“Nothing they feel or fear”

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“[God] comforts them when in trouble, strengthens them when weak, makes their beds in sickness, revives them when fainting, upholds them when falling, and so seasonably and effectually manages for them, that though they are persecuted and tempted, though their enemies are many and mighty, nothing that they feel or fear is able to separate them from his love.”

Works of John Newton (2015), 1:344.

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“He controls everything.”

“When God’s people are beset by temptation or persecution, a revelation of God’s character and glory is the best remedy. His power guarantees the final victory, his justice guarantees vindication of the right, and his goodness and magnificence guarantee blessing and comfort. The blood of the Lamb demonstrates that solid redemption has already been accomplished. Even in the midst of trials and persecutions, God is still the ruler. He controls everything.”

– Vern Poythress, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, 97.

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Robins

I walk around making strong eye contact with the floor. Though generally flat and non-responsive, it’s often more help than animate objects. I can fall on it, salt it with my tears, and beat it with my fists. I haven’t yet tried that combination on a human. My hunch is that it wouldn’t go well. There’s something about the idea of receiving blows that scares most people off. And the ones it doesn’t scare off aren’t the type of people I like to be around.

Problems like the indoors. They stay inside because they’re allergic to the sun. Knowing this, I step outside for a walk. The high-pitched laughter of robins greets me. Their sounds ride on a breeze and call to memory Jesus’ words about their Keeper. “Look at the birds… your heavenly Father feeds them.”

“God cares for you, dude,” I shout up to the one standing on the telephone wire. I want to remind him, lest he forget. But I’m only returning the favor. He reminded me first.

“If our hearts need to be broken…”

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“We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., 1960), 170.

The Father Himself

In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” (John 16:26-27)

The Father himself loves you.
The Father himself loves you.
The Father himself loves you.
The Father himself love you.

The Father himself loves you.

Soak in that for a lifetime.

On Rightly Relating to God

The pious mind recognizes “God because it knows that he governs all things; and trusts that he is its guide and protector, therefore giving itself over completely to trust in him. Because it understand him to be the Author of every good, if anything oppresses, if anything is lacking, immediately it betakes itself to his protection, waiting for help from him. Because it is persuaded that he is good and merciful, it reposes in him with perfect trust, and doubts not that in his loving-kindness a remedy will be provided for all its ills.”

– John Calvin, Institutes, I. ii. 2.

Pain and Pleasure

“Pain is meant to drive us to God: in need, from a sense of helplessness and poverty. When you are willing to enter into experiences of loneliness, loss, disappointment, or frustration – willing to face hard realities, and not bolt for some lesser pleasure – you find the door to the greatest pleasure of all.

Similarly, pleasure is meant to draw us to God: with simple gratitude and delight. You take it for what it is, a mere gift to be enjoyed from the hand of the Giver of gifts. When we desperately try to escape pain, we turn our pleasures into saviors and they prove to be the devil to us.”

– Dr. David Powlison, Innocent Pleasures, JBC, Fall 2005, 28.