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Is it because you see the need in the church today? Is it because of some situation that you were involved in where you saw that counseling was not provided when it ought to have been? Is it because you have always had a desire to minister to others? Is it because you like to be authoritative and tell others what to do? Even from these few suggestions, obviously, you can see that there are many reasons why someone might want to counsel; some laudable, some not. What are yours?
Perhaps you don’t even know why you are becoming interested—couldn’t spell out the reasons out if you were forced to do so at gun point. There simply may be something about counseling that entices you that you are unable to articulate. Perhaps you believe that you have gifts that seem to point you toward counseling. Whatever the reason—or reasons—you ought to sort them out. Why? Because the time will come when you will have to ask yourself whether or not your reasons are sufficient to sustain your interest in counseling. Counseling can get wearisome at times. It can become demanding, discouraging and time-consuming. It is in times like those that a proper, biblical...
Paul didn’t (see 2 Cor. 4:1, 16 HCSB). He didn’t, even though he had greater reason than you probably do for giving up (see vs. 7-15).
What kept him going on and on and on in spite of his trials? He tells you later in the chapter. Even though trials were wearing him out physically, inwardly he was being “renewed day by day (v. 16).”
Now why would God pour strength into him that way? Because he had the proper outlook, for one thing.
Here’s what he said:
What is happening to me is momentary, light, affliction. (v. 17).
How could he say that after all he underwent? He compared it with what was yet to come.
What was that? In contract to each of those three words, he looked forward to
an eternal weight of glory.
That’s what we all need—the belief in what God says awaits those who serve Him.
Peter opens his second letter with these words:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you
He wishes for blessings for his readers using the Greek (grace) and Hebrew (peace) salutations. What a marvelous introduction to what follows!
But how does this come about? Here Peter launches out beyond any ordinary salutation saying,
Through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord
Thereby, he doesn’t leave us a vague hope of sorts—no, he gives direction as well: we can receive grace (unmerited favor, mercy, help) and peace (tranquility and well-being) through knowledge.
Ah . . Christians need knowledge. Probably one of the greatest lacks in our day is genuine knowledge. Too many try to get along with a sheer paucity of it. How much knowledge do you have?
But it’s not just any old kind of knowledge he has in mind—what is in view is knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. First, the knowledge of the Gospel (how that Christ died for all those who would trust in Him as Savior) and then, knowledge of all the things that Jesus has commanded (Mt. 28: 20).
Have you even checked out the ...
You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent on You (Isa. 26:3)
That’s what you want—eh? Perfect peace—that is, peace that passes all understanding which guards your heart and mind!
You have enough troubles, worries and heartaches—you need peace.
How may it be attained? The passage tells you: it comes to those whose minds (heart—inner being) depend on God!
Fine, but how is that achieved? By faith—listen to the next verse:
for it [the mind] is trusting in You. (v.4 HCSB)
When we cast our cares upon Him in dependent trust, He, Who cares for us, removes the worry and frustration from us. Do you need such peace? Take heed.
Babylon’s time is almost up; her days are almost over.
God has a timetable! Things in our world—no matter how desperate they seem—are not out of hand. He is waiting to deal with the murderous, destructive forces at work at present until the time He has set to remove those who perpetrate them. When that time comes, He will “give rest” to His people (14:3) and cause them to sing a “song of contempt” (14:4) over those cruel, iniquitous oppressors who now have the ascendency over the just.
Take heart. Wait patiently and prayerfully. Remember, God has a timetable! His calendar may even now be in His hand!
Too many Christians experience communion with God as moths behave around lights. The light draws them in, but as they approach, the intense heat repels them. So the moth comes in and out, in a restless cycle of approaching and fleeing, drawing near and pulling away. Christians desire to draw near to God to know him and love him. As we do so, we find that the sight of God’s holiness reveals our sin, imperfections and wrong loves. Guilt and shame follow, and with it, the desire to hide from God (Genesis 3:9). As we break off communion, or refuse to confess our sins, we live in self-imposed leanness of soul, being starved of our soul’s nourishment: God himself. Eventually the spiritual hunger pangs are intense enough for us to return to God, seeking communion. God delights in the return of his wandering children, and restores us, where we can begin beholding him again. Unfortunately, for many, here the cycle begins again.
Our problem is twofold: we make God in our own image, and we are naturally legalists...
Pray for the words to say when giving the gospel.
Paul encouraged the Ephesians to persevere by “making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18) and also himself as he gave the gospel (Eph 6:19). He asked them to pray “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (...
We should use hymnals because…
“…hymnals give a a sense of unity as a body. This goes beyond the corporate worship of the local church. When I am able to travel and visit different churches, the hymnal, even if it is not the same one I am accustomed to, gives me a sense of unity with this local congregation and reminds me that I am part of a larger body.” – Brian
“…we can sing every single song in them without ever having known them before. When all we have are words projected on a screen, we don’t know what notes we’re supposed to sing unless we’ve already heard the song multiple times before.” – Nathaniel
“…the level of musicianship in churches has taken a giant slide downwards.” – Celia
“…they are full of rich doctrine.” – Beth
“…it is a visible and physical reminder that Christianity is not something new on the block. There are songs in there that have taught and inspired believers for hundreds of years. So I feel not only the unity with believers around the world, but with believers throughout history.” – Brian
“…the music we use in corporate worship ought to reflect and reinforce the theology which we claim to...
In May and July, the Lord gave me the opportunity to travel overseas to teach church history in three different countries. Two of the countries were in Africa and the other was a major Asian country. Two of the countries were new places for me to visit. In all three locations, I was in urban settings. In Africa, one city was a population hub of five million. In the other African city, I was located in the industrial center of the country. In Asia, the city I visited has a population of nine million and it is growing. Estimates are that it could reach twenty million in a few years. I saw dozens of new high-rise apartment buildings being erected—row after row of large cranes building thousands of new apartments. In both of these places, the advance of the gospel is going forward not because of Western missionaries but through the efforts of an army of dedicated nationals committed to reaching their people for Christ. As I made my way home from the final week of teaching, I began to think about the opportunities the Lord gave me. Several things occurred to me as I thanked the Lord for significant summer ministry. I want to take a few weeks to share some of...
Yesterday evening, as I was reading The Two Towers with my son, I came across this passage where Sam is asked about the beauty of Galadriel:
“The Lady of Lorien! Galadriel!” cried Sam. “You should see her, indeed you should, sir. I am only a hobbit, and gardening’s my job at home, sire, if you understand me, and I’m not much good at poetry–not at making it: a bit of a comic rhyme, perhaps, now and again, you know, but not real poetry–so I can’t tell you what I mean. It ought to be sung. You’d have to get Strider, Aragorn that is, or old Mr. Bilbo, for that. But I wish I could make a song about her. Beautiful she is, sir! Lovely! Sometimes like a great tree in flower, sometimes like a white daffodowndilly, small and slender like...
A few weeks back I offered a tribute to my dad for being a good parent to an unbelieving child (yours truly) by (1) being an agent of common grace, introducing me to “received laws” that God communicates generally to man in his image (language, logic, conduct, industry, etc.) and by (2) offering me the special grace of salvation and urging me to receive it. In his mercy God softened my heart in my late teens to receive the latter, but in the meantime, my parents were not stymied in their parenting efforts—they had plenty of common grace to pass along to their little pagan. They knew well that the world is filled with pagans of various degrees. Some pagans are morally upright, honest, industrious, law-abiding, and conservative. Others are immoral, dishonest, lazy, lawless, and licentious. And since I was at the time determined to remain a pagan, they deduced that a moral pagan was preferable to an immoral one. So they heaped common grace upon me and worked hard to make me the best possible pagan I could be.
Common grace, you see, is the sphere in which believers and...
One of the best-known lines from St. Paul is found at the beginning of his letter to the Philippians where he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). I think this was my life verse for at least a few years. In fact, I’m pretty sure I put the reference under my name in a handful of my friends’ high-school yearbooks. The problem, however, is that it’s never been obvious to me exactly what this verse means. I’ve known, of course, that it has something to do with Paul’s commitment to Christ. I just haven’t been sure about much beyond this. After all, Christ isn’t an obvious pair with gain. We’d expect something more like “For to me, to live is loss and to die is gain” or “For to me, to live is pretty good; it’s not terrible. But, to die—to rest with Christ, that is gain indeed.” Why does Paul use Christ here? What’s he trying to say?
The key, it seems to me, is found in the five verses that follow, which suggest that were Paul to continue to live, his ongoing ministry would benefit the Philippians (vv. 24–25...
In recent weeks, I’ve posted a few suggested reading lists in the field of church history. These lists have included broad overviews of church history, books on the history of Christian doctrine, and books that discuss church history in specific areas of the world. In this post, I want to narrow in on the Baptist denomination and recommend a few books related to Baptist history.
The standard Baptist history survey text and the one we currently use at DBTS is H. Leon McBeth’s The Baptist Heritage: Four...