Laudable Linkage

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Here are some of the noteworthy reads discovered recently:

Why Do You Want to Be Happy? HT to Challies. “Sadly, Christ-followers routinely say things like, ‘God doesn’t want you to be happy; he wants you to be holy.’ But holiness and happiness are two sides of the same coin — we dare not pit them against each other.” Yes!

My Life as a Christian Under a Communist Regime, HT to Challies. “It may surprise you, but from my perspective the main suffering for Chinese Christians is not physical persecution or lack of religious liberty but bad theology, though the reason behind bad theology is the lack of freedom.”

The Ordinary War with Irritability, HT to Challies. “If your consistent response to testing circumstances or challenging people is to become annoyed or angry, then you are irritable. But I have good news for you. Because of Jesus, believers can have godly attitudes even when our patience is tried, and we don’t have to make self-justifying excuses when we don’t. We can confess our failure as sin, knowing Jesus forgives.”

The Unbelief in My Belief, HT to Challies. “I’ve thought about both of my seat companions several times since then and wondered why the words stick in my throat when there’s nothing more important to share than my hope in Christ. . . . But unbelief stood in my way. Not theirs, but mine.”

7 Ways Not to Provoke Your Children, HT to Challies. “Parents, trust in him alone for strength to make it through this journey without provoking your children. Keep praying that he will give you the grace required to raise godly children.”

Are Christian Parents Too Protective of Their Children? HT to Challies. We may be tempted to place our children inside a sanitized theological bubble, safe from all forms of intellectual contamination. But, just like germ-conscious parents, this may not be accomplishing what we think.”

Why Long Lines Are Good for Writers and Everyone Else. “I used to feel, when I first met someone, like I had to perform. Like being a contestant on American Idol, I was expected to entertain them, and they would then judge me. And I would be sure to fail again.”

I’ve only been in Costco once that I remember, so I guess I am in the first stage. 🙂

I hope you have a happy Independence Day weekend, for those here in the USA! Here are some Ideas for Celebrating July 4th, if you need any, HT to The Story Warren.

Be Holy: Becoming “Set Apart” for God

Leviticus probably is no one’s favorite book of the Bible. In fact, as one man in our church put it, Leviticus is where Bible reading plans go to die.

But Leviticus is part of God’s inspired word, and “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). It is “quoted or referred to over 100 times in the New Testament.” So it’s highly worthy of our study.

As our church came to Leviticus in our Bible reading schedule, the ESV Study Bible notes and Warren Wiersbe’s Be Holy (Leviticus): Becoming “Set Apart” for God were invaluable companions.

It doesn’t take long to see that God’s holiness is the main theme of Leviticus. “The word holy is used 93 times in Leviticus, and words connected with cleansing are used 71 times. References to uncleanness number 128. There’s no question what this book is all about.” As I mentioned before, a seminary professor teaching Leviticus had his students try to live by its regulations for a period of time. One result was that holiness was a primary focus throughout the day, in regard to everything the students did.

Also, as Ken Baugh points out in his introduction to this book, “Almost everything in Leviticus anticipates the life and death of Jesus. The sacrifices, festivals, rituals, and laws foreshadow God’s redemptive plan. Jesus becomes the means to remove the guilt and penalty for sin through His substitutionary death on the cross. His death provides the final atonement for all sin.”

Though I saw some of those glimpses of Christ in past reading of Leviticus, this time they seemed to be on every page.

A couple of quotes from the book that stood out to me:

God’s church is supposed to be “a holy nation” in this present evil world, to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2: 9 NIV). The Greek word translated “declare” means “to tell out, to advertise.”

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5: 20 NIV). The first step toward disobedience is often “reclassifying” sin and making it look acceptable instead of abominable.

Have you ever heard a preacher or teacher say that seven is the number of perfection in the Bible? I had, but I didn’t remember ever hearing why that was so. Wiersbe explains here:

The Hebrew word for seven comes from a root word that means “to be full, to be satisfied.” It’s also related to the word meaning “to swear, to make an oath.” Whenever the Lord “sevens” something, He’s reminding His people that what He says and does is complete and dependable. Nothing can be added to it.

This book helped me get more out of Leviticus than ever before.

What we have studied should make us realize the awfulness of sin, the seriousness of confession and restitution, the graciousness of God in forgiving those who trust Jesus Christ, and the marvelous love of our Savior in His willingness to die for undeserving people like us.

