And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review

Folks, let me recommend a great parenting book. Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd & Margy Tripp is one of the best parenting books I have read. It has a lot of thought provoking discussions that will lead you to a greater perspective, and more efficient way of parenting. Why did I not find such wisdom sooner?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good article from Desiring God

Here is an encouraging article

The Main Thing to Rejoice About in Ministry
May 17, 2009 | By: Bill Walsh
Category: Commentary

Praise God for the times of effective ministry that he allows us to experience. If you're like me you get excited when you see the fruitfulness of any ministry that God calls you to do. It is a thrill to see him at work, putting to use the gifts and callings that he has granted to us for the cause of the Kingdom.

But in Luke 10 Christ challenges us to test our own hearts, by examining what we rejoice in most.

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven…. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10: 17-20)

We easily slip into over-emphasizing results rather than rejoicing most in our redemption. According to the Lord, the deepest rejoicing that we should seek is the joy of the impact that the Gospel has made on our own hearts and lives.

Some questions to regularly ask ourselves:

* Do I rejoice that God, by some mystery to me, chose me before the foundation of the world, due to nothing in me, and wrote my name in his Book of Life?
* Do I rejoice that God, from the beginning, had me in mind when he was carrying out his plan to redeem a people for the glory of his name?
* Do I rejoice that God sent his Son on a mission from heaven to become the Word made flesh on my behalf, in order to save me from my sins?
* Do I rejoice that Christ lived perfectly without sin, fulfilling the law in my place, in order that its righteous requirements might be fulfilled in me by grace through faith?
* Do I rejoice that the Lord Jesus bore my sins in his body on the tree, so that I could receive forgiveness for every sin that I have or will commit?
* Do I rejoice that day by day, these truths are sinking down into my soul and, as C.S. Lewis says, re-working my house; re-building, re-furnishing, preparing me for greater works ahead and ultimately for a greater Kingdom ahead.
* Do I rejoice in counting everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord who is bringing me to God?

Why does Christ tell us to rejoice first that our names are written in heaven? Might it be because he knows that the mustard seed of faith that he plants in us is what opens our eyes and lives to the Gospel in the first place? It is only because he chose us for salvation that we even have the possibility of reaching out and being a part of his work in bringing others to salvation and spiritual growth.

True ministry effectiveness and impact springs from a heart radically changed by the Gospel. No God-granted mysterious seed of the Gospel in us—no tree of lifelong fruitfulness.

Lord, make us aware and vigilant for where our deepest rejoicing lies. Keep us focused on allowing the amazing truth of your redemption to shape our hearts while we labor in your field.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Piper!

This is the newest article from Desiring God.

No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It.
May 13, 2009 | By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

It's a magnificent thing: The only newly-originating life in the universe that comes in the image of God is Man. The only newly-originating life in the universe that lasts forever is Man.

This is an awesome thing.

And, as everyone knows, that reverence is not shared by our new President, over whom we have rejoiced.

He is trapped and blind in a culture of deceit. On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he released this statement,

We are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters.

To which I say:

* No, Mr. President, you are not protecting women; you are authorizing the destruction of 500,000 little women every year.
* No, Mr. President, you are not protecting reproductive freedom; you are authorizing the destruction of freedom for one million little human beings every year.
* No, Mr. President, killing our children is killing our children no matter how many times you call it a private family matter. You may say it is a private family matter over and over and over, and still they are dead. And we killed them. And you, would have it remain legal.

Mr. President, some of us wept for joy at your inauguration. And we pledge that we will pray for you.

We have hope in our sovereign God.

(From the sermon: "The Baby in My Arms Leaped for Joy.")

Armor of God Thoughts

Sunday I taught on the "Armor of God" from Ephesians 6:10-20. In order to persevere we MUST live in the abiding strength of God and not of ourselves. I understand that the armor is afforded to us by the work of Christ upon the cross. Thusly the armor is available if we walk by faith in Him. So below you will find a chart and scripture for abiding and persevering in His accomplished work. I apologize for it's difficulty in reading.

The Weapons in Christ, Imagery, Christ’s Name, Scripture,

Truth, Belt, Way, Truth, Life, John 14:6
Righteousness, Breast plate, Righteous, 1 Cor 1:30
Ready Peace, Shoes, Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6
Faith, Shield, Faithful One, 2 Thes 3:3
Salvation, Helmet, Salvation, Heb 2:10
Spirit & Word, Sword, The Word became Flesh, John 1:14
Prayer, Prayer, Interceding, Rom 8:34

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)

My scripture for the benediction related to this. It was But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Bookends of the Day

As I seek to renew my mind I find that the critical points of reference tend to be the resting and awakening of each day. These bookends are full of opportunity. So here are a few meditative thoughts for introspection.

Morning Thoughts
• What must I praise God for?
• What are the battles facing me today?
• What temptations do I know that I am going to face?
• Who today needs prayer?
• What failures of yesterday do I need to confront today?
• Whom would the Lord have me share the gospel with?
• What does my memory verse mean?
• Whom today am I to encourage?

Evening Thoughts
• How has God revealed Himself during the day?
• What empowerment did God give me today in victories?
• How shall I praise Him, giving Him the glory lest I think it as being by my own merit?
• What areas have I failed in?
• Of what must I repent?
• What unexpected blessing came today? How have I shared this news?
• Did I praise Him, counting all things joy, even the disasters and torments of life?
• To whom did I show compassion?
• What decisions were made by waiting upon God for direction?
• How did the scripture reading from this morning compel me to walk with Christ?
• What have I complained about?
• Have I participated in gossip?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Awesomeness of God- To Do List

I love lists. SO here is a list I am working on at present for a study guide I am preparing for my church. In this guide I am looking for ways to get us to renew our mind and see the Awesomeness of God. Please do not copy this list without first gaining permission, thanks.

Things to do to see the Awesomeness of God

Prepare the heart.
Honestly look for God over all the world
Remember God’s plans throughout history.

Much of what we are doing here has to do with pausing and thinking, and looking long and insightful enough to see that which you have never seen. The awesomeness of God also causes us to express worship of God. Paul when writing about the cross and what Christ has done for us would break out into doxologies, such as found in Ephesians.

Stargaze. Get up early and watch, think, reflect.
Capture a sunrise on film.
Study a map of the world, especially where missionaries are, and the unreached.
Use a microscope
Use a magnifying glass on paper, leaves, an insect.
Observe animals in the wild.
Try to take an interesting photograph that displays the beauty of creation, see how many details you recognize for the first time.
Swim in the wild.
Study biology. Even dissecting a frog will reveal wonders.
Roll dice and look at the odds of simple things happening. Try to see how hard it is to get a dice to roll sequentially from one to six
Observe a drop of water on a window. See its ionic properties and its reflectiveness.
Take a walk examining rocks and bark. Look at the details again.
Study the biographies of people who experienced tragedy and hardship but rejoiced in God, Paul, William Tyndale, David Brainerd, Richard Wurmbrand, Brother Andrew, Corrie Ten Boom.
Write to missionaries and seek what life is like for them. We have adopted a pastor in Kenya, it has been a great experience.
Sing. Sing what ever comes to heart.
Make a list of the wonders of God.
Create a blessings book or journal to write out the blessing of God in your life and keep a list of answered prayers.
Set up a terrarium, or a “wildlife” exhibit in a fish tank. Add seed and watch the root system grow, and add bugs, turtles or frogs. Take time daily to see the symbiotic relationships.
Observe the fingerprints and skin texture of both sides of your hand. How does it know when to change, how do the cells know exactly what to produce?
Consider the ant, watch a colony at work.
Listen to the sounds around you.
Read missionary magazines.
Engage in time with children, have them tell you Bible stories.
Spend time with a lonely elderly person, let them tell stories of God.