Archive for the 'Other Blog' Category

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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

Around the Web – God’s Will, Gluttony and Others

Five phrases Christians should never use again

We have short hand phrases that are sometimes helpful, but often not. In fact, many we treat as downright biblical, when they’re more likely to be found in 2 Hesitations. Here are five that I’d love to see never ever used again:

Maybe, or probably not, I’ll get to my series of things Christians say.

Delicate Tastes – Gluttony
It’s not just over-eating.

I can think of maybe one sermon I’ve heard on the subject of gluttony. [I can think of zero.] Whether for fear of shaming portlier parishioners, or because our pastors have noticed how much closer the pulpit has moved to their own waistlines, it’s not a subject we address much in church. Yet precisely for that reason our thinking on the issue has become so shallow and one-dimensional, leaving the church, especially our affluent, North American congregations, exposed to a much less obvious, and all the more deceptive form of the temptation.

Finding Hope In Suffering – Joni Answers Your Tough Questions

Just in case you missed the amazing insights from Joni Eareckson Tada, we have provided the full video right here. If you’ve dealt with any kind of suffering, this video is full of encouragement and wisdom.

When We Misinterpret God | Parchment and Pen Blog

There have been times, too numerous to count, when I went one way, suspecting the Lord was heading in the same direction, only to find out the heart-breaking reality that God was going a different direction.

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

All our steps are ordered by the Lord,
how then can we understand our own ways?
Proverbs 20:24

Related to that:

Taking the Mystery Out of Knowing God's Will – Sermon by John MacArthur – This is one of my favorites by him. It can be a life changer.

If you’re saved, spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering and thankful – you ready for this? Do whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Marry whoever you want. Go wherever you want. Work wherever you want. Choose whatever you want. You say, “Whoa. Are you sure?” Absolutely. Because if this is true of your life, guess who’s controlling your wants. Do whatever you want.

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Imagine If Ebooks Came First

Notes. We would count it ridiculous that any notes, marks, and highlights we make in a book reside exclusively on those pages and that only manual transcription can make them accessible outside of it. In books our highlights and annotations are nothing more than marks. In ebooks they are information that is electronically extracted and stored for us, made ready for use in other media. In this way ebooks help us easily gather important information so we can more simply put it to use.

Searchability of this information is of major significance. I put a lot of these types of things in Evernote while reading paper books, which takes a lot of time.

A Bible Reading Plan for Readers

Just as we can meditate on nibbles, so we can meditate on gobbles.

Why Are So Many Christians Unkind? | Beyond Evangelical – The Blog of Frank Viola

epexegesis: The Chief End of Christian Self-Improvement – An absolutely stunning quote.

Why Lying Is Always Wrong:
The Uniqueness Of Verbal Deceit
by Vern Poythress – This is a long PDF on Poythress’ view that lying is always wrong. He also interacts with others like John Frame and Wayne Grudem who believe there are exceptions. I’m with Poythress on this, but respect those who allow exceptions in certain cases. This is something that isn’t of much interest to many nowadays, but it’s always been a subject of interest for me, ever since hearing the stories while in elementary school of George Washington and the cherry tree (now realizing it might not be true), and Abraham Lincoln. In any case, all of us should strive to be irreproachable [blameless] (1 Peter 2:11-12), even though we ultimately are so in Christ (Colossians 1:22).

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You Don’t Have to Know God’s Will | Desiring God

Five Things the Psalms of Lament Teach Us About Emotions | True Woman Blog | Revive Our Hearts

If Death Is Gain, Should We Pray for Healing? | Desiring God

What If “Iron Sharpening Iron” in the Book of Proverbs Is Actually Something to Avoid? | TGC – I would posit another besides ‘tough love’ or it being bad, as the article says, and that would be it’s merely two people sharpening each other’s minds through normal conversations. This is based on commentaries I’ve read. Of course, I could be wrong.

Dictionary of Christianese – List of Words (A–Z) – Exellent

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The Christian Struggle with Mental Illness | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer

Part of the struggle is discerning the extent of the spiritual issue with mental health. How much is physiological and how much is spiritual ? Is mental illness a punishment for sin or a natural illness?

We all have spiritual struggles: struggling with our identity in Christ, receiving forgiveness, living with joy. With mental illness, the struggle becomes much more complicated.

