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This should be fun!

In a previous post, we talked about "Men and Cars". Now we'll talk about women and chocolate Cake. Does that make me a sexist? "Whatever"--she said tongue-in-cheek.

I recently met someone who got me thinking a great deal along the lines of "morality" and "Christianity"; will power vs. grace; the old nature and the new nature; and, what happens after the "new birth". I'm not sure why, but it got me also thinking about chocolate cake. I wanted to invite you along for the ride. This should actually be fun:

Picture the scene:There are seven (7) women in a room who are all on a diet to lose weight. Someone brings a four-layer chocolate cake into the room and places it on the table.

Questions #1: Will all seven women struggle with temptation?

One actually doesn’t care for chocolate cake at all. No temptation whatsoever. However, if it were a plate of deep fried jalapeƱo poppers, that would be another story. So the answer is "No"…

An Encouraging Reminder to All Women

What should all women aspire to be? Being a wife and mother is a good and noble thing, but it is not the highest thing

Instead, ALL women should aspire to present themselves a living sacrifice to the Lord. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him and His will for our lives. This is why some marry, some stay single, some have children, and some are barren. Glorify God in your present circumstance (the one you are in right now). The one who loves the Lord with her whole heart, soul, and mind—she is the one who pleases God and whose life brings glory to God. This is the good news– that no matter who you are, what you’re doing, or where you’re at—that your love for God and your faith in the work of His son Jesus Christ pleases Him.


Paraphrased from a quote by Amy Scott

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgment tree

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and…

Morality vs. Christianity (Part Two)

Morality is a neat cover for foul venom,
but it does not alter the fact that the heart is vile,
and the man himself is under damnation.

Men will be damned with good works
as well as without them,
if they make them their confidence.


You may go to hell as well dressed

in the garnishings of morality
as in the rags of immorality.

It is still the old nature- wash it, and cleanse it,
and bind it, and curb it, and bridle it-
it is still the old fallen nature,
and cannot understand spiritual things.
C.H. Spurgeon

To the eye of one who sees not as God sees, there is much that is comparatively illustrious in the character and conduct of such men. But while we cheerfully make these concessions, we may not substitute a mere visible morality, however exemplary, however vivid and useful, for true holiness. It is easy to conceive all the virtues of an unexceptional moral deportment concentrated in men who are at heart strangers to the spirit of Jesus Christ. A person of the character to which we refer may, for ex…

Morality vs. Christianity (Part One)

Let us talk about unregenerate, sinful man.

Before we are “born-again”, we all live lives of varying degrees of outward and inward morality. Yes?

We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are strong-willed and disciplined and some are weak willed and undisciplined. Some, when they put their mind to a task stick to it and win the battle. Some decide to quite smoking, and with shear determination, quit smoking. One may try the patch and gum and nothing seems to work for them. Some struggle with drugs and alcohol abuse and some do not. Not every lost sinner is a drug addict. Some see what drugs do to people and decide to never indulge. Some are raised by an alcoholic parent and decide to never touch the stuff. Some have too much respect for their own bodies and for others to be used or use others as toys to satisfy their own sexual desires, and some are sexually promiscuous; for various reasons. Some decide to stick to a diet and are successful, some simply cannot se…

Do you sit on the throne of judgment?

It is hard for a fish to know that it is wet. Wet is all there is for a fish. A fish doesn't even think of it. So it's hard for a modern person —a person living in the last two hundred years—to know that he is arrogant toward God. Arrogance toward God is all there is in the modern world. It's the ocean we swim in—the air we breathe. It's woven into the fabric of our minds. We don't even know it's there. We can't see it, because we look through it to see everything else. Here's the way C. S. Lewis put it:

The ancient man approached God . . . as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God's acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the Bench and God in the Dock.

That's virtually what…

What makes Christ "Good News"

There are cultural forces at work inside and outside the church that make me eager to defend my Father’s wrath against me before I was adopted. He does not need my defense. But I believe he would be honored by it.

The calumny I have in mind is the following paragraph from a popular British writer:

The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: "God is love". If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil
(Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zond…

Have you veiled the Truth?

It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.

Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what sa…

For Michael

O Lord, Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me, nor prove obstacles to the progress of Thy cause. Stand between me and all strife, that no evil befall, no sin corrupt my gifts, zeal, attainments.

