What an insightful, helpful little book! Randy Alcorn points out that most Christians struggle with balancing two traits of Christ-likeness: grace and truth (John 1:14). Either we have no problem being bold in standing for and sharing God’s truth with others, yet often lack grace, love, and compassion when doing so. Or we are readily loving, accepting, and compassionate toward others, but neglect speaking the truth regarding doctrinal matters, sin, or repentance. If you’re honest with yourself, you will probably admit that you have a tendency to fall into one of these two camps. I know which one I fall into!Continue reading “The Grace & Truth Paradox”
This past Sunday at church we sang a hymn that we don’t sing on a regular basis (#621 in the Baptist Trinity Hymnal) that was so appropriate given that this is the week of our national and local elections. There are several key thoughts and truths conveyed in the lyrics that I believe are important for people living in any country to be mindful of as they find themselves concerned about the current political state of their nation or face the uncertainty of an upcoming election. The lyrics are written as a prayer to God:
Great King of nations, hear our prayer, While at thy feet we fall, And humbly, with united cry, To thee for mercy call. The guilt is ours, but grace is thine, O turn us not away; But hear us from thy lofty throne, And help us when we pray. Our fathers' sins were manifold, And ours no less we own, Yet wondrously from age to age, Thy goodness hath been shown. When dangers, like a stormy sea, Beset our country round, To thee we looked, to thee we cried, And help in thee was found. With one consent we meekly bow, Beneath thy chastening hand, And, pouring forth confession meet, Mourn with our mourning land. With pitying eye behold our need, As thus we lift our prayer; Correct us with thy judgments, Lord, Then let thy mercy spare. - John H. Gurney, 1838
Notice the following ideas in this prayer offered to God by His people:Continue reading “A Prayer for our Nation”
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Wow, it’s hard to believe it is 2020 – a new decade! For some, the past year was wonderful – maybe it included a wedding, a new baby, a move, or the start of a new job or career path. Undoubtedly, there was some disappointment or sadness as well. We lost my step-father just the week before Christmas. But he was 94; he lived a good, long life, was a great husband to my mother for over 25 years, and was ready to be with his Savior. Perhaps your 2019 wasn’t what you had hoped it would be. Maybe you look back on the past year or decade with regret. But every day, every year is an opportunity to start fresh – what a blessing!
Two years ago I had no idea I would be where I am now with regard to my job situation. Three months ago I had no idea we would be anticipating another grandchild in our family. Today, I have no idea what will happen in the coming year. It’s January First, 2020; we will blink, and suddenly it will be the end of another year. And yet, not one of us is guaranteed another year, or even tomorrow, for that matter. (see Luke 12:16-21, James 4:13-14)
We can’t determine or control everything that will occur this year, or tomorrow for that matter. But we can certainly make plans – and it is good and wise to do so. We can make the most of each day that we have breath. We can make a conscious decision to live for the Lord and to make a positive difference in the lives of those we touch. We can live, work, even sing before our time runs out, as Jon Foreman so artfully puts it.
January, February, March –
The days are marching forward;
April, May, June and July –
They fly like a hummingbird.
August, September, October –
The year is almost over.
November, December arrive,
Now the year is gone.
Time is illusion; Time is a curse.
Time is all these things and worse,
But our time is now,
Oh Oh Oh Oh –
Our time is now,
Oh Oh Oh Oh!
Let us sing before our time runs out.
Time is a mockingbird,
The embers of what we were.
But the years are still burning in my veins –
And my time is now
Or as Foreman’s band, Switchfoot, sings in their song Live It Well:
Awaken, oh my soul – Every breath that you take is a miracle! Life is short, I wanna live it well – One life, one story to tell.
What are you looking most forward to in 2020?
Well, it’s that time of year again when a lot of people think about what changes they want to make in their life. Lots of people make resolutions related to their physical health, like losing weight, starting an exercise program, or quitting smoking. Some set educational or career goals, say, to go back to school and finish a degree, earn a certification, or get a new job or promotion. Maybe you want to improve yourself as a person — quit a bad habit, learn a new skill or hobby, or travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. But have you thought about making a resolution that will profit your soul or help you to grow spiritually? Continue reading “A New Year’s Resolution for the Soul”
I love the Thanksgiving season and holiday! I used to teach history classes on Colonial America, the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. This time of year gives me an opportunity to share some of the information and resources I acquired and used for those classes, and I hope they will be useful to others.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all…
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Happy 2018 Everyone!
Every year at this time, I typically challenge my readers to consider reading through the entire Bible during the coming year. As I’ve said before, the Bible is not a book that is meant to be read once, then checked off a reading list and set back on the shelf. I have made it my habit to read through the whole annually for probably about 20 years or so. There are many One Year Bibles and Bible reading plans to choose from. I’ve read One Year and Chronological Bibles in different versions, and a couple years ago I started using the free YouVersion app on my phone, but there are others out there as well. If you have a long commute to work, maybe the Bible on audio would be a good way to go. The key is to find a method and format that works for your lifestyle and will help you to be regular in your reading and stay on track. Continue reading “A New New Year’s Challenge: Learn a Catechism!”