The Lord Sees Our Work

By Daniel M. Doriani

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Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, in Matthew 25, describes the blessing that awaits God’s people—his sheep, in the language of the parable—when we stand before him on the last day. We will learn that Jesus sees the results of our work far better than we do. The middle of the parable reads this way:

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:35–41)

We often feed the hungry or tend the sick in our volunteer activities, but it would be a mistake to think Jesus chiefly has volunteerism in mind. At work we have the greatest capacity to care for the needy. At work we have the greatest skill and training, spend the most time, and can bring the greatest resources to bear. If, by faith, we consecrate our work to God and aim to love our neighbors—our coworkers and customers—then our work serves him. And he will remember it forever.

At work we have the greatest capacity to care for the needy. At work we have the greatest skill and training, spend the most time, and can bring the greatest resources to bear. If, by faith, we consecrate our work to God and aim to love our neighbors—our coworkers and customers—then our work serves him. And he will remember it forever. In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches this:

  • If your work has any role that helps brings food to the hungry, Jesus is pleased.
  • If you are a link in the chain that brings water to the thirsty, he smiles.
  • If you have a task in the process that brings clothing and shelter to humanity, Jesus will reward you.
  • If your work has a place in the system that brings health or physical care to the sick, Jesus counts it as service to him.

When Jesus says, “I was in prison and you came to visit me,” he blesses all who care for the needy. Everyone who works in education, finance, transportation, technical support, administration, and management has a place in the blessing.


This article is from The New Man: Becoming a Man After God’s Heart by Daniel M. Doriani

 

The Husband of One Wife

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By Daniel M. Doriani

Paul’s statement that an overseer must be “the husband of but one wife” seems clear, but there has been considerable debate about Paul’s precise message. Literally, the Greek says an overseer must be “a one-woman man.” This short remark can mean one of four things:

Option 1: Paul believed overseers had to be married men. Of course, most Christian leaders are married, but why would Paul make this an absolute requirement? After all, he was single himself and he was an overseer of the church. Further, Jesus, the supreme leader of the church, was unmarried. Surely we don’t want to say that Jesus lacked the necessary qualifications to lead (it’s not a good idea to present leadership criteria that Jesus doesn’t meet). Finally, Paul commended celibacy for those with the gift, because it increases freedom for service (1 Cor. 7).* So Paul must have meant something else.

Option 2: Paul believed overseers may marry only once in a lifetime. That is, any man who has divorced and remarried cannot be a Christian leader. Certainly, divorce is a great evil and the leadership potential of an adult Christian is damaged by it. But the problem with the once-in-a-lifetime view is that it also forbids widowers from marrying, and that seems like a gratuitous legalism. The Bible grants widows and victims of infidelity the right to remarry elsewhere (Matt. 19; Rom. 7; 1 Cor. 7), and Paul would not contradict that.

Option 3: Paul believed overseers must be monogamous. This is certainly true; polygamy was already illegal in the Roman Empire and very few practiced it at that time. Why would Paul bother to forbid a sin no one committed? Again, he must have had more in mind.

Option 4: Paul believed overseers must be faithful husbands. Leaders must be monogamous (above), but more, they should be exemplary husbands. This makes sense in both Paul’s day and our own. A very similar passage in 1 Timothy 5:9 supports this view. There Paul says a widow who receives financial aid from the church should have been “the wife of one husband” (esv). The Greek reads: “a one-man woman.” In context, this clearly means she was a faithful wife. Here, at last, a familiarity with country music promotes Christian thinking. Paul is describing what country music might call “a one-man woman,” as in the saying, “I was a one-man woman, but he was a twotimin’ man.” When Paul requires a leader to be “the husband of but one wife,” it means he should be a “one-woman man”; that is, a faithful man.

From time to time, a man sidles up to me and complains, “I just don’t understand women,” as if his ignorance of the female of the species accounts for his marital woes. But this is a mistake. Husbands, Paul does not ask you to understand “women” as if they were a field of academic study. You must first know, love, and serve one woman, your wife, working to understand her and use your knowledge to love her in every way. After that, perhaps we can try to understand, love, and serve the other women God places in our lives.

