Friday, August 31, 2007

His pleasure in us, our praise to Him

"One writer said that what we commonly think of as love is really the desire to be loved. I know that is true for me, and it has been true for years, that often when I want somebody to like me, I am really wanting them to say that I am redeemed, that I am not a loser, that I can stay in the boat, stay in the circus, that my act redeems me…”

“I would imagine then that the repentance we are called to is about choosing one audience over another. Jesus says many times in the gospel that He knows the heart of man, and the heart of man does not have the power to give glory. I think Jesus is saying, ‘Look, you guys are running around like monkeys trying to get people to clap, but people are fallen… Why not get your glory from God? Why not accept your feelings of redemption because of His pleasure in you, not the fickly and empty favor of man? And only then will you know who you are, and only then will you have true, uninhibited relationships with others.”
From Donald Miller in "Searching for God Knows What" (Ch 11, pg 175, 177) ht: Sets 'n Service

And Jer. 17:7 was a very pertinent and necessary reminder for me this week! (How many times did we repeat that for the kids in Super Summer Sunday School, and I'm still not getting it!? Now I really know I'm a slow learner!) :-/


7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."


9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?


10 "I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve."

.

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for You are the one I praise.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I was wrong...

Last week, I made some very emotional and inaccurate statements about someone on this blog that were read by others.

The bottom line is that I believe that if we sin publicly, then both our faith and God's Word compel us to also confess it publicly. And this blog is in the public domain.

With that being said, the statements I made and conclusions that I came to last week regarding another woman's character were unwarranted and to make them publicly was sinful. It was more than a bad decision on my part to post personally identifiable information here about her. It was from a lack of faith in God and an unloving heart to both her and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have met with the other person and have seen where I misconstrued her motives and drew inaccurate conclusions about her.

Therefore, I am truly sorry, especially for any harm that I may have caused. Hopefully, this sister in the Lord will be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us both through His Son Jesus Christ.

Being a Servant of the Lord

Isaiah 42 speaks of The Servant of the Lord, which is clearly a prophecy of Jesus Christ. I think it also speaks to His disciples - we who follow Him and are being conformed to His image:

1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.

2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.

3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope."

5 This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."

(emphasis added)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A mess worth making


from "Relationships: A Mess Worth Making" by Tim Lane & Paul Tripp":

"God keeps us in messy relationships for His redemptive purpose....

Have you ever wondered why God doesn't just make your relationships better overnight? We often think that if God really cared for us, he would make our relationships easier.

In reality, a difficult relationship is a mark of His love and care. We would prefer that God would just change the relationship, but he won't be content until the relationship changes us, too. This is how God created relationships to function."

Messy relationships are a sign that God is at work in our lives, changing us. The work is worth it and how wonderful that He loves us enough to care for us, to give us grace, and to ultimately change us to be more like Jesus.

Monday, August 27, 2007

To Curse or to consecrate? That is the queston

Two Views of Conflict: Curse or Consecrate?

"Conflict can be seen in two ways that are fundamentally different. One way is to look at it as an inevitable negative experience that we should simply endure. The other view of conflict sees it as an opportunity that God can use to accomplish much good." by Ken Sande, President Peacemaker Ministries Read the entire article here>>>

This is an especially helpful and timely article! Thought you might enjoy it or benefit from it, too.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Gospel and Sanctification by Grace through Faith

Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City summarizes the ongoing impact of the gospel:

"At the heart of Redeemer's ministry and its philosophy of preaching to post-modern audiences is the conviction that "the gospel" is not just a way to be saved from the penalty of sin, but is the fundamental dynamic for living the whole Christian life--individually and corporately, privately and publicly. In other words, the gospel is not just for non-Christians, but also for Christians.

This means the gospel is not just the A-B-C's but the A to Z of the Christian life. It is not accurate to think 'the gospel' is what saves non-Christians, and then, what matures Christians is trying hard to live according to Biblical principles. It is more accurate to say that we are saved by believing the gospel, and then we are transformed in every part of our mind, heart, and life by believing the gospel more and more deeply as our life goes on."


I point this out primarily because often, we Christians (post-Justification), are inclined to judge our position with God based on our performance and actions. Not that anyone reads my blog or anything and might find this useful at all... but I did really, really like Mr. Keller's quote.

