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A Shot of Encouragement

A Real Crack-Up

Loving our kids and teaching them to respect life has consequences.

“If you pray for Roe to be overturned, and for the issue to be returned to the states, you are praying for the eventual crack-up of the 50 state union. It may happen with a whimper or a bang, but one thing is sure and certain. Respect for life and love of death are incompossibilities. We cannot vote them into a mutual respect and acceptance any more than we can vote to have water flow uphill.”

—Douglas Wilson, The UnRoeveling of America
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Every Thumb's Width

Every Single Thing is Now Different

This is a challenging article by David Bahnsen, Every Single Thing is Now Different: The Kavanaugh moment is not done. It is just beginning.

I’m not actually as pessimistic as Bahnsen sounds (Kavanaugh was confirmed), and also Jesus talked about when others “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely,” which, whether that applies to Kavanaugh or not, at least shouldn’t surprise Christians. Regardless, the article is good, and near the end he makes a brutal (and sadly accurate) comment about how evangelical churches, and their pastors, are providing no support for those conservative Christians endeavoring to live courageously in the culture.

“The cultural pacifists that fill today’s pulpits lack the courage to even self-identify for the humanism-soaked sponges that they are.”

Ouch.

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A Shot of Encouragement

The Weight of Irritability

The author of Hebrews urged his readers to run the race of faith by first laying “aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely” (Hebrews 12:1). Jon Bloom wrote a series of articles that start with the idea of laying aside the weight of something, and I’ve had this particular post banging around my head since 2014: Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability.

He gives some examples of our selfish justification for being irritable:

  • When I’m weary I want rest, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m sick or in pain I want relief, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m preoccupied I want uninterrupted focus, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.

Then he reminds us that there is always a target of our irritability:

Jesus didn’t die for our punctuality, earthly reputation, convenience, or our leisure. But he did die for souls. It is likely that the worth of the soul(s) we’re irritable with is infinitely more precious to God than the thing we desire.

The entire exhortation is worth reading, and repenting where necessary.

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A Shot of Encouragement

Four Chariots Wide

These sermon notes on self-control are better than a heap of Babylonian bricks. Wilson aims his admonition at the angry, but certainly there is application for all sorts of afflicting or tempting emotions. It all starts from the text: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28, KVJ).

Notice that a man who is not self-governed is compared in the first instance to a man who is defenseless. Not having rule in his own spirit, which means he does not have rule over his own spirit, means that the walls of his “city” are little more than rubble. Now this means that self-control is a wall, a bulwark, and you should want walls like Babylon had, where four chariots could drive abreast around the top of them. Now that’s a wall. But there is more. The man who has “no rule” is a man who has no rule over his spirit. In other words, the problem is that his soul is tempestuous. He lets others live in his head rent-free. This is the man who is defenseless.

Someone who is self-controlled in his spirit is someone who is a warrior. His city is not defenseless, but this control is not just a defensive posture. Note what Proverbs tells us elsewhere. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; And he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32).

A man with self-control in his spirit can defend his city, but more than this, he can take a city.

Read the rest.

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A Shot of Encouragement

Christmas Is Overboard

How do we learn what we should do on Christmas? By remembering what God did at Christmas.

Celebrate the stuff. Use fudge and eggnog and wine and roast beef. Use presents and wrapping paper…You do not prepare for a real celebration of the Incarnation through thirty days of Advent Gnosticism. At the same time, remembering your Puritan fathers, you must hate the sin while loving the stuff. Sin is not resident in the stuff. Sin is found in the human heart–in the hearts of both true gluttons and true scrooges–both those who drink much wine and those who drink much prune juice. If you are called up to the front of the class and you get the problem all wrong, it would be bad form to blame the blackboard. That is just where you registered your error. In the same way, we register our sin on the stuff. But–because Jesus was born in this material world, that is where we register our piety as well. If your godliness won’t imprint on fudge, then it is not true godliness. Some may be disturbed by this. It seems a little out of control, as though I am urging you to “go overboard.” But of course I am urging you to go overboard. Think about it–when this world was “in sin and error pining,” did God give us a teaspoon of grace to make our dungeon a tad more pleasant? No. He went overboard.

—Douglas Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 89-90
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Bring Them Up

A Site to See

There’s a new website for the Raggant Fiction Festival that includes audio and video for all seven of this year’s talks. You can also download an audiobook of the whole kit.

My talk is here: The Testimony of an Unlikely Convert (and the notes are here).