No One Gives Grace Better Than Those Who Know They Need Grace

grace-2It is and always has been true that no one gives grace better than a person who is deeply persuaded that he needs it himself and that it has been graciously supplied by a God of tender mercy. He gives what we never could have earned; why, then, do we turn and refuse to give until others have measured up to whatever standard we hold them to? The call to forgive immediately exposes our need for forgiveness. The call to give grace reveals how much we need grace. The call to forgive is at the very same time a call to remember and to be thankful. When you remember how far you fall short, you are tenderhearted toward others who fall short, and you want for them the same grace that is your only hope. May God give us the grace to remember and the willingness to give to others what we have been given. – Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies

January 26 2015 | Blog | Comments Off on No One Gives Grace Better Than Those Who Know They Need Grace

What Does it Mean to be Gentle in Ministry?

Paul Tripp has a great description of gentleness in his book War of Words as he writes about interpersonal ministry, he says:

Gentleness treats others with tenderness, speaking in a way that is soft and mild. Proverbs tells us that harsh words create problems rather than solve them (Prov. 15:1). Gentleness means that I don’t damage the very person I am seeking to help. Gentleness doesn’t mean compromising the truth. Rather, it means keeping the truth from being compromised by harshness and insensitivity.

May 04 2012 | Blog | Comments Off on What Does it Mean to be Gentle in Ministry?

How Does the Cross Address Marital Issues?

CopyofThe_Cross_16Paul Tripp has a great post over at the biblical counseling coalition’s blog about how the cross addresses marital issues. Tripp reminds us that 1) The cross tells us what’s wrong wit us, 2) The cross tells us how what’s wrong will get fixed, 3) The cross tells us our role in the work of personal change. Here’s one section that I found especially helpful:

As I sat in that restaurant that evening with my friends, I felt incredibly helpless, but not hopeless at all. The cross tells me that I have no power whatsoever to work the internal change of heart that is the key to lasting personal change. In other words, I have no ability at all to deliver people from their deepest problem; sin.

As I sat across from my friends, I knew that I didn’t bear the burden of being their redeemer. If I was to help them, it was profoundly important for me to know my place. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the Apostle Paul uses the best possible word to define our place in God’s work of change. We are called to be nothing less than and surely nothing more than “ambassadors” of the One who suffered, died, and rose again so that change, real lasting personal change, would not just be a distant hope, but a realistic expectation of all who are bold enough to step into the arena of human difficulty and offer help. The cross reminds us that we are not the change agents, but representatives of the One who holds the power of real internal and interpersonal change in his hands.

May 11 2011 | Blog | Comments Off on How Does the Cross Address Marital Issues?

Parenting is Never an Interruption

Some excellent thoughts here from Paul Tripp on parenting.

Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have to enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, hold out for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see his heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love…

Let me give you an example. We had planned a day at a local theme park with our children. I was anticipating a day of familial amusement park bliss. I was hoping that on this day my children would be self-parenting, and if God could throw in a fully sanctified wife, that would be cool! Well, we’re getting out of the van at the park and one of my children said, “Dad, may we have something to drink before we go into the park?” It didn’t seem like a dangerous request. I opened the cooler, which was full of soft drinks, and all of my children sighted in on the one can of soda that they all knew was the best. Immediately global nuclear war broke out. They were pushing and shoving, grabbing and pulling, throwing ice at one another, saying unkind things and hitting one another’s hands out of the way. I couldn’t believe it. We weren’t even in the park yet, and my day was already ruined!

So I jumped in and said, “Do you want to fight? We don’t have to pay all this money for you to fight. I’ll take you home, put a cooler in the backyard with one can of soda in it, and you can fight forever!” Soon my children aren’t fighting anymore because they’re watching the crowd gather as I lose it in the parking lot of the theme park.

