If you, like me, need to learn more about what covenant theology is, here are a couple of good articles.
I’ll just post this for the long weekend to give you any reading material you might want.
I pray that anyone reading this will have a nice Thanksgiving, for those who celebrate it. For those with no family or who are going through afflictions in any way, I pray that God’s grace will be sufficient for you. Let’s remember that not everybody is happy and shiny during holidays.
Pitting Holiness Against Holiness – we are made holy; we are to be holy
Let us have a great esteem of the Lord’s prayer; let it be the model and pattern of all our prayers. There is a double benefit arising from framing our petitions suitably to this prayer. Hereby error in prayers is prevented. It is not easy to write wrong after this copy; we cannot easily err when we have our pattern before us. Hereby mercies requested are obtained; for the apostle assures us that God will hear us when we pray ‘according to his will.’ I John V 14. And sure we pray according to his will when we pray according to the pattern he has set us. So much for the introduction to the Lord’s prayer, ‘After this manner pray ye.’
“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer, 2.
Union with Christ (eBooks) | Monergism – I will be reading the ones by Watson and Horton – I found that a good way to convert a web page to ePub is to save it in a word processor as an HTML document, then use Calibre to convert it to ePub
Why Christians Should Listen to Mike Rowe on (Not) 'Following Your Passion' | Acton PowerBlog – goes along with ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’, ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’
Lumina – new Bible.org Bible study app
I don’t know if I’ve ever written ‘must read’ other than I feel that the book Knowing God is a must read for every Christian, especially those somewhat new (advanced beginner?), as far as I’m concerned.
I found a blog post titled Bible Ignorance at Reformation21 Blog to be one of the best posts I’ve ever read. It’s aimed largely at ministers and students of theology. I’m not pointing it out for ministers; I think this applies to any student of theology, which is all of us.
You can just stop reading here and go there if you’d like.
A few years ago I made a commitment to make sure I read the Bible every single day.* What’s being said in this article makes that seem like nothing, not that I’m minimizing the importance of it. It’s nothing new; nothing we probably haven’t read before, but it really hit me this time. Matthew Henry says to pray using the language of the Bible. D.A. Carson urges us to imitate Paul in our praying. Comparing my worldly prayers to Paul’s really changed how and what I pray for. This can’t happen without knowing the Bible.
Scripture is so deep and multi-faceted, not just because of what’s written, but because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to more and more of it the more we read and understand it (Ephesians 1:17, Hebrews 4:12). If we’re born again and the Holy Spirit resides in us, we should be glad to spend time in Scripture. If we don’t feel that way, we can pray for God to enable us, and he will do that for us–this being his will for us (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:9-11), as we strive to spend more time (Matthew 21:22, Psalm 37:4, 1 John 5:14, Philippians 2:12b).
I often think about how much time I spend reading the Bible versus how much time I spend reading books and articles. It’s difficult to know how to balance it because the books all help to know God better through better understanding of Scripture.
*If I should forget a day for some strange reason, which I’ve done a few times in the past, God is in no way displeased with me and I don’t feel guilty–just a little silly to forget something so important. I don’t read twice as much the next day to make up for it, unless I’m on a reading plan. This doesn’t happen anymore. Just thought I’d point that out so that it doesn’t sound like a legalistic or works oriented thing.
It Was a ‘God Thing’ (Really?) « The Reformed Reader – Michael Horton’s book is on my wish list
Why We Don't Allow Comments – Reformation21 Blog – If you read it, be sure to make it through to the part about retired people. I allow comments on my blog because almost all of them are helpful and edifying, and because of the fact that I hardly get any comments, I don’t really have to spend time moderating.
A smaller list than usual:
Covenant by Michael Horton | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org – a short and very educational article
3 Tips from C.S. Lewis on Blogging and Tweeting | Nathan W. Bingham – I especially need to pay attention to #2
5 Things Jonathan Edwards Teaches Us about the Christian Life | Crossway – not what you might think
• Koinonia: Michael Horton's Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines, Part 1 [Infographic]
• Koinonia: [Part 2] Infographic – Michael Horton's Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines
Stopping Suicide an Info Graphic – a repeat
Heidelberg Catechism | Scripture Zealot blog – 119 through the end is a very brief primer of the Lord’s prayer and what it entails, for any of you that might be helped by it
'Bibliotheca' Bible Project Blows Up On Kickstarter With Chapterless Bible – The Bible as Jesus read it
The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another – Feeding on Christ – Buzzwords–transparency and vulnerability
7 Different Ways to Read a Book | Challies Dot Com – some of these could apply to Bible reading (and some definitely not!)
Was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan? – Reformation21 Blog – this is also educational on who the Puritans were
22 Facts About Sleep That Will Surprise You (Infographic) — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic – not exactly on topic, and this one has made the rounds, but I know that me and at least one other reader are interested in this – I’ve read about #12 a few times now
Intimate Friendships Among Christians-Housewife Theologian – a counter to the “When Harry Met Sally” syndrome
Gordon Fee: How Should We Read the Bible? | Grace Communion International – One of my favorite videos by any Christian
The History of Madness – “John Locke notes that there is a degree of madness in almost everyone. Madness is the inability to let reason sort out mad ideas.” I’ve always believed somewhat similarly. Jesus was the only perfectly sane person. He dealt with things during the last few days before the cross in a perfectly sane way.
This post is so good, I almost put it on its own page. I was going to write some things about it, but my own frustrations might creep in. I’ll just let you read it if you’re interested.
Modern Reformation – Faith and Mental Illness by Michael S. Horton
6 Motives to Study The Least Popular Book In The Bible | HeadHeartHand Blog – If you meander through the Bible like I often do, and are deciding what to read, give the least popular book of the Bible a try, with these helps to give you perspective.
All The Prayers Of The Bible (PDF File)
What is an evangelical? – “Until very recently…”
The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014 – Barna Group “More than half of Americans (56%) are ‘pro-Bible’—meaning they believe the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors.” — Ironically, many Christians believe there are errors. I’m pleasantly surprised by the 56%.
Free yellow flower photo:
Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot
This is a long one, so I’ll make it even longer. Many people post these lists every or every-other day. I used to read a lot more blogs and tried to post some noteworthy things before anyone else did. Nowadays, I collect them as I go, and when I have enough, I’ll put up a post. Some of them aren’t anything recent, but just something I came across that I like and think would be helpful and within the subject matter that I usually write about. The J. C. Ryle link would be an example of that, although many of these are a day or two old.
I have more of my own commentary on some of these today. Please only read the ones you’re interested in and don’t spend too much time reading everything.
Baker Book House Church Connection | Coming Soon – “Ordinary” by Michael Horton
A response to “radical” and “crazy” stuff, if you know what I mean. I want to get his current book on Calvin too.
Let's Stop Forgiving Those Who Don't Want Forgiveness | HeadHeartHand Blog
I once read John Stott say that we should only forgive those who ask for forgiveness, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. At first I was kind of taken aback, because the Bible so often talks about how we are to forgive others. But it made more sense over time. I’m not beyond the point of being open to other opinions, but I think this article explains that position very well. Like the writer of the article, I’m also rather annoyed when a group of people publicly forgives a mass murderer soon after they did something horrible, when they don’t have anything to do with what happened, and there was no forgiveness asked for.
Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed | Desiring God
This is unique and not full of unrealistically positive ideals. I had an experience in the hospital that was the worst time in my life and I can relate to things that are said.
9 Lessons God Teaches Us Concerning Sickness by J. C. Ryle | Monergism
As for #3, I can assure you he’s not referring to reincarnation.
2014 National Conference — Questions and Answers | Ligonier Ministries Blog
I love question and answer sessions by a panel (paneling?). Reformed Alert
Words for the Anxious Soul | Mere Orthodoxy
One of the best shorter treatments of this subject that I’ve seen.
It’s been a week since I blogged. Sometimes I’m full of it and sometimes I’m empty. I have a trio of productivity links today.
Memorizing God’s Word: Colossians – I’m contemplating this. I’ve never memorized more than a half of a chapter in the NT, so this would be quite a challenge at this point. Since I plan on studying Colossians for some time, it might be beneficial.
The Gentle Temeraire – Reformation21 Blog – J.I. Packer still has it
Baker Book House Church Connection | Don’t Be Afraid to Pray Like Paul – A Note on Ephesians 1:17 – A long time ago I compared my prayers to Paul’s and noticed quite a difference. For some, this can completely transform their praying. Also see Complete List of Paul's Prayers on this here blog.
Evangelical Housekeeping – Reformation21 Blog – What a mess and a struggle.
Academic theology runs the risk of becoming a detached intellectual exercise, while pastoral ministry may lapse into an endless list of tasks without the needed times of reflection which are necessary to rightly frame one’s ministry. But the best pastors and theologians throughout the history of the Church have consistently rejected pitting these two against one another, instead seeing that theology and life are inseparable. To put it another way, if we detach our theology from our ethics, our dogmatics become lifeless and our ethics become groundless. Owen serves as a wonderful example of someone who always pushes us to avoid such a false dichotomy.
Our sense of the blessings of God is grounded not just in what we have been saved to but also in what we have been saved from. So our appreciation of the blessings in Christ are in large measure proportionate to our sense of the curse from which he has delivered us. The joy of sins forgiven will be commensurate with our grief at sins committed. Our delight in peace with God will hinge in large part on our sense that we have been at enmity with him. We will most appreciate being called sons of God when we recognise that we were by nature children of wrath. It is because our flesh and heart fail that there is sweetest relief in an unfailing God as the rock of our hearts and our portion forever.
500px / Creation – I searched for Creation at 500px and it brought up some very interesting photos and illustrations
Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages – new to me – sort of like having e-Sword online
Stand to Reason | Never Read a Bible Verse – Gordon Fee said the worst thing to happen to the Bible is adding verse numbers
How To Write Well: 10 Essential Self-Editing Tips | Write to Done – one of the best posts I’ve seen on writing
Christians Get Depressed Too Films | HeadHeartHand Blog – her story shows how people often feel about depression until they experience it themselves
Both of these videos are very short.
My friend Louis posted Michael Bird on the Importance of Studying Theology on the Baker Book House Church Connection blog. I really like the video. I was annoyed that he inappropriately used the word schizophrenic at the end, but that’s of little consequence and bordering on being too PC. If you aren’t familiar with Michael Bird, he’s a very funny, and more importantly very intelligent theologian.
I found one I like even better by Timothy Keller:
What he talks about is one of the reasons I started this blog and my quest to understand right theology, which the About page kind of explains. I think that being a heretic, as Keller says, is much worse than being “schizophrenic”. He says, “Everything we do is theological; everything is based in implicit or explicit theology.” And later, “Theology and doctrine are absolutely crucial.”
I’ve seen evangelicals turn up their noses at ‘theology’. Theology isn’t ivory tower scholars making up new terms we can’t understand. It just means knowledge of God. So as many have said, we’re all theologians to one degree or another, whether it’s as a mere Christian or a theologian (or maybe scholar) who writes books on whether or not transubstantiation is legitimate. When we know and experience theology, we know and experience God, become more like him, love him more and enjoy him more. Who wouldn’t want that?
Two problems I see are:
Both are easily remedied. And along with the teachers that God has gifted to help us learn more about Scripture, we also have the best teacher–the Holy Spirit, living within us.
I haven’t been reading as much lately as I’d like to. I’m always the worse for it.