RSS feed for this section

Archive | Christian Living

Always Looking; Never Wanting to Find

Here’s something I’ve noticed: It’s cool to search for God, but uncool to find him. People talk about wanting to find spiritual reality and deeper meaning, about wanting to get in touch with God. The idea of looking for him sounds good—the search, the journey—but the reality of actually finding him is too much.

Here’s how it plays out: a person recognises that there is something missing in their life, or some issue that needs to be resolved. They may have tried many other avenues or none at all, but now they throw themselves at God. And they start to find out about God, and all goes well for a time. The information is interesting—but then comes a crashing realisation: God isn’t simply interested in getting my problems; He wants me!

At that point, they turn tail and run, run as hard as they’re worth—all the while proclaiming that they are searching for God. What they want isn’t God, but a magic genie, an Aladdin’s lamp to rub in a crisis, who will genially disappear when he isn’t needed. Or a sense of connectedness to something greater which bigs up our own sense of self-importance without ever challenging us with our smallness and wrongness.

It’s […]

Browse Worthy: David Powlison on the Sexually Broken

The Crossway blog site recently published a series of four articles highlighting truths found in David Powlison’s new book Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken. Powlison, the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, writes with a biblical directness, captivating illustrations, and compassionate tone on this subject. Just the title of the articles, as seen below, will draw you into the subject, and the content is very helpful and hopeful. After reading them, my wife and I decided to purchase a few copies of the book so we can read it to help us minister to others and to even give to others.

You may want to do the same after reading them yourself.

An Open Letter to Those Debilitated by Their Sexual Sin
Sanctification Is a Direction
Is Sexual Renewal a Simple or Complex Process?
An Open Letter to Those Nonchalant about Their Sexual Sin

 

Kindred Spirits

Anyone familiar with Anne of Green Gables will immediately think of Anne’s search for true friendship when they hear the term “kindred spirits.” This poor orphan finally finding heart companions in such persons as Diana, Matthew, Marilla, and ultimately Gilbert is what makes the story so touching and tender. She viewed a kindred spirit as one who saw things and cared for life in the same manner that she did.

Interestingly, this term is found in the NASB version in Philippians 2:20. Paul says of Timothy, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” This phrase is a translation of the Greek word ἰσόψυχοs, which combines the word equal (“iso” like in the word isoceles triangle) with the word for soul. So the term is defined to mean “like-minded, equal in soul, same hearted.” The increasingly popular ESV does not quite do justice to the word when it has Paul saying “I have no one like him.” The NKJV and KJV get closer when they use the more literal “I have no one like-minded.” Not to be sentimental, but a brief study would show, I believe, that Paul would have been happy with us thinking of him and […]

3GT Episode 49: Taking His Name in Vain

What does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? Our inquiring parishioner wants to know!  

The 3GTers tackle another commandment, this time the third one. Why is God’s name so important to him? Are euphemistic forms of his name wrong? How is our behavior as Christians tied to the name of God? How should this command affect our prayers?

Tune in for another vigorous discussion on 3GT to hear answers to these and other questions!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/3gt-episode-49.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

The Devil’s Glasses

No, this post is not about looking at the eclipse.

Rather, someone once illustrated temptation in this way. When you are being tempted, the devil sets on your nose a pair of false glasses. These glasses make the sin look so small that you view engaging in it as trivial.

How does Satan fool us with lies so that we believe that committing sin will be inconsequential? Here are five of the common ways he distorts our spiritual vision with his lies during temptation.

He focuses our attention on the immediate pleasure rather than the pain of sin. A juicy worm floating in the water looks tasty to a fish, but when it bites and the hook is set the pain makes it thrash. In the same way, thinking of the nice things one can buy with stolen money or the fun to be had with another’s wife can make sin look so pleasurable. But the inevitable pain that will follow of spending time in jail for theft or facing the vengeance of a jealous husband is not considered.

He makes us look myopically at sin as a merely private matter. Many a person thinks that sins such as viewing pornography, bowing before a household idol, […]

Discovering God’s Love Together

In Ephesians 3.18 Paul prays that God would give his readers the strength they need to comprehend something of the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ, but he tucks a little phrase into the prayer that we can so easily skate over: ‘with all the saints’. We comprehend the love of Christ with all the saints. In other words, it’s just not possible to understand the love of Christ in isolation. Paul is not asking that the Ephesians would have thrilling individual revelations of the love of Christ as they each sit on top of a mountain or in their own home. He is praying that together, collectively, they will grow in their appreciation and experience of the love of God. It’s not far away from what he says in the next chapter, in verse 16, when he speaks of the body building itself up in love.

