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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trinity Truth from Tim (Keller)

"The Christian teaching of the Trinity is mysterious and cognitively challenging. 

The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is one God, eternally existent in three persons. That's not tritheism, with three gods who work in harmony; neither is it unipersonalism, the notion that sometimes God takes one form and sometimes he takes another, but that these are simply different manifestations of one God.

Instead, trinitarianism holds that there is one God in three persons who know and love one another.

God is not fundamentally one than he is three, and he is not more fundamentally three than he is one."

Tim Keller

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Familiarity Breeds...

Struck today as I prayed...

I normally pray before my feet it the floor. For several months I've gone through the Disciple's prayer (commonly called the Lord's prayer...but since He had no sin to be forgiven doesn't quite fit) slowly, trying to meditate on the phrases; then some specific prayers for specific people; then a few other things.

Just before I got up I thought about my Bible reading...I'm focusing on Philippians this month...and it hit me.

I had just communicated with the God of the universe...and I would soon be reading His Word.


I knew that, but this morning I was stunned by it.

I do not feel I've been treating prayer casually, or missing the mark totally in my Bible reading.

But I have been fairly disciplined in these, ah, disciplines for quite a while.

And over that "while" I've grown too familiar with the privilege of prayer and the majesty of the Word.

I get to cast all my cares on Him!

I get to read His Word to me!

The real Master of the universe desires to meet with me. The Spirit is willing to open the Word to me as I open my Bible.


As we boldly go into His presence; as we "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let (our) requests be made known to God" (Phil 4.6)...we need to remember "that which is of first importance" (1 Co 15)...the gospel.

It is not "just" the is the "gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ."

He is our focus, not the gospel, not our theology, not our burden for lost people, not our pet doctrines.

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus..."

The picture is of a poster a friend made for me about 30 years ago...Danny cut out the poster, added something he found, and glued it (decopauged?) to an old board. One of my cherished possessions. I know some go ballistic because "Jesus isn't still on the Cross!"

I know that.

But I need the reminder of His incredible substitutionary death moment-by-moment, and this picture over my desk is a regular reminder...

And I need to be reminded...prayer is a privilege, and the access I have to God's Word is certainly not universal, and "to those whom much has been given much will be required."

Perhaps you do, also.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Possible Peril of Mission Trips

NOTE: I am not "against" missions' trips, but Strobel makes a valid point worthy of consideration

"I've seen far too many Christians who are more than willing to travel halfway around the world to volunteer for a week in an orphanage, but who cannot bring themselves to take the personal risk of sharing Jesus with the co-worker who sits day after day in the cubicle right next to them" Lee Strobel

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ryle on Hell

There is such a place as hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words. What people do not like, they try hard not to believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, He will punish all who are not His disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found unrepentant and unbelieving; all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affections on things below; all who are without Christ; all such shall come to an awful end. Whosoever is not written in the book of life shall be “cast into the lake of fire.” [Rev 20:15]
I call on all who profess to believe the Bible, to be on their guard.
1) I know that some do not believe there is any hell at all. They think it impossible there can be such a place. They call it inconsistent with the mercy of God. They say it is too awful an idea to be really true. The devil of course, rejoices in the views of such people. They help his kingdom mightily. They are preaching up his old favorite doctrine, “You shall not surely die.”
2) I know furthermore, that some do not believe that hell is eternal. They tell us it is incredible that a compassionate God will punish people forever. He will surely open the prison doors at last. This also is a mighty help to the devil’s cause.
3) I know also that some believe there is a hell, but never allow that anybody is going there. All people with them are good. As soon as they die, all were sincere, all meant well, and all, they hope, got to heaven. Alas! what a common delusion this is!
If I never spoke of hell, I should think I had kept back something that was profitable, and should look on myself as an accomplice of the devil. Reader, I beseech you, in all tender affection, beware of false views of the subject on which I have been dwelling. Beware of new and strange doctrines about hell and the eternity of punishment. Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.
J. C. Ryle

Friday, February 24, 2012

Precious Plodding

Kevin DeYoung offers this observation:

"It's sexy among young people - my generation - to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church.

Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It's immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marraige, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary knows it's the institution of marriage that preserves the romance.

Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries..."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"If you aren't praying, you can't expect to win because apart from God you don't possess the power to win." 
A. W. Tozer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ouch! Insights on Prayer from Piper

"Probably the number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of beleivers is that we try to turn a wartime walking-talkie into a domestic intercom.

Until you know that life is war you cannot know what prayer is for.

Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission...

But what have millions of Christians done? 

We have stopped believing that we are in a war.

No urgency, no watching, no vigilance. No strategic planning.

Just easy peace and prosperity.

And what did we do with the walkie-talkie?

We tried to rig it up as an intercom in our houses and cabins and boats and cars - not to call in fire power for conflict with a mortal enemy, but to ask for more comforts in the den."

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

Friday, February 17, 2012

Too Many Lucys

Ah, we all have Lucy's in our lives...hopefully we aren't patterning after her:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"The essence of surrender is getting out of God's way so that He can do in us what He wants to do through us." A. W. Tozer

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Janelle's Jamaican Journey Concludes

As I type Janelle and Joel and the Jamaican team are stateside...home tonight! Here's some pics:

                                              Janelle sharing with quizzers...

                                              Janelle asking questions...the look encourages?

                                A gaze upward that all quizzers will recognize and resonate with...

              Rick Cleaver, Ex Dir of Youth Challenge, great friend, leader of Jamaican quiz trips...

                                                    Some of the winners...actually, all quizzers are winners...

Friday, February 10, 2012

He Reigns! How Great is Our God!!!

A couple musical reminders of how many family members we have....we may not dot every "i" exactly the same, nor cross every "t"...but if we are focused on the Lord, the Gospel, the Cross...we are and yellow, black and white...we may not always see eye-to-eye, but we can walk hand-in-hand...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"A holy man isn't aware that he's holy. As soon as we begin to talk about how holy we are, we aren't holy any more." A W Tozer

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts on My 38th

Having just celebrated my 38th  spiritual birthday, I reflect on the goodness of God that first drew me to Himself and has more than sustained me since conversion.

Very often Christians speak of “when I found Christ.” The intent is good, the theology is not. Christ finds us! I certainly was not looking for Him, or for salvation, or even for hope in 1973. I had just been arrested and was awaiting extradition. Drugs were found in our cell, the Texas authorities removed everything except the religious material. After a few days of boredom I picked up a paperback book simply because it had the word “Prison” in the title.

As a 26-year old college-educated, alcoholic, drug selling Vietnam Vet I was introduced to the love of God as demonstrated in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. No human being was directly involved; I simply read the book (which led me to the Book)  

I had no idea there even was a Holy Spirit, but He was doing His work of conviction and drawing. I knew nothing of a trinity, nothing of the “infallibility of Scripture,” zero about predestination, and “secondary separation” would have sounded like a terrible body wound. (Which, on reflection, it is if one capitalizes the “b” in Body). 

All I know is that on January 30, 1974, I confessed my sins, and turned to God. Though I did not break out in a cold sweat, nor had any outward manifestation, nor tears, I simply knew that Jesus was real, that I was His, and that He was truth.

Subsequently, I was sentenced to prison, did my time, got out and went to Bible school. On this journey, I became painfully familiar with the fact many Christians seem to exist for one purpose…to argue with other Christians.

In the three decades plus of striving to walk with Christ, I’ve not seen any improvement in the infighting. I am known to be opinionated and vocal. Too often I spill my thoughts before I think them through1 but as I reflect, I am sure there are only a few things for which I’ll go to the proverbial wall.

Paramount is the deity of Jesus. He was, is, and always has been God. You don’t believe that, I don’t call upon you for silent prayer, much less have religious fellowship with you. The fact that the death for Christ has paid in full for my redemption is non-negotiable. The physical resurrection of Jesus can not be denied.

The necessity of repentance and faith in the completed work of Jesus for salvation is etched in stone (Acts 26:17-18; 26:20). The reality of heaven and hell are based on the clear words of  Christ (Matt. 25:46). The return of Christ is not only a glorious hope, but part and parcel to the gospel.

Well, what about 24 hour days of creation? Are you pre-post-a millennial? What about tongues? Can you lose it? What about Christian rock? Which version is trustworthy?

Folks, when the Vietcong were trying to kill me, I didn’t care a bit about the muzzle velocity of my M16 or 50 caliber, nor did I care about the relative merits of each. I just kept my head down and shot at the enemy. I sure didn’t shoot at another GI who preferred to use a captured AK! I just wanted to stay alive and negatively impact the enemy. Maybe that’s an apropos parallel to spiritual warfare?

What spawned this thought process? I am blessed to have a perpetual calendar of Max Lucado’s writings, and the one of my favorites is from this book, Six Hours One Friday. I have placed it on my desk and on my bathroom mirror to be a vital reminder:

Seek the simple faith. Major on the majors. Focus on the critical. Long for God.

Though too wordy for a Lucadoism, I add, “Although you may not always see eye to eye, walk hand in hand with others saved by grace.” 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gospel is the Beginning...and the Process...and the End

Too many think the gospel is "just" the starting point, that which leads to salvation, and then we set out to live the life without thinking of the gospel.

Yet the Word says, "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." How did we "receive"? Repentance and faith...and thereby are we to walk.

Tim Chester puts it this way:

"We become Christians through faith and repentance, and we grow as Christians through continual faith and repentance. We don't graduate from the gospel to some advanced way of holiness or progress. Martin Luther said, 'To progress is always to begin again.'"