Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • On Those Short-fused Temper-flaring Days. Scotty Smith prays “Heavenly Father, thank you for using heart-convicting images when confronting us with our bad attitudes. I certainly cringe at the thought of being a fool whose “bosom” provides lodging and hospitality for anger. And I take no pleasure in the notion of “exalting folly” by my “hasty temper.” Forgive me Lord, and help me be a better steward of the important and powerful emotion of anger.”
  • Texting and Driving Is Not Loving Your Neighbor. It Could Kill Them. Kevin Halloran writes “I used to text while driving all the time. I finally stopped after a few close calls that woke me up to the danger my behavior posed to myself and others. It’s not only a question of wisdom and personal safety, it is loving your neighbor. And you can’t love your neighbor by putting their lives in danger.”
  • Death by Selfie. Scott Sauls writes “Lord, free us from our addiction to being liked.”
  • 4 Ways to Enjoy God. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Scripture shows that well-instructed believers develop a determination to rejoice.”
  • Two Well-Intentioned Words That Do More Harm Than Good to Those in Pain. Michael Kelley writes “The reason these words can do more harm than good is because you don’t understand. Not really. No one does.”
  • Counseling Parents about Smart Rules for Smartphones (And All Social Media). Garrett Higbee shares 10 rules and 10 helpful guidelines that he would suggest, with the caveat that some may be different in your home.

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!

  • Will We Maintain Our Own Identities in Heaven?Randy Alcorn writes “Our own personal history and identity will endure from one Earth to the next.”
  • Do All Religions Lead to God? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper addresses this question from a listener. Listen, or read, his response.
  • Can You Repent Without Changing?Harry Schaumburg writes “Let me say it as clearly as I can: When it comes to sexual sin and addiction, recovery is not repentance, and repentance is not Repentance is not merely human effort. It is not a self-help program. Repentance is God’s surgical procedure, in which he not only humbles the sinner, but works a change in him that is visible from the outside.”
  • Where Will You Be One Year From Today?Tony Reinke writes “One of the many questions that such tragedies raise for us is, “What role, if any, prediction plays in the Christian life?”

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

TELEVISION AND MOVIES:

  • If You Are Watching Game of Thrones, You are Watching Porn. Noah Filipiak writes “And if you think you can somehow filter out the porn and only take in the art, you are deceived and double-minded as well.  Porn does what porn does: as soon as it enters the scene, it removes all dignity and humanity.  All that is left is body parts and the consuming of other humans.  You can’t keep someone’s dignity once you have already devoured it.”
  • Funnyman Jim Carrey Finds His Way Home Through Suffering. David Rupert writes of Jim Carey speaking about troubles that have helped him find a way back home. In this video, he talks candidly to a room full of men who have been in and out of prison.  His theology is not orthodox, but I still found this encouraging.
  • The Masterful ‘Dunkirk’ Explores a ‘Miracle’ of History. Brett McCracken writes “Dunkirk is to Nolan as “David” is to Michelangelo. It’s his masterpiece.”
  • The War We Need. Marshall Segal writes “Dunkirk uncovers a war many of us need to see, because we all need to be reminded that life is war.”

IN THE NEWS:

  • Caste Aside: India’s New President Has ‘No Room for Christians’. Kate Shellnutt writes “Though India is the biggest democracy in the world, its Hindu norms have increasingly restricted Christian freedoms. Open Doors rates the persecution level in the country as “very high.”
  • Six Stages of a Dying Church. Thom Rainer writes “Somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 churches in America will close their doors in the next year. And many of them die because they refuse to recognize problems before they became irreversible.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

GODLY MEN AND WOMEN:

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week


  • Before the Throne of Social ‘Likes’. Trevin Wax writes “as Christians who want to be faithful to Jesus in this era, we need to consider what our online interaction is doing to our hearts. How do these online habits shape us? What are the benefits, the promises, and the dangers?”
  • My Life Feels Pointless. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “How do we continue on when this life feels pointless, like when we are treading water and it feels like we’re just passing time until this life is over?”  
  • Repenting of Our Performance-ism and Perfectionism. Scotty Smith prays “I can still lapse into “approval suck” living–seeking to gain and maintain people’s approval by what I do. Likewise, I often consider a day “good” or “bad,” based on the quality and quantity of my production. Rather than boasting in Christ alone, I often look to find something boast-worthy in me. Performance-based living is such a crummy way to do life–one that contradicts the way of grace.”
  • Why I Love the Evening Service and You Can Too. Kevin DeYoung writes “Here are a few reasons why I’m thankful for the evening service and why I hope you’ll consider keeping yours, going to yours, finding a neighboring church that has one, or even starting one at your church.”
  • Passive Christianity is Dead Christianity. Jon Bloom writes “Do what Jesus says. Do whatever it takes to want what’s right. And then, with that new heart, do what you want.”
  • R.C.Sproul Through the Years. It’s hard for me to express how much the Lord has used R.C. Sproul’s ministry (books, teaching series, conferences) in my sanctification. I enjoyed this two-minute video clip of his ministry throughout the past 50 years.

