Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
True wisdom is forged in fires of community. Those who seek wisdom need God and prayer, no doubt. But the normal context in which God answers his people's prayers for wisdom isn't solitude but relationships.
This quote is just another reminder to me that I need counsel from people that are interested in my growth as a disciple. I tend to listen and accept words that are easy on my ears and my ego. But pride often causes met to question the insight of those who do not agree with my assessment of myself. When I wander into a place where I believe I am the best judge of my motives and words, I have left the path of sanctification. I tend to cut myself a lot of slack in areas where discipline and correction is required.
That is why I am grateful for guys like John and Doug in my small group at church. They are guys who are pursuing holiness and are not afraid to call me out when I choose to underestimate or ignore sin in my life. (I actually typed "wife" there. That would have been really bad.) I need that type of accountability that goes beyond leveling an accurate judgement to applying grace. God has been good to me.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I seem to be recalling a lot of old hymns recently. Many of the hymns that sang in my Baptist youth have been updated by artists like Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels. I have seen many debates on blogs about whether or not they have honored the original writers of these hymns. I don't know whether they have or not, but I do know that they have resurrected long lost lyrics and made them alive and active again.
One of my greatest regrets in life was that I did not take piano lessons seriously when I was young. I had a short term view of things and piano practice was a daily scrum. Mom would strongly encourage my brother and I to play our pieces and my brother and I would rebel. Not knowing how to play the piano is one of those things that I suspect changed the course of my life, but I will never know for sure.
So I am going to try and learn to play the guitar. I have a guitar. I have the will. I may have the talent. I have to get a teacher. All I want is the ability to play a few chords with conviction. And maybe resurrect a few hymns of my own....
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
First, we don't know what Jesus was teaching, but wouldn't you like to know? What He was telling this crowd must have been captivating. They ignored the time and their growing hunger to hear this traveling Rabbi speak.
Second, Jesus and His followers were trying to get away for a while to rest. They went to a desolate place to escape the demands of the people. Jesus' compassion was such that He put people before privacy.
Finally, I wonder when the disciples realized what was happening? What was it like when Peter understood that everyone was getting something to eat? As Jesus blessed the food, was John anticipating a night with an empty stomach? That moment of illumination must have been indescribable! The bread never stopped coming! There was enough fish for everyone! It must have been thrilling to be with Jesus.
I suppose that I should end this entry with some witty and clever application that came from my study this morning. Sorry to disappoint. All that I have for the end of this post is a refreshed excitement for the person and work of Jesus. With God, all things are possible.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I come to the Lord with only one appeal; his mercy. I’ve no other defense. I’ve no other standing. I’ve no other hope. I can’t escape the reality of my biggest problem; me! So I appeal to the one thing in my life that’s sure and will never fail. I appeal to the one thing that guaranteed not only my acceptance with God, but the hope of new beginnings and fresh starts. I appeal on the basis of the greatest gift I ever have or ever will be given.
I leave the courtroom of my own defense, I come out of hiding and I admit who I am. But I’m not afraid, because I’ve been personally and eternally blessed. Because of what Jesus has done, God looks on me with mercy. It’s my only appeal, it’s the source of my hope, it’s my life. Mercy, mercy me!”
—Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2008), 22
Monday, July 21, 2008
The personal application for me was a tough evaluation of the media and entertainment that I devour on a daily basis. Television, newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, books, Bible - - - there is the opportunity to take in information from a lot of different sources. And the importance of the knowledge that comes from those sources must be carefully measured. I fear that I invest too much time in reading "twaddle", when vast mountains of divine wisdom are available. It reminds me of this CS Lewis quote:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of
the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not
too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and
sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a
holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
So I will be evaluating my magazine subscriptions, the number of blogs that I read, the movies that I watch, and even the books that I read. I must devote more time to reading and knowing the Scriptures. I may have an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, but perhaps I have been too easily pleased.....
