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Archive for November, 2010

Marriage: who needs it?

“Marriage?  Who needs it? That’s the attitude of about 4 out of 10 Americans these days.  Over the last forty years, we have come to believe that one doesn’t need marriage for physical intimacy, for having children, or for social acceptance and success.  Our culture tells us you can have all that and more and not ever get married.  Apparently many are believing the lie.

Here is a summary of the survey showing that marriage doesn’t matter anymore.   Al Mohler contributes an excellent essay on this trend and comments on the TIME cover story.

We are obviously swimming upstream against the current on this one.  Beside this growing trend toward “who needs marriage anymore” is the obvious factors and temptations that destroy marriages that exist.  May God grant usmarriages that reflect Christ and His church be strengthened in this day of decay.

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Singer is scary

Peter Singer, well-known abortion advocate, responds to a question regarding when a child should be granted “moral status” in society? His answer is around 2 years old.  Frightening ramifications for those who support infanticide.

“My understanding is that it is not until after the first birthday, so somewhere between the first and second, I think, that they typically recognize the  image in the mirror as themselves…Really, I think this is a gradual matter. If you are not talking about public policy or the law, but you are talking about when you really have the same moral status, I think that does develop gradually. There are various things that you could say that are sufficient to give some moral status after a few months, maybe six months or something like that, and you get perhaps to full moral status, really, only after two years.”

Read more here.

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The enemy within

Let it be a settled resolution with us to “keep our hearts with all diligence,” all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.) Even after renewal they are weak. Even after putting on the new man they are deceitful. Let us never forget that our chief danger is from within. The world and the devil combined, cannot do us so much harm as our own hearts will, if we do not watch and pray. Happy is he who remembers daily the words of Solomon, “One who trusts in himself is a fool.” (Prov. 28:26.)

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 178, 179. [jcryle quotes]

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The devil’s sage advice to his apprentice in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters:

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of what I call ‘Christianity And.’ You know–Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform…Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing. The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart–an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, an inconstancy in friendship. (quoted by Michael Horton inAlways Reformed: Essays in Honor of Robert Godfrey)

(HT: Kevin DeYoung)

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“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

“Lord, increase our faith!”

Amen!

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My outside reading has been sporadic lately? How about you?

Do you make time to read? How can you read a bit more or get started?  How should you read?

Here are some tips from a guy who reads a lot but encourages us who have less time to devote to this discipline:

Tip 1: Capturing Reading Time
Tip 2: Read with a Pen in Hand
Tip 3: Read With Purpose in Mind

Also, here is a helpful post by Tim Challies: Random Thoughts on Reading.

HT: What’s Best Next?

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That’s amazing!

Yesterday I preached from Mark 6:1-6, a passage that deals with Jesus’ second and last sermon to the residents at Nazareth. At the end of the passage Jesus marvels at their unbelief.  Whereas Jesus was amazed at the incredible faith of the Gentile Roman centurion, here is amazed at the unbelief of the people that knew him for some thirty years, thought they had him all figured out, and rejected Him.

There are some other amazing things that should produce amazement in our lives including:

  • How gracious God is in giving us repeated opportunities to forsake our sin and trust Christ as Savior and Lord
  • How humbly Jesus lived on this earth
  • How insufficient are powerful evidences alone to bring one to saving faith
  • How easy it is not to devalue familiar things
  • How very sinful and dangerous unbelief can be in our lives

You can read or listen to this sermon here.

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A primer on the Spirit

The theology class that meets at our church each week has recently completed the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Here’s helpful chart here on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit that Terry produced. This one-page PDF provides a brief but excellent summary.

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Some interesting thoughts about having a faithful presence where you live–not just everywhere else as you do everything else.

First post presents the problem of consciousness fragmentation and the second some solutions to it.

James Davidson Hunter presents the issue:

The very nature of modern life is its fragmentation and segmentation into multiple constellations of experience, knowledge, and relationships with each constellation grounded in a specific social and institutional realm of a person’s life. Under such conditions, we experience a fragmentation of consciousness—what someone has recently called, “continous partial attention.” This fragmentation is often reinforced by a world of hyperkinetic activity marked by unrelenting interruption and distraction. On the one hand, such conditions foster a technical mastery that prizes speed and agility, and facility with multiple tasks—for example, using e-mail, I-M, the cell phone, the iPod, all the while eating lunch, holding a conversation, or listening to a lecture. But on the other hand, these very same conditions undermine our capacity for silence, depth of thinking, and focused attention. In other words, the context of contemporary life, by its very nature, cultivates a kind of absence in the experience of “being elsewhere.” Faithful presence resists such conditions and the frame of mind it cultivates. (To Change the World, 252)

This does have an impact on our Christian living.  Read and think with me on this one.

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Here’s a great prayer to think through as we all begin another week–a prayer that teaches a right theology of God’s will:

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.Proverbs 16:9

Sovereign Father, this promise brings me immeasurable peace, humility, and joy. You’re vitally engaged in determining and directing every one of our steps. You’re working all things together after the counsel of your will. You’re working in all things for your glory and for our good. You open doors no man can shut and you shut doors no man can open. Indeed, you’re no mere life coach, you’re the Lord of all things… including me.

Many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed hard enough and long enough… that if I was really filled with and “tuned” into the Holy Spirit, I could know the specifics of your will for my life… well in advance of any decision that needed to be made. Of course, my assumption was that if I was in your will, life would be enjoyable, pleasant and hassle-free.

If I bought the right car, it would never break down…If I bought the right house, the roof would never leak… If I married the right person, we would never disagree… If I went to the right college I’d get the right job and life would be all-right... If I sent my kids to the right school, they would never act out and would end up on the mission field. If all of this was true, I wouldn’t really need you.

Father, you’re certainly honored when we work hard to make good plans, in keeping with our understanding of the Scriptures. It’s important for us to seek and heed, wise prayerful counsel of good and godly friends. But help us to live with more confidence that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, not a consulting partner… a very present Lord, not an absentee landlord… the reigning King, not an impotent bystander. Because of Jesus, I’m confident your will is being done… on earth as it is in heaven.

Free us to accept that many times your will leads to great suffering and pain. It’s called the cross. But the cross and resurrection go together. Hallelujah! What a most glorious and gracious Father you are. So very Amen, we pray, in Jesus’ exalted and very present name.

–Scotty Smith

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