Monday, December 27, 2010

Broken cisterns

"But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything —strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise... The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game...
My whole, more general difficulty, about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help doing, about everything else we value.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are, the delight is incomplete till it is expressed." - C. S. Lewis (Reflections on the Psalms, pp. 93-95)

As Lewis observed, it does not seem strange for us to admire talent, beauty, or to cheer for our favorite sports team. In fact, we do these things spontaneously with hardly a thought. We have a great capacity to praise and admire things we deem worthy. We employ art, song and dance to honor things we rejoice in, and will expend ourselves with great effort to do so.

However, to many, it does indeed seem strange to see someone offer praise to God - the same God who gives us life and sustains it to this very hour. Our culture is embarrassed for anyone who is passionate about Christ. Yet, every other passion, no matter how trivial, is deemed perfectly acceptable. What we desire to praise and admire, what causes us to rejoice, reveals the condition of our heart.

In Heaven God is worshiped because the holy creatures around His throne cannot contain themselves. They see the very face of God and they are filled with awe and joy. If we were not so spiritually dull, if our affections were not so often misplaced, we would joyfully praise God as well.

Something or someone must be preeminent in our heart; if not God, then who or what else? When we refuse to glorify God as God, to recognize Him as preeminent, we will, by default, recognize something or someone else as preeminent.
“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”   - Jeremiah 2:13

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Luther's Prescription for Despondency - Desiring God

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian MonkImage via Wikipedia

 by: Michael Johnson

Luther once said, “I have my worst temptations when I am by myself.”
Roland Bainton comments in Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, 285 (paragraphing mine):

"Seek out some Christian brother, some wise counselor. Undergird yourself with the fellowship of the church. Then, too, seek convivial company, feminine company, dine, dance, joke, and sing. Make yourself eat and drink even though food may be very distasteful. Fasting is the very worst expedient.

Once Luther gave three rules for dispelling despondency: the first is faith in Christ; the second is to get downright angry; the third is the love of a woman.

Music was especially commended. The Devil hates it because he cannot endure gaiety. Luther’s physician relates that on one occasion he came with some friends for a musical soiree only to find Luther in a swoon; but when the others struck up the song, he was soon one of the party. Home life was a comfort and a diversion. So also was the presence of his wife when the Devil assaulted him in the night watches . . . Manual labor was a relief. A good way, counseled Luther, to exorcise the Devil is to harness the horse and spread manure on the fields.

In all this advice to flee the fray Luther was in a way prescribing faith as a cure for the lack of faith."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A wonderful trend

The first Hallelujah flash mob was recorded on October 30th, then came another one on November 13th.

Now we have at least two more to report from December 18th:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jerry Bridges’s Trusting God Even When Life Hurts: Free on Kindle – Justin Taylor

Jerry Bridges’s book Trusting God Even When Life Hurts is a free eBook from Kindle. I’m not sure how long this will last—Tim Challies says “a few days.” But if you want it, don’t delay.

Desiring God recently asked Bridges, “If you could leave behind only one of the books you’ve written, which would it be?” His answer was Trusting God Even When Life Hurts.

Forgiven Souls Are Humble « J.C. Ryle Quotes

Forgiven souls are HUMBLE. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly. They are brands plucked from the fire—debtors who could not pay for themselves—captives who must have remained in prison forever—but for undeserved mercy—wandering sheep who were ready to perish when the Shepherd found them! What right then have they to be proud? I do not deny that there are proud saints. But this I do say—they are of all God’s creatures the most inconsistent, and of all God’s children the most likely to stumble and pierce themselves with many sorrows. We have nothing we can call our own–but sin and weakness. Surely there is no garment that befits us so well, as humility.

~ J.C. Ryle

Sunday, November 21, 2010

God is our home

“The eternal God is thy refuge.” - Deuteronomy 33:27

The word refuge may be translated “mansion,” or “abiding- place,” which gives the thought that God is our abode, our home. There is a fulness and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is our home, although it be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

It is at home that we feel safe: we shut the world out and dwell in quiet security. So when we are with our God we “fear no evil.” He is our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge. At home, we take our rest; it is there we find repose after the fatigue and toil of the day. And so our hearts find rest in God, when, wearied with life’s conflict, we turn to him, and our soul dwells at ease.

