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  1. As is typical around here, I liked something Charles Spurgeon wrote. It comes from his evening devotional for March 8:

Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one swamp in the world, they would soon be up to their neck in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar. About us all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at times, like Jacob, to cry, ‘All these things are against me’ [Gen. 42:36]. Faith’s way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities.

2. I liked an article I re-read this week from Fergus Kerr, titled, “Tradition and Reason: Two Uses of Reason, Critical and Contemplative,” published in the International Journal of Systematic Theology 6:1 (January 2004): 37–49. In the essay, Kerr argues (convincingly in my view) that theology is an ascetical discipline. Why? Because it involves “the intellectual discipline of eradicating temptations to idolatry” (43). Then he writes:

“In this conception of theological reasoning, intellectual discipline cannot be separated from moral practices: both require an ascesis, a self-humbling, a conversion of self-centered to God-centeredness. Put another way, overcoming idolatry requires both intellectual and moral conversion” (43, emphasis mine).

Here is my main takeaway from the article: Contrary to what most people think, our innate ideas of God are not morally neutral. Consequently, as we engage with and contemplate the self-revealing God in Holy Scripture, our idolatries are exposed, which requires intellectual repentance, moral contrition, purgation, and self-displacement.

3. During my sermon preparation this week, I came across this brief sentence in Richard Phillips’s commentary on Hebrews:

“Sin advertises pleasure but delivers pain” (111).