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reports, reviews, thoughts, news (and fun) posted by Gary Ware


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Solidarity (via David Cook)

Posted on August 5, 2014 at David’s page at the PCA website:

Solidarity
According to real estate agents, it is all about location, location, location.
It is precisely the same according to the Christian gospel when it applies to the believer’s experience of God.
Once we were located in Adam, now by God’s grace, we are located in Christ (see Romans 5:12 – 21). So Paul says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have decamped, and our new address is in Christ. This was one of the first lessons Saul (Paul) learnt on the Damascus Road, that to persecute Christians is to persecute Jesus, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting (Acts 9:5)”.
Being now located “in Christ” means that there is solidarity between Jesus and his people, and that when Christians are persecuted, Jesus takes that personally.
Jesus speaks of the same solidarity when he sends out the twelve on mission in Matthew 10:40, “he who receives you, receives me and he who receives me, receives the one who sent me”. There is solidarity between the believer and Jesus Christ, just as there is solidarity between God the Father, “the one who sent me” and God the Son, “the one whom He sent”.
In Psalm 14:4 – 7, David says that those who devour God’s people ought to be overcome with dread, for the Lord is in the company of the righteous, he is their refuge and he will watch over the fortunes of his people!
Therefore let ISIS and other such groups be warned, the outrageous threats and attacks on Christians in Iraq, the similar attacks in Nigeria, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Gaza will not go unpunished, Yahweh is in the midst of His people. He alone is Lord and he will punish the persecutor, either now, or in judgement in eternity.
Let us go to prayer for both our persecuted family and for those who persecute them. Pray that God will be merciful to the persecutor, that they will have their eyes opened to their willful rebellion and bow the knee, as did Saul, to the resurrected Lord. If they don’t, they are in for a terrible, eternal shock.
Pray for those who take the gospel of light and peace to such antagonists that they will be sensitively bold and faithful in the task.
“All wickedness flows from a disregard of God”, wrote Calvin, and in another commentary, “the hatred of sin proceeds from the fear of God”. What a wicked world we live in, it is a world under God’s judgement and we must not be sidetracked by trifling concerns, but seriously pray and reach into the heart of the rebellious with the momentous news of the gospel.
Remember the gospel is God’s power to save. Saul was the chief persecutor of the ancient church, “the worst of sinners” was his self description, but God’s power vanquished him, and we can be confident that the gospel of God will continue to melt the rebellion of even the worst hardened opponent.
David Cook


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People Prefer Electric Shocks To Being Alone With Their Own Thoughts For Fifteen Minutes

This seems so weird, but is based on the premise of being without company, phone, pen, paper, book, music or anything.
The whole situation stands at odds with the observations about having too much to do or being overloaded with busyness.
The very situation we contend plagues us, we’re actually addicted to.
People apparently can’t last even fifteen minutes totally alone with themselves.
Given the choice they administer electric shocks to themselves just to have something to do.
I wonder how the same experiment would go, but giving people the choice of watching The Bachelor?
Try the fifteen minutes alone thing some time.

Read about the experiment here.
There’s lots of analysis around the internet as well.


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A Word For Those Who Are Tired Of Waiting (via Paul Tripp)

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Two posts from Paul Tripp exploring the reasons behind the frustrations we experience when we have to wait; and then providing six words we should associate with waiting.

Part One:

Why does the line at the grocery store drive you crazy? Why does the traffic jam result in you pounding the dashboard? Why does your spouse feel your irritation when they’ve made you late? What is it about waiting that makes you mad?
Waiting is hard, I get that. We live in a fallen world and that makes life difficult. But our biggest waiting problem is found inside of us, not outside of us.
There are three heart issues that make waiting a struggle for us:
1. Meaning
2. Control
3. Self

Read the whole post here.

