Monthly Archives: February 2017

Discernment Resources Potpourri

Michelle Lesley

discernment

There are scads of fantastic discernment resources out there. Here are a few good ones that have come across my desk in the past few weeks…

deadlydoctrine-01Tim Challies is running a really good series right now called Deadly Doctrines. “In a new series of articles, we will consider false doctrine, sound doctrine, and how to train ourselves to distinguish between them. We will see how God calls us to respond to false and sound doctrine, as well as false and sound teachers.”

download-1Here’s Sinclair Ferguson over at Ligonier with What is Discernment? “We are on our guard against being led astray by false teachers. But there is more to discernment than this. True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between…

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February 28, 2017: Verse of the day

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As on so many other occasions, Simon Peter acted as the spokesman for the Twelve (cf. 13:36–37; Matt. 14:28; 15:15; 16:16, 22; 17:4; 18:21; 19:27; 26:33, 35; Mark 11:21; Luke 5:8; 8:45; 12:41). His declaration, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God,” is reminiscent of his confession of Jesus as the Messiah in Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:16; cf. 14:33). While the crowd was only willing to accept Jesus as a kind of second Moses whom they hoped would supply their material needs, the Twelve saw Him for who He really is. There was no other teacher to whom they could turn, Peter said, for it was Christ alone who has the words of eternal life (cf. v. 63).

Peter’s affirmation in verses 68 and 69 expressed two key marks of true disciples: faith (we have believed)—which marks their spiritual birth—and faithfulness (Lord, to whom shall we go?)—which marks their character. The perfect tense of the verbs translated have believed and have come to know conveys the idea of an act completed in the past, but with ongoing results. The initial faith of true disciples results in continued commitment and loyalty to Christ. Unlike the false disciples who had made a final decision to abandon Jesus, the Twelve (except for Judas) had made a permanent pledge to follow Him. In this way, John contrasted the stark difference between those who are fickle and those who are faithful.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

67–69 So Jesus turns to the Twelve and puts his call to commitment in a question that expected a negative response: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” It was not a plaintive inquiry but a clear question regarding their allegiance. Peter, the impulsive one, speaks for the group: “Lord, to whom shall we go? There is no other one. You alone have the words that bring eternal life.” Then in a messianic declaration not unlike his confession at Caesarea Philippi (Mk 8:27–30 par.), Peter exclaims, “We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” That both verbs are in the perfect tense indicates that the Twelve had not only come to believe in him and recognize the truth of his claims but also that their faith and confidence was holding steady in this time of decision. Truth calls for commitment. It allows no place for what is false. To accept the truth is to forsake all attempts to find ultimate meaning in the vagaries of human existence.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

February 28, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

February 28

The Accountability Factor

Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24

 

I have found that the closer I am to the godly people around me, the easier it is for me to live a righteous life because they hold me accountable. If something isn’t right in my life, they point it out to me. God has given me a wife and four grown children who expect me to walk a righteous path. If I stray from it, one or sometimes all five of them will inform me that I am out of line.

It’s easy to begin thinking that if you try your best, you can live a spiritual life without being involved in a church or having close, godly friends. This may be possible, but you’ll have a difficult time growing in your faith. Accountability applies a helpful pressure toward godliness. May today’s verse guide you toward stronger spiritual patterns.[1]

February 28 God’s Glory in Christ

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14

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Christ displayed God’s glory on earth and will again when He comes back. After seeing His glory in Scripture, we should respond in worship and righteousness.

From eternity past Christ had the glory of God. He “is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3), and He prayed, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

Christ also displayed God’s glory on earth. Most often He looked like an ordinary man, but one night He appeared in great glory to Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:28–36). “While He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming” (v. 29). Moses and Elijah came and spoke to Him, and the disciples “saw His glory” (v. 32).

When He comes again, He will come “on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30), to the joy of His people and to the terror of those who reject Him. His glory will fill the whole earth (Num. 14:21), and all creation will worship Him.

What should be our response to God’s glory? Like the angels who sing, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14), we should give Him praise. Also, as we see His glory we should change: “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). As we look at God, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us grow and live righteous lives. As “children of God,” we “appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

The purpose of all creation is to glorify God. As a mirror reflects light, we are to reflect His glory to Him and to a sinful world. Seek to live a holy life so this reflection shines as brightly as possible, and make it your desire to glorify Him in everything you do.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the hope of glory we have as we wait for Christ’s return (Titus 2:13). ✧ Ask that your life would brightly reflect God’s glory today.

For Further Study: Read about God’s glory in Heaven in Revelation 21:1–22:5. How is His glory displayed?[2]


FEBRUARY 28

OUR MENTAL IMAGE OF GOD

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.

—Ephesians 1:17

The gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow. KOH001-002

Lord, give Your Church and its leaders a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that we might indeed have an adequate appreciation of who You are. Amen. [3]


February 28

Satisfying Your Spiritual Hunger

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.—Matt. 5:6

The all-important result for any believer hungering and thirsting after righteousness is to “be satisfied.” The verb translated “satisfied” frequently refers to the feeding of animals until they want no more. In a parallel to this, Jesus declares that people who hunger and thirst for righteousness will gain complete satisfaction. This satisfaction comes from God. Our part is to seek; His is to satisfy us.

Paradoxically, Christians continually seek God’s righteousness, always wanting more and never getting their fill in this life. Yet the Lord still satisfies them. Again, we can make the analogy to food. We can eat our fill of our favorite dishes, yet our taste for those foods remains. The satisfaction we derive only makes us want more. Believers who crave God’s righteousness will find it so satisfying that they will always want more.

Psalms speaks repeatedly about God’s satisfying our spiritual hunger. The most well-known psalm opens, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and later says, “You prepare a table before me … my cup overflows” (23:1, 5). A later psalm assures us that God “has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Ps. 107:9; cf. 34:10).

Jesus on another occasion told the crowds, many of whom were among the five thousand fed, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). Our spiritual hunger will always be satisfied (cf. John 4:14).

ASK YOURSELF
It may not happen all at once, but Jesus will always reward your hunger for righteousness with the deep satisfaction reserved for the humbly obedient. How has He satisfied you in the past? Think of a time when you and He celebrated what sanctification was accomplishing in you.[4]

FEBRUARY 28

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:3

 

It is possible to be beaten until you are numb. You can smile and praise the Lord and say, “Jesus, I my cross have taken,” for a while. But then you are slowly beaten until you are numb, and you get into a sort of a rut where you cannot fight back.

Timothy had been with Paul a long time, and Paul had been in so much trouble so much of the time. Timothy was tagging along behind in the same trouble, and Paul had noticed a little temptation to be ashamed of the cross. Essentially, Paul was saying, “Don’t be ashamed of the cross. Don’t shrink from the affliction of the gospel. God has not given us the spirit of fear.” Then in Second Timothy 2:3 Paul said, “Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” It is as though he might have detected in the young man a little temptation to recoil a bit from the hard life he was called into.

 

Lord, teach me self-discipline, that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Help me to be bold for the sake of Your cross.[5]


February 28 Acknowledging the Ultimate Source

“… joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11–12).

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Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4–6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!. … Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16–18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example, in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His Lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read aloud Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study: From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?[6]


FEBRUARY 28

RATIONALISM: A DANGER IN TODAY’S CHRISTIANITY

Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

JOHN 7:19

The theological battle line in our day is not necessarily between the fundamentalist and the liberal.

There is a difference between them, of course. The fundamentalist says, “God made the heaven and the earth.” The liberal says, “Well, that is a poetic way of stating it—but actually, it came up by evolution.”

The warfare, the dividing line today, is between evangelical rationalists and evangelical mystics. I will explain what I mean.

There is today an evangelical rationalism which is the same doctrine held by the Jewish religion in the day of Jesus. They said the truth is in the word, and if you want to know truth, go to the rabbi and learn the word. If you get the word, you have the truth.

That is also the view of evangelical rationalism in our day: “If you learn the text you’ve got the truth!”

