31 July 2007

This life, in brief

by Dan Phillips

Proverbic distillation:
For the Christian, all misery is temporary.
For the non-Christian, all pleasure is temporary.
More poetically:
The sorrows of the godly are fleeting,
As are the pleasures of the wicked.
Line A:
Psalm 16:11; 23:6; 73:23-26; Isaiah 25:1-9; Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23; Romans 8:18, 28-39; 16:20; 2 Corinthians 4:16 — 5:10; James 1:2-3, 12; 1 Peter 1:5-6; 5:10; 1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:4; 22

Line B:
Psalm 1:4-6; 17:14a; 37:10; 73:16-20; Proverbs 10:28; 11:7; Matthew 16:26; Luke 6:24-26; 12:16-21; 16:19-31; Romans 2:5, 9; Colossians 3:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 11:25b; James 5:1-6; 1 John 2:17; Revelation 20:10, 15; 21:8
Conclusion: Take heart, or fear — as appropriate.

Dan Phillips's signature


Nicholas Z. Cardot said...

Very good! Powerful thoughts!

donsands said...

" And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.'

I shared this verse with some in the Catholic Church. For they say that you can never really know if one will go to heaven when one dies.

I say to them, "Whatever it takes to have your name written in the book of life, and to know it is written there, that's what I want.
Wouldn't you want that?"

And it's amazing, but they simply say you can never be sure until you die.

I thank the Lord that you can have Blessed Assurance.

Chris Pixley said...

Very clever, Dan. Well done!

FX Turk said...

Dan --

For the second time in 7 days, you have resorted to right-brain posting, and I'm starting to worry about you.

The men in black robes who will stop by today are your friends, and I want you to take heart, or fear, as appropriate.

DJP said...

My right, or your right?

Jay said...

Acts 16:30-31...and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
Act 16:31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Fairly simple formula, IMHO.

FX Turk said...



SLW said...

This life is the only taste of hell the Christian will experience, and the only taste of heaven the non-believer will.

Solameanie said...

This must be the "Headline News" version of a post. Or was it the "Cliff Notes" version? You've been meeting with consultants, haven't you, Dan? They've told you that the American population has the attention span of a gnat and can't read anything longer than a haiku.

Don't believe them. If I could, I would resurrect Leo Tolstoy just so he could blog. Imagine the bandwidth that would take.

And yes, I enjoyed the post.

DJP said...

Truth is, Frank used up our bandwidth quota for July already. While "on hiatus."

Phil and I have to keep it brief until August.

FX Turk said...


DJP said...

Don't bring a meat chub to a scalpel fight, Turk.


Kristine said...

Cool. I really liked this. I mean, really, really liked this.

Phil Johnson said...

I loved the brevity and clarity of this, Dan. It's like a 72-ounce steak, made to eat in 9.5 minutes.

We ought to have a whole week of posts under 50 words each.

Would Frank be up to the challenge?

DJP said...

I can answer that question in well under 50 words.


Solameanie said...


And WHAT a way to lovingly tweak our Emergent friends. Brevity and above all, clarity!

Now, if you could put authority, brevity, clarity AND certainty into one 50-word post or less, that I think would qualify TeamPyro for another Warnie, don't you?

DJP said...

Oh, I like it. In fact, one of my works "in the pipe" is about brevity.

Stefan Ewing said...

Dan the Man (TM), is there any way to work Psalm 90 in there somehow? Our senior pastor is on vacation, and the "junior" pastor more than proved his worth last weekend when he expounded upon the utter fleetingness of this life, and how we have only one chance in all eternity to get things right.

Rachael Starke said...

Solameanie - Those 3 paragraphs were better food for my soul than the 45 minute "cutesy thoughts while strolling" I endured this last Sunday. Seriously - I've read Spurgeon, Piper, Mahaney - but no non-inerrant writer I've read convicts/heartens/strengthens my soul like DJP.

Maybe he can put his gifts for pithy, meaty prose(is that even possible? Yes, because that's what Dan's stuff is!) to use writing one of those little religious bathroom books like Wilkinson did - we could all buy them and subtly replace all the Jabez copies we found with them...

Stefan Ewing said...

(The Lord has made that Psalm all the more poignant to me today, considering that it was written by Moses, the futility and utter sorrow of whose earthly life was brought home to me today in reading Numbers 20:10-13, not to mention the whole sad story that starts unfolding a few chapters later in Numbers.)

AJ Gibson said...

That, my friend, was the most edifying (non-canonical) thing I've read all day. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Distilled truth. Profound, Dan.

Stefan Ewing said...

I just stepped outside for some fresh air, thinking about all this—in particular, the awesome and fearsome power of Yahweh that Moses had witnessed with his own eyes, to continue the Psalm 90 theme—and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bird flapping its wings. I spun around, and it was a pigeon (i.e., "rock dove") taking off from the shrubbery, almost right in front of me.

