Archive for December, 2008

The ESV website offers a full range of Bible reading plans if you haven’t picked out yet for next year!

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worldliness“I believe that the challenge of living with popular culture may well be as serious for modern Christians as persecution and plagues were for saints of earlier centuries.  . . .”Enemies that come loudly an visibly are usually much easier to fight than those that are undetectable.”  –Ken Myers

“In a Roper survey that reveals as much about human nature as it does about media consumption, 96 percent of people polled claimed they watched less television than the average person.”–Craig Cabaniss

“What if we began to test all our media consumption from the nightly news to our entertainment programs to our video rentals?  And furthermore, what if the standard was looking for what might be beneficial instead of what might simply be permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23)?”  –Philip Patterson

–All quotes from Worldiness, “God, My Heart, and Media”

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Paul often began his letters to churches with a blessing of grace upon their lives.  He ended His letters often in the same way.  He began by saying “Grace to you!” and he ended by saying “Grace be with you!”  I believe that is a great way to look at a new year.  We have just experienced a year where God’s grace has flowed to us.  And now we begin another one where we long for God’s grace to be with us!

Grace be with you as you may be dealing with illness or an unaffectionate spouse.  Grace be with you as you go to a job you may not like, face uncertain economic times or as you facee persistent struggles with tempations of anger, anxiety, or lust.  Grace be with you as you muster up courage to talk with a family member of friend about Christ or as you trust God for wisdom and strength to explore new ministry in the church.

Every time we pick up and read Scripture, there is grace flowing to us. And every time we lay it down and go about daily life, there is grace that stays with us!  Grace be with you today!

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When it comes to what we do with the Bible, H. P. Parker gives this memorable illustration that points to the need for both knowing and applying Bible truth:

As I looked out into the garden one day, I saw three things. First, I saw a butterfly. The butterfly was beautiful, and it would alight on a flower and then it would flutter to another flower and then to another, and only for a second or two it would sit and it would move on. It would touch as many lovely blossoms as it could, but derived absolutely no benefit from it. Then I watched a little longer out my window and there came a botanist. And the botanist had a big notebook under his arm and a great big magnifying glass. The botanist would lean over a certain flower and he would look for a long time and then he would write notes in his notebook. He was there for hours writing notes, closed them, stuck them under his arm, tucked his magnifying glass in his pocket and walked away. The third thing I noticed was a bee, just a little bee. But the bee would light on a flower and it would sink down deep into the flower and it would extract all the nectar and pollen that it could carry. It went in empty every time and came out full (A. Naismith, 1200 Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes [Chicago: Moody, 1962], p. 15.)

John MacArthur has said, “Some Christians, like that butterfly, flit from Bible study to Bible study, from sermon to sermon, and from commentary to commentary, while gaining little more than a nice feeling and some good ideas. Others, like the botanist, study Scripture carefully and take copious notes. They gain much information but little truth. Others, like the bee, go to the Bible to be taught by God and to grow in knowledge of Him. Also like the bee, they never go away empty.”

So are you a butterfly, botanist, or bee?

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“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”–Walt Disney

“Theology is for doxology, that is, glorifying God by praise and thanks, by obedient holiness, and by laboring to extend God’s kingdom, church, and cultural influence. The goal of theological Bible reading is not just to know truth about God (though one’s quest for godliness must start there) but to know God personally in a relationship that honors him.”–J. I. Packer, ESV Study Bible, p. 2568

“I know of no one who overstated the terrors of hell.”–John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 126.

“The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.”–Scottish pastor Thomas Guthrie

“If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you, because that’s where you live.”–Paul Tripp

Speaking of Mary, Jesus’ mother, N. Geldenhuys writes, “Her humble attitude opened for her the gates to true, deep and jubilant joy. He who elevates himself is constantly engaged in wrecking his own life. But he who is sincerely humble finds richness of life and happiness.”

“To read the Bible “theologically” means to read the Bible “with a focus on God”: his being, his character, his words and works, his purpose, presence, power, promises, and precepts”–J.I. Packer, ESV Study Bible, p. 2567

“For God’s people to sustain covenantal hopes and personal moral ideals as ages pass and cultures change and decay, they must have constant, accessible, and authoritative instruction from God. And that is what the Bible essentially is.”–J.I. Packer, ESV Study Bible, p. 2567

“Pray often!  Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.”–John Bunyan.

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The right measure

Tim Challies has a great story and application.  He begins. . .

On July 23, 1983, Flight 143, an Air Canada Boeing 767, lifted off from Montreal’s Montreal-Dorval International Airport on its way to Edmonton, Alberta. On board were 69 passengers and crew. Sometime around the flight’s halfway mark, while over the tiny community of Red Lake, Ontario, near the border of Manitoba, an alarm sounded in the cockpit, indicating that there was a problem with the fuel pressure on one side of the aircraft. The pilots, assuming that a fuel pump had failed, took corrective action and determined that the flight could continue. But just moments later, they received a similar warning from the other side of the aircraft. Immediately one of the engines failed and the pilots prepared to make an immediate landing at Winnipeg’s airport, the closest airport with a runway of sufficient length for a wide body jet. At this point there was no great emergency, for modern aircraft are designed to fly on just one engine. However, as the pilots spoke to the air traffic controllers in Winnipeg, they heard a new alarm, one neither man could remember hearing before. It was an alarm indicating that both engines were failing. Within seconds, many of the cockpit’s instruments went blank and an eerie silence settled over the plane as the second engine ground to a halt. Flight 143 had run out of fuel 28,000 feet above the ground.

Read the rest here!

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New stuff on blog

Here is a new site that offers “Christ-Centered Quotes for the Renewing of Your Mind.” “The aim of Gospel Reminders is to provide daily, Christ-centered quotes from throughout Christian history which stir you to continually renew your mind for the glory of God.”

Check out the links on my blogroll regularly.

Also as you scroll down the sidebar, you will see I have added a “social networking” category as you can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.  Just click the icons to follow me. (Registration required for full access to some areas).

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The Word of God has tremendous power because of its author.  One writer has said,

“The authorship of this book is wonderful.  Here are words written by kings, by emperors, by princes, by poets, by sages, by philosophers, by fishermen, by statesman, by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the schools of Babylon, trained at the feet of rabbis in Jerusalem.

It was written by men in exile, in the desert, in shepherds’ tents, in green pastures and beside still waters.

Among its authors we find a tax-gatherer, a herdsman, a gatherer of sycamore fruits; we find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, captains, legislators, judges, exiles.

The Bible is a library filled with history, genealogy, ethnology, law, ethics, prophecy, poetry, eloquence, medicine, sanitary science, politics, economics, and the perfect rules for personal and social life.  And behind every word is the divine author:  God Himself.”–unknown

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J. I. Packer in the ESV Study Bible article “Reading the Bible Theologically” records three good questions we should ask as we read God’s Word daily:

  1. What is shown about God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
  2. What is shown about this world that is beautiful and beneficial but is also corrupt and corrupting?
  3. What is shown to guide one’s living, this day and every day?

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Missions: our responsibility

“It is conceivable that God might have ordained to preach the gospel directly to man through dreams, visions and revelations. But as a matter of fact he has not don this, but rather has committed the preaching to man, telling them to go and disciple all nations. The responsibility lies squarely on our shoulders.” –J. Oswald Sanders

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