Christ, our Advocate, our Warrior King

1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

 

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Knowing the Man–By Seeing His Heart

In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul Tripp provides an array of questions that help to discover the “true condition” of a man’s heart. So many churches hire men they do not really know. I found these to be helpful self-examination questions for my own heart preparation, as I remember my own great need of God’s grace.

What does knowing the man mean? It means knowing the true condition of his heart (as far as that is possible). What does he really love and what does he despise? What are his hopes, dreams and fears? What are the deep desires that fuel and shape the way he does ministry? What are the anxieties that have the potential to derail or paralyze him? How accurate is his view of himself? Is he open to the confrontation, critique, and encouragement of others? Is he committed to his own sanctification? Is he open about his own temptations, weaknesses, and failures? Is he ready to listen to and defer to the wisdom of others? Does he see pastoral ministry as a community project? Does he have a tender, nurturing heart? Is he warm and hospitable, a shepherd and champion to those who are suffering? What character qualities would his wife and children use to describe him? Does he sit under his own preaching? Is his heart broken and his conscience regularly grieved as he looks at himself in the mirror of the world? How robust, consistent, joyful, and vibrant is his devotional life? Does his ministry to others flow out of the vibrancy of his devotional communion with the Lord? Does he hold himself to high standards, or is he willing to give way to mediocrity? Is he sensitive to the experiences and needs of those who minister alongside of him? Is he one who incarnates the love and grace of the Redeemer? Does he overlook minor offenses? Is he ready and willing to forgive? Is he critical and judgmental? Is the public pastor a different person from the private husband and dad? Does he take care of his physical self? Does he numb himself with too much social media or television? If he said, ‘If only I had _______,’ what would fill the blank? How successful has he been in pastoring the congregation that is his family?” [1]

May we be–and become–men worthy of the calling that we’ve received. God help us…

We need “a living, humble, needy, celebratory, worshipful, meditative communion with Christ… ” He is living and ever-present, and our lives and ministry must be the overflow of a deep, abiding communion with Him that overflows in gratitude and love. We “must be enthralled by, in awe of–in love with–[our] Redeemer, so that everything [we] think, desire, choose, decide, say, and do is propelled by love for Christ and the security of rest in the love of Christ. [We] must be regularly exposed, humbled, assured, and given rest by the grace of [our] Redeemer. [Our] hearts need to be tenderized day after day by [our] communion with Christ so that [we] become tender, loving, patient, forgiving, encouraging, and giving servant leaders. [Our] meditation on Christ–His presence, His promises, and His provisions–must not be overwhelmed by [our] meditations on how to make ministry work.” [2]

___

[1] Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2012), 61-62.

[2] Ibid, 63.

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Understanding Holiness: the God who is Set Apart

…learning what it means to be set apart, as we stumble toward the cross and the Holy One who was set apart so that we might become pure and set apart as His bride…

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Spiritual Blindness: Logs & Specks

Ever had something in your eye? It’s painful. Irritating. And blinding!

The invasion makes your eyes water and forces them shut. Everything gets blurred, and clarity of sight becomes difficult at best. Without having your eyes flushed or dislodging the intruder, you remain blind and everything else stays blurred.

Sometimes–oftentimes–that happens to us spiritually. We become blinded by something in our own hearts, but think we see ourselves and others with full clarity and precision. It’s a sad reality. Most of us experience it at some point–or at several points–in our lives. If we live long enough, then we’ll likely experience both ends of spiritual blindness. We will be blinded and interact with those who are blind.

