Will we listen to the voice that tells us to exist solely for the present moment and the pleasures of this life, or will we listen to the voice with a staff in his hand and a veil on his face? The voice that would have spent time with God–face to face–as a friend? The voice that says to use your time wisely since you don’t know how much you have. One of these voices is well acquainted with the character of the Lord. This voice knows that eternity is coming and that our present life is as fleeting as a vapor. That the next life will last forever.
5,409 days. That’s how long my dear wife lived on this Earth. When we were dating, we obviously had no idea. When we got engaged, there were no mystical revelation. And when we got married, this number certainly wasn’t written on the back of the marriage certificate for us to see.
In our twenties we were rather unaware. Most of our thirties passed normally. But cancer struck when she was 38 and death was suddenly part of our thoughts about the future. She would end up living four more years. Chemotherapy would work excellent and she would carry on. But one year ago the unwelcome guest would visit again. This time cancer never left. My wife lived 15,409 days. How would we have lived differently if we had a ticker counting down each day. What if we knew when we got married that she only had 8,174 days left? What would we do differently? Or when our first child was born, would knowing she only had 3,577 days left have changed the myriad of decisions we would make as we raised our children?
Some would object to this way of thinking. With all the swagger of Wayne and Garth, they would cry “live in the now!” Why waste time worrying, just live! Live your life “authentically” as you go from day to day. But another voice would disagree. With, perhaps, his staff in hand and maybe a veil on his face, he would say the opposite. “Teach us to number our days, oh Lord, that we might get a heart of wisdom.”
In Psalm 90 Moses declares four characteristics of God and what our response should be. In verses 1-2 he speaks of the eternality of God.
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By Nicholas T. Batzig — 1 year ago
Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
We need to remind ourselves of those precious truths of the gospel—namely, that through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection, the power of sin has been broken, the guilt of our sin has been forgiven and dealt with, and the assurance of God’s presence secured to us.
Today marks 21 years since the Lord brought me to saving faith and repentance. I always find it to be a good practice to meditate on the way in which the Lord draw me out of a pit of sin and misery and to Himself in Christ. Remembering what we once were when we were dead in sins and what God did to mercifully draw us to Himself through the saving work of Christ is vital if we are to make advancement in our spiritual growth in grace. The Christian life is often fueled most of all not by learning new things (although there are always more important truths for us to learn in God’s word) but by remembering those truths that God has already revealed to us.
There are at least three clear places in Scripture that encourage us to remember the truth of the gospel in order to make progress in growth in Christ-likeness. The first passage is Romans 6. There, the Apostle Paul explained that if we are united to Jesus we have died with Him, been buried with Him, and risen with Him. In light of this truth–and the accompanying truths about our having died to the power of sin since He died to it’s power–Paul charges believers with the following words: “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:11). Paul was charging believers to preach a specific aspect of the Gospel–what theologians call definitive sanctification–to ourselves. This charge comes on the heal of the question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?” Through our union with Christ crucified and risen, we have a powerful tool to encourage holiness in the lives of believers. If we are struggling with a particular sin or on the brink of giving into some sin, Paul charges us to preach to ourselves that aspect of the gospel in which there has been a definitive breach with sin’s power.
By Staff — 1 month ago
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 1-10.
In 2023 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 1-10:
Russell Moore Loses His Religion
It is important to remember that three months before his departure, a Southern Baptist task force determined that Moore’s organization was “a source of significant distraction from the Great Commission work of Southern Baptists.” The report cited things like participating in the partially Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table, filing an amicus brief to support a mosque, failing to support the religious liberty of California churches during Covid-19, and a general tone of condescension and unresponsiveness. Moore’s opposition to President Trump was only factor in determining mission drift.  This lack of self-awareness on Moore’s part can almost be considered the theme of his book.
A Philosopher’s Guide to the Overtures Presented to the PCA General Assembly
In what follows, I take a different approach. I give my frank assessment of the overtures in the hopes that, even if you disagree with me, you can better formulate reasons for why you do so. I also, at times, offer an analysis of different issues surrounding the overtures. This approach will, I hope, be helpful to anyone interested in current issues facing Christians everywhere.
8 PCA GA 50: Summary of 20 Key Events & Highlights
Overture 29: Passed Presbyteries 79-1. An Officer’s view of Indwelling Sin, Actual Sin, and Sanctification matter. This is the language that was approved to BCO 16.4: “Officers in the Presbyterian Church in America must be above reproach in their walk and Christlike in their character. While office bearers will see spiritual perfection only in glory, they will continue in this life to confess and to mortify remaining sins in light of God’s work of progressive sanctification. Therefore, to be qualified for office, they must affirm the sinfulness of fallen desires, the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, and be committed to the pursuit of Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations, inclinations, and actions.”
Final Tally From PCA Presbyteries on Overture 15
O15 was one of three overtures presbyteries considered in 2022-23 on the topic of sexuality. Overture 29 (O29) and Overture 31 (O31) passed in a supermajority of presbyteries and will come to the floor of GA this summer, where a simple majority vote of commissioners will amend the BCO with their language. Two sexuality overtures—Overture 23 (O23) and Overture 37 (O37)—failed to reach the two-thirds threshold in 2021-22.
Tell the PCA’s Magazine to Issue a Retraction
As fallible humans we all sometimes succumb to haste, emotion, and the influence of others, especially the media, whose sole occupation lies in seeking to get us to believe its narratives and to think and act along its preferred lines. Add in the rigors and tedium of pastoral and publishing work and mistakes are apt to happen sometimes, even large ones. In such cases a little public or private contradiction that seeks to set one right is justified, provided it is moved by charity and expressed courteously.
