Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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THIS & THAT: A Gathering of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • AI, Man and God. Mathematician, bioethicist and Christian apologist Professor John Lennox is interviewed by John Anderson on the current and future impacts of artificial intelligence technology.

  • What if I Feel Deserted by God? What encouragement would you give to a Christian who feels deserted by God? In this video, Sinclair Ferguson points to a prescription, a remedy, and a great prognosis for Christians.
  • Should You Accommodate an LGBT Person’s Requests? Alan Shlemon writes “There’s no moral principle that elevates relationships to a point where they trump your deeply held beliefs. Therefore, there’s no duty to accommodate every request made by a friend or family member who identifies as LGBT.”
  • Jesus’ Teaching on Marriage and Gender. Many people are rejecting the teaching in Genesis about the boundaries of marriage and gender. But Jesus didn’t reject it. On this episode of the Things Unseen podcast, Sinclair Ferguson shows that Christ’s way is the only way for God’s image-bearers to flourish.

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  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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30 More Great Quotes from Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life: 365 Daily Devotions (Volume 1)

Truth for Life: 365 Daily Devotions is the first of two daily devotional books from respected pastor and author Alistair Begg. I used the first volume as a part of my daily devotional readings last year (see my review of the book here), and am using the second volume as a part of my daily devotional readings this year. I recommend the book to you as a part of your devotional reading.

Here are 30 more of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • How do the cross and the empty tomb affect your relationships, your work, your purpose, or your identity? If Jesus reigns over you, His death and resurrection change everything about the way you live and the meaning of your life.
  • Whatever you face in your life, know that Jesus has gone through worse and therefore understands how you feel.
  • Do not settle for what this life has to offer, nor grow despairing over the disappointments of the here and now. Our best days lie ahead of us, in the city of God.
  • In the new heaven and new earth, life’s storms will finally be stilled. In the meantime, we will pass through squalls and even deluges. We will endure with joy to the extent that we trust that our Father is wise.

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The Dash

We were notified that the “2021” had finally been engraved on my wife Tammy’s Mom’s headstone, so we drove over to the cemetery. As I looked at the headstone, I noticed that it rather coldly summed up her life with her birth and death dates, separated simply by a dash. For Jane, that dash represented more than 89 years of life.  During those years, she was a wife, a sister, a nurse, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She left a wonderful legacy for her family. That got me to thinking about what my dash will represent. What legacy will you or I leave?
Alistair Begg in his devotional book Truth for Life, writes:
Each of us is leaving a legacy. Every day we are adding something to the portrait of our lives, and eventually what we leave behind—our decisions, our contributions, our priorities—will remain, at least for a time, for others to reflect upon and consider.” Continue reading

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10 Devotional Reading Resources for 2023

There are a number of excellent devotional resources to complement your daily Bible reading. Here are several, in no particular order, that I have used, or will use in 2023 in the case of Alistair Begg’s latest devotional book: Continue reading

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11 New and Upcoming Books You May Be Interested In

I love to read books in a variety of genres – leadership, professional growth, biography, sports, theology, Christian living, etc. Here are 11 new and upcoming books that you might be interested in:

The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team by Patrick Lencioni  

Here is the Amazon description:

New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni unveils a truly groundbreaking new model that will change the way we think about work and teams forever.
The 6 Types of Working Genius is the fastest way to help people identify the type of work that brings them joy and energy and avoid work that leads to frustration and burnout.
Beyond the personal discovery and instant relief that Working Genius provides, the model also gives teams a remarkably simple and practical framework for tapping into one another’s natural gifts, which increases productivity and reduces unnecessary judgment.
In classic Lencioni fashion, Pat brings his model to life in a page-turning fable that is as relatable as it is compelling. He tells the story of Bull Brooks, an entrepreneur, husband, and father who sets out to solve his own frustration at work and stumbles into a new way of thinking that changes the way he sees his work, his team, and even his marriage.

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We are Not in Control, But God Is

I try to live a life of control. I’m a planner, and like to live my life in a planned, orderly, and controlled manner. That’s just the way I’m wired. You may be like me, or you may live your life in a more impulsive manner. Either way, living a carefully planned life, or an impulsive one, we need to realize that we are not in control. That’s just not how life works. But while we are not in control of our lives, we can take comfort that God is.
Often, as I would walk into my workplace from the parking lot, I would look at the massive complex that I was walking toward and pray, “Lord, I don’t know what is going to happen today, but you do.” Our lives can be going along well, with everything proceeding as planned, and then something happens that we didn’t see coming. I remember that happening early on a Friday morning a few years ago heading to my weekly faith and work book club with good friends before a holiday weekend, only to be stunned just a few hours later when I got a call that my father-in-law had died.
This happened again when we got a phone call telling us that my Dad had been taken to the ER, and was going to be admitted with cardiac issues. In the days before this, my wife Tammy had commented after we had a few open days on our calendar, that she was thankful for those days because she knew that it would not always be like that. She wondered if we were being prepared for something.
You can substitute similar unplanned things that that have taken you by surprise in your life. We’re going along just fine, doing routine things in our daily life, with activities all planned out, and then something happens that we didn’t see coming. How are we to respond? Continue reading

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What Are Your Lines?

