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Posts by Joseph Randall

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Celebrity Pastors for the Glory of Christ

“With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.”  2 Corinthians 8:18 When I was at the 2012 Together For The Gospel meeting, there was a panel discussion on celebrity pastors.  Dr. Carl Trueman was on the panel, cautioning against the perils and dangers of the celebrity pastor.  While I certainly agreed wi...

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The Shepherd for the Sheep

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing" (Psalm 23:1). This amazing truth is ultimately fulfilled in the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in Him is all that is promised to us fully realized. For all the Psalmists declaration to become realizations for us, Jesus had to lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). Consider the following ways that Psalm 23 is fu...

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The River and the Tree of Life

In Ezekiel 47 the prophet sees an unusual sight.  This is not the first unusual thing Ezekiel has seen as he gets a guided tour of a new temple.  The prophet is exposed to all sorts of changes in the design of the temple, its sacrificial system, and in the surrounding allotment of land to the twelve tribes of Israel.  God is making all things new, as it were.  Jerusale...

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Revjw's Book Corner 12.05.12

Reading is a wonderful thing.  It stimulates thinking.  Or so it should.  Of course the famous computer expression “GIGO” applies to reading as well as to computer programming.  If all we do is put garbage in, all we will get is garbage out.  The three books I would like to mention here avoid GIGO altogether. Richard M. Gamble (not to be confused with the theolog...

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Revjw's Book Corner 11.2.12

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 1859-2009 By Gregory A. Wills Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2009 566 pp  General Index  Illustrations Gregory Wills, professor of church history at SBTS, has penned a well-researched and written history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from its founding in 1859 to 2009.   Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 185...

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Revjw's Book Corner 8.25.2012

Jonathan Edwards and Justification Edited by Josh Moody Wheaton:  Crossway, 2012 158 pp, Preface, Introduction, Index Books about Jonathan Edwards are legion.  So too are books about the oft controverted doctrine of justification.  So along comes this delightful little book Jonathan Edwards and Justification published by Crossway Books and ably edited by Edwards scho...

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A Spotless Lamb, Not A Golden Calf

A Toxic Exchange The golden calf incident of Exodus 32 provides us with a vivid illustration of what can go wrong when we fall into brazen idolatry.  If when you read Paul’s comments in Romans 1 where he talks about the exchange of the truth for the lie, you wondered what that looks like, here is your picture.  This is an account of in-your-face idolatry.  The unholy...

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Revjw's Book Corner 8.11.12

Did God Really Say?  Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture Edited by David B. Garner 181 pp, Bibliography and Subject Name Index PR Publishing: Phillipburg, 2012 I became a Christian back in 1983 when Evangelical discussions about biblical inerrancy were in high gear.  Not only had Evangelical pastors and scholars hammered out a solid statement ab...

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Abominable Sacrifices

Abominable Sacrifices: How Jesus Takes Miserable Worshipers and Makes Us Acceptable to God (Isaiah 1:10-15 ESV) 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do no...

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Revjw's Book Corner 7.26.12 Canon Revisited

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament By Michael J. Kruger, PhD Wheaton:  Crossway 2012 362pp, Bibliography, General and Scripture Indices Here is a book I can confidently endorse and encourage you all to get your hands on and read!  Michael Kruger, professor of New Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Cha...

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Revjw's Book Corner 5.19.12

Prolific author and speaker Don (D. A.) Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL and one of the leaders of The Gospel Coalition, has recently released an excellent treatment of the specious form of tolerance operative in the arena of political correctness, in his The Intolerance of Tolerance.  Published by Eerdman...

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Jesus, the Temple, and Gentiles

Jesus once said that he came to minister to the lost sheep of the household of Israel (Matt. 15:24).  And that he most certainly did.  But like the OT prophets before him, he did not lose sight of the implications of the Abrahamic promise for Gentiles.  Is it possible that this same concern formed some of the background for Jesus' cleansing(s) of the temple (John 2:13-2...

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Revjw's Book Corner 2012.1

I have recently finished reading three books worth mentioning.  I should say up front that not every book that I read do I think worth blogging about.  But these three are you should consider reading yourselves. Back in November Crossway Books published K. Scott Oliphint's book God With Us:  Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God which can be found here.  Olph...

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Who Says Doctrine is Impractical?

Who says doctrine is impractical?  Certainly the apostle Paul would have no truck with such sentiments.  In Philippians 2:1-11 we learn that there is abundant practical fruit from the rich fertile soil of sound biblical doctrine.  This can be put generally and specifically.  Abstractly, Christian life derives from the particulars of true Christian doctrine.  Concretel...

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Revjw's Books Corner 8

By now some of you may be aware that Dr. Bill Edgar and Dr. Scott Oliphint of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia have edited a fine primer of classic apologetic texts from the New Testament down to the present.  The set is titled Christian Apologetics: Past and Present and it is now complete with the appearance of the second volume which can be obtained here...

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The Benefits of Preaching Preparation

I need to read and reread my sermons before I step into the pulpit to preach them.  At first I only did this so that I could deliver my sermons smoothly.  But over time I have become aware that I need to read and reread them because I need to preach to myself.  Or rather, the Word needs to confront me since I am a sinner in need of the correction and encouragement that ...

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The Christian Life Ought to Mirror the Life of Our Lord

The Christian life ought to mirror the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is the teaching of the Apostle Paul.  It is especially clear in two places in his letter to the Philippians.  In 2:1-11 and 3:1-11 Paul touches upon this theme.  In the second chapter Paul grounds his call to humility and unity in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Just as the pre-incarnate Son...

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Agony in Gethsemane: A Tale of Three Gardens

Recently I preached on the heart-wrenching experience which our Lord Jesus Christ had in the garden of Gethsemane the night in which he was betrayed and which culminated in his death on cross for the sins of his people.  The primary text I spoke from was Luke 22:39-46.  Here we see our Lord in all his humanity.  Here we see proof positive that our Lord was one person wi...

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Reformed Forum at PCRT

This past weekend it was a thrill to represent the Reformed Forum at the 38th annual Philadelphia Conference of Reformed Theology hosted at the historic 10th Presbyterian Church in Center City Philadelphia.  My RF colleagues Jim Cassidy, Camden Bucey and I also had the opportunity to record an episode or two of Christ the Center where we discussed the various lectures/ser...

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Daniel's Audacious Prayer

Last week I had the privilege of preaching at Hudson Valley United Reformed Church in New Hampton, NY (outside Middletown, NY) and in the evening I unpacked Daniel's powerful and audacious model prayer in Daniel 9:1-19.  I noted that the Scriptures contain several model prayers.  For instance, 1st Chronicles 29:10-13 records David's prayer over the materials Solomon woul...

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Two New Acts Commentaries

Ministers and other students of the Word can rejoice that two stalwarts of the Reformed faith have each published a new commentary on the things Jesus continued to do and teach through his Holy Spirit and Word directed apostles in the early church.  That was a mouthful!  Both Derek Thomas and R. C. Sproul have graced us with thoughtful and stirring expositions of the boo...

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Research That Chastens the Researcher

Some readers may wonder whether doing research is merely a dry, academic and clinical exercise.  For me I can say that it is not.  Recently as I was doing some reading for the third chapter of my dissertation, I had reason to read Gerald C. Cragg's Puritanism in the Period of the Great Persecution, 1660-1688 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1957).  While I was ...

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For Pastors and Scholars

For those of us who believe that pastors ought to be scholarly and that scholars in the seminary ought to be pastoral, two new books have recently been released that are food for the soul.  The first is a new English translation of a Dutch original.  Willem Van Asselt in 1998 edited a delightful series of essays explicating in brief fashion the contours of Reformed Schol...

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Christ Our Creator and Redeemer

John Calvin rightly pointed out that we know God as both creator and redeemer in his magnum opus, The Institutes of the Christian Religion.  But how often do we realize that the second person of the Trinity, the Son, is our creator and redeemer?  Of course this is also true of the Holy Spirit.  But it is an amazing thing that the Son of God is the divine agent of both c...

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Marriage Matters

Winston Smith of CCEF has produced a helpful and practical book about working through marital problems in a God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered way entitled Marriage Matters:  Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments.  It can be obtained here.  A few weeks ago the Christ the Center program at Reformed Forum interviewed Smith about this book here.  The ...

