David's Blog

A Two-Minute Clip on Homosexuality Every Christian Should Watch

Here is a recording of Sam Alberry speaking at the General Synod of the Church of England last week and seeking to explain how Jesus message on marriage is life-giving. I came across the clip on the Gospel Coalition website.
 It can be watched here:  Sam Alberry on Jesus teaching on marriage

Killed for Christ in the Amazon

I came across this clip on the BBC website today from the Witness programme which tells the story of Jim Elliot and another 4 Christian missionaries who lost their lives in 1956 seeking to bring the good news of Jesus to an isolated tribe in Ecuador. This story had a significant impact on me as a young boy and indeed upon many more, before and since.

You can find the clip here: Killed for Christ in the Amazon

It features an interview with Valerie Shepard, the daughter of Jim & Elisabeth Elliot. You can read more about the story in Elisabeth Elliot's book Through Gates of Splendour

Forgiveness

I came across these helpful words on forgiveness in an article on the Park Forum by Steven Dilla.
You can find the whole article entitled Don't conjure forgiveness, extend it here: http://www.theparkforum.org/843-acres/dont-conjure-forgiveness-extend-it/


Forgiveness, for Jesus, is less about conjuring an emotion and more about praying to God for the ability to extend his forgiveness to those around us. “Once we start inhaling God’s fresh air, there is a good chance that we will start to breathe it out, too,” says N. T. Wright. “As we learn what it is like to be forgiven, we begin to discover that it is possible, and indeed joyful, to forgive others.”

Remember North Korea & those risking it all

Here from Open Doors (UK) is a very moving article on the challenges facing Christians in North Korea and evidence that God is at work in the middle of terrible suffering and adversity:
North Korea: Risking it all

10 questions to ask at the start of a New Year

'The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.
  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?'
(The introduction and questions come from a post by  Donald S Whitney on the Crossway website - you can find the whole post here 10 questions to ask at the start of a New Year)

A Christmas mystery - a final quote for Advent

The following is taken from an article by James Anderson which was entitled 3 Christmas mysteries. In the article this was the first of them with the heading -The Incarnation of the Son of God. If you want to read of the other 2 mysteries you can access the whole article here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-christmas-mysteries
James Anderson is associate professor of theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)
“The Word became flesh.” Those four words can sound so familiar to us that we fail to appreciate the magnitude of John’s statement (echoed by the other New Testament writers). The divine (v. 1) became human (v. 14). The infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Son of God took on a human nature: finite, limited in power, limited in knowledge, limited in space and time. It’s one thing to claim God would ever do such a thing. It’s yet another to suppose God could ever do such a thing—that he could clothe himself with frail humanity, veiling his divine glory without relinquishing for one moment any aspect of his divine nature. The Danish Lutheran philosopher Søren Kierkegaard referred to the incarnation as the “absolute paradox” of the Christian faith. How could the eternal inhabit the temporal? How could the finite accommodate the infinite?

We may not know how this mystery could be reality, but by the testimony of inspired Scripture we know with certainty (Luke 1:4) it was and is reality. This is a mystery of the first order.

Remember Asia Bibi & others this Christmas

Here's an encouragement to remember & pray for Asia Bibi and other Christians suffering for their faith this Christmas - read Martin Bashir's article on the BBC website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38222680

Quotes for Advent 6


The glory of the incarnation is that it presents to our adoring gaze not a humanised God or a deified man; but a true God-man — one who is all that God is and at the same time all that man is; one on whose almighty arm we can rest, and to whose human sympathy we can appeal [B. B. Warfield]

10 ways to be a Christian this Christmas

In a recent post, Kevin DeYoung who is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State Univeristy, USA gave these 10 suggestions as to how 'we can remember to be Christians this Christmas'. 


1. Sing like you mean it. Sure, there are a some Christmas carol clunkers, but there are some amazing hymns too (see Hark! the Herald Angels SingOf the Father’s Love BegottenLet All Mortal Flesh, and many more). Belt them out with gusto. Smile and take delight in the familiar sounds of the season. You may not hear them for 11 more months.

2. Say thank you. Over the next week you’ll get gifts someone picked out for you, and eat food someone prepared for you, and enjoy hospitality someone laid out for you. We’re told to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Surely, this includes Christmas. Stop to offer a sincere “thank you” to your mum, your husband, your kids, your aunt, your grandma, whomever—it will be good for your soul, and it may just make their day.

3. Put the phone down. Go ahead and take a few pictures and post a few updates, but let’s not turn our Christmas experience into another commodity for mass consumption. Look people in the eye. Be present in the moment. Let the world’s tragedies and scandals and funny monkey videos take a back seat for a day.

4. Enjoy some cookies. Oh, the dreadful holiday pounds. Sure, we need to be on guard against gluttony. But we need to be on guard against censorious asceticism too. God created food to be received with thanksgiving. Eat up and don’t feel bad about it. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected that is made holy by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:3-5).

5. Talk to your family. Why not put in five minutes worth of thought on the way to your grandma’s house to think of five questions? Maybe conversation flows easily with your family. But for many people, it takes some effort to engage our relatives, especially those we don’t see often and those with whom we have little in common. Give people the gift of your curiosity.

6. Find time to be quiet. At some point, get away and be still. Even if just for 10 minutes. Even if it’s in your bed after everyone else is asleep. Go on a walk. Take a long shower. Get up early. Sit in the dark. Look at the snow. Stare at the tree. Just be quiet, ponder, and pray.

7. Pray for opportunities. What if we prayed for at least one opportunity in the next two weeks to share the gospel? I bet God would honour that prayer. Maybe we can talk to a friend or family member. Maybe we’ll find a surprisingly open door for conversation at the mall, or out to eat, or on the plane. Maybe we have not because we ask not.

8. Make a year-end gift. Your church is probably trying to make budget. So are rescue missions, crisis pregnancy centres, Christian schools, mission agencies, and dozens of other kingdom causes. Go ahead a be generous. We won’t out-give God.

9. Quit complaining. Something will go wrong this Christmas. Someone will hurt your feelings. Your parent’s house will be too hot. Your brother’s house will be too cold. A meal will be barely edible. Your obnoxious friends will be extra obnoxious. Still, God is more pleased with gratitude than with grumbling. If we learn to overlook a few offences we’ll be happier too.

10. Rejoice to hear the Story one more time. Matthew 1 and Luke 2 are coming at you. So are Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 9, Micah 5, and many of the same passages you hear every year. No bother: “To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you” (Phil. 3:1). Let us pray that God gives us ears to hear, again and again, with fresh wonder that God came down to be with us, and that he is with us still.

Quotes for Advent 5


“[Christmas] means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.” (Tim Keller)
  • Gatherings

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