Psalm 103: God’s Scandalous Resume

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:1-12)

Book Bible Inside People Man Reading AloneThis is fun.

God, always happy to remind humanity who he is (even though he’s done it innumerable times before and gets rightfully annoyed when we forget) is presenting us with his accomplishments. Not that we’re hiring him. But so that we might worship him.

However, I must admit…there’s always been a little hesitation in me regarding parts of Psalm 103.

“His benefits”?

“Healing all your diseases”?

“Satisfying our desires with good things?”

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The Danger of the Character-Based Argument

Below are ten theological statements, each with a hypothesisand a conclusion.

1. “God does not share his gloryso Jesus must not be divine.

2. “God is loveso nobody will be sent to hell for eternity.

3. “God will not be mockedso he’ll remove your salvation if you keep sinning.

4. “God is sovereignso he is the one directly causing every event.

5. “God is generousso it’s never his will that you be poor.”

6. “God doesn’t make mistakesso there are people created only for destruction, to whom salvation is never made available.”

7. “God is justso he would never do #6.”

8. “God is welcomingso nobody should be excluded from church.”

9. “It’s all about Godso he does not attend to matters like our personal identites.

10. “God does not show favoritismso Christians will not be raptured out of the Tribulation.

5934706650_a50245dd9d_bNo doubt, like me, you agree vigorously with all ten hypotheses but disagree with some of the conclusions (I’ve deliberately set it up that way).

My point today is not to debate each one, despite the passion they’ve already raised in you just in reading them (and in me in writing them). My point is instead to highlight our common use of weak supporting arguments.

All ten of those statements have one thing in common: Each shows a broad principle of God’s character being applied to a specific doctrine. 

And that is a problem.

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Co-Opted by Fear: Adventures in Overthinking Prayer, Part II

fear(This ended up becoming a series. Here’s Part 1 and Part 3.)

The Neurotic Self-Examination Department is still hard at work, somewhere back there in my brain, outperforming their quotas for the 131rd quarter straight. I’d love to know what productivity methods they’re using, because I could make millions sharing them – I just cannot stop thinking about stuff. For example…should I include the nine months before my birth in that quarter count? If so, it’d be 134.

Anyway…

My pastor belted out another terrific sermon last night. I could sum it up in one sentence of his: “Gratitude doesn’t just sit there. It accomplishes something in our hearts. Gratitude gives way to hope.” It was about reminding oneself of God’s previous works and displays of power in our lives to gather hope for the future – relying on his prior and proven faithfulness to reassure ourselves for tomorrow.

And  thought, that doesn’t work for me. Not for matters in this life.

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Reflections on “The Case for Christ”

“Stop blaming me, and the church, and God, and do your job!”

That exclamation from a Christian to the character of atheist Lee Strobel in Pure Flix’s The Case for Christ (based on the book of the same name) landed on my soul like an affirming balm. I wanted to fist-pump. Echoing in those words is the frustration and annoyance of Christians worldwide and down through the millennia.

It’s not that getting mocked for our faith surprises us (as long as we’ve read our Bible). What’s frustrating is how lazily it’s done.

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Another 5 Tips for Christian Wordpress Bloggers

I decided to write another one of these. You can find the first here, though that was shorter than this one. (And now you can find the others here, here, and here.)

 

6. Use a great title

Believe it or not, a good title is probably 51% of your blogging work.

As I mentioned before, you’re not just writing – you’re competing. With hundreds of posts in everyone’s WordPress Reader. For those users, your title is their only introduction to your work. You have to ensure that it’ll actually grab people, tempt them to click.

Let’s sample some titles currently showing in my Reader:

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