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Archive for August, 2008

  • An couple of opportunities to speak about the gospel to people
  • I wasn’t injured in a slight biking mishap this week (though my back rim was really mangled badly).  I started to walk back to the house where we were staying with family and a man stopped, through my bike on his trailer and took me home. Thanks!
  • Extra time to read and learn from Walter Kaiser about the greatness of God as seen through some OT passages and from D. A. Carson who is calling me to spiritual reformation in my prayer life
  • Getting caught up on my Bible reading plan
  • Finalizing details for two upcoming college visits with my daughter (pray for wisdom as we guide her and she makes this important decision)
  • Seeing Ian off to his second year of college and signing Camille up for her next session of on-line college work
  • Parents (who are with the Lord) who sacrificed, scrimped, and stretched their modest salary to put me through 12 years of Christian school, assisted me in graduating from college debt free, and helped at critical times to keep me in seminary and graduate debt-free.
  • Chris’ grandparents who gave so much so that she could attend a Christian school growing up and for her parents who gave generously so that her college bill was completely paid just weeks before we were married.
  • Reached 900 miles in biking this summer (100 to go to meet this goal)
  • God has called me (no one is more deserving than hell than I) unto his eternal glory in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:10)

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Earlier in the week, I asked this question:  What is the most pressing need in the contemporary American church today?  I appreciate those who left comments which you can read here.

To add one more voice to the conversation, D. A. Carson thinks, “The greatest need for the church today is a deeper knowledge of God.”

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“When you cannot trace God’s hand, you must trust God’s heart.”–Charles Spurgeon

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Hymn for Lord’s Day Eve

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?

Refrain

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessèd day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.

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Cut something out!

“It matters little whether you are the mother of active children who drain away your energy, an important exectuive in a major multinational corporation, a graduate student cramming for impending comprehensivs, a plumber working overtime to put your children through college, or a pastor of a large church putting in ninety-hour weeks:  at then end of the day, if you are too busy to pray, you are too busy.  Cut something out!”

–D. A. Carson, A Call to Spirtual Reformation

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“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or actor.  If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician.  If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor.  But He perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from Him, our profound rebellion, our death; and He sent us a Savior.”

–D. A. Carson

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For what have you thanked God for recently?

Do you most or primarily thank God for material, temporal and earthly blessings?  D. A. Carson convicts us, “The unvarnished truth is that what we most frequently give thanks for betrays what we most highly value.  If a large percentage of our thanksgiving is for material prosperity, it is because we value material prosperity proportionately.”

Paul provides a model for giving thanks: namely giving thanks for evidences or signs of grace in the lives of fellow believers.  ” We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, ESV).

Paul gave thanks for their faithful work, loving labor and steadfast hope!  He gave thanks because he say growth in their lives in these areas.

Are you looking for signs of grace in other Christians’ lives?  Might it be a good practice to model our prayers after Paul’s by going over your church family’s contact list and just spend some moments thanking God for evidences of grace in several lives?  Or make it a daily habit of praise to God when you see growth and Christlikeness in another Christian’s life?

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Praying for others

As a read another chapter today in A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson, I was struck with how frequently and how devotedly Paul prayed for others.  Simply stated, if we would learn to pray with Paul, we must learn to pray for others.  We will be convinced that part of our spiritual duty as Christians is to pray for others, both in giving thanks for them and in interceding on behalf of them.

Carson writes, “Just as Scripture must reform our beliefs about God, our dealing with others, our fundamental values, so too must it shape our praying.”

There are many things that may keep us from praying for others like we should, but one family of culprits include “sheer bitterness, nurtured resentment, nicely preserved grudges, and a desperate lack of forgiveness.”  The spiritual remedy is found in Ephesians 4:32 and a warning about the effect of bitterness and an unforgiving spirit is starkly stated in Mark 11:25.  If we don’t forgive others, the Father won’t forgive our sins.

Carson concludes, “If you are serious about reformiing your prayer life, you must begin with your heart.”

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Who is Jesus?

What think ye of Christ? is the test;

to try both your state and your scheme;

You cannot be right in rest

unless you think rightly of him!

–John Newton

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One of the most influential books in all of recent Christian history was The Dairy of David Brainerd which Jonathan Edwards edited.  David Brainerd died very young and spent the last few months of his life in the home of Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards’ daughter Jerusha, whom Brainered loved and desired to marry, cared for David in his dying days.  If Brainerd had not met Edwards, we may never have known of this great missionary and lover of God.  But because they did, we have access to the rich jewels of Brainerd’s journal, which I commend to all.

Earlier this year, a dear friend of mine named Chuck Spacht entered the presence of His Savior.  He left behind several journals which I am only now being able to really sit down and contemplate.  In memory of him, I am going to post at least one blog a week (for however long it takes) that will contain some thoughts he had in journal.  I begin this week with some things he wrote down as we considering the teaching of Philippians 3:1-16.  Though not all his entries may be dated, this one took place on October 31, 1998.

My prayer is that for those who knew Chuck, this might remind us of his joyful perseverance in running the race that was set before him!  He wanted us to share his desire to be with the Lord which is far better and to remember that God is good all the time! Though he be in glory, may these entries remind us that he still speaks.  But more importantly may they help us in our race to run in a manner worthy of our upward call!

“If you are not pursuing the prize with all your might, you are misjudging your present condition!”

Everyone needs to have the blessed dissatisfaction with their current spiritual condition.

“The purpose for which we were saved [the glory of God] becomes the purpose for which we live.”  MAKE A MAXIMUM EFFORT TO PRESS ON!

Focus is important!  What is your one thing?  Focus is important for those who succeed in running correctly.

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