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We Need Christ All Along the Way

One of the statements I find myself returning to frequently these days as I have the privilege to preach God's Word is that no matter how far along the pathway of the Christian pilgrimage one has trod, one will always need Christ.  Whether you have been a Christian for decades or have only recently come to faith, you will always need Christ.  Tullian Tchividjian has a wo...

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A New Critical Biography of Charles Hodge

Until very recently, some of our Old Princeton heroes had failed to garner much of any biographical or systematic analysis.  Thankfully this is beginning to change.  For instance, Benjamin B. Warfield is now graced with Fred Zaspel's helpful treatment of his theology here.  Gary Johnson's fine edited volume on Warfield, obtainable here, also adds to our appreciation of ...

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Romans 13 Again?

This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Fresh Meadows in Queens, NY.  I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes the fruit of Pastor Brad Hertzog's labors.  It was a beautiful thing to gather with the saints in that school auditorium and worship our great and loving triune God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  What...

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New FestSchrift for John Piper

Our friends at Crossway recently released a well-conceived and executed festschrift (celebratory writing) for John Piper, pastor of preaching of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.  The name of the book is For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper and you can obtain it here.  Typically books of this sort are not considered exciting reading.Â...

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Oliphint Preaches at Greenville Full Confidence Conference

Thanks to our good friend Jeff Downs, you can now hear the recent Lord's Day sermon by Dr. K. Scott Oliphint which he preached at Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, as part of Westminster Theological Seminary's Full Confidence conference weekend.  Dr. Oliphint is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster and is a powerful and effective p...

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Oliphint Speaks at Mid-America Reformed Seminary

Our good friend Jeff Downs informs us that Dr. K. Scott Oliphint spoke at Mid-America Reformed Seminary's annual Fall Lecture Series, November 2-3. Dr. Oliphint is Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spoke on "Contemporary Discussions on Reformed Epistemology." The first lecture was "The...

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Some Noteworthy New Books

Although it has been out for a month or more now, I thought I should mention that Fred Zaspel's helpful systematization of the theology of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, The Theology of B. B. Wafrield: A Systematic Summary, is now available here.  While Warfield was an accomplished systematic theologian, apologete, and Biblical exegete, he never produced a full-fledged...

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I Am the Resurrection and the Life

I recently had the privilege of preaching from John 11 about our Lord's raising of Lazarus from the dead.  You can hear the sermon here.  I endeavored to unpack the message under the following headings:  (1) Christ is sovereign over the timing of his miracles; (2) Christ sorrowed at his friend's tomb; and (3) Jesus himself is the resurrection and the life.  My ...

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Entrusted with the Gospel

There is nothing more important than the gospel.  There is no point at which we as Christians can dispense with it.  And so it is a pleasure to note that Crossway Books has recently published this volume of sermons on 2nd Timothy stemming from the April 2009 Gospel Coalition conference.  Entrusted with the Gospel: Pastoral Expositions of 2 Timothy is available her...

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Living in God's Two Kingdoms

David VanDrunen, the Robert B. Strimple professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California, has authored the new Living in God's Two Kingdoms:  A Biblical View of Christianity and Culture which can be obtained here.  VanDrunen has elsewhere shown the historical pedigree of the two kingdoms doctrine within Reformed circles.  Th...

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With Calvin in the Theater of God

John Piper and David Mathis have brought us a new compilation of articles on the significance of John Calvin.  With Calvin in the Theater of God:  The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life can be found here.  While we may be tempted to think that the last thing that can be said about Calvin has been said, it is always good to visit Calvin and God's use of him anew....

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No Tears in Heaven

Readers of this blog know that I have had to deal with the loss of my mother, Carole Lynn Waddington, over the last month or so.  This past Sunday we held the second of two memorial services in her honor and in each, in slightly different ways, God was glorified, Christ was lifted up, and the Spirit was honored through the proclamation of the Word.  While my family a...

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A Delightful Little Book

This morning I woke up at an ungodly hour and could not go back to sleep (was it because I was giving my first ever Hebrew ordination exam?).  So what was I to do?  Lo and behold my eyes wandered to my night stand and the pile of books thereon.  In that unwieldy stack there lay a little book and I thought to myself that I might just be able to complete it before I...

