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Jun 2013 4 Jun 4, 2013

We left off in the previous article after the third of six observations related to Paul’s prayer in 2 Thessalonians 3:5. There the apostle prayed: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (4) My fourth observation concerns the reality of the love of God for you and me. Having dealt with victims of virtually every imaginable form of abuse or sin, both rich and poor, both well known and anonymous, I’v...Read More

Jun 2013 4 Jun 4, 2013

Part of the genius of Jonathan Edwards’s conception of the will and genuine human freedom is the way in which he can affirm how the latter is compatible with necessity. Here’s how he did it. If a person should choose evil in consequence of that necessity which is external to his will and imposed upon him by constraint of natural forces, he is absolved from moral responsibility. But if he behaves unlawfully because of a necessity that is in his will and consi...Read More

Jun 2013 3 Jun 3, 2013

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). As I noted in the previous post, Paul’s aim in this prayer is to remind us that if we hope to endure and press through seasons where all we can think of is quitting, we need to experience the reality of God’s abiding affection for his children. So let me make several observations, some of which are in the form of a question, some are principles...Read More

Jun 2013 2 Jun 2, 2013

I dare say that all of us, at some time or other in the course of our Christian lives, reach the point at which we feel we can’t go on any farther, any longer. The obligations and responsibilities and duties that lay ahead of us are simply overwhelming. The demands placed on us by work and family and church feel insurmountable and suffocating. The expectations that well-meaning friends put upon us are unrealistic and the burden is simply too much to bear. We feel p...Read More

May 2013 31 May 31, 2013

“The gospel fosters individuality, in the sense of realization that as regards the present decisions that determine eternal destiny one stands alone before God; no one can make those decisions for someone else, and no one can enter the kingdom of God by hanging on to someone else’s coat-tails. The individuality that consists of a sense of personal identity and responsibility Godward is a Christian virtue, making for wise and thoughtful behavior, and is a nece...Read More

May 2013 31 May 31, 2013
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[About a month or so ago the Resurgence asked permission to post an abbreviated version of one of the chapters from my book, Tough Topics. They chose the topic: Why doesn’t God always heal the sick? If this interests you, I suggest you read the much longer chapter in the book. Short of that, here is the edited version from Resurgence.] God loved the Apostle Paul. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated Paul’s painful thorn in the flesh and then declined to remove i...Read More

May 2013 31 May 31, 2013
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For seven years I was on staff at a church that was passionately committed to corporate intercessory prayer. Ann and I typically would spend a minimum of six hours every week in corporate prayer meetings. On multiple occasions throughout the course of a year, the entire church would voluntarily commit to add fasting to our prayer. It wasn’t uncommon for us to go on three-day, five-day, even fourteen-day (and for some twenty-one day) water fasts. It wasn’t eas...Read More

May 2013 30 May 30, 2013

I’m typically a bit skeptical about public opinion polls. I often wonder about the views of those conducting the polls as well as the demographics that govern those whose opinions are solicited. But I found it interesting, and disturbing, that according to a recent Gallup poll (as reported in The Week, May 31, 2013), “standards of sexual morality are rapidly changing” in our country. Do with this what you will, but here are the results. 60% of Ameri...Read More

May 2013 30 May 30, 2013
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Jonathan Edwards was often told by opponents of the Great Awakening that it couldn’t be a work of God because “all things must be done decently and in order.” To which he replied: "But let it be considered what is the proper notion of confusion, but the breaking that order of things whereby they are properly disposed, and duly directed to their end, so that the order and due connection of means being broken they fail of their end. Now the conviction ...Read More

May 2013 29 May 29, 2013
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If you’ve ever visited Bridgeway you know that we freely and frequently lift our hands when we worship. Some people kneel down. Some sit. Some just stand. Some even dance. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked: “Sam, why do you lift your hands when you worship?” My answer is two-fold. First, I raise my hands when I pray and praise because I have explicit biblical precedent for doing so. I don’t know if I’ve found all biblical ins...Read More