Tim Challies

A La Carte (April 29)

I am finally on my way home from a ten-day speaking trip through the West Coast and Texas. It was a wonderful time but, as always, I will be glad to be home.
Today’s Kindle deals include some excellent picks from Crossway. If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with What’s Your Worldview? by James Anderson.
(Yesterday on the blog: A Book Unlike Any Other)

This article challenges the notion that we should allow ourselves to be guided by opposition or affirmed by the lack of opposition. “Difficulty and conflict, in and of themselves, are not good indicators that our work is finished. We so easily give in to the temptation to think that if we are serving where God wants us to be, then there won’t be any opposition or difficulty. We need to be reminded that such is not necessarily the case.”

“I am convinced that electronic communication, especially social media, makes it even harder to communicate righteously. There are several reasons this is true.” Jeff Johnson explains.

Kraig remembers a particularly memorable sermon. “It was entertaining, gripping, mesmerizing, and attention grabbing. He had lots of conjecture, guesswork, and speculation. Those last three words, while accurate to this sermon, are not the marks of biblical preaching.”

Brianna Lambert: “We all crouch down at every starting line, clueless as to what lies ahead. The unknowns start with our first cry and extend to every beginning to come: The turn of the tassel, a job acceptance, the walk down the aisle, two pink lines, or an empty home. What will come of our own piece of land called life? Like Abraham, we hold only a promise.”

“Here’s the thing: atheism is more than a denial of God with our words. It can also be a denial of God with our lives – with our thoughts, deeds, and words. Atheism can also be a denial of God with what we do and what we leave undone. Each time we sin, we actually deny God and his claims over our lives – effectively denying his existence. All of us still have the remnants of the old nature, and we have to admit that those remnants stink with the rot of atheism.”

It is so important to know and believe this about sin: that it wants us isolated.

I’ve examined the evidence and have chosen to believe it’s not wrong, but right. I’ve chosen to believe it’s good and pure and true, infallible and inerrant and sufficient.

Oh, [Christianity] is a great religion to live by, and it is a great religion to die by.
—De Witt Talmage

A Book Unlike Any Other

The Bible may be a book, but it is a book unlike any other. The Bible is inspired—breathed out by God and in that way perfectly reflects the mind and will of God. The Bible is also complete, sufficient, inerrant, and infallible. Because the Bible is all these things and so many more, it is powerful and effective. Because it is God’s Word, it comes with all the power and authority of God—power and authority sufficient to change us from the outside in.
Michael Horton says, “God’s word does not merely impart information; it actually creates life. It’s not only descriptive; it’s effective too. God speaking is God acting.” Thus, as we read the Bible, the Bible reads us. As we study the Bible, the Bible studies us. As we examine its every word, it examines our every thought, our every action, our every desire, our every inclination. It identifies our shortcomings; it calls us to change. But more than that, it provokes and promotes and causes that change.
How do we know? Because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). As God speaks through the Bible, God acts through the Bible, for “God speaking is God acting.”

Weekend A La Carte (April 27)

I am grateful to 21Five for sponsoring the blog this week. 21Five is a new Christian bookstore meant to resource Canadians with great books. I’m all for that!
Today’s Kindle deals include a few books that are worth considering.
(Yesterday on the blog: New and Notable Christian Books for April 2024)

This is such a neat little video—well worth watching.

Serena Wang introduces a term that could be quite helpful: soft discipleship.

I expect many parents are having to talk to their teens about Taylor Swift’s new album. Cara Ray offers some tips. “Taylor Swift and I have a complicated relationship. She doesn’t know it, but we do.”

I have heard so many variations of this question. And this is an excellent response to it.

Jonathan Noyes: “Suffering is a part of reality that we generally try to avoid. However, I’ve learned three important things about embracing suffering that have completely changed how I relate to God and deepened my relationship with him.”

Casey McCall: “I must admit that I don’t think about the Roman Empire that often. I do find myself, however, thinking about another era of history daily: the rise of the Nazis in Germany from 1920 to 1945. I want to understand how an entire nation, including most of the Christian church, came to embrace an ideology that so openly espoused racial hatred and ultimately murdered over six million Jews.”

From the moment of our salvation he begins to conform us to the image of his Son, to pare away whatever is earthly until there is nothing left but that which is heavenly.

He who boasts of being perfect is perfect in folly.
—Charles Spurgeon

Free Stuff Fridays (21Five)

This week the blog is sponsored by 21Five, a new Canadian Christian bookstore.
In recent years, many Christian bookstores across Canada have closed their physical and online doors. This is disappointing for believers, as many of the best products come from abroad and can be costly or complicated for Canadians to bring home. There are general online options out there but few that can cut through the noise and curate a collection of the best gospel-centred, God-glorifying books and products.
21Five is Canada’s newest Christian bookstore! We have a local, physical store in Ancaster (Hamilton), Ontario on Redeemer University’s campus, with many more resources online. Available to ship across Canada at great prices, 21Five is rooted in the Reformed tradition and offers a unique collection of resources marked by a commitment to the authority of scripture and an emphasis on the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of creation.
In addition to a wide and expanding selection of gospel-centred resources, here’s three more reasons to check out 21Five.ca: 

If there’s something we don’t have, let us know and we will do our best to get it for you! 
Looking for a bulk order? Churches and schools receive a 20% discount.
Free shipping on orders over $75 in Canada.

GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY
Enter for a chance to win one of ten $50 gift certificates to 21Five. Giftcards can be used online or in person to purchase:

Books
Journals 
Bibles
Devotionals
Mugs
Cards
Apparel 
Stickers
And more! 

CONTEST DETAILS
To enter, fill in your name and email address in the form below, which will add you to 21Five’s  eNewsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time. Contest open to Canadian residents only.
Giveaway ends May 4, 2024. 21Five will contact contest winners by email the week of May 6. 

New and Notable Christian Books for April 2024

It is surprisingly difficult to find a list of Christian books that have been released in any given month—especially if you want that list to be filtered by books released through particular publishers. That’s one of the reasons why I close each month by coming up with my list of New and Notable books. I comb through what I’ve received in the past month (and scour all the publishers’ websites) to come up with a list of titles that are interesting to me—and may just be interesting to you. Here are my picks for April. In each case I’ve included the publisher’s description.

Heavenward: How Eternity Can Change Your Life on Earth by Cameron Cole. “Though they’re destined for eternal glory, many Christians languish in earthly mindedness. Having never set their sights on things above, they lack hope in adversity and vibrancy in their faith. Where can believers find joy and inspiration for everyday life? It’s in the already-and-not-yet reality of heaven. Following the unexpected loss of his firstborn child, pastor Cameron Cole’s daily focus shifted drastically heavenward. He discovered that an intentional eternal mindset can bring meaning and joy to every Christian’s life. In this heartfelt, theologically rich book, Cole draws from his personal story of grief, the apostle Paul’s letters, and the examples of believers throughout history to demonstrate how heavenly mindedness fosters contentment, hope in suffering, motivation for missions and evangelism, commitment to morality and ethics, and no fear in death.” (Amazon)

