Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

November 2010

November 26, 2010

Today is a great day to find bargains, not just in stores but also online. I’ve got a post that contains a long list of great deals that will be of interest to Christians—lots of Christian books, music, DVDs and so on for really good prices. I’ve also got information about the amazing Kindle deal Amazon will be offering today at noon EST.

Click here to find the bargains.

November 25, 2010

This will be an abbreviated Thanksgiving edition of Reading Classics Together (since, honestly, most people aren’t doing a lot of surfing today…so maybe if I keep it short, you’ll be able to read quickly and get back to the family!). This week I will simply share some of my favorite quotes from chapter 7 of The Holiness of God. The chapter is titled “War and Peace with a Holy God.”

Summary

People in awe never complain that church is boring.

The struggle we have with a holy God is rooted in the conflict between God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness. He is just, and we are unjust. This tension creates fear, hostility, and anger within us toward God. The unjust person does not desire the company of a just judge. We become fugitives, fleeing from the presence of One whose glory can blind us and whose justice can condemn us. We are at war with Him unless or until we are justified. Only the justified person can be comfortable in the presence of a holy God.

When God signs a peace treaty, it is signed for perpetuity. The war is over, forever and ever. Of course we still sin; we still rebel; we still commit acts of hostility toward God. But God is not a cobelligerent. He will not be drawn into warfare with us. We have an advocate with the Father. We have a mediator who keeps the peace. He rules over the peace because He is both the Prince of Peace and He is our peace.

November 25, 2010

Well, happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends. This is one of those days where I feel like I’m the only one out here on the Internet. I trust you all have better ways to be spending your time today. I’m thankful for you and glad that you get to take a day to just express gratitude. I could really go for a slice of pumpkin pie today…

Messages from R.C. Sproul - Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are a couple of appropriate messages from R.C. Sproul that Ligonier has made available for free.

ScrollTag - This looks like an interesting software package, designed to enable users to organize all of their notes, markings and tags on Biblical texts. It’s available for PC, Linux and Mac.

Does Black Friday Save You Money? - This article from Intuit looks at some of the hidden costs of Black Friday shopping…and then suggests that Cyber Monday is a worthwhile alternative.

The Things He Carried - I came across this article yesterday and thought it relevant to the airport security discussion that has come about since new measured were imposed on November 1. It shows quite conclusively, I think, that there is a large element of show about airport security.

The Christian is suspended between blessings received and blessings hoped for, so he should always give thanks. —M.R. Vincent

November 24, 2010

With 25 episodes of Connected Kingdom in the can, David and I are ending Season 1 and taking a time-out until the New Year.

We’ve greatly enjoyed the challenge of learning to communicate via the podcast format, and deeply appreciate all your interaction and feedback. Thanks also to all our guests.

We look forward to returning with Season 2 in January. We’ll have a new line-up of subjects and guests and hopefully a couple of ways of increasing your own involvement with the show.

So, have a great holiday season and join us again in a few weeks for the next season of Connected Kingdom, connecting truth and life in a digital age.

If you want to give us feedback or join in the discussion, go ahead and look up our Facebook Group or leave a comment right here. You will always be able to find the most recent episode here on the blog. If you would like to subscribe via iTunes, you can do that here or if you want to subscribe with another audio player, you can try this RSS link.

November 24, 2010

Running ScaredI do not generally consider myself a worrier. I am more the easy-going type—the kind who is generally carefree and and does not succumb to fear. Or so I like to think. But even then I have to admit that I can be fearful—I can give in to the temptation to worry. Even if I worry about the things I consider “big,” I prove to myself that I am still a worrier at heart. And to tell the truth, I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t worry about something at sometime. We all tend to feel fear at one time or another; we all tend to be afraid of life, of what it brings, or of what we think it might bring in the future.

Running Scared is a book for fearful people, which is to say that it is a book for everybody. It is notable not only for its subject matter, but for its author—Edward Welch who has written, among other highly regarded titles When People Are Big and God Is Small. The book is divided into thirty chapters and Welch encourages the reader to tackle one chapter per day and to not return to the next until he has taken the time to discuss each one with another person. The chapters fall into two uneven parts, one with four and the other with twenty six chapters.

Welch begins with some initial observations, perhaps the most important of which is in the third chapter. It is here that he reveals that “fear speaks.” This is to say that fear tells us about…us. It tells us about how we understand ourselves, about how we understand God and how we understand the world around. Fear is “a door to spiritual reality.” “There is a close connection,” Welch says, “between what we fear and what we think we need. … Whatever you need is a mere stone’s throw from what you fear.” That statement is profound and well worth further consideration. It is little wonder that Welch suggests pausing often to ponder. Another point that I found worth of extra attention was this one: “Worriers live in the future.” Worriers are constantly looking into the future and using their imaginations to construct their own version of what the future will look like—what it must look like based on their understanding of what has happened, what will happen, and how God works.

