Don’t Let Age be an End to Joy

Here is an article that encourages me to live life as God intended it to be — even in the face of advancing years.  Perhaps it will be useful to you – either now or later.  Actually it is great wisdom for any stage of life.  The article is from Pastor Bob Russell and appeared at: Aging With Joy.  RMF

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Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Aging With Joy

Last Thursday I had the privilege of speaking to the Senior’s Christmas banquet at Southeast Christian Church. It was great to greet so many friends I hadn’t seen for ages. I often tease that it seems like just last year I was a youth speaker, now I’m a Senior Adults’ speaker. But I look out in the audience and I see the same people!

Below is a segment of my talk, “Aging With Joy” in which I challenged my peers to finish the final chapter of life with a contagious, joyful spirit. That’s not easy to do. The Bible warns that the last decade of life is usually filled with trouble and sorrow. It’s hard to be joyful when the body hurts, people disappoint, friends die and the future is uncertain. But 1 Peter 4:13 urges us, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Even when we hurt we can be thankful that we can better appreciate what Jesus endured for us.   Continue reading

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Don’t Tread on Me!

Freedom is tricky.

Musings on Science and Theology

640px-gadsden_flag-svgHuman freedom, constrained only loosely by the caveat “do no harm,” seems the rallying cry of much of Western (especially North American) civilization. Tim Keller, in his new book Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, tackles the issue of freedom. The Western ideal of individual freedom has brought both gain and loss. Keller notes: “the ideal of individual freedom in Western society has done incalculable good. It has led to a far more just and fair society for minorities and women. Indeed, there is a danger that a critique of the ideal of freedom could be used to weaken or roll back these gains.” (pp. 100-101)

I’d go even a step further than Keller, the Western ideal of individual freedom has also done incalculable good for the poor of all races, both male and female. The oppression of the poor for the good of…

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A Prayer for a President Elect

Pastor Kevin DeYoung  is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan.  Last Sunday he led his congregation with the following prayer. Perhaps you’ll be able to pray that same prayer along with him. I am. RMF

pastor-kevin-deyoungOur good and gracious heavenly Father, we praise for your almighty and ever present power, by which you uphold, as with your hand, all things. When we don’t know what will happen with our health, we trust you. When we don’t know what we will happen with those we love, we rest in you. And when we don’t know what will happen with our nation, we turn to you.

In the midst of a world filled with triumphalism on the one hand and recriminations on the other, in a world where we tend to assume the worst of those who are not like us, help the church to show a more excellent way. May the world look in at our counter-culture communities and say with astonishment, “See how they love one another.” Give us the empathy to listen to one another and the wisdom to learn from what we hear.

May the church show forth the kind of diversity worth pursuing—the diversity of every nationality, and every race, and every class, and every color confessing sins together and together worshiping the risen Christ.   Continue reading

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Unity in the Face of Differing Opinions

The following article by Pastor Bob Russell is timely for this election season but I believe it is much more than that.  It is a perscription for how to do life in a heterogenious society where people have widely varying views and perspectives on countless issues.  As a Christian I take Scripture very seriously and am convinced that it is authoritative and true — that it is the actual Word of God speaking truth to me.  Therefore, I take it very seriously when it says:  “…if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12: 18)  While Pastor Russell’s article contains elements specific to the election it models to me an attitude that I want for myself.  Perhaps you will want the same attitude if you don’t already have it.  The article appeared first at: bob russell.org as:  Six Guidelines for Voting One Week from Tuesday.  RMF

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Six Guidelines for Voting One Week from Tuesday

by Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Two things continue to disturb me about the current Presidential campaign. First, like most Americans, I am deeply troubled that the two candidates are so terribly flawed. I know there has never been a perfect candidate but this campaign is overstating the case. Someone said, “America is a country where anyone can become President and this election proves it!”

Even more troubling to me is that Christian people are so divided over it. Believers are accusing one another of denying the faith and abandoning all sense of reason because they hold to a different opinion as to the proper response on voting day.

Last week I opened four emails in a row urging me to take a Godly stand on the election. Two pleaded with me to use my blog to instruct people why they should vote for Donald Trump: “It’s about the Supreme Court!” The two others insisted that any endorsement of Trump would be an offense to God and would result in evangelical Christians losing all credibility with the world. One on each side contained nasty and inflammatory language.  Continue reading

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Catholic – Protestant: And the difference is?