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Piper on the Christian Mind

The good folks at Crossway Books have released a new book by John Piper on developing a Christian mind entitled Think which can be obtained here.  Many books have been written on developing a Christian mind or worldview, but Piper brings his familiarity with Jonathan Edwards to bear on the topic in that the mind is not divorced from the emotions or will.  In fact, a ...

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A Heartfelt Farewell

Last Thursday I had a distinct honor and privilege.  I had the opportunity to be with my mother as she entered into glory.  Readers will remember from my post "Startled by Grace?" that my mom had spoken with me and my wife on a Saturday night a week and a half ago shortly after she had been relocated from the local hospital to the area rehabilitation center.  My m...

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Campbell on Israel and the New Covenant

Recently PR Publishing reissued Roderick Campbell's study Israel and the New Covenant which can be obtained here.  While I am not a postmillennialist myself, it is always good to read books and articles from other perspectives to keep one's mind sharp and alert.  This volume has an introduction by Oswald T. Allis, former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary ...

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The Unadulterated Enjoyment Of Christ!

Jonathan Leeman writes: One of the greatest ironies of the postmodern West might be this: that great symbol of pleasure in our culture for which it (consciously or not) most emphatically rejects God - sex - is the very thing God has given humanity so that it might have an analogy, a category, a language for knowing what the unadulterated enjoyment of him will be like in g...

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Christianity and War

Our friends at Crossway Publishers have recently published this new book entitled War, Peace, and Christianity:  Questions and Answers from a Just War Perspective which can be obtained here.  It is authored by Timothy J. Demy and J. Daryl Charles.  Given the state of the nation and the world this is a timely offering.  Readers will be interested to know that th...

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Startled By Grace?

Today has been an emotionally draining day.  Today I visited with my mom and dad and continue to see the signs of aging multiply before my eyes.  My mother has been having health problems off and on all her life and during these last few years they have been more on than off.  Last winter she entered the hospital with a life threatening condition.  Thankfully t...

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Christ Is All In The Bible! (Transcription)

Nick posted a great video of Tim Keller speaking about how the Bible is mainly about Jesus Christ and His finished work.  Here is a copy of the basic transcript of that helpful video.  Christ is all! Tim Keller said: "Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:27) Jesus is...

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Life in the Real World

It is a glorious thing to be called of God to proclaim his gospel.  Yes indeed!  I am blessed to be able to serve my congregation as a teacher (in the OPC, a minister can serve as a pastor, teacher, or evangelist).  I am able to teach, preach, serve on the session and sit at presbytery (and at the GA when appointed).  I am also a PhD candidate chipping away at ...

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More Westminster Standards Resources

Recently we at the Christ the Center internet audio program over at Reformed Forum interviewed the Rev. Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn about his involvement in the Westminster Assembly project.  The WAP is a boon to us for the historical and theological understanding of the WS.  We look forward to the publication in the near future of the minutes of the assembly under Dr. Van...

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I Love Reading

I love to read.  I hope you do too.  Reading keeps the mind active and the imagination fired up.  Some recent books that I have been dipping into are the following:  James White's provocative Pulpit Crimes:  The Criminal Mishandling of God's Word which can be found here.  Dr. White provides hard hitting commentary on common misuses of the Bible in the pul...

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Reformed Hermeneutics and Homiletics

Our friend Jeff Downs has recently posted a series of lectures by Dr. Joseph Pipa and Dr. Richard Gaffin offered at a 1998  conference on Reformed hermeneutics and homiletics.  You can find it here....

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Oh How Great It Is To Finally Finish A Book!

Sometimes it seems as if I will never finish the book I am currently working through.  This is definitely the case with my bedtime reading.  But in the last few days I have concluded reading three different books that I would like to note.  Do not fret.  This is not my usual practice.  But these books deserve some sort of honorable mention.  The first ite...

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Cyril of Alexandria on the Extra Calvinisticum?

As I was reading through James Anderson's intriguing volume Paradox in Christian Theology I came across this citation from Cyril of Alexandria that reminds me that the so-called "extra Calvinisticum" (the idea that the Son of God is not circumscribed by or limited to the human body of Jesus Christ) is not the property of the Reformed wing of the church but was the view of ...

