God’s commandment is to believe in Jesus, and love the brethren. Once again it is made abundantly clear for even the feeblest saint, our confidence towards God is on the basis of faith in Christ alone. ”Faith alone” should be the key signature of our prayers.
And this is His commandment, That we should believe upon the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 24 And he that keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him. Now hereby we know that He dwells in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.
1 John 3:23-24
As this line of argument comes to a close, John puts a nail in timidity’s coffin. Here is the command we are to keep. A command which is uncomfortably simple to both the self-righteous and the self-pitying. But this command is a deep comfort to the feeblest of saints: believe in Jesus, and love one another (v23); and then trust that you rest in Him as He abides in you.
John’s argument (in vv20-21) is a decision making flowchart of sorts. Does your heart condemn you? If, yes? God is greater than your heart. Now, in light of that, does your heart condemn you no more? Good, then say your prayers (v22).
To come to God in prayer is to come to Him by the Son, by the Intercessor. Only a fool would try to come before God in order to pull off a heist; as if he could dupe God by coming in any other way than by the Son. When God’s greatness is displayed in Jesus Christ manifested in the flesh, prayer becomes like the no-doubt 3-pointer. We pray “Thy Kingdom come”, and we are certain that near and far, in our heart and in our homes, from shore to shore Christ is King and shall be exalted in all the earth. Who could pray such a bold prayer unless that had certainty that the Father would hear & answer such prayers?
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By Matt Boga — 9 months ago
Your deep insights and revelations come from spending minutes, that turn into hours, that turn into days, that turn into weeks. It’s once the truth of Scripture has been so branded on your heart that you finally begin to draw out the deep meanings of the text. This is why, very practically speaking, I encourage folks to memorize chunks of Scripture. Because the hours, days, and maybe even weeks and years it takes to commit passages to memory will have an eternal impact on your life with God.
Meditation is an often-neglected aspect of Christianity but in the introduction to the longest book in the Bible, the Psalmist tells us that this practice is a vital part of what true “blessedness” looks like. Psalm 1 begins, “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (vv. 1-2).
Now, there may be many reasons why we pull back at this word but let me state two. First, often folks associate mediation with eastern, non-Christian religions. So, in an effort not to accidentally do what is un-Christian, we end up intentionally failing to do what is a good Christian practice.
A second hesitation I often come across is far more practical. Many simply tell me, “Matt, I just don’t know how to meditate on God’s word. I don’t even know what that means. I wouldn’t know how to begin.” However, I’m confident—whether you know it or not—you do know how to meditate on God’s word. And I can say that with certainty because I’m sure you know how to hold a grudge.
Holding Holy Grudges
Think about it. What are you doing when you’re holding a grudge? You’re constantly throwing yourself back into whatever the instance was that offended you. All your spare, quiet moments are consumed with bitterness that eventually turns to rage and hatred because you’re constantly thinking about the offense.
Whether you’re mowing the lawn or doing the dishes, you’re imagining the person that upset you and what you’d say to them now if you had the chance. You probably win every argument you have about it in the shower. You spend so much time thinking about the instance you’re able to pull out every little detail of the offense, or the offender, that you can remember the whole interaction with vivid clarity.
This is what we ought to be doing with God’s word.
Biblical meditation is filling your mind and heart with God’s word. It’s swishing it around and around again in your head until the wakes of His word splash down into the depths of your heart. It’s like thoroughly chewing a piece of meat before you swallow it so that you know you’ve got all the rich flavor out of it.
And when you do this, one of the most interesting things you’ll find is that your deepest and most meaningful insights about Scripture don’t come from reading it once or spending a passing moment with the verse of the day. No, your deep insights and revelations come from spending minutes, that turn into hours, that turn into days, that turn into weeks. It’s once the truth of Scripture has been so branded on your heart that you finally begin to draw out the deep meanings of the text.
By Brad Isbell — 5 days ago
All is not well in the way worship is conducted in the PCA. Even as observance of the Lord’s Supper becomes more frequent in our churches, it seems that errors in its conduct multiply. These include the bizarre and biblically-unfounded practice of intinction (where the bread is dipped in wine and the two actions of the supper become confused), distribution of elements by unordained persons and even children, and so-called “young child communion” where some churches regularly admit children as young as four years old to the table.
The state of worship in the Presbyterian Church in America is arguably better than it has ever been, at least as far as liturgy goes. More churches now use recognizably Reformed liturgies than at any point in the denomination’s history. These are liturgies that include the biblical elements of worship—they are not just the standard evangelical format of “30 minutes of singing/30 minutes of preaching.” What may be lacking though are the hard-to-define (but essential) qualities of reverence and awe. What may be trending is leadership of worship that does not comport with or support presbyterian polity. And what may be chipping away at the foundations of proper worship are errant and novel practices, mostly regarding the Lord’s Supper.
Granted, most PCA churches employ liturgies that have more in common with those of the Continent rather than those of the holy presbyterian isle, Scotland. A standard PCA liturgy looks something like this, with minor variations in order and terminology:
Call to worshipHymn or psalmInvocationLord’s PrayerConfession of sinDeclaration/assurance of pardonConfession of faithSinging of the doxologyPrayer and offeringPastoral prayerScripture readingHymn or psalmScripture readingSermon (with prayer before and after)Lord’s Supper (weekly or monthly, bookended by additional prayers)Closing hymn or psalmBenediction
This is scripturally-regulated worship made up of biblical elements. The dialogical pattern of God speaking by his Word and his people responding in prayer, praise, and confession is obvious. There are many prayers and lots of scripture. Rearrange the order, change a term or two, and you have a liturgy that is common not only to most PCA churches, but also to most of the confessional churches affiliated with the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) and, indeed, to most conservative Reformed churches the world over for the last five centuries. But otherwise-solid liturgies may be undermined by things done, left undone, or done improperly—additions, omissions, and errors.
What are some examples of tangible and intangible things which have been added to liturgies, to the detriment of simple, biblical, Spirit-and-truth Reformed worship? We would propose the following:
First, an overly horizontal, man-centered ethos may be reflected in informal or casual approaches to the service, which could include announcements or presentations that break up the dialogical-biblical flow and tone of the service. These might focus on service opportunities or might amount to promotional pitches complete with video presentations or distribution of materials. Fellowship times in the middle of the service (sometimes called “passing of the peace” or even “halftime.”) might succeed in establishing a familiar or homey feel even as they distract from the holy purpose of worship. Children’s activities or the departure of children from the service at some point may also prove disruptive. Other unwelcome additions include showy musical performances, loud or complex musical accompaniment or leadership (which may also dominate visually as a central focus), or other inappropriate visual elements. Too often, we also find whole seasons imported to the simple, ordinary, and biblical Reformed tradition, like Lent and Holy Week. Somewhat related are the eclectic additions of the Anglican-attracted, which includes complicated and variable clerical garb and vestments, crossings, bowing at prescribed times, or turning to face a cross, bible, or procession. Finally (and possibly most destructive) we may bring “the warfare of the world…into the house of God,” as J. Gresham Machen lamented in the 1920s. In his day the imported social and political issues included “things that divide nation from nation and race from race…human pride…the passions of war.” Little has changed in the last 100 years since Machen published Christianity and Liberalism. The battle for spiritual worship continues.
Dobbs Isn’t the End. It’s the Beginning of a Ballot Measure Battle to Save Preborn Lives in Every StateBy Jordan Boyd — 7 months ago
Dobbs is not the end-all solution because there’s still plenty of pro-life work left to be done in states, especially those like Vermont where leftists are dreaming up new ways to hurt children. Conservatives and pro-lifers need to act now while the wind from possibly the largest Supreme Court decision in history is behind their backs.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling is not the end of the fight for unborn lives. It’s the beginning of a long, drawn-out battle to save unborn lives in all 50 states which are no longer under the curse of Roe v. Wade.
Despite the moaning, groaning, and gnashing of teeth from the pro-abortion left and their cronies in the corrupt corporate media that the end of women’s “health” is near, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the infamous ruling from 1973 will give states the authority to create their own protections for life inside the womb.
Voters and legislators in several states such as Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana, are attempting through petitions and bills to incorporate laws or constitutional amendments affirming an unborn or born alive baby’s right to live on their respective 2022 midterm ballots. Their quest to explicitly “defend and protect unborn children,” as stated in the Iowa legislature’s proposal, would strengthen the states’ abilities to restrict and even ban abortion.
Many of these measures are strongly opposed by pro-abortion groups and politicians who aren’t happy to see Roe go. In Kansas, Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly wrote off her state’s proposed life-saving amendment as an “economic development issue.”
“There are a number of CEOs who really look to see what kind of inclusive policies we have in place that make it easier for them to recruit and retain a talented work force. It will be an economic development issue for us,” Kelly said.
A Dobbs victory is worth celebrating because it means that pro-lifers who have benefitted from years of the cultural swing towards preserving life have an even better chance at protecting the unborn. But beware because it also opens the door for radically pro-baby-killing states to double down on their abortion agendas.
While pro-life voters and legislatures are actively fighting to amend constitutions to include protections for preborn babies, pro-abortion groups are plotting to take advantage of the festering Dobbs panic on the left and in the corporate media to rally their troops to put killing infants back on the books. Many blue states are trying to radically codify the unmitigated slaughter of unborn infants. If they are successful, hundreds of thousands of preborn babies will continue to die in states, predominantly Democrat-controlled ones, each and every year.