SPIRIT OF OUR AGE:

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week


CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • Practical Help for Angry People. In this eight-minute roundtable video Danny Akin (president of Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina), Bill Kynes (senior pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, Virginia), and Miguel Núñez (senior pastor of International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) discuss anger and how to overcome it with God’s help.
  • The Damning Devastation of a Single Coddled Sin. Tim Challies shares nine things to consider in times you may feel ambivalent toward even a single sin.
  • Alienation from God. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Alienation from God is not only real but dangerous—and the depth of the alienation is evidenced by the fact that we think we are in no danger at all.”
  • Sloth Doesn’t Just Mean Sleep. Mike Leake (not the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher), writes “The answer to the sluggard’s heart is the gospel of Jesus. When I realize that my rest is already established and founded in Christ it strikes a blow to the inordinate desires of my sluggard heart.”
  • Longs for Healing. Scotty Smith prays “Even as we pray for healing in these stories, we surrender to the mystery of your sovereignty. Jesus, we wish you’d always answer our prayers, just as we pray them when we pray them. But we know you to be more merciful, engaged, and wise than we can imagine. Jesus, we trust your heart, even when we don’t understand your ways or see your hand.”
  • Seven Promises to Pray Against Porn. J.A. Medders writes “These seven verses can serve as an attack plan, a Messiah-taught martial art against lust and pornography. A verse for every day. Read it in the morning. Pray it at night. Train in the car. Run to it when you hear the temptation in the distance. Text it to a friend. Memorize with an accountability partner. Fight.”
  • It is Impossible to Read the Bible. John Piper writes “Reading the Bible should always be a supernatural act. By “supernatural act,” I don’t mean that humans are supernatural. We are not God, and we are not angels or demons. What I mean is that the act of reading, in order to be done as God intended, must be done in dependence on God’s supernatural help.”
  • Man (Or Woman) Cannot Live on Podcasts Alone. Courtney Reisigg writes “In our increasingly connected age, the availability of resources and opportunities to be discipled via smartphone and laptop isn’t going anywhere. There’s a place for those things, but let’s be sure we don’t let them supplant real-life relationships in our own contexts. In many of our churches there are treasure troves of wisdom and experience simply waiting to be heard—if we would just ask.”
  • Will You Cleave and Leave Your Man? Recently John Piper wrote “Husbands, Lift Up Your Eyes.” Now, read Noël Piper’s letter to a would-be adulteress, “Will You Cleave and Leave Your Man?” She tells a little bit of their story, and then describes two ways a wife can cleave in a marriage.

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!

  • Should Christians Attend Gay Weddings? Does It Matter Whether They’re Religious or Secular? Randy Alcorn writes “Regardless of people’s individual opinions, one thing is certain: this is an issue that will NOT go away. While there is a strong trend toward evangelicals attending gay weddings in the name of Christ’s love, I have to say I believe it is more loving to God and to the participants to not encourage them to think their union is good and healthy, when God’s Word shows otherwise.”
  • How Much Sleep is Too Much Sleep? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers this question –  Is it more glorifying to God to utilize his gift of rest through sleep or to capitalize on the time we have to go sleep-deprived in order to more fully serve him?”.
  • What is the Purpose of Fasting? In this six-minute video, Don Whitney states “The most important thing about fasting when you actually try it is to realize that fasting is to be done for a purpose, a God-centered, biblical purpose. Otherwise it becomes a miserable, self-centered experience.”
  • #AskRC Live Twitter Event: July 2017. My favorite sessions at Ligonier conferences are the “Question and Answer” sessions. Enjoy this “Ask R.C.” Twitter Event with R.C. Sproul in which he answers a wide variety of questions.
  • Is Christianity Rational?  R.C. Sproul writes “The God of Christianity addresses people’s minds. He speaks to us. We have a Book that is written for our understanding.”
  • Why Did God Create?  Steven Lawson writes “Why did God create? Certainly not because he needed someone to love.” This seems to contradict the sentiments of the new popular song being sung in churches by Hillsong “What a Beautiful Name”, which includes the lyrics “You didn’t want heaven without us, So Jesus, You brought heaven down.”
  • Does Our Marriage to Christ in Heaven Mean Our Earthly Marriage Partners Won’t Be Important to Us?  Randy Alcorn writes “I do envision that people who’ve had important roles in each other’s lives will continue to be friends—and that would include a lot of people who’ve been married. So although married couples’ relationships will look different in Heaven, that certainly doesn’t mean that earthly marriage is unimportant and that God doesn’t use it in our lives in profound ways.”
  • Is Christ the Only Way? When R.C. Sproul was in college he was asked by one of his professors, “Is Christ the only way?” Watch this four-minute video to see how he responded.

