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WordToThinkAbout

Psalms 1, A Reverse Translation

Blighted is the man
who doesn’t stick his neck out,
doesn’t think for himself,
doesn’t revere anything.
But he laughs on cue
while watching TV day and night.
He is like everybody else.
In all that he does, he gets by.
The believers are not so,
they don’t move with the times.
Therefore, the godly will not stand
in the court of human approval,
nor the Christlike at the best parties in town.
For who’s to say what is right?
And doesn’t everybody go to heaven?

February 6, 2015, A Blog Post by Ray Ortland, Pastor at Immanuel Church Nashville

 

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Quietness vs. Prominence

young-man-praying-in-one-of-several-rows-of-pews

I have calmed and quieted my soul.  Psalm 131:2

How did David get into that quiet place before God?  He forsook ambition.  “My eyes are not raised too high,” he wrote.  He checked that restless impulse of ingratitude and the itch of attention-seeking.  He settled into the role and place God had assigned to him, because he trusted in the wisdom and goodness of God’s providential care.

“Like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  No longer fretful, demanding, impatient, infantile, David’s heart came to rest with a sense of God’s plan, God’s nearness.

The upward glance to the higher place of visibility and recognition destroys quietness of heart.  Francis Schaeffer, in his sermon “No little people, no little places,” counsels us to look by faith beyond our place, wherever it may be, into the greater battle raging in the heavenlies today, the real battle of our generation that bears no necessary relation to the seeming prominence or obscurity of the soldiers involved, and trust that the Lord of hosts is deploying each of us most effectively right where we are, moment by moment.  Human appearances can be false.  Divine strategies are unfailing.

Unless I am extruded (Schaeffer’s wonderful word) into the higher place by the force of God’s own hand, my life ends up counting for less than before, not more, no matter how impressive my promotion may appear.

Quietness of heart before God is more powerful than prominence of position among men.

February 3, 2015, A Blog Post by Ray Ortlund, Pastor at Immanuel Church, Nashville

Enjoying the Visit

“You have visited me by night.”  Psalm 17:3

“Now, you may be saying to yourself, ‘I have not enjoyed such visits as these.’  Yet you may enjoy them.  If the Father loves you even as he loves his Son, then you are on visiting terms with him. . . . If you long for him, he much more longs for you.  No sinner was ever half as eager for Christ as Christ is eager for the sinner; no saint was ever one-tenth as anxious to behold his Lord as his Lord is to behold him.  If you are running to Christ, he is already near you.  If you sigh for his presence, that sigh is the evidence that he is with you.  He is with you even now; therefore, be glad.”

Charles Spurgeon, Joy in Christ’s Presence (New Kensington, 1997), page 15.