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It seems likely that Peter’s usefulness for God was forged on that dark night of failure, when he finally realized what he was apart from Christ. Up to that point, Peter continued to try and be self-sufficient: “I can fix this! I can do this! Even if they all go, I’m your man!” But when Peter’s gaze met Christ’s and he realized the depths to which relying on his own strength had sunk him, then he was emptied in order that he might be filled; he was broken in order that he might be mended; he was brought to tears in order that he might know the joy of forgiveness.

Alister Begg, A Lesson on Running from Failure


Christian discipline may press and strain. It may rise early to read and pray; it may fast and go willingly without; it may say many a painful no. But not from any barren sense of oughtness. Rather, the surpassing worth of Christ has captured our hearts, calling forth our own surpassing work.

Not that we always feel the same sense of Christ’s worth. Sometimes, discipline is the song of living longing; other times, it is the prayer of longing lost. But whether discipline moves mainly from desire or for desire, its sights remain set on him whose presence is our pleasure. Out, then, with any thoughts of stern and frowning resolve. The only discipline worth the name runs under the banner of delight.

Scott Hubbard, Redeeming Discipline


If I am to serve God, and if I am to possess anything of “true religion,” I must begin with the Substitute. For religion begins with pardon; and without pardon religion is a poor and irksome profession. “There is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared.” This is the Divine watchword. Not first the fear of God, and then forgiveness; but first forgiveness, and then the fear of God.

Bonar, H. (1881) How Shall I Go to God, 25