Sometimes you just need to ask for help. (A life lesson that I still have not learned).

Originally posted on Rebekah Bissett. :

I’m a fairly stubborn person. This tends to feed into my independent, do-it-yourself, workaholic personality. This past year hasn’t been the easiest—as a just slightly less than broke college student I work throughout the school year, summer, and holidays to pay for tuition. I am quite determined to be self-supporting, a goal which, as a full-time student racked with college debt, has proved to be a somewhat idealistic goal.

My motivation in the pursuit of self-sufficiency is largely rooted in the belief that I can do anything and everything. You know that blanket statement people like to rattle off—”you can do anything you but your mind too? Well, it’s not true.

You can’t do everything.

This is a lesson that has been dropped on my doorstep (or, more realistically, this lesson has pushed the door down, run over my welcome mat, and rolled right into my living room) on more…

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Looking into the River and Seeing our Future

Pastor Dave Bissett:

Neat, well-written thoughts on local rivers and life.

Originally posted on A Mohawk Valley Year:

I went down to Tivoli three times in June to buy books. Down into the Hudson Valley, so connected to the Mohawk Valley as to be one valley and both rivers to be one river. But we don’t think of it that way because we travel on roads, and we cross rivers on bridges, and cars carry us effortlessly across geographic and topographic barriers like mountains and rivers, they don’t seem to exist anymore. And with the radio on, the air conditioner on and the windows closed, we are like John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, completely isolated from the smells, sounds and scenery we are passing through at 65, 70 or more miles an hour.

But the Mohawk River/Erie Canal and Hudson River/Champlain Canal tie eastern and central New York together in a way that is more permanent and beautiful than the 570 miles of black…

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Guarding your wallet?

Today over at the DesiringGod blog Marshall Segal writes about money (“Four Questions to Keep Close to Your Wallet”). His opening line is right on: “It’s hard to imagine many things more maligned in Scripture than money.”
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He opens by putting the topic in the big picture for Christians –—

At the end of the day, we must each know our own hearts and be willing to ask what role money is playing in our thoughts and affections. Is it a means of worshiping God or a means of replacing him? Is our budget highlighting the sufficiency and worth of Christ or has it become a reason for boasting in or treasuring something other than him?

He then presents & discusses four questions we should be asking:

1. Is my spending marked by Christian generosity?

2. What does my spending say about what makes me most happy?

3. Does my spending suggest I’m collecting for this life?

4. Is my spending explicitly supporting the spread of the gospel?

I encourage you to click through and read the whole thing at the DesiringGod blog. Thanks Marshall Segal.

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Should Christians be watching “Game of Thrones”?

John Piper gives a very candid and inspiring reply here entitled 12 Questions to Ask Before You Watch ‘Game of Thrones’.

In the midst of that post he makes this blunt statement:

“The world does not need more cool, hip, culturally savvy, irrelevant copies of itself. That is a hoax that has duped thousands of young Christians. They think they have to be hip, cool, savvy, culturally aware, watching everything in order not to be freakish. And that is undoing them morally and undoing their witness.’

Amen.
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D-Day plus 70 years

Today, June 6th, is the 70th anniversary of D-day.1285082_flag

Where would we be if D-day had failed?

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
― Winston Churchill

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Jesus’ Response to the Sadducees

Pastor Dave Bissett:

A tricky question posed to Jesus: Marriage in heaven? Helpful comments by C. M. Granger over at the Coffee Rings blog…

Originally posted on Coffee Rings:

Jesus and the Sadducees

And the Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection.  And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.  And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring.  And the third likewise.  And the seven left no offspring.  Last of all the woman also died.  In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be?  For the seven had her as wife.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?  For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given…

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Everyone’s a Theologian

Here is a new, wonderfully readable, introduction to Christian doctrine by an experienced theologian, and gifted teacher, which will benefit a variety of readers: EVERYONE’S A THEOLOGIAN, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 
by R. C. Sproul (Reformation Trust, 2014, 357 pages, 978-1-56769-365-2).*Sproul.theologianBk

In 60 concise chapters (averaging about five pages each), Dr. R. C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier Ministries** surveys all the primary topics of systematic theology in a most engaging manner.

The eight divisions of the book cover these topics in an orderly manner, using traditional terminology: Introduction (which includes revelation, inerrancy, canonicity and authority), Theology Proper, Anthropology and Creation, Christology, Pneumatology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology. In the first chapter, Sproul shares four assumptions about systematic theology: the first, that God has revealed Himself in nature and in the Word; second, God reveals Himself “according to His own character and nature … in an intelligent way that is meant to be understood”; third, there is a unity and coherence to the Word of God; and fourth, there is a consistency to His revelation since “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Those familiar with the teaching style of R. C. Sproul from his many previous books or video presentations, will readily hear his voice on every page — especially in the various personal anecdotes and ubiquitous Latin terms he employs (and defines) along the way. References to the Westminster standards are included, and Reformed theologians (Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards) are amply quoted. Other theologians and historical viewpoints are mentioned along the way — and heresies are clearly named.

One weakness of this volume might be seen in one-too-many uses of formal logic to illustrate a point (he twice refers to reducio ad absurdum arguments; helpful on page 300, unhelpful on page 256).

While comparable in size and scope to Bruce Milne’s Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief (IVP, 3rd Ed., 2009), Sproul’s Everyone’s A Theologian feels less like a textbook, and more like an easy-to-read survey. Indeed, several chapters can be read in one sitting, and the whole book straight through in a few day’s time. There are very few footnotes used, and the majority of those are pointers to Sproul’s other books. Given the brevity of these chapters, the book would be more valuable if it included a list of recommended reading by topics or a bibliography at the end. Scripture and subject indices are included.

The strength of this volume is found in its accessibility to modern readers, its consistent Reformed views and its passion for making truth known. For instance, at the end of chapter 19 on the nature of sin (one of the best chapters), Sproul writes,

“We must never conclude that sin is an illusion. Sin is real. Sin is mysterious, but there is a reality to the evil in which we participate. It does not simply intrude upon us from outside. It is something with which we are deeply, intimately, and personally involved in our hearts and souls” (107).

And this sample, from the chapter on providence, shows the pastoral passion of Sproul which is found throughout:

“Knowledge of divine providence brings comfort in our suffering. God is in control not only of the universe and its operations but also of history. …Our lives are in His hands, our vocations are in His hands, as are our prosperity or our poverty — He governs all these things in His wisdom and goodness” (81).

This is a helpful, biblically faithful book which will help its readers become better, biblical theologians.

~ p d b

*NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for doing a review; this did not influence my opinion. My book review is being published in the forthcoming April edition of The Banner of Truth magazine — which I highly commend to you.

**OFFER: Now through April 30th, Ligonier Ministries is offering a free copy of this book if you make a donation of any amount. That’s a fantastic offer; don’t miss it.

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