Finding God’s Will

July 29, 2014

God’s guidance is more like the marriage guidance, child guidance, or career guidance that is received from counselors than it is like being “talked down” by the airport controller as one flies blind through the clouds. Seeking God’s guidance is not like practicing divination or consulting oracles, astrologers, and clairvoyants for information about the future, but rather is comparable with everyday thinking through of alternative options in given situations to determine the best course open to us. The inward experience of being divinely guided is not ordinarily one of seeing signs or hearing voices, but rather one of being enabled to work out the best thing to do.

— J. I. Packer

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The other night at church, we watched a Tullian Tchividjian video. He ended by quoting Augustine’s dictum, “Love God and do what you want (please).” Some of us might be uncomfortable with this idea. In the video below John MacArthur expresses essentially the same truth:

Destinations

February 26, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_One of the most intimidating ministries we can engage in is helping depressed people. The stakes are high and there is no safety net. Here are “10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression.”

How do we witness to unbelievers? Tim Keller uses Blaise Pascal to answer this vexing question.

God’s will is always a difficult issue. I’m not referring to God’s revealed will. The law is clear enough. The difficult part of God’s will is unpacking the juxtaposition between God’s and our will. We act freely and at the same time do exactly what God has decreed. This goes from things as diminutive as whether or not I scratch my head when it itches to whom we marry. Tom Schreiner discusses the contours of this interface.

You wouldn’t think Robin Thicke and church signs would mix, but they do:

Destinations

September 20, 2013

I appreciate Nancy Guthrie’s piece, Why Do We Say, ‘God Told Me’? Do you want to know God’s will for your life or just the next step? Find the wisdom of God’s word. Don’t listen for inner voices or look for coincidences. She quotes Graeme Goldsworthy in saying:

Every case of special guidance given to individuals in the Bible has to do with that person’s place in the outworking of God’s saving purposes. … There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence.

Of all people, Calvinists ought to be the most humble people on the planet. They understand that they are who they are solely by God’s grace. God gave them the insight and willingness to choose him. Ray Ortulund quotes hymn writer John Newton expressing this very truth.

R. C. Sproul asks the question we need to ask ourselves every day. Are you seeking after God?

Remember Lady Jane Grey? Simonetta Carr provides a quick biography. Here is a distillation of Grey’s wisdom: “Live to die, that by death you may enter into eternal life.”

Have you heard about the female holocaust in India? Any guesses as to why there are 37 million more men in India than women? Abortion and infanticide aren’t just an American problem.

I love everything about this song:

I suppose a single rose
Is pretty as it gets
And when the lights go down at night
I love the quietness

I love shy glances, slow romances
And hats that hide a kiss
Lets you and me go back in time
And find the things we missed

When hands were gentle
And words were kind
And love could wait a long long time
And private matters held their hush
And grooms were gallant
And brides would blush

Does it seem a silly dream
Played back in black and white
Pearls and gloves and hymns of love
The lines of wrong and right
Well let’s hush the cynic
For just a minute
And let the dreamers dare
To dream of love that never fails
O won’t you take me there?

When hands were gentle
And words were kind
And love could wait a long long time
And private matters held their hush
And grooms were gallant
And brides would blush

Shut the shutters, power down
Let the world spin back around
To deep respect and no regrets
The dignity of you and me

When hands were gentle
And words were kind
And love could wait a long long time
And private matters held their hush
And grooms were gallant
And brides would blush

Free Yancey Ebook

September 11, 2013

Phillip Yancey’s “The Question That Never Goes Away” is free TODAY ONLY (Sep 11) for Kindle. Yancey is a masterful writer, however, in my view, his theology is usually a touch humanistic. I haven’t read this book so don’t quote me. When I’ve read him in the past, human choice always trumps God’s. That said, I still think the book is probably worth the read. The question of “why” is alway challenging.

Destinations

June 17, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_One of the more difficult things believers have to unpack is the sovereignty of God. I get questions about it all the time. How should we understand the interface between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility? Often people emphasize one or the other. They say that ultimately everything depends on the free will of man. Others stress God’s sovereignty. Both are true. (Actually, I mean that fallen men act freely, not that they have free will; fallen man is still spiritually dead and a slave to sin.) Here are three resources that help believers think about these truths. First, Justin Taylor, leaning on Don Carson, discusses compatibilism. His point is that as believers look at the cross, all believers in some sense become compatibilists. Second, this article addresses three mistakes people make when talking about the sovereignty of God. The discussion that follows the article is also insightful. Finally, John Piper’s book “Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ” is available for free in PDF format. It is a very helpful treatment of this whole issue.

Indelible Grace’s album, “The Hymn sing: Live In Nashville” is a free download right now. I paid good money for this album a year or so ago. If you like hymns done in a more folk style, you’ll probably like album. Here is a video about the album:

Destinations

May 21, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Our prayers are with the folks in Oklahoma. For some, the tragedy must be almost overwhelming. Sam Storms, who pastors in Oklahoma City, responds to the tragedy. In a somewhat similar way, Al Mohler grapples with the task of reconciling God’s power and love with an event like this. I appreciate Job’s assessment of personal tragedy (Job 1:21): “The Lord gave and the Lord takes way, blessed be the name of the Lord.” He said God is behind his tragedy in some sense and therefore he praises Him. We can’t sort it all out be we can rest in what God is doing

How are we to understand Romans 7? What does the normal Christian life look like? Kim Riddelbarger helpfully clarifies the issue.

Many of us strive to be decent writers. I know of several in our church who are attempting to write a novel. Some of us just want to be able to string together a few logical sentences in way that actually says something. I’m always looking for ways to hone what skills I have. Justin Taylor who is an editor for Crossway offers four suggestions about writing well.

One of the best ways to become a good writer is to read a lot. Stephen Altrogge’s short works of fiction are free today for Kindle.