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Teach Us To Number Our Days (via Robert Godfrey)

“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90: 12) is one of my favourite verses in the Psalms.
In an excerpt from his new book, Learning To Love The Psalms, Robert Godfrey points out that the lesson of the verse is not to focus on making the best use of the number of days we get, but to be challenged by the shortness of the time we have here to look to eternity.
That’s wisdom.
From the post.

If our need is to number our days by contrasting their shortness with the eternal nature of God, then our prayer to God is that He would teach us: “Teach us to number our days.” We will never learn that lesson in our own strength. We are not only ignorant if left to ourselves, but we suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). We convince ourselves that we have a long time to live, and as long as we are healthy, we really believe that we will live forever in this body. We need a teacher, and the only teacher who can rescue us from ourselves is God.

Read the whole post here.

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A Fall Doesn’t Automatically Lead To Wisdom (via Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine writes about the growth that can, but doesn’t always follow a burnout experience.
“Just because we fall, that doesn’t mean we are necessarily wise now. We have to be teachable to the thing that God’s doing.”
The lesson translates to other experiences.

Are You Teachable?
I don’t wish a breakdown or burnout on anybody. I’d rather none of us have to go through that. But it can be a turning point in our life. Sometimes we don’t see things we needed to, or there were warning signs, but we thought, “Well, that’s other people, not me.” If there’s a level of pride in our heart that won’t become teachable to the thing, then the Lord, because he loves and pursues us, will let us fall. And then he’ll pick us up again.
All isn’t lost. That’s not the last chapter or the last moment in our lives. But he’ll let us fall. Now, here’s the thing: Just because we fall, that doesn’t mean we are necessarily wise now. We have to be teachable to the thing that God’s doing. And that’s the issue all along, even before the burnout: we should be teachable to God.
After the burnout we should ask ourselves, Okay, am I going to be teachable now? The Lord loves humility, and he works it in us in this teachable posture of heart. When that reality starts to take hold of us, and he works it in us, even our darkest day, we can say with the psalmist, “is as light to him.”
Moral failure isn’t good. Burnout isn’t good. These things aren’t good. But God is good. He keeps his promise, he keeps his faithfulness, he keeps his word to us, even when we’ve let go of those things. Our great hope isn’t that we had a failure in our life. Our great hope is that God is with us no matter what.
So, by all means, avoid the failure. But if it finds you, let it teach you. Let the Lord show you himself in it, and he’ll see you through to the other side.


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It’s Always The Right Time Of Year To Celebrate The Victory Of Christ (via Nick Batzig)

Various observations by the church through a calendar year may bring helpful themes to mind, but they should never eclipse the central theme that is constant reality.

Nick Batzig writes about Lent, concluding:

Wherever one falls on the spectrum of adherence to elements of the Liturgical Calendar, we must learn to live our Christian lives constantly in light of the once-for-all atoning death and resurrection of Jesus. We must always live and worship in dependence on the One who ascended to the right hand of the Father and is our great High Priest ever living to make intercession for us. We must live our Christian life in union with the One who cried out “It is finished,” even as we anticipate His return. All of our worship practices must coincide with those truths and must be derived squarely from the prescriptive elements of Scripture and the example of the Apostles. To that end, it will be an enormous benefit for us to submerse ourselves in the Scriptures and in the rich repository of Reformed, Puritan and Post-Reformation writings on worship.

Read the whole post at Reformation 21.

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A View That Banishes Distractions From Worship (via Barry York)

A brief article by Barry York at Gentle Reformation on a neglected aspect of ministry, the call to worship.
The basic idea is that rather than telling people not be distracted, you show them the One who will capture their attention.

From the article:

The great leveling ground as people come to worship is the cross. Even in the Old Testament, the first object worshipers saw as they entered into the courtyard of the temple was the altar. We are all sinners in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. God’s people need to hear as they come before him that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Hence, we are called to die to self, to suffer for the gospel, and to be holy like Christ. When Jesus is put before us as the only one we are to be like, the effect is to both humble hearts and seek his cleansing. Comparative thoughts then melt away in the warmth of his presence and grace.