Jesus talked about this:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Paul Tripp, in his most recent book Dangerous Calling, identified some of the heart-related dangers characteristic of ministers of the gospel. He speaks of these tendencies within his own heart: “There are three underlying themes that operated in my life, which I have encountered operating in the lives of many pastors to whom I have talked. These underlying themes functioned as the mechanism of spiritual blindness in my life, and they do so in the lives of countless pastors around the world.” (21)

1. “I let ministry define my identity”: He writes, “You are constantly talking to yourself about your identity, your spirituality, your functionality, your emotionality, your mentality, your personality, and your relationships, etc. You are constantly preaching to yourself some kind of gospel. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of your own righteousness, power, and wisdom, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of deep spiritual need and sufficient grace. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of aloneness and inability, or you preach to your self the true gospel of the presence, provisions, and power of an ever-present Christ.” (21)

“Either you will be getting your identity vertically, from who you are in Christ, or you will be shopping for it horizontally in the situations, experiences, and relationships of your daily life. This is true of everyone, but I am convinced that getting one’s identity horizontally is a particular temptation for those in ministry. Part of why I was so blind to the huge disconnect between what was going on in my public ministry life and my private family life was this issue of identity.” (22)

“My faith had become a professional calling… My calling had become my identity… We come to our relationship with God and others being less than needy. And because we are less than needy, we are less than open to the ministry of others and to the conviction of the Spirit… Tender, heartfelt worship is hard for a person who thinks of himself as having arrived… They are content with a devotional life that either doesn’t exist or is constantly kidnapped by preparation. They are comfortable with living outside of or above the body of Christ. They are quick to minister but not very open to being ministered to. They have long since quit seeing themselves with accuracy and so tend not to receive well the loving confrontation of others. And they tend to carry this unique-category home with them and are less than humble and patient with their families.” (23)

“You are most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you are aware that there is no truth that you could give another that you don’t desperately need yourself. You are most humble and gentle when you think that the person you are ministering to is more like you than unlike you. When you have inserted yourself into another category that tends to make you think you have arrived, it is very easy to be judgmental and impatient… It is all too easy to mete out judgment while I was all too stingy with the giving of grace… Blind to what was going on in my heart, I was proud, unapproachable, defensive, and all too comfortable… It was producing a harvest of bad fruit in my heart, in my ministry, and in my relationships. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity)…” (24)

2. “I let biblical literacy and theological knowledge define my maturity.” He writes, “It is quite easy for students to buy into the belief that biblical maturity is about the precision of theological knowledge and the completeness of their biblical literacy… Maturity is about how you live your life…. Sin is first a moral problem. It is about my rebellion against God and my quest to have for myself the glory that is due him… It’s not just my mind that needs to be renewed by sound biblical teaching, but my heart needs to be reclaimed by the powerful grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reclamation of my heart is both an event (justification) and a process (sanctification)… Biblical maturity is never just about what you know; it’s always about how the grace has employed what you have come to know to transform the way you live.” (26)

3. “I confused ministry success with God’s endorsement of my lifestyle.” He writes, “Without knowing I was doing it, I took God’s faithfulness to me, to his people, to the work of his kingdom, to his plan of redemption, and to his church as an endorsement of me. It was a ‘I’m one of the good guys and God is behind me all the way’ perspective on my ministry, but more importantly on myself… God was acting as he was not because he was endorsing my manner of living but because of his zeal for his own glory and his faithfulness to his promises of grace for his people. …The success of a ministry is always more a picture of who God is than a statement about who the people are that he is using for his purpose.” (27-28)

Lord, we need much grace–to find our identity solely in You, to embrace our maturity as a heart and life increasingly reflective of You, and our success as given and sustained by You for Your glory! Lord, protect us from the spiritual blindness that subtly makes us the center of our lives and ministry. Let us recognize that we are recipients of grace, and intended to be vessels of grace, that we would humbly pour out your love through grace and truth. Lord, help us… Lord, humble us. Lord, remove the logs from our eyes so that we can better serve those who need help removing the specks.  

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The Foolishness of Faith (Debate)

The Foolishness of Faith

This coming Friday and Saturday, there will be an apologetics symposium at Purdue University. There will be a live-stream of the debate (Friday, Feb. 1, 7pm, EST) between theologian William Lane Craig and philosopher Alex Rosenberg. Find out more information here and here.

 

 

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Altering the Paradigm

“Jesus Christ super-fulfills the Old Testament.” – David Powlison

That one sentence contains the entirety of the Old Testament found in the New.

Jesus “super-fulfills” the promises, hopes, and commands of God.

