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Archive for March, 2011

The Strategies of Temptation

The nature of temptation is not random. There is strategy, purpose, and power involved.

The temptations of Jesus in the desert show us what kind of strategies the powers will use on us. In 1 Cor. 10:13 we learn that none of our temptations are new. There are just newer ways of surrendering to old temptations. The temptations themselves are, as the Scripture puts it, “common to man,” and in Jesus’ desert testing we see how true this is. It is here that the Scriptures identify for us the universal strategies of temptation. You will be tempted exactly as Jesus was, because Jesus was being tempted exactly as we are.

1.     Tempted with consumption (to provide for yourself)

2.     Tempted with security (to protect yourself)

3.     Tempted with status (to exalt yourself)

The danger we face presently isn’t cognitive but primal. Demons are thinkers. They know who God is, and they tremble before that truth (James 2:19). Mere intellect cannot ensure that we are “led not into temptation” or “delivered from evil.” Only “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6) can do that. We are not simply overcoming something about human psychology. We’re wrestling against the cosmic powers (Eph. 6:12), grappling with an animal-like spirit intent on devouring us (1 Pet. 5:8). The gospel brings good news to tempted rebels like us. Just as our temptation is part of a larger story, so is our exit strategy from its power. The same Spirit who led Jesus through the wilderness and empowered him to overcome the Evil One now surges through all of us who are joined by faith to Jesus.

Excerpt modified from Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore

A Children’s Book for Your iPad

You have an iPad. You have one or more children. You love Jesus, and would love to see your children read a compelling, Christ-honoring book on your iPad.

Here’s our suggestion: Get Fool Moon Rising, a whimsically illustrated children’s book that provides a fun and colorful way to teach kids that their talents come from God.

This resource is available exclusively through Apple iBooks, as it takes advantage of features only available on the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Note: If you click on the link from your mobile device (including your iPad), you’ll be taken right to the product page within iBooks.

This is our first eBook with “fixed page layout,” and we’re quite excited about it. To encourage you to spread the word, we’re giving away some copies of the eBook. To be considered for our giveaway, simply blog about the Fool Moon Rising eBook, and leave a comment below. We’ll select the winners on Friday, March 11.

[Contest closed March 11, 2011]

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Digital News,E-Books,News | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 6:00 am | (8) Comments »

Affirmation is Not Optional in Marriage

Guest Post by Sam Crabtree

It is not optional to commend the commendable in a marriage.

The evaporating disappearance of affirmation in a marriage is invariably a contributing factor to virtually all divorces. Short of divorce, it also contributes to flatness, coolness, and degrees of alienation.

I can’t think of a divorce in which the pair kept up a steady stream of affirming and up-building speech toward each other. Rather, they slid into silence and faultfinding.

But God is at work, even in the most problematic husband or wife. All humans are made in the image of God, and until an individual has breathed his last, God is imaging forth something of himself. It is our privilege to spot such commendable qualities, and call them out with thanks to God.

That’s what I mean by commending the commendable. I am not speaking primarily of complimenting one’s mate for being good-looking or some other shallow, temporal feature… all of which will assuredly pass. I mean spotting some Christlike characteristic, and thanking God for it – “I thank God, dear husband, that he as made you the kind of man who dependably works hard to provide for his family.” Jesus is the most dependable person in existence, and if your husband is dependable, it is because Jesus has given him life, breath, and everything else. “I thank God, dear wife, for your determination in protecting our children.” Jesus is the most determined person in existence, setting his face to go to Jerusalem to fulfill the Father’s will at the cost of his own life, and if your wife is determined to serve her children, it is because God is working in her both to will and to do his good pleasure.

Husbands and wives who commend the commendable in each other honor God, refresh and encourage each other, gain a hearing from each other, model good things for their children and others who are watching, elevate the atmosphere in the home, and set up the possibility that the refreshment they have sown will come back to them at the right time.

Guest post by Sam Crabtree, author of Practicing Affirmation. Learn more or read a sample chapter.

March 7, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Marriage,Marriage / Family | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 1:00 pm | (2) Comments »

Fighting for Personal Sanctification

Living for the Lord is tremendously difficult at times. Owen Strachan gives three exhortations to keep in mind as you strive for personal holiness:

  1. Be aware of some of the major sins of this age and fight them specifically. Some major problems that are present for many of us include a love of self, a love of sports, possessions, and trivial things, and a love of sex.
  2. Recognize that the church is the outpost of sanctification. We all need the local church. It is where we find all the resources we need to love God in a sin-stricken world—exhortation, encouragement, rebuke, opportunities for service, enjoyment, edification, and so much more.
  3. Keep in mind the hard work of sanctification involves deliberate action while resisting easy categorization. We need to saturate our minds and hearts with the riches of biblical theology, such that we think and act from a profoundly scriptural base, while avoiding the cultural pitfall of staying selfishly “true to ourselves.”

Sanctification is the dynamic manifestation of the gospel in our lives. Conformity to God’s will is not achieved by tweaking attitudes and behaviors here and there, but rather by becoming completely enamored with the Lord, his holiness, and his unfathomable love.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Excerpts modified from chapter eight of Don’t Call it a Comeback.

March 3, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »

Rejecting the “Religion of I”

In Galatians 1, Paul tells how he turned from the “religion of I,” to accept the faith of God. During his years of persecuting the Church, Paul was captivated by selfish motives, driven by legalistic Judaism. Serving ourselves hinders our effectiveness and skews our priorities as Christians.

  • The religion of I is opposed to the church of God: Church is not individualistic. It is a community, and it requires commitment. To find community in a church, you need to make a commitment, get involved, take the initiative, and have time together. The religion of I tends to sit back and let it all flow by. “What’s in it for me?” is the great question, not “What I can give?”
  • The religion of I is competitive: Whose Greek is the best? Whose is the best and biggest church? Whose prayer is the best? All this is vanity, for what is best with regard to God is defined only by God. When we are captivated with the religion of I, what matters is what other I’s think, not what the Great I Am thinks. We strive for heaven in order to impress earth, and heaven is not impressed.
  • The religion of I is zeal without knowledge: It is passionate, but it is the kind of zeal that blows up buildings and causes wars and fights. The solution is not relativistic tolerance or a vague “anything goes” attitude. The solution is zeal for what is good and godly. No one can be too zealous for love or too zealous for the gospel, but the religion of I is zeal without knowledge; it is barking up the wrong tree.

Christians, by the power of the Spirit, must live on the side of the faith of God, not on the side of the religion of I. We must have Christ, by his Word, revealed in our hearts (our minds and feelings) so that our wills are set upon God, not ourselves.

Excerpts modified from chapter 7 of No Other Gospel.

March 1, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life,The Gospel,Theology | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:30 pm | 0 Comments »