May I follow duty and not any foolish device of my own. Permit me not to labour at work which Thou wilt not bless, that I may serve thee without disgrace or debt. Let me dwell in Thy most secret place under thy shadow, where is safe impenetrable protection from the arrow that flieth by day, the pestilence that walketh in darkness, the strife of tongues, the malice of ill-will, the hurt of unkind talk, the snares of company, the perils of youth, the temptations of middle life, the moumings of old age, the fear of death.

I am entirely dependent upon Thee for support, counsel, consolation. Uphold me by Thy free Spirit, and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling, but may I always go forward, always abound…

They weren't just men with funny collars.

Each Thanksgiving Day, when our family gathered together, and right before the meal, we would all join hands in the kitchen where my grandmother would recite (from memory) the following poem. Note: It was actually required reading and she had to memorize it and recite it as part of the class curriculum when she was in grammar school. Boy have things changed! My grandma went to be with the Lord on June 6, 2007.

The Landing of the Pilgrims

The breaking waves dashed high,
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;--
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and…

Giving of Thanks!

Gratitude is such a great and wonderful thing in Scripture. There are ways that gratitude helps bring about obedience to Christ. One way is that the spirit of gratitude is simply incompatible with some sinful attitudes. I think this is why Paul wrote, "There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks".

Gratitude is a humble, happy response to the good will of someone who has done or tried to do you a favor. This humility and happiness cannot coexist in the heart with coarse, ugly, mean attitudes. Therefore the cultivation of a thankful heart leaves little room for such sins.

There is a sense in which gratitude and faith are interwoven joys that strengthen each other. As gratitude joyfully revels in the benefits of past grace, so faith joyfully relies on the benefits of future grace. Therefore when gratitude for God's past grace is strong, the message is sent that God is supremely trustworthy in the future bec…

Let's talk about "Men and Cars" Shall we?

This is really off topic in terms of the major theme of this blog. But, I felt a pressing need to express it. So, here we go:

Man #1: He sees a new model and must have it. He loves the way it looks. He imagines himself inside of that car. He thinks about how good he will feel when he pulls up to a stoplight and people look at him in that car. “Boy, he must be someone special and successful to be driving that car”. He works two jobs in order to buy that car. He finally has the necessary funds to buy it and he goes down to the dealer and purchases his dream car. Every night he pulls it into his garage, dusts it off, stands back and looks at it with a great deal of pride and affection. Five years later, he pulls up to a stop light, glances over and sees the new model of his same car. He looks at it for quite awhile and realizes that there are features on this latest model that he finds more appealing.

That night, he pulls his car into the garage and as he is dusting it off, images of the o…

Do you tell them?

When you feed the hungry; cloth the naked; heal the hurting; rescue the slaves; do you care about their souls or are you doing all of that as a "humanatarian" and somehow hope that they will see the love of Christ in your efforts? Do you tell them?

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The God-Centeredness of God

We think that a person who is all about their own glory is arrogant and yet God created us mainly to show His glory. So, I ask you, "Is God arrogant?"

It is crucial to understand how the God-centeredness of God relates to his love for sinners like us. Most people do not immediately see God’s passion for the glory of God as an act of love. One reason for this is that we have absorbed the world’s definition of love. It says: You are loved when you are made much of.

John Piper uses a wonderful example to illustrate this when he asks, "Does someone go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem?" No. When one stands on the edge of the Grand Canyon they forget all about themselves and are swept away by the majesty, beauty, and awesomeness of something outside of themselves. That same person then also finds additional pleasure in telling someone about the Grand Canyon; how moved they were; how breathtaking it is; how overwhelming beautiful it is. They do…

HE is NOT the "Big Guy in the Sky"

Do you ever find yourself questioning God or bringing Him down to your level. I know I have. My entire orientation towards God was radically changed forever when I heard him address his servant Job after everything (and I mean everything--home, children, possessions, riches, his health, his standing in the community, his friends - everything) had been taken from Job and Job had been lying on a mound of ashes for months scrapping his boils with pieces of broken pottery. From our point of view, Job had good reason to complain and question God. After God listened to Job's questioning, He (in a rather sarcastic and seemingly unloving way), reminded Job who HE IS. In over 120 versus, God sets the record straight. Listen to just a view of His Words and then listen to the impact it had on Job:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? T…

God (through Paul) is asking you the same questions.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in or…

"Satan's Possibility Thinking!"

