Archive for the Hunger for God Category

John Calvin: Pursuing Christ Above All Else

Posted in Hunger for God, The Faithful on January 19, 2011 by dvalentine

How do we as Christians battle against the sinful pursuit of success, wealth and power that the world pursues?

Therefore, to avoid similar entanglements, the course which Christian men must follow is this: first, they must not long for, or hope for, or think of any kind of prosperity apart from the blessing of God; on it they must cast themselves, and there safely and confidently recline.

How, then, can the Christian rightly pursue success?

Therefore, if we believe that all prosperous and desirable success depends entirely on the blessing of God, and that when it is wanting all kinds of misery and calamity await us, it follows that we should not eagerly contend for riches and honours, trusting to our own dexterity and assiduity, or leaning on the favour of men, or confiding in any empty imagination of fortune; but should always have respect to the Lord, that under his auspices we may be conducted to whatever lot he has provided for us.

How should we as Christians think about our lack of success?

Lastly, if our success is not equal to our wish and hope, we shall, however, be kept from impatience and detestation of our condition, whatever it be, knowing that so to feel were to murmur against God, at whose pleasure riches and poverty, contempt and honours, are dispensed.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.9



Zeal and Resolve

Posted in Hunger for God, The Faithful on May 5, 2010 by dvalentine

“Two things urgently needed in Christ followers, if they would attempt great advances for the kingdom of Christ, are zeal and resolve.  Their influence and power for impact are greater than we think.  A man of ordinary abilities will accomplish more with zeal and resolve than a man ten times more gifted without zeal and resolve. . . .  Men who are possessed by these qualities commonly carry the day in almost all affairs.  Most of the great things that have been done in the world, the great revolutions that have been accomplished in the kingdoms and empires of the earth, have been primarily owing to zeal and resolve.   The very appearance of a intensely engaged spirit, together with a fearless courage and unyielding resolve, in any person that has undertaken leadership in any human affair goes a long way toward accomplishing the intended outcome. . . .  When people see a high degree of zeal and resolve in a person, it awes them and has a commanding influence upon them. . . .  But while we are cold and heartless and only go on in a dull manner, in an old formal round, we will never accomplish anything great.  Our efforts, when they display such coldness and irresolution, will not even make people think of yielding. . . .  The appearance of such indifference and cowardice does, as it were, provoke opposition.”

Jonathan Edwards, “What must be done more directly to advance this work [of revival],” Works (Edinburgh, 1979), I:424

That’s My King!

Posted in Hunger for God on April 28, 2010 by dvalentine

You very well may have heard this excerpt in other places. I recently listened to it on the Trinity Blog and loved hearing it once again. Enjoy this declaration of God’s greatness!

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more about "That’s My King! ", posted with vodpod

The Power of Words

Posted in Hunger for God, The Faithful on March 3, 2010 by dvalentine

There is great power in the pen. Throughout history, a few spoken or written words have moved masses and shaped movements. A timely word well delivered can arrest ones heart and hold ones mind captive. More than once, as I have I read, a simple phrase or sentence has risen from the page and struck me with such force that its effect can be felt almost physically, as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

We would all benefit from you sharing with us some of the quotes or words that have impacted you to the soul. Here are two of the most challenging quotes for my own life.

“This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash.”

– C. S. Lewis, “A Slip of the Tongue,” in The Weight of Glory, page 187.

“A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more.”

– Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Endless Nibbling

Posted in Hunger for God, The Race on February 24, 2010 by dvalentine

Thanks to Todd Blumer for the following thoughts:

Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his heart will keep far from them. - Prov. 22:5

1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

I think we sometimes look at these verses and say, “Phew, I’m in pretty good shape. I’m not in adultery. I don’t have any really bad addictions. I don’t watch X-rated movies.” But, do we stop to think about the “small sins.” Why did I take that second or third glance? Why did I make that comment to build up myself and tear down another? Why didn’t I turn off the TV when I know I should have? How did I think those things would profit me? Why are these sins so appealing?

