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Why Neither Accumulation Nor Minimalism Can Make You Happy (via Wyatt Graham at Gospel Coalition Canada)

I’m an accumulator. But I know it won’t make me satisfied. Neither would getter rid of all my stuff.
From Wyatt Graham at Gospel Coalition Canada:

[Accumulation or Minimalism as] options to happiness are modern. But there is an older way of life that promises freedom like minimalism does and joy like accumulation does. Central to this way of life is the posture of hope in something beyond the material world, namely, God. And if you put your hope in God, then your well-being is not determined by whether you have stuff or don’t have stuff.
Jesus told his disciples not to worry about how much stuff they have or didn’t have because God provides…

Read the whole post here.


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It Is Striking To Recognise That The Sense Of Being Fundamentally Bored And Dissatisfied With Life Is A Problem Experienced By Prosperous, Wealthy Westerners.“ (via Matthew Payne at Gospel Coalition Australia)

Some thoughts on the transformation of boredom from passing phases of disinterest to a more fixed state of dissatisfaction by Matthew Payne at the Gospel Coalition Australia.

People have always been bored. We’ve all experienced the feeling of disinterest in what we’re doing or not knowing what to do with ourselves. But what this paper focussed on was a deeper and more fundamental problem of boredom. Many people in our culture are disinterested in life as a whole. The meaningless of life hangs over us and we can’t escape a sense of dissatisfaction with what life has to offer.
This latter kind of boredom is a recent phenomenon. It is connected with the rise of wealth and the loss of belief in God in the western world. It is striking to recognise that the sense of being fundamentally bored and dissatisfied with life is a problem experienced by prosperous, wealthy westerners. We have more career and lifestyle choices than anyone else in human history, but this has not made us content. Quite the opposite.

Read the rest of the post at Gospel Coalition Australia.


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If It Stops Stinking, It’s Too Late (via Michael Milton)

Michael Milton relates an episode from his past life experience of receiving a safety warning while working on an oil field and draws a parallel application to spiritual health:

[The warning from his foreman]
“When you smell rotten-eggs at the well site, boys, you are smelling a poisonous, corrosive, flammable gas that is hydrogen sulfide. This hydrogen sulfide will kill you in no time flat … If you get to the point where you do not smell hydrogen sulfide and its noxious rotten-egg aroma, it’s already too late. So, listen and live: You smell it. You get out of there. ‘Cuz if you stop smelling it, we will have to go in and haul your ugly carcass out of there feet-first. And that will just mess up my day. Don’t be that guy!”

[Milton’s spiritual application]
…sin is like the rotten-egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. Whenever you smell it, you have to get out—and I mean NOW. If you linger after you have detected the odor of the poisonous gas of sin, you will quickly get to the point where you don’t smell it. That is a point of no return. Let us say it like this,
If sin becomes tolerable, judgment becomes inevitable.
And by the time you stop sensing that rotten-egg smell, it will be too late. You will be trapped by sin. You’ll be snared by the devil. Somebody just may have to go into the scene of the incident and pull you out feet-first.

Read the whole post here.


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Preposterous Blessings (via Winn Collier)

Winn Collier writes about the beatitudes as encouragements for those at the margins rather than a recipe of ‘be this and get that’.
Why?
To assure us that in the kingdom, we should never be undone by finding ourselves at the margins.
From the post:

The life Jesus announces really does turn everything topsy-turvy. Jesus passes blessings (well-being) on exactly the opposite of those we consider blessed. The Beatitudes pronounce the shocking reality that the precise people we assume at the bottom of the pile are actually at the center of God’s abundance. These blessings are what God does, what Jesus makes possible in ways that were impossible before.
And while these blessings do not unravel a litmus test for “what it takes to get God’s blessing” (for example, no one’s suggesting we should go out looking for persecution), it’s subversively true that we need not fear these places of deprivation or vulnerability because when we’re most at risk, we have confidence that God is with us in that risky place. So when calamity visits us (persecution) or when we courageously obey Jesus (by being merciful, for instance, to those who we think deserve no mercy at all), we don’t need to fear.

source


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Just Because Jesus Loves Us And Knows How To Fix Our Problems Doesn’t Mean He Takes A Shortcut Through Our Grief (via Scott Hubbard at Desiring God)

God sees our tears, and in the person of Jesus he has shed tears of his own.
Our tears matter.
From Scott Hubbard at Desiring God.

When Jesus joined a crowd outside the town of Nain and watched a widow weep over her son’s body, “he had compassion on her” (Luke 7:13). Later, when Mary fell apart at Jesus’s feet over the death of her brother, the man of sorrows went one step further: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus had compassion, and Jesus wept — even though Jesus was about to speak the word to snatch them both back from death (Luke 7:14; John 11:43).
Just because Jesus loves us and knows how to fix our problems doesn’t mean he takes a shortcut through our grief. The same one who raises the dead first stops to linger with us in our sorrow — to climb down into our valley of tears and walk alongside us.

source


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The Slow Burn Of Bitterness (via Nancy Guthrie)

No one starts out with the intention of becoming bitter, writes Nancy Guthrie. To get there involves and accumulative process of gathering the hurts that will fuel a fire that will never stop burning.
Guthrie tells of her own experience:

No one ever says, “When I grow up, I want to be bitter.” But life has a way of handing us hurts that can collect, insults and offenses that seem to stick to our souls and refuse to let go. Of course, we don’t want to see ourselves as bitter. And yet, when the word “forgiveness” comes up, we sometimes find ourselves becoming uncomfortable. We sense we’re about to be asked to do something we really don’t want to do. A face comes into view in our mind’s eye. A fire reignites inside us at the thought of what happened or what didn’t happen, what was said or what went unsaid, revealing that there are embers of unforgiveness smoldering inside us that threaten to burn forever if they are not doused for good.
But how will that ever happen? I can tell you how it happened for me.

Read the rest of the article at Tabletalk.


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Christians Suffer, But They Don’t Suffer Alone (via David Powlison)

David Powlison writes about lessons he learned as a Christian who went through a prolonged season of intense suffering.
He avoids glib and sentimental expressions and also stays clear of wrongly placed triumphalism.
From the post:

…yes, we do learn from suffering, but it’s not a simple lesson. What’s most important is this: God shows up in our lives and hearts. He walks with us through fire. He directly communicates His love. He purifies our faith. He anchors our hope. He deepens our love for other strugglers. God is teaching us something. He is revealing Himself to us.
A misconception about the image of Christ often goes hand-in-hand with this misconception about suffering. We imagine that the image of Christ is all the things that are good and strong and noble and generous. We can forget that His image includes the heartfelt way in which Jesus lived out Scriptures such as Psalms 22, 25, and 31.
His faith honestly expressed affliction. He wrestled with God. He agonized. He trusted. He sought His God. He walks with God on difficult roads, not immune to the heartache and grief that come with our plight as human beings. We are being conformed to the image of Christ.
Read the whole article at Crossway blog.