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Posts By: Kristie Burns

Spurgeon on Sovereignty

Mar. 24, 2016By: Kristie Burns

Charles Spurgeon on the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty:

There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a foot-ball, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust.

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Letter to My Sending Church

Feb. 24, 2015By: Kristie Burns

Dearest loved ones,

I am thankful that you support us in the calling God has placed on our heart.  We aren’t moving to Thailand because we think it will be fun or adventurous or an interesting experience… life would be much more predictable if we just stayed put in the US and Evan became a pastor

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of a church or taught at a seminary here.  Believe me, we have had those thoughts cross our mind.  But when we both go before the Lord, we are so deeply convicted that His calling on our lives is to spend ourselves to reach the least reached, to proclaim His glories among the nations.  In one sense, I think we have seen too much of the dire need out there, and God has miraculously supplied the funds and the grace needed and the faith needed to go, that it would be sin for us to stay and not to go.  We’ve seen too much.  We can’t sit back and let the peoples of China or the peoples of Thailand or the peoples of other Southeast Asian nations perish without the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.  We are compelled by His Spirit, and because of His worthiness we go. 

 

We are compelled by His Spirit, and because of His worthiness we go. -Tweet this

 

Many talk about “counting the cost” in this pilgrimage Home as we follow Christ.  We do need to count the cost and radically follow Him in whatever He calls us to do.  Yet, I also believe that His Word makes it clear that He Himself is all-sufficient for our every true need and desire, and so, in some sense, following Him is a high privilege, no matter hell or high water, because when we follow Him, we get Him, and He is all-satisfying. 

The missionary David Livingstone said after years of difficult missionary service in Africa, “I never made a sacrifice.”  How could he say such a thing?  Because he counted Christ as the greatest gain  (Philippians 1:21  To live is Christ, and to die is gain).  Whatever loss he experienced was really not loss because Christ is all, and he had Christ.  I pray that somehow this Spirit-given perspective would pervade our hearts and yours.  That somehow, at the end of the day, you can join in saying with us, “We never made a sacrifice.”  The person of our Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel is so glorious and so rich, that even the things that seem difficult and challenging in this life, even the grief we experience in each other’s absence, cannot compare with the privilege it is that we go for the gospel and you gladly send us for Christ’s sake.  

I say that and wish that for us, knowing that it sounds impossible and ridiculous to some extent to say “We never made a sacrifice.”  We might not feel it to be true at times, as the sacrifice might feel so great this side of glory.  But the truth of this promise remains: 

‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.’”  (Mark 10:29-30)  

So if we look at this blood-bought promise of God and believe it to be true (even when it doesn’t feel true), we can ultimately counsel our souls to know that the grief we bear as we leave and the grief you bear as you gladly send us will result in an eternal weight of glory.  We will be rewarded greatly at the resurrection.  How will be rewarded?  He Himself will be our great reward.  In some way, Christ Himself will deeply satisfy our souls eternally in a way that we would not have known had we not by His grace been willing to go or had you not been willing to send us.

Another Scripture that has deeply comforted me during this time is in Acts 17. 

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27). 

I love the huge, sovereign, Creator God that we serve.  He made everything and is the Ruler over all of it.  Particularly, the text says that He has determined the boundaries of our dwelling places, that people may seek him out.  One missionary friend shared this verse with me to remind me that HE has determined the exact timing (the allotted periods) and location  (boundaries of our dwelling) of each and every life on this earth.  He has determined that this would be the time we would go to the location of Thailand, at this point in our lives and at this age our boys’ lives, at this point in your lives.  He determines our dwelling place.  He who is the One and Only Sovereign, who determines every breath we take, every beat of our heart, every provision of every sparrow on the face of the earth, every blowing of the wind, every birth, every death, He determines our going and coming.  And this is His appointed time for us to dwell in Thailand and for you to dwell here in the US.  And why does He determine our location?  So that people might seek Him out.  Ultimately, so that people would be saved unto Him, so that people might turn to Him and seek Him.  He has us in Thailand so that we might seek Him, so that our boys might seek Him, so that others there might seek Him.  He has you here in the US so that your hearts might seek Him, so that others might seek Him.  May we kiss the Sovereign Hand that bids every coming and going and humbly, gladly submit to His determination. 

Finally a truth that I have found to be so true to me is that when people I love are removed from my life by distance or other reasons, I am forced to cling to Christ all the harder.  The separation from you will be difficult, and yet I thank Him and praise Him that it will cause me to cling to Him more and find deeper satisfaction in all that He can supply.  May this be true of your hearts in your grieving moments.  When you cry, may you cry to Him, knowing He cares so deeply, and that He Himself experienced grief at the death of Lazarus, his dear friend, though knowing Lazarus would soon be raised from the dead.  When your heart grieves, may you pour yourself out before Him, knowing He can fill every hole in your heart in a way that you would not know if you never experienced grief or loss.

We have to remember that this life is but a breath (Psalm 39:5).  Sometimes it can seem long and arduous.  But our lives are so short, like the grass which grows one day and withers the next (1 Peter 1:24).  Soon, in the blink of an eye, we will breathe our last breath and be with Him forever worshipping Him and enjoying Him forever (1 Corinthians 15:52).  We will walk together on the new heavens and the new earth and know His glories in infinite, eternal bliss.  May we be heavenly-minded, may the hope of resurrection stir our hearts to trust in Him.

May the banner that flies over my heart and each of your hearts be this:  “Our trust is in the Lord.”  Not in good circumstances, not in life being easy-peasy, not in family being close by, not in good health, not in financial stability, not in having our every temporal comfort met, but in Him.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.  (Psalm 20:7)  He wounds us that He might heal us, He kills us, that we might truly live.  (Job 5:18; 1 Samuel 2:6)  He is wise and good and to be trusted.  Pray with me and counsel your heart as I counsel mine to say over all that comes our way, “Our trust is in the Lord.”