In Alistair Begg’s new book Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World, he takes us through the first seven chapters of the book of Daniel and compares what Daniel was facing to the situation Christians face in America today. In our increasingly secular culture, Christians are in the minority, like Daniel living as an exile in a foreign land.
Albert Mohler in his book The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture and the Church writes that historic Christianity is now increasingly either rejected or relegated to having no significance in the culture. Studies show a continual decline in church attendance, especially among younger people. Regular listeners of Mohler’s program The Briefing often hear about churches, entire denominations, Christian colleges and institutions caving to the pressures of the secular culture.
In Brave by Faith, Begg tells us that we are starting to feel that the notion of a persecuted church is coming ever closer. He writes:
“Secularism pushes back again and again against what the Bible says about sexual ethics, about salvation, about education, about the role and reach of the state, or about matters of public welfare. Public opinion has turned against Christians.”
He tells us that suddenly as a minority group within an increasingly secularized nation, we are finding out how it feels to be outsiders. And we don’t like it.
He helpfully asks: Continue reading

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It’s Christmas!

Artwork Is Copyright Blue Chair Blessing

  • The Real Meaning of Christmas. Stephen Nichols writes “Yet, this child was the Son of God incarnate. He was Immanuel, which translated means “God with us.” According to the Apostle Paul’s account, this infant created all things. This infant created His own manger. And this infant, this King, brings peace on earth, ultimate and permanent peace.”
  • The Magnificat. “The people of God may be weak, but He is not. In this brief video clip, R.C. Sproul draws encouragement from Mary’s Magnificat, showing how this song of praise extols the power of God to establish His kingdom and overcome all His enemies.”
  • Free Audiobook from Alistair Begg. The December free audiobook download from Christianaudio is a good one – Christmas Playlist: Four Songs That Bring You to the Heart of Christmas by Alistair Begg. Download your copy here.
  • 3 Reasons Jesus is Our Only Hope. Paul Tripp writes “The Advent story is a hope story because it chronicles the coming to earth of the One who is hope, Jesus.”
  • The Child of Prophesy. John MacArthur writes “The prophetic message of Christmas is the good news of God’s answer to all the confusion, chaos, complexities, and conflicts of life. It is the gift of the newborn infant who is also the Father of all eternity. He is an innocent child, yet He is a wise Counselor and mighty King. He is God with us. Immanuel.”
  • Spurgeon Broke with His Puritan Heroes on Celebrating Christmas. Ray Rhodes Jr. shares quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s December 23, 1860 sermon from Job 1:4-5 titled, “A Merry Christmas.”
  • Christmas Music from the Gettys. Keith and Kristyn Getty have released Irish Christmas Festival. “This collection of songs reflects the full spectrum of response we can have to Christmas, all inspired by the Celtic sounds and folk traditions of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s native Northern Ireland. From the yearning of a dark and broken world to be made new to the unstoppable foot-tapping joy that breaks into our lives with the Savior’s birth, these songs help us remember why Christmas matters. Hear the call to “come let us adore him,” be stirred by the classic Irish folk melodies, and join in the song of the ages: Christ the Savior is born.” Listen to it here.
  • Songs of Hope: A TGC Advent Concert. Watch the Songs of Hope: A Gospel Coalition Advent Concert featuring artists Sandra McCracken, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Shane and Shane and many more.

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4 Christmas Books I Recommend to You 

Over the years, many of the authors I enjoy have written books about Christmas. Here are four recent books about Christmas that I would recommend to you.

Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas – Sinclair Ferguson

Sinclair Ferguson is one of our day’s best Reformed theologians. I have read many of his books and heard him speak many times at the Ligonier National Conference. He has been a pastor and seminary professor in numerous churches and seminaries throughout the world, and is also a Ligonier Teaching Fellow. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed and was blessed by this book.
Dr. Ferguson writes that this book sets out to explore the question of the real meaning of Christmas. He tells us that when we find the answer, we realize that it isn’t only for the Christmas season. He states that at the center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. He does so because he is at the center of God’s story. Christ who is the creator of all things has entered his own creation in order to become our Savior. That is what gives Christmas meaning. It is what gives history and our lives meaning too.
He writes that the heart of the Christmas message is a baby bound in swaddling bands and lying in a wooden manger, who is destined to be bound again later in life and laid upon wood on the cross of Calvary. He tells us that the meaning of Christmas is this: The Light of the world has come into the darkness of the world, in order to bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and to illuminate them with the grace of forgiveness. He tells us that Christmas is not coming, but it has already come. The Word already has been made flesh. He already has lived, bled, died, and risen again for us. Now all that remains is to receive him. For Jesus is the meaning of Christmas.

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  • More of this book review and reviews of
  • An Even Better Christmas: Joy and Peace That Last All Year by Matt Chandler
  • Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ – Timothy Keller
  • Christmas Playlist: Four Songs that bring you to the heart of Christmas – Alistair Begg

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13 New and Upcoming Books I’m Excited About

There are a number of new and upcoming books that I’m excited about.  I call it my ‘on deck circle’.  Here are 13 of them:

The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits by Albert Mohler
From the Amazon description:
“In The Apostles’ Creed, renowned theologian and pastor R. Albert Mohler Jr. works line-by-line and phrase-by-phrase through each section of the Creed, explaining in clear terms what it means and how it equips Christians to live faithfully in a post-Christian culture. From understanding the nature of the Trinity and the miracle of the Incarnation to the world-shaking truth of the resurrection and the hope of Christ’s return, the theological heritage contained in this ancient statement has the power to shape us for vibrant and steadfast living today. The Apostles’ Creed shows us how.” Continue reading