This evangelical rationalism will kill the truth just as quickly as liberalism will, though in a more subtle way. The evangelical rationalist wears our uniform but he insists that the body of truth is all you need. Believe the body of truth and you are on your way to heaven and you cannot backslide and you will get a crown in the last day!

I believe the Bible is a living book, a revelation from God. But there must be illumination before revelation can get to your soul. It is not enough that I hold an inspired book in my hands—I must have an inspired heart. Truth has a soul as well as a body![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 71). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 67). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 71). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

What is spiritual adultery?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4 (NASB) 

Worship is that vital part of the relationship between God and His people that we see so often corrupted and wrongly focused in our time to the point that the end result is that even if people believe they are “worshiping” God they are actually guilty of spiritual adultery. The division line between what true worship is, that which glorifies and pleases God, and that which is no more than spiritual adultery is actually very easily drawn. Those on the side that is “friends of the world” and are, therefore, making themselves enemies of God, are part of “systems” whose values, loves, and deeds are wholly at odds with what pleases God (1…

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How the Entitlement Mentality Crept into Our Churches

In 1974 Burger King made a bold move to take market share from McDonald’s. At the time, McDonald’s made burgers en masse. If you wanted a special order, you had to wait interminably while it was cooked separately.

I remember. I’m a ketchup-only kind of guy.

So Burger King announced that each order would be cooked at the time of the order the way the customer wanted. Their new slogan was “Have It Your Way.” Burger King, at least at the time, understood the consumer entitlement mentality.

So what does this story have to do with our churches?

It provides a brief historical backdrop of the mentality that has crept into our churches, where many of our members think church is a place where I can always “have it my way.” For now, let me share some key reasons many of our congregations have become more like country clubs than churches, a place where some members demand their way instead of serving and self-sacrificing.

  1. Failure to state clearly the expectations of church membership on the front end. A membership class, or some similar entry point into churches, should not only give information about the church, it should provide expectations about membership. Membership without expectations becomes membership with entitlements.
  2. Failure to make certain as possible that members are Christians. Sadly, we church leaders often neglect to discuss the spiritual conditions of prospective members. Are they truly followers of Christ? As a result, many of our churches have unregenerate members.
  3. Seeking numerical growth at all costs. We certainly should be Great Commission churches. We certainly should be inviting people and sharing the gospel. But if our end goal is numbers, we will make compromising statements to bring people into our churches. We should seek to grow our churches out of obedience to God, not to create our own kingdoms.
  4. Failure to remind the congregation regularly what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. All of us church members have the potential to lapse into self-serving, entitlement members. We all need to be reminded that church membership is not about perks and privileges, but serving and sacrifice. I have been encouraged to see many churches have annual renewal and commitment services.
  5. Allowing the most entitled members into positions of key leadership in the church. One of the more common manifestations of an entitled church member is a person who seeks to gain power and leadership positions in a church so he or she can control and get his or her own way. We yield to them too often because they might be big givers or because we don’t have the fortitude to resist their bullying behavior.
  6. Failure to deal with difficult issues. Church leaders too often are conflict avoiders. And while we shouldn’t pick a fight over every issue of minutia, neither should we allow a pervasive culture of entitlement, bullying, and manipulation to grow unabated. A problem not handled now is a larger problem later.

The biblical mandate for local congregations is counter-cultural. In many passages of the New Testament, such as 1 Corinthians 12, we are clearly taught that members are to be sacrificial, giving, and serving.

Such a mentality goes counter to the culture in which the church ministers.

Church is not about having it our way.

It’s about bringing glory to God by having it His way.

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The Unchanging Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

Code: B170227

John MacArthur

[Note from the Editor: This week’s blog posts are adapted from John MacArthur’s newest book The Gospel According to Paul, and also correlate with our current radio series. Click here to learn more about the book, or here to listen to the radio broadcast.]

There is only one gospel. That theme reverberates throughout the writings of the apostle Paul—literature that makes up almost half of the entire New Testament. While he emphasizes different aspects of the gospel in various passages [The Gospel According to Paul examines several other prominent passages: Romans 3:9–26, 2 Corinthians 5:18–21, Ephesians 2:1–10, Titus 2:11–14], they are all consistent and work together for a full-orbed understanding of the doctrine of salvation.

