Saturday, March 31, 2007

Well, he's not my favorite, but...

I thought I'd blog a little about the disciple who made the biggest impression on me. The one who caught my eye the most, and the one whose actions I consider a lot when evaluating my own.

I'm talking about Judas Iscariot.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm all gloom and doom here at 'r&r'. We are encouraged to rejoice in the finished work on the cross, and be thankful as we look back to two thousand years ago when the stone was rolled away from the empty tomb.

What grace delivered to such undeserving people! Even to those who by their own admission continue to fall short despite their earnest efforts to do otherwise.

But even as one sees in the previous post concerning "Spiritual Weirdness" one must not become too puffed up that he cannot see the truth for his own ego, pride and selfishness, nor the desire to "take it easy."

I look at Judas and I see me. I see someone struggling with selfishness and self-involvement on a daily basis. I see someone who is WITH Jesus, but needs to make an effort to KEEP HER EYES on Jesus, and ESTEEM Jesus. Who isn't helping myself behind His back (you'll remember that Judas kept the money and used to help himself to whatever was in there). And as one who desires to hear the Word divided rightly, and the WHOLE counsel of God preached, I feel I must do what I can to tip the scale closer to level as those ravening wolves have unrelentingly heaped tons of cheap grace (and an empty gospel message) on the other side of the balance. I know that is a harsh accusation, and I type with fear in my gut, and with trembling fingers, but after reading Just Walk Across the Room I cannot come to any other conclusion.

What does the Bible say about how to live? How can I avoid falling into the same trap as Judas? The one word I have found that works the best is this:


Paris Reidhead preached a sermon on this verse, and I cannot get it out of my head thanks to him:

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself to us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

He reads from the KJV, which translates "sensibly" into "soberly". We are to live soberly. The ESV uses the word self-controlled.

On a personal note, I supposed I prefer to use the word sober because of the picture that comes to mind. I think of a joke being told, or a funny story, and the ending is sad and everyone stops laughing because they realize that this story really isn't funny, but that it is a serious issue. It is that act of coming to our senses, much like the Prodigal son.

We MUST be careful. We MUST be alert. We MUST stay sober in a world where the enticement is to get drunk on so much revelry, frivolity, and idleness. I think about this CONSTANTLY as I go throughout my day alongside those who are striving to fill their lives with laughter and ease. I hate to be a party pooper, but the party is going to be pooped eventually, and I see little need for whooping it up when the Bible is clear about living righteous lives that require a sober spirit within.

I'm not talking about eating cold gruel and not using fabric softener in your laundry. I enjoy a good joke, a good cup of Starbucks coffee, get a little TOO excited at the thought of a thunderstorm, and have been known to take cute kitty pictures with the camera on occasion (let's keep that last one between ourselves, okay).

What I AM talked about is where righteousness is concerned, we ought to be caught in a sober state in order to respond in a manner worthy of our calling as Christians, and we must keep our eye on that blessed hope of the return of our Lord Jesus. Even the Puritans took this so far as to remind themselves that they would be required to give an account of every idle word they spoke. With this in mind, I've scaled back on much idle chatter. And it's amazing just how much of it is truly idle.

1 Cor 15:34 (ESV)
Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

1 Thess 5:4-8 (NASB)
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 Tim 4:5 (NASB)
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

1 Peter 1:13 (NASB)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:7 (NASB)
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober in spirit for the puropse of prayer.

1 Peter 5:8 (NASB)
Be of sober spirit, be on alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Hebrews 11:7 (NIV)
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

1 Peter 1:17-19 (NASB)
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spiritually Weird

Found this here.

Did I get this right?

It's not depression, hopelessness or shame.

It's SIN!!

And there's only one answer for sin:


Thursday, March 29, 2007

This is our duty

  • It is the duty of all Christians dilligently to search the scriptures, and it is the office of ministers to guide and assist them therein. How useful soever this book of books is in itself, it will be of no use to us if we do not acquiant ourselves with it, by reading it daily, and meditating upon it, that we may understand the mind of God in it, and may apply what we understand to ourselves for our direction, rebuke, and comfort, as there is occasion.
  • It concerns us to be ready in the scriptures, and to make ourselves so by constant reading and careful observation, and especially by earnest prayer to God for the promised gift of the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to bring things to our remembrance which Christ hath said to us (John 14:26), that thus we may have some good word or other at hand for our use in our addresses to God and in our converse with men, in our resistance of Satan and in communiing with our own hearts, and may be able, with the good householder, to bring out of this treasury things new and old, for the entertainment and edification both of ourselves and others.
  • The letter, either of law or gospel, profits little without the Spirit.
  • As ministers would hardly be believed without Bibles to back them, so Bibles would hardly be understood without ministers to explain them; but if, having both, we perish in ignorance and unbelief, our blood will be upon our own head.

