Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

Envision for a moment that you are not reading my words but listening to me speak in an auditorium. Suddenly I pull from beneath the podium a rose of incomparable beauty. I hold it high for all to see. One can hear gasps of amazement coming from the audience.

This is a rose of almost indescribable brilliance. Its colour is bright and radiant and almost blinding. No less impressive is its fragrance. The aroma fills the auditorium (I know it’s only one rose, but it’s only an illustration!). My desire is that you experience this rose up close and personal, so I invite you to the platform to take a closer look, a closer smell.

To display it for all to see and smell, I glue the rose to the platform on which I’m standing. Perhaps a little duct tape is also employed to secure it firmly to the floor. Then, one by one, each of you passes by. Some will only look stunned by the radiant colour of this unusual flower. Others bend over and experience its enchanting aroma. A few even dare to touch it and speak of its soft and pliable petals.

I then announce that the rose will remain where it is overnight and that all may return tomorrow to experience its beauty yet again. The next day all return and once more make their way to the front of the auditorium. But something is different. The colour isn’t quite what it was the day before. The rose has slightly wilted and leans to one side. I then announce that the rose will be available yet again tomorrow and encourage all to return.

By the third day, something horrible has happened. The formerly brilliant colour has turned a dull and dreary brown. The formerly soft petals have become brittle and fall to the floor when touched. The smell has turned putrid, far from its former fragrance. It doesn’t take much to account for the changes. The rose was glued to a lifeless wooden platform. Without the nutrients derived from good soil, apart from the light of the sun, absent from the water and care of a meticulous gardener, the rose is doomed to wither and fade.

Hear me well. Just as certain as that rose will turn brown and brittle and lose its allure, so too will our souls if they are not deeply and securely rooted in the soil of Holy Scripture. We may flourish for a season, perhaps even impress people with the colour of our spirituality and the fragrance of our good deeds and the tenderness of our love for others. But in the absence of a continual supply of truth and knowledge and devotion to cultivating a mind aflame with the revelation of who God is in Christ, we will become like a wilted rose.

Affections such as joy and love and hope and peace are essential to true Christian living, the sort of living that honours and glorifies and exalts Jesus. But they cannot long survive if severed from the rich soil of truth and doctrine and ever-expanding understanding in the mind of the splendour and majesty of God.

- From Convergence by Sam Storms, page 234-235


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Great Paragraph

The truth is that nothing in this earth can finally satisfy us. Much can make us content for a time but nothing can fill us to the brim. The reason is that our final joy lies “beyond the walls of this world,” as J.R.R Tolkien put it. Ultimate beauty comes not from a lover or a landscape or a home, but only through them. These earthly things are solid goods, and we naturally relish them. But they are not our final good. They point to what is higher up and further back…Even if we fall deeply in love and marry another human being, we discover that our spiritual and sexual oneness isn’t final. It’s wonderful, but not final. It might even be as good as human oneness can be, but something in us keeps saying “not this” or “still beyond”…What Augustine knew is that human beings want God…God has made us for himself. Our sense of God runs in us like a stream, even though, because of sin, we divert it toward other objects. We human beings want God even when we think that what we really want is a green valley, or a good time from our past, or a loved one. Of course we do want these things and persons, but we also want what’s behind them. Our inconsolable secret, says C.S. Lewis, is that we are full of yearnings, sometimes shy and sometimes passionate, that point us beyond the things of earth to the ultimate reality of God.

From Cornelius Plantinga from Tullian Tchividjian from The Gospel Coalition

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