His answer to these things goes beyond our understanding. His reality is greater, stronger, mightier, happier, more extensive, and more intensive than anything we could ever hope or imagine.

The first promise, in the midst of a curse, is that a man would crush the serpent that strikes him. Serpents kill when they bite. A crushed snake-skull comes from the foot of a  man.

Yet, who would have thought that it would be this cosmic? The enemy struck Christ with death, expecting victory. But Christ rose triumphant and has delivered the death-blow.

That is altering the paradigm. That is super-fulfilling. That is the Gospel of glory.

Behold the extravagant promise-keeping God of the universe in the man, Jesus Christ.

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Faithful: Cattle on a Thousand Hills

I don’t read a lot of blogs, but I try to check out Ray Ortlund, Jr.’s on a weekly basis. Without fail, he blesses my heart and draws me toward a greater adoration of the God “who loved us and gave Himself for us.”

Ray is a pastor at-heart, and based on what he writes, I can tell he walks closely with Jesus. God regularly uses him to shepherd others toward the pastures of His grace. This most recent post was just another reminder of the faithfulness of God, and Ray’s experience inspires me to trust God more. It’s worth your time: “Not that I would recommend this, but…”

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Interruptions, Interruptions, Interruptions

Sometimes our day gets interrupted. An unexpected person or situation requires our attention. Sometimes our lives get interrupted. God brings unforeseen things into our path, disrupts our plans, and does something unexpected. We have to decide who’s in control and how we’re going to respond.

Sometimes this is frustrating. And, oftentimes it’s inconvenient. And, on rare occasions, it’s wonderfully-refreshing. But, generally-speaking, interruptions reveal Who is really in control of our lives and our days… and what He intended for us to experience in that hour, day, month, year, or life journey. He knows what is needed to make us, and others, more like Christ, for the praise of His glory!

Ephesians 1:11-12, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”

I found the following reflection, by Trevin Wax, helpful in thinking about our desire for control and pursuit of discipline in light of God’s sovereignty (and grace) in bringing interruptions that test us, redirect us, and to grow us into greater Christlike maturity. Let us walk by the Spirit so that we know what to do with “interruptions”…

You can read his post here: “Life’s Interruptions are Divine Opportunities”

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Let Us Love Christ with Hot-Hearted Affection

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Richard Sibbes: Claritas in intellectu parit adorem in affectu (“Clarity in our thoughts breeds passion in our affections”); therefore, we must ask God for a clearer vision of Christ in all His goodness, beauty, glory, and preeminence. It is the light of true understanding that produces heat in the affections. Praise God that He has given us “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” As we see His glory with increasing clarity, we shall be moved to feel deeply and passionately about Him. We will understand all things in light of the One who loved us and gave Himself for us; and this is essential to passionately loving the One who first loved us.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

“…Light in the understanding breedeth heat of love in the affections.  Claritas in intellectu parit ardorem in affectu. In what measure the sanctified understanding seeth a thing to be true, or good, in that measure the will embraces it.  Weak light breeds weak inclinations; a strong light, strong inclinations…”  –  Richard Sibbes, The Works, Vol. I, p. 59.

We must ask God to help us see all things clearly, in the light of His glory and grace!

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A Humble Heart, So Hard to Come By

“Sense shines with a double luster when set in a heart of humility. An able, yet humble man is a jewel worth a kingdom.” William Penn

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble

James 4:5-10Do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Jesus Christ models humility for us, and the Spirit of Christ empowers humility in us

Philippians 2:1-11  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Give us the grace of humility, Lord, we desperately need this fruit of your Spirit’s character…

D.L. Moody: “A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility.”

Jonathan Edwards: “Spiritual pride tends to speak of other persons’ sins with bitterness or with laughter and levity and an air of contempt.  But pure Christian humility rather tends either to be silent about these problems or to speak of them with grief and pity.  Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others, but a humble Christian is most guarded about himself.  He is as suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart.  The proud person is apt to find fault with other believers, that they are low in grace, and to be much in observing how cold and dead they are and to be quick to note their deficiencies.  But the humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own heart and is so concerned about it, that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.  He is apt to esteem others better than himself.”