(Sharing with Booknificent, Carole’s Books You Loved)

Laudable Linkage

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My online reading has been quick and light this week, but here are some reads that stood out to me:

What Freedom From Sin Looks Like in This Life, HT to Challies. “We want to have a neatly resolved plotline where we say I had this problem, and I asked the Lord, and he removed my desire for that, and I didn’t do it anymore. But, we all know that’s not how we typically see holiness playing out in our lives.”

Let’s Stop Stirring the Pot, HT to Challies. Sometimes sharing truth will cause controversy. But we shouldn’t post online just for the purpose of stirring up controversy.

Dr. James Dobson’s Election Reflections.

Making Sanctuaries. I love posts like this that encourage moms in their ministry at home. “Here we pray and worship. Here we read and learn. Here we play and argue and muddle through. For now, there’s nowhere else. So I try, in as much as I can, to make this a place of safety. Of welcome, even on the hard days. Of messy, constant grace, and awareness that the sacred is always closer than we think.”

2020 Comedy Wildlife Photo Finalists, HT to Laura. These are always fun. I especially like the first one with the bears and the fox and mouse.

Finally, this is a post-Thanksgiving experience for many of us (seen on FaceBook, don’t know original source), HT to my brother and sister:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Welcome to my latest round-up of noteworthy reads around the web:

The Error of Counterfeit Holiness. “Making holiness primarily consist of externals confuses what holiness is versus what holiness does. Defining holiness by what it does leads to works-dependence. Defining holiness by what it is leads to God-dependence.

How Self-esteem Ruins Bible Reading.

Share Ministry, Even If It’s No Big Deal, Because It Actually Is, HT to Challies.

Why I Abandoned Seeker Church, HT to Challies. Lots of good thoughts here.

Difficult Relationship? Write an Action Statement.

Our Bodies and Birth Trauma This Side of Eden, HT to True Woman.

God Calls Me to Motherhood and Art. How Do I Do Both? HT to Story Warren.

The Spiritual Discipline of Driving With the Radio Off, HT to Linda. I do like the radio or an audiobook on in the car, but I need and treasure silent moments in other parts of the day.

And finally, a couple of thoughts from Pinterest:

Happy Saturday!

My Father, My King

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We’ve been focusing on various aspects of God’s holiness the last few weeks in Sunday School. Yesterday we looked at several verses where someone encountered God’s holiness nearly full force and what effect it had on them. People responded to the physical appearance of angels in the Bible with fear and trembling and sometimes spontaneous worship (which the angels had to correct and stop): how much more fearful would be the presence of God Himself?

One that always particularly strikes me is John, who had been the closest disciple to Jesus during the Lord’s time on Earth. Yet when John saw Jesus in all His glory in Revelation 1:17, he didn’t shake his hand, slap him on the back, cry out, “So good to see you again!” He “fell at his feet as dead,” overwhelmed.

That’s perfectly understandable, yet I’ve always had a hard time reconciling that realization of God, both Father and Son, with concepts like being held by God and calling Him Abba (an affectionate name for Father, something like “Daddy.”) One seems so close, loving, intimate; the other so distant, troubling, unapproachable.

Though this is an imperfect analogy, it has helped me to think of it something like this.

Imagine a child interacting with his father in all the ways a child would: playing on the floor, being held in his lap and rocked to sleep, being read to, being comforted when hurt or afraid, etc. The child might know his father is something called a king, but he doesn’t quite understand what that is or what his father does.

But one day, an affair of state comes up which requires his father to wear his full royal regalia. As the child stands with his mother and siblings off to the side, the king’s entrance is announced and accompanied by a trumpet fanfare. When the king comes in, the child hardly recognizes the man as his father. He looks so different in his crown and royal robe, standing so erect, receiving the applause of the audience, speaking in such authoritative and measured tones, followed by his entourage. He has been told he must not run to him in this moment, but he wouldn’t be inclined to, anyway. He’s a little afraid of him and unsure of him. But as his father finishes speaking and turns to go back to the family part of the castle, he searches for his son, and smiles. And then the child recognizes the love in his eyes and knows that he was indeed, the same daddy who had comforted him and played with him so often before.

As I said, it’s an imperfect analogy, and it wouldn’t carry over in every single point. But the gist of it helps me to reconcile how the Lord whose full holiness will overwhelm me is the same Abba Father who comforts and cares for me now.

( Sharing with Inspire me Monday, Literary Musing Monday, Testimony Tuesday, Woman to Woman, Works For Me Wednesdays, Thought-provoking Thursday)