Social Media Highlights (3/26/17)

Here are highlights from our various social media accounts over the past week.

Read why W. Robert Godfrey loves the Psalms.

— Ligonier Ministries (@Ligonier) March 20, 2017

The early-bird rate ends next week for our regional conference in Los Angeles. Register today and save. #ligcon

— Ligonier Ministries (@Ligonier) March 20, 2017

In our March issue, church-planting pastor Leonardo De Chirico answers questions related to ministry in Rome.

— Tabletalk Magazine (@Tabletalk) March 21, 2017

Join us for our 2018 National Conference. Registration is filling fast. Secure your space today and save. #ligcon

— Ligonier Ministries (@Ligonier) March 22, 2017

God never changes His mind. Watch as @DrStevenJLawson explores the biblical view of God’s immutability.

— Ligonier Ministries (@Ligonier) March 23, 2017

8 Rules for Growing in Godliness

By the end of first grade, every child has learned to grow a plant. They fill a cup with soil and press a seed into it. They pour water over their cup, place it in a sunny window, and wait. Sure enough, within days there are stirrings of life. First, roots begin to emerge, then a sprout, then a stem. Finally, a plant shoots up out of the soil and its tiny leaves unfurl. There is something wonderful about this, …

My Joy in the Desert

My Joy in the Desert

For most of us, the single greatest threat to our faith in God and his promises has been the miles we have walked in the desert. Suffering is the proving ground for what we believe. How will we respond when things go badly? Will adversity, disappointment, and crisis undo our trust in God and hope for the peace, joy, safety, and love of the gospel?

The apostle Peter writes his first letter to Christians in conflict. Since following Jesus, these believers have not found the peace, safety, or relief that they might have expected. This world and their lives continue to be marred by inconvenience, disease, disappointment, persecution, and even death.

Peter writes, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice” (1 Peter 4:12–13). Is there a more counter-cultural, counter-human-nature message in the Bible than this? Jesus invites us to follow him and enter into inexpressible and glorious joy, even in the most bitter, heartbreaking, and excruciating moments of our lives.

Our prayer in the desert is not simply for strength and survival, but for joy. Only Christians can truly rejoice in trials, because only Christians find more of God there.

Death-Defying God

Ironically and beautifully, in God’s providence, trials are meant by God to serve our fullest and most lasting good and happiness. Peter begins that same letter with praise: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:3). Why?

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3–4)

Blessed be the life-giving, death-defying, all-powerful God of absolutely miraculous mercy. If you believe and follow Jesus, you will face really difficult — likely even more difficult — things in this life. But the God who raises the dead is now your God. He is now with you, not against you. God has given you a new, true, and full life through his Son, Jesus. And the life he gives is filled with an unconquerable, unquenchable hope.

Unfading Future

One day, this hope will give birth to an inheritance in and with God beyond our wildest imaginations. This inheritance is imperishable. It doesn’t need an annual checkup. It can’t be used up. It will not die. It cannot die. Because our heavenly Father, who gave us life and adopted us into his family, cannot die. Nothing can touch or steal or spoil this inheritance.

It is undefiled. It’s not tainted or polluted in any way. Everything we have in this life, even our most precious possessions, are marred in some way by sin, either because they’re human and sinful, or because they sometimes tempt us into sin. Families, jobs, friends, sports, music, they’re all good and can be loved and enjoyed for God’s glory, but because of sin — because of our broken, deceitful, sinful hearts — there’s nothing perfectly good or safe or pure in this life. But our eternal hope, our heavenly inheritance, will be undefiled.

The inheritance we have with and from God is unfading. It cannot die, but everything fades with time, right? Passion fades. Energy fades as we age. Beauty fades. Our cars seem sturdy, well-built, reliable, but they fade. Our computers, fast and clean when we buy them, soon fade. They slow down and have to be replaced. Our bodies eventually age and break down and fail us. They fade. But our inheritance with God is unfading. Our hope is living and vibrant and filled with ever-renewing love, joy, and peace forever — always stronger, always deeper, never fading.

Learning to Love Desert Life

When we are faced with suffering, it’s not primarily about figuring out how to play the hand we’ve been dealt, but realizing the game is won. In Christ, our hand is already full of winning cards, so regardless of the particular situations, circumstances, or suffering we find ourselves up against, our hope is alive and our inheritance is huge because of God’s mercy to us in Jesus.

Faith like this will shock those around us. The world really doesn’t have a category for joy in suffering. They may rejoice in the baby born after the excruciating labor, or in the clean bill of health after hours of torment on a treadmill, or in the national pride and unity aroused after a terrorist attack. But they haven’t tasted joy in the pain, in the insult, in the heartache. They may just see the beauty and power of Jesus while watching you walk through your deserts and battles, and finally believe him for themselves.

God uses suffering to strengthen and purify our faith in his promises like nothing else. What we hold faithfully through trials, we are more likely to hold in the face of temptation. So, God sovereignly wields suffering to purify our hearts and our resolves for him so that we shine more brightly with his light and sufficiency. When we hold onto Christ through the loss, through the cancer, through the betrayal, we say that he is enough — that he is worth it all — and we prove that the Spirit is in us, sealing us and keeping us forever.

The suffering very painfully, but also very sweetly and powerfully, serves to prepare us for eternity and to display our good news to those around us now.

The Defeated Christian Life

We try weight loss programs for Christians when we should be focusing on the objective, once-and-for-all sacrifice for sins that God has given us to conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil. When we return to the good news of the . . . Continue reading →

The Pleasure of God in Those Who Hope in His Love

God delights in those who place the full weight of their hope in him.
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A Minister of Mercy

An Offer Too Good To Refuse

What a wonderful surprise! That’s was my reaction to the very kind and generous offer made by one of the older members of my congregation. He is a retired missionary who possesses a deep theological knowledge. I couldn’t believe my ears: ‘Take any books you like – you can have first pick from my library!” So on the appointed day, and at a pre-arranged time, I went round to my friend, with some sturdy cardboard boxes, and filled my car boot [trunk] with dozens of weighty tomes.

The Secret Workings of Providence

This all happened around the time when we recently moved house, so half of my library is still in boxes. This explains why I haven’t had much time to survey the contents properly or the leisure to digest their accumulated wisdom. Yet, as providence would have it, I recently read a quotation from Thomas Goodwin in a Banner of Truth magazine (it was either imbedded in a magazine article or just the bare quote and nothing else). The quotation was something along the lines of (my heavy paraphrase) “Salvation will not be withheld from any penitent sinner who comes to God truly believing that the Lord is full of mercy.”

Isn’t is […]

The Hidden Strength of a Weak Mother (Christian Men and Their Godly Moms)

You may have heard the phrase before: Behind every great man there’s a great woman. Like most maxims, it is generally true, even if not universally true. But here’s the surprise: Sometimes that great woman is not behind the man, but before him. Sometimes that great woman is not his wife but his mother. In this new series, “Christian Men and Their Godly Moms,” we are looking at noteworthy Christian leaders whose most formative spiritual influence was a godly mother. …

Weekend A La Carte (March 25)

Today’s Kindle deals include just Tolkien’s Roverandom which will likely appeal mostly to hard-core fans. Logos users will want to cast one final vote in March Madness and perhaps browse through the long, long list of deals. Churches, Get a Calvinist Pastor! Tom Nettles makes a pretty good case for it. Don’t Mess with Mary Edwards Walker What a great account of the only woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. “This morning,” wrote one Captain Benedict J. Semmes, “we …

TULIP and Reformed Theology: Total Depravity

The doctrine of total depravity reflects the Reformed viewpoint of original sin. That term—original sin—is often misunderstood in the popular arena. Some people assume that the term original sin must refer to the first sin—the origin…

Calvin on Republication of the Covenant of Works

by John Calvin

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” –  Galatians 3:11-12