Monday, February 28, 2011

Not A Daughter In The Bunch

I've got five sons. God knows I would have spoiled a daughter by giving her anything she ever wanted. Over the years, I've felt the burden to pray consistently for these young fellas, having been a boy myself and understanding the male world the way I do.

Many years ago I started using Philippians 1:9-11 as the basis for my regular prayer concerning them:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."

I want my boys to be useful, fruitful and faithful.

I can't protect them from everything this world fires at them, and I sure won't raise them perfectly, although I'm trying my best in spite of my own weaknesses. But what I can do is pray. I know I had a praying parent . . . and I know how valuable that is.

Praying for my guys encourages me when I think about all the, well....sinful crap....that they're going to face and the older ones are already facing. It encourages me because I know that God has been faithful to me, and I know that He'll be faithful to them. I know that although my fail list is long, that God has been faithful to discipline and even cause my life to bear some fruit (however meager), and I know He'll do the same for them. I feel secure knowing that the Lord will deal with them as He has done with me.

So, I pray.

Friday, February 25, 2011


If my endurance and salvation rest upon my own stamina, I am doomed and redemption is worthless and God is unable to save. Looking back over my life, I find no evidence that in myself I am able to complete this journey. My life is a scattered, meandering trail of inconsistency. But I know who God is, and I know that His purposes are not thwarted, and I know that my certainty lies in the unshakable character of a triumphant God. Any positive spiritual progress I've seen has been the product of grace.

words from Spurgeon, I will say that my confidence is not based on ignorance or arrogance, but is the result of knowledge and meditation. And I have been persuaded.

Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Inside Job

Sometimes I think we ought to hear more sermons from this passage:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? ~ 1 Corinthians 5:12

I'm not sure, but I think we get this precisely backwards sometimes - excoriating and castigating people outside the church for their behavior, and soft-pedaling and tiptoeing around people within the church that are working trouble.

Maybe it's just my experience in my little corner of the universe, but I see more snarling, snapping and jockeying for position, more hurt feelings and more offended sensibilities within the church than I've ever seen outside. Part of this, I am certain, is due to the fact that families are sometimes...families. I can allow for all sorts of differences of opinion, personality traits (and even disorders), and walks of life. But sometimes, there are people who are nothing more than troublemakers. They cause discord, practice deceit and wreak havoc in the body of Christ.

The proper and best way to deal with these people is to actually deal with them, and deal with them as strongly as the situation warrants. It's the healthiest thing for the individual, and obviously for the church body. The outworking of that discipline can be a topic for another conversation, but I think first we need to realize that something needs to be done when dissension threatens the church.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Make It A Double...

I can't make it to church . . .
I just can't find time to read the Word and pray . . .
I just really can't support the local church financially . . .

Can't? Really? Get outta here...

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Just by reading the title of this post, you've encountered a new word I'll bet. Desuetude. Look it up, then use it in a sentence at dinner...

In The Plight of Man and the Power of God, Martin Lloyd-Jones makes the point that we have lost much of the meaning of the cross and justification by faith alone. With skillful words, he says that modern churches and Christians have basically watered down the full meaning of the Cross and the Gospel and have dulled the razor sharp edge of substitutionary atonement:

"The expiatory or piacular view of the death of Christ has become almost unknown; the idea of a mighty transaction by God in which sin was dealt with and punished in our Lord's body on the Cross, is scarcely known at all. The Cross has become nothing but a manifestation and demonstration of the love of God. We cannot stay with this [in order to explain further], but we note it as a direct consequence of the rejection of the doctrine of the wrath of God. In precisely the same way, the doctrine of justification by faith only has passed in desuetude. Increasingly salvation has been represented as an action on the part of man, and God is depicted as just waiting patiently in an attitude of love for us to return."

A view of the Cross that is all gumdrops and candy canes should always be shunned. It was on the Cross that NOT ONLY did the Savior show the full extent of His love, BUT ALSO the wrath of a holy God was poured out mercilessly on an innocent sacrifice so that I could actually become a recipient of that love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Presidents Talk About God

As excruciating as it is to watch, I give you an example of a President talking about God:

There's nothing so grating as a person in power invoking the things of God when they obviously care nothing for the Gospel. But why do they do this? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is votes. Of course. But what is the deal, really? What's going on when they do this, especially here in America. I think Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, writing from England in the first half of the 20th century, struck upon the truth of the matter:

"God must never be regarded as a means to an end; and religion is not to be commended primarily because of certain benefits which follow its practice (such as votes) ...We tend to believe, and perhaps rightly, that we have been blessed in the past because we have been religious...Hence the temptation to statesmen and leaders to pay lip service to religion, and to believe in its maintenance in a general form. But that is the very opposite of what I would stress, and what is emphasized everywhere in the Bible. God is to be worshipped because He is God...because He is holy. To place anything before God is to deny Him, however noble and exalted that thing may be" (parenthetical comments added) ~ excerpted from The Plight of Man and the Power of God.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Quicker Commute

Late for work? Give this a try...(be sure to watch this madness in full screen)

...I've never had white knuckles just sitting at my desk - until now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Elective Amputations and Abortion

Receptionist: Good morning, welcome to our clinic. How my I help you?

