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The citizenship I need to cling to now more than ever
Canadian citizen, Aaron Armstrong, reflects on his move to the USA.

Preacher’s Toolkit: How Long Should My Sermons Be?
“How long should a sermon be? As a preaching professor and a pastor, I’ve asked and been asked that question a hundred times. Today, after 35 years in ministry, I have a definitive answer: You can preach as long as you hold their attention.”

3 Reasons Why Pastors Neglect Leadership Development
“Here are three reasons pastors neglect making leadership development a priority in their churches:”

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences
“More Iranians have become Christians in the last 20 years than in the previous 13 centuries put together.”

Our Caveat Emptor Vacation
I thought I was the only person this happens to.

10 Practical Ways to Boost Your Energy Level
“In recent years, I’ve been very deliberate about managing my energy level. I’ve done a lot of reading on this and have taken the time to learn and experiment with what works.”

3 Types of Legalism
“Because Christianity is concerned with morality, righteousness, and ethics, we can easily make that subtle move from a passionate concern for godly morality into legalism if we are not careful.”

3 Dangers of Preaching in a Digital Age
“Pastors are called to herald the eternal Word of God. But in a digital age, our words feel eternal. They’re recorded; they’re transmittable; they seemingly last forever. And that pattern introduces a number of pressures—most of them unconscious—to the preacher’s task. Here are three.”

Kindle Books

What’s Best Next by Matt Perman $3.99.

Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists by Al Mohler $3.99.

Reasons We Believe: 50 Lines of Evidence That Confirm the Christian Faith $4.99.

What a death! What a resurrection!

I will ransom them from the power of the grave.— Hosea 13:14

Hosea 13:1–13 sets forth the death of Israel in stark and graphic terms. Israel “died” at Baal Peor (v. 1). They pass away “as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passes away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney” (v. 3). Wild beasts tear them limb from limb (v. 8). And yet in the midst of this deathly, funereal atmosphere, the prophet is given a glimpse of the nation’s resurrection: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” What a death, but what a resurrection! What a ransom which delivers from death and the grave!

Sometimes, when God begins a saving work in a soul, He shows the sinner how his soul “died” through various sins he committed. We all have our “Baal Peors.” Then He impresses on the grieving sinner the brevity of life and the imminence of death. Wherever the soul looks, it sees life rapidly passing and death accelerating towards him—the morning cloud, the evaporating dew, the wind-blown chaff, the chimney smoke, all so brief, all so eloquent of life and death.

The terrifying grave opens its ghastly mouth for young and old. The soul is dead, the body is dying, the grave is gaping. But prayer is rising, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: O Lord, how long?…. Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for your mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?” (Ps. 6:2–5).

“Then he is gracious to him, saying, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: he shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy” (Job 33:24 –26).

What a resurrection! And what a ransom! “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

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Religious Liberty and the Fracturing of Civil Society | Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse
“Civil society is dying due to liberal orthodoxy.”

Questions to Ask Before We Gossip | Stephen Witmer, Desiring God
“Here are eight diagnostic questions to help you discern whether, in talking to others about another person with whom we’re struggling, we’re actually gossiping.”

Biblical Friendship Cannot Be Hacked | Jonathan Holmes, TGC
“In and through biblical friendship, demonstrated by self-sacrificial love, we can tell a living story to a world crying out for genuine relationships. In and through such friendship, two people who have nothing in common but Christ can tell the amazing story of the gospel, of the Friend who sacrificed everything to be in friendship with you.”

Help Me Teach the Bible: Jenny Salt and Carrie Sandom on Preparing a Talk | Nancy Guthrie, TGC
“In this episode of Help Me Teach the Bible, I sat down with Carrie Sandom from The Proclamation Trust in the UK and Jenny Salt from Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Australia to talk about how they approach a passage they are preparing to teach. They discuss their first opportunities and how they found confidence to teach, as well as how they would each like to continue to improve their teaching. ”

5 Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Sexuality | Jaquelle Crowe, TGC
“Since sexuality is from God, Christian parents cannot ignore talking about it. In the face of the world’s constant lies, your kids need the truth. They need open discussion. They need biblical answers to tough questions. They need grace. Ultimately, they need the gospel. And parents, it’s your responsibility to give it to them.”

15 Things the Proverbs Teach About How to Post on Facebook | Bob O’Bannon, New Life Presbyterian Church
“The Proverbs have much to teach us about how to use our tongues, as well as how to use our fingers as we type strongly-held opinions in a super-charged political climate.”

Seeing Productivity from a Biblical Perspective | Hugh, Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
“Christians are called ‘to put productivity practices and tools in the service of God’s purposes.’ From a biblical perspective, productivity isn’t just about getting more things done; it’s about getting the right things done.”

Q+A: Why Letting the Dishes Go Can Save Your Soul | Interview with Shauna Niequist by Andrea Palpant Dilley,
“I was sprinting through my days. I was exhausted all the time. I was sick and not paying attention to the fact that I was sick. I just kept going and the quality of my life began to diminish pretty dramatically. And it felt like all those things that I had wanted originally—connection, creativity, play, depth—I couldn’t find anymore in my life.”

Kindle Deals

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Foundations: Four Big Questions We Should Be Asking But Typically Don’t by Peter Mead ($1.99)

Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet ($1.99)

Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted by Dr. Daniel G. Amen ($1.99)

For your kids:

Patrick of Ireland: The Boy Who Forgave by Karen Murdarasi ($1.99)

I will be your king

I will be your king.— Hosea 13:10

Who wants to be a King of self-destroyed people? God does. Who wants to be King of people who consistently rejected Him and chose many inferior kings? God does.

“O Israel, you have destroyed thyself; but in me is your help. I will be your king: where is any other that may save you in all your cities? and your judges of whom thou said, Give me a king and princes?” (Hos. 13:9–10).

He does not say, “You have achieved a lot, therefore I will be your king,” but, “You have destroyed yourself, therefore I will be your king.”

He does not say, “You have chosen me to be your King, therefore I will be your King,” but, “You have rejected me, therefore I will be your king.” What grace and favor!

Do you not need a mighty King? Who can bring order into your chaos? You can’t; no one else can but God. Who can subdue your unruly passions and regulate your anarchic thoughts? You can’t; no one else can but God.

And yet, how much you resisted, didn’t you? Do you remember how many times you said, “I will not have this man to reign over me?” How many times the King drew near, and you said, “I will be king.” You resisted and rejected with all your might.

But then the day came when you heard with irresistible power, “I will be your King, I will be your King.” Your will bent, broke, and at last surrendered. You fell down in your soul and said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” You worshiped and said, “O Lord, you are my God and King, you will I magnify and praise.”

And what a King He has been to you! Has He not guarded you? Has He not led you in many spiritual victories? Has He not brought you into His banqueting house and His banner over you was love? Do you not look forward to the day when you arrive in His heavenly Kingdom and He will say, “I am your King”?

Remaining rebels, lay down your arms. You cannot win. He will be your King. He will eventually rule you. He will rule you in heaven or He will rule you in hell. “I will be your King.”

Check Out


Why We Need Christians in Law Enforcement | Charles Holmes, Jr., Reformed African American Network
“Growing up in a house where both of my parents were black and in law enforcement gave me a very interesting perspective on police and police brutality. While many people, especially African American men, may feel like they would be sell outs if they joined “the enemy” (law enforcement), or even spoke well of “the enemy” or the criminal justice system, there remains a huge need for black police officers, and more specifically Christian black officers in our criminal justice system.”

Why study Leviticus? | Kim Shay, Out of the Ordinary
“There are many reasons to study Leviticus, but time and space don’t allow me to probe them all. I will, however, share one good reason: because in his first epistle, the apostle Peter relies on it to explain what holiness is.”

Prince Harry Finally Opens Up About His Mother’s Death | Bethany Mandel, The Federalist
Here’s an insight into how the world processes death and grieving.

An Overlooked Tool for Making Decisions in Our Fallen World| Dr. Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
“Economics provides a framework for understanding how to navigate a fallen world, glorify God through our vocation, and provide for the common good of society.”

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time | Ron Edmondson
“How do you create more margin in your schedule – to do the things you w ant to do and the things you need to do?”

Free E-Book: “Practicing Affirmation” by Sam Crabtree | Cross-Points eBooks and Resources
This was a life-transforming book for me. Answer a few questions and get a free digital copy of Practicing Affirmation today.

Kindle Deals

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton ($1.99)

Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons That Connect with Our Culture by Zack Eswine ($2.99)

Building Confidence in Your Child by Dr. James Dobson ($1.99)

True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts ($2.99)


Creation: An Arena for Praising God

Serious Joy

I will again make you dwell in tents.— Hosea 12:9

Listen to this for a proud boast: “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin” (Hos. 12:8). It was for such proud self-confidence that Israel would be once again removed from its land and suffer Egypt-like bondage. And yet, here Hosea holds out hope for an Egypt-like exodus by promising a new celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which commemorated that event: “But I am the Lord your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”

Israel’s festivals were all times of rejoicing, but the Feast of Tabernacles was especially marked by joy (Lev. 23:40; Deut. 16:15). This was partly because the feast celebrated the harvest of corn and grapes, but mainly because, by spending time in homemade tents in the desert, they were reminded of God’s miraculous provision for them when they lived as desert-nomads for forty years. What a comfort Hosea’s promise of restored festivals must have been to God’s people in exile. What hope this holds out to the repentant! God will restore our festivals and our joy if we repent.

Proud unbeliever, you have resisted God and rejected His mercy. You are self-confident and independent. You have no sense of your own sinfulness. But God is bringing you down. Your life has turned sour. You are not so sure of yourself as you once were, and you wonder if there is any hope for one who was so proud and defiant as you were. Be encouraged with this promise of mercy: “But I am the Lord your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”

Perhaps you are a believer who has been walking in your own strength and at a proud self-sufficient distance from God. But now you are miserable. You wish you could experience total dependence on the Lord again. Listen to God’s gracious promise: “I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.” There is no frivolity or superficiality at the Lord’s feasts; this is serious and substantial joy.