The Most Important Passage in the Whole of Scripture

from Canon Fodder

Book of RomansAs I mentioned in a prior post here, I have been teaching a weekly Bible study on the book of Romans to women in the Charlotte community.  For the last several months, we have been plodding our way through the first three chapters as Paul has laid out his case that all mankind–Jew and Gentile–are sinful and rightly under the judgment of God.  Paul finishes this section of his letter with this monumental statement: “For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20).

You can almost hear the gavel fall with a boom.

The rest is at:

A Lesson on Prayer: Ephesians 1:15-23

from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Christina Fox

Ephesians 1: 15-23

What are the top three prayers on your prayer list right now? Perhaps there’s a prayer for God’s provision or one for a loved one’s healing. Maybe there’s a prayer for a friend’s salvation or for someone whose marriage is struggling.

When it comes to my own prayers, most of them center on the things I want God to do for me. I tend to ask God to make my life easier and to take away all my problems. I also pray for friends and family, that God would provide for them and help them through their own struggles and trials. These kinds of prayers aren’t wrong because God wants us to cry out for his help. Though prayer is certainly not less than this, it can also be so much more.

The Apostle Paul shared some of his prayer list in his letters to the various churches he ministered to. This passage in Ephesians is one such prayer. It is a prayer that shows Paul’s deep love and concern for the spiritual growth and well-being of the Ephesian church. It is also a prayer that we can learn much from, particularly for our own prayer lives.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (v. 17-19).

Paul’s prayer here raises the bar for what prayer can look like. He shows us that we can go deeper. There are places we can go in prayer that we’ve never imagined. These places draw us closer to knowing God, his goodness, his power, and his promises for us.

Read on at:

The Key to Spiritual Maturity

John Piper

Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Now this is amazing. Don’t miss it. It could save you years of wasted living.

What this verse is saying is that if you want to become mature and understand the more solid teachings of the Word, then the rich, nutritional, precious milk of God’s gospel promises must transform your moral senses — your spiritual mind — so that you can discern between good and evil.

Or let me put it another way. Getting ready to feast on all God’s Word is not first an intellectual challenge; it is first a moral challenge. If you want to eat the solid food of the Word, you must exercise your spiritual senses so as to develop a mind that discerns between good and evil.

The startling truth is that, if you stumble over understanding Melchizedek in Genesis and Hebrews, it may be because you watch questionable TV programs. If you stumble over the doctrine of election, it may be because you still use some shady business practices. If you stumble over the God-centered work of Christ in the cross, it may be because you love money and spend too much and give too little.

The pathway to maturity and to solid biblical food is not first becoming an intelligent person, but becoming an obedient person. What you do with alcohol and sex and money and leisure and food and computers has more to do with your capacity for solid food than where you go to school or what books you read.

This is so important because in our highly technological society we are prone to think that education — especially intellectual development — is the key to maturity. There are many Ph.D.’s who choke in their spiritual immaturity on the things of God. And there are many less-educated saints who are deeply mature and can feed with pleasure and profit on the deepest things of God’s Word.

Why Wearing Clothes of Mixed Fabrics (Lev. 19:19) Was Wrong

from Think Christian by Tom Gilson

Unbelievers love to bring forth unreasonable commands from the Bible to prove that it’s wrong. Leviticus 19:19 is one of their favorites:

“You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.

Now, that certainly seems odd, doesn’t it? But Jonathan Morrow explains it all clearly enough in Think Christianly. On page 166 he quotes Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart:

These and other prohibitions were designed to forbid the Israelites to engage in fertility cult practices of the Canaanites. The Canaanites believed in sympathetic magic, the idea that symbolic actions can influence the gods and nature…. Mixing animal breeds, seeds, or materials was thought to “marry” them” so as magically to produce “offspring,” that is, agricultural bounty in the future.

Read more at:

Comparing Hymns and Contemporary Songs (part 3)

an excerpt from Ponder Anew. While I may or may not agree with all of the series, I find that many of the new songs are not singable by me. That may not say anything about the song, just me. 

Bert Polman suggests that many of these songs are not musically suitable for congregational participation. If he is correct, exclusive use of contemporary songs in singing is chipping away at the congregation’s role in corporate worship that it has enjoyed since the reformation. The unavoidable syncopated ad lib, commercial sound used by most contemporary music is slowly chipping away at the congregation’s primary place in corporate worship. Instead of instruments and ensembles that support the congregation with good breath and sustained sounds, we have chosen a single leader or a small group of amplified voices, along with instruments that don’t encourage confident, sustained singing or aid the congregation. When this happens, congregations are no longer following the Pauline admonition to sing to God in community, but are instead a mere accessory to the performers. Whatever style we call ourselves, it is imperative that we choose well, that we choose from the best of all available songs, and that the voice of the congregation is supported and encouraged. Above all, we must commit to singing congregational songs that bring the truth of the Christian God and God’s story back into the heart, mind, and mouth of the congregation.

Read the whole of part 3 at:

You are hand picked


Neil Shenvi lectures on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus

from Wintery Knight

The lecture was given to the Intervarsity group at Duke University.

Speaker bio:

As it says on the main page, my name is Neil Shenvi; I am currently a research scientist with Prof. Weitao Yang at Duke University in the Department of Chemistry. I was born in Santa Cruz, California, but grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. I attended Princeton University as an undergraduate where I worked on high-dimensional function approximation with Professor Herschel Rabitz. I became a Christian in Berkeley, CA where I did my PhD in Theoretical Chemistry at UC – Berkeley with Professor Birgitta Whaley. The subject of my PhD dissertation was quantum computation, including topics in quantum random walks, cavity quantum electrodynamics, spin physics, and the N-representability problem. From 2005-2010, I worked as a postdoctoral associate with Prof. John Tully at Yale where I did research into nonadiabatic dynamics, electron transfer, and surface science.

Listen at:


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