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Archive for July 12th, 2012

Tim Challies answers the question, “How do you decide if a book is good and worthy of recommendation or not?”

He asks six questions:

  1. Does it draw its truth from Scripture?
  2. Is it faithful to the Bible?
  3. Does it have a Gospel focus?
  4. Does it lead to other sound teaching?
  5. Is it well-written?
  6. Does it advance a discussion?

He provides a few examples to illustrate his points. Read “Questions to ask of a book.”

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J.C. Ryle urges us to declare war on our besetting sins.

There are particular besetting sins, of which each separate Christian can alone furnish an account; every single person has some weak point, each person has a thin, weak spot in their wall of defense against the devil, each person has a traitor in their camp ready to open the gates to Satan, and they who are wise will never rest until they have discovered where this weak point is. This is that special sin which you are exhorted to watch against, to overcome, to cast forth, to spare no means in bringing it into subjection—that it may not entangle you in your race towards Zion. One person is beset with lust, another with a love of drinking, another with evil temper, another with malice, another with covetousness, another with worldly-mindedness, another with idleness—but each of us has got about them some besetting infirmity, which is able to hinder them far more than others, and with which they must keep an unceasing warfare—or else they will never so run as to obtain the prize.~ J.C. Ryle, The Christian Race

John Piper shares some of his proven weapons for fighting against sin and fighting for holiness.

He also writes, “When I begin to crave some illicit sexual pleasure, the sword-swing that has often severed the root of this promised pleasure is: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). I recall the pleasures I have tasted of seeing God more clearly from an undefiled conscience; and I recall the brevity and superficiality and oppressive aftertaste of sin’s pleasures, and with that, God has killed the conquering power of sin.” (HT: JH)

And finally Ed Welch reminds us that all this battling will hurt sometimes. An excerpt:

Doesn’t it seem good and right to fight against sin in such a way that it physically hurts? To say “no” when everything inside us wants to say “yes”?

And the last time that happened was . . .

Sin takes different forms such as pride, unbelief and lust. It is lust in particular— reckless desire, covetousness, I WANT!—that hurts when taken to task.

Desires that exceed God’s boundaries exist in every human heart. There is always an I WANT! that stalks us. Sex, gluttony, addictions are common ones. Look for anger and you’ll find it. Search your imagination—I WANT is there.

Now imagine saying “no” to these desires in such a way that you would feel something close to actual pain. It hurts but it’s also good. But let’s not stop there.

Keep reading the rest of  “Fighting Sin Hurts.”

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There are probably some men who will want to pass this on their wives. And probably a few wives that will gain some wisdom from this post from the Christian Pundit:

Can you see any of the following scenarios happening in your home?

– After several years of marriage, your husband asks what date your birthday is.
– Instead of bringing your daughter and her friends to ballet class, your husband automatically drives them to his office.
– Your husband volunteers to change the baby, and you discover later that he forgot to put on a clean diaper on after he took off the wet one.
– You husband comes running into the room where you are, panicking that he has forgotten to ________. You explain that you took care of it weeks ago.

If you experience these sorts of situations on a fairly regular basis, then congratulations! You are married to an absent minded husband.

When I was younger, I remember listening in amazed delight at the stories of my absent minded grandfather. My grandmother seemed to take it all in stride, and often laughed about the turn that life could take with an absent minded husband. Other pastor’s wives had similar stories, and as kids we called absent mindedness “minsters’ disease”. It seemed quaintly cute that gifted men who excelled in their calling could not remember that dinner was at 6:00. Then I married my own wonderful, absent minded husband.

How was this supposed to work? How was I supposed to react to situations that were frustrating and, from my perspective, easily avoided? How could someone so smart and upright forget to pay the rent? Over the years, I’ve talked with different women married to absent minded men, and there are some things that are helpful to remember and think over when you are confronted once again by a wonderful, intelligent man who doesn’t seem to be living in the here and now.

Keep on reading. . . .

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Death-defying missions!

Oh, I want to live like this. Lord, help me by your grace to do so:

“Let us be finished and done with puny theology that results in paltry approaches to missions in our churches.

Let us believe deeply in the sovereign God of the universe who holds the destiny of the world (and our lives) in the palm of his hand.

Let us see the hopeless state of man before God apart from Christ, and let us lead our churches to pray, to give, and to go to unreached peoples with the greatest news in all the world.

We have been saved by a graciously, globally, gloriously particular sacrifice, so let us lead our churches and let us give our lives—let’s lose them, if necessary—for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom and the accomplishment of Christ’s commission.

And let’s not stop until the slaughtered Lamb of God and sovereign Lord of all receives the full reward of his sufferings.”

–David Platt’s conclusion to his message “The Sovereignty of God: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions” at Together for the Gospel 2012.

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“A toddler can’t possibly love her mother the way she should or appreciate all the ways her mother loves her and cares for her. Yet when that child says, “Mommy I love you” that child’s imperfect love brings joy to her mom.

Most of us know we’re pretty poor servants of Jesus. We often muddle and stumble along as best we can, like little kids who make a bigger mess trying to help than if the parents had just done it themselves. (How many times has Jesus had to clean up after me). Yet somehow even our feeble, flawed love for him brings a smile to his face.

I’m so grateful Christ bled on the cross for all the imperfections of my bungling love and halting, feeble affection. And grateful that even my match-flame of desire delights him, because he’s the one who lit that fire in my heart, no matter how small it seems.

And I’m grateful Jesus will keep fanning that flame. He’s poured his Spirit in me, who stirs the coals and blows on the flame morning by morning.

Here’s my hope – I don’t love Jesus as much as I should, but I will. Increasingly. For all eternity.

Jesus, give us more love for you!”

–Mark Altrogge in “Hope for Feeble Lovers of Jesus”

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Some verses I shared this past Sunday that reflect the sweetness and preciousness of God’s Word to the life of every Christian. Let these verses beckon to God’s Word this day!

“I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” (Job 23:12)

“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)

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7–11)

“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:16)

“Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24)

“Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” (Psalm 119:35)

“I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” (Psalm 119:47–48)

“The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Psalm 119:72)

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (Psalm 119:92)

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

“Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111)

“I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.” (Psalm 119:113)

“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.” (Psalm 119:127)

“Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love.” (Psalm 119:159)

“My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.” (Psalm 119:167)

“I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.” (Psalm 119:174)

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16)

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