I think the "Faith Alone" (SolaFide) crowd is not only concerned about those who might preach a works-based justification, but also there is a highly warranted concern against the legalist prison that is created. Such teaching creates a culture of perfectionists who typically live life either as condemned, defeated Christians or, on the the other hand, who think their only neediness for Christ is found by looking back at what we were saved from (then of course trying to measure up to what they believe they were saved to.)

Of course, I definitely understand how the "Plus Works" crowd can be very concerned about the ethical and moral actions of new Christians and young Christians. Teaching Justification and Sanctification by faith alone can be very much misused in an unbiblical direction that leaves people open to sin. Of course it is easy to see (humanistically speaking) how very scary it may be to trust that the Gospel really is effectual even for the matters concerning sanctification.

But it is!!! It is!!

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.

“I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Lev 20:8; cf. Ex 31:13, Lev 21:8, Ez 20:12, etc).

Jesus is the author [justifier] and finisher [sanctifier] or our faith (Heb 12:2).
This truth is placed in the immediate context of the importance of faith (Heb 11), followed by a call to always look to Jesus (Heb 12:2).
We (believers) draw near to Christ is “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22),
Our own confidence is repeatedly grounded in the faithfulness of Christ (Heb 10:23).

FINALLY:
Two of the benefits of Sancitification by Grace through Faith:

1- First, we will not be inclined to commend ourselves to God on the basis of our own works or actions, therefore we will be less inclined to commend ourselves to one another on the basis of our works and actions. Nor will our approval of others be based on their performance, their piety, or even their knowledge of “the right answers.” Our relationships will be much more grace filled.

2- We Christians will be much better at incarnating the Gospel by being open and vulnerable with one another about our own weaknesses and shortcomings. By publicly/collectively modeling the repentance, confession, forgiveness, humility, and charity -- we will model for new or younger Christians true and authentic examples of that which characterize the life of faith in a believer.

Here is another helpful link on Sanctification by Grace

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Famous slip ups


Open mouth, insert foot...

D'ya ever think you were getting ready to say something really pithy and thoughtful only to have it come out with the opposite of the desired effect? Sure! We all do it.

Here are a few famous slip-ups that I thought were funny (keep in mind, I have an unusual sense of humor, so I'm taking a chance by even posting these):


"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions --but I don't always agree
with them."-- George Bush, Former US President

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I
can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny likethat but not with all those
flies and death and stuff."-- Mariah Carey

"We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."-- Jason Kidd, upon his
drafting to the Dallas Mavericks

"The people in the Navy look on motherhood as being compatible with being a
woman."-- Rear Admiral James R. Hogg

You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 -- 1976."
--George W. Bush, to Queen Elizabeth, Washington, D.C., May 7,
2007


"When my sister and I were growing up, there was never any doubt in our
minds that men and women were equal, if not more so." -- Al Gore, August 12,
2000.

Enjoying Redemption

ENJOYING THE REDEMPTION OF CHRIST
Devotion by John Calvin
Grant, Almighty God, that as we now carry about us this mortal body, yea, and nourish through sin a thousand deaths within us; O grant that we may ever by faith direct our eyes toward heaven, and to that incomprehensible power, which is to be manifested at the last day by Jesus Christ our Lord, so that in the midst of death we may hope that thou wilt be our Redeemer, and enjoy that redemption which he completed when he rose from the dead, and not doubt that the fruit which he then brought forth by his Spirit will come also to us when Christ himself shall come to judge the world; and may we thus alk in the fear of thy name, that we may be really gathered among his members, to be mane partakers of that glory which by his death he has procured for us. Amen

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith


Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith: A "Dark Night of the Soul" lasting more than 40 years - HT: Time Magazine's Religion Author David Van Biema.

What a day!


In my line of work (well, one of my lines of work that is) which is education counseling and services, this is hands down the busiest time of the year! Add to that the fact that it is the end of the fiscal year and all of the accounting and reconcilations I've got going on.


Then there is the second part of my job working for a General, who happens to want me involved every day, instead of one weekend per month, which is the standard expectation. He wants status reports all of the time and is trying to get us into the sandbox. (oh no!)


Now, on top of all of that, include the fact that I'm involved with about 7 different ministries with my church -- and this is the winding up period for the fall (after everyone was pretty much on vacation since May - do other people ever struggle with the summer lull in church in the summer?).


AND - I'm getting ready to start a seminary class next week via distance learning.


Starting to get the picture? Yes, I'm feeling a little stressed. Trying to be helpful. Trying not to let go of any of my responsibilities.... and stirring up CONFLICT?


You know when stuff is moving this fast you don't have much time to sort of reflectively, meditatively evaluate every interpersonal exchange. I mean, if you want to ask a question, you do it politely and humbly and stay willing to accept the person in authority's response. So the fact that I'm in the midst of a few conflicted relationships tells me that God is trying to show me something about my sinful responses. Of course, this will require a reflection, immersion into God's Word and meditative prayer.


Meanwhile, I've got to go mow the lawn and pick some canteloup and tomatoes out of the garden and walk the dog.


Or maybe I'm just too busy? I promise not to shrug it off. Here's hoping we all have a blessed rest of the day...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

College Mindset List for class of 2011

BELOIT, Wis. - Most of the students entering college this fall, members of the class of 2011, were born in 1989.

Here is the "Mindset" list for class of 2011:

1. What Berlin wall?

2. Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.

3. Rush Limbaugh and the "Dittoheads" have always been lambasting liberals.

4. They never "rolled down" a car window.

5. Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.

6. They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.

7. They have grown up with bottled water.

8. General Motors has always been working on an electric car.

9. Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.

10. Pete Rose has never played baseball.

11. Rap music has always been mainstream.

12. Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do.

13. "Off the hook" has never had anything to do with a telephone.

14. Music has always been "unplugged."

15. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.

16. Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.

17. They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.

18. The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.

19. Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.

20. Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.

21. Eastern Airlines has never "earned their wings" in their lifetime.

22. No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of "liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

23. Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.

24. Being "lame" has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.

25. Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.

26. Katie Couric has always had screen cred.

27. Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.

28. They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola "MagiCan."

29. They were too young to understand Judas Priest's subliminal messages.

30. When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.

31. Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.

32. They grew up in Wayne's World.

33. U2 has always been more than a spy plane.

34. They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as "The Joker."

35. Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.

36. American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.

37. Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.

38. On Parents' Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and Frank
Gifford with son Cody.

39. Fox has always been a major network.

40. They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-head laugh.

41. The "Blue Man Group" has always been everywhere.

42. Women's studies majors have always been offered on campus.

43. Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.

44. Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.

45. They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.

46. Most phone calls have never been private.

47. High definition television has always been available.

48. Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.

49. Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.

50. Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.

51. China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.

52. Time has always worked with Warner.

53. Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.

54. The purchase of ivory has always been banned.

55. MTV has never featured music videos.

56. The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.

57. Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.

58. They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.

59. They're always texting 1 n other.

60. They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.

61. They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.

62. They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said "goodbye to rusty cars."

63. Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.

64. Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.

65. Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.

66. The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.

67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.

68. Burma has always been Myanmar.

69 Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.

70. Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.


HT:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20378610/

And their #2 choice of major: EDUCATION!! Yikes!! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Covenant Magazine Fall 2007 Issue Adopted by God: A Family Portrait

How full of Grace this magazine is! And the articles so rich theologically and practically.

Features Include:
Feasting On the Word of God
Men's Leadership Breakfast

The Quest for a Calling
People around the world long to
know which jobs or roles will best
use their gifts and bring fulfillment.
How do Christians determine the
roles and careers for which God
has created them?

A Heart Aflame
Professor Sean Lucas explores what
it means for Presbyterian Christians
to enjoy communion with God.


The Trinity’s Love and Adoption
As Christians understand their
adoption into the family of God,
this great doctrine offers assurance,
hope, and encouragement.

Welcome to the Family
Being a part of God’s family is significant,
and one RUF campus minister
reflects on seeing the need for
college students to grasp this truth.




Wacky Warnings and Godly Counsel


Each year, the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-LAW), has a contest looking for the nation's wackiest warnings. Here are a few favorites this year:


  • On a lawnmower a label warned: "WARNING WHEN MOTOR IS RUNNING- THE BLADE IS TURNING!"