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? If the Father didn’t even spare His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom He infinitely, eternally, incomparably loves… if the Father went to such a great extent to purchase and redeem our souls, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?  How will He not also supply us with every true need and desire—everything we might need for true life and godliness  (2 Peter 1:3).  Romans 8:32 is a precious promise to me.  The Son-giving Father has done the hardest thing—handing over His own sinless Son to death in our place—how then will He not do the easier thing—graciously give us all things we need for the continuous, sanctifying work of our souls?  He will indeed.  He’s done the hardest part (giving His only Son); granting us everything we need to truly know and live for Him is the easy part.  He will certainly do it.  He will cause all grace to abound to us (2 Corinthians 9:8). 

So when you miss us and our adorable little boys, may your heart turn to Him and trust and be glad.  The Word of God is so rich and His promises are so real.  We will miss you greatly, and we will have cause to trust Him more dearly.  Keep your hearts fixed on the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Peter 1:13).  In that day, He will wipe away every tear.  One day we will walk with Him.  Behold, our God and our King, we will dwell in His presence forevermore. Lift up our eyes, oh Lord, and cause us to see You and trust You and rejoice!

With my deepest love, looking to Him who alone can satisfy.

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A Paradox of Providence

Apr. 12, 2013By: Kristie Burns

You've likely read something written by the "Prince of Preachers" Charles Spurgeon, or at least heard him quoted by a preacher or author.  But likely you have never read something written by his wife Susannah, who also wrote devotionally, exhibiting a theological depth and rich love for God.  

Here is an excerpt from Susannah's devotional entry entitled "A Paradox of Providence," in which she meditates on the words of Deuteronomy 6:23 "He brought us out,... that He might bring us in."

Dear Lord, this is a paradox of providence, which both manifests and magnifies the glorious sovereignty of Your grace!  Give us such true and tender trust in You, that Your "dealings" may never perplex or terrify us; but, rather, be the openings and discoveries of Your covenant love.  Let us learn to read Your ways with us, as a skillful reader interprets a choice book, seeing the sentences in advance, as it were, and thus rendering a clear and continuous impression of the author's mind and purpose.

The lesson set before us may be, "He has torn, He has smitten," "He makes sore, He wounds;" and, in our own experience, we may feel how painful is the truth thus taught.  But if the eye of faith can discern the precious postscripts which follow, "He will heal." "He will bind us up," "His hands make whole," we are strengthened to endure patiently the trial which is so sure to end in triumph; and we say, "Ah, Lord! You do but frown--to make Your smile sweeter! You do kill--only that You may make alive!  Blessed wounding, gracious suffering, which places us under the great Physician's love and care!"

To read more of her devotional writings, check out "A Basket of Summer Fruit," edited by Jennifer Adams.     

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Where Are Your Scars?

Mar. 8, 2013By: Kristie Burns

A few great missions quotes from Paul Washer:

"‘Missions is very simple.  There are only two ministries in missions.  You’re either called to go down into the well or you’re called to hold the rope for those that go down.  Either way, there should be scars on your hands.  Where are your scars?  What has it cost you to be a Christian?"  

"I feel that ‘missions’ has lost its message.  That we’ve become strategists and missiologists and we have forgotten that, first and foremost, we are theologians and prophets.  And that our tasks are not to do missions.  Our task is to take the truth−God’s truth revealed in God’s word, to the world."

"Rather than being pragmatic and doing what we think will work, we are to do what’s right, whether it works or not."  

"We can get all excited about missions but do you witness to the guy sitting down beside you?" 

 

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Christ-Exalting Opportunities

Mar. 4, 2013By: Kristie Burns

Becoming a parent has forced me to carefully consider the purpose of holidays.  I want to teach my preschool-aged sons the real reasons we celebrate certain days, and I want them to know and exalt Christ through these celebrations.  

As March brings St. Patrick's Day, I hope the following excerpt from the life of St. Patrick will contribute to a Christ-exalting opportunity that will spur our hearts--and our children's hearts--to make known the glories of the gospel among all the peoples.  To share the true story of St. Patrick with your children consider the beautifully illustrated book, The Story of St. Patrick: More than Shamrocks and Leprechauns found here.    

The following excerpt from the story of St. Patrick is from Christianity.com and was written by Dr. Diane Severance and Dan Graves.

Dates and details in Patrick's life are not known with certainty. He was most likely born between 372 and 390, possibly near present day Glasgow, Scotland. His parents, Calpurniun and Conchessa, were leaders of the Christian community in the still unidentified village of Bannavem Taburniae. 

Patrick did not take the Christianity of his parents seriously and enjoyed having fun with his friends. One day, when he was 16, he was amusing himself near the sea when Irish pirates captured him. They sold Patrick as a slave to an Irish chieftain named Milchu. His job? To care for the chief's sheep.

Alone in the fields with the sheep, Patrick remembered the Christianity of his parents, and he accepted it as his own. He later wrote,

I was 16 years old and knew not the true God; but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and although late I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children...The love of God increased more and more in me with faith and the fear of His name. The Spirit urged me to such a degree that I poured forth as many as a hundred prayers in one day. And even during the night, in the forests and on the mountains where I kept my flock, the rain, and snow, and suffering which I endured, excited me to seek after God...

Six years later, Patrick managed to escape and returned to his family. In a dream, he saw Irish children pleading with him to bring the Gospel to them. "O holy youth, come back to Erin, and walk once more amongst us." His heart longed to return to his former captors and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. He trained for the ministry and returned to Ireland where, despite fierce opposition, he spread the story of Jesus among the pagan tribes in the Irish language he had learned while a slave.


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