Archive for February, 2014

In the tradition of the Screwtape Letters,  Scargoyle instructs Moldwhistle about the easiest time to tempt families.  Read it this Saturday night!

“Our research has identified Sunday morning as the most successful time to attack the family. Church is a dangerous place. While we can’t keep all families from church, we can offset the detrimental effects of corporate worship by fostering conflict and self-righteousness among family members.

Perhaps you will see what I mean if I describe a recent Sunday sabotage carried out by Malwick, one of your new colleagues.”

Read Scargoyle Attacks the Family.

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Joel Beeke has a short (3 minutes) video on the Puritan practice of godly meditation.

In it he explains how the Puritans incorporated regular, systematic meditation each day.

Also he talks about their practice of occasional meditation throughout the day.

Finally, he lists the top four topics their pastors urged them to meditate about.

Click here.

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Two gems from Andre Seu

Christians who continue to uphold the Bible’s teachings on, say, homosexuality as a sin and marriage as the lifelong covenant of one man and one woman are the new ignoramuses of the religious world. Rather than being called “fundies,” which is a term out of vogue in the 21st century, they are called “haters,” or “bigots.”

“I personally believe that most people would rather be thought immoral than stupid.”

How true.

What do you most fear being called?  Read Fear of being labeled a ‘fundie’

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More articles that you can read but it’s worth picking out a few to look over and ponder!  Don’t go to sleep on this issue!

Click over to SSM round-up  over at the Cripplegate.

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Jen Thorn has a post that Christian wives can quickly read, easily understand, and instantly implement.

“As a wife we get to see the life of our husband in a way that no one else does. We hold great power in showing love, encouragement and praying very specifically for our husbands. Things that will not only build up our husbands but also strengthen our marriages and build up our homes.

On the other hand we also hold great power for destruction. Our words and tone can destroy fellowship and motivation, and our criticism takes away peace and creates resentment. Because we are close to our husbands it is easy to share our thoughts without discerning first if these words will build up or tear down.

God has given us two ears, but one tongue, to show that we should be swift to hear, but slow to speak. God has set a double fence before the tongue, the teeth and the lips, to teach us to be wary that we offend not with our tongue.
Thomas Watson

Here are 3 ways to speak into the life to our husbands. . . ” It’s all here

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America is declining spiritually and morally (and in other ways as well)! We are in a tailspin and a downward, deadly spiral in our culture.  But if you know your history, this has happened before.

Jesse Johnson asks and then answers the question: “Has there ever been another culture that has slide this far this fast?”  He answers “Yes and yes!!!” I commend to you  Jesse’s three posts on book called “Judges” in the OT–a book that explains the rapid decline of the nation of Israel and God’s deliverance.

Judges is an important book to be familiar with. It may not show us how to live, but it shows us what kind of God we live for. Ours is not the only generation to do what is right in our own eyes, and Judges has a way for bringing clarity to that noxious notion that trying to be a good person is somehow a good thing.

Here’s the three part series an a brief quote or synopsis from each

Judges for US:  Judges is an important book to be familiar with. It may not show us how to live, but it shows us what kind of God we live for. Ours is not the only generation to do what is right in our own eyes, and Judges has a way for bringing clarity to that noxious notion that trying to be a good person is somehow a good thing.

Judges Judging US: Compromise corrupts and a little compromise corrupts absolutely. Danger is internal, judgment is external.  “the danger for the church is always compromise being allowed on the inside. We are not responsible for what happens in the world, but we are responsible for what happens in our heart and in our flocks. That is where defeat and danger are seen. We should lament the culture’s run into sin, but also understand that the real battlefield is not the culture war, but the war for the purity of our hearts, our homes, and our churches–culminating in evangelism.”

The mirage of moral intuition:  “Like Israel, our culture too has slaughtered its weakest, enslaved its strongest, and exploited the most vulnerable. And in a sure sign of our collective depravity, we live in a culture that actually thinks “doing what is right in your own eyes” is a virtue.”

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I didn’t realize that Elisabeth Elliot is still alive.  I didn’t realize her first two husbands died (everyone knows about her first one, of course). And I didn’t realize that she married a man who was a former tenant of hers  and who still cares for her as she suffers from dementia.  It’s all here in Walking through fire.