John Stott“For the essence of sin [pride] is man substituting himself for God [Gen. 3:1-7], while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man [2 Cor. 5:21]. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.”

Jonathan Edwards: ““Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative meanness before God and man.  Know God.  Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before him.  Distrust yourself.  Rely only on God.  Renounce all glory except from him.  Yield yourself heartily to his will and service.  Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant, scornful, stubborn, wilful, levelling, self-justifying behaviour; and strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ manifested while he was on earth.  Consider the many motives to such a spirit… [Humility] is the attendant of every grace, and in a peculiar manner tends to the purity of Christian feeling.  It is the ornament of the spirit; the source of some of the sweetest exercises of Christian experience; the most acceptable sacrifice we can offer to God; the subject of the richest of his promises; the spirit with which he will dwell on earth, and which he will crown with glory in heaven hereafter.  Earnestly seek, then, and diligently and prayerfully cherish, an humble spirit, and God shall walk with you here below; and when a few more days shall have passed, he will receive you to the honours bestowed on his people at Christ’s right hand.”  

Robert Barnes, “On Glorifying Self”: ““…My preaching and writing isn’t much better. Too often, communication is my way to demonstrate what the world should have understood already–that I am extremely smart and spiritual and worthy of being paid and admired. The words I’ve been called to write and speak often speak of humility, of God-sized truths that transcend our tiny space and time, and yet I see in my heart–and on the page–me writing words to glorify… ME!” 

Tim Keller: “The essence of gospel humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to such thoughts as [self-image]… True gospel humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.”

A few practical ways to cultivate humility, by the Spirit’s power and grace:

  1. Know the greatness of God in light of the depth of your sin
  2. Recognize your complete God-dependence, and live confidently in the Spirit
  3. Avoid self-defensiveness, be teachable, and take your sin more seriously than that of others’—hate your own sin first and most.
  4. Pray for humility of heart and life—and never think you’ve arrived at humility
  5. Be fiercely committed to killing sin and pride, because it’ll come back
  6. Know your limitations, you cannot be anyone’s Savior
  7. Serve others and consider them more highly than yourself—not thinking less of yourself so much as thinking about yourself less. Seek to be self-forgetful…
  8. Be able to fail and experience weakness, for God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
  9. Practice humility in the little things—be willing to be cut-off in traffic, yield to another in disagreement, be quick to take responsibility and seek reconciliation.
  10. Delight in the Lord—do not seek great things for yourself. Take no glory in human achievements or acknowledgements—Seek joy in making Him famous!

*Some of these were taken from a helpful post by Brian Hedges. Read the rest of his post here: Eight Strategies for Cultivating Humility.

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[1] Jonathan Edwards, Works (Edinburgh, 1979), I:398-400. Style updated.

[2] John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1986), 160.

[3] Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, 155-56.

[4] Tim Keller, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, 32.

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To Worship My King…

Bless the Lord, O’ My Soul (Matt Redman)

Cielo (Heaven) (Phil Wickham)

Name Above All Names (Sovereign Grace Ministries)

Behold Our God (Sovereign Grace Ministries)

Take My Life and Let It Be (Chris Tomlin)

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Sober Shepherds

Acts 20:28

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

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The Joy of the Lord

Matthew Henry:

“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.”

Psalm 28

To you, O LORD, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.
Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
while evil is in their hearts.
Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the LORD
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.
Blessed be the LORD!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

___

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Guide Me Now, Oh Jehovah

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Faint of Heart, Yet Fighting for Joy

At times, even the servants of God grow faint of heart. I have had my fair share of those moments. Yet, even in the worst of times when we despair of life itself, we must remember that our hope and strength is in God who raises the dead. Such gospel truth is the means by which the Spirit lifts the heart and sustains our joy…

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

Resources for the Discouraged Servant of God

John Piper, When the Darkness Will Not Lift (Free E-book) (Amazon)

John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Free E-book) (Amazon)

