Friday, August 29, 2008

Speech

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
-Ephesians 4:29

I love this verse and hate it all at the same time. I love the verse because this is how we are to be as followers of Christ but I hate it because it's a huge struggle of mine. Jerry Bridges, in his book Respectable Sins, says this, "We see that we are not to let any corrupting talk come out of our mouths. Corrupting talk is not limited to profanity or obscene speech. It includes all the various types of negative speech I mentioned previously (lying, slander, critical speech, etc.). Note Paul's absolute prohibition. No corrupting talk. None whatsoever. This means no gossip, no sarcasm, no critical speech, no harsh words. All of these sinful words that tend to tear down another person must be put out of our speech. Think about what the church of Jesus Christ would look like if we all sought to apply Paul's words." I debated whether to post this or not. This is not easy stuff but Christ did not promise easy, He promised a battle that can be won by His grace. These challenges or convictions should do nothing more than take us to our knees in prayer to the Father. We are called to examine ourselves and last night was a wake up call about my speech. Praise God for the cross that allows us to confess and repent and keep pressing on toward the goal in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John Piper quotation day

"If all the universe and everything in it exist by the design of an infinite, personal God to make his manifold glory known and loved, then to treat any subject without reference to God's glory is not scholarship, but insurrection."

"Prayer is not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ's kingdom."

"The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God."

"Human strength can never impress an omnipotent God, and human bigness can never impress a God of infinite greatness. This is bad news for God's competitors, but it is very good news for those who want to live by faith."

"We were made to be prisms refracting the light of God's glory into all of life."

"Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ's sake."

"God aims to save people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. But one of the great obstacles to victory is when people are swept up into social and political and militaristic conflicts that draw away their attention and time and energy and creativity from the real battle of the universe."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A comment on my post this morning

My point in addressing the closing benediction was not Donald Miller but Jesus Christ and why He was not exalted. I don't know the political agenda of Mr. Miller fully nor do I care in comparison to the worth and excellency of Jesus Christ being put on display. DNC or RNC that should be of most importance to any Christian. I agree with Mr. Miller that we should care for orphans and widows. I agree we need to help single moms and the fatherless. I also think the we in those sentences should be the church stepping up. I agree we (America) have tried to fix the problems on our own and nothing has changed but I would also say what we have changed on our own has not made things for the better. Can you imagine a prayer of Scripture at either convention:

Dear Father God,
Of first importance I declare the cross of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead on the third day in accordance with the Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Lord, our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). We must obey You rather than men (Acts 5:29). Claiming to be wise, we became fools and our foolish hearts have been darkened (Romans 1:21). We have suppressed the truth (Romans 1:18). Teach us how to love You, LORD, with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18). Help us to understand true religion that is pure and undefiled before You, the Father, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstrained from the world (James 1:27). May we remember your promise that it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). May we be generous to the poor (Proverbs 14:21) and know that mocking the poor insults You as Maker (Proverbs 17:5). May we not walk in idleness, but be willing to work and provide (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11). May we remember your design for marriage that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). May we know children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127:3). For You, Father, have formed our inward parts; You knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). May we not have the audacity to think a mistake was made by what You created. May we understand the consequences of our sin Father and flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:19). For You tell us blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).
Father forgive us for loving the subjective rather than the objective. Thank you, Father, for loving us and giving Your only begotten Son so those who believe might have eternal life (John 3:16). I confess my unfaithfulness to You, LORD. Have mercy on me, O God according to Your steadfast love (Psalm 51:1). Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). Do this all for Your name’s sake and the truth of Your Word.
In Christ’s name,
Amen
Forgive me for anything that came across harsh or unloving.
PS - I got love for the man rabblin like root beer. Thanks for the admonishment and correction.

DNC closing benediction

Donald Miller's closing benediction at the DNC:

"Father God,
This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.
We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation. We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy. Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left. Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them. Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions. Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle. Help us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education. Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony. We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help. Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world. A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American. Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world. Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.
Lastly, father, unify us. Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common. And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish. God we know that you are good.
Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans. I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let Him be our example. Amen."


