Man Is Not the Centre

Spurgeon writes in Lectures to My Students: Just as the earth is not the centre of the universe, so man is not the grandest of all beings. God has been pleased highly to exalt man; but we must remember how the psalmist speaks of him: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him; and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” In another place, David says, “Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” Man cannot be the centre of the theological universe, he is altogether too insignificant a being to occupy such a position, and the scheme of redemption must exist for some other end than that of merely making man happy,

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Reach them with the Amazing God not helpful tips

From Kevin DeYoung: I beg of you, don’t go after the next generation with mere moralism, either on the right (don’t have sex, go to church, share your faith, stay off drugs) or on the left (recycle, dig a well, feed the homeless, buy a wristband). The gospel is not a message about what we need to do for God, but about what God has done for us. So get them with the good news about who God is and what he has done for us. Some of us, it seems, are almost scared to tell people about God. Perhaps because we don’t truly know him. Maybe because we prefer living in triviality. Or maybe because we don’t consider knowing God to be very helpful in real life. I have to fight against this unbelief in my own life. If only I would trust God that God is enough to win the hearts and minds of the next generation. It’s his

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No God, no happiness

“The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. (The story in the Book of Genesis rather suggests that some corruption in our sexual nature followed the fall and was its result, not its cause.) What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something

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God’s Greatest Adversaries Are His Gifts

John Piper, A Hunger for God | “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ills that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire for God is

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What is an Idol?

From Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods: What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to

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Remember God

“What one thing about God in Christ speaks directly into today’s trouble? … Just as we don’t change all at once, so we don’t swallow all of truth in one gulp. We are simple people. You can’t remember ten things at once. Invariably, if you could remember just ONE true thing in the moment of trial, you’d be different. Bible “verses” aren’t magic. But God’s words are revelations of God from God for our redemption. When you actually remember God, you do not sin. The only way we ever sin is by suppressing God, by forgetting, by tuning out his voice, switching channels, and listening to other voices. When you actually remember, you actually change. In fact, remembering is the first change.” – David Powlison (HT: Of First Importance)

Why You Need to Start Talking to Yourself More

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, pp. 20-21: Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.” (HT: Justin Taylor)

What Our Mission Is Not

Whilst this is a definition/explication of Desiring God‘s mission statement, it is also a biblical mandate for every believer. I like this: Our mission at Desiring God is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. By turning a few things around, we can also see what our mission is not – and therefore more clearly what it is. Our mission is not to create cul-de-sacs, but to spread. Our mission is not to spread just knowledge about God. It is to spread a passion for God. Head and heart. Our mission is not to spread a passion for the mediocrity of God or for the overlooking of God or for the assuming of God. It is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God. Our mission is not to spread a passion for the supremacy of human beings or Western materialism or even you. It is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God. Whilst this

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Would You Pray This Prayer?

From The Gospel Coalition Blog: Francis Chan offers the following video devotional based on Proverbs 30:7-9. Two things I ask of you;deny them not to me before I die:Remove far from me falsehood and lying;give me neither poverty nor riches;feed me with the food that is needful for me,lest I be full and deny youand say, “Who is the Lord?”or lest I be poor and stealand profane the name of my God.

Only For The Asking

“How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 In a sermon preached in 1740, Jonathan Edwards pointed out that we ask God for basically two kinds of things. We ask him for temporal blessings like health and jobs and family needs. We also ask him for spiritual blessings. But Edwards noted how much more frequently and fervently we ask for temporal blessings: “They don’t need any preaching to stir them up to take thorough care to obtain those outward things. . . . And if they begin to suffer for want of those things, how much do they make of their sufferings! . . . Had God nothing better to bestow upon you, when he had made you his children, than a little money or land, that you seem so much to behave yourselves as if you thought this was your chief good? . . . I am bold to

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Action Steps For Anxiety

Paul Tripp’s six action steps for anxiety: Remind Yourself That God Is In Control: When you convince yourself that your world is out of control, you are on the verge of paralysis. Watch your self-talk. Are you saying to yourself: “God is in control of this circumstance, He is my Father, and He is ruling this for my benefit”? Accept Confusion: Believing in God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean life will make sense. Believing in God’s sovereignty is needed because life doesn’t make sense. Your rest is not in figuring out your circumstances–your rest is in the God behind the circumstances. Don’t Allow Emotions To Rule: As much as the emotions you experience will be right, good, and appropriate, don’t let them set the agenda. There is a temptation to do that, but allowing yourself to be pulled away by the emotions of the moment could cause you to regret your decisions later. Distinguish Needs From Wants: Be very careful what you put

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How obedience is born

“For, until men feel that they owe everything to God, that they are cherished by his paternal care, and that he is the author of all their blessings, so that naught is to be looked for away from him, they will never submit to him in voluntary obedience; no, unless they place their entire happiness in him, they will never yield up their whole selves to him in truth and sincerity.” – John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk I, Ch. 2 (HT: Of First Importance)

The Pleasures of God Seminar

Another great resource from John Piper at Desiring God is the audio and video from the seminar, “The Pleasures of God.” The Pleasures of God, Part 1 The Pleasures of God, Part 2 The Pleasures of God, Part 3 The Pleasures of God, Part 4 The Pleasures of God, Part 5

How Do You Break Free from an Addiction to Entertainment?

John Piper answers this question, writing that “Recognizing [the problem] is a huge step in the right direction” and that ” ultimately it’s a gift of grace to feel the glory of God.” Here are some suggestions of what you should do: 1. Seek the Lord earnestly about it. Pray like crazy that God would open your eyes to see wondrous things out of his law. 2. Immerse yourself in the Bible, even when you don’t feel like it, pleading with God to open your eyes to see what’s really there. 3. Get in a group where you talk about serious things. 4. Begin to share your faith. One of the reasons we are not as moved by our own faith as we are is because we almost never talk about it to any unbeliever. It starts to feel like a kind of hothouse thing, and then it starts to have a feeling of unreality about it. And then the

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That’s Why

“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1983 (HT: Ray Ortlund)

God himself is the great good of our redemption

“The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ has purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the ‘the river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God.’ The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be

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Understanding affections

Jonathan Edwards writes: We see the world of mankind to be exceedingly busy and active; and the affections of men are the springs of the motion: take away all love and hatred, all hope and fear, all anger, zeal and affectionate desire, and the world would be, in a great measure, motionless and dead; there would be no such thing as activity amongst mankind, or any earnest pursuit whatsoever. ‘Tis affection that engages the covetous man, and him that is greedy of worldly profits, in his pursuits; and it is by the affections, that the [sinfully] ambitious man is put forward in his pursuit of worldly glory; and ’tis the affections also that actuate the voluptuous man, in his pursuit of pleasure and sensual delights: the world continues, from age to age, in a continual commotion and agitation, in a pursuit of these things; but take away all affection, and the spring of all this motion would be gone, and

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Desperate For God

I love this: “There were two exegetes who prayed as they entered the library to work on understanding a biblical text. One was a biblical scholar and the other a common lay preacher. The biblical scholar, on route to deep seclusion in the collection of recent monographs, prayed like this: ‘Lord, I thank you that I am not like other exegetes– the youth ministers, authors of popular devotional literature, mass production book publishers or even this lay preacher. I study the Scriptures for hours every day– in their original… and several other languages, not to mention my work in ancient history and historiography, literary theory, social-scientific research, the most important commentaries, the most recent monographs and dissertations, and the most scholarly periodicals!’ But the lay preacher, trying to remember how to use the complicated cataloging system to find an understandable commentary on a passage of Scripture, prayed thus, ‘God, please help me, a mere preacher, find something to help me

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The Essential Church: Relentlessly God-Centered

Rev. Roger Wiles has an excellent article at The Reformation Journal by that title. Here is an excerpt: It’s been said of the life, ministry and theology of Jonathan Edwards that all were “relentlessly God centered.” Compare the Church today and its lack of zeal for the Word of God with the passion of Edwards, Whitfield, Spurgeon, the Puritans, and the magisterial Reformers Luther, Calvin and Knox for sola Scriptura. Frankly there is no comparison. I think it’s safe to say that if most of modern evangelicalism were tried in a court of law on the charge of being “relentlessly God centered” most would be found not guilty. What would a relentlessly God-centered church look like? Three components (well worth reading the full text on each point): 1. Biblical Theology 2. Biblical Preaching 3. Biblical Worship Read the full article here. (HT: Reformation Faith Today)