Category Archives: Christian Living

Three Tests God Ordains for His People

As a teacher, I don’t ask test questions because I need to know the answers. I ask questions because my students need to know the answers. Likewise, God ordains tests for us, not for his sake, but for ours. He ordains tests today just as he did in the Old Testament with the testing of his people, and in the New Testament with the testing of the disciples.

Tests are not for the sake of the teacher, but for the benefit of the student.

As a teacher, I don’t ask test questions because I need to know the answers. I ask questions because my students need to know the answers. Likewise, God ordains tests for us, not for his sake, but for ours. He ordains tests today just as he did in the Old Testament with the testing of his people, and in the New Testament with the testing of the disciples.

From those who have gone before us, we find several reasons for tests in Scripture. And knowing that tests are purposeful, we can rest, understanding that the Master is fully in control of both the test and the outcome.

Diagnostic Tests

I remember seeing the eyes of the people around me for the first time in elementary school once I got glasses. I didn’t know I couldn’t see until I took a vision test in fourth grade. My eyesight had gradually weakened, until I thought that blurry faces and faint lines on the chalkboard were normal. That simple diagnostic test revealed an issue I never knew existed.

Just as medical tests reveal our health conditions, God tests us to reveal our spiritual condition, as he did for Israel:

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Their forty-year test in the wilderness revealed just how easily the Israelites could forget the God who brought them out of Egypt. Likewise, our tests may reveal just how easily we fall back into old patterns of:

  • Gossip
  • Complaining
  • Laziness
  • Lust
  • Pride
  • Anger
  • Selfishness

God tells us that he never tempts us to sin (see James 1:13). The tests we face are not designed to lead us to sin; rather, they reveal the sin that already lurks in our hearts, ready to show itself at any opportunity.

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The post Three Tests God Ordains for His People appeared first on The Aquila Report.

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Friday’s Featured Sermon: “The Freedom of True Discipleship”

John 8:31–36

Code: B170922

The only thing postmodernists are certain about is that nobody can be certain about anything.

That idea isn’t only a logical fallacy. It’s also antithetical to the teaching of Jesus Christ. He promised that His true disciples “will know the truth, and the truth will make [them] free” (John 8:32, emphasis added).

We weren’t meant to live lives of wavering confidence and vague certainty. Christ promised fixed and settled knowledge of the truth—concerning both Himself and our status as His disciples—to all who belong to Him.

From a biblical perspective, authentic Christianity is synonymous with true discipleship. In fact, “Christian” was a term originally used by the surrounding culture to describe Christ’s early disciples (Acts 11:26). The definition of true discipleship gets to the heart of who is truly saved.

To that end, John MacArthur explores the defining characteristics of an authentic Christian in his sermon “The Freedom of True Discipleship.”

“If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). This is about being a true disciple. This is an urgent and important subject.  Many people profess Christ. Many people declare themselves to be believers in Christ. Many people give witness to the fact that they are Christians. In fact, that’s fairly common even in our culture, but who is a true Christian? Who is a real disciple? This is an urgent and essential question. You have to be able to answer it for yourself, and you have to be able to answer it for those around you. It’s not superficially answered.

Tragically, evangelicalism now offers up plenty of superficial answers. Walking an aisle, praying a prayer, and signing a card are all widely treated as the seal of one’s salvation. Thankfully, we have the clear biblical testimony concerning the authenticity of our discipleship. Even more, it doesn’t hinge on anything we do to merit God’s favor.

But Scripture does point to our works as a powerful indicator of our standing with God. In “The Freedom of True Discipleship, John MacArthur brings clarity and confidence regarding genuine salvation and true discipleship. In the message he examines Christ’s words in John 8:31–36, a passage that lays out the benchmark and the benefit of authentic saving faith.

Our confidence in our heavenly citizenship can be anchored to a solid biblical foundation. “The Freedom of True Discipleship” shines a light on that foundation and the liberty we can enjoy as God’s children with a secure eternity. That’s why God’s people love to obey His commands and are able to joyfully endure the adversity of this present world.

Click here to watch or listen to “The Freedom of True Discipleship.”

