Archive for February, 2009

Growing old well

Jay Adams, the “father” of biblical (nouthetic) counseling turned 80!  What is his advice to us as we face old age:

Prepare for old age. True, you may never make it; there are former students of mine who have died already. If you don’t have some activity that you can engage in for the Lord, you will probably end up a sour and regretful old person. There’s always something one can do so long as he has control of his basic faculties. If he is bedridden, he can pray. My son, Todd, is in a wheelchair with MS, but he studies Greek and Hebrew and writes. He’s a man who, when he’s old, will have not only a legacy, but also something worthwhile to do in the Lord’s service.

Older people, I’m told, tend to look back. I never have been one to do so. Perhaps that’s yet to come. I told you in another posting about my sieve-like mind. Perhaps that’s the way it is because I have always had a forward look. What is next to do? To learn? To experience? That orientation, I think, has kept me as current as I can be—given my physical limitations. Inwardly, I don’t think of myself as old. I just think, “Here’s another day—what shall I make of it? How shall I use it to honor God, and how can I be a blessing to someone else?” So long as I can continue that orientation, I think I’ll be able to carry on reasonably well for another few years. If God wills. We’re all immortal until God is through with us.

Read the rest of his brief entry here.

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See it here!


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At midweek prayer this week I was given an article that Chuck Spacht, my dear friend and brother who is with the Lord, wrote on heaven.  Along with it his wife gave me a CD Chuck had listened to on what happens when Christians die. Attached to a the CD was a sticky note with a question–based on Peter’s challenge.

” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,” (1 Peter 1:3-6, ESV).

Chuck wrote, “Is my joy found in my protected inheritance?  Quit looking for my satisfaction here!”

Amen, Chuck! Praise God, your joy is full and you are enjoying pleasures forevermore!

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Lincoln and God!

I am reading Ronald White’s best-selling work on A. Lincoln currently and gleaning more than I could ever imagine from this man’s life.   I have always appreciated much about Lincoln but have never read a full account of his life.

I was discussing the book with a friend the other day and he asked the question,”Was he a genuine Christian or not?”  It is hard to give a definitive answer but if you look at his final years, it appears as if he was. Marvin Olasky speaks to that issue here.

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Watch this 12-year-old persuasively argue against abortion.

Read the story behind this speech here.

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Driven to my knees

“I have been driven many times upon my knees with the overwhelming conviction I had nowhere else to go.” Abraham Lincoln

I find I have two big battles regarding prayer: Getting started doing it and then perservering in prayer.  So I am thankful for John Hendryx who challenge me that the busier I am, the more I should pray. He also graciously provides some prayer starters and thoughts to help guide our prayers.

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I have seen this story in several places recently. A story of what true sportsmanship is all about.   Perhaps you have as well.  If not, you can read about it and watch the video clip here.

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“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1, ESV).

Psalm 62 exudes  an aura of wonderfully serene and confident truth.  It exclaims this simple truth:  No matter how difficult the trial, trust in God alone! That is the theme of this psalm.

“There is scarcely another psalm that reveals such an absolute and undisturbed peace, in which confidence in God is so completely unshaken, and in which assurance is so strong that not even one petition is voiced throughout the psalm.”– Leupold

“Scarcely anywhere do we find faith in God more nobly asserted, more victoriously triumphant; the vanity of man, of human strength and riches, more clearly confessed; courage in the midst of peril more calm and more unshaken than in this psalm.” –J. J. Perowne!

This psalm challenges me to trust God alone.  Far too often I want to trust God plus something else.  But David says his soul waits for God alone! “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:6, ESV). As one man quipped, “They trust not God at all who trust not him alone.”

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8, ESV).

I can not only trust God alone, but I can unburden my heart to God alone!  I can earnestly plead him for protection and for peace!  I can beseech him and cry out to Him in my time of despair or confusion.

“Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.” (Psalm 62:11-12, ESV).

Why can I trust God alone?  Because He is all powerful and loving!  He strengthens me and He loves me!  Because God is strong, he is over all the events and circumstances of our lives and he is deliver us out of all our problems.  Because he is loving and merciful, our King will meet us in our darkest hour.

Remember today:  No matter how difficult the trial, trust in God alone!

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Where’s your joy?

“Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion, arising from the apprehension and feeling of [God’s goodness and favor], whereby the soul is supported under present troubles, and fenced against future fear.”–Thomas Watson

“If a man would lead a happy life, let him but seek a sure object for his trust, and he shall be safe:  “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:  his heart is fixed, trusting the Lord” (Psalm 112:7).  He hath laid up his confidence in God, therefore his heart is kept in equal poise”–Thomas Manton

These two Puritan preachers give godly counsel here.

So is your life characterized by a joy that prompts unbelievers to ask you what you have that they don’t?

What determines your joy?  Shifting circumstances or the Lord Jesus Christ?

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On Sunday morning, I spoke about how God often uses our setbacks to advance His work in this world. This was a major point we see in Philippians 1:12-14 where Paul speaks about all the things that have happened to him [four years worth of “setbacks”] as a wonderful opportunity to advance the gospel.  I then mentioned other biblical and historical illustrations that open a window to this truth–including Joseph, Stephen, and Peter and John.

On Sunday night, one of the men in our church challenged us from “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy!”  I was challenged to be more intentionally merciful through his exhortation.

Then I read this on Monday morning and God taught me more about both how to properly view setbacks and how the way others treat us (i.e., Paul in prison and Joseph with his brothers) are opportunities to show mercy.  I love this quote especially:

“When we remember God is sovereign, it’s much easier to be merciful.”

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