Limits of Online Friendships

Web Wednesday —

Online friendships can be great blessings when placed in their proper perspectives, but perilous when they replace local community and the local church.

So says Phillip Holmes in an article at DesiringGod.org that addresses the nature of online friendships. One great point he makes is this:

The reason we’re tempted to replace real-life relationships with distant, online companions is because they can be messy and extremely taxing and even frightening. How can we endure the risk so that we can reap the benefits? We cast our social anxieties, fears, and heartaches on the one who is able to care for them all — Christ Jesus our Lord.

You can read the whole thing here.

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Marks of Manhood

When does a boy become a man? What traits or qualities define manhood? With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, many are (or should be) thinking about manhood. Dr Al Mohler made up a concise list of 13 Marks of Biblical Manhood which continues to be an excellent summary on the subject. I will list them below for you to read, but encourage you to read them with Mohler’s annotations in full online here. You will quickly begin to see that true masculine maturity is not tied to one’s age; many male adults, even some with wives and children, are not mature men by these standards. Pretty sobering stuff.  All Christians do well to reflect on these things. Brothers, let us strive to be mature, godly men. pdbStick Man images

DR MOHLER’S LIST:

#1. Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children.

#2. Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father.

#3. Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.

#4. Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family.

#5. Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfill God’s purposes.

#6. Moral maturity sufficient to lead as example of righteousness.

#7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.

#8. Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.

#9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.

#10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.

#11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.

#12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.

#13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.

Today

A POST FROM MY DAUGHTERS APPALACHIAN TRAIL BLOG…

Today’s the day! The sun is shining! (*any of you that just pictured the scene from Finding Nemo as you read those two lines get major friend points) Today, June 13th marks not only my 25th b…

Source: Today

What wrecked God’s good creation?

Manton Mondays — Insights on the Word from puritan Thomas Manton

For centuries some men have questioned the biblical doctrine of creation by asking about the origins of all the troubles and ugly disorders found in world God is said to have created. If He made it all “good” why are there dangerous (e.g., poisonous) creatures or sickness and disease, et cetera. In the mid-17th century, puritan Thomas Manton proposed the
following answer in a sermon on Hebrews 11:3 — broken-window-1564672-639x1117

“All these confusions and disorders of nature are the effects of sin. Our sins are as a secret fire that has melted and burned under the secret ties and confederations of nature. Thence are there so many destructions and denigrations, such enmities, cruelties, and antipathies among the creatures. Man, being the lord of all things, was not only punished in his own person, but in the creatures, which are his servants and retinue. The Lord had given to us the free us of these things, and dominion over them; but upon our rebellion, the frame of nature is much altered and changed. Genesis 3:17, “Cursed is the earth for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” …it is cursed in that regard as it belonged to Adam, and as part of man’s possession; and by earth He doth not only mean the lower element, but the whole visible world; it was made for man, and it was all cursed for man’s sake. …Wherever thou seest thorns and thistles to grow, remember that sin is the root of them. Whenever thou seest the seas toss, and the confederation of the creature to be disturbed, this is the fruit of man’s disorder and rebellion against God. Whenever thou seest a fruitful land grow barren, that is the actual curse, a fruit of the original curse that is passed upon the earth for man’s sin. (cf, Romans 8:28)…  As Moses in a holy anger broke the tablets when he saw the people turn aside to idolatry, so when man turned unthankful and rebellious to God the King, it dissolved much of the order and beauty which otherwise would have been in the creation.”

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Presumption

I was reading today in 1 Samuel 4, about the leaders of the young nation of Israel. They had just been defeated in battle by the Philistines, most likely for not having consulted the Lord in advance. Instead of regrouping to seek the Lord and inquire about these matters, they went further astray, deciding to force God’s hand to support their campaign…

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2 The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. 3 And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. (esv)

The presence of the corrupt sons of Eli (Hophni and Phinehas) signals the reader of pending doom (as foretold in chapter 3). You can guess that it did not end well — they were defeated, these wicked men were killed, and the Ark of the LORD was captured by the enemy. It’s interesting to notice more fear and awe of the LORD on the part of the Philistines than the presumptive Israelites in the passage.

As I prayed and reflected on this today, the grave sin of presumption stood out to me. When we do not find things going well, or worse, dare we think that the problem is the lack of input and effort on the part of our Lord?? Can our God be manipulated into blessing our various endeavors? I should say not.

Once again I discover the value of daily reading God’s holy Word, to examine my thinking in its light and to put a check my self-centeredness. The Word and prayer. I need these daily.

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Faith in a word…

Manton Mondays — Insights on the Word from puritan Thomas Manton1206351_romans-1

What sort of basis does faith need to exist? Puritan Thomas Manton observed that God’s Word alone was a sufficient foundation for the exercise of our faith:

“It is the nature of faith to subscribe to [believe in] a revelation in the word, though reason give little assistance and aid. The word is enough to faith, though the thing seem unlikely to reason; it stands not upon appearance or probabilities. When we have a doctrine laid down in the word, we must not mind whether it be probable, otherwise we should never believe a creation, which is the making of all things out of nothing.”

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If God Is For Us…

Romans 8:31-32 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” esv

This is a profound application of the truth of the gospel — that by His amazing grace to us in Christ, God is for us. Such a grand truth for all believers to have and to hold. In a fine little booklet, The Heart of the Gospel: God’s Son Given for You, Dr Sinclair Ferguson lingers over this Scripture, unfolding the relationship of God the Father and God the Son, as well as the application of God’s gracious favor to Christians. heart__30386.1430240414.1280.1280

For example, Dr Ferguson says —

We must be very clear that it is not redemptive history that died on the cross for us. It was not typology that died on the cross for us, nor systematic theology, not preaching, nor the sacraments. It was the person of the Son of God in our humanity who died on the cross in an inner-Trinitarian transaction of grace between himself and the Father. He bore the holy curse of God upon his soul and prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). [page 19]

Near the end of this booklet, Ferguson employs biblical theology to explain the depth of Paul’s pastoral application here, and does it in a way that is helpful and heart-warming. (Ferguson is one of the best theologians writing today, with soundness and beauty).

Paul communicates something wonderful here about the truth of the gospel. What he says can transform our Christian lives and deal with our deep-seated needs, which keep unfolding from the depths of our being and which so often give rise to a mistrust of the Father. Paul is arguing that the fruit of Christ’s death on a tree reverses the fruit of the death that came from another tree [Gen. 3]. But there is even more than that! The fruit of the liberating truth enshrined in this death on the tree of Calvary is the ultimate antidote to the lie that caused death to come from the tree in the center of the garden of Eden in the first place. Remember that God set Adam in a garden surrounded by lavish plenty, but the Serpent hissed, “Has God said that he doesn’t want you to have any of this fruit?” That was a word from hell, and we have not escaped its echoes and implications reverberating in our own hearts and lives. Some of use hear it daily: “God doesn’t really want to do you good. Look what’s happening in your life. He doesn’t really love you.” Here, in this great statement of the gospel, Paul provides the medicine for this seat-seated sickness in your soul. If he did not spare his own Son for you, then you can be absolutely sure that the Father will stop at nothing to bless you, keep you, guide you, lead you, and bring you to glory. [page 22]

Amen! Friends, cling to the truth of Romans 8:32! I also encourage you to get a few copies of this fine booklet to read and giveaway to others. Believe the good news. Spread the good news.

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