Skip to main content

Posts

The Fruits of Prayer

What happens when you open your heart to God and pray? You care. As you pray for God's kingdom, his people, and the needs of the lost, you begin to care. God starts to work on your priorities and your compassion. You start seeing that there are people to serve with the gospel. And you start to love serving their needs. You find you have nothing to complain about . Prayerlessness contracts your life and ministry to the size of your abilities. You'll quickly discover that those abilities, aside from grace, are tiny and feeble. And how you'll complain then! But open your heart to God, reflect on the greatness of his power and grace, and you can live with yourself and your life. More than that, you can live with contentment and peace. Only then can you bear lasting fruit. God gets to work on your worries . When you don't pray, you get worried. Prayerlessness is abandoning ourselves either to fate or, worse, to ourselves. No wonder we find life stressful when prayer dries up
Recent posts

Inconsistency of Moral Progress

If morality, if our ideas of right and wrong, are purely subjective, we should have to abandon any idea of moral progress (or regress), not only in the history of nations, but in the lifetime of each individual. The very concept of moral progress implies an external moral standard by which not only to measure that a present moral state is different from an earlier one but also to pronounce that it is "better" than the earlier one.  Without such a standard, how could one say that the moral state of a culture in which cannibalism is regarded as an abhorrent crime is any "better" than a society in which it is an acceptable culinary practice? Naturalism denies this. For instance, Yuval Harari asserts: "Hammurabi and the American Founding Fathers alike imagined a reality governed by universal and immutable principles of justice, such as equality or hierarchy. Yet the only place where such universal principles exist is in the fertile imagination of Sapiens, and in th

The Shame of Worldly Joy

Only a Christian can be joyful and wise at the same time, because all other people either rejoice about things that they should be ashamed of (Philippians 3:19) or things that will disappear. A Christian is not ashamed of his joy, because he is not joyful about something shameful. That is why the Apostle Paul in [2 Corinthians 1:12] defends his joy. He says, I don’t care if everyone knows what makes me happy, because it is the ‘testimony of my conscience.’ He means, let other people can be happy about base pleasures that they are afraid to admit; let other people rejoice in riches, fame, or popularity; they can be happy about whatever they want, but my joy is different. ‘I rejoice because of my conscience.’ A Christian has a happiness that he can stand by and prove. No one else can do that. They will feel embarrassed and guilty if their happiness is found in something that is outside of themselves. They cannot say, ‘this is what makes me happy’. But a Christian has the approval of his

The Gold of Affliction

Suppose that a loving father in some high room, throws down a bag of gold to his child, and it falls on the child's head causing injury. While the child is feeling the pain, he is impatient and troubled; while he looks only at the leather bag he is not thankful; but when he looks into the bag, and sees what a great deal of gold his father has given him, then he speaks well of his father, notwithstanding the injury to his head. Affliction is a bag of gold given to the people of God; though it seems from outside like a bad leather bag, yet there is gold within it. As long as we simply stare at the bag, or focus only on the suffering, we are not thankful, we do not praise the Lord, but are much discouraged; but if we would look into the bag, and count our gold, then we would have comfort, and not be discouraged. I tell you from the Lord, there is gold within; look in this bag, the bag of affliction; count over all the gold which the Lord has given you in this affliction, and then you

Preaching to the Conscience

Preaching to the conscience means something concrete. It means explaining the listeners’  obligations to God, their failure to meet those obligations, their impotence to make up for that failure, the eternal consequences of that failure, and God’s astounding grace offered to all who will humble themselves, repent, and believe the good news.  In other words, preaching to the conscience is provocative. It seeks to disturb the comfortable and to comfort the disturbed…. The great obstacle to this kind of preaching is when  the conscience is awakened, people react. The humble repent, rejoice, and enter God’s kingdom. The proud become angry: “Who are you to tell me I am a sinner?” or “This is not the God I learned about in Sunday school.”  Men dominated by the fear of man will not preach to the conscience. If you’re seeking a reward from men as you preach the gospel, you may get it, but that’s all—you won’t get anything from God.  The world needs pastors who fear God, love sinners, and under

The Slavery of Prosperity

I read a story this morning about a businessman who was behind fake bombs planted at Grays’ Inn in London's legal district to intimidate lawyers who work for the National Crime Agency (NCA).    He wanted to frighten them after the NCA conducted legal proceedings against him and his wife, which resulted in £1m of assets being recovered. The court heard he was upset at the prospect of losing his stately home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire.  The man’s case is another example of how our slavery to prosperity leads us to offer more sinful sacrifices to keep it. In his case it has cost him physical freedom. Materialism is a loveless uncaring god.  Now, if we are true followers of Christ, we know that Christ is infinitely better. Yet, how we also still give in so easily to the pursuit of the slavery of prosperity! I recently came across a statement by Paul David Tripp (PDT) that helpfully discusses this issue:  Why are we so busy? There may be many answers to that question, but let m

Workers for Your Joy (A Review)

Workers for your Joy (WFYJ) is about what Christ calls leaders in his church to be and do, particularly the teaching office in the church (i.e. pastor or elder).  It presents a biblical vision of leadership by going through the fifteen qualifications of elders listed 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The central question Mathis is basically asking is – how should we pastor or lead the church in light of these qualifications? The target audience of the book seems to be those who are in the early stages of pastoral ministry. The book was part of the seminary syllabus at Bethlehem. However, the author does explicitly state that the book is also meant to be of use to church members in considering what Christ expects of leadership in the local church.   Mathis has written this book because he believes leadership has fallen on hard times. The church in the west and the society around us has become increasingly discontent with being led due to the high-profile cases that have sprung about leadership.