Snippets about “knowing”

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7: 39)

Therefore, this Pharisee in Luke wasn’t a bad student. He correctly identified the sort of woman. He also had chosen a life with a different prize in mind. He therefore had avoided the kind of relational damage that such sorts inflict. Sorting as a means of knowing can help us to identify different conditions of heart. It gives us categories for naming those conditions. The religious leader did well. The Pharisee was right. Jesus likewise had this knowledge. He too rightly identified the woman as a sinner (Luke 7: 48). As it related to the sort, the teacher and the pupil were agreed.

Jesus’s knowledge takes into account what it means to know not just her sort but her. “Do you see this woman?” Jesus asks.

How different Jesus is! Though others may see only what they label you, Jesus sees you.

What is it about how we Christians sometimes view growth in knowledge that enables us to belittle or demean or judge or confound or overwhelm a person who is opening his first Bible for the first time? The haunting answer is that the Serpent’s temptation still whispers to us: “You will be like God, knowing . . .” (Gen. 3: 5). Like Adam and Eve, we too are tempted to know as God knows and to take his superior position of knowledge when relating to others. The problem is that even though God knows what we do not, and this to an extent that dwarfs us, he remains humble toward us. Tempted to omniscience, we fool ourselves on both counts. What we do know does not compare to God. And the way we relate with what we know often little resembles the humility of God.

~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being

Six Steps to Spiritual Growth in 2015

A worthwhile series of short blog to ponder.

A Very Old Prayer for Your New Year!

from Not for Itching Ears by

Guide me on the journey3The following New Years prayer was first offered back in the 1700’s. It is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These people knew God and they certainly knew how to pray. We can learn a lot from them. They are written in old english. I have updated a few outdated words and changed the Thee’s and Thou’s to make it more 2015. However, they still have the feel of that era. This prayer, along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennet…



A long life does not profit me except the days are spent

in Your presence,

In Your service,

for Your glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains,

sanctifies, and aids every hour,

that I may not be one moment apart from You.

May I rely on Your Spirit to

supply every thought,

speak every word,

direct every step,

prosper every work,

build up every ounce of faith.

Give me a desire to

show forth Your praise,

testify of Your love and

advance Your kingdom.

I launch my ship on the unknown waters of this year,

with You, O Father, as my harbor,

You, O Son, at my helm,

You, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with

my lamp burning,

my ear open to Your calls,

my heart full of love,

my soul free.

Give me Your grace to sanctify me,

Your comforts to cheer,

Your wisdom to teach,

Your right hand to guide,

Your counsel to instruct,

Your law to judge,

Your presence to stabilize.

May Your fear be my awe,

Your triumphs my joy.

The Salt of the Earth

from Musings on Science and Theology by

Salt_shaker_on_white_background cropThe next section of Philip Yancey’s new book Vanishing Grace poses the question “is it really good news?” … a question that can be answered in many different ways. Does faith matter? Does it affect the way we live in any meaningful way? Even if faith has a positive affect on life, is it true? Is there actually a God out there? How do we know?

There is abundant evidence that faith matters – but this isn’t the common impression in a secular world. Yancey reflects on the difference between impression and (what should be) reality.

Read on:

Predictable Christmas fare: Newsweek’s Tirade against the Bible

Daniel Wallace’s comments

Every year, at Christmas and Easter, several major magazines, television programs, news agencies, and publishing houses love to rattle the faith of Christians by proclaiming loudly and obnoxiously that there are contradictions in the Bible, that Jesus was not conceived by a virgin, that he did not rise from the dead, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. The day before Christmas eve (23 December 2014), Newsweek published a lengthy article by Kurt Eichenwald entitled, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” Although the author claims that he is not promoting any particular theology, this wears thin. Eichenwald makes so many outrageous claims, based on a rather slender list of named scholars (three, to be exact), that one has to wonder how this ever passed any editorial review.

