The GBA IX
It’s been 2 weeks since the last Gospel Blogger Award, and during that time I’ve not exactly been scouring the blogosphere for more candidates. It’s okay though, because something cool has begun to happen. People are starting to send me their own personal picks (the green invitation on the sidebar seems to be having its desired effect). This is a really nice development, and I hope it continues. Ideally, each GBA would be selected from a slate of candidates mostly chosen by you the readers.
Just a note for those who of you who might be encountering the GBA for the first time. I'm simply seeking to honor those Bloggers who have written a post that captures the beauty and glory of Christ and his Cross. Oh, and please feel free to nominate your own recent favorites. It really helps!
So, without further ado, let’s move on to the candidates themselves. Matthew Hall, inspired by Jonathan Edwards, has written a soaring rhapsody entitled Prizing Christ. Much of the post is taken up with three lengthy quotations from Edwards himself, but here is Matthew's summation:
The problem is not that I, as a creature, desire happiness - God put that desire in me. The fight of faith is that I am blinded by sin and seek to derive happiness from everything but the one true fountain of delight. I daily need to test my heart’s direction in this regard. If I am happy, is it tied to Christ? If I am low in melancholy, is it because I am seeking joy, pleasure, and delight in religious exercise rather than in Jesus himself? But who or what else is as excellent as Jesus?Moving right along, BearyAnn of Bear Witness has nominated a post called How to Prevent Faith Decay from Doug at Dawg Blog. Doug expands upon the following four elements of "faith-decay prevention": 1) Remember your salvation story and remember Jesus Christ; 2)renew your mind; 3)respond to God's deeds and promises in faith and trust. Finally, Doug adds this word of encouragement:
Then finally remember this. When you falter and fall, Biblical faith is a rebounding faith. Abraham did not live a perfect life of faith but he did rebound. How about you? Are you living by unwavering faith? If not, isn’t time you to rebound?In addition to these two excellent nominees, I've selected Greg Burnett, who writes beautifully and imaginatively about Simon the Cyrene, the man who was chosen to carry our Lord's cross to Golgotha. Greg imagines meeting him someday in Heaven.
So my question, waiting for you, is what you saw when you looked upon Him to pick up that cross. Did the Father grace you with understanding of Who you were helping? Did you look upon that Lovely Face and see His determination to save us? Did the confession surge from you that you might someday shout (as did Thomas after Jesus' resurrection in John 20:28): "My Lord and my God!"?The hardest part about these GBA posts is picking a winner. These three bloggers are all imminently deserving, but the standout for me this time around comes from Bill at Out of the Bloo. Nominated by Jared (Mysterium Tremendum), the post is entitled The Fear of the Lord. That's certainly a neglected doctrine in our time, but its integral to the Gospel. I am reminded that the Psalmist's frequent remark concerning those in rebellion against God is, "There is no fear of the Lord in them." Now here's a quote from Bill's excellent post:
A possible answer comes to me. Fear of the Lord is - in part - the knowledge of how completely helpless I am without Him. Do I understand that? I'm an American, with a checking account and a college degree and a 401k and a house and three (three?) cars. It's easy for the well-integrated unbelievers among us to not "feel" helpless. Our physical circumstances are not desperate.Yes, I like that. That represents perfectly the spirit that I want to honor with the Gospel Blogger Award. Therefore, the winner of GBA IX is Out of the Bloo. And thanks, Jared, for bringing it to my attention!
Yet, without Christ we are helpless. There is no "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" in the Kingdom of God. We have so little power on our own. Christ died for us while we were dead in our trespasses and sins. You can't get much more helpless than "dead".