I want to address a couple of things in this prayer in a humble way that will glorify Jesus Christ:
1. Donald Miller must not remember who we are compared to the Holy God of the universe. I am so glad a lot of people do not know the heart of the average American because they would see a vile, wretched, disgusting sinner that loves no one but himself. There are many text in the Bible talking about who we are and what the heart is. Jeremiah states it plainly, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can understand it" (Jeremiah 17:9). See the details Mr. Miller mentioned before are not what is going to change the heart. Jesus Christ is the only one who can give a new heart not moral correction.
2. Jesus, who gave His own life against the forces of injustice? Really? Jesus gave His own life so that we may have eternal life. Jesus gave His own life to glorify the Father. Jesus gave His own life to take the wrath of God. Jesus gave His own life so we may learn obedience. Jesus gave His own life to show how much He loved us. Jesus gave His own life so we may have our sins forgiven.

Please pray for Donald Miller to use his platform to magnify the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A tribute to the woman who cuts my hair

Isn't it a pain to pay for a hair cut? Well actually I wouldn't know because the same wonderful lady has cut my hair for the last 29 years free of charge. She cuts it with plenty of love and even allowed me to have some cuts I wish I could have back. She let me have a mullet (YIKES!) and Vanilla Ice lines shaved into the side of my head (Yo, VIP let's kick it). She seems to love me so much she pretty much keeps her shop open 24/7. She even tells me when I'm there she is praying for me. Have you ever been getting your hair cut and had your barber say they are praying for you? If you have consider yourself blessed. She has been praying for me my whole life which is why I am even here writing these posts daily because of her tireless labor in prayer. See she doesn't like the spotlight but loves to serve behind the scenes. I know her so well because she's my mom. Today is my mom's birthday and I just wanted to let her know how much I love her and appreciate all those times she has told me she was praying for me.

Mom thanks for knowing only Christ can change the sinners heart. Your son is the chief of sinners and you knew it all along. Thanks for being faithful to pray and pray and well pray and pray non-stop. Pray fervently is what the Scripture says and you are an example of what that means to me. Thanks for all the love from you and dad growing up and even now. I hope you have a great birthday.
Love you

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pray

You get three minutes to pray? Have you thought about what you’re going to pray? I’ve not written the prayer yet, but I really wanted to hone in on the theme of unity, even unity between Republicans and Democrats. In the convention, as we highlight our differences that we wouldn’t forget that we’re unified, we have more in common than we don’t. That’s the focus of the prayer.

This is Donald Miller (Blue like Jazz) speaking to Christianity Today about giving the benediction at the Democratic National Convention (8/25/08). This is the man considered “one of the top names among young evangelicals” according to Joshua DuBois, director of religious affairs for the Obama campaign. Please pray for Donald Miller tonight as he has an opportunity to spread the fame of Jesus Christ. Going by his comments he may miss the point. True unity comes through the blood of Jesus Christ. Donald please remember what the prophet Isaiah spoke, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Also Paul in Romans, “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). I hope both parties are reminded of the truth. We have this hope: God is sovereign! His plan cannot be thwarted.

Sacrifice

A sacrifice cannot be made and then withheld from the one for which it was given.
-C H Spurgeon

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Whatever you do...

Are we really called to do everything to the glory of God? I have to consider whether my walk from my car into the building for work was really done to the glory of God. That seems so petty, yet we are commanded to do everything for God's glory therefore making that very walk no different than the rest of my life. We are here to glorify God. Wilberforce said, "The man of the world considers religion as having nothing to do with 99 - 100ths of the affairs of life, considering it as a medicine and not as his food, least of all as his refreshment and cordial. He naturally takes no more of it than his health requires. How opposite this to the apostle's admonition, 'Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.' This is being spiritually-minded, and being so is truly declared to be life and peace." There are no vacations from the Christian life. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ (Hebrews 12:2) and may your mind be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greater power

It is a blessing for us that as sin lives and the flesh lives and the devil lives, so Jesus lives. It is also a blessing that whatever strength these may have to ruin us, Jesus has still greater power to save us.
-C H Spurgeon (All of Grace)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why we are together

"Nothing keeps God at the center of worship like the Biblical conviction that the essence of worship is deep, heartfelt satisfaction in him, and the conviction that the trembling pursuit of that satisfaction is why we are together."
-John Piper

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Crown of My Life

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trust in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life...Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-12,30-31

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.
Proverbs 12:4a

Happy Birthday Babe!!