Let’s analyze what’s going on in this moment and what’s happening inside of me. What’s going on is that a God of grace is taking a mundane moment of daily family life and using it to do something wonderful for my children and for me. He is making the condition of their hearts visible in order to produce concern in me that would hopefully result in awareness and a desire to change in them. But I’m not at all encouraged in this moment with what God is doing. You see, I’m not angry in the parking lot because my children are sinners. No, I’m angry that God has exposed their sin, and because he has, I have to forsake my agenda for the day and parent them! It all seems like a huge imposition, a hassle that I just didn’t want to deal with…

March 16 2011 | Blog | Comments Off on Parenting is Never an Interruption

Real Lasting Rest

permalinkI have to admit that I just can’t get enough of Paul Tripp.  Here’s a quote from a recent post over on the Desiring God blog about finding rest.  I’ve been putting this one into practice with my own kids, as well as in my own heart before God.

So I did the same thing again and again. I would kneel down in front of them at eye level and say, "Please look at Daddy’s face. Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that your Daddy is not a mean, bad man? Do you know that I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you or make you sick? I am sorry that you can’t understand why Daddy is asking you to do this. I wish I could explain it to you, but you are too young to understand. So I am going to ask you to do something—trust Daddy. When you walk down the hallway to do what Daddy has asked you to do, say to yourself, ‘My Daddy loves me. My Daddy would never ask me to do something bad. I am going to trust my Daddy and stop trying to be the Daddy of my Daddy.’"

God does the same thing with you, over and over again. He meets you in one of the difficult hallways of your life, kneels down before you in condescending love, and asks you to trust his loving and wise rule, even though you don’t have a clue what he is doing.

You can find the rest of the post here.

October 18 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on Real Lasting Rest

The “Nowism” of the Gospel

Paul Tripp has an excellent post on the “Nowism” of the Gospel.  I don’t know about you, but I know that it is a daily struggle for me to take the implications of the gospel and apply them to the here and now.  Tripp does an excellent job of giving four implications of the gospel that mean something to us right now.

  1. Grace will decimate what you think of you, while it gives you a security of identity you’ve never had.
  2. Grace will expose your deepest sins of heart, while it covers every failure with the blood of Jesus.
  3. Grace will make you face how weak you are, while it blesses you with power beyond your ability to calculate.
  4. Grace will take control out of your hands, while it blesses you with the care of One who plan is unshakable and perfect in every way.

September 08 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on The “Nowism” of the Gospel

Envy…

It looks like Paul Tripp is back to blogging again.  I found this post on Envy to be especially helpful to me.  Here’s an excerpt:

You must understand that envy is an interpretation. Envy is not an emotional response to what is. It is a particular interpretation of what is. Envy is a way of looking at and assessing what is that results in particular emotions and actions. But this needs to be said even more strongly; envy is not only an interpretation of what is, it is a distorted interpretation of what is. Envy is looking at life through a rippled window that will always distort whatever you see. In that way envy is madness. In its own way, envy separates you from reality. Envy expands certain facts, it neglects certain facts, and it reshapes certain facts; all the while presenting itself as a valid, accurate and reliable view of life. It makes you like the crazy guy on the street. What makes him crazy is that he doesn’t know he is crazy. He looks, speaks and acts weirdly because what he thinks is real simply isn’t real. Such is the world of envy. Envy is rooted in a distorted interpretation of life that will make you mad. Let me explain.

1. The distorted interpretation of envy makes it all about you. Envy always puts you at the center of your universe…

2. The distorted interpretation of envy is always idolatrous. Envy always puts the creation in the place of the Creator…

3. The distorted interpretation of envy is self-righteous. What is the fundamental perspective of envy? Here it is; "I deserve better!…

4. The distorted interpretation of envy is always short-sighted. Envy simply forgets that this is not all there is…

5. The distorted interpretation of envy is the soil of other sins. Envy never stops with envy…

August 18 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on Envy…

Cross-Shaped Love

Let me suggest in very functional, practical terms what it means to be committed to being an instrument of cross-shaped love:

It means not keeping yourself so busy with you and yours that you haven no practical time to love others.