Patient: Yes, good morning, I'd like to have my eyes removed.

Receptionist: Alright, and is there a problem with your eyes?

Patient: Well, no, they're perfectly healthy. I'd just like to have them removed.

Receptionist: Ah. I see. Well just have a seat and the doctor will be right with you.

...15 minutes and two magazines later....

Doctor: Hello, would you come on back now, please?

Patient: Thank you.

Doctor: We'll be removing your eyes today, is that correct?

Patient: Yes, that's right.

Doctor: No problem. That is, of course, your right to do so, and we want to respect that. Now if you'll lie down, this won't take long at all. Just let me grab my melon baller and some scissors...

Absurd, right? What could be more so. If you or I walked into a doctor's office anywhere and asked for a healthy body part to be removed, we would be refused service without so much as the bat of an eye. There would be no crisis counseling to prepare us for the procedure and no concern that we'd go out to some back alley and remove the offending part ourselves with a rusty knife if we are refused service. No medical professional would so much as entertain the idea, and besides, there isn't a health care plan or system on the planet that covers random removal of body parts at the patient's whim.

Yet, everyday across this nation women enter clinics of abortionists and have healthy babies removed from their bodies as easy as you please - and many people want their health care to cover it. And as certainly as a procedure to remove a healthy right leg or a left eyeball would effectively cripple the patient, an abortion would do (and does) equal damage to a person's heart, mind and soul, not to mention that it mercilessly snuffs another life in the process.

*Credit goes to the administrative assistant in our church office for this interesting angle on the abortion issue.

Monday, February 7, 2011

That's Mine!

Where would we be without Sharpies? The fact that my stapler remains on my desk has everything to do with the fact that I've written my name on it in five places with a burgundy colored Sharpie. Otherwise, it would most likely disappear along with everything else that gets "borrowed" and then forgotten by well meaning folks at church.

Other items with my name on them: all five of my sons have my last name, of firstborn also shares with me my middle wife, in a fit of irrationality, chose to take my name instead of the one she was born with (it is easier to spell) favorite books (I actually have an embossing stamp - a thoughtful gift from a friend) Taylor guitar. Well, my name isn't actually on the guitar, but my blood is.

So, all of these things with my name on them, I plan on keeping. Yes, even the children: especially them.

In the first century, slaves in the Roman Empire would receive new names from their masters. In the same way, as believers in eternity serve the Lord as His slaves forever, each will have the name of the Lord on his or her forehead (Revelation 22:4). In his commentary on Revelation, A. Plummer explains that " 'to write the name upon' anything is a common figurative expression in Hebrew to denote taking absolute possession of, and making completely one's own." That, my friends, is a fascinating and wonderful truth of Scripture; an insight into the authority of God's lordship over us.

I'm glad I've been renamed and I've been claimed, and that the Name that claimed me plans on keeping me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hatred For Israel, And Lots Of It

(The following presentation is brought to you by Isaac and odds since 2000 B.C.)

I hope that opening line doesn't sound too lighthearted, because I don't mean it to be. This sibling rivalry (although it is much more than that - it's a matter of faith in the promises of God) was the seedbed for the interminable conflict between Israel and Islam.

The vitriol expressed in the following video is baffling...and disturbing. The only thing that can adequately explain the intense hatred for Israel that we see all around us the depravity of man, manifested in rebellion against God Himself.

The interesting part of the video begins 58 seconds in (Israel - a terrorist state???). Particularly notable is the statement by Ms. Flounders at 2:48. Sorry, Ms. Flounders, it's actually God who will decide (and has decided) history. I wonder if the United States of America, virtually apostate though she is, will continue to stand with Israel in years to come?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mahaney On Adoption

Crazy week. Little time to write even my brief and elementary thoughts. So, until the dust settles a bit, I recommend listening to the following message from C. J. Mahaney on the doctrine of Adoption. It is moving and beautiful and stirs the soul to love God. Follow the link, download for free:

C. J. Mahaney - God As Father: Understanding the Doctrine of Adoption in God's Word