Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hebrews 9 and 10 - From Memory

1. Watch this video.
2. Be encouraged to memorize the precious Word of God.
3. DO IT!

The Way To Live the Christian Life

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at his coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. ~ 1 John 2:28 - 3:3

“There is nothing that is so calculated to promote holiness as the realization that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, that our destiny is certain and secure, that nothing can prevent it. Realizing that, we purify ourselves even as He is pure, and we feel that there is no time to waste. That is the way to live the Christian life!"

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pray 'Til You Pray - A.W. Tozer

I've been convicted over the past several days about the lack of genuine prayer in my life. If you're a prayer warrior--would you please pray for me with regards to this? My wife, family, local church, and any I come in contact with will certainly benefit.

Looking for encouragement, I stumbled across this quote this morning. Though not quite the encouragement I was looking for (since it reads more like an exhortation!), the Spirit knew exactly what I needed.

Dr. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers. Among these rules is this one: "Pray till you pray." The difference between praying till you quit and praying till you pray is illustrated by the American evangelist John Wesley Lee. He often likened a season of prayer to a church service, and insisted that many of us close the meeting before the service is over. He confessed that once he arose too soon from a prayer session and started down the street to take care of some pressing business. He had only gone a short distance when an inner voice reproached him. "Son," the voice seemed to say, "did you not pronounce the benediction before the meeting was ended?" He understood, and at once hurried back to the place of prayer where he tarried till the burden lifted and the blessing came down.

The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with our thoughts to draw them in from where they have been scattered through the multitude of distractions that result from the task of living in a disordered world.

Here, as elsewhere in spiritual matters, we must be sure to distinguish the ideal from the real. Ideally we should be living moment-by-moment in a state of such perfect union with God that no special preparation is necessary. But actually there are few who can honestly say that this is their experience. Candor will compel most of us to admit that we often experience a struggle before we can escape from the emotional alienation and sense of unreality that sometimes settle over us as a sort of prevailing mood.

Whatever a dreamy idealism may say, we are forced to deal with things down on the level of practical reality. If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way through. Some Christians smile at the thought of "praying through," but something of the same idea is found in the writings of practically every great praying saint from Daniel to the present day. We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed.

~A.W. Tozer

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Cannot Be Idle

I found this hymn on the same site where I found the hymn from yesterday's post.

I cannot be idle, for Jesus says, “Go
And work in My harvest today;
And then at the evening, when labor is done,
Whatever is right I will pay.”

Then away to the work I will go,
And join in the reaping of grain,
And back from the harvest with beautiful sheaves,
I’ll come with rejoicing again.

I cannot be idle, the fields are so white,
And numberless sheaves will be lost;
They perish for want of more reapers to save,
How awful to think of the cost!

I cannot be idle, soon time will be o’er,
And reaping be ended for aye;
I’ll gather the lost from the byways of sin
To walk in the beautiful way.

I cannot be idle, no time for repose,
My resting shall be over there,
Where all of the faithful in heaven above
A crown of bright glory shall wear.

~ William J. Henry, 1897

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God Assigns the Tasks

I listened to a message today entitled A Call To Service by Alistair Begg. Teaching from 1 Corinthians 16:
The words of the hymn writer are accurate and helpful: "There's a work for Jesus none but you can do".

Do you ubelieve that? And do you know what the work is? And are you doing it? First of all you need to know that there's a work to do. Then, you need to know what the work is. Then, you need to go ahead and do it.

Look at the wonderful way in which God chooses to put these people together. Timothy--the man who was apparently so disqualified for service. Naturally timid, that's why he's has all these things to say about make sure he has nothing to fear when he's with you. Physically frail, why he has to keep taking a little wine for his stomach's sake. And chronologically disadvantaged. Young. "Let no man despise your youth, Timothy", he says. People would look on and say, "It doesn't make any sense a'tall, that you, the mighty apostle Paul, would take the baton of faith and entrust it into the hands of a fellow who's always getting an upset stomach, who is always naturally timid amongst people, and frankly, looks far too young to be useful for anything." Everyone looks at him and says, "Why did you send a boy here?"

