When the Lord’s Relief from Suffering is…More Suffering

Lampstands, No. 4

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We tend not to suffer very well.

The problem for Christians is that Jesus promised his followers that they would suffer, and suffer in spades. He told his disciples they would have tribulation in the world (John 16:33), that they shouldn’t be surprised at ordeals (1 Peter 4:12), and that we should even “consider it joy” when trials come (James 1:2).

In Revelation 2:8-11, Jesus reminds the congregation of this unpleasant fact, but demonstrates to them that suffering, for the one who is in Christ, does not hold power over them. He does. And not only does he have power over and for them, he is their relief. In fact, he tells them not to worry about their suffering, because, well, they will be getting some more.

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How to Know What’s Real in an Age of Spiritual Fakes

Lampstands, No. 2

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As the world races toward the end we can be sure that fakes, counterfeits, and substitutes will abound.

Revelation tells us that in the last days there will be false Christians, false churches, false messiahs, false witnesses, false blessing, and false gospels. How is the believer to discern between them all?

The best way to detect counterfeit currency is to be well-acquainted with The Real Thing. Not surprisingly, the opening verses of Revelation (1:9-20) give us a picture of what is real, so that we will be better equipped to discern what is fake.

The real follower of Jesus Christ is one who is in Parity and in Partnership. John describes himself as as “brother” to those who would receive his letter. Though he had been one of the Lord’s closest disciples, having already authored one of the Gospels and a series of pastoral letters, all recognized by the church now as Holy Scripture, he did not consider himself greater than others.

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A Simple Texting Hack for Productivity

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If you’re like me, you grow tired of trying to type complete sentences on the microscopic keyboards on today’s smart phones. Texting under these circumstances becomes about as much fun — or, with the ubiquitous auto-correct, as comprehensible — as extracting splinters.

But people tend to respond to texts more readily than they do emails. What do do?

Enter MightyText, which is a way to connect your phone’s texting capability with your desk- or laptop’s full-size keyboard and convenience. There is a free version of both for Apple and Android platforms. They’ve recently upgraded the service by providing a free desktop app, so that you no longer need to have your browser open to use the service.

Happy texting! (but not while driving…)

Should You Want Cunctation at the Drive-Thru?

According to The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate, “cunctation” means delay or tardiness.

Had the editors of the Authorized Version been aware of this gem, a familiar verse would have been rendered “For the vision is yet for an appointed time. … Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, there will be no cunctation.

Does Your Profession of Jesus Make Him Vomit?

Lampstands, No. 9

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In Revelation 3:14-22, the letter to the church at Laodicea, Jesus makes it clear that being lukewarm and abiding in Christ are mutually exclusive. To say someone is a “lukewarm Christian” is self-contradictory, an oxymoron.

Those who are lukewarm are usually the last to know of their condition. So how does a believer detect if he is lukewarm?

Jesus gives a summary of the assessment that the lukewarm have of themselves: “you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing'” yet are pitiable, ignorant of their true condition. How do we “hear what the Spirit say” in our own circumstance? What are some particular things to look for?

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What Does Love Do For Others?

Love is doing that will enthrall the beloved with the greatest and longest joy. What will enthrall the beloved this way is the glory of God. Love means doing all we can, at whatever cost to ourselves, to help people be enthralled with the glory of God. When they are, they are satisfied and God is glorified. Therefore loving people and glorifying God are one.

John Piper concludes this after laying a foundation that God wants us to think his thoughts after him, which will lead us to love one another, which will lead to God being glorified (Life as a Vapor, Colorado Springs: CO, 2004, p156). The connection between these ideas is found in Philippians 1:9-11:

It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The relevance of this truth is clear, but the application comes into even greater relief when stated a bit differently: it is not loving to permit brothers and sisters to be enthralled with things other than God. When see other believers enthralled with the world, with riches, with sex, with power, with leisure, with autonomy…it is not loving to let them remain so enthralled. It is our duty — in love — to reorient one another away from improper objects of wonder.

Those in Tribulation Must Heed the Word

Lampstands, No. 1

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The book of Revelation is always a big draw in church Sunday school classes and Bible studies, primarily because of the alluring prospect of being able to read Revelation in one hand the the newspaper in the other, assigning current events and political figures to the mysterious descriptions in John’s revelation.

One recurring theme in Revelation is the distinction between what is false and what is true. There are true and false disciples. There are true and false churches. There are true and false witnesses, true and false gospels, and true and false messiahs.

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Memorial Day

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We are thankful for those who sacrificed their lives for the good of their countrymen. May the Lord bless those they have left behind, and may he draw all closer to Himself as we remember, and realize our great need for His peace, through Jesus Christ.