Browse Worthy: Prayer Helps

Noticed some prayer encouragements these past days being offered from a variety of sources. Here are a few links that may help you to pray with more strength, focus, and quantity.

Weep, Love, and Pray: A Christian Response to Dallas, Castille, and Sterling | David Murray

Though the news cycle can drive these tragedies to the back of our minds too quickly, praying in the manner set before us here helps keep them before us and the Lord in a godly way.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer | Melissa Edgington

Some great tips for mothers who have little uninterrupted time for prayer through the course of their days.

Five Things I Pray I Will Not Do as a Senior Adult in the Church | Thom Ranier

As the hair grays and the bones ache more, one can tend to become more cynical as well. Here are some good prayers to keep this from happening.

R.C. Sproul on the Other Comforter | Nathan Bingham

A short, comforting excerpt from a talk by Dr. Sproul that reminds us we always have strength and power available, which helps us when we pray.

Pray Continually | Titus Martin

One of my pastors preached this encouraging message from the familiar text of I Thessalonians 5:17.

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything […]


When We Say, “I Forgive You”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

What do we mean we say, “I forgive you”? More importantly, do we mean what the Bible means?

When we really dig into Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness, we find that it stretches and challenges us, forcing us into the uncomfortable territory of being more like Jesus. Without further ado, taking our cues from God’s Word and God’s forgiveness, here’s what we should mean when we say “I forgive you”:


Help! My Congregation Struggles With My Preaching

In a previous post I wrote about the real spiritual crisis some people have with regard to their pastor’s preaching. Wanting to be fed, convicted, helped, and encouraged, there are those who week-by-week struggle to benefit from the preaching they receive. Sympathetically, that’s a difficult place to be spiritually. Whether I was successful or not I attempted to redirect people to acknowledge that many of the problems don’t begin at the pulpit but in the pew. In doing so, I said very little with regard to how a pastor should respond. But it is often the case that not all the problems are sitting in the pews. Some of them are standing in the pulpit. That too can be a real dilemma. After all, preaching is the center of a pastor’s ministry and something he should pour himself heart and soul into. When congregants struggle with that preaching it’s not easy to face their concerns–yet it is absolutely necessary.

Allow me, by way of preface, to say two things so you know the direction from which I am coming. First, in my short experience as a preacher–I stood in a pulpit for the first time a little over ten years ago–I’ve […]


Audio Picks

This week’s episode of This American Life features an interesting look into the backroom, candidate vetting process of the Republican party.  Its about wealthy donors and the game of money.
I’ve never heard of Black Hebrew Israelites before.  They’re frighteningly heretical.  James White recently stumbled upon them and has been devoting a bit of attention to the movement.  If you want to see the face of full-throttled eisegesis, listen to this debate on The Dividing Line.  It is scary how blind one can be in their handling of the Scriptures.
In his message God’s Peculiar Glory, John Piper begins by saying, “For the last two years, I have focused in a greater way than ever before in my life on the question of how we know that the Christian Scriptures are completely true, and then, in view of that, how we should read them.”  The rest of the message is his answer to the issue.  That should hook you.

 

 


The Immaturity of Addiction

A person who has practiced addictive behaviors for a good portion of his life once told me an insight he had been given. Though it came from a secular source, this observation rings true. He was told that one of the side effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol is immaturity. In fact, the counselor told the class my friend was attending that at the age you began to use intoxicating substances to get drunk or high in an ongoing way is the basic maturity level you currently have. For instance, if someone began to use drugs heavily at age sixteen and was now twenty-four, such areas as his mental, relational, and work maturity levels would roughly still be that of a teenager. You simply stop maturing very much when you do drugs.

This rule of thumb makes sense under closer observation. When someone begins to abuse substances repeatedly, they are often exchanging responsibility for pleasure. Many addicts enter this lifestyle to escape hard circumstances, trials, or truths about themselves they do not want to face. Consequently, the lessons they would have learned in meeting these situations, dealing with them constructively, and growing in maturity through them are lost opportunities. If you ever wonder […]


Don’t waste your suffering #1

“If you live long enough you will suffer. The only alternative to not suffering is not living long enough”—with those cheering words Don Carson starts an address on suffering. He’s right; suffering is an inevitable part of life, and yet we can be taken aback when it happens, ambushed and left reeling almost as much by the surprise as by the pain.

As a famous rugby player once said, “Get your retaliation in first”!—I want to take a few articles to equip us for when suffering comes. I don’t intend to deal with the questions of why suffering exists and how could God allow it. Suffering does exist, God does allow it, we have to face it.

The real question is “Will it destroy, damage or deepen our faith?” I want to look at how we can inadvertently exacerbate our suffering, how we can be prepared for it, how we can cope better with it and even grow as God intends in it.

In some ways these articles are addressed to people who aren’t suffering yet in order to prepare you to suffer. You need to lay the foundations now for when suffering arrives. You need to take truths and ingrain them into your personality, […]


O Little Nuthatch

O little nuthatch,
From whence comes your name?
Did you look a little crazed
When from the shell you came?

O little nuthatch,
Can you explain this to me?
How does your gray disappear
On the trunk of my oak tree?

O little nuthatch,
Why eat upside down?
Would not swallowing be easier
If you simply turned around?

O little nuthatch,
What is with your song?
Are your really laughing
With those scratchy notes all wrong?

O little nuthatch,
Why do you despise a duet?
Can you really be so fierce
To chase a jay from the suet?

O little nuthatch,
Have you guessed by now?
You bring a smile to me
As to your Maker I bow.


Screaming Life

I’m very happy to highly recommend the “for such a time as this” work and artistry of this sister in Christ.   Pastors and other Christian counselors take note:  If you want an experienced, empathetic, incisive, eye-opening and heart-enriching understanding of the broken, aimless hearts abounding in our culture, read Lacey Sturm’s The Reason   It’s quietly iconoclastic in tearing down the shallow cultural assessments and pseudo-spiritual advice offered up by pop-Christianity’s baptized agnosticism, which glorifies brokenness and uncertainty (so long as they’re experienced in community) as the marks of authentic, honest faith.  And its heartfelt substance fleshes out answers so often left as stillborn theological theory by writing efforts which rightly promote truth and our ability to know it with certainty, but which present it dry and cold to the reader, giving the unintended impression that God has nothing full of life to say to generations reared on the belief that he’s dead.      


Expectant Prayer for the Nations

Do our prayers really matter in missions and the spread of the gospel around the globe? Is it worth leading our children to pray for specific nations of the world?

Recently, God impressed upon me the amazing era in which we live. The good news of Jesus Christ is rapidly spreading around the world.

Today, even I get to see with my own eyes the work of God in people from India, Arabia, China, and Africa – even if it is just a token of what is happening globally. My great-grandparents could only have dreamed of so many people from these lands joining us for worship as a church and sitting around our dining room table. I confess that as a child I did not expect this as I should have.

What has led to such progress? Jesus has also ordained that social, economic, and technological forces would align to propel the advance of the gospel in our day. Faithful gospel preachers have gone out over the years sowing with tears. And people have prayed for generations, and God has graciously answered.

In my growing up experience, our parents taught us to pray for the world. We prayed for specific countries from our little farm in Indiana. […]


C.S. Lewis on the Crux of the Problem

“How did the Dark Power [Satan] go wrong? Here, no doubt, we ask a question to which human beings cannot give an answer with any certainty. A reasonable (and traditional) guess, based on our own experiences of going wrong, can, however, be offered. The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting Yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. (The story in the Book of Genesis rather suggests that some corruption in our sexual nature followed the fall and was its result, not its cause.)