Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Look To Your Foundations, Set Your House in Order

That carelessness about sin, that trifling with temptation, that earnestness about the things of time, that forgetfulness about eternity, that readiness to swim with the tide about religion, that unwillingness to become more serious than your neighbors, that fear of being thought righteous overmuch, that love of the world’s good opinion—is this what you call coming out of great tribulation? Is this living in the Spirit? Is this striving and laboring after eternal life? 

Oh, look to your foundations, set your house in order. No empty ‘trust in God’s mercy’ will ever save you. You were not baptized unto idleness and indifference. Without a real hatred of sin, and a real forsaking of sin, Christ can profit you nothing. You never can be made white with the blood of the Lamb—unless you desire to have this earth’s defilements really washed away!

J.C. Ryle via J.C. Ryle Quotes

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seek the Lord; Call Upon Him

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

~ Isaiah 55:6-9

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taking Holiness Seriously

When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4–“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”–when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our you tube clips, our T.V. and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).

I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.

Kevin DeYoung via The Gospel Coalition

Monday, November 22, 2010

Never Be Afraid of Doing What Is Right

Young men, I want you all to be free from this bondage. I want you each to care nothing for man's opinion, when the path of duty is clear. Believe me, it is a great thing to be able to say "No!" Here was good King Jehoshaphat's weak point--he was too easy and yielding in his dealings with Ahab, and hence many of his troubles. (1 Kings 22:4) Learn to say "No!" Let not the fear of not seeming good-natured make you unable to do it. When sinners entice you, be able to say decidedly, "I will not consent." (Proverbs 1:10)

Consider only how unreasonable this fear of man is. How short-lived is man's enmity, and how little harm he can do you! "Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man, which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the LORD thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth?" (Isaiah 51:12, 13)

And how thankless is this fear! None will really think better of you for it. The world always respects those most who act boldly for God. Oh, break these bonds, and cast these chains from you! Never be ashamed of letting men see you want to go to Heaven. Think it no disgrace to show yourself a servant of God. Never be afraid of doing what is right.

~ J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men

What I'm Doing Now: Piggy-back Ride

What They're Doing Now: Playing in First Big Snowfall of 2010

Preach the Word!

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry

~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Friday, November 19, 2010

Strangely Satisfied to Lie In My Own Filth

Much like my son, I have been disabled all my life. My disability affects everything I am and everything I do. Scripture diagnoses this disability as sin. Not individual acts of sin, but a sin nature, sin residing within my heart. It causes me to reject love and embrace fear. It plagues me with a slumber that makes me strangely satisfied to lie in my own filth and not be disturbed. It's not that I like being dirty. I just hate being cleaned.

But God is patient, kind, and full of grace. He knows how I am made, but He does not excuse it. He refuses to permit my life to take its natural course. He has sacrificed much to make me His son, and He will not stand by when I am in need--even when I resist His compassion and care.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What We're Doing Now: Rummikub

What I'm Doing Now: Coloring

So Heavy You Cannot Possibly Carry It Alone

I hear religious-minded people say all the time with good intentions, "God will never place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot carry it."


My experience is that God will place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it alone. He will break your back and your will. He will buckle your legs until you fall flat beneath the crushing weight of your load. All the while He will walk beside you waiting for you to come to the point where you must depend on Him.

"My power is made perfect in your weakness," He says, as we strain under our burden.

Whatever the burden, it might indeed get worse, but I know this--God is faithful. And while we change and get old, He does not. When we get weaker, He remains strong. And in our weakness and humility, He offers us true, lasting, transforming and undeserved grace.

Sanctus Real - Lead Me

Like a Young Plant and a Tender Root

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that 
before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, 
who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, 
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; 
he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; 
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

~ Isaiah 53 ~

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Take the Sword!

and take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
~ Ephesians 6:17

To be a Christian is to be a warrior. The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battle-field. Neither must he reckon upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God. His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the panoply provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, "This warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare; this prophesies opposition."

It is clear from our text that our defense and our conquest must be obtained by sheer fighting. Many try compromise; but if you are a true Christian, you can never do this business well. The language of deceit fits not a holy tongue. The adversary is the father of lies, and those that are with him understand the art of equivocation; but saints abhor it. If we discuss terms of peace, and attempt to gain something by policy, we have entered upon a course from which we shall return in disgrace. 

We have no order from our Captain to patch up a truce, and get as good terms as we can. We are not sent out to offer concessions. It is said that if we yield a little, perhaps the world will yield a little also, and good may come of it. If we are not too strict and narrow, perhaps sin will kindly consent to be more decent. Our association with it will prevent its being so barefaced and atrocious. If we are not narrow-minded, our broad doctrine will go down with the world, and those on the other side will not be so greedy of error as they now are. No such thing. Assuredly this is not the order which our Captain has issued. When peace is to be made, he will make it himself, or he will tell us how to behave to that end; but at present our orders are very different.

Neither may we hope to gain by being neutral, or granting an occasional truce. We are not to cease from conflict, and try to be as agreeable as we can with our Lord's foes, frequenting their assemblies, and tasting their dainties. No such orders are written here. You are to grasp your weapon, and go forth to fight.

