Why, God? On the Problem of Evil & Other Questions

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Why did God create man with the ability to sin?  I suspect this is a question that you have asked at some point in your life.  I know I have.  It is a variation of the age-old “problem of evil.”  Is there an answer to this question?  And how might it apply to other kinds of God-ward questions beginning with “why”?

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin gives a very good two-part answer to the question of why God made man with the ability to sin.  I thought I’d pass it on to you in this post, as I have found it helpful, and I believe it is relevant to the other why questions of life.… Continue reading

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Making Use of Providence

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In his excellent book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Jerry Bridges wrestles with the doctrine of God’s Providence as it relates to the difficult circumstances of life.  Bridges summarizes the doctrine of God’s Providence this way: God’s “constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people.”

For the sake of understanding, he goes on, “…note the absolute terms: constant care, absolute rule, all creation.  Nothing, not even the smallest virus, escapes his care and control.”

To the ears of some, the idea that not even the smallest virus escapes God’s care and control may sound like a fairly radical (and perhaps ridiculous) idea.  … Continue reading

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A Broken Marriage and a Gracious God

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Yesterday, my wife Noelle and I celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary.  It’s an utterly remarkable thing to us, especially considering the fact that just eight years ago we were estranged from one another and headed for a divorce.

We had been married for nine years at that point.  By the summer of 2009, I found myself regularly pleading with the Lord to save our marriage, as we were in really bad shape.  We didn’t trust one another.  We weren’t listening to one another.  We weren’t handling the pressure of life and ministry well.  And we were desperately trying to maintain the appearance of having it all together. … Continue reading

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Hidden Sins in Addiction

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Addiction is deplorable for every reason. The person addicted to a substance or action is often miserable in the addiction. Family members suffer for multiple reasons: seeing a person addicted, loss of finances, stability, fighting against manipulation, crime, and the heartache and devastation coming from the addiction. Of course the most important issue is the person’s relationship to Christ. Addiction does not magnify God’s worth or exalt Him. An addict has little hope she truly knows Christ because she is not living under the direction of the Holy Spirit, but controlled by her fleshly desires.

When dealing with an addict, it takes little time to convince people one of the problems is the addiction.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Why I Study

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One of the burning questions that many people long to ask about pastoral ministry is what desk_studydoes a pastor do all week. In the broader culture, there seems to be a belief that pastors have it easy because they only work a few hours on Sunday mornings. While I suppose for some that may be true (which would explain this, if you see it on a pastor’s shelf run!), but for faithful pastors, who truly love Christ and the people He has entrusted to them, nothing could be further than the truth. Although I rolled my eyes when I was repeatedly told in seminary that I would be busier in ministry than I ever was training for the ministry, I am, and truth be told I don’t know a single pastor that puts in less than 55 hours a week and most put in far more.… Continue reading

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