06 February 2015

This 'n' That

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
(James 3:5b); photo credit
If you announce that you are working on bridling your tongue, does it actually negate the bridling? Is it the same thing as saying, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector" (Luke 18:11)? Is it the spiritual equivalent of ordering a Big Mac with cheese, a super-size order of fries, and two apple pies…with a Diet Coke? I’m thinking it is.

Nevertheless, we ought to be mindful of our tongues. This is something about which I am particularly convicted (over and over again) because, in case it has not been obvious, I tend to be a sarcastic and opinionated person. Hey, being sanctified but not yet glorified, right? But in our striving for holiness, we ought to desire that our speech be reflective of an ever-refined heart, for it is out of the abundance of the heart that our mouth speaks (Matt 12:34; Luke 6:45). And when we realize that we one day will give an accounting for “every careless word” that we have spoken (or typed) (Matt 12:36), our desire to pepper our speech with the sweetness of Christ ought to be that much stronger.

The book of James features some particularly convicting teaching on the command to bridle our tongues. Can any of us read James 3 without our faces flushing with guilt?
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

If you’re in the mood to feel that conviction tighten even more, take a listen to John MacArthur’s sermons from the third chapter of James, here and here.

The teaching is hard to swallow…because it is so brimming with truth. Yet, as those who have been purchased by the blood of Christ, we love those hard truths, don’t we? Do you rejoice each time God convicts you of your sin? You should, for it is evidence of your regenerated heart. Thank him for the conviction, and for the subsequent growth that He will bring as you work, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to mortify that sin in your pursuit of righteousness.

Now that we’ve discussed bridling our tongues, I hope I haven’t included too many snarky comments in the list below. Let me know what you think as you enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • John MacArthur on the home of a godly shepherd.
  • I wouldn't write this article exactly this way, but nevertheless, I totally agree, let's stop singing these worship songs.
  • I'm thinking of making these (with dairy- and soy-free butter, thank you very much, allergies), and trying them out on my coworkers. If I do, I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Ice church is tolerant.
  • Owen Strachan responds to the jaw-dropping statement found here, "We believe in the Holy Polyamorous Trinity."
  • William Tyndale on God's sovereign election.
  • What does Paul mean in 2 Corinthians 5:21? Did Jesus literally take on a sin nature at the cross? Sadly, some people teach that heresy. Nate Busenitz teaches what this verse actually means.
  • More Bible study for you: James 2:24—does this verse deny justification by faith alone?
  • What does the Bible say about angelic visitations?
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable (thanks, Stephen!).
  • Last week, Justin Taylor posted "biblical" reasons to doubt the 24-hour days in the creation account. This week, some rebuttals appeared. Here's one. Here's another.
  • Ed Young. There, that's all I had to say, wasn't it?
  • The Fifty Shades of Grey tchotchkes are starting to appear…in Target (warning that this short article presents a tweet that uses a term that is more explicit than some may prefer).
  • Some thoughts on Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp. 
  • I say 'ow' a lot. Good news is, that must mean I can tolerate more pain. Bad news—I'm clumsy or I wouldn't be saying it in the first place.
  • So…at what point are you willing to concede that he's not meditating any longer?
  • God's sovereign compassion:


  1. Reading the article about the Buddhist monk made me think a bit.

    The last few paragraphs talked about the Soviet monk in 1927 who told his followers he was going to die and then he did. They found his body, then re buried his body then dug it up again. And here's the last sentence...Stockhover paraphrase, "they put it in the temple where it will be worshipped for eternity"

    After reading that statement, I immediately thought of Thomas Merton, a Roman Catholic priest who was the mentor to Richard Foster... who is a massive figure in the Spiritual Formation movement....which has taken over a large section of the "church". This is a paraphrase of what Merton said after having been to the East and studying under Buddhists....

    I see no difference in Christianity and Buddhism and will be the best Buddhist I can.

    This man is praised in so many churches today and this is what he believed.

    Lord have mercy...Come quickly

  2. A question, if the worship song has following structure: "I" , "me" , "us" , "we" for every reference of "God" (and at best) who is really being worshiped in this song?

    Yet, this is what I heard last Sunday and in fact there was a song when God was mentioned once or maybe not at all (as I can't remember) but all these "you" , "me" , "us" , "we" in plenty and repeatedly like a drumbeat. I am rather convinced that the same was for most of you reading these words. Am I being too picking or am I seeing something here? I would say at least both. So please tell me how can I continue in this spectacle? The last person I want to sing about on Sunday is me and the second last person is you. Why is this going on and what is going on here and there, in your church?


Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.