Taken from the Preface to the first volume of the Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nothing new under the sun...

It seems I read a lot about "transparency" within the new church paradigm that is emerging. One can read all about Craig Groeschel's shortcomings in his tell-all book, Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God. Things like "I can't stand a lot of Christians" and "I hate prayer meetings". You know, stuff you hope your pastor would feel comfortable sharing with you.

Somewhere we dropped the ball.

We sold out to humanism, stopped preaching the law, and bound and gagged the Holy Spirit in the name of self-esteem. Not that God isn't stronger than Satan's schemes. But that's not the point I hope to make here.

Somewhere along the line we stopped preaching holiness and sanctification. Granted, I grew up in the Nazarene Church, and was exposed to older Nazarenes who genuinely loved the Lord and who understood what those terms meant, their Biblical basis, and were actually walking, breathing examples (the Nazarene motto was "Holiness Unto the Lord"). But I wasn't perfect myself.

However, now that the law of God has become clearer to me, I see how we've allowed gross sin to creep in and we've labeled it as the imperfection we will always be carrying until we leave this earth. Satan had it all figured out, didn't he? We wink at Christians who live like pagans, until these pastors fresh from seminary, the ink still wet on their diplomas, take up their own pastorates, and continue to live like pagans. Except now they can be "transparent" about their sin, and everyone fawns over their accessibility and relevance.

Everyone can heave a huge sigh of relief. None are regenerated beings, and we can all stop playing the "game" and start being "real". We can just let that "old creation" hang out all day.

That just won't fly on Judgment Day.

Somehow this all reminds me of Synanon...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Current Deception

I have a meeting in a few hours about

I finished reading it last night. Armed with a highlighter and a red flair-tip pen, I circled, highlighted, underlined and jotted down notes both in the margins and on the inside fly leaf.

My professional opinion? I hated this book. It was painful to read. The theology is terrible. There is no consistent thread of soteriology. We are merely unfulfilled people, not with a sin problem, but with a fulfillment problem. Apparently, according to the author, we are not in rebellion against God (he does, in his defense, mention we are in rebellion once, but does not tie it in with why or how or what that means for us -- like eternal damnation, for starters -- or how that separates us from Him), we are merely broken people (despite the Bible's insistence we are proud and in opposition to Him, and need to be broken by Him). And our sin? Well, let's just say we are all entangled by destructive habits (no, seriously, I'm not making this up) that Jesus can save us from.

Is someone in a self-destructive relationship cycle? They need Jesus. Not because submitting to Him will mean a regeneration that will put us on our faces before Him and acknowledging that we are creatures who can do nothing BUT sin if left to our own devices, but because He "changes lives". There is nothing more to elaborate on here in his defense, because he didn't give me anything to pass on to you. He did use the word "mystical" in there several times, so maybe that is how he supposes changes occur, but if that were the case he ought to have elaborated so that those who have not been regenerated, and who are reading the book, can at least be aware of what to expect in those who are (completely tongue-in-cheek, mind you).

My final complaint (and, oh, there are plenty, which I ought to categorize as a means of creating a discernment guide as a starting point for those considering reading the book, though I hope others will catch on and greatly elaborate on Hybels' errors) is his re-telling of a story published in Chuck Colson's How Now Shall We Live? I don't know what promted me to pull my copy off the shelf, but perhaps a growing distrust of Hybels' "stories". If he could twist Scripture, what respect would he have for anothers' account? None, apparently. Despite having admitted to taking the story from Colson's book, he apparently decided taking the facts from the book wasn't worth his time. Several facts Hybels reprints were not corroborated by Colson's book. So either Colson got the facts wrong in his book (by insisting Prison Fellowship started the pedicab business instead of an entrpreneurial ex-inmate as Hybels claims is the case), or Hybels chose to print a separate conversation he had with Colson about the story and not cite this conversation instead, though Hybels is explicit about the location of the story: Colson's book.

"Tell me, boys, was it thirty pedicabs, or thirty-five, because that's not a hard number to corroborate."

In short, it was a tiring read of a different story of salvation than what I know to be true. Sin is kept locked in the basement, and Jesus is a motivational speaker with "dreams" who "sees the potential in people." If you overdo your evangelism, you could be responsible for preventing them from ever "coming to Jesus". Shame on those who talk about hell.

Instead, may I recommend

from Reformation Heritage Books?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Have we forgotten how to be angry about the things that just aren't right when our gospel is being compromised?

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Balanced Perspective

Everyone wants to talk about the Samaritan Woman.

No one wants to talk about the Canaanite Woman.

Shameful smoke-blowing, if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No thoughts but these...

I'm taking a week off.

But I want you to read this:


It Will Cost You
It doesn't come to you on a silver platter, you have got to want it above everything else.
That means you have got to pursue it above everything else while you are doing everything else.
The first step to desiring it supremely is recognizing you don't.
Everything else will fight you with every distraction, attraction, endurance, conflict, time, and with all that is in the world.
You can memorize the entire Bible and not reach it.
You can know all the Greek and Hebrew and not have it.
You can write your own exhaustive systematic theology and be far from it.
You can be Calvinistic or Arminian and still be on the sidelines.
You can preach on every verse in the Bible and not arrive at it.
You can witness and not progress toward it.
You can be doctrinally pure and be far from it.
You can speak out against the falling away and still not get it.
You can teach a Sunday School class and not have it.
You can post blogs and not arrive at it.
Nothing is born of God without travail, and this will take a lifetime.
It will cost you inordinate amounts of time.
It will require deep focus.
It will require some early mornings and some late nights.
It will require limiting social interaction and discipline of the tongue.
Total forgiveness is a huge prerequisite and the foundation must be built with humility.
You will suffer misunderstanding and you will sometimes be considered aloof.
It necessitates pursuit when you are Spiritually exhausted.
It is tangible and yet ethereal.
It will satisfy and yet produce desire for more.
There will be times you will not be able or capable to effectively communicate your experiences with anyone.
Some experiences won't translate into words sometimes God won't let you share it.
A personal desire for holiness will be part of the process.
The search for truth is a door inconvenience must be accepted and flexibility practiced.
You must surrender any comparison to anyone else and you must reject legalism and performance.
You will be required to capture and direct your mind through conscious and sometimes frustrating behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple...He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High...Seek the Lord...they that wait upon the Lord...that diligently seek Him...Looking unto Jesus...

To know Jesus, that is the disciple's journey.
Not just defend Him against attacks and cults, but to know and embrace Him as your personal life.
Not just know about Him but with an insatiable thirst pursue Him as if you will die if you don't go deeper and deeper in intimate fellowship with Him.
As Lord and as Friend.
As Master and as Helper.
As fearful and as comforting.
We will have to take quantum leaps in quantity and quality in our prayer lives.
We will have to both devour the Word and chew it over and over, and we will have to be able to during those times not read it looking for truths to buttress any doctrinal argument but as our living Spiritual food.

Oh it will take more than the pro-life position.
Much more than a ban on same sex marriage.
Light years more than electing conservative politicians.
It will take a slow and self-crucifying journey that will be accompanied by hills and valleys, victories and setbacks, and a frequent desire to feel content with where you are and stop pressing toward Him.
Don't look for a group to go through it with you, real pursuers are rare, and comfortable nay sayers are legion.
The devil will remind you that you will see Jesus when you get to heaven so why go through all this trouble now.
Discouragement will sit on one shoulder and self righteousness on the other.
The Deceiver will attempt to comfort you with the message that you are orthodox in your theology which is meant to keep you from pursuing.
So, as someone once said, count the cost.
But if you agree to start a painful but unspeakably rewarding journey that seeks the heart and face of the Lord Jesus Himself, you will find Him.
Not fully, for He is infinite, and not just as an efficacious object for salvation, no, you will find life.
The abundant life cannot be found on this earth it is only found in Him, and the deeper you go the more abundant the life.

You want contentment and peace?
You want joy and satisfaction?
You want patience and hope?
You want faith and love?
You want an array of Spiritual emotions that transcend earthly definition and bring your inner man into a depth in Him that cannot be plumbed?
Seek Him with all your heart, mind, and soul.

But if you want material, fame, corporate advancement, treasures, and worldly'll have to look elsewhere. But be encouraged, that road is glamorous and wide, and it is easily and well traveled even within the church.

But if you still desire're going to need a cross.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

60 miles

If you had asked me whether I thought I could do it or not, I'd have said no.

And I don't even hurt. Thanks, Mark!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Know this

A pastor/acquaintance of mine in New Hampshire recently wrote this on his site:

Know this; the Glorious and majestic, great and mighty, completely sovereign God of Biblical revelation has no dreams, hopes and aspirations because He doesn’t need anything or anyone to accomplish whatever He wills.

