Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Patience

  • For Your Patience and Your Kindness: Hosanna by Kirk Franklin +

    The angels bow down at the thought of You The darkness gives way to the light for You The price Read More
  • Fruit of Patience by Sylvia Gunter +

    Beloved child of God, listen to your Father's heart and his ways for you in Galatians 5:22-23,25. "But the fruit Read More
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Don  Carson

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-kings/12.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-timothy/2.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/passage/?q=hosea+3;+hosea+4

http://www.biblestudytools.com/psalms/passage/?q=psalm+119:121-144

2 Kings 12; 2 Timothy 2; Hosea 3–4; Psalm 119:121–144

ONE OF THE MANY PRACTICAL DECISIONS a busy pastor has to face is whether to engage some particular error that rears its head.

The factors that go into that sort of decision are many. How many people are actually being affected by it? Is it threatening to split the church, or is it the fixation of only one or two people? Is it about some relatively peripheral matter, or does it go to the heart of the Gospel? Is it something about which the Bible is really quite clear, or does it concern something on which the Bible does not pronounce anything very substantial? Moreover, even when the issue is clearly important, one must make sober decisions about how much time and energy you should devote to it. Too little, and many of your flock may be adversely affected; too much, and you are being drawn away from what should be the primary focus of your ministry; you will gradually get sucked into a sea so vast you will never again see the shore.

Over the years I have been invited to address any number of "problems" or "interpretations" that have lasted no more than a few months or a few years. It may be expedient to do the studying necessary to engage a few of them; anything more is a waste of time. Just a month or so before the "Heaven's Gate" mass suicide, this cult sent me (and doubtless many others) one of their videos and a great deal of literature. I spent all of ten minutes scanning the literature to see where it was going. It was such unadulterated rubbish I filed it away, hoping I would never have to respond to this particular brand of nonsense. A few weeks later, most of the adherents were dead.

Two years ago a pastor phoned me and berated me because I had not yet responded with anything substantive to Michael Drosnin's book, The Bible Code. Out of interest I had accumulated a fairly substantial file, but that was not enough for this pastor: he felt that the people in his church were terribly vulnerable, and he insisted that I spend some time working on it. I refused. Two months later I discovered that the person in his church most fixated by this problem was the pastor himself, who could not leave the subject alone.

What a welcome contrast, then, to hear Paul telling Timothy what to say to new generations of pastors: "Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen" (2 Tim. 2:14). Or again: "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels" (2 Tim. 2:23). Answer when you must; never fixate on the peripheral; do not lose the focus on what is primary; do not be enticed into stupid arguments. The real issues are simply too important.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • The Lives of the Mystics-an interview with Emilie Griffin +

    An interview with Emilie Griffin—author of the new book Wonderful and Dark Is This Road—on the lives of Mystics and how they Read More
  • We Shall All Be Reunited by Patty Griffin +

    Where is now my father's familyThat was here so long ago?Sitting 'round the kitchen firesideBrightened by the ruddy glow Read More
  • Doorways into the prayer life by Emilie Griffin +

    Emilie Griffin spoke at a 1999 Renovaré International Conference Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster +

    In Freedom of Simplicity Foster gently encourages us to see that our identity, our sense of comfort and security must Read More
  • Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster +

    The Path to Spiritual Growth The book on spiritual disciplines. Read More
  • Spiritual Classics, Richard Foster and Emilie Griffiin +

    Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines Good collection of essays, saints throughout the ages. A Read More
  • Prayer by Richard Foster +

    A prayer Richard Foster uses when beginning a time of contemplation: By the authority of Almighty God, I surround myself Read More
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