And Paul says, "I understand that kind of thinking, but here's the deal--God assigns the tasks."
If you've never listened to a message by Mr. Begg, I encourage you to do so. He's very easy to listen to--and the Scottish brogue makes it all the more pleasant! :) The Truth for Life ministry recently made thousands of his messages available for download. Browse through the archive--I'm sure you'll find something profitable.

Being a lover of the old hymns, you know I had to find the full text of the hymn quoted at the beginning of the post. I had never heard it before--and I like it! Here it is:

There’s a work for Jesus, ready at your hand,
’Tis a task the Master just for you has planned.
Haste to do His bidding, yield Him service true;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

Work for Jesus, day by day,
Serve Him ever, falter never; Christ obey.
Yield Him service loyal, true,
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, humble though it be,
’Tis the very service He would ask of thee.
Go where fields are whitened, and the lab’rers few;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, precious souls to bring,
Tell them of His mercies, tell them of your King.
Faint not, nor grow weary, He will strength renew;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

~ Elsie D. Yale, c.1912 (listen)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gird Up the Loins of Your Mind - Matthew Henry

You have a journey to go, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish, and a great work to do. 

As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gather in, and gird up, their long and loose garments, that they may be more ready, prompt, and expeditious in their business, so do you by your minds, your inner man, and affections seated there. 

Gird them, gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty. 

Disengage yourselves from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience. 

Be sober, be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate and modest in eating, drinking, apparel, recreation, business, and in the whole of your behaviour.

1. The main work of a Christian lies in the right management of his heart and mind; the apostle's first direction is to gird up the loins of the mind. 

2. A Christian's work is not over as soon as he has got into a state of grace; he must still hope and strive for more grace. When he has entered the strait gate, he must still walk in the narrow way, and gird up the loins of his mind for that purpose. 

3. A strong and perfect trust in God's grace is very consistent with our best endeavours in our duty; we must hope perfectly, and yet gird up our loins, and address ourselves vigorously to the work we have to do, encouraging ourselves from the grace of Jesus Christ.

~ Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Peter 1:13 [For ease of reading, I've adjusted a bit of punctuation and spacing--but the content and meaning has not changed.]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Heavenly Parade - Hovie Lister and the Sensational Statesmen

Hovie Lister is the pianist. On some songs he sings too--just not on this tune! 

This particular tune is unique in that it has four distinct "parts" in the chorus. Give it a watch--you'll see what I mean! :)

If this one is not your style--here's a great acappella version by the Cathedrals.

And one more recent version by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"It Is Well" Additional Verses - Who Knew?

I couldn't possibly count the number of times we've sung the hymn It Is Well. Not only that, I've collected many hymnbooks, but not one of them has the extra verses (4 and 5 below) that I stumbled across today.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well (it is well), 
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

How Happy are Tried Christians--AFTERWARDS

How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. No calm more deep than that which succeeds a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. After killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty, we sit down in the arbour to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them "afterwards." 

It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls. See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are "afterward" good things, harsh ploughings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied.

If, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy "afterwards" in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world's days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol him before the eternal throne! If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then? Oh, blessed "afterward!" Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh afterwards? But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for to-day, nor the triumph for the present, but "afterward." 

Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Well--Isn't This Interesting

I guess this is a follow up to the "No Mr. President" post.

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time. [As with all off-site links--the first click is my responsibility, after that--you're own your own.]

All That Believe Are Justified

Some thoughts on justification very similiar to Octavius Winslow's.
Acts 13:39 - All That Believe Are Justified

The believer in Christ receives a present justification. Faith does not produce this fruit by and by, but now. So far as justification is the result of faith, it is given to the soul in the moment when it closes with Christ, and accepts Him as its all in all. Are they who stand before the throne of God justified now?—so are we, as truly and as clearly justified as they who walk in white and sing melodious praises to celestial harps. 

The thief upon the cross was justified the moment that he turned the eye of faith to Jesus; and Paul the aged, after years of service, was not more justified than was the thief with no service at all. We are today accepted in the Beloved, today absolved from sin, today acquitted at the bar of God. O, soul-transporting thought! 