Systematic Theology, Volume 1: From Canon to Concept by Stephen J Wellum. “Trinitarian, reformational, and baptistic, Stephen Wellum’s Systematic Theology models a serious evangelical engagement with the Scriptures while being grounded in church history and keenly aware of contemporary issues. Building on decades of research, Wellum formulates doctrine exegetically, covenantally, and canonically for a new generation of students, pastors, church leaders, and seasoned theologians.” Tom Schreiner says of it, “Steve Wellum is one of the most astute and brilliant theologians of our day and now we are treated to his magnum opus. This volume is a profound systematic theology that draws on biblical theology, historical theology, and philosophy in formulating a coherent and articulate presentation of Christian doctrine. In my mind no one has done this better today than Steve Wellum. He emphasizes that systematic theology is practical—it is theology applied to all of life. We all live, whether we know it or not, based on our systematic theology. Thus, this is a life-changing book that is a must read both for the academy and for the church.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Peace Over Perfection: Enjoying a Good God When You Feel You’re Never Good Enough by Faith Chang. “Many Christians, often without even realizing it, struggle with a type of Christian perfectionism. We strive to please God but are plagued with anxiety about making mistakes. We want to do God’s will but live with a self-berating inner voice even as we seek to serve him. We sincerely believe the gospel and love Jesus but struggle with never feeling good enough before God. How can Christians wholeheartedly pursue God without an undercurrent of guilt, fear or anxiety? How can imperfect people experience God’s peace while seeking to obey his perfect standards? Author Faith Chang addresses the struggles of her fellow ‘Christian perfectionists’ through meditations on God’s character. With nuance and care, she writes for those who seek to grow in Christ and live for God’s glory yet live in fear of failure. She explores the Bible to show that as God deals with us as in-process people, he is far more merciful, righteous and patient than we may have imagined. As we consider how he interacts bountifully with us, the weary and scrupulous Christian perfectionist will be freed to pursue God while experiencing his love and peace.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Perfect Unity: A Guide for Christian Doctrine and Life by Ralph Cunnington. “The world is tearing itself apart over identity politics. What is the answer? Recognizing that two things can be distinct yet inseparable. This concept—rooted in the writings of Augustine, John Calvin, and others—is in fact key to understanding some of the most precious truths about God, humanity, and salvation. Written to Christians of all ages and backgrounds, Ralph Cunnington’s systematic guide to Christian truth presents a challenging, orthodox message that is desperately needed today.” Sinclair Ferguson says of it, “Ralph Cunnington skillfully shows us that when it comes to the Christian faith, there is a loose thread that is worth pulling. Why? Because this thread will help us appreciate how beautifully God has woven the gospel. … Intrigued? Then read on!” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Biblical Typology: How the Old Testament Points to Christ, His Church, and the Consummation by Vern S. Poythress. “Believers read Scripture to follow Christ and deepen their relationship with him. But since a majority of the Bible was written before Jesus’s life and death on the cross, many people rely on the Old Testament for historical context and moral guidance alone. However, when studied in detail, we see how even the Old Testament reveals Christ as the center of God’s plan for redemption. Biblical Typology examines how the Old Testament foreshadows Christ, the church, and the consummation through types—or symbols—pointing toward fulfillment. Well-known for his academic yet accessible writing, Vern S. Poythress not only provides examples of types and analogies found in God’s word but also teaches readers a practical framework and diagram for effectively examining them throughout Scripture. Readers will learn how to identify and interpret biblical typology for themselves as they deepen their understanding of the Bible and the wisdom of God.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Choose Better: Five Biblical Models for Making Ethical Decisions by T. David Gordon. “How do we know if we’re making the best choices possible? Over the centuries, Christians in different traditions have distilled scriptural guidance into five models for ethical decision-making. Memorable and biblical, profound and practical, these models give us clear questions to ask in every situation. They help us not only to improve our own choices but to better understand the choices of fellow believers—especially when they differ from ours. Honed over years of teaching and supplemented by discussion questions, the contents of this short book will equip you to think biblically and choose better.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

The (Not-So-Secret) Secret to Reaching the Next Generation by Kevin DeYoung. “Church leaders are continuously concerned they might lose the next generation of faithful believers. They’ve scoured for practical and effective ways to disciple young Christians, often resorting to adopting new and exciting programs, emotional appeals, or mere moralism. However helpful these attempts are, they all too often lack one critical element—Christ. In this concise booklet, bestselling author Kevin DeYoung presents 5 Christlike ways to effectively communicate the Christian faith and practice with the next generation. DeYoung reminds leaders that they won’t ultimately impact young hearts with cleverness, humor, or good looks but by walking with Jesus and following his ways—grab them with passion, win them with love, hold them with holiness, challenge them with truth, and amaze them with God.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

All the Genealogies of the Bible: Visual Charts and Exegetical Commentary by Nancy Dawson. This one actually came out a few months ago, but I only just received a review copy. What a neat resource! “The Bible contains hundreds of genealogies that fulfill multiple purposes, yet the significance of these genealogies can admittedly be difficult to grasp. In All the Genealogies of the Bible, author Nancy presents every genealogy in the Bible in a simple, visual format. Esteemed biblical scholars Eugene Merrill and Andreas Kostenberger supplement Dawson’s work with brief commentary on each genealogy. Dawson works with both complete genealogies and partial lists, piecing together names in different passages to illustrate the interrelationships of various biblical characters for deeper study. Including more than 340 genealogies, All the Genealogies of the Bible is organized in biblical order and is equipped with tools you’ll need to navigate the book easily. A one-of-a-kind reference work, All the Genealogies of the Bible will be useful for pastors, Bible teachers, students, and anyone wanting to study the Bible more deeply from the unique vantage point of its many genealogies.” (Amazon)

You Are Not Forgotten: Discovering the God Who Sees the Overlooked and Disregarded by Christine Hoover. “Have you ever felt forgotten, disregarded, wounded, invisible, or invalidated by others? Do you ever experience the pain and anger of feeling unseen? Has this left you wondering if you’re truly worthy of being acknowledged, listened to, and loved? Oftentimes, when we are in this place, we turn toward God with soul-wrenching questions: Where are you, God? Have you forgotten me? Are you paying attention to what is happening to me? Can I trust that you will act on my behalf? If you’ve asked these questions, you are not alone. Author and Bible teacher Christine Hoover has asked these questions too, and she’s found that none of us are the first to feel overlooked or forgotten—and yet God has always been a ‘God Who Sees.’ In fact, it was a woman named Hagar in the Bible, alone in her desperate wilderness, who first spoke this particular name for God. Her story along with others in Scripture reveal that God not only looks upon us when others disregard us, He looks after us.” (Amazon)

Never Shaken: Finding Your Footing When the World is Sliding Away by Daniel Henderson. “Do you feel tossed about or a little disoriented? The foundations of predictable society are shifting. In this ambiguous cultural forecast, we’re wondering what’s right, what matters most, and how we should respond. How do we build a meaningful life and legacy when our lives feel fragile—when our future seems discouragingly uncertain? With a pastoral heart Daniel Henderson looks to Psalm 15 when David—late in his years—was also trying to make sense of the strangest of times. David felt the unexpected loss of family, dignity, and destiny. Some of his pain was the result of seeds he’d sown earlier in his life. Yet, as he penned Psalm 15, he was led to the solid ground of intimacy with God and integrity in his own life. He was left with the promise from God that He would always be secure – never moved. The burdens under which David was laboring are staggeringly similar to our own. In Never Shaken, Henderson shows us how to build our lives on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He reveals how true worship and the presence of God is found in Christ’s life in and through us. This book is an invaluable resource for all who desire to live with the hope and courage of Jesus Christ no matter what befalls us.” (Amazon)

A Mother Held: Essays on Anxiety and Motherhood by Lara d’Entremont. “Can we trust God to care for us and our helpless babies just as much as we do, especially when he allows the turmoil of this world? When Lara became a mother, she thought she was losing her mind—literally. As she faced paranoia, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive compulsions, she viewed her life as the chaotic mess of a person pushed away by God and held under his stern gaze. She believed in God, but feared that he viewed her a burdensome child with too many problems. As she sought to care for her infants through various valleys of suffering, she struggled to trust God’s mighty hand that turned the tides of her life. In this collection of essays, Lara leads her reader through her battle with anxiety and the early days of motherhood—not to show the world her own perseverance or to draw their pity, but to cast their gaze to the One who carried her. In this collection of creative essays, Lara never strives to answer the “why?” to our cries, but displays the sovereignty and goodness of our Heavenly Father, both when our greatest joys and worst of fears come true. In each story, Lara leads her reader through her battle with anxiety and the early days of motherhood—not to show the world her own perseverance or to draw their pity, but to cast their gaze to the One who carried her through it all.” (Buy it at Amazon)

A La Carte (April 26)

May the Lord be with you and bless you today.
Because I’m out of my normal time zone, I’m adding Kindle deals a bit later in the day than I usually do. But I do continue to add them most days.
Westminster Books is offering a deal on a new book that explains five biblical models for making ethical decisions.

Samuel James: “A question is bothering me. Is Kanye West’s professed conversion to Christianity thrown into more doubt by his brazen antisemitism a couple of years ago, or by his recent announcement of his own “adult film” company? I am forced to admit that, for me personally, it was probably the latter. I doubt I’m alone.”

Joe Carter explains the Department of Education’s new rules that expand protections for LGBT+ students. He tells why it is concerning on a number of levels.

Shop books on Christian living, theology, devotionals, Bibles, family, counselling, and more! Find cards, stickers, notebooks, giftware, and apparel marked by a commitment to the authority of scripture and an emphasis on the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of creation. (Sponsored)

Sticking with Scripture, Beautiful Christian Life lists 12 wonderful responsibilities God has given to women.

Seth reflects on how slow, gradual growth in his garden parallels the deep, lasting happiness found in relationships and accomplishments over time.

Kirsten Abioye: “Being the parent of a disabled child is an absolute joy, and a total privilege. A child’s purpose is never solely to teach parents, but our son has undoubtedly taught me more than I’ve taught him; about life, privilege, faith, God.”

Darby Strickland answers a difficult question.

One day it will be said of all those who are his that God was faithful to his every word and true to his every promise. And together we will praise the name of the Lord our God.

Jesus binds himself to his people. No expiration date. No end of the road. Our side of the commitment will falter and stumble, but his never does.
—Dane Ortlund

A La Carte (April 25)

Good morning from Fort Worth, Texas. I’m here to speak at the Called to Counsel conference and am looking forward to meeting some of you along the way.
I added some Kindle deals yesterday morning and, as always, will look for more first thing today.
(Yesterday on the blog: Optimistic Denominationalism)

This is a wonderful piece of writing. “Now that the house was finally empty, it did not take long for silence to rush in and fill that rather large vacuum left by aunts, uncles, grandparents, children of all shapes and sizes, and all manner of distant relations. The silence was welcome for once. In light of the past few weeks I, to some degree, began to understand why Bilbo chose to slip away from his own birthday party in a cloak of invisibility rather than suffer the insufferable commotion that—good intentions aside—friends and family can stir up.”

