John Piper on Not Neglecting Spiritual Refreshment through Nature

God’s Creation is a gift, not merely a resource but a means of our refreshment. In John Piper’s sermon-biography of David Brainerd he briefly compares Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards. He does so in the context of discussing the sufferings Brainerd endured, including regular bouts with depression. While not suggesting a walk removes depression, Piper draws on Edwards and Charles Spurgeon to suggest Brainerd’s neglect of nature likely restricted him from one means of God’s grace to us in our weakness and darkness. Below is an extended quote. With Spring knocking on our doors and with today’s temptation to always reach for our smartphone or the remote, I hope this encourages us to take advantage of God’s Creation for our good and His glory.

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A Theology of Feasting

picIn our kitchen we have this framed chalk art in the image to the left. “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart” (Psalm 104:14-15).  It’s a reminder that food and drink are both God’s provision to care for us but also an evidence of his goodness in giving us food to add to our happiness. God wants us to enjoy our food, our drinks, and our feasts!

The Bible describes feasting in very positive terms—although there are obviously times where it’s corrupted or misused like all of creation. It seems God created us to thoroughly enjoy food as a gift but also to prepare our hearts and minds for something even more satisfying.

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Where the Reformed today can learn from Jonathan Edwards

edGod in his power, his sovereignty, his might, his greatness, and his rule gives great hope to the Christian that he can be trusted and relied upon. It is truth in the Bible about our God that we must know and that will carry us through many storms. It promotes a reverential fear in the hearts of creatures towards the Almighty Creator and humbles us in his presence. The Reformed tradition in our day has done an excellent job of teaching and holding up the sovereignty of God. For that they are to be thanked and we would do well to store up these truths in our hearts again and again. In the midst of a storm, in the midst of life’s uncertainty, and in countless other circumstances we can anchor ourselves to this unshakeable God when we are utterly shaken.
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