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A Fascinating Book About The Resurrection of Bad Theories

Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger have presented to the Christian world a fascinating account, and rebuttal, of an old idea that seems to keep rearing its ugly head.  In The Heresy of Orthodoxy:  How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity the authors address the Bauer thesis and its more recent ado...

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The Pause and Storyline

I have been reading quite a lot lately about how the Bible is a story or narrative and not a book of propositions.   I have not found this a convincing reading of the situation.  It is, to put the matter bluntly, a false dilemma.  The Bible is both propositional and a story.  It is both factual and dramatic.  Let's try a thought experiment.  Let's ask our...

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Doctrine Has Consequences

I have loved the study of doctrine since I came to faith in Christ.  I couldn't help but eagerly seek to learn all about the faith I had come to embrace.  Yes, it is true.  I had been raised in a Christian home.  Indeed, in the home of a pastor.  I am a "pastor's brat" as some like to say.  So for almost 27 years I have made the study of God's Word and it...

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Gospel Lessons from Jonah

Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham and pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, brings us lessons of grace from the book of Jonah.  Having just completed a Sunday School series on Jonah, it would have been great to have had this to use in my preparation.  Alas, better late than never.  Tchividjian draws out the gracious gos...

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Christ Is All When Your Husband Dies

This cut scene from the movie We Were Soldiers is sobering. The husband of the woman singing the solo (though she doesn't know it yet) is killed in that Sunday battle, and he will never return home. This same dreadful loss happens to many of the young women sitting in that little church. In the face of pain like that, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood a...

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Christ Desires Our Supreme Good

A friend of mine posted these words from Helen Roseveare recently.  May God work these kind of desires in our hearts . . . Helen Roseveare, a missionary doctor to the Congo for twenty years, writes: To be a living sacrifice will involve all of my time.  God wants me to live every minute for Him in accordance with His will and purpose . . . No time can be considered ...

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Vos On Never-Failing Enjoyment In God

Commenting on the book of Hosea, Vos wrote: Jehovah strengthened Israel's arms and taught her to walk [7.15]; although the Giver of all nature-blessings, of corn, wine, oil, silver, gold, wool, flax, Jehovah is distinguished from the Baals, in that He has something more and finer to given than these:  loving-kindness, mercy and faithfulness [2.19]; in reality He gives,...

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Jesus, Joy Of Man's Desiring

I never knew the song by Bach many people play at weddings is about Christ! He is the joy of man's desiring. Every joy in all of man's desiring points to the greatest Joy and the Giver of both all joys and all joy-producing gifts:  Christ! Keep Reading

Everyone In Christ Will Be Married Forever!

If you are in Christ Jesus, by grace through faith, you will be married forever. And Jesus will be married too. He will not remain single forever. Jonathan Edwards wrote: The end [goal] of the creation of God was to provide a spouse for His Son Jesus Christ that might enjoy Him and on whom He might pour forth His love. And the end of all things in providence are to mak...

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Feeling Like Christ Is All And Acting Like Christ Is All

In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis wrote: “We have a tendency to think, but not to act.  The more we feel without acting, the less we will ever be able to act, and, in the long run, the less we will be able to feel.” I have often thought and felt a lot of things while listening to sermons or while reading Bible-saturated books or while looking...

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What Is The Christian's Greatest Sin?

In a blog post entitled "My Biggest Sin," McKay Caston writes: You couldn’t help it, could you? This is gonna be juicy, right? Could be. Okay, let’s get to it. What is my biggest sin? Of course, most of us probably think of the Top 10 list in Exodus. “Thou Shall Not…†But we’ve all broken every one of those. No surprise there. So what...

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May The Lamb Bring This Unity!

John Owen wrote: I confess I would rather, much rather, spend all my time and days in making up and healing the breaches and schisms that are amongst Christians than one hour in justifying our divisions even therein wherein, on the one side, they are capable of a fair defense. But who is sufficient for such an attempt? The closing of differences amongst Christians is like ...

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May Christ Be Everything To Us

Martin Bucer wrote these passionate words about the great satisfaction that is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ alone: " . . . Christ our Lord alone is the One who is, gives, and performs for us everything which we can desire for our true advantage, happiness, and honour." " . . . all gain, all enjoyment, all honour apart from Christ is poison and death, but . . . in C...

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