I've never, ever seen a pigeon in this neighbourhood, much less one flying right in front of me. Make of it what you will.

FX Turk said...

Here's the challenge:

Posts every day for a week from all three of us, each under 50 words, on this topic:

"In what way does God love the World?"

We can start any time. First one to fail to post, or to post more than 50 words, or to post only sentence fragments, is "out". Last man standing gets a free TeamPyro piece of junk from the Pawn Shop.

FX Turk said...

50 words -including- the subject line.

Phil Johnson said...

OK, you're on.

But the byline and signature don't count.

If Dan's agreeable, we'll start Monday.

Stefan Ewing said...

Phil, Frank:

I totally want to see that! How much good, ol'-time doctrine can you get into 50 words?

Can we spectators get you guys started? Of course, the challenge would be not to use the following verses as is, but to turn them into "exegeses in miniature"....

Genesis 3:21, Psalm 32:5, Ezekiel 37:5, 2 Samuel 12:13, Isaiah 53:5, John 3:16, Revelation 2:17.

Or to paraphrase something Dan wrote a month or two ago, Genesis 1:1-Revelation 22:21.

Stefan Ewing said...

D'oh! "Revelation 2:17" actually links, of course, to Revelation 22:17:

"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price."


Thank the Lord for his unmerited mercy in saving us sinners.

JLS said...

Nice thoughts put in a very good, concise manner.

DJP said...

I'm down wid dat.

FX Turk said...

OK. Monday.

Solameanie said...

Reformed Mommy,

I hope you didn't misunderstand me. I wasn't putting Dan's post down at all. It was great. My remarks were simply intended as humor.

Having said that, I have to add this observation. Sometimes short and concise is indeed best and accomplishes more. But I do get concerned about how "dumbed down" our culture is. The media hasn't helped and neither has our educational establishment. Nowadays, everything must be doled out in "bite-sized" pieces. No one has time to slow down, think, and digest any longer. It's very hard for today's youth to pay attention to anything for very long, and adults are increasingly that way. That should concern all of us.

But again, kudos to Dan's brief post. It was indeed a rifle shot, a quick, loud crack that hit the bullseye.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the excellent post, it was very helpful! One question -the Isaiah 24 1-9 reference under the "line A" scripture chain - what is the context?

Stefan Ewing said...

Upon reflection, I see my selection of verses above is the "free offer" version of the Gospel. Well, that's how much God loves the world, that he offers salvation freely to all, in spite of our sinful natures. Amen!

DJP said...

Thanks for catching that mistake, Dan. It was supposed to be Isaiah 25:1-9. I've corrected it now.

Thanks again.

Stefan Ewing said...


I was so caught up with my own train of thought, I missed the brilliance of your idea!

"Maybe [Dan, Frank, and Phil] can put [their] gifts for pithy, meaty prose...to use writing one of those little religious bathroom books like Wilkinson did - we could all buy them and subtly replace all the Jabez copies we found with them..."

There's something there. Thank solameanie for getting you started!

Rachael Starke said...

Solameanie - No offense taken at all, and in fact I absolutely agree with you- it is a tragedy that so many (myself included) struggle to sit through a sermon longer than 20 minutes. But in our family's case in California, the evangellyfish capital of America, that struggle comes because of what is said in that 20/30/40 minutes, or rather, what is not said, or said so poorly. The ability to declare the truth of God so con-cisely and pre-cisely, such that it pierces the heart and makes you long for hours/pages more, is a rare and powerful gift. All the guys here are prodigiously/disturbingly gifted, but I hope the others won't be offended when I say that this is something that Dan has in spades, and one of the reasons I so appreciate this blog.

That,and the reality-check Emergent posters of course. :)

William Dicks said...

Excellent Dan!

But didn't you know that all you have to do is name and claim your pleasures and powers? That is the "Secret" you know! :-)

Solameanie said...

Oh, my..I actually missed the Jabez jibe also. What a hoot! I think they could replace quite a few Guideposts maglets also. Very funny!

Reformedmommy, when you said "evangeljellyfish," it made me think of my friend Dr. Robert Morey, who uses that expression quite often. Doesn't that word hit the nail on the head? It's one of a series of odd species, including the evangamoeba, evangemelion, evangesillyputty, and the most dangerous of all, the evangemagisterium.

Stefan Ewing said...

William Dicks makes an appearance! The man who gave the world "schmeradactyl"! My hero!

There is, thank the Lord, at least one pithy, doctrinally sound daily devotional out there: Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. In my last two years of wandering as God was preparing to save me, that book changed my entire understanding of what Christianity is all about.