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170922
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September 22, 2017 – This ‘n’ That

  • Conrad Mbewe shares some reflections on pastoring his church for 30 years.
  • Prepackaged sermons are like a mediocre mug of cocoa.
  • Proclaim the gospel and leave the saving work to God.
  • A brief biographical sketch of John Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation.
  • What are angels really like?
  • These types of questions are definitely not helpful ones to ask in small group Bible study.
  • Squirrels may be organizing their nutty finds, but are they able to locate them later?
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable. Warning: this may make your eyes water.
  • I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but you are not amazingly awesome.
  • Can someone please give Rick a copy of Galatians?
  • I don’t normally recommend reading Christianity Today, but this article by Costi Hinn is an exception.
  • What is the origin of bad theology?
  • A little background on John Calvin.
  • Christian yoga is an oxymoron.
  • Visit one of these Christmas towns and live your own Hallmark movie.
  • This is from a series of lectures about the Reformation that Dr. Carl Trueman delivered at The Master’s Seminary. You can find the rest of the lectures here.

Source: This ‘n’ That

Defining Orthodoxy in Our Modern World

Recently a manifesto was released by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhoodknown as the Nashville Statement (NS). The manifesto proclaims that traditional sexual morality is based on the clear teaching of Scripture, not on the whims of an ever changing culture.  Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a signatory to NS, declared that the statement was released by “Christians who believe that it is our responsibility to speak clearly to issues of gender and sex and sexuality and biblical morality in a time when these issues are commonly confused.”

Peter Jones, Executive Director of truthxchange, also signed NS. He believes the manifesto raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

Dr. Jones tells us that Progressive Christians accuse evangelical orthodoxy of resisting the Spirit’s leading and clinging to the dogmas and traditions that, in their view (which is decidedly liberal), God is calling us to rethink and reform Christianity.  “For these ‘Christians’” says Jones, “’Evangelical orthodoxy’ is a heresy.”

Dr. Jones has no problem naming names and lists several progressive “Christians” who deny the authority of Scripture; moreover, they twist Scripture into a pretzel so that it fits a very “progressive” (liberal) agenda. Jones writes:

This is the oddest time for me to be writing a book that warns the church that the affirmation of homosexuality will lead many Evangelicals into liberalism. The recent Nashville Statement on Sexuality (made public August 25, 2017), has, oddly enough, provoked an embarrassment of riches for my research into the decline of evangelicalism.

The internet is rocking with responses of “Christians” denouncing with righteous anger the Scripture-honoring Nashville Statement. Written and endorsed by leading evangelical theologians (such as J. I. Packer and Al Mohler) this statement is dismissed by “Christian” movements as a hateful attack on people with variant sexual identities. So the Nashville Statement raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

View article →

Source: Defining Orthodoxy in Our Modern World

What Is Biblical Meditation?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

What is meditation?

The concept has been corrupted in modern thought. In the minds of many Christians, meditation is associated with eastern religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism – belief systems that don’t acknowledge God as Father or Jesus as Savior and Lord. This association leads many to believe that meditation in any form opens the mind to evil spirits or untrue teaching.

But that robs us of an important way of interacting with Scripture.

When I began staying home with my kids, I was overwhelmed. While I suspected such an endeavor would be hard, I wasn’t prepared for the ways it challenged me. My daily time in the Bible kept me rooted in Christ; my weekly Bible study kept me digging into Scripture; but the thing that reassured me that I was in Jesus’ hands was meditation on his holy Word.

What the Bible Says About Meditation

Since the concept of meditation has been appropriated by other religions, we’ve lost an important and meaningful way of interacting with Scripture. The Bible mentions 23 occurrences of some translation of meditate: 19 of them appear in the Psalms, and of the 23, 20 refer specifically to meditating on the Lord in some way. We are told to meditate on his actions, law, or testimonies – all of which are found within his Word.

There are several words in the Bible that translate as a form of meditate, depending on their context, including speakutterstudyimagine, and muse. (There is even one instance of it being translated as sing, my personal favorite.) The Bible uses meditation as deep contemplation, a turning over and around in the mind to gain greater understanding and be changed by God’s truth.

True, meditation is a tool of learning that can be abused. Yet, instead of avoiding it, we should use it with care, biblical understanding, and respect.

What Biblical Meditation Isn’t

Biblical meditation is not:

  • Sitting with an empty mind
  • Mindlessly repeating a single word or phrase to gain some sort of altered state
  • Burning candles, or sitting calmly on a rug, or listening to sonorous music
  • Practicing yoga

Biblical meditation isn’t even primarily for relaxation, although you may find it calming and comforting. It’s not about controlling your breathing, although there may be times when deep breaths are helpful. It’s never mindless; instead meditation means that your mind is focused on God and his Word.

What Biblical Meditation Is

Not only is biblical meditation about focusing on God through contemplation on his Word, it’s about quieting our hearts with Scripture and a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

The particulars of biblical meditation can vary, but the practice isn’t complicated. A meditative practice that helps me is sitting quietly and thinking over a passage piece by piece, breaking it apart and dwelling on each word and line of Scripture. I would not be surprised if many of us, even those who scoff at the concept of meditation, have engaged in it without realizing it:

  • If you’ve ever sat with a Scripture and gone over it repeatedly, trying to understand each word, you’ve meditated.
  • If you’ve ever been compelled by a sermon or passage of Scripture to sit and think over a single attribute or testimony of God, you’ve meditated.
  • If you’ve ever felt tempted and brought a Scripture to mind, going over it repeatedly to gain God’s strength and rest, you’ve meditated.

Meditation implies wonder and thought, remembering the Lord in all his glory and pondering him in his fullness:

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? (Psalm 77:11-13)

The Difference Between Meditation and Reading

When we do our daily Bible reading, we’re acknowledging and strengthening our communion with God. In that regard, our daily reading and Scripture meditation are the same. Bible meditation also shares a similarity with Bible study; like Bible study, it’s meant to take a lingering look into specific aspects and contexts of Scripture.


Bible meditation is learning to savor every morsel of God’s rich, vibrant, life-giving Scripture.
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Where daily reading is our regular nourishment in God’s Word, and Bible study is meant to deepen our understanding of that nourishment, Bible meditation is learning to savor every morsel of God’s rich, vibrant, life-giving Scripture:

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:14-16)

Think of Bible meditation like slowly enjoying a piece of chocolate, letting it melt in your mouth, paying close attention to every nuance of flavor and texture. Like a thoughtful experience with well-made food, meditation brings delight in God’s holy testimonies and character, and that delight inspires even more meditation on his Word.

While Bible study educates and convinces the mind, Bible meditation persuades and entices the heart. In the hardest times, I mull over what God has said, reminding myself of his justice and goodness; this settles my soul and turns my eyes from my immediate troubles to his eternal grace.

[Photo Credit: Lightstock]

RELATED POSTS:

The post What Is Biblical Meditation? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Seminar — True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin (Podcasts)

Below are presentations from a live event for “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin. For the various counseling options available from this material visit http://www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

  • The True Betrayal seminar is also available in video format.

The complementing study “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery” is also available in a video and podcast format.


If you know a marriage affected by infidelity or pornography, download this resource.
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NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

STEP 1.
PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-1?theme=white

STEP 2.
ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-2?theme=white

STEP 3.
UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-3?theme=white

STEP 4.
LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I used to make sense of my experience.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-4?theme=white

STEP 5.
MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-5?theme=white

STEP 6.
LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-6?theme=white

STEP 7.
IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-7?theme=white

STEP 8.
PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-8?theme=white

STEP 9.
STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory.

https://player.pippa.io/g4-addiction/episodes/true-betrayal-step-9?theme=white

If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Adultery” or “Favorite Posts on Pornography” post which address other facets of these subjects.

Source: Seminar — True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin (Podcasts)

What to Do When Singleness Lasts Longer than You Expected

The Suffering of Singleness

Singleness brings its own suffering, a kind of misery many married people simply don’t understand anymore. I wonder what the hardest days are for you? Maybe it’s been a breakup (or several). Or maybe it’s been that nothing’s ever gotten that far. There’s never been a real boyfriend or girlfriend who might break up with you. Maybe you gave up and started experimenting sexually—in relationships or online—looking for love, pleasure, and control, and instead finding shame, regret, and slavery. Maybe you’ve wanted to be a mom or a dad since you were old enough to know what one was. You’ve dreamed and dreamed about having little boys and girls of your own. You love your friends’ kids, but bitterness creeps in sometimes. Maybe you’re just longing for friendship or companionship, someone to laugh and cry with.

More people probably want to be married because of loneliness than because of sex and children combined. That’s my guess anyway. Maybe married people have made a few too many insensitive comments, encouraging you to enjoy “dating Jesus,” or reminding you how great it is to wait, or trying to hook you up with their uncle’s daughter’s friend’s sister. Maybe it has nothing to do with dating or marriage for you. Maybe it’s your parents’ relationship or divorce, or losing someone you loved too soon, or getting diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-altering condition or disease. Like everyone else, every not-yet-married person will experience pain, but pain will be magnified in some ways by singleness.

From Where Does Joy Come?