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week


  • When You Want to Put on a Mask. Scott Sauls writes “This theme of deflecting, blaming, and hiding has remained with us since Eden. Painfully aware of our own nakedness and shame, we, too, have become masters at hiding.”
  • Is it Biblical to Say That God Loves Everyone? In this three-minute video clip from the 2017 Ligonier National Conference, R.C. Sproul answers the question, “Is it biblical to say that God loves everyone?”
  • How to Identify Your Pet Sin. Tim Challies writes “Every Christian can think of a sin he has identified and attacked with all the brutality he can muster. One of the great joys of the Christian life is seeing God be true to his Word as he motivates and empowers us to wage war against indwelling sin. Yet every one of us probably also has a sin we rather enjoy, a sin we refuse to put to death. In fact, we may even protect and promote it. We might refer to it as a pet sin.”
  • How Far is Too Far? Marshall Segal writes “Every act of obedience, in life and in dating, is a free act of defiance in the face of Satan’s schemes and lies. We’re not just guardingourselves from him by setting and keeping boundaries; we’re seizing territory back from him in dating.”
  • Why Am I So Emotional Over Basketball? Dan Doriani, who I enjoyed two courses with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Foolish emotions, such as caring too much about televised sports, dissipate our energy. Healthy emotions drive us to devote ourselves to good causes, like removing injustices or loving family more faithfully. The Triune God has an emotional life, clearly visible in our Savior’s joys and sorrows. Jesus experienced every sinless emotion, and so we, remade in his image, can have noble emotions too.”
  • What Should You Say at an Unbeliever’s Funeral? In this episode of the Signposts podcast, Russell Moore states “So preach the gospel. You don’t have to narrate and adjudicate every aspect of this unbeliever’s life in order to say to people, “There is hope for you no matter what it is that you’ve done. You can find salvation and today is the day of salvation.”
  • Grace for Times When Things are Going Well. Scotty Smith prays “So, by your Holy Spirit, keep me humble, stunned with gratitude, and increasing in generosity. May the gospel continue to challenge, change, and re-set the price tags in my life, Father. Grant me quick repentances from every expression of entitlement and presumption, spoiled-ness or dependence on creature comforts.”
  • What Does Repentance Look Like? R.C. Sproul writes “I would recommend that all Christians memorize Psalm 51. It is a perfect model of godly repentance.”
  • The Seductive Sin of Self-Preservation. Michael Kelly writes “Let’s not make the prideful error today of believing in ourselves and committing ourselves to self-preservation. Let’s instead take the road of humility, for this is the road of good news. We actually don’t have to toil and worry about preserving ourselves, for God is the One who sustains. And we can trust Him to do just that.”

CHURCH CHAT:

  • Twenty Relics of Church Past. Thom Rainer writes “The question I asked was basic: “What did you have or do in your church ten years ago that you don’t have or do today?” The top twenty responses were, for me at least, a fascinating mix of the expected and the surprises. They are ranked in order of frequency.”
  • Tragic Worship. Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed a wonderful class on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Christian worship should immerse people in the reality of the tragedy of the human fall and of all subsequent human life.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • By the Way Conference. The Lexington Community Church, located in central Illinois, will hold the By the Way conference, a whole family conference and worship time, Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 8. I’ll be speaking on the topic of “Disciples at Work” on Thursday, July 6 at 6:15 pm. Please stop by if you are in the area.

  • Diagnosing & Mortifying the Sin of Complaining. Geoffrey Kirkland writes “Complaining isn’t, however, the real issue. Complaining is the outward manifestation of other heart-sins taking place in that moment.”
  • Selfaholism or Servaholism.David Murray writes “You have a problem. It’s yourself. To be blunt, you are addicted to yourself.”
  • 6 Things To Do With Your Anxiety. Justin Taylor shares wisdom from counselor David Powlison on dealing with every day, garden-variety anxiety.
  • Owning Our Fears, Choosing Our Treasure, Loving Our Savior. Scotty Smith prays “Melt our fears with your peace; strengthen our hearts with your grace; and send us forth into kingdom service with your measureless love.”
  • Victory over Porn Is Closer Than You Think. Jimmy Needham writes “Are you living like victory over besetting sin is impossible? Your God is too small, friend.”
  • Fake Love, Fake War. Russell Moore writes “The answer to both addictions is to fight arousal with arousal. Set forth the gospel vision of a Christ who loves his bride and who fights to save her.”
  • We All Need Adversity and Affliction. Jon Bloom writes “I would not exchange any of my discipline-afflictions for anything. In fact, I have made it a habit to keep asking God to discipline me. This isn’t because I love affliction, but because the hope in God I’ve tasted in the promises of God I’ve trusted in the darkest days are the sweetest things my soul has ever known.”
  • Trusting God: When It’s Easy To Do So, And When It’s Not. Scotty Smith prays “Because of Jesus’ finished work, we don’t have to be afraid to die, or live. May your beauty, grace, and peace keep us centered, in everyseason of life–including this season.”
  • Redeem Your Time. Tim Challies writes “Whether life plods by or speeds by, you are responsible for each moment. If you are going to run to win, you must redeem your time.”
  • Help Me Teach the Bible: Tony Reinke on How Our Phones Are Changing Us as Teachers. In this episode of the “Help Me Teach the Bible” Nancy Guthrie talks to Tony Reinke author of 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. She writes “Even though Reinke doesn’t call himself a Bible teacher, it is clear from our conversation that he brings knowledge and love for the Scriptures to the topic of technology. Reinke explains the difference in how we read digital text as opposed to printed text, and he sets before us a desirable goal: the undistracted life.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

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