Consistency and Integrity

Anyone who suggests that Paul introduced an altered or embellished version of the apostolic message would have to contradict every point Paul ever made about the singularity of the true gospel. Although he expounded the gospel far more thoroughly and painstakingly than any other New Testament writer, nothing Paul ever preached or wrote was in any way a departure from what Christ or His apostles had been teaching from the start. Paul’s gospel was exactly the same message Christ proclaimed and commissioned the twelve to take into all the world. There is only one gospel, and it is the same for Jews and Gentiles alike.

It was the false teachers, not Paul, who claimed that God had appointed them to polish or rewrite the gospel. Paul flatly repudiated the notion that the message Christ sent His disciples to preach was subject to revision (2 Corinthians 11).

Paul made it clear that the surest way to twist Scripture to one’s own destruction is by altering the gospel—or even by passively tolerating those who preach a modified gospel. He strictly cautioned readers to beware “if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted” (2 Corinthians 11:4). He said alternative gospels are rooted in the same brand of deception the serpent used to deceive Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3).

And while the one, true gospel is inexhaustible in its breadth and depth, it is at the same time clear enough to be expressed in simple terms through historical events and theological principles.

Core Elements

For anyone familiar with Paul’s writings, one of the first texts that will come to mind as a succinct summary of the gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:1–5. Paul himself identifies this passage as a digest of essential gospel truths.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared.

Verse 3 would be better translated, “I conveyed to you the principal matters.” That’s the true sense of what he is telling them. What Paul clearly has in mind here are the elements of gospel truth that come first in order of importance. He goes on to give an abbreviated outline of historical facts in chronological order. He names four events that constitute the key climactic events of the whole gospel narrative: the crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and subsequent appearances of the risen Christ.

This is significant for several reasons. First, it is a reminder that the gospel is grounded in actual history. The Christian faith is not a theory or a speculation. It is not mystical, as if based on someone’s dream or imagination. It is not an abstract philosophy or an idealistic worldview. Much less is it merely a list of sterile doctrines that have been relegated to a formal statement of faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is divinely revealed truth established in the meticulous historical fulfillment of several Old Testament prophecies, documented by mountains of irrefutable evidence, confirmed by a series of public events that no mere mortal could possibly have engineered, and corroborated by an abundance of eyewitness testimony.

On the other hand, by listing facts of history as matters of primary importance, Paul is by no means dismissing or even minimizing the doctrinal content of the gospel message. Nor is he suggesting that the Christian faith rests on bare historical facts and eyewitness testimony alone. Twice in this short passage Paul reminds us that these events happened “according to the Scriptures.” That, of course, is the true ground and foundation of saving faith. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). It’s not “faith” merely to believe that these events occurred. True saving faith will also embrace the biblical meaning of sin, atonement, divine grace, and other elements of gospel truth—the doctrines that explain why the historical facts are so significant.

Indeed, loaded into the simple statement “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” is everything Scripture teaches about the penalty of sin, the principle of substitutionary atonement, and the sinless perfection that qualified Christ to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In other words, what Paul says here in very few words has significant ramifications for hamartiology (the doctrine of sin), soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), and Christology (the doctrines of the person and work of Christ). So his short list of historical facts in 1 Corinthians 15:3–8 is laden with far-reaching doctrinal implications.

The Problem in Corinth

Context is crucial. Paul wrote this chapter to deal with a doctrinal error, not as a dispute about the facts of history. The Corinthians already believed in Christ’s death and resurrection. What they questioned was the future bodily resurrection of believers who die. So Paul was writing to defend that point of doctrine. He does so by outlining the gospel message with a list of historical events that no one in the Corinthian assembly of believers ever would have questioned. “So we preach and so you believed,” he says in 1 Corinthians 15:11 (emphasis added).

