Round Up

The Hollowing Effect of Sin – Evil does not usually make people incredibly wicked and violent – that would be interesting, and tends to wake people up. Rather, sin tends to make us hollow.

No Turning Back – The sun rises just before 6:30 A.M. in Bethany, the small village on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives, just a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.

I Will Praise You In This Storm – On Monday afternoon around 4:00 a tornado 200-300 yards wide tore down Beech Ridge Road in Beaufort County, North Carolina, a peaceful rural road where I spent the latter part of my youth and still consider home.

How Do You Know I Am Wrong – “If I say, ‘A cooked egg is better than a raw egg. Would you reply, “You stated an opinion about eggs. You must believe in an objective standard of egg quality.”

Quote:

Whoever relies not on the providence of God, so as to commit his life to its faithful guardianship, has not yet learned aright what it is to live. On the other hand, he who shall entrust the keeping of his life to God’s care, will not doubt of its safety even in the midst of death. – John Calvin

Round Up

Spiritual Schizophrenia – If I watched a video of your everyday life for the past six weeks, would I conclude that your faith shapes everything you think, desire, say, and do?

The Book of Job – The book of Job is not answering a theoretical question about why good people suffer.  It is answering a practical question: When good people suffer, what does God want from them?

You Are going to Die – You know, it’s possible that God’s plan for us is littleness. His plan for us may be personal failure.

How To Count It All As Loss – What does it mean to count everything as loss for the sake of Christ? What does it mean to renounce all that we have for Christ’s sake?

Quote:

As we preach the word of God, we must have our toes on the very brink of eternity.  For our voice may be the last voice that many will ever hear. – Steve Lawson

Round Up

The Secret Will of God – When you think about the will of God, what do you think? If you had to define the phrase – the will of God – what would you write?

Proverbs:  God’s Sovereignty and Wisdom – George Will writes, “Suppose the car had hit the pedestrian slightly harder. What car? The one on Fifth Avenue the evening of Dec. 13, 1931, when an English politician on a lecture tour momentarily forgot the American rules of the road and looked the wrong way when stepping into the street. Winston Churchill could have died.”

Will America Be Judged? – The reason the gospel of Jesus is precious is that it offers joyful rescue from furious judgment. The Bible speaks of the “fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). And the Bible exults that “Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Damnable Deception – What would you call a man or a woman who claimed to receive direct messages from God that contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture? Words like charlatan, heretic, liar, and phony probably come to mind. And yet there are many Christians—often earnest but ignorant believers—who follow and even defend such men and women.

Thoughts:

God’s grace in Christ does more than forgive the guilt of sin, it also breaks the power of sin.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are NOT BURDENSOME. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:6-7

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6,

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.   1 Corinthians 1:18

Round Up

When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For – Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves. If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently.

Sensual Worship – When interest in the churches begins to centre round the visual and the sensual it is commonly a sign of impending apostasy.

So You’re A Calvinist?  How Do You React To Cancer? – Our worldly culture promotes youth, vitality and a carefree life, and if you are not youthful, athletic with toned legs and a six pack tummy, and enjoying a vigorous, fulfilling sex life, then you have a second rate existence as a person.

I Love a Church That Sings Badly – I am drawn toward a church that sings poorly and am a little suspicious of a church that sings really well.

Bind My Wandering Heart to Thee – O to grace how great a debtor, Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Quote:

Sovereignty characterizes the whole being of God. He is sovereign in all his attributes. —A.W. Pink

Round Up

Gazing On His Beauty“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4

The Merciful Gift of Desperation – Do not underestimate the power of desperation to do good for your soul.

Decisional Regeneration Part 1 – Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God. It is not a work of man. It is not something that man does but something that God does. The new birth is a change wrought in us, not an act performed by us.

Decisional Regeneration Part 2 – “Decisional Regeneration” does not bring men to Christ any more than does Baptismal Regeneration. It is true that some are converted under such preaching, but this is in spite of the false methods used, not because of them.