There are some clusters of Eshcol’s vine which we shall not be able to gather till we enter heaven; but this is a bough which runneth over the wall. This is not as the corn of the land, which we can never eat till we cross the Jordan; but this is part of the manna in the wilderness, a portion of our daily nutriment with which God supplies us in our journeying to and fro. We are now—even now pardoned; even now are our sins put away; even now we stand in the sight of God accepted, as though we had never been guilty. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” There is not a sin in the Book of God, even now, against one of his people. 

Who dareth to lay anything to their charge? There is neither speck, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing remaining upon any one believer in the matter of justification in the sight of the Judge of all the earth. Let present privilege awaken us to present duty, and now, while life lasts, let us spend and be spent for our sweet Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kids at the Chapel Building Project

For almost a year now we've been enjoying fellowship and co-laboring with the saints at Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel who are working on the building project. The project is coming along pretty well--considering the laborers have been primarily of the "strong-back, weak-mind" type. [I'm not cutting any of the brains behind the project...I'm just saying that in general we're not professionals!]

I have learned quite a bit through the project thus far--and have even picked up a little confidence to (maybe) someday tackle some projects around the house. [Those who know me well can pick themselves off of the's ok...yes, I know I'm a nerdy computer guy. But James, Chris, Harry, Dad and others have been very patient with me--taught me to fish, so to speak. For that, I'm very grateful.] 

Here's a couple of recent pictures of the kids at the new chapel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Name the Lie; Insert the Truth

Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" - Matthew 4:7-10

James MacDonald writes the following regarding dealing with error:
C.S. Lewis once said that there are two equal and opposite errors that we can fall into regarding Satan and his demons. One is to act like they don't exist; the other is to be unduly and overly interested in them.

God has it on His heart to communicate Satan's reality. More than 250 separate times in the New Testament God tells us about the chief enemy of our souls. He says, Watch out for him. He's trying to get access into your life. This is his strategy.

You may say, "I just don't think Satan is trying to mess with me. This doesn't apply to me." If you are a follower of Christ, it does.

Second Corinthians 11:14 tells us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. The devil is not going to show up in some red Halloween outfit with the pitchfork, horns, and pointy tail. He wants you to think he looks like a cartoon character because that is no threat to you. But you're not always going to recognize him or his work. When you're least aware, he may be chiseling away at your emotional and spiritual health.

Let's brainstorm for a moment on this "angel of light" concept. For one, his deception makes him appear the opposite of what he really is. That includes those on his payroll. Not everyone who claims they speak for God is from God. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ," (2 Corinthians 11:13).

The battleground for spiritual warfare is in one word: truth. As an angel of light, Satan lies to God's people. The battle is going on right now in the mind of every person reading this.

We get victory by following Jesus' example in battling Satan. In Matthew 4, Satan tempted Christ with lies. Make these stones into bread... (v.3). Cast Yourself down from the temple... (v.6). In response to each taunt, Jesus named the lie and inserted the truth. Jesus said, you say this, but God says this.

Although Satan is powerful, he's a weakling when faced with Scripture. He's unimpressed with our incantations or the clever things we say, but he'll run from God's Word that lives and abides forever. It's God's truth that sets you free.

Here's the goal: when Satan lies to you about spiritual issues that undermine your confidence and security in Christ Jesus, name the lie and insert God's truth.
Since the devotional is e-mailed--I can't link directly to it. However, I did find the quote above in this pdf document on the Walk in the Word website.

If you're interested, sign-up for the Wisdom for Your Walk weekly devotional...I've enjoyed it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Will You Marry Me?

Thirteen years ago today I asked Lois to marry me...obviously, she said, "Yes".

Eric and Jennifer Wiinanen and I drove down to Lawrence, KS on this date in 1996. I don't remember if they had a purpose other than "me" in going there or not. Hmmm...I'll have to ask the next time I see them. we drove down to Lois' hometown and I surprised her at a special restaurant where she expected to meet her sister. From there we drove to a beautiful housing development where we walked the boardwalks, talked, and eventually I found the courage to ask the big question!

We've been together since 1992--and you'd think that by now we've have it all figured out. Truth is--we're still learning how to love one another. Sometimes when we've had one of those times when our love has been tested, I ask her if she'll marry me. I know it sounds a little weird--and I fess up to that. But I have a good reason.

I don't ask because I'm particularly insecure. Neither do I ask because sometime I expect her to change her mind and say, "No". 

