Mercy for roadkill

What do you do when you find a perfect fishing pool, the ideal vacation spot, or a great new friend?

You keep it to yourself, don’t you; because sharing means less for you.

What do you do when you taste the grace and mercy of Jesus?

You want to tell others, don’t you; because sharing means more for you.

When King David was given the gracious Christ-centered promises of an everlasting King and Kingdom, he asked in utter humble awe, “Who am I, O Lord God?” (2 Sam. 7:18). Why me?

But one of his next questions was: “Is there anyone who is left of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” (2 Sam 9:1,3).

Having tasted the grace and mercy of Christ through His covenant promises, he thought: “How can I best illustrate and demonstrate the kindness of God I’ve just experienced?

I know…I’ll try to find someone from the worst family in the nation, the family that’s my greatest threat and enemy, and lavish the greatest kindness upon him. That’ll be the best way of showing what God’s just done to me!”

You can imagine Mephibosheth’s thoughts when David’s servant Ziba knocked on his door and said the King wanted to see him. That could only mean one thing in those days. Neck, meet stainless steel.

What a traumatic journey as the lame man was carried helplessly and hopelessly into the King’s palace.

Then the sentence…

“Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”

WHAT?

Or as Mephibosheth put it: ““What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”

When our dogs die, we cry. When these dogs died, people laughed. Dogs were pests not pets. They were vermin. The only good dog was a dead dog. And that’s what Mephibosheth felt like – a splattered, stinking, dog corpse that people shuddered to look at.

Yet the king not only looked at him, but scraped him off the ground, cared for him, clothed him, fed him, and sat him at the royal table continuously.

From roadkill to a royal son. What mercy?

I wonder if Mephibosheth kept the chain of grace going?

Have you?

Go find your Mephibosheth and show the kindness of God to him.

Because sharing grace means more for everybody.


Check out

Biblical ethics for Twitter
7 rules for tweeting with class (HT: Denny Burk)

Temptation is not sin
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Husbands, love your wives more than Seminary
Although there’s a bit too much negativity about Seminary life in some circles, this is worth a read. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Thirteen tips for getting some writing done
And on the same subject, Jeff Goins has one piece of advice.

Do people who commit suicide automatically go to hell?
Michael Patton with a moving, challenging, and comforting answer. And the right one.

Change your perspective
Really powerful video (actually filmed in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland).


Is low self-esteem always beautiful?

“None of us have a problem with low self-esteem.”

Really?

Yes, really, at least according to Ronnie Martin. In an article that commends The beauty of low self-esteem, Ronnie says that all of us have the opposite problem, high self-esteem, which God is out to “destroy” and “eradicate.”

I know where he’s coming from, and I know the problem he’s trying to address. But this is a major over-reaction and requires much more care, especially in counseling people with depression, many of whom have come to hate and loathe themselves, often as the result of abuse or other trauma.

Without minimizing the wickedness of the human heart and without denying our inability to do anything pleasing to God apart from faith in Christ, we should regularly encourage depressed people to have a more realistic view of themselves by highlighting their God-given gifts, their contributions to the lives of others, their usefulness in society, and, if they are Christians, their value to the church.

The power of positive thinking?
For example, a depressed young mother may feel like a total failure in every area of her life because she doesn’t have a perfect home or perfect children. We can help such a person see that she achieves a lot in a day, even though she might not manage to do everything she would like. We might remind her of all the meals she makes, clothes she washes and irons, and the shopping she manages, helping her see herself and her life in a more accurate and realistic light.

This is not “the power of positive thinking” but “the power of truthful thinking.” In a wonderful little book, Spiritual Depression, Arie Elshout comments:

It is wrong to pat ourselves on the back when something has been accomplished as a result of our initiative. It is equally wrong, however, to focus on what we have not accomplished. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 we have a clear example of humility accompanied with a healthy opinion of one’s accomplishments: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Paul knew very well that he daily offended in many things (James 3:2; cf. Rom. 7; Phil. 3:12), and yet he did not go so far as to cast out all his accomplishments. I do not believe that this is God’s will. In contrast to sinful forms of self-confidence and self-respect, there are also those that are good, necessary, and useful. Without a healthy sense of these, human beings cannot function well. We may pray for an appropriate sense of self-confidence and self-respect, clothed in true humility, and we must oppose everything that impedes a healthy development of these things (be it in ourselves or others) with the Word of God.

A chasm of difference
Ronnie Martin concluded his article by saying, “The beauty of low self-esteem is that we finally have the hearts to highly esteem God.”

But we are not highly esteeming God if we fail to identify, acknowledge, and esteem His image and His work in us and through us. What Ronnie fails to make clear is that there’s a chasm of difference between evil pride and healthy God-given self-esteem, without which we actually cannot function in this life.

In fact without it, Moses couldn’t have led Israel, Joseph couldn’t have governed Egypt, and Ronnie couldn’t have written an article for the Gospel Coalition!

