Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Friday, November 28, 2014

10 Reasons to Be Thankful

10 Reasons to Be Thankful - You may have missed a few of these in your times of thanks.

Complaints or Thanks?

Complaints or Thanks? - Paul David Tripp provides this assessment to measure your thankfulness.



THANKSGIVING
ASSESSMENT


  1. Do you
    find it easier to complain than to give thanks?
  2. Are
    you easily irritated and quickly impatient?
  3. Do
    mundane hassles get under your skin?
  4. Would
    the people who live nearest to you characterize you as a thankful person
    or a complaining person?
  5. Do you
    look at your world and find many reasons to complain because things aren’t
    going your way?
  6. Do you
    look at your world and find yourself blown away at the many reasons you
    have every day to give thanks?
  7. Do you
    view yourself as one who has been constantly short-changed and neglected?
  8. Do you
    view yourself as one who has been showered with blessings?
  9. How
    often do you grumble “If only I had _____” or “I wish that _____ was
    different”?
  10. How
    often do you whisper thanks to God or communicate thanks to those around
    you?

Thank God for God

Thank God for God – “We all have so much to thank God for, but we often fail to thank God for Himself; that there is a God, that there is such a God, and that such a God is our God.”

Abundant Thanksgiving in Poverty and True Wealth

Abundant Thanksgiving in Poverty and True Wealth – This is a good thanksgiving story from church history.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving: The Holiday God Requires

Thanksgiving: The Holiday God Requires - A good word as we move toward Thanksgiving Day.

Ferguson and the Path to Peace

Ferguson and the Path to PeaceRussell Moore speaks to the events in Ferguson

Want to Be Missional in the Way of Jesus? - Don’t Make These Five Mistakes

Want to Be Missional in the Way of Jesus?—Don’t Make These Five MistakesLiving on mission is important, and Christ must be the center of the missional Christian's message.

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond? Ed Stetzer provides a wise perspective on the issues.The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?”

A Letter to the Anxious Christian

A Letter to the Anxious Christian – Here are some good reminders to us in our worries.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude Is Hard to Do

Gratitude Is Hard to Do - Gratitude should fill the Christian’s life (1 Thess. 5:18; Acts 2:46-47), especially with Thanksgiving on the horizon. So why am I so prone to ingratitude? Genuine gratitude seems elusive.

Help to Increase Your Thanksgiving Appetite

Help to Increase Your Thanksgiving Appetite - When it comes to cultivating gratitude, we need all the help we can get.

I Choose to Trust Christ Today

I Choose to Trust Christ Today – Randy Alcorn shares, “In her book Choosing Gratitude, Nancy Leigh DeMoss shares a pledge written by a Bible teacher named Russell Kelfer. He challenged believers to write these words on a sheet of paper, and sign their names, then make a habit of recommitting themselves to it on a regular basis:

Having been born into the kingdom of God, I do hereby acknowledge that God’s purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all eternity.

I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain or to have success or prosperity. He has not guaranteed me perfect health. He has not guaranteed me perfect parents. He has not guaranteed me perfect children. He has not guaranteed me the absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings, or persecution.

What He has promised me is eternal life. What He has promised me is abundant life. What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life…

Therefore I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations, and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit, for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life.

In other words, this day—like every other day—belongs to God, not me. So, if God determines that I should spend time contending with a flat tire, an unpleasant confrontation, or even an unexpected trip to the emergency room, that’s completely up to Him. He knows best. He’s the master, I’m His servant. I have trusted Him with my eternal life, and I will trust Him with my life today.”


Four Reminders for Holiday Hospitality

Four Reminders for Holiday Hospitality – This is a good word as you anticipate hosting family and friends this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Does God Sound Like?

What Does God Sound Like? - Ridley Scott made an interesting decision for the voice of God, and it raises an important question.

14 Daggers that Help to Kill Worry

14 Daggers that Help to Kill WorryWhatever the source of your worries, here are 14 truths of Scripture, from Matthew 6:25-34. 

5 Ideas for Discussing Mockingjay with Teens: A Mars Hill Approach

5 Ideas for Discussing Mockingjay with Teens: A Mars Hill Approach - Media is never benign in its messages. With the next installment of the Hunger Games series coming out in theaters, how can you talk to your children about worldview (not just with with movie and book series but in all media consumption). 

Five Ways to Kill Anger

Five Ways to Kill Anger – “No matter how just your words may be, you ruin everything when you speak with anger.” Chrysostom

Friday, November 21, 2014

When Marriage Is No Longer Exciting

When Marriage Is No Longer Exciting - What to remember when the honeymoon phase fades and marriage feels like a lot of work.

Immigration and Church—Why It Matters

Immigration and Church—Why It MattersEd Stetzer writes, “Like many other evangelical leaders, I support immigration reform. However, probably like many, I'm very disappointed as to how this is playing out.”

The Local Church and the Supremacy of Christ

The Local Church and the Supremacy of Christ – “The local church is a community of Christians who live as the on-the-ground expression of the supremacy of Jesus by advancing his gospel in distance and depth.”

Why The Church Needs Struggling Members

Why The Church Needs Struggling Members – “It’s tempting to retreat from people in these times, but we must keep coming back because God warns us against quitting fellowship (Heb. 10:25).”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Devotional on Grace

Devotional on Grace – I’m enjoying Paul Tripp’s devotionals leading up to Thanksgiving. Today, Tripp writes, “Admit it, we’re all still a bit of a mess; that’s why we need God’s grace today as much as we needed it the first day we believed.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Prayer about Health Concerns and Healing

A Prayer about Health Concerns and Healing This is a good follow-up to Sunday’s prayer service.

Soul Earthquake

Soul Earthquake - “For the most part, I am safe; I am comfortable; I am happy. The level of terror I feel at the thought of giving it up is the indication of how tightly I am holding onto it all.”

Distinguishing the Spirit and the Serpent

Distinguishing the Spirit and the Serpent - “How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart?”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

3 Disciplines to Develop Wise Speech

3 Disciplines to Develop Wise SpeechOur speech should reflect Christ and the wisdom of God. Here are three ways to take next steps in this area.

Six Truths about Sickness

Six Truths about SicknessYou will experience sickness at some point in your life. What does the Bible teach about illness?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

5 Essential Phrases for Every Talk to Youth

5 Essential Phrases for Every Talk to Youth – These are true for all age groups today.

9 Steps to Putting That Sin to Death

9 Steps to Putting That Sin to Death“It’s a battle we all must fight. It’s a battle we all must fight from this moment until the moment we die. It’s a battle fraught with discouragement and setbacks, yet a battle we all can and must win. It’s the battle against sin.”

Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ Al Mohler expands on the topic of sexual orientation from a biblical perspective.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leaving Behind a Jesus Created in Our Image

Leaving Behind a Jesus Created in Our ImagePeople want Jesus in their own image, which is ironic because Jesus came so we could be remade in His image.

Stop Wondering What ‘Might Have Been’

Stop Wondering What‘ Might Have Been’How spending too much time reflecting on "if only"s can prevent us from moving forward.

Finding the Doorway to Hope

Finding the Doorway to Hope – Hopelessness is the doorway to hope. You have to give up on yourself before you will be excited about the hope that is yours in Christ Jesus.

Memorize the Mind of God

Memorize the Mind of God Scripture memory, at its best, is about feeding your soul today and mapping your life and mind onto the very life and mind of God.

A Theology of Healing

A Theology of Healing - Justin Taylor summarizes an interesting article at Christianity Today.

Are You Walking with God?

Are You Walking with God? - Janet Denison shares a great thought and challenge for any church leader.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10 Ways the Enemy Gets the Upper Hand in a Church

10 Ways the Enemy Gets the Upper Hand in a Church - All so true.

9 Things You Should Know About Military Chaplains

9 Things You Should Know About Military ChaplainsOn this Veterans Day, remember to pray for military chaplains. Here are some things to know that will inform your praying.

Thanksgiving Devotional

Thanksgiving Devotional - I am always blessed by Paul Tripp's ministry. You can sign up here for a free daily devotional from Paul Tripp that will help you prepare for Thanksgiving.

A Man's Greatest Challenge

A Man's Greatest ChallengeThis brief book review of a new release of the same title. The answer may surprise you.


In Defense of Marriage and the Rule of Law

In Defense of Marriage and the Rule of LawThis article helps break down the significance of the Sixth Circuit Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Love-Hate Relationship with Bible Study Tools

My Love-Hate Relationship with Bible Study Tools – “Modern Bible study tools are a great blessing—but if you rarely or never study the Bible without them, you’re not only doing it backward, you’re seriously missing out.”

Parenting Teaches Us to Be Better Children of God

Parenting Teaches Us to Be Better Children of God – This is an interesting article that uses a secular parenting book to illustrate biblical truth about relationship to God in Habbakkuk. 

What Sesame Street Taught Me About Ministry

What Sesame Street Taught Me About Ministry - This is an insightful piece from Jim Denison. Sesame Street has continued to transition itself to stay relevant and effective. Churches must do the same.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How To Know If It Is God You Are Hearing

I found this years ago. It is one of several such resources I walk through when discerning God's voice. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

How can we know if it’s God we are hearing?

  • What I heard helps me to respect (fear) the Lord and depart from evil.
  • The message increases my faith or my knowledge and understanding
  • of Scripture.
  • The actions that will result from following this word will be full of spiritual fruit: “purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, courtesy, good deeds, sincerity, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
  • What I heard strengthens me “with all might” so that I can keep going no matter what happens (Col. 1:11)
  • It causes me to experience joyfulness and thanksgiving to the Father (Col. 1:12)


Risk Is Right

Risk Is Right - Desiring God interviews Ebola survivor and missionary Nancy Writebol. “Along with her husband of 40 years, David, she was serving as a missionary in Monrovia, Liberia, before the Ebola outbreak. They served in a hospital that would become a frontline defense against the disease.”

12 Ways To Make (and Keep) Friends

12 Ways To Make (and Keep) FriendsThis is a great list for developing real friendships.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Here's Where Your Neighbors Are Theologically

Here's Where Your Neighbors Are Theologically— Trevin Wax analyzes our poll of self-identified evangelicals. What do people who claim to be Christians believe that is not biblical or Christian and how should we respond?

Is Politeness Killing Your Prayer Life?

Is Politeness Killing Your Prayer Life? - “Christians in North America are generally polite pray-ers.
We tend to pray correct, respectful words that we think God wants to hear. But
let's be honest, many of our prayers are tentative, repetitive, and somewhat
boring.”

What the Election Reveals About Us

What the Election Reveals About UsAl Mohler interprets the election results and what they say about our hearts.

3 Things To Consider Before That Next Big Sin

3 Things To Consider Before That Next Big Sin “Sin promises so much but delivers so little. Sin always amplifies its benefits and minimizes its cost.” 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Helping the Hurting

Helping the Hurting“As believers in Jesus, we are charged to walk alongside each other in our pain. We are called to mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:14). We are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We are to be compassionate, gentle, and patient with each other (Eph. 4:21 Pet. 3:8). Yet sometimes, in our efforts to reach out to a suffering friend, we unwittingly hurt the very ones we want to help.” 

7 Things Facebook Teaches Us About Real Community

7 Things Facebook Teaches Us About Real CommunityWe have a lot to learn from social media.

Five Truths About the Wrath of God

Five Truths About the Wrath of God – “We live in a day where we have set ourselves as the judge and God’s character is on trial.” This article helps to unpack biblical truths on the wrath of God.

Someday It Will Be Worth It

Someday It Will Be Worth It - You won’t be disappointed. Keep believing in Jesus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Here’s Proof That Your Vote Really Matters

Here’s Proof That Your Vote Really MattersToday is election day and Christians in America should vote prayerfully and faithfully. It is a big part of our responsibility as believers (Romans 13:1-7) and in our role as salt and light in the world. Here are examples of a few elections in which history was determined by slender margins.

20 Quotes from Tim Keller’s New Book on Prayer

20 Quotes from Tim Keller’s New Book on Prayer My copy is on the way. Here’s an example, “It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances.”

4 Ways Immigration Impacts the Mission of the Church

4 Ways Immigration Impacts the Mission of the ChurchImmigration is changing how the Church thinks about mission and outreach in North America.

Four Checks for Your Ebola Fears

Four Checks for Your Ebola FearsJesus says, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do” (Luke 12:4). This is an important verse for Christians to hear in the time of Ebola, a disease which kills the body, but can do nothing more.

The Myth of Hate

The Myth of Hate - “I’m told writing this post won’t matter. I can clarify until I’m blue in the face and nothing will change. It doesn’t matter what Christians actually think or believe about homosexuality. It seems the world will still believe what it wants to believe no matter what anyone says.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry

The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to MarryThere is one vital characteristic you should look for in a spouse but unfortunately, it is often forgotten.

General Confession from the Book of Common Prayer

I have several resources in my Prayer Notebook to encourage my daily prayer time. In prayers of confession, I sometimes pray through these meaningful words.

GENERAL CONFESSION FROM THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, 
we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,
we have offended against thy holy laws,
we have left undone those things which we ought to have done,
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
spare thou those who confess their faults,
restore thou those who are penitent,
according to thy promises declared unto mankind
in Christ Jesus our Lord;
and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.


Why Christians Should Vote

Why Christians Should Vote – “(As American Christians) we're in a curious position relative to most of Christian history. We are called to yield to authority, yet we also wield authority. To complicate matters even further, we share that authority with nonbelievers whose conception of the earthly good life will overlap with ours in some ways, and sharply diverge in others.”

Smashing Idols: Why Today's Church Leaders Must Still Fight the Same Old Battle

Smashing Idols: Why Today's Church Leaders Must Still Fight the Same Old Battle  – “It was John Calvin who said our heart is an idol factory. In a fallen world, people constantly seek things they can worship, even though the Creator is before us in plain view.”

Ten Reasons Why I’m Not Giving Up on Local Churches

Ten Reasons Why I’m Not Giving Up on Local Churches - Me too!

Did the Pope Endorse Evolution?

Did the Pope Endorse Evolution? - Jim Denison provides a more complete background on the Pope's statements on evolution.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Prayer for the Gospel to Impact Our Heads, Hearts, and Hands

A Prayer for the Gospel to Impact Our Heads, Hearts, and HandsThis is a good thought for your day.

The Sunday to Monday Gap

The Sunday to Monday Gap – “Because God is at work in the midst of the work we are doing, all of our work is sacred.”

Colonial America and How (Not) to Pray Against Cultural Decline

Colonial America and How (Not) to Pray Against Cultural Decline: I have come to look forward to reading what Thomas Kidd is writing. In this blog article he writes, "By the 1670s, a cadre of new Puritan ministers—perhaps
America’s first “evangelical” pastors—made a subtle but critical shift. For
these pastors, the emphasis was no longer so much on reform, but on revival;
not on people’s moral effort, but on God’s redemptive power."