I ask because I want Lois to always know that if I had to do it all over again...I'd still pick her. It's my little way of refreshing and renewing my decision to choose her and reject all others. Is it corny? Maybe. But do I mean it?? Every single time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Earnest About the Great Work of Ministry

This morning, Dad and I enjoyed an encouraging conversation about Epaphroditus (see Philippians 2:25-30). I was spurred on by the reminder that he nearly worked himself to death for the cause of Christ's gospel.

Epaphroditus was one of those men that Horatius Bonar described as being "earnest about the great work of the ministry on which they had entered":
They felt their infinite responsibility as stewards of the mysteries of God, and shepherds appointed  by  the  Chief  Shepherd  to  gather  in and watch over  souls. They  lived  and laboured  and  preached  like  men  on  whose lips the immortality of thousands  hung. Everything they did and spoke bore the stamp of earnestness, and proclaimed to all with whom  they came  into contact  that  the matters about which they had been sent  to  speak were of infinite moment, admitting of no indifference, no postponement even for a day. 

Yet their fervour was not that of excitement; it was the steadfast but tranquil purpose of men who felt the urgency and weight of the cause entrusted to them, and who knew that necessity was laid upon  them, yea, woe was unto  them  if  they preached not  the gospel. They felt that,  as ministers  of  the gospel  they dared  not  act  otherwise;  they  dared not throw  less  than  their whole soul  into  the conflict;  they dared not  take their ease or  fold their arms; they dared not be indifferent to the issue when professing to lead on the hosts of the living God against the armies of the prince of darkness.

~From Horatius Bonar's True Revival and the Men God Uses (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Word of the Day - Obdurate

1 a: stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing b: hardened in feelings
2: resistant to persuasion or softening influences
Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains. I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be. O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour’s sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour’s precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.

~Spurgeon's Morning and Evening - April 28

O Thou In Whose Presence - Missing Verses

We sang this hymn at the chapel last Sunday evening. I believe the version in our hymnbook has 5 (maybe 6) verses. I appreciate the words--so I thought I'd share it here. 

When I looked for the lyrics online, I found that it has several more verses--11 total! Some of them seem to be referencing the themes from the Song of Solomon. Here are my favorites:

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,
On whom in affliction I call,
My comfort by day, and my song in the night,
My hope, my salvation, my all.

This is my Belovèd; His form is divine;
His vestments shed odors around:
The locks of His head are as grapes on the vine,
When autumn with plenty is crowned.

The roses of Sharon, the lilies that grow
In vales, on the banks of the streams:
On His cheeks, all the beauties of excellence glow,
And His eyes are as quivers of beams.

His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet,
Is heard through the shadows of death;
The cedars of Lebanon bow at His feet,
The air is perfumed with His breath.

His lips as a fountain of righteousness flow,
That waters the garden of grace,
From which their salvation the Gentiles shall know,
And bask in the smiles of His face.

Love sits on His eye-lids, and scatters delight
Through all the bright mansions on high;
Their faces the cherubim veil in His sight,
And tremble with fullness of joy.

He looks, and ten thousands of angels rejoice,
And myriads wait for His word;
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Re-echoes the praise of her Lord.

Dear Shepherd, I hear and will follow Thy call;
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice.
Restore and defend me, for Thou art my All,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice.

~Joseph Swain

Friday, May 1, 2009

Real Manliness = Christ-Like Character

Phil Johnson over at the Pyromaniacs blog has been writing recently on true masculinity. I've appreciated his thoughts--especially this quote from the May 1 post:

Here's the thing: manliness is not about bravado, and it's not about boyishness. Going out into the woods with a bunch of other men, putting on war paint, making animal noises, telling scary stories around a campfire, and then working up a good cry might be good, visceral fun and all, but that has nothing to do with the biblical idea of manliness.

Real manliness is defined by Christlike character, and not just the Gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild-style character, but the full-orbed fruit of the Spirit rounded out with strength, courage, conviction, strong passions, manly love, and a stout-hearted willingness to oppose error and fight for the truth—even to the point of laying down your life for the truth if necessary.

That's what Scripture portrays as authentic manliness, and it's the duty of every man in the church to be a model of that kind of manhood.