Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Eve

Last night we went over to Debbie's parents place for dinner and to watch the new year come in. After dinner, we decided to read a chapter in a book that we had read the first chapter in on Christmas Eve, each of us taking a turn reading about a page out loud. Well, it turned into 4 more chapters, and we probably would have read another 1-2, except the neighbors came over.

The book is an old Christian classic called The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life, available just about everywhere, including online. We were reading from the Barbour edition. Here are a few choice quotes:

A keen observer once said to me, “You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it.”

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind, these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you, and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.

“According to our faith,” is always the limit and the rule.

But this faith of which I am speaking must be a present faith. No faith that is exercised in the future tense amounts to anything. A man may believe forever that his sins will be forgiven at some future time, and he will never find peace. He has to come to the now belief, and say by faith, “My sins are now forgiven,” before he can live the new life. And, similarly, no faith which looks for a future deliverance from the power of sin, will ever lead a soul into the life we are describing. The enemy delights in this future faith, for he knows it is powerless to accomplish any practical results. But he trembles and flees when the soul of the believer dares to claim a present deliverance, and to reckon itself now to be free from his power.

Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we can neither see, hear, nor feel is faith; and everywhere the Bible tells us our salvation is to be by faith. Therefore we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings, if we would honor God by our faith. It is always he that believeth who has the witness, not he that doubteth.

On the whole, a most enjoyable way to bring in the new year! We plan on reading about a chapter each week together.

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