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masqueradePaul Tripp reminds us that the “kingdom of self is a costume kingdom. It does a perversely brilliant job of masquerading as the kingdom of God.”

Here are some of its most popular costumes:

A focus on material things can masquerade as good stewardship of your possessions.

Loving personal control can masquerade as using God-given leadership gifts.

Anger can masquerade as having a heart for what is right.

Self-righteous legalism can masquerade as loving God’s law.

Building your own ministry empire can masquerade as a commitment to the expansion of God’s kingdom.

Fear of man can masquerade as a sensitive heart toward the needs of others.

Selfish attention-seeking can masquerade as being candid about your needs.

Judgment and criticism can masquerade as a commitment to honesty.

Theological pride can masquerade as a commitment to God’s truth.

A craving to be known and respected can masquerade as a commitment to ministry.

Bondage to the opinions of others can masquerade as a commitment to community.

Lust can masquerade as a celebration of the beauty of God’s creation.

Gossip can masquerade as a prayerful concern for others.

Tripp, Paul David (2014-10-31). New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Kindle Locations 7181-7188). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

bolted door“If you think being filled by the Holy Spirit means an endless series of miracles, burning bushes, still, small voices, warm fuzzies, and sensations of peace that pass all understanding, then you are going to be disappointed.

The greatest (and most honest) saints have always confessed that they had to walk through many valleys with no sense of God’s presence. Sometimes they nearly went deaf from the heavenly silence. Often they stumbled helplessly in what felt like total darkness. C. S. Lewis wrote that during one of the most painful times of his life, he cried out to God and got:

…a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become

Somehow, these honest words seldom make it into anyone’s list of “favorite C. S. Lewis quotes.”

Have you ever felt this way?

Just because God feels absent doesn’t mean that he actually is. Just because you can’t track his footprints doesn’t mean he’s not walking beside you. If you’re a believer, that feeling of being alone is always an illusion. Here’s how I know. . . “

Keep reading But I Can’t Feel God by J. D. Greear

sunday morning worshipRyan Shelton:

So when you make it to your pew on Sunday morning, you are encountering God. But in a remarkable way, you are doing so with others. Worshiping God shoulder-to-shoulder is one of the greatest joys of covenant relationship with God.

It might help to think of an analogy. If you host a dinner party and invite a few friends from different social circles, how disappointing would it be if your friends only chose to interact with you? One of the great joys of hosting is connecting people you love to one another.

When we treat corporate worship like it’s our private meeting with God, we not only dishonor our great Host, but we rob ourselves of the joy of sharing our mutual love for the King who has invited us to his banquet. Only we gather not from different social circles, but from every tribe, tongue, people, and family (Revelation 5:9). We honor the host when we say with that famous Assembler King, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).

Don’t neglect the great gift of the covenant. We worship Jesus together.

From Corporate Worship Is Better Than Your Quiet Time

Reformation-Day-NerdsHere’s a few pieces that are appropriate to highlight on this Reformation Day!

Martin Luther’s Definition of Faith by Martin Luther

 How Christians Will Know They Can Join Hands With Rome  by Eric Davis

Reformation Day and the Righteousness of God  by Mike Riccardi

The Perils Facing the Evangelical Church by R. C. Sproul

Is the Reformation Over? by Kevin DeYoung

3 Ways to Honor the Reformers Clint Archer

What Caused the Reformation?  by Nathan Busenitz

415JXR-JSxLHow People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp is free today only, October 31st.  Of this book one reviewer says,

How People Change is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Tripp and Lane believe that the biggest area lacking in Christian counseling today is the gospel. They call this problem the “gospel gap.” Too many Christians see the gospel as affecting their past (forgiveness) and their future (hope), but do not understand the practical ways in which the gospel should be brought to bear on their present choices. How People Change seeks to correct “the gospel gap” by providing biblical teaching and and practical instruction.

The opening chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Tripp and Lane believe that our temptation is to seek fullness and fulfillment in something or someone other than Christ. To counter this idolatry, they encourage us to apply the grace of Christ to the everyday details of our lives, not merely the big problems that we face. The rest of the book spells this theme out more clearly – how to apply grace to everyday life.

Also don’t forget all the free resources available today at Ligonier! Today only, October 31st!

 

 

This is great:

“In celebration of Reformation Day, for the first time ever we’re replacing our usual $5 Friday sale with FreeReformation Day Friday. And we’re beginning early. Until 11:59pm ET on Friday, you can download the following digital resources for free.”

Check out  Free Reformation Day Friday! (Only good through October 31, 11:59 PM)

Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research have just published the results of a survey that measured Americans’ theological knowledge. The aim was to “help to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith.”

David Murray offers some takeaways (both good and bad( from this survey in What’s the State of Theology in America?

Trevin Wax offers a few comments and how they might impact our conversation with friends and neighbors in Here’s Where Your Neighbors Are Theologically

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