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Thoughts From J.I. Packer

Dear Friends,

Today I send out a "thought" from one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century - J. I. Packer. He is one of my favorites. I have at least 15 of his books! These are simply some thoughts on knowing God and His guidance for our lives. I trust you might find them helpful. Enjoy.
"Every time we mention God we become theologians, and the only question is whether we are going to be good ones or bad ones. A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about him... [In fact] What matters supremely, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it – the fact that he knows me... Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.
How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul....

Laying out a fleece is the lazy man’s way to discern God’s will. It requires no work, little discipline and almost no character development. "Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.
Remember that, as George Whitefield said, man is immortal till his work is done (though God alone defines the work), and get on with what you know to be God’s task for you here and now. Confidence that one’s impressions are God-given is no guarantee that this is really so, even when they persist and grow stronger through long seasons of prayer. Bible-based wisdom must judge them. Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. God guides us by means of the Bible’s teaching, the exercise of wisdom, and the counsel of fellow believers, plus insights and ideals sparked within us by the examples of faithful folk past and present, and supremely by the virtues shown in the way that the Lord Jesus lived. If you ask, “Why is this or that happening?” no light may come, for “the secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deut. 29:29); but if you ask, “How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?” there will always be an answer."
As one who was a theologian, Bible scholar, and heart-felt believer set on seeking to know God (which he tried to pass on to others by his best-selling book "Knowing God"), I would encourage you to pick up anything written by him. There are certain authors I read because I trust them implicitly. Packer is one. Simple, deep and committed to Christ and His Church. His book "Knowing God" and "Concise Theology" should be on everyone's shelf!

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