Charles Spurgeon – God’s Glory and His Goodness

“And he said, I beseech You, show me Your glory. And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And He said, You cannot see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand when I pass by: and I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:18-23

It has frequently happened that good men in times of great trial have asked God either to give them a signal token of His love, or a special revelation of Himself, that they might be strengthened and encouraged thereby. I suppose of many here present it is true that when called by the Master to great labor or deep affliction, you have been conscious of the same inward desire — your heart has craved after some extraordinary dispensation of grace to counterbalance the extraordinary visitation of suffering that has overtaken you. Were you indulged with singular nearness to God and unusual glimpses of His glory, you feel it would then be easy to leave all matters in His hands and acquit yourselves valiantly — strong for service, whatever there is to do — and patient in enduring whatever there may be to bear. That prayer, “I beseech You, show me Your glory,” is a natural yearning, a spontaneous impulse of the soul. Albeit, I know that there is a grievous incredulity, a sinful unbelief which asks to see signs and wonders — and without them men will not believe — yet I think there is a desire which springs up in the breasts of believers from an earnest childlike feeling of dependence upon the great Father God which is not sinful, and which God accepts — and to which He often sends a gracious reply.

To continue reading Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, click here.

Anthony Buzzard – What Happens When We Die? A Biblical View of Death and Resurrection

If contemporary secular society has retained a flicker of interest in any department of religion, it is surely in the question of life after death—if only to provide answers for inquiring youngsters. Faith in the reality of life beyond the grave seems to be faltering, since an article in the NOW magazine of December, 1979 quoted the astonishing statistic that 50% of those who claim to be Christians and churchgoing members of the Church of England do not believe in an afterlife! And yet, in New Testament terms, Christianity without a belief in the afterlife represents an absurd contradiction. Indeed, the tendency to doubt the future resurrection of the faithful called forth some of Paul’s most forceful words. To the church at Corinth he wrote:

First and foremost, I handed on to you the facts which had been imparted to me: that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter] and afterwards to the Twelve. Then he appeared to James, and afterwards to all the apostles. In the end he appeared even to me…This is what we all proclaim, and this is what you believed. Now if this is what we proclaim, that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith; and we turn out to be lying witnesses for God, because we bore witness that he raised Christ to life, whereas, if the dead are not raised, he did not raise him. For if the dead are not raised, it follows that Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, your faith has nothing in it and you are still in your old state of sin. It follows also that those who have died within Christ’s fellowship are utterly lost. If it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope, we of all men are most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:3-8, 11-19, NEB).

To continue reading Anthony Buzzard’s book, click here

Michael Kelley – Remember, Parents, You Cultivate What You Celebrate

Celebrations are more than fun; they’re powerful. That’s because you cultivate what you celebrate.

Think about this scenario: You have become a leader in an unhealthy organization. Maybe you’re the coach of a losing sports team. Or an executive in a business that is losing money. Or maybe you are trying to lead a team of volunteers in a ministry in the church. But the organization you are in charge of isn’t functioning well, the people aren’t happy, and the culture of that organization is broken. You know it needs to change, and so you think through all kinds of different strategic moves. But along with that, you change the nature of celebrations.

You know how you want the organization to look, and so that future vision drives what you celebrate now. You lift up people on the team who embody the right characteristics. You point out examples of the right attitude. You rejoice over the small victories that come in the right places. This is one way you can actually influence the culture of an organization. People see what is celebrated, and they come to understand that these characteristics, attitudes, and actions are the most important thing.

You cultivate what you celebrate. It’s true in larger organizations, and it’s also true in our own homes. As parents, we also cultivate what we celebrate.

To continue reading Michael Kelley’s article, click here.

Michael Boling – Stay Tuned: Blogging Through George Peters’ “The Theocratic Kingdom”

In 2016, I decided to blog on a daily basis through the first volume of George Peters’ three volume magnum opus titled “The Theocratic Kingdom”. There were times when working through this book on a daily basis was admittedly a chore given the daily grind. With that said, it was well worth the effort.

My hope was upon completion of working through volume one, to immediately or soon thereafter to begin blogging through volume 2. Unfortunately, increased responsibilites at work and home forced those plans to be placed on a temporary hiatus. I am pleased to announce that temporary hiatus will be endin and I will soon be commencing the journey through volume 2 of “The Theocratic Kingdom”.

The current plan is to start the week after the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday week. I am really looking forward to this (if you cannot already tell). If volume 2 is anything like volume 2, this should prove to be a fruitful journey.

Scott Slayton – Five Obstacles that Dads Face

From time to time I hear men refer to spending time with their children while their wife is out of the house as “babysitting.” Remember, we are not talking about them watching someone else’s children. They keep their kids by themselves for a few hours and call it “babysitting.” While it is easy to criticize men who say such foolish things, it serves to remind us how often men struggle to know the right thing to do in parenting. We know we should lead our families and care for our kids, but we often don’t know what to do.

