The Quotable Round-Up #38

Jolly good day guys! Its this time of the week that we collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring is Donald S. Whitney’s “Praying the Bible”. Grab this book because I highly recommend it.

“God’s mind and God’s Word are so much broader than our own perspective, and he will prompt you through the Bible to pray with an awareness for things far beyond the same old things.”

“Prayer is talking with a person, the person of God himself. So prayer shouldn’t be considered a one-way conversation. And yet, somehow, many people assume that when they meet with God, they must do all the talking.”

“The good news is that you don’t have to come up with new ways to adore the Lord. The Lord has given us 150 chapters of divinely inspired praises (that is, the Psalms) for us to use in adoration.”

“Virtually every line in a New Testament letter suggests something to pray about. In fact, as we’ve already noted, many of these letters include actual prayers.”

“Your confidence that the Lord will indeed answer grows as you ask him to answer you, not because of the earnestness of your pleading but because of the reality that he has set you securely on high in Christ.”

Precious Gems Found in 1st Chronicles

In 1st Chronicles we see the latter days of King David as he rules Israel. We can still see in his prime how God works as David subdue nations, made some blunders and pass the baton of leadership to his son Solomon. I now present you some passages that has caught my heart and spiritually nourished me through my daily meditation of His Word.
“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” –1 Chronicles 19:13 ESV
“David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” –1 Chronicles 12:17 ESV
“Yours, O Lord , is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord , and you are exalted as head above all.” –1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV
“But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” — 1 Chronicles 21:24 ESV
“There is none like you, O Lord , and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”–1 Chronicles 17:20 ESV
“At ikaw, Solomon na anak ko, kilalanin mo at paglingkuran ang Dios ng iyong ama nang buong puso mo at isip, dahil nakikita ng Panginoon ang bawat puso ng tao at nalalaman niya ang ating layunin at pag-iisip. Kung dudulog ka sa kanya, tutulungan ka niya, pero kung tatalikod ka sa kanya, itatakwil ka niya magpakailanman.” –1 Cronica 28:9 ASND

Rooted on Theology: Delighting Grace Interviews Brandon Smith

The word “theology” sometimes drives us to shudder. We know it’s essential but we find it too complex or too boring to discuss. However, we won’t fully know who God is and His way if we don’t sound theology.  Delighting Grace recently reach out to Brandon Smith, author of “Rooted” and talked about theology, his latest book and a new podcast:

Delighting Grace: Hello pastor! How important is theology?

Brandon Smith: Theology is at the center of the Christian life. Theology is about God, the Bible teaches theology, the gospel is a theological message, and the Christian life reflects God theologically. In other words, all of life is about theology.

Theology just means “words about God.” So when we talk about God, we are doing theology. Everyone is a theologian–it just depends on whether you’re a good or bad theologian.

Delighting Grace: What are some reasons why people tend to sway away from theology?

Brandon Smith:  People often think theology is a professional sport or an academic discipline. There is an academic form of theology that’s extremely important, but that doesn’t mean that theology is only for academics (or even pastors). When we say, “God is in control” or “Jesus is Lord,” you’re speaking and believing theology. We shouldn’t be afraid of theology because if you’re a Christian, you’re a theological person.

Delighting Grace: Well said pastor. We believers should not be scared of theology. In your calling, how do theology shapes you as a pastor?

Brandon Smith: Pastors and Christian leaders must know theology better than anyone else. As says, we will be held accountable. False teachers are specifically called out in Scripture. As a pastor or leader, it’s your job to teach sound theology. There should be a difference between you and the Mormon bishop down the street.

So, to answer your question more directly, theology has always helped me be a good pastor and leader. It’s difficult to counsel someone who’s hurting when you don’t know how to tell them the truth about God’s love and mercy and grace, and about how all things work together for good. But remember, theology should shape us all this way. It’s not just the pastor’s job to counsel others with sound truth.

Delighting Grace:  If a pastor wants to teach theology in a church, what advice can you give to them if that’s their first time to do it?