I am a Christian and that is the way I prefer to be considered – not a Protestant, although that is the broad category to which my Catholic friends assign me. I don’t see myself as protesting anything but rather as seeking to live in accordance with God’s Word, the Bible, as best I can understand it.  And I agree with those other Christians who wish to restore New Testament principles and practices to today’s  church. I do try and understand why folks come down on different sides of doctrinal issues, both within “protestantism” and in the Catholic church, and to discern truth while not being judgmental. I found the following article by Professor Gregg Allison posted by Randy Alcorn useful in that it highlights the differences in Protestant and Catholic doctrine.  I do note that Professor Allison writes from the Protestant perspective and clearly subscribes to the basic tenants of the Reformation.  Whether he is right or wrong about such things as “misinterpretation of Scripture,” he covers well the major distinctions in Protestant and Catholic teaching.  The article appeared in Randy Alcorn’s Eternal Perspectives Ministry blog as: The 499 Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and I found it useful and informative.  Perhaps you too will find it well worth the read.  RMF 

Faith Seeking Understanding

Faith Seeking Understanding

The 499th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

By Gregg Allison, Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn

I appreciated this post below from my friend Gregg Allison, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Gregg shows us that although it’s been almost 500 years, the Reformation is still relevant—and unfinished—today. Gregg is fair-minded and labors to be accurate and biblical in his writings.
I highly recommend these books by Gregg: Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, and Roman Catholic Theology: An Evangelical Assessment. If you wish to go deeper with what’s in this blog, you’ll want to consult this latter reference, in which Gregg deals fairly with both the positive and negative aspects of Catholic theology.

Has Rome Really Changed Its Tune?

Professor Gregg Allison

Professor Gregg Allison

October 31, 2017, will mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther’s nailing of his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church on that day in 1517 has proven to be one of the most important events in the history of the world. Indeed, many evangelicals trace their beginnings to this moment that launched the Protestant movement, of which we consider ourselves heirs.
But the Reformation was five hundred years ago! Like most everything else a half-millennium removed from its start, things have changed. Or have they? What issues sparked the Reformation? What were the key protests against the Catholic Church at that time? Do those same conditions exist now, such that the Reformation remains unfinished? Continue reading

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Are God’s Love and Hell Incompatible?

Here is a brief article by Randy Alcorn, one of my favorite authors. He expresses here what I have come to believe. The original article appeared at: epm.org as: Is a Belief in Hell Incompatible with the Truth That God Is Love?  RMF

Is a Belief in Hell Incompatible with the Truth That God Is Love?

By Randy Alcorn

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Randy Alcorh Eternal Perspectives Ministry

Randy Alcorh
Eternal Perspectives Ministry

Many people today act as if we are the first ones to really believe in God’s love. On the contrary, this has been a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith throughout the ages. The Puritans believed strongly in the love of God. It never prevented them from embracing the doctrine of Hell, since that is revealed in Scripture also.

We may pride ourselves in thinking we are too loving to believe in Hell. But in saying this, we blaspheme, for we claim to be more loving than Jesus—more loving than the One who with outrageous love took upon himself the full penalty for our sin.

Whenever we take one biblical truth, then conclude that another teaching of Scripture is incompatible with it, we presume to act as judges of Scripture, rather than submitting to what it says. Hence we become our own authority, defining God’s love on our own terms in a way that is incompatible with Hell, whereas Scripture sees God’s love and Hell as two coexisting truths. We cannot figure out how to reconcile them, just as we cannot figure out how to reconcile God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice. However, the two doctrines are in fact compatible in the mind of God. And it is His mind, not ours, which is the source of truth.  Continue reading

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Giving Grace – Our Mission

Pastor Jim Abernathy, Westwood Baptist Church, Springfield, Virginia writes the following: RMF

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Grace is a gift we receive in coming to faith in Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of grace as a gift of God in Ephesians 2:8. We are unworthy of such grace, yet God offers it freely in love. But is grace simply something we embrace and claim for ourselves, or is there another application of this wondrous gift? J. Brent Bill, in his book “Life Lessons From a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace,” says that grace isn’t just a gift we receive, but also one we share. In other words, touched by the grace of God that transforms my life, I am then to reach out to others, extending that same grace that can transform existing relationships, build bridges to new relationships, and help redeem and bring healing to broken hearts and lives.

The Third verse of Ira Wilson’s great hymn text, “Make Me a Blessing,” conveys this truth. “He writes, “Give as ’twas given to you in your need, love as the Master loved you; Be to the helpless a helper indeed, unto your mission be true.” Perhaps you have not thought of extending grace as a mission. Look around you…perhaps it is time for you and me to truly embrace this mission; blessed to be a blessing.

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