I trust you enjoyed—as we did—a restful, worshipful, enjoyable Christmas Day. Because this is the week when few people visit blogs, I’ll be posting only A La Carte between now and Saturday. A more normal schedule will resume on January 2.
Today’s Kindle deals include a nice little selection of books from Crossway.
(Yesterday on the blog: Today of All Days, Be of Good Cheer)
We know that persecution tends to go along with kingdom expansion, but this article wants us to consider that “perhaps we miss just how inevitable persecution is in missionary contexts.”
Samuel James: “We humans in the modern West are micro-beings living in a macro-society. Every square inch of our news and political culture, our entertainment, and even religion is preoccupied with “big” problems that allegedly demand even bigger solutions. Nothing is more common than to hear people talk about the real issue facing the whole nation, or the problem with the church or Christianity at large. We increasingly attribute our daily angst to systemic troubles and our ordinary frustrations to major dysfunctions with our lives. This is why there is a seeming willingness among many to blow up their lives regularly…”
Vaneetha Rendall Risner: “My desire to pray when I’m suffering can swing wildly in a single day — and sometimes within the hour. Through the severe trials in my life — losing a child, having a debilitating disease, losing my marriage — prayer has been both arduous and exhilarating. Exhausting work and energizing delight.”
“The evangelism/missions cause can never be thwarted by the unbelief of the masses who will ‘keep on hearing but will not understand,’ any more than Jesus’ own earthly evangelism was hindered by it. It has always been part of the plan that people will not understand. If a missionary hacks his way through jungle and finds no reception in some villages, it isn’t defeat.”
Derek Thomas and Burk Parsons consider questions of doubt, repentance, and assurance.
Glenna Marshall remembers some difficult times, then says “I don’t want to forget the ways He carried me. Remembering tightens my grip on trust. He’ll carry me through the next season of suffering.”
Some of my favorite poems are those that pick up on one particularly important line and then repeat it throughout, thus consistently building upon a theme. This is the case with an old poem titled “When I Get to the End of the Way.”
We should count ourselves happy the day we discover a new fault in our life or character—not happy because the fault is there, but because we have discovered it that we may rid ourselves of it.—J.R. Miller