I have had a growing conviction to resume writing posts here on The Breadline, and ask that you pray with me about this. The aim of this blog is to disseminate the truth of God’s Word to the souls of men and women in clear and simple servings (Matthew 4:4). Also, when I write, my own thoughts are clarified. And I have been flooded with many thoughts that I long to share with others, to draw people closer to the Lord, and to build them up in the truth of His Word. Thanks for praying for me and this effort.
Yours by divine mercy,
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.
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. pdb
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.
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…
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 —
“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.”
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…
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.
Manton Mondays — Insights on the Word from puritan Thomas Manton
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.”
At the end of his letter to the Ephesians, the imprisoned Apostle Paul writes and requests pray for his ministry of the Word — “ praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:18-20, ESV, emphasis added).
Commenting on this, the late John R. W. Stott wrote* about the importance of clear and bold preaching —
“Clarity and courage remain two of the most crucial characteristics of authentic Christian preaching. For they relate to the content of the message preached and to the style of its presentation. Some preachers have the gift of lucid teaching, but their sermons lack solid content; their substance has become diluted by fear. Others are bold as lions. They fear nobody, and omit nothing. But what they say is confused and confusing. Clarity without courage is like sunshine in the desert — plenty of light but nothing worth looking at. Courage without clarity is like a beautiful landscape at night time — plenty to see, but no light by which to enjoy it. What is needed in the pulpits of the world today is a combination of clarity and courage . . . Paul asked for the Ephesians to pray that these might be given to him, for he recognized them as gifts of God. We should join them in prayer for the pastors and preachers of the contemporary church.”
*from The Message of Ephesians, (The Bible Speaks Today series); IVP, 1979; page 286.
Manton Monday — Insights from puritan Thomas Manton
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV). In a most interesting, brief comment, Puritan Thomas Manton speaks of both a natural hope and a “spiritual” hope as he reflects on this verse.
“…when we delight in a thing when we hope for it; Natural hope is the flower of pleasure and foretaste of happiness; SPIRITUAL HOPE is the harbinger and forerunner of those eternal and unmixed delights which the Lord has prepared for us.”
May the Lord help us to hope for the best of things.