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Showing posts from June, 2014

Cultural christianity

It started with a drink and then a few more. Then I smoked my first joint. I felt so guilty. But a month later I’m in the thick of it. I got sucked into this thing. I didn’t even realize it. I justified it, made myself believe that I was okay. But I wasn’t. I went from smoking weed to LSD and cocaine. It happened so fast. It’s like my compass just disappeared and I entered this whole other world. And when I finally realized how lost I was, it was too late. I couldn’t stop. “But even in the middle of all that, I still believed in God. It was weird. I would go to these parties, totally high, and end up talking about Jesus to my friends. I knew I didn’t belong there. I just couldn’t get out of the mess that I was in. MICHAEL W SMITH
Michael W Smith sharing his testimony in the uplifting book I am Second : Real Stories, Changing Lives. It is quite sobering that the more we know God the more hypocritical sometimes our lives become. The problem is that once we know God, our faith in Christ…

Hurried devotions!

Hurried devotions make weak faith, feeble convictions, questionable piety. To be little with God is to be little for God. To cut short the praying makes the whole religious character short, scrimp, niggardly, and slovenly. E M BOUNDS
The problem is that we know this to be true, but we must get in the habit of remembering it. This why it is so helpful to keep re-reading E M Bounds. He reminds us what is already obvious in our hearts. If we genuinely love God, we will take more time to spend our very best time with him.
But how to do this?
This is the paradox of our situation. For it is only through deep devotion and pray that we can yearn to love God more and more. It is only by praying for deeper praying that we grow to pray. It is only by studying God's word that we grow to love his word.
Oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this deadly paradox? Thanks be God that in Christ, His grace is already sufficient for me. Only by grace can we enter, and only by grace …

Revenge!

We can relate to the reaction of some US soldiers in Afghanistan. A troop member received a Dear John letter. He was devastated. To add insult to injury, his girl wrote, “Please return my favorite picture of myself because I would like to use that photograph for my engagement picture in the county newspaper.” Ouch! But his buddies came to his defense. They went throughout the barracks and collected pictures of all the other soldiers’ girlfriends. They filled an entire shoe box. The jilted soldier mailed the photos to his ex-girlfriend with this note: “Please find your enclosed picture and return the rest. For the life of me I can’t remember which one you were.”
MAX LUCADO Lucado is very funny! He makes a serious point though. Revenge is very tempting to all of us. In our heart of hearts we believe she got what she deserved!
It takes something extraordinary to reorient our hearts to see that none of us get what we deserve from God. And that is good thing because the wages of our sins …

Holy scepticism

God may speak outside the pages of Scripture, because God can speak whenever and wherever He wants. But we should become increasingly humble about our claims the further we get from Scripture. MICHAEL WITTMER
This would seem to be a very wise balance to strike between "my Bible is the only message" and "I had a vision in the night". God can and does speak through any means he chooses. But because the Bible is the only most clear and sure way he speaks to us, we must be have the humility to subject everything else to it. We need "holy scepticism”.
Wittmer is correct that humbleness is key. I think humility / humbleness is the correct word because it takes humility to admit that the vision may be just in our head. The pride of man is what drives many of us to claim things we have not experienced. And when we find that our "10 minutes to heaven" story does not line up well with the Bible we are prone to reject the Bible rather than accept our experien…

Blind hearts

I attended a seminary in Philadelphia that was located in an urban community scarred with all of the physical, personal, and socioeconomic blight that has inflicted many communities in America’s greatest cities.
Each day I would carpool to the seminary with three or four future pastors to study the rich theology of God’s Word for the purpose of preparing ourselves to minister to sinners dealing with the difficulties of life in a broken world.
We would have the most amazing and exciting conversations as we rode back and forth together. I loved those trips as much as I enjoyed the classes.
One morning the car was quiet, and I looked out the window beyond myself and my posse of future theologians. For the first time I really saw broken houses, cars, and people. There was crying need everywhere I looked.
I sat in the back seat of that seminary-bound car and began to weep, not just at the obvious destructiveness of sin on that community, but at my own blindness. I had been in that com…

Amazing grace!

It was very encouraging to sing the full traditional seven verses of Amazing Grace on Sunday recently. I have noticed that some modern versions of hymn books try to shorten it. The casualty is usually this verse : 

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
I find this verse to be the most encouraging. It is no good holding onto great promises if such promises have no real world validity. Faith is not something that just floats heavenly. True faith comes by hearing God's word which directs us to look around and see how God is already at work. As the Bible, "taste and see that the Lord is good!"
And that knowledge of how God is already at work in our lives builds our confidence to trust God more and more. We can be sure that we will see God face to face, not only because the Bible says so, but because we can see God already at work in our olives. God is at work through all the dangers, toil…

Amazing forgiveness!

I came across this remarkable tale of forgiveness. It tells the story of Church organist Madge Rodda who was enjoying her normal Sunday morning routine of breakfast and bible reading at the local restaurant, when she was brutally beaten and raped by James Briddle. Thankfully, Rodda survived and what followed is short of miraculous. Read on!