Tuesday, June 20, 2017

To the Christian Rich - It is More Blessed to Give than to Receive

It just is, as the Apostle Paul says when he quotes Jesus (Ac 20:35), which is quite rare. A person is more blessed when he or she keeps less to give more away. This is a unique design within the kingdom of God, along with related realities like dying to live, and losing to gain, and being last to finish first, and serving to attain greatness, etc. Embrace the paradox. Open your hands.

Monday, June 19, 2017

To the Christian Rich - Being Poor is Not a Sin

It just isn't.

Protestant Preaching

"In Protestantism, preaching is not communication of information;
preaching is God meeting with His people through the proclamation of the Word."
Carl Trueman

This is true. Look at Scripture. God has always called His people to gather that He might then speak to them. And He has most often used qualified preachers and teachers as His voice. 

When It's Better to be Wrong

"There's nothing worse than Christians who don't have strong convictions on things. 
I would rather be wrong about something that's important 
than not think that that thing is important in the first place."  
Carl Trueman, during a Mortification of Spin podcast discussing being a theologian of the cross

Long Drive Home



                                                                                                                                                                                
"Well people anymore, they got no staying power. A love you come by easy it'll leave you just the same. You want something bad you gotta bleed a little for it. You gotta look it in the eye you gotta call it out by name."

There's some truth here.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Some Of God's Children Are Not Well, Because of God

"God deals strangely with the saints, contrary to all human wisdom and understanding, to the end that those who fear God are good Christians, may learn to depend on invisible things, and through mortification may be made alive again; for God's Word is a light that shines in a dark place, as all examples of faith show. Esau was accursed, yet it went well with him; he was lord in the land, and priest in the church; but Jacob had to fly, and dwell in poverty in another country. God deals with godly Christians much as with the ungodly, yea, and sometimes far worse. He deals with them even as a house-father with a son and a servant; he whips and beats the son much more and oftener than the servant, yet nevertheless, he gathers for the son a treasure to inherit, while a stubborn and a disobedient servant he beats not with the rod, but thrusts out of doors, and gives him nothing of the inheritance."  -  From Luther's Tabletalk, #77.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Forgotten Happiness and Perished Hope

I am the man who has seen affliction
Because of the rod of His wrath.

He has driven me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
Surely against me He has turned His hand
Repeatedly all the day.
He has caused my flesh 
and my skin to waste away,
He has broken my bones.
He has besieged and encompassed me with
bitterness and hardship.
In dark places He has made me dwell,
Like those who have long been dead.
He has walled me in so that I cannot go out;
He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry out and call for help,
He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.
He is to me like a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in secret places.
He has turned aside my ways 
and torn me to pieces;
He has made me desolate.
He bent His bow
And set me as a target for the arrow.
He made the arrows of His quiver
To enter into my inward parts.
I have become a laughingstock 
to all my people,
Their mocking song all the day.
He has filled me with bitterness,
He has made me drunk with wormwood.
He has broken my teeth with gravel;
He has made me cower in the dust.
My soul has been rejected from peace;
I have forgotten happiness.
So I say, “My strength has perished,
And so has my hope from the Lord.”
Jeremiah the Prophet, La 3:1-18

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

God Pounds His Chest

“I am the Lord, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these."
Is 45:5-7

God Deals Strangely with the Saints

"God deals strangely with the saints, contrary to all human wisdom and understanding, to the end that those who fear God are good Christians, may learn to depend on invisible things, and through mortification may be made alive again; for God's Word is a light that shines in a dark place, as all examples of faith show. Esau was accursed, yet it went well with him; he was lord in the land, and priest in the church; but Jacob had to fly, and dwell in poverty in another country. God deals with godly Christians much as with the ungodly, yea, and sometimes far worse. He deals with them even as a house-father with a son and a servant; he whips and beats the son much more and oftener than the servant, yet nevertheless, he gathers for the son a treasure to inherit, while a stubborn and a disobedient servant he beats not with the rod, but thrusts out of doors, and gives him nothing of the inheritance."  -  From Luther's Tabletalk, #77.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Post for Shepherds - Loving Your Flock Includes Not Fearing It

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/tim-keller-on-the-3-dangers-for-anyone-in-ministry

The above web address (for some reason it won't post as a link) will get you to a needed message concerning some hazards of pastoral ministry. Included in the talk is too brief a word on pastors as cowards and the multiple ways their fear of man is evidenced. These include remaining silent when one should speak, and also speaking, but as a bully. It would be quite difficult for me to communicate the affirmation I have felt since hearing Keller say what I have been saying for two decades, though to different audiences and without the welcome a Tim Keller receives.

I sincerely desire that pastors be helped and changed for the benefit of their flocks. My pastor needs this if he means to keep the pastoral commands we find in the pastoral epistles. And I have known for many years that one of the great detriments to the flock in this country is the pervasive fear of man that faithful pastors battle and useless pastors write off as an acceptable component of their personalities. Perhaps 2017 will be a year during which the number of true shepherds will increase, while the number of pusses and hirelings will decrease. There is much wrong with all of us. But if as a pastor you regularly prove to be unable to act courageously, you should resign, because you're doing too much damage to remain, and because it is okay to earn money and serve Jesus in another vocation.