humanity. We are quick to prostrate our souls before them, and give to them that which is due only to God.”
Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven
“Our minds are apt by their troubles to be cast into disorder, to be tossed up and down, and disquieted…And indeed, the mind on all such occasions is its own greatest troubler. It is likely to let loose its passions of fear and sorrow, which then multiply into innumerable perplexing thoughts, until it is carried utterly out of its own power. But in this state a due contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the mind–bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, where faith will be able to say to the winds of our soul, ‘Peace, be still,’ and they shall obey.”
The Works of John Owen, Vol.1