The following trailer features an upcoming documentary on the issue of the sign gifts. It will be available in September.

From the website:

On any given week, countless Christians gather and participate in strange practices they believe are true expressions of the power of God. From speaking in tongues to attempting to raise the dead, Charismatic Christians believe they are participating in modern miracles. But are these miracles real? Are the Apostolic sign gifts in operation today? Cessationist lovingly and carefully answers this important question by exposing the errors and building a positive case for the real work of the Holy Spirit today. The real gift of the Spirit is far more necessary and powerful than many imagine.

The creators of Logic on Fire, Calvinist, and Spirit & Truth have joined forces with G3 Ministries and Pastor Tom Pennington to tackle this important subject.

Daily Proverb for April 27, 2023 (Proverbs 27:1)

Daily Proverb for April 27, 2023 (Proverbs 27:1)

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Proverbs 27:1, ESV

Boasting is one of those activities that everyone knows when they hear it. It is not hard to ascertain when someone is boasting about something. Usually, it is about some quality or activity they have performed. For most people, a sudden wave of stomach pain comes over those subjected to such behavior. 

The boasting that Solomon has in mind here is not about some past event or behavior performed by the boasting person. No, it is about things they will do or plan to do. The wisdom of this verse reveals several wrong-headed thoughts that render a person of this nature a fool.

First, boasting about tomorrow is to assume you have tomorrow. The fact is that no one knows the day or hour of their death. Tomorrow may never arrive. The day of our end has been eternally etched in God’s immutable timeline, and it will not change. The problem is that most of us give little thought to the day of our eventual death, which is a matter of certainty, not probability. It has been appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). When is the last time you considered that this day might be the last day of your life on this earth? Each of us owes a death, and we will experience it (unless the Lord returns first). No one knows if they have tomorrow. 

Second, boasting about tomorrow is to ignore God’s providence in our plans. James writes on this matter in his letter:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16, ESV)

We may not die tomorrow, but we also do not know what tomorrow will bring. We all make plans. If you are like me, you keep a detailed calendar of events that you must perform and appointments you must keep. Yet, there is no guarantee that those plans made yesterday will be accomplished today because the providence of God may intervene in them, changing them and moving them in another direction. Therefore, we should be mindful of God’s purposes and plans for our life when we make plans for our own. We ought to pray about those plans, committing them to the will of God. We should be careful to reverentially use the language offered by James and say, “if the Lord is willing,” when we commit to others. No, we shouldn’t toss it on the end of our commitments as an escape clause, nor should we toss it in as some sort of superstitious exercise. We should say it, however, with a spirit of reverence and dependence on the God who orders and decrees all things for his glory and our good. I make many plans each week. One thing that is never on my calendar is the death of a loved one or friend, or church member. Yet, God brings many other things into my week that pull me off my plans and place me squarely into his. When you say, “if the Lord wills,” when making plans, you acknowledge your dependence on him and are ready and willing to change your plans when he changes them for you. 

Let’s not boast about tomorrow. Instead, let’s boast in the Lord who has ordered our days and governs our lives. He always rules over our plans and, sometimes, overrules them for his purposes. 

Daily Proverb for April 26, 2023 (Proverbs 26:20)

Daily Proverb for April 26, 2023 (Proverbs 26:20)

For lack of wood the fire goes out
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
Prov. 26:20

The image painted by Solomon in this verse is one that most people would immediately understand. To have a useful fire, it requires fuel. In those days, a fire was usually fueled by wood. In the modern world, fire is also fueled by other means. However, the point is the same. If there is no fuel, a fire cannot continue. Therefore, it must be regularly supplied with fuel to keep going.

The same is true for quarreling. As fallen people, we tend to love controversy. Discussions of every kind can be heard in the halls of churches and the rooms of homes. Sometimes they lead to quarrels that are useless and unprofitable. The quarreling that Solomon has in mind here is the one that a whisperer fuels. That is, a person that reveals secrets is always running his mouth, gossiping about others, talebearing, and using his tongue for evil instead of good. Nothing good comes from that sort of fuel, that sort of source.

On the contrary, it leads to division and discord. James rightly states that the “tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (Jas. 3:6). The same image is presented in this verse as Solomon’s offers. Therefore, we must be cautious about how we use our tongues. We must guard our words and avoid unnecessary quarreling. We must not be people that slander or gossip about others. If we do, it will lead to ruin. It will not lead to a helpful fire but one that destroys everything in its path. How many lives have been ruined by one who does not guard his tongue but uses it for destruction? That may not be the intention, but the danger still exists.

None of us are immune to the danger of an uncontrolled tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. I have witnessed and sadly participated in this sin within my circle of friends. It is too easy, it seems, to whisper, slander, and speak unkindly about others. I think pastors and elders are especially prone to this sin and must be extra-diligent because they have occasion to know many things — much of them offered in confidence. It is hard to discern, at times, when to say something to someone else as you seek to serve them. However, pastors are not the only ones in danger of fueling an uncontrolled fire. Church members, too, must be careful as well. When you are off in a corner, speaking under your breath, are you using your tongue for good and edification or wickedness and evil? Are you fueling the fire that will destroy homes, churches, and lives? Are you listening to a “fire starter” and contributing to this sin? When it happens to you, do you drown their words with water by telling the other person to cease their evil ways? If not, you are part of the fuel that leads to destruction. Remember, the Lord hears every idle word. He hears every whisper. He sees every email and text message. He sees, and he knows. 

There are many good things to talk about in this life, and many of them are good and edifying to the souls of others. Use your tongue for those things and not as an instrument to fuel a raging fire. Speak to others about your prayer life, Bible, and book reading. Speak to others about how the Lord is sanctifying you in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Speak to others about their affairs, asking questions about their lives and how you might serve them. Ask others to pray for you and how you can pray for them. If God’s people did these things, there would not be time for using the tongue for evil. 

The tongue is restless. It will fuel a fire that will destroy people. The problem, of course, is the heart. Examine your heart. Ask yourself if you participate in this sin. Ask yourself why. Then repent of it, plead the grace and mercy of God, and purpose by the means God has given to refuse to fuel fires with whispers, slanders, and gossip that will only ruin others and harm your soul. The Lord will sustain you as you pray, “Lord, give me what you command.” 

Daily Proverb for April 18, 2023 (Prov. 18:15)

Daily Proverb for April 18, 2023 (Prov. 18:15)

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15

Two times in Solomon’s short and relatively easy-to-understand statement, he uses the word “knowledge” to press home his point: It is something to desire. His statement mentions two aspects of the human condition: the heart and the ear. These items are further qualified as an intelligent heart and the ear of the wise. All of these items lead to the apparent issue: knowledge is something to pursue, and it is good for us to have it. How, then, should it be pursued?

First, an intelligent heart acquires knowledge. The heart is the center seat of emotions of the human condition. Elsewhere, Solomon tells us to guard our heart because it is the focal point of all our behavior (Prov. 4:23). It is essential, therefore, to fill that heart with good knowledge. Each day we fill our hearts with something. Knowledge comes at us in various forms and from multiple directions. Not everything we learn is good for the soul. If we pursue the wrong kind of knowledge, the wrong types of behavior will follow. An intelligent heart will seek edifying knowledge, which leads to righteousness and godliness and nourishes and strengthens one’s walk with the Savior. A stupid heart will gather to itself any knowledge without discernment, and it will lead to ruin. 

Second, the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Again, the source of knowledge is essential. The ear is often the gateway to the heart, though it isn’t the only door. The eyes, too, are often used to gain knowledge (reading, watching, etc.). Here, Solomon employs the “ear-gate.” What is it we are listening to regularly? Often both senses are in view simultaneously (watching television, for instance). We must employ our ears to true, helpful knowledge that will sustain us in the pilgrimage of this life. 