The pain of disappointment we feel in the not-yet-married life falls from trees filled with our expectations. Our dreams grow and get more beautiful over years and years in our young imaginations, and then reality reaps a harvest, almost indiscriminately plucking fruit that we want to taste for ourselves. I felt that way, anyway, after years of wanting marriage. We tend to define our life based on our perception of our progress. Am I where I thought I would be at this age? Have I achieved what I thought I would? Are my dreams more or less real today?

Our plans and dreams can become idols. Marriage is a good gift and a terrible god. Most of my grief in my teenage years and even into my twenties came from giving more of my heart to my future marriage than to God. It’s easy to anchor our hope and happiness in a wife or husband and to define our growth, maturity, and worth by our marital status. And when we worship love, romance, sex, or marriage—and not God—we welcome the pain and disappointment.

If we are married in this life, it will only be for a brief moment, and we won’t regret that brevity ten thousand years from now. We really won’t. No one will say, “I really wish I was married,” much less, “I really wish I had been married for five or ten more years.” Those years will seem like seconds compared with all the gloriously, thoroughly happy time we will have after every marriage ends.

We need to think about that as we weigh the intensity of our desperation to have it now. We need to ask if we have made marriage a qualification for a happy and meaningful life. Am I undone and miserable by the prospect of never being married? Do I think of myself as incomplete or insignificant as an unmarried believer? These questions might reveal red flags that warn us marriage has become an idol. Ultimately, we will all be single forever, and it will be gloriously good. Marriage truly is a small and short thing compared with all we have in Christ forever. And I’m writing that as someone who spent more than a decade longing for the temporary this-life experience.

God’s Better Story

Is the life you’re currently living the one you always wanted for yourself? Did you think you’d be married by now? What about your job—not what you hoped for? Do you feel like your gifts are being wasted? Do you dream about doing something different with your life? Maybe you wish you were living somewhere else. You long to be closer to home (or farther away).

The reality is that all of us can imagine something better for ourselves than our circumstances today. The greater reality is that if you love and follow Jesus, God always writes a better story for you than you would write for yourself. The “better” is based on this: God himself is the best, most satisfying thing you could ever have or experience, and, therefore, fullness of life is ultimately found not in any earthly success, relationship, or accomplishment but in your proximity to God through faith.

The dark side of this good news is that you may have to walk through pain, disappointment, rejection, and suffering for seven or eight (or seventy or eighty) years. The brighter (and prevailing) side says God never makes a mistake in choosing good for you. Everything you experience—expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted, pleasing or painful—is God’s good plan to make you his own (John 10:27–29), to give you himself forever (Ps. 16:11), and to use your life to reveal himself and his glory to the world around you (Isa. 43:25; 1 Cor. 10:31).


Marshall Segal (MDiv, Bethlehem College & Seminary) serves as the executive assistant to John Piper and is a popular contributor to desiringGod.org.

This post is adapted from Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal. Originally appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.

Check out the infographic based on a survey sent to 7,000 readers highlighting some common trends when it comes to how singleness, dating, and marriage is viewed today.

Source: What to Do When Singleness Lasts Longer than You Expected

The Honor of Biblical Submission

The God like us – stunning. Descending from majesty. Grappling with the confines of flesh, with skin and hands. Hearing others’ voices through two ears and having blood pump through a heart roughly the same size as mine. He knew the onslaught of grief, with all looming darkness, at Gethsemane. And he endured punishment for sin after sin—the number seems endless from my perspective, though he must have known each one. He was seen, known, heard, and touched.

I have come to know him through his being the Lamb; so the nearness of God inhabits an exclusive warmth of truth within me. I can find myself stunned that God came, and he came to be flesh. He came to be obedient flesh. He came submitting at Calvary, being subject in the garden.

Women Seeking Nobility

Any one Sunday morning, I’m greeted outside by a fellow human whose sins were paid for at the cross. Opening the door to foyer and sanctuary, I see many more of the same men and women—and there is no Greek or Jew, male or female (Galatians 3:28). Yet, as a woman, I also walk through that door differently from men, and with a distinct privilege in how I show honor to others and the Lord.


Devaluing a woman’s submission inadvertently devalues the work of Christ that women reflect.
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I walk amidst sanctuary, nursery, foyer, Sunday school classrooms with a role that runs parallel to Christ’s in a specific way. We can be Scripturally assured that any man might nobly aspire to be an elder (1 Timothy 3:1-2). Yet, church eldership and church-derived authority over men are not noble aspirations for a woman (2:12).