Charles Spurgeon, “The Minister’s Fainting Fits,” a chapter from Lectures to My Students (Read Chapter) (Read Overview of Chapter)

 

J. Ligon Duncan, “The Underestimated God: God’s Ruthless Compassionate Grace in Pursuit of His Glory and His Minister’s Joy”  (See also: J. Ligon Duncan, “God and Your Ministerial Discouragement” (Listen to Audio))

 

John Piper, “Spiritual Depression in the Psalms” (Psalm 42)

 

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”

The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 34:

“Jehovah is [near] to those who are broken of heart, he will save those who are bruised of spirit.  David here exemplifies and extends still more the preceding doctrine that God is the deliverer of His people, even when they are brought very low, and when they are as it were, half-dead.  It is a severe trial when the grace of God is delayed, and all experience of it so far withdrawn, as that our spirits begin to fail; nay more, to say that God is [near] to the faithful, even when their hearts faint and fail them, and they are ready to die, is altogether incredible to human sense and reason.

“But by this means His power shines forth more clearly, when he raises us up again from the grave.  Moreover, it is [necessary] that the faithful should thus be utterly cast down and afflicted, that they may breathe again in God alone.  From this we learn also, that nothing is more opposed to true patience than the loftiness of heart of which the stoics boast; for we are not accounted truly humble until true affliction of heart has abased us before God, so that, having prostrated ourselves in the dust before him, he may raise us up.  It is a doctrine full of the sweetest consolation, that God departs not from us, even when we are overwhelmed by a succession of miseries, and, as it were, almost deprived of life.”

Whatever My God Ordains Is Right

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

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Political Thoughts from Al Mohler

Here’s a helpful, post-election article by Al Mohler on some of the ramifications of yesterday!

 

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A Sacrificial Shepherd Secured Our Salvation

“There are few truths of which I have a more unwavering conviction, than that the sheep of Christ, for whom he laid down his life, shall never perish.” (Archibald Alexander)

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John 10:1-18

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

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Leading Young Men

Leading Young Men

1. You have to care.

2. Invite them into your life.

3. Demonstrate your repentance.

4. Call them to a purpose, but not their purpose.

5. Expect a lot and don’t apologize for it.

6. Live in the light.

7. Don’t sugarcoat.

8. Be someone worth following.

You can read the entire Resurgence article here!

 

For your enjoyment, here’s an entertaining video worth watching:

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the beauty and the horror

I have witnessed the confession of many people. People who have either been caught in untold sin or who finally can bear the weight no longer. Some confess because they are coerced. Some confess because grace compels them. 

Each time I see a person driven to the darkest reaches of the darkness they have been hiding, each time a sinner is brought to their knees, and each time the horror of true confession happens I see the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Christ and my soul turns somber. 

I, too, have been brought thorough the sloth and slime of my sin and screamed my confession with tears. And, God, in his severe and crushing grace, forgave me as He will forgive all who repent.

Be appalled at sin, the brutal horror of the insides of men, but be awed even more by the unbounded love of the creator of men.

-joe

 

 

 

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by | October 23, 2012 · 5:32 pm

Commentary Sale

Dale Ralph Davis has some of the best “devotional” commentaries on the OT. Here are six of his best works–at a great price–for the next day or so, at Westminster Books. They are offering all six volumes for $40. They are written at a lay/pastoral level and would be a great blessing to anyone desiring to study the OT more in-depth with a view toward fulfillment in Christ and practical application to life.

Publisher’s Description:

These commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.

Titles in this set:

Joshua: No Falling Words
by Dale Ralph Davis
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Judges: Such a Great Salvation 
by Dale Ralph Davis
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1 Samuel: Looking at the Heart 
by Dale Ralph Davis
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2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity 
by Dale Ralph Davis
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1 Kings: The Wisdom and the Folly 
by Dale Ralph Davis
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2 Kings: The Power and the Fury
by Dale Ralph Davis
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Published 1999-2011

 

About the Author:

Dale Ralph Davis and his wife live in rural Tennessee. Prior to that he was pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.

 

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