A La Carte (September 16)

Good morning. May the Lord bless and keep you today.

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There is an eclectic little group of Kindle deals to browse through today.

(Yesterday on the blog: The Ministry of Being a Little Bit Further Along)

My Darkest Night; Hopefully Not Yours

Jim Elliff: “At 3:30 a.m., I awoke to a black room, so dark that my eyes could not see even one inch away, much less to the other side. The simple room in a Romanian home in Brasov had one of those metal external shades that are lowered over the window, capable of completely deleting light. I was in the darkest place I had been in perhaps for years. And, since it was night and I was alone in the house, I thought.” This got him thinking about the “outer darkness.”

How Will the People in Heaven View Hell?

On a somewhat similar topic, here’s Amy Hall on heaven and hell. “I fairly regularly get asked this question in various forms: How will the people in Heaven view Hell? How can they enjoy the glories of God while others are suffering? My answer has two parts—a direct answer and a crucial context for that answer.”

The Universe on a Human Scale (Video)

Our minds simply can’t comprehend the size of the universe, but videos like this one do a good job of trying to help.

Patriotism: Love and Loyalty Without Idolatry

I appreciate Isaac Makashinyi’s thoughts on patriotism (in this case, from a Zambian perspective). “A nation cannot be unified around the mere basis of the mutual satisfaction of utilitarian needs. Instead, it must be bound by an active dedication to the maintenance of the body politic. To call this dedication ‘love’ is proper.”

Hope That Anchors Our Waiting Hearts

Randy Alcorn shares an excellent article from Courtney Doctor. “I recently heard a pastor say, ‘The waiting may be hard, but it never leads to disappointment.’ The truth of that statement rests entirely on what we think we are waiting for. In other words, the question isn’t simply what am I waiting for, but what am I hoping in? I’m learning that waiting and hope are intimately tied together.”

Sin Is Far Worse Than We Think It Is

“When Christians think about sin, often it is in the context of our sins being forgiven. We know that we are sinners and that we do all kinds of things that disobey God, some of them unknowingly and some of them intentionally. But we have been forgiven for our sins, right?”

The “Leading” of the Spirit?

Nick Batzig: “Deep down, we’re all intrigued by the mystical. Many find it to be more ‘spiritual’ if they experience something working powerfully and inexplicably upon them. This, no doubt, is partially the reason why charismatic views of the Holy Spirit prevailed throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There is everything right about wanting to experience more of the power and working of the Holy Spirit, provided we rightly understand the biblical teaching about the power and work of the Spirit.”

Flashback: What Not To Say at the Beginning of a Worship Service

What are the best, the most beneficial, things a pastor or leader can say as he opens the service? What will best serve the people who have gathered?

The highest aim of womanhood is not motherhood; the highest aim of womanhood is being conformed to the image of Christ. —Gloria Furman