Tag Archive for 'Christian Blogs'

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 – 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 – 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.

Around the Web

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).

Around the Web

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

Around the Web

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.

Around the Web

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.”

Around the Web

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

Around the Web

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

Around the Web

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.

Around the Web

Seven Sentimental Lies You Might Believe | Desiring God – This is my big pet peeve area. It also mentions the movie The Princess Bride.

Saint Augustine on Prayer | Monergism – Excellent–I love what he says about suffering.

Praying the Bible vs. Interpreting the Bible

God Actually Spoke To Me – This is a rehash of a Piper devotional, which I read originally, but it’s just as great the 2nd time around.

Around the Web

I’m still here and still have ideas for posts. The mojo should come back at some point, God willing.

Baker Book House Church Connection | How Well Do You Really Know Greek? – Can we even trust our commentaries?

8 Reasons We Need the Puritans | The Gospel Coalition

Jesus our Pilot « The Reformed Reader – God is not our “co-pilot”. If you hear somebody say this, in the most polite manner, tell them it’s idiotic.

How I Read, Take Notes, and Process Information from Books — Danny Zacharias – Not the typical methods that I’ve seen

You Should Care | Monergism – Monergism and Seinfeld?

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God: An Interview with R.C. Sproul Jr. on Vimeo

Around the Web

I realize I haven’t been blogging much lately. Hopefully I’ll get back into it at some point.

Audio Bible Name Pronunciation Tool | The Bible Workshop

Does the Gospel Threaten? – Reformation21 Blog – Fear God; Fear the Gospel

Baker Book House Church Connection | John Frame’s Thoughts on Joel Osteen – He goes way easier on him than I would, and leaves out much of what I’ve seen of him, including interviews where he can’t bring himself to say that Jesus is the only way to the Father. But it somehow seems instructive to me, since he seems to have thought this out and tried to look at him objectively.

My Bible… My Idol? – It would be nice if this could be put to rest.

‘Yeah, well they all thought the earth was flat, too…’ | Cryptotheology – Not everybody thought the earth was flat; the Bible is silent on it. (So I wish some people would stop using it as an argument!)

How Memorization Feeds Your Imagination | The Gospel Coalition

When we have the entire Bible available as an app on our smartphones, it seems an unnecessary waste of time and effort to memorize specific verses or the grand narrative of the story. By relying on technology to do our remembering for us, we have forgotten the moral aspect of memorization. “A trained memory wasn’t just about gaining easy access to information,” says Jonathan Foer, referring to the ancient world, “it was about strengthening one’s personal ethics and becoming a more complete person.” Foer adds that the thinking of the ancients was that only through memorization could ideas truly be incorporated into one’s psyche and their values absorbed. “Indeed, the single most common theme in the lives of the saints—besides their superhuman goodness—is their often extraordinary memories,” Foer notes.

Albert Einstein reportedly said, “Never memorize something that you can look up.” That doesn’t apply to Scripture.

I memorize for many reasons. It’s obviously a gift from God because it’s not something I could normally do. One of the lesser reasons I memorize Scripture, which may be paranoid, is that if I ever become blind, I will have a lot of Scripture in my head. It’s the same reason I collect free Christian audio books when they’re offered. I can certainly confirm what’s written in this article, as can just about everyone else who has Scripture memorized. It’s a great angle to look at it from.