It’s Just One Of Those Days

Summit of Mount Tam

Although I’ve had an idea for a blog post simmering on the back burner for a few weeks, various considerations convince me to hold off a little longer before writing it. This understanding that I should wait a while is terribly inconvenient at the moment because I can’t think of anything else to write.

Daily blogging has its disadvantages.

As I’ve said several times, days like today make me miss my old blog, which was all about me. Most of the time, I ended up writing about the Lord, but Continue reading

Don’t Expect Me To Be Ashamed

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A friend of mine asked a question on Facebook, largely directing it to his friends who, like him, reject the authority of Scripture. I read through several responses, most of which revealed varying degrees of animosity toward what they call “traditional Christianity.”

I thought about the question for  24 hours. That’s probably a good rule of thumb for engaging on social media anyway, and I would most likely do well to implement that rule a lot more frequently than I do. Anyway, as I mulled  it over, I realized that the best answer to the question was to ask what the Bible says about the matter.

That’s always the best response.

Predictably, someone immediately challenged my comment by saying that the Bible is difficult to define, and therefore an unreliable source. I sensed from his tone that he wanted to shame me for Continue reading

Unforgiveness Hurts Others More Than It Hurts You

Forgiveness ButterfiesSomewhere in the 1960s, when evangelicals became enamored with psychology, teachings on forgiveness started emphasizing the benefits of forgiveness on the person doing the forgiving. If they had left the discussion at Matthew 6:14-15, that would have been fine.

To their shame, they didn’t leave it there. No, they elaborated that when someone refuses to forgive those who hurt her, she imprisons herself in bitterness. Therefore, they reason, she Continue reading

All Three Of The One We Praise

Can you think about the Triune God without trying to figure out how He can be one and yet three? You should, you know.

Of course the Trinity should fill you with wonder every time you think of God as three Persons in one Being. But rather than trying to reduce the Trinity to neat metaphors that make you feel able to understand the hows and whys of  it all, have you ever simply responded with worship?

This Lord’s Day, why not praise Father, Son and Spirit without analyzing Their unity? Remember that all three of the One we praise deserve honor and glory — each for His unique work.

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Saturday Sampler: November 24 — November 30

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Where do hymns come from? We all know the story of John Newton and Amazing Grace, but other hymns also have stories. Elizabeth Prata of The End Time narrates one Story Behind the Song: When the Roll is Called Up Yonder as an encouragement to us.

Don’t miss Ryan Higginbottom’s Keep the Whole Book in Mind in Knowable Word. I’ve been reading Romans with a greater awareness of its overall context, and I’m learning quite a lot. Higginbottom’s advice might revitalize your Bible reading too.

Each year during the holidays, Leslie A takes a break from writing about ways we can grow in Christ. During the weeks leading up to Christmas she devotes Growing 4 Life to five installments of an original short story. The Christmas Ornaments (Part 1) kicks off this year’s story, and I’m already eager for Part 2! If you’ve never read Leslie’s fiction, treat yourself this year.

J.T. Wynn, writing for Stand to Reason, asks Why Are Pro-Choicers Bothered by Images of Aborted Clumps of Cells? Although the answer is implicit in the title, I believe reading Wynn’s insights will strengthen your convictions on  behalf of unborn children.

HT to Erin Benziger for showing me R.C. Sproul’s essay on John Calvin’s Legacy on the Crossway blog. Having once believed the false caricatures of Calvin, I appreciate Sproul’s accurate representation of “The Theologian,” and I strongly encourage you to read about this man who did so much to restore Biblical thought to the Church. Calvin’s teaching is sorely needed in today’s evangelical church!

Meditating on the Lord’s Prayer, Jason Vaughn of Parking Space 23 reminds us that Go and Reconcile is a command, not a suggestion.With all the anger both in churches and online, we desperately need to obey the Lord by forgiving each other.

Yes, I know I’ve already featured one post by Leslie A, but Will You Join Me? demands attention. Not only does Leslie unveil her 2020 Bible Reading Challenge  (which I may or may not do, depending on how I decide to structure my teaching on Colossians), but it celebrates the Bible’s power. Whether we participate in her  challenge or use our own  reading plans, her article clarifies the necessity of immersing ourselves in God’s Word. Please, if you can read only one item from this week’s Sampler, pick this one!

I’ve read Amy Medina’s carefully documented criticisms of Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes before in her blog, everyone needs a little Grace in their lives. Amy and her husband serve as missionaries in Tanzania, giving her  a perspective on this charitable enterprise that most Americans don’t have. OCC Shoeboxes: Answering the Arguments highlights some of the main problems with this particular outreach of Samaritans Purse.

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Flashback Friday: Displaying The Pearl

Originally posted November 24, 2015:

All humans love the idea that we have something inherent in ourselves that pleases God. We firmly believe we bring something to the salvation table. In dealing with the presumption that we can contribute to our salvation, I’d like you to think of Jesus as a perfect Pearl. (I love pearls.) That image, of course, should remain limited to the analogy I present here–I don’t mean to start a new teaching about Jesus being a Pearl! But consider, for this moment, how your life would best show off His beauty. What about you best displays Him?

Perhaps you might immediately think of your good deeds. You’ve given to charitable causes, worked in Christian ministry, raised relatively well-behaved kids, driven elderly neighbors to doctor appointments, sent Christmas cards every year, all while maintaining good health habits to show everyone that you know your body is the temple of the Lord. Your organization and efficiency dazzles everybody. How much you do for Him.

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but you compete with Him for attention.

Or maybe He’s given you talents, such as a good singing voice or the ability to paint beautiful landscapes. Your blog has over 500 followers, most of whom gush endlessly over your knack for “turning a phrase.” Your signature cherry pie is always requested at church potlucks, or people flock to the women’s Bible Study you lead because your sense of humor is legendary. How creative you are for Him!

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but you compete with Him for attention.

Ah, but it’s possible that your piety impresses Him. You were a virgin until your wedding night, and would never flirt with anyone but your husband. You have filters on your computer, you refuse to be alone (even in an elevator) with a member of the opposite sex, and you don’t buy underwear at Victoria’s Secret. Furthermore, you avoid products that exploit workers in Third World sweat-shops, you never drink so much as a glass of wine, and you would  never dream of jay-walking…even in downtown Boston. How moral you are for Him!

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but He barely shows up against your image of purity. Consequently, His glory becomes almost indistinguishable from your own. Once again, you compete with Him for attention.

Actually, I see my own attention-grabbing attitudes in all three of these pictures. Hopefully, you see yourself as well. If we choose these backdrops of self-righteousness, we may convince ourselves that we best display the Pearl, but the reality demonstrates otherwise. As long as we claim anything good about ourselves, we minimize the Lord’s role as Savior.

Jesus is a Pearl, not because our “goodness” displays Him, but because He turns our wickedness into a backdrop for His mercy, grace and love.

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Never Underestimate Michelle Lesley — A Thanksgiving Testimony

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It’s Thanksgiving Day and I definitely feel thankful! When I posted my need for Personal Care Attendant help during Christmas week on Facebook, I hoped it might help. Usually it generates prayers, but seldom practical offers. Still, I always appreciate prayer.

The Facebook post, to my surprise, bore a little fruit right away. A friend immediately offered Monday and Friday if needed. Someone else might also be available that Friday, which would be great. Okay, two days down. Thank You Lord!

Yesterday afternoon we received a call from Continue reading