Brandon Smith: Don’t take it too seriously, as if your sermons need to become seminary lectures. Theology is serious business, but every sermon has theology in it. It’s your job not to merely teach theological lessons, but to show people how those beautiful truths matter for everyday life.

 

Delighting Grace:  Wow great advice. You wrote a book titled “Rooted” which according to the book, it’s a primer. So why write a primer when you can write a whole book on theology?

Brandon Smith: There are plenty of 1,000-page theology books in the world. I’m thankful for them, but most people won’t read them. We wanted to write a short, accessible book that anyone could read. Part of why I think people stay away from theology is that they feel intimidated by the size and language of theology books. No one should be intimidated by Rooted.

Delighting Grace:  How’s the process in writing a book? Also how is like J. A. Medders as a co-author?

Brandon Smith:  Writing a book is hard work. It’s not always or even often fun. Rooted took several years of editing and changing and reimagining. I enjoy the process, but most of the time writing the book was late nights with a cup of coffee, forcing myself to get words on the page.

(Jeff) made writing Rooted fun and exciting. I had already written much of the book, but he brought the words to life. He’s one of the most creative and powerful writers out there, and people will keep learning that as he writes more. He’s a writing freight train and I’m just along for the ride.

Delighting Grace:  Your book is awesome pastor. Read it and I learn a lot. So please invite them to check out “Rooted”.  You have a new podcast you and I also enjoy?

Brandon Smith:  Thank you! I love Rooted. It’s like watching a baby grow up and finally go off into the big, scary world. You’re nervous, but you know it’s ready.

Yes, the podcast has been a blast. It’s called Word Matters, and it consists of short episodes in which Trevin Wax and I discuss confusing or difficult passages of the Bible. Each episode is 15-20 minutes long, and we always try to give practical advice about how to preach and teach the passages we cover. We also have guests from time to time!

Delighting Grace:  Any parting words for our readers concerning theology?

Brandon Smith:  Again, don’t be afraid of theology. If you’re a Christian, you’re a theologian. Keep hungering and thirsting for righteousness by reading God’s Word and praying, and your theology will grow along with it.

Delighting Grace:  Amen to that pastor. So guys check his latest book “Rooted” and the podcast with Trevin Wax called “Word Matters”.

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3 Self-Examining Questions Every Christian Should Consider (Part 2)

We can’t go further in our pursuit to please God if there is something wrong in us spiritually. That is why we should have a reality check. In this final part of our lesson we will see the last two questions that are penetrating. It will bring forth who we are in the light of the Bible and lead us to repentance to God. We need to be broken and humbled to be of much use in God’s kingdom. Let’s go back to the Book of Job to see the final two.

2. “what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?” – Job 31:14

“What if God ask you and what shall you say to him?” is a question about the weight of God’s demand to response to His inquiry. Or will we be able to answer Him. What if God ask you on why did you made those decisions that are not God glorifying? What if God demand you to answer those behaviors that are not Christ like? What will you say? Knowing this are we not to be more careful of what we say and do?

3. “Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?” – Job 31: 4

We as believers should not walk in the “counsel of the wicked” (Psalms 1:1) and consider the Bible as the lamp to guide our steps (Psalms 119:1) because as this verse in the Book of Job indicates that He can see our ways and the steps we take. It is therefore a call to be authentic and leave the sinful and superficial things we do in the name of Christ. We can easily play with the thought that God is omniscient and omnipresent in other things but not on us. Here God’s attributes must make us think and floored us with its truth. We must walk in humble obedience to Him because He knows everything about us. Let us focus on how to be true and let this question shake us and do the right thing.  May our merciful God guide us as we desire to please Him in every ways.

More articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

The Quotable Round-Up #37

For this week we are featuring quotes from J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith’s latest book titled “Rooted”. Hope you’ll like it and please pick up a copy.

“The church, Christ’s body, is called to live now in the light of the future.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Everlasting forgiveness is found with Jesus, by faith alone in his death for our sins and in his resurrection from the dead.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“When sin entered the world, God didn’t turn a blind eye. In his justice and mercy, he’s provided the Savior.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“What we need today is a gospel-minded bucket list. In eternity, you won’t be able to travel to Thailand and tell unreached peoples about Jesus. You won’t be able to give your money to pro-life movements. You won’t be able to evangelize your friends and family members, urging them to look to Jesus. That’s for now. Today. Right now. This is the mindset we need today.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“True worship is glorifying God in all of life—to the perimeters and edges of life.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“If you have a paralyzing fear of death, you are living as one who has no hope. You are living with a bad eschatology.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Christians have no need to fear death because we are going to be raised from the dead, joining Jesus in a resurrection like his.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Now, our greatest accomplishment is something we didn’t do, but rather something that’s been done for us and in us. We boast in Jesus’s cross.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

 

3 Self-Examining Questions Every Christian Should Consider (Part 1)

Self-examination is uncomfortable. In our sinful nature we don’t want to see ourselves for who we are. We often want to dwell in this illusion that we are fine and nothing is wrong in our spiritual life. Truth really hurts. But examining ourselves is a necessity if we want to check who we really are and where we are going.

Let us now go to the Book of Job to see these questions. The Book of Job is not just about the patience, sufferings and faith of Job. Rather the main story is about God and His sovereignty. The crisis Satan brought to Job crush everything in him yet he remains steadfast for God. In the midst of his conversations with his friends, you can see that it’s theological in nature. Some do have the right understanding on God and some misrepresents Him. But there are penetrating questions we should consider that are scattered in the Book of Job. We collected three of them. Here’s the first one and next week we will see the rest.

  1. “Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?”—Job 13:9

 

This question shows the weight of how God searches us. I ask if it’s well or bearable for us if God checks us out.  Our unfaithfulness, our secret sins and our deception might come in mind and we don’t want it to be found out by God. But the reality is He already knows it! We can’t deny what we already have done. This will drive us to be humble and come to Him with a sorrowful heart. Will we start cleaning our mess knowing how heavy this question is? I hope and pray we will.

 

To be concluded next week. More articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

Book Review: None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Oh boy where do I start with this great book? Oops! Yes I already blurted out that this book is awesome. The character of God as a subject of a book might bring in your mind outstanding authors who made a name out of that subject. Wilkin did admit in her book that authors like A. W. Tozer, R. C. Sproul etc., who wrote books on the attributes of God, did influence her in writing the subject. However consider this book as a take on the attributes of God with a female perspective.

Wilkin discuss the 10 attributes of God (infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self- sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign) and how we finite beings try to live a life that we think we have those attributes. There are lots of things going on in this book but Jen Wilkin manage to gather it up in one place to bring us a one of a kind book on attributes of God. As she goes further and further discussing the topic it goes deeper and deeper to the heart of everyone who is reading the book. She brings forth who God is an intimate level that will not just make us guilty but stand at awe with our sovereign Creator.

“None Like Him” is well crafted book on the attributes of God that will shaken and drive us on our knees. We will get to know our finite self more and trust an infinite God. As for Wilkin, she is an author we should watch out. If you already read books by Tozer, Sproul or Pink on the attributes of God, please include this. This book is highly recommended.

My verdict: 5 out of 5

Review copy of the book is provided by Crossway.

More book reviews here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

The Quotable Round-Up #36

For this week we are featuring quotes from Gloria Furman’s latest book titled “Missional Motherhood”. Hope you’ll like it and please pick up a copy.