Quote:

We must have faith in the rightness of all that God says or does. I hope, beloved, you do not think of God’s sovereignty as tyranny, or imagine that he ever could or would will anything but that which is right. Neither will we admit into our minds a suspicion of the incorrectness of the Word of God in any matter whatever, as though the Lord himself could err. We will not have it that God, in his Holy Book, makes mistakes about matters of history, or of science, any more than he does upon the great truths of salvation. If the Lord be God, he must be infallible; and if he can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science, he cannot be trusted in the greater matters. My brethren, Jehovah never errs in deed, or in word; and when you find his law written either in the ten commandments, or anywhere else, you believe that there is not a precept too many, or too few. Whatever may be the precepts of the law, or of the gospel, they are pure and holy altogether. The words of the Lord are like fine gold, pure, precious, and weighty—not one of them may be neglected. We hear people talk about “minor points,” and so on; but we must not consider any word of our God as a minor thing, if by that expression is implied that it is of small importance. We must accept every single word of precept, or prohibition, or instruction, as being what it ought to be, and neither to be diminished nor increased. We should not reason about the command of God as though it might be set aside or amended. He bids: we obey. May we enter into that true spirit of obedience which is the unshaken belief that the Lord is right! Nothing short of this is the obedience of the inner man—the obedience which the Lord desires. – Charles Spurgeon

Round Up

Intellect, Worship, and the Irreducible Complexity of the Christian Life – When you mention worship to most American Christians, their thoughts will immediately focus on weekly church services, usually on Sunday.  Now worship does (or can) indeed happen at these gatherings, but worship is a much broader and more comprehensive concept in Scripture.

The Oldest Trick in the Book – I love that new GEICO commercial where the guy in the movie theater says, “Did you know there really is an ‘oldest trick in the book’?” Then the scene flashes back to ancient times where a man looks into an old book, and says, “Trick number one.  Lookest over there.”  The man then points across the room. His apprentice looks and of course sees nothing. Then the man says, “Madest thou look.”

Good Works and Sanctificaiton – The following 5 questions are answered – What are good works? Why do good works? Who brings forth our good works? How good are these good works? Then how are our good works acceptable to God?

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep – Life is short. Stay awake for it.  Christian, life is short. You should get some sleep.

Quote:

Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission.

The providential government of God over everything in this world is a truth of which the Greek and Roman philosophers had no conception. It is a truth which is specially revealed to us in the word of God. Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order, and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as ‘chance,’ ‘luck,’ or ‘ accident’ in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are ‘working together’ for the believer’s good. (Rom. viii. 28.)

Let us seek to have an abiding sense of God’s hand in all that befalls us, if we profess to be believers in Jesus Christ. Let us strive to realize that a Father’s hand is measuring out our daily portion, and that our steps are ordered by Him. A daily practical faith of this kind, is one grand secret of happiness, and a mighty antidote against murmuring and discontent. We should try to feel in the day of trial and disappointment, that all is right and all is well done. We should try to feel on the bed of sickness that there must be a ‘needs be.’ We should say to ourselves, ‘God could keep away from me these things if He thought fit. But He does not do so, and therefore they must be for my advantage. I will lie still, and bear them patiently. I have ‘an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.’ (2 Sam. xxiii. 5.) What pleases God shall please me.’” – J C Ryle

Write In Your Bible

I read the following article by Jonathan Parnell this morning and it really struck home with me.  I have a Bible that is not quite 3 years old and there are notes and underlines in it on most of the pages.  My wife looked at it the other day and asked me how I could even read some of the notes because they are printed in the margins even smaller than the actual text of the Bible.  I will admit that I have reached the age where “grandpa” glasses come in quite handy not only to read, but to print in the margins such small type.  Most of the notes in my Bible are notes for myself, but the following talks about leaving notes in your Bible that are a legacy to your children and I intend to start doing this.

Here is the article:

Dads, Write in Your Bible

This is high-strategy time. As one year gives way to the next, many of us are gearing up for a fresh start on our Bible reading plan — and especially if you’re a dad.

It’s no secret that the word of God and prayer are a personal means of grace that spill over for the good of those around us. And how much more for a patriarch? We read the Bible not just for ourselves, but for our families, for our friends, for our community. We know that God doesn’t transform his people into dead-ends, but into rivers of living water, and therefore, deciding on a route and digging in on that resolve has more in view than our own souls.

And this year, as you settle your plans, here’s another aspect to consider.