Is it something that can only be resolved with a deeper understanding of the gospel and closer relationship with Christ and others, or can it be impacted by some external influence—medication, counseling, etc.?

Capitalizing Pronouns Referring to Deity

Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night | Desiring God – This is longer than most blog posts, but it’s very good. It’s based on Psalm 1. One interesting thing it addresses is the word ‘prosper’.

The Word of God informs prayer. This means that the Word tells us what to pray and becomes itself the content of our prayer. When you know the mind of God in his Word, you pray the mind of God in your prayers.

Let’s think about the blessing that comes from delighting in and meditating on the Word day and night.

Man With Jeremiah 29:11 Tattoo Recounts His Time In Babylonian Captivity | The Babylon Bee – I should tell you that this is humor, since some might not get that.

I was very surprised to see a photo of my bookshelf on another article at Babylon Bee. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

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Book Tribalism | CCW – Christian Communicators Worldwide – I’m not exactly sure what they’re trying to say here. But I do know that it’s good, of course; and it’s bad. It has caused me to think about what and who I read. The video they link to is amazing. I’ve seen in at least a couple of times and may have posted it before.

Reformed Theology & John 3:16 by Burk Parsons

Visual Theology on Pinterest – Infographics

I guess I might have been wrong about the premise of the Daniel Diet mistreating Scripture.
Archaeologists Discover Prophet Daniel's Weight Loss Diary | The Babylon Bee

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5 Reasons Not to Waste Your Leisure Time

Where Do the Prayers Come from in “The Valley of Vision”? And Sundry Questions | TGC

Does God Talk to Us? A Post by Michael Horton

You Were Made to Meditate

Also see:
Owen and Watson on Meditating on Scripture | Scripture Zealot blog
Book Review: God's Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation | Scripture Zealot blog

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I finally found a way of articulating why, among other reasons, I’m not a fan of Christian movies:

Computers generate more details than the eye can process. Contrast that with the way the Bible tells stories, where there are typically gaps for the reader to fill in. Less is more: The Bible’s reticence to color in the details actually makes it more liable to be understood in a variety of different times and places. If we let an artist or filmmaker supply all the details, our imaginations begin to atrophy.

Discipleship in the Age of the Spectacle | Desiring God

I’m not saying I think Christian movies are wrong, or it’s wrong to watch them. The few good ones are certainly better than most of the other stuff that’s out there. That’s only my opinon.

I admit that I liked the movie The Nativity. It had no depictions of Jesus, as an adult anyway, which I also try to stay away from. John Owen, among many others, writes about that pretty extensively and forcefully. I’m not as dogmatic as he is though.

Exercise Makes Our Muscles Work Better With Age – The New York Times

Wisely Handling the Book of Proverbs

“Answer not a fool according to his folly” (26:4a). Then, in the very next verse, we read, “Answer a fool according to his folly” (26:5a)

I love the refutation of myths and false sayings. I believed one of these, so I’m guilty too.
Urban Legends: The Preacher’s Edition | TGC

HT: Links I Like | Blogging Theologically

(HT stands for Hat Tip–giving credit where a link is found. I don’t do this enough, especially since I get a lot of links from him.)

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Here is a post I found in my Drafts that I apparently didn’t put up.

John Calvin's 4 Rules of Prayer by Joel Beeke | Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Christian Reader's Resource Guide | Gospel Relevance

Why We Should Read Books | MOS – Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

The Bible Is Not an Instruction Manual

“But what will really save the lost world? Let me tell you: none of our complaints against it.”

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Read Better with Baxter

What Your Complaining Says about God

The Secrets of God in Our Suffering | Desiring God

Book Review: Stop Loving the World – Meet the Puritans

Does God’s Love For Us Change?

The author, Mark Jones, is quoting the Puritan Stephen Charnock (the inner quote).

“The more likeness we have to [God], the more love we shall have from him….If God loves holiness in a lower measure, much more will he love it in a higher degree, because then his image is more illustrious and beautiful, and comes nearer to the lively lineaments of his own infinite purity….(Jn. 14:21)….he loves a holy man for some resemblance to him in his nature; but when there is an abounding in sanctified dispositions suitable to it, there is an increase of favor; the more we resemble the original, the more shall we enjoy the blessedness of that original: as any partake more of the Divine likeness, they partake more of the Divine happiness.”
This is a remarkable quote [from Charnock] in today’s context where one frequently hears the very opposite of what Charnock affirms. These words from Charnock can even be applied to Christ during his earthly life, where “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Lk. 2:52) (emphasis mine).