Read the whole post here.

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Once And For All (via Scotty Smith)

From Scotty Smith’s prayer/blog Heavenward:

The Once-and-For-All-ness of Jesus’ Single Sacrifice for Our Sins

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, once and for all. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Heb. 10:11-14 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, O, the wonder of this Good News … We cannot hear it too much, believe it too deeply, or rejoice in it too fully. By your death on the cross, you have taken away our sins, once and for all. Nothing is left undone; nothing more needs to happen; nothing else could’ve met our need. It’s not, you did your part, now we must do our part. It’s, you did your part; now let us trust in your part.
And now, having justified us by your finished work, you’re perfecting us by your Holy Spirit. We who’ve been declared perfectly righteous will be made perfectly holy—not by our grit, but by your grace. One Day we’ll be as lovely and as loving as you, Lord Jesus. Justification now flows sweetly into sanctification; sanctification will eventuate into glorification, and glorification will be the beginning of our eternal vacation—a life of never-ending rest and worship, adventure and creativity, perfect relationships and perfect everything!
Even as we rest in your finished work, so we rejoice in your present reign, Lord Jesus. Atoned-for-sin will be abolished sin; already-defeated evil will be eradicated evil; vanquished enemies will be eliminated enemies. May the joy of this good news buckle our knees in humble adoration, and empower our hands for neighbor love.
As we are loved, so let us love; as we have been served, so let us serve; as we are encouraged, so let us encourage one another. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.


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The Bible Is Not A Book Of Lessons About How To Be A Hero

The heart of the Bible is not about emulating heroes.
It’s about convicting you about, Jesus, the hero you need.
From Aaron Earles:

If we are honest we are ourselves, we can easily find ourselves in the pages of the Bible—just not among the heroes.
We are the failures, the rejects, the idolaters, the sinful, the prideful, the villains. But that’s the most wonderful part. God hasn’t called us to be the hero, only to follow the One who actually is.
Christ is the true hero and even the real protagonist. He’s the One on which all of history turns. He’s the One to which all of Scripture points.
And in His being the hero, He has laid down his life for us. Even though we didn’t deserve. Even while we were sinners. Even with us being the villain to His Hero.
The gospel frees us to read God’s word—not anxiously searching for how our life matches the hero of the passage, but thankful that even though you don’t measure up to a heroic standard God loves you regardless and has sent His Son to redeem you anyway.
The good news of the gospel is that you aren’t the hero of the story and you don’t have to be.

Read the whole post here.

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No Self-Made Christians (via Michael Jensen)

People from modern western culture can find themselves defined as the sum of what they can do.
This can have devastating effects on perceptions of those who are not able to be actively productive.
Aged people, for instance, feel profoundly diminished if their capacities fail.
Michael Jensen reminds us that in God’s Kingdom there are no self-made people, no people whose identity in grounded in what they can or cannot do.

The modern world has made human actions the basic compositional unit of the human self. We moderns understand ourselves primarily as acting subjects—as people who do things.
The damaging consequences of this idolization of the acting self are numerous: from an instrumentality in human relationships (they are only good insofar as they provide me with what I need in order to bolster my C.V.), to a removal of the dignity of those who cannot act, or who are limited in their ability to act (the disabled and the elderly in particular). If it is by action that we establish ourselves as true men and women, then what are we to think of those whose ability to act is limited? Can a person who cannot act be truly good, if they cannot express their virtues in action?
The gospel of the crucified Christ actually overthrows that path to self-realization! Just as thinking that we are justified by our works is a terrible proud mistake, so is thinking we are most truly expressing and finding ourselves in our human achievements.
The great Reformation doctrine sola fide or ‘justification by faith alone’ explains that it is God who judges, declares, and determines; it is he who calls human beings to themselves. It is he who even gives them to themselves. There cannot be self-made people, not really. The extremity of the cross—that the Son of God would need to suffer so—shows us just what proud failures we are in the business of making ourselves.

Read the whole post at Crossway.