This is why we can work – when the “work under the work” has already been done.

Tim Keller in his book Every Good Endeavor writes, “When Jesus calls all people to himself, he says he knows we are “weary and burdened” and that we need “rest.” But Jesus’s cure for our weariness is a “burden” (verse 30) and even a “yoke” (verse 29)! The yoke or harness put on a beast of burden was a symbol of slavery and grinding toil. How could this be a solution to the problem of deep weariness? Jesus says that it is his yoke and burden—and it is the only one that is light. Why? “For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (verse 29). He is the only boss who will not drive you into the ground, the only audience that does not need your best performance in order to be satisfied with you. Why is this? Because his work for you is finished.” (loc 2,906).

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“The value of myth and fiction is that it takes all the things we know and restores them to the ri ch significance which has been hidden by the ‘veil of familiarity’” – C.S. Lewis

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”

— CS Lewis quote on the memorial market outside the conference room at the Wade Center, Wheaton, IL.

The Threefold Office of the College President

One of the high purposes of fantasy is to help us live more wisely in reality. Indeed, C.S. Lewis took this to be one of the “the main things” that Tolkien “wants to say“– namely, “that the real life of men“ is the “mythical and heroic quality.”

“The value of myth”, Lewis goes on to say, “is that it takes all the things we know and restores them to the rich significance which has been hidden by the ‘veil of familiarity.’”

By “dipping” the real things in myth, “we see them more clearly.“

So what might we be able to learn from Gandolf‘s ministry as profit – from his miraculous wonders, bold predictions, wise counsel, and triumph over death?

I have a special and specific reason for asking this question I believe that the role of profit – like the role of king and priest – is part of my calling as the president of a Christ-centered college.

— Philip Ryken, The Messiah Comes to Middle Earth

Obeying God is good, but why is it good?

Sunrise / “moon-set” over the Lodge at Nebraska City_______________

“The good news is that the Bible is a big, diverse, wise book, and in it you can find a variety of prescriptions to encourage obedience to God’s commands.

For example, the Heidelberg Catechism gives four reasons for doing good:

1. to show we are thankful for what God has done,
2. so he may be praised through us,
3. so we may be assured of our faith by its fruits,
4. and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ (Q/A 86).

Likewise, John Owen mentions several gospel grounds for our obedience:

1. good works are necessary because God has appointed them;
2. our holiness is one special end of God’s love which is meant to redound to God’s glory;
3. our obedience brings God glory and honor;
4. It brings us honor and peace and makes us useful to God;
5. it benefits the world by convicting sinners, converting others, benefiting society;
6. it testifies that we are justified and is a pledge of our adoption;
7. it is a means of our thankfulness

(Communion with the Triune God, ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007[…]”

Excerpt From
Hole in our Holiness

The gospel moves us from perfectionism to achievement with joy and contentment.

Photo: IPhone 8 – Eric – Omaha, NE

Hole in our Holiness – by Kevin DeYoung

Selected Quotes Chapter 5 – the Pleasure of God and the Possibility of Godliness.

  • It’s one thing to be humble about our piety. It’s another to think piety is impossible. The truth is God’s people can be righteous—not perfectly, but truly, and in a way that genuinely pleases God.
  • With all the best intentions, we tend to flatten the biblical view on holiness until we squeeze out the dynamic nature of life with God. In an effort to own up to our own abiding sinfulness and highlight the gospel of free grace, we remove any notion that we can obey God or that he can delight in our good works.
  • So we end up believing something like this: “I am a spiritual failure, but, praise God, Jesus came to save spiritual failures like me! I cannot obey God’s commands for one nanosecond. I never truly love God with all my heart or my neighbor as myself. Even my righteous deeds are like filthy rags. If you could see my heart, you’d see that my sins are as bad as anyone else’s or worse! I am a spiritual screw-up through and through, unfaithful to my faithful God. But the good news is, God has saved me because of Christ’s death and resurrection. I am his adopted child, forgiven and clean. Nothing I ever do can make God love me any more—or any less—than he already loves me in Christ. Even though I continue to sin, I can never disappoint my heavenly Father, for he looks at me and sees the righteousness of his beloved Son. What unspeakable good news!”
  • “So what’s wrong with this [previous quote above]?” you may ask incredulously. Well, as a general statement confessing sin and clinging to the righteousness of Christ, it is absolutely true and beautiful. If I heard a paragraph like this my first reaction would be to praise God for such a powerful reminder of gospel grace. But if someone asked me to probe deeper, I’d caution that this statement is not very careful.
  • If the possibility of holiness is so plain in the Bible, why do we find it so hard to believe? Probably the biggest reason is because we equate obedience with perfection.
  • But I get hung up on all that seems to be required of me to be a great dad, a super husband, a fabulous prayer warrior, a tremendous evangelist, and a devoted social activist. I always feel like I could pray more; I could evangelize more; I could share my resources more. But God doesn’t expect us to be the best in everything in order to be free from paralyzing guilt. As we saw in chapter 2, it’s our Christlike character that counts.
  • But God does not expect our good works to be flawless in order for them to be good. If God only accepted perfect obedience from his children, the Bible would have nothing good to say about Job or David or Elizabeth or anyone else except for Jesus. I like what the Westminster Confession of Faith says about good works. On the one hand, sanctification will always be imperfect in this life. There will always be remnants of corruption in us. But by the power of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, true believers will genuinely grow in grace. Our good works are accepted by God, not because they”“are “wholly unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight,” but because God is pleased through Christ to accept our sincere obedience, although it contains many weaknesses and imperfections. God not only works obedience in us by his grace, it’s also by his grace that our imperfect obedience is acceptable in his sight. And even the smallest act of obedience is an event worth celebrating. Perhaps we are slow to see any good in us because we don’t understand how bad we were. Your tiny spiritual life may seem less negligible when you consider that it comes from a heart that used to be spiritually dead. That you and I have any law-abiding willing and doing is a miracle of God’s grace.
  • Many Christians believe that all their righteous deeds are nothing but filthy rags. After all, that’s what Isaiah 64:6 seems to say: even your best deeds are dirty and worthless. But I don’t think this is what Isaiah means. The “righteous deeds” Isaiah has in mind are most likely the perfunctory rituals offered by Israel without sincere faith and without wholehearted obedience.
  • It is a dangerous thing to ignore the Bible’s assumption, and expectation, that righteousness is possible. Of course, our righteousness can never appease God’s wrath. We need the imputed righteousness of Christ. More than that, we cannot produce any righteousness in our own strength. But as born-again believers, it is possible to please God by his grace. Basically, whenever you trust and obey, God is pleased.3
  • More importantly, this kind of spiritual resignation does not tell the truth about God. A. W. Tozer is right: From a failure to properly understand God comes a world of unhappiness among good Christians even today. The Christian life is thought to be a glum, unrelieved cross-carrying under the eye of a stern Father who expects much and excuses nothing. He is austere, peevish, highly temperamental and extremely hard to please.4 But this is no way to view the God of the Bible. Our God is not a capricious slave driver. He is not hyper-sensitive and prone to fits of rage on account of slight offenses. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Ex. 34:6). “He is not hard to please,” Tozer reminds us, “though He may be hard to satisfy.”
  • What sort of father looks at his daughter’s homemade birthday card and complains that the color scheme is all wrong? What kind of mother says to her son, after he gladly cleaned the garage but put the paint cans on the wrong shelf, “This is worthless in my sight”?”