Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apple example

Faith which receives Christ is as simple an act as when your child receives an apple from you because you hold it out and promise to give him the apple if he comes for it. The belief and the receiving relate only to an apple, but they make up precisely the same act as the faith which deals with eternal salvation. What the child's hand is to the apple, that your faith is to the perfect salvation of Christ. The child's hand does not make the apple nor improve the apple nor deserve the apple; it only takes it. And faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation because it does not pretend to create salvation nor to help in it, but it is content to receive it humbly.
-C.H. Spurgeon (All of Grace)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Divided worship?

What do you think about a niche marketing approach that has by virtue of the different worship styles--teen pop, alternative, and adult boomer--created generational segregation?

J. I. Packer: We have separated the ages, very much to the loss of each age. In the New Testament, the Christian church is an all-age community, and in real life the experience of the family to look no further should convince us that the interaction of the ages is enriching. The principle is that generations should be mixed up in the church for the glory of God. That doesn't mean we shouldn't disciple groups of people of the same age or the same sex separately from time to time. That's a good thing to do. But for the most part, the right thing is the mixed community in which everybody is making the effort to understand and empathize with all the other people in the other age groups. Make the effort is the key phrase here. Older people tend not to make the effort to understand younger people, and younger people are actually encouraged not to make the effort to understand older people. That's a loss of a crucial Christian value in my judgment. If worship styles are so fixed that what's being offered fits the expectations, the hopes, even the prejudices, of any one of these groups as opposed to the others, I don't believe the worship style glorifies God, and some change, some reformation, some adjustment, and some enlargement of spiritual vision is really called for.


Just a side note:
Steven Curtis Chapman will be doing some media events in the month of August.
August 5 on Good Morning America
August 7 on Larry King Live

Pray that the Chapmans' story of faith through this will point to our Savior and will bump into people that would not normally hear or see. Pray that God will continue to redeem this loss.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Content in God

Are we content in God when no one but God knows that we have done what we ought to have done?
-John Piper (A Hunger for God)

Monday, July 28, 2008

God is love

“How could a loving God send anyone to hell?” This is an age old question that I’d like to discuss in one short paragraph. I think a lot of this thought is what is behind the statement now days that God is love. While I completely agree with the statement that God is love I think most who throw the term out would not say God is wrath. Most take the piece of the pie they want and run with it. First, the statement God is love means God is! This is clear when God makes the statement, “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). God is means God is always present and works outside of time and space. Therefore God is love means God’s love is not ultimately based on human beings but on His love of Himself in the Trinity. Of course the first question in response is “Doesn’t that make God prideful?” Absolutely not! If He alone is the only good (Mark 10:18) then He must love Himself over anything else, if this statement is not true than God is not love. God is love means He loved before humans ever existed so His love is not determined by us. Second, in God’s plan of redemption creating people for damnation (Romans 9:21-23) does not go against who God is. This is God, the perfect and holy God, we are talking about (Isaiah 6:1-7). God is love in creating people destined for hell. God is just in sending people to hell. Once again, God’s perspective is perfect and holy therefore God would still be love and completely just in sending everybody to hell. God is love and just. God cannot sin therefore it is impossible for God to be unloving or demonstrate injustice. The work of the cross is what allows God to be the justifier (Romans 3:26) of those whom He has chosen. We, born into sin, are totally depraved and cannot love God (Romans 1:30) apart from Holy Spirit’s work in our life. He is perfect and holy and just but He offers mercy to all who will trust in His holy name. Why? God is love. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

Friday, July 25, 2008

A heart of flesh

God, who cannot lie, has said in Ezekiel 36:26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."
You see, it is all "I will" and "I will." "I will give" and "I will take away." This is the royal style of the King of kings who is able to accomplish all His will. No word of His will ever fall to the ground.
The Lord know very well that you cannot change your own heart and cannot cleanse your own nature. But, He also knows that He can do both.
-C.H. Spurgeon (All of Grace)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Privilege and hopes

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:11

My grand objection to the religious system still held by many who declare themselves to be orthodox Churchmen is that it tends to render Christianity so much a system of prohibitions rather than of privilege and hopes, and thus the injunction to rejoice, so strongly enforced in the New Testament, is practically neglected, and religion is made to wear a forbidding and gloomy air and not one of peace and hope and joy.
-William Wilberforce (365 days with Wilberforce)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Atonement

It is finished
John 19:30

God will spare the sinner because He did not spare His Son. God can pass by your transgressions because He laid them upon His only begotten Son nearly two thousand years ago. If you believe in Jesus, then your sins were carried away by Him who was the scapegoat for His people.
A sacrifice cannot be made and then withheld form the one for which it was given.
-C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Have you considered it much?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do--do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Amusements are proper, both as to kind and degree--just so far as they make us better Christians. Whenever they become hindrances to us in our Christian living or in our holy walk--they are harmful, however innocent they may be in themselves. How do your amusements influence your spiritual life? They may be very pleasing to you. They may afford great gratification. But what is their effect on you, as a Christian? Are they hindering your love for Christ, and your growth in grace? We ought to be honest enough with ourselves, to answer these questions truthfully, and then act accordingly.
-J.R. Miller

Monday, July 21, 2008

No condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind of the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:1-8

Friday, July 18, 2008

The best news ever!

