Archive for the 'Other Blog' Category

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Some of you may remember the translation discussions we used to have on blogs. Here are a couple of great posts by our friend Esteban:
Mondays with Moisés: Learning Greek and Translating Greek | Bouncing into Graceland

The Book of the People (of God): A Friendly Rejoinder | Bouncing into Graceland

I do not endorse this site, but I do like some of the points in this article.
Christians are far too Easily Distracted from Things that Really Matter

Guest Post: Mental Illness, Prayer, and Extravagant Grace » Amy Simpson

Confused about eschatology (the end times)?
The End of the World As We Know It: An Infographic – Tim Challies

Around the Web

Top athletes share their battles with mental illness | HeadHeartHand Blog

Anxiety Resources | HeadHeartHand Blog

The Suffering of the Saints | Monergism – 100s of free biblical/theological resources on Suffering

Lost in Translation: How Christianese Hides the Gospel | Desiring God

One More Time on ‘Game of Thrones’ | TGC

Books For Which I Am Thankful – Reformation21 Blog – I’ve read a few on this list. It doesn’t seem to me that Knowing God is as well known as it should be known. I recently read it for the third time. The first time was about twenty-five years ago. (When I was 8. Not really.)

Knowing God

Around the Web

Your Deadliest Weapon Against the Devil: Eight Reasons to Memorize Scripture | Desiring God

Why all the Superlatives? – Reformation21 Blog – The post is awesome!!! I may expand on this in another post.

The Upward Call – The Gift of Anxiety

Anxiety has taught me a lot about compassion. It has taught me that mental illness is not as black and white as we think. And it taught me that the church has a long way to go toward understanding it and helping its sufferers through it. There is a lot of misunderstanding about it. When a woman struggles with impatience, pride, or selfishness, we want to help. We know it takes time. But when it’s anxiety, it’s as if we think handing out a verse and reminding her that anxiety is a sin will be an automatic cure. It isn’t.

How to Be a Miserable Comforter | Counseling One Another

8 Ways to Help Depressed Christians – Discover

Many Christians are adopting this method of highlighting in their Bible:
CIA Realizes It's Been Using Black Highlighters All These Years – The Onion

Around the Web – Bible Reading Edition

Unlock the Riches of Scripture | Desiring God

When I read a sentence, what I want to know is What did the author intend by it? not What new ideas do I have when I read it?

He promotes active reading by asking questions (he has eight), which is exactly what I’ve been learning when it comes to improving reading comprehension.

Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year! – jtcochran.com

If your driving motive to read the Bible is to get it done in a year, rather than to meet with the living God and become entranced by his glory, then you will burn out, right around now in fact: January 15th.

I think this is a good post. I also think it’s good to read the Bible in large quantities, like the ‘ten bookmarks‘ method he sarcastically alluded to. (I’m not offended by the remark.) I like to switch it up every 9 to 18 months, and often do more than one type of reading or studying at once.

On the other hand, a post about reading through the Bible:
A Spreading Goodness » Bible Read Throughs

20 Reading Tips | HeadHeartHand Blog – for regular books

5. Double-up: Research has shown that our understanding and recall starts diminishing after about 30 minutes of reading a book. But science has also shown that if we change to another book after 30 minutes, it seems to refresh and refuel our minds and we return to higher levels of comprehension. Many experienced readers read two or more books at a time.

I’ve been doing this and it’s been working very well.

Andy Naselli recites Romans from memory:

Romans from Bethlehem Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Photo of a Bible

Around the Web

A Creative Way to Unlock More of the Bible – Faith Spilling Over – explains some of the things I like to do that I’ve found helpful–using various translations, looking up a definition of English words, sentence flow (or Phrasing Scripture)–although she does more drawing, which looks interesting.

7 Surprising Facts About the LGBT Community – Millennial Evangelical

3. 4.3% of American adults identify as LGBT.

4. About 33% of Americans believe the LGBT population is higher than 25%.

I post this in part because it seems that much of the media would have us believe that there are much more people in this group than there really are. Not that they should be forgotten or unloved.

