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Archive for March, 2011

Lack Peace of Mind? Pray!

From The Works of God:

D.A. Carson, on God and prayer in the midst of suffering:

The degree of our peace of mind is tied to our prayer life (Phil. 4:6-7). This is not because prayer is psychologically soothing, but because we address a prayer-answering God, a personal God, a responding God, a sovereign God whom we can trust with the outcomes of life’s confusions. And we learn, with time, that if God in this or that instance does not choose to take away the suffering, or utterly remove the evil, he does send grace and power. The result is praise; and that, of course, is itself enjoyable, in exactly the same way that lovers enjoy giving each other compliments.

I cannot tell you how many times I have visited some senior saint who is going through serious suffering, perhaps terminal illness, only to come away feeling that it was I who benefited from exposure to a believer who was already living in the felt presence of God.

D.A. Carson, How Long, Oh Lord? p. 217-218.

 

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The CNN Belief Blog recently had a helpful primer on prayer in Islam. If you don’t know much about how and why Muslims pray each day, I would encourage you to read it.

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From Vitamin Z:

“Most people in the world believe that if there is a God, you related to God by being good. Most religions are based on that principle, though there are a million different variations on it. Some religions are what you might call nationalistic: You connect to God, they say, by coming into our people group and taking on the markers of society membership. Other religions are spiritualistic: You reach God by working your way through certain transformations of consciousness. Yet other religions are legalistic: There’s a code of conduct, and if you follow it God will look upon you with favor. But they all have the same logic: If I perform, if I obey, I’m accepted. The gospel of Jesus is not only different from that but diametrically opposed to it: I’m fully accepted in Jesus Christ, and therefore I obey.”

- Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus

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Perfect Peace

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

Beautiful truth.
Comforting promise.
Challenging charge.
Steadfast hope.

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Who is Jesus Christ? This is one of the questions that undoubtedly divides Christians and Muslims. Muslims say that Jesus was a prophet of God and a messenger of God. Christians affirm this, but say much more. Jesus Christ is more than a prophet, for he is God incarnate. He is God. We believe this, not because it readily makes sense to us, but because this is what the Injil teaches. For example, John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He was with God (thus there is some kind of distinction) and he was God (there is some kind of unity). We do not, however, believe in multiple Gods. There is one God. I believe this as strongly as any of my Muslim friends. To think otherwise is blasphemy.

But often, my Muslim friends just don’t see any reason to believe that Jesus is God. They don’t see why Jesus Christ has to be both man and God (an admittedly difficult thing to explain). I read the following answer by Sinclair Ferguson in his book, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life and thought it might be helpful for my Muslim readers to better understand why we think it is so important that Jesus is both God and man, even if you still disagree.

What makes this two-nature [God and man] Christology essential to the gospel? John’s answer [from the Gospel of John] is twofold:

1. Only God – the One through whom “all things were made” (John 1:3, cf. v. 10), in whom “was life” and “light” (John 1:4) – can reverse creation’s death and dissipate the darkness caused by sin.

2. But since that death and darkness are within creation, within man, the Word must become flesh in order to restore it from within. The Creator must enter His own creation, groaning as it is under the burden of alienation from Him.*

*Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life (Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007), 13.

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Radical and Extreme

From Just Some Antics, the webcomic from 22 Words:

Diehard Christians and Muslims Aren’t So Different

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Suhaibwebb.com is a helpful Muslim blog that has articles on Islam, the Qur’an and how Islam impacts the normal aspects of life. I thought the post on six things not to say to someone who is divorced was helpful and worth passing along. Divorce is a serious issue for Muslims and Christians. I’ve pasted below the six things not to say. Read the whole thing for explanations as well as some pointers and what you should do.

  1. “Are you sure?”
  2. “How long were you married?”  And upon finding out it was a relatively short period – “Oh, well, at least it was short.”
  3. “I saw it coming all along.”
  4. “Who filed for divorce? Did you go to court?  What did you get? Who has custody?”
  5. “But you were such a perfect couple!”
  6. “May you get remarried soon!”

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