Archive for August, 2011

After 73 years of spreading the good news, Evangelical Baptist Missions, is closing its doors on September 2.  A very sad and disappointing ending to a legacy of faithful ministry.  Please pray for all those who have been severely affected by these events.

Read more here.

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“In the church, our view of God is so small instead of huge, so marginal instead of crucial, so vague instead of clear, so impotent instead of all determining, and so uninspiring instead of ravishing that the responsibility to live to the glory of God is a thought without content. The words can come out of our mouths, but ask the average Christian to tell what they know about the glory of this God that they are going to live for, and the answer will not be long.”–John Piper

When you think of the glory of God how deep do you go?

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When you think of being “pure in heart”, what do you think of?  Most of think of moral purity in terms of what we think about.  But is that all pure in heart means?  do we have too narrow of an understanding of what “pure in heart” means?  Matt Perman thinks so. In an excerpt from his brief post he concludes:

“To be “pure in heart” means to be single-minded for the glory of God. It is to have God and his kingdom as your ultimate priority, with no competitors. It is to serve one master, not two. It is to have a single eye, treasuring heaven and Jesus more than anything in this world. It is for your ultimate aim and priority and value in life to be knowing Jesus Christ and, from that, living a life of good works so that he, not you, is glorified (Matthew 5:16).

Clearly, the result of this will be that you are not ruled by lust (5:27-30) — or anger (5:21-26), or undependability (5:33-37), or retaliation (5:38-41), or stinginess (5:42), or lack of grace and generosity (5:43-48), or love of the praise of men (6:1-4), or money (6:24). The entire sermon, in a sense, is an exposition of what it looks like when your heart is pure. And so we see that having a pure heart is not simply a matter of not lusting, but a whole lot more. And, beyond that, we see that all of these qualities of a pure heart stem from the fact that you are single-mindedly devoted to the glory of God.”

Want more explanation?  Read on!

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Tim Challies in a brief interview with WORLD:

“The allure of technology is always that it makes your life better and easier and more comfortable. You embrace technologies that make you feel happy and fulfilled. We look at idols as bad things, but generally what happens is you take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing, and that’s what idolatry is. This iPhone—it gives me such joy, it makes my heart long for it. And yet it can very easily take the place of God in my life.”

Read more here including how technology tends to lock us in a cell!

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Ed Welch makes an analogy between alternative medicine and biblical counseling:

“Alternative medicine can occasionally be very narrow (as if raw carrots could cure most anything) but it usually considers diet, lifestyle and relationships. And, in those larger interests, it is on to something. The Bible teaches us that we are embodied souls, which means that our bodies can affect our souls and vice versa. Bodies can make us depressed, forgetful or disorganized. Our souls, aka our hearts or inner being, can affect our bodies with, yes, stomach aches and depression, along with who knows what else. To put it more clearly, our moral decisions can affect our health. Now, I’m not saying there is a predictable relationship between sin and bodily struggles (e.g., Psalm 73). If there were then you could distinguish the righteous from the unrighteous with a blood pressure cuff. But we can say this—sickness is always a fine time for a spiritual check-up.”

He explains more here.

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He gives habitual grace

“He gives us habitual grace;—a principle of grace, opposed to the principle of lust that is in us by nature. This is the grace that dwells in us, makes its abode with us; which, according to the distinct faculties of our souls wherein it is, or the distinct objects about which it is exercised, receives various appellations, being indeed all but one new principle of life. In the understanding, it is light; in the will, obedience; in the affections, love; in all, faith. So, also, it is differenced in respect of its operations. When it carries out the soul to rest on Christ, it is faith; when to delight in him, it is love; but still one and the same habit of grace.”–John Owen, from Of Communion With Godvolume 2 of Works, page 172

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Paul Tautges:

One of the most common counseling-related questions concerns the place of medicine in the treatment of emotional or psychological problems. And one of the most helpful and thought-provoking books that I’ve read on the subject is Will Medicine Stop the Pain? by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson, M.D. (also available as anE-book).

I’ve not read this book yet but the two authors are trustworthy in their teaching.

Paul shares a few quotes here that may whet your appetite further.

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I love hearing and watching other believers from other cultures and nations pray!  I have been on a couple of continents and in various countries. I am always deeply moved and affected when I listen to my other brothers and sisters cry out to our Father.  The times devoted to intercession are usually more intense, spontaneous, and heartfelt than what I am used at home.

I have never been to Romania but I was blessed by reading about how the fellowships there come together and commune before God.  Trevin Wax shares some valuable lessons he learned about prayer from the church there. Let’s learn from this example and be more intentional in congregational prayer meetings.

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Nathan Busenitz reveals both the identity of and the dramatic death of one of the church’s greatest heretics.  Even if you don’t like church history, I think you will enjoy this brief account. Remember we doomed to repeat history and heresy if we don’t learn from the past.

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Get the glory of Christ before your eyes and keep it there!

What I finally came to as I walked and prayed for you is the old, old story of getting the gospel clear in your own hearts and minds, making it clear to others, and doing it with only one motive — the glory of Christ. Getting the glory of Christ before your eyes and keeping it there is the greatest work of the Spirit that I can imagine. And there is no greater peace, especially in the times of treadmill-like activity, than doing it all for the glory of the Lord Jesus.

Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004), 22.

John Owen:

Let us live in the constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, and virtue will proceed from him to repair all our decays, to renew a right spirit within us, and to cause us to abound in all duties of obedience. . .

It will fix the soul unto that object which is suited to give it delight, complacency, and satisfaction. . . when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and his glory, when the soul thereon cleaves unto him with intense affections, they will cast out, or not give admittance unto, those causes of spiritual weakness and indisposition. . .

And nothing will so much excite and encourage our souls hereunto as a constant view of Christ and his glory.

The Glory of Christ, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, 1850-53, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), I, 460-461, paragraphing mine.

(HT: Desiring God)

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