monday miscellany

~ A prayer on God’s goodness in our suffering.

~ A warning on taking “judge not” out of context. And another article on that oft abused and misunderstood verse.

~ Mark Steyn on the corrupt IRS:

So we know the IRS is corrupt. What happens then when an ambitious government understands it can yoke that corruption to its political needs? What’s striking as the revelations multiply and metastasize is that at no point does any IRS official appear to have raised objections. If any of them understood that what they were doing was wrong, they kept it to themselves. When Nixon tried to sic the IRS on a few powerful political enemies, the IRS told him to take a hike. When Obama’s courtiers tried to sic the IRS on thousands of ordinary American citizens, the agency went along, and very enthusiastically. This is a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States, and for that reason alone they should be disarmed and disbanded — and rebuilt from scratch with far more circumscribed powers.

~ Speaking of the IRS, here’s a political timeline

~ Forgive us these faults:

Newton lays out a convicting and specific example of the kinds of Christian people who coast on their strengths but do nothing about their weaknesses and so rob themselves and others of joy and God of his glory. These blemishes are often seen by their bearers as mere “foibles.” Newton says they “may not seem to violate any express command of Scripture” and yet, they are “properly sinful” because they are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to exhibit.

These “small faults” mean that large swaths of the Christian population have little influence on others for Christ. While our faults always seem small to us due to the natural self-justification of the heart, you can be sure they don’t look so small to others.

Be sure to read his list at the end.

~ I’ve previously linked to Paul Tripp’s God’s Will for Your Wait. Here is a peek at part 2:

Always remember that God is never separate from your wait. He is the Lord of waiting. He is the liberal giver of grace for the wait. Because your wait isn’t outside of his plan, but a vital and necessary part of it, he’s with you in your wait.

And remember…God isn’t so much after the success of your life or ministry – he’s after you. So as you wait, tell yourself again and again: waiting isn’t just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.

~ Truth, conviction, and Jesus are relevant:

Churches, often for good reasons, want to increase their membership. So to get people’s attention, they operate under the assumption that they must be relevant. They look around and say that self-improvement is relevant. Practical is relevant. Fun is relevant. Being just like the culture around us is relevant.

All this relevancy is making us irrelevant by removing every true and glorious thing from Christianity that makes us unique. Where is Jesus? Where is the Gospel? Where is the context for the actual Bible passage being cited? Where is our connection to history and the great Christian thinkers? Where is the theology? Where is the centrality of God in every message? Where are the answers that every human being cries out for? We would trade these weighty things for a boring sermon we could have heard on Oprah?

Read the whole thing and the Atlantic Monthly article to which he links.

~ There has been so much disturbing news this week that this was probably overlooked by many of us: laptops and phones can be searched based on hunches. If that sounds fine to you in an Obama administration, then just imagine that power in the hands of someone you do not agree with.

~ Your computer is bugging your house. I second his recommendation to watch The Lives of Others.

~ When everything is a crime, data-mining matters.

~ Eliminate these 8 things from your daily routine. There’s some wisdom here, and some things I need to eliminate.

Now, off to work I go. Happy Monday!

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