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the children of man.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no…

Love and Sex

Did Christianity really destroy"eros"?

Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world. The Greeks—not unlike other cultures—considered eros principally as a kind of intoxication, the overpowering of reason by a “divine madness” which tears man away from his finite existence and enables him, in the very process of being overwhelmed by divine power, to experience supreme happiness. All other powers in heaven and on earth thus appear secondary: “Omnia vincit amor” says Virgil in the Bucolics—love conquers all—and he adds: “et nos cedamus amori”—let us, too, yield to love.

In the religions, this attitude found expression in fertility cults, part of which was the “sacred” prostitution which flourished in many temples. Eros was thus celebrated as divine power, as fellowship with the Divine.

The Old Testament firmly opposed this form of religion, which represents a powerful temptation against monotheistic faith, combating it as a perversion of religiosity. But it in no way rejected er…

I guess I don't play well with others....

Why is everyone so afraid of criticism?

I tend to welcome criticism and have found that even if 99% of any given critical remark is unwarranted; there is always at least 1% that contains truth. It is that grain of truth that I hunger for because it makes me ponder and reflect on my own thoughts, ideas, and behavior and in so doing helps me to grow.

I love what Piper says when preaching from Hebrews 6:9-12

“The writer to the Hebrews is calling us by his example to grow up and to take the risks of love. He is also calling us to be less easily offended. And less easily hurt. We have a massive foundation for our salvation in the death of the Son of God and we have an advocate in heaven more powerful and more compelling than any accuser on earth. We should be the freest of all people to listen to criticism and take it into account and not be wounded or self-pitying or resentful.”

Just listen to these lines from the Book of Proverbs:

“Better is open rebuke from a friend than hidden love.”

“Wounds…

A painted harlot is less dangerous--than a painted hypocrite.

The sheep's clothing will soon be
stripped from the wolf's back!

(William Secker, "The Consistent Christian" 1660)

"Having a form of godliness--but denying its power."
2 Timothy 3:5

Formality frequently takes its dwelling near the chambers of integrity, and so assumes its name; the soul not suspecting that hell should make so near an approach to heaven. A rotten post, though covered with gold, is more fit to be burned in the fire, than for the building of a fabric. Where there is a pure conscience--there will be a pure conversation. The dial of our faces does not infallibly show--the time of day in our hearts. The humblest looks may enamel the face--while unbounded pride governs the heart!

A hypocrite may be both the fairest creature--and the foulest creature in the world! He may be fairest outwardly in the eyes of man--and foulest inwardly in the sight of God. How commonly do such unclean swans cover their black flesh with their white feathers! Though such we…

Have you experienced this work of God?

Can you just imagine sitting in a pew and hearing this being heralded from the pulpit today! How God’s Spirit would move among the people. I can almost hear the “hush” and stillness that would come over the sanctuary.

Thank you Lord for the “dead men” who you have used as vessels, throughout the history of the church, to proclaim Your Word and Your Glory! Their sermons are like cool pure water to this parched and thirsty soul.

Preached at Zoar Chapel, London, on Thursday Evening, July 8th, 1841, by J. C. Philpot.

"A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance."
Ecclesiastes 3:3,4.

O cursed pride, that is ever lifting up its head in our hearts! Pride, that would even pull down God that it might sit upon His throne. Pride, that would trample under foot …

What are you doing?

Ho do you spend your time, "christian"? Picketing and protesting against the homosexual agenda? Poking lost sinners in the eye, so that they will respond back in anger, so that you can feel persecuted for righteousness sake? Recently students on a local college campus had a captive audience of unregenerate souls, and instead of using that opportunity to preach the beauty of Christ and the gospel of Christ, they used that opportunity to fight their "moral" and "political" agenda's. It was UGLY!