* If someone wants to read 1 Timothy 3:2 hyper-literally and demand that elders have one wife, then they should also require that elders have two or more children, since 3:4 says elders must keep their children in respectful submission.


This excerpt is taken from The New Man: Becoming a Man After God’s Heart by Daniel M. Doriani

 

Author Interview with Paul Yeulett

I did not get the chance to put together a new author interview for today, but I am posting our first author interview again. We didn’t have as many readers when I first started posting these, so this is for those of you who have recently joined us!


This author interview is with Paul Yeulett. He is the author of Jesus and His Enemies. The original interview was posted January 2014 (so some of the info will be slightly out-dated).

 

 

  • Question #1 – Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what do you do in your spare time, etc.

“I was born near Cambridge in the East of England, but now live in Shrewsbury in the west of England.  I am married to Ruth and we have three children: Rebecca (9), Matthew (7) and Daniel (6).  I have been pastor of Shrewsbury Evangelical Church since 2007.  Hobbies, when I get round to them, include star-gazing, with the naked eye and by telescope; and also playing golf from an unmentionably high handicap.”

  • Question #2 – When did you first want to write a book?

“I wanted to write a book when I was a child, and there were several abortive attempts before Jesus and His Enemies simply suggested itself: the various chapters fell into my lap like rain falling from the sky.”

  • Question #3 – Which writers inspire you?

“Iain H Murray, Sinclair Ferguson, Stuart Olyott, John Murray, Dale Ralph Davies, William Hendrikson, among many others.”

  • Question #4 – What book(s) are you reading now?

“I’m reading Jonathan Edwards’ History of Redemption , which is a thrilling panoramic oversight of the whole of history, and also Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood by David P. Setran and Chris A. Kiesl.  We need to understand the pressures and influences that come upon people at that age, whether we are 18-30 or not.”

  • Question #5 – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

“If writing is something habitual to you and you can’t stop doing it, make sure you save everything you write.  You never know when a good opportunity might come.  Read as deeply and widely as possible.  Cultivate a curious mind; don’t be afraid of unfamiliar words, concepts or ideas, but find out as much as you can about them.”

  • Question #6 – How do you deal with writer’s block?

“By writing!  It’s a bit like with praying; the way to get into a difficult activity is to actually begin to engage in it, haltingly at first, but if you have been called and equipped to do something you will be given the grace and capacity to continue.”

  • Question #7 – Favorite sport to watch? Why?

“Cricket.  It’s the national English sport and it’s epic, even though England have just been walloped by the Aussies.”

  • Question #8 – Do you have a favorite food?

“Indian food, moderately spicy and with onion bhajis and raitha sauce!”

  • Question #9 – Which do you like better: Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?

“Lord of the Rings for its sheer and massive bulk – it’s a world of its own, rich, wide and deep.  Tolkien was a master of language as well as literature.”

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Paul Yeulett is the pastor of Shrewsbury Evangelical Church in Shrewsbury, England. He graduated from Highland Theological College and is ordained in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales. Previously he studied mathematics at Newcastle University and taught high-school math. Want to learn more about Paul? Visit his church’s website: http://www.shrewsburyevangelicalchurch.org. The main features of this website are the online audio sermons: there are currently over 400 of them.

Author Interview with Mark Belz

 This week’s author interview is with Mark Belz. He is the author of A Journey to Wholeness: The Gospel According to Naaman’s Slave Girl, the newest book in the Gospel According to the Old Testament series.

 

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  • Question #1 – Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I grew up in a large family—eight children—in Iowa. Dad was the pastor of a rural church there, and in 1951 started a small Christian school, where all of us kids received our education. My wife and I were married in 1965 after graduating from Covenant College. We have two grown children and four grands, the joy of our life. I attended law school in Iowa, and practiced there for five years before moving to St Louis to attend Covenant Seminary, where I received the M.Div. degree in 1981. Since then, through 2008, I practiced law.

  • Question #2 – When did you first want to write a book?

