A new study found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day lived longer than those who didn’t read at all. The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers.”
Themelios 41.2 The Gospel Coalition just released the August 2016 issue of Themelios, which has 197 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews. And it’s free.
12 Observations after reading The Porn Phenomenon Josh McDowell partnered with the Barna Research group to survey nearly 3,000 U.S. teens, adults and Protestant youth and senior pastors about their perceptions, use, and feelings about pornography. The summary of their findings was published in a 150-page study called The Porn Phenomenon. It’s worse than you could have ever imagined.
Motherhood in the Cosmic War “In the footsteps of the serpent-crusher, Eve’s daughters of faith are called to nurture (mother) life in the face of death. Our mothering work is cross-shaped. That means we fight in this war by grace through faith. As “earth-bound” as our work may seem, we remember that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood as we nurture life both inside and outside the womb. Our God-designed maternal instinct is a matter of spiritual warfare. Over all of the pan-ethnic cultural expressions in the global body of Christ, we all put on God’s own spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-18). ”
A couple of years ago I was asked to prepare a month of meditations on Hosea for a daily devotional. My initial thought was, “That’s impossible. I might manage 5 or 6.” But when I got started I was stunned to find so many divine “I will’s” in this little prophecy and they became the basis for the 30 meditations that I published over the past few weeks on the blog. Here they are (the thirtieth was this list).
I will avenge (Hosea 1:4).
I will hedge up your way with thorns (2:6)
I will allure her (2:14)
I will…bring her into the wilderness and speak comfort to her (2:14)
I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope (2:15)
I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth (2:17)
I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field (2:18)
I will betroth you to me (2:19)
I will betroth you to me forever (2:19)
I will betroth you to me in righteousness (2:19)
I will betroth you to me…in judgment (2:19)
I will betroth you to me…in lovingkindness (2:19).
I will hear (2:21).
I will sow her for myself in the earth (2:23)
I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy (2:23)
I will say to them which were not my people, You are my people (2:23)
Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you (4:6)
Therefore will I change their glory into shame (4:7)
For I will be to Ephraim as a lion (5:14)
I will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face (5:15)
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger (11:9).
I will place them in their houses (11:11)
I will make you to dwell in tabernacles (12:9)
I will be your king (13:10)
I will ransom them from the power of the grave (13:14)
O death, I will be your plagues (13:14)
I will heal their backsliding (14:4)
I will love them freely (14:4)
I will be as the dew to Israel (14:5)
You an read this series of meditations together with many more in the daily devotional, Milk and Honey.
Dry, dry, dry. Have you ever felt like that? Has your soul ever seemed like a desert? You look at the wastelands within your soul and you can’t find any bud or blossom, never mind any fruit. There is no refreshing, encouraging oasis anywhere. It wasn’t always like that. You can remember a time when there was bud, blossom, and fruit everywhere. There was a little oasis here and a little stream there. Spiritual life and liveliness flowed in your blood and all was well with your soul.
What happened? Well, many things happened, didn’t they? But the more important question is, how do you get out of this? We turn to Hosea to find the answer.
God gave Israel the land of Canaan as promised, a land which flowed with milk and honey. Under His blessing, they had known many years of fruitfulness and fertility. However, their disobedience had brought them and their land under the divinely promised curse. God withheld water from the land and the result was desert-dryness everywhere.
But, when this divine chastisement had humbled Israel and brought her to see her need of the Lord, He promised He would return with His dew. “I will be as the dew to Israel.” This is sovereign dew; God creates it, sends it, and controls it. This is softening dew; it soaks into the hardest soul and breaks the hardest clods. It is stimulating dew. It refreshes and invigorates. It is saving dew; it is God Himself who will be the dew. “I will be as the dew to Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”
So, dry soul, look up. It is the Lord alone who can refresh you and reinvigorate you. He can make the desert sand blossom into a rose. Each of His three Persons can drench you with dew. Even one of His attributes can saturate your soul. Just one of His words can break the hardest clod. “Lord, come, beautify and fructify me with yourself.”
4 Ways the World Will Pressure You to Conform | Trevin Wax “In every age, the world implements strategies of isolation, indoctrination, assimilation, and confusion, and in every age, the church must resist with confidence and courage, trusting that our faithfulness will be a gift to the nations we know will one day bow before the world’s true King.”
Killing Envy | The Christward Collective “Chief among those sins that we tend to tolerate in our lives is covetousness, jealousy and envy. According to Scripture, jealousy is one of the most damaging of all heart sins.”
The Psalter Project | Gentle Reformation “There’s nothing that makes me happier than helping people sing the psalms. It may seem hard, awkward, and even dull at times. But if we persevere, I am confident we will not be disappointed. Choose to sing the psalms!”
How much does your love cost? How much do you extract from someone in return for your love? How many diamonds must he buy to secure your love? How beautiful does she have to make herself to guarantee your continued love? How obedient do your children have to be to ensure your love? How many toys do your parents have to buy you to make you love them? How much does your love cost?
How much does God’s love cost? How much do we have to give Him? How much do we have to pay Him? How much do we have to do or say? How many laws do we have to keep? And for how long? The answer to all these questions is zero—nothing—nil. “I will love them freely.”
This is written over every page of God’s dealings with sinners. When we look at Abraham or Moses or David, we hear God saying, “I will love them freely.” When we look at Peter or Thomas or Saul of Tarsus, we hear, “I will love them freely.” When we see God’s people restored to God’s land, we hear, “I will love them freely.” When we see Christ with arms outstretched on Calvary’s cross, we hear, “I will love them freely.” When the Holy Spirit is poured out on Christ’s crucifiers at Pentecost, we hear, “I will love them freely.” Throughout all church history, the church has heard, “I will love them freely.”
And what about your own life, child of God? Is not “I will love you freely,” written above it? How much did God’s love cost you? How much did you pay for a godly upbringing? How much did you pay for faithful pastors? What was the price of your justification? How much for your adoption? Sanctification? Zero—nothing—nil. “I will love them freely.” If freely you have received, then freely give.