  • On a pizza box found in the frozen food section, the cooking instructionswere on the bottom of the box with the warning: "DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN!"

  • On a container of lighter fluid: "WARNING: Contents flammable!"

  • On a box of household nails: "CAUTION! - Do NOT swallow nails! May cause irritation!"

  • On a blow dryer a warning read: "DO NOT BLOW DRY IN SLEEP"

  • Seen on a container of salt: "Warning: High in sodium"

  • On a bottle of children's cough medicine: "Caution: May cause drowsiness; donot drive or operate heavy machinery"

  • On a bottle of spray paint: "Do not spray in your face."


  • And the 2007 warning winner was found on a washing machine at a laundromat that warns: "Do not put any person in this washer."


We live in a world that loves to warn us. But we need to be mindful of God's warnings meant to protect and not to harm. By the power of the Holy Spirit we both heed His warnings and give His warnings to others in truth and love.


Praise the Lord for His warnings, because they are just one more way that He shows His love for us.


Proverbs 16:25 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Moving Upstream and Creating Culture

Pastor Mark Driscoll discusses the church's role in creating the culture by moving upstream (toward the city of God in Revelation) and away from our typical downstream/ rural tendency. Good stuff!!

Visited States, Countries

Visited States

40 states (78%)


Visited Countries


21 Countries (9%)

create your own personalized map of the USA

create your own visited country map

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Are we discipling?

The church where I'm a member is more than 20 years old and we've been grappling with ideas of becoming more missional, church planting, cultural relevance, etc.. Jollyblogger had a post earlier in the week that got me thinking about it some more, so here are some of my general observations:

Church planters are focused on different types evangelism and mission that emphasize getting out and reaching non-believers. Great! Discipling gets kind of put on a back burner from a pragmatic standpoint, until a solid body of believers is built up.

Established churches, on the other hand, do have a solid body of committed members, so they tend to focus on programs that are designed to "FEED" them. Now, sometimes those "programs" include discipling, but usually they are more about meeting physical needs, providing nursery, sharing practical theological methods, counseling, and holding house churches that allow members to connect, to eat meals together, and have discussions about Christian stuff. All very good stuff, too.

In my opinion, both of these approaches potentially lack in true discipleship which is actually the heart of kingdom building.

What are the key elements of discipleship? In my opinion, it is the study of God's Word in fellowship: Opening up the scriptures together, learning to read God's Word personally by doing it with one another. Then confessing sin to each other, praying for one another in ways that matter, applying it with each other to all of our daily circumstances, and providing real accountability. (Also required of course are the traditional elements such as the ordained preaching of God's Word, administration of the sacraments, and possibly the lecture style Sunday School.) However, real discipleship is just not built in to how the church operates or how our consumerist society is trained to think.

Real discipleship is not a program, but community and fellowship with the goal of knowing Christ more intimately and equipping each other to incarnate the Gospel in all aspects of our lives - at work, at school, at home, at church, everywhere. Sharing the Gospel and inviting non-believers to encounter the Living God in our presence!!

Doing this is just as important on the very day that a person is converted as it is 20 years later.

that's my $.02

Christian Pilgrim - Are we there yet?

Hebrews 11:13-16 "And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. "
While I was on my vacation, driving through the mountains on the way to hike a trailhead last weekend, I started to think about my journey - not just for that day, but my life's journey. From a distance, I could see the top of the mountain area where the trail ended. It was marked with a gigantic "M" that was clearly displayed for everyone to see from miles away on the main highways. But for the hiker embarking upon the ascent on the narrow dirt path, the giant "M" isn't visible anymore. In fact, for the entire trip up the mountain, I still couldn't see that M anymore. Yet we all know it's there, because we got a glimpse of it back down the road. Along the path that goes up the mountain, there just a few well-placed signs that correct the turns and twists along the switchbacks and prompt us to keep moving along, perserving to the destination.
This illustration really reminded me of our pilgrimage as Christians. We know from the scriptures and from God's son Jesus Christ and even from creation which cries out of His holiness, that God is calling heavenward. But once we embark upon that path, most of the time in the day to day muckity muck, we can't see the Kingdom yet. We know that the path is not the destination, and sometimes we may even start to think maybe we're on the wrong path. And then we see God Sovereignty at work, those little 'signs' that Holy Spirit uses to lead us onward (and perhaps back onto the better path too). He encourages us along the journey so that although we know we are not there yet, we can still have a sense of joy in the journey, with the benefits of exercise, the blessing of the presence of God's beauty, and of course the present rewards of not quitting!
We have faith that God's Word is true! Just like the Hebrews 11 passage above. To further explore the idea of Christian Pilgrimage, I'm re-reading Pilgrim's Progress and also came across this golden gem on the internet that I thought I might share - enjoy!