I never thought of myself as a writer, but first was inspired to write during the tumultuous days of the early eighties, when many Christians were illegally blocking the entrances to abortion clinics, particularly here in St Louis. Students from Covenant Seminary and many Roman Catholic brothers and sisters engaged in this, and our law firm was called upon to represent them, which was a challenge and a joy at the same time. Out of this, I felt the protesters needed a ‘defense’ in the church, and I wrote Suffer the Little Children: Christians, Abortion and Civil Disobedience. That was my first interest, and I do not believe I could author anything without being personally inspired to do so.

  • Question #3 – Which writers inspire you?

I loved Lord of the Flies (William Golding) when I first read it in 1961. I still am inspired by his style, and his power. No author has inspired me more. I was not a diligent reader during my years of law practice, but since about 2000 I have read consistently. I read Gulag Archipelago (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (W.L. Shirer), and Lincoln: A Life (Michael Burlingame). These three works are lengthy, and make for tedious reading, but there is more than adequate reward. I was amazed at the ability of the authors to go into such detail and use the facts to discover and articulate great moral values.

  • Question #4 – Have you always enjoyed writing?

I enjoy it when I get into it. I have to be inspired, though. When I have taught Bible study classes, I get a bit carried away with the Scripture that we are studying, and then develop a desire to write. In writing the book A Journey to Wholeness: The Gospel According to Naaman’s Slave Girl, so many facets of what it means to be eternally reconciled to God and his family kept coming clear to me, and I thought about little else until the book was done. Then there is that time after it’s submitted, and I think about what I should have said, or how I could have said it differently. Seems like it never ends. I’m working on a book on Job right now, and it sort of takes over my brain.

  • Question #5 – What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

I have never been a good evangelist—that is, I’ve always felt that I failed in the area of personal evangelism. I think I have made the whole effort too complex. When I read 2 Kings 5, I was taken with this little girl, a slave, who gave a very simple, joyful, enthusiastic testimony. All she did was to tell Naaman, a Syrian general, where he could be healed. God honored that little girl’s testimony in an amazing way, by healing Naaman physically and bringing him into the family of God. This is what inspired me. You don’t need a law degree, or a seminary degree, or a complex argument to present the Gospel. It’s simple and profound at the same time.

  • Question #6 – Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?

Yes. The deck, especially in a St. Louis autumn. Wow. Anyone could write in that environment.

  • Question #7 – What book are you reading now?

Calvin’s sermons on Job. He preached 159 sermons on the Book of Job, and this will take some time. I am learning a whole lot from this brilliant theologian, and have even found some areas where I don’t agree with him. He’s most likely right.

  • Question #8 – Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

I haven’t enjoyed any book more than Here I Stand (Roland Bainton), an energizing work regarding the life of Martin Luther. I first read it in 1975, and have gone back to it many times.

  • Question #9 – Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?

This depends on the area of subject matter. In the realm of theology, my favorite is John Murray, and in particular, his commentary on Romans. He is able to articulate the heart of the Gospel in a warm and winsome way, yet with unrivaled theological precision. I think he brings those two things together, as they should be. But my favorite author, to date, is David McCullough, a historian and biographer. His biography of John Adams is captivating, objective, and instructive. He has mastered the English language, and like John Murray, melds the emotion and inspiration of the book with a scholarly study of the facts.

  • Question #10 – Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?

I suppose it’s passé, but my all-time favorite is “Lawrence of Arabia”, starring Peter O’Toole. The pairing of English discipline with wild tribalism, as executed in the movie, is masterful. The acting is flawless, it seems to me. And the story, as best I can tell, is pretty close to accurate history.

  • Question #11 – Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

One of my favorite quotes is from the Angel of the Lord in Joshua 5:14. Joshua saw him in the path ahead of him, and asked if he was “for us” or “for our enemies.” The quote is the answer that Joshua got: “Neither, but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” I love this because every day, particularly in prayer, I veer off into wondering if the Lord is on my side or not. This quote is the antidote for that confusion. The Lord doesn’t side with me in all my earthly desires, but comes as commander. I need this to permeate my thinking and priorities.