Daily Proverb (Proverbs 24:10)

Daily Proverb (Proverbs 24:10)

If you faint in the day of adversity,
    your strength is small.
Proverbs 24:10

Adversity is not unique to the Christian life. It comes to everyone at one time or another and in various forms and faces as we live in this fallen world. Yet, there is a unique aspect to it when it is applied to the Christian who desires the righteousness of God and pursues the kingdom of God. That adversity is often given in the form of opposition from friends and family who do not know the love of God in Christ. It is a painful thing for most people. There are fewer things in life than being opposed by people who are close to you. Yet, the Scriptures are clear that adversity from the ungodly will be the portion of the godly for most of their days. On that point, there is little disagreement. The question isn’t as much about the facts of the matter but what to do when it comes. 

Solomon tells us that our strength is small if we give up in the face of adversity. He is not suggesting that those issues that come to us are insignificant. Instead, he seeks to encourage the faithful to persevere in those times. Why? Because of the One who does the persevering. No, we are not strong enough in ourselves to weather the storm of evil people. Left to ourselves, we would probably give up. Yet, that is no option for the child of God. It isn’t on the table because the Spirit of the living God will not allow his people to fall by the wayside and abandon the faith once delivered to the saints. Instead, in our weakness, we cry out to God for help in those times of hardship and plead with the God of heaven to defend us, help us, and strengthen us. It is when we are weak, he is strong. God is not interested in seeing his children go it alone. That is not the point. He is interested in seeing that they live their lives dependent on him. How else can you withstand fierce opposition from a spouse or family member? How else can you stand firm in the face of an employer who regards your love for Christ as a waste of time? How will you stand against the effects of sin in this world? It isn’t by your might but through the power of the Almighty. Therefore, friend, when opposed, reflect on the God of heaven and remember that he is a strong tower and fortress you can appeal to for the help you need. Remember that you do not serve a Savior who is not sympathetic to your concerns. He suffered these things as well, and he knows your struggle. Therefore, pray and plead through his Name for the help that your Father has promised to give. Indeed, if you faint, it isn’t because the help wasn’t available, it is because you did not seek it and tried it alone. Instead, cry out to your Father, and he will deliver you. 

Daily Proverb (Proverbs 23:9)

Daily Proverb (Proverbs 23:9)

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
    for he will despise the good sense of your words.
Proverbs 23:9

You don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media to see that there are many people on those mediums that would be the objects of the warnings given by Solomon through the book of Proverbs. This verse is certainly no exception to that statement. There, one sees, with clarity, that many people, though foolish, believe themselves to be wise. It is an epidemic of sorts, I think. This illness has a more significant impact than any pandemic because it demonstrates that we live in a day and age in which there is tremendous access to information, but people remain fools. 

Growing up, I often thought {io knew better than those who went before me. The saying goes, “The older I get, the smarter my parents become.” Well, it is true about many in our world. Many people talk like fools and act like fools because they do not listen to the wisdom of others who have gone before them. They know more. They know better. They think you’re stupid for trying to correct them. Of course, no one knows everything, but it is true that the older and more experienced of our world should be heard and heeded. When that doesn’t happen, trouble typically follows. 

Charles Bridges, in his commentary on the book of Proverbs, writes, “Our Lord’s rule is to the same purport — ‘give not that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample under foot, and turn again and rend you.’ (Matt. 7:6). Cast not away your good counsels upon incorrigible sinners. So long as there is any hope of reclaiming the fool, make every effort for his precious soul.” (Charles Bridges, Proverbs, 427)

Of course, there is a breaking point, and it usually comes when a person refuses to listen to you time and again. At some point, you must remind yourself of this verse and move on to other things. As a pastor, I have witnessed this too many times. For instance, there was a case when a church member was caught in a grievous sin. Efforts were made to have a conversation with the person, and some conversations did happen, but at the end of the day, the individual determined that they knew best and went their way. Regardless of the effort, the individual would not listen. At some point, you must let people fall flat on their faces before they learn. For some — for fools — learning the hard way is the only way they learn. It’s not easy to know when that point is reached, and it isn’t easy to let them go their way when you care deeply for them. But, it would be best if you did it, nonetheless.