Laudable Linkage

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Here are some thought-provoking reads discovered this week.

Now Ravi, Too? “Sin on the level that Christianity Today describes does not happen all at once. It grows gradually over a long period of time as sinful behavior builds layer upon layer. It starts by justifying small indiscretions and then multiplies until we find ourselves surrounded by a wall of hypocrisy. As I read the Zacharias story it prompts me to examine my own life for the ‘little’ sins that I am excusing.”

The Best and Worst of Bible Reading Plans. “In my commitment to continue to read through God’s Word, I’ve borrowed and developed various Bible reading methods and tips. Some worked well and others . . . flopped. In this article, I’ll share my greatest successes and biggest flops along with the single best advice I’ve discovered for faithfully reading and enjoying the Bible.”

You Are Going to Hate It, HT to Challies. “You know that country you’ve been dreaming about? The one that you have been praying over and researching? You’ve been talking about it endlessly these days, building a team who will support you when you move there. You are ready to uproot your family, your job, your entire life to pour your soul into the place you love so much. Call me a party pooper, but today I’m here to tell you something important: Shortly after you finally arrive in that country, you are going to hate it.” True for missionaries, but I think also for almost any calling. It’s not all sweetness and light. There will be times when “Perseverance is the whole battle.”

There’s Something About Your Faithfulness, Sister, HT to Challies. A word of encouragement for everyday faithful believers.

Why Read Full-Length Historic Christian Biographies? HT to Challies. Yes! My thoughts on this as well in a past post: Why Read Biographies? Christian biographies have helped my Christian walk immensely.

Have a great Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

I have just a short list of noteworthy reads today, but thought I’d go ahead and share them. If I don’t, I’ll likely have an extra-long list next time.

Messy Church History. HT to Challies. I’ve been thinking about writing a post concerning our profound disappointment when someone we revere is found to have a fatal flaw as well as our tendency to write people off after finding skeletons in their closets. This says much that I would have. Church history, Biblical history, is messy because it involves sinners who aren’t totally perfect yet. Only God is perfect. It’s only by His grace that He uses any of us.

I’m Not a Mary or a Martha! Mary and Martha’s story wasn’t told in order to become fodder for social media personality quizzes. Julia points out ways that we infer more from the story that’s there and do Martha a disservice.

When You Are Refined by Family Conflict. “Conflict is simply two people viewing the same situation in two different ways.” If we take time to view things from the other person’s perspective, even though we might not agree, we’ll understand better, lose our defensiveness, and be able to look for bridges across the divide.

I shared this yesterday, and I think I may have even referenced it before, but I was so blessed by this post about Jim Elliot’s brother Bert, who was a missionary to Ecuador for over 50 years. Burt commented that “Jim and I both served Christ, but differently. Jim was a great meteor, streaking through the sky.” Randy Alcorn said yes, he was, but Burt was the faithful start that rose every night for years.

Finally, this baby copying the workout from the movie Rocky is SO cute! HT to Adam Blumer.

Happy Saturday!

Finishing Well

I am reading in Chronicles just now. Though it has a reputation for being pretty dry, it actually has many great truths in it. Chronicles covers the history of the kings of Israel and Judah from the time of Solomon until the Babylonian captivity. Most of the kings were bad, in that they did not follow Jehovah God in the way He prescribed, and many followed idols and false gods instead. Most of the few who did start out well did not finish well. And though “finishing well” is probably not what “the” theme of the book is, it stands out for consideration.

Solomon, for all his wisdom and all the blessings he experienced during his early reign, fell away when his many wives led him to other gods.

“Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (II Chronicles 14:2), was marvelously helped in battle after prayer, took down idols, removed even his own mother from her position because of the image she made. But in later years he sought the help of a pagan king instead of God and even imprisoned the prophet who came to warn him (16:1-10). He ended up with diseased feet for which he did not seek the Lord at all.

“Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (24:2), but after Jehoiada died, Joash fell away to the point of killing Jehoaida’s son (24:19-27).

Amaziah “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart” (25:2). He received great help from the Lord when he did things His way, yet instead of continuing to follow Him, he “he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.  Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah” (25:14-15).

Uzziah, “as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper” (26:5), and “And God helped him against the Philistines” and other enemies, “and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly” (26:7-8). “And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense” (26:15-16). The NASB puts it this way: “But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God.”

Josiah was one of Judah’s best kings, leading a revival after the book of the law was found during temple repairs, yet he went to battle and “hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God” and ended up dying of wounds received in that battle.

Will I forget the things I knew, like Solomon did, and be led away by other loves, or will I keep my first love? Will I forget from whence my help comes, like Asa did, and look for help elsewhere? Will I fall away after my spiritual mentors are gone, like Joash? Do I serve God with a perfect (complete) heart, or am I holding anything back, like Amaziah? Will I be lifted up with pride like Uzziah? Will I neglect to listen to wise counsel from God’s Word, like Josiah?

May I heed the warnings and lessons in these examples. May God save me from these and other failures and help me to keep my eyes on Him and to finish well.

(Adapted from the archives)

(Sharing with Inspire Me Mondays, Literary Musing Monday, Testimony Tuesday, Tell His Story, Wise Woman, Woman to Woman Word-filled Wednesday, Faith on Fire)

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