John Piper writes, “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night…. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

So how do we guard ourselves against losing our appetite for God and allowing idolatry to creep into our lives? One way is to become more conscious of daily life. Jerry Bridges calls it the “discipline of watching.”

“We need to be watchful in the little things of everyday life… the little lie, the little bit of pride, the little lustful glance or the little bit of gossip… the truth is, it is in the minutiae of life where most of us live day after day. We seldom have to say no to an outright temptation to adultery. We often have to say no to the temptation to the lustful look or thought.”

Another way to guard against this slow, gradual idolatry is to pursue Christ fervently. Again, John Piper provides some insight: “If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation for the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

May we each pursue God with a passion that fills us with Him so that there is no room for the hunger for the world.

– some thoughts and quotes taken from Karl Graustein in his book, Growing up Christian

The Long-Awaited One

Posted in Hunger for God, The Faithful on December 30, 2009 by dvalentine

The post for this week will linger just a moment longer at the incarnation event as we take one last look at the birth of Christ. We focus today on a Biblical figure who was described as faithful. Luke 2:25 describes Simeon as “righteous and devout, long-awaiting the consolation of Israel.” He was blessed with the great promise that he would not see death until he saw the face of Christ. Here is the record of Luke 2:27-32.

And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

A Life Not Wasted

Posted in Hunger for God, The Faithful on December 9, 2009 by dvalentine

Two men were working beside a fire in a quarry, one day in winter, when a stranger approached them on horseback. Alighting from his horse he began to enter into conversation on the state of their souls and drew some alarming truths from the blazing fire. The men were surprised, and exclaimed “You are no common man.” “Oh yes,” he replied, “just a common man.” One cannot meet Robert Murray M’Cheyne either in his biography (so powerfully written by Andrew Bonar) or in his sermons, without receiving the impression which these men received in their personal encounter with him so long ago. His brief ministry of seven-and-a-half years “stamped an indelible impress on Scotland,” and though he died in his twenty-ninth year, more was wrought by him that will last for eternity than most will accomplish in a lifetime. If we could choose one life from the past, the lessons of which would apply most directly to our own generation that is often careless and lazy in personal holiness, evangelism, and study, perhaps it should be the life of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. After his death, a fellow minister wrote, “Indolence and levity and unfaithfulness are sins that beset me ; and his living presence was a rebuke to all these, for I never knew one so instant in season and out of season, so impressed with the invisible realities, and so faithful in reproving sin and witnessing for Christ.”

M’Cheyne’s life is marked with a passion for the salvation of souls, a longing for personal holiness, and thirst for God in study. “Above all things, cultivate your own spirit,” he wrote to a fellow-minister. “Your own soul is your first and greatest care. Seek advance of personal holiness. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God’s Spirit, is worth ten thousand words spoken in unbelief and sin.” “Get your texts from God – your thoughts, your words, from God.” From his diary we gather his own private observations:– “I ought to spend the best hours of the day in communion with God. It was M’Cheyne’s constant aim to avoid any hurry which prevents “the calm working of the Spirit on the heart. The dew comes down when all nature is at rest – when every leaf is still. A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man …”

M’Cheyne was ever concerned to deepen his ministry by continual study. “Few”, says Bonar ; have maintained such an “undecaying esteem for the advantages of study.” Though always conscious that souls were perishing every day, he never fell into the error of thinking that a minister’s main work consists of outward activity. “The great fault I find with this generation is, they cry that ministers should be more in public ; they think that it is an easy thing to interpret the word of God, and to preach. But a minister’s duty is not so much public as private.” “Oh,” he declared to a friend, “we preachers need to know God in another way than heretofore, in order to speak aright of sin and of salvation. The work of God would flourish by us, if it flourished more richly in us.”

Info and quotes from Andrew Bonar’s ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE and an article by Iain Murray, ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: MINISTER OF ST. PETER’S, DUNDEE, 1836 – 1843