From the Word
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Psalm 98:1-3)
“Harmony is next to godliness.” (Johann Sebastian Bach)
“If ever there were a time there was nothing, there would be nothing now.” (R. C. Sproul)
“Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they please.” (Pythagoras)
“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” (Martin Luther King)
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” (Vincent van Gogh)
Around the Net
“Most American Christians have an addiction, and we all know it. The addiction is social media. You don’t think you do? Here’s a test. When you’re out with friends at a restaurant, is your phone usually out on the table, face up? When you’re with friends for the evening, do you check your phone in their presence? When you use the restroom, do you check your phone? Do you find yourself checking your phone in worship services, or as soon as you get out? Still think you don’t have an addiction? Are these activities a sin? Actually, they could be.”
“Strategies abound for dealing with sin. There are mountains of books to help us develop habits to stop lying, beat various addictions, control our thoughts, grow in generosity, or develop contentedness. . . . What we need to recognize, however, is that all these books and verses, and any other helpful tools, are just that—tools. They are not a cure. You will not suddenly cease to be tempted by porn just because you read Every Man’s Battle. You can memorize every verse in the Bible about financial responsibility and still be addicted to gambling. And those struggling with homosexuality cannot just ‘pray the gay away.’”
“Many issues were involved in the Reformation, but the core matter, the material issue of the Reformation, was the gospel, especially the doctrine of justification. There was no great disagreement . . . about the objective side. All the parties agreed that Jesus was divine, the Son of God and of the Virgin Mary, and that He lived a life of perfect obedience, died on the cross in an atoning death, and was raised from the grave. The battle was over the second part of the gospel, the subjective side, the question of how the benefits of Christ are applied to the believer.”
“It happens. A friend and/or church member has stated a belief that you’re fairly certain is incorrect biblically. You sense a need to state another position—the position you believe is biblically accurate. Here are some thoughts to consider as you prepare to address such an issue.” An article like this might be all the more important as we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. As noted above, differences remain between Catholics and Protestants, and pride has a way of injecting itself into discussions about theological matters—turning them into highly nuanced arguments that are major turnoffs to unbelievers who can’t understand why Christians aren’t kinder to each other and more unified .
“Too often, we approach mental illness from a purely spiritual point of view, interpreting all mental health problems as simply spiritual in nature. Too many churches, and their leaders, are tempted to dismiss psychiatry and neurological discoveries as purely secular, or even anti-Christian. It’s hard to make a case for that way of thinking when brilliant and committed Christian professionals like Stanford share what they know, through the lens of what we all believe.” This article is a short review of Matthew Stanford’s revised and expanded book, Troubled Minds.
Something to Ponder
Holy and Just
“On the one hand, God is holy and just and cannot tolerate or live with or bless evil. On the other hand, God is loving and faithful and cannot tolerate the loss of people he has committed himself to. This is a tremendous, seemingly irresolvable tension in the narrative—and also in the whole Bible. This tension is what should keep us in suspense throughout Judges. Will God finally give up on his people (but then what of his faithfulness)? Or will he finally give in to his people (but then what of his holiness)?
“It is only on the cross that we can understand how God is able to resolve the tension. On the cross, our sin was given—imputed—to him, so that his righteousness could be imputed to us. On the cross, ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Cor 5:21). On the cross, God poured out his wrath on his people in the person of his Son. He satisfied both justice, because sin was punished, and loving faithfulness, since he is now able to accept and forgive us.
“Only through the cross can God be both ‘just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus’ (Rom 3:26). This is the only way the tension of Judges can be resolved; the only way that God can love us both conditionally and unconditionally.
– Tim Keller
The Glory of Creation
Image Credit: Fiorella Marino
Into All the World
“You are a flawed vessel. But that does not mean that you are a useless vessel.” (Dan Thurmer)