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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
We many times moan and whinge when things do not go right. We grit our teeth at God when we see a maze before our eyes. Have you ever thought of the sovereignty of God? Have you ever understood the mind of God? May this testimony of John Farese be an encouragement. Crippled for most of his life but profoundly sober in his understanding of God’s sovereignty and scripture:
A couple of years ago I was struggling with several theological issues. Most stemmed from my background in the Seeker Sensitive church. I was battling to understand decisional regeneration plus I was wondering why I wasn’t hearing preaching more about sin, righteousness, judgement or even hearing the gospel of Christ’s death for the forgiveness of sins. Most of the sermons I was being lavished with were about how to live a better life, make more money, have a better marriage and not miss the next “fun filled” conference on how to become a better me. Well these motivational tips are not bad in them selves (I was actually over dosing on the same topics or even better ones on secular radio and television talk shows). What I desperately needed was Christ-centered biblical approach of the old paths of Christianity. And sure enough one of the blogs I came across seemed to challenge me in a good way. It was The Old Truth.
The Old Truth was run by a gentle man called Jim. I later tracked him down and realised he had slowed down and wasn’t writing as actively any more. Jim’s life had taken one tumble too many. He at the last time I counted has broken at least 70 bones in his body (due to a rare medical condition that makes his bones brittle). Was diagnosed with End Stage Liver disease (has been waiting a liver transplant for the last over 4 years) and was spending more time in hospital than at home. But he amazed me with his ever humorous writing and attitude and more so with a profound trust in God. I started this blog soon afterwards and I have re blogged several of his posts over here, here and here. I even used this set of questions on the Sovereignty of God in Salvation from Jim that is featured on my profile page.
This week I would like to ask you to pray for my good friend Jim. In a blog update (on May 22nd 2012) on the CaringBridge website titled “The beginning of the End” he says:
So, tomorrow starts the preparations for my journey home. I need to have an Oxygen tank ready, a whole bunch of other medical equipment, pain pump, and arrange a private ambulance to get me home.
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While the list of considerations for pastors facing depression far exceeds what can be covered in a single article, here is a piece featured by Gospel Coalition that serves as a good guideline…
1.If married, have you shared this struggle with your spouse?
Men in general tend to wrestle with transparency when it comes to personal struggle. When depression is involved, fear of appearing weak or less spiritual might incline a husband toward silence and isolation. …Read More!
He drank off the full cup of unmixed wrath for us; shall we then refuse to taste of the cup of affliction at his appointment, especially when his wisdom and love prepare it for us, and proportion every circumstance to our strength; when He put it into our hands, not in anger but in tender mercy, to do us good, to bring us near to himself; and when He sweetens every bitter draught with those comforts which none but He can give? Let us rather say, None of these things move us, neither do we count anything on this side of eternity dear, so that we may finish our course with joy and run with patience the race which is set before us.
We many times moan and whinge when things do not go right. We grit our teeth at God when we see a maze before our eyes. Have you ever thought of the sovereignty of God? Have you ever understood the mind of God? May this testimony of John Farese be an encouragement. Crippled for most of his life but proundly sober in his understanding of God’s sovereignty and scripture:
To the ordinary eye this appears to be an era where Christians have had unprecedented success. What, have you not seen the celebrity pastors with personal jets, how about the pastor with the $18,000 poodle or the goofy multi millionaire pastor with a $15,000 espresso machine who raps about the best days in Christian living?
Have you heard about the Cristo de la Concordia, a statue of Jesus Christ located on San Pedro hill in Cochabamba, Bolivia? The statue is 34.20 metres (112.2 ft) tall, on a pedestal of 6.24 metres (20.5 ft), bringing its total height to 40.44 metres (132.7 ft). The statue is slightly larger than Christ the Redeemer (located in Rio de Janeiro), making it the largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world. It is also the largest statue of any kind in the Southern Hemisphere. But to take Christian merchandising to another level, Poland has unleashed the mother of all statues. Read More
An old cliche says there is a silver lining in every cloud. In a sense this is true for the follower of God. In Romans 8:18-39, Paul tells us that God can turn the wicked events that happen to Christians into an advantage for the righteous. Joseph’s life is an excellent example (Genesis 39-41). After being sold by his own brothers, Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and in prison. I can’t think of many good things to say about Joseph’s situation, yet Joseph rose from his miserable state to become the second highest man in Egypt. However, we often overlook an important point. Pharaoh appointed Joseph to manage Egypt’s produce during the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. How did Joseph, the son of a nomadic herder, learn to manage the wealth of a nation? Much of it came from the wisdom that God granted him, but notice that in both Potiphar’s house and in jail, Joseph was placed in a position of management. In both places, Joseph was second only to Potiphar and the jailer. He ran their affairs so well, that neither man had to concern himself with his daily affairs. In other words, God used Joseph’s bad situation to train Joseph for a larger future task.
God turns many bad events into something good for every Christian, but have you ever wonder if anything good can come from the works of a false teacher? Read More