Where does this leave women? I have not yet found myself disproven in the thought that practical advice not fully grounded in biblical theology will, at best, be one-sided and incomplete. How well-meaning the advice—“Women, when you think about submission in the church, think about all you can do, like women’s ministry, children’s ministry, etc. That’s leading more than half of the church!”

Yet, that’s not enough.

When Women Are Robbed

Jesus’ submission to the Father – in a life of obedience, in the garden, and on the cross – we praise him for this.

We women are robbed by our hearts if we succumb to feeling any defeat or deflation about submitting, or if we regard God’s truth as less than ideal. For devaluing a woman’s submission inadvertently devalues the work of Christ that women, in principle, reflect.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Reflecting the Lord is as noble as I could imagine—“and the head of Christ is God.” His unmatched beauty in submitting to the Father when incarnate, securing the way of salvation is somehow by grace similar in principle to my role of submission, whether in marriage or church. The nobility of living by this exceeds the practical advice I wrote of above—this is the “more” we need to know.

Adorned in Uniqueness and Equity

Noble Sarah beautified herself, being subject to her husband.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands. (1 Peter 3:5)

What did she know of Christ? She knew of God’s order in creation; yet, the fraction of what she held dear in terms of knowledge of the Messiah means this adornment could not be any less accessible to the holy women of today.

The question to you, sister in Christ—Do you esteem womanly submission?—is best preceded by the question, Do you treasure that Christ submitted? In that light, how can we not perceive the immense privilege here? Defining what submission entails and what it looks like – and what it doesn’t – is beyond the scope of this article. But the right adornment is well to be sought.

So if you, sister, have been asked by God – by virtue of your submission – to relinquish a desire along the natural course of your adult life in marriage and church, this has been your honor. And where we have yet to receive this experience as an honor, it’s not too late to start adorning ourselves accordingly.

Submission in View of Christ

We can live in view of Christ’s cross and unparalleled expense, for he has been gracious to first take us into his view – though we are but dust. We may live our submission in view of him, who – despite any possible circumstance of ours – has always sacrificed the more. This way, we will innately come to treasure him in our hearts and actions.


We live our submission in view of Christ, who has always sacrificed the more.
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Before the cross, there is no male or female—all are equally called to the feet of the King and raised to unfading inheritance with him. Further, who could say that the Father is honored above the Son—is there any lack of equity in their honor? Of course not. Thus, it is in equity we women are adorned with the unique role of submission—the humble honor of female Christian submission matching the humble honor of male Christian servant-leadership.

Both men and women, uniquely and together, have the equal joy and privilege of showcasing the riches of our incomparably sacrificial God by showing one another biblically-described forms of honor. For our God-given honor in roles pours itself out in honoring one another: “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10b).

[Photo Credit: Unsplash]

RELATED POSTS:

The post The Honor of Biblical Submission appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Three Keys to Fight Spiritual Wandering

Wanderlust = A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the world

I love to travel.

My passport is full of stamps holding stories of far off places, magnificent lands, and beautiful people, each painting pictures of God’s creative genius. I’m a firm believer that some of the best adventures are had exploring new areas, meeting new people, tasting new foods, and experiencing new cultures. It’s one of my all-time favorite things.

Some people have diagnosed me with wanderlust. But I don’t think that sense of wanderlust is accurately encompassed by cute sayings on Pinterest. Neither do I believe traveling is limited to visiting new geographical locations.

In fact, I do the most traveling within my own soul. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.

I am prone to leave the God I love in search of pleasures in other places.

Prone to Wander

It’s illogical, really. As believers in Jesus, we’ve been brought into a kingdom that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (2 Peter 1:3-5). We’ve been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), yet we are inclined to flee to other territories and things that cannot satisfy.

We are prone to wander to broken cisterns, flawed humans, and lifeless water. We travel from our First Love to lesser loves, from the greatest Treasure to cheap trinkets, from full joy to lesser thrills. And we wander to towns emptied of glory, cities filled with destruction, and villages that reek of lies and disappointment.

These new locations are littered with rocks that dash our hopes, potholes that swallow our faith, and bridges of fear that break under the weight of our worship. All roads in this dark place lead to dead ends (Proverbs 14:12).

Fighting the Wanderlust

So how do we fight our spiritual wanderlust?

1. Preach

We remind ourselves of truth, preaching the gospel to each other and ourselves daily. We have no good apart from the Lord. His nearness is our good, our refuge, and our motivation to reject avenues of self-gratification. He helps us press on, stay the course, and make disciples (Psalm 16:2; Psalm 73:28; Philippians 3:12-16; Matthew 28:18-20).

So we acknowledge our need of a Savior today. We preach the truth to ourselves that only God satisfies and his grace is sufficient for our vagabond souls. Through Jesus, the Father is taming our nomadic hearts and reshaping them to steadfastly pursue his. This only comes through the power of the gospel and dependency on the steadfast One.

2. Pray

Without the Holy Spirit, we are helpless. We need him to lead us, and we need our hearts softened by the Word and prayer in order to be sensitive to his leading.

His sovereign shepherding may take us down alleys and back roads that seem too narrow for survival. Those are the times when we, in our flesh, will want to dart off in search of easier routes. So we resist the urge to run. Instead, through prayer, we stake our hearts in the power of the resurrected King and his flawless guidance that takes us into paths of life and joy (Psalm 16:11).

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

We need the Spirit, our divine guide on this journey to the Celestial City, to charge our hearts and govern our ambitions, those desires inclined to choose anything other than Christ.

3. Persevere

Yes, we need the Spirit, but we also have a responsibility to build ourselves up in our faith, pray in the Spirit, and keep ourselves in the love of God as we wait for Jesus (Jude 20-21). We are to actively guide our hearts (Proverbs 23:19), put to death our fleshly impulses (Romans 8:13), and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Ephesians 4:1).


Big-scale adventure isn’t found in the pages of a passport, but on the narrow path to holiness.
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The book of Proverbs is filled with commands to ponder the path of our feet, to spiritually check ourselves before we wreck ourselves, and to diligently guard the way we’re walking. We are commanded to follow the Captain of our souls, not our own whims. Because of the gospel, we can now say no to spiritual trips that drift us away from Jesus—but we must intentionally fight to corral our hearts with the gospel.

Don’t load up on emotional airlines that will carry you away from truth. Do not be driven by vehicles of circumstance. Fight detours in your soul. Keep your gaze fixed on Christ, and do not turn to the right or to the left (Proverbs 4:25). Discipline your heart for “Little by little, one travels far” (J. R. R. Tolkien).

We must be vigilant. We must persevere.       

Bind My Wandering Heart

Our hearts are prone to wander. Maybe that’s why Paul prayed they would grow roots in the stabilizing force of God’s love (Ephesians 3:17). It’s only when we’re planted in him that we find the contentment and excitement our souls crave, but we have to teach our hearts to yearn for the true and better adventure led by the true and better Adventurer.

This is Jesus, the one who takes us to places we’ve never been and shows us what we’ve never dreamed. 

With him, our nail-scarred Guide, we’re on a journey to the everlasting city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10), a place where death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54), and where we will wander no more (Revelation 21:3-5).

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. (Augustine)

Big-scale adventure is not found in the pages of a passport, but on the narrow path to holiness.

That’s the real trip of a lifetime — to an eternity. Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

[Photo Credit: Lightstock]

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The post Three Keys to Fight Spiritual Wandering appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Protestant and Catholic

Kevin DeYoung runs through the primary differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. “Should Catholics and Protestants treat each other decently and with respect? Of course. Will we labor side by side on important moral and social matters? Quite often. Can we find born again Christians worshiping in Catholic churches? I’m sure. But are the disagreements between Protestants and Catholics, therefore, negligible? Hardly. The differences still exist, and they still matter.”

Read more: Protestant and Catholic

Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley has written a thought-provoking piece for Bible believing Christians (those who hold to the authority of Scripture) that lays out the biblical view of how we must respond to all the troubling sexual issues that are impacting the world and the Church. She writes:

Sexuality in Western culture is a mess. Within the last hundred years or so, we’ve devolved from a society that had, broadly speaking, a general understanding of, and compliance with, the Bible’s parameters for sex to today’s sexual mores that barely top short of child molestation and bestiality and permits – even encourages – nearly every other form of perversion.

It can be difficult to know how to approach these issues which have been suddenly thrust upon us, and with which the average person – Christian or not – has very little experience. How are Christians to think about, believe, and address these issues in our families, churches, and communities? Do we just go with the “live and let live” flow of modern society? No. As with every other issue in life, our thinking, our words, and our actions must be shaped by and in submission to the authority of Scripture. Not public opinion. Not political agendas. Not our own personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. Scripture.

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Source: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality