Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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Courtesy of World Magazine

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CURRENT EVENTS:

  • Compassion for Refugees, Immigrants and Foreigners. Scotty Smith prays “We, who are Americans, pray for our government officials who have to make difficult decisions in the middle of a fresh and growing refugee crisis. May wisdom trump fear, generous welcome be more obvious than self-protection, and good policies prevail over partisan politics.”
  • The FAQ’s President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigrants and Refugees. Joe Carter provides this helpful overview of President Trump’s controversial and misunderstood executive order.
  • Finding Donald Trump in the Story of Jesus. Scott Sauls writes “Whatever hope some might be placing in Mr. Trump to be the answer to the world’s problems, such hope is misdirected, as only Jesus has the power to change the world with all of its complexities and social problems and thorns and thistles. Conversely, whatever crippling despair others might be feeling over Mr. Trump fails to account for the fact that Jesus is still firmly seated on his throne, holding the hearts of all kings in his hands, including this one.”
  • Wise Women Build: The March to Real Dignity. Rebekah Merkle Rebekah Merkle Rebekah Merkle Rebekah Merkle Rebekah Merkle writes “Our nation is in a giant mess right now, ladies, and we need to roll up our sleeves and build this house.”
  • On Board with Waterboarding? Richard Phillips writes “Most alarming to me has been the support of waterboarding and other forms of torture among evangelical Christians. To my surprise and indignation, instead of applying the obvious implications of the Sixth Commandment, Christian leaders have lined up in support of waterboarding.
  • Abortion Over the Atlantic. Samuel James writes about concerns with Moira Weigel’s article in the Atlantic “How Ultrasound Became Political”.
  • Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic. Joe Carter writes “Even if their claim was true and destroying human life in the womb only accounted for three percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities, it would still make them one of the greatest purveyors of injustice and evil in America. We shouldn’t quietly tolerate the abortion giant duping the public by using misleading statistics. But even more importantly, we must never remain silent about the moral horror Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics commit by killing our nation’s children.”

MOVIES AND TELEVISION:

  • The Quiet Message of Silence. Jared C. Wilson writes “Evangelicals like the idea that they can be Christians without the world knowing it. They tend to believe they can pray a prayer or walk an aisle or sign a card and have that equal assurance. Once “saved,” always “saved.” The idea that you can inwardly be a believer while outwardly living however you want, is very much in keeping with the theological spirit of American evangelicalism. In that regard, Scorsese made a great choice. And a terrible one.”
  • Oscar Nominations. The 2017 Oscar nominations were released on January 24. Christians will be interested in Mel Gibson and Andrew Garfield receiving nominations for Hacksaw Ridge, my #2 movie of 2016. In addition, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis received a nominations for Fences, my top movie of 2016.  Screen Actor Guild (SAG) Winners. I was pleased to see Denzel Washington and Viola Davis win for Fences, my top movie of 2016, and John Lithgow for his outstanding portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Crown.
  • This is Us Honors Marriage and Respects Fatherhood. Alysse Elhage writes “I agree that plot twists, uplifting messages, and strong family connections are part of what make This is Us so popular. But I think there’s another reason it’s one of the best shows on television today: it honors marriage and respects fathers in a culture that often fails to do so.”

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!questions

  • Can Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on Me? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses the question “Can people who are in heaven look down and see us (their loved ones) on earth?” He states “So, the bottom line is that we should focus on the great, central realities of the New Testament, which are rock solid, absolutely certain, and full of hope for all who trust in Christ. And if you think about the great saints in heaven, take heart. If they see you at all, they are cheering you on to endure every hardship by encouraging you to focus on Christ.” Listen to or read his full response.
  • What Do We Mean When We Speak of the “Sanctity of Human Life”?C. Sproul writes “The Bible is consistently strong in its support for the exceedingly great value of all human life. The poor, the oppressed, the widowed, the orphaned, and the handicapped—all are highly valued in the Bible. Thus, any discussion of the abortion issue ultimately must wrestle with this key theme of Scripture. When the destruction or the disposal of even potential human life is done cheaply and easily, a shadow darkens the whole landscape of the sanctity of life and human dignity.”
  • Is Your Conscience Captive to God?C. Sproul writes “Today, we rarely hear any reference to the conscience. Yet throughout church history, the best Christian thinkers spoke about the conscience regularly.”
  • Do You Exercise for the Wrong Reasons? David Mathis writes “Have you seriously considered how physical exertion can be a means, among others, of your spiritual health and joy?”


