Morning Mashup 08/26

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) | Michael Bird | $7.99

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How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour | Gordon Fee | $4.99

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How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition | Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart | $4.99

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ARTICLES

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Hope and Comfort in the Midst of Persecution

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I have recently been considering how I would respond to intense persecution. In light of the rapid change in the shape of American society and culture, and the public’s view of Christianity, it is likely that persecution of Christians in America will increase before it will decrease. What will this look like? I do not know. But it is entirely within the realm of possibility that Christian churches and leaders will face fines, imprisonments, and maybe more in the future. From time to time I ask myself, “Will I be willing to boldly face increasingly harsher persecution?” Or maybe a better question, “Is there any hope and comfort in the present and future for those facing persecution?”

Reflecting on Daniel’s vision of the goat and the ram in Daniel 8, Lutheran scholar Andrew Steinmann states,

The little horn in Daniel 8, representing Antiochus, who would persecute God’s people during the Greek era, is a foretaste of the greater persecution by the little horn in Daniel 7, representing the Antichrist, who wages war against the saints throughout the church age until Christ returns. By demonstrating how God would deliver his people form Antiochus Epiphanes, the vision in Daniel 8 offers hope to Christians throughout the church age, who must face the Antichrist’s persecution and corruption of the Gospel (Daniel, 390).

With all eschatological (end times) prophecies in Scripture come confusion, debate, and disagreement. However, there are two clear and primary things to draw from the visions found in Daniel 7 and 8.

(1) God’s people will face persecution

In Daniel 7-8, there are visions of harsh persecution that will afflict God’s people. There are mild forms of persecution that all of us experience in one way or another. You may be ridiculed for your faith at work. You may be shunned in various ways in your family. However, some Christians abroad face harsher forms of persecution. People are actually put to death for their faith in many countries. Daniel 8 foretells of a figure who would persecute God’s people during the Greek era. Most conservative scholars see this figure as being fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphranes. And this figure prefigures the Antichrist who will come to persecute God’s people until Christ returns. Persecution is clearly part and parcel of the establishing and fulfilling of the eternal kingdom of God.

(2) God is in control of persecution

The theological truths that communicate hope and comfort to those being persecuted in the vision of Daniel 8 appear to be that, although this passage communicates times of persecution and corruption, God is all knowing and in control of all things, including the persecution of his people.

How does the reality of persecution and the sovereignty of God provide comfort to those who are being persecuted?

Specifically regarding comfort and seeing Daniel as a whole, I think its important to look at the overarching themes of Daniel when communicating the truths in Daniel 8 to those in difficult situations. Mainly, we see that no matter what happens, God is in control and ultimately those who who belong to him will persevere. In Daniel this is portrayed in the fiery furnace and the lion’s den, as well as in the various prophecies about coming persecution from antichrist figures. God sovereignly rescued his people from persecution. Another theme of comfort is that God sets and removes rulers and will ultimately dethrone all earthly rulers to rule his eternal kingdom.

Nevertheless, the message of Daniel 8, and all of Scripture for that matter, is to persevere. Those who endure to the end will be saved (Matt. 24:13). The response of God’s people in the face of persecution must be perseverance. This means that in and through all persecution, we must place our trust and faith in the One who knows all, sees all, and who works all things in his sovereign grace for the good of his people. This sovereign God will one day righteously judge all.

No amount of persecution will stop God’s purposes from coming to pass. God plans all things and he always fulfills what he plans. The persecution led by Antiochus Epiphanes did not prevent the Messiah from coming to redeem humanity. Likewise, the antichrist’s persecution will not be able to stamp out the gospel. His people will persevere through faith. God’s sovereign goodness is our only true hope and comfort in the midst of persecution. Take hope in the fact that God will never leave his people in the midst of the harshest persecution. Take comfort in the fact that God sovereignly works all things, including persecution, for the good of his people and the renown of his name.

In the words of Steinmann, “God’s salvific plans cannot be thwarted” (390).


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Morning Mashup 10/17

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With an incredibly busy day on Wednesday, I was unable to put a Morning Mashup together. This turned out to be a real shame because there were many great articles floating around the web on Wednesday. Ah, c’est la vie! Nevertheless, I have a smorgasbord of articles dealing with the religious liberty violation in Houston, Mark Driscoll’s resignation, the Catholic Church and gay “marriage,” Ebola, the MLB playoffs, preaching, and much, much more.


