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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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 1

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Scripture disallows seeking peace at any price. Some apologists argue that even believers must draw the line somewhere to stand up to the forces of evil. Wherever one stands, Christians need to be pro-active. As Friesen, Langan, and Stassen observe in their introduction to Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, “terrorism requires more than an ethic that says terrorism is unjust, it requires an ethic that points to practices that prevent it.”[1] Some events create a time for war rather than a time for peace — when it would be un-Christian to not act unspeakably toward someone, perhaps a terrorist or terrorist organization.… Continue reading

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When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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Pastor Jim Barrick (Feb. 9, 1948 – Aug. 11, 2017)

As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family.… Continue reading

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

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Each Memorial Day our nation takes time to formally recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen who died in battle. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day to remember fallen soldiers of that conflict. He selected May 30 as the day to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in defense of their nation. No particular battle had taken place on that day during the war. The observance became know as Decoration Day. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield (later to become President), spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.… Continue reading

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Bearing Grief through Truth and Worship

We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.

Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.

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