Archive for July 10th, 2012

Stephen Altrogge describes the wrong mindset and the right one in “Jesus, The Loan Shark.”

The tone of my prayers is often a good indicator of what I’m believing about Jesus. Unfortunately, there are times when my prayers to Jesus make it sound like I’m praying to a loan shark.

I come to Jesus as he stands on a dark street corner. The flickering light of a street lamp casts a shadow on his face and an unfiltered cigarette dangles limply from mouth. “Whatcha need?” he says, in a strong Brooklyn accent. He glances at his watch, as if he’s in a hurry.

“Jesus, I’m in serious need of patience. My little girl Ella must have ingested some insanity pills or something, because she’s driving me crazy. Oh, and we’re trying to potty train her too, which ain’t working out so well right now. Can you help me out? Can you give me some patience?”

“Yeah, I got what you’s need, but I ain’t so sure I want to give it to you. What are you’s gonna do for me? Huh? I don’t run a charity here.”

“I don’t know, I’ll pray more, read more, listen to more worship music…something, anything. Just please give me what I need!”

“Yeah, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll help you, maybe I won’t. You know that if I do help you, it’s gonna cost ya. Big time. . . .”

But that’s not what Jesus is like at all. In John 15 Jesus says that he calls us. . . .

Keep reading  “Jesus, the Loan Shark” to learn how we should approach Christ in prayer!

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All of us need a Martin Luther in our lives now and then—a friend who is not afraid to stand on gospel promises and get in our face with gospel truth when we would rather wallow in self-pity.

Here is a portion of a letter from Luther to his friend Philip Melachnton (June 27, 1530):

Those great cares by which you say you are consumed I vehemently hate; they rule your heart not on account of the greatness of the cause but by reason of the greatness of your unbelief. . . .

If our cause is great, its author and champion is great also, for it is not ours. Why are you therefore always tormenting yourself?

If our cause is false, let us recant; if it is true, why should we make him a liar who commands us to be of untroubled heart?

Cast your burden on the Lord, he says. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him with a broken heart. Does he speak in vain or to beasts? . . .

What good can you do by your vain anxiety?

What can the devil do more than slay us? What after that?

I beg you, so pugnacious in all else, fight against yourself, your own worst enemy, who furnish Satan with arms against yourself. . . .

I pray for you earnestly and am deeply pained that you keep sucking up cares like a leech and thus rendering my prayers vain.

Christ knows whether it is stupidity or bravery, but I am not much disturbed, rather of better courage than I had hoped.

God who is able to raise the dead is also able to uphold a falling cause, or to raise a fallen one and make it strong.

If we are not worthy instruments to accomplish his purpose, he will find others.

If we are not strengthened by his promises, to whom else in all the world can they pertain?

But saying more would be pouring water into the sea.

HT: Justin Taylor

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Julie, a biblical counselor posts on the topic of modesty among Christian women. She discusses several passages briefly in this heart to heart talk with women. Here’s an excerpt.

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 1 Peter 3:3 (NASB)

Your clothes should not be distracting to those who have gathered to worship.

I have been in church services over the years where a young woman has distracted the preacher as he was delivering his sermon as she walked to the back of the auditorium. It is inappropriate to wear short skirts and plunging necklines to worship.

Church is a place that requires a certain level of reverence and respect. To determine to do otherwise out of a spirit of “wearing what I please” is an indication of a prideful and idolatrous heart. When you go to church for corporate worship you are not there to please yourself, you are coming into the presence of God with fellow Christians for the purpose of singing praises to God, and learning from His Word- for the purpose of worship.

Think about these things women of God, and determine to worship Him in your heart first and let your clothing be a reflection of the Christ-life within you!

Ladies, read the rest of “Modesty, Where Have You Gone?”

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Paul Tripp writes,

Be honest with yourself. You’ve been disappointed in some way with every relationship you’ve ever had. It’s the universal experience of everyone this side of destiny. No, it’s not that you’ve met the wrong people or that you lack relational skills. It’s that every relationship you’ve had, you’ve had in a fallen world. You never get to hang out with perfect people. You never get to have those perfect relationships in a perfect location and with perfect circumstances surrounding you. No, all of your relationships are with flawed people in a flawed world. And don’t forget, you’re one of those flawed people as well! So how can you gain ground? How can your relationships become better than they are right now? Let me suggest four ways:

1. Determine to be realistic. I love how shockingly honest the Bible is. It’s a book that really doesn’t pull any punches. You see, what damages our relationships is not having a realistic acceptance of our own weaknesses and struggles. What damages our relationships is our delusions of perfection and strength! The first step in any kind of change is admitting that change is needed in the first place.

2. Determine to be honest. One of the things that gets in the way of healthy relationships is silence. Maybe our problem is that we simply don’t love one another enough to have the hard conversations that are what good relationships are all about. If you are in a relationship with a flawed person, you will be touched by those flaws. Maybe it will come as an unkind word, an act of selfishness, or an outburst of irritation. Quick and loving honesty in those moments can keep a relationship from being distorted by bad habits and subverted by bitterness.

3. Determine to focus on yourself. No, I am not counseling you to be selfish, I am encouraging you to be humble. Good relationships are the result of both people being committed to personal change and growth. Self-examination is a key way you demonstrate love for the other person. It is very easy to be all-too-satisfied with yourself, while being irritated and impatient with the weaknesses of another. When you have two people who are committed to heart change, the relationship will change and grow as well.

4. Determine to live and give hope. There is a reason you don’t have to settle for the relational status quo. There is a reason you don’t have to panic. There is a reason you don’t have to pack your bags and give up. The cross of Jesus Christ is the epicenter of hope of every relationship. Jesus was willing to face the ultimate in suffering, the rejection of his Father, so that we could experience reconciliation with him and with one another. No, you don’t have what it takes to make you and the other person do the right thing, but he does! He is the Prince of Peace and he is able to bring lasting peace to where conflict once reigned. How does he do this? By doing the one thing we can’t do for ourselves! He changes our hearts, and the result is radical change in our words and our actions. Look for ways to point the other person to this hope as well.

So be determined. Don’t settle for way less than what Jesus suffered and died to give you. Be honest about your relationships and be hopeful about change. You can do both, because in Jesus Christ you really do have everything you need to live in peace with God and the people he has placed in your life.

For more information about Paul Tripp Ministries, visit www.paultripp.com

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Do you continue to find your salvation an incredible miracle as you recall the judgment you genuinely deserve?

~CJ Mahaney~Living the Cross Centered Life (Colorado Springs, CO; Multnomah; 2006) p. 20.

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