This is a really good article that looks at more than influencer culture and teenagers. There’s lots here to challenge all of us.

Shop encouraging and engaging Christian books for children at 21Five, Canada’s newest Christian bookstore. Teach the little ones in your life about God’s truth and why it matters. Find age-appropriate books on topics such as creation, Bible stories, prayer, the life of Jesus, and more.  (Sponsored)

“There’s no going back to the ‘good ol’ days.’ Screens are with us whether we like it or not, some for the good and some for the bad. But the people in your life deserve you.” They do, indeed.

If you’ve ever wanted to read a defense of using wine (as in real wine with alcohol in it) during communion, you won’t do much better than this. “The common practice of celebrating the Supper with grape juice or some other form of substitute for alcoholic wine is, to my mind, a serious departure from the biblical pattern.” There’s no harm in reading the argument and being challenged by it.

This is a helpful reminder of what evangelism is all about (and how it so often happens in ordinary life).

I’m so glad that Heidi Tai is once again writing some articles. “Perhaps grand parenting is an opportunity to recreate the Tiny Years—to pause to be fully present, to leave no words unspoken, to have one last hug and kiss. Perhaps it’s a way to heal from past regret, to undo old cycles, to love a past version of a child they miss.”

They want more time to search for anything that will satisfy the longing of their hearts—more money, more women, more cars, more mansions, more plaudits, more power.

Seek to live a quiet life. Focus on where God has placed you and the work he has called you to in this moment. Pursue a heart of convictional kindness.
—Aaron Armstrong

Optimistic Denominationalism

It is one of the realities of the Christian faith that people love to criticize—the reality that there are a host of different denominations and a multitude of different expressions of Christian worship. We hear it from skeptics: If Christianity is true and if it really changes people, then why can’t you get along? We hear it from Roman Catholics: If the Protestant faith is biblical, then why is it splintered while the Catholic Church remains unified? I do not deny that both skeptics and Catholics ask valid questions.
But while believers have become accustomed to responding to this criticism with a sense of shame, I choose to see it in a different light. I choose to see each tradition as highlighting different aspects of God’s purpose for his people. This is what I consider “optimistic denominationalism.” It admits that the church is, indeed, divided along many different lines. But it looks for the good in it. Instead of focusing on the matters that divide us, it focuses on what each tradition chooses to emphasize.
The various paedobaptist traditions, for example, emphasize welcoming children into the full life of the worshipping community as did our Old Testament forebears. “Let the children come,” they say, “and come all the way by being baptized and received.” The Baptist traditions, on the other hand, value the beauty of the children of believers being raised in the church, professing faith, and being baptized on the basis of it. Only one of the two traditions ultimately has it right and only eternity will finally resolve the debate. But today, rather than focusing on matters of disagreement, why not take the optimistic approach and appreciate what each emphasizes? Both do what they do to honor the Lord and celebrate his grace.
Some Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed traditions sing only Psalms in their church services. They are convinced that unless the New Testament explicitly prescribes an element of worship, they should avoid it. Most other traditions will gladly sing psalms, hymns, and “spiritual songs” (such as modern worship or choruses). They are convinced that we must avoid what the New Testament explicitly forbids, but otherwise have a measure of freedom. Only one can be right, but both can be fully seeking to honor God and each can show us something beautiful: Those who hold to a strict interpretation of the regulative principle can emphasize the beauty of allowing God to regulate our worship while those who hold to it in a looser sense can emphasize the many ways in which God is pleased to receive our worship. We can face the disagreement with optimism and appreciate what each tradition brings to our experience of Christian worship.
Brethren churches traditionally celebrate the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. Worship without the Lord’s Supper is hardly recognizable as worship, they insist, for they understand Jesus to command it and the early church to model it. Churches in several other traditions celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a monthly or quarterly basis, some even insisting it is so important an occasion that they must spend weeks in proper examination and preparation. In the former tradition, we see the desire to commune with the Lord briefly but regularly while in the latter the desire is to commune with the Lord at such depth and length that it must be done infrequently. Rather than criticizing those who take an opposite viewpoint, why not appreciate what they choose to emphasize and respect their reasoning? Though their convictions may lead them to different denominations, we can see that distinction with optimism rather than pessimism.
Instead of criticizing the differences, we can appreciate the varied emphases.Share
This applies to any number of matters for which Christians have varied understandings—using instruments in worship or singing a cappella, permitting female deacons or reserving the office for men, keeping young children in the service or providing age-appropriate programs for them. In all of these ways, we can look to other traditions as observers rather than critics, to appreciate that while others may differ from us in our convictions, they do so for the best of motives. And instead of criticizing the differences, we can appreciate the varied emphases.
Some time ago I reflected on all this and suggested that as a prism refracts the light and separates it into its component colors, the differing traditions refract the Bible’s varying commands and emphases. As long as those traditions and denominations love Jesus, honor the Bible, and preach the gospel, we can love and respect them, appreciating what they add to our understanding of Christian worship.

