As a regular practice, I am going to recast the Grace-spotting which I have written about in the past, and include some supplementary resources based on the Word heard together. Let me know if this kind of ‘curation’ of resources is helpful.
This past Sunday we gathered to be reminded of God’s truth in many ways. In our Core Seminars we learned from Pastor Paul Toews about the unfolding story of Abraham in Genesis, and I shared about the diversity in unity which characterizes the church in Christ.
In the main service we worshipped together and gazed in wonder at the joy of Jesus, the happiness of heaven and the eternal perspective that causes us to fulfill the command to ‘rejoice always’ (1 Thess 5.16).
We praise God for his provision to our church. Out of that abundance we can serve others with the gospel. We can thank God for the privilege of sharing Jeff, Gavin and Terry with other congregations this past Sunday as they preached God’s Word across Alberta.
We can also praise God for the way he is providing for our church in our relationships. As God supplies, we have personal resources for serving one another, loving one another, and rejoicing together with one another (Romans 12.15, John 4.36). What are ways that you could share your joy in Jesus with someone this week?
Below are some resources for your spiritual benefit this week, in part based upon the themes in last Sunday’s service.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4.17-18
When I Don’t Desire God, by John Piper. This is a great book for looking at joy as it relates to suffering and spiritual dullness.
Rejoice Always, by John Macarthur. At the end of this message is the portion about being ‘victims of our feelings’
Chandler, Platt and Piper on rejoicing in suffering This is a short discussion about suffering and joy especially with Matt Chandler’s cancer in view.
It is Well . This is a classic hymn we sang on Sunday. Here is the story behind it:
In November, 1873, Horatio Spafford sent his wife and four daughters on the French ship Ville du Havre from their home in Chicago to a vacation in France, planning to set out a few days later himself. Somewhere in the Atlantic, the Ville du Havre collided with a British ship coming the other way, and sank in just 12 minutes. Of his family, only Spafford’s wife survived. Spafford took the next boat over, and as he passed the spot where the ship went down, began to write, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll,” and continued until he had the text, “It is well with my soul.”
As we consider the Apostle Paul’s ministry to the Thessalonians, you might want to look at this portrait by Rembrandt Van Rijn painted in 1657. Notice, he is always shown with a sword!
This is searching prayer from Arthur Bennett’s, The Valley of Vision:
Eternal Father, it is amazing love, that Thou hast sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead, that Thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide, that Thou hast allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round; all heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm. Permit Thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf, and to rejoice when grace expands in me. Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over, and I stand victorious on salvation’s shore. Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good, resistance to Thy Spirit’s motions, may never provoke Thee to abandon me. May my hard heart awake Thy pity, not Thy wrath, And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption, let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell, that those for me are greater than those against me. Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings, keep me feeding in the pastures of Thy strengthening Word, searching Scripture to find Thee there. If my waywardness is visited with a scourge, enable me to receive correction meekly, to bless the reproving hand, to discern the motive of rebuke, to respond promptly, and do the first work. Let all Thy fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Thy holiness. Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees, and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion. May my every cross be sanctified, every loss be gain, every denial a spiritual advantage, every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit, every night of trial a song.