God Does Not Need You to Be Strong

  Jon Bloom: God does not want us to be strong. God wants to be our strength. Perhaps a better way to say it is this: God wants us to be really strong, which is different from the way we might typically desire to be strong. We often want to be strong in a way that reflects well on us. God wants us to be strong in a way that reflects well on him. In a fallen world, these two wants are often at odds. Now, if we were sinless, our wants and God’s wants would be in perfect harmony. We would only want to be strong in the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11). But since we are not sinless, there is often dissonance between the strength we desire to have and the strength God desires to give us. As a result, we can find ourselves deeply discouraged by the very limitations and adversity that God has actually

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What preaching is meant to do

Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.  1 Thessalonians 1:5 “Paul knew he was clothed with power and authority.  How does one know it?  It gives clarity of thought, clarity of speech, ease of utterance, a great sense of authority and confidence as you are preaching, an awareness of a power not your own thrilling through the whole of your being, and an indescribable sense of joy. . . . What about the people?  They sense it at once; they can tell the difference immediately.  They are gripped, they become serious, they are convicted, they are moved, they are humbled.  Some are convicted of sin, others are lifted up to the heavens, anything may happen to any one of them.  They know at once that something quite unusual and exceptional is happening. . . . What then are we to do about this?  There is only

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Mighty to save

C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, January 14, morning reading: Isaiah 63:1 “Mighty to save” By the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but he is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but he is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of his name to bend the knee before him. Nay, this is not all the meaning, for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed. He is

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Moved and melted under the Word

“Having some time today I set myself to pray more, confessing sin, asking, thanking and praising.  I am ashamed of my shallowness in knowledge, feeling and desire.  Most humbling.  On the other hand, how astonishing has been the Lord’s kindness to me, mercies like waves of the sea, bright mercies like the stars of heaven, mercies to my soul, mercies to me a sinner in every possible way, crowned with the unspeakable kindness of putting me into the ministry and using me to win souls.  I long more and more to be ‘filled’ with the Spirit, and to see my congregation moved and melted under the Word, as in great revival times, ‘The place shaken where they are assembled together,’ because the Lord has come in power.” Andrew A. Bonar, Diary and Letters (London, 1894), page 333. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

The Power of God

“Outside of heaven, the power of God in its highest density is found inside the gospel. This must be so, for the Bible twice describes the gospel as “the power of God” [Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18]. Nothing else in all of Scripture is ever described in this way, except for the Person of Jesus Christ. Such a description indicates that the gospel is not only powerful, but that it is the ultimate entity which God’s power resides and does its greatest work. Indeed, God’s power is seen in erupting volcanoes, in the unimaginably hot boil of our massive sun, and in the lightening speed of a recently discovered star seen streaking through the heavens at 1.5 million miles per hour. Yet in Scripture such wonders are never labeled “the power of God.” How powerful, then, must the gospel be that it would merit such a title! And how great is the salvation it could accomplish in my life, if

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