A La Carte (April 24)

The God of peace be with you, my friends.
Westminster Books is offering $20 off a new book meant to help you better understand Covenant Theology.

“I’ve always thought of hospitality as opening my home to outsiders. And, of course, hospitality is not less than that . But as I’ve pondered this topic over the past few weeks, it has occurred to me that I I need to start my journey of hospitality with the people who make up my innermost circle. Hospitality to outsiders will be both hollow and shallow if I don’t practice it with my own family first.”

This is a very good question: What happens when the governing authorities are the ones who have done wrong? “The best available estimate is that 57 percent of wrongful convictions involved some type of government misconduct. Those 1,927 cases involving misconduct resulted in incarceration of men and women for a combined 19,976 years. In biblical terms, the sword of the state was wielded by wrongdoers against the innocent.”

This article explains a new report about transgender medications for kids.

Dane Ortlund celebrates Jesus Christ by offering 100 different “facets” of who he is.

Amy Shore: “The average married couple realizes at some point in their marriage that their spouse will not meet all their needs. As a single woman, I have learned in a different school. God has used Spiritual Mothers to teach me this lesson. Spiritual Mothers are a gracious provision in our lives given by God to both meet needs and to point us to Christ.”

For those who are interested in doing some theological reading, there is a new issue of Themelios that is free to read. It has 262 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews. The best article title is “Swimming in a Sanctimonious Sea of Subjectivity.”

It’s wrong of me to make light of their little sorrows by comparing them to their future greater sorrows. It’s right of me to support them as they build the strength and endurance that will carry them into and through the trials to come.

When you are struggling with anxiety, you must talk to and relate to God. There is no other way to experience lasting, abiding change, for this is the only way to change our hearts.
—Tim Lane

A La Carte (April 23)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.
I didn’t find a lot of Kindle deals yesterday, but will search again first thing in the morning.
(Yesterday on the blog: The Path to Contentment)

“Christianity has been accused of being pessimistic because of the doctrine of original sin, but it looks downright cheerful in comparison to much of climate activism. It has the best antidote to the problem of climate anxiety because it offers a vision of hope to a culture in despair.”

This is such a sweet article from Melissa. “Sometimes in moments like these, I feel a sense of amazement. What was I doing here, at 46 years old, swaying with this precious person that I didn’t know existed for the first several months of her life? How is it that God orchestrated such an interesting and unexpected story that intertwined our two lives, that made me her mother?”

Margy Tripp has wise counsel for parents wanting to engage their rebellious child. “The Scriptures are full of the qualities and content of reconciliation. It is a spiritual journey—a process, not an event. Let us consider some biblical counsel for dealing with broken relationships with older children that have been caused by sin and rebellion.”

“Is your pastor biblically unqualified? Then that situation pleases the devil while at the same time displeasing God. But if your pastor is biblically qualified, then you should know that Satan hates him. Godly, qualified pastors are a particular source of demonic rage.” Mitch Chase explains.

“Were it an option, I suspect all of us would happily purchase a ticket to the next transfiguration. But Jesus does not offer us or even the other disciples this opportunity. Jesus no longer invites us to climb mountains. Rather…”

I don’t anticipate preaching extemporaneously anytime soon, but was still challenged by this article on Spurgeon’s way of preaching.

If ever words were as water to a thirsty world, surely it was the words that Jesus spoke. How simple they were and yet how deep! How tender and full of love and yet how searching! 

The weight of sin is heavy, but those who are in Christ know the joy of having that weight removed. We do not face punishment but receive mercy. Even on the hardest of days, that wonderful liberation is worthy of our praise.
—Helen Thorne

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