I always believed (as far as I can remember) that just as we can grieve and quench the Spirit (along with rejecting Him), we can please God. These days we are so careful to make it clear that we can’t change our standing with God by our behavior. Our righteousness and general favorableness before God is on the basis of what Christ has done for us. Our minuscule good deeds aren’t going to change that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t please God, or that he sees everyone exactly equal to the next. Scripture shows us this over and over. See everything from how Jesus treated some of the disciples, to Paul exhorting us to please God, and the record in Revelation of how Jesus spoke to the various churches. Read the whole article below.

Can God’s Love for Us (and Christ) Increase? – Reformation21 Blog

For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.
Matthew 16:27 HCSB

Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.
Luke 12:48b HCSB

This is no cause for pride for those who feel they have been given a lot if they are to realize that everything is from God (1 Corinthians 4:7) and if we compare ourselves to God (Isaiah 55:8-9) and not to others. Also see 1 Corinthians 1:26 and all of the others I didn’t think of. (That was kind of a joke.)

For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 HCSB

so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him as you bear fruit in every good work, and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:10 NRSV

It’s only natural to want to please our heavenly Father out of our love for him, and it’s good for us (Romans 12:2). If we are lacking in any of this, we need to remember to pray in faith because these things are God’s will for us (1 John 5:14-15).

Of course, what Christ has done equally for all of the elect still stands. I would also like to state that I don’t think there will be various ‘levels’ in heaven, only various rewards of praise from God according to what we have done, which would be for another post.

Also see:
Knowing Christ by Mark Jones

What Is Zeal?

I don’t usually just post one link and leave it at that, but given the title of this blog and my lifelong (Christian life) desire for zeal as a Christian and for Scripture, along with always being aware of God’s presence, this one is worth posting by itself.

What Is Zeal? by Joel Beeke

Although, I’m a little disappointed with it. Which means I should write about it more myself. My reading has been going very well lately, and it’s hard to take time out of it for blog writing/posting. I’m not tiring of blogging necessarily. I could use prayer for continued consistency in reading outside of spiritual discipline type stuff. Then if I use my time even better, to be able to start doing some more study, and possibly more blogging.

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Here is one I started and never really finished, so I’ll put it up as an abbreviated holiday link post.

How To Lose Your Zeal for Christ | Challies Dot Com

20 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Exegesis | HeadHeartHand Blog

Carl Trueman on How John Owen Speaks to the Most Pressing Pastoral Issue of Our Day | TGC

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Of the reading of many books… – Reformation21 Blog – more on this balanced view later…

Reflections on the Top 25 Christian Classics by Keith Mathison | Ligonier Ministries Blog

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Tell Everyone about Every Shooting | TGC

Credo Magazine » A very cool John Owen chronology by Lee Comings

More than a Game: A Theology of Sport | Themelios from The Gospel Coalition – This has been mentioned on Twitter about 100 times, but in case any of you missed it, this is a great article on sports. I’ve read about people who say watching sports is bad, like it’s a god, and other people never give it a second thought. This is about sports from a Biblical view.

The Paradox of Chronic Pain

Too often, when I’ve mentioned my chronic pain to fellow believers, they’ve responded with a possible cure or treatment. “You should see a chiropractor.” “How much magnesium are you getting?” “Are you familiar with essential oils?” Certainly these responses mean well, but they aren’t the most loving. Instead, we can offer each other a listening ear, offer sincere encouragement, and pray for the sufferer. I’ve probably received more than 100 potential cures and pieces of advice in the past year, and almost every suggestion has been unique. In other words, what works for one person’s experience of pain most likely won’t work for another’s.

In dealing with various chronic conditions, including pain and mental health issues, I’ve gotten this from all angles, although I’ve had it much less worse than many other people. I could write half a book about this. But that’s not really what the article is about. I just thought I’d post my ‘favorite’ part.

I haven’t quite come to the point where I can say that pain, both physical and mental, is a gift, as is written in the article, or that I see it that way. But without it, I don’t think God would have brought me so much closer to him than otherwise, and I am grateful that God does work through suffering. I can now see the paucity of my commitment and zeal in the past, even though I thought I was so deadly serious about my relationship with God, and now long for much more.

I’ll be working on some posts for after Christmas.