Neither may you so much as dream of winning the battle by accident. No man was ever holy by a happy chance. Infinite damage may be done by carelessness; but no man ever won life's battle by it. To let things go on as they please, is to let them bear us down to hell. We have no orders to be quiet, and take matters easily. No; we are to pray always, and watch constantly. 

The one note that rings out from the text is this:—TAKE THE SWORD! TAKE THE SWORD! No longer is it, talk and debate! No longer is it, parley and compromise! The word of thunder is—Take the sword. The Captain's voice is clear as a trumpet—Take the sword! No Christian man here will have been obedient to our text unless with clear, sharp, and decisive firmness, courage, and resolve, he takes the sword. We must go to heaven sword in hand, all the way. "TAKE THE SWORD." On this command I would enlarge. May the Holy Spirit help me!

~ Spurgeon via Bible Bulletin Board

Preachers: Passengers Want the Pilot to Take them Straight There

I've consistently enjoyed reading Peter Mead's Biblical Preaching blog. For the past couple of days he has been writing about how to end a sermon/message. Here's one (of many) ideas he shares that I found instructive:

Finishing the journey – as someone who has flown once or twice, let me continue with the airplane analogy since there are several thoughts that can be shared here.  Passengers who have had a great journey with a bad landing will leave with their focus entirely on the bad landing.  Passengers want the pilot to know where he is going and to take them straight there.  They don’t particularly want the pilot to finish a normal journey with a historic televised adrenaline landing.  Passengers like a smooth landing, but they’ll generally take a slight bump over repeated attempts to find the perfect one.  Once landed, extended taxi-ing is not appreciated.  A good landing that takes you by surprise always seems to have a pleasant effect. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Young men, when did God ever fail to keep His word? Never.

What He has said, He has always done; and what He has spoken, He has always made good. Did He fail to keep His word at the flood? No. Did he fail with Sodom and Gomorrah? No. Did He fail with with unbelieving Jerusalem? No. Has He failed with the Jews up to this very hour? No. He has never failed to fulfill His word. Take care, lest you be found amongst those by whom God's Word is despised.

Never laugh at religion. Never make a jest of sacred things. Never mock those who are serious and in earnest about their souls. The time may come when you will count those happy whom you laughed at--a time when your laughter will be turned into sorrow, and your mockery into heaviness.

J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Act of Disobedience

Where did we get the idea that a year's leave of absence and some counseling can restore integrity to someone who has squandered his reputation and destroyed people's trust? Certainly not from the Bible. Trust forfeited is not so easily regained. Once purity is sacrificed, the ability to lead by example is lost forever. As my friend Chuck Swindoll once commented when referring to this issue--it takes only one pin to burst a balloon.

What about forgiveness? Shouldn't we be eager to restore our fallen brethren? To fellowship, yes. But not to leadership. It is not an act of love to return a disqualified man to public ministry; it is an act of disobedience.

By all means we should be forgiving. But we cannot erase the consequences of sin. I am not advocating that we "shoot our wounded." I'm simply saying that we shouldn't rush them back to the front lines, and we should not put them in charge of other soldiers. The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented. But that does not include restoring the mantle of leadership to a man who has disqualified himself and forfeited the right to lead. Doing so is unbiblical and lowers the standard God has set.

So why is the contemporary church so eager to be tolerant? I'm certain a major reason is the sin and unbelief that pervade the church. If casual Christians can lower the expectations on their leadership, they will be much more comfortable with their own sin. With lower moral standards, the church becomes more tolerant of sin and less tolerant of holiness. The "sinner-friendly" church is intolerable to God--that is a frightening condition.

~ John MacArthur via Grace to You

Run Your Heads Into Sorrow

Want of thought is one simple reason why thousands of souls are cast away forever. Men will not consider--will not look forward--will not look around them--will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present ways--and awake at last to find they are damned for want of thinking.

Young men, none are in more danger of this than yourselves. You know little of the perils around you, and so you are heedless how you walk. You hate the trouble of sober, quiet thinking, and so you form wrong decisions and run your heads into sorrow. 

J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men

We Cannot Do Well Without Thinking

Believe me, this world is not a world in which we can do well without thinking, and least of all do well in the matter of our souls. "Don't think," whispers Satan: he knows that an unconverted heart is like a dishonest tradesman's books, it will not bear close inspection. "Consider your ways," says the Word of God--stop and think--consider and be wise. (Haggai 1:5,7)

Just as a bad servant does wrong, and then says, " I never gave it a thought," so young men run into sin, and then say, "I did not think about it--it did not look like sin." Not look like sin! What would you have? Sin will not come to you, saying, "I am sin"; it would do little harm if it did. Sin always seems "good, and pleasant, and desirable," at the time of commission. (Genesis 3:6)

Oh, get wisdom, get discretion! Remember the words of Solomon: "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." (Proverbs 4:26)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV

It May Become a Useful Servant, but It Is Always a Bad Master

Remember what I say: if you would cleave to earthly pleasures--these are things which murder souls. There is no surer way to get a seared conscience and a hard impenitent heart than to give way to the desires of the flesh and mind. It seems nothing at first, but it tells in the long run.

