Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Was Made To Forget Myself Entirely

God is using John Piper to blow my mind. The more I read of Him, the more I GET life. The more I see how I can be at the very bottom of life's cruelties and still have joy that is unchanging. I can be led by God into the valley of the shadow, or beside still waters and have the same hope in both.
We have been doing the bible study for "Don't Waste Your Life" and I of course recommend it. I will say though that John Piper is a deep thinker and a poetic, figurative writer. A dear friend of mine told me today she is not getting it beyond the bottom line "let's glorify God". This saddened me since my heart was swelling. I realized though that some people understand things in a figurative sense and some in a literal. We all process information differently which is why our loving God leads us in the ways we will be best taught by Him and for Him. What he can't get through to my dear friend through this book, he will through another means, but he WILL fulfill her purposes in Him.

I just wanted to share what meant a lot to me on the last chapter. What I highlighted in my book.

On understanding the intent of scripture from an objective truth standpoint:

"verses of the bible are not stung pearls but links in a chain....This meant that, in each paragraph of scripture, one should ask how each part related to the other parts in order to say one coherent thing. Then the paragraphs should be related to each other in the same way. And then the chapters, then the books, and so on until the unity of the Bible is found on its own terms.

I felt like my little brown path of life had entered an orchard, a vineyard, a garden with mind-blowing, heart-thrilling, life-changing fruit to be picked everywhere. Never had I seen so much truth and so much beauty condensed in so small a sphere. The Bible seemed to me then, and it seems today, inexhaustible. "

Do you get that excited about how BIG God is and how exciting his word is?! Lately I have been reminded of how many of the people I grew up with in my homeschool community have abandoned the faith as far as walking with the Lord goes (and from public and private...made little difference). It has broken my heart. They were given the information but never took up the delight of God. I loved this view of scripture Piper gives. It is a feast! It is a delight to taste and see that He is good! It is a savoring process that is honey to our mouths and health to our bones! This is what David meant when he said that his delight was in the law of the Lord and it haunted his thoughts day and night in the most passionate way. There was intense pleasure in the greatness of His God and it swelled his heart with joy!

He quotes Dr. Daniel Fuller:

"God ordained a redemptive history whose sequence fully displays his glory so that, at the end, the greatest possible number of people would have had the historical antecedents necessary to engender the most fervent love for God... The one thing God is doing in all of redemptive history is to show forth his mercy in such a way that the greatest number of people will throughout eternity delight in him with all their heart, strength and mind... when the earth of the new creation is filled with such people, then God's purpose in showing forth his mercy will have been achieved...All the events of redemptive history and their meaning as recorded in the Bible compose a unity in that they conjoin to bring about this goal."

Does that not just thrill you! It's something worth investing in! It's a joy to teach to our children. Yet, in the end, it is a thrill put in our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit ALONE! HE only uses vessels and clay pots like us and other servants. Only through Him can we reflect His glory for it to be seen by our children or others. So, pray for these joys for your kids. When they look out and see the world more and more, pray their eyes will be opened to the delights forever more. May they see the world more and more for the dry, dirty wells they are and see the magnificence of God like living on the very edge of the universe being breathlessly overtaken with awe. Yet, even the imagery of the universe is a pale comparison.

"God's passion was the display of His glory and the delight of my heart." Piper

"Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life (for Jonathan Edwards); it was our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Therefor to resolve to maximise his happiness in God was to resolve to show him more glorious than all other sources of happiness. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same."

Edwards states:

"The glory of God does not consist merely in the creature's [us, humans] perceiving his [God's] perfections; for the creature may perceive the power and wisdom of God, and yet take no delight in it, but abhor it. Those creatures that so do, don't glorify God.

The glory of God therefore [consists] in the creature's admiring and rejoicing and exulting in the manifestation of his beauty and excellency....The essence of glorifying ...God consists, therefore, in the creature's rejoicing in God's manifestations of his beauty, which is the joy and happiness we speak of. So we see it comes to this at last: that the end of the creation is that God may communicate happiness to the creature; for if God created the world that he may be glorified in the creature, he created it that they might rejoice in his glory: for we have shown that they are the same."

Piper states that in his experience "many who seemed to emphasize the glory of God in their thinking did not seem to enjoy him much."

I have seen this and I think this may be a key element to loosing some along the way. Kids read our hearts, not our mouths. They will see our delight in God in the way we speak of him, turn to him, make much of him....further more, it is found on our very faces. Joy is hard to conceal. Light is hard to hide. So it should be in our delight of God. Make him as big as you possibly can, you will still only be scratching the surface.

I'll have to come back to this more later.


julie said...

you know, i feel stinky telling you this on the same blog post as one of my all time favorite pastors/authors. john piper really is a blessing. but.....on a more temporal earthly note....
dansko mission accomplished. one pair of black very cute sandals size 38 found for alicia osborne. style lolita , retailing for 115.00
scored for...get this....3.50 oh yeah baby. i will give them to tricia for safekeepping until you can get them. love,julie

Alicia said...

Yeah! Cha-ching, bata-bing! I am SOOOO grateful!
It's okay, God cares about my feet and your kindness too! :)

tricia said...

I have been thinking lately why people choose to walk away. What is the difference between the person who walks with God her adult life and the one that choose to walk away? How do you walk with endurance? I want to walk with endurance. I want my children to walk with endurance.
I think it does come down to delighting in God and understanding joy, happiness, and contentment is found in God.

The question asked in the study about where do you see God in nature (I can't remember the exact question.) At first I thought of the Grand Canyon and the universe. Then I thought of the flowers and how they are designed to attract certain insects. I am in awe of how big and intimate God is. I look forward to later this month when I start my other Bible Study by Judy Gerry. It is about walking with endurance. I look forward to John Piper, also, but he is a little more poetic then what I am use to reading.

Change of subject: I wonder if the shoes will fit me. HMM! Maybe you will get them.;)

Alicia said... you mean "maybe you won't get them"?!!!
I would like to make a gesture at you (not a bad one...hang on!) right now, but I cant. The gesture is Robert DeNiro in "Meet the Fockers" where he put's his two fingers up to his eyes, and then points at Ben Stiller to say "I'm watching you!"

julie said...


tricia said...

maybe I will just borrow them for a week or two then pass them on to you. ;) No, just kidding. I will pass them on to you.

Alicia said...

the amazing thing here is how we went from JOhn Piper to Robert DeNiro:*!