At home, also, we let our hearts loose; we are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor of our words being misconstrued. So when we are with God we can commune freely with him, laying open all our hidden desires; for if the “secret of the Lord is with them that fear him,” the secrets of them that fear him ought to be, and must be, with their Lord. Home, too, is the place of our truest and purest happiness: and it is in God that our hearts find their deepest delight. We have joy in him which far surpasses all other joy.

It is also for home that we work and labour. The thought of it gives strength to bear the daily burden, and quickens the fingers to perform the task; and in this sense we may also say that God is our home. Love to him strengthens us. We think of him in the person of his dear Son; and a glimpse of the suffering face of the Redeemer constrains us to labour in his cause. We feel that we must work, for we have brethren yet to be saved, and we have our Father’s heart to make glad by bringing home his wandering sons; we would fill with holy mirth the sacred family among whom we dwell. Happy are those who have thus the God of Jacob for their refuge!

-Charles Spurgeon

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Person and a Place: Safely Home - Randy Alcorn

Bertrand Russell has been called the greatest mind of the twentieth century. Anticipating his death he said, “There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere; only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”
Whether or not he repented and turned to Christ before he died, Russell now knows how terribly wrong he was in thinking human beings exist only temporarily. Death is not a hole; it’s a door. We don’t end; we relocate.
Russell failed to recognize what children intuitively know. Heaven is not a fairy tale. It’s not some baseless dream. Heaven is an objective reality that exists independently of anyone’s belief or disbelief in it. Heaven is real. So real that earth, in comparison, is but the Shadowlands.
C. S. Lewis said, “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.... Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.”
We long for a perfect world not just because this one isn’t but because we sense there really is one. Whether or not we realize it, we’re homesick for heaven. Continue>>


Sunday, November 14, 2010

I have graven thee upon My hands

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”
- Isaiah 49:16

No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people?

The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?” O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration.

Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?
-Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Latest trailer from Narnia

Glimmers of heaven

"Joy is the serious business of heaven."
                                          - C. S. Lewis
More often than we realize, by God's grace, we experience glimmers of heaven. Even unbelievers, through God's common grace, experience heavenly moments. Whether it is a sense of awe and wonder at sunset, a burst of true joy in the heart, or loving relationships; they are all gifts from God that put His goodness and glory on display. Be on the lookout for those moments, and don't take them for granted.

Here is one of those moments. Imagine one day you're shopping at the mall, and suddenly everyone begins to sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. That's what happened at one particular Macy's on October 30th.

Free audio book for November is offering John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" as their free book of the month. No coupon code required.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Notable quotables

Peace is that moment in time when men stop to reload.
- John Macarthur

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grace in time of need

“Help, Lord.” - Psalm 12:1

The prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, sententious, and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication-when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of truth, for the word “help” is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing.

There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words; much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight-forward to his God, with a well-considered prayer; he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.

The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent. In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of “Help, Lord,” to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need. Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication; in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. “Help, Lord,” will suit us living and dying, suffering or labouring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to him.

The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord’s character assures us that he will not leave his people; his relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us his aid; his gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and his sure promise stands, “Fear not, I WILL HELP THEE.”

- Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do we care about the character and nature of God?

Does the average professing Christian truly understand the character and nature of God? Does the average professing Christian even care about the character and nature of God?

Why is it important to understand the character and nature of God?

Matt Chandler has some thoughts. Matt was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He has undergone surgery and continues to undergo chemotherapy for the cancer that remains.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eating is Believing - Desiring God

(By Jon Bloom)

