Growing Up Spiritually

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. Hebrews 6:1-3

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A Prayer about a Third Kind of Son

Both this prayer and the one prior spoke to me – as do many of Scotty’s prayers.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15: 20)

Heavenly Father, I’m not beginning my day in a faraway country, derelict and destitute. Though I’m capable of anything, I’m not sitting here filled with shame for squandering an inheritance, and neither am I out in a field feeding somebody else’s pigs.

I’m in a comfortable chair, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, surrounded by more than my share of creature comforts. And yet I’m just as much in need of fellowship with you as any of your broken children . . . so here I come. Because the gospel is true, I bring you my busy, bland, somewhat disconnected heart. I feel like a third son right now. I’m not struggling with the extremes of either of your boys in Luke 15. I’m not acting out in destructive “fleshy” ways, and I’m not presently wallowing in the ugliness of my self-righteousness. I’m just somewhere in between. I still hear and love the wonderful music of the gospel, but I just don’t feel like dancing right now.

So, Father, as I come to you today, I take great comfort in knowing that I’ll always find you filled with compassion for me, even when my feelings are not fully engaged with you. As I saunter toward you, you’re always running toward me in Jesus. As I’m glad to see you, you see me from afar and are thrilled at the sighting.

When I’m not as inclined to lift my arms in praise to you, your embrace is the most predictable element in my day. You don’t just put your hand on my shoulder; you throw your arms around me in the gospel. And though my affection for you wavers, you will shower me with multiple kisses all day long, for you love your children with an everlasting, unwavering love.

Because the gospel is true, I’ll seek to live to your glory today, neither by sight nor by my feelings but by the faith you’ve given me to trust and love you. It’s not my grasp of you but your grasp of me in the gospel that matters the most. It’s not the enjoyment of my peace with you but the assurance that you are at peace with me that is the anchor for my soul. I pray in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name. Amen.

Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

A Prayer about the Renewal of Joy

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation. (Ps. 85: 6– 7 NIV)

Gracious Father, I begin my day thankful for the honesty and candor of your Word, for when you diagnose a problem, you always resource your children with more grace. Today I’m thinking about my need for gospel renewal and restored joy. I join the chorus of many who cry, “Revive us again.”

When I hear the apostle Paul ask believers in Galatia, “What then has become of the blessing you felt?” (Gal. 4: 15), I’m not sure how I’d answer. Have I fallen back into legalism? Am I struggling with unbelief? Am I looking for joy somewhere else? Have I hoarded my hurts and wounds to keep them from you? Am I angry at you and don’t want to admit it? I’m not sure how or where my heart began to leak joy, but I don’t want to get used to this condition. Show me, Lord.

Since your joy is my strength, Father (Neh. 8: 10), cause my heart muscle to beat afresh with your joy, the joy that fills the courts of heaven. Holy Spirit, since joy is one of the fruits you grow in the lives of the children of God, please weed, prune, and fertilize my heart for a fresh crop.

Jesus, since you are praying for the fullness of your joy to be in us (John 17: 13), I will live with anticipation and hope, for your prayers never fail. Though I’ve never seen you, I do love you, and I love you because you first loved me and gave yourself for me on the cross. Fill me afresh with the inexpressible and glorious joy of the salvation you have won for us (1 Pet. 1: 8– 9). I pray in your trustworthy name. Amen.

Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

“Everything Comes Alive” – We Are Messengers – music video

Nicole BRITT NICOLE – ‘Oceans’ On The Sea Of Galilee – Music Video

A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness

~ Nathaniel Clairborne9781433552632

Crossway let me get a hold of an eBook version of John Piper’s latest, A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness (see this sample). If you’ve ever read a book by John Piper, I’m not sure this much here that would surprise you. However, if you happen to be looking for an accessible overview of why we can trust the Bible, this could be a good place to start.

The book has 5 parts that span almost 300 pages. In the first, Piper gives his personal story of coming to trust the Bible. The next part of the book takes three chapters to discuss the basics of canon and original manuscripts. As I heard Michael Kruger frame it recently, the basic questions are, “do we have the right books?” and “do these books have the right words?” Piper takes two chapters to answer the first (one for Old Testament and one for New, obviously) and one to answer the second. While not overly technical, Piper does give a good overview of the same kind of material I study on these questions in seminary.

There is more:

How Should We Interpret Genesis 1?

Some very good resources

by Don Merritt

Does the Cumulative Case for Design Point to a Divine Designer?

By J. Warner Wallace

Much has been written about the evidence for design in biological organisms. In fact, the appearance of design is largely uncontroversial. Even famed atheist and evolutionist, Richard Dawkins has written, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” But what, precisely, are the attributes of design most of us believe (either consciously or unconsciously) are most reasonably explained by an intelligent designer? In my new book, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for A Divinely Created Universe, I make a case for Intelligent Design based on the contributions of many great scientists and thinkers, my own experience as a designer (my education and training is in design and architecture) and my professional investigative career as a detective. The result: a cumulative case approach to the appearance of design and the reasonable inference of an Intelligent Designer. I believe there are eight attributes of design we employ when reasonably inferring the existence of a Designer. To make them easier to remember, I’ve assembled them in an acronym (DESIGNED):

D- Dubious Probability (Given Chance)
Is random chance an insufficient explanation for the formation and assembly of the object we are examining?

Read more:

Why Spiritual Maturity Is A journey, Not A Destination