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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How Papyrus P52 Encourages Our Faith


Fascinating and a great reminder of the way God has preserved His Word throughout the ages . . .

Carefully encased within a climate-controlled cabinet in the John Rylands Library is Rylands Library Papyrus P52, the St. John’s fragment. Measuring only 8.9 by 6 centimeters at its widest points (3.5 by 2.5 inches), this is just the smallest fragment of a long-lost codex. But why would 53 square centimeters of papyrus merit such a display and a position in this list of 25 objects?

P52 may not be the most important of the ancient manuscripts, and certainly it is not the one most critical to assembling the original text of the Bible. Yet it is a significant link to the past, an object we can look at and as we look, see the providence of God in preserving his words. If faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God (Romans 10:17), you and I are Christians today only because God has preserved his Word, the Bible. He has preserved his Word through even small fragments of papyrus like this one.

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On the Derailing of Lance Armstrong

Armstrong tweeted this picture after being stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

Armstrong tweeted this picture after being stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

Good article on Lance Armstrong:

Fraud torments a soul, even when the soul isn’t aware of the torment. Biblical examples abound. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) seemed to have no clue that their guilt was catching up to them before it did with abrupt finality. Zacchaeus (Luke 19) had to be pulled from a tree by Jesus to be confronted and come clean about his fraud. When Oprah asked Lance if it felt wrong, he said “No. That’s scary.” Scary indeed. 

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How Not to Read Your Bible


I love Matt Smethurst’s 5th way not to read your Bible.

5. Don’t Turn a Means of Grace into a Means of Merit

Your Father’s love for you doesn’t rise and fall with your quiet times. If you are united to Jesus by faith, the verdict is out, and the court is dismissed. You’re as accepted and embraced as the Son himself. Period.

To be sure, you’ll desire to hear and follow his voice if you’re truly one of his sheep (John 10:1-30; cf. 8:47; 18:37). Not always and not perfectly, of course, but sincerely and increasingly.

So as another year dawns, commit yourself anew to becoming a man or woman of the Word. But don’t overextend, do it alone, just do it whenever, live as if Paul lied, or treat means of grace like means of merit.

Your Bible is one of God’s chief gifts to you in 2013. Open, read, ruminate, and obey. May you be ever transformed into the image of our incarnate King, and may he alone receive the acclaim. 

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Bible Reading Plans for 2013


If you are looking for some resources to help you read through the Scripture in 2013, check out this link from the There are twelve different plans to choose from. Personally I follow the M’Cheyne reading plan which guides you through reading the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once. You can create an account to track the progress of your preferred plan or print out a copy of the plan to stick in your bible.

You may also want to use the podcast option, so that you can hear the day’s Scripture passages read. This is an option I use almost everyday. To use this option, you can search iTunes or your favorite podcasting app by the name of the reading plan. You can also manually add it by copying and pasting the “rss” link from the above page into your podcast app.

If these options are not enough, check out Justin Taylor’s listing of reading plans over at the Gospel Coalition website.

One last word . . . it seems almost inevitable that at times during the year one of two things will happen: pride that we are doing so well or guilt that we have failed to keep up. It is at those times that we must be reminded that as important as reading Scripture is (crucial in fact), it does not save. We are saved by Christ alone. He has paid the penalty for our pride and our neglect of his Word.

Worshiping the Gifts Instead of the Giver


Tim Challies on idolatry:

“For what is idolatry if not this: to worship the gifts in place of the giver himself?” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.36) Calvin summarizes well what it means to commit idolatry. Idolatry may well be in full view in the days to come as so many of us make our New Year’s resolutions. Do we make these resolutions because we want to honor God? Or are we resolving to do things that make us feel better about the idols we worship? Losing weight may be a noble goal, but not if we want to lose weight for all the wrong reasons.

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