  • Question #12 – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would encourage any person who embarks on writing a book to first consider whether he or she wants to write because they are exercised to write about a particular topic, or if they just want to write. I’m not that experienced myself, but I believe good writing comes from enthusiasm about the topic. I’m not sure that doing so just to develop talent, and maybe a reputation as a good writer is enough to sustain the effort. So if there is a topic, person, or event that is smoldering in your brain, that’s a good time to take up the pen, or maybe the laptop.

  • Question #13 – Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

Maybe this comes from my having been raised in a print shop in Iowa. I like to format the paragraphs and pages as I go along. Somehow that’s encouraging to me. I don’t like to write it double-spaced, like a term paper, because just that little thing makes it seem boring. I also like to work with some of my favorite fonts. Of course the publisher discards all of that, but it helps me along the way.

  • Question #14 – Do you have a favorite book that you have written?

I’ve only written two! But my favorite between them is the one P&R just published, A Journey to Wholeness. Mainly because it is what I have found most rewarding: the study and explication of Scripture. Nothing like it.

  • Question #15 – At what time of day do you write most?

The afternoon. I can’t think when the hour gets late.

  • Question #16 – How do you deal with writer’s block?

The only time I suffer from writer’s block is when I go at the first chapter. And I don’t know what the best answer is. Personally, I just have to steel myself and begin, although it is painful and what I write in the first instance makes me sick. Then I want to give up on the whole thing. But if you plow on through that, and just put your dumb ideas down, it will get you going. I can live with this because I know I can always go back and rework the first chapter. The point is, to get in gear, and this is the only way I know how to do it.

  • Question #17 – What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism I’ve received is verbosity. But it’s true, and in my writing, as I edit, I am now constantly thinking about how to say it with fewer words. The greatest compliment is when a good writer quotes you. That hasn’t happened much.

  • Question #18 – Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?

Cardinals baseball. I grew up with it on the radio in Iowa. Now I live in St Louis. Wonderful tradition.

  • Question #19 – Favorite food?

Lao cooking.

  • Question #20 – What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I’d love to meet Martin Luther. I don’t think there’s anyone in history that had more courage, wisdom and intellect. I’d like to have him tell me about when, exactly, it was that he decided he had to break with the RC church, and if he was absolutely sure that it was the right thing to do, or if he had doubts.

 

Theological Fitness by Aimee Byrd – Reviews and Interviews

Between interviews and blog features, Aimee Byrd‘s newest book Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith is creating quite a buzz. Check out what others are saying about Aimee’s book below.

1. A Daughter of the Reformation Blog (Rachel Miller):

“What I loved about this book is that it’s an encouragement, even an exhortation, to be serious about our sanctification, but it’s not a burdensome checklist kind of book. It strikes the right balance between struggling against our sin and resting in the finished work of Christ. Our efforts cannot save us, but we are called to “hold fast” because “He is faithful.”

Read Rachel’s full review by clicking HERE.

2. Books at a Glance: Read an interview between Aimee Byrd and Books at a Glance to learn more about Theological Fitness by clicking HERE.

3. Challies: Theological Fitness was included in Challies’ list of “New and Notable Books (May 2015)”: Click HERE to see Challies’ full list.

4. Sunday Women (Megan):

“Her perspective is refreshing in a Christian culture that often lacks true grit, and Theological Fitness would make an excellent basis for a mentoring relationship or a book study.”

Click HERE to read Megan’s full review.

5. Knowing the Truth (Kevin Boling): Listen to Kevin Boling interview Aimee about “A Fighting Faith” by clicking HERE.

6. Out of the Ordinary (Melissa):

“For those who want to have a fighting, victorious – and yes, sometimes difficult – faith, Theological Fitness is like having a personal trainer teach and encourage you to reach that goal.”

To read Melissa’s entire review, click HERE.

7. Operation Read Bible (Becky):

“I think it’s relevant and practical. I do believe that Christians need to be exhorted to know what they believe and why they believe; they need to be encouraged to be engaged with the Word of God.”

To read Becky’s full review, click HERE.


A Daughter of the Reformation Blog (Rachel Miller):
Books at a Glance:
Knowing the Truth Radio Program (Kevin Boling):
Tim Challies:
Sunday Women Blog (Patsy Evans and Megan Hill):
Out of the Ordinary Blog:
Operation Read Bible Blog: