26 October 2018

This 'n' That

Is it just me, or do Christians talk about trials a lot? I mean, a lot. Don't misunderstand, I know that we all go through trials, sometimes very lengthy and draining trials (oh boy, do I know about this!), but this topic really seems to dominate a great many books, articles, and even sermons. What is that about?

It's true, God never promised us a rose garden, and Christians often seem to endure more than the unsaved (even David asked, "why do the wicked prosper?"), but why do we tend to dwell on this so much?
Bubbles make every bad day better.

From my perspective and experience, when we belabor the point about trials specifically, we do the exact opposite of what we're attempting to do. We say high and lofty things about the sovereignty of God, etc., but by focusing on the reality of trials ad nauseum, we ultimately end up looking at ourselves instead of Christ. When a sermon goes on and on and on and on about trials, we become absorbed in looking at our own situation rather than to the One we claim to serve.

That's the problem as I see it, but I think there's a very simple solution: look to Christ. And I don't mean ordering people to look to Him while you preach your sermon (or write your book) about trials. I mean, simply preach and teach Christ. Point people to the person of Christ by studying the Gospels. Focus on His nature and characteristics, rather than tossing Him in as a point of law while you lament your circumstances. When our main focus is Jesus, the trials don't disappear, but they begin to pale in light of the Savior we serve and what He has promised us.

But then, what do I know? Who am I to be telling the educated ones how to teach and write? All I know is, when a Christian is becoming spiritually, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from being beaten down by a constant inward focus on the "woe is me-ness" of trials as perpetuated by lauded teachers, they eventually realize they need to look elsewhere for relief. Thankfully, there is a healing balm found right there in the pages of Scripture, and in the One who is the Living Word.

Well, around here it is a gloomy and rainy day, which is perfect weather for brewing a cup of tea and relaxing with your week in review (kind of):
  • I'm linking this free offer because it looks like a really great resource, but, as a disclaimer, it's been my experience that Ligonier tends to stalk you once they have your personal information (email, address, etc.). Personally, I find that obnoxious and unbecoming, but if you're willing to deal with it, I do think this is a generous offer for Reformation month!
  • I really commend Joshua Harris for publicly recanting for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. His book was quite popular in my Christian high school, though I never read it. I've seen a lot of the principles from that book lived out by others, though, and I've seen how unhelpful, perhaps even harmful, they can be. That is, after all, the ultimate result of legalism. So kudos to Harris. Thank you, sir, for demonstrating true humility.
  • There are some good points in this article about women's Bible studies (though, due to unfamiliarity [and the fact that this is an article at TGC], I cannot vouch for any of the recommendations contained therein).
  • This is cool (HT: Elizabeth Prata).
  • This is not cool. At all.
  • It's October, which means lots of people get all Reformation-y (which isn't a bad thing!), but here are some important points to remember about this time in Church history.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Scripture is not a piece of putty that we can mold to fit our own agendas.
  • Every time I read Revelation, I wonder what Jesus might say to my church, or to churches I've attended in the past.
  • Today is National Pumpkin Day, so if someone would please make this and bring it to me, that would be great.
  • I'm convinced that someday, our jobs will just be to check the work performed by computers rather than doing the work ourselves, and that sounds really boring.
  • Here are two short bios of women in Church history (one and two).
[J]oy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. —Charles Spurgeon

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