November 24, 2010

I’ve got a slightly abbreviated version of A La Carte today (after a long day away from home yesterday). Enjoy!

The Human Brain - CNET declares the brain truly awesome. “A typical, healthy one houses some 200 billion nerve cells, which are connected to one another via hundreds of trillions of synapses. Each synapse functions like a microprocessor, and tens of thousands of them can connect a single neuron to other nerve cells. In the cerebral cortex alone, there are roughly 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.”

Why I’m Ungrateful - Russell Moore tells why he’s ungrateful. “Gratitude is spiritual warfare. I’m convinced my turn of imagination that day was conviction of sin, a personal uprooting of my own idolatry by the Spirit of Christ. What I need to fear most is what seems normal to me.”

Amazon - Another reminder about Amazon’s Black Friday sale which is going on all week long.

The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man. —Albert Einstein

November 23, 2010

Have you ever stopped to ponder what it might have been like for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, knowing that each day they would completely exhaust their food supply? Have you thought what it would be like knowing that they would go to bed with no food, but that the next day their supplies would be fully and miraculously replenished? It is an interesting, thought, really, and one that is worth considering.

In the Wilderness

MannaImagine that you are an Israelite father or mother and that you have three or four young children depending on you. Imagine putting these children to bed in the evening, knowing that there is not a bit of food to be found anywhere in your tent. Just to be sure, you wander over to the fridge and open it up. The glare from the light shows nothing but the glistening white of the inside of the Kenmore. There is nothing on any of the shelves; nothing in any of the drawers. There isn’t even a mostly-empty jar of relish left over from when you made burgers a few weeks earlier. There isn’t a clove of garlic or an old stick of butter. There is nothing. You close the door and open the freezer and as you wave your hand to brush aside the mist, you see that every corner of the freezer is empty. You turn to the nearby pantry and, looking high and low, see that there is not a bag, not a box, not a jar to be found. You have no food. Nothing.

As you tuck your daughter into bed that night, she says, “Daddy, what will we eat for breakfast tomorrow?” And with utter sincerity and utter confidence you say, “God will provide.” And, despite the bare cupboards and the empty fridge, you are able to go to sleep that night with full confidence that there will be food for you the next day. When you wake in the morning, you unlock the tent door, step outside, and see the world around covered in food like frost on a cold winter morning. You are able to quickly and easily collect enough food for the day, and can head inside knowing that the children will have all the food they need that day. As you nuke their mannapancakes, you whisper a prayer of gratitude that God provided again. Yet again.

But you also know that God has provided for only that day. The manna that lay on the ground was not enough for today and tomorrow. As the sun rises in a few minutes, the manna will melt into the ground and be gone. God has not provided for a week or a month or a quarter—he has provided for only one day at a time. You have heard of people who doubted God’s providence and hoarded manna, packing it into Tupperware and stuffing it into the deepest recesses of their fridges, freezers, and cupboards. But when they took it out and tried to eat it, they found that it was rotten and disgusting, crawling with worms and smelling worse than sandaled feet in a hot desert. You know that as day fades into night, and as you prepare the evening meal, you’ll find that you have just enough manna to eat, and that as you close your eyes in sleep, you’ll lie in peace, knowing that God will provide again tomorrow. But only for tomorrow.

November 23, 2010

It’s a sad day today, the day of Aileen’s grandmother’s funeral. For our children this is their first real close-to-home experience with death and loss. And it marks the end of a generation—Aileen’s grandmother was the last of our grandparents. So do pray for us if you think of it.

On to today’s links…

Amazon Deals - Amazon is having Black Friday sales all week long. They’ve got some really good deals, but you pretty much have to monitor the site regularly to take advantage of them.

Don’t Touch My Junk - Charles Krauthammer gets a lot right in this article about the TSA, saying that the “junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy.”

The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung: “I have a growing concern that younger evangelicals do not take seriously the Bible’s call to personal holiness. We are too at peace with worldliness in our homes, too at ease with sin in our lives, too content with spiritual immaturity in our churches.”

Grown Up Digital, Wired for Distraction - These are two common topics among tech writers today: growing up in a digital world and, through the digital world, facing unending distraction. “Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.”

5 Dangers of Computer Unreality - John Piper wrote this article back in 1994, but it still has a lot to say about living in a computerized world.

God is less interested in answering our questions than in other things: securing our allegiance, establishing our faith, nurturing a desire for holiness.D.A. Carson