Archive for April 18th, 2013

Marshall Segal:

Lord, our hearts are weak with grief, despair, and anger. Now, and with every atrocity, we will ask a thousand questions and wonder how you could possibly be at work in these evils. Strengthen our hearts according to your promises. Give us patience to wait upon your final act of justice, when everything will be made right. In that day, we will watch as you make terror the victim, a story never to appear on another front page.

At the darkest moments of our lives, we can have strength and hope in you because at the darkest moment in history you guaranteed the end of the violence and perversion that fills our news now. As we ask how you could allow nails to take an 8-year-old boy’s life, remind us that you looked on in infinite love for us as nails pierced your precious Son. It was at his cross that you defeated the devil’s hold on this world, ransoming your children from our own wickedness and promising the eradication of all evil. All injustice will be punished, either in Jesus’s wounds or by his sword.

You walked with your Son to Calvary’s hill. You stood beside the bloody table in West Philadelphia. You watched the fatal finish line in Boston. And your love and justice will prevail in every place.

You will destroy every evil until there is none — none in us and none in this world.

Read the whole prayer here

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Through tonight at 11:59PM, Ligonier Ministries is making Steve Lawson’s recent book The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther available for free.

Here’s the blurb:

To mark this significant day in Reformation history, until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight we are offering the eBook edition of Dr. Steven Lawson’s newly released book, The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther, for free.

There are two eBook formats available—the ePub version for devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Nook, and the MOBI version for Kindle devices:

Click here to download!

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Phil Johnson offers biblical wisdom about how Christians should think and act biblically in the political arena.  An excerpt:

One of the greatest dangers of the political activism of the so-called “religious right” is this: It fosters a tendency to make enemies out of people who are supposed to be our mission-field, even while we’re forming political alliances with Pharisees and false teachers.

To hear some Christians today talk, you might think that rampant sins like homosexuality and abortion in America could be solved by legislation. A hundred years ago, the pet issue was prohibition, and mainstream evangelicalism embraced the notion that outlawing liquor would solve the problem of drunkenness forever in America. It was a waste of time and energy, and it was an unhealthy diversion for evangelicals and fundamentalists during an era when the truth was under siege within the church. Lobbying for laws to change the behavior of worldly people was the last project evangelicals needed to make their prime mission in the early 20th century. Just like today. Remember Galatians 2:21: “If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” And Galatians 3:21: “If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”

We have the true and only answer to sins like homosexuality, divorce, drug addiction, and other forms of rampant immorality. It’s the glorious liberty of salvation in Christ. It’s a message about the grace of God, which has accomplishes what no law could ever do. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation—Good News that truly changes hearts—and we need to proclaim that message. Politically-driven hostility against our neighbors is not the best way to let the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine unto them.

We’re like lighthouse keepers in a dark and stormy world. We’ve been given a mission of rescue and mercy. We can’t be like James and John, who in a moment of weakness and immaturity wanted to call down fire from heaven to annihilate some unbelievers who took an opposing stance…

If you don’t have a sense of deep compassion and heartfelt benevolence toward sinners, you’re not letting your light shine. If you, as a redeemed sinner, look on other sinners with no feeling but disgust, that’s nothing but pride. That was the very sin of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11, who “stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” And Jesus said that attitude is what kept him from being justified in God’s eyes. Jesus, by contrast, “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”
That’s the perspective it takes to be a true light in this world.

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With all the attention this issue is getting, how important it will be for the church to speak with Scriptural authority.  Rick Philips responded to a call against doing this in his post “Bill O’Reilly, Gay Marriage, and the Bible.”  He then responded further with “Follow-up to Bill O’Reilly, Gay Marriage, and the Bible.”

Also see Andree Sue Peterson’s experience of being “At the Gosnell Trial” and witnessing the unbelievable testimony of one of the teenage mother workers at the clinic.

HT: Barry York

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Burned-out Bob

Winston Smith’s helpful booklet, Burned Out? Trust God with Your ‘To-Do’ List begins with a story about “Bob” who did not deal with burnout very well.  The booklet gives five mistakes that Bob (and people like us) make and how Winston would counsel us:

  1. Rest. “There is one very important reason to slow down and rest. God commands it.” The Sabbath principle is rooted in the creation order. “God’s people are to observe this rest in imitation of [God].”
  2. Stop living like a functional atheist. After spending twelve pages explaining the importance of rest, Smith applies it to ‘Bob’ this way: “Bob’s fear and anxiety revealed that in many ways he was a functional atheist… Even when Bob was conscious of God, he lived as if God were just another task-master, one more person who piled up responsibilities and measured his performance.”
  3. Live for others, not yourself. “As Bob looked at what was driving him, it became clear that much of what he did was based on what others thought and felt about him. Most of Bob’s decisions were based on a set of unspoken concerns.”
  4. Get your security from God, not others. “Bob’s sense of inadequacy and fear drove him to take on too much responsibility. As hard as he worked, it was never enough to give him a sense of adequacy or to have any confidence in the affirmation he got at work…Bob lived out of a sense of shame and inadequacy that had dogged him his entire life.”
  5. Trust in Jesus to be your adequacy. Our approval comes from God, through Christ, not our performance. “God wants us to find our rest in him, not in our proud efforts.” Smith then asks this important, penetrating question: “Do you understand why it is important to have a Savior who is sitting? Like his Father in Genesis 1, Jesus sits because his labor for us is perfect and complete. In other words, ‘It was very good.’ Because Jesus rests, you can rest.” I need to speak this to myself regularly.

Winston Smith wraps up his helpful booklet with 5 practical ways to build proper rest into our lives. I will just list them. Get the booklet and read it yourself!  (HT: Paul)

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The golden key


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Prayer is. . .

“Prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we declare our miseries, whose support and help we implore and desire in our adversities, and whom we laud and praise for our benefits received.”

– John Knox, Treatise on Prayer

“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God.”

– John Bunyan, A Discourse Touching Prayer

“Prayer is a venting of our desires to God…”

– Richard Sibbes, Divine Contemplations, 163

“Prayer is the solemn and religious offering up of devout acknowledgments and desires to God, or a sincere representation of holy affections, with a design to give unto God the glory due unto his Name thereby, and to obtain from him promised favours, and both through the Mediator.”

– Matthew Henry, A Method for Prayer

“Prayer is the breath of the new creature.”

– Richard Baxter, Practical Works, Vol 1

HT: Joe Thorn

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