When the Storms of Life Don’t Stop

You and I are not facing the same kinds of persecution the Apostle John was when Jesus appeared to him in a prison cell on the island of Patmos. In many parts of the world, of course, this kind of overt physical persecution is still common. Compared to the average believer in Afghanistan or Libya or China, our lives are pretty easy.

And yet, we have more in common with John than we’d like. Most of us are facing powers we believe vastly overwhelm our own. We can see storm clouds rising on the horizon of our lives.

Continue: https://outreachmagazine.com/features/discipleship/40170-when-the-storms-of-life-dont-stop.html

When the Storms of Life Don’t Stop


Christian, Your Depression Is Real. So Is God’s Deliverance.

Christian, Your Depression Is Real. So Is God’s Deliverance.

A few years ago, I read a book about Ernest Shackleton’s failed mission to be the first explorer to cross Antarctica. His plan was to sail as far south as he could and then walk a hundred or so miles across the South Pole. But there was an early freeze, and the ship got caught and crushed in polar ice several hundred miles from their destination. For more than a year, Shackleton’s group fought to stay alive in subzero temperatures. But the worst thing for these men was not the temperature. It was the darkness. At the South Pole, you see, the sun goes down in mid-May and doesn’t come back up until August. Those who have experienced this say that there is no desolation so devastating as the polar night—darkness all the time. Weeks upon weeks of no light at all.

The prophet Jeremiah described how he felt driven to a place of “darkness without any light”:

I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long. He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones; he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago…though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.

Lamentations 3:1–8 ESV

Read more: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/335245-christian-your-depression-is-real-so-is-gods-deliverance.html

How to Pray When You Don’t Want to Pray


Christian, Your Depression Is Real. So Is God’s Deliverance


Don’t Be a Fundamentalist (Calvinist or Otherwise)


How to Pray When You Don’t Want to Pray


If You Don’t Care for the Poor, You Don’t Understand the Gospe

Karl Marx famously called Christianity the opiate of the people, but I think it’s actually the smelling salts. Because when you really understand God’s grace, you wake up to injustice, and you are moved by compassion.

The reverse is true as well: When you are blind to the needs of the poor, it raises the question of whether or not you’ve actually ever believed the gospel, because you are unaware of your own pressing need for God’s merciful attention to you in your sin.

A failure to show concern for the poor shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel.

When the prophet Amos confronted the nation of Israel about their neglect and oppression of the poor, the excuses they gave may sound familiar to us today.

First, the Israelites said, “But we are God’s chosen people” (Amos 3:2). In other words, “We’re forgiven; we’re God’s favorites.” But God responded, “That makes your sin even worse! You not only knew me as lawgiver; you knew me as Father and Redeemer. To whom much is given, much will surely be required.”

Then they tried their second excuse: “Our religious zeal makes up for our moral shortcomings” (Amos 5:21). At this point in their history, Israel went to church all the time and put on a bunch of feasts. But God responded, “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.”

We use the same excuses today when we fail to show a concern for the poor: “Well, thank God that he accepts us by grace!” or “We’re not perfect, just forgiven.”

But we can’t excuse ourselves with grace. If we’ve really been forgiven, we’ll be more passionate about caring for the poor and fighting injustice, not less. Forgiveness is not a license to avoid these things. It’s a catalyst to drive us deeper into these things.

Amos 6:1 says, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion”—those who are playing through life when so many around them are suffering.

Charles Spurgeon identified three groups that are “at ease in Zion”:

Continue at: https://jdgreear.com/blog/dont-care-poor-dont-understand-gospel/

You’re Bored with Jesus; Here’s Why

~ Greear

Do you often feel dry spiritually? Or just cold? Like something is missing?

Many people have been Christians since they were little. They are well versed in the facts and stories of the Bible, but they are no longer captivated by them.

Others are just bored with Jesus. There’s no passion in their lives. They go through the motions, but they don’t want to read the Bible and pray on their own. They don’t really feel anything when they worship.

Why have we gotten bored with Jesus? Why do we feel cold toward the gospel? And how do we fix it?

Almost all of our spiritual problems come from a lack of sight, because what we know with our minds has never been felt with our hearts.

We don’t need new facts about Jesus to make him interesting. We simply need to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened to the truth we already know.

When God grants us spiritual sight, he takes the doctrines of the gospel we understand with our minds and makes them burst alive with sweetness in our hearts. We come to know them as real, personal, and felt. And the only thing that can yield that in our lives is prayer.

Read more: https://jdgreear.com/blog/four-cures-spiritual-blindness/

What Is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

~ Pastor J.D.

Shortly after the release of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved, I began seeing a surge in the number of questions about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—often called the “unpardonable sin.” I deal with that in the book, but it has proven to be such a persistent question that I thought I’d address it here as well. Enjoy.

–Pastor J.D.

The idea of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” comes from the Gospels, where Jesus calls this a sin for which there is no forgiveness (Luke 12:10, cf. Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29). Unfortunately, Jesus does not spell out definitively what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means. It would have cleared things up if he had said, “Whoever says these specific words or does this specific act, they sure are in for it. No grace for them.” Alas, he did not.

Continue: https://jdgreear.com/blog/blasphemy-holy-spirit/