Read on:

from Townhall by David Limbaugh

A Hopelessly Biased Screed Against Alleged Bias

9 Questions to help you steward all of your life for God’s glory

from Brad Hambrick

pursue_avoidIf the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we consider how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not primarily about what we avoid, but what we pursue.

As you read through and answer these nine questions, remember God’s patience and timing. There will be some aspects of God’s design that you can engage in immediately. But there will also be ways you want to serve God that will require you to mature more or be equipped before you are prepared to fulfill them. The main thing is to begin to have a vision for life that involves being God’s servant and actively engaging that vision where you are currently equipped.



Seven Things for the New Year

from Out Of the Ordinary

This is an excerpt from a New Year’s address by James Smith who was C.H. Spurgeon’s predecessor at the New Park Street Chapel. He mentions seven things to experience, tohave, to do, to enjoy, and be preserved from in the New Year. When I read his lists, I couldn’t ask for anything better for my loved ones or myself in 2015.

May God grant us these blessings for His praise and glory.

Are Your People Real? 6 Marks of a Real Christian Inspired by Jonathan Edwards

from Zondervan Academic by Jeremy Bouma

Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) has pastored on Capitol Hill and with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan. He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at


What is a real Christian?

This seemingly basic question was one Jonathan Edwards himself grappled with during the intense movement of the Spirit in America, known as the Great Awakening.

Of this question, pastor and author Todd Wilson notes that Edwards realized “this is a perennial question for the church. Each generation must wrestle with this issue and draw on the wisdom of Scripture and the saints of old to offer the church a faithful and relevant description of the marks of authentic faith.” (24)

In his book Religious Affection, Edwards answered his question by outlining twelve marks of genuine Christian faith. Inspired by this description, Wilson aims to provide the contemporary church with a similar description of what it means to be “real.”

In Real Christian, he outlines six important marks of real Christianity, which provides “a biblical standard for whether we are real” and unpacks “the substance of what mature faith looks like.” (25)

Read the six marks of a real Christian below, as inspired by Edwards. Because there’s no better time than the new year to inspire your people to ask and answer the only question that matters this year:

Am I real?


5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity

from The Cripplegate by Clint Archer

Let me start by saying that it’s not wrong for a new believer to be immature any more than it’s wrong for a child to be childish.

Puerility is only annoying in an adult. When a four year old dons a cape and wears his underwear over his pants, claiming x-ray vision, it’s cute. When his dad does that, it’s concerning (or certifiable).

When you’ve been a believer for many years though, lack of these indicators should be concerning.

Mature believers possess these 5 indicators…

Why we sing “I have decided to follow Jesus”

from The Cripplegate by Jesse Johnson


I have decided to follow Jesus” is a polarizing hymn. Made popular by the Billy Graham crusades, it is inseparable from the concept of altar calls and emotional pleading. For some, it stands as a sort of Arminian anthem—a testimony to the power of human volition and an example of all that is wrong with modern Christian lyrics. For others, it is a song celebrating the simplicity of conversion–simple and sincere.

But when you know the story behind the song, you realize that it is not a statement about free will, nor about the ease of placing your faith in Christ. It actually stands as a monument to the international nature of the gospel, as well as a radical call to suffer and die with Jesus.

The late 1800’s saw an evangelistic explosion in India. Entire provinces formally closed to the gospel were swept up a missionary movement perhaps unparalleled in history. Wales in particular sent hundreds of missionaries to Northern India, and they were joined by Indian evangelists, as well as missionaries from England, Australia, and the United States. This movement was remarkable for two reasons; first, it was led mostly by Indians themselves, and those men became national figures.  Second, this missionary endeavor was focused on Northern India, which was firmly in the grips of the most oppressive forms of Hinduism. It was a place where the caste system was entrenched, and where headhunters ruled.   

These provinces often prided themselves on the hostile reaction they gave foreigners. Dozens and dozens of these missionaries were martyred, but despite the opposition and violence (or perhaps because of it) the gospel made inroads into this previously off-limits area.

Read on at: