You Are Always Preaching to Yourself

You are constantly preaching to yourself some kind of gospel. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of your own righteousness, power, and wisdom, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of deep spiritual need and sufficient grace. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of aloneness and inability, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of the presence, provisions, and power of an ever-present Christ.

– Paul David Trip in Dangerous Calling

How is a Barber to Pray?

Martin Luther wrote the following to his barber when asked for advise on how he should pray.

So a good and attentive barber keeps his thoughts, attention, and eyes on the razor and hair and does not forget how far he has gotten with his shaving or cutting. If he wants to engage in too much conversation or let his mind wander or look somewhere else, he is likely to cut his customer’s mouth, nose, or even his throat. Thus if anything is to be done well, it requires the full attention of all one’s senses and members, as the proverb says, “The one who thinks of many things, thinks of nothing and does nothing right.” How much more does prayer call for concentration and singleness of heart if it is to be a good prayer!

A Simple Way to Pray

There is No Logic in Idolatry

‎For idolatry is the attempt either to localize God, confining him within limits which we impose, whereas he is the Creator of the universe; or to domesticate God, making him dependent on us, taming and taping him, whereas he is the Sustainer of human life; or to alienate God, blaming him for his distance and his silence, whereas he is the Ruler of nations, and not far from any of us; or to dethrone God, demoting him to some image of our own contrivance or craft, whereas he is our Father from whom we derive our being. In brief, all idolatry tries to minimize the gulf between the Creator and his creatures, in order to bring him under our control. More than that, it actually reverses the respective positions of God and us, so that, instead of our humbly acknowledging that God has created and rules us, we presume to imagine that we can create and rule God. There is no logic in idolatry; it is a perverse, topsy-turvy expression of our human rebellion against God.

John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World, The Bible Speaks Today, 287 (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994).

 

From a Symbol of Fear to a Symbol of Faith

Celtic Cross by Vera Kratochvil
Celtic Cross by Vera Kratochvil

Keith Mathison:

I sometimes wonder how many Christians stop to think about how incredibly odd it is that crucifixes are used as works of art. Crucifixes adorn church architecture, classic paintings, sculpture, and even jewelry. But consider for a moment what a crucifix was originally. It was a means of execution. In fact, it was and is one of the most ghastly means of execution ever devised by man. So horrible was it that it was reserved for the lowest of the low: slaves, pirates, and rebels. Roman citizens were exempt. Cultured Romans considered it unworthy of discussion in polite company. Yet today we wear this symbol of degrading and humiliating death around our necks. The jarring nature of this is not immediately apparent to us because over time, the symbol of the cross has lost many of its original connotations. To get some idea of the oddity, imagine seeing people wearing necklaces with images of a guillotine or an electric chair.

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