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The Unrepenting Repenter

The believer in Christ is a lifelong repenter.  He begins with repentance and continues in repentance. (Rom. 8:12-13) David sinned giant sins but fell without a stone at the mere finger of the prophet because he was a repenter at heart (2 Sam. 12:7-13). Peter denied Christ three times but suffered three times the remorse until he repented with bitter tears (Mt. 26:75). Every Christian is called a repenter, but he must be a repenting repenter. The Bible assumes the…

Until We Die

Poem written for Jeannie Elliff just before her death on 7/20/15 UNTIL WE DIE Jim Elliff We don’t know how to live until we die– die to trust in living as that which keeps a life, die to fear of dying as that which ends a life. And if we die to living, And live by dying, We live the truest life by Him whose life we’re given, Who came as life And lived to die And rose to life…

God of Creation, God of Salvation

I am learning to read and enjoy poetry. God makes much of it in the Bible. I am under the conviction that we miss something by not growing in our understanding of both the Bible’s poetic passages and what many modern poets themselves have to offer. Here is a poem from a younger friend, Daniel Pentimone, that I think is exceptional. It is vibrant, engaging, and meaningful. Read it outloud with exuberance, and love God more. Read it with joy…

Thinking Biblically and Strategically About Inter-Church Relationships

I am focused in this article on “inter-church” relationships, not “intra-church” relationships. There is a significant difference. An online dictionary (www.dictionary.com) gives this information: “Inter– is a common prefix that means between or among groups,” whereas, “intra– is a prefix which means within or inside one group.” So the content to follow is not about relationships within a single church (intra-), but relationships between multiple churches (inter-).  My church is part of a fellowship of churches that meets annually for…

A Three-legged Stool: All Sides of God’s Salvation Process

Election by a sovereign God was one of the mainstay doctrines in the preaching used by God during great days of awakening. During the revival ministry of Asahel Nettleton (1783-1844) more than 25,000 were converted, principally in the New England area. According to John Thornbury this figure would be about 600,000 if percentaged to our present population.1 Nettleton, for one, did not shrink back from proclaiming a God who elected. The following vignette comes from the book on his life…

Closing With Christ: Rethinking What Has Become Sacrosanct

When modern evangelical churches seek to bring the unregenerate to Christ (and they should do so with passion), they often fall prey to a formula which produces disappointing results. The pattern runs something like this: Extending a public altar call Praying “the sinner’s prayer” Giving immediate verbal assurance that one is in Christ on the basis of the sinner’s sincerity and the accuracy of the wording of the prayer Immediate, or near immediate, public announcement that this person is now…

The New Year Starts: Making Plans?

You may have reason to fear the year now upon us. What is on the other side of the door? Every person has their allotment of trouble, even among believers. Will there be loss, illness, death, aggravation, perplexity? Will those you love come to distrust you? Will you sin badly, ruining your reputation? Will there be economic trials and anxiety over money? Will you lose your job, or worse, your mind? Will you be hurt deeply? Will you be in…

How to Find a Wife

The proverb says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). But wisdom also tells us that one should seek this blessing from the Lord at the appropriate time and in a godly way. Many Christians enter the dating scene while they are still in their teens. This practice is fully endorsed, and even expected, by a society that holds a completely inadequate understanding of what it actually means for a…

Enduring Love, Enduring Pain, and Christmas

The endurance of love for a loved one who has died or one who is suffering, especially at Christmastime, can at once be a weight that pulls you down and a buoy that lifts you up. It pulls you down because love exercised where hope is lost leads to disappointment. It can lift you up because love exercised along with hope, even in difficulty, can keep your head above the waters of pain.  So then, your flailing may in fact…

What a Man Knows in Hades

It is almost alarming to consider the difference between a man or woman in hell and a man or woman in heaven. In that amazing story from Jesus about Lazarus the poor man who ate the crumbs from the rich man’s table we learn, after the death of both of them, something which we might not know otherwise. The rich man is in Hades, the first dimension of hell. He is in torment, and asks for mercy from Abraham, the…

Seven Ways to Get Smart About Kids’ Toys This Christmas

If you have plastic up to your gills, or if you want to be more frugal about gifts, or even if you enjoy using what God has given you in a redeeming way, you may appreciate these ideas this Christmas: Gather up as many bags of used toys as possible to put into circulation. Relatives or a church friend might need some of your toys for their younger children. Local organizations like foster care associations, rescue missions, or pregnancy resource…

Fiscal Hilarity

It would be difficult to imagine any giver doing so often or generously without joy in doing it. I began to be curious about giving early on. In fact, I can still picture the book on giving that my mother read to me, one of only two children’s books I remember. My first book on George Muller, the man who fed and clothed over 10,000 orphans, made the deepest impression. I was drawn into a lifestyle that was so attractive…

The Past Symbology and the Present Glory

“Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. “He said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, “What are these stones?” then you shall inform your children, saying, “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red…

Comfort for Christian Parents of Unconverted Children

All Christian parents wish that God would show us something to do to secure our child’s salvation, and then “we’ll do it with all our might” because we love our child so much. Yet, God has not made salvation the effect of somebody else’s faith; our son or daughter must come to Christ on his or her own. John shows us that all Christians are born into God’s family “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor…