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Archive for February 14th, 2013

Nicole imagines a conversation that goes like this:

“I feel like such a failure. I’m a horrible mom and a terrible wife. I’m exhausted, depressed, and overwhelmed.”

Then she turns to you and asks:

Sound like a mom you know? How would you counsel this woman? What gospel-centered words would you give her? Maybe you are that mom. As your soul’s counselor, how do you apply the gospel?

I’d encourage ladies to read “Gospel-Centered Counsel for Moms” and learn how to”discern the specific gospel-truth that applies to a particular discouraged mom in her unique situation.”

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Here’s part of Sinclair Ferguson’s answer

In a nutshell, abiding in Christ means allowing His Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles! Then, of course, as Christ’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we will begin to pray in a way consistent with the will of God and discover the truth of our Lord’s often misapplied promise: “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7b).

Read his full, four-part answer to “What Does It Mean to Abide in Christ”--and brothers and sisters, let us abide in Christ today!

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No doubt you have been asked or at least hoped you wouldn’t be asked some questions like:

How could God command Joshua and the Israelites to kill all the Canaanites when they entered the Promised Land?  Justin Taylor answers the question: “How Could God Command Genocide in the OT” and so does Greg Koukl in his monthly article “The Canaanites: Genocide or Judgment”

And what about that story where God sends bears out to maul 42 youth who are mocking Elisha by calling him “baldheaded”?  Pastor Roy Summers answers that question here.

 

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Paul points out 12 qualities of gospel-driven and Christ-honoring communication.  How are you doing in your home, church, or work?

  1. New-life communication is true (v. 25). See also Proverbs 4:2412:17192214:525.
  2. New-life communication is self-controlled and solution-oriented (vv. 26-27). See also Proverbs 14:29;19:1126:2024-26; and James 1:19-20.
  3. New-life communication is healthy and health-giving (v. 29). See also Proverbs 15:426 and James 3:1-10.
  4. New-life communication is edifying to others (v. 29). See also Proverbs 10:21 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
  5. New-life communication is time-sensitive (v. 29). See also Proverbs 15:23 and Colossians 4:6.
  6. New-life communication is grace-dispensing (v. 29). See also Proverbs 12:18 and Colossians 4:6.
  7. New-life communication is not fueled by anger or bitterness (v. 31). See also Psalm 64:2-3Proverbs 29:2230:33.
  8. New-life communication is not loud and obnoxious [clamorous] (v. 31). See also Proverbs 15:125:15.
  9. New-life communication is not abusive (v. 31). See also Proverbs 18:2112:616:27; and 1 Corinthians 5:11(“reviler” = verbal abuser).
  10. New-life communication is kind (v. 32). See also Proverbs 3:319:22.
  11. New-life communication is wise and compassionate (v. 32). See also Proverbs 10:3116:21Colossians 3:12.
  12. New-life communication extends forgiveness (v. 32). See also Colossians 3:13 and Matthew 18:21-35.

From 12 Qualities of New Life Communication.

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Jonathan Parnell:

In rural America, off a country road, on the soft soil of a weathered field, stands a sobering message for every passer-by: Go to church or the devil will get you!

The words are neatly strewn across a homemade billboard adorned with flood lights and a painted silhouette of a red figure, apparently Satan, holding a sling-blade. Go to church, the warning hisses, or be his victim.

As hokey as it sounds, the warning is right, you know, at least in a sense.

Now to be clear, if the sign means (and it likely does) that you’d better attend a weekly meeting or else Lucifer will eat your lunch, then no, that’s not right. That would be Anglo folk religion — more akin to African animism than anything Christian.

But, more positively, if “go to church” means be part of a gospel-shaped community, and “the devil will get you!” means you’re more susceptible to his schemes apart from such community, then the sign is absolutely right. By all means, if this meaning is the case, go to church or the devil will get you. Here’s why: first, Satan is real and he hates you; second, God designs that Christians persevere in faith by means of one another.

I preached about this recently from 1 Peter 5:8-10 which reminds us to be alert and watchful for our prowling adversary the devil. Though we must do so individually we must do this in biblical community as well.  Parnell goes on to explain:

God has designed our warfare to include one another. We can’t wield the shield of faith alone. We need brothers and sisters to come alongside us to hold up our arms. More specifically, we need brothers and sisters to speak faith-building words to our souls.

After the warning of temptation, Hebrews 3:12 says “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

You see, the household of God is a talking family. We say things to each other, powerful things to each other about the truth of God and the victory of Christ. We exhort one another — be it encouragement, warning, or counsel — and the Holy Spirit breathes upon what is otherwise babbling to effect real devil-defying faith in our lives. This kind of speaking is a glorious staple of gospel-shaped community. And Satan wants you to have no part in it.

Satan wants us isolated from one another. He wants to find us all alone in the thunderstorm of our own thoughts, when we’re stuck in the sounds of our sinful souls. It is the oldest trick in the book, that he’d catch us when we’re perusing the tree by ourselves (2 Corinthians 11:3). We’ve too often repeated that scene of Genesis 3. But then imagine God’s truth crashing into the picture. Imagine that happening today as we gather together.

This is biblical wisdom that we must follow.  Read all of “Watch Out or the Devil’s Gonna Get You.”

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