Wish I’d said That
“That by means of some loss in a temporal and material sense God has taught a man a lesson which apparently he could not have learned in any other way.”
Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones Spiritual Depression
I actually like to have fun. I know. After hearing me talk about doctrine all the time you were probably wondering. What if I told you that it is precisely doctrine that is the source for enjoyment? Or, better said, sound doctrine elicits genuine joy. Tim Keller brilliantly states, “If you lack spiritual vitality and fruit, if you’re not courageous enough, or joyful enough, or filled with love and hope, it may be because your grasp of biblical doctrine is shallow and thin, or distorted and mistaken.”
Pastor Keller, for The Gospel Coalition Blog, contrasts the differences between our modern secular approach to health, joy and well-being with Paul’s instruction from the ultimate Physician.
Take two of those and call me in the morning.
(we can talk about reading Michael Horton’s “Pilgrim Theology” together! How fun!!!)
So it appears growing older (for me) includes giving up many of the foods I love. Many. One of my dear friends, in an effort to help me find something to replace my favorite sugary snack, recommended a brand of imitation chocolate chunks. She said they were better than the real thing and would definitely satisfy.
They. Were. Delicious.
Notice though that I said were delicious. It turns out the imitation stuff with all of its rich creamy lusciousness makes me sicker than the real thing.
But boy did it taste good.
Pastor Colin Smith (on The Gospel Coalition Blog again) has a message for us that closely follows our last CLS lesson beautifully. In 2 Peter 2.1 Peter tells us that there will be false prophets and that they will be among those in our church communities (“among you”).
How do false prophets infiltrate the church though? Well, the truth is we like counterfeit prophets. They tickle our ears. They tell us what we like to hear, not what we need to hear. Like imitation chocolate they provide smooth and delicious satisfaction. However with a lack of pure ingredients, imitations have a tendency to make us sick. Soul sick.
Pastor Smith takes 2 Peter 1 and 2 Peter 2 and contrasts the message that comes from an authentic prophet versus one a counterfeit prophet speaks and then challenges us; “we must not be ignorant.”
Sounds like a call for discernment, doesn’t it?
I keep a tab on my Internet bookmark bar for sources I run across that may be of some use. Perhaps there’s something here that you might appreciate as well…
Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones authored an excellent book on depression and it is definitely my favorite. Actually it is a great resource for simply navigating the Christian life; I know I have recommended it often in class. If your lamb struggles with depression this is a helpful study guide that coincides with the book. Either read and work on the study with her or merely use the guide to help you understand this condition.
Sacred Texts is an Internet Sacred Text Archive that has compiled every philosophy from Confucianism to tarot; Christianity to Islam. All of Calvin’s commentaries are available as are his Institutes. You can find several other of the church fathers as well. I don’t recommend venturing off onto the occult tab; however if you need more information regarding a particular system of thought this is a helpful site.
Ligon Duncan has partnered with a Christian businessman and The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals to make Matthew Henry’s timeless Method for Prayer “accessible to as many people as possible.” The Alliance maintains the website which leads a reader through prayer using the ACTS acronym (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) and scripture. Also included is The Lord’s Prayer expanded with additional scripture, Occasional Addresses and Short Forms of Prayer. This is a site rich with the potential for meditation and prayer using God’s own words.
In 1922, at the age of 59, Helen Howarth Lemmel wrote Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Helen was a music instructor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and the author of over 500 hymns. Turn Your Eyes was based on Hebrews 12.2, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
To turn in this way is not something we should ever take lightly. Repeatedly in the scriptures we are commanded to turn; turn our hearts, turn our cheeks, turn and become like children. None of these are easily accomplished! And the better part of our Christian walk will require turning. But God….
The beauty of this hymn is that it highlights where it is we are privileged to turn first. Because of God’s great gift we are free to turn our eyes upon Jesus. Consider this awesome benefit as you look forward to Easter Sunday and the celebration of His amazing work.
Accomplished on a cross.