When God Feels Far Away – “It’s one of the most common experiences of the Christian life. God feels far away, like he’s hiding himself, or at least withholding his reviving presence. You feel destitute, dry, and desperate for a sense that he is still there, still listening, still caring.”
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Don’t Resent God’s Training Ground – “How should we respond when clearly-directed paths are interrupted with seemingly counterproductive stall outs? To what can we cling when we find ourselves on a wilderness journey with no end in sight?”
4 Lessons from the Bronze Serpent – “The book of Numbers contains the account of a strange event which took place during Israel’s time of wandering in the wilderness. It is most often referred to as Moses and the bronze serpent.”
Three Trademarks of a Growing, Healthy Friendship – “We pursue friendship with joy because there is practical help offered to us in the Scriptures, divine grace available for our specific struggles, and beautiful blessings to experience when biblical friendship is realized!”
Monday, January 30, 2017
Thirty Seconds Alone with God – “The span of our attention is of great concern to God. Long before the media age brought with it profound changes in how we reproduced and multiplied pages in the printing press, and long before breaking news (and fake news) buzzed and beeped on our smartphones, God was always concerned with our focus.”
The FAQs: President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigrants and Refugees – Joe Carter provides clarity on what the order actually says and does. This is concise and very helpful.
Present for the Gospel – “Circumstances will not always bend to our needs, our comfort, or our well-being. And yet the call of God on our lives, free of demand for self-sustaining effort, will require us to be faithful. To stay. To be present for the gospel.”
Christian Life Beyond the Quiet Time – “There are plenty of approaches to spiritual formation that amount to teaching us how to row our own boat. Some put in us a sailboat, but have us blowing deep breaths into the sail. Consequently, many of us get really tired on the way to nowhere.”
False Teachers and Deadly Doctrines – “Never has it been more important for Christians to commit themselves to rejecting false doctrine and pursuing sound doctrine, to ensure they are following teachers of truth, not peddlers of error.”
Sorting Through the Aftermath of the Executive Order Heard Round the World – My favorite quote in the article: “Our national discourse sure could use a heavy dose of this kind of wisdom. If Christians participating in this conversation can’t model it, then who will?”
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Kindness that Comes Too Late – “I’m sure I speak for other weary toilers when I say this: If my friends have alabaster jars of encouragement and affection that they intend to break over my dead body, I’d be grateful if they would bring them out on one of my weary days and open them then. I would rather have a coffin without a flower and a funeral without a eulogy than a life without the love and encouragement of friends.”
Compassion for Refugees, Immigrants, and Foreigners – “Heavenly Father, no matter the nation into which we were born, we were in the far away land of sin and death when you rescued us, and brought us into the gracious country of your heart. We were foreigners to your mercies, strangers to your grace, and rebels to your kingdom...”
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Why Complaining Is Killing Your Reputation at Work – Forbes magazine offers a secular illustration of the principle taught in Philippians 2:14-16.
Financial Disciplines: Remember Your Marriage – “Leaving a good financial legacy behind is worth striving for, but it’s far less valuable than the legacy of lifelong faithfulness. So learn to be content together.”
Friday, January 27, 2017
Outlive Your Life – “What are things truly worth our limited time and concentrated focus, because they’re not going to be thrown onto the next pile of trash or tossed into the thrift store donation box? The Bible tells us about some weighty things that will last.”
Find Your Self-Esteem in Someone Else – “This is where we find the restoration of healthy self-esteem: in a glorious humility and defined and experienced in a God-designed organic community — a community in which we know God and know each other: the body of Christ.”
How to Have Comfortable Conversations about God – “God has built a message into our lives. Take some time and write down three things you’ve come to know about God. Your testimony of how you came to Christ might also be valuable, but learn to say it in 15 or 20 seconds.”
10 Bible Verses That Will Help You Get Through a Rough Patch - You *can* get through the rest of winter
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Pessimistic About the Future? You Need “Gospel Bearings” – “An overly pessimistic view of the world leads to a defensive posture. A defensive posture leads to defensive decision-making. We start making decisions based on maintenance rather than mission. Holding on to what we have rather holds us back from moving forward in faith in the power of the gospel.”
Fake News – “In some ways, it’s difficult to me to take the controversy seriously, mostly because the folks who sound angriest are the same who usually ‘help’ the Church celebrate Christmas by running cover stories like, ‘The Truth about Jesus that the Church Doesn’t Want You to Know,’ then presenting a mind-numbing rehash about the Gnostic gospels that everyone has known to be fake for the past, oh, 2,000 years.”
