Bimonthly article roundups were getting a bit cumbersome for me. I long for more time to write! But, there is a time for everything, and now is not that time.
For now, I've decided to do a larger, monthly roundup instead (but still limiting it to five articles). This month: meekness, complaining and bragging, and prayer.
Is Meek Weak? By Aaron Menikoff at 9Marks
Pastor Aaron shares his experience of failing to be gentle. It was a timely rebuke for me. "I learned that while, for the most part, my lust, sloth, and pride were in check, harshness was having a heyday. I wondered how I missed seeing this sin for so long. After all, I prayed regularly, read the Bible daily, and preached at least once a week. I had been set apart by a local church to address the sins of an entire congregation, so how could I have so carelessly missed seeing my own sin?"
Stop Complaining, Part 1 by Jeremiah Johnson at Grace To You
This one hurt a bit. The Lord's discipline is good. "This pervasive discontentment colors virtually every area of modern life. Man’s rebellious default setting is to grumble, complain, argue, and whine about anything and everything he doesn’t like. But what about the church? Are God’s people immune from such pervasive dissatisfaction?"
Love & Bragging by Eric and Leslie Davis at The Cripple Gate
This one hurt too. How the mouth betrays the heart of wickedness! "Bragging wants attention. It’s an extreme self-worshiper. It will hijack whatever means at its disposal—work, skills, giftedness, ministry—to applaud itself. And if it does not get attention, it will do things like become jealous, angry, resentful, and suspicious of others. …But bragging need not only be external boasting. It could be internal as well; silently boasting to oneself."
Persistent Prayer to a Loving Father by Jason Helopoulos at The Christward Collective
This was a soothing reminder of the relational component of prayer. Our loving Father loves to hear and answer! "Many of us struggle to maintain persistence in prayer because we tend to think of the Father as harsh, hard, and severe. His love seems fleeting and His apparent lack of response to our prayers seems to confirm this suspicion. But don’t we know that He is the fountain of love? His love is always directed towards us."
What Is the Prayer of Faith? By Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Ministries
In light of the previous article, this is a good reminder to the simplicity of prayer. "Years ago, the editor of a publishing company asked me to write a book on prayer. The theme is a vitally important one. The publishing house was well known. To be honest, I felt flattered. But in a moment of heaven-sent honesty, I told him that the author of such a book would need to be an older and more seasoned author (not to mention, alas, more prayerful) than I was. I mentioned one name and then another. My reaction seemed to encourage him to a moment of honesty, as well. He smiled. He had already asked the well-seasoned Christian leaders whose names I had just mentioned! They, too, had declined in similar terms. Wise men, I thought. Who can write or speak at any length easily on the mystery of prayer?"
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.