We could blame our parenting difficulties on the complexities of raising kids in the digital age. We can point out how much the world has changed and the ubiquitous presence of devices and social media, but this would be placing the blame in the wrong place. Men must face the brutal truth that our greatest parenting obstacle stares back at us in the mirror every morning. Our sin, obliviousness, and foolishness stand in the way of parenting our children in a way that brings glory to God and joy to us.

In this post, I want to deal with five common obstacles that dads face in their parenting.

To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.

Tony Reinke – Should Teens Own Smartphones?

When Silicon Valley’s 20-something techno-prodigies were awing the world with new, shiny, unveilings of iPods and then iPhones and then iPads, many of the inventors didn’t have kids. Few had teens. Now, most of them have kids, and many have teens — teenagers addicted to gadgets their parents birthed into the world years ago.

This is the story of Tony Fadell, a former Senior VP at Apple, known as the grandfather of the iPod, and a key player on the early design team for the iPhone. On the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone in an interview, he made this admission: “I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?”

Fadell, a father of three, has come to see the addictive power of the iPhone, an addiction that cannot be removed. “I know what happens when I take technology away from my kids. They literally feel like you’re tearing a piece of their person away from them — they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days.”

“This self-absorbing culture is starting to [really stink],” Fadell said. “Parents didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know this was a thing they needed to teach because we didn’t know for ourselves. We all kind of got absorbed in it.”

Yes — we all got absorbed — techies and teens and parents. All of us. And now we’re trying to figure out how to wisely manage our devices.

To continue reading Tony Reinke’s article, click here.

Michael Boling – Keeping Your Lips From Deceit

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Psalm 34:13 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

One of those parenting moments you hope never happens but know it will came knocking at our door recently. We discovered that our daughter had been creating a well-planned series of lies to cover up something she should have informed us about but claimed she was too afraid to reveal. As noted in Luke 8:17, noting is hidden that will not be made manifest.

Now as a child, I was well acquainted with the effort that goes into setting up and maintaining a series of lies regardless of the reality that eventually that house of cards would come crashing down. Ultimately, the punishment I received or the disappointed I saw in the eyes of my parents for not being truthful with them far outweighed any consequence I might have received if I had just been honest in the first place. The old saying is very true – “Honesty is the best policy”.

Dealing with the parade of lies that have been revealed when it comes to our daughter will not prove to be an easy feat. With that said, the underlying teaching moment will reside in the value learned from a passage such as Psalm 34:13. As those who claim to be followers of God and who claim to have a desire to be more like our Creator, we must realize am important fact, namely God is always truthful and never lies. In fact, Scripture repeatedly notes that God abhors a lying tongue. It is an abomination to Him.

James 3:5 reminds us “the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles!” More often than not, a lying tongue can burn a relationship with the trust that once existed being destroyed. As a parent, it is important to drive home this truth to our daughter. Allowing a habit of lying to take root is a dangerous road to travel. This is why God commands us to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit. The word translated deceit in this passage is the Hebrew noun mirmah meaning “treachery”. Why are we to abstain from such things? It is because treachery is a practice and approach of Satan whose main battle plan involves wiles which is best defined as trickery.

Truth and lying/treachery/trickery are polar opposites. The mouth of the believer should not be a place where both reside. Truth should be all that comes from our lips. How do we deal with the temptation to speak lies and treachery? God tells us to “keep” our tongue from evil and deceit. To “keep” means to guard, to keep watch, to preserve, and to set a blockade around. Can we keep our tongues from deceit by our own efforts? Clearly not given the amount of deceit that takes place on a daily basis. To keep is a constant state of readiness that can only take place by exercising our spiritual muscles through the work of the Holy Spirit. One must associate themselves with those who speak truth. One must inculcate truth into every fiber of their being. Speaking truth must be practiced in order for those aforementioned spiritual muscles to take shape.
To stand against the wiles of the devil, we must constantly don the full armor of God. Our waist is to be girded with truth. Why? Perhaps so we will not be caught with our pants down when our house of cards (i.e. parade of lies) comes crashing down.

Teaching these truths to our teenage daughter is of course imperative, but it is a lesson I humbly admit I need to learn myself. Lying is all too easy, but as a child of God, I must desire truth over lies.

Mike Ratliff – All Things are Open and Laid Bare to the Eyes of Him to Whom We Must Give Account

7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 “When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.” Psalms 95:7-11 (NASB)

Preaching or teaching from God’s Word is nothing to trifle with. The responsibility that goes with each is eternal. Those who minister through the Word will be held accountable. We must ask each time we preach or teach, “Did I treat what is Holy as it deserved? Have I fallen into doing my ministry perfunctorily?” Those of us who teach must never do so in way that is in any way motivated by anything other than our love and devotion for our Lord. Yes, there will be circumstances that we respond to and use as inspiration or input, but, even in that, we do a tremendous disservice to our Lord if we don’t go to Him in prayer first before we respond, write, preach, or teach. While the leader has a huge responsibility to minister by the Spirit, those who hear the truth from God’s Word will also be held accountable.

To continue reading Mike Ratliff’s article, click here.