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
And that is much better than a lot of friends that do not tell me the truth about my shortcomings. Not because they are sadistic, but becuase they know that change in in my best interests. This type of conversation requires a courageous type of love that is built over time. And their observations are more welcome if we are preparing to eat something. And they have to be able to overcome my objections to their truth-telling by saying stuff like "I don't think that you are seeing this issue clearly." I want my friends to remind me of my failings and the sufficiency of the Gospel in consecutive sentences. I am thankful that God has seen fit to provide me with a few, but high quality, friends.
I wonder what it was like to be friends with Jesus when He was here on earth? I bet it was great and fearsome at the same time. Especially since He knew the intentions of your heart and the thoughts in your head. But when the chips were down, I think that Jesus knew when to listen.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I am tempted to ridicule Saul and his failure to follow simple instructions, but then I realize that his example is a perfect reflection of my tendencies. My heart and desires are just as corrupt as Saul's, they are just as impure in their motives. Left to myself, I will always choose hamburgers over God. But by His grace, I am being changed to see the value and worth of God over all other things. Slowly.
Friday, July 11, 2008
An incredibly beat up chenielle covered sofa and love seat. Stupid cat clawed it down to the wood on the ends. Can be salvaged by adding padding and reupholstering. FREE. Just come get it. Otherwise, it’s hitting the dumpster.
Your shoe size.
The range of your voice.
The tone of your skin.
The length of your life.
Your food preferences.
The color of your eyes.
Your level of intelligence.
Your sense of timing.
Your ability to tell a joke.
The sound of your laughter.
Your capacity to carry a tune.
The day of your birth.
The presence or absense of freckles.
Your appreciation for adventure.
The complexity of your personality.
You are a very unique creature. And yet none of the characteristics that make you the person that you are today were random. No, you have been fearfully and wonderfully created, knitted together by an Artist without equal. Everything about you was intentional. It was all planned from the very beginning by a very creative Creator. And that is very good.
(As a side note, each of the things in the list above contains a point of curiosity for me about Jesus. I can't wait to hear Jesus laugh.)
Thursday, July 10, 2008
---J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Nov. 20, 2007 - Addressing a common misperception about questions
I am back. Sorta.
I am back because there is a question that must be addressed and I feel like I am the only one asking it. You hear this question posed from time to time and you, too, must wonder about the best answer to this popular conundrum. The question is this: Are there any stupid questions? And the answer is undoubtedly "Yes." The professor that states that there are no stupid questions, usually does so at the beginning semester before he has gotten to know his class. A few weeks later, after an avalanche of dumb questions, it is too late to retract his statement and he is too nauseated to bring up the subject.
Just to prove the point, let me offer up a few questions that I think are borderline stupid and you decide. Stupid or not?
1. Do people burp audibly in their sleep? Could one wake himself up with a mighty belch?
2. Could you train a chicken to run a marathon? Does it matter that chickens are well known to be sprinters by nature?
3. If my German chocalate is made in Jersey, it is really German chocolate? Would anyone eat Jersey chocolate?
4. Are turkeys naturally lazy creatures since they contain lots of tryptophan?
5. Are you going to eat that?
Now, I realize that the nature of a question is somewhat influenced by the questioner and the questionee. But let's face it, this is really a black and white type issue. So, be careful what you ask and be careful how you answer. Because some questions are clearly stupid.
That's it. Now go have fun.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The first question is what you will do between now and your last breath. Will you live for yourself trying to fill a God-shaped hole with stuff that will never statisfy? That is a choice. It is a bad choice but a choice nonetheless. There is a hunger within you that can only be filled by the one who created you. Jesus, the Son of God, is the only Way to Truth and Life.
The second question is what will happen to you after your life is through. When you die, your relationship with the God of the universe will determine what happens next. Those that confessed their spiritual and moral poverty and accepted the sacrifice of Jesus on their behalf will spend eternity in the presence of God, completely happy forever. Those that were not made right and reconclied to God will be miserable for all time.
That's it. So don't waste your life. And die knowing that you will spend eternity enjoying God.