Dads, write in your Bible.

Real, Slow Writing

Now I don’t mean to merely highlight and jot down some cross-references, or even scribble some observations without any readers in mind. The initiative here is to write — and to write to your children. This means to get a new Bible with margins and walk from Genesis to Revelation, sketching devotional insights and prayers for your kids, that you will then give to them one day.

It will probably take you at least ten years.

So I just lost some of you. Ten years is a long time in a world of quick content. It can be addicting, I know. The fast return of ego metrics on the simplest tweet doesn’t exactly push us to burrow down in a project that only a few will read years in the future. But if you’re still reading, this might be for you.

But what’s the point?

The Apostolic Inspiration

Peter writes as a dying man in his second letter. He knows his end is drawing near, and therefore his words seem to have an increased vigor. He starts the letter by commending God’s power and promises sufficient to provide everything we need for our relationship with him and the character it effects. And then, in verse 12, he tells us his intent.

Peter wants to remind us (2 Peter 1:12). He figures that as long as he is alive on earth, he should “stir [us] up by way of reminder” (2 Peter 1:13). And in fact, precisely because he knows he will soon die, he says, “I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things” (2 Peter 1:15).

What is his “every effort” to be made? What is he doing in hopes of reminding the church long after he’s gone? He writes.

News Worth Reminding

We know Peter’s effort involves many things off the page as well, but certainly it includes his writing. He knows what he wants the church to know, and he puts it on paper.

And though the mass of his influence is incomparable to ours, we have children who care about what we think. Do we have anything we’d like them to recall? To know? Of course they won’t be reading it centuries from now, but there’s a good chance they will read it, and that we can work now to remind them of a few things even after we’re gone.

And undoubtedly, the main thing we want to leave them is the gospel — the glory of Jesus in the word of God.

Dream of the Impact

Speaking specifically now to the dads who are part of this “great awakening to the glory of God’s sovereign grace” — dads who might call themselves that kind of Calvinist — what better could we leave the next generation than the Bible infused with the scribbles of our affectionate prayers?

Can you imagine 30 or more years from now that hundreds of Christians will have Bibles given to them from their dads — Bibles saturated with the extra ink of love from the depths of their dad’s heart? That they can open these Bibles to read Philippians 1 and see a meditation in the margins addressed to them?

What kind of impact could something like this have overall if a bunch of dads did this? Or the real question is: what kind of impact might you have on your children if you did this? Most of us are not remarkable and won’t do anything awesome. But God has made us fathers, and our calling to this role is irreplaceable. As you pray for your children, write it down for them. As you are blown away by the message of Colossians, write it down for them. As you see more of Jesus in the Psalms, write it down for them. And then one day, give it to them.

To the Practicals

If this is something you’re considering, here are a few steps to get you started.

1. Choose the Bible.

I recommend getting a new Bible without any marks. There are a couple options out there that work great for this sort of project, such as the ESV Journaling Bible or the ESV wide-margin from Cambridge.

2. Make your plan.

This is one idea, moldable from simple to complex for whatever fits you best. You might want to do only highlighting and underlining, with occasional prayers in the margins or the back. Or you might want to write a whole devotional commentary, filling up all the space you can with meditations and application. Or you might even do something only faintly related to either of these. But whichever you do, decide up front and keep it as consistent as possible.

3. Settle your details.

Figure out things like highlighter colors, pen points, index, etc. For instance, you might decide to keep it to three simple colors: yellow for importance, pink for repeated content within a specific book, and sky blue for inter-textual allusions. Remember that these colors vary among brands. If possible, stick with one type like this. For pens, you might decide to use a black Micron 005 for margin notes and a blue one for underlining. This archival ink is waterproof and never fades. (And don’t forget a ruler for those underlines.)

4. Pick your time.

Think through when you are going to journal in this Bible. Maybe it will become part of your daily Bible reading. Maybe you’ll dip into it a couple times a week. Maybe you’ll fluctuate between an intensive season and taking a routine break. Don’t forget that this is a project for the long haul. There’s no need to rush it. What matters most is that through God’s word you are believing his gospel and enjoying him — that is, remembering what you want to remind your children.

The original article can be found here.