. . . Or What Jesus Meant When He Said, “Whoever Feeds on My Flesh and Drinks My Blood Has Eternal Life”
The previous day Jesus had fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. Then that night hewalked miles across the Sea of Galilee before catching up with his disciples in their boat.
The crowd he had fed followed him to Capernaum. And they knew something amazing must have happened. Last evening they had seen Jesus send his disciples away in the only boat available. Now here he was! Only a miracle could have gotten him there that fast. Another reason he should be king!
But just as the momentum was building, Jesus squashed it. To his adoring fans he said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal (John 6:26-27).
Confused, they asked him how they could work to please God. He replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (v. 29, emphasis mine).
(Note to self: God is not looking for workers, he’s looking for believers.)
Jesus was a hero to the crowd because he had fed them, just like Moses! But Jesus discerned something very wrong about their enthusiasm. They were excited about eating “bread from heaven.” And indeed, Jesus had come to give them bread from heaven. But not that kind of bread. Jesus had not come to give them perishable food for their perishable bodies. He had come to give them imperishable food for their imperishable souls.
So to reveal the food they were really after Jesus began to make statements that sounded very strange. He told them that he was the true bread from heaven that gives life to the world and whoever eats this bread would live forever. Then he said, “And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (v. 51).
This sounded weird. It sounded like cannibalism. The crowd balked. And he pressed it even further:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (John 6:53-55).
The “Jesus for King” campaign evaporated. The people walked away shaking their heads. The crazy man wants us to eat his flesh! They completely misunderstood what Jesus was saying.
So what did he mean? Here are the clues:
  • How do you labor for the food that endures to eternal life? Believe in Jesus (v. 27, 29).
  • “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me [in faith] shall not hunger, and whoeverbelieves in me shall never thirst” (v. 35).
  • “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believesin him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (v. 40).
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life” (v. 47).
For Jesus eating is believing; drinking is believing. He promises eternal life to those whobelieve in him.
Believe what? Well, believe everything he says. But, specifically here, believe that his death—the breaking of his body and spilling of his blood—pays in full the penalty for our sin and that his perfect righteousness is freely given to us in exchange for our unrighteousness. That is what John 3:16 means.
Believing this is how we “eat” Jesus’ flesh and “drink” his blood. This is precisely why he instituted the Lord’s Supper: he did not want us to forget the very core of what we believe about him.
When the crowd took offense at his hard words, Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe” (vv. 63-64). Some of the Lord’s hard words are designed expose unbelief.
Peter likely did not fully understand what Jesus meant at the time—just like there are plenty of things we don’t fully understand. But Peter didn’t walk away. Instead said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God” (vv. 68-69).
Let’s you and I imitate Peter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tale of two sons: One an atheist, the other a believer

**Repost and Update**

Christopher Hitchens (on the left) is an outspoken atheist and fierce critic of religion. He has written books such as God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. You can also see many of his debates on You Tube. As many of you already know, he has a quick wit and a sharp tongue, which is a good thing, because many of his arguments against theism are very poor.

Then there is his younger brother Peter Hitchens. Peter's latest book is titled, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith. As you can tell by the titles of these two books, the Hitchens brothers see life through very different prisms.


The Hitchens brothers recently participated in a debate on Religions at the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public life.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Scientism Creates an Intellectually Unsophisticated Culture – Justin Taylor

After refuting the claim by Hawking and Mlodinow (The Grand Design) that natural laws are consistent with creation appearing from nothing, J.P. Moreland explains why the influence of Hawking and Mlodinow’s claims are troubling:
In previous times when average people knew more philosophy, these claims would simply be laughable because they are philosophical assertions being made by scientists who have little or no philosophical training. Thus, however brilliant they are in their own field, Hawking and Mlodinow are laypersons when it comes to the relevant issue at hand.
But we live in a scientistic culture. When a scientist speaks, he is taken to be an authority irrespective of what the topic is. And that attitude reflects poorly on the educational level of the public.
Thus, the deeper issue for me in all this is not whether or not the universe could come into existence from nothing without a cause. It is, rather, the scientism that lies at the heart of Western culture. I have long believed that philosophical naturalism, with its unjustified scientism, has helped to create an intellectually unsophisticated culture, and this is one reason why I think this way.
(“Scientism” is a term roughly for the belief that only scientific truths can be rationally assessed and believed, or at at least that they are the most rational and objective.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From grace to glory: The promise of a faithful God

“He will give grace and glory.”
- Psalm 84:11

Bounteous is Jehovah in his nature; to give is his delight. His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it. He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal.

Grace in all its forms he freely renders to his people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, he generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and he always will do so, whatever may occur. Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”

The little conjunction “and” in this verse is a diamond rivet binding the present with the future: grace and glory always go together. God has married them, and none can divorce them. The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom he has freely given to live upon his grace; indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress, grace in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected. How soon we may have glory none can tell! It may be before this month of October has run out we shall see the Holy City; but be the interval longer or shorter, we shall be glorified ere long. Glory, the glory of heaven, the glory of eternity, the glory of Jesus, the glory of the Father, the Lord will surely give to his chosen. Oh, rare promise of a faithful God!