Thank you for being the kind of woman who fears the LORD. I can't say in my own words better than what the Bible teaches. You are truly an example of the passages above.
I love you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

To please His heavenly Father

Oh, that we might worship the terrible wonder of the love of God! It is not sentimental. It is not simple. For our sake God did the impossible: He poured out His wrath on His own Son - the one whose submission made Him infinitely unworthy to receive it. Yet the Son's very willingness to receive it was precious in God's sight. The wrath-brearer was infinitely loved.
-John Piper (Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Response to Obama’s Planned Parenthood speech (July 17, 2007)

“There will always be people, many of goodwill, who do not share my view on the issue of choice” said Barack Obama in a Planned Parenthood speech. I hope to address some of the issues I have with Mr. Obama’s speech. He later went on to say these words “As parents, as family members, we need to encourage young people to show reverence toward sexuality and intimacy. We need to teach that not just to the young girls, we need to teach it to those young boys. But even as we are teaching those lessons, we should never be willing to consign a teenage girl to a lifetime of struggle because of a lack of access to birth control or a lifetime of illness because she doesn’t understand how to protect herself. That’s just commonsense…People of all faiths—from members of Ariana’s and my church, Trinity United Church of Christ to United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, understand that we cannot ignore that abstinence and fidelity may too often be the ideal but often not the reality.”

Wow! I was once told, unbelievers [of Christ] do not live in reality and I understand completely. Reality is not a relative term but an absolute. I agree we cannot ignore abstinence and fidelity as the ideal and it is not the reality but what you call common sense says sweep it under the rug and all will be well. Mr. Obama that is exactly what you are saying above. Mr. Obama and many others (Planned Parenthood to name one) would say I am anti-choice but I want to see if that is reality. It seems the only choice ever focused on is the last one, the abortion. This is the focus always of those who are pro-choice but what about the many other choices made before the abortion?

Reality is truth and truth Mr. Obama is Jesus Christ for He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Reality is His word which clearly talks about sin. Sin is a reality. From my own life I know this is absolutely true because I am the chief of sinners. Sin is “the desire of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of possessions” (1 John 2:16). Mr. Obama I agree completely we need change in this country but not the change you are looking to do. Your change is not based on the reality that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Your reality is based on choices that clearly go against the truth. Reality says “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We need to address the reality that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick”(Jeremiah 17:9) and beg for God’s mercy to “create in us a clean heart” (Psalm 51:10). Sin cannot be swept under the rug because the reality is “man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD” (Proverbs 5:21). God sees and God is the truth. He is reality and there will be no escape at the judgment for those who live outside the cross of Jesus Christ. You may think the consequences of sin can be covered up by our own doing, as I once did, but that is not reality. Sin can be covered only by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is not too late Mr. Obama or others who may not be trusting in Christ as Savior. The call is to repent and believe. I know I sound so narrow minded but the truth is “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). Come through the narrow gate and create true change.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beg for mercy

Before it's too late, repent and cry out as David did, "Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of Your steadfast love (mercy)" (Psalm 6:4). If you think you are not worthy of Christ to accept you, you are right. You now understand the bad news and without the bad news the good news is worthless. But stop living in your self-pity and ask God, through Christ, to save you for His sake. His promises never fail. Repent and believe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A labor for a fool

To make him just who is just is not work for God. That is a labor for a fool. But to make him just who is unjust, that is work for infinite love and mercy. To justify the ungodly is a miracle worthy of God, and it is.
-C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free will?

