Daily Archives: May 17, 2018

May 17: Connecting Historical Dots

1 Chronicles 4:24–5:26; 1 Timothy 4:1–5; Psalm 78:1–12

Biblical lists can be annoying, but they’re also a testament to God’s faithfulness. It’s a true gift when someone in a faith community records the history of the group and their work—particularly when God has answered prayers. By looking through a recorded history, like a prayer journal, faith communities can see how God used them both collectively and as individuals. They can see where He interceded and begin to see how He intends to use them in the future.

God’s past faithfulness points to His future faithfulness. His specific dealings in the past point to likely dealings in the future: they show us what He has gifted us to do and thus the type of thing He is likely to call us to down the road.

First Chronicles 4:24–5:26 records God’s acts among His people and points to His future faithfulness. Similarly, Psalm 78:1–12 calls God’s people to hear their story told, but it’s really God’s story. The first account focuses on the individuals, whereas the second (Psa 78) recalls God’s work among a group of people. All of God’s work—among individuals and groups of people—is unique, but it is also interconnected. It is all a manifestation of His presence. Paul makes a similar remark to Timothy: “everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thankfulness” (1 Tim 4:4).

Although God may manifest Himself in different and unique ways among individuals and groups, everything He does is for good—from the beginning until now (compare Gen 1; John 1). God desires for us to experience Him, as individuals and as members of faith communities, doing His good work. In being both, we come to understand what it means to truly follow Jesus.

How can you embark more fully into God’s great work, both in your own life and in a faith community?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

May 17 Overcoming Pessimism (Philip)

The twelve apostles included “Philip” (Matt. 10:3).

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Pessimism will blind you to the sufficiency of God’s resources.

It’s been said that an optimist sees a glass half full, while a pessimist sees it half empty. An optimist sees opportunities; a pessimist sees obstacles. In one sense Philip was an optimist. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah and immediately saw an opportunity to share his discovery with Nathanael. In another sense, Philip was a pessimist because on occasions he failed to see what Christ could accomplish despite the apparent obstacles.

On one such occasion Jesus had just finished teaching and healing a crowd of thousands of people. Night was falling, and the people were beginning to get hungry. Apparently Philip was responsible for the food, so Jesus asked him, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for every one to receive a little” (v. 7). In other words, “We don’t have enough resources in our whole savings account to buy enough food for a group this size!” Philip’s calculating, pragmatic, pessimistic mind could reach only one conclusion: this is an utter impossibility.

Jesus knew all along how He was going to solve the problem, but He wanted to test Philip’s faith (v. 6). Philip should have passed the test because he had already seen Jesus create wine from water at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11). Despite Philip’s failure, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Instead, from five barley loaves and two fish He created enough food to feed the entire crowd, thus replacing Philip’s pessimism with a reaffirmation of divine sufficiency.

There’s a little of Philip in each of us. We’ve experienced God’s saving power and have seen Him answer prayer, and yet there are times when we let pessimism rob us of the joy of seeing Him work through obstacles in our lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep your eyes on Christ, and trust in His sufficiency. He will never fail you!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Memorize Ephesians 3:20–21. Recite it often as a hymn of praise and an affirmation of your faith in God.

For Further Study: Read Numbers 13–14. ✧ What kind of report did the pessimistic spies bring back from the Promised Land? ✧ How did the people react to their report? ✧ How did God react to their report?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 150). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Is Your Church Christian or Christianish? – Tim Challies

A Christian church teaches the Bible. It is committed to the inerrancy, sufficiency, clarity, and authority of the Word of God and therefore preaches it week by week with confidence and consistency. A Christianish church teaches about the Bible. It is committed to imparting life lessons and uses the scriptures as a starting point to teach people how to live lives of success and fulfillment.

Three little letters make a world of difference. Together i, s, and h distinguish Christian from Christianish and mark the difference between right and wrong, life and death, heaven and hell. There is nothing better for your spiritual wellbeing than to be in a Christian church. There is nothing worse for your spiritual wellbeing than to be in a Christianish church. Here are a few marks of each.

Christian church teaches the Bible. It is committed to the inerrancy, sufficiency, clarity, and authority of the Word of God and therefore preaches it week by week with confidence and consistency. A Christianish church teaches about the Bible. It is committed to imparting life lessons and uses the scriptures as a starting point to teach people how to live lives of success and fulfillment.

Christian church admits the deep depravity of human beings. It acknowledges that we are all deeply disordered so that not one of us has even the least righteousness to plead before God. A Christianish church proclaims the inherent goodness of humanity. It acknowledges that we aren’t what we could and should be, but encourages us to believe that with enough effort we can get there.

Christian church makes its core declaration the finished work of Christ. The good news of grace frees us from the impossible task of earning our own salvation and instead simply receives what Christ has already accomplished. A Christianish church has its core declaration the unfinished work of humanity. The bad news of works becomes the brutal and impossible path to impressing God with deeds that will catch his eye and win his favor.

Read More
— Read on www.challies.com/articles/is-your-church-christian-or-christianish/

05/17/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0517 •Marxism and Deconstructionism in America •Getting permission to change your baby’s diaper •Alistair Begg tells us how to change culture •Why William Wilberborce and Frederick Douglass hated slavery Download Now (right click and save) Subscribe to Wretched Radio to receive every new episode directly to your device by selecting your device type or by…

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