There are Christian circles that disdain education and glorify ignorance. This is part of a larger anti-establishment, anti-institutional, anti-intellectual mood based on the idea that the less you know, the more spiritual you are and the more faith you have. That attitude has no place among us. We must continue to learn as long as we live. Dr. E. Y. Mullins preached on the importance of education. Afterward, a man remarked to him: “The way you talk, it sounds like God can’t use an ignorant preacher.” Dr. Mullins replied, “My brother, sure He can. That is the only kind He has. We are all ignorant, just in varying degrees. But he can’t use our ignorance. He uses what we know, and the more you know the more He can use you.”
Minutes later, this man was asked to pray. His prayer went something like this. “Lord, I thank you for my ignorance. Make me ignorant-er than a mule. Amen. When Dr. Mullins returned to seminary, he addressed the faculty: “Brethren, that is one prayer I believe God answered before it was ever prayed.” Brains were God’s idea; He expects us to use them.
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
When our poor souls in doubt are cast and darkness hides the Savior’s face, His love and truth will hold us fast, for He will keep us by His grace. Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light (Our Daily Bread, August 3, 1992).
LET THE THIRSTY COME TO JESUS
If anyone is thirsty, Jesus said once, let him come to me and drink. Admission of thirst doesn’t come easy for us. False fountains pacify our cravings with sugary swallows of pleasure. But there comes a time when pleasure doesn’t satisfy. There comes a dark hour in every life when the world caves in and we are left trapped in the rubble of reality, parched and dying. Some would rather die than admit it. Others admit it and escape death (Anonymous).
ELIJAH AT ZAREPHATH
Sometimes your Cherith must fail in order to force you to hurt with other people. If the brook had kept on flowing, Elijah might have counted on it and forgotten the God who gave it. The means by which God maintains us are always in danger of becoming the barriers that shut us out from Him. Cheriths can’t be permanent (Winkie Pratney, The Thomas Factor, 122).
There is something even worse than being betrayed or tempted and that is to be forgotten.
“The central neurosis of our time,” said a famous psychiatrist, “is emptiness.” It is the ultimate terror; it is the final level at which faith is tried to see if it may be found finally true (Winkie Pratney).
John Wesley met a man who said, “Sir, I never forgive.” John Wesley said, “Then, sir I hope you never sin” (Quoted in Winkie Pratney, The Thomas Factor).
THE THINGS THAT CAUSE US TO RESIST GRACE
Guilt and shame. It can’t be real . . . or is it? God is saying the same thing He said forty years ago—but it can’t be God? No way would He give me another chance!
GRACE means God uses nobodies. Grace also means He makes nobodies into somebodies. The problem is this: Our shame screams so loudly and our guilt is so huge, we convince ourselves we are not useful and we think we cannot measure up. We resist grace when our shame and our guilt have not been dealt with adequately.
Most people are better acquainted with their guilt and shame than with their God. Grace nullifies guilt. It renders shame powerless. The last person on earth we forgive is ourselves.
Principles about Grace
We accept grace when we release all our expectations (Sampson). We accept grace when we no longer put confidence in the flesh (human efforts) Paul in Philippians 3).
Jesus has a peculiar passion for the forgotten. What society puts out, Jesus puts in. What the world writes off, Jesus picks up. Jesus said, “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus said, “I came not for the healthy but for the sick.” Jesus said, “I came not for the righteous but for sinners.” Are you glad that Jesus chose you not because of your goodness but because of His grace? (Max Lucado, And the Angels Were Silent).
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