You can read about the apostasy of human potential here.

In other news, I received three books through the mail yesterday. The Holy War, The Pilgrims's Progress, and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. All by John Bunyan. You have to respect a man who sacrificed many years without his family, while spending time in jail for preaching the true Gospel. For those wise among us who would decry what is fair and what is unfair, know that this man spent his incarceration writing these amazing books that have encouraged many a struggling believer in their walk with the Lord.

And I've got to say to others in encouragement, that if you are not struggling, it is because Satan doesn't consider you a threat.

What struck me most was his transparency about struggling with unbelief. I bought the books because I found out this was a struggle with him, and I knew I could identify with that. And I'm reading The Holy War right now ( an allegory) and it's very apparent that he considers many many things that we Americans gloss over to be serious serious hindrances to the faith. Unbelief is only one of them. And to be sure it stuck out when I came across it. If you have never read The Holy War, buy it and read it at least three times.

I thought about posting excerpts last night as I was coming across some good stuff, but then realized that its relevance hinged on the material it was couched in. But I thumbed through Grace Abounding last night, too, and that appears to have some really juicy stuff that I think I'll be posting about regularly.

Now, off to absorb myself in ADAAG material for 8 hours.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Whatever you ask for in My name

If you ask for a chance to be challenged in your faith, for the ability to grow, and to know, for certain, that you are a true believer in Christ, be prepared. Your eyes will be opened to the opportunities that come upon you every day.

This makes me wonder about all of the other opportunities that I have blindly missed to be an alien to this world, and instead fell right in line with the world's vain philosophies, which are passing away (did you hear that, they ARE PRESENTLY passing away).

On a more serious side...

From Desiring God Ministries this afternoon. I thought it was worthy of sharing:

How Do You Press On to Make It Your Own?

March 14, 2007
By John Piper

The funeral sermon I preached at my father’s funeral was built around his own sermon, titled “Saved, Safe, Satisfied,” from his book A Good Time and How to Have It. Safe refers to the security of every true believer in Christ. Those whom God saves, God keeps. Satisfied refers to our contentment in Christ himself, not first his gifts.
I made a link between “safe” and “satisfied.” The latter confirms the former. I based this on Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” In other words, the heart of the true Christian does not coast in a state of contented worldliness after conversion, as though the world were more precious to him than Christ is. The true Christian is safe, but his safety is confirmed in his pressing on to make his final inheritance his own.
Our safety is seen in the words “because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” In other words, our security is not based finally on our grip on Christ, but his grip on us. The crucial thing to see is that the firmness of Christ’s grip on us produces our pursuit of him.“I press on . . . because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Our security does not produce drifting or worldly indifference or spiritual disinterest. So the key practical question is: In what is Paul pressing on?
Just at this point the Christian life shatters or shines. If we answer this wrongly (say, in some legalistic way), we shatter. What does Paul refer to when he says he “presses on,” or more literally, “he pursues”? One answer would be “the resurrection” (3:11). Another answer would be that he pursues “being found in Christ not having a righteousness of his own, but the righteousness from God” (3:9). Another answer would be “the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14). And finally the answer might be simply Christ, since he speaks of longing to gain Christ (3:8). These would all be true. Paul is pursuing these things.
But none of those answers by themselves gives clear practical guidance for what we do here and now in this “pursuit.” Paul says he is pursuing something. That means that in his life he was doing something specific. What was he doing in this pursuit? What does the eternally secure saint do that confirms he is a secure saint and not a deluded hypocrite?
The most practical answer is given in verses 7-8, which speak of the practical way Paul was pursuing Christ. It says, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Three times he says he “counts” (hÄ“geomai) worldly gain as loss. He gives three reasons for doing this:
“for the sake of Christ” (v. 7).
“because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (v. 8a).
“in order that I may gain Christ” (v. 8b).
So my conclusion is that what Paul is pursuing in Philippians 3:12 is ultimately Christ himself. And the most essential practical strategy of this pursuit is to count Christ himself as supremely valuable (“because of the surpassing worth”) and to count everything but Christ as worthless by comparison.
This means that the way we confirm our eternal security is by daily pursuing more satisfaction in Christ. This is the link between “safe” and “satisfied.” We take steps to increase our treasuring of Christ’s superior worth. This is the most crucial evidence that we are eternally secure—that “Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
And what is the main practical strategy that Paul mentions in this pursuit? His answer is: Count all else as rubbish in comparison to Christ. This word count is a mental act that involves resolving, deciding, purposing, judging. (See its use in Philippians 2:3, 6, 25). So we look upon our money, our homes, our jobs, our families and friends, our plans for retirement or vacations, our health, and our lives, and we declare, “These things are as rubbish compared to the value of knowing Christ.”
Then we act on that “counting Christ superior.” 1) We take steps to know him as well as he can be known, since the knowledge of him is more precious than anything. 2) We regret our weak affections for him, and we confess this to him as sin. 3) We abhor the wandering tendency of our hearts, and we resolve after seasons of failure to pursue again the superior treasure of Christ. 4) We pray for God to incline our hearts toward the value of Christ and away from the (innocent) treasures of the world (Psalm 119:36; 90:14). 5) We treat other treasures as less valuable than Christ. That is, we make decisions about lifestyle and the use of time and money and energy in a way that speaks of Christ’s superior value.
One of the great blessings of seeing the Christian life this way is that it protects us against licentiousness and legalism. It opposes licentiousness because all our energy is aiming at holy delights, not worldly ones. And it opposes legalism because the efforts we are making to confirm our security (“I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own”) are not efforts that draw attention to our worth or our merit, but are efforts that draw attention to Christ’s worth.
Test yourself. The question is not whether you are perfect. Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect” (3:12). Neither he nor we will be perfect in this life. The question is: Are you pressing on to make Christ your own? That is, are you resolving day by day to count Christ as your supreme treasure and count everything else as rubbish by comparison?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fun at Work

