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Posts Tagged ‘justin taylor’

This week: more grace than sin, dealing with mistreatment, the true testing ground for a wife, and glorifying God at work.

Jesus: More Full of Grace Than I of Sin (by Justin Taylor)

O Jesus, full of truth and grace

More full of grace than I of sin
Yet once again I seek Thy face:
Open Thine arms and take me in
And freely my backslidings heal
And love the faithless sinner still.

– Charles Wesley

When Others Mistreat You (by Nathan Busenitz, the Cripplegate)

For the truth is, if you are wronged by other men, you have the better of it, for it is better to bear wrong than to do wrong a great deal. If they wrong you, you are in a better condition than they, because it is better to bear, than to do wrong.

A Wife’s Testing Ground (by Jen Smidt, The Resurgence)

If our value is tied to his purity, we will be devastated. If our security is grounded in his job title, we will be shaken. If our faith rides the coattails of his, we will find ourselves drowning in unbelief.

If our husband is our rock, we may be crushed by him.

How to Glorify God at Work (by John Piper, Desiring God)

Go to work utterly dependent on God (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 15:5). Without him you can’t breathe, move, think, feel, or talk. Not to mention be spiritually influential. Get up in the morning and let God know your desperation for him. Pray for help.

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This week: a one minute review of “The Adjustment Bureau” from Thomas McKenzie, why the gospel is good news now, Muammar Gadhafi, types of actions, and contraconditional love.

Why the Gospel Is Good News for Believers . . . Now (by Jared Compton)

If new life has been given to us, to Christians, we should expect to see evidence of this new life every day. Instead of this fact turning us inward in introspection (there is, of course, a place for this), let it also make usexpect to see evidences of new life, evidences of grace, in others’ lives every day. One of the best, most faith-building, joy-producing things we can do for our brothers and sisters in Christ is to point out God’s work in their lives. Infuse courage into the soul of your spouse, your pastors, your small group by drawing attention to what you see God doing in their lives.

Me and Muammar: What We have in Common (by Carl Trueman)

And as we shudder at the sight of this lunatic rambling on our television screens, it is worth remembering that Gadhafi is only an extreme example of that which dwells in each of us.  The desire to be in control, to make a mark, to make ourselves indispensable: these are all drives that are universal within fallen humanity.  Our worlds may be smaller, the damage we do somewhat more modest, but our ambitions are in their own ways just as absurd as his.

Good-Good, Bad-Good, Bad-Bad, and Good-Bad Actions (by Justin Taylor)

The more difficult one to understand is the one we call good-bad. When certain actions take place, they are simply evil; nevertheless, under the providence of God, under his sovereignty over human events, he has the power to bring good out of them, which is a glorious thing we can experience as Christians.

Why God’s Love Is Better Than “Unconditional” (by Justin Taylor)

This love is much, much, much better than unconditional! Perhaps we could call it “contraconditional” love.

Contrary to the conditions for knowing God’s blessing, He has blessed me because His Son fulfilled the conditions.

Contrary to my due, He loves me.

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This week: The gospel and accountability, man versus machine, abortion and the dilemma pro-abortion activists might have to face, and a some great thoughts on the birth of Samuel and who we tend to rebuke. The article at the top of the list by Tchividjian is an absolute must read.

Reminders are More Effective than Rebukes (by Tulian Tchividjian)

Christianity is not first about our getting better, our obedience, our behavior, and our daily victory over remaining sin–as important as all these are. It’s first about Jesus! It’s about his person and substitutionary work–his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, session, and promised return. We are justified–and sanctified–by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. So that even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.”

What a Marvel is Man (by Kevin DeYoung)

Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter have roughly 3 pounds of gray matter (pink really), enough to fill the palm of your hand. Watson is too big to fit on stage. What you see on t.v. is a monitor, some sort of avatar. The real Watson is comprised of 90 IBM servers enclosed in ten racks. Score one for the humans for being more compact and mobile.

Abortion, Philadelphia Law, and the Supreme Court (by Justin Taylor)

And if he does charge Dr. Gosnell with illegal abortions as well as murder, abortion-rights advocates such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have a choice. Do they continue to agitate for the regime of abortion on demand that they’ve been defending for 38 years? Do they fold this particular hand, and concede that some abortions occur too late to be permitted at all? There is danger for them in this. If a viable unborn child has a right to life, what about the one just a week or a day shy of viability? And the one just a bit younger than that?

Birth and Dedication of Samuel (by Douglas Wilson)

One of the reasons why things get this way is not because people are not rebuked. No, they are. But it is usually the wrong ones. Hannah is rebuked by Eli, even though his sons (who were far worse) were not. Elkanah comforts Hannah, but does not restrain his wife Peninnah. Often we rebuke, not the one who needs it, but rather the one who will take it.

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I saw this post from Justin Taylor today and just had to draw more attention to Bob Kauflin’s story of his battle with darkness and depression. I remember being at this conference and hearing what Kauflin shared live, being in tears afterwards. It was definitely something that stuck with me and I have recounted it on more than one occasion to others. The thought that “you don’t feel hopeless enough” is such a powerful and profound application of the gospel and has given me pause many times to ask myself: “Am I hoping in myself here or in my Savior?”

The story was published in The Power of Words and the Wonder of God (pp. 149-151) but you can actually watch or listen to the full Q&A at Desiring God. Please read Bob’s story below or listen to it and let yourself be encouraged that though our sin is terrible, Jesus’ love goes deeper for us than we can imagine. The darkness will not last forever.

I helped plant a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1991. I began to feel increasing anxiety at different times when we first planted the church. Then in January of 1994 my wife and I were at a couple’s house for dinner, and I cracked. My life fell apart. Mentally I had no connection with what I was doing, no connection with the past, no connection with the future. I didn’t know why I existed. These were the thoughts that went through my brain. That began a period of maybe three years where I battled constant hopelessness. I would wake up each morning with this thought: “Your life is completely hopeless,” and then I would go from there. It was a struggle just to make it through to each step of the day. The way I made it through was just to think, What am I going to do next? What will I do? I can make it to there.

It was characterized by panic attacks. For the first six months I battled thoughts of death. I’d think about an event that was three months away: Why am I thinking about that? I’m going to be dead by then. I had feelings of tightness in my chest, buzzing and itching on my arms, buzzing on my face. It was a horrible time. And in the midst of that I cried out to God, and I certainly talked to the pastor that I served with and other pastors that I knew—good friends—trying to figure out what in the world was going on with my life.

Five or six children at that time, a fruitful life, a fruitful ministry. And this is what I discovered: although I’d been a Christian for twenty-two years (since 1972) I was driven by a desire to be praised by men. And I wasn’t succeeding. When you plant a church, you find out that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with you. People who came to plant the church left. All of that assaulted my craving to be admired and praised and loved and worshiped and adored and applauded. God, I believe, just took his hand from me and said, “Okay, you handle this your way.” I knew the gospel, but what I didn’t know was how great a sinner I was. I thought the gospel I needed was for pretty good people, and that wasn’t sufficient to spare me from the utter hopelessness I felt during that time.

I would read Scripture. It didn’t make sense to me. It didn’t affect me. I remember lying at bed at times just reciting the Lord’s Prayer to myself over and over and over, hoping that would help. I couldn’t sleep; then at times all I wanted to do was sleep. I remember saying this early on: “God, if you keep me like this for the rest of my life but it means that I will know you better, then keep me like this.” That was the hardest prayer I’ve ever prayed.

During that time I read an abridged version of John Owen’s Sin and Temptation and Jerry Bridges’ The Discipline of Grace.

About a year into the process I talked to a good friend, Gary Ricucci, whom I am now in a small group with at Covenant Life Church. I said, “Gary, I feel hopeless all the time.”

He said, “You know, Bob? I think your problem is that you don’t feel hopeless enough.”

I don’t know what I looked like on the outside, but on the inside I was saying, “You are crazy. You are crazy. I feel hopeless.”

He said, “No, if you were hopeless, you would stop trusting in yourself and rely completely on what Jesus Christ accomplished for you.”

That was the beginning of the way out. And I remember saying to myself literally hundreds of times—every time these feelings of hopelessness and panic and a desire to ball up in a fetal position would come on me—“I feel completely hopeless because I am hopeless, but Jesus Christ died for hopeless people, and I’m one of them.”

Over time I began to believe that. And today when I tell people that Jesus is a great Savior, I believe it, because I know that he saved me. That’s where my joy comes from. My joy comes from knowing that at the very bottom, at the very pit of who I am, it is blackness and sin, but the love and grace of Jesus goes deeper.

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