Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Welcome to Prayer Week!
January 6–13, 2013
This Advent marked a historic season of pastoral transition. Jason Meyer has been overwhelmingly confirmed by congregational vote as our new preaching pastor, and John Piper’s 32-year-long senior preaching and pastoral era is almost completely “in the books.”
In Deuteronomy, Moses sets forth the following pattern for enjoying life with God: The reading of Scripture opens the door for hearing from God, which enables one to learn to fear him, which leads to following him (Deuteronomy 31:12–13; cf. 6:1–3; 17:19–20; John 6:44–45). How foundational God’s written revelation is to our very existence: “It is no empty word for you, but your very life” (Deuteronomy 32:47). Only through an encounter with God’s pure, perfect, true and abiding Word (Psalms 12:6, 119:96, 160) can people be ...
Prophecies of Christ and Fulfillments in the Gospels
To be Read during the 28 Days of Advent
(Scripture in ESV)
Day 1: Place of birth
Micah 5:2—But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Matthew 2:1—Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,
One of our defining affirmations of faith at Bethlehem is that we believe the Bible is the very word of God. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Belonging to Bethlehem as a covenant member involves believing this.
Jesus Christ is refreshing. Flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.
The word “legalism” does not occur in the Bible. But it comes from the word “legal,” which relates to “law,” and the Bible has lots to say about law. Legalism is a certain attitude toward God’s law. Or, more generally, toward commandments and rules.
Here is legalism: “Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works” (Romans 9:31-32). The essence of legalism is when faith is not the engine of obedience.
Have you ever prayed a prayer like this?
Lord, let me make a difference for you utterly disproportionate to who I am?
That’s the prayer I wrote in the margin of a book last week beside a quote from David Brainerd. Brainerd was a missionary to the New England Indians 200 years ago. He wrote,
David Gink rose before dawn last Friday. As he turned the light on in the bathroom he heard a soft sucking noise which he thought came from the bathtub drain. “An airlock,” he thought to himself as he closed the door. He was numb with weariness, and moved a half-step toward the sink.
A Glimpse of Family Life in Jason Meyer’s Home
The Night When Bethlehem Elders Came Calling
By David Michael, Pastor for Parenting & Family Discipleship