Tune My Heart

Living and speaking for Jesus

Tag: joy

Why Stoicism Is Toxic

Brilliant short answer from John Piper on why emotions are crucial in the Christian life.

Taste and see

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me:
let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)

The psalmist calls us to join him in praising the Lord, and so often we can respond with a cynical laugh or a world-weary sigh.  “Really? After the week I’ve just had?” Yet he calls us to praise him nevertheless, saying that even the afflicted have reasons to rejoice. Why?

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. (v4-5)

Shame makes us hide away, afraid of being seen for what we are. Our sins are a dark stain we can’t remove. But those who look to him, by contrast, are radiant and shining.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them. (v6-7)

This is how the afflicted, the sinful, the weighed down can rejoice: the Lord hears them and saves them. The Sent One of the Lord delivers his people, saying to those that would condemn them, “No more! No further! My people are safe in my embrace.”

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.(v8-10)

You frail and weary people, taste and see! Knowing the Lord brings hope to the darkest times. Christ the Rock is your refuge, even from the righteous wrath of God. Ultimately, he gives you himself. And so those who seek the Lord lack no good thing—because they have him.

Top five Christian books of 2012

Here’s what are probably the best Christian books I’ve read this year. Honourable mentions go to Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho and Steve Levy’s Bible Overview for getting me thinking about the Old Testament more.

  1. The Good God – Michael Reeves. This seems to have been many people’s pick of the year, and with good reason. Mike’s introduction to the Trinity shows clearly how the life of God as Father, Son and Spirit is an overflowing goodness that brings light and life to us and the whole world. He writes such lively prose that you can’t help but imagine him chuckling to himself with joy as he writes. It’s a book about delighting in the Trinity that is itself delightful.
  2. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness – Tim Keller. I reviewed this for 10ofthose back in January, where I said it left me convicted about my pride, convinced of the joy that “thinking of ourselves less” brings, and rejoicing in the power of the gospel to transform lives. My small group are getting copies of this as (belated) Christmas presents. It’s short, cheap, and packs a gospelicious punch far above its size and price.
  3. A New Name – Emma Scrivener. Emma’s wonderfully honest and witty blog has probably given me more articles to email to friends than any other website, so I was very excited to get hold of this book. Her auto-biography is a remarkable testimony to the grace of God through the ordeal of anorexia, and should be required reading for anyone whose friends struggle with eating disorders, negative body image, depression, OCD, or sin (so that’s everyone, then).
  4. Thoughts for Young Men – J. C. Ryle. Ryle was a bishop in the 19th century, but he could have written this book directly to young men in the 21st. A sterling call for young men to turn to Christ, and not be ensnared by the world. I want to study this book with other young men so that we can exhort each other as Ryle exhorts his readers. Short, simple and wonderful to read.
  5. The Meaning of Marriage – Tim and Kathy Keller. There are many books on marriage that single people either shouldn’t or don’t need to read. This is not one of them. I can’t speak for marrieds, but this is highly recommended for singles – particularly those who view marriage with rose-tinted glasses, or who are looking for a perfect partner, or simply wondering what marriage is all about.

Fiction and other books here.

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