Reading the Bible Prayerfully

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clockHappy New Year, dear reader!  It’s that time of year where we all make commitments that we know we’ll never keep.  I’m only kidding of course (sort of!).  Although there is nothing inherently different about the beginning of a new year from any time throughout the rest of the year, the turn of a new year is a good opportunity to re-evaluate the direction of our lives, reset our priorities, and even make some reasonable commitments to pursue growth in the coming year.

A couple of helpful posts have been written in the last week about these things here on the PS23 blog.… Continue reading

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Give Thanks–Paul’s Prayers of Thanksgiving

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Thanks

Early in my Christian life I obtained Arthur W. Pink’s Gleanings from Paul: The Prayers of the Apostle (Moody 1967). That study of Paul’s prayers in Scripture kindled a spiritual fire in my heart and life. Paul’s example in prayer, especially in the thanks with which he begins most of his epistles, set a pattern for believers throughout the next two millennia and beyond. Paul’s admonition, “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) certainly challenges each one of us. As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2016, let’s immerse ourselves in opportunities for thanksgiving that the apostle exemplifies through his epistles.… Continue reading

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“You Are My People”–How Should We Live?

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slide_jer-7_23God said to Israel, “I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:12 NASU). The middle two phrases present an expression of the covenant relationship between the Lord and His people. In an earlier blog we covered the first major concept (“I will . . . be your God”) and discovered whom we should serve. Now we turn to the second major concept (“you shall be My people”) and how we should live for Him.

Jesus taught His disciples, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).… Continue reading

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A Meditation on Lamentations

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bible-3Too often we open the Old Testament to read and immediately default to the “this-is-for-Israel” mindset. While it is very true that God superintended the writing of the Old Testament books as revelation He gave to Israel through the prophets, we must remember that

All Scripture is inspired [breathed out] by God and profitable for teaching [doctrine], for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16–17 NASU with my explanatory notes in square brackets)

In other words, as Christians (not Israel) we also must have a mindset to learn doctrine through, to be reproved by, to be corrected by, and to be trained in righteousness by the Old Testament, so that we might be equipped for “every good work.”

The little book of Lamentations, with the possible exception of 3:21–27, resides outside the Christian’s established routine for personal sanctification.… Continue reading

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Don’t Pray for Persecution

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One of the strangest concepts I have heard Christians repeat over the last few years has been that Christians should pray for persecution.

Here’s the logic:

  • The American churches are weak and full of unregenerate members. Persecution tends to scare off those unregenerate members.
  • The church has thrived historically under persecution.
  • Therefore, the church should wish for persecution.

I understand the thinking, and I definitely understand the motivation. I, too, desire to see the church purified and thoroughly filled with those who are actually born again.

But there are several arguments against this point of view, and not just the pragmatic argument of survivorship bias (we only note the persecuted churches that have thrived because, well, they actually existed – as opposed to those that could have started and thrived if there were no persecution).… Continue reading

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