zzz-sleepCHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • God Wants You to Get Some Sleep. Kate Shellnutt writes “Even as Americans trade sleep for digital distractions and rest for caffeine, researchers have discovered more than ever about the significance of sleep.”
  • Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of Profanity. Jon D. Payne writes “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.”
  • Are Christians Arrogant? Rethinking the Definition of Humility. Michael Kruger writes “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.”
  • The Case for Boredom. Kevin DeYoung writes “What’s so good about being bored? Nothing intrinsically, but boredom provides the space for creativity, for mental wandering, for musings, ponderings and a lifestyle of prayer.”
  • What Jesus Demands from You. Listen to this workshop from John Piper on commands of Christ delivered at the Gospel Coalition 2015 National Conference.
  • Thirty Seconds Alone with God: The Effect of Our Phones on Prayer. Tony Reinke writes “Our attention is finite. But our call to constant prayer is clear. It’s time to be honest: The worst of our compulsive social media habits in the empty spaces of our lives is corroding our prayer lives.”
  • Keeping Short Accounts. Nick Batzig writes “We need to be diligent to keep short accounts with God and men. In doing so, we will experience more of what it is to live by the grace of God in Christ, to live in gracious relationships with one another and to be agents of grace in extending forgiveness to others.“
  • The Early Symptoms of Spiritual Danger. Sinclair Ferguson writes “The solemn fact is that none of us can tell the difference between the beginning of backsliding and the beginning of apostasy. Both look the same. So what are the tell-tale signs of this sickness unto death? Are there early symptoms that might alert us to our spiritual danger?”
  • Lay Aside the Weight of Insecurity. Jon Bloom writes “God designed insecurity to be examined in order that we might escape danger. That’s why it’s a mercy. This kind of insecurity is a God-gauge in our soul. It’s reporting to us that something is wrong with what we hear God or some other god telling us about who we are.”

CHURCH LIFE:church

  • 5 Points for Building a Vision of World Missions. John Piper writes “shared vision for world missions is crucial in the life of the church. Why should world missions be fundamental in the ministry of the church? What do we mean by it? How do we go about it? What is your place in it? Consider these five points for building a vision of world missions in our congregations.”
  • The Reformation Saved the Gospel. R.C. Sproul writes “The life of the 16th-century Protestant church was far from perfect, but the revival of godliness in that era attests to the power of the gospel when viewed in full light.”

GREAT RESOURCES:

  • Outlive Your Life. Randy Alcorn writes “Because this life is so brief, we might conclude its inconsequential. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible tells us that this life lays the foundation upon which eternal life is built. Here’s a great 2-minute video reminding us that eternity will hold for us what we have invested there during our life on earth.”
  • His Transcendent Awesome Glory. Watch this short excerpt from Steven Lawson’s teaching series The Attributes of God in which he explains that God’s holiness is His transcendent awesome glory.
  • 2017 Winter Conference at Reformation Bible College: Audio and Video Now Available. The theme for the conference was “Scripture in the Early Church” and R.C. Sproul was joined by Michael Haykin, Michael Kruger, Stephen Nichols, and the faculty of Reformation Bible College to address topics such as early Christian preaching, Augustine’s use of Scripture, the development of the biblical canon, and other topics. All of the messages from this conference are available for you to stream for free.

Babylon BeeTO MAKE YOU SMILE FROM The Babylon Bee – Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire:

  • 7 Effective Strategies For Fighting Sin. “We at The Babylon Bee hate sin with all the fury we can muster. Luckily, the Lord put these seven simple steps upon our hearts. He says that if you take each of these guidelines seriously, the human race can eradicate all sinfulness within 2–3 years, tops.”
  • Confirmed: Facebook ‘Likes’ Redeemable For Treasures In Heaven. “Every like and share you get on your posts are just more treasures stored up for you here in your eternal home, where moths can’t destroy and thieves can’t steal,” a heavenly messenger said. “So we would advise Christians to really try to get as many people as possible to like all of their posts.”
  • Top 5 Most Hilarious Christian Comedies Of All Time. “Good Christian comedy is not easy to pull off. In fact, it’s downright hard. Lucky for us, Christianity has a stable of comedic thoroughbreds pumping out high-quality comedic films and generating high-intensity laughs.”
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Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

10+Favorite+Quotes

  • King Jesus, may your mercy and might bring wisdom and peace to the immigrant/refugee crisis in the US. Scotty Smith
  • The gospel turns the duty of doing and experiencing God’s will into a delight. Sinclair Ferguson
  • I am convinced that abortion involves the destruction of a living human person. R.C. Sproul
  • Grace is when God looks upon us. Faith is when we look upon Him. Glory is when our eyes meet. Douglas Wilson
  • The more you rejoice in your own forgiveness, the quicker you will be to forgive others. Tim Keller
  • Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside ourselves? Martin Luther
  • We measure worship by how we feel as we worship. True worship is measured by what God thinks about our worship. Kevin DeYoung
  • We cannot expect a society that rejects anything as sacred to maintain commitment to the sanctity of life. Albert Mohler
  • What greater insult to God can a man be guilty of than to refuse to read the letter God sends him from heaven? J.C. Ryle

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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