Hundred's of young lost souls were gathered and the opportunity was wasted. Instead of them using this opportunity to herald the loveliness of the Savior, they poked people in their eyes with self-righteous, angry and hostile talk because, the truth is, that many of them would probably rather eliminate all of the lost sinners from their campus than to see them come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What shame and dishonor we bring to the name of …

The Imagination

One of the great duties of the Christian mind is imagination. It is not the only thing the mind does. The mind observes. The mind analyzes and organizes. The mind memorizes. But imagination is different. It does not observe or analyze what's there; it imagines what is not seen but might be there and might explain what is there (as in the case of most scientific discoveries). Or it imagines a new way of saying what is there that no one has said before (as in the case of creative writing and music and art).

I say that imagination is a Christian duty for two reasons. One is that you can't apply Jesus' golden rule without it. He said, "Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12). We must imagine ourselves in their place and imagine what we would like done to us. Compassionate, sympathetic, helpful love hangs much on the imagination of the lover.

The other reason I say that imagination is a Christian duty is that the supremacy of God i…

"Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-11!"

I needed some cash to tip the dog groomer today and realized that I had no “real” money on me; so, I pulled into 7-11 to use their ATM. As I was entering the store, a woman was leaving and our eyes briefly met.

While in line, I ran into a black pastor that I knew from my involvement with his ministry to a “gang” street in our town and we visited for a short time. After using the “slot machine” I exited the store and proceeded towards my car. “Excuse me ma'am; can you spare a few dollars” was what she said as she stood on the side of the building clutching a plastic bag.

It was that same woman; the one I passed while entering the store a few minutes earlier. I smiled and walked up to her. I asked her to tell me why she needed the money. She explained that she had been laid off from her job and had lost her home. I asked her if she had children and she stated that she did but that she had family that were taking care of them. I asked her why “family” was not also taking care of her du…

Digestion

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in His service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the o…

Spared from Suffering or Spared from Sin. What do you pray for?

Above every evil, we should consider sin as the greatest evil--as it is the fountain and origin of all evils. Sin is the only target--at which all the arrows of divine vengeance are shot! Sinners are those spiders which weave their own webs--and are afterwards entangled in them! Our own destruction--is but the fruit of our own transgression.

There is more real evil in a particle of corruption--than in an ocean of tribulation! The evil of suffering is transient--but the evil of sin is permanent. The consistent Christian will always choose the worst of sorrows--before he will commit the least of sins! The wicked entirely reverse this--for they prefer the greatest sin--to the least sufferings!

This is to leap out of the hot pan--into the consuming fire! By seeking to shun an external calamity--they rush into eternal misery! This is as if a man should lose his head--to preserve his hat! As the works of sin are dishonorable; so the wages of sin are deadly! "The wages of sin--i…

Sometimes you just gotta laugh....

I came across this news release (it's a satire on the state of the modern "christian" community) and it was just what the doctor ordered. Although the condition of the church is really no laughing matter and it brings me great sorrow--sometimes you just gotta laugh to get through another day.

Pastor Admits Himself for Treatment
November 15, 2008 - Boise, Idaho

Church officials for Jerusalem’s Bus Stop, a gathering of Christ-followers in Boise, Idaho have reported that Pastor/Head Facilitator Tucker Wynn has taken a leave of absence in the wake of what they describe as Wynn “hitting a major pothole in his faith journey” when he told several people during his sermon to “shut up and read your Bible.”

Jacob Mason, the church’s Supervisor of Holistic Meditation, witnessed the shocking event. “Tuck was facilitating our usual sermon-dialogue time on Sunday when Karen, our director of pottery, tried to express her inner feelings on what God was saying to her. Before she could share …

The Truth Matters

I decided to copy this over from my private journal blog. Perhaps it will help put to ease the mind of any one desiring to comment on any future posts. I am not a "sensitive" person and it takes a great deal to offend me. So comment away. But, if you do--expect that I will be as forthright with you as I hope you are with me.

The Truth Matters!

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

I want the truth! I hunger for the truth! No matter how hard it is to swallow; no matter how ugly and painful it might be. I have found no benefit in living in a false reality. If I ask you if these pants make my butt look big (and they indeed do) I want you to say, "Yes, dear, those pants make your butt look big".

Even better still--"Actually honey, the pants don't make your butt look big--the truth is your butt is big." Of course, that would only apply if I indeed had a big butt.

That is the kind of communication I can respect …