Sam Crabtree’s Practicing Affirmation (God-centered praise for those who are not good) provides a superb balance on this subject.


Check out

Divorcing Jesus from religion
As Joel Miller explains, it’s harder than it looks.

We are to be discharged today! What a turn of events!!
Here’s a good news story and some lovely baby pics. And if you want a great example of a steady public Christian witness in the midst of trail, read the last few weeks of blogs there too.

Write something dangerous
I think there’s probably something for preachers here too.

One simple way to keep your mental engine running
On the subject of writing something dangerous, I actually disagree with most of this approach to life, but I thoroughly enjoyed the lively writing!

How to run an elder’s meeting
“The purpose of this article is to discuss practical elements of elders’ meetings so that God may be maximally glorified by them. I will discuss the consecration of elders’ meetings, their content, and their conduct.”

When the good do bad
“It’s always interesting to read the quotations of people who knew a mass murderer before he killed. They usually express complete bafflement that a person who seemed so kind and normal could do something so horrific.”


Some sympathy for atheists?

Is it OK to sympathize with atheists – sometimes?

For those of us brought up in the church, the Gospel of Christ is so, well, so believable. We’re used to it (too used to it). Yes, we have to believe it for ourselves, but it doesn’t shock us or stun us so much (though it should).

But try to put yourself in the shoes of an unbeliever; I’m thinking especially of those who have never heard the Gospel. Have you ever tried to imagine how hard it is for such unbelievers to believe the Gospel message? I mean consider what we’re asking them to believe:

  • God spoke to lots of people in lots of places about lots of subjects using lots of methods over lots of years, resulting in an infallible document called the Bible that we can totally trust.

That’s actually relatively easy compared to the next bit. Hold on tight because in the person of Jesus Christ:

  • God became an embryo in the womb of an unmarried virgin.
  • God was born
  • God grew up – baby to toddler to infant to teenager to young unmarried man
  • God learned and slept and tired and thirsted and hungered and sweated and cried and laughed
  • God lived as a man for 33 years in this world and never committed one sinful act, spoke one sinful word, thought one sinful thought, desired one sinful desire.
  • God lived as a man for 33 years in this world and never omitted one duty to his parents, his siblings, his friends, his community, his boss, his church, or his civil rulers

But that’s still elementary school compared to what comes next: In Jesus Christ:

  • God suffered
  • God suffered the wrath and curse of God
  • God was crucified
  • God died
  • God came alive again
  • God went back to heaven with his human body and soul
  • God runs the universe today in a human body

And if you’re still breathing, brace yourself to graduate to these truths:

  • God offers the perfect earthly life and justice-satisfying death of Jesus to murderers, rapists, adulterers, gamblers, liars, Jihadists, homosexuals, Pharisees, and even to religious and moral people.
  • God will save anyone, yes anyone, and everyone, yes everyone that puts their faith in Jesus alone
  • It does not matter what you have done or not done, if you repent and believe in Jesus you will avoid hell and go to heaven forever when you die
  • Let me put that a fourth way – you do not contribute one atom of effort to your salvation.
  • And a fifth – because it is so “unbelievable” – Salvation is a gift to trusters not a reward to workers.

And if anyone’s managed to believe all that, try this for a finalé:

  • The one life and death of Christ, lived and died 2000 years ago, has saved and is saving millions and millions of people from every country and generation
  • God will come and live in your heart when you believe in Jesus – and He will never leave you – EVER.

I mean, come on, are you not beginning to sympathize with unbelievers a bit?

Well, if you’re starting to soften, let me now turn it around a bit so that we don’t let unbelievers off the hook. First, this Gospel Good News fits the human condition perfectly. Although it’s stunning, it’s not like whiplash jarring. It fits what everyone knows in their conscience about their spiritual need. That’s why Paul says that unbelievers are without excuse. And that’s why when the Gospel is preached to unevangelized people, they often believe it quicker than churchgoers who have been hardened by Gospel unbelief over many years. It answers and meets humanity’s deepest needs so nut-and-bolt perfectly.

And, second, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to rely upon as we preach and witness to the “greatest” unbelievers. What else could have made us believe all that? And what else can make unbelievers believe any of that? Thankfully we need not rely on our own powers of persuasion, but on His.

And that’s what makes the unbelievable so incredibly believable.


Check out

Be fruitful and multiply…or else
“No children, no future. It’s plain to see in the first chapter of the Bible or the accountant’s ledger.”

Old Princeton for New Calvinists: 9 Lessons from the life of Charles Hodge
Nine observations from Hodge’s life that illustrate his continuing relevance for Christians today.

Heaven and hedgehogs
You’ve got to click on that don’t you? Go on, it’ll be worth it.

5 ways the Gospel can improve your Apologetic Preaching
Five reading habits to help develop your apologetics in the pulpit.

The Gospel: What? Why? How?
Looks like a great conference for anyone living in or near Grand Rapids