“The Bible is about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God.”—Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“Whether we see it or not, we creatures are ever on the receiving end of God’s emanating goodness. As children of God, we have been given the privilege of grace that no one could merit.” —Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“Let us humble ourselves in awe-full, expectant, happy submission to this holy God. God created everything as an overflow of his fullness.”—Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“The mercy God showed the man and the woman was for a purpose—that he might accomplish his plan through the offspring of the woman.” —Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“Our past is all grace. Our future is all grace. And whatever circumstances you find yourself in today—its all grace.” —Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“God’s power is made evident in our human weakness so that he is the one who gets the glory. It is his story.” —Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“Our ability to provide for the people who are in our care does not come from our ability at all, as though we are anything. But our supply—energy, time, resources (coffee!)—comes from the Lord.”—Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

“For God’s people to truly love and obey him, they needed more than rules. They needed new hearts—hearts with his good law written right on them. God had to transform his people from the inside out.”—Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood

 

Precious Gems Found in the Book of Ezra

Digging from list of names and letters from different kings, we found amazing verses that still penetrates the heart. Reading Ezra, we step into the time where God’s people are rebuilding the temple, wall and altar of Jerusalem.  Rebuilding is not just for the fortified city but also in the spiritual sense. Here are some great verses in the Book of Ezra that are treasure worthy:

“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” — Ezra 9:6 KJV

“Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons.” — Ezra 7:23 ESV

“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.” –Ezra 8:22 KJV

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord , and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”–Ezra 7:10 KJV

“For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.”– Ezra 9:9 ESV

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord , “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord , because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”– Ezra 3:11 ESV

The Quotable Round-Up #35

Jolly good day guys! Its this time of the week that we  collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring is from Frank Turek’s “Stealing from God”. Enjoy!

“True for you but not for me” may be the mantra of our day, but that’s not the way the universe really works. If it’s really true, it’s true for everyone.”

“In the same way, our improved understanding of natural laws can never disprove the Being who set up and sustains those laws. To say that a scientist can disprove the existence of God is like saying a mechanic can disprove the existence of Henry Ford. It doesn’t follow. The existence of secondary operational causes does not negate the need for a primary origin cause.”

“But there are very different atheist and theist theories on origin questions. They are more controversial because they cannot be settled by repeatable experiments in a lab. You can’t go in a lab and observe the creation of the universe again, or witness the origin of the first life or new life-forms. While scientists can observe how a cell operates, they can’t observe how the first cell originated. No scientist was there to witness it.”

“Some atheists seem to think that anything unexplained defeats belief in God, as if an infinite God can’t exist if finite creatures don’t understand everything. But there is a big difference between a mystery and a contradiction. Christianity has partial mysteries. Atheism has complete contradictions. Christianity predicts that evil will occur and explains why God allows it in general, but not in every particular case. We don’t have enough information to trace the particulars . . . yet. But good reason provides all the information we need to see that the very existence of evil is a contradiction for atheism. If evil is real, then atheism is false.”

“We can’t see the ultimate outcomes of events because the human story isn’t over yet—not here or in the afterlife where perfect justice will ultimately be done. And even if God were to tell us those outcomes and His reasons for allowing each evil, we wouldn’t be able to comprehend them all. That’s because every event sets off a ripple effect that impacts countless other events and people. How many lives will be changed in the future by the trillions of good and bad events happening just this hour? No human mind can know or grasp it all. And even if we could, knowing the reasons for a painful event might alter our behavior and prevent the good outcome that would have otherwise occurred.”

“Hitler’s words and actions couldn’t be more different than the words and actions of Christ. As Ravi Zacharias has observed, the Crusades and the Inquisition were the illogical outworking of Christianity. They went against everything Christ taught. And you don’t judge a religion or philosophy by its abuse, but by its truths. People can and will abuse true and good things. But that says more about us than it does about God or religion.”

“C. S. Lewis was once an atheist who thought evil disproved God. But he later realized he was stealing from God (grounds of a rational and logical argument) in order to argue against Him. He wrote, “[As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

“Now, an atheist might say, “In our country, we have a constitution that the majority approved. We have no need to appeal to God.” True, you don’t have to appeal to God to write laws, but you do have to appeal to God if you want to ground them in anything other than human opinion. Otherwise, your “rights” are mere preferences that can be voted out of existence at the ballot box or at the whim of an activist judge or dictator.”

“Even if there were infinite time and opportunities for nature to mutate DNA into the information necessary for new life, that still wouldn’t be enough to create a new life-form. That’s because DNA alone doesn’t dictate the formation of body plans.”