My Complicated Feelings about Tim Keller
It was his focus on the eternal issues of life—of issues of meaning—that really hooked me. Nowhere else was anybody I knew talking about these things in the way that Tim was. He illustrated his points through philosophy, art, pop culture and yes, the Bible. But it was a Bible I had never been introduced to, despite attending church and Sunday school every weekend of my childhood. He brought it alive and showed how it was actually relevant to my life.
4. The PCA’s Denominational Magazine Goes Political: A Rejoinder to David Cassidy’s “Prayer and Work in the Face of Violence” at By Faith Online
This is the social justice gospel exposing itself openly, without modesty and without regard to how repulsive it is to the many other PCA members who believe in the spirituality of the church (Col. 3:1-3), the prudence of minding one’s own affairs rather than those of other communities (Prov. 26:17), and the propriety of an armed citizenry (Neh. 4:7-23). It has nothing to do with the duties of Cassidy’s office, not anything to do with our denomination or its faith: it is contemporary urban political preference presented as edifying Christian teaching, a coercion to agree masquerading as earnest Christian appeal.
Scott Sauls, Author and Nashville Pastor, Placed on Indefinite Leave of Absence
Sauls’ standing as a pastor will also be reviewed at an upcoming meeting of the Nashville Presbytery. According to the denomination’s rules, he is considered a “teaching elder” whose status as a minister is overseen by that local presbytery. That presbytery will have the final say over the length and conditions of Sauls’ leave.
Actions of the 50th PCA General Assembly
In the report of the Review of Presbytery Records, the Assembly approved the recommendation that Metropolitan New York Presbytery appear before the Standing Judicial Commission to adjudicate several matters pertaining to proceedings on the Lord’s Day. The Assembly also approved the recommendation that Northwest Georgia Presbytery appear before the Standing Judicial Commission to adjudicate a matter pertaining to the approval of calls and installation of three candidates.
And the number one story on The Aquila Report for 2023:
Actions of massive significance call for significant accountability. Self-reflection is a good spiritual discipline, also for church leaders. Did we engage in spiritual abuse when we turned away faithful worshipers? Were we condescending toward mask-wearers seeking to protect vulnerable family members? Did we demand submission to civil government on matters better left to individual conscience? I for one am still bothered by the restrictions we did place on our own congregation. Couldn’t we have simply let sincere Christians make up their own minds on timing and masks and everything else? Did we lord it over the flock? Did we succumb to fear?
By Shane Morris — 8 months ago
As Pride Month and its demands increasingly invade all of life, Christians must understand the semireligious nature of the culture war we’re fighting. Homosexual behavior and cross-dressing are nothing new, but as Scrivener, Holland, and (I suspect) Chesterton would argue, the way these things are sold today—as a matter of oppressed and outcast minorities in need of compassion and deserving of equality—is new. And that’s because of Christianity.
Watching the music video for the new song “Boys Will Be Girls” by former Caedmon’s Call lead singer Derek Webb, I experienced a strange mixture of disgust, pity, and clarity about the appeal of his message. That message, part of Webb’s new album, The Jesus Hypothesis, is anything but subtle: it’s a celebration of gender transition and drag, written in response to the coming out of a close friend. In the chorus, Webb sings,
Where sometimes boys will be girlsSometimes armor will be pearlsWhat you put on, oh, it shows the worldHow hard you’re fightingBrother, sometimes boys will be girls
Appealing to Jesus
The video is, if possible, even more in-your-face. Webb goes under the brush for his own drag makeover by (self-described) “shame-slaying, hip-swaying heathen” singer-songwriter Flamy Grant (real name: Matthew Blake). It opens with a quotation by progressive pastor Stan Mitchell that reveals something of Webb’s evolved thinking on the church and LGBT+ issues: “If you claim to be someone’s ally, but aren’t getting hit by the stones thrown at them, you’re not standing close enough.”
So Webb shows us how close he’s standing. After Blake plasters him with a wig and layers of flamboyant makeup, both appear on the stage of what looks like an empty church and sing the on-the-nose final verse:
I heard Jesus loved and spent his life with those whoWere abandoned by proud and fearful menSo if a church won’t celebrate and love youThey’re believing lies that can’t save you or them‘Cause you’re so beautiful by any name
For a guy who grew up hearing Caedmon’s Call hits like “We Delight” on the radio and loved the band’s collaborations with and tributes to the late Rich Mullins, gut punches like this can tarnish what felt like purer years. Webb’s moral deconstruction is neither the highest profile nor the most unexpected in recent memory. But in many ways, it’s one of the most revealing for those who want to understand why LGBT+ ideology has made inroads within evangelicalism.
Musically and instinctively, there’s an appeal to Webb’s message. As he looks you in the eye and sings of love and compassion, as the instrumentals suggest the struggle of a tender soul against cruel and repressive social demands, you feel what he’s saying. The lyrics—in spite of a conspicuous f-bomb—pointedly invoke the listener’s nurturing impulses. It’s not “sometimes men will be women” but “sometimes boys will be girls.” To laugh this off, to ridicule or inwardly gag at this spectacle, feels like attacking something childlike and even pure. Webb may be the one caked in makeup, but his song and music video are a calculated dare to critics: Go ahead. Paint yourself as the churchy villain I’m talking about. Be the “proud and fearful” Pharisee who abandons people like me. Jesus won’t.
And yet, stop and remember what we’re talking about. This song is a celebration of an impossible delusion that has turned society upside down and led to the physical and mental devastation of countless souls, young and old.