His review of commonly believed gospel facts in verses 1–5 was therefore merely a prelude to the central point of the chapter. Paul states his main point plainly in verses 16–17: “If the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” Conversely, if Christ was raised from the dead, then there’s no reason to be skeptical about the future bodily resurrection of the saints. “If Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12). The whole of chapter 15 is an exposition of that simple argument.

Four Historic Events

What concerns us here, however, is the brief gospel outline Paul gives in verses 3–5. He cites four events from history to construct a firm skeletal framework for the weighty doctrinal substance and spiritual significance of the gospel message. By naming these four historical facts rather than stressing the doctrine, Paul is not suggesting that the gospel’s doctrinal content is irrelevant or inconsequential. Paul would never indulge in that kind of reductionism. (The whole book of Galatians proves how strongly he believed in doctrinal soundness, especially in the matter of gospel preaching.) Here he is merely summarizing and outlining—not truncating—the message. By repeatedly using the phrase “according to the Scriptures,” he makes it clear that a right understanding of and true belief in these four events necessarily entails a proper view of the gospel’s doctrinal implications.

Furthermore, none of this would have been new to the Corinthians. Paul founded that church and pastored it for more than eighteen months before his ministry took him elsewhere (Acts 18:11,18). The Corinthians had received sufficient teaching from Paul so they already knew quite well the crucial doctrinal implications of the statement “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” That, of course, is the first point of the outline Paul constructs.

In the days ahead we’ll examine four events that frame the pivotal doctrine of Christ’s atonement, and how all the other core gospel elements flow out it.

 

(Adapted from The Gospel According to Paul.)

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170227
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Practical magic’s resurgence

The End Time

The NY Times published an article titled The modern charm of practical magic. I found it interesting for many different reasons. I was not saved by grace of the Lord Jesus until I was 42 years old. I spent all of my adulthood prior to the salvation moment, searching for the magic key to the magic in life, the unexplainable, explained. I dabbled in lots of different kinds of magic. Ouija boards, Kirlian aura photography, dreamcatchers, sage burning, Reiki, astral projection, summoning spirits & spirit guides, clairvoyance…

We all want to know what’s on the other side. We do enjoy peeking behind the veil, knowing the unknowable. Because, the unsaved person knows there is a higher power. (Romans 1:19-20). They just deny Who it is. ‘Oh it can’t be God. It must be runes…solstice…labyrinths…”

The NYT article says that they notice more than ever, people seeking answers through magic,

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God’s Sovereignty, Our Suffering (Bridges)

The Reformed Reader

Is God Really in Control?: Trusting God in a World of Terrorism, Tsunamis, and Personal Tragedy This is one of the better books I’ve read on suffering and the sovereignty of God: Is God Really in Control by Jerry Bridges.  This book is outstanding because it is very biblical, pastoral, and practical.  You won’t find a detailed philosophical discussion of theodicy in these pages, but you will find hope, comfort, and encouragement in the sovereignty of God’s love in Christ.  As always, Bridges writes in a straightforward manner that most Christians can understand.  You can give this book to a 60-year-old Christian going through a trial or a newly married husband and wife grieving over a miscarriage.  This is truly a book for the church.

Here are a couple of highlights from the book:

“In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense.  …We must shape our vision of God by the Bible, not…

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Why I Don’t See ‘Christian’ Movies

Pulpit & Pen has a piece by Matt Sherro that tackles what Hollywood would like us to believe are Christian films. Sherro lists just a few of the heresies taught in so-called Christian movies and books:

“Yea, hath God said…” It’s the oldest trick in the book; bring just enough of the truth to someone to obscure the lie and it is, itself, the reason “Christian movies” are so successful. permit me to digress for a moment.

I was recently having a conversation with a friend, whom we will call Eric in order to protect his privacy, and during that conversation, Eric asked if it was true that, as a rule, I will never go to see a “Christian movie” and I answered in the affirmative. The last allegedly Christian movie that I went to see in a theater was The Passion of the Christ and I probably should have saved my money but that is a different story for a different day. I want to take a few moments to explain why I do not go to see these allegedly Christian movies and why I actively discourage others from doing so as well.

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