President Trump, Me, Nebuchadnezzar and Our Sovereign God – “Help me to trust your heart when I cannot see your hand at work. Forgive me for thinking I need to inform you about certain international crises and personal situations—as though you’re not aware, or worse, as though you don’t care. Thank you Father, for your kindness and patience, when I’m fearful and faithless, under-believing and over-stressing.”
The Threat of Joy In Ministry – “My experience confirms the need for this warning. Joy in ministry can easily supersede the joy of salvation. Doing for God is an often unrecognizable substitute for God Himself because it keeps us prayerful, in the Word, and excited about the kingdom.”
The Christian & Culture: Three Ways to Engage with Your Neighbor – The Great Commandment and the Golden Rule make us better listeners.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
How to Practice Christian Encouragement – “Christian encouragement is a command. But like the command to evangelize, we find it awkward to employ in everyday life. It doesn’t have to be awkward, though. As with any other skill, we get better with practice.”
Pray Something Big Before You Eat – “Psalm 104 models that kind of praying, connecting the dots between the simplest things in life, like our daily food, and the most enormous and complicated, like weather patterns, food chains, and galaxies — and connecting them all with God. When you pause to pray before a meal, pray something big.”
Rethinking the Definition of Humility – “Over the years, the definition of humility has undergone a gradual but nonetheless profound change. Especially in the intellectual community. In the modern day, humility has basically become synonymous with another word: uncertainty. To be uncertain is to be humble. To be certain is to be arrogant. Thus, the cardinal sin in the intellectual world is to claim to know anything for sure.”
4 Things to Remember When Thinking about the Curses in the Psalms – These can be hard to understand, especially in light of the New Testament. Here’s some helpful guidelines.
Our God LOVES to Care for Us and Comfort Us – “Thank you for anticipating every challenging situation before us today, for knowing every fear and uncertainty of our hearts, and for staying faithfully committed to nourish and flourish us.
The America We Forgot – “Christians should oppose our polarized drift. We do so not simply when we think well, advocate for our neighbor, and vote. We do so when we act as if people who disagree with us are real human beings. We do so when we treat all people with dignity.”
Fear, Anxiety and the Power of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies - How to make sure your fears don't paralyze your life.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
5 Biblical Principles For Becoming A Better Friend – “But no matter how many friends you have and how many moments you've shared, everyone reading this post shares one thing in common: we have never had, and have never been, a perfect friend.”
Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of Profanity – “Dear Christian, words matter. They have the power to build up and to tear down; to bless and to poison (c.f. James 3). Therefore, let us recover, cultivate, and model godly speech in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and churches.”
Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic – “Since Planned Parenthood continues even today to spread this misleading statistic, it’s worth taking the time to explain yet again why it’s a blatant attempt to dupe the American people.”
The Value of Christian Protest – “Prayer is an under-estimated resource for affecting social change. Therefore, prayer is a powerful form of protest for Christians and one that should be more regularly utilized.”
Monday, January 23, 2017
The Life-Changing Magic of Showing Up – “We are obsessed with lifehacks and shortcuts today. Everywhere ads hit us with easy trick to grow our investments, to make dinner prep a breeze, to give us a toned body in seven minutes, to rack up credit card points. We’re tempted to believe that maybe, somehow, there’s a real shortcut there for Christian community and spiritual growth.”
When You’re Not On the Same Page, But In The Same Book – In today’s political climate: “If the church is to be any sort of counter-cultural movement, if it is to have any effective witness to a watching, suspicious world, it better be able to model what it means to love someone who vehemently disagrees with you on a whole range of cultural and political matters.”
The Sanctity of Unwanted Life – “Today marks the 44th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court. Since that Monday, January 22, 1973, just under 60 million babies have been legally executed in our country. That’s roughly 3,000 little lives lost every single day.”
Pornography Is Never Harmless, Never Private, Never Safe – “In a recent article, Marshall Segal addresses the problem of pornography. He lays out these bullet points that summarize pornography’s devastating consequences.”
Facts Are Our Friends: Why Sharing Fake News Makes Us Look Stupid and Harms Our Witness – Christians are supposed to be the people who think the “truth will set you free.”
In a Country Where Abortion is Illegal – “We tend to think that unjust things happen in third-world countries. But have you ever considered that the practices of your nation are shocking to someone in the third-world? I am not talking about just culture shock, but real moral outrage.”
Sunday, January 22, 2017
When You’re in the Pit – “Joseph had dreams. Big, God-given dreams about ruling over his family, being exalted to a high position of respect and power. Dreams that made his brothers angry and jealous. So they tossed him in a pit.”
Investing Our Greatest Emotional Energy in Loving Jesus – “May your love for us be the most enthralling, liberating, and compelling force in our lives—until the Day you return and we are made perfect in your love (1 Jn. 3:1-3). May your eternal kingdom, not our national fiefdom, seize our longings.”
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Christians, Let’s Pray for President Trump – “As Donald Trump takes office as the 45th President of the United States, we should pray that his presidency is a great and good one. That prayer applies to all, whether someone voted for the current president or not.” Russell Moore shares, not as a fan but as one who opposed the Trump campaign.
Why It's Time to Take a Second Look at Our Christian Worldview in Light of Our New Political Climate
Why It's Time to Take a Second Look at Our Christian Worldview in Light of Our New Political Climate – “A Christian worldview embraces two things: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.”
9 Things You Should Know About the Health Effects of Marijuana – “Last year the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee of experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the health effects of marijuana use. Here are nine things about the effects of marijuana you should know based on this report.”
Friday, January 20, 2017
Why I’m Thankful to Be An American Today – “Living overseas as an adult has made me much more appreciative of America. That's what I'm thinking about today, this very significant day in American history.” It’s a good perspective.
A New President and Our Eternal God – “Heavenly Father, today we begin a new presidency in the USA. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as conflicted on an inauguration day, and I’m sure I’ve never treasured this passage of Scripture more. You bid us pray for kings and rulers in high positions, precisely because the entire course of history is in your hands. Hallelujah!..”
We Are Not the Home Team: Christians and Culture in 2017 – “As Christians, we are not the home team, and until Christ’s return, we never will be.”
3 Principles to Communicate the Bible – “Christians are communicators. While some Christians may be more or less gifted in communication, all Christians are “witnesses.” Since we have been born again into Christ and witness personally the power of the gospel, we are to bear witness of what we have seen and heard.”
What the Bible Says About Not Being So Stressed Out - 'Stop worrying' is never that simple.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Exulting in the Shepherd – “I do not deny that there are many wonderful benefits for us, as God’s sheep, in this psalm, but we do not receive these benefits on the merit of being good sheep. We receive them on the merit of the Good Shepherd.”
Divine Words for Desperate Parents – “We need Scripture to puncture the pride that rises up in us when our child is doing well and we’re tempted to take the credit. And we need Scripture to save us from the despair that threatens to sink us when our child is floundering and we’re tempted to take all the blame.”
But First Let Me…Fill in the Blank – “Jesus is putting his finger on the great spiritual scandal of Christianity: Without spiritual life from him, a person is dead. Even a living person. Especially a living person.”
Inherited Faith Is Dying. Chosen Faith Is Not. – “Inherited religion no longer maintains its hold on most people. This is why, overall, fewer people born into a church-connected family end up attending and belonging to those congregations. However, she noted (against all expectations) that new movements of Christian faith are growing in Western cities.”
When the Beloved of God Are Hated By the World – “This question cannot be answered sociologically. It must be answered theologically. It ultimately doesn’t matter what you and I may do. It ultimately doesn’t matter how much we may give or how sacrificially we may serve or how compassionately we may love.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Church, This is a Call for Familial Friendship – “The cross is relentless in my life; it pursues and crucifies my claims on self-rule and self-glory. The gospel, because it is by nature sacrificial, requires my self-sacrifice.”
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships – About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care. Pray for God’s work in India.
How Much Blood Will Save My Soul? – “There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the place and meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices. So what did they mean? What did they accomplish? Three crystal clear answers are provided in Hebrews 10 verses 1-4.”
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Lord, Increase My Capacity to Love – “Talking about the lack of Christian love mainly as an external problem places no personal, specific demands on me…So, the way I need to frame the question is this: Do people know I am Jesus’s disciple by the way I love others?”
Congratulations on Surviving ‘Blue Monday’ – A psychologist named Cliff Arnall christened the third Monday in January as “Blue Monday.” According to him, the weather, debt from the holidays, and broken New Year’s resolutions combined to make yesterday “the most depressing day of the year.” Except that it wasn’t. Psychologists say the formula Arnall used has been “effectively debunked” and tell us that “there is no such thing as the most depressing day of the year.”
With Greater Age Comes Greater Sorrow – “Though aging is not without its benefits, it is known first for its sorrows. We experience this sorrow because greater age brings greater exposure to sin and its consequences. As we pass through time, we see more and more of the sin that lies within our hearts.”
When Christians Act Like Mormons – “We put on our best face. We ignore the difficult topics the Bible talks about and just focus on the love of Jesus. We focus on family as well, and on more happiness in this life and hope for the next. And as I think about the Mormon religion, I see three areas in particular where Christians are tempted to behave similarly.”
God Is Good, So Fight the Lies – “When you’re confused, heartbroken, in pain, grieving, lonely, betrayed, disappointed, and angry, I wonder if this sneaking suspicion lurks in you. Has it spoken its lies, and have you believed them?”
10 Things You Should Know About Sanctification – “We all hear a great deal about Christian sanctification, but what precisely is it, and how does it work? Today we look at ten things about this crucial biblical truth.”
Monday, January 16, 2017
What Martin Luther King’s Legacy Means for the Church – “Today our country pauses to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. As we do so, we may ask ourselves: Why, especially in a time of so much racial tension, injustice, and strife, did Dr. King’s message resonate with so many?”
November 8th Is Long Gone, So Where do Christians Find Themselves – “It is time for the Church to not be driven by a need for power, prestige, and influence. Actually, the Church on the margins has historically always been the place where God has done the most work.”
Are You a Confirmation Bias Christian? – “confirmation bias - The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories. “All of our hearts are idol factories,” John Calvin once said. We are never not worshiping. But there is one big idol all our little manufactured idols themselves serve, and that idol is us.
Teach Them: About Hell – “Children need to be taught solid theology, yet some subjects are much more difficult to explain than others. This piece by Joel Beeke encourages parents to their children the doctrine of hell with truth and love.”
Sunday, January 15, 2017
One More Time? Three Ways to Worship in Repetition – “When we look to learn from the experience of believers in other cultures, we find that repeating lyrics does not necessarily involve mindlessness. Indeed, repetition in worship offers certain opportunities for mindfulness that are difficult to access in many of our word-heavy worship songs. Consider these three ways to engage your mind during a repetitive time of worship.”
Saturday, January 14, 2017
The Crisis and Process of Forgiving – “Lord Jesus, both joy and knots shape my communion with you this morning. The joy is about the exhaustive forgiveness we have in you; the knots come from the costly implications of that same forgiveness…”
Friday, January 13, 2017
Sustaining Fruitful Family Devotions in the New Year – “As we begin a new year, allow me to share three keys to sustaining fruitful family devotions: conviction, content, and course.”
Gender as a Spectrum – Moral Chaos for Children – “According to National Geographic, gender identity and sexual orientation are fixed realities that are determined by children as they grow. The idea that humans are created male and female by God has been been discarded. The notion that gender can be determined at birth is also dismissed.”
Did Jesus Have a Sense of Humor? – “Jesus never laughed,” or so the pamphlet said. An adolescent boy at the time, I found myself laughing at every little thing—too often during church services. Reading that pamphlet I wondered, “So he never laughed? What was wrong with him?”
Thursday, January 12, 2017
The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian – Christianity Today: “For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high. But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism.”
Be a Parent Worthy of Honor – “Children do not bear the full responsibility of the fifth commandment. If children are to extend honor to their parents, parents are to make it easy for them by living honorable lives.”
8 Important Things About the Young Timothy – “The people God uses in the Bible are flawed. All of them are flawed. They come from sorted backgrounds and many exhibit major limitations. They are often frail in their faith, at least initially, and weak in many necessary skill sets. Despite all of this, God uses them mightily.”
An Appeal to the Church to Resist ‘Death With Dignity’ – Here are three good reasons why.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
The Simple, Daily Cultivation of God-Consciousness – “Brother Lawrence (1614–1691) wrote The Practice of the Presence of God about his constant, conscious rehearsal of God’s presence. He saw his relationship with God not as a mountaintop experience that fades in memory as years pass but as a moment-by-moment lifestyle.”
Mommy, Daddy, and Their Precious Little Bundle of Data – This is an interesting look at how digital technology is creating more fear, stress, and difficulty in parenting. Balance is always a key.
3 Areas in Which Parents Must Persevere – “The hardest aspect of parenting is often not our lack of understanding, but our failure to persevere. As parents, what we need the most is go continue doing the little things every single day.”
7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life – “Yet in watching out for the pitfalls of technology we should not overlook the ways that smartphones can be useful for spiritual formation. Here, for instance, are seven ways you can use your smartphone to enhance your spiritual life.”
Ten Reasons Taxpayers Should Defund Planned Parenthood – “Here are ten reasons why every taxpayer should support congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Twenty-Six Reasons Why Genesis 1:1 Is the Most Offensive Verse in the Bible – “here are twenty-six reasons why Genesis 1:1 is the most offensive, enraging verse in the Bible to the modern mind.”