The True Christian's Life a Journey Toward Heaven, by Jonathan Edwards, September, 1733.
General Outline
Section 1: That this life ought to be so spent by us, as to be only a journey or pilgrimage towards heaven.

1. That we ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven.

2. We ought to seek heaven, by traveling in the way that lead thither.

3. We should travel on in this way in a laborious manner.

4. Our whole lives ought to be spent in traveling this road.

5. We ought to be continually growing in holiness, and in that respect coming nearer and nearer to heaven.

6. All other concerns of life ought to be entirely subordinate to this.

Section 2: Why the Christian’s life is a journey, or pilgrimage?

1. THIS world is not our abiding place.

2. The future world was designed to be our settled and everlasting
abode.

3. Heaven is that place alone where our highest end and highest good is to
be obtained.

4. Our present state, and all that belongs to it, is designed by him that
made all things, to be wholly in order to another world.

Section 3: Instruction afforded by the consideration, that life is a journey or pilgrimage, towards heaven.
Section 4: An exhortation so to spend the present life, that it may only be a journey towards heaven
Conclusion with direction:
1. Labor to get a sense of the vanity of this world, on account of the little satisfaction that is to be enjoyed here, its short continuance, and unserviceableness when we most stand in need of help
2. Labor to be much acquainted with heaven.
3. Seek heaven only by Jesus Christ.
4. Let Christians help one another in going this journey.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Big Sky before the smoke

Just a few vacation pictures to fill the time... There are so many wildfires blazing in Montana right now, everything just looks like a smoky haze. The pix below are from Big Sky last weekend, prior to the smoke settling. Just a little bored sitting in the hotel tonight, so thought I'd catch up a bit by posting these...












Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Soldier Saved from Bullet by Bible

Soldier Saved By The Bible

PFC Brendan Schweigart, 22, of Andover, New York, told his mother he always carried a Bible into battle. Little did he know, it would save his life.
_________________
This is an amazing story, reported by a friend of a friend in Buffalo, NY.
_________________

Tangential Link: PCA Committee Minority Report/Position Paper on Women in the Military and Ad Interim Study Committee Consensus Report

Monday, August 6, 2007

Matthew Cont'd

Matthew 1 The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

................................................................................................................

The Essential Inductive Questions from Into Thy Word as a guide to our text messages, emails, and blog comments (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me?

4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?

5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of
my listening to God?

8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

9. What can I model and teach?

10. What does God want me to share with someone?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Facing the Giants

(Why does this remind me of OCS?) But more importantly, why do I cry every time I see this?

Our pastor played this for us today for the sermon he was preaching. He also spoke about how the Holy Spirit is a kind of Divine Urging. He comes along side of us and urges us into the "End Zone" cause He knows that that is where God is bring us (paraphrased). Wow! How encouraging was this??

Life's trials from In Touch Ministries

Before church today, I watched Life's Trials Explained by Charles Stanley at In Touch Ministries. He's not particularly reformed, but I really appreciated his take on this subject, especially coming off the type of day I had just had Saturday.

This really spoke incredibly to me in my present circumstances. I thought it might bless some one else too.

Yesterday was a very long day at my work. I've got some major issues and decisions to make with regard to my work situation. Decisions with implications as big as anything anyone has faced. And there are a multitude of distractors and "giants" surround me, bearing down on me, bearing false witness, hoping for my demise, and trying to improve their own status off my back. I didn't get home until very late and had to turn around and leave my house because I was having a panic attack. I've never had this happen before, but my heart was jumping out of my chest and I was overwhelmed with anxiety over my situation (being sent to the box with a bunch of immoral bozos). Anyway.

