Friday, April 25, 2008

What kind of worship do I recreate?

Another really excellent daily devotional from RZIM rocked me today. Over the past several years, I've somewhat trained myself to have a generally cynical and skeptical outlook on the world that is based in negativity. Afterall the world is full of sin, so I'm just "being realistic," right?

In some cases, I'm quickly convicted that my thoughts and words are rooted in some form of idolatry and selfishness. But also quite often, I'm adept at justifying my attitudes, opinions, and beliefs scripturally- and not just to myself but to others as well. In many ways, I'm highly manipulative and can be much better at trying to get people to see things my way than allowing the Holy Spirit and God's Word to teach me His ways.

In any case, the today's Slice devotional cut to the heart for me with regard to these things, so I wanted to share it:

Jill C. writes, "When I allow myself to cling more to negativity than to Christ, when I cherish words of death more than words of life, when I spend more time complaining about what is wrong with the church than putting energy into being the church, this is exactly the worship experience I recreate--and there are far too many voices willing to shout “amen” at the end of each of my sermons."

Isn't that awesome? Now take a look at what God's Word says:

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus
and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’ For in
him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him
that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)

Pretty convicting, huh? It is to me. Well, more of this to come, as our church starts to go thru the Jay Adams devotional booklet: "Four Weeks With God and Your Neighbor."

Our Pastor and his wife will also be blogging through the book, so we should all be "fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love." (Eph. 4:16 ASV)

(I love reading that verse in that particular translation, "fitly framed" "knit together" "every joint supplieth" "working in due measure" "the building up of itself in love" Beautiful. Love it!!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Great Commission

(ht: Sets N' Service)

New Exodus: Muslims leaving Islam in droves

Muslims Leaving Islam in Droves>>>
by Andrew Walden, Editor of the Hawai 'i Free Press

Muslims Follow Jesus>>> in Christianity Today

HT: JP Moreland at Kingdom Triangle

I just can't avoid going out on a limb

In a discussion over at The DawnTreader on the movie "Expelled" I made this incredible statement:

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the one great achievement of post-modernism might just end up being a nail in the coffin of these most deadly and interlinked aspects of modernism -- eugenics, the holocaust, and neo-Darwinism."
Whether you agree or not, does it seem just a little weird that I'm quoting myself? Yeh, that's academically dishonest :), right? Go ahead then. Expel me.

Read a few of the reviews:

The Constructive Curmudgeon>>>
Parchment and Pen>>>
(ht: Between Two Worlds)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

He isn't safe? - But He's Good!

Today's Slice devotional from RZIM talks about how sometimes God's Sovereignty can seem scary and ominous apart from His Holiness, Grace and Goodness. Sovereignty is not tyrannical when it is bounded by goodness; God’s perfect holiness is not tortuous when it is tempered by grace and mercy. etc.

The author goes on to quote this scene from C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe":
“Then he isn’t safe?” asks Lucy.
“Safe?” says Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.
But he’s good.”
I remember reading this some years ago and then seeing it last year portayed in the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia." The children were never guartanteed comfort or convenience, but they were promised forgiveness, love and the victory to come -- which is also reminiscent of one of my favorite hymns, "It is well with my soul."

It is Well With My Soul (lyrics by Horatio Spafford)

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


The hymn with a little background on the lyrics writer:

Two contemporary interpretations of the song for your enjoyment:

Jars of Clay

Audio Adrenline with Jennifer Knapp

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For Those Prone to Quarrel (like me!)

God’s Word: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” – Proverbs 17:14

“You should either avoid quarrels altogether or else put an end to them as quickly as possible; otherwise, anger may grow into hatred, making a plank out of a splinter, and turn the soul into a murderer.” – Augustine

God’s Word: “It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” – Proverbs 20:3

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Righteousness that shines like the dawn

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
– Psalm 37:5-6

Jesus says
"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth.
No one can serve two masters.
Do not judge lest you be judged.
It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.

Matthew 5:44, 6:19, 24, 7:1; Mark 2:17, 8:34; Luke 12:15.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How About the Most "Non-Segregated" Day of the Week?

The storms of conflict, politics, and controversy in some cases are actually creating conditions that have lead to Storm of Unity>>>, according to Crosswalk. Storm of Unity compares the aftermath of Katrina with the Obama/Rev. Wright controversy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Too bad they left out the best part

Jesus got left out of "Shout to The Lord" by The American Idol contestants on Wednesday.

UPDATE: I had commented that it was "sad" and "seemed kind of lukewarm," but little do I know! Here is the inside scoop from Christians on the show and who work at Fox>>>
So, praise God for this. Amen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

From 'Night of Weeping & Morning of Joy'

Night of Weeping & Morning of Joy - I'm buying this book as soon as I finish this post.

The Shepherd's Scrapbook offers a review of the new title from Reformation Heritage Books called "Night of Weeping & Morning of Joy" by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889).

A few quotes from the Shepherd's Scrapbook review:

"Bonar models for us how to interpret the difficult circumstances of our life on earth in light of the eternal promises and purposes of God."

Night of Weeping
"In the first half of the book, Bonar explains the nature of God’s discipline towards his children. God disciplines his children out of his eternal character—his love, wisdom, faithfulness, and power. This discipline is a training of the mind, will, heart, and conscience. God uses bodily sickness, bereavement, and adversity as he sets to work refining, sifting, pruning, and polishing. During this discipline our comforts come in several forms—Jesus weeps with us as we partake of his suffering, he reassures us in his word that all things work together for our good, he pours out special grace in every trial, he uses our afflictions as an opportunity to glorify God, he makes us useful here on earth, he supplies the means of mortifying sin, and he provides the Holy Spirit to comfort us."

