Hello friends, welcome to another weekly issue of The Garden Weekly. Let us pray and dive into this week's links.
"I cannot persuade myself that without love to others, and without, as far as rests with me, peaceableness towards all, I can be called a worthy servant of Jesus Christ."
— Basil of Caesarea (4th Century Bishop)
Father God, we love because you loved us first. Thank you for loving the unlovable, showing mercy to the unmerciful, grace to the self-centered, and offering salvation to those who rejected you. We pray, Holy Spirit, that you would help us to love the unlovable, show mercy to the unmerciful, grace to the self-centered, and offer your salvation to those who reject us and you. May all that we do show your love. Amen.
Consider Another Perspective 🤔
This is something that I don’t think I ever understood. At one time, I might have said that there are times of being “filled with the Spirit” that result in uncontrollable bursts of emotion and elation. I no longer think that’s how the Spirit operates, so what do we do with Paul’s comparison (and contrast) with drunkenness when we are filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)?
Challenge Your Brain 🧠
You may get the impression that shame is always a bad thing. That’s not exactly right. Dr. Gregg TenElshof, author of the book For Shame: Rediscovering the Virtues of a Maligned Emotion, discusses the nuances of bad shame and good shame with the Mere Fidelity crew. When should we feel shame? For what should we feel shame? How does the body and appearance relate to shame?
This is an important part of scripture that is not often understood in the West. Honor and shame are more often seen as emotions, but they are not just that. This conversation was helpful for me.
Read and Reflect 📖
The doctrine of eternity tells us that God was, is, and will be forever, and those who are his will be with him for eternity.
The doctrine of eternity is an enormous help when it comes to our struggle of values, because it teaches us what is truly valuable and worth living for. Eternity blesses us with ultimate values clarification. Go to Revelation, and listen to the voices that are on the other side. What is the subject of their celebration? It’s not wealth, power, grand palaces, people’s acclaim, success, or achievement. No, the constant focus of the celebration is the Savior and his faithful and victorious grace. We need the values clarification of eternity because we so easily lose our sense of what’s important. For some of us this means that we spend way too much time, energy, money, and worry on our lawn. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours are invested fighting weeds and producing the green that has become so important to us. Is your lawn more important to you than it should be?
Tripp gives us eight ways that the doctrine of eternity can help us. Here are a few of my highlights:
1. The existence of eternity immediately tells me that I have been designed with bigger concerns than a right-here, right-now focus on my wants, needs, and feelings. If there is a such thing as eternity, then whatever I want, whatever it is that I think I need, and my feeling of the moment must be understood and evaluated in light of what is to come. 2. The existence of eternity tells me where and when my only true satisfaction will be found. Eternity confronts us with the fact that the ultimate in personal happiness, joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction will never be found in the created world of people and things. Eternity invites us to understand that the highest of human pleasures are found in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.3. The existence of eternity assures me of the grace I need to fight the values battles that will wage in my heart. In this struggle of values, we are never alone, because the King of kings has invaded our lives by his grace. He never sends us into battle without going with us.
Christianity Is True ✝️
The Incredible Evidence for Reincarnation Thoughtfully Examined with Seth Hart | Capturing Christianity with Cameron Bertuzzi 📽 →
I wasn’t aware that proponents of reincarnation give evidence for its truth, so I found this short clip of an interview with Seth Hart interesting. Hart is a Christian who has studied the evidence for reincarnation and was preparing for a debate (I say was because you can find the debate linked below) arguing for the Biblical worldview.
The Bible teaches us that all men will die once, then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore, reincarnation cannot be a part of the Biblical worldview.
I enjoyed the clip, and the debate is still in my “to watch” queue.
Listen and Learn 🎧
This is the first of one of the most fascinating podcast series from the Bible Project team that I have heard. As the first of the Tree of Life series, Tim and Jon discuss the importance of trees in scripture and how the scriptures use tree imagery to describe humans.
Flourishing humans bear fruit, are connected to the vine, and so on, while humans rebelling against their creator are fruitless, cut off, and burned as weeds. They go so much deeper than that, but it’s worth thinking about our lives in connection with this important Biblical metaphor.
– The Bible uses design patterns to help us see the parallels between humans and trees.– Trees are often used to illustrate a moment of decision and testing for humans. They are also used to illustrate a moment of communion with God.– Trees historically have been used as illustrations of eternal life because they possess the power within themselves to self perpetuate.
Explore the Scriptures 📖
The now and the not-yet kingdom of God can be really hard to comprehend. The kingdom is both here and the fullness of it is still to come. In the same way, Hubbard argues that we both have been and will be justified, have been and will be adopted, and more.
To say we both have been and will be justified may sound like double-talk. How can justification happen in both the past and future tense? But the New Testament authors, and Paul especially, talk this way all the time.
– We have been adopted (Romans 8:14–16) — and we will be (Romans 8:23).– We have been resurrected (Ephesians 2:4–6) — and we will be (1 Corinthians 15:22).– We have been redeemed (Colossians 1:13–14) — and we will be (Ephesians 4:30).– We have been sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2) — and we will be (1 Thessalonians 5:23).– We can even say we have been glorified (Romans 8:30; 2 Corinthians 3:18) — and we will be (Colossians 3:4).
Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️
What Does the Science of Climate Change Say? With Hugh Ross and Antonia Godber | Unbelievable? With Justin Brierley 📽 →
This is a bit off the beaten path for this letter, but I found this debate/discussion fascinating enough that I think it’s worth including. Both Christian physicist Dr. Hugh Ross and climate change campaigner Antonia Godber agree that climate change is an important topic to address, but the solutions are rather different. I learned something through this interaction.
Keep Your Mind on Things Above
I will be praying for you this week.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
— Matthew 6:26 (CSB)