Consider what Peter says: "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (1 Peter 2:11) They destroy the soul's peace, break down its strength, lead it into hard captivity, make it a slave.

Consider what Paul says: "Mortify your members which are upon the earth." (Colossians 3:5). "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24) "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." (1 Corinthians 9:27) Once the body was a perfect mansion of the soul--now it is all corrupt and disordered, and needs constant watching. It is a burden to the soul--not a helpmeet; a hindrance--not an assistance. It may become a useful servant, but it is always a bad master.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Are Born Proud

Pride sits in all our hearts by nature. We are born proud. Pride makes us rest satisfied with ourselves--think we are good enough as we are--stop our ears against advice--refuse the gospel of Christ--turn every one to his own way. But pride never reigns anywhere so powerfully as in the heart of a young man.

How common it is to see young men heady, high-minded, and impatient of counsel! How often they are rude and uncourteous to all about them, thinking they are not valued and honored as they deserve! How often they will not stop to listen to a hint from an older person! They think they know everything. They are full of conceit of their own wisdom. They reckon elderly people, and especially their relations, stupid, and dull, and slow. They fancy they want no teaching of instruction themselves: they understand all things. It makes them almost angry to be spoken to. Like young horses, they cannot bear the least control. They must needs be independent, and have their own way. They seem to think, like those whom Job mentioned, "We are the people, and wisdom shall die with us." (Job 12:2). And this is all pride.

I picked this book up a while back. I've been slow to read it because I know it will be convicting. So far, that's true.

Then They Spit in His Face

Then they spit in his face... Matthew 26:67

The NFL Is looking into an altercation between two players yesterday. Reportedly, one player spit in the other player's face. 

Check out this video from ESPN.com starting at the 1:20 mark: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5780875

We all recognize the vulgarity of being spit on. It happened once to me when I was in junior high. I still remember it.

I'm confident our precious Savior also remembers the feeling of the spit of His creation smacking against His lovely face.

Oh, how he loves us!

Artificial Pleasures

One of the greatest calamities that sin has brought upon us is the debasement of our normal emotions. We laugh at things that are not funny; we find pleasure in acts that are beneath our human dignity; and we rejoice in objects that should have no place in our affections.

The world's artificial pleasures are all but evidence that the human race has to a large extent lost its power to enjoy the true pleasures of life and is forced to substitute for them false and degrading thrills.

~ A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest via Thoughts on the Way

Seeking a Way to Destroy Him

And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 
~ Mark 11:18

My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

~ Psalm 41 5, 7-13

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wise Advice - "Never Correct Someone Over Email"

I've been guilty of this--but by His grace, I'm learning.

I appreciate the wisdom of these two brothers.

Pray For This Little Lamb

Anna will have surgery today to correct the issue with her eyes. Please pray!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There Were No Surprises Last Night

Frank Turk writes:

See: when Barack Obama was elected president, God wasn't surprised. His plan wasn't sent into a tailspin -- not for the U.S., and not for the grand scheme to glorify himself and save people. But many of our dear friends were very undone by the election of President Obama -- and today I think we will see many of them overdone about the giant changes in store now that President Obama's election may be moot at best.

That doesn't mean it doesn't matter how you voted or how you should vote. What it does mean is that we cannot trust in salvation through politics. We also cannot trust in salvation through our nation.

We have to trust in a salvation which actually addresses our danger, a salvation which saves us from what we are actually dying from. This is what God is working on.

Read more at Pyromaniacs

Ultimate Allegiance

Some intriguing thoughts from a new blog I was just introduced to:

A pacifier is a good thing. But a pacifier becomes a dangerous and idolatrous thing when we give it our ultimate allegiance–when we suck on it all day long, all night long, for two years. This pacifier has changed the structure and appearance of this little boy’s mouth, and now significant corrective action is required.

Job security, relationships, success, reputation, money, planning, and comfort are also good things. But these become dangerous and idolatrous things when we give them our ultimate allegiance–when these things become the central fixation of our lives rather than our Triune God. Like the pacifier, our constant suck of idolatry slowly but surely changes the deep structure and appearance of our hearts, leaving us in need of significant intervention. 

Blown Away that God Trusts Me With This

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spaghetti Kids

Chloe and Lydia have been enjoying Songs that Jesus Said by Keith and Kristyn Getty. [Thanks, Grandma!] We call the CD "Getty's Kids".

This morning, Lydia told Lois that they listened to "spaghetti kids" last night!

Even Worse to Pretend

Of all the sins into which men can fall, none seem so exceedingly sinful as false profession and hypocrisy. At all events, none have drawn from our Lord’s mouth such strong language, and such heavy denunciations. It is bad enough to be led away captive by open sin, and to serve diverse lusts and pleasures. But it is even worse to pretend to have a religion, while in reality we serve the world. Let us beware of falling into this abominable sin. Whatever we do in religion, let us never wear a cloak. Let us be real, honest, thorough, and sincere in our Christianity. We cannot deceive an all-seeing God.

~ J.C. Ryle via J.C. Ryle Quotes