Two golden links of one celestial chain:
Who owneth grace shall surely glory gain.

- Charles Spurgeon


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Excellencies of Christ Illustrated in Nature - Desiring God

(by Tyler Kenny)

The triune God had a purpose when he set his final creation, man, in the midst of such a marvelous universe. He wanted every aspect of that universe to teach man something about him.

Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:20 tell us this. "The heavens declare the glory of God"; that is, they show forth "his eternal power and divine nature," along with the rest of creation.

In this excerpt from Miscellanies #108, Jonathan Edwards lists a variety of scenes from nature and suggests which attributes of Christ they were made to picture.
[T]he Son of God created the world for his very end, to communicate himself in an image of his own excellency. . . .
So that when we are delighted with flowery meadows and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we only see the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ; when we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see his love and purity.
So the green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of his infinite joy and benignity; the easiness and naturalness of trees and vines [are] shadows of his infinite beauty and loveliness; the crystal rivers and murmuring streams have the footsteps of his sweet grace and bounty.
When we behold the light and brightness of the sun, the golden edges of an evening cloud, or the beauteous bow, we behold the adumbrations of his glory and goodness; and the blue skies, of his mildness and gentleness.
There are also many things wherein we may behold his awful majesty: in the sun in his strength, in comets, in thunder, in the towering thunder clouds, in ragged rocks and the brows of mountains. That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day is a lively 1shadow of his spotless holiness and happiness, and delight in communicating himself.
(Paragraphing added.)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hitchens on "Hitchens Prayer Day"

Although cancer and chemotherapy have clearly taken a toll on Hitchens, he still hopes to be remembered as one of those, “who are attempting to uphold reason and science against superstition.” But if life is just a cosmic accident, what does it matter?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God's outrageous love and the scandal of forgiveness

There is an aspect of God's love and forgiveness that is simply offensive to our natural sensibilities. While we are not offended by His love and forgiveness for us, we quickly become offended when forgiveness is extended to “the worst kind of sinner”. Think about it, what is the worst thing someone has done to you, or to someone you love? What if that person truly repented and cried out to God for forgiveness. Does that thought bring you comfort?

Truth be told, we are probably more like Jonah than we would like to admit. When God told Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, his immediate response was to catch the first ship in the opposite direction. The Ninevites were a cruel and bloodthirsty people. They tortured, slaughtered, and enslaved those they conquered, including the Jewish people. After Jonah finally obeyed God (with a little encouragement) and warned Nineveh of pending judgement, the entire kingdom repented in sackcloth and ashes. This resulted in God's forgiveness of Nineveh, and Jonah's anger.
But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” - Jonah 4:1-3
Jonah was not happy about this sudden turn of events. He wanted God to finally judge Nineveh and pour out His wrath. He wanted justice for all the blood they had shed. Have you ever wanted to see someone get what they deserved? I know I have. Although, I must admit, I'm not nearly as eager to get what I deserve.
Next, consider the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31). We all know the story. The younger son demanded his inheritance, which was a great insult by itself. To add insult to injury, he also squandered his inheritance on loose living.

After his money ran out, he eventually came to his senses and decided to go home. His heart contrite and broken, he would not dare ask to be restored as a son. His only hope was to work as a hired hand and, in some way, make restitution for what he had done. But his father would have none of it. As soon as he saw his son from a distance, he ran to hug him and smothered him with kisses. He immediately forgave his wayward son, restored him to full sonship, and had a lavish party to celebrate his return. All of this was very undignified behavior for a family patriarch. Like Jonah, the elder brother was greatly displeased.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' - Luke 15:28-30
There it is again, the scandal of forgiveness. It was a scandal that this father would so eagerly forgive a son who had lived so shamefully, and disgraced the family name.

Corrie ten Boom faced a similar dilemma as a WWII concentration camp survivor. Many years after her release, she was approached by a former camp guard who was also one of the cruelest. The last time Corrie had laid eyes on this man was in the living hell called Ravensbrück. In the years that followed the war, this cruel man would eventually come to repentance and faith in Christ. When he approached Corrie and extended his hand, for a moment, she hesitated. Then she reached out and took his hand and forgiveness flooded her heart.

She would later write about that incident saying, "For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."