There is a corporateness, a togetherness, about New Testament Christianity that is lacking in so many Western churches. We are so focused on our own personal time with God and what he is saying to me and how he is blessing me that we lose this important emphasis: ‘with all the saints’.

Part of […]

Easy Lies to Believe

A few days ago, our Sunday school lesson was centered on the first chapter of the Westminster Confession and its emphasis on the necessity of Scripture. In discussing how wonderfully God provided for our need to be certain about Him and about salvation, we also spoke about how often we feel certain but we shouldn’t. Along those lines, I’d like to take a stab at naming and disarming several lies often spoken to us through social media, especially in understanding the world around us. In naming these lies, I’m not necessarily advocating giving up on #facetagramsnaptweeting, but encouraging us to wise, careful and limited use.

Browse Worthy: The Slippery Slope

Some helpful articles have appeared recently discussing how ministers, churches, and denominations can start the downhill slide down into theological liberalism that destroys evangelical faith, personal holiness, and ecclesiastical integrity. The following posts are helpful mind-sharpeners on this issue.

The Slippery Slope and the Jesus Box | Richard Philips

Dr. Philips tracks a former PCA minister’s (and the congregation he pastors) long descent into endorsing homosexuality and denying Christ’s penal substitution. He points to the first steps down this slope, which he identifies as compromising Biblical authority and accepting women’s ordination.

The Slippery Slope: An Iron Law of Theological Declension? | William Evans

In response to Philips, Dr. Evans questions whether these are truly the first steps and wonders if starting the slide down the slippery slope is not more complicated. He raises the question of whether the competing authority of the culture with Christ and how the Bible is being interpreted are where slides begin.

Double Black Diamonds: Navigating the Slopes | Jay Harvey

In another article interacting with this subject on Reformation21, two particular types of slippery slopes, that of hermeneutical fallacy and the other of fear, are described.

Avoiding Logical Fallacies in Theology | Justin Taylor

In this archived article, Justin Taylor reminds us of how a slippery slope argument […]

Reading God’s Handwriting

I made a comment recently that we should be readers of three books in particular: the book of Scripture, the book of Creation, and the book of Providence.

This was off the back of a holiday which took us across the States and into Canada—so enabling us to enjoy some of the glories of God’s creation, whether it was the mountains around Seattle, the islands off Vancouver, the sheer might of Niagara Falls, or the beauty of sunsets. We saw God’s artistry in a new way. Added to that were many experiences of God’s providence as we travelled—from misplacing tickets and missing a train (which ended up saving us money!) to a stranger offering to carry a suitcase down four flights of stairs (which enabled us to catch a bus to the airport to make a flight) to many, many more—which filled us with a sense of our heavenly Father’s care.

So in preaching I said we should be good students of these three books, and in particular we should note down God’s providences so that we can see the regular care of our Father for us, and learn to marvel at his kindnesses. This way we train ourselves to see his […]

Motherly Grief

The following piece is the sad companion to one I wrote a number of years ago entitled “Fatherly Grief“.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lying next to me, I know that
Her restlessness comes most
Acutely
In the middle of the night.
The pillow beneath her head and her body move
Gently in rhythm with the quiet
Sobs
And questioning supplications.

Augustine eventually said,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is
Restless
Until it finds its rest in thee.”
Did Monica then pray beforehand,
“Thou hast made him through me, O Lord, and my heart will be
Restless
Until he finds his rest in thee”?

I witnessed the awe of birth, and its ending;
The cutting of the binding cord that gave
Life,
When mother’s blood was child’s own.
But, no matter the number of yearly remembrances,
An unseen tie still remains, wishing
Life
For the child needing another birth.

O, what awful pain some mothers endure when
They stand by a child’s grave! The unnatural
Reversal
Bringing unbearable grief, unimaginable grief.
Do promise and time truly help? Does knowing a child is
Living though dead help dull the ache, ever
Reverse
Unending waves of sorrow and loss?

The book of wisdom speaks of a similar
Grief other mothers must bear; of a child living yet
Dead,
Not caring that earthly pleasure brings endless pain elsewhere.
This maternal distress does not diminish, each passing day
Sending […]