Good Reads 05.10.18 (on #marriage, #bible, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On the Bible: What the Word of God Says About the Word of God by Jared Wilson

What God says about his word is a deep, complex, and staggering thing. And each book of the written word testifies to the wonder of his revelation. I decided to take a look, book by book, selecting a representative passage from each to highlight many of the things God’s word says about God’s words.

The word of God is . . . (click here to read more)

On Social Media: The Oldest, Most Ignored Social Media Command by Aaron Earls

Notice how Paul frames this rule. He didn’t say don’t discuss disputed matters. And he didn’t say don’t argue over vital matters. Specifically, the command is not to argue over doubtful issues. We are not to get emotionally wrapped up in arguments over third tier (or lower) issues. Yet, so many Christians are consumed by this very thing.

What happens when we violate this rule for life and social media? Several of the points Paul makes following this verse in Romans 14 gives us an indication of what it would be like… (click here to read more)

On Marriage: 7 Ways to Increase Intimacy in Your Marriage by Casey Lewis

While the world has distorted the purpose of sex, the Bible, and specifically the Song of Solomon teaches us that sex serves a greater purpose. Sex is a way to increase intimacy that already exists in marriage, which means that without sex a marriage will grow stagnant and cold. Sex, then, is important to the vitality of the marriage relationship.

While it’s true that sex is an important part of marriage, it’s just as important that a relationship exists before and after one has sex, which is what I want you to see from the Song of Solomon. A careful reading of the text reveals that their marriage relationship wasn’t consummated until the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5. Everything before those chapters consist of their courtship and wedding. (click here to read more)

On Confidence: Confidence Comes from a Clearer View of God by JD Greear

Moses couldn’t see that at the time. His thoughts were dominated by the insecurities that always come when you focus on yourself. In time, he would come to see these things and appreciate God’s sovereign preparation of him for the task. When he was called, though, he only saw his lack of potential.

But what is most interesting is that God, in trying to give Moses confidence, doesn’t point to any of Moses’ potential, even though it was there. He doesn’t say, “Moses, wake up! I have been preparing you! You have what it takes!” Instead, he simply says, “Moses, I am with you. Walk forward in confidence, knowing that what I have called you to, I will supply you for.” (click here to read more)

Good Reads 02.01.17 (on: prayer and marriage, self-esteem, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On praying with your spouse: (note–this 31-day challenge has already started, but I would still highly recommend signing up!) Pray With Your Spouse 31-Day Challenge by Mike Leake

Every day we will post a particular focus for our prayers along with a sample prayer. You can comment with your own prayers, etc. Also you will be challenged to “like” that status if you prayed with your spouse that day, as a means of accountability. I also would love to share testimonies of what the Lord does through your prayers with your spouse. (click here to read more)

On quiet times / personal devotions: Christian Life Beyond the Quiet Time by Jared C. Wilson

What we are talking about here is the process of formation: allowing ourselves to be formed a certain way. Most of us have already done great at being formed by the consumer culture we’re immersed in. We have adapted quite well to the rhythms of a self-centered lifestyle. Sometimes we even adapt our religious activity to that lifestyle. But to cultivate Spiritual formation means to find ways to immerse ourselves in the work of the Spirit, to re-sync ourselves to the gospel.

So this is the primary purpose of that quiet time: not to primarily focus on the things to do, but to primarily focus on the reality that the work is done. Spiritual formation will take off with much more energy and much more joy when we are centering first on the finished work of Christ in our quiet times and only secondarily on the ongoing work of obedience. (click here to read more)

On self-esteem: Find Your Self-Esteem in Someone Else by Jon Bloom

We tend to think self-esteem comes from each of us being a star shining forth our own unique glory. The way we measure our glory is in how it is reflected back to us in the approval and admiration of others. We figure the more approval and admiration, the brighter our glory, and the greater our self-esteem. But anyone who’s really experienced those things knows this is not true.

Healthy self-esteem doesn’t come from prominence; it comes from being who we are designed to be. And we’re not designed to be stars; we’re designed to be parts of an organism. (click here to read more)

On the Christian and social media: The Gospel and Social Media by Ronni Kurtz

Not all, but many selfies are taken for two different reasons, both of which the gospel speaks to. They’re either out of an actual self-centered personality that seeks to celebrate oneself – to which, the gospel would speak a word of humility and remind that Jesus is the hero of our stories, not us. Or they’re out of a position of insecurity, looking for someone on our friend list to affirm the way we look, dress, act, whatever – to which, the gospel would speak a word of acceptance. Christian, your affirmation isn’t in what others think about you on a particular day. It’s in the fact that Jesus is, right now, mediating by his blood on your behalf and has given his righteousness freely to you.

I’m not willing to say that selfies are intrinsically bad within themselves, and I’m even willing to say that there are times when they can be good. Yet when striving to follow a resurrected savior whose primary message was “selfless,” a constant presence of “selfie” seems hard to justify. (click here to read more)

 

 

Good Reads 01.11.17 (on: resolutions, social media, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On resolutions: One Thing Worth Everything by Jon Bloom

And since we are so finite, we are forced to choose only a few serious pursuits. That means a resolution is costly, because it demands a portion of our most valuable assets: love (devotion) and time. It requires us to say no to many other enjoyable things in order to say a tenacious yes to a joy and prize we consider superior to others.

The necessary, revealing, and costly nature of resolutions makes them dangerous. For not all strenuous, time-and-attention-demanding, and promising achievements are ultimately worth doing or having. Some promises turn out to be empty. Some impressive feats are a waste of life. (click here to read more)

On discipleship and relationships: How to Disciple New Believers in Marriage and Family Relationships by Todd Jamison

It was around this time I realized what disciple-making should encompass and how messy it can be. It’s natural for us to long for formulas. But implementing discipleship via fill-in-the-blank materials devoid of genuine relationships had proven ineffective. Those materials conveniently allowed me to complete statistical reports, but they didn’t move me in the direction of making disciples who obeyed everything Jesus commanded. As an old-timer, I’ve seen programs come and go, but certain things remain unchanged in the primary task to which we are called. (click here to read more)

On our need for community: Community Keeps You from Drifting by David McLemore

It should not surprise us, then, that it is the same when it comes to God. We understand God best when we are in community with other people. As we sit in a circle and talk about God from a text from the Bible, we begin to see the fullness of who he is. That aspect of him will stand out to one, another aspect to someone else. As we make our way around the circle we begin to lose our truncated view of God and begin to see him in his fullness. We need each other to see more of God. (click here to read more)

On life and social media: Life Is Not Lived Online by Barnabas Piper

The more we take our lives online the more we lose to a reality that is not ours. It is a sacrifice, a giving of ourselves to others who care little for us and are merely consumers. We become prisoners of comparison, constantly comparing our moments to others’ rather than simply appreciating them. We are bound by a weird sense of obligation to engage and respond to others’ moments or thoughts in just the right manner so that we are seen in the tight light – to express our sorrow at their grief or to like their photo quickly after it is posted. We strive for a persona, a “real” persona in an environment that is not reality. We are not being false (at least not most of us) and neither is social media fake – it simply lacks the multi-dimensional richness of life. (click here to read more)