A La Carte (March 26)

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(Yesterday on the blog: Always Count the Cost)

The One Life Dream that Makes a Girl Blush

I’ve seen lots of evidence of this too. “When the water is poured again and they lean back after a dish is served to their friends. When they take a breath and their shoulders slump a little. After they’ve told me all of they’ve said of their current life, their work, their time, their goals. They don’t want to say it, for fear that admitting it will make them look weak.”

The Early Symptoms of Spiritual Danger

Sinclair Ferguson: “Yes, apostasy happens. Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin. The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ. But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings.”

When You Can’t Escape Busyness

“An overwhelmed mom who is set free from the power of sin and death is not condemned by her inability to keep her act together. She doesn’t need to feel trapped in a cycle of sinful reactions, because she fears God more than her circumstances. For the mom who feels bogged down by the pressures of life, she’s free to live with her mind set on the Spirit, which results in life and peace. We can escape the snare of these sinful patterns by meditating on the character and work of God.”

The Line Between Prayer and Sermon Efficacy

At the end of the day, I’m thankful there isn’t a straight line between sufficient prayer and a powerful sermon. And no, that doesn’t mean I advocate apathy. “I am concerned by the straight line that many want to draw between our prayers and the efficacy of our sermons. Is it true that our sermons will be total duds if we fail to pray? Will the Lord refuse to work if we haven’t put the effort into our prayer time? I think this inference is theologically problematic and debases the Lord almost as much as the total lack of prayerlessness this view is trying to avoid also does.”

Missing Beauty

I enjoyed this reflection on finding beauty. “One day I was driving to my language lessons. Noticing the dust and sand. The usual brown, grey and beige-colored walls. And more sand. I suddenly cried out, ‘O Lord, isn’t there anything beautiful in this city?’ There. I’d said it. Out loud. The longing that simmered inside. The hunger for beauty.”

Smoke and Onions

“We cry and pray with our friends as they struggle with incredibly difficult family situations. A young mom with cancer who won’t make it much longer, a child who seems to be wayward, kids taken from their parents because of false accusations, a father who is abusive to his first wife and has taken their children from her. We give medical care to those who come with their many wounds.”

SSA Christians and Non-Sexual Romantic Relationships

This is a good treatment of an increasingly common idea. “When it comes to same-sex relationships and the church, I’ve heard more and more people propose some sort of committed, same-sex, non-sexual romantic friendships for those who want to uphold the Christian sexual ethic. This, they say, avoids the supposed loneliness of singleness while upholding biblical standards of sexual behavior.”

Flashback: What Counts as a “Gospel Issue?”

My guess is you’ve probably heard someone use the phrase “gospel issue.” You may well have used it yourself a fewf times. But what is a gospel issue? What does this phrase mean?

The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger. —Elisabeth Elliot