Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Praying

(Luke 11:9-10) ¶ “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Pray, keep on praying and don't give up.

There is nothing more important. There is nothing more beneficial. There is nothing more productive.

Sit down and spend some time eyeball to eyeball with God.

Seek His glory, His will, His kingdom. Wrestle with Him over the difficult circumstances of your life. Throw yourself repeatedly into His arms. Surrender to Him again and again.

Confess your weakness, your shortcomings, your failures, your sins. (He knows about them - but you might be ignoring them yourself.) Pray that He would cleanse you and restore you and be vindicated in your new obedience.

Submit yourself to God in humility - then you can cast all your care on Him and take comfort in the fact that He cares for you.

Pray as if your life depended on it. In many ways it does.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Violence Everywhere

Yesterday a young man attacked his sisters. He stabbed the 17 year old to death and decapitated the five year old. If he had not been shot dead by police who arrived in the nick of time, he would have finished killing the nine year old.


Yesterday another man entered a nursing home and shot seven or eight people to death - stopping only when disabled by a police officer.


Everyday there is another story of someone shooting or stabbing or clubbing or hanging or burning or beating innocent strangers, coworkers, lovers and family members. Where does this come from? Where is this leading?

We are reaping what has been sown. Atheistic humanism has been planted and it is producing the unrestrained wickedness the Bible predicts.
(Romans 1:28-32) ¶ And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
(2Timothy 3:1-4) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

Without God there is no reason to restrain yourself.
Without God there is no purpose greater than your own passion.
Without God there is no ultimate accountability.
Without God there is no objective moral standard.
Without God there is no meaning - only being.
Without God there is no hope for today or tomorrow - much less for eternity.

Why all the violence?
Without God, the question should be, "Why not?"

Our society is reaping what has been sown. Secular humanism offers no purpose greater than yourself. There is no special value in human life. Our entertainment pleasure is our goal. Our ability to delay gratification is measured in nanoseconds. Tantrums are the norm for preschoolers and adults alike. Anarchy is growing.

I am sure that there will soon be a wave of "big brother" laws to protect us from each other. I expect that they will make law abiding people less able to protect themselves from attacks.

Our only hope is Jesus. Jesus has always been our only hope. We cannot save ourselves. Government cannot save us. Science and technology cannot save us. Philosophy cannot save us.

Only Jesus.
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Memory Loss

(Philippians 3:13-14) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Lord help me to have a short memory for the things that will hold me back from whole hearted devotion to you today.

Let me forget every success and failure, every praise and slight, and every pleasure and pain that would distract me from your service today.

Let me remember that though I was once lost, that now I am found. Let me remember that your salvation has washed away all my sin. Let me remember that nothing can separate me from your love for me. Let me remember that no matter what I face in this world, You, Lord Jesus, have overcome the world.

Monday, March 16, 2009


About four years ago I learned to juggle. The challenges of juggling involve concentration, rhythm, pattern, coordination and keeping your eye on the ball (at least on the ball that is currently in the air.) Juggling is not something you do while you are balancing your checkbook.

Juggling is a great metaphor for keeping up with the many different demands of a busy life.

Over the past couple weeks I dropped a ball or two. Someone noticed that I haven't posted any sermons since the end of February. I have fallen behind on some correspondence. I am way behind on my exercise program. I haven't been blogging very much.

So what happened? Several things, no doubt. The missions conference changed my schedule. The cold I had for three weeks slowed me down. The fact that I was behind discouraged me from moving ahead. Small things become bigger, the longer they are put off. Some of the tasks that I had to do (related to taxes, mostly) were unpleasant and required extra-ordinary effort to address. A discouraging word here or there was (surprise) discouraging - so I dragged rather than bounded through the week.

It is all part of life. It is part of spiritual warfare. It is to be expected. It is normal.

When you learn to juggle, you need to get used to picking up the balls you drop and starting again. The missions conference is over, my cold is past - the privilege of serving Jesus Christ is before me. This week is new. The opportunities for God's glory abound.

As always, it is time to put first things first and one foot in front of the other.

Keep the faith.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blessed are the poor in spirit...

(Proverbs 11:2) When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

How many times does God make this clear in the Bible?

At our Pastor's Fellowship yesterday, Pastor Teal spoke about Ecclesiastes. He gave the biblical context - of poetry and wisdom - that emphasizes the contrast between the "Way of the Tree and the Way of Chaff," or "The Wise and the Otherwise," or the "God Way and the No God Way."

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon explores the "Way of Chaff," and finds that it is futile. Everything under the sun is futile. We do not know what God will do or how God will work in our lives over time. Sometimes bad behavior brings trouble - but sometimes not. Sometimes righteous behavior brings good things, but sometimes not. All effort and planning under the sun is somewhat presumptuous.

But this is God's blessing - because when you realize this, you are driven to God and a hope for eternity that rests in Him.

We should choose the way of righteousness - not because it frees us from the uncertainties of this world or allows us to establish heaven on earth. We choose the way of righteousness because we come to know the Savior - Jesus Christ - and we desire to please Him. Our rewards will not be in this world - but in the eternal heavenly world.

So lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven... Remember that God will turn this world on its ear and undermine every presumption of men.
(James 4:10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

(1Peter 5:6-7) Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Praise God!

It has been a while since my last post. I have many excuses/reasons. I'll try to turn them into praise!

Last post was Feb 25. Since then...
  • We had a TREMENDOUS missions conference with Joe and Esther Keim and E.C. Haskell!
  • Five people responded to an invitation to make a public profession of faith in Christ.
  • Those same five have started our membership class.
  • My cold finally cleared up! (Now I need another excuse for avoiding my treadmill.)
  • We had a great time hosting guests in our home.
  • I had eight face to face meetings with groups or individuals besides the missions conference and many phone sessions. God is at work in people's lives and in this church.
  • We had a new visitor on Sunday (yesterday) who was very encouraging.
  • We had a blessed time in our communion service on Sunday morning.
We are even 'blessed' to see Satan attacking in various ways. Since God is doing great things - Satan cannot just sit idle and let us off easy. God is on the move and Christ will be glorified.

But it does make it harder to blog.
First things first.