Want To Know What A Depressed Scottish S’more Looks Like?

A Depressed Scottish S'more

A Depressed Scottish S’more

Scotland’s national poet, Robert (Robbie) Burns, once composed a poem To A Louse, a horrible insect which he saw on a lady’s hat while sitting in church one day! It contained the lines:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us 
To see oursels as ithers see us! 
It wad frae mony a blunder free us, 
An’ foolish notion: 
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us, 
An’ ev’n devotion!

Let me translate (with apologies to the bard)!

O would some Power the gift to give us,
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and walk would leave us,
And even self-devotion!

The prayer in the first line is effectively, “Oh that God would help us to see ourselves as others see us.”

A worthy and commendable prayer, indeed!

Until it’s answered.

As you can see from the above photo, this prayer was answered for me last week when I was in Greenville with my friend Steven Lee, the president of sermonaudio.com. He gave me a box containing a model made by his wonderfully gifted sister-in-law.

As a result, I now know how others view me: a depressed Scottish s’more who catches the odd salmon!

Thanks :)

How To Make Christ Happy

“Would you make Christ’s heart glad, keep your own cheerful.” Thomas Manton

The Puritan, Thomas Manton, gave four reasons why Christ feels so strongly about His people being filled with joy:

1. It is useful in spiritual life. Joy is the oil to the wheels of our spiritual life. It gives us the energy to do good. It is not the kind of joy that comes from a life of recreation and ease. As Christians, we still need to fulfill our callings and do our duties, but heavenly joy helps us do our work with peace.

2. It ruins the taste of worldly joy. Our souls are going to find joy either in worldly things or in heavenly things. There is no middle ground with a little joy in each. As soon as we have tasted even a little heavenly joy, we will never be satisfied with worldly joy again. We are still not amazed by those who are satisfied with the world, though, because they have never known anything more delicious.

3. It is for His honor. There is nothing that ruins Christian witness more than sad Christians. When we are consistently negative in our conversation, we darken the things of God to those around us. Religion should be cheerful and inviting. Don’t be like the pessimistic spies who told the Israelites that Canaan was unconquerable.

4. He loves to see us cheerful. God does not delight in sad devotion. Just like farmers are happy when their fields prosper, so Christ finds joy when His people overflow with joy. Do you want to make Christ’s heart glad? Then be cheerful.

Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 10 (Worthington, PA: Maranatha Publications, 1970) 355-356.

10 Marks Of True Conversion

In the midst of a busy family life, it can sometimes be difficult to get or make the time to sit down with our wife or husband and discuss the Bible. The Bible can be at the center of our church life in weekly services, at the center of our personal lives in private devotions, and even at the center of our family life in family worship, and yet not be at the center of our marriage.

Shona and I have tried various strategies over the years to make sure that we are regularly discussing the Bible together, fellowshipping in the living Word. One thing we hadn’t tried, until recently, was for both of us to be reading the same book in our private devotional reading so that we can discuss the same passage when we get together. It also keeps us accountable knowing that she is going to be asking me what I thought about such and such a verse, and vice versa.

We started with 1 Thessalonians because it’s not such a familiar book as many of the others, and also because it’s quite short and do-able. No point in starting with 2 Chronicles and running out of steam by chapter 3.

After reading chapter 1, I decided to look up one of John Macarthur’s sermon on the chapter and it was a a wonderful eye- and heart-opener for me. He used the chapter to highlight 10 marks of true conversion that Paul noted in the Thessalonians. I’d recommend you read the whole thing, but here’s a summary of the ten effects of true conversion in a Christian’s life:

1. Production: He has a faith that works (3)

2. Affection: He has a love that labors (3)

3. Continuation: He has a hope that perseveres (3)

4. Presentation: He has has been under a preaching that is powerful (5)

5. Transformation: He has a life that is new (6)

6. Jubilation: He has a joy that is transcendent (6)

7. Reproduction: He has a behavior that is exemplary (7)

8. Proclamation: He has a witness that is strong (9)

9. Submission: He has an allegiance that submits (9)

10. Patience: He is waiting for Jesus (10)

Macarthur makes three important additional points:

1. This is not just what happens at the at the beginning of conversion, but it becomes an increasing pattern in the Christian’s life.

2. Sin can make a Christian lose touch with the reality of these things in his life for a time.

Listen, sin…sin can stop the product in your life. Sin can tear at the affection you have for Christ. Sin can steal your hope. Sin can make your life look old. Sin can rob you of your joy. Sin can make your behavior something that is the opposite of exemplary. Sin can destroy your witness. Sin can make you disobedient and devastate your allegiance to Christ. Sin can make you not even want to see Jesus.

3. But he solemnly concludes: “Now listen carefully. If these don’t mark you, then I can’t tell if you’re a Christian and very likely, neither can you.”

Personal Note
This chapter is very special to me as it played a role in my own conversion. A few weeks after I believe I was converted, I was given a tape of an Al Martin sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 called “True Biblical Conversion.” If I wasn’t converted before hearing that, I certainly was after it.

I’ll never forget the impact of that sermon on my soul. It made me realize my need of a deep and deeper divine work of God on my heart if I was every to produce the fruits of true conversion. It drove me to my knees to call out to God for His sovereign and merciful work in my heart. The echoes of that sermon still reverberate in my soul to this day.

The Most Important Journey Of Your Life

Travel AgentHave you ever woken up in an unfamiliar bed and wondered, “Where am I?”

You probably then looked around for some clues until you gradually realized from your surroundings where you were.

Have you ever woken up and wondered, “Where am I spiritually?”

If so, you probably also want to thoughtfully and prayerfully look for pointers and clues as to your spiritual state. Thankfully the Bible provides many such indicators to help us discover where we are in relation to God. One such clue is in 1 John 3:14.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death (1 John 3:14).

The Apostle John uses the image of traveling from one destination (death) to another (life), and says, “If you’ve made that journey, you’ll see signs of love for other Christians in your life.” Let’s take a closer look at that death-to-life journey and the clues that tell us we’ve taken it.

Read more at The Christward Collective.

Race In America: Our Time To Speak

If you’re interested in a Christian response to the recent surge of racial tension and division in American, you probably want to tune into the livestream of this panel discussion featuring leading American pastors, authors, and leaders. It’s on Tuesday, December 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. CST and you can register at live.kainos.is. Find out more here.