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Ed Welch gives a bit of surprising answer to a common question.

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Rosaria Butterfield has an article worth your time.  She shares her life before and after Christ and she challenges us regarding modern day heresies regarding homosexuality and the prosperity gospel.  I still want to read her book–especially if her writing in it is as good as in this article.  

Worldview matters. And if we don’t reach back before the 19th century, back to the Bible itself, the Westminster divines, and the Puritans, we will limp along, defeated. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of flesh and the mind to understand and love the Lord and his Word. But without good reading practices even this redeemed heart grows flabby, weak, shaky, and ill. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can lose everything else.

Enter John Owen. Thomas Watson. Richard Baxter. Thomas Brooks. Jeremiah Burroughs. William Gurnall. The Puritans. They didn’t live in a world more pure than ours, but they helped create one that valued biblical literacy. Owen’s work on indwelling sin is the most liberating balm to someone who feels owned by sexual sin. You are what (and how) you read. J. C. Ryle said it takes the whole Bible to make a whole Christian. Why does sin lurk in the minds of believers as a law, demanding to be obeyed? How do we have victory if sin’s tentacles go so deep, if Satan knows our names and addresses? We stand on the ordinary means of grace: Scripture reading, prayer, worship, and the sacraments. We embrace the covenant of church membership for real accountability and community, knowing that left to our own devices we’ll either be led astray or become a danger to those we love most. We read our Bibles daily and in great chunks. We surround ourselves with a great cloud of witnesses who don’t fall prey to the same worldview snares we and our post-19th century cohorts do.

In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time? We create Christian communities that are safe places to struggle because we know sin is also “lurking at [our] door.” God tells us that sin’s “desire is for you, but you shall have mastery over it” (Gen. 4:7). Sin isn’t a matter of knowing better, it isn’t (only) a series of bad choices—and if it were, we wouldn’t need a Savior, just need a new app on our iPhone.

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The Bible

Tim Challies writes, “There is far less enthusiasm for Son of God than there was for The Passion of the Christ. I expect the reason is largely attributable to the old phrase, “once bitten, twice shy.” There’s a feeling of deja vu about this film. Still, I see marketers applying pressure and I see some churches buying in. In the end Tim urges:

“As you consider this new film, remember that we have been here before. Remember that there are a lot of people hoping to make a lot of money from this film. Remember that God promises to bless the preaching of his Word, not the display of that Word on the silver screen. Don’t expect a movie to do the Word’s work. Read  “Writing Checks to Mel Gibson.”

Tim also has an interesting article that contrasts crucifixion and the cross:

Let’s distinguish between two related terms: crucifixion and cross. I will allow David Wells to describe the difference: “The former was a particularly barbaric way of carrying out an execution, and it was the method of execution that Jesus endured. The latter, as the New Testament speaks of it, has to do with the mysterious exchange that took place in Christ’s death, an exchange of our sin for his righteousness.” According to this definition, many were crucified, but only One went to the cross.

Here is what I want to think about: A film cannot adequately capture the reality of what transpired between the Father and the Son while the Son hung upon the cross. If this is true, a film that displays the crucifixion but misses the cross might actually prove a hindrance rather than a help to the Christian faith. Even the best movie will still be hampered by a grave weakness.

Words and pictures are very different media, and in the history of redemption, God has used both. For example, in the Old Testament God used words to record prophecies about the coming Messiah while in the tabernacle he provided pictures of the coming Messiah and what he would accomplish—an altar for sacrifice, a lamb to be slaughtered, incense rising to God. Words can tell truth while pictures can display truth

When it comes to the cross, God has given us four written eyewitness accounts but no visual accounts. Why is this? The Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know, though, is that every medium has limitations. While visual media are excellent at conveying feelings, they are poorly suited to conveying ideas. Words are able to tell what happened at the cross in a way that pictures cannot.

Tim is concerned that “those who see the film without being told the rest of the story may actually understand less about the person and work of Christ than if they had never seen it at all.”  I’d encourage you to read Tim’s thoughtful musings at Son of God Will Show Crucifixion, Not the Cross

You might also be interested in Andy Naselli’s 3 reasons I don’t enthusiastically recommend that. (in reference to the Son of God movie based on the the Bible mini-series.)

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