Houston, We Have a Constitution – Russell Moore: “The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.”

Why Not Just Hand the Sermons Over? – Russell Moore: “Religious liberty isn’t ours to give away to Caesar, and soul freedom isn’t subject to subpoena from City Hall.”

Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill Church – With all of the hoopla in Houston, this story seemed to creep between the cracks. Driscoll’s demise is deeply saddening. However, I pray repentance would result from his fall.

Did the Roman Catholic Church Just Change Its Position on Divorce and Gay Marriage – Denny Burk says, based on news headlines, the answer is clearly, “Yes.”

American Evangelicals Should Expect Persecution – As one who will, Lord willing, be studying at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, these words from Albert Mohler are quite sobering: “Maybe the mission of this school is actually to train up a generation of preachers, missionaries, and evangelists who will be martyrs.”

What Happened to the Young, Restless, and Reformed in the SBC? – Blogger Tim Brister reflects on his journey in ministry as a Calvinist in the SBC and describes where many of his friends are. In my circle of friends in ministry who are Reformed, I see a similar trend. I pray this will be the trajectory of my life in ministry.

20 Ways to Be Refreshing in the Local Church – “It has been my pleasure to serve in the local church with some individuals that are truly “refreshing” to the saints. When you meet them, you know it! They are like an oasis in the midst of a desert. I walk away feeling encouraged, joyful, and spiritually stimulated. Unfortunately, they are an endangered species and much harder to find than should be the case.”

What Christians Should Know About the Ebola Crisis – Ebola is causing widespread fear in the United States and around the world. How should Christians respond to this deadly virus?

Making Sense of the MLB Playoffs – Chicks may dig the long ball, but small ball is king this postseason. Here are few surprising things this year’s MLB playoffs have taught us.

Best Trade in the History in the NFL? – This may surprise you.

Four Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t – Tremendous wisdom from a wonderful preacher and professor, Hershael York. He humorously writes, “Being a preaching professor is like getting paid to tell a mother that her baby is ugly. It might be the truth, but it’s not a truth anyone wants to hear.”

Ebola Fear – Marvin Olasky: “I had a heavy burden of fears and, unlike Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s wonderful tale, I can’t entirely shake that legacy.”

Preaching is War – David Prince: “As we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ today, we would do well to keep the protoevangelium (first gospel) in Genesis 3:15 always in mind. It reminds us that preaching is warfare.”

Religious matters are to be separated from the state…because they are too high and holy and thus are beyond the competence of the state. –Isaac Backus

Morning Mashup 10/08

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Vicar of Baghdad Unarmed on the Front Lines – “While the genocide aimed at Christians does not approach the scale of what the Nazis aimed at Europe’s Jews, there are some sobering parallels between each of these assaults upon the innocent.”

Lead in Dating Your Wife – “The easiest way to consistently study your wife and examine your marriage is to lead in routinely dating your wife.”

52 Colorized Historical Photos – These are just plain awesome.

What Does Baseball Have to Do With Fatherhood? – A beautifully written piece from David Prince on fatherhood and baseball.

Facing the Music with Jennifer Knapp – Former Christian musician who recently “came out” has written a book and Trevin Wax offers sobering thoughts on her new work.

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over – “Rather than a single Roe v. Wade of marriage, where the Supreme Court would redefine marriage across the nation, the Court, by refusing to hear any of the marriage cases, has allowed lower federal courts to disregard the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected representatives to make good marriage policy.”

Squeezing Persecution – “If the goal of persecution is to silence witness, then it could be said that squeezing is often more effective than beating and imprisonment, because more overt hostility can sometimes serve as a megaphone for Christ.”

Whoever brings an affliction to us, it is God that sends it. –Thomas Watson

Morning Mashup 08/22

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A serious and sobering edition of Morning Mashup, with a crazy interesting story at the end. The continued focus as has been the entire week is response to Ferguson and racism in America and the church. I have grown more over the past week than I have in a while, mostly due to some of the articles below. Close out your week with some enlightening and edifying articles. Happy Friday!

Power, Police, and Another Shooting – Another black man was shot by white police in St. Louis. John Piper speaks to this abuse of power: “The more power a fallen human has, the more vulnerable he is to be corrupted by the power. This is true of pastors and police.”

Why We Never “Wait for All the Facts” Before We Speak – Thabiti Anyabwile has been a much-needed voice for evangelicalism in the wake of Ferguson, MO. I am so thankful for him.

Feeling the Pain, Despite the Facts – Bryan Loritts is such a profound writer. This is a moving piece that has given me great understanding.

Will White Evangelicals Ever Acknowledge Systemic Injustice? – This is an article that was hard, yet necessary for me to read. These past few weeks have been nothing short of eye-opening from my clearly privileged perspective. Leonce Crump writes, “The police have stopped me, both walking and driving, nearly once a year since I was 15 years old.” His testimony has shaken me.

Two Words that Prove Racism Exists in the Church – This is a sad reality among many white evangelical circles. Lord, help us.

A Prayer for the Afflicted Saints in Iraq – Beautifully crafted prayer for the suffering saints in Iraq.

A Christian Child Tells of Surviving ISIS Persecution – As a leader in kids ministry, this breaks my heart. Praise God this little boy and his family escaped.

I Increasingly Find Conflict Between My Faith and Some Conservative Discourse – An eye-opening article from Erick Erickson in which he writes, “In the past several months there have been three incidents that have solidified for me that my faith and my politics are starting to collide.” I fully agree with Erickson’s frustrations.

Dr. Kent Brantly’s Recovery and Remarks – And now for some good news! Praise God that Dr. Brantly has fully recovered from Ebola. His comments are gloriously God-exalting: “I prayed that God would help me be faithful even in my illness and that in my life, even in my death, he would be glorified.”

How Should a Pastor Approach Baptizing an Autistic Believer? – Russell Moore gives a wise and poignant answer to this difficult question.

Four Reasons Why God Forbids Adultery – Here is a helpful biblical picture of the reason adultery is sinful.

Hiker Fends Off Mountain Lion Attack With Opera – Yes, you read that right. I thought it appropriate to leave you with a pretty cool and amazing story to close out this serious edition of Morning Mashup.

The word of God is more than enough to accomplish the work of God in the people of God. –Kevin DeYoung


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife Erica and their dog, Simba.

Morning Mashup 08/08

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Links, articles, book deals, and more for your information, edification, and enjoyment. Have a great Friday!

ISIS Systematically Beheading Children – Weep. Mourn. Pray.

A Time to Mourn – Christians aren’t the only ones being persecuted by the ISIS agenda to create a caliphate.

Leaving Ninevah – Historian Philip Jenkins speaks to the historic significance of the religious cleansing in Mosul.

Ebola Case Prompts Criticism – See Denny Burk, Andrew Walker, Russell Moore, and others respond to the criticism of the Ebola crisis from Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, and Ben Carson.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus…Maybe – Why do some young people make a decision for Christ and then abandon the faith when they go to college? Parker Reardon offers a biblically and theologically sound answer, though you may not like what he says.

How to Keep the Spark Alive – Tim Challies: “Why do married couples have sex? And how can they ensure that they keep enjoying the sexual relationship throughout their marriage?”

4 Moments I’m Preparing Students to Face – I work with the children in my local church and I was helped so much by this article. As I continue to disciple children I will keep these four moments in mind.

Your Wedding is Still Something Worth Wanting – Marshall Segal offers five supernatural reasons to pursue marriage.

PGA Championship Leaderboard Day 1 – Rory is one shot off the lead. Although Westwood is at the front of the pack, all eyes are on the hottest player in the world right now, Mr. McIlroy. Tiger only finished with one birdie and finished at +3, nine strokes back.

Finally, Amazon’s Big Deal is back and there are some awesome Kindle deals available:

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung ($1.99)

The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places by Nik Ripken ($2.99)

Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes ($1.99)

When I Don’t Desire God and Bloodlines by John Piper (both $1.99)

The Promises of God by R.C. Sproul ($0.99)

Transformational Discipleship by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation ($1.99)

What is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert ($1.99)

What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers ($1.99)

Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell ($1.99)

Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. –Dallas Willard