All I wanted was a light....

-----Original Message-----
From: Marcia Perez []
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:01 AM
To: 'Phu Nguyen'
Subject: light

I’m thinking a small fluorescent tube mounted to the underside of the cabinet would be a nice reading addition.

To whom should I put in the work order?

option 1: turn around and get out from under the cabinet.

option 2: to submit an idea you must first draw it up on 24x36 bond in 1"=1' scale, include plan, reflected plan, section, details, electrical, and a spec book for the product along with the installion of it. after that you must submit it into our suggestion box, if one does not exist you must create one using the process stated above. upon reviewing your idea we will reject it, so please don't bother us with your ideas. thanks, come again.

Phu Nguyen
CNK Associates, Inc.

Oh, Brother...

Apparently, according to my pastor, repentance is now a matter of turning from a life that is going nowhere.

Fielder Road Baptist Church is going through a series advertised by the Heroes television series imagery (we'll not go there for now). And I stumbled upon this quote that I felt was quite appropriate, not to mention ironic:

"Indifferentism about doctrine makes no heroes of the faith."
--J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, p. 51

Being that we haven't heard much doctrine preached from the pulpit in, well, I don't know how long, I'd say this statement would do his series a bit more justice than telling people that they ought to repent from a life that is going nowhere.

Monday, March 12, 2007

You Know When...

You know you've been working in another culture for a long time when you know your own name in another language.

co giao?

No Riverwalk photos.

And Cancun is morphing into Las Vegas. Either way, I'll get the kids.

Friday, March 09, 2007


I submit to you that where as fear is good office work in preparing us for grace, it’s no place to stop. And the Holy Ghost doesn’t stop there. That’s the reason why no one can savingly receive Christ until they’ve repented. And no one can repent until they’ve been convicted. And conviction is the work of the Holy Ghost that helps a sinner to see that he is a criminal before God and deserves all of God’s wrath. And if God were to send him to the lowest corner of a devil’s Hell forever and ten eternities, that he deserved it all! And a hundred fold more. Because he’s seen his crimes.

What I'm looking for...

Saw this on Matt's page.

I can't wait for May.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Gap Widens (and other reflections)

As the gap widens between what I believe, and what they believe, I can do nothing but cover my face and bow at the thought that I was shaken and shown the truth by the Truth.

I rode about 20 miles this morning as the sun rose. The cardinals are out. The squirrels are eating breakfast on the edge of tree branches lining the trail, seemingly unconcerned about my passing. Thin veils of mist covered low lying areas, pierced by the stems of dry, broken stalks of prairie grass.

And I began to ruminate on Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

And I thought about the true implications of that verse. So many of us have desires we'd like to see fulfilled on earth. I know I do, but I've relinquished as many of them as I have been given the grace to the Lord. And because of that, I began to see the verse differently.

If I am delighting myself in the Lord, this does not mean I have experienced Him fully. He delights me, as a boat ride into the Atlantic delights me. But I do not own the boat. I paid for the trip, and I walked onto the boat, but the boat isn't coming home with me.

In short, If I am delighting myself in the Lord, what is the desire of my heart? Uncluttered, free of any desire for anything else, the desire of my heart is the Lord. And He will fulfill ANY desire that is a TRUE desire for Him and Him alone.

This verse isn't about getting the house, the husband, the job, the kids, the car, the vacation, or ANYTHING else that we want. ESPECIALLY if it isn't for His glory. If it's not for His glory alone, we can pretty much throw out the window the possibility that it will be anything more than straw which will burn up at the end. And I've heard people use this verse that way. "Oh, don't you worry; the Bible says that if you delight yourself in God, He will give you your heart's desire." And so we go into this thinking that we're going to bargain with God. "God I will follow you and obey your laws and read the Bible and go to church; and I KNOW You'll do me GOOD!!!" And underneath, we focus on what we want. We follow our wicked hearts, and flirt with God on sunday.

No, my friend. Until you want God first, you'll never understand that verse. Because if He is what you delight in, you'll accept nothing less than Him. All else is dung to you.

The Christian life isn't a mere inconvenience this side of eternity; it's an all out war.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Admonition for the Priests

1 "And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.
3 "Because of you I will rebuke [
a] your descendants [b] ; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue," says the LORD Almighty. 5 "My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 "For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi," says the LORD Almighty. 9 "So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law." - Malachi 2:1-9

I can't say that I'm not disappointed in the "leaders" of the church. While I am thankful for the priesthood of believers (recovered at the Reformation), I don't believe the pastors of the nation will not be held to the standard of James 3:1. We have put aside our Bibles and have listened to them instead. We will reap what we sow, do not be fooled. God cannot be mocked. I'm sure there will be more to come on this topic. But for now, if you read this blog and you go to a megachurch (or a burgeoning one, as I do) chew on that passage.

We'll talk later.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


When Satan attacks, I don't think he realizes how much stronger he makes my resolve in the end.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Revival? Revival!


"There is no finality to the Christian life this side of eternity"

--Leonard Ravenhill

The Sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah

38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one[e] greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

43"When an evil[f] spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

Maybe it's just me, but today I was in anguish over finding another church.

Struggling with unbelief.
I ordered John Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. There appeared to be a time when he wrestled with this, too. I guess I just want to know I'm not alone.

But to give up this fight would be deadly.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The sound of anguish


Yes, He chooses men, but He can also abort it just like that.

Don't sit and rest on your laurels that God thought you worthy enough to tap on the shoulders and call to follow Him. Many people followed Him only halfway and then went back.

You aren't worthy. You aren't special. Maybe in your glorified state you will be, but right now you're not going to be anything more than what you ever were: a sinner.

Don't give up; don't stop praying. Don't become lukewarm. The older you get, the battle never gets any easier.


I have a confession to make.

There are moments I see myself pitted squarely against lukewarm Christianity, and my fervor puts me to shame. I feel my face get hot, and I become embarassed.

I hate seeing myself like that. Not fervent, but embarassed. I am not ashamed of the gospel, am I?

I ought to cling to the truth even harder, because I am becoming slowly aware of the devil's infiltration in our ranks. People who believe themselves saved are no more saved than their automobile. And people within the church who would argue that God IS about the happiness of man. And who would endeavor to pour cold water on a burning soul ought to think twice about it. We weren't "warned" about being lukewarm simply because it's not God's preference; we were "warned" because it is detestable and God hates it.

But if I say, "I will not mention Him
or speak any more in His name,"
His word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot. - Jeremiah 20:9

Sometimes this fire is painful, but I'd rather live with it than without it anyday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How am I blessed???

I was lying awake thinking about this last night...

I live in a palatial apartment, WAAAY too big for the likes of little old me.
My bed is super comfy.
I have my sight.
My legs work well.
I know Jesus.
Jesus knows me.
I could ride my bike every day if I wanted to.
I live very close to an amazing linear park where I get to see the occasional bobcat (my third sighting just a few weeks ago).
I get to walk to work, and go home for lunch.
I have wonderful friends.
I have a very "human" church I can appreciate, even with its flaws. I think that's what makes it a church.
There are so many vegan options so close to me.
I have an entertaining feline.
I got to pay off my car loan sooner than scheduled.
I have my health. Wow.
I am able to memorize scripture.
I have time to read, and the books to do it with.

I could go on, but it is so apparent that I have been truly lavished upon, even with every SPIRITUAL blessing.