Do humans have free will? Free will is defined for us as “free and independent choice; voluntary decision” (dictionary.com). As I look deeper into what the bible teaches I realize we do not have free will. God is omniscient: “having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things” (dictionary.com) and God is sovereign: “self-governing; independent” (American Heritage Dictionary); “having supreme rank, power, or authority; preeminent; indisputable; greatest in degree; being above all others in character, importance, excellence” (dictionary.com). Every Christian will affirm these two truths of God.
God being omniscient means He knows and understands all things completely. There is no time and space that God works in because God is always present. Therefore what we would consider many days or many years God has always been there in His present state. God being sovereign means He has supreme rank and is independent. That means we are under His authority and we are dependent. No human being is independent by nature because it is impossible. We are all dependent on God, whether we acknowledge it or not, because it is truth. Are we God’s puppets? No, but the bible does use the terminology of slaves. “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin’” (John 8:34). All have sinned (Romans 3:23) therefore all are slaves to sin. Jesus told the Jews, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32b). Then Paul says, “and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). We see slavery used in both the Christian and the non-Christian’s life; “you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16). A slave is “a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant” (dictionary.com). Slave is a biblical term. Free will and slave do not go together at all. How can we claim to have free will when the bible clearly states we are slaves to sin or slaves of righteousness? Free will claims independence and a slave is property of another. We are wholly dependent on God and God is perfectly independent.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Renew my heart

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
John 4:23

Do thou, O God, renew my heart - fill me with that love of thee which extinguishes all other affections, and enable me to give thee my heart, and to serve thee in spirit and truth.
-William Wilberforce

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Propitiation

Propitiation refers to the removal of God's wrath by providing a substitute. The substitute is provided by God Himself. The substitute, Jesus Christ, does not just cancel the wrath; He absorbs it and diverts it from us to Himself. God's wrath is just, and it was spent, not withdrawn.
Let us not trifle with God or trivialize His love. We will never stand in awe of being loved by God until we reckon with the seriousness of our sin and the justice of His wrath against us. But when, by grace, we waken to our unworthiness, then we may look at the suffering and death of Christ and say, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
-John Piper (Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Christ died for the ungodly

Converts usually say that they did not know the Gospel till such and such a day; yet they had heard it for years. The Gospel is unknown, not from want of explanation, but from absence of personal revelation. This the Holy Spirit is ready to give and will give to those who ask Him. Yet, when given, the sum total of the truth revealed all lies within these words: "Christ died for the ungodly."
-C H Spurgeon

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God's promise

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.
Deuteronomy 7:6-9

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Born again"

Have you ever sat and pondered why Jesus used the words “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God?” I find it interesting the term “born again” is used many times to describe a Christian or a disciple of Christ in our day and age. Why? What is so intriguing about “born again?” My thought is deep inside we know the common grace in physical birth is the greatest picture of saving grace in our spiritual birth.
The Bible states it plainly in the first birth, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Do you see the dependence on God in this verse? This is grace that is bestowed on every person. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second of breath is a gift. Think of how much grace is given to everyone, the just and the unjust.
The gift is the same in the term “born again.” Jesus uses “born again” because He wants us to understand our dependence on Him for everything. Now most will argue, “Yes that is true but we still have a responsibility.” I agree completely but let’s look at this from a physical life illustration. Walking, this requires us to do something. Walking requires us to be on our legs, moving around and going from place to place. We are the ones walking. But have you ever tried to walk without breath? No! It is impossible. Everyone knows we cannot walk without breath because we would be dead. So we do walk but with dependence on God to provide breath for our life. It’s impossible to do otherwise. So when we are “born again” what does that mean?
In Ephesians Paul says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Dead? That is what Paul says through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “in which you formerly walked” (Ephesians 2:2a) I thought I was dead how can I walk? “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:2b-3). Yes, we are walking this path naturally because it is who we are in the flesh (Romans 8:7-8). We are physically born, spiritually dead. Two great words come next, “But God.” Those are the words of hope. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4) He loved us? Yes, we cannot love what we hate but He loves those that hate Him. So how can I know Him? “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8). Through faith? Yes, we have a responsibility we are to walk but we are to walk in the dependence of God. Can we walk without grace? No! Saving grace (born again) is given the same way our first birth was given through the breath of God. He must speak life into us so we can be spiritually alive. God’s grace was never compared to a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) like our faith but “by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pride crushing

True Christianity, I believe, teaches that there is nothing we can do...we must despair of ourselves, because what we could not do for ourselves, Christ has done for us.
True Christian piety begins with God's decent to us in Christ and our ascent to Him through Christ. This leaves zero room for human pride. It is all about what God does for us. Only Christ fulfilled the covenant and achieved the moral perfection that a holy God justly requires. And His death bore the punishment for our willful rebellion and sinful passions.
-John W. Hendryx