"Simply stated, our trials are God’s means of purifying our desires and preparing us for the 'pleasures forevermore' awaiting those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb!"

Morning of Joy
"The second half of the book details these eternally glorious promises of God. God disciplines us now, to prepare us eternally. This connection is important as we fend of the encroaching idolatry in our own hearts. Throughout the book, Bonar encourages us to look beyond the circumstances in life and to the eternal weight of glory."

And here is an excerpt from chapter 12, “The Glory” (go to The Shepherd's Scrapbook for a long list of scripture verses):

In those vast blocks of unquarried rock what various forms are lying concealed! What shapes of statuary or architecture are there! Yet they have no history. They can have none. They are but parts of a hideous block, in which not one line or curve of beauty is visible. But the noise of hammers is heard. Man lifts up his tool. A single block is severed. Again he lifts up his tool, and it begins to assume a form; till, as stroke after stroke falls on it, and touch after touch smooths and shapes it, the perfect image of the human form is seen, and it seems as if the hand of the artist had only been employed in unwrapping the stony folds from that fair form, and awakening it from the slumber of its marble tomb. From the moment that the chisel touched that piece of rock its history began.

Such is the case of a saint. From the moment that the hand of the Spirit is laid on him to begin the process of separation, from that moment his history begins. He then receives a conscious, outstanding personality, that fits him for having a history—a history entirely marvelous; a history whose pages are both written and read in heaven; a history which in its divine brightness spreads over eternity. His true dignity now commences. He is fit to take a place in history. Each event in his life becomes worthy of a record. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.” …
-Horatius Bonar, Night of Weeping & Morning of Joy (Reformation Heritage, 2008), pp. 227-232.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Going Up? Or Going Down? No Standing Still

Today's C.S. Lewis Quote:
"Every uncorrected error and unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of
fresh error and fresh sin flowing on to the end of time."

My Christian walk is a continuous journey, a pilgrimage. John Bunyan calls the process of our sanctification the Pilgrim's Progress. Daily setbacks are merely temporary and our submission to and cooperation with the Holy Spirit causes us to grow from setbacks. In true repentence, we abhor our sin and long to turn from it, by trusting in Christ and mortifying the desires of our flesh/sin nature.

As I shared with my friend earlier today, standing still is not really a viable option for us in sanctification - as we grow in our faith in Christ. We may rest in our trust that His righteousness has been imputed to us, but we simultaneously lay hold of the means of grace afforded us: fellowship with the saints of the church, His Holy Word and prayer.

Our forward progression is our increased faith and repentence in Christ. When it comes to growing in faith and knowledge of our Lord, we not afford cannot stand still. As I mentioned to my friend today, standing still in our faith leads to backsliding. Here's to increasing faith, trust, submission and obedience to Jesus - the Word of God.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sharing our Faith and Experience with others

From today's Slice

One of the most beneficial things that I've enjoyed is hearing and reading in the biography or testimony of others, a part of my own story, then being able to connect through it and in the faith learn from those who've gone before me.

In today's Slice devotional the author writes of biography (or testimony) that: "we find ourselves living in many places; they are profitable because in doing so, we hear fragments of our own stories. The questions and thoughts we considered our own suddenly appear before us in the life of another. The afflictions we find wearying are given meaning in the story of one who overcame much or the life of one who found hope in the midst of loss. Perhaps we move toward biography because we seem to know that life is too short to learn only by our own experience."

Two scriptures quoted in the devotional are:
"Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see" (11:1).

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (12:1).

Where ever we are as pilgrims on our path, there have been others who've gone through what we've gone through. But most importantly, our High Priest Jesus Christ, has suffered everything that we may struggle with. He has conquered the adversity and the adversary, so that we might be joined with Him in victory. In faith we KNOW, HOPE, and TRUST that in an eternal sense we are more than conquerers in Jesus Christ. And in faith put to death the deeds of the flesh daily, by following Christ in faith. As we do, God gives us a testimony and makes us useful to our fellow Christians.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Conviction time - big time

Another convicting passage for me to meditate on and injest every day (at least until actually get it!).
2 Timothy 2:24-26 "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

On Confession of Sin

A very timely admonition for me, given a mentoring opportunity that has landed on my doorstep. As I counsel on confession and repentence of sin, it convicts me all the more of the darkness that still resides in my thoughts and my heart. So this was an excellent message to receive in my in box today.

Excerpt from today's Peacemeal:
Are you struggling with private or unconfessed sin? Read Psalm 32 and see if you can identify all seven of the ways God promises to intercede on your behalf as you take the difficult step of acknowledging (even publicly, if appropriate) your wrongdoing. Then read 2 Timothy 2:21 and take comfort in the knowledge that God is seeking to cleanse you from your sin to use you for noble purposes ahead.

Psalm 32
Of David. A maskil.

1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD "—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

2 Timothy 2:21 "If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Machen Quote on Christianity

“From the beginning Christianity was the religion of the broken heart; it is based upon the conviction that there is an awful gulf between man and God which none but God can bridge. The Bible tells us how this gulf was bridged; and that means the Bible is a record of facts.
Of what avail, without the redeeming acts of God, are all the lofty ideals of Psalmists and Prophets, all the teaching and example of Jesus? In themselves they can bring us nothing but despair.

We Christians are not interested merely in what God commands, but also in what God did; in a triumphant indicative; our salvation depends squarely upon history; the Bible contains that history, and unless that history is true the authority of the Bible is gone and we who have put our trust in the Bible are without hope.”

- J. Gresham Machen, from "The Virgin Birth of Christ"

Worship Locally, Eat Locally

At CrunchyCon>>> Wendall Berry would love this concept. I wonder....

Facing Crisis Without Panic

Facing Crisis Without Panic>>> article at Crosswalk.