May you know God’s sweetest blessings this weekend.
I want to extend my gratitude to TMAI for sponsoring the blog this week. I encourage you to get your free devotional today!
There is a very substantial list of Kindle deals today.
(Yesterday on the blog: Devotionals I Recommend for a New Year)
Samuel James explains what The Fellowship of the Ring meant to him and to an entire generation.
I love this new song from CityAlight. “In the darkness God will keep me / He will stay and never sleep / In the darkness God is brighter / Though the night is long and deep.”
This is a hobby I wanted to get into and maybe someday still will. “Being a birdwatcher is actually a lot like being a Christian. You get the same reactions from people: ‘Oh okay, well, whatever makes you happy …’ and they think you just hang out with old people all the time.”
This is just about a must-read.
Someone asked John Piper just how progressive a person can get before we can no longer consider him a Christian. It’s a great question and Piper answers it well.
Sometimes you just have to say, “wow.”
My friend, the more you love and honor God, the more you expose the evil of those who do not. The more you expose the evil of those who dishonor God, the more they’ll hate you.
The day of judgment will show that one of the greatest links in drawing some souls to God, has been the intercessory prayer of friends. —J.C. Ryle
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By Tim Challies — 8 months ago
Every Olympics provides us with a few special moments. While the great majority of the athletes and the great majority of their successes and failures quickly fade from our consciousness, a few special ones tend to stick around.
One moment from the 2020 Olympics that will remain in our minds, even if only because of the mountain of memes it generated, is an Australian swimming coach celebrating his athlete’s success. Ariarne Titmus has just narrowly edged out her American rival to claim a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle. Her coach, Dean Boxall, is overwhelmed with the emotion of it. While Titmus celebrates in the pool, Boxall celebrates in the stands far above where he screams and pumps his fists. Oblivious to the cameras capturing every moment, he yells and gesticulates madly in joy and celebration. He is very nearly overcome.
And well he should be, for though he is not the one who swam the race or the one who will soon have a gold medal to hang around his neck, he still shares in the victory. And because he shares in the victory, he shares in its glory. His celebration displays his involvement, it exhibits the fact that Titmus would not have triumphed had it not been for the attention, commitment, and expertise of her coach. Though it will be her name that goes in the record books, the victory belongs to both of them.
And just so, God arranges life in this world so that rewards are dispensed not just to the conspicuous few, but to the unseen many. There may be one pastor in a church who will receive the Lord’s commendation for his many years of faithful service. But surely God will not overlook the deacons who served every bit as faithfully, albeit in different ways. Surely God will not forget their diligence in “serving tables” so that their pastor could be fully committed to his ministry of Word and prayer. Surely God will not overlook the pastor’s wife who so lovingly supported her husband with her prayers and blessings. Surely whatever reward he receives will be gladly and joyfully shared with the ones who enabled him to serve so well.
I think of an old author who labored for many years to provide the church with books that would provoke and challenge, that would teach precious, needed truths. Though he sat in solitude in his study day after day and year after year, he did not work alone, for he had a secretary who served as his right hand. Whatever results the Lord brought about through those books, surely she shared in them for the way she supported and enabled him. He could not have done it without her, so surely the results are hers as much as his.
I think of an old missionary who ventured to distant lands and founded a ministry that proved powerfully effective in reaching men and women for Christ. Yet the funds that supported him had come entirely from a small number of philanthropists. While this missionary has had his name recorded in the annals of history, and while he is the subject of many biographies, their names have long since been forgotten. But there is no doubt that as they stand together before the Throne, they share equally in the joy, in the triumph, in the victory of that ministry and all the good it brought about.
No great accomplishment, no great triumph, no great success in the history of the Christian church, or the history of your life or mine, can be attributed solely to the individual who receives the acclaim. Though some may go unrecognized here, they shall be commended by the one who sees and knows all things. The ones who sow shall rejoice as much as the ones who reap, the ones who supported as much as the ones who accomplished. Those who shared in the labor shall share in the results, and share in the reward.
By Ref Cast — 9 months ago
May the God of love and peace be with you on this fine day.
(Yesterday on the blog: No Unfinished Sculptures)
The Gifts of This Age Point Us to the Age Still to Come
Jared Wilson: “What Jesus is saying is that marriage is meant for this age to point us to the reality of that age. How does it do that? There are so many broken marriages, and always have been since the fall, but it was originally like that. And even the best marriages, even the ones that last until death do them part, are often fraught with conflict or hurts or just disappointments.”
He Would Have Come With Me
I enjoyed this story of how God changed one man’s heart.
Navigating Cross-Cultural Relationships
Chopo Mwanza provides an interesting example of a cross-culture difference and offers some good counsel on navigating cross-cultural relationships.
“Over the years. In various cultures. Conversations over tea build friendships. And open doors. And our exchange moves from common everyday themes to the topic most essential. And dearest to my heart. Jesus.”
We Agree, Right?
Holly Mackle: “I’ve noticed a curious trend lately: in conversations with acquaintances or strangers I realize my conversation partner presumes I believe the same way they do on a given topic. Sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, whether the topic is politics, pandemic, or Pandora stations—it just keeps happening.”
In John 3:16, Does “The World” Refer To The Elect Or To Fallen Humanity? (Video)
Sinclair Ferguson answers well in this short video.
On Divisions and the Kingdom
“Are you growing in righteousness, and peace, and joy? All the things which we are absorbing, all the debates we are throwing ourselves into, all of our stances, all of our focus and attention on the things which divide, all of our talking points….are these bringing about righteousness and peace and joy? Maybe, then, they aren’t the stuff the kingdom is made of.”
Flashback: One Very Good Reason to Read Your Bible
The benefit of knowledge of God and intimacy with God extends to your family, to your neighbors, to your church. If you can’t or won’t do devotions for your own sake, won’t you do it for the sake of others?
Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord. —A.W. Pink
By Tim Challies — 7 months ago
The Lord be with you and bless you today
Lessons From the Reformation’s Pamphlet War
Carl Trueman: “What made the Reformation a popular success in so many places? There is no simple answer to this, but a key element was the pamphlet war: the production of short, cheap, polemical publications, often illustrated with woodcuts, that served to shape the mind of the populace. Both Protestants and Catholics engaged in this pamphlet war, which was perhaps the first battle for the popular mind in Western history.”
Drinking From the Jug of Suffering: The Steadfast Faith of Sheshi Kaniki
I was really moved by reading this account of a life well-lived. “Sheshi Kaniki loved to dance. Anyone visiting God’s Tribe Church in Tanzania witnessed this pastor engaging in delighted exultation, full-body worship. Always in the front row, next to his wife Trudie, Sheshi danced in praise — that same joy then radiating through his preaching.”
Why Will A Loving God Send People To Hell? (Video)
This video from TGC Africa deals well with a common question.
Bashing Babies on Boulders
“How could a group of people unflinchingly state, ‘Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock’ and then have the audacity to write such a statement down? More to the point, how does a psalm that celebrates little ones dashed against rocks (Ps. 137:9) belong in the same Bible where Jesus says, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 19:14)?”
2 Reasons Why ‘Jehovah’ Should Not Appear in English Bibles
“One of the more surprising truths of the Christian religion is that we don’t know for sure how to pronounce the name of our own God. Good evidence suggests it should be Yahweh, but good evidence is all God has chosen to leave us—not certainty. There is one thing we do know, though: God’s name is not Jehovah. That word is a colossal, unrepealable, European mistake.” Mark Ward answers.
Christian Living Reoriented
“There is a well-worn path in evangelical Christianity. It begins with the presentation of wonderful news – that God has done everything necessary, in Christ’s death on the cross, to make it possible for us to receive salvation. All we have to do is trust in Christ and we are saved. To put it another way, we don’t have to do anything, because Christ has done it for us. The path then makes a surprising turn.”
3 Reasons for Hope in the Face of Grief and Worry
Alistair Begg: “Most of us are a mixture of emotions and experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly wash over us regularly. The key issue is what we do with these feelings and experiences. How does being a believer shape the way in which we view our world, especially when we’re faced with worries and grief?”
Flashback: Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth (and Not-So-Youth)
Whether you are a young man, or a not-so-young man, you have the same calling from God: Rejoice in the wife God has given you. Rejoice in his precious gift.
It is quite time we should learn that worrying is neither a grace nor a duty, but rather a most unlovely blemish in a life—a sin that hurts the soul and grieves God. —J.R. Miller