God is sooo awesome though. He spoke with me about the situation in Dr Stanley's sermon and then again later in our church's worship service. Praise God.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

John Newton on God's Sovereignty

Excerpt from Modern Reformation, July/August: Grace How Strange the Sound.

"At 82, (John) Newton could say, 'My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.' Far from dampening his enthusiasm for loving and serving his neighbor, the gospel of God's free grace was his engine. Like Whitefield, Newton was on the Calvinist side of the Evangelical Awakening. In one of his sermons he explains,
The divine sovereignty is the best thought we can retreat to for composing and
strengthening our minds under the difficulties, discouragements and disappointments which attend the publication of the gospel.... How many schemes
derogatory to the free grace of God, tending to darken the glory of the gospel
and to depreciate the righteousness of the Redeemer, have taken their rise from
vain and unnecessary attempts to vindicate the ways of God-or rather to limit
the actings of infinite wisdom to the bounds of our narrow understanding, to
sound the depths of the divine counsels with our feeble plummets, and to say to
Omnipotence, Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further. But upon the ground of the
divine sovereignty we may rest satisfied and stable. For if God appoints and
overrules all according to the purpose of his own will, we have sufficient
security both for the present and the future [p. 296, English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987)]."

Friday, August 3, 2007

Harsh Reality

Albert Mohler quoting from Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of Angry God in his blog posting "Lest you be consumed" about the Minneapolis tragedy:

"Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the
wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great
part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: "Haste and escape for
your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be
consumed."


Some may see this as too harsh and not in keeping with their "prosperity" mindset. But the message is probably something that we all need as a wake up call from whatever spiritual lethargy in which we may find ourselves today.

Classic Spurgeon - Daily Meditation

"The Lamb is the light thereof."
- Revelation 21:23

Quietly contemplate the Lamb as the light of heaven. Light in Scripture is the emblem of joy. The joy of the saints in heaven is comprised in this: Jesus chose us, loved us, bought us, cleansed us, robed us, kept us, glorified us: we are here entirely through the Lord Jesus. Each one of these thoughts shall be to them like a cluster of the grapes of Eshcol. Light is also the cause of beauty. Nought of beauty is left when light is gone. Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl; and thus all the beauty of the saints above comes from Jesus. As planets, they reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness; they live as beams proceeding from the central orb. If He withdrew, they must die; if His glory were veiled, their glory must expire. Light is also the emblem of knowledge. In heaven our knowledge will be perfect, but the Lord Jesus Himself will be the fountain of it. Dark providences, never understood before, will then be clearly seen, and all that puzzles us now will become plain to us in the light of the Lamb. Oh! what unfoldings there will be and what glorifying of the God of love! Light also means manifestation. Light manifests. In this world it doth not yet appear what we shall be. God's people are a hidden people, but when Christ receives His people into heaven, He will touch them with the wand of His own love, and change them into the image of His manifested glory. They were poor and wretched, but what a transformation! They were stained with sin, but one touch of His finger, and they are bright as the sun, and clear as crystal. Oh! what a manifestation! All this proceeds from the exalted Lamb. Whatever there may be of effulgent splendour, Jesus shall be the centre and soul of it all. Oh! to be present and to see Him in His own light, the King of kings, and Lord of lords!

- From "Morning and Evening: Morning Devotional" by C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Summertime flu

Tuesday afternoon I started feeling a bit under the weather. As of yesterday and today, I've had a fever and definitely seem to have some kind of summertime flu.
Reduced to drinking Jewish Penicillin (aka chicken soup-it's a real medical term! It was on Jeopardy!), 7up and occasionally eating some bread. That's about it. My head feels like a bowling ball and my torso feels like a well-used punching bag. sighhhh. I've been innoculated against practically every contagious thing known to western man (preparation for potentially going to sandbox), so I may be able to ride this out with Sudafed (sans the Pseudoephedrine). But then again, if I'm not doing better soon, I may have to go get some antibiotics as a last resort.

What's my point? Just in case I make even less sense than I usually do, this is to cover my tracks sort of... that's all.