And to the one who does not work but trusts Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
Romans 4:5

How can the Savior and His death on the cross and the Gospel of pardon be accounted for unless it is true that men are guilty and worthy of condemnation? The sinner is the Gospel's reason for existence. If you are undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving, you are the sort of man for whom the Gospel is ordained and arranged and proclaimed. God justifies the ungodly.
-C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hide in His wounds

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:4

Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell Him that you have read in the Bible, "him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell Him that He has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. Go straight to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election.
-C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The happiness of man

You make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

In C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters, even the devil Screwtape knows what we nearly always forget: that God is out to make people happy. He has made us with the capacity to enjoy far greater pleasures than the ones we usually content ourselves with, if only we will trust the guidance He gives. Even His calls to self-control, self-sacrifice, worship and obedience are just clever ways to help people feel greater and greater pleasure. As Screwtape explains, begrudgingly but truthfully:

"God is a hedonist at heart. All those fast and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are 'Pleasures forevermore'...He has filled the world full of pleasures."
Paul Williams and Barry Cooper (If You Could Ask God One Question)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Road rage approval

So this morning I had something picked out for my blog but my trip to work gave me something different to share. On an average day traffic can get pretty hectic coming to work but normally in the summer time things are a little lighter on the interstate. This morning, near a merging lane, someone in a pick up decided they could get over to the outside lane without having to worry if cars were in the way or not. I saw them merge on to the interstate and quickly get over into the center lane. I was one lane away from the goal of this pick up truck. Finally with no room to merge over the driver just cuts off the car in front of me and we all slam the brakes on in enjoyment (enjoyment is called sarcasm). So we go about driving along the interest all bunched up together. The car and the pick up are kind of pulling away once the traffic clears up but I notice the car is tailing the pick up really close. Then, with some room in the center lane, the car tries to pull around the pick up, I'm guessing to let him know he did not approve of his move a few miles back, the pick up decides to speed up and not let him around. Now the story takes a turn.
I decide I want to have my opinion myself so I think, "That person in the car ought to give that person in the pick up what they deserve for the move they pulled earlier." So I watch as they play a little cat and mouse game down the interstate. We near the exit ramps for downtown and I notice the car has to get over to get off the interstate and the pick up just keeps on rolling down the road. I'm bummed. I wanted to see something happen. Don't we all? I mean the person in the pick up deserved it right? Then the Holy Spirit speaks and reminds me of His Word in Romans one. After the list Paul gives to describe those who do not see fit to acknowledge God (Romans 1:28) he says these words to close chapter one, "Though they know God's decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." That was me. I was giving approval to the person in the car playing their role as God. "Vengeance is mine says the Lord", not a humans' but God's!
God is so gracious to show us our sin through His beautiful Word. Are you in the Word? Do you study? This is my challenge: get in the Scripture and beg for God to be gracious and reveal the sin in your life but don't stop there. Go to the cross and know that forgiveness is in the blood of Jesus whom God sent to die for those who would believe. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Having your conversation in heaven

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

How little also have I borne in mind that we are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth! This impression can be kept up in those who are in such a state of prosperity and comfort as myself, by much prayer and meditation, and by striving habitually to walk by faith and to have my conversation in heaven.
-William Wilberforce

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our thought life matters.

From within, out of men's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.
Mark 7:21-23

These thoughts matter, according to Jesus. Because evil doesn't just come out of nowhere. It lives in every human heart, regardless of whether we act on it or not. And if we're tempted to think that we are good people because we never act on our bad thoughts, it's worth wondering: what kinds of things would we do if we knew there would be no negative consequences for us? How many times have we been kept from doing something we wanted to do only because we were afraid that God or society or the law would punish us, or because our friends would think of us as bad people? How often do we do "the right thing" not because we love to do it, but simply because we don't want to be seen doing "the wrong thing"?
Because God is infinitely worthy of our love, our rejection of Him - this "sin" that is so deeply ingrained in every human heart - is infinitely horrifying. Despite His goodness to us, we have deliberately dedicated our whole lives to putting ourselves, or other things, in His rightful place.
-Paul Williams and Barry Cooper (If You Could Ask God One Question)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wait on the Lord

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

When we wait upon the Lord, we begin to understand what it is to receive things from Him in due season. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
-Kevin Belmonte (365 days with Wilberforce)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why would a God of love send anyone to hell?

Hell only seems harsh when we don’t see how infinitely serious it is to rebel against God. And it only seems harsh when we don’t realize how infinitely holy God is; in other words, how entirely perfect, how completely true, how utterly good and how profoundly beautiful God is. He is infinitely worthy of our love; and we love anyone, anything, but Him. He gives and sustains life; and we spend it trying to wish Him out of existence.
The way Jesus describes hell – and the excruciating lengths to which He went in order that people might be kept from it – should prove one thing, if nothing else: God’s holiness and our sin must both be infinitely great.
In fact, once we glimpse the infinite depths of human sin, and the infinite heights of God’s holiness, our question may well change. Rather than demanding, “Why send anyone to hell?”, we may well ask, “How can you admit anyone to heaven?”

-Paul Williams and Barry Cooper (If You Could Ask God One Question)

Monday, July 7, 2008

God's will

When we seek to discern God's will, we must always look back to what is true about God as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
-Tim Challies

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Enlarge my heart

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart.
Psalm 119:32

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A true love...

A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.
-Jonathan Edwards

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Love of Christ

I don't think Christ is impressed with our (the church) failure to love others not like ourselves, that's just not going to be compelling in glory when our loving Savior died for people who were anything like Him.
-Thabiti Anyabwile