GOD IS ON HIS THRONE AND HIS REIGN IS ABSOLUTE


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The providential timing of this month’s theme in Tabletalk magazine, “Fear,” is hard to miss. To encourage you and build you up in a time when our families, neighbors, and coworkers need to see Christians firmly trusting in Christ alone, we have made the March 2020 issue free to read.

Christians fight fear with faith in the Lord. Moreover, God’s people must remember that the fear of the Lord rightly orders all other fears. Long before this latest global health threat surfaced, the editors of Tabletalk planned this issue to address many of the concerns and anxieties that can beset all of us:

“Fear is a primal emotion so powerful that it can wreak havoc on our hearts. The question is, What do we do with our fears? Do we wallow in the mire of fear, act as if we have no fear, attempt to hide our fear, or try to face our fears with sheer tenacity? Or do we turn to the Lord? Only when we turn to the Lord do we hear Him say, ‘Do not fear.’ However, the Lord commands us not to fear not so that we might ignore our fears or overcome them by sheer willpower but because He has promised, ‘I am with you.’”

Continue reading how Dr. Burk Parsons introduces this month’s theme here. Please share the articles in this issue freely.

Thank you to the many supporters of Ligonier Ministries who enable us to provide timely service and edifying words to the church around the world.

 

If you don’t already receive Tabletalk magazine, you can request a free, three-month trial at TryTabletalk.com.

 

ORDINARY


Publisher’s Description

Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there s a next-best-thing, if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be ordinary.

Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What s needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; it s a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.

Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul not a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; it s an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.”

The Ordinary Christian Life by Michael Horton

Steven Lawson on True Conversion


To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope. more

From the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible


Being a Christ-like Husband

Few men appreciate long articles on how to behave—especially as to how we ought to treat our wives, so here, based on Ephesians 5, are our duties summed up in terms of their pattern and their practice.

Christ is our pattern. Our basic precept for marriage is, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” (Eph. 5:25a). Following Christ’s pattern of loving His bride, each of us is to love his wife in these ways:

  1. Absolutely. Christ gives “Himself” for His bride—His total self (v. 25). He holds nothing back. That is obvious from what He has done (think of Calvary), is doing (think of His constant intercession in heaven), and will do (think of His Second Coming). So we too are called to radical, absolute giving of ourselves to our wives in authentic love.
  2. Realistically and purposely. Christ goes on loving the church, despite her spots and wrinkles, so that He can present her perfect to His Father in the Great Day (vv. 26–27). Our love must be both realistic (remembering our wives are sinners just like us) and purposeful (aiming for their holiness).
  3. Sacrificially. Christ nourishes and cherishes His bride at His own expense (vv. 28–29). So ought we husbands treat our wives at our own expense with the same care that we treat our bodies. If you get something in your eye, you give it immediate, tender care. Do you treat your wife with that same care when she is hurting?

How should we practice this pattern?

Show great interest in your wife as a person. Care about her. Ask her how her day went and how the kids behaved today. Ask her about her dreams, fears, and frustrations. Learn to listen so that she opens up the more.

Pray for your wife privately and with her. Lay out her needs before God. Be earnest in praying for her spiritual growth, and for relief in physical and emotional difficulties. Let her feel your strength and your tenderness on her behalf at God’s throne of grace.

Love your wife lavishly. Love her as she is—faults included. Please her (1 Cor. 7:33). Respect and honor her, and treat her tenderly (1 Peter 3:7). Tell her every day how much you love her. Shower her with affection. Cherish her as God’s special gift to you.

Heap praise on her. Tell her how beautiful and wonderful she is in your eyes. Be intimate, specific, creative, and repetitive in your compliments. Compliment her kindness, her smile, her dress, her hair, and a thousand other things. Compliment her with affection in your voice, with love in your eyes, and with arms of embrace. Praise her in the presence of others (Prov. 31:28). Never allow the children to speak disrespectfully about her.

Learn what your wife enjoys. Does she enjoy walking together? Walk with her. Eating out? Take her out. Learn to love what she loves as much as possible. Cultivate shared friendship and interests. The more you find to do in common, usually the better your marriage will be.

Provide your wife with biblical, tender, clear servant leadership, not ruthless authoritarianism. Following Christ as your pattern, delight in serving her (Matt. 20:25–26). Be the spiritual leader of your wife and children. Be the father-shepherd, a gentle giant in the home.

Never forget the differences between men and women; become an expert in knowing and responding to the way your wife is. Never allow any relationship to take priority over your friendship with your wife. Never criticize her over small things; as for big things, do it with great tenderness and love, at the right time, and in the right setting. Never compare your wife unfavorably to other people, or criticize her in front of other people. Never fail to give your wife sufficient freedom so that she can strive to be her own kind of a Proverbs 31 woman. Do not smother her or try to control her personality. Never stop being a courteous gentleman.

In conclusion, remember this: if both you and your wife put God first, each other second, and yourselves third, you will be guaranteed a truly blessed marriage.