Why We Need the Puritans | Monergism – This is an excellent, but long (for a blog post) excerpt from a book by J.I. Packer. If you don’t want to read all of it but are interested in what it says, the first page will suffice. The whole thing is worth it, though.

How do I get the same passion as the Psalmists?

One of the things that is absolutely astounding to me is when I see professing Christians trying to create a division between God and his Word. That is, to attempt to disconnect what he says from who he is. To treat the Bible as a barrier for knowing and loving the Lord.

But this is something I don’t see the writers of Scripture even attempt to do.

8 Months Off Social Media, 8 Observations – RECOVERING WOMANHOOD – I don’t identify with every one of the 8 Observations, but I especially identify with number 5.

Clare De Graaf – Most Christians are Violating the 1st Commandment

Here’s a video introduction to Mark Jones’s new book God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God.

Around the Web plus Update

The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most | Desiring God

The Most Sympathetic Man in the World | HeadHeartHand Blog

No Reason to Complain (Brooks) « The Reformed Reader

Responding to Christianese: Since God is Love He would Never Violate our Free Will | Monergism

Personal Update:
Things have been rather difficult lately with medication changes, general life fatigue, and a little over a week ago I had surgery to replace my lumbar pain pump (just routine). I would like to at least get back to blogging as much as I was, but ultimately more than that. I can’t make any commitments on that though. A good thing is that I’ve been reading more and would like to post more quotes, with some reflections. But that leaves me with less time and energy to blog. So we’ll see how it goes. Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far.

Around the Web

Should Christians Use Satire? – Amy Mantravadi
i.e. Babylon Bee, one of my favorites

4 Frameworks for Fighting Fear

Do You Exercise for the Wrong Reasons? | Desiring God

No, ‘Saul the Persecutor’ Did Not Become ‘Paul the Apostle’ – A misconception I had too

Speed Reading – Signal v. Noise

and while you’re there, this is relevant for those of us who hate it when people are wrong on the internet:

Give it five minutes – Signal v. Noise

There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea.

I would add:
3. Making false assumptions–something I’m working on.

Around the Web

Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of Profanity – Reformation21 Blog – Yes! – Even if you disagree, the last four points are the at the center of it.

The Coasting Christian – The Wardrobe Door

Anxiety: My Thorn in My Flesh – A Daughter of the Reformation

Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want, it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. It takes great faith to say to God, “Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore my relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good.”

–Nancy Guthrie (Hearing Jesus Speak Into your Sorrow [a good book I read])
from:
When God ordains thorns for me… | A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

New Books of Interest:
REFLECT: Becoming Yourself by Mirroring the Greatest Person in History by Thaddeus J. Williams

The Uniqueness of the Psalms by W. Robert Godfrey

The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News at the Heart of Paul's Teachings by John F. MacArthur

Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth by John MacArthur, Richard Mayhue

Discounted Kindle Books:
Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name by Bryan Chapell – $1.99 (I read it twice. This is often on sale if you miss it.)

The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word by R. C. Sproul – $1.59

Prices as of this writing are subject to change.

Around the Web

A Whole Bible & a Whole Christian – Tim Challies

Today the majority of those who read this site will be heading to church to hear a pastor preach the Word of God. A while back I jotted down several quotes about the Bible and thought I’d share them today.

God’s Wrath, God’s Love, and the Cross (Carson) « The Reformed Reader

Both God’s love and God’s wrath are ratcheted up in the move from the old covenant to the new, from the Old Testament to the New. These themes barrel along through redemptive history, unresolved, until they come to a resounding climax – in the cross.

Do you wish to see God’s love? Look at the cross.

Do you wish to see God’s wrath? Look at the cross.

–D.A. Carson

In Defense of Praying for Aunt Sally's Big Toe – Reformation21 Blog

Prayer: Often, Short, Strong (Luther) « The Reformed Reader – I wholeheartedly agree

How Not to Help a Sufferer

Around the Web

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

What Is Self-Discipline? | Steven Lawson – Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism are explained.

15 Lessons on Bible Interpretation I Learned in 2016 | PEW THEOLOGY

I totally agree with Beth Felker Jones’ Practicing Christian Doctrine. “The discipline of theology is not first about gaining information or building a system of knowledge. It is about discipleship: we learn to speak and think well about God so that we can be more faithful followers of Jesus.” Bible interpretation is not about gathering facts to arm yourself for a debate. It’s about acquiring the right knowledge of Christ. And becoming faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Wisdom for Reading the Proverbs | The Christward Collective – This might be the best short article I’ve read on interpreting Proverbs.

Quotes about the Bible – I don’t agree with all of these, but it’s a great read and organized well.

To preach the Bible as ‘the handbook for life,’ or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture, as we can see clearly from the questions they asked Jesus. For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas.

–Michael Horton

Photo of a Bible

Around the Web-2016’s Favorite Books

This is the obligatory roundup of posts about books that people liked from the year, devotional recommendations, and one looking forward to next year. I’ve kept the list short.

If I’m motivated enough, I’d like to put up a post about some of the books that I read.

Top 16 Books of 2016 | Desiring God

My Top Books of 2016 – Tim Challies

Daily Devotionals: Recommendations « The Reformed Reader

12 Christian Books Releasing in 2017 to Keep On Your Radar | Anchored in Christ

Around the Web – Mental Health Edition Pt. 2 of 2

Part 1 was related to depression. These are related to anxiety.

3 Ways Technology Makes Us Anxious

Some Things You Should Know About Christians Who Struggle With Anxiety – Tim Challies – If you only read one of these links, please read this one. It explains what those of us who live with anxiety disorder go through, even if we don’t all have exactly the same symptoms and experiences. This is one of the best blog posts I’ve seen all year, but then I’m biased in this direction.

There are some responses to this post (not on that page) where people make all kinds of assumptions about Adam and anxiety that may not be or aren’t true. One is: “If there’s a physiological component to it, then there would be a medical test for it. So since there isn’t a test, there is none.” This one boggles my mind. Many of these things make me more reticent to post about struggles with mental health/illness, although I know that my small audience here is sympathetic. In the beginning of his followup article, he deals with these things very well in the first few paragraphs:
Some things that have helped me in my struggle with anxiety – Adam4d.com

Anxiety at Work – Medium

Does trusting God remove anxiety? | Musings of a Christian Psychologist

Although this post is mainly related to anxiety, I found another article on depression, although not from a Christian perspective. It’s very long, but very interesting. It addresses many of the misconceptions, along with explaining what experiencing depression itself is like, and also what the treatment entails.
Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share | TED Talk | TED.com

If you told me that I’d have to be depressed for the next month, I would say, “As long I know it’ll be over in November, I can do it.” But if you said to me, “You have to have acute anxiety for the next month,” I would rather slit my wrist than go through it. It was the feeling all the time like that feeling you have if you’re walking and you slip or trip and the ground is rushing up at you, but instead of lasting half a second, the way that does, it lasted for six months. It’s a sensation of being afraid all the time but not even knowing what it is that you’re afraid of. And it was at that point that I began to think that it was just too painful to be alive, and that the only reason not to kill oneself was so as not to hurt other people.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5 HCSB

Around the Web – Mental Health Edition Pt. 1

This is part one of two. The next one will deal with anxiety.

Can Depression Be Cured? Latest Research | HeadHeartHand Blog – There is good, but also disturbing news here.

Depression is a neurodegenerative systemic disorder rather than a chemical imbalance.

There is chemical imbalance in depression but the primary cause is a loss of brain tissue in key areas (and abnormal increase of brain tissue in one key area).

A number of areas in the brain are physically changed in this disorder of the stress response.

In melancholic depression (which affects 35% of those with major depression), the stress response is disordered in that when triggered it does not terminate quickly enough or sufficiently enough. It gets stuck in the “on” position.

The last paragraph above (which was actually earlier in the article) makes a lot of sense to be, as I experience this pretty much chronically.j

The parts about damage to the brain and the rest of the body is very disturbing.

I’ve always been reticent to say that ‘depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain’, because that’s mainly a guess. A few years from now, there may be other significant information to add to the equation. Unfortunately, this research is still in the beginning stages. (Maybe it’s past ‘infancy’?)

New Fast-Acting Anti-Depressant Drugs on the Way | HeadHeartHand Blog – What bothers me about this is cost, and efficacy over a long period of time.

New Depression Research: Appreciation, Critique, and Gospel Opportunities | HeadHeartHand Blog – Conclusion to the above

We can know that God created us and knew ahead of time what our how lives and bodies would end up. (Psalm 139:13-16) Believers can look forward to new heavenly bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!
Luke 12:27 HCSB

Substitute wildflowers with Thanksgiving Cactus:

Thanksgiving Cactus Flower
Photo © Jeff – Click on the photo to see a larger one

I take pictures of these almost every year, but this flower was so perfect, I had to do just one more.

Around the Web

What Every Book of the New Testament Is About

Matthew
“A distinctive feature of Matthew is its arrangement into alternating sections of narrative and discourse.”

Mark
‘The shortest Gospel, and perhaps the basis for Matthew and Luke. Mark is the “action Gospel,” with the word immediately appearing some 35 times.’

Luke
“The humanitarian Gospel, with much attention to marginalized members of society. The longest Gospel, covering more of Jesus’s life than the others.”

John
“The poetic Gospel, embodying much of its meaning in great symbols such as light, bread, and water.”

A Family Affair | Carl R. Trueman | First Things

I was reading Leviticus 18 a few weeks ago and noticed how homosexuality is apparently tucked into all of these other things.

“Never have sexual intercourse with anyone related to you by blood. I am the LORD.
7 “Never have sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your own mother. Never have sexual intercourse with her. 8 Never have sexual intercourse with your stepmother. She is related to you through your father.

22Never have sexual intercourse with a man as with a woman. It is disgusting. 23 Never have sexual intercourse with any animal and become unclean with it. A woman must never offer herself to an animal for sexual intercourse. It is unnatural.
Leviticus 18:6-8, 22-23 GW

So, much of our society demands that we think homosexual behavior is normal and good, but all of these other things are not. (Homosexual behavior is addressed all throughout the Bible, not just in the Old Testament.) So I was wondering if our society would ever see incest as OK, as long as it’s between two consenting adults. Carl Trueman addresses a real-life example of a mother and daughter in the article linked above.

How “Spurgeon’s Priority” Can Change Your Life – B&H Academic
“You may wonder how a person as accomplished as Spurgeon was able to spend so much time reading the Bible and praying.”

Thriving tradesmen are early risers, and thriving saints seek Jesus eagerly. Those who find Jesus to their enrichment give their hearts to seeking him. We must seek him first, and thus earliest. Above all things Jesus. Jesus first, and nothing else even as a bad second.

Underwater Dogs
Click the photo to see Seth Casteel underwater dog photos

Around the Web: Prayer and ‘Advice’ for Sufferers Edition

Do You Pray Like a Nonbeliever? | Desiring God – One of the more important posts I’ve seen in a long time.

Seen & Heard – Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer | MOS – Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

There are a number of reasons that could be given as to why Christians should “Pray the Bible,” but the ones below combine to make a rather convincing argument:

  1. Praying scripturally will teach us what prayer is, even while we do it.
  2. It will correct “shopping list” views of prayer which abound in the Christian community. (emphasis added)
  3. It will begin to solve in our own minds the question of “unanswered prayer.”
  4. It will remind us of just how much there is to pray about day by day.

Stupid Phrases for People in Crisis – One of the best articles I’ve seen on this subject.

Suffering

Also see:
Complete List of Paul's Prayers | Scripture Zealot blog