Once again, there it is, a scandal. How could anyone forgive a Nazi, a prodigal, or a Ninevite? To many, the very notion of doing so is absurd. That is certainly how Jonah must have felt. The Ninevites were every bit as cruel as the Nazis and something inside of Jonah wanted justice. Something inside of us demands justice. And yet, God is a God of mercy.

Lest we forget, all of these stories point to an even greater reality. We all were once prodigals and enemies of God. We do not deserve mercy, we deserve the just hand of God's wrath. Nevertheless, God had mercy on us, and forgave our sin debt at great cost to Himself. Christ bore our sins and drank the cup of God's wrath in our place, so that we might drink the cup of Communion and enjoy fellowship with God. Amazing love, How can it be, That You my King should die for me?

Bob Glenn of Redeemer Bible Church takes a look at the issue of forgiveness in a message called "The Outrageous Love of God". Glenn makes the point that we must understand the scandal of God's forgiveness to understand the greatness of God's forgiveness. You can listen at the link below.

The Outrageous Love of God

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Turn My Heart From Vanity to an Eternal Interest in Christ! - New Demonstration

Thou great I Am,

Fill my mind with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being…
with whom one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day,
A mighty God, who, amidst the lapse of worlds,
and the revolutions of empires,
feels no variableness,
but is glorious in immortality.

May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives;
that, while all creatures are broken reeds…
empty cisterns,
fading flowers,
withering grass,
he is the Rock of Ages, the Fountain
of living waters.

Turn my heart from vanity…
from dissatisfactions,
from uncertainties of the present state,
to an eternal interest in Christ.

Let me remember that life is short and…
and is only an opportunity for usefulness;

Give me a holy avarice to redeem the time…
to awake at every call to charity and piety,
so that I may feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
instruct the ignorant,
reclaim the vicious,
forgive the offender,
diffuse the gospel,
show neighbourly love to all.

Let me live a life of self-distrust…
dependence on Thyself,

Taken from The Valley of Vision—A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Church, politics and ecumenism

The Glenn Beck rally this weekend in Washington D.C. raises many issues for Evangelical Christians. While there has always been tension between Church and state, just how involved should the Church be in politics? Clearly the first mission of the Church is the preaching of the Gospel and the making of Disciples. Is there even a place for the Church in politics? The second issue raised by the Beck rally is ecumenism. Just how closely should Christians align with other faiths in pursuing social and political agendas?

Today on Wretched Radio, Phil Johnson (executive Director of Grace to You)  tackled those issues in a conversation with Todd Friel. Also, for your consideration, are a few thoughts on the subject from John Piper.

False religion is a far greater evil than bad politics:

John Piper - Church and politics:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Charles Spurgeon - Cast your care upon Him

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
- 1Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel-”HE careth for me.” Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to
“Lie passive in God’s hands,
And know no will but his.”

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses.

There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness.

What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.
- Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Considering Culture - Do you glorify God in your movie watching

There are many things that are acceptable to our culture that are, quite frankly, an abomination to God. As Christians, we need to think twice before we consume what the culture is feeding us. Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). The wonderful thing about the Gospel is that it has the power to transform our affections. The more we delight ourselves in Christ, the less we will desire these things.

In this short clip, John Piper discusses what Christians need to be mindful of before flocking to the theater for the latest blockbuster.

Notable quotables

The more pride we have, the more other people’s pride irritates us.
- C. S. Lewis

The Best Safeguard Against False Teaching - J.C. Ryle Quotes

What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm. 119:105.) The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.

~ J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bible's not about you...

It has been said that we are all the stars in our own life story. Everyone else is just a supporting actor. Without realizing it, we also begin to regard God in this way; we treat God as a supporting actor in OUR life story. Then it is no surprise that we have carried that sentiment over into the Church, and our reading of Scripture has become me-centered rather than Christ-centered. We have turned the Bible into a moral guide for self-improvement or a charm for self-empowerment.

Perhaps we read Scripture for tips on how to have Our Best Life Now, rather than to understand who Christ is and what He has accomplished. Maybe we read Scripture in an effort to add to our salvation. But, if we truly understand who Christ is and what He has done, we would find rest in Him. We would find that He is altogether glorious and "the things of earth would grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." We would find that we are transformed by seeking and beholding the face of Christ in Scripture.

In this short clip, Tim Keller explains what the true focus of Scripture is, and why it is more about Christ, and less about us.