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Be Significant...Be Still

One of the reasons we invest our lives in some insignificant ways is that we never become still enough to let the great realities hit us. We are always on the move. Always in a hurry. Or when we do stop, we flip on the radio or the TV and let somebody else's hurry fill our minds.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still [or cease striving, cease hurrying, be still, be quiet] and know that I am God. I am [or: will be, it's probably a promise] exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

What that text says is that the life-revolutionizing impact of God's supremacy in the world and his inevitable triumph over the nations, and the coming of his glorious kingdom of righteousness and peace—the impact of this awesome reality doesn't hit us and hold us and shape us unless we become still, and quiet before God. GOD hits home in the stillness. If you want your life to be significant, you've got to stop running, and stop scurrying about, and turn off the TV and the radio, and get alone, and be quiet, and let the mammoth realities of human lostness and eternal judgment and never-ending joy and God's universal triumph take hold of you and change your life.

John Piper
God: Refuge for His People, Exalted Among the Nations
Sermon on Psalm 46, Preached Nov 10, 1991

My Day :-)

More pics from my Hawaiian vacation forthcoming...

Repost: Am I a Christian Only Because I'm American

The following was originally posted very early on in my blogging life.  I am reposting it because of the positive feedback that I have heard from so many that I have read it, especially close friends. Praise God that my writings reposted below have been used on more than one occasion by God to draw back doubting believers who were attempting to validate their faith through faithless means. I pray that God may bless its reposting as well:

Doubter's Statement: As a Christian, I want to be sure that I am not deceiving myself and believing Christianity simply because I emotionally feel good about it or because my acculturation in America and within Christian circles does not allow me to see all perspectives. Also, once God gets me through this I will be better able to counsel those who are struggling with similar questions.

Response: It is necessary, before succumbing to the desire to jump in and begin addressing individual issues with which you are concerned, to discuss the nature of these doubts and the task which you are attempting to undertake. Many times I think that because the subject matter of a discussion have proven beneficial in many circumstances, we can often be too brash to quickly take part in discussion of those things without considering the end the undertaking. In this case I feel that the big picture must be viewed and brought clearly into focus before we even begin to discuss the individual.

I want to make it clear that I am not relegating the defense of our faith to an obscure, unecessary position. Peter makes it clear in 1 Peter 3:15 that all Christians should be prepared to give a defense of our hope--necessarily having thoroughly thought through the why's of the faith. The Greek "give a defense" or "give an answer" in verse 15 is a legal, court-room term referring a defense attorney rebutting charges against his client (Wuest's Word Studies). The way in which we do this is no small matter. Peter refers to a preparedness which certainly requires forethought and obviously preparation so that enemies of God may be put to shame: God's glory is at stake. Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:24-25 calls the Lord's servant to be able to teach with an ability to correct opponents with gentleness. This ability is necessary (a must) because God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth: Lives are at stake. So I realize the necessity of considering objections to the Gospel which include objections against, the existence of God, the veracity of the Bible, our interpretation of the Bible, the essence of truth, the basis for our faith, and many others. Yet, in the midst of those, the two commands of the Peter must remain preeminent: (1) "In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy" and (2) "Do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience."

(read more...)

Job (Word BIblical Commentary) by David Clines

Clines commentary (on chapters 1-20) will prove very helpful in a study of Job. It is a detailed, well-though-out, verse by verse exposition, offering concluding section summaries at the end of each discourse as well.

He generally presents the most common interpretations of a passage and references those who hold to various positions. This commentary is worth picking up if even just for that purpose: He shows a good knowledge of the work that precedes his on Job. Often however, his descriptions of these positions, especially when he disagrees with them, becomes muddled and summarized to the point of becoming a strawman. Nevertheless, he references well, so it is easy to find a fair description of dissenting views.The following are concerns that I have of Clines' exegesis: Clines' position on the time of Job's writing is in the 7th-2nd centuries BC. So he takes what is commonly viewed as a citation of Job in other OT writings, to be Job's author quoting other biblical authors. Although I have had a tough time finding clear indication of what Clines thinks of Job's belief in the afterlife, it seems to be consistent that he portrays Job as not believing His day before God would really ever occur (i.e. no afterlife). Furthermore, he takes 19:25 "I know that my Redeemer lives" and other passages traditonally ascribed to Job's wavering but existent faith in God's faithfulness and justice (and prophetic of Christ) as Job's expression of hope in himself and his cause.

Despite these significant concerns, I still recommend that you purchase this commentary for any serious study of Job. It is thorough, well documented, and offers good explanation of the commentators reasoning on the meaning of various passages.

Keywords: Job

Shock Hyper-Caffeinated Coffee

I recently purchase 5 pounds of Shock Hyper-caffeinated Coffee from Amazon. This coffee is more than just a hyper-caffeinated gimmick. Although it's caffeine content really isn't that much higher than other blends you might be drinking (~200 mg per cup), it still is high and I can feel the difference. But the real thing that you're probably concerned with, as I was when I first ordered this coffee, is the taste. The taste is bold and a little earthy, and really quite good with only very minimal after taste. I have had a few friends ask me what blend (thinking Starbucks) I was brewing; it was good enough to make them want to go get it.And the best part considering the great taste is the price and convenience. At this price per pound, Shock hypercaffeinated coffee is comparable to pretty much any other whole-bean quality coffee you might be buying (but probably a little cheaper is my guess). And with free shipping in a 5 pound bag to your door, you don't even have to leave home to buy your coffee. I will definitely be buying more Shock Coffee from Amazon soon...that reminds me I need to buy some coffee filters too.

Many Books: Some Silver, Few Gold, & One Priceless Gem

May my reading habits reflect this true statement by John Newton:

"There are many books which I cannot sit down to read. They are indeed good and sound--but have a great quantity of pages, compared to their insignificant value. There are some silver books, and a very few golden books; but I have one book worth more than all, called the Bible--and that is a book of priceless gems!"

HT: GraceGems

Steve Nash, Grand Canyon, & God

Have you ever been watching a Suns game and seen Steve Nash do something that is so spectacular that you just can’t wait for the instant replay and talk to all your friends about it the next day? Or what about the Grand Canyon? Why do people just stand there on the Rim staring, and then start taking so they look some more when they get home and try to tell their friends of what they saw? But then shortly those things bore us and we have to move on to a new great thing to stand in awe of for a few moments.

But there is one thing, one person before whom we will stand in awe and worship for eternity: God. Words cannot describe the wonder of God, we have sung of his mercy, of his love, of his holiness, of his beauty, but what we know to desire now is only just a miniscule fraction of the glory that it will take eternity to behold, enjoy, and proclaim. Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6 give us two snapshots of heaven: Those around the throne are awestruck by one thing, they are captivated by one thing, there is nothing else they desire to gaze upon, no one else they desire to be with, and nothing else they desire to do: “Day and night the seraphim never cease to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.’” Worship, by the angels and by the people around the throne is continuous and joy-filled not out of duty, not as if they wish they were doing something else, but because they are so enthralled by God’s holiness, his beauty, his might, his eternality, his glory, his honor, his power, and His perfections that there is nothing else they want to do; all of the treasures of this world and millions like it couldn’t draw them away from the throne. That is the God we worship. That is where I long to be.

But as soon as Isaiah saw that scene, his first response was appropriate, and his first response was devastating. He cried “Woe is me”. He knew that his evilness could not exist with God’s Holiness. No matter how much I want to be with God, I can’t. Holiness cannot dwell with evil. I have to rely on somebody else’s righteousness, Christ’s righteousness given to us at the cross.

God graciously gave us what we are celebrating now in communion so that we could never forget the cross. God the Father and God the Son had enjoyed perfect unity and fellowship from eternity past, and as our sins were placed on Him, God the Father crushed His Son and God the Son cried out in the worst agony ever imaginable, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?!”

At the cross we see that God is Holy, but we also see that God is love. Bob Kauflin writes, “The cross reminds us that the Holiness that cannot dwell with evil is also the Love that died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). Righteousness and mercy embrace in the perfect sacrifice of God’s Son. God’s love and holiness are not contradictory – they are inseparable.”

So when we come to communion, come confessing sin, but we must not focus on our sin. Our focus must be on that God who is worthy of nothing less than eternal worship. Praise God that He graciously gave us communion so that weekly we behold both His holiness and His love. Rest right now in that love that reconciled you to God; rest in that love, despite that sin, trial, or grief that may overwhelm you as you came to church today. Be overwhelmed by God’s love. Rest in that reconciling love and enjoy the God who loves you and died for you.

Men, please come and pass the cup and bread. Take communion on your own, in awe of God’s holiness and majesty and His love that would kill His own Son in your place so that you could be with Him and enjoy Him forever. If you do not long for that God-centered heaven, and if you have not trusted only in Jesus to pay for your sins and give you righteousness, then pass the cup and bread by. But please don’t leave today without receiving God’s free grace through faith. Take communion on your own, remembering God’s love shown by His broken body and covenant in His blood.

The above is the transcript of a short message that I presented at Grace Bible Church to lead our congregation in communion. It is reposted as a followup to yesterday's post on the iPhone & worship.

iPhone: Evidence We're Wired to Worship

Chris Gonzalez writes after reading two articles on the iPhone frenzy: "tell me human beings aren’t hard-wired to worship"

All of humanity, myself included, is constanty looking for something to stand in awe of. We gawk at amazing athletes, pay thousands of dollars to travel the globe to get a glimpse of something we've never seen before. There's a reason why Planet Earth is consistently the highest selling DVD on Amazon.com: We have been designed to worship. But the fact that I am drawn to so many of these earthly things that demand my attention, my delight, my worship should be a red light, an alarm screaming at me that I must run to God to find the Joy of joys, the Delight of all Delights from whom all good delights flow.

Maurice Roberts writes:

"Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s soul and they promote sanctification. We were not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes for a long time without the experience of heart-warming will soon find himself tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not as he ought, from the Spirit of God. The soul is so constituted that it craves fulfillment from things outside itself and will embrace earthly joys for satisfaction when it cannot reach spiritual ones….The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savoring the felt comforts of a Savior’s presence. When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers…By the enjoyment of the love of Christ in the heart of a believer we mean an experience of the “love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us” (Romans 5:5)…Because the Lord has made Himself accessible to us in the means of grace, it is our duty and privilege to seek this experience from Him in these means till we are made the joyful partakers of it.”
Maurice Roberts
The Thought of God

pp. 57-58
Cited in Keeping the Heart, p. x

I meditated on this when I recently lead my church body in remembering Christ during the Lord's Supper. Check back tomorrow for that...

Free Audiobook: EM Bounds' Power Through Prayer

Christianaudio's free audiobook of the month is EM Bounds' Power Through Prayer. Make sure you download it before the end of July, because it will revert back to costing $13 after July.

In order to get Power Through Prayer free go to the product page, add the download to your cart, then checkout with the coupon code July2007.

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