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Archive for February 15th, 2013

Many faithful, well-known gospel preachers have received death threats at some point in their ministries.  John Piper is one of them and he talks about such a time here.  But as he talks about it he remind us such threats are not the only, nor the normal, time that we need courage. We need it in the daily friction of every day gospel ministry.

Go here and watch Piper talk about the need for courage, now more than ever, as our society becomes more and more post-Christian.

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A CNN iReport titled “Why I Raise My Children Without God” has been making some waves, so I thought I’d choose a portion of it for this week’s challenge. We’ve already covered some of the objections in the article about evil (most of the objections in the article come down to the problem of evil) and prayer, so I went with the one on morality: 

God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good: A child should make moral choices for the right reasons. Telling him that he must behave because God is watching means that his morality will be externally focused rather than internally structured. It’s like telling a child to behave or Santa won’t bring presents. When we take God out of the picture, we place responsibility of doing the right thing onto the shoulders of our children. No, they won’t go to heaven or rule their own planets when they die, but they can sleep better at night. They will make their family proud. They will feel better about who they are. They will be decent people.

Does an “internally focused” morality create better people than one that’s enforced by God? What do you think?  Here’s one  video response.

Stand to Reason

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Yes, the same Ben Carson who recently delivered a message at the National Prayer Breakfast.  In this 10-minute interview with David Boze, he explains why he rejects Darwinian evolution.

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John Newton (author of “Amazing Grace”) wrote these words which displays how the Lord afflicts us to comfort us in the end:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

 

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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Gal. 6:2

Pastor Scotty Smith’s prayer based on this passage:

Dear Lord Jesus, the call to shoulder up under the burdens of friends and family drives us to you today. Otherwise we would simply turn and walk away, just like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). There are seasons when the needs around us seem to far exceed the resources within us. Where else can we go but to you?

Lord Jesus, it’s only because you bore the burden of the law’s demands and judgment for us; only because you say to us, “Cast all your care upon me, for I care for you” (1 Pet. 5:7); only because you call to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) that we can continue to show up and shoulder the many burdens of others.

Grant us grace not to be afraid of the emotional messiness that certain burdens bring. Help us know how to rely on your presence more than we rely on mere words. Help us to understand our limits, but even more so, help us be very aware of your limitless mercy, grace, power, and peace.

We pray for friends who are struggling in their marriages—feeling hopeless, angry and spent. Bring the power of your resurrection to bear. Humble one, then the second spouse. We pray for families with children who are acting out in destructive ways—bring these kids to gospel sanity, and grant their parents wisdom, forbearance and strength. We pray for friends facing great medical challenges with diminishing health care resources—grant your healing grace, and we ask you to sovereignly move within the health care industry. It is just as broken as our bodies are.

We pray for our churches—restore your people to the joy of your free and glorious grace. Pour our your Spirit upon our churches, and redemptively disrupt us. Forgive us for making too much of the wrong things. Rekindle the passion of first-love relationship with you in the hearts of pastors, elders and deacons. Do beyond all we could ask or imagine in our church families, Lord Jesus.

We bring all of these friends to your throne of grace, and we will seek to fulfill “the law of Christ”—the law of love, the way of the gospel—as you give us strength, wisdom, and grace. So very Amen we pray, in your persistent and sufficient name.

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