Part Two:

Why do we wait? Here’s my thesis: “Waiting, by God’s definition, is not an interruption of the plan; waiting is part of the plan.”
I’ve found that there are 6 helpful words that you should associate with waiting:
1. Inescapable
2. Mercy
3. Productive
4. Active
5. Good
6. Limited

Read the whole post here.


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The Situation Of Christians In Syria

Article by Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Syria from the UK Telegraph.
An excerpt:

We hear the thunder of bombs and the rattle of gunfire, but we don’t always know what is happening. It’s hard to describe how chaotic, terrifying and psychologically difficult it is when you have no idea what will happen next, or where the next rocket will fall. Many Christians cope with the tension by being fatalistic: that whatever happens is God’s will.
Until the war began, Syria was one of the last remaining strongholds for Christianity in the Middle East. We have 45 churches in Aleppo. But now our faith is under mortal threat, in danger of being driven into extinction, the same pattern we have seen in neighbouring Iraq.
Most Christians who could afford to leave Aleppo have already fled for Lebanon, so as to find schools for their children. Those who remain are mostly from poor families. Many can no longer put food on the table. Last year, even amid intense fighting, you could see people in the streets running around endlessly trying to find bread in one of the shops.

Read the rest here.

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Putting Prosperity ‘Gospel’ To Death

Some recent material stating again how the ‘prosperity’ gospel is not good news, and is anti-gospel.
Preaching that treats the Scriptures as a handbook to achieve health, wealth and personal fulfilment, and which treats the death and resurrection of Jesus as little more than a doorway to being able to get them is not preaching at all.
Just keep asking yourself: ‘Is this sermon focussed on what I should be doing to get things, and Jesus is really just added on?’ or ‘Is this sermon importing blessings from the age to come and telling me I should experience them now?’

From Ed Welch:

I hate the prosperity gospel or any teaching that suggests good Christians will be healthy, wealthy and happy. As a counselor I see its wretched fruit. I hate it, and I am not alone. The number of haters is reaching a critical mass, maybe even a tipping point. But I can understand why this pernicious teaching endures. In many places, Scripture seems to teach it, so there will always be a contingent of prosperity folks among us.
When I go to Africa, the preaching I hear is almost solely from the Old Testament. The preachers want vivid stories where good people get good things and bad people get bad things, and these stories abound in the Old Testament. There are exceptions of course, (Job, Daniel, and Joseph to name a few) but themes of health, wealth and prosperity are common fare in the early days of God’s people.
This is why we remind ourselves that Scripture reaches its zenith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Or, as the Apostle Paul purposefully summarizes, “Christ and him crucified.” When our attention is riveted to the Suffering Servant, the prosperity doctrines fade quickly.

Read the whole post at CCEF.

And from Adam4d.com


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On The Other Side Of The Border (via Paul Tripp)

Paul Tripp relates an incident involving mobile phone lost on the wrong side of a border that evoked an all-too-familiar reaction and the familiar feeling that those of us who counsel others about the security of resting in the sovereignty of God get when we find that we don’t want to accept our own advice.

Telling this story really is quite embarrassing. It’s not that hard these days to replace a phone, or to at least temporarily use another device to provide me with the information I need. The phone is more of a convenience and preference for me.
But more importantly, it’s embarrassing because I teach and write all the time about the security and rest that can be found in the sovereignty of God. I tell people all the time that God will take them where they don’t want to go in order to produce in them what they couldn’t achieve on their own. I teach again and again that God is much more committed to our holiness than he is to delivering our personal definition of happiness.

Read the whole post at Paul Tripp.


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Psalm 13 / How Long, O Lord? – Christmas Songs 2013 Day 14

From Jacob Tilton’s free four-psalm Advent EP How Long, O Lord? – Psalms For Advent.
The album notes remind us: “Advent is a season of waiting. It is the silence before the shout, the fast before the feast, the sigh before the smile.”
That sums up our current experience pretty well.
As we continue to wait on God for the outcome of Jozua’s recovery from accident, we become freshly aware of our dependence upon God.

Psalm 13, as recorded here sums that up perfectly.