It means being committed to knowing people, because you can minister only in very limited ways to those whom you do not know.

It means being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others.

It means being willing to live with an open home.

It means overlooking minor offenses and fighting the temptation to become bitter or cynical.

It means being lovingly and humbly honest in moments of misunderstanding; more committed to reconciliation than to being right.

It means not judging the success of your life by the size of your house or bank account, or by the quality of your car, but by the quality of your love for God and others.

It means moving beyond simply surrounding yourself with people whom you find comfortable and likeable.

It means being willing to have your schedule and plans interrupted or altered.

It means not allowing yourself plausible excuses that seemingly free you from love’s call.

It means loving people in such a way that they never feel like they are in debt to you.

Paul Tripp, Broken Down House

June 28 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on Cross-Shaped Love

War of Words Book Review

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I’ve certainly been reading a lot of Paul Tripp books lately, which is probably a testimony to how much I love his work.  There are very few authors who I’ve decided to attempt to read all of their writings, but Paul Tripp is quickly becoming one of those authors.

My latest Paul Tripp book is War of Words.  Tripp begins with these words:

“Sometimes authors write because of expertise…An author may also write out of desperation.  In his life there is a weakness or struggle that needs to be addressed.  He examines, studies, meditates, and applies what he has learned to help himself grow.  He then puts the fruit of his labors down on paper in the hope that others will benefit as he has.

I have not written this book out of expertise, but out of desperation.  I have told many people during the writing process that I did not write this book, it wrote me!”

As you read through War of Words you can tell that this was a very personal book for Tripp to write.  Each chapter is peppered with personal stories, some humorous, some serious but all very helpful.

One of the number one relational problems that people deal with is communication, which is what makes War of Words such a helpful book.  Tripp, in his characteristic style, speaks directly to what’s wrong with our communication, which is idolatry.  Tripp writes,

Idolatry is when my heart is controlled or rule by anything other than God.

This happens to us more than we would tend to think.  The desire for success at work becomes a demand for appreciation from the boss.  The desire to have enough money to pay the bills morphs into a lust for affluence.  The desire to be a good parent becomes a desire to have children who enhance my reputation.  The desire for friendship becomes a demand to be accepted and anger when I’m not.  What was once a healthy desire takes control, and when this happens, the desire that originally motivated me changes into something very different.  Rather than being motivated by a love for God and my neighbor, I am motivated by a pursuit of what will bring me pleasure, and I am angry at anyone who stands in the way.”

An idolatrous heart will produce idol words, words that serve the idol that grips us.  It is hard for us to hold our desires loosely.  Instead, they tend to take hold of us.  Our desires tend to get elevated to a position where they should never be.  Here is what happens: A desire battles for control until it becomes a demand.  The demand is then expressed (and usually experienced) as a need. (“I need sex.” “I need respect.”)  My sense of need sets up my expectation.  Expectation when unfulfilled leads to disappointment.  Disappointment leads to some kind of punishment.  “You want something, but you cannot get it.  You quarrel and fight.”  So when James says, “You adulterous people,” he is not changing the subject.  He is saying something very significant.  Adultery takes place when I give the love I have promised one person to someone else.  Spiritual adultery occurs when I give the love that belongs to God alone to something or someone else.  James is saying that human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery.!

War of Words is one of those books that you need to read and re-read in order to really glean all of what’s there.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first read through and am confident that I will enjoy my next read even more.  If you are married or any kind of a relationship with anyone, this book will help you.  I highly recommend it.

June 16 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on War of Words Book Review

How Do You Show Wisdom?

“You don’t show wisdom by demonstrating what you know.  You reveal wisdom by the way you think, desire, choose, act, react, speak, and respond to the situations and relationships around you." – Paul Tripp

April 30 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on How Do You Show Wisdom?

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